- 13A. Dry Stout
- 13B. Sweet Stout
- 13C. Oatmeal Stout
- 13D. Foreign Extra Stout
- 13E. American Stout
- 13F. Russian Imperial Stout
13A. Dry Stout
Aroma: Coffee-like roasted barley and roasted malt aromas are prominent; may have slight chocolate, cocoa and/or grainy secondary notes. Esters medium-low to none. No diacetyl. Hop aroma low to none.
Appearance: Jet black to deep brown with garnet highlights in color. Can be opaque (if not, it should be clear). A thick, creamy, long-lasting, tan- to brown-colored head is characteristic.
Flavor: Moderate roasted, grainy sharpness, optionally with light to moderate acidic sourness, and medium to high hop bitterness. Dry, coffee-like finish from roasted grains. May have a bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate character in the palate, lasting into the finish. Balancing factors may include some creaminess, medium-low to no fruitiness, and medium to no hop flavor. No diacetyl.
Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium-full body, with a creamy character. Low to moderate carbonation. For the high hop bitterness and significant proportion of dark grains present, this beer is remarkably smooth. The perception of body can be affected by the overall gravity with smaller beers being lighter in body. May have a light astringency from the roasted grains, although harshness is undesirable.
Overall Impression: A very dark, roasty, bitter, creamy ale.
Comments: This is the draught version of what is otherwise known as Irish stout or Irish dry stout. Bottled versions are typically brewed from a significantly higher OG and may be designated as foreign extra stouts (if sufficiently strong). While most commercial versions rely primarily on roasted barley as the dark grain, others use chocolate malt, black malt or combinations of the three. The level of bitterness is somewhat variable, as is the roasted character and the dryness of the finish; allow for interpretation by brewers.
History: The style evolved from attempts to capitalize on the success of London porters, but originally reflected a fuller, creamier, more “stout” body and strength. When a brewery offered a stout and a porter, the stout was always the stronger beer (it was originally called a “Stout Porter”). Modern versions are brewed from a lower OG and no longer reflect a higher strength than porters.
Ingredients: The dryness comes from the use of roasted unmalted barley in addition to pale malt, moderate to high hop bitterness, and good attenuation. Flaked unmalted barley may also be used to add creaminess. A small percentage (perhaps 3%) of soured beer is sometimes added for complexity (generally by Guinness only). Water typically has moderate carbonate hardness, although high levels will not give the classic dry finish.
|Vital Statistics:||OG: 1.036 – 1.050|
|IBUs: 30 – 45||FG: 1.007 – 1.011|
|SRM: 25 – 40||ABV: 4 – 5%|
Commercial Examples: Guinness Draught Stout (also canned), Murphy's Stout, Beamish Stout, O’Hara’s Celtic Stout, Russian River O.V.L. Stout, Three Floyd’s Black Sun Stout, Dorothy Goodbody’s Wholesome Stout, Orkney Dragonhead Stout, Old Dominion Stout, Goose Island Dublin Stout, Brooklyn Dry Stout
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13B. Sweet Stout
Aroma: Mild roasted grain aroma, sometimes with coffee and/or chocolate notes. An impression of cream-like sweetness often exists. Fruitiness can be low to moderately high. Diacetyl low to none. Hop aroma low to none.
Appearance: Very dark brown to black in color. Can be opaque (if not, it should be clear). Creamy tan to brown head.
Flavor: Dark roasted grains and malts dominate the flavor as in dry stout, and provide coffee and/or chocolate flavors. Hop bitterness is moderate (lower than in dry stout). Medium to high sweetness (often from the addition of lactose) provides a counterpoint to the roasted character and hop bitterness, and lasts into the finish. Low to moderate fruity esters. Diacetyl low to none. The balance between dark grains/malts and sweetness can vary, from quite sweet to moderately dry and somewhat roasty.
Mouthfeel: Medium-full to full-bodied and creamy. Low to moderate carbonation. High residual sweetness from unfermented sugars enhances the full-tasting mouthfeel.
Overall Impression: A very dark, sweet, full-bodied, slightly roasty ale. Often tastes like sweetened espresso.
Comments: Gravities are low in England, higher in exported and US products. Variations exist, with the level of residual sweetness, the intensity of the roast character, and the balance between the two being the variables most subject to interpretation.
