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Stouts
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Stouts

It’s a widely-held misapprehension that stouts are a little intimidating. Next time you are at your favorite pub, look down the bar. How many of your fellow pub patrons are sipping on a big glass of “liquid beef,” or a tall drink of “Mississippi black water? The inapproachability of darker beers is perplexing. It’s likely that the same guy that drinks an extra large red eye mocha double espresso every morning before work is sipping tentatively on a “light” glass of pilsner something or other. Why would he boldly choose the darkest, thickest caffeine concoction before work, only to skimp on his after work mouth massage? 


There seems to be a misconception that dark means “super strong.” Stouts come in different strengths, with different flavors, just like coffee. Stouts and porters can be strong. The depth of flavor can carry higher alcohol contents without becoming unbalanced. Typically stouts carry a 7% to 9% ABV with ease. 


In coffee stouts, the bitterness can come from the dark roasted malts. Similar to the chocolate flavors in chocolate stouts, coffee may not actually be used as part of the recipe, but espresso grounds may be added to enhance the coffee flavor.  Imperial stouts or “Russian Imperial Stouts” are considered to be the darkest and richest of the stouts; they are rigorous, dense and opaque black in the glass. Oatmeal stouts are sweeter and go down smooth because oats are added to the recipe during the brewing process. Dry or Irish stouts, like Guinness, are very rich, can have a coffee or toasted flavor and they are somewhat bitter and very dark. Milk stouts or cream stouts are sweeter in taste because they contain lactose. Chocolate stouts can have a deep chocolate flavor, but not necessarily because they are made with actual chocolate. Malts are roasted until they take on the dark rich aromas and flavors of dark chocolate. Of course, occasionally actual chocolate is used in the recipe. You can even enjoy stouts flavored with dark berries or coconut.



Luna Coffee Stout PDF Print E-mail
Featured Beers - Stouts

By Stephanie Schettler-Cumming

a picture of Hinterland's Luna Coffee StoutHinterland Luna Coffee Stout
$9-$10 per 4 pack 16 oz bottles

Hailing from Green Bay, Hinterland has emerged as one of Wisconsin’s up-and-coming craft breweries to take note of in 2012 (if you haven’t already, that is). Founded in 1995 by Bill and Michelle Tressler, this craft brewery first established its presence in Milwaukee in 2007 with the opening of Hinterland Erie Street Gastropub. Boasting a steady supply of year-round beers and rotational seasonals, a standout among the clan is surely the Luna Coffee Stout.

Using local coffee from Luna Cafe (located in DePere), Hinterland’s stout looks like a meal in a glass. From its dark body to the thick, tan head that tops it off, this brew is unusually light and goes down easy. The smell of coffee emanating from this beer is undeniable, dominating the overall aroma. On the palate, the delicious coffee flavor is complemented by a hint of rich dark chocolate. It is this combination of flavors that gives the Luna Stout a pleasant—but not overpowering—lingering sweetness. A fantastic twist on a classic style of beer, this tasty concoction makes it dangerously easy to knock back a few, yet still leaves you wanting more.

 
Steelhead Extra Stout PDF Print E-mail
Featured Beers - Stouts

By Ben Alger

a picture of Mad River Brewing Company's Steelhead Extra StoutMad River Brewing Company
Price Range: $9.75–$10.50/6-pack


We all dream, but few of us actually turn those dreams into a reality. Mad River Founder and Brewmaster Bob Smith is one of those few. In the late 1970s, Smith dreamt of opening a craft brewery and was a member of a homebrewers group in California called the “Humbrewers Guild.” Smith found himself picking up brewing supplies at Ken Grossman’s Homebrew Shop in Chico, CA and learning of Grossman’s plans to open a craft brewery called Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. By 1989, the craft beer market was growing and proving viable for Smith to go into business. It was at this time that Sierra Nevada was expanding, and Grossman offered to sell Smith his original brewing equipment. By December of 1990, the first Mad River ales were being produced and distributed. Rapid growth in the 1990s allowed Mad River to expand its line, which now includes several varieties.

Mad River is new to the Milwaukee market, and we welcomed them properly by tasting a few of their delicious options. Steelhead Extra Stout stood out as a timely choice for winter. This opaque ale pours dark with a scent of sweetness and a sandy brown head. The flavor is rich with a mild hop complement, making it a nice dessert option. Welcome to the Brew City; you’ll fit in well here.

 
Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout PDF Print E-mail
Featured Beers - Stouts
a picture of Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout
Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company

Chippewa Falls, WI

They Say: “Brewed with 11 different malts including Munich, Carmel, Chocolate, classic Pale and Pale Ale, this Russian Imperial Stout provides a rich, dry character, perfectly balancing Big Eddy’s hoppy assertiveness. Warrior, Summit and Glacier hops create a bold tribute to the characteristic intensity of the flavor.”

We Say: Good things come in little packages, and Leinenkugels’ Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout is the perfect example. Pouring from the bottle like liquid night, this beer releases distinct mouth watering notes of molasses and rich baker’s chocolate. Its thick, heavy body is filled with the pronounced flavors of dark chocolate, coffee and bits of dried fruit. Ending with a very dry roasted coffee flavor that refuses to go away, it was unanimous that this Russian Imperial Stout is worth the trouble to find and left us excited for what Leinenkugels’ Big Eddy series is going to bring us next.
 
Blackout Stout PDF Print E-mail
Featured Beers - Stouts

Bottle of Stout

Great Lakes Brewing Company
Cleveland, OH


They Say:
A Russian Imperial Stout with a hearty malt body and bold hop flavor. A.B.V.: 9.0%. A.B.W.: 7.2%.


We Say:
At first glance, this beer looks like an ordinary stout — dark black body with a heavy, caramel-colored head. Hops dominate the aroma. The mouth is between creamy and oily. It’s not until the flavor hits you that you realize what makes an Imperial stout an Imperial stout, and what makes this Imperial stout a pure example of one: alcohol. 9% alcohol by volume. We’re talking strong ... just shy of rocket fuel. But in my book, if you’re going to drink a stout you should be serious about it. The good news is that this strong alcohol content is well balanced with a rich, creamy, heavily roasted flavor. That helps take the edge off.


Availability:
February - March


Photo by: Joe Szebeni - True Image Photography