Craft Beer

Dark and Delicious: A Guide to Porter and Stout

Porter vs stout difference

The revolution in the beer industry unlocked the doors to infinite beer varieties. The creativity of the trend is encouraging but makes it challenging to differentiate beers from each other, mainly brews with overlapping features. Most people understand porters and stouts are dark, heady, and delicious, but few are aware of their differences.

If you are thinking of starting a new brewery or wish to figure out what helps you in making your favorite dark beer unique, we’ll explain everything you need to know about stouts and porters. So here you will learn all about porter v stout beers, the difference between them, and the types.

Stout beer

        Stout beer has its characteristic deep brown to a black color and roasted-tasting notes of coffee and dark chocolate.

         Unmalted roasted barley provides stout beers with their signature color and essence. Brewers preserve the hop aroma dull by dry hopping stouts, and many utilize pellet or liquid extract bittering hops.

        As stout beers are very dark, it is tough to sense their clarity. Yet, most varieties are indistinct but contain a chill haze at low temperatures.

        The ingredients in stout beer include water, roasted black unmalted barley, minimal hops, and top-fermenting ale yeast (WLP004 Irish Ale Yeast desired)

        The appearance of stout is like a strong coffee, whereas the texture is thick, silky, and creamy.

        The flavor is the main factor in any beer, so the stout taste is like subtle coffee, chocolate, molasses, or licorice essence with no apparent hops.

Stout Beer types                     

Enchanted with the rich, roasted, and intense flavor profile, brewers created multiple types of stout beers by integrating unique flavorings and tinkering with the brewing process. Let's have a look at different types of stout beers.

  1. Imperial Stout

The Imperial stout is a type of stout with high alcohol content. The brewing of Imperial style stout was started in the 18th century in England. The beer generally contains very high alcohol content in terms of beer, usually with a minimum of 9%, but it can be much higher. It is assumed to be the darkest of all beer varieties.

  1. Irish dry stout

Represented by roasted barley rather than black malt, Irish dry stouts hold a sharp, coffee-like roastiness and a rich, creamy texture. You must be able to taste and smell moderate roast and hoppy bitterness, counteracted by the creaminess of the barley. Don't get amazed if you feel some bittersweet or non-sweet chocolate texture as well.

  1. Oatmeal Stout

As the name indicates, oatmeal stouts utilize raw or malted oats in addition to malt and barley. The flavor ranges from cookie-like nuttiness or even earthiness due to the addition of oats, and depending on the quantity added, the texture can go from silky or creamy to slick or oily. Oatmeal stouts are medium-brown to black with milk chocolate or creamy coffee characteristics.

  1. Sweet/Milk Stout

The name sweet/milk stout is due to the addition of milk sugar (lactose) to sweeten the beer. Because yeast cannot ferment this type of sugar, adding it does not produce a higher alcohol content and gives the beer a much sweeter taste. Dark and roasted malt provides coffee and chocolate characteristics. Sweet stouts are flavored and creamy and sometimes have a fruity aroma.

Porter beer

Porter beer has made a lot of progress. First brewed in England in the 1700s, the primary ingredient for porter beer is malted barley, which gives it a deep ruby brown to black impression.

The dark appearance of the porter does not appear in its aroma and flavor. Its flavor hints at chocolate, coffee, and caramelized notes from the brewed malt. Porter beer has a medium mouthfeel giving the feel of thin to watery in the mouth. If you are in search of a flavorful beer with a rich essence, then porter beer is the best choice for you. Most porter beers do not contain a high alcohol content.

Types of porter beer

As with stout beer, there are also multiple types of porter beer created. The kinds of porter beer include.

  1.  American porter:

American porters include notes of cocoa and coffee with sharp and rich malt flavors. The color goes from very dark brown to black, with an intense hoppy aroma and a dry finish.

  1.  Brown porter:

Brown porter, also recognized as an English porter, this variety of ale has low to medium hop bitterness and no flavor impressions of roasted barley. Brown porters possess nutty, bready, malt taste, and these types of brew have reduced alcohol content by volume compared to other porters.

  1.   Baltic porter:

Baltic porter is an intensely strong beer that is practically a lager and is not top-fermented. Baltic porters have higher alcohol levels, and the taste is often creamy or roasted.

Differences between Porter and barley

There is always a significant discussion on the difference between stout and beer, so brewers differentiate it according to barley usage, alcohol content, and bitterness.

  1. Use of Barley in Porter and stout

Most stouts are created from unmalted, roasted barley, whereas classic porters use malted barley. The coffee essence of the roasted barley is what distinguishes stouts from porters. In short, standard porters use malted barley, and stouts use roasted, unmalted barley.

  1.  Alcohol Content of porter and stout

Maximum stouts have increased alcohol content than porters. The range of alcohol content in both beers are

Porter ABV range = 4.8 - 6.5%

Stout ABV range = 5.5 - 8%

  1.  Porter and Stout Bitterness

Generally, porters fall lower on the international bittering unit (IBU) scale compared to stouts.

Porter IBU range = 35 - 50

Stout IBU range = 30 - 70


Lastly, by understanding the differences between stout and porter beer, you can expand your winter beer menu. Using this information, you can choose the delicious stout or porter beer to enjoy.

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