That crisp fall air has moved in, and the beer world makes a sudden shift to #StoutSZN. To me (and many) stout season is all year long! But right now, is as good as of a time as any to talk about stouts.\nI must admit that I have a bit of an addiction to pastry stouts.They’re indulgent and fun. There are so many possibilities of flavor profiles. I also must admit that they are increasingly difficult to create to meet the consumer expectation. Like I mentioned before, pastry stouts are by nature indulgent. Sweet, thick, and often with intentionally over the top flavor profiles and combinations. Coconut\/Pistachio\/Cheesecake? You got it. Wild Thai Banana\/Maple\/Coffee\/Ice Cream? Coming right up. I could keep going forever, but you get the point. While these aren’t for everyone, they are definitely fun.\nOne area that I’m seeing growth in is taking some of the sensibilities and profiles of pastry stouts but bringing balance and grace to them. It’s an interesting proposition and takes quite the skilled brewer to pull it off. There are so many interactions to think of. It’s a puzzle that has more facets than many realize. When building the recipe, how will you build both body and flavor profile to stand up to your choice of adjuncts? What level of bitterness will you seek out and how will the water profile and bitterness of the dark grains affect them? How will you introduce your adjuncts and how will you make them shelf stable? There are so many different pieces to factor in, that it is easy to not even get out of the gates. Have fun. Give it a shot; there’s more than one way to learn and have fun with these.\nAnother favorite stout category of mine is the dry stout. It’s nearly commoditized at this point, but still holds a place near and dear to my heart in the craft beer world. It’s a great choice no matter the season and one that I always order. Who doesn’t love a proper pint of Guinness? But how will you make your own? Nitrogenated or not? To me, you can’t lose. While these are about simplicity, it still takes a ton of skill to really get it right, or you will just end up was a glass of overly roasted water. How do you build complexity from simplicity? Will you do your best to replicate the icon, or will you make your own stamp on the style?\nAny which way you chose to spin these, it’s stout season and I couldn’t be happier. I absolutely can’t wait to see what everyone has planned this year and can’t wait to see the directions that you take them. Get back in the brewery and make those stouts!