Tag Archive: Guinness


St James’s Gate: Guinness: Draught 0.0 (Ireland: Low Alcohol: 0% ABV)

Visual: Opaque black and still. A creamy inch of a head.

Nose: Roasted. Nutty. Bitter cocoa. Milky coffee. Thick. Milky to milk bottle sweets.

Body: Creamy. Milk bottle sweets. Milky chocolate. Caramelised brown sugar. Very milky coffee. Slight savoury bread dough.

Finish: Milky. Light bitterness. Mild gingerbread. Slight charring. White sugar and brown sugar. Milky chocolate and cocoa. Toffee.

Conclusion: Ok, it has been a while since I last had draught Guinness, or to be honest any Guinness, so take this with a pinch of salt but … this isn’t a million miles away from tasting like draught Guinness.

It is fairly thick, in fact thick enough to make me think that this was initially brewed at normal strength and then the alcohol artificially removed as beers naturally brewed at low abv tend to be a lot thinner. I could, of course, be wrong. It is very creamy, and I would say sweeter than I remember Guinness being though. Not quite the savoury liquid bread that I remember Guinness being. Of course, these are old memories, so again, take with a pinch of salt.

There is some milky coffee and chocolate in there, not unusual for a stout but again slightly sweeter than I would expect with a kind of white and brown sugar backing, as if dissolved into the beer. While not as blatant it reminds me of when I try standard American bread which is far sweeter than the stuff I am used to here. This is similarly sweeter but I can still recognisable for what it is.

So, to summarise. Creamy as heck and sweeter than you would expect – the milk chocolate and coffee show the stout style, and there is a recognisable, liquid bread (Even slightly savoury dough at the back) style recognisable Guinness character.

It isn’t bad actually. Guinness is far from my favourite stout in general but this does the job well, and works a lot better than I ever expected it to. It also works very nicely if you half and half it with Nanny State. Which I expect is an experiment that will lead to many death threats and hate mail from purists.

So, a nice low alcohol surprise for me today

Background: So, I saw a pack of 4 cans of alcohol free Guinness at Sainsbury’s and I couldn’t help but wonder. How? This notoriously thick and stodgy Irish stout, how were they going to make an alcohol free version of it? So I grabbed a pack to try. I am easy to sell to. As mentioned in the notes I had before tried making a half and half with Nanny State with this to see what happened. It was nice. So by the time I got to this I was on my final can, so I decided to pull my thumb out and actually do notes. I didn’t bother doing the proper Guinness full slow pour, leave, come back and finish the pour for this. I just couldn’t be arsed. I did take my time over the pour in general though, just couldn’t be bothered with the full ceremony. Put Public Image Ltd: Compact Disk on as backing music. I was tempted to do something from Ireland to keep some thematic link going on, but eventually plumped for PIL as I was just in the mood for it. Not much else to say, I’m guessing we all know what Guinness is, right?

Nigeria Guinness Foreign Extra Stout

Guinness: Foreign Extra Stout – Nigeria (Nigeria: Foreign Stout: 7.5% ABV)

Visual: Black. Small head of coffee sud froth.

Nose: Bubblegum. Crushed peanuts. Fresh cookie dough. Milky coffee. Cream cheese and chives. Roasted hazelnuts. Vanilla toffee.

Body: Charred oak. Sour dough. Bitter and lightly earthy. Vanilla toffee. Light coffee. Bubblegum.

Finish: Bitter and charred. Earth hops. Soil. Vanilla toffee. Treacle. Bitter chocolate.

Conclusion: So, the legend that is Nigerian Guinness, finally here before me. I have heard so much about this over the years as I mention in the background – so, how is it?

Eh, not bad. The aroma is awesome, mixing dough coffee, roasted character and vanilla toffee in this thick, odd, bubblegummy mix. It is very evident, unusual and speaks well of what is to come. The initial first impressions were running pretty high.

Main body continues some of that, but there is a kind of empty charred character at the core which pushes a lot of the more interesting characteristics out to the edges. In the fact the weakest elements of this seem to be that it feels, at the base, closer to standard bottled Guinness than the other, foreign extra bottlings. I’m not sure how, they just feel heavier duty. Still, the edges use the more fun notes with more sweetness and more roasted character, giving extra layers to the beer.

I can see how it got its rep, especially back in the day when the more roasted hoppy stouts were not that common. Back then this must have been an assault in the senses. Even now, at the top and tail it is a good beer with great use of the unusual elements. The bitter chocolate in the finish especially stands out against the more roasted hop character. It is just that mid body that doesn’t quite land the vault.

Still ok, and I can say I’ve had it now. Guess I am glad I tried it just because of its reputation, but I can’t see myself coming back to it.

Background: Ah, the legend of the Nigerian Guinness. I’ve heard about this one for many years, but never managed to pick up a bottle. The tales have described it as anything from treacle thick, to hop roasted to half way between the two. So, when Independent Spirit got it in I grabbed a bottle for experimentation. The legend is in my hands. Drunk while listening to Against Me!’s awesome Transgender Dysphoria Blues album.

Guinness Foreign Extra Stout (Ireland: Stout: 7.5%ABV)

Visual: Traditional opaque black sink hold of light with a resolute inch of brown frothy head that fights its slow demise.

Nose: Nutty, light floral, vanilla. Lots of cream and some lime jelly. Condensed milk, sweet and cloying.

Body: Roasted nuts. Burnt. Harsh treacle. Thick mouthfeel. Chewy and a touch of a lighter back which has and almost mashed banana feel.

Finish: Dry burnt ashes. Long lasting and bitter, Sweet touch at the front that doesn’t last. Cigarette ash.

Conclusion: A fantastic nose, good body and slightly mundane finish. A meal of a stout with a body that defies and transcends the sickly sweetness of the nose.

A very workhorse stout, no shining new ideas, but a beer that gets you through after a hard days work. One you feel you have earned through your sweat and work.

As a general any day stout the only thing against it is the high alcohol, but keeping to the smaller bottles evens it out well, Sturdy and high quality.

(Thanks to Martin Ingram for this beer)

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