When most people think of a dark beer, the first thing that comes to mind is Guinness type of beer. This iconic Irish stout has been around for over 250 years and has become one of the most popular beers in the world.
However, Guinness is just one example of a stout or black lager, which are both styles of beer with deep color and rich flavors. Stouts originated in England in the 1700s as a variation of porter, which was a popular style at the time.
They are typically made with roasted barley or malted barley that has been kilned to produce a dark color and deep roasted flavor. Black lagers, on the other hand, are brewed using lager yeast but with darker malts than traditional lagers.
Over time, stouts and black lagers have become more popular among craft beer enthusiasts looking for bold flavors and unique brewing techniques. While Guinness remains a top choice for many beer drinkers worldwide, there are countless other stouts and black lagers out there worth exploring.
Whether you’re an avid beer enthusiast or just starting to explore different types of beers beyond your usual go-to pint at the bar, this list will give you some new options to try.
The ten stouts and black lagers on this list were chosen based on their unique flavor profiles, quality craftsmanship from reputable breweries around the world, popularity among fans of these styles, as well as their availability both locally and online. From classic Irish stouts to more modern takes on these styles with added ingredients like chocolate or coffee flavors – there’s something here for everyone to enjoy!
What Makes a Good Stout/Black Lager?
Stouts and black lagers are both dark, full-bodied beers with complex flavor profiles. A good stout or black lager should have a rich, malt-forward taste with notes of coffee, chocolate, and caramel. These flavors are complemented by a smooth mouthfeel and moderate carbonation.
An exceptional stout or black lager will also have a slight bitterness that balances out the sweetness of the malt. The color of a stout or black lager is another defining characteristic.
Stouts are typically pitch black with a thick, creamy head while black lagers have a deep brown color that is almost opaque. This darkness comes from the use of roasted malts and barley which give stouts and black lagers their distinctive flavors.
Exploring Brewing Techniques
The brewing process can greatly affect the flavor profile of stouts and black lagers. For example, stouts brewed with oatmeal will have a creamier mouthfeel while those brewed with coffee beans will have strong notes of coffee in their flavor profile. Similarly, barrel-aged stouts will take on the characteristics of the type of barrel they were aged in (e.g., bourbon barrels imparting vanilla and oak flavors).
In contrast to stouts, black lagers are typically brewed using cold fermentation techniques which produce less fruity esters compared to warmer fermentation techniques used for other styles like IPAs or wheat beers. This results in clean-tasting beer that allows the nutty, bready nature of Munich malts to shine through without being overshadowed by strong hops aromas.
An Unforgettable Drinking Experience
A good stout or black lager provides an unforgettable drinking experience that engages all your senses – sight (dark colors), smell (roasty aroma), taste (rich flavors), touch (smooth mouthfeel), and sound (a satisfying head when poured). The best stouts and black lagers have a well-balanced flavor profile with a complexity that keeps you wanting more. Now that you know what makes a good stout or black lager, let’s explore some of the top must-try options for Guinness fans.
Top 10 Must-Try Stouts and Black Lagers for Guinness Fans
While Guinness is undoubtedly a classic, there are many other stouts and black lagers that offer unique flavor profiles and complex tastes. Here are our top 10 picks for must-try stouts and black lagers for Guinness fans:
1. Murphy’s Irish Stout
Murphy’s Irish Stout is another well-known Irish stout that is often enjoyed alongside Guinness. It has a creamy mouthfeel with notes of coffee and chocolate, making it the perfect choice for those who enjoy the rich flavors found in stouts. This stout has a lower ABV than Guinness, making it a great option for those who prefer to enjoy several drinks without feeling too buzzed.
2. Young’s Double Chocolate Stout
If you have a sweet tooth, Young’s Double Chocolate Stout is the perfect brew for you. As its name suggests, this stout has rich chocolate flavors that are perfectly balanced with the bitterness of roasted malts. Despite its sweetness, this beer finishes with a dry aftertaste that makes it incredibly drinkable.
3. Left Hand Brewing Co.’s Milk Stout Nitro
This American stout from Left Hand Brewing Co. has won numerous awards for its smooth and creamy texture. The addition of lactose sugar gives this beer an extra touch of sweetness that complements the roasted coffee flavors perfectly. To achieve its signature nitro pour (similar to what you’d experience with a pint of Guinness), make sure to pour this brew hard into your glass.
4. Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout
This English oatmeal stout from Samuel Smith’s Brewery is known for its velvety texture and sweet malt flavor profile. It pours almost black in color with a thick, creamy head that sticks around until the last sip. The addition of oatmeal to the recipe gives this beer a smoothness that makes it incredibly drinkable.
