The best malts to use for a Stout

Thanks to a new generation of brewers and drinkers, the stout has burgeoned in its popularity during the 21st century.

So, the chances are that whether you’re a homebrewer or working at a brewery, you’ll be tasked with brewing a stout at some point. As a result, we’ve got a bit more information on the beer style in this blog, as well as some of the malts we can deliver to you to make a great dark beer!

History of the Stout

The first known usage of the word ‘stout’ in relation to beer came in the late 17th century. However, this was nothing to do about the creation of the stout beer style itself – but ‘stout’ was an adjective for ‘strong’, so a stout beer was just a strong beer.

Upon the creation of the porter in the 1720s, the term ‘stout porter’ was used to describe a stronger variant of the porter style and ‘stout’, from there, continued to be used to describe a stronger version of any beer style.

Much later, the stout became specifically associated with darker beers.

Stout vs Porter

So, you’re probably thinking – what is the difference between a modern day stout and porter? The answer to that depends on who you speak to and where but, as the craft beer industry continues to boom, those differences are becoming increasingly blurred and minimal.

As stated above, a stout was traditionally a porter with a higher ABV. Nowadays, stout and porter offerings from breweries are comparable. A study from Martyn Cornell, founder of the award-winning Zythophile blog, profiled 14 stouts and 14 porters from breweries, with the average ABV 4.7% for the stouts and 4.8% for the porters.

Another way porters and stouts have been differentiated is that porters are full of flavour, slightly sweet with an extra malt body, while stouts tend to be darker, drier and have a more pronounced coffee-like, roasted barley bitterness.

Base Malt for a Stout

Best Pale Ale Malt – Most stouts use pale malt as a base and our Best Pale Ale, kilned to between 2.2°L and 3°L, provides a rich, malty flavour that works great in big, full-bodied stouts. Many other of our base malts can also be used to produce a stout though, including all-rounder Maris Otter, which gives a more biscuit-like flavour.

Check out all of our Base Malts HERE.

Highly Kilned Malt for a Stout

Imperial – The warm brown notes Imperial Malt adds to the wort intensifies the depth of colour, without compromising enzymic activity. With its full-bodied, bready flavour with hints of sweetness alongside its biscuit aroma, its usage can be up to 50% in stouts.

Check out all of our Highly Kilned Malts HERE.

Crystal Malt for a Stout

Crystal Extra Dark – The beautiful rich brown of a Crystal Extra Dark grain gives an insight to the exquisite dried fruit and burnt sugar flavours that are imparted by this expertly crafted dark crystal. Used in small amounts, Crystal Extra Dark will help balance flavour and colour in stouts, whilst enhancing head retention. Other darker crystal malts, such as Crystal Dark and Simpsons’ DRC, can also be used effectively in stouts.

Check out all of our Crystal Malts HERE.

Roasted Malt for a Stout

Black Malt – Black Malt has been the mainstay of a stout ever since its invention as Patent Black Malt in 1817, with its invention replacing the inconsistent and less than efficient porter malts that preceded it. Black Malt is excellent for darkening beer colour in stouts without imparting too much astringency or roast characteristics. The flavour is dark chocolate and coffee, with a clean dryness that makes it an incredibly versatile product. Another roasted product that is suitable for stouts is our Amber Malt. It gives biscuit flavours that help to dry out a stout and, with its delicate, roast flavour, it adds toasty notes to all dark beers. Brown Malt and Chocolate Malt can also be used, imparting different hues, flavours and aromas, while Roasted Barley – with its astringent and roasted flavours – can be used sparingly to enhance dryness. To get the best from roast house malts you need the right brewing liquor, preferably one with high alkalinity to balance out the acidity of the roast malts. If the liquor is wrong, the beer will be thin and lack flavour. Use plenty of chloride to bring out the fruit, chocolate and coffee flavours.

Check out all of our Roasted Malts HERE.

Extra Special Malts for a Stout

Malted Oats – If it’s an oatmeal stout you’re thinking of brewing, then you’re going to need some Malted Oats. With their large, thick husks, Malted Oats provide the backbone of creaminess and a complexity of flavour in this beer style. Used up to 30%, Malted Oats smooth out the astringency that may result from the heavy use of roasted grains. Other oat-based products, including Golden Naked Oats and Flaked Oats, can also be used to sweeten and fill out a stout. Basically, use oat-based products for a sweet stout and Roast Barley and/or Amber Malt for a dry stout.

Check out all of our Extra Special Malts HERE.

Check out the best malts for other beer styles

If you’re interested in finding out more about our malts or trying them for yourself, then get in touch with our order office team today or contact us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.