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We Ranked Seasonal Stouts To Make Your Winter Warmer

Many drinkers turn their backs on beer when the winter months begin. They say that brews belong to the summer, paired with yard games, SPF, and sandals. And sure enough, summer is the season of IPAs, pale ales, wheat beers, and crisp, light pilsners. The winter months are often reserved for bourbon, scotch, and rye.

But as we’ve laid out before, there are beers specifically calibrated for the rugged, cold, hygge-inspiring winter season. Plenty of them, in fact. And perhaps none better than stouts. This week, we’re (once again) diving headfirst into this malty, rich, chocolate-noted beer style. Why? Stouts make perfect warmers during the cold months; as cozy and comforting as a weighted quilt.

First, a little clarity on this dark brew: A stout — which is often pitch-black in color — is brewed with roasted barley, hops, yeast, and water. They’re typically high in ABVs, usually in the 7-8% range (hence all the “warming” references). They’re also diverse. Within the overarching style, there are various types of stouts — Irish dry, milk stout, oatmeal stout, oyster stout, chocolate stout, imperial stout, and the newly minted, highly beloved barrel-aged stout (usually bourbon barrel-aged).

Today, we’re ranking the thirty best stout beers to drink this winter. It should be noted that this list is made up of beers we actually tried. So don’t come at us with angry emojis because your favorite oatmeal cookie stout from a beloved local brewery in Scottsdale wasn’t included. It’s a pandemic and we can’t be everywhere. Also, we tried not to include too many limited-edition beers — because why would you want to read about a beer you’re never going to get a chance to try? Other than that, taste and taste alone was the key factor here.

Let’s get sipping!

30) Duck Rabbit Milk Stout

Duck Rabbit

ABV: 5.7%

Average Price: $9.99 for a six-pack

The Beer:

When it comes to milk stouts, there’s a reason Duck Rabbit is one of the most popular. This traditional milk stout was brewed with lactose (also known as milk sugar). This gives the beer a sweet, creamy flavor (and mouthfeel) that melds perfectly with the roasted malts.

Tasting Notes:

After the first sip, you’ll notice a large amount of rich, roasted malt flavor that delves into sugary, creamy sweetness from the lactose. It’s a great mix of bitter and sweet flavors without overloading the alcohol content.

Bottom Line:

Duck Rabbit Milk Stout is the brewery’s number one seller and for good reason. For fans of stouts, it’s a great break from high ABV barrel-aged beers without giving up any roasted, malty flavor.

29) Deschutes Obsidian Stout

Deschutes

ABV: 6.4%

Average Price: $8.99 for a six-pack

The Beer:

One of Deschutes Brewery’s most popular beers, Obsidian Stout is made with 2 Row, Roasted Barley, Chocolate Malt, Carapils, Munich, Crystal malts as well as Delta and Northern Brewer hops.

Tasting Notes:

The result is a rich, robust, somehow easy to drink stout with hints of roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, and just a hint of caramel sweetness.

Bottom Line:

In a world of overly heavy stouts, this is a nice respite that still has enough oomph to warm you up until spring.

28) Sierra Nevada Stout

Sierra Nevada

ABV: 5.8%

Average Price: $10 for a six-pack

The Beer:

This beloved beer is touted as a “West Coast-style” stout, whatever that means. One of Sierra Nevada’s oldest beers, this multiple award-winner is made in the traditional dry stout style. It’s filled with roasted malts, giving it hints of bitter chocolate.

Tasting Notes:

This dark, rich, subtly bitter stout is full of roasted malt, sweet chocolate, bold coffee flavors with a nice, dry finish.

Bottom Line:

This beer isn’t bourbon barreled and doesn’t contain any random chili peppers or similar flourishes. It’s simple, rich, and perfect for winter drinking.

27) Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout

Samuel Smith

ABV: 5%

Average Price: $9.99 for a 4-pack

The Beer:

For some reason, the oatmeal stout style lost favor sometime around World War I until it was brought back by Samuel Smith in 1980. Since then, this style has gained in popularity, with the original still considered the best.

Tasting Notes:

This velvety, rich stout is filled with flavors of semi-sweet chocolate, roasted coffee, and subtle dried fruits.

Bottom Line:

If you’re going to try an oatmeal stout, make sure you’ve sipped a Samuel Smith’s oatmeal stout first. It’s always best to compare against the GOAT, right?

26) Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro

Left Hand

ABV: 6%

Average Price: $12 for a six-pack

The Beer:

While Guinness is undeniably Ireland’s stout, Left Hand touts its Milk Stout as “America’s Stout.” Whether that’s true or not, this beer is a winner. It’s brewed with lactose as well as 2-Row, Crystal, Chocolate, and Munich malts, rolled oats, flaked barley, and roasted barley to give it a well-rounded flavor profile.

