Why are so many stouts on the top beers list?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by G_Z_a, Mar 6, 2015.

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  1. Droopy487

    Droopy487 Aspirant (231) Dec 3, 2013 Tennessee

    Some people love to eat aged, angus bone-in ribeyes. Some people love king crab legs fresh caught the same day they are eating them. Some people love to eat Chicago deep dish pizzas. Some people enjoy all of these. It's really just diversity. Would I rather eat a $55 steak over the other choices? Yeah. But, I'd go broke, not want it as much anymore, wouldn't desire it like I used to, and I would grow to dislike other food choices I used to enjoy because I've worn my palate out sucking on cow meat in a salt bath everyday. It's about exploring new things constantly.

    Point is. BA stouts are the aged, angus bone-in ribeyes for me. They're expensive, they're rare, they're a treat. Do I consume them everyday? No. Does that mean I don't like them because I don't drink them everyday? No. I'm an IPA guy. I think I've burned my tongue off I have drank so many IPA's. IPA's are my everyday beer. I trade in hopes of finding the newest and best IPA. IPA's are my Chicago deep dish pizza. They're affodable, for the most part, they're awesome, and I can drink one by myself without sharing a bottle of an ipa, or capping it for the night to save for the next day. There's rarely a specific day when an IPA is released and then it's gone for the rest of the year like big stout releases.

    Yes it's all beer, but it's apple beer and orange beer...or steak beer and pizza beer (cue the guy who found out someone makes a pizza beer...anyway.)
  2. UrbanCaveman

    UrbanCaveman Zealot (570) Sep 30, 2014 Illinois

    I feel that. You've got something like the taste issues I have with hops. Literally every beer I have that's hop-forward past a certain degree turns into a single-note wall of what I describe as "rancid perfume", "Pine-Sol floor cleaner", or "compost heap runoff", and nothing else comes through. Founder's Porter even hits me with the floor cleaner one, Boulevard 80 Acre and Habanero Sculpin as the rancid perfume (yep, can't even taste any spice in the Habanero Sculpin past the hops until after I swallow, and then I get just a vaguely spicy effect in the aftertaste). It's literally the only thing I can taste, and it's just not at all a good thing.

    If you try to push past it, best of luck to you - mine is so severe, ten years of craft beer and I still can't drink anything even as hop-forward as Founder's Porter, much less an IPA.
  3. UrbanCaveman

    UrbanCaveman Zealot (570) Sep 30, 2014 Illinois

  4. G_Z_a

    G_Z_a Initiate (132) Feb 2, 2015 Oregon

    I'm not sure I agree. Not that people don't find them impressive looking, but for me I just see black. Whereas with IPA's I see a much wider range of color and clarity as well as head and carbonation, which I find much more impressive.
    Justdoit1234 likes this.
  5. G_Z_a

    G_Z_a Initiate (132) Feb 2, 2015 Oregon

    I think that's an excellent perspective and is probably what I was looking to hear. BTW, I could go for some Giordano's. The deep dish options out here are pathetic. My friend just had some overnighted.
    Droopy487 likes this.
  6. RockAZ

    RockAZ Disciple (338) Jan 6, 2009 Arizona

    Well, just throwing this out there - many women prefer stout beers, especially as their first "craft beer" experience. Are women strongly represented both on BA and in beer surveys in general? If so, that could represent a relatively quiet minority bumping stouts higher in the ratings.
  7. Prince_Casual

    Prince_Casual Disciple (349) Nov 3, 2012 District of Columbia

    1) It's the only style that can take adjuncts and not be a "gimmick" (according to this site, and ignoring fruited sours).

    I don't know more than brewing basics, but something about the roast and syrupy mouthfeel makes and adjunct a "note" whereas other styles just taste like "oh thats an IPA with orange juice dumped in" or whatever the adjunct is.

    2) Barrel aging /thread
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  8. G_Z_a

    G_Z_a Initiate (132) Feb 2, 2015 Oregon

    That's a bummer. I'm not sure I have a particular aversion to anything. This reminds me of how some people can't stand cilantro though. It just tastes soapy to some people which is some kind of genetic thing. I remember the first time I had "real" tacos which had cilantro. It was certainly overpowering, but I loved it. Now I use it whenever I can. Unfortunately, for some it's not really an acquiring a taste thing, they just are always going to taste that soapiness.