History: An English style of stout. Historically known as “Milk” or “Cream” stouts, legally this designation is no longer permitted in England (but is acceptable elsewhere). The “milk” name is derived from the use of lactose, or milk sugar, as a sweetener.
Ingredients: The sweetness in most Sweet Stouts comes from a lower bitterness level than dry stouts and a high percentage of unfermentable dextrins. Lactose, an unfermentable sugar, is frequently added to provide additional residual sweetness. Base of pale malt, and may use roasted barley, black malt, chocolate malt, crystal malt, and adjuncts such as maize or treacle. High carbonate water is common.
|Vital Statistics:||OG: 1.044 – 1.060|
|IBUs: 20 – 40||FG: 1.012 – 1.024|
|SRM: 30 – 40||ABV: 4 – 6%|
Commercial Examples: Mackeson's XXX Stout, Watney's Cream Stout, Farson’s Lacto Stout, St. Peter’s Cream Stout, Marston’s Oyster Stout, Sheaf Stout, Hitachino Nest Sweet Stout (Lacto), Samuel Adams Cream Stout, Left Hand Milk Stout, Widmer Snowplow Milk Stout
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13C. Oatmeal Stout
Aroma: Mild roasted grain aromas, often with a coffee-like character. A light sweetness can imply a coffee-and-cream impression. Fruitiness should be low to medium. Diacetyl medium-low to none. Hop aroma low to none (UK varieties most common). A light oatmeal aroma is optional.
Appearance: Medium brown to black in color. Thick, creamy, persistent tan- to brown-colored head. Can be opaque (if not, it should be clear).
Flavor: Medium sweet to medium dry palate, with the complexity of oats and dark roasted grains present. Oats can add a nutty, grainy or earthy flavor. Dark grains can combine with malt sweetness to give the impression of milk chocolate or coffee with cream. Medium hop bitterness with the balance toward malt. Diacetyl medium-low to none. Hop flavor medium-low to none.
Mouthfeel: Medium-full to full body, smooth, silky, sometimes an almost oily slickness from the oatmeal. Creamy. Medium to medium-high carbonation.
Overall Impression: A very dark, full-bodied, roasty, malty ale with a complementary oatmeal flavor.
Comments: Generally between sweet and dry stouts in sweetness. Variations exist, from fairly sweet to quite dry. The level of bitterness also varies, as does the oatmeal impression. Light use of oatmeal may give a certain silkiness of body and richness of flavor, while heavy use of oatmeal can be fairly intense in flavor with an almost oily mouthfeel. When judging, allow for differences in interpretation.
History: An English seasonal variant of sweet stout that is usually less sweet than the original, and relies on oatmeal for body and complexity rather than lactose for body and sweetness.
Ingredients: Pale, caramel and dark roasted malts and grains. Oatmeal (5-10%+) used to enhance fullness of body and complexity of flavor. Hops primarily for bittering. Ale yeast. Water source should have some carbonate hardness.
|Vital Statistics:||OG: 1.048 – 1.065|
|IBUs: 25 – 40||FG: 1.010 – 1.018|
|SRM: 22 – 40||ABV: 4.2 – 5.9%|
Commercial Examples: Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout, Young's Oatmeal Stout, McAuslan Oatmeal Stout, Maclay’s Oat Malt Stout, Broughton Kinmount Willie Oatmeal Stout, Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout, Tröegs Oatmeal Stout, New Holland The Poet, Goose Island Oatmeal Stout, Wolaver’s Oatmeal Stout
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13D. Foreign Extra Stout
Aroma: Roasted grain aromas moderate to high, and can have coffee, chocolate and/or lightly burnt notes. Fruitiness medium to high. Some versions may have a sweet aroma, or molasses, licorice, dried fruit, and/or vinous aromatics. Stronger versions can have the aroma of alcohol (never sharp, hot, or solventy). Hop aroma low to none. Diacetyl low to none.
Appearance: Very deep brown to black in color. Clarity usually obscured by deep color (if not opaque, should be clear). Large tan to brown head with good retention.
Flavor: Tropical versions can be quite sweet without much roast or bitterness, while export versions can be moderately dry (reflecting impression of a scaled-up version of either sweet stout or dry stout). Roasted grain and malt character can be moderate to high, although sharpness of dry stout will not be present in any example. Tropical versions can have high fruity esters, smooth dark grain flavors, and restrained bitterness; they often have a sweet, rum-like quality. Export versions tend to have lower esters, more assertive roast flavors, and higher bitterness. The roasted flavors of either version may taste of coffee, chocolate, or lightly burnt grain. Little to no hop flavor. Very low to no diacetyl.
