What is a double stout?

Answered by Michael Blake

As an expert sommelier and brewer, I'm delighted to share my knowledge about the fascinating world of . Today, I'll be delving into the topic of double , a style that holds a special place in the brewer's lexicon.

To understand what a double stout is, we must first grasp the meaning of the word “stout” in the context. Stout is a term used to describe a strong beer, typically characterized by its dark color and rich, robust flavors. It originated from the development of porter beers in the 18th century, when brewers began producing stronger versions of the popular porter style.

In Victorian times, brewers created a variation known as “stout porter” or “double stout porter.” This beer was crafted using a combination of pale, brown, and patent black malts. The pale provided the base for the beer, while the brown and patent black malts added depth, complexity, and the characteristic dark color.

The addition of brown and patent black malts in stout porter resulted in a beer that was not only stronger in content but also possessed a more intense flavor profile. These malts brought forth notes of roasted , dark chocolate, and sometimes even a hint of smokiness. The combination of these elements created a beer with a full-bodied, velvety texture that was highly sought after by beer enthusiasts of the time.

Double stout, as the name suggests, is a stronger version of the already robust stout porter. Brewers increased the malt bill to create a beer with a higher alcohol content and a more pronounced flavor profile. The exact strength of a double stout can vary, but it typically falls within the range of 7% to 12% ABV (alcohol by volume).

One notable example of a double stout is the legendary Russian Imperial Stout. This style originated in the 18th century and was specifically brewed for export to the Russian Imperial Court. To withstand the long journey, these beers were brewed with even higher alcohol content and more for preservation. Russian Imperial Stout is often described as a rich, complex beer with flavors of dark fruits, roasted malt, and a warming alcohol presence.

In my personal experiences as a brewer, crafting a double stout is a labor of love. It requires careful selection and blending of malts to achieve the desired balance of flavors and a hefty dose of patience during the fermentation and aging process. The result is a beer that can be enjoyed on its own or paired with hearty dishes like stews, grilled meats, or even chocolate desserts.

To summarize, a double stout is a stronger version of a stout porter, brewed with a higher malt bill and often exhibiting more intense flavors. It is a beer style that harkens back to Victorian times when brewers sought to create a robust and full-bodied brew. Whether you're a fan of dark, rich beers or simply curious about exploring different styles, a double stout is definitely worth seeking out to experience its bold and complex character.