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Feb 20, 2018
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Sauce’s Blind Taste-off: Porter vs. Stout

Monday, March 24th, 2014


{From left: Mark Pruitt, Eric Scholle, Josh Galliano, Sean Netzer, Troy Meier, Cory King and Karen King}

“What’s the difference between a porter and a stout?” If you’ve ever been in a great beer conversation about styles, we’re sure this question has come up. As far back as the mid-1700s, a brown stout simply meant the strongest version of porter. But, by the latter half of the 19th century, recipes for porters and stouts began to vary with the use of different malts, and roasted barley becoming a legal ingredient for beer in the United Kingdom. Today, not only is the difference between a porter and a stout no longer black and white, brewers are finding that these styles are perfect canvases for their own interpretations.

With this issue in mind, we wondered if a group of expert beer drinkers – who aren’t actually brewers – could blindly tell the difference between porters and stouts. We also wanted to know if they could come to a consensus on which beer was their favorite among nine classic and not-so-classic takes on the two styles. So the taste-off began.

The Contenders
Founders Porter, Schlafly Extra Stout Irish-Style, Deschutes Black Butte Porter, Left Hand Milk Stout, The Civil Life Porter, 4 Hands Bona Fide Imperial Stout, Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout, Six Row Porter and Deschutes Obsidian Stout

The Judges
While all six judges were chosen for their love of beer and their knowledge of styles, we also picked tasters known for their palates.

Sean Netzer, bartender and beer and whiskey buyer for 33 Wine Bar
Troy Meier, Supreme Overlord of stlhops.com
Karen King, Missouri and Kansas market manager for Deschutes Brewery
Mark Pruitt, owner of Bigelo’s Bistro
Eric Scholle, general manager of Farmhaus
Josh Galliano, executive chef-owner of The Libertine

The Moderator
Cory King, head brewer at Perennial Artisan Ales and founder of Side Project Brewing

The Commentary
“There are no wrong answers.”

“I’m really nervous that it’ll be Black Butte and I’ll be like, ‘This is the worst beer I’ve ever had in my life.’”

“I think the terms are archaic.”

“The brightness was interesting, but it’s definitely not supposed to be there.”

“Is this the beginning of a Saw movie?”

“No. 3, I put baby aspirin.”

“I’m hoping to get them right but think I’ll just get crushed.”

“That’s a thing! I’m not making this up.”

“They start to taste the same by the end.”

“I put ‘not good finish.’”

“I put ‘insipid body.’”

The Findings
While some judges’ porter/stout guesses were correct, they agreed that the terms are outdated. There is too much gray area to truly tell the difference between a porter and a stout.

The Winners
First place: Founders Porter
Second place (tie): 4 Hands Bona Fide, Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout, The Civil Life Porter

-photo by Ashley Gieseking

Drink This: Three beers that won’t kill your diet

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Still holding on to your New Year’s resolution eating habits? Here are a few beers that won’t kill your diet. Although lighter, these brews still offer enough intensity to keep the attention of any palate.

Batch 19 Pre-Prohibition Style Lager
This golden American lager pours with a nice bubbly head, and its effervescence helps to draw out the subtle aroma of a grainy bread. The first sip has a surprising amount of earthy, grassy hops with some citrus and caramel layers. It finishes with a crisp, dry tingle that reminds you that this light beer won’t destroy your diet.

Guinness Draught
I’ll say it again: Just because a beer is black doesn’t mean it’s heavy! Guinness is the classic example where the low alcohol (less calories) and dry body (less residual sugar) are offset by roasted malt and nitrogenation to create full flavors of chocolate, cream and coffee in a beer that has two calories less per 100 milliliters than Budweiser.

Berliner Style Weisse, Brettanomyces Lambicus Special Edition
The Berliner Style Weisse Bier from Gasthaus & Gosebrauerei Bayerischer Bahnhof is one of my favorite styles. Full of lemon, tropical fruits, stone fruits and a rich, malty, wheaty mid-palate, they are very dry and rarely stronger than 3-percent ABV. The natural acidity in these tart session beers make you feel like you’re drinking something closer to Champagne.


A Better BYOB

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

With large format beers* becoming rapidly more available, it can be just as fun to bring a great ale or lager to a holiday party as it is wine. Beer, with its diverse ingredients, flavors and styles, is easy to pair with almost any dish. Headed to a cocktail party? Look for styles that are either approachable, or bold and flavorful and lend best to slow sipping. For dinner parties, look to pair beers with the meal in a supplementary way (a chocolate stout with a flourless chocolate cake), or in a complimentary way (a chocolate stout with a raspberry tart and ice cream). No matter the occasion, here are a few big bottles that are sure to make the holidays a bit more festive.

Firestone Double Jack The look of this beer is clear gold. A white head opens up the smell of peaches, spring flowers and honey. The higher alcohol of this double IPA lightens the mouth feel of the rich, almost English malt backbone that tries to fight off the huge hoppiness of this West Coast-style ale.

Substitute this bottle for a pre-meal cocktail.

Brasserie Dupont Bière de Miel A beautiful Belgian ale, this honey beer has a cloudy, marigold color and a foam cap. Barnyard funk backed by a wild orange blossom honey note and a delicate pear undertone, this ale is soft, lively, inviting and unique. The honey adds depth and complexity.

Substitute this bottle for an oaked Chardonnay.

Unibroue Maudite Pale whisky in color, the eggshell head makes for a pretty beer. Lime, dried tropical fruits and fresh strawberry jam make for one great aroma. A balanced, medium body of light toffee and graham crackers is finished by a medicinal hoppiness and Belgian acidity.

Substitute this bottle for a pinot noir or Burgundy.

Stone Imperial Russian Stout Intimidating, big and bold in the glass, the mahogany head is rare for these big stouts. Mocha fudge brownies, morning coffee, oatmeal and black licorice hit your nose before the roasted espresso, black cherries and cocoa nibs wake up your tongue. The alcohol is present, but in the right amount. This is one of the best, non-barrel-aged stouts available.

Substitute this for an after-dinner whiskey. 

* Large format beers include any sold in a 22-ounce or larger bottle. While often referred to as bombers, a bomber is actually a U.S.-style that is 22 ounces. Most European and some American breweries are using Champagne- or Belgian-style bottles that tip the scale at 750 mL, or 25.4 ounces.

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