I have to be honest: Porters and stouts are basically the same to me.
So, actually, I was pretty stoked to try a porter for this round of Into the Pint Glass and try to figure out the difference.
Spoiler alert: They’re still basically the same to me.
Dark, malty, hints of coffee/espresso…yeah, all the same.
Often good! Often quite tasty! But I can’t for the life of me tell them apart.
Mariah has porter’s “beertory” if you want actual information on the beer style.
Since I tried a stout for one of the earlier link-ups, I’ve actually noticed and been willing to try stouts a lot more when I see them on draft lists. Then I went to the liquor store to get a porter for this round and decided that stouts are steadily gaining popularity in San Diego…porters are not. This particular liquor store had TWO porters available: the Stone Smoked Porter and Ballast Point’s Victory at Sea.
Well, I’ve had Stone’s porter several times already, never tried Ballast Point’s, but they’ve rarely steered me wrong in the past, sooo…
Victory at Sea – Imperial Porter with Coffee and Vanilla (10% ABV, 60 IBUs)
Color/appearance — very dark espresso brown, practically black. Nice latte-brown head that was about half an inch thick when first poured.
Aroma — vanilla with notes of coffee/espresso
Flavor — Roasted coffee (dark roast coffee, very bitter, almost burnt tasting) on the front with a nice vanilla aftertaste (that got a little stronger as the beer warmed up). The bitter coffee and sweet vanilla balanced pretty nicely, and definitely improved after it warmed up a little.
Overall — Another winner. This had a nice in-between mouthfeel. I’m not really sure how to describe it; recently I tried a dry Irish stout on nitro that was super thin. I’ve also in the not-recent past tried, say, oatmeal stouts that I could almost chew. This was pleasantly in the middle, very drinkable. I love how the flavor of stouts and porters tends to “open up” as you drink them. I’d definitely get this again. Also, I love the label.