Stouts are by far the sexiest beer out there, it’s a fact, get over it,  I don’t make the rules! They have been around so long and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. They are consistent, versatile and they always keep you on your toes. Basically relationship goals, am’iright? This is the beer that always calls back and you for sure want to bring them home for the holidays to meet mom and dad. 

Let’s get into how Stouts got their start and how they grew into what they are today! 

The History of Stouts:

The history of stouts dates back to the 18th century in England, where they evolved from a type of porter beer. At the time, porter was a popular beer style that was made with brown malt and had a relatively low alcohol content. Over time, brewers began to experiment with different malts and brewing techniques to create a stronger, darker version of porter. These stronger porters eventually became known as stouts.

The first known use of the term “stout” to describe a type of beer was in an English newspaper in 1677, although it is unclear whether this referred to a dark beer or a strong beer in general. The first known use of the term “stout porter” was in an advertisement in 1725, which described a strong porter that was popular among porters and other laborers.

By the 19th century, stouts had become a distinct beer style with several variations, including dry stouts, sweet stouts, and imperial stouts. The most famous type of stout is Irish stout, which is known for its dry, roasted flavor and creamy texture. Irish stout was first brewed in the 18th century by Arthur Guinness, who opened a brewery in Dublin and began brewing a strong, dark beer that would eventually become known as Guinness.

Today, stouts are brewed around the world and come in a wide variety of styles and flavors, but they remain a popular beer style with a rich history and cultural significance.

Origin of the word “Stout”

The first known use of the term “stout” to describe a type of beer was in an English newspaper in 1677, although it is unclear whether this referred to a dark beer or a strong beer in general. The first known use of the term “stout porter” was in an advertisement in 1725, which described a strong porter that was popular among porters and other laborers.

The origins of the name “stout” for this type of beer are not entirely clear, but it is believed to have come from the Old English word “stout,” which meant strong or brave. This term was originally used to describe strong beers in general, but over time it became associated specifically with dark beers. Another theory is that the name “stout” was originally used to describe the strong porter beers that were popular in 18th-century England, which eventually evolved into the separate category of stout. Regardless of its origins, the name “stout” has become synonymous with a rich and flavorful dark beer that is enjoyed by many beer enthusiasts around the world.

Brewing Process for Stouts

Brewing stouts typically involves the following steps:

Mash: The first step in brewing any beer is to mash the grains. For stouts, this usually involves using a combination of pale malt and roasted barley. The grains are crushed and mixed with hot water in a process known as mashing, which activates enzymes that convert the starches in the grains into fermentable sugars.

Boil: After mashing, the wort (the liquid extracted from the grains) is boiled with hops and other flavoring ingredients. The length of the boil and the types of hops used will depend on the specific style of stout being brewed.

Ferment: Once the wort has been boiled, it is cooled and yeast is added to begin the fermentation process. Fermentation typically takes several days to a week, during which time the yeast consumes the sugars in the wort and produces alcohol and carbon dioxide.

Age: After fermentation is complete, the beer is typically aged for several weeks to several months, depending on the style of stout. Some stouts, such as imperial stouts, may be aged for even longer periods of time to allow the flavors to develop and mellow.

Carbonate and package: Finally, the beer is carbonated and packaged in bottles or kegs. Some stouts, such as nitro stouts, are carbonated with nitrogen instead of carbon dioxide, which gives them a creamy texture and smooth mouthfeel.

The exact brewing process for stouts can vary depending on the specific style and the preferences of the brewer, but these are the basic steps involved in brewing a typical stout.

Common Flavor Profiles of Stouts

Stouts can have a wide range of flavor profiles depending on the specific style and ingredients used in the brewing process. Here are some of the most common flavor profiles of stouts:

Roasted: Stouts are often made with roasted barley, which gives them a roasted flavor similar to coffee or dark chocolate. This flavor profile is especially prominent in Irish stouts.

Sweet: Some stouts, such as milk stouts, contain lactose, which adds a sweetness and creaminess to the beer. Other stouts may use ingredients like chocolate or caramel to create a sweet flavor profile.

Bitter: Stouts can also have a bitter flavor profile, especially imperial stouts which are high in alcohol and often have a strong hop presence.

Smoky: Some stouts, particularly those made with smoked malts, can have a smoky flavor profile that is similar to smoked meats or cheese.

