A tale of three stouts

Stormy Seas, Guinness Extra, and Allagash Black
At the end of last year, December 30 to be exact, I did a comparative taste testing of three stouts, my own Stormy Seas Stout, Guinness Extra Stout, and Allagash Black. Today, I’m brewing again–this time a nut brown ale I call “Nuttin’ Ales ME”–so I thought I’d blog the notes from that night.

When I brewed Stormy Seas, I thought I was brewing a clone of a Guinness Extra Stout. But the inclusion of Brettanmyces yeast gave it an unexpected twist. This taste testing was to help me see if it fit in a pre-existing beer “family,” or if it were just weird.

Stormy Seas Stout

  • ABV: 6.5%
  • Head: tan and relatively thick though a little uneven
  • Color: wonderfully opaque (black as midnight on a moonless night)
  • Nose: Slightly funky
  • Tasting notes: Smooth, almost silky. The funky, melon-y flavors evenly filled my mouth.
  • Finish: Sour
  • Lingering impression: The silky feeling was what lingered.

Guinness Extra Stout

  • ABV: 4.2%
  • Head: thin with “harsh,” big bubbles
  • Color: wonderfully opaque
  • Nose: minimal, but almost…sour…and a little coffee
  • Tasting notes: This one surprised me. It had been my favorite but tonight it merely slightly sour, mostly mass produced. Definite coffee flavors. The mouthfeel was disappointingly light.
  • Finish: not any sensation in the mouth, just flavor
  • Lingering impression: a powerful punch of flavor

Allagash Black

  • ABV: 7.5%
  • Head: thick and creamy
  • Color: wonderfully opaque
  • Nose: very nice boquet, clearly a stout, definite coffee notes
  • Tasting notes: The carbonation seemed a bit harsh. The beer was slightly sour with definite, lingering coffee impressions.
  • Finish: A sourness similiar to Stormy Seas but much cleaner finish
  • Lingering impression: A wonderful coffee-esque stout flavor lingered

The Allagash Black was my favorite, and it helped salvage my impressions of my own brew. My stout was simply in a different family than the Guiness Extra. I even found myself liking the silkiness of my beer more than the others. I was surprised to not really like the Guinness. It’s good, but really didn’t taste as distinctive as the Stormy Seas or Allagash Black.

My favorite was the Allagash. So much so that I went down to Portland to tour the factory and taste some others!

Now that it’s been about three months, the Stormy Seas has really mellowed. The ripe cantaloupe flavors are toning down and a solid stout foundation is becoming noticeable. The sourness stays pronounced.

I can’t wait to see how Stormy Seas ages! Chances are I’ll have it for a while. This is definitely a sipping beer.

Marc A. Pitman

Marc A. Pitman helps leaders lead their teams with more effectiveness and less stress. The author of "Ask Without Fear!®," he is the founder of The Concord Leadership Group and FundraisingCoach.com. He's also the executive director of TheNonprofitAcademy.com and an Advisory Panel member of Rogare, a prestigious international fundraising think tank. He is the husband to his best friend and the father of three amazing kids. And if you drive by him on the road, he’ll be singing 80’s tunes loud enough to embarrass his family! You can connect with him on Google+, on Twitter @marcapitman, and like "Ask Without Fear!" on Facebook. To get his free ebook on 21 ways to get board members engaged with fundraising, go to http://thenonprofitacademy.com/21waysebook

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Richard DeVeau


    You just gave me another reason to make certain I look you up next time I head East!

    I’ve long been a big stout fan. When I moved out here to Chicago from Massachusetts in ’05, I was delighted to find the makings a Wisconsin brewery, called Leinenkugel. I recently discovered their stout called Creamy Dark.

    It sounds a lot like the Allagash. If you can get Leinenkugel in Maine, I think you’d like it. And if you do, let me know what you think.

    And I love the name of you new ale!



  2. Marc A. Pitman

    Thanks Richard!

    I will definitely look for it!

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