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A Short Review of Stouts

1st Apr 2017

When most people think of Stouts, Guinness is most likely to come to mind - a creamy dark beer. But what really differentiates a Stout from other beer styles, apart from its dark colour, is its roasted flavour. This comes from using roasted barley – in a process similar to how coffee beans are roasted.

Stouts, A Very Brief History

Originally, “stout” meant “proud” or “brave”, but it took on the different meaning of “strong beer” in the 16th Century. The first mention of Stout (for beer) was found in an EgertonManuscript (1677), which described Stouts as “strong beers”. In the 18th century, the use of “Stout Porter” became popular and meant a strong, full-bodied version of the Porter style. As a result the history of Stouts and Porters are intertwined and to truly understand Stouts we must also understand Porters.

Porters originated in London and were extremely popular during the Industrial Revolution amongst a growing labour force, including porters from which the style is said to be named after. Stouts are believed to have come about due to the popularity of the Porter style with brewers wanting to create an even bolder version, AKA the Stout.

Modern Day Stouts & Styles

In the past, Stouts usually ranged from 7% up to 11% ABV. Today, many great Stouts can be complex and lower in alcohol, with beautiful roundness and just a touch of roastiness in them. There are five key styles of Stouts:

1.Dry [Irish] Stouts: this is the most common Stout style and tends to have a light-ish body making the beer highly drinkable

2.Sweet/Milk Stouts: these are brewed with lactose to give a hint of sweetness which balances out the roastiness of the malts

3.Oatmeal Stouts: a Stout brewed with oats to give a soft creamy mouth feel

4.Foreign Extra/Export Stouts: a stronger Stout which was originally exported to British territories

5.Imperial Stouts: a step above Foreign Extra Stouts, these Stouts usually have an ABV between 8%–11%. The most well known being the Russian Imperial Stout which is said to have been inspired by Catherine II, the 18th Century Empress of Russia.

In this month’s pack, we feature BrewDog’sJet Black Heart Oatmeal Milk Stout, a hybrid Stout. So get out your finest beer glass, crack the top off and enjoy!