Alexander Mauch, Ph.D., Brewer and Maltster, Science Manager at Novozymes
Happy St. Patrick's Day! Chances are, you will be enjoying a stout in celebration. While you savor the chocolaty taste of your favorite stout, read on to learn some things you might not have known about these deliciously dark beers!
There is a lot to explore when it comes to stouts, from Imperial to American, from Oatmeal to the Irish Guinness stout, which is unquestionably the beer most associated with Ireland. Guinness is a dark Irish dry stout that originated in the brewery of Arthur Guinness at St. James's Gate, Dublin, Ireland, in 1759.
Just like other beers, stouts are comprised of the classic four ingredients: malted barley, water, hops and yeast. However, it’s how these ingredients are brewed that differentiates a stout from other beers. The barley is what’s attributed to the defining characteristic of a stout: its dark coffee color. Roasted barley, in combination with chocolate malts, give the beer its appearance and rich flavor. Most stouts have minimal hop aroma. In fact, many stouts only use bittering hops in the form of pellets or liquid extracts.
Here are a few more fun facts!
- Because of their high iron content, it wasn’t unusual for people to be given a stout after donating blood. In fact, up until the early 1900’s, doctors were known for prescribing stouts to nursing mothers.
- Porters use malted barley, and stouts are primarily made from unmalted roasted barley, which is where the coffee flavor most people associate with stout comes from.
- Stouts are served at a slightly higher temperature than many other beers: between 50 and 55°F.
- Unlike most beers, Guinness served in a bar has nitrogen added at the pump. This helps to create the thick, creamy foam head this stout is known for.
- Canned versions use a widget to perform a similar function. This is a small piece of plastic that contains nitrogen and sits at the top of the can. When the can is opened and poured, the widget adds the nitrogen to create the characteristic Guinness head.
Do you have any fun facts about stouts that we missed? What is your favorite stout? Let us know by commenting at the end of this article!
Tips from the expert: Mark Stevens on how enzymes can help your consistency in high gravity brews like stouts
"I definitely recommend Ultraflo® Max for pretty much every recipe, which really shines when coupled with higher gravity brews and high adjunct inclusions. Ultraflo is a cellulase blend which helps to further break down cell wall components to liberate more starch accessibility in the mash. This also cleaves the longer arabinoxylans into shorter less viscous sugars which typically cause stuck mashes and poor sparges. This one has saved me so much time preventing stuck mashes and reducing lautering times.
"I typically use Ceremix® Flex in conjunction with Ultraflo and consider it my insurance policy when brewing higher adjunct mash bills. It was created to use with highly gelatinizing adjuncts to prevent the need of purchasing a cereal cooker. When dosed in smaller quantities with Ultraflo in higher adjunct brews, it helps to boost the saccharification during mash, thus increasing fermentable sugars."
About the Author
Dilek Austin, Ph.D.
Inside Sales Manager, Novozymes
Dilek is a lifelong food scientist with the specific focus on cereal science. For most of her career she has focused on cereal chemistry and baking. Beer is new to Dilek but certainly not a complete stranger; after all, beer is a liquid bread! Originally from Ankara, Turkey, Dilek has lived half of her life in US with her family. She enjoys gardening, crocheting, and learning new skills. While she drinks Witbier, her husband loves stouts. As usual, perfect Yin and Yang, opposite yet complementary!