Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Open thread: What are the best readily available stouts and porters?

I’ll be honest: I am totally crowd sourcing with this blog post.

If you follow me on social media you probably read the announcement that I’m writing a book called “The Handbook of Stouts and Porters.” The publishing company discovered my blog, was impressed by the quality and quantity of my reviews, and asked me if I wanted to write a book that would contain reviews of the best readily available stouts and porters. We will be making exceptions for certain famous (but rare) beers like Three Floyds Dark Lord, Founders KBS and CBS, Deschutes The Abyss, etc.

I want this book to concentrate on the best stouts and porters that: most people have heard of; can likely get at their beer store; are not ridiculously expensive; and you don’t have to drive to the middle of nowhere to buy. So what beers, in your opinion, fit that criteria?

Additionally, I’d love to know your answers to these questions, too:
  • What are the best stouts and porters for everyday drinking?
  • What are the best special occasion stouts and porters?
  • Do you prefer flavored beers (chocolate, coffee, vanilla, etc), or do you like traditional recipes?
  • Do you think bigger = better?
  • Which beers offer the best “bang for the buck” dollar value?
  • What’s the rarest and/or most expensive stout or porter you’ve had, and did it live up to your expectation?
  • Which stouts and porters are best with some age on them? Which are better fresh?
  • How would you describe the difference between a porter and a stout?
I’m sure I could go on with this survey, but it’s probably too long as it is. This is an open thread, after all, so the purpose of this is to generate conversation. Let’s keep the comments on-topic and positive, okay? No taste trolls allowed.


  1. In terms of stouts, I think hat Rasputin (sic?) would be great and something that is general available, as well as breakfast stout, during its seasonal run.

    For a porter, there is nothing better than Edmund Fitzgerald.

    Each of these is priced correctly for what they bring. I prefer a flavored stout (chocolate, coffee) because I believe it helps brings out other flavors.

  2. Do Oatmeal Stouts belong in this discussion? They aren't pure stouts, and oatmeal isn't a flavor per se, but I really dig oatmeal stouts. My experience with chocolate stouts is extremely limited. But as in your review of Brooklyn Brewery's chocolate stout, I agree that it starts out strong and tasty with rich aromas but then fades as the alcohol all but completely takes over the palette.

  3. Founders Porter is regularly available here in NY, and a one of my favs.