Stouts are a type of ale brewed with many of the same components as other beers (e.g. yeast and hops). However, the distinguishing factor is that stouts feature more roasted malts than other brews typically do. There’s a range of flavors these malts have to offer, like caramel, chocolate, coffee, and more. Here’s our list of top stout beers ranked by availability to help you introduce yourself to the dark side of craft beer. If you don’t have much experience with stouts, fret not, and begin with a pint of one of these crowd-pleasers.
Flavor Profile: This full-bodied sweet stout features brown sugar, vanilla cream, and mocha elements with a slight bitterness.
Pairing: This stout pairs best with chocolate bread pudding, pork tenderloin, and glazed butternut squash
Flavor Profile: Founders’ popular Breakfast stout features oatey malts, two types of coffee and imported chocolate to allow you to skip the bloody marys and pick up a beer instead.
Pairings: According to blogs referenced by Founders, this goes well with gingerbread cookies, BBQ pulled pork, and mocha cupcakes.
Flavor Profile: Dragon’s Milk showcases strong notes of roasted malt, vanilla, and even slight hints of boozy oak (as a result of being bourbon barrel-aged).
Pairings: This one pairs with rich cheeses (think Fontina or Cambozola), as well as dark chocolate, and smoked foods.
Flavor Profile: A traditional Russian inspired imperial stout, Old Rasputin has a mix of chocolate and coffee malts, with subtle hints of fruit that peek in-between.
Pairings: A hearty stout invites a hearty meal, Old Rasputin goes perfectly with beef stew, mushrooms dishes, and plums.
(Image courtesy of Samuel Smith’s Twitter)
Flavor Profile: This sweet stout focuses primarily on the chocolate – using both organic chocolate malts and cocoa to deeply infuse notes of it throughout your entire palate.
Pairings: This one goes well with cream based desserts (as most stouts do) and surprisingly, oysters.
Flavor Profile: Despite what the color may imply, Belching Beaver’s famous PB Milk Stout is surprisingly sessionable. It’s primary flavor components are dark chocolate, coffee, and of course, roasted peanuts.
Pairings: As a dessert beer, it would be an injustice to pair this one with anything other than chocolate, banana split, or even with some ice cream as a beer float.
Flavor Profile: Wells & Young’s Double Chocolate Stout uses notes of chocolate and espresso that permeate this sweet stout, accompanied by tones of vanilla and cream.
Pairings: This yummy chocolate stout is recommended to be paired with seafood, ice cream, and raspberries.
Flavor Profile: Made with a significant variety of malts, this imperial stout packs a serious punch with elements of smoke, licorice, and cocoa.
Pairings: As a result of featuring hints of dark fruit this stout goes well with toffee, figs, and fudge.
Flavor Profile: Notorious for its pitch-black color, AleSmith’s Speedway Stout has a strong coffee forefront with hints of black cherry, toffee, and caramel, as well as even traces of raisin. AleSmith also features several varieties of this popular stout, ranging from versions brewed with vanilla beans to a special double barreled version.
Pairings: This darker than dark stout goes well with BBQ, bleu cheese, and cheeses like gouda and muenster.
Flavor Profile: Strong roasted malt flavor, with rich caramel and molasses elements. YETI has a uniquely strong hop influence for a stout, which makes it great for several occasions.
Parings: This mysterious stout goes well with savory dishes such as grilled steak and rosemary potatoes, along with desserts like creme brulee
Flavor Profile: Bomb! has notes of coffee and vanilla bean, but the real kicker is the addition of ancho chili peppers.
Pairings: Nuts and chocolate
Flavor Profile: An oldie but a goodie, Murphy’s Irish Stout is a medium bodied stout with licorice notes and a smooth, creamy finish
Pairings: Corned beef, shepard’s pie, and ox tail soup
Flavor Profile: This fan favorite uses mexican chocolate, pasilla peppers, and spice elements like cinnamon and nutmeg to deliver a delicious mocha stout.
Pairings: French onion soup, chicken mole, and tiramisu
Flavor Profile: One of Modern Times’ core beers, eight different malts go into this brew, along with two types of coffee.
Pairings: Chocolate lava cake, pizza, and coffee cake
Flavor Profile: This mysterious pumpkin stout takes a lot of inspiration from pumpkin pie, featuring lots of spicy undertones and breadiness.
Pairings: Spicy BBQ, carrot cake and chocolate pudding
Of course this is only the tip of the iceberg, but consider these suggestions a great place to start. Once you’ve sampled (and stocked!) one of these crowd-pleasers, try promoting your new menu addition via your social accounts or digital displays to draw more traffic to your bar or restaurant.