Category Archives: Guinness

Review of Guinness Extra Stout

Hi guys.  For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be sipping on a Guinness Extra Stout produced by Guinness Ltd. located in Dublin, Ireland.

Guinness really needs no introduction, so let’s just get to the website,, to see what it has to say about this beer. 

This is it, the one that started it all. Crafted to perfection for over 200 years, GUINNESS® EXTRA STOUT is descended from the definitive West India Porter known as Extra Superior Porter. Crack it open, and the first sip tastes as fresh as ever. The unmistakeable deep-dark color, the crisp hint of roasted barley, the fresh breeze of hops, and the refreshing bite all make for the bittersweet reward.
Pure beauty. Pure GUINNESS®.

Let’s give it a go.

This beer comes in a 12 oz. bottle and it has an ABV of around 6.0%.

The Extra Stout poured a deep brown to black color with some easily noticeable ruby highlights around the edges.  The crown was light tan in color.  It was decently sized, smooth, soft and creamy.  The retention time was only so-so, but the lacing seemed alright though.

Within the aroma I found some prevalent roasted grains with a slight touch of chocolate.  I also detected some type of toasted nuttiness.  Almost burnt even.  Some very light earthy/herbal hops were accounted for also.  Not too bad, however not quite as good as I remember it being in the past.

The taste brought forth a very pungent roasted grain.  Some toasted breads along with a light burnt coffee bean savor.  The chocolate was very subdued.  Again, quite earthy and herbal with a touch of bitterness.  Hints of dried walnuts as well.  After a few minutes the roasted grain became the dominating characteristic and it began to get a tad distracting to be honest.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied, smooth, dry and slick.  The carbonation seemed good enough and a decent amount of flavoring was left behind on the palate after each sip.

Well.  It’s been sometime since I last had this beer and, honestly, I don’t find it to be as pleasing as I once did.  It’s still a decent brew however.  The drinkability was fairly good I must say even with the unfavorable and strong burnt grain taste.  It wasn’t too filling or anything.  It sort of reminded me of a heavily roasted Brown Ale.  I don’t know.  It could have just been me.  With the plethora of Stouts that are on the market today, I feel that the Guinness Extra Stout falls a bit short in terms of aroma and flavor.  That’s not saying that it’s bad or that I wouldn’t drink it if it were offered, however if I wanted a great Stout for an evening of sipping, I doubt that I would reach for this one.  Don’t take my word for it though.  Pick up a bottle and see what you think.  I would really like to hear another opinion.

Thanks for reading and commenting everyone.  I really appreciate it.

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  3.3 out of 5
Grade:  B-   


Review of Harp Lager

For today’s craft beer review, and in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I’m going to be trying a Harp Lager produced by Guiness Ltd. located in Dublin, Ireland. 

It’s been forever since I last had this brew.

Let’s forgo all of the small talk and find out what the commercial description says from the website,, since had no information regarding this beer. 

Bright pale golden; fruity nose; crisp and clean, slightly bitter up front, smooth aftertaste.

Simple enough.

This beer comes in a 12 oz. bottle and it has an ABV of 5.0%.

It poured a very clear golden/yellow color with a bright white head that was of good size, smooth, soft and just a wee bit soapy.  The retention time and the lacing weren’t bad at all.  A pretty decent looking beer to tell the truth.

Overall, it had a very mild nose.  It was clean though.  Relaxed grassy hops and hints of grain joined forces with some light bread and cracker innuendos.  An extremely delicate fruitiness added a touch of complexity, however, for the most part, it was rather straight forward and typical of an average Lager.

The graininess came out a bit more in the taste.  It was fresh and clean with an easy hop taste and the bitterness was kept to a minimum.  Flavors of cereal grain and bread let loose a dainty earthiness.  Again, just a gentle sweetness and fruitiness was accounted for.  Much like the aroma, the savor was modest and mild mannered.

The mouthfeel was medium to medium/thin.  Quite dry, smooth, snappy, crisp, refreshing and thirst quenching.  The carbonation was ok, but only a sparse amount of flavor was left behind after each swallow.

Well, this beer was super easy to drink that’s for sure.  I was through the bottle before I even knew it.  It was, for the most part, just an average beer I thought.  This would be an outstanding Summer or “lawnmower” beer.  A person could pound several of these without any trouble whatsoever.  I seem to remember liking it more back in the day.  I guess we all did though, huh?.  I definitely wouldn’t go out of my way to find this, but if it came down to having this or having one of the “Big 3”, I would choose the Harp Lager every time.  It has nothing off putting or obtrusive, however it doesn’t really present anything that’s extraordinary either.  Just an easy going, no-nonsense Lager.

Thanks for reading and commenting folks.  I appreciate it.

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  3.05 out of 5
Grade:  C+   

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Posted by on March 17, 2012 in Country: Ireland, Guinness


Review of Smithwick’s Imported Irish Red Ale

For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be drinking a beer that was one of the first craft brews that I ever had and one that I thoroughly enjoyed back in the day.  I’m speaking of the Smithwick’s Imported Irish Red Ale brewed by Guinness Ltd. St. James Gate in Dublin, Ireland.

Smithwick’s used to be brewed by the Smithwick’s Brewery in Kilkenny, Ireland, however it was closed and now Guinness ( has full reign over this product.

Here’s the commercial description for the Smithwick’s Imported Irish Red Ale. 

Smithwick’s is Ireland’s number one ale.  Its exceptional taste, distinctive colour and purity of ingredients make it unique.  Its rich, satisfying taste has earned it five gold medals in the famous Monde Selection Beer Tasting Competition.  Smithwick’s is produced using the finest hops and special roasted, malted barley.  In 1998 a new enhanced draught product with improved head retention was launched along with redesigned glassware.

It’s been a few years since I last had this beer, so I’m sure that my tastes have changed somewhat, but I’m hoping that I still find it enjoyable.  

This beer has an ABV of 4.5% and comes in a 12 oz. bottle.

The appearance was a very clear, dark amber to ruby red color with a very light tan head attached.  The crown was considerably sized, fluffy, soft and somewhat creamy.  The retention time and the lacing were only average.  The head broke down quicker than I had hoped and the lacing slid down the glass speedily. 

The aroma started with plenty of roasted malt.  Some tones of light nuttiness combined with a fair amount of caramel sweetness.  As the brew began to warm I detected a distinguishable graininess that I didn’t find all that appealing.  I don’t recall it being that “forward” in times past.

Within the taste I found even more of that heavy graininess combined with savors of butter, bread and some dark malts.  A little tickle of sweetness was stumbled upon in the form of those caramel malts and I also noticed that it had a tiny bit of a hop bite.  Much like the smell, as the brew began to warm, the graininess really started to overpower the flavor and become unpleasant.  Hmm. 

The mouthfeel was medium, smooth and mostly crisp.  I actually thought it to be considerably watery.  The flavor vanished from my palate hurriedly.

When I first started drinking craft beer I really, really liked the Smithwick’s.  Well, no longer do I find this to be a beer that I would run to.  I do still think that it looks nice in the glass, however the aroma, taste and mouthfeel have little impact on me now.  They just seemed to be lackluster.  Some may find this brew to be wonderful…. and that’s great, but I doubt that I will go looking for it again in the near future.  I can definitely drink it, although I would probably be looking for something else to try after 1 pint. 

Have any of you had the same experience with a “gateway” beer that you once loved???

Thanks to everyone for reading and commenting.  I’m enjoying all the feedback and comments.  Keep ’em coming.


Score:  2.9 out of 5
Grade:  C


Posted by on September 10, 2011 in Country: Ireland, Guinness, Smithwicks

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