Guinness -- Different Taste in Ireland

Does a Guinness draught really taste different in an American pub than in an Irish pub?

All I know is…

I drank Guinness here in Melbourne, and didn’t like it. People told me “It’s better in the UK”

Then I went to Scotland and drank Guinness again, and still didn’t like it. People told me “It’s better in Ireland”.

Then I went to Belfast and drank Guinness again, and still didn’t like it. People told me “It’s better in Dublin”.

I never went to Dublin.

It is almost certain to be different in America to what it is like in Dublin, either because shipping it will have changed it, or brewing it locally will involve ever-so-subtle differences in the water, barley etc., whether that means it is better or worse is going to be a matter of tradition and personal opinion.

I’ve sampled the Guinness all over the UK and also in Dublin (on St Patrick’s Day) - the pint or three I had in Dublin was very good, but I think I may have had its equal back home, just not all of the time (of course I have no way of knowing that I wasn’t just lucky in Dublin, well, no way except that it agrees with what everybody else claims is true.

Not really a GQ answer, but I can extend Aspidistra’s story: I went to Dublin and drank Guinness in the Guinness brewery itself, and still didn’t like it. People told me “You’re a heathen”.

The best pints of Guiness that I have had were in Dublin and in Kilburn (an Irish dominated suburb of London).

Which I guess means that either Guinness is better when there are Irish people around or that it tastes better when it is on tap (draught) and with a high throughput.

I’ve been told it’s the latter.

This seems to be a matter of opinion, so I’ll move this thread to the IMHO forum.

moderator GQ

Guinness out of a can or (now) a bottle is crap.

However, Guinness on tap, poured by a person who knows what they’re doing, is sublime.

Guinness in a can is the only brew that’s better that way than true draught. I’ve been told that draught works differently in the UK. Is that so?

<disclaimer>I do like Guinness</disclaimer>
Yes, it is better in Ireland than in the U.S.

I think this is related to

  1. beer turnover and shipping time (a younger keg is better)
  2. beer temperature (Guinness is best ice-cold)
  3. the skill of the barman (it’s awful when the bartender just dumps it into the glass)
  4. the shape of the glass (official Guinness glass shaped glasses only please, though this is probably related to #3, places that aren’t bothered to get the right glasses won’t be bothered to get a good barman)
  5. the number of other people drinking Guinness in the pub :slight_smile:
  6. pub atmosphere, Guinness goes better in an old Irish pub, I can’t imagine drinking it in a shiny chromed sports bar

An Irish pub is more likely to get these factors right (they’d damn well better).

As np_complete put it…

“An Irish pub is more likely to get these factors right”
I’m an Irish Guinness drinker living in Paris and out of the 60-odd Irish bars over here there’s only about 2 where I’d take a pint of the black stuff. The others don’t match up because

a) The staff aren’t skilled enough
b) People rarely drink Guinness in the place meaning that the beer is either old has been sitting in the beer line for sometime. A good barman will run off a few pints to waste just to make sure the stuff that get’s into the glass has just come from the keg.

I don’t think that Guinness change the brewing processes from one country to the next based on local tastes but I’m sure that differences in water, etc…will always lead to a different taste. Wether this taste is better or not is up to you.

Personally, my local in Paris produces just as good a pint of Guinness than most of the bars from my home town besides one or two (out of 70+bars).

Hokey dokey, Dublin resident checking in, though no doubt a genuine Dubliner will be in later to tell me I’m full of shit.

Because of the volume that is consumed here, Guinness doesn’t have to be pasteurized in Ireland (I presume this applies to Northern Ireland too). All non-Irish Guinness is pasteurized. This means there is a different taste between Irish and non-Irish Guiness. Whether or not that is a better or worse taste is down to the individual. I personally think it’s far superior.

According to yojimbo, Guinness at the Guinness Brewery is a “really bad pint”. For a really decent pint, you can’t beat Mulligan’s of Poolbeg Street.

I agree with the rest of what np_complete and Ponster said about the pub conditions - apart from the brewing processes, which I believe do differ.

Few American pubs keep their Guinness cold enough. In fact, some serve it at room temperature under a misguided notion that that’s how they do it in Ireland. My first taste of Guinness was a warm pint in Boston. I loved it anyway, so when I got my hands on a cold pint I loved it even more. But when I finally found my way to Ireland, it was better still. I’ve now had a pint in half the pubs in Dingle (they have more than 50 pubs in a few square miles – or square kilometers, to be European) and a good sampling of the pubs from Kerry to Dublin.

I’ve found a few good pints in America, but they always make me long for a real pint.

Heck, I even noticed a difference in the guiness from Dublin to Westport. I don’t even like Guiness, but I had it in Dublin and was enamored. Holy cow, thought me, I have been missing out. Mother’s milk. yadda yadda yadda. Then I went to Westport. Hmmm. I thought. I still like this, but it seemed to be better in Dublin. Then I came home to Minnesota, confident of my newly trained taste buds, and nearly spit it out.

Lemme ask you and jjimm this then. My Newcastle bottles say “Serve cool.”

a. Do they serve Newcastle cool or cold over there?

b. Do the taste differences mentioned above apply to Newcastle as well? 'cause if there’s a better tasting Newcastle across the sea, I’m there.

c. Pink nipples.

a. They don’t serve Newcastle Brown in Ireland, as a rule. In England, (the last time I had it, anyway) it was served in a bottle from the fridge.

b. Never been to Newcastle. Don’t even know if it comes in draft there.

c. Don’t do that. (Furthermore what’s wrong with brown ones?)

But it does. I’ll try to find a cite, but I remember reading a story (maybe it was a BBC story on the Web) on this matter, and I learned that there are several different formulations of Guinness. What I recall is that they water down the American version just a bit.

a. What difference does the Guinness® glass make?

b. If the beer has warmed in transit, will cooling it down again make it salvageable?

c. I find them hot.

They do serve Newcastle Brown Ale on draught in Newcastle and it comes at the same temperature as any other beer (i.e. cellar temperature). A Google search on “Newcastle Brown” draught suggests that you can get it that way in America too. If you’re in Newcastle you ask for “Brown” (which the locals pronounce “Broon”).

Pay no attention to anyone who claims that Guinness should be served ice cold, btw. Cold enough for the glass to attract condensation, yes, ice cold no.

You are correct (I couldn’t think of a correct and concise phrasing), says to serve it at 6C (42.8F) or 3.5C (38.3F), and I prefer it at the cooler temperature.

However I will still stand by my earlier point, many American bars serve Guinness too warm and that makes it taste worse (though I love Guinness, I’ll rarely drink it in an American bar). Many American corn beers taste the same (uniformly awful) over a wide variety of temperatures, but this isn’t true for Guinness.

/it’s a sad day when an (presumably) Englishman is correcting an Irishman wrt Guinness

Well if thats the case I guess I am a heathen…God I think Guinness tastes like an ashtray smells.:stuck_out_tongue: