The iconic dark color of a stout comes from the deep roasting of the malted grains used in brewing them. But if you see dark brown beer and all you think of is Guinness, then get the hell out of our club house—I mean… then you are in for some serious treats!
5 Samuel Adams Cream Stout
Of course they made the list, those feisty guys from The Boston Beer Company! Sam Adams Cream Stout does indeed have a sort of creamy richness to the mouthfeel, and you better pour carefully or you’ll get more head than lovely dark brown beer. Many people think of beer as a fizzy yellow fluid they drink while yelling at TVs, at sportsmen, or at fish. And that’s fine… sort of. That kind of beer is one thing; this kind is another. This is the kind of beer you pour into a glass which you will then hold near one knee as you lean closer to the fire, listening to tales of yore spoken by well-dressed old men. Or maybe you’ll order it on tap in a fine gastro pub, either way, just try it! You’ll taste coffee, chocolate, cream, a bit of pine. It’s a unique beer and not for everyone. No, it’s just for people who love beer.
4 Sierra Nevada’s Stout… mhmm, baby
Mhmm. Everything this brewery shares with the world is at least good; often it’s great. This stout? Great. The hop profile that defines most Sierra Nevada beers – certainly their flagship Pale Ale – may be a bit much for some, thus our putting it at #4 on our list, but man, what a big, delicious brew. It’s creamy, it’s toasty, it’s deep and dark, and at 50 IBUs and 5.8% ABV, it’s about the perfect stout for those who want roasted toasted dark malts in a long embrace with hop bitterness in a package you can sip more than one of.
3 Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout
Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout is in the middle spot here because it is a great beer and it is easy to find. There is something to be said for the latter point there: good beer was not always easy to come by, and this British offering (yeah, heavy on the Brit beers, this list, but they arguably created the style) was one of the first good stouts to be widely available. It has a nice burnt toast flavoring cut with citrus/floral hops, all balanced upon the nice malt bed of the grain and oatmeal that defines the brew.
2 Youngs’ Double Chocolate Stout
You may be wondering right off the bat “Why is it called Double Chocolate?” Good question! Kind of an obvious one, actually, but yeah, let’s talk about that. This beer, like many fine stouts, is made using “chocolate malts,” which are deeply roasted barley grains that impart a toasty chocolaty flavor to the beer. But Wells & Young’s Ltd. went and changed the game—they doubled down, and added actual chocolate to the recipe. What you get is about as close to a beer chocolate milkshake fusion as you could hope for. It is like stout candy. Oh do try one, do.
1 Rogue’s Shakespeare Stout
Rogue’s Shakespeare Stout is so damn good it may be hard to finish this article without heading out to buy ten one. At only 6% ABV you can quaff a few pints of this rich, dark brown, chocolaty beer per session. There is a toasty sweetness to the finish that is almost like marshmallow, and the hops are just bitter enough to leave the beer without any cloying properties to its sweetness. A masterful oatmeal stout. A triumphant beer, through and through!