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 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.
Fremont Brewing Dark Star Imperial Oatmeal Stout
91 points
Ebony color. Aromas of vanilla cream, caramel latte, pumpernickel crust, chocolate, and cola with a velvety, crisp, finely carbonated, dryish light-to-medium body and an interesting, medium-long toasted coconut finish. A rich, malty beer that leads with a silky-sweet nose and finishes with pleasingly dry and bitter length.
Awards: 2022 World Beer Championships Gold Medal - Best Oatmeal Stout
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.
Saint Patrick’s Brewing Company Midnight Mocha Stout
88 points
Walnut color. Smoky aromas and flavors of charred cashew, steel cut oats, chicory, espresso beans, and grilled Hawaiian bread with a satiny, bright, spritzy, dryish full body and a smooth, interesting, medium-length finish displaying notes of salted dark chocolate. A dense and roasty Oatmeal Stout that warms the soul.
Vancouver Island Brewing Nanaimo Bar Porter
88 points
Mahogany color. Aromas and flavors of Dr. Pepper, cannabis, buttered popcorn, and waffles with syrup with a supple, crisp, spritzy, dryish light body and a smooth, relaxed finish with accents of roasted nuts, peppercorn muffin, black toast, and cocoa puffs in milk finish. A smooth and slightly herbal flavored porter.
Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co. Kentucky Blackberry Barrel Porter
88 points
Mahogany in color, with bright aromas of chocolate mousse, raspberry liqueur, cherry cola, and buttered pumpernickel toast. On the palate, vibrant acidity brings in satiny flavors of berry soufflé, chocolate, cake, and caramel to a smooth, medium-length finish. A spicy-sweet, chocolatey porter that’s lifted by bright notes of berry mousse.
Damm Brewery Equilater Imperial Stout
87 points
Dark mahogany color. Aromas and flavors of candied cherry, rum raisin, sweet plantains, spiced coffee, sourdough, licorice, and toffee with a supple, crisp, petillant, fruity fat body and a warming, complex, medium-length finish. A high octane, brooding Imperial Stout with flavor that doesn’t quit.
Maguires Draught Stout
87 points
Ebony color. Aromas and flavors of old fashioned coffee, black toast, cocoa powder, buttercream, tamarind, and luxury cigarettes with a silky, crisp, dryish light-to-medium body and a smooth, medium-length finish that shows suggestions of crisp dark chocolate bar. An easier-drinking Stout that quenches and satisfies.
Etna Brewing Co. Kappler Imperial Stout
87 points
Dark walnut color. Complex aromas of stewed apricots and prunes, dark chocolate mocha fudge, vanilla-caramel custard, and sweet tea with a round, vibrant, spritzy, fruity full body and an intricate, long toasted crumpet, panettone, black licorice, and roasted almonds finish. A complex, vinous Imperial stout with a plethora of big, bold flavors to unpack; rich and satisfying.