The Brewers Association (US) offers the following style parameters:

Sweet Stout

“Sweet stouts, also referred to as cream stouts, have less roasted bitter flavor and a full-bodied mouthfeel. The style can be given more body with milk sugar (lactose) before bottling. Malt sweetness, chocolate, and caramel flavor should dominate the flavor profile and contribute to the aroma. Hops should balance sweetness without contributing apparent flavor or aroma.”

Original Gravity (ºPlato): 1.045-1.056 (11-14 ºPlato)

Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato): 1.012-1.020 (3-5 ºPlato)

Alcohol by Weight (Volume): 2.5-5% (3-6%)

Bitterness (IBU): 15-25

Color SRM (EBC): 40+ (80+ EBC)

Oatmeal Stout

“Oatmeal stouts include oatmeal in their grist, resulting in a pleasant, full flavor and a smooth profile that is rich without being grainy. A roasted malt character which is caramellike and chocolatelike should be evident — smooth and not bitter. Coffee-like roasted barley and roasted malt aromas (chocolate and nut-like) are prominent. Bitterness is moderate, not high. Hop flavor and aroma are optional but should not overpower the overall balance if present. This is a medium- to full-bodied beer, with minimal fruity esters.”

Original Gravity (ºPlato): 1.038-1.056 (9.5-14 ºPlato)

Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato): 1.008-1.020 (2-5 ºPlato)

Alcohol by Weight (Volume): 3.0-4.8% (3.8-6%)

Bitterness (IBU): 20-40

Color SRM (EBC): 20+ (40+ EBC)

Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout

“Dry stouts have an initial malt and light caramel flavor profile with a distinctive dry-roasted bitterness in the finish. Dry stouts achieve a dry-roasted character through the use of roasted barley. The emphasis of coffee-like roasted barley and a moderate degree of roasted malt aromas define much of the character. Some slight acidity may be perceived but is not necessary. Hop aroma and flavor should not be perceived. Dry stouts have medium-light to medium body. Fruity esters are minimal and overshadowed by malt, high hop bitterness, and roasted barley character. Diacetyl (butterscotch) should be very low or not perceived. Head retention and rich character should be part of its visual character.”

Original Gravity (ºPlato): 1.038-1.048 (9.5-12 ºPlato)

Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato): 1.008-1.012 (2-3 ºPlato)

Alcohol by Weight (Volume): 3.2-4.2% (3.8-5%)

Bitterness (IBU): 30-40

Color SRM (EBC): 40+ (80+ EBC)

Foreign (Export)-Style Stout

“As with classic dry stouts, foreign-style stouts have an initial malt sweetness and caramel flavor with a distinctive dryroasted bitterness in the finish. Coffee-like roasted barley and roasted malt aromas are prominent. Some slight acidity is permissible and a medium- to full-bodied mouthfeel is appropriate. Bitterness may be high but the perception is often compromised by malt sweetness. Hop aroma and flavor should not be perceived. The perception of fruity esters is low.”

Original Gravity (ºPlato): 1.052-1.072 (13-17.5 ºPlato)

Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato): 1.008-1.020 (2-5 ºPlato)

Alcohol by Weight (Volume): 4.5-6% (5.7-7.5%)

Bitterness (IBU): 30-60

Color SRM (EBC): 40+ (80+ EBC)

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The BJCP offers the following style parameters:


13A. Dry Stout

Aroma: “Coffee-like roasted barley and roasted malt aromas are prominent; may have slight chocolate, cocoa and/or grainy secondary notes.  Esters medium-low to none.  No diacetyl.  Hop aroma low to none.”

Appearance: “Jet black to deep brown with garnet highlights in color.  Can be opaque (if not, it should be clear).  A thick, creamy, long-lasting, tan- to brown-colored head is characteristic.”

Flavor: “Moderate roasted, grainy sharpness, optionally with light to moderate acidic/sourness, and medium to high hop bitterness.  Dry, coffee-like finish from roasted grains.”

Mouthfeel: “Medium-light to medium-full body, with a creamy character. Low to moderate carbonation.  For the high hop bitterness and significant proportion of dark grains present, this beer is remarkably smooth.”

