Stout beers have a long and tasty history. Discover one today.
Contrary to popular belief, stout beer is still alive and well today. The world we live and drink in is dominated by the craft beer. But fans of dark silky liquids in their pint glasses topped with a head of foam shouldn’t worry.
Stout is a dark beer made using roasted malt or roasted barley, hops, water and yeast. Stout beer has a long history dating back to the 1600’s, early 1700’s. The word “stout” used to refer to strong beers. Back then, they were way stronger and nothing like the smooth, creamy and thick session beer we now enjoy and call Guinness. Then, they were more complex, big-bodied and, like we said, incredibly strong.
Now, through years of experimenting and different breweries all across the world brewing to their liking, we have a variation of stout beers. Here are a few facts on some of the popular stout beers today.
There is the Dry Irish Stout which comes to most people’s mind when they think of a stout beer. They tend to have light-ish bodies to keep them on the highly drinkable side. Bitterness comes from both roasted barley and a generous dose of hops, though the roasted character will be more noticeable. Popular Dry Irish Stouts include Guinness, Murphy’s, and Beamish.
Next there is the Russian Imperial Stout. A piece of interesting history pertaining to this stout is that it was first brewed in England in the 1700’s for the court of Catherine II of Russia. This stout has grown a huge following over the years. Sometimes labeled the king of stouts.
There is even a stout beer that goes well with breakfast: the Oatmeal Stout. Being brewed with oatmeal gives the drink a fuller body, smoothness and an extra note of sweetness. One Oatmeal Stout that can be found on the internet is named Hell’s Black Intelligencer and that sounds straight lovely.
Another stout with a name that hints at its flavor is the Sweet (or Milk) Stout. Just because it has milk in its name doesn’t mean you can pour it on your Cheerios. The Sweet Milk Stout usually contains lactose and milk sugars hence its name.
If you are a sailor or just a fan of seafood there is a stout for you too: Oyster Stout. (It’s incredible what the internet will pull up from a search.) Oysters have had a long association with stout beer up until the 20th century when oyster beds were in decline.
Also there is a mythical stout beer. One that only lives in legends and in stories: the Pale Stout. Brewing logs have been found indicating that London brewery Barclay Perkins brewed a Pale Stout— a strong ale brewed entirely from pale malt until around 1800. When most people think of stout beer they think of a dark colored beer. A truly black beer was not even an option until the invention of black patent malt in 1817. Prior to that stout beers were mainly of an amber color coming from the brown malt.
Whether you’re looking to end the day with an easy drink or plan to get suitably pleasant with a friend, there’s a stout for you. I recommend adventuring beyond Guinness and trying all the different varieties of stouts out there. Play a game and try to find the craziest one you can and drink it. You’ll be surprised by what you find.