Sunday, 15 March 2009

The difference between Porter and Stout (part 99)

Back to one of may favourite topics: the difference between Porter and Stout. I just stumbled across this quote that I thought I'd share with you:

"Porter has now come to mean a dark malt liquor, made partly from brown or black malt, the caramel in which gives it the sweetness and syrupy appearance, and containing four or five per cent. of alcohol. Stout is a stronger porter, with larger amount of dissolved solids, and containing six or seven per cent. of alcohol."
"A Hand-book of Industrial Organic Chemistry" by Samuel Philip Sadtler, 1900, page 196.

It's official. Stout = a stronger Porter. I hope that settles this question for once and all.

14 comments:

Woolpack Dave said...

So, nearly nobody brews stout these days as they are rarely above 5%?

Gary Gillman said...

I just read in All About Beer (the U.S. consumer beer magazine) that this year Guinness will release a special edition of its stout to mark the 250th Anniversary of the signing of the 9,000-year lease of St. James gate. It will combine "stout and ale malts, including roasted barley, in a double-brew stream, topped off by a triple-hop addition". I have been trying to interpret this.

I am hoping that, roasted barley aside, it will duplicate a true stout of the era of which you speak, Ron. The current keg Guinness would in ABV be more of a porter of circa-1900 I think although terminology has gotten turned around and altered over the years so I am not sure if that is right (i.e., in terms of Guinness nomenclature of the time).

However, based on everything I have read now in period sources, stout was simply a superior quality of porter, stronger and with more residual extract.

Gary

Anonymous said...

I hope that settles this question ...

And if it doesn't, Ron, the post I'm about to put up certainly ought to ...

John Clarke said...

That would depend on:

a) whether or not you are a style fascist, and/or

b) how strong the same brewery's porter is and/or

c) whether it really matters as long as the beer tastes good. For example Dunham Massey Stout is weaker than Dunham Massey Porter but they are both excellent beers.

Mark (the Brush Valley Brewer) said...

porter - a person employed to carry luggage and other loads

stout - a person somewhat fat or of heavy build

All clear?

;^)

bob said...

Guinness = Porter.

Ron Pattinson said...

Woolpack Dave, well it's a question of relative strength, really. After WW II Guinness had a Porter at 1036 and a Stout at 1045.

Ron Pattinson said...

Bob what exactly do you mean by Guinness = Porter?

Ron Pattinson said...

Gary, sounds like they don't really intend brewing an old recipe if they're going to use roasted barley. It's sad, but my expectations of Guinness are very low.

Barm said...

You can buy Foreign Extra Stout now, which is as near to 19th-century Guinness as anything they're likely to come up with for a special edition. I can't see them doing either of the things nowadays, even for a special edition, that would take it closer: the souring or the bottle-conditioning.

Ron Pattinson said...

Barm, I dream of bottle-conditioned Guinness Special Export.

bob said...

Ron, I'm kinda kidding with that comment really. Its a classic debate and Guinness is often held up as the quintessential stout.

Those who can't just groove on the messiness of it all basically tend to end up defining that the difference between the two is whether or not roasted barley is used. There are of course many exaples that contradict that dictum, for example in the results published in 'Designing Great Beers'.

Of course its the exception that makes the rule - and the characteristic flavour of roasted barley certainly does kind of summarize the stout flavour to me, as does the black/chocolate with-a-hint-of-crystal for (my modern view of) porter.

I love both styles and enjoy the many intersecting overlaps the two share.

BUT just because I can't nail down the precise nano-moment that blue turns to green does not mean I therefore won't bother defining or understanding "blue" or "green"...

-Cheers!

Ron Pattinson said...

Bob, the whole roasted barley thing is a red herring. Really just based on the Guinness recipe post-1970. And Guinness used the same malts in their Porter and their Stout when they brewed both.

For the 250 years Porter and Stout were brewed in London there was no such distinction. Roast barley was rarely used in either.

bob said...

Sure - I'm really just saying that definitions in this context don't ultimately matter to me, as they simply serve as a frame of reference.

As a side note, the roast barley thing, (even if applicable only to certain beer in recent times) happens to work for me within those constraints.