Stout beer made its first public appearance in the 1730’s in Ireland. Today, it is found worldwide. This deep, dark colored, bitter flavored beer varies with each brewer. It is made with barley and several types of malt. It is a darker, richer, hoppier version of a porter… a stouter beer!
Stout beers fall in one of four categories: dry stout, milk stout, imperial stout, and oatmeal stout.
Dry stout is stout beer in its purest form. It is dark black with a roasted coffee-like taste. Most dry stouts are brewed in Ireland. Even though they are dark in color, they are not necessarily high in alcohol content as some people believe. One of the most well-known brands of stout beer is Guinness Stout. Other popular brands are Murphy’s Irish Stout and Beamish.
Milk stouts are dark and have a lower alcohol content than dry stout. Lactose (milk sugar) is added to the beer during the brewing process, which makes it sweet, smooth and full of body. Mother’s Milk, Samuel Adams Cream Stout, St. Peters Cream Stout, and Left Hand Milk Stout are some of the top rated brands of stout beer.
Imperial stout is closer to dark brown than the typical black color of other stouts. It has a higher alcohol content (6 to 11 percent) than other stouts and was used to help keep Russian people warm during the brutally cold winter months. Try Stone Imperial Russian Stout, Yeti Imperial Stout, or Siberian Night Imperial Stout.
Oatmeal stout is even sweeter and smoother than milk stout. As the name suggests, oatmeal is one of the ingredients. It is also what gives it a smooth, sweet quality. Believe it or not, nursing mothers in England used to drink it as a nutritional supplement. Popular brands of stout beer in the oatmeal category include Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout, Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout, Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout, and Young’s Oatmeal Stout.
Finding a good stout is very easy with all of the brew pubs sprouting up these days. Chances are there is a brew pub within a reasonable distance of your home. If not, there are many online stores that sell micro and craft beers. Specialty stores such as Cost Plus and Whole Foods sell many varieties of beer as well. Sometimes, they sell single bottles or let you mix and match your own six-pack. What a great way to experience a variety of stouts! Home brewers are also in luck as there are many home brew kit suppliers that sell ingredients for making stout as well as other beer making supplies.
May you always have a clean shirt, a clear conscience, and enough coins in your pocket to buy a pint!
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