Author Topic: Porter vs. Stout  (Read 7810 times)

Offline valorian

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Porter vs. Stout
« on: September 04, 2010, 04:24:54 PM »
I'm trying to get an understanding of Stouts vs. Robust Porter. At what point does a Robust Porter Recipe become a Stout? Is it the amount of Roasted Barley used?

Offline bluesman

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Re: Porter vs. Stout
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2010, 04:28:36 PM »
Essentially yes. A RP is a rather broad style open to brewer interpretation but it may be distinquished from Stout as lacking a STRONG roasted barley character.
Ron Price

Offline anthayes

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Re: Porter vs. Stout
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2010, 08:29:28 PM »
At what point does a Robust Porter Recipe become a Stout? Is it the amount of Roasted Barley used?

It depends who you ask.

It is well worth reading this: http://zythophile.wordpress.com/2009/03/19/so-what-is-the-difference-between-porter-and-stout/

Modern Guinness uses roast barley. Many English stouts use black malt.

Current BJCP porter and stout style guidelines make the roast barley/black malt split. British brewers don't tend to see things that way.

Ant Hayes
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Offline beerbrewingequipment

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Re: Porter vs. Stout
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2010, 09:10:56 PM »
It is well worth reading this: http://zythophile.wordpress.com/2009/03/19/so-what-is-the-difference-between-porter-and-stout/

Thanks for the link.  Porter and Stout are two of my favorite styles.

Cheers!
Travis

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Porter vs. Stout
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2010, 01:33:19 AM »
I agree that it is primarily the BJCP that made the distinction based on level of roasted barley.  There is little other basis provided for calling these styles different.

Personally, I think the two styles are nearly one and the same.  I have had porters that are as black and roasty as midnight, and likewise I have had wimpy stouts.  Go back 100-200 years, and there might have been a more obvious difference.  Or, perhaps not.  But here in the 21st century, we're just making up our own garbage.  I think what it really comes down to is, if you think it's super dark and very roasty, call it a stout.  If you make another batch that turns out a little less roasty, you can call it your porter.  And vice versa.  It seems no one out there besides self-proclaimed snobs truly know or understand the difference.  And I fail to see why we call these two different styles.  Stout is historically the son of porter.  And yet now, porter has become the neglected relative of the more-popular stout.  So call it all stout if you want it to sell.  People just aren't as interested in your porter, even if it tastes a thousand times better than Guinness, and even though Guinness is little more than a cream ale with 3% roasted barley and/or black malt.
Dave

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Offline skyler

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Re: Porter vs. Stout
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2010, 09:07:52 PM »
I think a lot of people tend to think of Porters as sweeter and Stouts as drier, but that's really just because the higher level of chocolate malt vs. roasted barley tends to make the beer seem sweeter and less bitter. At the same time, I think of a stout as being more viscous - because of how often stouts have an addition of oats or flaked barley (and because, in many instances, stouts are much bigger beers). Another somewhat flexible distinction, is that stouts should properly always be pitch black and opaque, wheras many porters are almost cola-colored, a dark garnet-brown that's not quite pitch black. But when I brew them, the key distinction is that my porters never have any unmalted grains and my stouts always have a significant roasted barley addition and typically a flaked oat or barley addition.

Offline weithman5

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Re: Porter vs. Stout
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2010, 09:44:51 PM »
even if it tastes a thousand times better than Guinness

everything is a thousand times better IMO ::)  actually, i tend to like porters quite a bit and i know there is little difference, but i developed a distaste for guinness when i was in hong kong many years ago and now if something is called a stout i shy away.  go figure.
Don AHA member

Offline euge

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Re: Porter vs. Stout
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2010, 07:57:28 PM »
even if it tastes a thousand times better than Guinness

everything is a thousand times better IMO ::)  actually, i tend to like porters quite a bit and i know there is little difference, but i developed a distaste for guinness when i was in hong kong many years ago and now if something is called a stout i shy away.  go figure.

Not much of a Guinness fan myself though I certainly put enough of it away in the 90"s. To me a Stout tend to have Black Patent in it. That's the only real difference that I can see from a Porter and it really is confusing otherwise. My extreme distaste for Black Patent in a beer no matter how little has me avoiding most commercial examples, though Rogues' Shakespeare Stout is pretty darn tasty.

