About Stout and Porters

Stouts and porters are very dark, almost black in color, and feature heavily roasted flavors and aromas. This is achieved when brewers use malt that has been heavily kilned until it resembles burnt toast. These beers use top-fermenting yeasts and are members of the ale family. Originally, the term “porter” was used to describe an English dark beer that was the drink of the masses long before lagers were conceived or modern ales were fashionable. In the heyday of porter, during the eighteenth century, the term "stout" was used to denote the strongest and weightiest beers in a brewer’s portfolio. The same holds true today, with porters generally being lighter in body and color than stouts. Stouts and porters are enormously popular among craft brewers, with virtually all brewpubs and regional microbrewers producing one or both year round.

Top Picks for Stout and Porters

Lift Bridge Beer Company Silhouette Barrel Aged Imperial Stout
98 points
Rich mahogany color. Aromas of chocolate-covered cherry cordials, walnut confection, cocoa powder, artisan cola, well-aged bourbon, and soy sauce with an oily, vibrant, spritzy, fruity full body and a peppery, delightful, very long smoked toffee, charred nuts, mocha creme cookies, and vanilla truffles finish. A viscous, voluptuous monster of an Imperial stout that conjures memories of Italian Amaro and the finest chocolates.
4 Hands Brewing Co. Zellige Moroccan Coffee Stout
96 points
Opaque dark brown color. Spicy, exotic aromas of floral incense, Moroccan spice cake, Turkish cola, and spicy roasted carrots and yams with a round, tangy, fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, massive, very long spiced Turkish coffee and chai, gingerbread, and menthol tobacco finish. An intriguing and exotically spicy Turkish bazaar of a flavored stout.
Awards: 2017 Best Flavored Beer
Horny Goat Brewing Co Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter
96 points
Nearly opaque brown color. Bold, nutty aromas of roasted hazelnuts, dark chocolate, peanut butter, and rice crispy treaties with a satiny, bright, fizzy, fruity sweet medium body and an effortless, elegant, long hazelnut mocha latte and butter roasted nuts finish. A fantastically flavorful nutty porter that is sure to please.
Reuben’s Brews Foreign Export Stout
95 points
Medium brown color. Bright, roasted aromas and flavors of dark chocolate, roasted nuts, and chicory with a vibrant, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, interesting, long pepper and dark rye toast finish. A great, flavor-packed stout that nails the rich export style.
4 Hands Brewing Co. Madagascar Vanilla Bean Imperial Milk Stout
94 points
Opaque ebony color. Attractive, creamy aromas and flavors of coconut cake with vanilla buttercream, s’mores, salted caramel, and ruby port with a creamy, bright, finely carbonated, fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, complex, very long caramelized nuts, fruitcake, delicate spices, and sweet pipe tobacco finish. A fantastically decadent and flavorful vanilla stout of the highest order.
Brickway Brewery Imperial Stag Holiday Stout
94 points
Brown black color. Spicy, sweet aromas and flavors of cinnamon oatmeal with cream, chocolate graham cracker, frosted carrot and fruit cakes, and caramelized yams with herbs with a chewy, soft, finely carbonated, fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, nuanced, very long sweet beet and cranberry relish, sarsaparilla, and peppered chocolate finish. A complex, spicy imperial stout that screams the holidays.
Awards: 2017 Best Flavored Imperial Stout
North Coast Brewing Co. Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout
94 points
Nearly opaque dark brown color. Hoppy, citrusy aromas and flavors of grapefruit peels, fresh green herbs, chocolate scone, and leather with a slightly chewy, effervescent, dryish medium-to-full body and a warming, nuanced, very long dark roasted artisan coffee, creme brulee, citrus marmalade on dark rye, and peppered rapini finish. A richly layered and complex imperial stout that epitomizes the hoppy west coast style.
Awards: 2017 Best Imperial Stout
Epic Brewing Company "Big Bad Baptist" Stout
94 points
Opaque ebony color. Roasted aromas and flavors of espresso, dark chocolate mousse, molasses, and toasted bark and chicory with a tangy, finely carbonated, sweet full body and a peppery, very long pepper nut bread, sarsaparilla, and grilled radishes finish. A rich and delicious coffee stout.
Rogue Ales Double Chocolate Stout
94 points
Dark opaque brown black color. Rich, attractive aromas of milk chocolate toffee and brownies, vanilla cola, marmalade on toast, and coconut with an oily, bright, frothy, sourish full body and a warming, complex, long baking chocolate, radicchio, chicory coffee, and pepper finish. A nicely astringent bittersweet chocolate stout.
Service Brewing Company "Lincolns Gift" Oyster Stout
94 points
Nearly opaque brown black color. Delicate, grainy aromas and flavors of chocolate, roasted grain, and hint of oyster shell with a satiny, tangy, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, interesting, medium-length toasted peppercorn muffin, cocoa, and watercress finish. A very savory and refreshing stout with an intriguing hint of oysters.