Blind Stout Taste Testing with the BEERMKR Team!
In honor of Stout Month, we set out to answer some of the most burning questions about Stouts:
- What makes a Stout a Stout?
- What’s the best Stout ever?
- Can we even tell the difference between Stouts?
In order to truly understand the stout, you must drink the stout. So we decided to sit down with 5 separate stouts for a blind taste testing to put our stout knowledge and beer reputation on the line.
How does the game work?
Well, each contestant will sit down with 5 stout samples; 4 commercial and 1 made on BEERMKR. At first tasting, we won’t know what beers are in front of us; we just sniff and sip and let our brains go wild. Next, we’ll reveal the 5 beers and attempt to match each sample with its correct bottle.
Who are the contestants?
The BEERMKR team, of course. Going down the line we have Brett, who is admittedly, “just not that into stouts”, but would be considered a man of moderate beer knowledge. Up next is Aaron, our resident Stout lover and all around beer nerd. And finally, we have Matt, who learned everything he knows about Stouts during our last office hours (but man oh man does this guy know a lot of other stuff).
So three contestants with vastly different knowledge and tastes in beer. Let’s see how they do!
So how did we do?
Not bad at all! Matt, total dark horse, leaned hard on strong analytical thinking and sound reason, went 5 for 5. Aaron swagged right in and nailed all 5 as well (though boldly made some blind predictions, which were wrong…). Brett admittedly got lost in his own brain on the Guinness, and was unable to comprehend that it was the same family as the other beers, ultimately pegging it as a Porter, going 3 for 5. (This also brings up a great question we hope to answer another time, but what is the difference between a Stout and Porter?). So all in all, the founders of a company specializing in beer brewing equipment are relatively competent in their beer tasting! Huzzah!
What did we learn?
Well, there is an enormous variety in stouts these days. There are Breakfast Stouts, Coffee Stouts, Milk Stouts, Imperial Stouts, and the traditional Guinness style stouts. There stouts with heavy roasted notes, with a full rich body, and much lighter drinkable stouts. And there are adjuncts a plenty! This dark style, for whatever reason, lends itself to fun additions like chocolate, oats, coffee and more.
American craft stouts and Ye Olde Fashioned stouts are related, but feel like distant cousins. Aside from the dark color, sipping side by side, you'd hardly put them in the same family. Taking a sip of an Imperial Stout next to a frothy Guinness, and the latter feels almost like a light beer (which technically, it almost is, calorically speaking…). The American craft stouts are, across the board, much higher ABV. They also come hard with heavy roasted notes, as well as plenty of fun adjuncts. While Guinness, in comparison, almost feels like a session beer. And given the pub culture and the way the lads put them down, it makes all the sense in the world. An afternoon in a cozy pub taking down Imperial Stouts would put you on your arse in a heartbeat.
There’s plenty more to learn about stouts, and we encourage all our brewers to taste their BEERMKR brews right next to commercial samples. It’s incredibly rewarding to start to analyze beers a little closer and pick and choose what you enjoy most. Look at the labels, see what ingredients they’re using vs. what our recipes are made with. Sometimes a small tweak can go a long way. The beauty of BEERMKR is the ability to customize! We want everyone to brew and enjoy the best beer possible. Cheers!