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What's With Hop-Heavy Stouts

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by TheGoldsmith, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. TheGoldsmith

    TheGoldsmith Zealot (80) Missouri Jan 20, 2013

    Maybe I'm alone here but I get a bit offended when there's a predominance of hops in my stouts (or porters). Don't get me wrong I love a good hoppy beer, I cut my craft beer teeth on IPAs, but what I love in a stout in the dark, toasty coffee/chocolate notes, that dark fruit sweetness, the robustness. Am I right in feeling this is a miss for the style, or is this just a different variant? Are there those who seek out hoppy stouts?

    I can't recall any stand out hoppy stouts at the moment, but I was recently revisited by this issue trying Stone's Smoked Porter (who'd expect a hoppy beer from Stone right?). I just feel like if my dark beers are bitter, it should come from the roast!
  2. Victory Storm King is a great, "hoppy" stout. If you don't like the hops, put some bottles away for a year or two.
  3. Manoftyr

    Manoftyr Savant (270) New York May 6, 2009

    I largely concur with this, if I'm looking for hops I'll grab an IPA, when I crack open a stout or a porter I expect roast, coffee/chocolate etc.

    A few stouts pull it off, Sixpoint's Diesel comes to mind, but by in large I find that an abundance of hops in a stout or porter just get in the way of what the style is supposed to deliver.
  4. Love hoppy stouts...and love ones that aren't so hoppy. Embrace the variations.
  5. MetalMountainMastiff

    MetalMountainMastiff Savant (440) California Oct 1, 2012 Beer Trader

    Stouts often have Higher then usual IBUs that are balanced out with Malt. It's the balance that makes you not notice the hoppiness.
    jimmy666 likes this.
  6. I'm not offended but I prefer a stout thats less hop-heavy.
  7. SourAddict

    SourAddict Savant (400) Wisconsin Jun 18, 2012 Beer Trader

    Feel the same way. I had a night stalker and had to drain pour it. Thought it was infected at first. But now after trying a founders imperial stout I think I just don't like the style. I wanted to like the FIS, having loved all other founders offerings i've had. But had to choke it down. I think hop taste in stouts isn't for me either
  8. loafinaround

    loafinaround Savant (415) New York Jul 16, 2011

    well, I'm hardly at the level of having to choke down a founders RIS.. but I will concur that hops can be a bit difficult in some stouts. Somehow, to me, hoppiness is best in a less dense beer. The most difficult beers for me to consume (other than sours) are really heavy stouts w/ a hoppy flavor.
  9. Brew33

    Brew33 Advocate (690) Ohio Oct 24, 2007 Beer Trader

    Generally I agree with the OP. That being said, fresh Nightstalker was awesome.
  10. Stone Smoked Porter? Seriously? As far as I can remember it tasted like delicious sweet and smoky barbeque.
    BigBarley likes this.
  11. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Champion (870) Michigan May 8, 2006

    I think there are too many great beers out there, too many beers out there to suit each individuals tastes, to get caught up worrying about beers that one does not like. Is it really work the energy?

    Hops definitely have their place in stouts. The citrus flavor can play off the chocolaty malt beautifully. The added bitterness can accentuate the roasted malt creating dark chocolate and coffee flavors. Founders IS, Expedition Stout, Bear Republic Big Bear and a couple of hop forwards stand outs right off the top of my head.
  12. Ri0

    Ri0 Poobah (1,155) Wisconsin Jul 1, 2012 Beer Trader

    I like smooth, robust and roasty stouts with minimal hoppiness as well.
    docnose and beercanman like this.
  13. Also, did you let the FIS warm to room temp while drinking it? I thought the bitterness was kind of abrasive at first but as it warmed the roasty, chocolatey goodness really ramped up and balanced out the hops incredibly well.
    Cee-Poe and docnose like this.
  14. ffenski

    ffenski Aficionado (245) Ohio Apr 24, 2008

    I used to feel the same way. But a lot of stouts started to taste very similar- coffee, chocolate, roasted malts. Victory Storm King really changed that for me, throwing a little wrench into it all. I don't dislike the traditional stout flavors, but variety is good every now and then.
    jgluck likes this.
  15. Also didn't find any hop profile to speak of in Stone Smoked Porter. The two beers mainly at debate, FIS and Night Stalker are two of my favorite stouts... So I guess I really like hoppy stouts.
  16. Expedition Stout gets my tastebuds yearning, mmh...
    Bluecane and kirkse like this.
  17. Hoppy stouts and porters are awesome. I wish more brewers would go for the whole package instead of neutering the malt character in an attempt to make a black IPA.
  18. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Champion (870) Michigan May 8, 2006

    Conversely, I wish brewers would back off the roast flavor when trying to brew Black IPAs while ultimately brewing something that just turns out as an attempt at a hoppy stout or porter.
    hoplover888 likes this.
  19. jhartley

    jhartley Poobah (1,330) Florida Aug 22, 2010 Beer Trader

    It's nice to have a little variety and exploration once in a while. IMO
  20. AmitC

    AmitC Advocate (630) New York Sep 21, 2012

    There should be more of these hoppy beers. I really loved FIS and Storm King. Variety is good after all.
    ESeab likes this.
  21. fullmetal1381

    fullmetal1381 Savant (280) Florida Jul 30, 2011

    Thank goodness, I thought it was just me.

