The craft beer market is comprised of hundreds of documented beer varieties and a handful of organisations with their own unique classifications, but beers primarily fall into one of three types: bottom fermentation beers (lagers); top fermentation beers (ales); and spontaneous or wild fermentation beers.
Within each of these categories there are many sub-groups but the main styles available today are dark ales; pale ales; stouts; wheat beers; strong ales; lagers; sour beers; and non-alcoholic beers.
CATEGORIES: Stout, Porter ABV: 4% to 12% SERVE TEMPERATURE: 8-12°C TASTING NOTES: Roastiness, chocolate, dried fruits
Stout is the darkest beer, with the colour and flavour coming from the dark grain - sometimes roasted malt, sometimes roasted barley, sometimes other dark grains – used to make them.
The ingredients produce bold flavours, with Porter traditionally a less-strong version of Stout. Today it can be hard to pick them apart with the term Porter having as much to do with fashion as anything else.
Stouts and Porters come in a variety of forms. Some are smooth, while others offer a more intense taste. In terms of colour, these beers are not all as black as you might expect. Hold a glass of Guinness up to the light and you’ll undoubtedly see its red tinge. Others might be very deep brown.
The flavour of these darker beers relies to a great extent on the malts used, with hops playing a big part. The colour, roastiness and bitterness comes from the grain (generally, chocolate or black malt). Both roasted barley and roasted malt are used, with the former more common in beers labelled Stouts rather than Porters.