Posts Tagged ‘Guinness Stout’

Stout Week: Guinness Extra Stout and Draught

Friday, November 28th, 2008

Now I’ve got a bottle of Guinness Extra Stout, the much lauded export stout, and a widget can of Guinness Draught. One should note that this bottle of Extra Stout was brewed in New Brunswick while the can comes straight from Ireland.

The Extra Stout gives a thick, creamy head that is only the slightest bit spongy. The head is straw-colored and the beer itself a caramel-tinted deep black. The nose is delicate, with major malt character. A strong biscuit and toast brown malt aroma hearkens back to the porter roots of the style. Light caramel and roast add complexity.

The flavor has a similar detached bitter astringency as in the tap version, but there is also a significant contribution of flavor from brown and roast malt. While the roast still seems underbalanced for the bitterness, it is certainly much closer to ideal. In addition, there is a meaty yeast character that was entirely lacking on tap. The palate is thick and creamy without being cloying or undrinkable.

The Guinness Draught: I have to admit, this does pour exactly like Guinness on tap, with the thick milky head falling quickly in waves, settling with a creamy off-white meringue layer over a red-tinted dark brown. I can see (though I may not understand) why they spend so much time perfecting that aspect of the experience. Like on tap this has almost no nose, though the canned version does have slightly more toast aroma and a significant diacetyl note.

The taste confirms diacetyl, which actually serves to mellow out the unpleasant bitterness I’ve come to associate with Guinness. Unfortunately there’s almost no other flavor so it is a lost cause anyway. The palate is rich and creamy, and unlike on tap, it is not at all cloying. This beer is not bad, but it could be so much more.

+Guinness Extra Stout

RateBeer: 3.4 (3-7-6-4-14)

+/-Guinness Draught

RateBeer: 3.1 (5-5-5-4-12)

Stout Week: Guinness on tap

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

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)