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The Art of Guinness

By: Mike Watson - Updated: 30 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Guinness Pouring Surge Two-part Pour

Guinness, savoured by people the world over, holds something of a legendary status. The company has a tighter grip on its corner of the 'stout' market than any other variety of beer worldwide, ever!

So what makes Guinness so appealing? Well, its hard to say as the Guinness company have kept their recipe well guarded from their beginnings. It is safe to say that its marketing campaign has helped to foster customer loyalty over the years. Curiously, though Guinness is rarely ever appreciated by young drinkers, it always passes from one generation to another. Even the obvious downside of having to wait around two minutes longer for a Guinness than a lager is addressed with the simple advertising slogan… 'Guinness … Good things come to those who wait!'. Combine that with the slogan ; 'Guinness… pure Genius', and the mystery that surrounds this dark, odd tasting brew, with its thick creamy head (that holds better than most other stouts) and you have a combination that, well makes Guinness appear to be something of an art form.

Enjoying Guinness

Guinness comes in a number of varieties including:

  • Guinness Draught (4.1 - 4.3%), which includes bottled draught, canned draught and Guinness Extra Cold, which is served on tap at a colder temperature than traditional Guinness from a tap.
  • Guinness Original or Extra Stout (4.1 - 4.3%), which is bitterer in taste than Guinness Draught.
  • Guinness Foreign Extra Stout (7.5%) is sold across the world in various strengths and has a warming flavour with a noticeable yet subtle taste of alcohol.
  • Guinness Extra Smooth (5.5%) is a creamer blend sold in East Africa.
The most commonly consumed of these in the U.K. is Guinness Draught which is enjoyed regularly by a loyal following and enjoyed in vast quantities once a year by people who wouldn't normally touch stout, on Irish patron saint St. Patrick's Day, March 17th. Whether you like your Guinness several times during one evening every year, or steadily throughout all seasons, you will have noticed a certain knack to pouring it. Quite simply Guinness is great if it's poured employing this knack, and is quite useless if poured wrongly, as, if it is, you'll find most of your pint taken up with a frothy head that could well take all night to settle!

The Art of Pouring Guinness

How to serve Guinness using the traditional two-part pour:

  • Use a clean normal size pint glass and tilt it to a 45 angle and fill to three quarters full.
  • Allow the 'surge' to settle until there is a clear delineation between the head (which should be about 1.5cm and a light cream colour) at the top. This usually takes about 90 seconds.
  • Now fill the glass to the top with a final quarter pint of Guinness.
  • When pouring from a pump you can draw a lucky 'shamrock' shape in the top, although this takes practice!
  • Use the same procedure when pouring from a bottle or can!
That's all there is to it! You can enjoy your Guinness, safe in the knowledge that all good things come to those who wait!… Pure Genius.

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