Guinness Original Extra Stout

Beer drinker
11 min readJun 2, 2022


Guinness Original Extra Stout

Brewed by Guinness, (Diageo Ireland)
Style: (Dry) Stout
St. James’s Gate, Dublin, Ireland

Arthur Guinness, in 1759, at St. James’s Gate, Dublin, Ireland, set up a brewery, on a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum for an unused brewery, that was to make one of the most iconic beers the world over, and one that represents the nation that produces it. When you think of an Irishman at a bar, no doubt you have a picture of him supping a pint of the old black stuff, “the Irish soup”. Guinness, a dark Irish dry stout, was his creation and gift to the world.

It proved popular, having two thirsty markets on its doorstep, Dublin and the rest of Ireland one side, and Britain the other, lucky for Arthur both nations like a tipple or two. So it comes as no surprise that by the 1930’s, Guinness was to become the seventh largest company in the world. (according to Wiki!). The Germans have their BMW’s, the French their wines, the Dutch their Cheeses, we will leave the banks to the Swiss, but us Irish we have the Guinness!

But the funny thing is that the Guinness family themselves wouldn’t be 100% Irish. They would be what is referred to as Anglo-Irish, a term which was more commonly used in the 19th and early 20th centuries to identify a social class in Ireland, whose members are mostly the descendants and successors of the English Protestant Ascendancy. Before 1939, if a Guinness brewer wished to marry a Catholic, his resignation was requested, and for many years Catholics were simply not offered work at the company. During the height of IRA activity in the UK, Guinness considered scrapping the harp as its logo and even relocating completely to London. But despite all this, the Irish are a forgiving lot, and Guinness is still widely considered the go to drink for many Irish drinkers.

In 1997, Guinness Plc merged with Grand Metropolitan to form that multinational alcoholic-drinks producer, and all round baddie, Diageo plc, based out of London. Due to controversy over the merger, the company was maintained as a separate entity within Diageo and has retained the rights to the product and all associated trademarks of Guinness, and thus continues to trade under the traditional Guinness name. A little relief there I think!

It is one of the most successful beer brands worldwide, brewed in almost 50 countries, and available mostly everywhere that you can find bars, especially Irish bars! In Ireland it is still the most drank beer, making about €2 billion worth annually. But it is not the Irish that drink the most Guinness worldwide! That honour goes to neighbours The UK, Ireland is second, and Nigeria third, with the USA coming in 4th! Africa is a major market for Guinness, with about 40% of Guinness’ worldwide sales selling on the continent. Three of the five Guinness-owned breweries worldwide are located in Africa (the other in Dublin and in London). The next major market for the brewery is to break into mainland China, a nation that is just recently discovering the beauty and nuances of European beers.

The beer is brewed under licence internationally in several countries, including Nigeria, the Bahamas, Canada, Cameroon, Kenya, Uganda, South Korea, Namibia, and Indonesia. The unfermented but hopped Guinness wort extract is shipped from Dublin and blended with beer brewed locally.

Guinness stout is available in a number of variants and strengths, which include: Guinness Draught, sold in kegs, widget cans, and bottles, Guinness Original/Extra Stout, Guinness Foreign Extra Stout which also has a wicked Nigerian version, Guinness West Indies which imitates a 1801 recipe, amongst a host of other varieties alcoholic and non-alcoholic and sold all over the place!

It’s not just Guinness stout they make out of St James Gate. They also ship out Harp Lager, Hop House 13, a new lager called Rockshore, and The Guinness Brewers Project also released two craft beers, Dublin Porter and West Indies Porter.

It has to be said they also have produced a lot of duds that never really caught on too, Breó anyone? Guinness Black Lager and a Guinness Shandy, another few that went by the wayside. At the moment they are trialing non alcoholic stout, “Guinness 0.0“. I wonder how long that will last! Also some of their marketing campaigns were a little over the top. The “to Arthur” advertisement hailing Mr. Guinness to celebrate his birthdate as Arthur’s Day all around the world, or more specifically all over the globe in shitty Irish pubs, was well silly.

