Irish Stout

BJCP 15b

Overall Impression
A black beer with a pronounced roasted flavor, often similar to coffee. The balance can range from fairly even to quite bitter, with the more balanced versions having a little malty sweetness and the bitter versions being quite dry. Draught versions typically are creamy from a nitro pour, but bottled versions will not have this dispense-derived character. The roasted flavor can be dry and coffee-like to somewhat chocolaty.
Comments

When a brewery offered a stout and a porter, the stout was always the stronger beer (it was originally called a “Stout Porter”). Modern versions are brewed from a lower OG and no longer necessarily reflect a higher strength than porters. This is typically a draught product today; bottled versions are typically brewed from a higher OG and are usually called Extra Stouts. Regional differences exist in Ireland, similar to variability in English Bitters. Dublin-type stouts use roasted barley, are more bitter, and are drier.

History
The style evolved from attempts to capitalize on the success of London porters, but originally reflected a fuller, creamier, more “stout” body and strength. Guinness began brewing only porter in 1799, and a “stouter kind of porter” around 1810. Irish stout diverged from London single stout (or simply porter) in the late 1800s, with an emphasis on darker malts. Guinness was among the first breweries to use black patent malt for porters and stouts in the 1820s. Guinness began using roasted barley after WWII, while London brewers continued to use brown malt. Guinness started using flaked barley in the 1950s, also increasing attenuation greatly. Guinness Draught was launched as a brand in 1959. Draught cans and bottles were developed in the late 1980s and 1990s.
Ingredients
Guinness is made using roasted barley, flaked barley, and pale malt, but other breweries don’t necessarily use roasted barley; they can use chocolate or other dark and specialty malts. Whatever combination of malts or grains is used, the resulting product should be black. Cork-type stouts are perhaps closer to historical London-type stouts in composition with a varied grist not dominated by roasted barley.
Commercial Examples
Beamish Irish Stout, Guinness Draught, Harpoon Boston Irish Stout, Murphy's Irish Stout, O’Hara’s Irish Stout, Porterhouse Wrasslers 4X