Lesson of the Day #5 - Porters vs. Stouts

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Porters vs. Stouts

In today's world of craft brewing mash-ups and innovation, the lines between one style of beer and the next are fuzzy. However most brewers still agree that the difference between these 2 dark, robust ales is that Stouts contain roasted, unmalted barley, giving them a less sweet flavor than their cousin.


Trivia Question - Czar Russian Imperial Stouts originally from Russia?

Answer - No. Much like India Pale Ale’s, RIS's originated in England, and got their name from where they were being shipped; to Russia.

Legend has it that Peter the Great visited England in 1689 and fell in love with their dark porters, of which he described their flavor as stout, giving birth to the style’s name. Peter requested shipment back to Russia, of these stout porters. The first shipment to the Imperial court failed, so the brewers upped the alcohol content, thus creating the Russian Imperial Stout. 

This legend is disputed since brewers hadn't really started making porters until 1720, and even then weren't widely known. However, about 100 years after Peter, Catherine the Great fell in love with the style and had regular shipments sent to her Imperial court.  It also should be noted that the alcohol content being upped to survive the journey is probably also false. The aristocracy just wanted a more powerful punch!

Michael Breyette