Tasting Notes:

This nitro brewed stout is filled with flavors of slow-roasted coffee beans, sweet chocolate, vanilla, caramelized sugar that’s all amped up by the addition of nitro bubbles.

Bottom Line:

You can grab a bottle of the regular Left Hand Milk Stout, but why would you when you can have the Nitro version instead?

25) Rogue Chocolate Stout

Rogue Ales

ABV: 5.8%

Average Price: $8 for a 22-ounce bottle

The Beer:

This award-winning stout is the epitome of chocolate in a pint glass. Made with rolled oats, roasted barley, chocolate, and a whole slew of malts and hops, this beer is a complex chocolate bomb.

Tasting Notes:

This dark, creamy brew is filled with sweet oatmeal flavor that moves into a bitter dark chocolate, subtle hops, and finally rich, creamy milk chocolate.

Bottom Line:

This is like the grown-up version of chocolate milk. It’s so sweet and velvety that you just might want to throw on some cartoons, kick your feet up, and pretend you’re living some kind of modern-day Big scenario.

24) Revolution Rise

Revolution

ABV: 7.6%

Average Price: $7.99 for a 22-ounce bottle

The Beer:

This unique stout gets its base from pale malt as well as caramel malt from Chile. They add English roasted barley and dark chocolate malt to make very dessert-like chocolate and pastry-filled stout.

Tasting Notes:

This beer is chocolate through and through. But unlike many stouts on the market, it gets a nice kick of bitterness from the addition of Centennial and Cascade hops before fermentation and getting dry-hopped with Centennial and Chinook hops afterward.

It’s creamy, chocolatey, and has a nice backbone of pine and citrus.

Bottom Line:

This is the stout for hop fans. If you’re tired of overly roasted, chocolate-centric beers with no bite, this is the stout for you.

23) Guinness Stout

Guinness

ABV: 4.2%

Average Price: $10 for a six-pack

The Beer:

When many people think of stouts, their mind tends to immediately take them to the Emerald Isle and a pint of Guinness Draught. This dry, Irish stout is the original nitro beer. It’s velvety, subtly bitter, and surprisingly low in alcohol.

Tasting Notes:

At first glance, it looks dark and appears to be heavy. But it’s surprisingly smooth and light with hints of roasted barley, bitter coffee, and sweet, milk chocolate.

Bottom Line:

One of the most popular pub beers of all-time, it’s hard to beat a hand-poured Guinness. But if you’re stuck at a home, cracking open a nitro-infused can will do in a pinch.

22) Avery Night Warden

Avery

ABV: 8.2%

Average Price: $15.99 for a six-pack

The Beer:

This stout begins with roasted barley, midnight wheat, caraaroma, chocolate, oats, and 2-row malts (among other ingredients) and transforms them all into something truly spectacular after aging for three months in former whiskey barrels.

Tasting Notes:

The result of aging in whiskey barrels is a well-balanced, rich, velvety smooth stout with notes of creamy vanilla, caramel, roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, and a nice hit of whiskey.

Bottom Line:

In a world of 12% ABV barrel-aged beers, Avery Night Warden is a nice change of pace. While it’s not a session beer, it’s a great option for those looking for only a subtle buzz.

21) Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

Brooklyn

ABV: 10%

Average Price: $16.99 for a six-pack

The Beer:

Let’s be honest, Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout is less a beer and more a dessert. This Russian imperial stout is filled with roasted malts and a rich, decadent chocolate flavor.

Tasting Notes:

This beer is chocolate to the max. You’d think they added alcohol to melted chocolate. It’s mouth-coating, rich, velvety, and filled with hints of roasted coffee beans and sweet fudge.

Bottom Line:

Since you’re likely buying a six-pack, enjoy the first one in a glass and then pour the second one over some ice cream (or make an ice cream float). Now that’s a boozy treat.

20) Bell’s Expedition Stout

Bell

ABV: 10.5%

Average Price: $15 for a six-pack

The Beer:

One of the first Russian imperial stouts to be brewed in the US, Bell’s Expedition Stout is bold, complex, and filled with roasted malts. It’s an iconic brew for a reason and one you’ll want to drink all winter long.

Tasting Notes:

This beer is filled with hints of dark, roasted coffee, rich chocolate, dried fruits, and sweet brown sugar. It also has a big malt body that stands up to all of the various potent flavors.

Bottom Line:

While this beer is 10.5% alcohol, you wouldn’t even know it. It’s rich, creamy, and sexy-smooth.

