A Porter is traditionally a dark style of beer, developed in London, made from brown malt and usually well-hopped. Apparently the name Porter was first recorded in the 18th century and is thought to come from its popularity with street and river porters. One reference from 1802 claims that the beer was “very suitable for porters and other working people”. Whatever that stereotypical statement implies!
So what's the difference between a Porter and a Stout?
The short answer is there isn’t one.
While it is possible that historically there may have been some difference, no one seems to be able to agree what that was, or is. Some suggest a stout was simply a stronger version of a Porter. Some say that Stouts traditionally contained roasted barley. Some hypothesize a difference in the type of speciality malt used.
It looks like we can safely conclude that the names are used interchangeably now days. But, hey, if you’ve got some further insights, or just like studying old beer recipes, then let us know.