Author Topic: Great Beer Blog - So what IS the difference between porter and stout?  (Read 3376 times)


Online denny

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Re: Great Beer Blog - So what IS the difference between porter and stout?
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2011, 11:01:37 AM »
To me, the dividing line is a significant amount of roast barley in a stout and a significant amount of chocolate malt in a porter.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Great Beer Blog - So what IS the difference between porter and stout?
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2011, 11:12:50 AM »
I've wondered the same thing myself countless times.  By and large, there truly is no difference anymore between porters and stouts.  The only tentative differences these days *might* be color -- your stout would be a blacker version of your porter.  And, stouts *might* have more roasted barley -- but porters can have it as well.  So..... to me it does seem silly to try to come up with arbitrary arguments that would differentiate two broad styles that have in reality evolved to become in essence nearly one and the same, with a few obvious exceptions (I've never heard of a sweet porter, never heard of a brown stout, etc.), but that's just semantics as well.  I feel it is high time to combine porters and stouts into one main category.  I don't think many people will agree with me, but I'm not interested in popular opinions, because what fun is there in just agreeing with what everyone else says.

Let me put it to you another way -- if we were to do a blind side-by-side test of one brewer's stout vs. a second brewer's porter, what are the odds that you could correctly distinguish the one called "stout" from the one called "porter"?  I think the odds are equally 50/50 of getting it right vs. wrong.  So even a monkey could flip a coin and do just as well.  My point exactly.
Dave

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Re: Great Beer Blog - So what IS the difference between porter and stout?
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2011, 11:16:52 AM »
To me, the dividing line is a significant amount of roast barley in a stout and a significant amount of chocolate malt in a porter.

Yep.  Personally I'd say black malt instead of chocolate malt (I know that I'm the last homebrewer alive that still uses black malt in my porter).  I'd like to say less hoppy as well but historically that may not be correct.

I've wondered the same thing myself countless times.  By and large, there truly is no difference anymore between porters and stouts.  The only tentative differences these days *might* be color -- your stout would be a blacker version of your porter.  And, stouts *might* have more roasted barley -- but porters can have it as well.  So..... to me it does seem silly to try to come up with arbitrary arguments that would differentiate two broad styles that have in reality evolved to become in essence nearly one and the same, with a few obvious exceptions (I've never heard of a sweet porter, never heard of a brown stout, etc.), but that's just semantics as well.  I feel it is high time to combine porters and stouts into one main category.  I don't think many people will agree with me, but I'm not interested in popular opinions, because what fun is there in just agreeing with what everyone else says.

Let me put it to you another way -- if we were to do a blind side-by-side test of one brewer's stout vs. a second brewer's porter, what are the odds that you could correctly distinguish the one called "stout" from the one called "porter"?  I think the odds are equally 50/50 of getting it right vs. wrong.  So even a monkey could flip a coin and do just as well.  My point exactly.

Tragedy

<edit> It's good to see that you don't care for popular opinion.  Unfortunately it's popular consciousness that has led to the melding of these two styles.  If you had one of my porters followed by one of my stouts you could tell the difference.  Let's not destroy the styles just because people aren't educated enough to taste the differences and/or educated enough to brew the differences.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2011, 11:40:23 AM by jaybeerman »

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Re: Great Beer Blog - So what IS the difference between porter and stout?
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2011, 11:18:39 AM »
(I know that I'm the last homebrewer alive that still uses black malt in my porter).

No, there are 2 of us!  My porters just seemed kinda insipid, so I started experimenting with just a bit of black malt in them.  Turned out to be just what they needed!
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jaybeerman

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Re: Great Beer Blog - So what IS the difference between porter and stout?
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2011, 11:30:14 AM »
No, there are 2 of us!  My porters just seemed kinda insipid, so I started experimenting with just a bit of black malt in them.  Turned out to be just what they needed!

denny you just made my day!

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Re: Great Beer Blog - So what IS the difference between porter and stout?
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2011, 11:36:34 AM »
To me, the dividing line is a significant amount of roast barley in a stout and a significant amount of chocolate malt in a porter.
My thought as well.

The best answer I've heard,  It's whatever the brewer decided to cal it. 