19) Night Shift Night Fever

Night Shift

ABV: 7.5%

Average Price: $16 for a 4-pack of 16-ounce cans

The Beer:

In recent years, Night Shift has been crafting high-quality, delicious brews. One of its best is its Night Fever Stout. This chocolate stout is cranked up with the addition of house-roasted coffee beans. The result is a decadent, subtly bittersweet, smooth stout.

Tasting Notes:

This beer has everything stout fans enjoy. It’s bursting with rich roasted malts, sweet caramelized sugar, dried fruits, and creamy chocolate flavors.

Bottom Line:

If you can get your hands on a few cans of this well-made brew, pour yourself a pint or two and share the rest — this is a fun one to discuss.

18) Stone Xocoveza

Stone

ABV: 8.1%

Average Price: $18 for a six-pack

The Beer:

If you’ve ever been to Mexico, you might have been lucky enough to try Mexican hot chocolate. This spicy, warming drink gets its kick from the addition of chili powder. The folks at Stone decided to replicate that flavor in beer form and they succeeded with Xocoveza — loaded with coffee, pasilla peppers, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and chocolate.

Tasting Notes:

This surprisingly smooth, light stout is filled with hints of sweet chocolate, bitter coffee, and a nice, spicy peppery backbone that will keep you warm all winter long.

Bottom Line:

This mocha stout is perfect for fans of subtly spicy, chocolatey beverages. If you’re on the fence, give it a try. You won’t regret it.

17) Westbrook Mexican Cake

Westbrook

ABV: 10.5%

Average Price: $16 for a 22-ounce bottle

The Beer:

Brewed originally to celebrate the South Carolina-based brewery’s first year, this imperial stout aged in cocoa nibs, cinnamon sticks, vanilla beans, and habanero peppers is now released every year.

Tasting Notes:

This is a truly complex beer. This imperial stout starts with the rich, roasted malt flavors stout fans expect. But it quickly evolves into something special with hints of sweet vanilla, cinnamon, fudgy chocolate, and, finally, a kick of spicy pepper.

Bottom Line:

This year, instead of taking a Lactaid to enjoy a tall glass of milk with your birthday cake, pair it with a pint of Westbrook Mexican Cake instead.

16) Long Trail Barrel Aged Unearthed

Long Trail

ABV: 9.6%

Average Price: $16.99 for a 4-pack

The Beer:

Long Trail took its regular, highly rated Unearthed American Stout and matured it in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels for six months. The result is a turbo-charged imperial stout that took on some of the greatest qualities of the charred cask.

Tasting Notes:

This limited-edition beer isn’t easy to come by, but if you find some bottles, you’ll be treated to sweet caramel, dark, bitter chocolate, creamy vanilla, and just the right amount of warming bourbon whiskey.

Bottom Line:

If you can find some bottles of this rare beer, save them for yourself. Don’t even tell your significant other or roommates that you got some.

15) North Coast Old Rasputin

North Coast

ABV: 9%

Average Price: $8.49 for a 4-pack

The Beer:

No stout list is complete without North Coast Old Rasputin. Named for the infamous mystic Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin, this beer is made in the 18th-century style of Russian imperial stouts. It’s become one of the most popular stouts in America and for good reason.

Tasting Notes:

Like the man himself, this beer is brash and bold. Unlike Rasputin, it’s also filled with bitter, intense coffee, chocolate, and roasted malt flavors. The sip ends with a nice warming finish that’s very unlike the end of the famous “holy man” himself.

Bottom Line:

North Coast Old Rasputin should be required winter drinking.

14) Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break

Evil Twin

ABV: 11.5%

Average Price: $14.99 for a 4-pack of 16-ounce cans

The Beer:

This bold, rich, flavorful imperial stout was brewed with a generous amount of coffee. While it seems like a gimmick, it isn’t. The addition of vanilla and almond flavor makes it taste like you’re dipping a crispy biscotti into a cup of coffee. Except that the coffee is a high ABV beer.

Tasting Notes:

Sometimes when a beer’s name gets specific with what it’s supposed to be, it doesn’t hit the target. This one does. What starts as a classic, coffee, and chocolate-filled imperial stout evolves into a symphony of almond cookies and sweet vanilla.

Bottom Line:

Instead of having an after-dinner cup of coffee that’s just going to keep you up all night, opt for a pint of Imperial Biscotti Break. This is the kind of post-dinner dessert drink we can get used to this time of year.

