Stout Beer 101: Types and How to Drink It

In the world of craft beer, you can easily get lost in the number of options you can choose from. From classic lagers to ales, pilsners, and porters – there is a beer for everyone to enjoy. But what if you like something a bit more on the sweeter side, but still want that strong taste of a classic beer in your mouth. Well, in this case, you’re probably looking for a stout beer. This is a top-fermented, dark beer that got its name back from the Egerton manuscripts of 1677.
The word stout was used to describe a strong beer and stout beers are exactly that. Their colour is basically black, and if coffee is anything to go by, blacker generally means stronger. However, despite that, this style of beer has a low ABV percentage. Stout ale brings in a bit of complexity that makes it stand out from the crowd. The perfect barbecue isn’t complete with a good drink, but a good drink needs to be consumed properly so you enjoy it fully.

How to Drink Stout Beer

While enjoying a stout drink isn’t rocket science, it still isn’t as well known as let’s say, enjoying a lager which goes best with meat and pasta-heavy dishes. But when it comes to drinking stout beer, you actually don’t need to pair it with food at all. All that matters is for the beer to be cold, generally at a temperature between 7°C and 10°C. If you want to enjoy a stout craft beer with a higher ABV, however, then you should have it at temperatures between 12°C and 15°C.

Stout Beer Styles


stout beer

If you’re someone who doesn’t care about a drink’s dryness and wants to taste notes of coffee or chocolate, then an Irish stout is for you. The alcohol contents of an Irish stout vary from 4% to 5.5%, and Irish stout is generally supplemented with nitrogen to make for a smoother, more mouth-filling finish. 


American style stout is based on roasted barley but its flavour, intensity, and depth can differ greatly. The same goes for the alcohol content of this style of stout as well, which can vary between 5% and 7%. 


English stout or pint, as people in the UK call it, is eerily similar to the Irish stout. This is because English stout, much like Irish stout, also makes for a similar mouthful finish. Except an English stout has a more variable ABV, ranging from 4% to 7%.

Russian Imperial

If you want to taste the strongest stout there is, you’ll probably want to go for a Russian imperial stout. This stout was first made by the English for the Russian imperial court back in the 1800s and it has stayed roughly the same over the years. With deep and dark roast-y notes, the Russian imperial stout comes with an ABV percentage between 8% and 12%.

man drinking beer

American Imperial

Another stout with a similar intensity to that of the Russian imperial stout is the American imperial stout. This stout craft beer is barrel-matured which gives it this deep roast-y and rich profile. The ABV contents of this type of stout range between 8% and 13%.


Milk stout is for those of you who want to enjoy a sweeter stout than usual. Milk stout is made by brewing to get lower bitterness or to bring in the taste sugars by adding lactose. This dessert-like stout drink has an ABV range between 4% and 6%, which is pretty strong for a beer based on milk.


This type of stout drink is made by adding oats to the mash in brewing. This results in a stout that has a similar depth in taste to traditional stout, but with a sweeter and silkier texture. If you’re a fan of nutty and bready flavours, oatmeal stout is the one for you. The ABV count ranges between 4% and 7%.


Oddly enough, stout’s can be made from sea creatures, such as oysters. An oyster stout has a somewhat briny flavour, and the oysters themselves add a little bit of texture to the stout. There are no fishy notes or smells, and an oyster stout usually has an alcohol count between 5% and 9%.

stout beer glass

How to Pour Stout

Pouring a stout requires you to have control over the angle of the glass and you generally need to start by positioning it at a 45° angle. While pouring stout beer, you need to gradually straighten up the glass until you have it filled with a head that’s anywhere from 2.5 to 1.7cm. I know it sounds like you’re making a super scientific formula, but the head of a poured stout really affects its taste. However, this is also something that’s usually left to personal preference. Some people prefer having more beer head, while others prefer to have almost none at all.