Overall Impression: “A very dark, roasty, bitter, creamy ale.”

History: “The style evolved from attempts to capitalize on the success of London porters, but originally reflected a fuller, creamier, more “stout” body and strength.  When a brewery offered a stout and a porter, the stout was always the stronger beer (it was originally called a “Stout Porter”).  Modern versions are brewed from a lower OG and no longer reflect a higher strength than porters.”

Ingredients: “The dryness comes from the use of roasted unmalted barley in addition to pale malt, moderate to high hop bitterness, and good attenuation.  Flaked unmalted barley may also be used to add creaminess. A small percentage (perhaps 3%) of soured beer is sometimes added for complexity (generally by Guinness only).  Water typically has moderate carbonate hardness, although high levels will not give the classic dry finish.”

Vital Statistics:

OG:  1.036 – 1.050

IBUs:  30 – 45

FG:  1.007 – 1.011

SRM:  25 – 40+

ABV:  4 – 5%

Commercial Examples:

Guinness Draught Stout (also canned)

Murphy’s Stout

Beamish Stout

O’Hara’s Celtic Stout

Dorothy Goodbody’s Wholesome Stout

Orkney Dragonhead Stout

Brooklyn Dry Stout

Old Dominion Stout

Goose Island Dublin Stout

Arbor Brewing Faricy Fest Irish Stout

13B. Sweet Stout

Aroma: “Mild roasted grain aroma, sometimes with coffee and/or chocolate notes.  An impression of cream-like sweetness often exists.  Fruitiness can be low to moderately high.  Diacetyl low to none.  Hop aroma low to none.”

Appearance: “Very dark brown to black in color.  Can be opaque (if not, it should be clear).  Creamy tan to brown head.”

Flavor: “Dark roasted grains and malts dominate the flavor as in dry stout, and provide coffee and/or chocolate flavors.  Hop bitterness is moderate (lower than in dry stout).  Medium to high sweetness (often from the addition of lactose) provides a counterpoint to the roasted character and hop bitterness, and lasts into the finish.  Low to moderate fruity esters.  Diacetyl low to none.  The balance between dark grains/malts and sweetness can vary, from quite sweet to moderately dry and somewhat roasty.”

Mouthfeel: “Medium-full to full-bodied and creamy.  Low to moderate carbonation.  High residual sweetness from unfermented sugars enhances the full-tasting mouthfeel.”

Overall Impression: “A very dark, sweet, full-bodied, slightly roasty ale.  Often tastes like sweetened espresso.”

History: “An English style of stout.  Historically known as “Milk” or “Cream” stouts, legally this designation is no longer permitted in England (but is acceptable elsewhere).  The “milk” name is derived from the use of lactose, or milk sugar, as a sweetener.”

Ingredients: “The sweetness in most Sweet Stouts comes from a lower bitterness level than dry stouts and a high percentage of unfermentable dextrins.   Lactose, an unfermentable sugar, is frequently added to provide additional residual sweetness.  Base of pale malt, and may use roasted barley, black malt, chocolate malt, crystal malt, and adjuncts such as maize or treacle.  High carbonate water is common.”

Vital Statistics:

OG:  1.042 – 1.056

IBUs:  25 – 40

FG:  1.010 – 1.023

SRM:  30 – 40+

ABV:  4 – 6%

Commercial Examples:

Mackeson’s XXX Stout

Watney’s Cream Stout

St. Peter’s Cream Stout

Marston’s Oyster Stout

Samuel Adams Cream Stout

Left Hand Milk Stout

13C. Oatmeal Stout

Aroma: “Mild roasted grain aromas, often with a coffee-like character.  A light sweetness can imply a coffee-and-cream impression.  Fruitiness should be low to medium. Diacetyl medium-low to none.  Hop aroma low to none (UK varieties most common).  A light oatmeal aroma is optional.”

Appearance: “Medium brown to black in color.  Thick, creamy, persistent tan- to brown-colored head.  Can be opaque (if not, it should be clear).”

