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.
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.
Lift Bridge Beer Company Silhouette Imperial Stout 2019
94 points
Dark brown color. Aromas and flavors of carob, stewed prunes, roasted pecans, dried cherries in dark chocolate, and toasted fruitcake with a round, vibrant, petillant, dry-yet-fruity full body and a warming, involved, long finish with shades of candied ginger and peppercorns finish. A mature Imperial stout with dark caverns of flavor to explore; boozy, brawny, and worth it.
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.
Vancouver Island Brewing Nanaimo Bar Imperial Porter
92 points
Nearly opaque dark brown color. Attractive aromas and flavors of chocolate nuts and fruit cake dipped in rum with a chewy, vibrant, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity full body and a warming, stimulating, medium-long finish with nuances of artisan dark chocolate bar with golden raisins and espresso beans, delicate spice, and cherry pipe tobacco finish. A rich, warming and deliciously chocolatey porter in the imperial vein.
City Lights Brewing Co. Coconut Porter
92 points
Walnut color. Confected aromas of mounds bar, snickerdoodle cookies, hazelnut cappuccino, and highlander grog with a satiny, vibrant, spritzy, fruity medium-to-full body and an even, quick seven layer bar, fried ice cream shell, toasted coconut syrup, and roasted almonds finish. A sweet and flavorful coconut porter that makes for a fun twist on favorite style.
Awards: 2018 Best Flavored Porter
Lift Bridge Beer Company Warden Milk Stout
91 points
Dark walnut color. Aromas of tiramisu and speculoos cookie with a satiny, vibrant, spritzy, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and an appealing, medium-length chocolate covered toffee, black coffee, and buttercream finish. A palate pleasing stout with great balance and drinkability.
Island Brewing Company Starry Night Stout
90 points
Ebony color. Aromas of smoked chocolate, golden oats, autumn leaves, alliums, and molasses with a slightly chewy, vibrant, effervescent, dryish medium-full body and a tingling, appealing, medium-length dark roast coffee and cigar ash finish. A full-flavor Export Stout; an autumn camping trip in a glass.
Binary Brewing Co. Motherboard Milk Stout
90 points
Walnut color. Attractive aromas of toasted zucchini bread, coffee beans, freshly baked baguette, and hot fudge with a round, crisp, effervescent, fruity medium-full body and a smooth, interesting, medium-long banana muffins, spiced pecan, candied figs, and fruit cake crumble finish. A very tasty stout that will make for a great nightcap.
Awards: 2018 Best Sweet Stout
Argus Brewery Golden Prairie Maple Stout
89 points
Dark opaque walnut color. Aromas of coffee with cream, dried jerky, Tootsie roll, and roasted cherry with a creamy, soft, spritzy, moderately sweet medium-to-full body and a graceful, charming, medium-length cola nut, balsamic reduction, peanut shell, and smoked maple syrup finish. A lively and engaging lightly flavored stout that lets the beer do the talking.