    Really, it's just about trying new things. IPAs don't work for you. I don't think you're any less of a beer drinker/lover. Plenty of other beers to choose from and enjoy.
    SeanBond likes this.
  9. SeanBond

    SeanBond Meyvn (1,091) Jul 30, 2013 Illinois

    Chances are, if you tasted a lot of coffee in regular BCBS, either 1) your palate hasn't adjusted to (at least BA) stouts, or 2) stouts just aren't your thing (everyone has different tastes). Regular BCBS, especially this year, gives you more chocolate, vanilla, even soy sauce than coffee. If you think that's coffee, wait until you try BCBCS!

    It took me a while to 'get' stouts; there's so much going on, and they're so rich, that they overload your tastebuds until you're used to them. With that being said, a lot of the best stouts are very complex, so if you're not getting that complexity from them, I would suggest keeping at it until you do.

    The only other thing to make sure is that you drink a stout warmer than you would an IPA (in general). A cold stout tends to be bitter and will have a lot of the complexities masked by said chill. There's a big difference between BCBS straight out of your fridge, and BCBS 20 minutes later.

    Finally, speaking as someone who is completely hop-obsessed, I think stouts dominate the "best of" lists because there's so much you can do with them. You can make them really hoppy or really malty, or both, you can add a bunch of other flavors, and they absolutely excel at barrel-aging. There's something for everyone there; my girlfriend typically likes lighter beers, and doesn't like BCBS that much, but she loves this year's Proprietor's. A good stout can even basically be dessert.

    I don't think stouts/BA stouts are better than any other type of beer (I still love my DIPAs pretty equally), but I think there's so much that goes into them, that it's hard not to appreciate the top tier ones.
    G_Z_a likes this.
  10. SeanBond

    SeanBond Meyvn (1,091) Jul 30, 2013 Illinois

    I actually use this comparison all the time. I used to love tacos with cilantro on them, but eating it by itself made me gag. Now I just cannot put enough cilantro on a taco/soup/etc. I actually kind of get why they taste like soap to people (much like how...Simcoe, is it, that people think tastes like cat piss?), but I'm lucky to say that whatever the taste, I really enjoy it.
    G_Z_a likes this.
  11. Hoppsbabo

    Hoppsbabo Champion (890) Jan 29, 2012 England

    The real question is why are so many lame-ass boring IPAs on the top beers list.
    Buschyfor3 and Modernrickk like this.
  12. G_Z_a

    G_Z_a Initiate (132) Feb 2, 2015 Oregon

    It may have been BCBCS as the description named the coffee roasting company that was used, but on the board it was just listed as BCBS.
  13. SeanBond

    SeanBond Meyvn (1,091) Jul 30, 2013 Illinois

    Ahh, yeah that makes more sense. I'm not a coffee guy myself, and while BCBCS is probably my favorite coffee stout (and clearly BA loves it as well), it's not really my cup of tea either (I've bought 5 bottles of Prop, and not one of coffee this year).
  14. KevinL

    KevinL Disciple (349) Aug 5, 2012 Michigan

    As @UrbanCaveman noted above, you can get it online pretty easily (for a price). I'm not suggesting that it is an ideal option, but if you absolutely HAVE to try it, it can be obtained without much effort. The same can't be said for KBBS, Morning Delight, Pliny the Younger, Prop, etc.
  15. tylerstravis

    tylerstravis Meyvn (1,051) Feb 14, 2014 Colorado

    Okay, I'll give you that compared to the others :slight_smile:
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  16. KevinL

    KevinL Disciple (349) Aug 5, 2012 Michigan

    Certainly it's all relative.
  17. 31Sam13

    31Sam13 Initiate (0) Sep 29, 2014 New Hampshire

    'Cuz they are good?...
  18. Uniobrew31

    Uniobrew31 Zealot (525) Jan 16, 2012 Pennsylvania

    If paying 279.99 Euros + outrageous shipping is you idea of easy then what is your idea of difficult? :wink: To me a six pack of Paulaner is "Pretty darn easy" to get. I will say that there are some smoking deals on that site though. I might buy some St. Bernardous, the crate will be a cool keepsake!
  19. UrbanCaveman

    UrbanCaveman Zealot (570) Sep 30, 2014 Illinois

    11.99 euros for a single bottle, though the shipping costs are still up there. :grinning: Of course, given that stuff like some Cantillons get marked up to $75+ a bottle, or get sold with conditions like "buy $100 of other beer before purchasing", it's slightly more reasonable.

