St. James Gate
Preface: As you can see from the picture above, this tasting did not take place “in house.” The draft was drawn at The Waterfront Alehouse in Brooklyn, NY. I can assure you that this was a “beer-clean” glass and was served at slightly below the suggested serving temperature. That said…
Appearance: This brew in a deep dark brown with garnet hints when back-lit with a mini-Maglite. There is little note of carbonation. A thick, dense bone-white head of fairly large bubbles sits atop the brew.
Aroma: The first impression is clean with neither noticeable malt nor hop aromas. The second impression, after the brew warmed for a few minutes, brought out some malt aromas. The third impression offered little else. The lip-to-sip impression heralded some sweetness.
Mouth feel: The refreshing cool sensation had little or no carbolic acid spike to affect the following flavors.
Flavor: The first impression is of a slightly less emphatic version of the expected flavors associated with traditional Guinness stout. The second impression reveals a sturdy roasted malt flavor with a noticeably dry sensation. The third impression presents more questions than observations.
Finish: The final effect is a very dry finish with a lack of the depth of flavors associated with traditional Guinness Stout.
Comments: First a caveat – This brew was poured at 40-45 F, a bit cool for full appreciation. That said, it occurs to me that the ghost of Arthur Guinness might have been influencing present day brewers to offer a brew more in the style of the original Guinness porter. The folks at Guinness might not like my observation that this seems to be a Guinness “Light”… Could it be that this is an attempt to develop market share by “adjusting” their recipe to fit a perceived demand for a less “aggressive” flavor profile? (Consider that traditional Guinness, on draft in the US is 6% abv and this product (on draft) is listed at 5% abv.)
Notes from the Guinness Press Release:
• Crafted and brewed in Ireland, the GUINNESS 250 Anniversary Stout is a new innovation product that uses a unique brewhouse process. This process blends two malt types in a double “brew stream” along with water from the Wicklow Hills, and of course as in all GUINNESS Stouts, roasted barley to create the deep rich color and enigmatic flavor
• The fermentation process for the GUINNESS 250 Anniversary Stout uses GUINNESS’ own yeast which has been extended to allow for more conversion of the natural sugars. The result is a more malty flavor profile
• A triple hop addition regime provides a hint of bitterness
• Look: A near white frothy stout beer head of larger bubble size than GUINNESS Draught, to be poured on draught in a one-part pour or gently from a bottle (as opposed to the two-part pour of GUINNESS draught). It is vibrant, unique and distinctive in color – still dark with a distinctive stout head
• Flavor: This stout has a crisp effervescent taste with a balanced malty, roasted / hop flavor. The malty, roasted, bitter flavor balance is enhanced when released with a lively, refreshing and smooth carbonated mouthfeel
Pricing: 6-pack GUINNESS 250 Anniversary Stout bottles = $7.99-8.49
Caloric Value: 136.3 calories per 11.2 oz. bottle
Brewery site: http://www.guinness.com/us_en/
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