Five on Five: Stout & Porter

There are many shades of black, and there are many stripes of porter and stout. If Guinness Draught remains widely popular yet barrel-aged beasts are what excite the geeks today, what do the brewers themselves prefer? Here are five pro picks.

Craft Beer & Brewing Staff Jan 19, 2023 - 4 min read

Five on Five: Stout & Porter Primary Image

Port City Colossal One

Brandon Skall, cofounder, DC Bräu in Washington, D.C.
“Port City opened about the same time we did, and I have always respected the quality and inspiration behind the beer they release. Each year, to mark their anniversary, Port City releases an update to their Colossal series, and this year’s offering returns to where it all began with Colossal One Imperial Stout. This remarkable stout uses a Belgian yeast strain to add a level of noticeable complexity. Dark as night with notes of bittersweet chocolate, roast espresso, and a fully satisfying body, this is one to track down if you can—and join Port City as they close the circle and return to the beginning of their 11-year journey.”

Phase Three Eunoia Batch 5

Derek Gallanosa, head brewer, Moksa Brewing in Rocklin, California
“One stout that I distinctly remember is Phase Three’s Eunoia Batch 5, an imperial stout aged in Willet barrels then treated with Ugandan vanilla beans. The balance of oak, whiskey, sweetness, alcohol, and roast levels are all in perfect harmony—a testament to the brewer’s palate and attention to detail during the barrel-aging process. It’s very rare that, during a beer share, I would reach for a second pour, but with this beer I reached to finish the rest of the bottle.”

Third Wheel Saint Peters’ Porter

Megan Eplin, brewer, Bluewood Brewing in St. Louis
“Saint Peters’ is by far my favorite porter. Abbey Spencer at Third Wheel has created a stunning blend of complex flavors, including baker’s chocolate, caramel, and sweet coffee. In addition, I’m always impressed by the different variations of this porter they have throughout the year. Each one is just as amazing, if not better.”

Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout

Neil Glausier, co-owner and brewmaster, Burgh’ers Brewing in Pittsburgh
“What is the best porter or stout, and why does Sammy Smith make both of them? Well, they’ve been doing it since before it was cool, and they’ve managed to survive the ages. The oatmeal stout takes full advantage of a willing palate with its unctuous composition and nutty, milk-chocolate resonance. But don’t sleep on the Taddy Porter, darker than your overdue oil change yet lighter than whatever under-attenuated craft pils you grabbed while jumping the turnstiles of the lager train that’s steaming up the block. But that roast, coffee, and chocolate! Never overstated, perfectly in tune. Try as we might, we’re destined as brewers to live in the shadows of these monoliths.”

West Kill Brewing Dead Rabbit

Alex Wenner, cofounder and head brewer at Lasting Joy Brewery in Tivoli, New York
“Named for the famed Irish gang of early New York, Dead Rabbit lives up to its heritage as an exceptional dry Irish stout brewed with New York malt. West Kill brews this beer to fulfill the need for a malty, chocolate, and coffee ale with the denseness in flavor of the darkest of grains . Yet it maintains the lightness, even fluffiness, that makes a dry Irish stout like this so easily quaffable. One of the premier examples of this style.”