Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bottoms Up! Black Lager from Guinness

I will never forget my first experience drinking a Guinness Stout. It was while visiting the Ohio Renaissance Festival with my dad sometime during the 1990's. Up until then, my beer experience had been very limited and I was unsure of what to think about something so dark. We overheard a husband and wife discussing her first taste of a Guinness and she described it as "urine filtered through a dirty sweatsock", but she wasn't quite so eloquent with her words. That obviously colored my opinion of the beer and I wasn't too thrilled with it when I took a sip. Since then, I have experienced a huge range of beers, from organic fruit ales to oatmeal stouts and all kinds of other specialty beers in between. I am now able to fully appreciate Guinness without comparing it to unpleasant things.

Guinness describes its black lager as:
"Guinness Black Lager is an easy-drinking lager, so it’s a completely different product from Guinness Draught, which is a nitrogenated stout. Lagers and stouts are made in quite different ways. Lagers are brewed for longer at lower temperatures for a crisp, refreshing taste. This is what we do with Guinness Black Lager. But we use our signature roasted barley to bring a new taste to lager, combining the refreshing taste of a lager with the character of Guinness."

Here are my interpretations of this beer:

Appearance: Dark and unable to be seen through. It has a very light, airy, ample fluffy head that is  light tan in color. Head fades to some light lacing in the glass.

Smell: This beer smells quite yeasty and bready. There is a definite alcohol presence in the scent of this. There is also a light malted smell with a hint of molasses.

Flavor: Guinness Black boasts of a deep, roasted flavor, I didn't find this brew as bold as I was expecting it to be. There are some malt flavors and light spicy/hoppy finish with a slight sweetness in the middle.

Mouthfeel: This feels very thin for depth of color. I was extremely disappointed that this lager wasn't "heftier" feeling. Beers is crisp with medium carbonation.

Overall: I am well versed in the differences between lagers and stouts, but judging by what Guinness was hoping to accomplish, I was let down by this beer. It was nowhere near as hearty as I was expecting it to be. It IS a decent beer-very crisp, very clean with a lingering bitterness on the palate. The nature of its aroma and taste turn sweeter as it warms. I would serve this beer on a hot summer evening with flavorful foods, such as smoked or grilled meat, bbq, Latin American or German foods. For more information about Guinness and their family of beers, please visit them on the web, Facebook or Twitter.

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