Tag Archives: Stout Beer

About Stout Beer

Stout beer is usually related to creamy strong, dark beer. And a lot of times people will think of Guinness when stout becomes the conversation. And whilst many types of stout beer are creamy, dark and strong, a lot of varieties of stout are quite different to one another. For example; did you know Guinness isn’t very high in alcohol content?  That’s right, and it’s actually the same as Bud Light beer at 4.20%. Amazing!

The number one thing that makes a stout beer from other stout beers is the roasted flavour that comes from roasted barley traditionally made by highly kilning barley grain that has not been malted.

Let’s take a look at the history of the stout style to better understand and contribute to a stout conversation the next time it comes up.

Stout Beer – A little history

The word “stout” has been around for a long time and was used to refer to strong beers as far back as the late 1600s and early 1700s. And they were stronger varieties of porters which became known as “stout porters.” Porters first got it’s origins in London and became popular amongst you guessed it, porters! And because the flavour was so strong it tended to last longer and didn’t go bad as quickly as other beers. Plus it had a great tasted in warmer weather and was cheaper than other beers, The word “stout” was used to describe strong versions of all different types of beers back in the day and wasn’t actually a beer style of it’s own. For example, some people would refer to a Stout pale ale, but it eventually developed in to it’s own style people are more familiar with today.

When porters made went to Ireland the St. James’s Gate Brewery (Guinness) first started brewing it’s “porter” in the late 1700s. And it was was not at all like the  Guiness is know for in regards to being smooth, creamy and thick. Instead, it was a complex, big bodied and really strong beer with an alcohol content level at 7.5%. The brewery decided to use the name “stout porter” as a way to describe their stronger porter which after time became known as stout.

English brewers in the 1700s from the Baltic started brewing a stout called they name the Russian imperial Stout. It became a popular beer and very strong in alcohol content between 8 and 11%.  The Russian Imperial Stout was also aged for years and became very popular in the Russian Imperial Court.

Porters were very popular so breweries made them at different strengths which continued to promote the word stout. However there is still some confusion over different stouts and porters and often it simply depends on the beer’s strength.

Below is a list of some common stout styles.

Dry Irish Stout

This particular style of stout is often the one that people think of when referring to stout. Dry Irish Stout beers include tha famous Guinness beer, Murphy’s and Beamish beers in the UK. But a lot of people make the mistake of thinking these beers have a high alcohol content because of their dark colour when usually they are 3.5-5.5% ABV which makes them easy to drink. In most cases, a Dry Irish Stout is a medium bodied beer with a deep black colour associated with stout.

Russian Imperial Stout

Russian Imperial Stout was brewed in the 1700s for the court of Catherine II of Russia.And it sounds amazing doesn’t it? And to ensure this type of beer lasted it was loaded up with hops. It is a really strong beer typically ranging from 8 to 11% ABV and has a bitter taste with fruity notes.

Oatmeal Stout

As the name suggest Oatmeal stouts are brewed with oatmeal, surprise, surprise. And the oatmeal gives them a fuller body, smoothness and an extra note of sweetness than other stouts. Alcohol levels usually range between 4 and 7%.

Sweet (or Milk) Stout

It doesn’t sound very enticing, because the name suggest its flavour, which is true, because the sweet stout usually contains more residual dextrin and unfermented sugars than other stouts contain. And as a direct result this style of stout provides drinkers with a sweet profile along with the roasted flavour associated with stout. Milk stouts are another variation of sweet stout and usually have lactose and milk sugars in the brew.

Depending on your taste there’s usually a style of stout for you. And so we recommend going beyond the famous Guinness and trying some of the other varieties of stouts brewed across the world. And yes, Australian craft breweries are doing a stellar job brewing stout including this months Beer of the month club selection.

Watts River Brewing – Dry Roast Stout (Pictured above).

Cheers!

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Beer Of The Month Club. Watts River Brewing

Hi folks,

Long time between cheers! At least in blog terms.

We continued our never ending search for the best craft beer every month to deliver to our members and it was by chance my parents ran in to one of the Watts River Brewing family at a local bowls club.

So when Mum told me the story I wanted to know more about the two brewers who used to work at the famous White Rabbit brewery in Healesville, Victoria and thought.. these guys must know what they’re doing! I say this because the White Rabbit Dark Ale was one of the first craft beers I had the pleasure of tasting back in the day and was so impressed I started drinking more and more and..anyway back to Watts River Brewing.

Check out the Watts River Micro Brewery in the Yarra Valley on Google maps >

Watts River Brewing call Healesville their home in the Yarra Valley, Victoria - and use the Watts River right next to them as one of their main supplies of brewing water. In other words, it’s a great foundation for producing fresh locally produced Australian craft beer.

