Good transition beers from IPA to stouts/porters

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by jukev, Oct 13, 2016.

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  1. jukev

    jukev (0) Mar 24, 2016 New York

    New to BA so hope I am posting correctly...

    I am also relatively new to craft beer. I am a big lover of IPAs (stone, sculpin etc). I have only had a few stouts/porters and I wasn't a fan. What beers would you guys recommend to make the transition? Any fall/winter beers welcome. Thanks
  2. Roguer

    Roguer (1,828) Mar 25, 2013 Connecticut
    Moderator Society Trader

    First off, welcome to BA!

    One thought right off the bat: not every beer style is for every beer drinker. While I encourage you to try out some of the great stouts out there, it may simply be that you don't like the style - and that's OK!

    That said, I am curious which stouts you have tried, and what non-IPA styles you like. That may help bound the recommendations you receive somewhat. If you are definitely interested in trying to expand into stouts, I would recommend trying the various sub-styles, and see if anything fits your fancy:

    Hoppy/aggressively bitter stouts: e.g. Old Rasputin, Narwhal, Yeti, FBS, Storm King. If you already love IPAs, then you likely don't have an aversion to bitterness. A stout that is very bitter, whether through the roast or the hop load, might end up right up your alley.

    Alternative suggestion: try some black IPAs. The best ones will present the same IPA hop profile you're accustomed to, while also introducing you to the flavor of roasted malt.

    Sweet or flavored stouts: e.g. Choklat, Bomb!, Mexican Cake, Last Snow. Many stouts aren't stronger, thicker versions of Guinness; they're desserts in a bottle (or can). The sweetness (or coffee, or spice, or whatever floats your boat) might be the thing you really like.

    Smooth, low-ABV stouts: e.g. Milk Stout Nitro, Dean's Beans Coffeehouse Porter. Some stouts are full-flavored without any aggressive bitterness or roast. These stouts are very approachable, even for someone who doesn't love the style itself.

    Of course, there are other classic bold stouts (FIS, Ten-FIDY) that I think are wonderful examples of the style, but may or may not be the best gateway stouts. Certainly, many of the stouts I listed above are by no means gateway stouts, either, but simply present an alternative approach to the style I think a non-stout lover may find appealing. For some people, getting into a fruity dry-hopped DIPA provided a counter-intuitive introduction into IPAs or even hoppy pale ales, many of which may have been otherwise fairly unapproachable for a novice to the style. (Last night, my sister tried her first ever IPA: Founders Mosaic. She loved it. My first IPA was Stone Enjoy By, and I loved it.) So that's my advice: don't just shoot for a classic. Find an angle that you think you might enjoy (be that a hoppy stout, a sweet stout, or something else I'm missing), and try that out.

    Whatever you choose: cheers!
  3. jukev

    jukev (0) Mar 24, 2016 New York

    I appreciate the recommendations. I will certainly try a few.

    The only thing I've had within the last year is the stone 15th black IPA and I liked it but got a little tired of it by the end of the bottle.

    As for non-ipa's that I've liked... I like some scotch ales, oktoberfests. I've had my share of oktoberfests but not that many scotch ales so I could use some recommendations for that as well.
    Roguer likes this.
  4. fulcrumbs

    fulcrumbs (0) Mar 14, 2015 Massachusetts

    Roguer hit it well with the black IPA. Black Lagers can be fun too... like Baba from Uinita.

    I find that a really good brown can get the t-buds transitioning toward the dark side as we go into the cooler months. Bear from Tree House (MA), A.Dog from 14th Star (VT), Paradigm from Kelsen (NH), and Old Brown Dog (& Really Old Brown) from Smuttynose (NH) are all super solid browns.

    Roguer, larryi86 and jukev like this.
  5. elucas730

    elucas730 (0) Feb 5, 2010 New York

    The fun part of this hobby is the journey of exploration. Get out there and try a bunch of stuff. The best way to do this is to visit breweries and do flights.

