If you love dark beer, you probably find yourself drinking quite a few strong specimens—luscious barrel-aged imperial stouts and robust porters, rich, roasty...and boozy. But what about the sorts of dark beers that you can drink by the pint all afternoon?
'porter' on Serious Eats
A shot of Fernet and a pint of beer have long lived in double-fisting harmony. But now, with the release of Odell Brewing Co.'s Fernet Aged Porter, they meet in the rich, glorious chocolate-minty middle.
There are many myths swirling around the origins and evolution of porter and stout. First there is the notion that stout and porter refer to quite different styles; another holds that these beers were always dark, while a third tradition relies on the 'three threads' story to give porter an origin myth. All these tales are largely—and in some cases entirely—untrue.
This Northwest Sour Ale started as a blend of strong dark porters aged in oak, wine and bourbon barrels, then blended with a dark porter that was brewed with vanilla beans and cinnamon. The blend was then aged an additional 14 months with dates.
Robust Porter is what I like to call an "Americanized" version of the classic English Brown Porter style: the flavors are bolder, the alcohol content is a little higher and the hop character is more assertive. Today we'll brew it, and then we'll check up on it each day this week so you can get and idea of what you should expect when you brew it on your own.
Baltic Porters almost always give me grounds for nitpicking. I often find the taste too cloying or the alcohol too harsh—one element or another usually throws the beer out of whack. Foothills Brewing's Baltic Porter is a well-balanced exception.
Though dark in color, English porters aren't very high in alcohol. They have a hint of coffee-like bitterness from black, chocolate, or smoked brown malted barley, but not as much big roasted flavor as most stouts. A good porter is creamy and drinkable—if you think you don't like dark beers, you should give porters a chance.