Stouts: How Do They Differ From Porters?

Back in the 18th century, brewers adjusted various porter recipes to create a stronger version of the traditional porter. This style of beer became known as the “stouter” or stout porter and took off once Guinness started selling and promoting their own style of this beer. Over the past couple centuries, the lines between porters and stouts have grown more and more blurred due to innovative recipes and new equipment that is involved in brewing today. So to help you get a better understanding of what stouts are out there, I will discuss the five basic styles of stouts!

American Imperial Stout


The American Imperial stout was partially inspired by the Russian Imperial stout, due to its rich malty flavor and its aroma full of sweet malt character. Many versions of this stout are barrel aged, mostly in bourbon whisky barrels, while others are infused in coffee or chocolate. The ABV content for this stout ranges from 7-12%, making it the strongest in alcohol and body. It is usually black in color and offers a roasted malt bitterness.


American Stout


The American stout is based on a combination of both English and Irish Stouts. Over the past decade, craft brewers have innovated their own version of this beer recipe in order to make a stout that is both, bold and has a distinct roasted bitterness. To compliment the roasted flavors and bitterness, brewers tend to add coffee or chocolate accents during the brewing process. The American stout is also black in color but has a lower alcohol content than most Imperial stouts.


English-Style Oatmeal Stout


As you can probably guess, this stout includes oatmeal as an ingredient, giving it a smooth and rich body. This style’s color can either be dark brown or black and is packed with darker malt flavors and coffee-like roasted barley. The alcohol content for this beer is on the lower side of the ABV spectrum, ranging between 3% and 6%. Along with the oatmeal, the roasted malt character is caramel- and chocolate-like, adding to the smoothness of the stout.


English-Style Sweet Stout

Milk Stout.JPGAlso known as a Milk stout, the Sweet stout is dominated by malt sweetness, chocolate and caramel flavors, which contribute to the style’s aroma as well. Brewers use a larger amount of residual dextrin and milk sugars to give this style a full body. Since this style tends to use milk sugars, beer lovers who are lactose-intolerant should stay away from this beer!



Irish-Style Dry Stout

The blirish-style-dry-stoutack colored, Irish-style stout is one of the most common stouts among the five styles. This type tends to have a lower carbonation brew and is served on a nitro system for that creamy, masking effect. This stout contains bitterness from both roasted barley and a considerate amount of hops. The character of the beer comes from the coffee-like roasted barley and roasted malt aroma.


Do you know your stouts?

See if you can figure out the answers to these questions after reading about stouts!

  1. What is the most well-known Irish Dry stout out there today?
    • Murphy’s Irish stout
    • Guinness Extra stout
    • Cadillac Mountain stout
  2. Since it is referred to as a Milk stout, what would be the perfect desert to accompany this beer?
    • Prime Rib
    • Ice Cream
    • Caesar Salad
  3. Which stout style has the highest ABV content?
    • Irish Dry stout
    • English-style Oatmeal stout
    • American Imperial stout
  4. In Philadelphia, where can you enjoy a nice English-style Oatmeal stout?
    • 2nd Story Brewing Company
    • Dock Street Brewing Company
    • Philadelphia Brewing Company

Save your answers and the correct ones will be available on Friday!


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