25 Stouts to Try Before You Die

From smoked Icelandic ales to standard-bearing coffee stouts, these dark beers can't be missed.


We may live in an IPA world these days, but the stout is still alive and well in the craft-beer era, which is good news for fans of dark, silky liquids in their pint glasses.

According to the Oxford Companion to Beer, the style has its origins in England, where it evolved from the stout porter: "Although the term 'stout' first emerged in England in the 1700s to describe the high-alcohol, bolder-flavored version of any beer style, over time it became closely associated with the porter style. In the late 1800s, regular porters fell out of favor and the designation stout porter was eventually simplified to stout."

Of course, that original iteration launched countless variants, from the boozy Russian imperial stout (brewed originally in England for Peter the Great), to the silky oatmeal stout and the sweet, lactose-infused milk stout. Many people tend to think of stouts as cold-weather sippers, but that's a misconception—after all, few beers are as sessionable as the classic dry Irish stout (we see you, Guinness), and few things pair as well with the barbecued meats of a cookout like a roast-y, smoky stout.

Today, old-fashioned recipes share shelf space with new takes on the genre, dosed with everything from single-origin coffee beans to local cherries. So which stouts are worth your hard-earned sheckles (and remaining liver capacity)? We brought that question to our panel of experts—including brewers, bar owners, and journalists—to find out which dark brews they can't live without.

Any favorites you'd add to the list? Let us know in the comments.

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Click to start the list
  • Geppetto

    Seriously, they could have left Guiness off this list.

  • Blatherbeard

    Agreed, especially since The Abyss isnt on the list.

  • Jason

    Guinness Extra Stout (pictured) tastes totally different from regular Guinness and is far better in my opinon.

  • Ryan

    Founder’s Breakfast Stout or Kentucky Breakfast Stout???

    • Thomas Wilson

      Do you like your coffee black (FBS) or with cream/sugar (KBS)?

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      • Jeff

        You obviously don’t drink many stouts, as many have ample coffee taste. Neither of those two stouts are overly dominated by it, though, esp. not KBS. And it has a 100 rating on Beer Advocate AND Ratebeer. Two excellent beers.

        • Thomas Wilson

          I think you misinterpreted my man, not a knock on either. I love them both. Tried plenty of stouts (my 2nd fav style of beer), i’m at about 40 or so that i’ve remembered to tick off and review and plenty that just got downed at the bar or with friends.

          FBS and KBS are both coffee based. Their product descriptions say so. What was meant was FBS is similar in taste to coffee black and KBS (This stout is brewed with a hint of coffee and vanilla then aged in oak bourbon barrels for over a year. RE: Founder’s website) is similar in flavor essences to a latte. That’s all. Hopefully this didn’t come off as snarky. I’m normally anything but.

    • Jeff

      Exactly! Gotta have at least one of them on here. No Founders at all, including their Russian Imp. is just absurd. This guy is way too caught into Belgian beer hipster mode.

  • Jordan

    Inevitably, something GOOD is going to get left off of any list. Such is the nature of lists. None of the Great Divide Yeti iterations though? To each his own, I guess.

  • Ben Bitten

    No Santa Fe Java Stout?

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