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What is a Stout?

Stout is a black beer with a pronounced roasted flavour, often similar to coffee. Flavour ranges from malty sweetness to quite bitter. Colour is dark brown to black, with a long last thick creamy head. Aroma has touches of coffee, and often chocolate and dried fruits.

What is the difference between Porter and Stout?

  • – At the beginning of 19th century porter was the term used in Manchester while stout was the term used in London for the same thing.
  • – A stout has roasted malts, while a porter not. (Shaun Salyards, from The Fort Collins Brewery)
  • Porters are lighter in body and alcohol than stouts. (Carston Haney, from Ross Island Brewing)
  • Stout is defined as a very dark, roasty, bitter, creamy ale, while porter is described as a substantial, malty dark ale with a complex and flavourful character. [BJCP style guidelines].


Historically, from the 1720s and until the early 20th century, stout—or more specifically brown stout—was another denomination for strong porter.

In the first 1800s the use of the terms porter and stout had a geographical bias, being porter mostly used in the Manchester region and stout mostly in the London region, but the term stout is also found in Manchester newspapers, always referring to a strong kind of porter.

Already the second half of the 19th century, the only observable difference between porter and stout was the amount of water—less water was used for stouts, so their ABV was higher.

By the end of the 19th century, stout recipes started to diverge more from porter, as less roasted malt was used in favour o brown malt, and stouts started to be sweeter. After tax rises and restrictions in the WWI, their strength started to decrease, being the stout strength dropped to the same level porter had before the war, while porter decreased even further. This lead to public opinion to believe that porter was a softer version of stout.

From a modern perspective, nowadays porters are considered to have more sweet-chocolate character in contrast with a more bitter-fruity touch of the stouts.

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