As I’m sure you can tell by the title of this post, today is International Stout Day! Like IPA Day, Stout Day is a worldwide celebration of craft beer that was designed to unite the world in a giant toast of this iconic beer style–the stout!
In honor of this awesome holiday, here is a super basic 101-style run down on the various sub-categories of stout and some of my favorite beers to imbibe from each category. If I forgot your favorite sub-style, feel free to mention it in the comment section below so I can update the site! Happy Stout Day! Cheers!
Stout 101 (as basic as it gets)
Irish Dry Stout
The original stout style that evolved from the porter. Dryness comes from the use of roasted unmalted barley. Most famous example is Guinness.
Foreign Extra Stout
Similar to dry stout, but with more gravity (aka alcohol and stuff). This is a rather broad class of stouts. They can be fruity and sweet, dry and bitter, or even have funky notes from Brettanomyces.
Recommended Foreign Extra Stouts:
Russian Imperial Stout
Strong stout originally brewed in the 18th century by Thrale’s brewery in London, England for export to the court of Catherine II of Russia. This is the catch all category for high-alcohol stouts.
Recommended Imperial Stouts:
- Sierra Nevada Narwal
- Cigar City Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout
- AleSmith Speedway Stout
- Bells Expedition Stout
This is a pretty obvious category. Stouts aged in barrels–typically used booze barrels like Bourbon, whiskey, wine and such. Quite possibly the best invention ever!
Recommended Barrel-Aged Stouts:
- Deschutes The Abyss
- Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)
- Goose Island Bourbon County Stout
- New Holland Dragon’s Milk
Stouts brewed with chocolate and or cocoa as well as stouts that boast a noticeable dark chocolate flavor through the use of darker, more aromatic malt; particularly chocolate malt.
Recommended Chocolate Stouts:
- Rogue Chocolate Stout
- Bison Organic Chocolate Stout
- Southern Tier Choklat‘
- Fort Collins Chocolate Stout
Stout containing lactose, a sugar derived from milk. Because lactose is unfermentable by beer yeast, it adds sweetness, body, and calories to the finished beer.
Recommended Milk Stouts:
Stout brewed with oats, typically no more than 30% of the grain bill. Oatmeal stouts tend to be super smooth as a result of the high content of proteins and lipids in oats.
Recommended Oatmeal Stouts:
- Anderson Valley Barney Flats
- Rogue Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout
- Samuel Smiths Oatmeal Stout
- Breckenridge Oatmeal Stout
Another easy category to describe–stouts brewed with coffee!
Recommended Coffee Stouts:
- Bells Java Stout
- Schlafly Coffee Stout
- New Glarus Coffee Stout
- Flying Dog Kujo (Imperial Coffee Stout)
Stouts brewed with oysters. Some brew with only the shells, while others opt to brew with the entire oyster, shell and all. Oyster stouts are typically dark, roasty and dry with a mild brininess or slight gaminess.
Recommended Oyster Stouts:
- Upright Oyster Stout
- 21st Amendment Marooned on Hog Island
- Flying Dog Pearl Necklace
- Abita Imperial Louisiana Oyster Stout
Depending on the sub-category, stouts pair well with a wide range of foods. Naturally, chocolate, cream and fruit-based desserts are a natural partner for the entire range of stouts. Stouts are also a natural pair for grilled meats and game–especially the drier versions. I’m a big fan of blue cheese and stouts. And you can never go wrong partnering a dry or oyster stout with oysters.
Stouts are also really awesome to cook and bake with. Here are some of my favorite stout infused recipes:
- Chocolate Stout Braised Short Ribs
- Stout French Onion Soup
- Imperial Stout Texas-style Chili
- Chocolate Beer Cheesecake with a Pretzel Crust
- Stout Beer Glaze – Three Ways
- BBQ Bloody Mary with Beer
- The Rogue Diplomat Gone Nuts
Also check out these awesome recipes from Deschutes Brewery!