5. Deschutes Brewery’s Obsidian Stout
If you’re looking for a stout with bold flavors, look no further than Deschutes Brewery’s Obsidian Stout. This Imperial stout has rich notes of dark chocolate and espresso, as well as hints of molasses and licorice. Despite its high ABV (around 6%), this brew is surprisingly easy to drink thanks to its smooth mouthfeel.
6. Rogue Ales’ Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout
This award-winning oatmeal stout from Rogue Ales is named after the famous playwright due to its rich and complex flavor profile. The addition of oats gives this beer a silky texture, while subtle notes of chocolate and coffee round out its flavor profile. Its dry finish makes it incredibly drinkable.
7. Stone Brewing Co.’s Xocoveza Imperial Stout
If you’re looking for a unique and complex flavor profile, Stone Brewing Co.’s Xocoveza Imperial Stout is one to try. Inspired by Mexican hot chocolate, this stout has flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla that are perfectly balanced with roasted malts. Despite its intense flavors, this brew finishes with a smooth mouthfeel that makes it easy to drink.
8. Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout
This oatmeal stout from Firestone Walker Brewing Company has won numerous awards for its rich flavors and velvety texture. Notes of roasted coffee and caramel are complemented by a subtle sweetness from the addition of lactose sugar. Its low bitterness makes it an incredibly easy-to-drink brew that goes down smoothly.
9. Ayinger Brewery’s Celebrator Doppelbock
While not a stout or a black lager, Ayinger Brewery’s Celebrator Doppelbock is a must-try beer for those who love rich and complex flavors. This German-style beer has notes of dark fruit, caramel, and toasted bread that are perfectly balanced with its malty sweetness. Its smooth mouthfeel makes it incredibly drinkable despite its high ABV (around 7%).
10. Köstritzer Schwarzbier
This German black lager from Köstritzer Brewery is one of the most popular in the world. Its flavor profile is characterized by notes of roasted coffee, chocolate, and caramel that are perfectly balanced with the bitterness of hops. This brew has a surprisingly light body that makes it incredibly drinkable.
These top 10 stouts and black lagers offer unique flavor profiles and complex tastes that will satisfy any Guinness fan looking to explore new options. From sweet chocolate stouts to robust imperial stouts, there’s something for every palate on this list.
Tasting Notes and Descriptions for Each Beer
Murphy’s Irish Stout
Murphy’s Irish Stout is a smooth and creamy beer that resembles Guinness in many ways. The aroma has a malty character with notes of coffee and chocolate.
Upon the first sip, it is immediately noticeable how silky the mouthfeel is, which makes for an easy drinking experience. This stout has a mildly sweet taste with hints of roasted barley that come to play in the aftertaste.
Young’s Double Chocolate Stout
As the name suggests, Young’s Double Chocolate Stout has an unmistakable cocoa flavor that dominates both aroma and taste. The creamy texture only enhances this already sweet beer, making every sip feel like an indulgent dessert. Dark chocolate notes are most prominent in this beer, but there are also hints of vanilla and caramel that add depth to its profile.
Left Hand Brewing Co.’s Milk Stout Nitro
Left Hand Brewing Co.’s Milk Stout Nitro has a rich, velvety mouthfeel thanks to its nitrogen infusion. Its aroma presents as roasty with subtle notes of dark fruit.
On the palate, it boasts flavors of coffee, chocolate, and creaminess brought on by lactose sugar added during brewing. The finish is surprisingly clean despite its full-body; very little bitterness lingers after each sip.
Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout
Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout provides a complex blend of aromas including dark fruit such as raisins or plums along with toasted bread-like smells. Like oatmeal itself, this stout feels hearty upon tasting due to added oats which add creaminess while still allowing hop bitterness to make an appearance for balance; however hop flavors aren’t heavily pronounced in Samuel Smith’s version.
Deschutes Brewery’s Obsidian Stout
Deschutes Brewery’s Obsidian Stout has an inviting aroma of coffee and chocolate. The taste is bold, with a heavy dose of roasted malt that provides a smoky flavor.
Its full-bodied mouthfeel gives way to a pleasant, bittersweet finish that lingers in the aftertaste. This beer offers a great balance of sweetness and bitterness, making it a well-rounded choice for stout lovers.
Rogue Ales’ Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout
Rogue Ales’ Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout boasts an impressive combination of complex flavors. The aroma hints at coffee, dark chocolate, and some floral hops in the background.