    Like I said, easy, just not cheap! :stuck_out_tongue:
  20. a74gent

    a74gent Aspirant (295) Mar 16, 2010 Massachusetts

    Some good points so far including scarcity and what is most likely to appeal to early in "career" craft drinkers...IMO, stouts are easier to start with and a lot of non-craft beer drinkers have nonetheless had one (e.g. Guinness).

    Considering what I've read in this thread, I'd hazard a couple of other thoughts. Many people (never say all on these message boards) find stouts to be more of a cold weather beer and therefore I think it has less appeal in the PNW or southwest generally. Apart from weather, I suspect that hops are the thing in PNW because they are grown there...so a culture of hop-loving developed due to freshness, proximity, culture..whatever.
  21. G_Z_a

    G_Z_a Initiate (132) Feb 2, 2015 Oregon

    That's a good point and I think it's especially true for California and the SW, but we love our coffee here in the PNW and while it's certainly not as cold as the Midwest or East, we do have some winter like weather and the mountains are close by. So for the PNW, it's probably more the fact that hops are grown here which is why there's a much stronger hop culture and why IPA reigns supreme while stouts are often overlooked.
  22. Friendlyfire

    Friendlyfire Initiate (0) Jul 31, 2014 Virginia

    All I had to do to enjoy my first Westy XII was go to Barcelona to drink it.
  23. jlsims04

    jlsims04 Devotee (489) Jul 14, 2013 Illinois

    My god you poor soul if you think Giordano's is the best deep dish in chicago. Giordano's is the Budweiser of pizza.
  24. charlzm

    charlzm Poo-Bah (2,459) Sep 3, 2007 California

    Because they are the best?
  25. G_Z_a

    G_Z_a Initiate (132) Feb 2, 2015 Oregon

    Sorry, not a deep dish expert. Uno sucks. Gino's East and Lou Malnati's are pretty good. I liked Giordano's better than all of those. Probably been over 10 years since I've had it. I don't necessarily think it's the best, but that's all I know. What do you like?
  26. beastmammoth

    beastmammoth Initiate (0) Oct 16, 2010 New York

    The hate on the OP here is totally bizarre - solid question that I think people are figuring out as we go.

    13/25 IS quite a lot!

    Rarity is an excellent point and certainly plays a role. What some people said derisively is also true - more-ish-ness is not a category on this site (though some people would argue it should be) (like me) so sticky stouts get rated quite highly, even if you don't want a 13th ounce of it.

    Anyway, I don't think this was mentioned here, but it definitely plays a big factor - freshness. The flavors in stouts don't degrade like IPAs. Many get better, they all change but they stay very very good for the most part (I know this isn't particularly revelatory)

    Basically, no one is unknowingly getting "bad" versions of these beers. That definitely compromises the ratings of any hoppy beer. If people don't realize why the beer sucks (or just doesn't pop) they crush the rating.

    Would be fun (but incredibly time consuming and almost incomprehensibly nerdy) to go through the ratings of every IPA and APA and remove any review that appeared to be reviewing an old beer and then re-tally the rating

    Hmmm or maybe you could come up with key words and someone smart could actually do a pretty good approximation...
    G_Z_a likes this.
  27. G_Z_a

