Home' Hospitality Business : HB MAY 2017 Contents “To this day,
is sold in
Africa than is
sold in Ireland”
high degree of roasted malt flavours;
often tasting of coffee and bittersweet
chocolate and supported by rich caramel
flavours. These beers are commonly
rather bitter, with a var ied amount of
hop flavour (generally citrusy or resiny,
as is typical of Amer ican hops). An
Amer ican Stout is an unrestrained, full
flavoured Stout, that can still be enjoyed
by the pint as compared to the stronger,
and somewhat infamous, Russian
Imper ial Stout.
The Russian Imper ial Stout (often simply refer red to as Imper ial
Stout) is perhaps the most intense of all beer styles. Commonly over
10% ABV, this monster of a beer is pitch black, and loaded with
complex notes of roasted coffee, chocolate, caramel, toast, raisins,
plums, and more. The large quantity of malt used to make such a
highly alcoholic beer often leaves a significant amount of residual malt
sweetness. An aggressive hopping rate is then used to balance the beer,
without which, it has a tendency to become cloyingly sweet.
The or igin of the beer dates back to the 1700s when English
Brewers would commonly brew a very strong Porter for export to
foreign markets. These Strong Porters were said to be Popular with the
Russian Imper ial Court, a fact that would lead to the beer’s cur ious
moniker. However, the Napoleonic Wars would eventually inter rupt
trade, and as such, production and sales became more and more
relegated to England. Eventually the style all but died out until (as we
have seen time and time again) it was re-embraced in the moder n craft
beer era and found new popular ity - first in England, then Amer ica,
and soon the world over.
So for a style of beer that is so often lumped into the underwhelming
category of ‘dark beer’, there is a sur prising amount of history, evolution,
and var iation to the style. A Russian Imper ial Stout is no more a Guinness
than a Double IPA is a Pilsner. Whether you favour dry, smooth, sweet,
bitter, hoppy, roasty, easy-drinking, or a slow-sipper that will war m you to
the bone, there is unquestionably a Stout for every palate.
For a style of beer that is so r ich with history and has been pushed
to the brink of extinction, only to rebound time and again, it’s a shame
to see it so often dismissed and unexplored based on colour alone. Rest
assured, dear reader, that there is much more to these dark, and most
flavourful of beers than meets the eye. n
finishes dry and typically clocks in at under 4.5% ABV.The creamy
mouthfeel that many associate with the style is usually a result of the
nitrogen commonly used when the product is packaged in cans or
served on draught, and for a relatively bitter and dry beer (with such a
high percentage of astr ingent roasted malt), an Irish Stout goes down
remarkably smoothly.While traditional versions of the style are fairly
low in alcohol, a stronger, bolder Irish Extra Stout is also produced, and
is typically bottled rather than offered on draught.
Sweet Stout – often referred to as Milk Stout due to the addition of
unfer mentable lactose sugar (a sugar derived from milk) – is a sweeter,
less ‘bur nt’ version of the style developed in England in the early 1900s.
While traditional versions of the style tend to be lower in alcohol (some
examples clock in as low as 2% ABV), contemporary versions can be
higher in alcohol and are more var ied in balance and their level of roast.
Originally Milk Stouts were claimed to be nutr itious, and as such
were commonly given to nursing mothers and invalids. However,
following World War Two when rationing was in place, British
brewers were required to remove the word ‘milk’ from their labels and
advertising. Not long after, the style had drifted towards the brink of
extinction until being revived in recent years by moder n craft brewers.
It is not uncommon for moder n brewers to take advantage of the
sweet base of this beer by flavour ing it with chocolate, coffee, and even
peanut butter to create dessert-like versions of the style.
An Oatmeal Stout sits somewhere between an Irish Stout and a Sweet
Stout. It tends to be roastier than a Sweet Stout but not as dry or bitter as
an Irish Stout.The style was originally a variation on the ‘nour ishing’ Sweet
Stouts that were popular in England.The oats give the beer a creamy, velvety
mouthfeel that combines with the roasted malts to give what has been
called ‘an impression of coffee with cream’. The style peaked in popularity
between the two world wars, but then it all but disappeared until (much like
the Sweet Stout), it was revived by many modern craft brewers.
Export Stout (also known as Foreign Extra Stout) is a stronger, more
bitter class of Stout that, despite often being brewed for domestic
markets, ear ned its name due to the fact that it was commonly brewed
for export to foreign markets. The typical Export Stout sits somewhere
between an Irish Extra Stout and an Imper ial Stout and is perhaps most
exemplified in the Souther n Hemisphere by Coopers Best Extra Stout.
It’s a very dark, strong, somewhat dry Stout with prominent roasted
flavours, and, at least according to Guinness, was brewed with ‘extra
hops to give it a distinctive taste and a longer shelf life in hot weather’.
Somewhat counter intuitive to the impression that most people have
of strong, dark beers, Export Stouts found lasting popular ity in many
war m, tropical climates such as Africa and the Car ibbean. Eventually
these beers were imitated by indigenous brewers who often used local
sugars to boost the gravity, lowered the hopping rate, and in many cases,
fer mented the beers with lager yeasts at a-typical war m temperatures.
This created a sweeter, less-bitter, sub category of the Export Stout style
commonly refer red to as a Tropical Stout.To this day, more Guinness is
sold in Africa than is sold in Ireland, due to the endur ing popular ity of
Guinness’ Foreign Extra Stout.
Next on our list is the Amer ican Stout. An Amer ican Stout is a bigger,
bolder, and especially hoppier, version of a traditional English or Irish
Stout. Originally referred to in homebrew circles as a West Coast Stout
(a common naming scheme for hoppy beers), Amer ican homebrewers
seemed discontented to leave well enough alone and began pushing the
boundar ies of the style. Soon craft brewers followed suit and today our
bottle shops are filled with examples of this moder n take on a classic style.
Ranging between 5% and 7% ABV, Amer ican Stouts are medium
to full-bodied, very dark ales, which are typically loaded with a
8 Wired’s Flat White is
a Sweet Stout with the
addition of coffee
Hospitality BUSINESS | May 2017 | 53
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