On the palate, it starts off sweet before transitioning to roasted barley bitterness which lasts beyond every sip. Oats provide creaminess to the texture which balances out any harsher notes.
Stone Brewing Co.’s Xocoveza Imperial Stout
Stone Brewing Co.’s Xocoveza Imperial Stout is brewed with Mexican hot chocolate-inspired spices like cinnamon and nutmeg which are clearly distinguishable in both aroma and taste; additionally, there are hints of vanilla and chili pepper present throughout each sip. Despite the high alcohol content typical of imperial stouts (8.1% ABV), this beer has a smooth finish with little to no alcohol burn.
Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout
Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout is creamy in texture while still being relatively low on carbonation which contributes to its smoothness; this also helps highlight its aromas which include chocolate and coffee along with some nutty scents as well as hints of smoke from roasted malts used during brewing process.
Ayinger Brewery’s Celebrator Doppelbock
Ayinger Brewery’s Celebrator Doppelbock has a rich aroma with dark fruit (plums and raisins) in the forefront as well as some notes of toasted bread. Its taste is sweet and malty initially, but it finishes with a slightly bitter aftertaste. This beer is full-bodied with lots of depth, making it perfect for sipping on its own or pairing with hearty meals.
Köstritzer Schwarzbier is a German-style black lager that offers a unique flavor profile compared to the stouts in this list. Its aroma has hints of coffee and chocolate, but also presents a slightly smoky scent.
On the palate, it provides flavors of roasted malt with little bitterness that makes it an easy-drinking beer despite its dark appearance which usually implies stronger brews. Overall, these top 10 must-try stouts and black lagers for Guinness fans offer an array of unique tastes and aromas that are sure to satisfy any stout lover’s palate.
Food Pairings for Stouts/Black Lagers
Why Food Pairing Matters
Pairing food with beer has become increasingly popular in recent years, with many restaurants offering beer pairing menus alongside traditional wine pairings. The rich, complex flavors of stouts and black lagers make them ideal for pairing with a wide variety of foods. When done correctly, the right food pairing can enhance the flavor profile of both the beer and the food.
When it comes to pairing stouts and black lagers with food, there are several key factors to consider. It’s important to choose foods that complement the rich flavors of the beer without overwhelming them.
Here are some suggested pairings to try: – Grilled or roasted meats: Stouts and black lagers pair beautifully with hearty meats like steak, lamb, or pork.
The charred flavors from grilling or roasting help bring out the roasted malt notes in the beer. – Chocolate desserts: Dark chocolate pairs particularly well with stouts and black lagers because it echoes some of the bitterness in the beer while also complementing its sweet notes.
– Creamy cheeses: Soft cheeses like brie or camembert have a rich creaminess that pairs well with stouts and black lagers. The slight bitterness in these beers helps balance out the richness of cheese.
It’s also worth noting that stouts can be surprisingly versatile when it comes to pairing with different types of cuisine. For example, a stout might work just as well paired with spicy Mexican dishes as it does with classic pub fare like fish and chips.
Experimentation is Key
Ultimately, there are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to pairing stouts and black lagers with food. Experimentation is key; don’t be afraid to try new things and see what works best for your palate. With so many rich, complex flavors to explore, there’s no shortage of delicious pairings to discover.
Recap of top 10 must-try stouts/black lagers for Guinness fans to try
After exploring the world of stouts and black lagers, it’s clear that there are many excellent options beyond the ever-popular Guinness. The top 10 must-try stouts and black lagers offer a range of flavors and styles that any beer enthusiast can enjoy. From Murphy’s Irish Stout to Köstritzer Schwarzbier, each beer has its unique character and offers something special to the palate.
Encouragement to explore new beers within this category
While these ten beers are great starting points for those seeking to expand their knowledge of stouts and black lagers, there are countless other options out there waiting to be discovered. One of the joys of being a beer enthusiast is discovering new brews and expanding one’s palate.
Whether you’re looking for a chocolaty, sweet stout or a crisp, refreshing black lager, there is sure to be a beer out there that meets your preferences perfectly. So don’t be afraid to try something new – you never know what amazing flavors await!
An Optimistic Spin on the Material
Beer lovers may never tire of their beloved Guinness stout, but exploring other stouts and black lagers can open up a whole new world of flavors and experiences. By trying out different styles from around the world, we can broaden our horizons both in terms of our personal preferences as well as our understanding of brewing techniques. So go forth with confidence knowing that there is an entire universe of delicious brews waiting for you beyond your usual standby.
Who knows? Your new favorite beer may be just one sip away!