International Stout Day: 7 things you need to know about this dark beer

There’s more to that black body, white head and full, creamy taste than meets the eye, says Sam Wylie-Harris.
International Stout Day: 7 things you need to know about this dark beer

Famously known as 'the black stuff', stout is loved the world over, but it's hard to think of another beer that's shrouded in so much mystery and myth.

After all, what other pint has been dubbed a cure-all thanks to the famous 'Guinness is good for you' advertising campaigns in the 1920s? As well as being cited as having health benefits for pregnant women - stout was thought to be a good source of iron and therefore useful during pregnancy or breast feeding. However, if the truth be known, Guinness contains a barely there 0.3mg of iron per pint.

But don't let that stop you from enjoying this thick, frothy, flavoursome dark malt, because stout has plenty to shout about.

1. Stout contains antioxidants

What's more, dark beer, especially stout, has been found to reduce your risk of blood clots, according to the University of Wisconsin. The high-temperature used in the roasting process to develop the smooth finish of dark malts also fuels the formation of antioxidants, which can help reduce the incidence of atherosclerosis and cataracts by as much as 50%.

2. It's the skinny in the brew world

While it may pack a punch with an average 8% abv, stout contains up to 50 fewer calories than many other brews. A pint of Guinness has fewer calories than a Corona - 125 compared to 148.

3. Guinness is the record breaker in beer circles

Guinness is the number one stout in the world, and surprisingly, it's sold in more than 120 countries.

4. Porter or stout? They're both dark, here's how they differ

We asked the experts at CAMRA (Campaign For Real Ale): Porters are complex in flavour, ranging from 4% to 6.5% and are typically black or dark brown; the darkness comes from the use of dark malts unlike stouts, which use roasted malted barley. Stouts can be dry or sweet and range from 4% to 8% abv.

5. It's been around for 300 years

"Stout has been brewed since the beginning of the 18th century when a number of 'stronger' beers were brewed, which, because of the use of hops, had good house-keeping properties. This subsequently became known as 'porter' because of the manual workers who drank it, and by the 19th century evolved into what we now know today as stout," says Peter Simpson, Guinness brewer.

"Today there a hundreds of variants of stout which are brewed incorporating different tastes and flavours including coffee, chocolate, whiskey, bourbon, the list is endless."

6. Stout goes with sparkling wine

The Black Velvet cocktail was created in 1861 to mourn the death of Prince Albert. Upon hearing the news, the steward at Brook's Club in London decided that even champagne should be put in mourning and a classic was born: One part stout, one part champagne.

7. It takes just under two minutes to pour to perfection

The perfect pour of a pint of Guinness Draught takes approximately 119.53 seconds.

- Press Association

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