All About Stout

One of the three iconic styles of fermented malt beverages (beers), Stout, along with Lager and Ale, has seen significant change since its origins at the brewery at St. James Gate in Dublin, Ireland. Let us start there and review the history of Guinness Stout.

The History of Guinness Stout

According to the good folks at Wikipedia:

“Guinness is a dark Irish dry stout that originated in the brewery of Arthur Guinness at St. James’s Gate, Dublin, Ireland, in 1759. It is one of the most successful alcohol brands worldwide, brewed in almost 50 countries, and available in over 120.

Sales in 2011 amounted to 850 million litres (220,000,000 US gal). It is popular with the Irish, both in Ireland and abroad. In spite of declining consumption since 2001, it is still the best-selling alcoholic drink in Ireland where Guinness & Co. Brewery makes almost €2 billion worth of beer annually.

Arthur Guinness started brewing ales in 1759 at the St. James’s Gate Brewery, Dublin. On 31 December 1759, he signed a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum for the unused brewery. Ten years later, on 19 May 1769, Guinness first exported his ale: he shipped six-and-a-half barrels to Great Britain.

Arthur Guinness started selling the dark beer porter in 1778. The first Guinness beers to use the term were Single Stout and Double Stout in the 1840s. Throughout the bulk of its history, Guinness produced only three variations of a single beer type: porter or single stout, double or extra and foreign stout for export. “Stout” originally referred to a beer’s strength, but eventually shifted meaning toward body and colour. Porter was also referred to as “plain”, as mentioned in the famous refrain of Flann O’Brien’s poem “The Workman’s Friend”: “A pint of plain is your only man.”

The folks at the Guinness brewery post their history on the following link:

The Old Growler’s Stout Tasting Notes

Founders KBS Espresso Barrel-Aged Chocolate Coffee Stout

KBS Espresso Bourbon Barrel-Aged Chocolate Coffee Stout 2020

ABV: 12%

IBUs: 70

Availability: Oct-Dec

According to the Founders web site…

“KBS gets its coffee fix in the very first variant to come from our beloved bourbon barrel-aged stout. Yes, KBS may already be brewed with coffee, but it gets some extra oomph when it’s aged on espresso beans after being removed from barrels. The result is a fresh and snappy coffee twist on our classic barrel-aged beer. Who says you can’t start your day with a barrel-aged stout?”

Founders KBS Espresso Barrel-Aged Chocolate Coffee Stout

Weldwerks Brewing Co. French Toast Milk Stout

Spoiler Alert – French Toast Milk Stout is one very tasty brew.

It’s not often that a brew sent into us at “Meeting Expectations” gets a unanimous “Thumbs Up.” Weldwerks Brewing Company of Greeley, Colorado, has a real tasty brew on their hands.

There was some trepidation when we read the label on the can. But the aroma and flavors of this brew soon won friends and influenced the taster.

Guest this week was food maven Laura Goldberg.

Her Blog  is well worth the visit.

The salted nuts that Laura contributed added context to the tasting and was much appreciated.

Now let’s see what the folks at the brewery have to say:

Weldwerks Brewing Co.

508 8th Ave,

Greeley, CO 80631

The Brewery site is very user-friendly and easy to navigate – . However, since their beers are, as they put it “experimental,” you will not find any information on their French Toast Milk Stout.

What the rest of the Web has this to say: has the following posting dated 12 January 2020.

“Appearances: The beer is essentially jet black; only traces of dark brown are visible near the corners of the glass when held up to bright light. The quarter-finger high tan head that died down, leaving a narrow collar around the edge of the glass.

Aroma: Light to moderate aromas of maple syrup are present in the nose along with hints of cinnamon; these intensify as the beer warms up.

Taste: The taste is a little sweet and has lots of flavors of maple syrup with bits of cinnamon and vanilla.

Mouth Feel: It feels medium-bodied and a bit smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.”

Overall: I enjoyed the taste of this beer, which tasted like French toast drenched with maple syrup. It is very drinkable as it wasn’t too sweet.”

Weldwerks Brewing Co. French Toast Milk Stout

Randolph Anniversary II Stout with Fred Dex

The Cicerone and the Sommelier Part Two

Stout – Imperial / Double Milk

9.8% ABV

60 IBU

“For our second anniversary; We brewed an imperial sweet stout resembling German chocolate cake. Brewed with cocoa, toasted coconut and lactose. Mild sweetness mingles with huge coconut flavor finishing with a chocolate background.”

Courage Imperial Russian Stout (1993)

Eagle Brewery (formerly Charles Wells)      10% ABV

From the folks at The comes the story behind the Imperial Russian Stout


A strong porter called Thrale’s Intire (pronounced “Entire”) was

brewed at Anchor Brewery in Southwark Parish, London, near

the end of the eighteenth century. It was exported annually to

many places, most notably, Russia. Catherine the Great is said

to have ordered it in vast quantities for her court.”

“Probable myth: Russian Imperial Stout has a high gravity level

to survive the brutal cold and long distances that it had to travel

to make it to Russia. (It was probably strong because that’s

what people wanted to drink- Russia wasn’t the only place it

was shipped to).”

“Eventually the Anchor Brewery passed from Thrale to Barclay &

Perkins who continued to make Thrale’s strong porter, and the

recipe continued to evolve and change.”

“Over time Thrale’s “Intire” eventually developed into Barclay’s Russian Imperial Stout. “Russian” was kept for marketing reasons.”

“In 1955, Barclay & Perkins merged with their close neighbors Courage and Company, and the Russian Imperial Stout continued to be brewed up until 1993, and then returned in 2012.”

Courage Imperial Russian Stout 1993

Beer Tasting with The Old Growler

Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout 2010

It isn’t often that there is a chance to taste a nine-year-old bottle of Chocolate Stout. I would like to make a point of thanking Jerry Scott for bringing this bottle of Brooklyn Chocolate Stout (2010) to see if it can still “Meet Expectations”.

What was the most interesting thing about this tasting of a nine-year-old stout was the change in the body as well as the development of a particular flavor profile.

Let me tell you that I have watched the Brooklyn Brewery develop over the last thirty years so my impartiality could be questioned. Nevertheless, I trust that your faith in me as a journalist will allow you to more understand my observations.

The Basics:

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Malts: 2-row, caramel malt, malted wheat and a blend of American roasted malts

Hops: Willamette and Fuggle

Alcohol by Volume: 10.0%

Original Gravity:  24.5° Plato

What the Brewery Site tells us:

Description: “Brewed since 1994, our Black Chocolate Stout has itself become a modern classic, heralded the world over. It achieves its dark chocolate aroma and flavor through the artful blending of six malts and three distinct mashes. Properly kept, it will improve in the bottle for many years.”

“You never quite know what will happen when you age a beer: perhaps the body will smooth out, notes of vanilla, oak, and tannins will come to the front, or hints of leather and soy sauce will make themselves known.”

Food Pairings: Chocolate desserts, passionate love and rage in front of a blazing fireplace, cheesecake, fruit tarts, big ol’ blankets, ice cream, holiday parties, strong cheeses, and mythology.

Availability: October-March

Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout 2010

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First, let me introduce myself. I am Peter LaFrance, author of Beer Basics and Cooking & Eating With Beer, (John Wiley & Sons, Inc. – 1995). I have also been published in American Brewer, All About Beer, and Ale Street News.

I have been writing about the brewing industry since 1984. Credits include contributing editor for Restaurant Management and Top Shelf magazines. I have also written for Beverage Media, New Brewer, Beverage Dynamics, and All About Beer magazine.

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