There are few articles of faith in my admittedly jaundiced worldview, precious few things that I believe to be right and true and basically unimprovable by man or God. This, however, is one of them: a properly poured beer or ale -- in my case, a hand-cranked Guinness -- in a clean pint glass of correct temperature is God's Own Beverage, a complete and nutritious food source, a thing of beauty to be admired, a force that sweeps away, for a time, all the world's troubles.
Those are the words of Anthony Bourdain in his book The Nasty Bits, and stout lovers across the world couldn't agree more. There's something exotic and mysterious about the dark shroud of roasted malted barley, and for true dark beer connoisseurs, it's critical to get the most flavor out of your stout.
SERVE STOUT YOU LIKE.
Stouts come in so many varieties it's almost hard to count them all. To name a few, there are dry stouts, coffee stouts, imperial stouts, stouts on nitro, cask and barrel-aged stouts. Stouts can be poured from a tap, a can, or a bottle. Some can be surprisingly hoppy.
Whatever you do, the first way to get the most flavor out of your stout is to select a stout with the flavors you enjoy.
SERVE STOUT AT THE PROPER TEMPERATURE.
Temperature impacts our taste buds. As a general rule, warmer temperatures tend to bring out the flavors in beer while cold temperatures will suppress it. This was verified in a 2005 article in Nature where studies showed chemical pathways in the tongue's taste receptors vary with temperature.
As a general guideline, stout should be served between 45º and 50º F.
SERVE STOUT IN THE RIGHT GLASS.
The perfect stout glass should be well balanced in size, with a shape that will accentuate the unique flavors of dark beer like toasty malt, chocolate, coffee, and caramel. The rim should be the right diameter to reduce the speed of the beer into the mouth giving the taste buds time to recognize the appropriate flavor profiles.
Glassware features can include etchings that create a steady stream of bubbles to replenish the head and create aromas, as well as a "bowl and chimney" shape that will capture them and funnel them to the nose. The fact is, the right glass will have an enormous impact on how much you enjoy your beer.