Beginner Stouts

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by JG629, Jan 27, 2013.

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  1. TheGoldsmith

    TheGoldsmith Initiate (0) Jan 20, 2013 Missouri

    Definitely Sam Smiths Oatmeal Stout, still a favorite of mine. I know some folks dig the thicker beers from the beginning, but early in my career the high viscosity beers put me off a bit. So Im gonna suggest Tallgrass' Buffalo Sweat Oatmeal Cream Stout as well, if it's in your area, and for porter, Odell's Cuthroat is always a good choice.
  2. Pzellot

    Pzellot Initiate (0) Nov 17, 2012 California

    Guiness is a good starter into normal English style stouts, Old raspy is a good starter into Russian Imperial Stouts.
  3. fullmetal1381

    fullmetal1381 Initiate (0) Jul 30, 2011 Florida

    While I understand the trepidation of some to recommend a big stout to a beginner, there is some merit to jumping in the deep end of the pool. Young's Double Chocolate was the first non-Guinness stout I had, and I hated it (still do). After that I tried Ten Fidy and was hooked. Another thing to try is to give a beginner an aged Imperial Stout; I gave a friend of mine who claimed to not like stouts a late 2009 Ten Fidy (in 2012) and he thought it was ridiculously delicious. He now drinks Marshal Zhukov with me.
    fujindemon74 likes this.
  4. cyrushire

    cyrushire Crusader (728) May 25, 2012 Florida
    Beer Trader

    terrapin moo hoos
    NABS likes this.
  5. Lutter

    Lutter Initiate (0) Jun 30, 2010 Texas


    Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout. Easily accessible to beginners, still delicious to advanced stout drinkers.
  6. BklynTerp

    BklynTerp Initiate (0) Oct 14, 2012 New York

    Aside from Guinness I think Founders Breakfast Stout was the first stout I had that really got me into craft beer and stouts in general. Still possibly my favorite beer to this day so I would join the others in recommending it. Stoudts Fat Dog is a pretty tame but tasty stout that might also be good for someone new to the style.

    As far as developing a palate goes Im no expert here but aside from Breakfast stout the next stouts I sampled were Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, Brooklyn Black Ops and of course Bourbon County Stout all which I found to be incredible right off the bat.
  7. cyrushire

    cyrushire Crusader (728) May 25, 2012 Florida
    Beer Trader

    youngs may be the flattest, one note disaster to ever exist. why this beer gets acclaim i'll never understand. big stout's like zhukov offer depth and complexity which is why they are so enjoyable.
  8. Raime

    Raime Meyvn (1,248) Jun 4, 2012 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Pretty much agree with what everybody else is saying. Sierra Nevada Stout is perfect. Still one of my favorite session beers to this day. Also check out The Poet by New Holland brewing co. If you can get it in your area.
  9. BJasny

    BJasny Disciple (378) Jul 10, 2011 Texas

    I agree with trying porters in addition to stouts. I'm a big porter and stout guy myself; I would recommend Sierra Nevada Stout, Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout, Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout, London Porter, Anchor Porter, Founders Porter for less "intense" stouts/porters and Narwahl or Old Rasputin if you're looking for something more "intense".
  10. mychalg9

    mychalg9 Champion (848) Apr 8, 2010 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Avery Out of Bounds Stout was my gateway. I highly recommend it as a beginner stout
  11. devlishdamsel

    devlishdamsel Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2009 Washington

    I loved this one, unfortunately something changed.
  12. gtermi

    gtermi Meyvn (1,214) Apr 21, 2010 Texas

    ^^^^^ This. We can end the thread now :-)
  13. WhiteJordan

    WhiteJordan Initiate (0) Sep 6, 2012 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Alameda Black Bear Stout is one of the most dry, light bodied stouts that I've encountered. To me those are the attributes of a beginner stout. A second more available beer would have to be Deschutes Obsidion Stout.
  14. sunkistxsudafed

    sunkistxsudafed Initiate (0) Apr 30, 2010 New Mexico

    Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout, Sierra Nevada Stout, Old Rasputin, and Deschutes Obsidian Stout. If you're feeling more adventurous and daring: Sam Adams Imperial Stout and Sierra Nevada Narwhal are both really complex but not too over the top.

    Left Hand Milk stout isn't bad either, but not a personal favorite.
    StoutChaser7D likes this.
  15. marquis

    marquis Crusader (741) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    This thing keeps on reappearing in its own threads and the consensus is that whether it's called a stout or porter is the brewer's whim.All stouts are of course de facto porters.
    vurt and teal like this.
  16. Blueribbon666

    Blueribbon666 Zealot (596) Jul 4, 2008 Ohio

    IDK, I'd say for a beginner Narwhal is pretty big & thick. It's not Hoppin' Frog or Stone BIG but I think Left Hand Milk Stout is probably middle ground. Some have said Guinness, which I think is muddy water @ best style wise. My introduction to stouts was St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout, Young's Oatmeal Stout, & Bell's Kalamazoo Stout. The mix-six is the best thing that's been said yet...who wouldn't do that anyway.
  17. CStrife187

    CStrife187 Initiate (0) Apr 22, 2011 North Carolina

    There are a lot of good recommendations here, and I'll definitely second everyone who's said Left Hand and Samuel Smith. On the other hand, here is what you should definitely not do.