But generally Guinness are the masters of advertisements. When they bring out an ad on the box people generally take note such is the effect of a Guinness promotion. The harp itself is such an iconic symbol must people know that it represents Guinness when they see it in a bar or pub. In terms of early advertising and imagery, the artist John Gilroy‘s work, from the 1930s and 1940s, still stands the test of time. He created posters that included phrases such as “Guinness for Strength”, “Lovely Day for a Guinness”, “Guinness Makes You Strong”, “My Goodness My Guinness”, and most famously, “Guinness is Good For You“. The posters featured Gilroy’s distinctive artwork and more often than not featured animals such as a kangaroo, ostrich, seal, lion and notably a toucan, which has become as much a symbol of Guinness as the harp. These posters and drawings can still be regularly seen in Irish pubs all around the world, and the originals fetch a high price when they come up at auctions.

In the age of TV advertising, Guinness have few rivals in terms of success and draw. There was a time when people waited in great anticipation for the next great Guinness ad to air on the TV, they really had that much influence on the small screen. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, they had their Rutger Hauer ads, which were a series of “darkly” humorous adverts with the theme “Pure Genius”. In 1994 and 1995, a dancing and lepping Joe McKinney jiving away to the song “Guaglione” by Perez Prado while his pint settled, was a huge ad, so much so that the song even entered the music charts in Ireland and reached number two in the British charts! There surfer ad in 2000 was voted the best television commercial of all time, in a UK poll conducted by The Sunday Times and Channel 4. It featured a surfer riding a wave while a bikini-clad sun bather takes photographs. Other popular ads were there Tom Crean Antarctic ad, and their Irish Christmas campaign featuring pictures of snow falling in places around Ireland, evoking the James Joyce story “The Dead”, finishing at St. James’s Gate Brewery with the line: “Even at the home of the black stuff they dream of a white one”. In 2007 they spent £10m, their biggest ad project yet, on “Tipping Point”, filmed in Argentina, and involving a large-scale domino chain reaction replicating the stages Guinness goes through to settle.

Guinness is it said, can be good for the old health, good for the old ticker, it is after all a hearty meal in a glass. Researchers found that “‘antioxidant compounds’ in the Guinness, similar to those found in certain fruits and vegetables, are responsible for the health benefits because they slow down the deposit of harmful cholesterol on the artery walls.” I have been telling this to the wife for many a year, strange that she never believes me, even when I produce the facts. In the 1920’s there was the famous slogan created by advertising legend, Dorothy L. Sayers, “Guinness is Good for You”, with the iconic posters, that’s stuck in the mind for many for years on end.

Not only is that enough, they only gone and made it all nice for the old vegetarians and vegans. In 2017, Guinness introduced a new filtration process that avoided the use of isinglass from fish bladders to filter out yeast particles. The isinglass was retained in the floor of the vat but it was possible that minute quantities might be carried over into the beer, remembering a tiny particle would be enough to send a vegan over the edge…

They also have heavily promoted “The Guinness Pour“, or the “double pour”, to get the perfect pint of “the black stuff”. Guinness has promoted this small delay with advertising campaigns such as “good things come to those who wait”. There are six steps to pouring an impeccable pint of Guinness; it’s all in the detail, from the tilt of the glass to the surge and the settle, culminating in a beer that’s made to be savoured, and, according to the company, the perfect pour should take 119.53 seconds! Before the 1960s, all beer leaving the brewery was cask-conditioned, often resulting in very frothy Guinness’. As a result, a glass would be part filled with the fresh, frothy beer, allowed to stand a minute, and then topped up, hoping that by then everything has calmed down a bit. Now that Guinness use a nitrogen/carbon dioxide gas mixture, some say that this is all a marketing gimmick that does not actually affect the beer’s taste. I would tend to disagree. As a big Guinness drinker I can definitely say that it does need time to settle, and if you rush it you will get a bad pint, and nothing, NOTHING, is worse than a bad pint of Guinness.

