Stout Vs. Porter: Which Dark Beer Is Better?

Informational

stout and porter beers

Do you like your beer dark and full of flavor? If so, you'll want to explore the difference between stout vs. porter. These brews are made with roasted malts, which give them their characteristic dark color and rich flavor. 

But there are some distinct differences between these two types of beer. Let's take a closer look at the battle of the dark beers!

A Quick Glance

Stout

Porter

Type of Malt Used

Unmalted roasted barley

Malted barley

Color

Dark brown to black

Medium brown

Flavor

Coffee-flavored

Chocolate-flavored

Food Pairing

Meat, Chocolate, Shellfish

Meat, Cheeses, Desserts

What is Stout?

Stout beer in glass and bottle

Stout is a strong beer famous in Ireland and Great Britain. Stouts are a more robust variant of mild ale. Even though they began as strong porters, stouts have significantly evolved over the years, and many contemporary stouts are as strong as most porters. 

Stouts are bittersweet with strong coffee aromas and, on average, more aggressively hopped than porters. Oatmeal stout, Milk stout, and Imperial stout are just a few examples.

What is Porter?

Craft beer dark porter

Porter is a dark beer style that dates back to the 1700s in England. Most porters are brewed using top-fermenting ale yeast, except for Baltic porter. These dark beers are popular in the winter, and the style's versatility allows for pleasure all year round.

Porter typically has a roasty maltiness and little to no hop aroma. Examples of this brew are American porter, Baltic porter, and Robust porter.

Stout vs. Porter Showdown

History - Winner: Porter

A glass of Porter beer

When it comes to today's stout, porter is, in fact, the great-grandfather. Dark malted barley hops and top-fermenting ale yeast were used to brew it. The end product is mostly a dark, medium-bodied beer with a wonderful malty sweetness and bitter hoppiness balance.

When brewers began fiddling with porter recipes, they created stouts. They began experimenting with different components and increasing the strength of the alcohol. 

Once known as "stout porters," the term "porter" was eventually discarded, and stouts established a distinct category of their own.

Recently, the primary distinction between stouts and porters is the type of malt utilized in the brewing method. Unlike porters, stouts are made predominantly from unmalted roasted barley rather than malted barley. 

Due to the presence of this particular component, stouts acquire their distinctive coffee flavor.  On the other hand, porters tend to be moderately lighter and less full-bodied.

Porter is the winner in terms of history because it came first and was the origin of stouts.

Appearance - Winner: Stout

Glass of dark beer

Porters often pour an opaque brown color, although they can also be black in some instances. Brown porters are slightly lighter in color and pour a medium brown.

A stout's head must be thick and vary from tan to brown. The body’s color should be either black or dark brown. Stouts are normally opaque, but they should be transparent if any light penetrates the drink.

Dark beers are known to have a fuller, richer flavor. Plus, they tend towards higher ABV's, which means that the stout wins in this round!

Taste and Aroma - It’s a Tie!

You cannot settle the rivalry between stout vs. porter with just a drink. One has distinct notes with spice and acidity, while the other offers aromas of sweet chocolate in moderation!

Because chocolate malt is commonly used in porters, they often have a distinct chocolate flavor.

They may also have rich hints of coffee and a smoky undertone. While hop scents are frequently absent, toasted malt aromas are often present.

Porter beers are sometimes classified as "acidic" or "dry." They are also known for being "sweet" and "moderately bitter." Depending on the brewer's preference, porters can also be hoppy or not. They can range in body type from light to full and heavy.

Stout beers have a rich, bittersweet coffee flavor. It has no discernible hops, and its aroma should be grainy with hints of coffee, licorice, chocolate, and molasses.

The stouts’ overall flavor must be similar to the aroma and rich and substantial. It should not have a watery mouthfeel. Stouts can be silky, full-bodied, and creamy.

Food Pairing: It’s a Tie!

2 glasses of porter and stout beers

Craft beers are usually paired with food. And stouts and porters are not an exception to that.

Porters are a sophisticated blend of subtle flavors that you can consume on your own. However, these beers go well with nearly every meat dish and a variety of cheeses and desserts.

The complexity of stout makes it an excellent match for a wide range of foods. Stout goes well with chocolate, practically any type of meat, and shellfish.

Stout and porter are both great choices for food pairing. They're full-flavored malts with rich tastes, so they work well with all sorts of dishes! So they both win this round.

Conclusion

Stouts vs. porters share a common ancestry, making it difficult to discern one from the other. Some brewers even go so far as to say that they are the same thing. 

However, their main difference is the type of malt used. Malted barley is used to produce porters, while unmalted roasted barley is utilized to create stouts.

Choose Porter if:

  • You like a lighter and less full-bodied beer
  • You prefer a chocolatey flavor
  • You want to pair a beer with cheese and dessert

Choose Stout if:

  • You want a darker and full-bodied beer
  • You prefer a coffee flavor
  • You want to pair a beer with shellfish

Regardless of their slight distinctions, they are both delicious beers that may be enjoyed all year. 

Which do you prefer between the two beers? Comment it below!



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