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Sipping into Darkness: A Beginner's Guide to Stouts, Stout Types and Which to Try First!


Welcome to the dark, mystical and tasty world of stouts! Stouts are creamy, rich, bold and complex brews with a distinctively robust and broody colour. Most of us had our first introduction to Stout when we tasted a pint of Guinness, but there are tons of various Stout styles that are made by a range of different breweries out there and in this beginner's guide, we'll delve more into them. We break down what stouts are, what sets them apart from other beers, how they're made, the different types available, and recommend some must-try stouts that cater to various taste preferences.

What are Stouts? How Are They Different from Other Beers? 

Coffee, raisins, toffee, chocolate, oats and barley: common flavours to expect in Stouts!

Stouts are a type of beer known for their dark colours, robust flavors, and often feature hints of chocolate, coffee, and roasted malt. What sets stouts apart from other beers is their bold flavour profile and the creamy, full-bodied texture that accompanies them. Unlike lighter beers, stouts are a go-to choice for those who appreciate a more complex and hearty drinking experience.

Stouts typically include malted barley, water, hops, and yeast, with the key difference being the use of roasted barley. The roasting imparts a deep, dark color and a rich flavor profile. The brewing process involves mashing the grains, boiling the wort with hops, fermenting with yeast, and finally conditioning the beer to achieve that perfect balance of flavours.

Types of Stouts: And Which to Try First!

Dry Stout

Known for its smoothness and lower alcohol content, Dry Stout is exemplified by the iconic Guinness. It boasts a dry finish and flavors of coffee and dark chocolate. Many Dry Stouts producers use nitrogen in the carbonation process, resulting in a velvety mouthfeel and a creamy, cascading head when poured. This unique texture enhances the overall drinking experience, making Dry Stouts a favorite for those seeking a sessionable and approachable dark beer.

 

What to Try: Guinness Draught, because it's iconic for a reason. If you've already drank Guinness, give The Pugilist Irish Dry Stout from Societe Brewing Co a try as well - it's slightly lighter-bodied option with a smooth mouthfeel and burnt toffee and cocoa notes.

Sweet Stout (Milk Stout)

Sweet Stouts are characterized by a higher residual sweetness, often achieved by adding lactose during brewing. The result is a dessert-like beer with flavors of caramel and toffee.

What to Try: The Belching Beaver Peanut Butter Flavoured Milk Stout is a sweet and nutty brew that's akin to drinking a peanut butter milkshake, but with extra malt complexity. Perfect for sweet tooths! 

Available for purchase here: Singapore 

Imperial Stout

For those seeking a higher alcohol content, Imperial Stouts deliver a robust punch. They often feature intense flavors of dark fruit, molasses, and sometimes even a hint of smokiness .Imperial Stouts are often aged in barrels, adding an extra layer of depth and complexity. Whether it's bourbon, whiskey, or wine barrels, the aging process imparts additional flavors and aromas, elevating the Imperial Stout experience to new heights.

What to Try: The Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout is an award-winning Stout with roasted coffee, dark chocolate and strong, robust malty notes.

Available for purchase here: Singapore 

Oatmeal Stout

With a smooth and silky texture, Oatmeal Stouts incorporate oats into the brewing process, contributing to a creamy mouthfeel. The flavour profile may include notes of coffee, chocolate, and sometimes nuttiness.

What to Try: The Lost Coast Eight Ball Stout boasts a rich, full flavor with creamy oatmeal smoothness, and subtle hop undertones. 

Available for purchase here: Singapore 

Pastry Stouts

Pastry Stouts take the art of brewing to a sweet and decadent level. Inspired by desserts, these stouts often include ingredients like vanilla, cocoa, cinnamon, and even pastry components like actual pastries or cookies. The result is a delightful fusion of beer and dessert, offering a unique and indulgent drinking experience. These stouts are perfect for those with a sweet tooth or anyone looking to pair their beer with a dessert-like treat.

What to Try: Basqueland Brewing's Tiramisu Imperial Pastry Stout, made in collaboration with Browar Stu Mostów from Wroclaw, features notes of cocoa, coffee, vanilla, biscuit and lactose. 

Coffee Stouts

For coffee enthusiasts, Coffee Stouts are a match made in brewing heaven. Infused with coffee beans during the brewing process, these stouts deliver a bold caffeine kick alongside the traditional stout flavors. From espresso-like intensity to milder coffee notes, Coffee Stouts cater to those who appreciate the rich complexity that coffee brings to the beer landscape.

What to Try: Omnipollo's In Plenty Almond Coffee Stout is an an almond coffee cake inspired stout full of vanilla and almond coffee which gives layers of nutty, roasted notes rounded off by creamy vanilla filling and a chocolaty foundation. 

Conclusion:

Embarking on your stout exploration is a journey into a world of diverse flavors and brewing mastery. Whether you're drawn to the dry elegance of a classic Dry Stout or enticed by the dessert-like sweetness of a Milk Stout, there's a stout out there for every palate. So, raise your glass and savor the rich tapestry of tastes that stouts have to offer. Cheers to the dark side of beer!