Stout Week: Guinness on tap

I’m at The Sanctuary, a classy, wooden-clad beer bar in Iowa City. The four-inch lettering outside proclaims: “Over 130 Ales and Lagers”. I only see 106, but who’s counting?

Two varieties of bottled stout come out of the St. James Gate: Extra Stout and Draught. The “draft” version is made to emulate the wildly popular (though somewhat maligned) on tap version of Guinness Stout. Later this week I will taste both bottled versions, so today is some research.

Guinness on tap pours a deeply dark near-black with red highlights. The head is lusciously creamy and thick, reminiscent of meringue. This momentary illusion is shattered, as there is practically no aroma, just the faintest hint of caramel.

The flavor is somewhat bitter, but unsettlingly so. There is not any roast character to match the bitterness, and neither is there hop flavor as would be in a pale ale. The flavor really is noticeable only in comparison with the lack of a nose. The palate is creamy and light. Unfortunately the bitterness lingers too long. A slight sweetness lingers cloyingly.

It is amazing to see a beer do so well in every category but flavor and aroma. I look forward to trying Guinness Extra Stout later this week, as that might redeem the St. James Gate.

-Guinness (tap)

RateBeer: 2.2 (5-4-2-3-8)

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