13) Oskar Blues Barrel Aged Ten Fidy

Oskar Blues

ABV: 12.9%

Average Price: $12.99 for a 19.2-ounce can

The Beer:

Sure, you can’t go wrong with a pint of Oskar Blues Ten Fidy. This 10.5% ABV stout is perfect for winter weather. But if you want to kick it up a notch, you should buy a can or two of the barrel-aged version.

Tasting Notes:

Aged for four seasons in former bourbon barrels, this imperial stout has hints of brown sugar, sweet caramel, toasted vanilla, bitter coffee beans, and deeply warming bourbon flavors.

Bottom Line:

If you’re still not sure whether or not you want to put down that bottle of bourbon this winter. Why not work your way into stouts slowly by drinking this barrel-aged stout?

12) Great Divide Brewing Barrel Aged Yeti

Great Divide

ABV: 12.5%

Average Price: $24 for a 750ml bottle

The Beer:

Great Divide is well-known for its Yeti Imperial Stout. It’s malty, rich, and chocolatey on its own. This brew amps up the original by aging it for a minimum of 12 months in whiskey barrels to create its Barrel-Aged Yeti.

The result is mellow, complex, and well suited for cold weather.

Tasting Notes:

First, you’ll be treated to dark, roasted, rich flavors of malts before heading into sweet vanilla, charred oak, and eventually the whiskey itself with all of its warming qualities.

Bottom Line:

If you’ve tried all of the other well-known barrel-aged stouts, it’s time to grab a bottle or two of Barrel Aged Yeti. You’ll be happy you did.

11) Bell’s Black Note

Bell

ABV: 11.2%

Average Price: $24.99 for a 4-pack

The Beer:

There’s a reason this is one of the most popular beers ever made by Bell’s. It begins as a blend of its Expedition Stout and Double Cream Stout. Then, it’s aged in ex-bourbon barrels for months.

Tasting Note:

The result is a highly nuanced, complex brew with notes of rich dark chocolate, bitter coffee beans, dried cherries, caramelized sugar, and a nice hint of bourbon at the back end.

Bottom Line:

If you’re a fan of stouts and whiskey, enjoying a pint or two of this special beer is the way to go. The chocolate and whiskey notes are sure to keep you coming back for more.

10) Prairie BOMB!

Prairie

ABV: 13%

Average Price: $9.99 per 22-ounce bottle

The Beer:

While you can’t go wrong with anything from Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Prairie Artisan Ales, if you’re looking for high quality, potent, flavorful stout, look no further than its iconic BOMB! This imperial stout was aged on espresso beans, vanilla beans, chocolate, and gets a spicy kick from ancho chile peppers.

Tasting Notes:

This high ABV imperial stout is filled with rich chocolate, caramel, and subtly bitter coffee bean flavors. It’s all tied together with warming ancho chile pepper heat.

Bottom Line:

If you live somewhere in the northern hemisphere where it gets really cold (like really cold), grab a bottle of BOMB! and prepare to be warmed from the inside out.

9) Evil Twin Even More Jesus

Evil Twin

ABV: 12%

Average Price: $15.99 for a 4-pack of 16-ounce cans

The Beer:

This imperial stout has a name that lives up to its bold flavor. It’s pitch black in appearance and brewed with roasted malts, hazelnuts, and bitter chocolate. The result is a well-balanced sweet, roasty stout, perfect for winter drinking.

Tasting Notes:

What begins as an extremely dark, almost fudge-like beer evolves into a cavalcade of roasted coffee, creamy chocolate, nutty sweetness, and caramelized sugar flavors.

Bottom Line:

Whether you’re religious or not, you can appreciate this beer. It’s dark, rich, sweet, and well suited for drinking while you welcome a new year.

8) Alesmith Speedway Stout

Alesmith

ABV:12%

Average Price: $11.99 for a 750ml bottle

The Beer:

This imperial stout is brewed with both chocolate and roasted malts to give it a slightly bitter, robust, chocolate-filled backbone. The addition of locally-roasted coffee brings it to a new level of flavor magic.

Tasting Notes:

The coffee flavor is prevalent right away and that’s not such a bad thing. This is followed by dark chocolate, sweet caramel, and rich vanilla notes.

Bottom Line:

For stout fans who enjoy warming, high ABV stouts without the addition of barrel-aging and the flavors associated with that, this is the beer for you.

7) Deschutes The Abyss 2019 Reserve

Deschutes

ABV: 11%

Average Price: $17 for a 22-ounce bottle

The Beer:

You’ve seen the words “bourbon barrel” mentioned a ridiculous number of times on this page. But Deschutes decided to try something different with its 2019 release. It was aged in ex-Port wine barrels.

