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Old 11-27-2006, 02:12 AM   #1
Torchiest
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Default Good Porters & Stouts?

This is directed at dark beer fans. A friend of mine brought an assortment of porters and stouts to my job for me, saying he generally prefers pale ales. He's in a beer of the month club, and gets the twelve pack deal with three each of four different beers.

He brought me these beers to try, and I was really happy, but I've tried two so far, and I was not impressed. There was Sand Creek: Oscar's Chocolate Oatmeal Stout and Sunday River Brewing Co: Black Bear Porter. I didn't like either, but I definitely consider myself a dark beer fan. I like Anchor Porter pretty well, as it was the first porter I ever tried, and I also like Young's Double Chocolate and Oatmeal Stout, and Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout. When I was living in Olympia, Washington with my ex-girlfriend, I LOVED Black Butte Porter, also.

It's funny, because my own porter that I brewed came out great, nice and dry without being too bitter, and with a smooth and subtle chocolate finish. Luckily, I don't have to feel bad about the beers I got for free, since they would've gone to waste anyway. So, I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions on good microbrewed stouts and porters. Of course, it could all be just a matter of taste!

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Old 11-27-2006, 02:12 AM   #2
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Anchor Porter rocks! Try Rogue's Shakespeare Stout also.

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Old 11-27-2006, 02:26 AM   #3
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Stone Smoked Porter. The smoke is subtle, but really adds something smooth and velvety to an already-good porter. One of my all-time faves.

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Old 11-27-2006, 04:03 AM   #4
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Default Timing is Not Right

I have several heavier stuff in my supply. I find that the heavier gravity beer needs to be drank when appropriate. When you are in the mood, have the right food, or the right temperature (seasonally), etc...

I just drank a Belgian Dubbel followed by a Rauchbier. Both are very dark and approaching or over 5% ABV. I have had them before and today was not right for either. They were too heavy for the mood. It probably wasn't right stacking them on top of each other. I felt as if I had to force them down, but I really like them both, normally. - I should have had one of of my wheats or pale ales instead. Almost everything I drink is in quarts, so 1 = 2.5 beers. (Good for Football!!)

Earlier I had an italian beef sandwiches w/ a bunch of gardinera on top. (Basically a roast beef with italian hot peppers) imported from one of Chicago's many Greek sandwich outfits. Need to be from Chi-town to understand that... Matching with the right food is important. Kind of like wine; white with white-meat, read w/ red... In my case, a dark malty beer goes with a roast beef, a stew or smoked briskit.

The mood suits the beer. Hence you can see why tasteless beers like BMC can suit almost any occasion.

Serving temp can be a factor too. If it too cold the carbonation isn't right or age can be a factor. Samuel Smith's comes in clear bottles. Maybe UV is a problem? Improper storage?? Who knows how old that stuff is now. The problem with imports is that it sits on shelves too long and its in the wrong enviromment. Generally by the time most people sample it , its past its prime.

If you base their eval on fresh stuff you are comparing apples to oranges. If you look at beer and its short life-span you can understand why good beer gets a bad rap. Taste is so subjective...

Either way, its fun to sample new stuff....

My suggestions for porters & stouts... find a local brew pub!! In Des Moines Iowa, The Court Ave Brewery used to make a James Polk Porter. Now I have to find a new Fav. Like a Granite City's IPA.... highly hopped with northern brewer...

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Old 11-27-2006, 04:58 AM   #5
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As I sit here sipping my Breckenridge Vanilla Porter...

Porters and Stouts are my fave styles, and they never used to be. I used to despise them, favoring Pilsners, Ales and IPA's. These days tho, I likes me a darker beer. With the micros it really depends on how they are hopped. (FWIW I've lost my taste for IPA's apparently, and I used to love IPA's.) If a Porter or Stout is overly hopped it does zero for me. (Sierra Nevada's Stout jumps to mind)

Schlenkerla makes an extremely valid point tho. What you're going to drink is highly influenced by your mood, what you're doing, and what you've eaten/you're getting ready to eat.

Some of my faves? The Breckenridge offering I mentioned above is just .

Other goodies?
Anchor Porter. (Anchor, I love Anchor...)
Bear Republic's Big Bear Black Stout
O'Fallon's Smoke Porter
Rogue's Chocolate Stout (I've never had the Shakespeare Stout, but I have a bomber in the fridge)
Fuller's London Porter is an amazing beer. (As is their ESB)
Left Hand's Black Jack Porter and Milk Stout are both really good. (The Black Jack is better tho IMHO)
Young's Double Chocolate Stout.

I'm sure there's more, but that's what jumps to mind.

