International Stout Day (November 3) is upon us, and we couldn’t imagine letting this day go by without paying proper tribute to this incredible style of dark beer. The style is so versatile and creates a hearty backbone for a variety of styles: oatmeal stout, coffee stout, and fruit-flavored stouts, to name a few. You can serve it from the can or on draft with regular CO2 or get a bit fancy with nitro, which enhances the sweetness and creates a super creamy mouthfeel.
So let’s get this party started. We’ve gathered some of our favorite stouts from previous review sessions, some crazy-delicious recipes from our Cooking With Beer recipes, and some stout recipes contributed by pro brewers.
It’s a rare beer that earns the highest possible 100 score from our blind-tasting panel. Out of the dozens of stouts we’ve reviewed, eleven were worthy enough for our top score.
Great Divide Brewing Co. Barrel-Aged Yeti 2015 (Denver, Colorado)
Barrel-Aged Yeti was aged for a year in whiskey barrels, which adds notes of oak and vanilla. Notes of chocolate, cherry, vanilla, and coffee bean are present, along with a bit of coconut. It’s a complex and delicious beer and has 12 percent ABV.
Great Divide Brewing Co. Yeti (Denver, Colorado)
This is the base beer for the barrel-aged version (above) and has a slightly lower ABV of 8 percent. One of our reviewers said it tastes like an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, and with its flavors of chocolate, toast, and coffee, it makes the perfect breakfast beer.
Goose Island Beer Company 2015 Bourbon County Stout (Chicago, Illinois)
Bourbon County Stout is a high-ABV (14.2 percent), high-IBU (60 IBUs) imperial stout that’s full of chocolate and coffee flavors. Notes of caramel, vanilla, cherry, and plum also play supporting roles, and it has a nice alcoholic heat. We’ve reviewed the 2013 vintage as well—and it, too, scored 100.
Goose Island Beer Company 2013 Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout (Chicago, Illinois)
Every year, Goose Island selects a different coffee from Chicago’s Intelligentsia Coffee to feature in their barrel-aged coffee stout. You get lots of coffee, bourbon, and vanilla, but also raisin, cacao nibs, and some spice from the hops.
Goose Island Beer Company Bourbon County Brand Stout Proprietor’s 2015 (Chicago, Illinois)
This is a rich and powerful beer with flavors of dark and stone fruits, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, caramel, and guajillo peppers. It’s brewed with maple syrup, then aged in bourbon barrels with toasted-pecans and guajillo-pepper additions.
Surly Brewing Company Darkness 2013 (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
One of our reviewers said Darkness “smells and tastes like a gift from the back corner of the cellar,” and “this beer has all of the characteristics of a great imperial stout.” It’s sweet, with rich notes of chocolate and dark fruits, with a note of coffee, a bit of bitterness, and a hint of alcoholic heat.
Firestone Walker Brewing Company Parabola (Paso Robles, California)
We reviewed the 2014 vintage of this beer and were impressed by its flavors of chocolate bar, banana bread, vanilla, bourbon, tobacco, dark fruit, and coffee. In the midst of all that, there’s a hint of wild Brett character, too! It’s nuanced, complex, and so well balanced.
AleSmith Brewing Company Speedway Stout (San Diego, California)
AleSmith starts with their Russian imperial stout, then ages it in bourbon barrels for at least a year. It has notes of almond, vanilla, chocolate, coffee, and caramel. Our reviewers said it is “dark fruit and chocolate and smooth coffee in perfect balance… A delicious beer that everyone should seek out.”
Perennial Artisan Ales Barrel Aged Sump (St. Louis, Missouri)
Perennial Artisan Ales ages their imperial stout for a year in Rittenhouse Rye Barrels, then blends the beer with Sump Coffee. It’s full of flavor, with notes of rum, vanilla, dark cherry, chocolate, and coffee. One reviewer noted, “I feel like I need a fireplace, a silk robe, and a bear skin rug to properly enjoy this beer.”
The Bruery Black Tuesday (Placentia, California)
Black Tuesday is decadent, not only in flavor but in its whopping 18.9 percent ABV. Flavors of bourbon, coconut, vanilla, lots of oak, almond, and caramel are prominent, but it has some hops in the background, and tobacco. In fact, one of our reviewers said, “tastes like Grandpa’s tobacco pipe smells—warm, comforting, and timeless.”
Cooking With Stout
Now that you’ve got a list of stouts, you’re going to need to enjoy them on a full stomach. We’ve selected a few of our favorite dishes from our Cooking With Beer recipes to get you started.
Start your day right with a plateful of beer-glazed donuts, a sweet and powdery confection that’ll get your blood sugar levels up and running first thing in the morning.
By the time dinner rolls around, something that’s flavorful and filling is just what you need. For dinner, the Short Rib Pot Pie recipe is an excellent dish to pair with a dark and dry stout. And for dessert (because if you’re not going to go big, you might as well go home and all that), cap off the day with the decadent Chocolate Milk Stout Torte.
Get 84 new recipes made with beer as well as successful cooking and pairing tips from Tired Hands Brewing and learn to brew with seasonal ingredients with beer recipes from Scratch Brewing in Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®’s 2016 issue of Cooking With Beer. Order your copy today!
Brewing Up a Stout
Over the years, many generous pro brewers have shared recipes with us, and we have some excellent ones for you to brew at home.
Bring Out the Imp Stout
Joe Reynolds of Southern Tier (Lakewood, New York)
Chocolate Achromatic Stout
Neil Fisher of WeldWerks Brewing Company (Greeley, Colorado)
Chocolate Coffee Stout
Epic Brewing Company (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Alexander the Blessed
Neil Fisher of WeldWerks Brewing Company (Greeley, Colorado)
Smoked Chocolate Rye Stout
Jeremy Myers of Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company (Croydon, Pennsylvania)
Vernal Minthe Stout
Dave Thibodeau of Ska Brewing (Durango, Colorado)
Mexican Chocolate Stout
Copper Kettle Brewing Company (Denver, Colorado)
We’d love to hear how you’re celebrating the day!