Tasting Notes:

The result is a unique imperial stout with hints of raw sugar, licorice candy, dark chocolate, sweet, dried fruits, and rich, roasted malts.

Bottom Line:

This is a different kind of barrel-aged beer and it should be treated as such. Savor this because it might never happen again.

6) Lagunitas Willetized Coffee Stout

Lagunitas

ABV: 12.9%

Average Price: $13.99 for a 4-pack

The Beer:

Lagunitas collaborated with Kentucky’s Willet Distillery to make this one-of-a-kind coffee stout. They took their imperial stout in ex-bourbon barrels from the famed distillery and let them sit for months to broaden the flavors.

Tasting Notes:

If we know one thing about stouts it’s that coffee, chocolate, and bourbon work well together. This limited-edition brew has everything we love. It’s filled with notes of chocolate, bitter espresso beans, subtle smoke, and just the right amount of warming bourbon.

Bottom Line:

This is the perfect beer for fans of coffee, chocolate, and whiskey. These are all things we enjoy, so this is the beer for us.

5) Goose Island Bourbon County Stout

Goose Island

ABV: 12-14%

Average Price: $14 for a 16.9-ounce bottle

The Beer:

While there are many variations (and new offerings each year) of Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout, it’s hard to top the original. Regardless of which year your bottle was made, it will consist of an imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels. This is the OG bourbon barrel-aged stout was first brewed back in 1992 to celebrate the 1000th batch of beer produced at Goose Island.

Tasting Notes:

This super dark pitch-black imperial stout is so full of flavors you might want to take your time and enjoy each one individually. First, there are flavors of chocolate, sweet vanilla, and brown sugar. This is followed by rich whiskey and just a hint of charred barrel flavor.

Bottom Line:

There’s a reason beer fans eagerly await the release of this beer (and all the various iterations). It’s a true masterpiece. Buy one bottle for now and one to cellar for later enjoyment.

4) Fremont The Rusty Nail

Fremont

ABV: 14.5%

Average Price: $24 for a 22-ounce bottle

The Beer:

You may have tried Fremont’s beer called The First Nail. That one is an oatmeal stout made with smoked barley, brewer’s licorice, and pale malt, that’s then aged on cinnamon bark. They turn it up to eleven by aging it in ex-bourbon barrels for 15 months to create The Rusty Nail

Tasting Notes:

Right away, the bourbon flavors are very prevalent. This quickly moves into flavors of subtly bitter dark chocolate before moving on to spicy cinnamon, subtle licorice, and rich caramel.

Bottom Line:

If you can, grab a bottle of The First Nail and The Rusty Nail, you should drink them side by side, reveling in the similarities and differences.

3) Firestone Walker Parabola

Firestone Walker

ABV: 14%

Average Price: $17.99 for a 20-ounce bottle

The Beer:

Firestone Walker’s Parabola is an eagerly awaited release from the California-based brewery. Each vintage is aged for 12 months in former bourbon barrels. This imperial stout is one of the brewery’s most popular bottles and one you should seek out this winter.

Tasting Notes:

This isn’t your average imperial stout. Bourbon cask aging results in a well-balanced stout with hints of bitter, dark chocolate, roasted espresso beans, rich tobacco, sweet vanilla, and warming whiskey.

Bottom Line:

Buy a few bottles. Drink one now and save the others for a special occasion.

2) Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout

Founders

ABV: 11.2%

Average Price: $17.99 for a four-pack

The Beer:

Founder KBS was heavily hyped before it was made more readily available. But the ease at which it can now be purchased hasn’t changed the quality of this imperial stout, brewed with coffee and chocolate and aged in bourbon barrels for 12 months.

Tasting Notes:

Right away, you can taste the roasted coffee flavor. This is highlighted by the addition of caramel, sweet vanilla, creamy chocolate, and a nice warming kick of bourbon.

Bottom Line:

When it comes to barrel-aged beers, it’s still really hard to beat the quality of KBS. It’s the kind of beer you should always have on hand for winter drinking emergencies.

1) Perennial Artisan Ales Abraxas

Perennial Ales

ABV: 11.5%

Average Price: $24.99 for a 750ml bottle

The Beer:

This imperial stout was brewed with cacao nibs, vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, and ancho chili peppers. The result is a truly unique, much sought-after stout you’ll savor from start to finish.

Tasting Notes:

This highly complex, nuanced stout is filled with roasted malt flavor that moves along to sweet milk chocolate, spicy peppers, and sweet cinnamon.

Bottom Line:

While this beer seems overly complicated on the surface, the experience of drinking it is both direct and satisfying. All the various flavors work together in perfect harmony to create a unique, flavorful beer.

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