    Do NOT buy a fresh DFH WWS and drink it without any age on it because you're really excited to try the beer you just bought. I made that mistake when I first looking down craft beer the rabbit hole and I've regretted ever since.
  18. JimSmetana

    JimSmetana Initiate (0) May 11, 2012 Illinois

    If he is "Just getting into the craft beer scene" do you think he (or I for that matter) know what DFH WWS is?
    Not sure if you get Two Brothers where you live but I like their Northwinds Imperial Stout. Not too heavy or high ABV for a stout.
  19. Andygirl

    Andygirl Initiate (0) Jan 3, 2013 Michigan

    Assuming you can get Great Lakes Brewing Company, try Edmund Fitzgerald.
    JimSmetana likes this.
  20. Bear1964

    Bear1964 Zealot (540) Dec 12, 2012 Nebraska

    Sierra Nevada Stout, simple and solid...Sam Smith Oatmeal Stout...I have 3 waiting and really enjoy that brand. As with all styles you just need to taste, also finding singles is a fun way to taste different brands in one sitting.
  21. stoney1031

    stoney1031 Initiate (0) Dec 2, 2012 Texas

    Left Hand nitro milk and rogue oatmeal stout definitely got me into stouts. Ever since those two I just can't get enough.
    WhiteJordan and denver10 like this.
  22. nc41

    nc41 Meyvn (1,480) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    I don't see a need for training wheels on any Stout, some are chocolate, some are coffee, some are barrel aged. Try them and see what you like, if you don't like coffee, skip them. If you have a beer friend you can split the cost.
  23. socon67

    socon67 Poo-Bah (1,639) Jun 18, 2010 New York

    I'd try a couple milk\sweet stouts (Young's Double Chocolate is easy to find), a good oatmeal stout (Samuel Smith's is a great example), and then a solid imperial stout like Old Rasputin. My advice is to see what type of stouts appeal to you and then try more of those. Too often people equate Guinness as the baseline for all stouts. If you are venturing into the style find what enjoy.
    denver10 and bld81 like this.
  24. fredmugs

    fredmugs Poo-Bah (1,530) Aug 11, 2012 Indiana
    Beer Trader

    I wasn't a craft beer drinker per se when I had my first Sam Smith oatmeal and loved it. Guinness is only good in an irish car bomb.
  25. tdmccarthy

    tdmccarthy Devotee (456) May 6, 2010 Illinois

    Give Green Flash's Double Stout a try. It has a great creamy mouth feel and is really well balanced. It's 8.8% or so but isn't too sweet or bitter. It does have some great chocolate notes.
  26. MammothBrew

    MammothBrew Initiate (0) May 13, 2011 Illinois

    Belgians are mediocre? Mind = blown.
    dman5400 and MammaGoose like this.
  27. emilystrikesagai

    emilystrikesagai Initiate (0) Dec 20, 2011 Illinois

    I suggest Milk Stouts or Oatmeal Stouts - they're a little lighter, creamier. Not so agressive if you're just getting into craft. Get comfortable with those and then move on.
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  28. SummitSeries72

    SummitSeries72 Initiate (164) Mar 17, 2011 New Jersey

    Samuel Adams Cream Stout is an excellent beginner stout, and likely, one that you'll always like. Sierra Nevada Stout is excellent too.
    Bear1964 likes this.
  29. teal

    teal Initiate (75) May 3, 2012 Wisconsin

    I don't believe in "beginner beer" and "advanced beer" - this is BEER, not algebra and calculus.

    There are 2 categories for everyone - beer they like and beer they don't like. Beers may move across category from time to time.

    OP - what flavors do you like? What Stouts have you tried and would like more of in the similar flavor profile?

    My "go to" stouts are Buffalo Sweat, Guinness (draught and Foreign Extra), Left Hand Milk Stout, Old Rasputin, 2x Stout from Southern Tier, and Founders. Pretty much came across them at the same time. If you like one stout - keep trying others. Some you will, some you wont. Don't worry about "beginner" or "expert" - trust your tastebuds.

    From time to time - go back across old ones you didn't absolutely hate to see if you like them now. Recipies change, tastes change, freshness matters etc.