    I certainly agree with you; I believe that stouts should be malt-forward instead of hop-forward, otherwise it is just a thick black IPA. A fair amount of bitterness is ok and to be expected but I feel that it should come from the roast malts and coffee (if applicable). It is for this reason that I like Heavy Seas Peg Leg despite the low rating it gets on here. Kzoo is right in stating that certain stouts with an inspired hop choice can have a pleasant citrus quality, but I myself have only had one, the name of which I forget (tasted like one of those Chocolate Oranges).
  22. DaKur

    DaKur Savant (400) Rhode Island Nov 15, 2012

    It gets the hop heads like me off the IPAs for a change. They got me to explore more stouts and other styles.
  23. Handle

    Handle Savant (415) North Carolina Mar 16, 2009

    Because how in the world would a brewery market a plain ol' stout in a world of Imperial Pilsners and Black, White and Red IPAs?
  24. If you're going to do it, do it--that's my take, and it goes for black IPA as well like you say. But the reality is that something that is still more of a hoppy porter is going to sell better these days if "IPA" is on the label.
    hoplover888 likes this.
  25. I love fresh Yeti and D.O.R.I.S. the Destroyer.
    They are my frame of reference for "hoppy" imperial stouts.
    I rather enjoy the snot out of them.
  26. jmgrub

    jmgrub Savant (475) California Nov 20, 2010

    Offended? No. Hate the shit out of them? Yes.
    hoplover888 and StuartCarter like this.
  27. seplo

    seplo Savant (490) Connecticut Sep 8, 2009 Beer Trader

    I love all variations of stouts but I prefer the hoppy ones, one of my favorites that rarely gets mentioned is Smuttynose Imperial Stout....CHEERS
  28. Northlax3

    Northlax3 Savant (355) New Jersey Aug 19, 2012 Beer Trader

    I like hoppy stouts because you get everything you may crave in a beer.

    Maltiness, hoppieness, roastiness, yummyness?

    edit: and they also make AMAZING black and tans with IPAs
  29. Personally I like hoppy stouts for aging purposes. A stout not as hoppy will typically become too sweet over time, while a hoppier version will really round out, become more balanced, and much more complex.

    Offended? Did the beer perform a hate-crime on you?
    hoplover888 likes this.
  30. Some of my absolute favorite beers are hoppy stouts including Founders Imperial Stout, Goose Island Nightstalker and Victory Storm King. I think they're all tremendous.
    ESeab and JuniperJesus like this.
  31. GameFreac

    GameFreac Advocate (515) Georgia Apr 8, 2011 Beer Trader

    In general, I hate hoppy stouts and porters.

    Except Jose Marti.
  32. Not my thing really but it's the American-style approach to stouts and porters.
  33. fatsnowman22

    fatsnowman22 Savant (305) Nevada Feb 2, 2011 Subscriber Beer Trader

    Hops are wonderful flavor gods. Drink the level of hops you like no matter the style. If you think its to much drink something else
    hoplover888 likes this.
  34. ilikebeer03

    ilikebeer03 Savant (440) Texas Oct 17, 2012

    Hops and Barrel aged beers are the popular thing right now in the craft beer scene (not that that is a bad thing).
  35. Jadjunk

    Jadjunk Savant (400) Georgia Dec 6, 2009

    For me, hoppy stouts are admittedly unexpected, but always a welcome twist. I always appreciate a style that can constantly push its boundaries, and hoppy stouts really show how much we can diversify. Who knows? Maybe we're witnessing the birth of a new style of beer that brings the best of both worlds together!

    I always get SweetWater's Happy Ending each winter, quite hoppy flavored but always crazy good!
  36. To take OP's question further: at what point should a hoppy porter or stout be classified as a black IPA? There are black IPAs that are a regular IPA plus color but the majority coming out are far closer to a hoppy porter or stout than a standard west coast IPA. Admittedly I think black IPAs tend to have less body than a porter or stout and that is the very fine distinction between styles but that is certainly not always the case.
    TheGoldsmith and hoplover888 like this.
  37. OMsweetOM

    OMsweetOM Savant (365) California Feb 1, 2011

    They're delicious imo, that's what's up.

    As stated earlier, it's all about balance.
    I have to wonder what IBU count you consider to be too much for a stout. My favorite is The Abyss (65 IBUs).
  38. patto1ro

    patto1ro Advocate (620) Netherlands Apr 26, 2004 Subscriber

    Stouts are Beers, they're supposed to be heavily hopped.
    RonfromJersey likes this.
  39. TNGabe

    TNGabe Initiate (0) Tennessee Feb 6, 2012

    From the BJCP description of American Stout:

  40. beercanman

    beercanman Savant (485) Ohio Dec 17, 2012

    Storm king comes to mind. I am not a fan of hop forward Stouts. I prefer the bitter chocolate, coffee bomb Stouts.