“Why did you leave White Rabbit?” I said to Ben (Watts River Brewing Co-founder), “We wanted to brew our own beer without the quality being watered down.” Okay, enough said. But I still love the White Rabbit Dark Ale.

This months Beer of the month selection is the Stout aka Dry Roasty Stout from Watts River Brewing.

Dry Roasty Stout

Dry Roasty Stout

Quote from the Watts River Brewing website.

“A dark, dry, roasty stout built on flavours of coffee and dark chocolate as well as a tiny hint of smoke drifting around in the background. Perfect to savour by yourself or share with an old mate.”

So instead of a roast, I propose a toast to the Watts River Brewing family and say cheers to a job well done. P.s we loved it :)

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Looking for a gift?
Give someone a membership to the
Beer Of The Month Club
It’s a monthly beer club where members
receive a different pack of craft beer every
month for 3, 6 or 12 months!

 

About Porter Beer

Porter beer is a dark style of beer with origin roots in London as far back as the 18th century, having descended from brown beer (a well hopped beer made from brown malt). The Porter beer name is rumoured to have come from the beers popularity with street and river porters.

Porter Beer

Porter Beer

Stout and porter beer history are intertwined in the same family of beers where the name “stout” was thought to be given to a dark beer because a strong porter is often called “Extra Porter” or “Double Porter” or “Stout Porter”, and the term “Stout Porter” was later shortened to “Stout”. Another example is “Guiness Extra Stout” which was first called “Extra Superior Porter” and was thought to be changed to Extra Stout in the year 1840.

The history of Porter beer in the 18th and 19th century.

There was a document written by John Fulton in 1802 about the history of porter that is used as the template for most writings about Porter beer. Porter beer writings date back as far as 1721 where they describe it as a more aged version of the variety of brown beers being made in London. And prior to 1700, London brewers would sell their beer at very young early stages after being brewed and if ageing was performed it was by the publican or beer dealer. So the story of Porter was it was the first beer to be aged at the brewery and sold ready to be drunk immediately as an aged brown beer. It was also the first beer made in large scale and London brewers the likes of Whitbread, Truman, Parsons and Thrale were able to capitalise on the opportunity and make fortunes.

The original London porters were known to be strong tasting beers by todays standards. And the increasing popularity of this style of beer encouraged brewers to produce porters in different varieties of strengths and taste, including the Single Stout Porter, Double Stout Porter (for example Guiness), Triple Stout Porter and Imperial Stout Porter.

The big London porter breweries of the time were pioneers of many of todays brewing techniques where up until around 1800, every London porter beer was being matured in large vats, often holding several hundred barrels for a period of six and eighteen months before being racked into smaller casks for delivery to pubs and dealers. However it was later discovered that it wasn’t necessary to age all porter beers. For example, a small amount of highly aged beer (around 18 months or longer) when mixed with fresh or “mild” porter was found to produce a flavour similar to aged beer. And since it was a cheaper method of producing porter beer and required less volumes of beer to be stored for longer periods it became a new and popular way of producing Porter beer where the blend was typically around two parts young of fresh beer to one part aged beer.

The popularity of aged Porter beer began to slow around the year 1860 and started to be produced and sold as “mild”. And the decrease in Porter beer sales at the time resulted in many breweries ceasing production in large volumes or in a lot of cases stopping production all together, but in mosts cases would continue to brew a couple of stouts. In addition, the breweries that continued to produce Porter began to brew it weaker and with fewer hops.

The history of Porter beer in the 20th and 21th century.

There was a shortage of grain during World War 1 which lead to restrictions on the strength of beer being produced. But Ireland breweries didn’t suffer the same restrictions as London breweries which made way for Irish brewers to continue brewing beers such as Guinness that were similar to pre war stengths. The English brewers continued to brew a range of bottle and sometimes draught stouts through the Second World War and beyond. However they were a lot weaker than pre war versions and Porter beer sales started to decline until the point of production stopping in the early 1950s. But the good news is a revival of the Porter beer style sprung up in 1978 when a microbrewery called Penrhos introduced their own version of Porter beer to the world and was quickly followed by another craft brewer Timothy Taylor who began brewing Porter beer just a short while after the resurgence began. And today there are dozens of micro breweries in Great Britain making Porter beer including Fuller’s London Porter that won gold and silver medals at the 1999, 2000 and 2002 International Beer & Cider competitions, CAMRA’S Supreme Champion Winter Beer of Britain won silver in 2007 and Gold more recently was awarded to the Wickwar Brewery Station Porter in 2008.

Some of the Porter beer varieties include pumpkin, honey, vanilla, plum, chocolate, bourbon and more. And the tradition of ageing Porter beer in barrels continues today. So don’t forget the Porter beer name, a craft beer variety well worth trying.

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