Flavor: “Medium sweet to medium dry palate, with the complexity of oats and dark roasted grains present.  Oats can add a nutty, grainy or earthy flavor.  Dark grains can combine with malt sweetness to give the impression of milk chocolate or coffee with cream.  Medium hop bitterness with the balance toward malt.  Diacetyl medium-low to none.  Hop flavor medium-low to none.”

Mouthfeel: “Medium-full to full body, smooth, silky, sometimes an almost oily slickness from the oatmeal.  Creamy. Medium to medium-high carbonation.”

History: “An English seasonal variant of sweet stout that is usually less sweet than the original, and relies on oatmeal for body and complexity rather than lactose for body and sweetness.”

Ingredients: “Pale, caramel and dark roasted malts and grains. Oatmeal (5-10%+) used to enhance fullness of body and complexity of flavor. Hops primarily for bittering.  Ale yeast.  Water source should have some carbonate hardness.”

Vital Statistics:

OG:  1.048 – 1.065

IBUs:  25 – 40

FG:  1.010 – 1.018

SRM:  22 – 40+

ABV:  4.2 – 5.9%

Commercial Examples:

Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout

Maclay’s Oat Malt Stout

Broughton Kinmount Willie Oatmeal Stout

Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout

Goose Island Oatmeal Stout

McAuslan Oatmeal Stout

Wild Goose Oatmeal Stout

13D. Foreign Extra Stout

Aroma: “Roasted grain aromas moderate to high, and can have coffee, chocolate and/or lightly burnt notes.  Fruitiness medium to high.  Some versions may have a sweet aroma, or molasses, licorice, dried fruit, and/or vinous aromatics.  Stronger versions can have the aroma of alcohol.  Hop aroma low to none.  Diacetyl low to none.”

Appearance: “Very deep brown to black in color.  Clarity usually obscured by deep color (if not opaque, should be clear).  Large tan to brown head with good retention.”

Flavor: “Tropical versions can be quite sweet, while export versions can be moderately dry (reflecting impression of a scaled-up version of either sweet stout or dry stout).  …Tropical versions can have high fruity esters, smooth dark grain flavors, and moderate bitterness.  Export versions tend to have lower esters, more assertive roast flavors, and higher bitterness.”

Mouthfeel: “Medium-full to full body, often with a smooth, creamy character.  May give a warming impression from alcohol presence.  Moderate to moderately-high carbonation.”

Overall Impression: “A very dark, moderately strong, roasty ale.  Tropical varieties can be quite sweet, while export versions can be drier and fairly robust.”

History: “Originally high-gravity stouts brewed for tropical markets (and hence, sometimes known as “Tropical Stouts”). Some bottled export (i.e. stronger) versions of dry or sweet stout also fit this profile.  Guinness Foreign Extra Stout has been made since the early 1800s.”

Ingredients: “Similar to dry or sweet stout, but with more gravity.  Pale and dark roasted malts and grains.  Hops mostly for bitterness.  May use adjuncts and sugar to boost gravity.  Ale yeast (although some tropical stouts are brewed with lager yeast).

Vital Statistics:

OG:  1.056 – 1.075

IBUs:  30 – 70

FG:  1.010 – 1.018

SRM:  30 – 40+

ABV:  5.5 – 8%

Commercial Examples:

Lion Stout (Sri Lanka)

ABC Stout

Dragon Stout

Royal Extra “The Lion Stout” (Trinidad)

Jamaica Stout

Guinness Extra Stout (bottled US product)

Guinness Foreign Extra Stout (bottled, not sold in the US)

Coopers Best Extra Stout

Freeminer Deep Shaft Stout

Sheaf Stout

Bell’s Double Cream Stout

13E. American Stout

Aroma: “Moderate to strong aroma of roasted malts, often having a roasted coffee or dark chocolate quality.  Burnt or charcoal aromas are low to none.  Medium to very low hop aroma, often with a citrusy or resiny American hop character.  Esters are optional, but can be present up to medium intensity.  Light alcohol-derived aromatics are also optional…”

Appearance: “Generally a jet black color, although some may appear very dark brown.  Large, persistent head of light tan to light brown in color.  Usually opaque.”

