Stout and Porter - what’s the big difference?! 🤔
Apparently, around 13 million pints of the most famous stout of them all will be poured today, St. Patrick’s Day. So in tribute to what is possibly the world’s most recognisable beer, we are digging into the facts on the black stuff!
To start - as you can see, they look pretty similar. This isn’t all they share, similar ingredients, brewing processes and taste profiles can make it confusing to appreciate the subtle differences. Well, we need to turn on the time-machine and pop back to ‘The Age of Enlightenment’ in 1700s England to explore the taverns and inns of working class London.
Common beers at the time were mostly darker (cheaper!) beers like Milds, which were sent out straight after brewing for publicans (landlords) to blend and age to their clienteles taste preferences. Breweries then realised, they could earn a bit more cash if they do this themselves and sent it out ready to drink. The name Porter is due to the popularity of this style with the street and dock workers…. apparently.
Turns out this new style was pretty popular, and soon there was a range of strengths being brewed. A stronger ABV Porter was derived and called a ‘Stout Porter’… what - confusing! Later on, this kind of got phased out and then, stronger Porters were just called ‘Stouts’. Over time, Stout became a term for not only stronger, but fuller body, more colour and flavour.
Over in Dublin, Arthur Guinness was brewing tonnes of the stuff. He spotted a tax loophole back in the day and realised that the use of un-malted roasted barley was much cheaper than brown malt, thus creating the Irish Stout.
So what is the difference… Well honestly, it’s subtle! In modern day beer, it is generally accepted that a Porter is a malty medium to dark ale with complex, sometimes fruity characteristics. A Stout will be more roasty, burn-malt, even coffee in flavour, with a deep body. In the modern day, both have all sorts of additions and crazy flavours involved but fundamentally, they are pretty similar - so don’t knock a Porter!
So there you go… A little guide to the confusing, but interesting, intertwined story Stouts and Porters. Hats off to the brewers of the past, hands together for Arthur Guinness and go grab a pint of nice dark beer!
Still reading? Why not go check out the webshop for our collection of Stouts and Porters! We have modern iterations from some of the best breweries in Singapore and the UK!