    Have you tried any of the super sugary stouts like the stuff from Southern Tier (Creme Brulee, Mokah, Choklat)? Or if you want something a little lower ABV, Boulder Shake.
    SFACRKnight and jukev like this.
  6. JuicesFlowing

    JuicesFlowing (0) Jul 5, 2009 Kansas

    Find a beer store that has a huge selection of single bottles for sale and pick and choose some. Take your time with it. You'll eventually discover for yourself what you like or do not.
    jukev likes this.
  7. dcotom

    dcotom (1,521) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Society Trader

    i second the recommendations on black ales. FW Wookey Jack is fantastic, as is Surly Blakkr. An excellent IPA-to-Porter transition beer would be Millstream's Dogs On Skis, which embodies the best characteristics of both. Unfortunately, none of these may be easy to get. :slight_frown:
    gopens44 likes this.
  8. Junior

    Junior (0) May 23, 2015 Michigan
    Society Trader

    I thought your advice was very good. Great post. I found this part very interesting. IPAs and stouts are my two favorite beer styles. I have only had two black IPAs and I have hated them both. One was a drain pour.
    Roguer likes this.
  9. nc41

    nc41 (0) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    I went the opposite way. I was into English brews specifically Fullers beers, then found IPAs. I still love Fullers beers and I'd highly recommend taking a look. ESBs might be a decent bridge as well, there's many. Not really a fan of Black IPAs, but IMO Stones effort is really good if it's fresh.
    SFACRKnight likes this.
  10. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 (1,724) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    You can dive right in with a Guinness, which is an easy stout to drink, or you can transition to more malty beers by drinking red ales or amber ales, many of which are modestly hopped to give you that switch-over without hop withdrawal.
    archiebunkerjr, jukev and scottakelly like this.
  11. hopsputin

    hopsputin (1,190) Apr 1, 2012 New Jersey

    Hoppy Stouts / Black Ales

    Victory Storm King
    Firestone Walker Wookey Jack (I believe they're still making that)
    Clown Shoes Hoppy Feet
    jukev and VABA like this.
  12. stephenjmoore

    stephenjmoore (0) Feb 17, 2011 Maryland

    I would try Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale. Kind of an in-between of the styles you are talking about.
  13. Scott17Taylor

    Scott17Taylor (0) Oct 28, 2013 Iowa
    Society Trader

    Definitely try Indian brown, great beer. It hoppy roasty and carmely.
    My intro to stouts was left hand milk stout so I also have to recommend that. Also make sure you try a big boozy imperial stout, ten fidy and narwhal are very good.
    jukev likes this.
  14. MikeyBadnews

    MikeyBadnews (0) Dec 10, 2013 Massachusetts

    I might catch hell but local seasonal variety packs usually aid in a seasonal transition. I love my IPAs May -August, but when the humidity crashes and leaves change color so does my choice of beers.

    I realize at some point Ill be using the snowblower late at night chugging through a foot of snow with a couple of strong coffee/vanilla or chocolate porters laying in the snowbanks next to me, but a thick beer doesn't work when day temps still crack 70.

    I;ve been digging the Harpoon and Sam Adams seasonal packs, I enjoy some, others not so much. But it's a cool varierty and a steady transition between the seasons.
    jukev likes this.
  15. HopHunter19

    HopHunter19 (0) May 2, 2015 Missouri

    I would also say try black ipas... FW wookey jack, stone sublimely self righteous, lagunitas night time, founders has a few...
    Tripel_Threat and jukev like this.
  16. MistaRyte

    MistaRyte (745) Jan 14, 2008 Virginia

    The first thing I thought of was "black IPAs", but I see that's covered. I'm going to go out on a limb and recommend rauchbier/smoked beers as well.
  17. Hoolie5

    Hoolie5 (0) Mar 23, 2011 Wisconsin

    Black Bavarian - Sprecher Brewing Co
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  18. LADEDA

