What does Guinness Taste Like?

Guinness is renowned for being one of the most famous beers in the world, with its distinctive black colour and its unique ‘Harp’ logo which are synonymous with the Emerald Isle.

If you’ve never had the opportunity to try a pint of Guinness, you’re probably going to be wondering what it tastes like. We’ll give you an idea of what to expect when you take your first sip of Guinness, plus some other fascinating information about arguably our most famous export.

History of Guinness

To fully appreciate Guinness, you need to understand where the journey started and how it rose to prominence in Ireland and the UK before venturing out to global markets.

  • Ale was first brewed by Arthur Guinness at St James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin in 1759
  • In 1769, Guinness exported his first ales to Great Britain
  • In 1778, Guinness started to sell a type of ale called ‘Porter’ which was a darker style of ale compared to the others he brewed. Varieties included Single and Double Stout
  • In 1862 the iconic ‘Harp’ logo was used on a bottle of Guinness for the first time
  • Guinness hit peak sales of 779,000 barrels in 1876 before forming as a public company and increasing its volume of sales to 1.138 million barrels per year
  • Demand for Guinness soared during the Second World War
  • Guinness’ recipe was altered for the first time during the 1970’s to make it more palatable and appealing to a wider audience
  • 2017 saw another recipe alteration, however no changes to taste were made on this occasion, but the recipe tweak saw it being suitable for Vegans and Vegetarians for the first time

Colour of Guinness 

There is no mistaking a pint of Guinness for any other beer in the world. A perfectly poured pint of Guinness standing proudly on the top of a bar, sitting in a pint glass adorned with the iconic Harp logo has become a symbol of the Emerald Isle in and of itself.

What you’ll notice from afar is that 90% of the pint glass will be the black ‘body’ of the drink, whilst the remaining 10% is the iconic white ‘head’ which finishes the incredible look perfectly.

However, take a closer look at a pint of Guinness, and especially if you hold it up to the light, you’ll actually notice the body isn’t black at all, and in fact it’s a shade of deep red which is attributed to the roasting of malted barley during the beers preparation. 

What does Guinness Taste Like?

Before we go into the details of what Guinness actually tastes like, it’s important to know that it’s a type of ale known as a stout. It’s made from ingredients such as roasted barley, hops, water and a type of ale yeast, and when all put together using Guinness’ unique method the dark creation of what we know Guinness to look like is made. 

If you’ve never tasted Guinness before then it could take a little getting used to as it carries a unique flavour and texture.

When you first sip a pint, your palette is hit with the creamy texture followed by the sweetness of the malts with notes of coffee and chocolate to follow. Also, because of the large amounts of roasted barley used in the preparation of Guinness it also carries a roasted flavour in the background.

Guinness Tasting Notes:

  • Creamy head
  • Roasted coffee
  • Chocolatey sweetness
  • Smooth and balanced

Guinness Facts

If you’re Googling this before your first ever pint of plain, then here’s a few facts to impress your friends with around the bar:

  • Guinness has several nicknames, including ‘The Black Stuff’, ‘Irish Champagne’, ‘Ebony Nectar’ and a ‘Pint of Plain’
  • Today, Guinness is brewed in nearly 50 countries across the world was is sold in over 120
  • More Guinness is consumed in Nigeria than in Ireland
  • Guinness is the unofficial drink of St. Patrick’s Day, which is the national holiday of Ireland
  • If you drink Guinness from a can, you’ll notice a small ping-pong ball in the bottom (this is called a widget which helps replicate the draught experience!)
  • There are claims that Guinness can be good for your health (these aren’t true anymore!)

We hope this helps before you try your first pint…now get out there and get ordering!