Beers, Informational

Stouts & Porters: What’s The Difference?

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Alright, craft beer lovers, let’s dive into the age-old debate: what sets a stout apart from a porter?

The Origins of Stouts & Porters

Stouts have a storied history that stretches all the way back to 18th century England. Originally, the term stout was used to describe strong, hearty porters – but over the years, stouts evolved into their own distinct category. They're both characterised by their robust flavours, slightly higher alcohol content, and the use of roasted barley, which adds that signature dark colour and that complex, roasty and toasty aroma.

It’s this warm and comforting flavour profile that makes these dark brews such a perfect fit for the winter months, making them a popular choice as the mercury drops.

The Australian craft industry has embraced these dark and full-bodied beers. Today, you’ll find stouts of all kinds crafted with a uniquely Aussie twist, incorporating local ingredients and flavours that make them truly our own.

Stout vs. Porter: What’s The Difference?

Alright, craft beer lovers, let’s dive into the age-old debate: what sets a stout apart from a porter? These two dark and delicious brews often get confused, and for good reason. They share a common history and a similar flavour profile, but there are key differences that beer enthusiasts should know.

The Origins of Their Names

The name "porter" itself comes from the hardworking porters who favoured this hearty brew. Stouts, originally known as "stout porters," were simply stronger versions of porters. Over time, stouts have evolved into their own distinct style.

The Different Brewing Processes

The key difference between a stout and a porter lies in the ingredients and brewing techniques. Stouts typically use roasted barley, which gives them that signature dark colour and robust, coffee-like flavour. Porters, on the other hand, often use malted barley, resulting in a smoother, more chocolatey taste.

Flavour Profiles of Stouts and Porters


So, what makes a stout a stout? At its core, a stout is defined by its use of roasted malt or barley, which gives it that deep, dark colour and rich, robust flavour profile. When you pour a stout, you’re greeted with a thick, creamy head, and as you take that first sip, expect to encounter notes of coffee, chocolate, and sometimes even a hint of burnt toast – a unique delight that’s both comforting and complex.

But it’s not just the taste that sets stouts apart. The mouthfeel of a stout is often velvety and smooth, sometimes with a slight sweetness or a bitter finish, depending on the specific style. From dry stouts like the always recognisable Guinness, to the sweeter and more decadent milk stouts, there’s a stout for everyone.

Common food pairings with stouts include chocolate desserts, grilled meats and sharp cheeses, all of which complement the complex flavours well.


The flavour profile of porters is typically smoother and more approachable flavour to the boldness of stouts. When you pour a porter, you’ll notice its deep brown to black colour and a more subtle head.

The first sip of a porter often reveals a balance of chocolate, caramel, and toffee notes, with a roasted finish that’s less intense than a stout. Porters tend to have a medium body, offering a rich yet smoother mouthfeel that’s easier on the palate. They can range from the robust Baltic porters to the lighter, more easy-going brown porters, providing a spectrum of flavours for different tastes.

Food pairings that pair well with porters include barbecued meats, roast vegetables and even nutty desserts such as pecan pie.

Stone Beer 2024

Our own unique take on a wood-fired porter, our annual Stone Beer for 2024 is now available online and in select pubs and bottle shops.

Incorporating notes of roasted coffee, dark chocolate and smoky Macadamia, our 6% ABV Stone Beer is best paired with delicious BBQ meats, ribs and hearty stews around a campfire with good company. Rug up and enjoy today!


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