Author Topic: Great Beer Blog - So what IS the difference between porter and stout?  (Read 2708 times)

jaybeerman

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Re: Great Beer Blog - So what IS the difference between porter and stout?
« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2011, 03:26:21 PM »
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?

I read the blog.

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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dmtaylor, there isn't a modern day equivalent to the original brown malt.  Do you use the modern brown malt in your porter and/or stout?

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Great Beer Blog - So what IS the difference between porter and stout?
« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2011, 04:33:54 PM »
I have made my own brown malt before -- it is not difficult.  Daniels and Mosher provide guidance in their books.  Not sure how historically accurate it actually tastes, but it's not for a lack of effort.  To me it tastes sort of like burnt toast.  Think somewhere between dark Munich and chocolate malt.  Yummy and complex in reasonably small amounts.
Dave

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jaybeerman

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Re: Great Beer Blog - So what IS the difference between porter and stout?
« Reply #17 on: April 28, 2011, 08:05:26 PM »
I have made my own brown malt before -- it is not difficult.  Daniels and Mosher provide guidance in their books.  Not sure how historically accurate it actually tastes, but it's not for a lack of effort.  To me it tastes sort of like burnt toast.  Think somewhere between dark Munich and chocolate malt.  Yummy and complex in reasonably small amounts.

I'm all for that era (the brown malt era) of porter too.  I actually brew two porter recipes - a porter with black malt and then a brown malt porter.  Last year my black malt porter took silver at the NHC in the robust category.  This year I entered my brown malt porter and it was the lowest scoring beer I've ever entered into the competition.  The judges noted the breadiness as a flaw  ::)  and one of them thought that the breadiness was due to yeast problems.  IMO the brown malt porter is better than the medal winning porter from last year (and more historically accurate), but that's not what people think a porter should be anymore.

I'm not sure that I really have a point, but I will admit that the porter definition is somewhat screwed up.  I could see the american categories of stout and porter being combined, as pointed out the modern commercial offerings are completely overlapping.  Denny, beersk and I can continue to make our porters with black malt, our stouts with roasted barley and I will continue to keep my hops for stout.

This is a discussion that we should all have over a few pints of Entire Butt Porter (made with black, brown, chocolate, pale chocolate and roasted barley). 

Offline speed

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Re: Great Beer Blog - So what IS the difference between porter and stout?
« Reply #18 on: April 28, 2011, 08:42:01 PM »

about the brown malt, i;ve made the fullers london porter a few times and love it- it has 1 1/2 lbs brown malt. i see no yum icon  ???

Offline The Professor

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Re: Great Beer Blog - So what IS the difference between porter and stout?
« Reply #19 on: April 28, 2011, 08:54:42 PM »
I pretty much agree with Dave.  
It's all pretty arbitrary, and really, it is totally open to individual interpretation. The line between Porter and Stout these days is quite blurry anyway,  and historically the line probably almost non-existant.   And anyway, there is no one alive who can comment on the historical difference between the two (if there even really was a difference).  The blog page referenced at the start of this thread is brilliant and spot on;   with the well researched writings of Martyn Cornell and Ron Pattinson, it's becoming clear how much heresay we've all swallowed with our beer all these years.  And it's refreshing to finally see some genuine beer history scholarship.

There is no final authoritative word on what the makeup is for any style  (although the beer police I occasionally run into at my local hang may disagree...the same guys that lectured me on how Fuller's ESB was not really an ESB.  Uh, yeah...right, guys).
 
And Guinness Stout is a good example of how things evolve and mutate...evidently roasted barley wasn't even part of the grist until well into the 20th century.

Best thing is to just make good beer according to what your own interpretation of a 'style' is.  That's what brewers have always done;  they certainly never let artificial guidelines get in their way.  
.  
In the end (maybe within some very broad parameters), a beer is pretty much whatever the brewer says it is.
I've had plenty of Porters made with roasted barley, and plenty of Stouts made without it.
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Offline jamminbrew

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Re: Great Beer Blog - So what IS the difference between porter and stout?
« Reply #20 on: April 28, 2011, 09:05:23 PM »
One of the things I love about making my own beer, is I can make any beer I want, any way I want it!
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Offline weazletoe

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Re: Great Beer Blog - So what IS the difference between porter and stout?
« Reply #21 on: April 28, 2011, 10:11:48 PM »
  I guess I just always thought a stout was a porter all grown up. Heavier, more alcohol. You know, "stoutier". (I think I just made a new word.) Then again, there are breakfast stouts, which I guess would be a porters little sister. huh......... :-\
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Offline enso

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Re: Great Beer Blog - So what IS the difference between porter and stout?
« Reply #22 on: April 29, 2011, 08:25:08 AM »
I find it really amazing that this is so complicated!  It is my opinion that porter is THE most written about and researched "style" ever!  It seems almost ever brewing book I have read has something about porter in it.  Off the top of my head I think all of the following Classic beer style series books have at least some mention of the influence of porter.  Barley wine, Mild ale, Pale ale and Scotch ale and of course Porter.  The last one is the only one I have not actually read!  Some of them have rather extensive passages about the popularity and rise and fall of said "style".  There loads of historical info on the style in Radical Brewing as well.  How can something so well documented be so contentious?

