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Porter is a dark-coloured style of beer. The history and development of stout and porter are intertwined. The name was first used in the 18th century from its popularity with the street and river porters of London. It is generally brewed with dark malts. The name "stout" for a dark beer is believed to have come about because a strong porter may be called "Extra Porter" or "Double Porter" or "Stout Porter". The term "Stout Porter" would later be shortened to just "Stout". For example, Guinness Extra Stout was originally called "Extra Superior Porter" and was only given the name Extra Stout in 1840.

Many breweries brew porters in wide varieties, including, but not limited to, pumpkin, honey, vanilla, chocolate and bourbon. Specialized porter brews continue the tradition of aging in barrels, and the use of bourbon barrels is not uncommon.

Porter elsewhere

Exports of porter from Britain to the Baltic inspired brewers across the region to try making it themselves. Every country with a Baltic coastline continues to brew porter today.

A version known as "Baltic porter" is brewed in Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Denmark and Sweden. It has a higher alcohol content than ordinary porters. Baltic porter was introduced from Britain in the 18th century as a top-fermenting beer and remained so when local breweries, such as Carnegie in Sweden, began to produce it in the early 19th century. When breweries around the Baltic converted to bottom-fermentation in the second half of the 19th century, many began to brew their porter with a lager yeast. Today only a few remain top-fermented.

In Germany, Baltic porter was brewed from the mid-19th century to German reunification. In 1990, all German porter producing breweries were in former East Germany, and none survived the transition to a market economy. Beginning in the late 1990s, a moderate renaissance of imported porter beers in Germany led to the re-launch of Baltic porters by several German breweries. Some breweries also started to produce British-style porters. However, porter always was and still is a niche product in Germany.

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