International Stout Day celebrates stout beer around the world. “Stout” originally meant “proud” and “brave,” but later gained the meaning “strong.” The name became associated with any beer that was strong, regardless of if it was a dark beer or not. What we now know as stout beer is closely tied to porter beer. Porter, a dark ale, was first made in the early 1700’s, and it gained its name after becoming a favorite of street and river porters, and other working class people. The stronger porter beers that the London brewers made became known as stout porters, and eventually stout came to only be associated with dark porter beers. Some say a difference lies between stouts and porters, in that stouts use unmalted roasted barley, whereas porters use malted barley. The differences between the two are subtle, and even beer experts can’t agree what the real differences.
There are a few different types of stout beers:
- dry or Irish stout—the standard stout; mainly was made in Ireland at beginning of 20th century; the best selling of all stouts is a dry stout—Guinness Draught
- milk stout—contains lactose, which gives it a sweetness and adds body; popular in England after World War I; a long brewed brand of it is Mackeson
- chocolate stout—has a dark chocolate flavor that comes from using a darker malt with a strong aroma; sometimes the malt itself is called chocolate malt, and is roasted until it has a chocolate color; other chocolate stouts are brewed with a small amount of chocolate or chocolate flavoring
- oyster stout—either made with a handful of oysters in barrel, or marketed as a stout that would go well with oysters; Hammertown Brewery in London was the first brewery to use oysters in the brewing process, in 1938
- oatmeal stout—has a proportion of oats, no more than 30%, added during brewing process; sweet and smooth; some only have a very small amount of oats and the name is used more for marketing; they usually don’t taste like oats, but their smoothness comes from proteins, lipids, and gums of the oats
- imperial stout—also known as Russian imperial stout; strong dark stout
- Baltic porter—imperial stout that originated in Baltic region; high alcohol content; popular in Polish breweries
International Stout Day is being observed today! It was observed on November 3rd in 2011. It was observed annually on November 8th from 2012 until 2013. It has been observed the first Thursday in November since 2014.