For many years, dark beer has been synonymous with Stout. The world of dark beer may not be as populous or popular as pale ales, but its offerings are as varied.
Dark beers, from strong dark beers to dark beers, get their color and most of their flavor from roasted malt. All beers are brewed with roasted malt, but like coffee, the darker the roast, the richer the brew. By increasing the amount of dark malt used, brewers can deepen the color of the final beer while adding more complex flavors such as coffee, chocolate and caramel.
There are other ways to darken the color of beer. This can be achieved through a longer brewing process, either during a boil, or by aging the final brew in barrels, where the beer takes on some of the color and flavor of the aging vessel, usually a charred wood barrel. Each method, each alternation of malt flavor, works for a different type of stout, from light malt to rich and creamy. Keep that category in mind the next time you think of dark beer.