Why doesn't anyone ever explain how good Guinness is?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Gopherbassist, Dec 23, 2014.

  1. Gopherbassist


    Jan 19, 2008
    Over the years I've tried a good number of beers. There are lots of little things to differentiate them, but for the most part they all taste about the same. I've heard lots of discussion from people who drink more beer than I do about the intricacies of beer flavor, but the most anyone usually says about Guinness is that "it's good." Such lukewarm praise never really recommended the drink to me, so until last night I never tried it.

    But "good" isn't really a good description of the stuff. In fact, it doesn't really taste like other beers.

    I'll start with the head. I've never really cared about beer head, it's just bubbles, so far as I can tell. But not so with Guinness. The tiny bubbles in the head of this beverage make a soft, silky creamy mass on top of the beer, which is pleasant to the eyes, the lips, the tongue, and the throat. While other heads end up climbing the esophagus, this ones thick dense nature keeps it down in the stomach.

    While I watched my barman fill my glass, I thought to my self "hey, that looks like a chocolate drink." Much to my surprise, the first sip was in deed a bit chocolaty in flavor. Soon after, a charred taste comes to the fore, and sips after that taste very mild. I keep a glass of water near when I drink alcohol, and was pleasantly surprised that a few sips of water made an effective palate cleanser, and allowed me to experience the chocolaty flavor and the charred flavor all over again.

    So what else do people not properly describe?
    BigDanT likes this.
  2. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    Why would anybody need to explain Guinness? It's a little like riding a motorcycle or listening to jazz. It is entirely non-verbal, although you did a pretty good job of verbalizing the non-verbal.
    MJ5150 likes this.
  3. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Well, with all due respect to the almight Guinness gods, they can't take all the credit. The tiny bubbles and creamy texture don't come from the beer, but rather from being injected with a nitrogen/CO2 combination rather than pure CO2 at the tap. The bar or restaurant has to have a special tap and gas tank for this purpose. (Most also keep the Guinness keg in a separate cooler that keeps it at the appropriate "cellar temperature" rather than the ice-cold temps at which most American places serve their beer.) Sometimes a bar will have one or more other beers on a nitrogen tap, and these will have that same creamy mouthfeel.

    As for the flavor, which I agree is wonderful, Guinness is just one example of the beer style known as "Irish stout, "dry stout," or "Irish dry stout" (as compared to "chocolate stout," "imperial stout," and others). It is of course the best known and most widely distributed brand of such, but I've had others (also served via nitro tap) and found them to be very similar to Guinness. (Murphy's is one example.)
    Bob Lee (QSC) and MJ5150 like this.
  4. Gopherbassist


    Jan 19, 2008
    You lost me at jazz...
    Gaolee likes this.
  5. Ben B

    Ben B

    Jul 13, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Guinness is great. I drink almost exclusively craft/microbrews, but Guinness is one of the few exceptions. It's better than a lot of craft Stouts. As you described, creamy and a bit of chocolate flavor.

    knumbskull and pacojas like this.
  6. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    two words,... Car Bomb! ;)
    mrb327 likes this.
  7. Two words... Guinness float
  8. You should try Left Hand Brewing Companys Milk Stout. Its magically delicious.
    ShoeManiac and Lucky D like this.
  9. Gopherbassist


    Jan 19, 2008
    I can see this happening...
    tjontheroad likes this.
  10. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Red Robin does a milkshake with Guinness and Jamison.

    repoman likes this.
  11. JFOC


    Oct 23, 2010
    new hampShire
    My holiday tradition is to go xmass shopping & then get myself a celtic warrior(British pub doesnt do car bombs)

    It's a different take on a black and tan, 1/2 guinness, 1/2 hard cider with a shot of jamesons
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2014
    pacojas likes this.
  12. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Bah. If you want to add something to your Guinness, just pour it into a bigger glass and add more Guinness.
  13. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

  14. "My Goodness, My Guinness!"
  15. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    You apparently haven't tried any stouts before. If you think Guinness is good then try a Young's Double Chocolate Stout.
    pedroims and knumbskull like this.
  16. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    I certainly agree that OP should explore other stouts, but I disagree with your implication(s) that Young's is somehow "better" and that if someone likes Guinness they would like Young's even more. Apart from both being classified technically as "stouts," they could hardly be more different, and one could easily love either but dislike the other.

    Personally, I love both, but in totally different contexts. If I'm gonna spend a few hours in a pub hanging with friends, Guinness is a perfect session beer. I'll save the Young's for an after-dinner dessert (ideally with a good cigar).
    Bob Lee (QSC) and One Drop like this.
  17. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    I don't disagree with you, but I think it's important to consider what the OP is saying:

    - has tried many beers
    - thought most beers tasted more or less the same
    - discovered Guinness and found it to be unique and good for x, y, and z reason

    From his post, it seems like Young's would be something he'd enjoy. Also, I never called Young's a "better" beer as you're implying; I just said, "if you like Guinness you should try Young's," which he should. Also notice that I never suggested he try a North Coast Old Rasputin Imperial Russian Stout. Given his post, I'd think it wouldn't be quite to his liking :p
  18. nutdog

    nutdog when I'm a good dog they sometimes throw me a bone

    Feb 19, 2009
    in the dog house
    Tried many beers that taste the same? Miller, Busch, Bud, Michelob, Coors...?
    Lobster11 likes this.
  19. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    OK, fair enough. IME, when somebody says "If you like X your should try Y," the intended meaning is that Y is (even) better than X and so the person will like it (even) better than X. But you didn't actually say that, and so I apologize for putting words in your mouth.

    That said, I'm still not sure that one's liking Guinness is at all predictive of one's liking Young's -- especially if the Young's were out of a bottle or a standard CO2 tap (given that the creamy nitro-based mouthfeel was a big part of what OP like about it). I suppose it's ultimately an empirical question, so I hope you'll join me in encouraging OP to do the crucial experiment to find out!

    As for Old Rasputin, yeah, let's not go there. That's one that I would definitely save for dessert -- but I'd be sure not to light my cigar too close to the beer....
    Downunderwonder likes this.
  20. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    Guinness is liquid bread. :D :cheers: