Guinness is a popular Irish beer that has been enjoyed for over two centuries. Its unique flavor and creamy texture have made it a favorite among beer enthusiasts worldwide.
However, there are two popular variants of Guinness that often leave people confused: Guinness Draught and Guinness Extra Stout.
Guinness Draught is a nitrogenated beer that is known for its smooth, creamy texture and dark color. It is often served on tap, and its distinctive taste is attributed to the use of nitrogen gas during the brewing process.
On the other hand, Guinness Extra Stout is a carbonated beer that has a crisper taste and a higher alcohol content than Guinness Draught. The use of carbon dioxide during the brewing process gives it a unique flavor that sets it apart from other stouts.
Both Guinness Draught and Guinness Extra Stout have their unique characteristics, and choosing between the two can be a matter of personal preference. In the following sections, we will delve deeper into the differences between the two variants of Guinness, exploring their taste, brewing process, and other factors that set them apart.
History of Guinness
Origins in Dublin
Guinness, a dark Irish dry stout, has a long and rich history that can be traced back to the streets of Dublin, Ireland.
It all began in 1759 when Arthur Guinness signed a lease for a disused brewery at St. James’s Gate in Dublin. The brewery was small, covering just four acres of land, but it was enough for Arthur to begin his brewing journey.
In the early days, Guinness was a porter, a style of beer that was popular in London. However, Arthur Guinness was not content with just brewing porter, and he began experimenting with different recipes. He eventually settled on a recipe that used roasted barley, which gave the beer its characteristic dark color and dry taste.
The popularity of Guinness grew rapidly, and by the early 1800s, it had become one of the most popular beers in Ireland. In 1817, Guinness started exporting beer to England, and by the 1830s, it was being shipped to countries all over the world.
Arthur Guinness Legacy
Arthur Guinness was more than just a brewer; he was a philanthropist and a visionary. He believed that his success should be shared with the community, and he invested heavily in the welfare of his workers. He paid them well, provided them with healthcare, and built houses for them to live in.
Arthur Guinness also had a strong sense of social responsibility and was a vocal advocate for social reform. He was a member of the Dublin Society for Improving Husbandry and other Useful Arts, which aimed to improve the lives of the poor in Ireland.
Today, Guinness is still brewed at St. James’s Gate in Dublin, and the brewery covers over 50 acres of land. The original Guinness brewery has been transformed into a tourist attraction, where visitors can learn about the history of the beer and the legacy of Arthur Guinness.
Understanding the Beers
Characteristics of Guinness Draught
Guinness Draught is a nitrogenated Irish dry stout that has been brewed since the 18th century.
It is known for its creamy head and smooth texture, thanks to the nitrogen bubbles that are released when the can or bottle is opened. The beer has a dark brown to black color with a ruby red hue when held up to the light.
The aroma of Guinness Draught is roasted and malty, with hints of coffee and chocolate. On the palate, the beer is smooth and creamy, with a slightly sweet and bitter flavor profile. The bitterness comes from the roasted barley, while the sweetness comes from the residual sugars left in the beer after fermentation.
Characteristics of Guinness Extra Stout
Guinness Extra Stout, on the other hand, is a stronger and more robust version of the classic Guinness Draught. It has a higher alcohol content and a more complex flavor profile. The beer has a dark brown to black color with a thick, creamy head.
The aroma of Guinness Extra Stout is similar to that of Guinness Draught, but with more pronounced notes of coffee, chocolate, and dark fruit. On the palate, the beer is full-bodied and rich, with a complex flavor profile that includes notes of roasted barley, dark chocolate, and espresso. The beer finishes with a slightly bitter aftertaste that lingers on the tongue.
Ingredients and Brewing Process
Role of Barley
Both Guinness Draught and Extra Stout use barley as their main ingredient. Barley is a type of grain that is malted, which means it is soaked in water and allowed to germinate.
This process releases enzymes that convert the starch in the barley into sugar. The barley is then kilned or roasted to stop the germination process and to give the malt its distinctive flavor.
In Guinness Extra Stout, a small amount of unmalted barley is added to the mix. This gives the beer a slightly different flavor profile compared to Guinness Draught.
Importance of Hops
Hops are another important ingredient in beer. They are added during the brewing process to balance out the sweetness of the malt and to provide bitterness and aroma. In Guinness Draught, hops are added early in the brewing process to provide a more subtle bitterness. However, in Guinness Extra Stout, more hops are added to give the beer a more robust flavor.
Yeast and Fermentation
Yeast is added to the wort, which is the liquid extracted from the malted barley during the brewing process. The yeast converts the sugar in the wort into alcohol and carbon dioxide. In Guinness Draught, a special strain of yeast is used that is specifically designed to work with nitrogen gas.
This gives the beer its distinctive creamy texture and smooth mouthfeel. In Guinness Extra Stout, a different strain of yeast is used that is designed to work with carbon dioxide gas. This gives the beer a crisper taste and a slightly different mouthfeel compared to Guinness Draught.
Nitrogen vs Carbon Dioxide
One of the main differences between Guinness Draught and Extra Stout is the gas used during the brewing process. Guinness Draught is infused with nitrogen gas, which gives the beer its creamy texture and smooth mouthfeel. This is achieved by using a special tap that adds nitrogen to the beer as it is poured.
On the other hand, Guinness Extra Stout is pressurized with carbon dioxide gas, which gives the beer a crisper taste and a slightly different mouthfeel compared to Guinness Draught.
Comparing Guinness Draught and Extra Stout
Guinness Draught and Extra Stout have distinct flavor profiles. The Extra Stout has a stronger, more robust flavor, with a slightly bitter taste and a hint of sweetness.
The Draught has a milder flavor, with a smooth and creamy texture and a slightly sweet taste. Both beers have a distinctive roasted malt flavor that is characteristic of Guinness.
Color and Appearance
The color and appearance of Guinness Extra Stout and Draught are quite different. The Extra Stout is a deep, dark brown color, while the Draught is a lighter, ruby red color. The Extra Stout has a thick, creamy head that settles slowly, while the Draught has a thinner, creamier head that settles more quickly.
Carbonation and Creaminess
The carbonation and creaminess of Guinness Extra Stout and Draught are also different. The Extra Stout is pressurized with carbon dioxide, which gives it a crisp, refreshing taste and a slightly fizzy mouthfeel. The Draught, on the other hand, is conditioned with a mix of carbon dioxide and nitrogen, which gives it a smoother, creamier texture and a softer mouthfeel.
The alcohol content of Guinness Extra Stout and Draught is the same, with both beers having an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 4.2%. However, the Extra Stout has a slightly stronger taste and a more robust flavor, which may make it seem like it has a higher alcohol content than the Draught.