Go historical and call it a Stout-Porter.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Great Beer Blog - So what IS the difference between porter and stout?
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2011, 12:00:48 PM »
Yet even the roasted barley vs. chocolate malt argument is a BJCP fabrication.  The 21st century style guideline is so far off of the old 19th century origins of the styles that it ain't even funny.  What about brown malt?  What about a stout supposing to be stronger than porter?  Ugh.  On the inside, I shall not give in to the BJCP and popular beliefs to define whatever ya'll want, it's so arbitrary and historically inaccurate.  Sure, I'll judge to the BJCP 2008 guidelines and beyond, but meanwhile my soul is silently screaming at the silliness of it all.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2011, 12:04:16 PM by dmtaylor »
Dave

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Offline SpanishCastleAle

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Re: Great Beer Blog - So what IS the difference between porter and stout?
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2011, 12:07:54 PM »
Just curious but have the BJCP guidelines always had it like that?  I first heard the RB = stout and BP (or chocolate, can't remember) = Porter in the mid 90's from Daniel's DGB and I guess I just thought it spread like wildfire from there.

I did at least learn what 'sucking the monkey' meant. :D

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Re: Great Beer Blog - So what IS the difference between porter and stout?
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2011, 12:10:31 PM »
Yet even the roasted barley vs. chocolate malt argument is a BJCP fabrication.  The 21st century style guideline is so far off of the old 19th century origins of the styles that it ain't even funny.  What about brown malt?  What about a stout supposing to be stronger than porter?  Ugh.  On the inside, I shall not give in to the BJCP and popular beliefs to define whatever ya'll want, it's so arbitrary and historically inaccurate.  Sure, I'll judge to the BJCP 2008 guidelines and beyond, but meanwhile my soul is silently screaming at the silliness of it all.

Dave, I'm drinking beer in the 21st century, not the 19th.  I'm using a 21st century definition.
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Offline beersk

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Re: Great Beer Blog - So what IS the difference between porter and stout?
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2011, 12:20:02 PM »
(I know that I'm the last homebrewer alive that still uses black malt in my porter).

No, there are 2 of us!  My porters just seemed kinda insipid, so I started experimenting with just a bit of black malt in them.  Turned out to be just what they needed!
Same here, I was going to concur with jaybeerman about the black malt instead of chocolate malt thing, also.  I like the bite of black malt in my porters, I think that's what defines porters instead of chocolate malt, but that's just me.
But as far as I'm concerned, the beer is whatever the brewer says it is.  If they say it's a porter, but to you it tastes like a stout, it's still a porter; and vice versa.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Great Beer Blog - So what IS the difference between porter and stout?
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2011, 12:21:20 PM »
... So even a monkey could flip a coin and do just as well.  My point exactly.


I don't think a monkey could flip a coin without yeasr of exhaustive training and a thumb. Now an ape maybe

Offline tumarkin

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Re: Great Beer Blog - So what IS the difference between porter and stout?
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2011, 12:29:42 PM »
... So even a monkey could flip a coin and do just as well.  My point exactly.


I don't think a monkey could flip a coin without yeasr of exhaustive training and a thumb. Now an ape maybe

+1  many folks under-rate the importance of thumbs. I know my dog is really pissed at me that I've got thumbs & she doesn't. She'd really like to be able to open the food bin herself, or unlatch the door.... but no luck, no thumb.
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Offline Kit B

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Re: Great Beer Blog - So what IS the difference between porter and stout?
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2011, 12:29:50 PM »
Dave, I'm drinking beer in the 21st century, not the 19th.  I'm using a 21st century definition.

I mean no disrespect, when I say/ask this...
To me...This whole question is similar to the Cascadian Dark Ale issue.
Why make a new classification, for a slight twist?
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Offline johnf

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Re: Great Beer Blog - So what IS the difference between porter and stout?
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2011, 01:22:27 PM »
Yet even the roasted barley vs. chocolate malt argument is a BJCP fabrication.  The 21st century style guideline is so far off of the old 19th century origins of the styles that it ain't even funny.  What about brown malt?  What about a stout supposing to be stronger than porter?  Ugh.  On the inside, I shall not give in to the BJCP and popular beliefs to define whatever ya'll want, it's so arbitrary and historically inaccurate.  Sure, I'll judge to the BJCP 2008 guidelines and beyond, but meanwhile my soul is silently screaming at the silliness of it all.

Dave, I'm drinking beer in the 21st century, not the 19th.  I'm using a 21st century definition.

But your 21st century definition fails to describe 21st century reality in the UK or the US. Did anyone read the blog post before responding to it? Has anyone called Sierra Nevada to tell them they do not understand what a modern porter and stout are? How did they take the news?