Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Tale of Three Guinness'

I've been meaning to do this comparison for awhile now.  Guinness makes (as far as I know) 3 main stouts.  Their flagship is of course Guinness Draught, which is the Guinness you find most often on tap in most bars.  But they also make an Extra Stout and a Foreign Extra Stout.  What exactly are the differences between these stouts?  Are they really that different from the everyday Guinness?  Are they any good?  Let's take a closer look.....


 All 3 stouts looked delicious when they were poured.  They were all black, but different shades.  Guinness Draught was poured from a can with a widget, so the addition of nitrogen to the pour gave it a very creamy look, with finger and a half off-white head.  Extra Stout and Foreign Extra Stout had similar looking pours, except for two things.  Foreign Extra Stout didn't let any light through the beer, but Extra Stout let some light through, giving the beer a red tint.  Foreign Extra Stout had the brownest head, while Extra Stout was light tan and Guinness Stout was closer to white.
Guinness Draught
Guinness Extra Stout
Guinness Foreign Extra Stout

Guinness Draught:  Roasted malt, coffee, bread
Guinness Extra Stout:  Roasted malt, yeast, dark fruit, red wine
Guinness Foreign Extra Stout:  Roasted malt, dark fruits, chocolate


Guinness Draught:  Watered down chocolate milk, very light roasted malt flavor, coffee
Guinness Extra Stout:  Bitter, dark fruits, roasted malts, a tad smoky.  Sourness, like a red wine flavor.
Guinness Foreign Extra Stout:  Chocolate, roasted barley, slight fruity sourness that increased as the beer warmed


All three stouts had medium - medium-heavy bodies.  Guinness Draught had the least amount of carbonation, but still had enough to tingle the tongue.  Because of the widget in the can, Guinness Draught was more silky and smooth than Extra Stout and Foreign Extra Stout.


Guinness is a bridge-beer for so many people, and I still enjoy it.  Extra and Foreign Extra Stout are more "craftier" styles of beer, just meaning they have more forward flavors, and may turn more people off because of those flavors.  Guinness Draught is definitely the most sessionable, having the lowest ABV and least intense flavors.  I enjoyed Foreign Extra Stout more than Extra Stout, mainly because the Foreign Extra Stout had less of the red wine, sour flavor, which I really wasn't looking for in these stouts.  Looking at the total picture though, these are all good stouts, especially for how little money they cost.  Extra Stout was maybe $2.99 for a 22 oz. bottle, and Foreign Extra Stout was $3.99 for the same.  

What do you think of the family of Guinness stouts?  Like em, hate em?  Let me know in the comments!

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Guinness Draught, 4.3%ABV
Appearance:  Beautiful black color with an off-white head, webby lacing left on the glass.  a great looking beer.
Aroma:  roasted malt, coffee, bread
Taste:  watered down chocolate milk, very light roasted malt flavor, coffee
Mouthfeel:  Very smooth, likely from the widget in the can.  Tastes only lightly carbonated.  medium mouthfeel.
Overall:  I still drink and enjoy Guinness to this day.  Definitely a lot smaller than a lot of other stouts these days, but for 4.3%, not bad at all.

Guinness Extra Stout, No ABV on bottle, no best by
Appearance:  Black with a creamy, light tan head.  A hint of light comes through when held up to the light, giving a slight red tint.  Frothy head remains present.
Aroma:  Roasted malts, yeast, fruit, wine
Taste:  Bitter, dark fruits, roasted malt,  a tad smoky.  A bit sour, red wine
Mouthfeel:  Not smooth like regular Guinness Draught.  Medium to Medium-Heavy body, average carbonation
Overall:  Very different from Guiness Draught.  Much more flavor, more roast, more bitter, more character.  I look forward to trying Foreign Extra.

Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, 7.5% ABV, best by 05-07-12 (oh well....)
Appearance:  Jet black, not letting light through.  two finger tan head, diminishes faster than Draught and E.S., leaves nice lacing
Aroma:  roasted barley, dark fruits,
Taste:  chocolate, roasted barley, slight fruity sourness
Mouthfeel:  Average carb, med to med heavy body
Overall:  My favorite of the 3, quite a bargain for the $3 or $4 I paid for it.  All in all, I think all the Guinness stouts are a good value.  (not counting Black Lager, Generous, haven't tried those yet)


  1. It's okay. Too sweet for my taste though, and I'd much rather drink something else. However, I know a good many people that like it a lot.

    Interestingly, your post was right next to this one in my reader:

  2. Have you tried the Foreign Extra? To me it's much better than regular Guinness. That's funny Pitt. Beer Snob posted the similar topic at the same time!

    1. No, I have not tried that. Maybe I will at some point. Thanks for the recommendation!