To be honest, I have not brewed a stout or porter any other way so I can't compare. But to answer your question, I feel that they are ready to drink when they are carbed. Looking at my recipe for my breakfast stout, I cold steeped 2 lb chocolate, 1.5 roasted barley, and black patent. So you do need more. If chosen, I'm entering this beer into the NHC. I won a blue ribbon last year cold steeping with my cherry stout last year... That alone truely sold me on the process.