What Type Of Beer Is Guinness (Everything You Need To Know)

Guiness is a well known beer that is associated with Ireland. If you have been to Dublin then you might have even visited the Guiness Factory and taken part in the tour. But what type of beer is Guinness?

What Type Of Beer Is Guinness (Everything You Need To Know)

What is it made from? What makes Guinness so special and popular? We have put together this guide to tell you everything you need to know about Guinness. Keep reading if you want to find out more. 

What Type Of Beer Is Guinness? 

Guinness is an Irish dry stout. It is also referred to as a dark ale. It is known for its signature creamy head which is created by using nitrogen as well as carbon dioxide in the beer.

This makes the bubbles smaller and the head thicker. 

What Does Guiness Taste Like? 

Guinness is characterized by its rich, deep color but also by its caramelized flavor. This is caused by the barley being roasted instead of malted.

The flavor of Guinness is a blend of sweet and bitter and is often compared to coffee and chocolate. It smells sweet and malty, and it feels smooth on the palate. The flavor is balanced and creamy, and quite strong. 

What Is Guiness Made From? 

Guinness is made from four simple ingredients – water, barley, hops and yeast. Guinness roast their own barley, and they are the only brewery in the world to do this.

It has an alcohol percentage of 4.1% to 4.3% depending on which variety of Guiness you have. 

The History Of Guinness

Guinness was originally brewed in the brewery of Arthur Guinness in Dublin, which was founded in 1759. It grew in popularity throughout Ireland and the United Kingdom.

In the 1800s it was exported outside of the Uk to West India under the name ‘Foreign Extra Stout’. By the 1860s, Guinness was one of the top 3 brewers across Britain and Ireland, despite the company not owning any public houses. 

The Guinness headquarters are now in London and most of the brewing is done there, but you can still visit the original Guiness factory in Dublin. 

For a long time, Guinness was marketed as a ‘healthy’ beer that was rich in nutrients. It was described as a ‘meal in a cup’.

People reported feeling improved wellness when drinking Guiness regularly, and it was even recommended to pregnant women.

The slogan ‘Guinness Is Good For You’ was used for a long time before marketing regulations became much stricter and such claims had to be backed by medical research. 

Guinness Varieties

Guinness Varieties

There have been different varieties of Guinness over the years. 

Early Guinness

Guinness was initially made as a single stout, or dark beer porter. A small amount of aged brew was blended with fresh brew to create a distinctive tangy flavor. 

Extra Varieties

By the end of the 1800s Guinness was making three different varieties of beer. There was the single stout or dark beer porter, double stout (also called extra), and the foreign stout that was made to be exported. 

Guinness extra stout is what we now recognise today as the signature Guinness drink. It has a dark color, a crisp finish, and a sweet yet bitter flavor.

The Foreign extra stout is brewed stronger to make it more suitable for long voyages across the sea. It has a higher alcohol percentage than standard Guinness at 7.5%.

The beer is preserved by the extra hops that are used in the brewing process. The flavor is similar to signature Guinness, but with a fuller body and a more fruity notes. 

Guinness Blonde

Guinness is known for its rich, dark color, but they also do a pale version. It was originally concocted in the 70s after sales took a dip.

The blonde Guinness was designed to make the drink more appealing to the masses and more drinkable. A pale malt was used to create an American Amber Lager that would be more suitable for the United States Market.

The recipe has been tweaked over the years, but has remained the same since 2018. 

Guinness Draught 

Guinness was originally sold in barrels, but it is now also available as a draught beer. This variety of Guinness is also sold in kegs and in bottles.

In Europe it tends to be served Extra cold to make it even more refreshing. 

How To Serve Guinness

The best way to serve Guinness is nice and cold and in a classic pint glass.

The ideal temperature for Guinness is between 42 and 50 degrees fahrenheit as this ensures that it is refreshing but the flavors are not restricted and the aroma is able to open up.

Sometimes it is served extra cold at around 38 degrees fahrenheit. Always chill the Guinness, not the glass. The glass should be room temperature, or the flavor will be compromised and you will struggle to get a good head on the beer. 

Guinness Punch

Guinness is used to make a deliciously sweet drink called Guinness punch. Recipes vary, but it tends to be made with Guinness, condensed milk, vanilla extract, nutmeg and cinnamon.

This creamy alcoholic beverage originates from the Caribbean, and for the most authentic taste you should use the Foreign Extra Stout which has a stronger flavor and a higher alcohol percentage. 

Black Velvet

Black velvet is another cocktail that you can make with Guinness. When Prince Albert died in 1861, a drinking establishment in London mixed Guinness with champagne to serve to mourning Londoners.

The trend soon spread and the Black Velvet cocktail was born. 

Guinness In Food 

Guinness has become a popular cooking ingredient. It is often used in steak pies, in gravy for ‘bangers and mash’, or even in rich chocolate cakes. The blend of bitter and sweet works well with lots of different types of food. 


Guinness is a smooth, rich drink with a complex and well balanced flavor. It has an interesting history and is still an incredibly popular choice of beer.

Mandy Winters

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