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British Isles - Guinness

logo DK PublishingDK Publishing 02/07/2014 DKBooks
© Provided by DKBooks

© Provided by DKBooks

© Provided by DKBooks

© Provided by DKBooks


St. James’s Gate, Dublin, 8, Ireland

When you can make a virtue out of the time it takes to pour a pint—119.5 seconds to be precise—you know you have no ordinary beer in your hands. Guinness defines stout, Ireland, and Irishness, but it is also inextricably linked with innovation in physics, chemistry, packaging, and advertising. The St. James’s Gate Brewery—occupying a 62-acre (25-hectare) prime slice of Dublin—is often likened to a citadel, but it is very much a living, working space and, 250 years after young Arthur Guinness’s first mash, it is brewed in 50 countries worldwide and enjoyed in 150.

Brewing secret

The amount of hops used is instrumental to the dry quality of Guinness Stout; Brettonamyces yeast also contributes to its dry style.

Guinness Original

beer style: Stout
alcohol content: 4.2% ABV

The packaged version’s coffee and cream aroma highlights fruit, chocolate, and some late hoppiness.

Draught Guinness

beer style: Stout
alcohol content: 4.1% ABV

Some hop aroma apparent, then fruit, cream, and dark toffee flavors develop with liquorice tinges.

Foreign Extra Stout

beer style: Special Stout
alcohol content: 7.5% ABV

Leafy hop aroma, with burnt toast, rich malt, bitter coffee, and liquorice flavors ripening effortlessly.

Guinness Red

beer style: Irish Red Ale
alcohol content: 4.1% ABV

Rather than the familiar black and white, lighter roasted barley gives it a rich red color.

The Story of … Guinness

Ask for a pint of the “black stuff” wherever you are in the world and the likelihood is you will be served a glass of Guinness. With a body seemingly as dark as the blackest night and topped with a snow white flourish of foam, it is one of the world’s most recognizable beers. Guinness is a dry stout, its flavor unerringly roasty, with a hint of smokiness. Its dark hue and distinctive creamy flavor come from the use of an abundance of barley, which is roasted in a giant drum within the St James’s Gate Brewery, filling the air around with luscious, burnt coffee aromas.

The Guinness story began more than 240 years ago, when Arthur Guinness built a brewery in Dublin, the keystone of which was decorated with a relief of Ceres, the Roman goddess of grain. By 1900 the brewery’s fame and its beer had traveled far and wide, and Guinness had become the biggest brewer in the world, producing more than one million barrels a year.

Today, with a number of variations, Guinness is brewed in more than 40 countries. Drinkers in Britain and Ireland commonly see it sold on draft. However, in many other parts of the world, including Nigeria and Indonesia, it is sold in bottles in a variety of different strengths from 4.1% to 8% ABV.

St James’s Gate, Dublin, 8, Ireland

The storehouse

The old fermenting room has been transformed into one of Ireland’s most successful tourist attractions, with more visitors than the Blarney Stone. Inside the building—which was the first steel-framed multi-story building in the British Isles, and was modeled on a Chicago skyscraper—can be found the story of Guinness.

Roasted barley

Like most beers, Guinness is made from barley, hops, and yeast. But it is the addition of flaked barley and dark roasted barley that gives Guinness its unique color and smooth bitterness. Roasted barley forms part of the mash bill, though additional quantities are added to the wort during the boil.

Pouring Guinness

To pour the perfect creamy Guinness takes time and perhaps a little patience. It requires a double, slow pour that can take nearly two minutes. It is not unknown for pubs in Ireland to have a line of partially filled glasses on the bar at opening time waiting for customers to arrive, when the final pour is made.

Conditioning tanks

The beer is matured in vast tanks. This conditioning allows for important deep, fruity flavors to develop before the beer is put into kegs, bottles, or cans.

Guinness is good for you

Guinness is famed for the quality of its advertising campaigns which, over the years, have used such memorable lines as “good things come to those who wait” and “my goodness my Guinness.” The Storehouse visitor center includes a unique display of the famous “Guinness is good for you” advertisements created by John Gilroy from 1930 to 1960.

The creamy head

The famous Guinness creamy white head is created from the surging of bubbles from nitrogen and carbon dioxide gas as the beer is poured. It is actually the nitrogen that causes the tight white creamy head.

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