Ize

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Old 11-27-2006, 06:27 AM   #6
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A good dark beer to convert the BMC crowd is Yuengling Porter (from my college days in Philly). Was dirt cheap, easy drinking, and had good flavor. Fairly light for a porter, but tasty. The brewery has some interesting history to it also. Not sure how far west they distribute - have not seen it out here in CA.

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Old 11-27-2006, 07:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_bird
Stone Smoked Porter. The smoke is subtle, but really adds something smooth and velvety to an already-good porter. One of my all-time faves.
That's a favorite of mine along with the Alaskan Smoked Porter and Brooklyn's Chocolate Stout.

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Old 11-27-2006, 01:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ize
As I sit here sipping my Breckenridge Vanilla Porter...
Ach! How could I forget the Breckenridge?? That's my new favorite!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ize
Porters and Stouts are my fave styles, and they never used to be. I used to despise them, favoring Pilsners, Ales and IPA's. These days tho, I likes me a darker beer. With the micros it really depends on how they are hopped. (FWIW I've lost my taste for IPA's apparently, and I used to love IPA's.) If a Porter or Stout is overly hopped it does zero for me. (Sierra Nevada's Stout jumps to mind)
I think you really hit it on the head, because that was what seemed off about the ones I was trying last night. Too hopped, and relatively weak body. Kinda like they really wanted to brew a pale ale but added just enough dark malts to make it black w/o really affecting the taste.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ize
Schlenkerla makes an extremely valid point tho. What you're going to drink is highly influenced by your mood, what you're doing, and what you've eaten/you're getting ready to eat.

Some of my faves? The Breckenridge offering I mentioned above is just .

Other goodies?
Anchor Porter. (Anchor, I love Anchor...)
Bear Republic's Big Bear Black Stout
O'Fallon's Smoke Porter
Rogue's Chocolate Stout (I've never had the Shakespeare Stout, but I have a bomber in the fridge)
Fuller's London Porter is an amazing beer. (As is their ESB)
Left Hand's Black Jack Porter and Milk Stout are both really good. (The Black Jack is better tho IMHO)
Young's Double Chocolate Stout.

I'm sure there's more, but that's what jumps to mind.

Ize
I love Fuller's London Porter as well. I did recently try both of those Left Hand beers, but I wasn't impressed by either, actually. Maybe I wasn't in the right mood. Now I'm curious about these smoke porters though. Never tried one. Looks like it's time for a little drive to my local liquor/beer store.
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Old 11-27-2006, 02:11 PM   #9
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I never used to care for dark beers either, but in the last couple months I have mostly been drinking
Leinenkugels Creamy Dark
Sam Adams Black Lager
Sam Smith Taddy Porter
And yes, that Breckenridge Vanilla Porter is good stuff, we've got one left. Just brewed my Vanilla Porter from Austin Homebrew yesterday.
I'm also hording one last Sprecher Generation Porter, that stuff is great.

Fuller's London Porter didn't do much for me, but it could be because I was given it at a cookout in the middle of August.

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Old 11-27-2006, 04:27 PM   #10
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Torchy,

I could print you out a 3-page list of great stuff, but I'll just toss out a few favorites:

Avery: The Czar, Imperial Stout. Delicious, very ageable, great hop backbone.
Stoudt: Fat Dog Imperial Oatmeal Stout. One of my all-time favorites. Very chocolatey, silky, full-bodied.
Stone: Smoked Porter. Not too smoky, but just enough to really add something special. A really excellent porter all around, and perfect with seared scallops.
Rogue: Chocolate Stout. They use real belgian chocolate...this stuff is dessert, for sure.
Smuttynose: Robust Porter. One of the best pure stylistic porters made in the states. Recently won a gold at the GABF I think.

For some craziness, see if you can find Le Coq's Extra Imperial Russian Stout. It's British, but the stuff is like motor oil. Almost no carbonation, and it typically has a more savory profile than sweet. Lots of bottle variation, which I think depends on the age of the bottles. Some bottles are chocolatey, some have had a fun hint of soy sauce.

De Dolle in Belgium makes a great stout too, but it's hard to find. If you can get your hands on some of Avery's Mephistopheles, buy a few bottles. It's probably around $8 per 12oz bottle, but worth every penny. Lots of oak on that one. It will beat you like a little bitch!

Bell's Expedition Stout is another oaked beauty. Has a strong presence of what can only be described as "dirty salt-n-vinegar natural potato chips", which comes from the oak. Yum! Bluegrass Brewing's Bourbon Barrel Stout is one of the best stouts I've had.

Also to go a bit from the norm, you should try an "Entire Butt" porter from England. Definitely not the porter you're used to. Much more floral and fruity...I love them, just for something different.

If you require more, I can go on and on...but this should get you started.

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