The Guinness Storehouse at St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin is the most popular tourist attraction in Ireland (attracting over 1,700,000 visitors in 2017) where a self-guided tour includes an account of the ingredients used to make the stout and a description of how it is made. Visitors can sample the smells of each Guinness ingredient in the Tasting Rooms, where one can stay the whole day and enjoy the sights of Dublin pint, or pints, in hand, since it gives a great view of the city. I have visited the Storehouse, who hasn’t at this stage, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Guinness, fresh, from St James Gate, is unFUCKINGbelievable!!!

The St. James location so important to the history and culture of Dublin, that the local Council in the best interests of the City, had put forward a motion to prevent planning permission ever being granted for development of the site, thus making it very difficult for Diageo to sell off the brewery for residential development, as they had ideas previously, the crazy bastards. One of the few times I will say hats off to the politicians here….. obviously big Guinness drinkers!

Of course I am a regular Guinness drinker, and a fan, for sure. For my reviews I have tried the Guinness Special Export, a very strong tasting stout, with a long bitter aftertaste, that had a bite to it, and their Guinness Draught, which I found smooth, tasty, satisfying and very easy to drink. Of course as well all know, nothing compares to having a real pint in a Dublin pub, straight off the tap, but we cant all have that all the time, so cans and bottles are better than nothing. The Guinness West Indies Porter, I found tough going, I know its popular but I just couldn’t get into it. I also dipped into their lagers, Hop House Lager 13, which I found very boring, but their Rockshore Irish Lager, fantastic, so swings and roundabouts there, lol.

Review: 500ml can of Guinness Original Extra Stout: 4.2% vol.

This is considered the original, the one that started it all the way back over 200 years, in 1821. The one that was popular and mostly drank as late as the 1970s, the one your grandfather or great grand-father would have drank!

The can has a retro look about it, with the iconic harp logo and explaining that this beer will be “Dark and Lively”. Strength varies in where you are drinking it. In the UK and Ireland it is 4.2% but in Europe it is over 5%, jammy bastards.

Bottle conditioned and carbonate with C02, so no ball or nitro here……

Did a silly pour for the first pint, no care just straight in, which resulted in a massive head, which eventually settled down. All creamy and dark in the colour.

Second pour more considered and with care, but still made no difference, still got a massive amount of carbonation with a huge head that takes a while to settle. Much more lively than a regular Guinness. Big frothy tanned head, black is the colour. When settled its not bad on the eye. Good lacing remains on glass.

On the nose I get the typical Guinness aroma, stouty and peaty, chocolate and caramel. Actually I would go as far to say it is even more “peaty” than the regular Guinness. Does smell authentic, roasted barley, grainy, malty and smoked peat. Nice smell, with a lot of character…..

Onto the taste, well first off it has the expected Guinness feel in the mouth, very typical of the famous stout. Get the roasted barley and malts, the coffee and chocolate flavours, But there is more to it than that, there definitely is a nod to the old style with this brew, feels more porter in the taste, and the flavours are more to the fore, thanks to a higher ratio of hops than the regular Guinness.

Great to drink, has a real character to it, and I love the coffee flavours swirling around in the mouth, brilliant stuff.

When I bought a few of these cans, my sister immediately laughed saying I bought into the gimmick. It’s not like Guinness to bring out a million different versions of essentially the same thing, their famous draught stout. She thought it was a slightly more “expensive version” of the same thing. To be fair I was half expecting that too! But no, I can state there is a CLEAR difference with this to the draught. It is softer on the palate, very well balanced, has more flavouring, is tastier, and one doesn’t get that bloated feeling you get when you drink a lot of the regular Guinness.

Liked it a lot, very satisfying and easy to drink and I WILL return again for future inspection. Recommended.

I have started to think maybe the regular Guinness isn’t in fact the master, the number one, perhaps the original, the Extra Stout, should be my go to Stout in the future…….oh dear, what a dilemma. The draught is creamier, tastier, much smoother and fun to drink, while the Extra Stout just has that better flavour and more to pack and think about, and perhaps is the better beer of the two……..oh I don’t know!!!



Beer drinker