About Stouts 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 Stouts 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
Unlawful Assembly Brewing Co. Black Sheep Barrel Aged Oatmeal Stout
95 points
Dark brown color. Aromas of dried figs and dates, almond butter, pedro ximénez sherry, and caramel laden nuts with an oily, crisp, off-dry medium-full body and a smooth, complex, long chocolate covered espresso beans, blackened toast with butter, chicory, and tobacco finish. A rich, smoky, and mysterious oatmeal stout that goes down like some kind of silken tar of molasses and malt.
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 finish that shows accents of pepper and dark rye toast finish. A great, flavor-packed stout that nails the rich export style.
North Coast Brewing Co. Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout
94 points
Ebony color. Hoppy aromas of toasted rice, tangerine, herb butter, and dried mango with a round, vibrant, effervescent, fruity full body and a warming, elegant, long cocoa powder, roasted cherry, whipped cream, lemon pepper, dried fruit, and curry finish. A craveable hoppy Imperial stout that is superbly balanced.
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 finish evoking accents of 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 finish with notes of 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
Island Brewing Company Starry Night Stout
93 points
Ebony color. Aromas of german chocolate cake, leather, banana muffins, and clove with a satiny, vibrant, effervescent, fruity medium-full body and a warming, captivating, medium-long old-fashioned coffee, blackened herbs, salted caramel, and black toast finish. A bold and brawny export stout that offers fruit-laced, rich flavors.
4 Hands Brewing Co. Chocolate Milk Stout
93 points
Nearly opaque brown black color. Attractive aromas and flavors of raisinettes, reese’s peanut butter bar, and chocolate sundae with a silky, crisp, effervescent, off-dry medium body and a polished, intriguing, medium-length finish with touches of honey roasted nuts, mocha milkshake, and arugula finish. A very appealing and crushable chocolate stout.
4 Hands Brewing Co. Absence of Peanut Butter Chocolate Milk Stout
93 points
Opaque brown color. Aromas and flavors of reese’s peanut butter cup and butterfinger bar with a supple, bright, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, elegant, long finish with elements of roasted nuts, hazelnut coffee, and spiced apple and pear finish. A delicious, wonderfully flavored peanut butter and chocolate stout.