Style Details

Irish Stout
Irish Beer
BJCP Style Code
15 B
Jet black to very deep brown with gar­net high­lights in color. Accor­ding to Guin­ness, “Guin­ness beer may appear black, but it is actual­ly a very dark sha­de of ruby.” Opaque. A thick, cre­a­my, long-las­ting, tan- to brown-colo­red head is cha­rac­te­ristic when ser­ved on nit­ro, but don’t expect the tight, cre­a­my head on a bot­t­led beer. 
Mode­ra­te cof­fee-like aro­ma typi­cal­ly domi­na­tes; may have slight dark cho­co­la­te, cocoa and/or roas­ted grain secon­da­ry notes. Esters medi­um-low to none. Hop aro­ma low to none, may be light­ly ear­thy or flo­ral, but is typi­cal­ly absent.
Mode­ra­te roas­ted grain or malt fla­vor with a medi­um to high hop bit­ter­ness. The finish can be dry and cof­fee-like to modera­te­ly balan­ced with a touch of cara­mel or mal­ty sweet­ness. Typi­cal­ly has cof­fee-like fla­vors, but also may have a bit­ters­weet or uns­weeten­ed cho­co­la­te cha­rac­ter in the pala­te, las­ting into the finish. Balan­cing fac­tors may include some cre­a­mi­ness, medi­um-low to no frui­tin­ess, and medi­um to no hop fla­vor (often ear­thy). The level of bit­ter­ness is some­what varia­ble, as is the roas­ted cha­rac­ter and the dry­ness of the finish; allow for inter­pre­ta­ti­on by brewers.
Medi­um-light to medi­um-full body, with a some­what cre­a­my cha­rac­ter (par­ti­cu­lar­ly when ser­ved with a nit­ro pour). Low to mode­ra­te car­bo­na­ti­on. For the high hop bit­ter­ness and signi­fi­cant pro­por­ti­on of dark grains pre­sent, this beer is remar­kab­ly smooth. May have a light astrin­gen­cy from the roas­ted grains, alt­hough harsh­ness is undesirable.
Over­all Impression
A black beer with a pro­no­un­ced roas­ted fla­vor, often simi­lar to cof­fee. The balan­ce can ran­ge from fair­ly even to quite bit­ter, with the more balan­ced ver­si­ons having a litt­le mal­ty sweet­ness and the bit­ter ver­si­ons being quite dry. Draught ver­si­ons typi­cal­ly are cre­a­my from a nit­ro pour, but bot­t­led ver­si­ons will not have this dis­pen­se-deri­ved cha­rac­ter. The roas­ted fla­vor can be dry and cof­fee-like to some­what chocolaty. 
Typi­cal Ingredients
Guin­ness is made using roas­ted bar­ley, fla­ked bar­ley, and pale malt, but other bre­we­ries don’t neces­s­a­ri­ly use roas­ted bar­ley; they can use cho­co­la­te or other dark and spe­cial­ty malts. Wha­te­ver com­bi­na­ti­on of malts or grains is used, the resul­ting pro­duct should be black. Cork-type stouts are per­haps clo­ser to his­to­ri­cal Lon­don-type stouts in com­po­si­ti­on with a varied grist not domi­na­ted by roas­ted barley.
The style evol­ved from attempts to capi­ta­li­ze on the suc­cess of Lon­don por­ters, but ori­gi­nal­ly reflec­ted a ful­ler, cre­a­mier, more “stout” body and strength. Guin­ness began bre­wing only por­ter in 1799, and a “stou­ter kind of por­ter” around 1810. Irish stout diver­ged from Lon­don sin­gle stout (or sim­ply por­ter) in the late 1800s, with an empha­sis on dar­ker malts. Guin­ness was among the first bre­we­ries to use black patent malt for por­ters and stouts in the 1820s. Guin­ness began using roas­ted bar­ley after WWII, while Lon­don bre­wers con­tin­ued to use brown malt. Guin­ness star­ted using fla­ked bar­ley in the 1950s, also incre­asing atte­nua­ti­on great­ly. Guin­ness Draught was laun­ched as a brand in 1959. Draught cans and bot­t­les were deve­lo­ped in the late 1980s and 1990s. 
When a bre­wery offe­red a stout and a por­ter, the stout was always the stron­ger beer (it was ori­gi­nal­ly cal­led a “Stout Por­ter”). Modern ver­si­ons are bre­wed from a lower OG and no lon­ger neces­s­a­ri­ly reflect a hig­her strength than por­ters. This is typi­cal­ly a draught pro­duct today; bot­t­led ver­si­ons are typi­cal­ly bre­wed from a hig­her OG and are usual­ly cal­led Extra Stouts. Regio­nal dif­fe­ren­ces exist in Ire­land, simi­lar to varia­bi­li­ty in Eng­lish Bit­ters. Dub­lin-type stouts use roas­ted bar­ley, are more bit­ter, and are drier. Cork-type stouts are swee­ter, less bit­ter, and have fla­vors from cho­co­la­te and spe­cial­ty malts. Com­mer­cial examp­les of this style are almost always asso­cia­ted with a nit­ro pour. Do not expect tra­di­tio­nal bot­t­le-con­di­tio­ned beers to have the full, cre­a­my tex­tu­re or very long-las­ting head tra­di­tio­nal­ly asso­cia­ted with nitro­gen dispense. 
Com­mer­cial Examples
Bea­mish Irish Stout, Guin­ness Draught, Har­poon Bos­ton Irish Stout, Murphy’s Irish Stout, O’Hara’s Irish Stout, Por­ter­house Wrass­lers 4X
Ori­gi­nal Gravity
1.036 - 1.044 SG
Final Gra­vi­ty
1.007 - 1.011 SG
25 - 40 SRM
4.0 - 4.0 %vol
25 - 45 IBU