Mouthfeel: Medium-full to full body, often with a smooth, creamy character. May give a warming (but never hot) impression from alcohol presence. Moderate to moderately-high carbonation.
Overall Impression: A very dark, moderately strong, roasty ale. Tropical varieties can be quite sweet, while export versions can be drier and fairly robust.
Comments: A rather broad class of stouts, these can be either fruity and sweet, dry and bitter, or even tinged with Brettanomyces (e.g., Guinness Foreign Extra Stout; this type of beer is best entered as a Specialty Beer – Category 23). Think of the style as either a scaled-up dry and/or sweet stout, or a scaled-down Imperial stout without the late hops. Highly bitter and hoppy versions are best entered as American-style Stouts (13E).
History: Originally high-gravity stouts brewed for tropical markets (and hence, sometimes known as “Tropical Stouts”). Some bottled export (i.e., stronger) versions of dry or sweet stout also fit this profile. Guinness Foreign Extra Stout has been made since the early 1800s.
Ingredients: Similar to dry or sweet stout, but with more gravity. Pale and dark roasted malts and grains. Hops mostly for bitterness. May use adjuncts and sugar to boost gravity. Ale yeast (although some tropical stouts are brewed with lager yeast).
|Vital Statistics:||OG: 1.056 – 1.075|
|IBUs: 30 – 70||FG: 1.010 – 1.018|
|SRM: 30 – 40||ABV: 5.5 – 8%|
Commercial Examples: Tropical-Type: Lion Stout (Sri Lanka), Dragon Stout (Jamaica), ABC Stout (Singapore), Royal Extra “The Lion Stout” (Trinidad), Jamaica Stout (Jamaica), Export-Type: Freeminer Deep Shaft Stout, Guinness Foreign Extra Stout (bottled, not sold in the US), Ridgeway of Oxfordshire Foreign Extra Stout, Coopers Best Extra Stout, Elysian Dragonstooth Stout
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13E. American Stout
Aroma: Moderate to strong aroma of roasted malts, often having a roasted coffee or dark chocolate quality. Burnt or charcoal aromas are low to none. Medium to very low hop aroma, often with a citrusy or resiny American hop character. Esters are optional, but can be present up to medium intensity. Light alcohol-derived aromatics are also optional. No diacetyl.
Appearance: Generally a jet black color, although some may appear very dark brown. Large, persistent head of light tan to light brown in color. Usually opaque.
Flavor: Moderate to very high roasted malt flavors, often tasting of coffee, roasted coffee beans, dark or bittersweet chocolate. May have a slightly burnt coffee ground flavor, but this character should not be prominent if present. Low to medium malt sweetness, often with rich chocolate or caramel flavors. Medium to high bitterness. Hop flavor can be low to high, and generally reflects citrusy or resiny American varieties. Light esters may be present but are not required. Medium to dry finish, occasionally with a light burnt quality. Alcohol flavors can be present up to medium levels, but smooth. No diacetyl.
Mouthfeel: Medium to full body. Can be somewhat creamy, particularly if a small amount of oats have been used to enhance mouthfeel. Can have a bit of roast-derived astringency, but this character should not be excessive. Medium-high to high carbonation. Light to moderately strong alcohol warmth, but smooth and not excessively hot.
Overall Impression: A hoppy, bitter, strongly roasted Foreign-style Stout (of the export variety).
Comments: Breweries express individuality through varying the roasted malt profile, malt sweetness and flavor, and the amount of finishing hops used. Generally has bolder roasted malt flavors and hopping than other traditional stouts (except Imperial Stouts).
