Tag Archives: Stout

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).



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

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 :)


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!


1 Week Old Craft Beer Direct from Brewery to Members

We went searching for the next craft beer of the month and found the Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company in the Yarra Valley,  Victoria. The Yarra Valley is traditionally known for it’s beautiful vineyards and is building a highly reputable craft beer region with a group of dedicated micro breweries brewing some of the best craft beer in Australia and the world. So we thought it was time to pay a visit to the Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company to learn a bit about their history and what they were brewing.

Hargreaves Hill brew craft beer with “simple ingredients; malted barley, hops, Yarra Valley water, and yeast,” and have been brewing since 2004. The brewery was founded by Simon Walkenhorst and his wife Beth Williams with a goal of introducing more choice and quality in to the Australian beer market. And after successfully producing a Pale Ale and Porter, this husband and wife team opened the Hargreaves Hill restaurant and cellar door just a few years later in a beautiful town called Yarra Glen. “The company has a simple philosophy, choose good quality ingredients, and create great flavour, and balance.”

But like a lot of great plans not everything went to plan, and in 2009 the Hargreaves Hill brewery that was first started in Steels Creek was destroyed by the Black Saturday fires along with Kinglake and Marysville towns. So a few micro breweries got together to help Simon and Beth get started again  and after a short but long 6 months were able to set up a new brewing site in Lilydale, Victoria.

I arranged to meet with Wayne (aka Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company Sales Manager) at their Lilydale brewery and was presented with the following craft beers.

Wayne (Sales Manager Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company)

Wayne (Sales Manager Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company)

Hargreaves Hill Hargreaves Stout
Quote, “Brewed in the Foreign Export Stout style, this beer is made from 5 different roasted malts, and gently hopped using Goldings hops from the UK. It is quite complex and dry, with notes of espresso and dark chocolate.”

Hargreaves Hill ESB (Extra Special Bitter)
Quote, “This bitter has delicious fruity aromas of passionfruit and grapefruit, which are produced by dry-hopping. The hops add flavour and aroma without bitterness at this point, and give the beer a great pungency and depth. The beer also has a rich malt profile which balances the bitterness well. ”

Hargreaves Hill Pale Ale
Quote, “This is a medium body English style Pale Ale in which we use American Cascade and Amarillo hops. Some say that is has a marmalade bitterness. It is full of flavour. Great to try with a steak sandwich, beef burger or hearty steak.”

Hargreaves Hill Hefweizen
Quote, “This is a cloudy style of beer which focuses on the yeast esters of banana and cloves. It is delicate in flavour, and not bitter or hoppy. It’s quite fruity, and good to recommend to non beer drinkers. We use a Bavarian yeast in this beer called Weihenstephaner from a Bavarian brewery famous for its Hefweizen beer.”

Hey Wayne, we’ve featured a Pale Ale, Porter, Extra Special Bitter, Dark beer and more for our members, but haven’t tried a German Hefweizen before, what do you think? “Well a large percentage of your members will love it, more than say a dark beer which has a specialty taste, plus Kai (head brewer) and Shane (assistant brewer) have just brewed a batch a week ago and because we don’t put preservatives in to craft beer and the bottle is light you’ll be getting the freshest and best craft beer experience possible, direct from the brewery!”

Kai (Hargreaves Hill head brewer) and Shane (assistant brewer)

Kai (Hargreaves Hill head brewer) and Shane (assistant brewer)

So with Wayne’s expert advice we chose the Hargreaves Hill Hefweizen craft beer for our Beer Of The Month Club members and hope you get as much enjoyment out of it as we did.

Rob at the Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company brewery

Rob at the Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company brewery

Robert (founder) and team from Gift Of The Month Clubs

Rob delivering the Hargreaves Hill Hefweizen beer for members

Rob delivering the Hargreaves Hill Hefweizen beer for members