    G_Z_a Initiate (132) Feb 2, 2015 Oregon

    So true, I had a PtE at Russian River and it was truly the nectar of the gods. Whereas I've had some PtE on tap and in bottle in Portland which were nowhere near the same and sometimes even straight up disappointing.
  28. a74gent

    a74gent Aspirant (295) Mar 16, 2010 Massachusetts

    Maybe that inadvertently makes the OP's point. Deep dish is so non-existent there that a Giordano's would give him wood. And FWIW I think Malnati's is absolute crap..to each his own of course...so you never know. Gino's is damn good, but if you're serious you need to skip the big chains and go to Pequod's. Am I wrong serious pizza-loving Chicagoans? (sorry for the threadjack)
  29. patdunkel

    patdunkel Initiate (0) Apr 4, 2014 Wisconsin

    I like stouts best because I can taste the complexity in them. I can taste the wood, the adjuncts, etc. With hoppy beers, I'm not sure I can taste the depth so much. To rate a beer highly, I need to experience the "wow" factor and stouts do that for me much more often than non-stouts. With that being said, I believe I 5 starred Pliny and Heady along with a host of other non-stouts. I love BW's too, does that count?:grinning:
    Buschyfor3 likes this.
  30. kplooki

    kplooki Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2014 Illinois

    Pale ales and IPA's are how I first got into craft beer. Wasn't a big stout guy for a while. Once I started to have some good stouts I began to have a whole new appreciation for them. I now prefer a good BA stout over a good IPA for the most part. I am getting a bit bored of them at the moment though so I am moving back to saisons, sours, and ales at the moment. I also do tend to drink more ales as the weather warms up and cut back on stouts. 4 of my top 7 beers are ales, so I guess that still means I have a good appreciation for well crafted pales ales.
  31. wesbourne

    wesbourne Aspirant (211) Dec 27, 2013 Florida

    I think with good IPAs and others you have to get them fresh. I have a cellar full of stouts that I can drink and rate similar day 1 or 2 years later after swapping and acquiring them. IPA's it's not quite as easier and quite honestly with the flavor profiles I've found 1-2 that I really like and beyond that everything gets compared to them.
  32. Pisthetaerus

    Pisthetaerus Initiate (130) Dec 3, 2014 Connecticut

    ^This plus:

    +The way anti macro sentiment in the US translates into a general aversion to lagers amongst a lot of the US craft crowd

    +Lagers take more time to make + more equipment = easier for small breweries to start making money on popular ales like IPAs and stouts.

    +The more recent path US beer has taken hasn't had much time for the Average American beer drinker to develop a liking for yeast flavors found in German/Belgian styles. Also, shitty imports and freshness issues have hurt their image in the US.

    +Stouts/IPAs benefit more from the extremes American brewers have taken them to.
    #72 Pisthetaerus, Mar 7, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2015
    AugustusRex likes this.
  33. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,179) Feb 15, 2010 New York

    It sounds like you can't give a high rating to a delicate beer... or a beer without added stuff.
  34. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,179) Feb 15, 2010 New York

    Only 8 IPAs?
    13+8=21 out of 25=a shame
    Why would 13 stouts be too much while 8 IPAs are too few?
    2beerdogs, AugustusRex and TongoRad like this.
  35. Jirin

    Jirin Aspirant (227) Apr 28, 2013 Massachusetts

    Imperial stouts are king for me, and I'm not as much into IPAs, so I could say the exact opposite.
    Buschyfor3 likes this.
  36. John_Beeryman

    John_Beeryman Initiate (0) Jul 19, 2014 Virginia

    Because stouts are good?
  37. WillWillows

    WillWillows Initiate (168) Feb 2, 2013 Ohio

    Guinness sells nearly 2 billion pints. Not only Irish drink it, made in 60 countries and sold in 120. (Wikipedia). But, my favorite is Rasputin.
  38. digitalflood

    digitalflood Zealot (517) Feb 4, 2011 New York

    A good Filet Mignon and Stone Smoked Porter-- all questions will be answered. Every beer has its place and part of the experience is learning where that place is as well as challenging your palate's preconceptions. :astonished:
    2beerdogs likes this.
  39. AugustusRex

    AugustusRex Disciple (336) Apr 12, 2013 Canada

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  40. 2beerdogs

    2beerdogs Poo-Bah (2,457) Jan 31, 2005 California
    Society Trader

    I'm with you on the "go to town" on IPA'S. But the shear complexity and depth of many Imperial Stouts is astounding. Even the classic Russian Imp Stout can be done to highlite so many different flavors. But then you add the barrel aging that so many brewers and cellarmen are playing with, and the variety is awe inspiring.
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