Ingredients: Common American base malts and yeast. Varied use of dark and roasted malts, as well as caramel-type malts. Adjuncts such as oatmeal may be present in low quantities. American hop varieties.
|Vital Statistics:||OG: 1.050 – 1.075|
|IBUs: 35 – 75||FG: 1.010 – 1.022|
|SRM: 30 – 40||ABV: 5 – 7%|
Commercial Examples: Rogue Shakespeare Stout, Deschutes Obsidian Stout, Sierra Nevada Stout, North Coast Old No. 38, Bar Harbor Cadillac Mountain Stout, Avery Out of Bounds Stout, Lost Coast 8 Ball Stout, Mad River Steelhead Extra Stout
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13F. Russian Imperial Stout
Aroma: Rich and complex, with variable amounts of roasted grains, maltiness, fruity esters, hops, and alcohol. The roasted malt character can take on coffee, dark chocolate, or slightly burnt tones and can be light to moderately strong. The malt aroma can be subtle to rich and barleywine-like, depending on the gravity and grain bill. May optionally show a slight specialty malt character (e.g., caramel), but this should only add complexity and not dominate. Fruity esters may be low to moderately strong, and may take on a complex, dark fruit (e.g., plums, prunes, raisins) character. Hop aroma can be very low to quite aggressive, and may contain any hop variety. An alcohol character may be present, but shouldn’t be sharp, hot or solventy. Aged versions may have a slight vinous or port-like quality, but shouldn’t be sour. No diacetyl. The balance can vary with any of the aroma elements taking center stage. Not all possible aromas described need be present; many interpretations are possible. Aging affects the intensity, balance and smoothness of aromatics.
Appearance: Color may range from very dark reddish-brown to jet black. Opaque. Deep tan to dark brown head. Generally has a well-formed head, although head retention may be low to moderate. High alcohol and viscosity may be visible in “legs” when beer is swirled in a glass.
Flavor: Rich, deep, complex and frequently quite intense, with variable amounts of roasted malt/grains, maltiness, fruity esters, hop bitterness and flavor, and alcohol. Medium to aggressively high bitterness. Medium-low to high hop flavor (any variety). Moderate to aggressively high roasted malt/grain flavors can suggest bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate, cocoa, and/or strong coffee. A slightly burnt grain, burnt currant or tarry character may be evident. Fruity esters may be low to intense, and can take on a dark fruit character (raisins, plums, or prunes). Malt backbone can be balanced and supportive to rich and barleywine-like, and may optionally show some supporting caramel, bready or toasty flavors. Alcohol strength should be evident, but not hot, sharp, or solventy. No diacetyl. The palate and finish can vary from relatively dry to moderately sweet, usually with some lingering roastiness, hop bitterness and warming character. The balance and intensity of flavors can be affected by aging, with some flavors becoming more subdued over time and some aged, vinous or port-like qualities developing.
Mouthfeel: Full to very full-bodied and chewy, with a velvety, luscious texture (although the body may decline with long conditioning). Gentle smooth warmth from alcohol should be present and noticeable. Should not be syrupy and under-attenuated. Carbonation may be low to moderate, depending on age and conditioning.
Overall Impression: An intensely flavored, big, dark ale. Roasty, fruity, and bittersweet, with a noticeable alcohol presence. Dark fruit flavors meld with roasty, burnt, or almost tar-like sensations. Like a black barleywine with every dimension of flavor coming into play.
Comments: Variations exist, with English and American interpretations (predictably, the American versions have more bitterness, roasted character, and finishing hops, while the English varieties reflect a more complex specialty malt character and a more forward ester profile). The wide range of allowable characteristics allow for maximum brewer creativity.
History: Brewed to high gravity and hopping level in England for export to the Baltic States and Russia. Said to be popular with the Russian Imperial Court. Today is even more popular with American craft brewers, who have extended the style with unique American characteristics.
Ingredients: Well-modified pale malt, with generous quantities of roasted malts and/or grain. May have a complex grain bill using virtually any variety of malt. Any type of hops may be used. Alkaline water balances the abundance of acidic roasted grain in the grist. American or English ale yeast.
|Vital Statistics:||OG: 1.075 – 1.115|
|IBUs: 50 – 90||FG: 1.018 – 1.030|
|SRM: 30 – 40||ABV: 8 – 12%|
Commercial Examples: Three Floyd’s Dark Lord, Bell’s Expedition Stout, North Coast Old Rasputin Imperial Stout, Stone Imperial Stout, Samuel Smith Imperial Stout, Scotch Irish Tsarina Katarina Imperial Stout, Thirsty Dog Siberian Night, Deschutes The Abyss, Great Divide Yeti, Southampton Russian Imperial Stout, Rogue Imperial Stout, Bear Republic Big Bear Black Stout, Great Lakes Blackout Stout, Avery The Czar, Founders Imperial Stout, Victory Storm King, Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout