What is the difference between stouts and porters?
Since the dawn of drinking beer, this question has perplexed many, but the answer is both complex and simple. Porters were first brewed in 18th century London and were made to be a dark, medium bodied, malty beer with lots of hops to balance it out. As the Porter became more popular, brewmasters started to experiment with their recipes making stronger Porters with higher alcohol. So traditionally, Stouts are just stronger Porters. In fact, Stouts used to be called Stout Porters. However, nowadays the answer isn’t as easy.
Many breweries make Porters that are stronger than Stouts and Stouts that are weaker than Porters. The one difference that most brewers still seem to agree on is that Porters are made with malted barley and Stouts are made with unmalted roasted barley giving Stouts that rich coffee flavor. However, brewers also continue to blur the line between these distinctions making Porters with unmalted roasted barley.
So is there a difference between Porters and Stouts? The best way to answer that would be to say kind of and sometimes. Ultimately the only thing that matters is how the beer tastes and the modern beer world is in no short supply of delicious Stouts and Porters. Don’t worry about the silly distinctions and drink up!