Stout and porter

Doing the CAMRA Nottingham stroll. Beers on offer are either the proverbial plum porter or unknown to Ratebeer. As a porter drinker, I worry that the style may die between the variety of stout and the plethora of pales. Anyone seen a porter revival out there?

In the last 6 months porter and stout are my 3rd and 4th highest rated styles. So no shortage of them for me.

My porter rates seem to be more or less steady. I think it’s still a long way from disappearing. A lot of them are fruit/coffee/chocolate/chilli porters but I’ve had quite a few ‘regular’ porters lately that were very impressive.

My UK ratings of cask Stouts and Porters has never been heavy, just steady; not noticed a change in availability. I usually only have a half as a nightcap if there is one in the pub and I have never searched them out on my travels.

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I’m drinking a porter right now. Just sayin’

Lots of porters in the Netherlands still, even traditional ones.

I love stouts and porters, and my ratings of them have increased slightly over the last 2-3 years as I’ve tried to keep the total I’ve rated of each of them ahead of the ubiquitous APAs in my stats. So far I’ve been just about successful, although I fear it’s a losing battle.

On a separate note, aren’t the terms porter and stout essentially interchangeable anyway nowadays? Originally a stout was a strong porter, but I think that has fallen by the wayside in recent years, and it’s mainly determined by whatever the brewer names it (having said that, I do always tend to think of stouts as roastier and porters as fruitier, so maybe there is a difference… albeit with a huge overlap).

Well, I have been looking at my March ratings and the stand out porters appear to be Welbeck Abbey’s Out of the Blue and Totally Brewed’s Date and Walnut Porter. Both certainly reflect the style’s tendency for a fruity gloss. But I still think the stouts are winning the battle of the dark ales because of their international appeal and high abv capacity. Yes, there are imperial porters but far fewer. The East Midlands seems to have a few porters, but this trail I have supped a lot of familiar ones that somehow didn’t taste as great as I remembered. And it is scant consolation that the very idea of a stand-out bitter seems a distant memory.

From a book I read, strength at one time was the only difference. Then the difference is using malted vs. unmalted barley. It would be interesting to know whether brewers still follow this rule.

The age old debate about where does a Stout start and a Porter finish! So many different takes on it. Add Milk Stouts, Oyster Stouts and Imperial/Baltic Porters plus whatever your take on things is and all hell breaks loose.

I will not tell you my thoughts and definitions because I seem to change them more often than a ‘Whores Draws’.

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So back to the original question. Founders Porter drinks quite well in my area.

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In the last 3 months I have managed 17 Stouts and 14 Porters, let alone the other derivatives of the style, a pretty decent return, but it is the darker months at present. 2 of my mates plus my wife seek out the dark beers above anything else. I would say that the styles are in healthy condition.

It will also depend on where you go. Of the three pubs near work that I frequent, one always has a dark beer on (today it was two stouts on cask, plus a porter, sweet Stout and two foreign extras in bottles). The other two have 4 or so guest beers on at any time but rarely if ever a stout or porter other than Guinness being on permanently. The barman in one told me that the dark beers don’t sell.

Similarly when I’ve been coming back from London recently the Waterloo Tap always has stouts and porters on, whereas the Hop Locker seems to not favour them.

One thing I’ve noticed recently us that sweet stouts seem to be taking over the dark beer space, especially in craft beer bars. “Normal” stouts and porters are getting harder to find as a result.

I have also noticed that a lot of people add stouts and porters and miss the fact that it’s a Sweet Stour or such like.

agreed lots of Milk Stouts out there

Did the Nottingham CAMRA crawl include The Plough (the Nottingham brewery tap)? Sooty stout is good. Rock Bitter is better though :slight_smile:

There seems to be a lot of dark beers around this Spring, not so much of the standard bitters though.

Style definitions are a fluid concept. The average drinkers understanding of stout and porter, as well as IPA and pale ale (which were originally amber bitters and just paler than standard dark ales) have changed a lot over time.

Cant say ive seen a reduction in porters and stouts, plenty about and its also good to see brewers like Mills and Nevel putting out original aged vatted brett porters as they would’ve tasted in the 1800s.

Come across ‘Dark Ales’ every now and then. A style on Untappd but they’re all porters a d stouts on here. Presume brewers don’t want to scare potential punters off by labelling a beer as a porter or whatever.