    Screw the labels....
  30. jaIsPoAn

    jaIsPoAn Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2012 New York

    Non imperials then move on
  31. Derranged

    Derranged Devotee (479) Mar 7, 2010 New York

    Before I was officially hooked onto craft, Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout was something I'd drink every now and again. Its a good start.
  32. Derranged

    Derranged Devotee (479) Mar 7, 2010 New York

    Not necessarily. I remember when I first tried Racer 5 IPA, the taste was so bitter I thought the beer was spoiled. After drinking some APAs and weaker IPAs, Racer 5 tasted really good. First time I had Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra, it was harsh as hell and had to fight hard to get through a six pack. As my palate adjusted, SNTE was really good second time around trying it.

    But that applies to very hoppy beers, not sure if its the same for stouts.
  33. fujindemon74

    fujindemon74 Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2012 Pennsylvania

    Life is short, so why muck about with trepidation?

    Smuttynose Baltic Porter (it shames so many "stouts")
    Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter (see above)
    Great Divide Yeti
    Founders Imperial Stout
    Hoppin' Frog B.O.R.I.S. (if you like this, graduate to D.O.R.I.S.)
    AleSmith Speedway Stout
  34. JuicesFlowing

    JuicesFlowing Poo-Bah (2,046) Jul 5, 2009 Kansas

    In my opinion, start with the basics like Guinness or Murphy's. Stouts are an acquired taste for new drinkers, and if you start with top shelf stouts, you won't appreciate how good they are if you haven't had the lesser stouts.
  35. BeRanger

    BeRanger Devotee (433) Dec 11, 2011 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    There's certainly nothing wrong with picking up a good stout or two that isn't "Beginner"

    If you're serious about getting into craft beer, I think it'd be fun to take some tasting notes on some of those beers right now as you first start to try them.. Revisit the same beers a year later or so and see how much more you notice and how you rate it.. It's interesting how your palatte evolves over the years.
  36. MammaGoose

    MammaGoose Initiate (0) Jan 10, 2013 Wyoming an extent, I think the issue is being overthought. I'm not sure if there's any such thing as a beginner-friendly beer. What that person happens to like first? As an absolute ignorant newb, the first beer I really liked was our brewery's stout. It's fairly full-bodied. My palate didn't know hops from chocolate malt from anything else, I just liked it. I tried multiple stouts after that and liked most of them, including some higher octane Imperials. Now that my palate is getting better at picking subtle flavors out, I appreciate each stout for its complex roasty coffee, chocolate, etc flavors. Some stouts that I thought I liked, I've revisited and found them to be a bit boring.

    All that said, I'd say a beginner stout (as with ANY style of beer one is trying to get into) is a readily available, economic choice, hopefully one that has decent reviews. Any flagship stout at your local brewery, or anything you can get a reasonably priced 6-pack at your closest liquor store. Why bother with a hard-to-get, expensive, world-class stout? As a beginner, one might not know if they'll even like stouts at all. I wouldn't be so worried about the imperials and such being too intense for a beginner, but rather, a newb might not have the palate to appreciate the beer. So why blow the money on it?

    Beginner stout = Any locally available/not excessively expensive stout. Preferably several of them to get a better idea.
  37. fujindemon74

    fujindemon74 Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2012 Pennsylvania

    I'm not advocating chasing down whalez for your first experience with a style, but this isn't school where you need to graduate progressively to the next level of study. Also, I'm not advocating acquiring more than 1 or 2 single bottles of a bigger, imperial stout of one sort or another.

    My wife acquired a taste for bigger Russian Imperial stouts within 3 sips of a Caldera Old Growth and would describe every single dry stout. milk stout, export stout, etc she tastes as a porter (i.e. "beer with no balls" in her words) Having her drink her way through "weaker" styles of stout would have been a COMPLETE waste of time and money, I can assure you.

    Her evolution went something like...Caldera Old Growth-->AleSmith Speedway Stout-->Southern Tier Choklat-->BCBS (her favorite beer by a mile)
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  38. Bigstein09

    Bigstein09 Initiate (18) Oct 23, 2012 Connecticut

    Guinness Extra stout and Foreign Extra, Sierra Nevada stout, and Sam smiths Oatmeal stout are all great beers to get acquainted with the style. I think Victory storm king is a good introduction to imperials.
  39. MetalMountainMastiff

    MetalMountainMastiff Initiate (0) Oct 1, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    Youngs double chocolate is a good starter stout
  40. ThirstyFace

    ThirstyFace Initiate (0) Jan 11, 2013 New York

    There are no beginner and advanced beers. That's a notion conceived by people who fancy themselves as beer veterans. When you think about what makes a stout, you'll find it hard to disagree with what I'm saying.

    Also, stout aged in barrels is nothing more than that.

    Drink what your store carries.
    MammaGoose and teal like this.
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