A beer, midnight black and opaque. The head is rich and long-lasting. There is little hop aroma or flavour.

Stout is an ale, developed from the porter style of ale in Ireland by the Guinness brewery. Guinness remains the benchmark stout. Regardless of what you may have heard, the colour is so dark because of the malt used, not because they put dead rats in the fermentation vats.

Dry Stout is 4-5.5% ABV and can taste bitter. Coffee Stout is dry stout with a small amount of strong percolated coffee added.

Milk Stout tastes vastly different - it is sweet and chocolatey. It contains lactose, a sugar that yeast cannot ferment. This variety comes in at 3-6% ABV. Oatmeal Stout is milk stout with oats added to give more body without overly increasing the alcohol content.

Export Stout is full-bodied and has lots of hop bitterness. This, along with the 5-8% ABV allows it to gain condition with age. This is where the name comes from - it could withstand long journeys and the far-off drinkers would not find their current stocks stout getting too old before the next shipment arrived.

Imperial Stout is a bottle conditioned beer with 7-10% ABV. It develops complexity with age and tastes fairly harsh without at least a year of condition. Some people cellar it for five or six years. It is highly hopped and has a yummy chocolate malt and fruity flavour. Despite the high alcohol content it is terrible for getting pissed with your mates as it's really filling. It was originally developed by British brewers for the Russian court in the eighteenth century. This style is now more popular among American beer lovers.