Thursday, October 23, 2008

Guinness Extra Stout (2008 original review)

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (597) - Albany, USA - FEB 27, 2010
We all know Guinness Draught because it’s the beer that’s served whenever you order a “Guinness” at a bar or restaurant. But what about Guinness Extra Stout? Is it the same beer in a different bottle or is it truly a beer on its own? I decided to find out.


The main difference between Guinness Extra Stout and Draught in the home version is this beer is missing the nitrogen widget which creates the lively body of sinking bubbles it would have on tap. Extra Stout pours and looks like a porter – extremely smooth and seemingly lightweight. It forms a soda-like, tan head which quickly fizzles out and leaves virtually no lacing on the glass (quite the opposite of the Draught).

It’s actually quite easy to tell this beer is very dark maroon/brown in color, although at just an arm length’s away it appears to be opaque black. The aroma is surprisingly subdued as well, since the scent is very weak. It doesn’t have the obvious bitter aroma of the Draught; in fact, it has a mild, malty scent with just the slightest bit of hop to the nose.


I’m not a fan of porters at all, but I do like black lagers or “schwarzbiers” as they’re traditionally referred to. I was curious if Guinness Extra Stout would taste like either of these beers since it has the visual qualities of both. I was relieved upon taking my first taste to discover it is very reminiscent of a black lager.

The flavor was much like the aroma: very mild. Guinness on tap tends to have a bitter, chocolate and coffee-like taste, but Extra Stout drinks more like a traditional lager. It did have a sweet, buttery taste that wasn’t dry in the least and only slightly bitter. I probably would have preferred something stronger-tasting but it definitely satisfied me.


Aside from the taste, the other noticeable characteristic that sets Extra Stout apart from Draught is the super smooth finish. Whereas the Draught has a heavier body and a stronger, bitterer taste it tends to have a bit of bite to its finish. Not so with this beer as it goes down like flat soda.


If you just mention the name Guinness to Joe and Jane Six Pack they tend to scoff to the extent of how thick and heavy the beer is. While this is true of the Draught (and part of what makes it so good), the Extra Stout is surprisingly light.

At only 5% ABV and having a very thin, light body (probably under 140 calories), this drinks like any run-of-the-mill lager, only smoother. I drank two bottles without feeling full or buzzed in the least. It would make a great compliment to a meal or work well as an after-dinner reward.


Guinness Extra Stout was nothing like what I expected, so I was pleasantly surprised that it turned out to be such a tasty, smooth dark lager. I’m surprised Guinness doesn’t market this beer more aggressively, especially for the American mass-market lager drinker who wants something smooth and light. Whatever, I still like it.

Grade: 7/10

NOTE: See my 2017 re-review to BJCP specs here: