Stout is one of those beers that is particularly polarizing, people either really love it or they do not. There are surprisingly many stout beer brands in the market that are readily available and with many breweries at all different levels from microbrewery to regional brewery having a stout or a number of stouts within their portfolio you would be surprised just how many there actually are.
So, what is stout beer?
Technically it is a dark, top fermented beer that has several variations which includes milk stout, dry stout, Baltic porter, and imperial stout.
Stout is a style of beer that is brewed with roasted malt which gives it a darker appearance and flavors of dark chocolate, coffee, and sometimes even tobacco depending on the variation.
The name ‘stout’ derived from the word ‘strong’ not dark and the name ‘porter’ was used to describe a dark brown beer that was made from roasted malts. Porter was extremely popular so brewers created porters with different strengths the higher strengths of ABV were named ‘stout porters’ hence the name was derived ”stout porters” therefore the name stout refers to the color of the beer rather than a strong beer.
Do stout beers give you less of a hangover?
There is much talk that many people experience less or no hangover when drinking stouts as apposed to drinking more commercial beers or lagers, this I believe depends on the brands and their clean label approach. For example, if you brew a beer and add a lot of chemicals and additives it makes sense that this would affect you more than a product that used natural healthier ingredients with minimal additives and / or chemicals. I am not a food scientist however this would be my commonsense understanding.
Stouts have their own place in what I would call “drinking occasions”, what I mean by this is that depending on the time of the week or the time of the day or a specific occasion I prefer a different tipple. For me stout is a perfect Sunday lunch drink as the heaviness, flavors and the daytime occasion of a school night (well earlier in the day) means that I do not suffer the next day. There are other occasions I drink stout of course but this is my favorite.
Stout Beer Brands
The most famous stout worldwide is of course Guinness (4.2% ABV) and if you are like me this was the first stout I ever experienced which took some getting used to, that said once you understand the complexities of the flavors and the strong after taste one starts to crave the taste and texture.
Guinness which is now owned by Diagio was first launched in 1759 in Dublin, Ireland. The unique flavor and creamy texture have developed a wide following worldwide resulting in the brand being worth around $4 billion which makes it one of the most valuable beers worldwide. The Guinness brand makes up nearly 2% of the total US beer market and a recent survey states that around eight percent of American households consumed or served Guinness during 2017.
- Guinness Brand Value Worldwide – $4.3 billion
- Guinness draught beer sales in US – $59.2 million
- Guinness Extra stout beer sales in the United States – $32 million
- Nett Sales growth of Guinness worldwide – 2.1%
In the UK alone there are over 2.9 million people that drink Guinness regularly so what are some other brands.
Guinness Extra cold4.1% ABV- would be the next popular brand certainly in the UK.
Murphy’s– 4% ABV. One of the well-known stouts that hit the height of popularity in the UK and Ireland around the 90’s and mid 2000’s was Murphy’s which is owned by Heineken International and generally less heavy and less bitter in comparison with Guinness and has flavors of caramel and malt. This brand is mainly seen in a can these days rather than on the tap down at your local.
Sierra Nevada Stout– 5.8% ABV. This famous brewery based in the US CA has amongst its top-rated portfolios a stout that is creamy, full-bodied, malty, and satisfyingly rich.
Samuel Smiths Extra stout – 4.5% ABV. This famous brewery from Tadcaster in Yorkshire brews this extra stout which is not the highest strength but slightly higher than the norm which is brewed with dark malts which results in a smooth, clean, refreshing, creamy stout. They have a variety of different ales including an oatmeal stout and a porter.
Breakfast Stout– 8.3% ABV. This stout from Founders brewing company based in Detroit brew a treat for the chocolate fans. It is brewed with flaked oats, chocolate as well as two types of coffee which gives it an intense fresh roasted notes.
Youngs Double Chocolate Stout– 5.2%ABV. Brewed by Eagle brewery Bedford UK, this great example of a stout scores an “outstanding” rating on beer advocate website.
Old No 38 Stout –5.4%ABV brewed by North Coast Brewing co based in US CA. The name comes from a retired steam engine and is a smooth, full-bodied stout with coffee notes of dark malts and roasted barley.
This 5% beer is chocolate beautifully melded to the full, roasty flavor of stout. Aromatic, satisfying, peerless and contemplative.
Out of bounds stout– 8.3%. Brewed by Avery brewing company boulder, USA. This big stout is particularly potent in taste made with rich roasted barley and heaps of hops to deliver a full-bodied stout with that something extra you expect from a stout.
O Hara’s stout– 4.3%ABV. Brewed by O Hara’s brewery Co Carlow Ireland. This stout is a unique and first brewed in 1999 and has since been awarded prestigious honors for its quality and authenticity. It has a robust roast flavor with a full-bodied and smooth mouth feel with a tart bitterness with a dry espresso like finish. Also contains rich coffee aromas with light liquorice notes.
Steel Toes Milk Stout– 5.3%ABV. Brewed by SKA brewing co based in the Colorado USA. This is a traditional English cream stout that is brewed with milk sugar which creates a creamy and sweet stout that has hints of caramel, vanilla, and light coffee.
Parabola Vintage Imperial Stout– 14%ABV. Brewed by Firestone Walker brewing company in Ca, USA. This whopping 14% example is a humdinger of a stout which is aged for one year in premium bourbon barrels which explodes the complexity and intensity of the stout. It has a boldly balance of flavor of chocolate, vanilla, black cheery, coffee, and charred oak.
Big Bear Black Stout– 8.1%ABV. Brewed by Bear republic brewing Co in Cloverdale, CA US. This big black stout is bold, roasty and has flavors of caramel malt and balanced by hops.
We could continue and I’m sure we could list another one hundred plus great tasting stouts however this is just the appetizer and I hope you go on to enjoy the main, followed by the dessert. Please leave your comments or suggestions regarding any stouts that you recommend.