Porters and stouts are dark beers that originated in London pubs in the 18th century. Stouts are a stronger and fuller-bodied variation of porters, with typically 7-8% alcohol. Porters are well hopped, made from brown malt and descended from brown beer. This class of beers was popular with the street and river porters in London at the time, hence their name. The strongest of these were called stout porter but the term was later shortened to just stout.
Porter was first created in the 18th century in a London pub. It was a blend of younger pale ales and older darker ales.
Stout was originally called “stout porter.” It was a version of the London pub drink that was created by London breweries to be sold on a larger scale. The word “porter” was eventually dropped from the name.
Porter is usually brewed using malted barley, although a few varieties use unmalted roasted barley.
Stout is brewed with unmalted roasted barley, which adds roasted smells and dry bitterness to beer.
Porter is sweeter than stout.
Due to the roasted barley, stout has deeper roasted notes than porter and has a dry bitter taste.
In this video Mark Szmaida, head brewer at Chelsea Brewing Company talks about the various types of beer, the last two of which are the Porter and Stout.
edit Varieties and Popular Brands
Porter comes in a range of varieties, including:
- London porter: Sweeter, less dry, sometimes with a subtle smokiness
- American porter: Has a more bitter hop
- Baltic porter: Brewed in Northern Europe, it is sweeter and higher in alcohol, often charactierized by subtle flavors of sweet chocolate or plum.
Popular brands include Arcadia’s London Porter, Anchor Brewing Co.’s Anchor Porter, Samuel Smith’s The Famous Taddy Porter and Fuller’s London Porter.
Varieties of stout include:
- Dry Stout: Stout beer in its purest form, with the dry, bitter feel or roasted coffee. Popular brands include Guinness Stout, Murphy’s Irish Stout and Beamish.
- Milk Stout or Sweet Stout: Brewed with lactose, lower alcohol content than dry stout. Because lactose is unfermentable, it breaks down and settles as sugar, giving it a sweet taste. Popular brands include Samuel Adams Cream Stout, St. Peters Cream Stout and Mother's Milk.
- Export Stout: A much stronger variation of dry or sweet stout, i.e. more bitter and higher alcohol content (6 to 11 percent) to withstand travel in export. Popular brands are Stone Imperial Russian Stout, Yeti Imperial Stout, or Siberian Night Imperial Stout.
- Oatmeal Stout: Brewed with oatmeal, much sweeter and smoother than milk stout. Popular brands include Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout, Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout, Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout and Young’s Oatmeal Stout.
- Russian Imperial Stout: A specific and stronger kind of Export stout, made specifically to withstand the long journey from England to Russia.