They say that you can judge a brewery by its Stout. And for good reason too.

The Stout is the badass of beers–no nonsense, straight up, in-your-face and not for the light-hearted.

But first, a history lesson

It’s important to establish, right at the start, that the Stout is a descendent of the Porter.

Earlier, there wasn’t any form of beer known as the Stout. Back then, the Porter was a strong, dark brew typically brewed by London brewers. It was only in the 18th century, when brewers through a series of experiments, developed a stronger, fuller form of the Porter and called it the Stout Porter. And as beer evolution took its natural course, the ‘porter’ part of it was simply left behind and it came to be known as just the ‘Stout’.

Survival of the fittest!

Of course, the word Stout is synonymous with Guinness. The iconic Irish dry stout came to be thanks to some shrewd business decisions by Arthur Guinness all the way back in 1759. That, along with some tax laws being relaxed and Daniel Wheeler creating his patented roasting machine that redefined the process of roasting malts and barley, all at the same time.

Guinness used these twists of good fortune to the fullest, most notably Daniel Wheeler’s machine, which resulted in the birth of the signature espresso-like character of their beers.

Random Fact

November 8th is International Stout Day Craft beer is finally getting the attention it deserves. And hopefully events like these will raise awareness about the various intricacies involved in brewing, giving a much needed boost to the industry.

The birth of types

When you compare the two, Irish Stouts are usually drier and stronger than the English ones. Historically, this is because the English preferred a more healthy version of the drink, and tended to favour sweeter versions. This encouraged brewers to experiment with ingredients like milk sugar, Oatmeal, etc., resulting in the Cream Stout and the Oatmeal Stout.

Another famous type is the Imperial Russian Stout. And this one has an interesting story too.

After a visit to England, Catherine the Great was so taken by the wholesome richness of the Stout, that she commanded a substantial amount of it be sent to her in Russia. But the stout then was fairly weak, in terms of alcohol content, and by the time it was shipped over, it had already spoiled. But when Catherine the Great asks for something, she damn well gets it! In a bid to preserve the Stout through its long journey, and retain diplomatic ties, the brewers of London boosted the alcohol content, so that it would preserve the brew until it reached the royal lady.

Pouring a Stout

The way to pour a Guinness has become standardised to most Stouts around the world. According to them, a whopping 119 seconds needs to be taken while pouring the stout. It’s quite a wait, but as Guinness famously says- “good things come to those who wait.”

The Glass

The glass is an important part of the stout appreciation process. The glass used for the Stout is a Tulip shaped one, and this is important because it affects the manner of pouring, which in turn affects the movement of the Nitrogen bubbles back to the top, to give the Stout a nice and creamy head. This is essential, because it perfectly offsets the bitterness of the Stout.

Angling the glass

This is similar to how most beers are poured- at a 45 degree angle. But the difference here is that it is recommended that the Stout be poured twice- a double pour. Stopping once when the glass is three-quarters full, and then resuming, so that the Nitrogen in the beer settles just right.

Settling time

Truly appreciating a well-brewed beer requires patience, and the Stout is one of those beers. Wait for the stout to settle down completely, before pouring that last bit that results in thick, creamy head. It’s totally worth it.

The Dark Knight

This one is Toit’s contribution to the rich and fabled legacy of the Stout. The Dark Knight is Toit’s interpretation of the the Irish Stout, and you’ll see the similarities in the dryness, and the appearance. But then again, it has its own unique taste which can only come from being a locally brewed beer. Come by and indulge in the rich legacy of this beautiful beer.