Could be because it came about when "styles" were really beginning to be documented?  Or rather when breweries/brewers were really beginning to market there beer and they threw names around willy nilly?

I agree with the folks who mentioned the use of black malt (patent) as a distinuisher of at least modern day porter vs. a stout which uses roast barley.

 
Quote
And Guinness Stout is a good example of how things evolve and mutate...evidently roasted barley wasn't even part of the grist until well into the 20th century.

Don't forget that Guiness was originally known for their porter which they discontinued sometime in the early 20th century iirc.  What I recall is that they started brewing a "Stout porter" which was a variation on their porter.  Stronger?  I dunno.  Blacker?  I dunno.  Stouter?  uh, sure...  Whatever that means.  Marketing term to mean more special therefore cammanding a premium price???   :-X

If you look at early 20th century beer ads and marketing they used not only the terms stout and porter, but also beer and ale interchangeably.  No wonder it gets so confused.

Perhaps I missed it but I do not seem to recall anyone in this thread or the article linked mentioning the much documented theory that porter itself was not actually something brewed as is but rather a blend of beers.  Also a likely early marketing ploy.  A way to use up beer that had gone by with beer that was not quite ready to drink.   ;D
If you accept that then really no one is making "authentic" porter anymore.  It would not make much sense on a commercial level.

It is also my understanding that when the beer that came to be known as porter which was now being brewed "whole" rather than blended used a variety of substances to darken it; including some rather dubious ones, until a reliable method for making roast malt (black "patent") was developed.
Dave Brush

Offline johnf

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Re: Great Beer Blog - So what IS the difference between porter and stout?
« Reply #23 on: April 29, 2011, 08:38:54 AM »
Sierra Nevada Stout has no roasted barley and Sierra Nevada Porter had no black malt.

I guess a little alarm goes off in my head when the definition of a modern or American style is wildly inconsistent with what Sierra Nevada does. It would be like saying American Pale ale is defined as not having cascade hops.

I'm not sure I believe the BJCP guidelines support this porter = black malt and stout = roasted barley idea. The only porter style that the BJCP describes as requiring black malt character is Robust Porter, then several of the commercial examples listed are beers made without black malt (Sierra Nevada and Meantime off the top of my head). The only stout subcategory that mentions specifically roasted barley is dry stout. That's fine since that category is narrow and the commercial beers it describes do all or mostly use roasted barley these days.

At the end of the day it shouldn't matter to anyone that isn't operating a beer competition. All a consumer needs to know is that if a brewery has a porter and a stout, the stout is probably more strongly flavored.

For beer competitions we can get a feel for "this beer is what we call Robust Porter and this is what we call American Stout" or whatever but, as always, the impression of the beer is king and what ingredients or processes were used to achieve that character are not of primary importance to taxonomy.


Offline beersk

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Re: Great Beer Blog - So what IS the difference between porter and stout?
« Reply #24 on: April 29, 2011, 11:01:35 AM »

In the end (maybe within some very broad parameters), a beer is pretty much whatever the brewer says it is.


Pretty much what I think.  Weaze gots it.  Stouts are just "stouter" porters.  They used to be called Stout porters, right?  Then they just dropped the porter part and called them stouts...
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Offline Malticulous

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Re: Great Beer Blog - So what IS the difference between porter and stout?
« Reply #25 on: April 29, 2011, 04:27:56 PM »
Porter is different from ale and lagers are yet still differnt--if you live over 100 years ago. It probably depends on who you asked too.

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Re: Great Beer Blog - So what IS the difference between porter and stout?
« Reply #26 on: April 29, 2011, 05:49:07 PM »
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.
Hummm, I use a bunch of of chocolate in my stout and a little black malt in my porter.  For me the difference is that I add coffee or vanilla to my porters and oatmeal to my stouts.
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Re: Great Beer Blog - So what IS the difference between porter and stout?
« Reply #27 on: April 29, 2011, 06:06:30 PM »
Tubercle always thought that a "porter" was a stout that was served at a porter house.
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Re: Great Beer Blog - So what IS the difference between porter and stout?
« Reply #28 on: April 29, 2011, 06:38:19 PM »
Tubercle always thought that a "porter" was a stout that was served at a porter house.

or maybe with a nice juicy porterhouse
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Offline Will's Swill

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Re: Great Beer Blog - So what IS the difference between porter and stout?
« Reply #29 on: April 29, 2011, 06:40:36 PM »
The steak got its name the same way the beer did, didn't it?
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