Take a gander at the BJCP guidelines:
Stout
Porter
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Offline The Professor

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Re: Porter vs. Stout
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2010, 08:59:37 PM »
Take a gander at the BJCP guidelines:
Stout
Porter

An interesting read with some useful suggestions therein, as long as one does not consider it to be the definitive 'last word' regarding "styles".
The list is quite helpful in a broad sense if you're entering amateur competitions,  but outside of that the 'guidelines' should most definitely be taken with a large grain of salt.

AL
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Offline skyler

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Re: Porter vs. Stout
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2010, 03:50:26 AM »
Take a gander at the BJCP guidelines:
Stout
Porter
The list is quite helpful in a broad sense if you're entering amateur competitions,  but outside of that the 'guidelines' should most definitely be taken with a large grain of salt.



I'd say a pallet-full, when it comes to British styles.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Porter vs. Stout
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2010, 01:55:14 PM »
If the brewer says it is a porter, it is a porter.
If the brewer says it is a stout, it is a stout.

My viewpoint.
Jeff Rankert
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Offline The Professor

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Re: Porter vs. Stout
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2010, 02:50:32 PM »
If the brewer says it is a porter, it is a porter.
If the brewer says it is a stout, it is a stout.

My viewpoint.

Thank you.
Exactly.
As usual, someone has stated my opinon much more concisely than I am able.   ;D
AL
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Porter vs. Stout
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2010, 03:06:05 PM »
That's what Michael Lewis says in his Classic Beer Styles book, Stout: "it is not difficult for us to decide that a stout is simply a black beer called a stout by the brewer who made it."
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline Megary

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Re: Porter vs. Stout
« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2019, 01:05:52 AM »
I stumbled on this thread doing a little searching on the elusive difference between porter and stout.  My understanding was that a stout was nothing more than a stronger (maybe darker) version of a porter.  Increase the grain bill and you just turned your porter into a stout!

Or not.

Does anyone differentiate between the two?  I guess what I'm asking is, if you brew a "porter" and a "stout", what makes one this and the other that?

These are probably my favorite beers and if it kills me I'm going to own these styles at some point in my brewing career.  Commercial examples rarely give any useful clues:
1. You know (for better or worse) when you are drinking Guinness.
2. If it has Oatmeal in the name, by definition, it has to be a Stout.
3. If it has Vanilla in the name, it usually means it's a Porter.
4. Chocolate and Bourbon can go either way.

My first attempts at these styles have produced very good, very enjoyable beers - no complaints - but a bit difficult to tell them apart.  My stout was definitely darker...hmm.  Both beers used Maris Otter as the base and Chocolate Wheat at 6-7%.  My "porter" used Munich and Brown malt, while the "stout" had Vienna and both Roasted Barley and Flaked Barley.  Bittering was around 40 IBU's for both.  1450 for both. 

Maybe, just maybe, instead of trying to make both, I should just focus on one solid recipe and call it whatever I feel like. Call it a porter on the weekdays and a stout on the weekends.  dmtaylor and hopfen had this figured out nearly a decade ago.

Denny, why did you call it a Bourbon Vanilla Porter instead of a stout?

Offline Robert

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Re: Porter vs. Stout
« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2019, 01:58:53 AM »
American home and craft brewers have developed distinct styles under the two names, but you're opening a can of worms if you want to definitively pin down the distinction.  How many angels on the head of a pin and such.   For competition purposes, see the style guidelines. 

Historically, you're right, stout and porter were just the same thing at different  strengths.  They were usually parti-gyled (literally, "split batch,") which in traditional British brewing practice means a single strong wort is brewed, split into multiple fermenters, and each fermenter diluted with water before pitching to different gravities to produce different strength beers with the same flavor profile. (If this affects color, the weaker beer may be colored with caramel to correct this.)  As gravities of all British beers dropped drastically during the first half of the 20th century, brands designated as stouts ended up at the gravity where porters had once been, there was no room to go any weaker than these "stouts" under the established excise tax schedule, and the name porter disappeared.

So the difference depends on when and where you are talking about.
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

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