Guiness Beer

Guinness Beer: Characteristics, Composition And Benefits

Guinness, an Irish beer, is one of the most popular stouts in the world.

Guinness is one of the most popular dark beers in the world.  This brand has become one of Ireland’s trademarks that easily beats the competition.

This Irish beer is famous for its toasted flavor and unique texture. In this article, we describe Guinness beer's characteristics, composition, and benefits.

Guinness beer: Characteristics

Guinness is a dry stout beer known worldwide for its unmistakable toasted flavor, which comes from unfermented barley, its smooth taste, thick foam, creamy texture, and dark caramel-like color.

This brand's dark beer is similar to others but it still has a few traits that set it apart it from the rest. It has a distinctive bitter yet toasted flavor, combined with the foam's creamy texture.

There are several recommendations for serving Guinness.  Some say that the beer should be served cold, and then, once poured into the glass, it should be left to sit from between one minute to 90 seconds.

From the keg, this beer should be served at 6 degrees Celsius. However, other varieties have different ideal serving temperatures. For example, extra cold Guinness needs to be served at just 3.5 degrees.

Experts recommend serving Guinness in a tulip-shaped pint glass. This beer should be poured by inclining the glass at a 45-degree angle and filling it three-quarters full approximately - after, the glass is placed straight and filled the rest of the way, which helps the foam to rise to the top.

Types and production

Guinness is the most consumed beer in Ireland and has been one of the most commercialized all over the world for many years now. It is produced in 50 countries and sold in more than 120, which makes it one of the best-selling beers in the world.

Currently, Guinness stout is sold all over the world  in many varieties. Below, we will talk about some of the most important types.

1. Guinness Draught

Classic toasted Guinness is sold in kegs, cans, or bottles. A component inside of the can, that makes a sound when you shake it, is a unique feature of this canned beer.

This component is usually a plastic ball of no more than 3 centimeters in diameter or another type of plastic element suspended in the liquid.

This 'widget' helps the beer to keep its original properties, for example, flavor, texture, and most of all, its pressure.

2. Guinness Original/Extra Stout

This is the same original beer but with an extra kick.  While classic Guinness has just 4.3% alcohol, this version can have up to 5%.

Guiness Beer
Guinness Extra Cold | Getty Images

3. Extra Cold draught

This variety of Guinness is also sold in kegs, but it is served at a lower temperature than the original, which gives it a fresh and light flavor.

4. Guinness Foreign Extra Stout

It is sold and produced in many countries around the world, with ingredients native to each country,  including the grains used, and then combined with the original Irish formula.

Composition and properties

Guinness stout beer is made using water, barley, toasted malt extract, and hops yeast. Just a bit of barley is toasted to give the final product its strong, unmistakable flavor and its characteristic dark tone. One of the most distinctive traits of this beer is its foam, to achieve texture and flavor, nitrogen is used.

During the process, the beer is pasteurized and filtered, and in spite of the widespread belief that this is a fattening beer based on its creamy or coffee-like flavor, it only contains 198 calories per pint.

For years, to achieve this flavor, fresh beer was mixed in with older beer. However, there is no proof that this method is still used. Nitrogen and carbon dioxide are mixed in with the beer while it's being made, to achieve this creamy texture.

In the past, Guinness beer used a substance known as 'isinglass' in its production process - this ingredient is made of a fish’s swim bladder that filters the beer. In 2015, 256 years later, the company stopped using this product to better market it to a vegan public.

Possible health benefits and Guinness nutrition

Although consuming alcohol on a regular basis is not recommendable due to health risks, there are specific ingredients in beer that could be beneficial.

Guinness contains antioxidants that could help to lower cholesterol and a small quantity of iron. According to some studies, dark beer, and specifically the kind produced by this brand can help to keep your bones strong, prevent the appearance of cognitive diseases related to memory loss, and even contribute to weight loss.

Of course, these properties are associated with moderate, sporadic, and responsible beer consumption, along with other healthy habits.


Drayer, L. (2018). Is Guinness really “Good for you?. CNN. Accessed at

Pattinson, R. (2010). The breweries of Ireland: beers, history, styles. European Beer Guide.