ALL ABOUT STOUT
Brewers began crafting stout beers in 1720 out of London, England. They quickly gained popularity thanks to their strong flavor and affordability. They also take longer to spoil and are more heat tolerant than similar brews. The term stout comes from an old adjective meaning “brave” or “proud”, but eventually became synonymous with the term “strong”. The beers took on the term due to their high ABV (alcohol by volume) levels.
Stouts typically present tan to brown and opaque. Their thick heads trap in aromas and carbonation so they can be sipped slowly and enjoyed at your own pace. Common flavors associated with stouts come across as rich and full, tasting of coffee, chocolate, licorice, and molasses. Their hops generally come across less pronounced than other beers unless the brewer wants to accentuate them.
The biggest difference between stouts and porters lies in the grain used to craft them. Stouts use unmalted roasted barley, while porters get made with malted roasted barley. Because of this, stouts present darker and more flavorful than porters. If you’re looking for a great beer to complement most meals, check out our stout selection and get them delivered today!
The first manuscript referring to stout as beer appeared in 1677 in the Egerton Manuscript. Eagerton, a clergyman in the Church of England, used stout to simply refer to strong beer. During the 1800s, the terminology stout got tacked on to porter, which muddied the two categories and still does to this day. Stout, as a term meaning strong, became associated with any strong type of beer like “stout pale ale” in the UK.
Since early brewers often used the name stout to describe strong beers, stout porter causes a lot of confusion in its history. In 1722, Ralph Hardwood began mixing beer, strong beer, and ales together into a concoction he named “entire”. Also referred to as “three threads”, which likely changed from a linguistic pronunciation of “three thirds”, the beer he created quickly gained popularity among the porters and merchants delivering beer to pubs and distributors. Pretty much any bartender could mix together the three types of beer to make a stronger version of the product they were already selling.
The resulting beers changed the way brewers produced their product. Originally, brewers needed to wait six to eight months for large batches of beer to ferment and rest. By mixing beers together, they could now mix one highly-aged beer (18+ months) with weaker porters and replicate the taste almost identically. One batch brewing over time meant the other vats could be put to use immediately.
The notoriety stout porters originally gained fell off during wartime in the 1860s since grain taxes raised considerably. By 1941, most breweries discontinued stout porters entirely. Stouts and porters faded into obscurity until 1972, when the Anchor brewing company started releasing porters again. Many breweries followed suit and the style saw a resurgence.
Michaell Jackson, an English beer critic (not the singer!), wrote about porters and stouts in the 1970s, and What’s Brewing, a survey done in the UK, found 29 brewers still crafting stouts, most of them milk stouts. In today’s society we see many more breweries attempting to recreate the style in their own fashions and a few different styles of stouts emerging.
Because using the term stout as a synonym for strong mixed up the porter and stout styles, many beer aficionados claim the terms still need more clarification. Regardless, stouts now refer to beers crafted using unroasted malted barley. Stouts present darker and more flavorful than porters and will only become more popular as the term gains more popularity and clarification over time. Common varieties now include imperial, milk, oatmeal, and dry stouts.
How Stout is Made
Brewers make stouts by milling their chosen grains and creating a mash that will hold the traits they desire. They then heat the mash until the enzymes convert. They mix this into near boiling water and keep the mixture moving by stirring or recirculating it. They then sparge, which means to moisten or sprinkle with water, the mash and collect the wort, the sweet, unfermented infusion of ground malt, by straining out the materials.
The resulting wort gets boiled for another hour and half. Brewers then add hops and boil the concoction for an hour. After adding a small amount of hops at the last five minutes, they chill the wort and aerate the mixture completely. Next, they begin the fermentation process by pitching the yeast into the wart and ferment the mixture until the yeast drops and the beer becomes clear.
The mixture gets left alone for two days past the point it appears finished, which helps to mellow out acrid flavors and let others take the lead. Finally, the brewers keg the beer, add some priming sugar, and keg or bottle the beer depending on the needs of their distributors. Processes can vary a bit depending on the brewers intended tastes and flavors, but the processes closely resemble each other.