Fruity: Some stouts may contain fruit or fruit extracts, which can impart a fruity flavor profile. For example, cherry stouts are a popular variation that has a distinct fruity flavor.

Overall, stouts are known for their complexity and can have a combination of these flavor profiles, making them a versatile beer style that can appeal to a wide range of tastes.

Different Styles of Stouts

There are several different styles of stout, each with its own unique characteristics. Here are some of the most common styles of stout:

Irish Dry Stout: This is the classic style of stout that is commonly associated with Guinness. It has a dry, roasted flavor with a slightly bitter finish and a creamy head.

American Stout: This style of stout is more hop-forward than its Irish counterpart, with a more pronounced bitterness and a stronger roasted flavor. It often has a higher alcohol content than Irish dry stouts.

Imperial Stout: Also known as Russian Imperial Stout, this is a high-alcohol beer style that originated in England in the 18th century. It is rich, dark, and complex, with a full body and flavors of chocolate, coffee, and dark fruit.

Milk Stout: This is a sweet stout that is brewed with lactose, a type of sugar that is not fully fermentable by yeast. The lactose adds a creamy sweetness to the beer and gives it a smooth mouthfeel.

Oatmeal Stout: This style of stout is brewed with oats, which add a silky texture and a subtle sweetness to the beer. It has a smooth, full-bodied flavor with notes of coffee and chocolate.

Foreign Extra Stout: This is a stronger and more robust version of Irish dry stout that is brewed with more malt and hops. It has a rich, complex flavor with notes of dark fruit and a slightly bitter finish.

These are just a few examples of the many different styles of stout beer. Each style has its own unique flavor profile and brewing techniques, making them a popular choice among beer enthusiasts.

Best Practices for Pouring and Serving Stouts

The best way to pour and serve a stout depends on the specific style of stout, but here are some general tips:

Temperature: Stouts are best served slightly warmer than other beers, around 50-55°F (10-13°C). This allows the flavors and aromas to fully develop.

Glassware: Stouts are typically served in a tulip glass or a pint glass with a wide mouth and a narrow base. The wide mouth allows you to fully experience the beer’s aroma, while the narrow base helps to trap the beer’s carbonation and maintain its creamy texture.

Pouring: When pouring a stout, it is important to pour it gently to avoid creating too much foam. Tilt the glass at a 45-degree angle and pour the beer slowly down the side of the glass. As the glass fills up, gradually straighten it to produce a small head of foam.

Serving: Once the stout is poured, it is important to let it settle for a minute or two to allow the foam to dissipate and the flavors to fully develop. You can then enjoy the beer slowly, savoring its complex flavors and creamy texture.

Optional: Some stouts, such as nitro stouts, are served with a nitrogen-pressurized tap system. These stouts are poured more vigorously to create a thick, creamy head of foam, which adds to the beer’s smooth mouthfeel.

Overall, the best way to pour and serve a stout is to experiment and find what works best for you and the specific beer you are enjoying.

How Stouts Have Expanded in the World

Stouts have expanded greatly in the world over the past few decades. Though originally a British beer style, stouts are now brewed in many countries around the world, including the United States, Ireland, Belgium, and Australia, among others.

One factor that has contributed to the expansion of stouts is the popularity of craft beer. As more and more small, independent breweries have opened up around the world, there has been a growing demand for unique and flavorful beer styles, including stouts. Craft brewers have experimented with different malts, hops, and brewing techniques to create a wide range of stouts with unique flavors and aromas.

Another factor that has contributed to the expansion of stouts is the growing interest in beer and food pairings. Stouts pair well with a variety of foods, including roasted meats, chocolate, and desserts, making them a popular choice for foodies and beer enthusiasts alike.

In addition, the rise of beer festivals and competitions has helped to showcase the diversity and complexity of the stout style. Many of these events feature stouts from around the world, allowing beer lovers to sample different styles and flavors and discover new favorites.

Overall, the expansion of stouts in the world is a testament to the versatility and popularity of this classic beer style. Whether you prefer a classic Irish dry stout or a bold and flavorful imperial stout, there is a stout out there for every beer lover to enjoy.

My FAVORITE Event of the year is coming up and it is truly the best place to try as many lagers as possible, Little Beer hosted by Good Word Brewing! This beer festival features beers that measure in at 4% or lower ABV. Breweries from all over the country will be showcasing their lagers, pilsners and ales and you won’t want to miss it! The event is Apr 15, 2023 and tickets can be purchased here.