    LADEDA (0) Jul 29, 2014 Florida

    Sierra Nevada Stout or Porter, Founders Porter, and Smuttynose Robust Porter are the ones that got me going. Lower in ABV and very good. Founders Breakfast Stout is on the floor now, and at 8.30 ABV a step up and darn good.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  19. akolb

    akolb (0) Aug 8, 2015 Colorado

    Some hoppy brown ales - like Upslope Brown Ale or Dogfish Head Indian Brown - might bridge the gap nicely.
    jukev, Scott17Taylor and Bitterbill like this.
  20. Tripel_Threat

    Tripel_Threat (0) Jun 29, 2014 Michigan
    Society Trader

    If you have a pub/bar near you that does flights, try some there. Especially if it's a bar that has a larger variety of styles and brewers. Good way to branch out into styles you haven't tried before.
    Roguer and jukev like this.
  21. Ranbot

    Ranbot (565) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    A stout aged in bourbon barrels is like hitting the Staples "EASY" button. :rolling_eyes:

    Many German dunkels (translation: dark) and some bocks also have many overlapping flavors with brown ales, and porters/stouts.

    Someone else mentioned black lagers, which the American renaming of the traditional [and original] German shwarzbier (translation: black-beer).

    I agree... I usually find that the flavors of heavily roasted malts and bitter or citrusy hops compete and conflict with each other more than complement.
    jukev likes this.
  22. Jmorey

    Jmorey (0) Feb 10, 2015 Michigan

    I used to think I didn't like stouts. They were watery, flavor didn't do it for me, etc. Well, I was drinking the wrong kind of stouts. I like them big, thick, robust. Now I can't get enough of them.

    Also, his might have been just a generalization of being near the end of the beer. But if you really were drinking it out of the bottle, get it out of there and into a glass. It changes everything. Pour into a glass, let it get some head, even rest for a few minutes, warm up a bit, etc. I feel like when I drink a stout either from the bottle or right after pouring they have a bit of a metallic taste (no clue why).

    Lately if I feel like a beer at night i take it out of the fridge before i put my son to bed, by the time i come back downstairs, it is the perfect temp.
    jukev likes this.
  23. Leebo

    Leebo (0) Feb 7, 2013 Massachusetts

    Go to a brew pub and get some flights. 4 or 5 beer tasters that are maybe 5 oz each or so. Repeat as needed. I'm sure NY will have plenty of options.
    jukev likes this.
  24. Vason

    Vason (0) Feb 19, 2008 Ohio

    I went through the opposite transition that you are talking about, so here's how mine went in reverse order:

    IPAs, Ambers/Reds (like Troegs Nugget Nectar), Browns (like Smuttynose Old Brown Dog, Dogfish India Brown), Belgian Strong Dark (like Rochefort 10 and Chimay Grand Reserve), Sweet Stout (like Left Hand Milk Stout), Imperial Stout(like Old Rasputin), finally ending on my very first beer, a Irish Dry Stout (Guinness Extra Stout).

    I hope this helps!
    jukev likes this.
  25. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill (1,785) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming

    My 2 cents. You like hop forward IPAs. Drink some Southampton Burton IPA(or other balanced IPAs) and get a bit weened off big hops. If you get used to and enjoy that, more Stouts and Porters will be to your liking. Or is it the roast that puts you off?
    jukev likes this.
  26. MaltheadWeirdo

    MaltheadWeirdo (0) Nov 18, 2015 Pennsylvania

    Founders Dirty Bastard calls itself a Scotch Ale, but the first time I had it I wrote in my notes "stout meets barleywine". That thing is hoppy.
    jukev likes this.
  27. TheWolf

    TheWolf (0) May 26, 2015 Delaware

    My transition beer was ten fidy. You're in luck. It's in season. I was solely IPA for about 8 years. Now I'm 40/40/20 IPA/stout/wild ale. Variety is the spice of life.
    jukev likes this.
  28. cavedave

    cavedave (1,206) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

  29. jukev

    jukev (0) Mar 24, 2016 New York

    Thanks for all the suggestions. Looks like I am going to have a busy fall/winter !
    cavedave likes this.
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