Flavor: “Moderate to very high roasted malt flavors, often tasting of coffee, roasted coffee beans, dark or bittersweet chocolate.  May have a slightly burnt coffee ground flavor, but this character should not be prominent if present.  Low to medium malt sweetness, often with rich chocolate or caramel flavors.  Medium to high bitterness.  Hop flavor can be low to high, and generally reflects citrusy or resiny American varieties.  Light esters may be present but are not required.  Medium to dry finish, occasionally with a light burnt quality.  Alcohol flavors can be present up to medium levels, but smooth.  No diacetyl.”

Mouthfeel: “Medium to full body.  Can be somewhat creamy, particularly if a small amount of oats have been used to enhance mouthfeel.  Can have a bit of roast-derived astringency, but this character should not be excessive.  Medium-high to high carbonation.  Light to moderately strong alcohol warmth, but smooth and not excessively hot.”

Ingredients: “Common American base malts and yeast.  Varied use of dark and roasted malts, as well as caramel-type malts.  Adjuncts such as oatmeal may be present in low quantities.  American hop varieties.”

Vital Statistics:

OG:  1.050 – 1.075

IBUs:  35 – 75

FG:  1.010 – 1.022

SRM:  30 – 40+

ABV:  5 – 7%

Commercial Examples:

Sierra Nevada Stout

North Coast Old No. 38

Avery Out of Bounds Stout

Three Floyds Black Sun Stout

Mad River Steelhead Extra Stout

Rogue Shakespeare Stout

Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout

Deschutes Obsidian Stout

Mendocino Black Hawk Stout

13F. Russian Imperial Stout

Aroma: “Rich and complex, with variable amounts of roasted grains, maltiness, fruity esters, hops, and alcohol.  The roasted malt character can take on coffee, dark chocolate, or slightly burnt tones and can be light to moderately strong.  The malt aroma can be subtle to rich and barleywine-like, depending on the gravity and grain bill.  …The balance can vary with any of the aroma elements taking center stage.  Not all possible aromas described need be present; many interpretations are possible.  Aging affects the intensity, balance and smoothness of aromatics.”

Appearance: “Color may range from very dark reddish-brown to jet black. Opaque.  Deep tan to dark brown head.  Generally has a well-formed head, although head retention may be low to moderate.  High alcohol and viscosity may be visible in “legs” when beer is swirled in a glass.”

Flavor: “Rich, deep, complex and frequently quite intense, with variable amounts of roasted malt/grains, maltiness, fruity esters, hop bitterness and flavor, and alcohol.  Medium to aggressively high bitterness.  Medium-low to high hop flavor (any variety).  Moderate to aggressively high roasted malt/grain flavors can suggest bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate, cocoa, and/or strong coffee.  A slightly burnt grain, burnt currant or tarry character may be evident.  Fruity esters may be low to intense, and can take on a dark fruit character (raisins, plums, or prunes).”

Mouthfeel: “Full to very full-bodied and chewy, with a velvety, luscious texture (although the body may decline with long conditioning).  Gentle smooth warmth from alcohol should be present and noticeable.  Should not be syrupy and under-attenuated.  Carbonation may be low to moderate, depending on age and conditioning.”

History: “Brewed to high gravity and hopping level in England for export to the Baltic States and Russia.  Said to be popular with the Russian Imperial Court.  Today is even more popular with American craft brewers, who have extended the style with unique American characteristics.”

Ingredients: “Well-modified pale malt, with generous quantities of roasted malts and/or grain.  May have a complex grain bill using virtually any variety of malt.  Any type of hops may be used.  Alkaline water balances the abundance of acidic roasted grain in the grist.  American or English ale yeast.”

Vital Statistics:

OG:  1.075 – 1.095+

IBUs:  50 – 90+

FG:  1.018 – 1.030+

SRM:  30 – 40+

ABV:  8 – 12+%

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Commercial Examples:

Samuel Smith Imperial Stout

Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

Rogue Imperial Stout

North Coast Old Rasputin Imperial Stout

Victory Storm King

Bell’s Expedition Stout

Dogfish Head World Wide Stout

Thirsty Dog Siberian Night

Stone Imperial Stout

Avery The Czar

Founders Imperial Stout

Newport Beach John Wayne Imperial Stout

Great Lakes Blackout Stout