Posts Tagged ‘stout’

Beer Review: Marston’s Oyster Stout

10 January, 2010

THE streets outside are covered with snow. The temperatures are freezing. What I need is a rich, warming, Winter drink. What I have, is a bottle of Marston’s Oyster Stout which cost a whopping £1.99 pence from the Bethnal Green Food Center.

It’s not the first Marston’s I’ve tried. Pedigree and Old Empire Original Export India Pale Ale were both perfectly fine. Just completely unmemorable. This though, is a stout. And stouts can be much more fun.

On the neck of the Marston’s bottle, is the Marston’s neck label. Cricketests might be interested to know that Marston’s is the ECB “Official Beer of England”.

The front-label is a traditional beer bottle roundel. It’s all very traditional and very Marston’s. The alcoholic volume is 4.5%. It’s “Brewed at the Marston’s Brewery, Burton Upon Trent”. And they describe the stout tersely with three simple words: “Dark” “Rich” “Smooth”. All the kind of words you want to sum up your stout to be.

Then it all gets a bit different. I’ve never put the words “Oyster” and “Stout” together in the same sentence before. And the pictures are positively coastal. A long way from the industrial west-midlands that strings to mind with Marston’s.

Let’s see if the back label can proffer some explanation.

Yes it can. Albeit it a tenuous one. Above the big “Marston’s Don’t Compromise” banner is the description we’ve been looking for. They describe it as “dark in colour with a mocha coloured head and a slight fruity aroma with a hint of chocolate. It delivers a rich, smooth, full bodied flavour”

Then comes the oyster and seafood connection as they inform us what it might go with: “the ideal accompaniment to eating oysters and other shellfish or just on its own”. Possibly the most tenuous beer name connection yet.

Most of the label is small print in several different languages. To save you time, I’ll rattle off the main details. The website listed is the long-winded www.marstonsdontcompromise.com. They apparently use lightweight bottles that are better to the environment. But bad news for those of us who like beer bottles built like nuclear bunkers.

The full name and address of Marston’s Brewery is printed on there. A complete list of ingredients isn’t. It’s your typical 500ml bottle, which, at 4.5% alcoholic volume, comes in at an unremarkable 2.3 UK units of alcohol.

With that out of the way, we can get to the interesting bit. What does Marston’s Oyster Stout taste like? How does it compare to other stouts? Will I like it and should you buy it? Let’s find out.

With no glugging, Marston’s Oyster Stout is easy-peasy to pour. The thin head you get at the  end quickly collapses into a thin patchy layer of coffee colour. The drink itself is as black as stout. Which is a good thing.

What does Marston’s Oyster Stout smell like? The label promises a “slightly fruity aroma with a hint of chocolate”. And do you know what? That’s pretty much how it smells. It has that fruity hoppy smell that you get with some ales that aren’t stouts. But you also get a slight whiff of the roasted chocolate smell you get with stouts and darker ales. It smells breezy and good.

What does Marston’s Oyster Stout taste like? The first two sips are powerful ones. On the flavour side of the equation, there’s not much to write about. Just a mild, slightly roasted malty flavour. I think. It’s hard to tell because whatever flavour was there on your tongue is immediately swept away by a torrent of aftertaste. And that aftertaste just isn’t as interesting as I hoped it would be.

As far as I can tell, it’s mostly just plain old bitter-sweetness. The bitterness has the edge of the sweetness. And it all feels quite dry. There’s not much more to say. That bitterness lasts a long time. It is, just like the label promised, “rich, smooth” and “full bodied”. It’s all of those things. But where’s the fruitiness and chocolate that it hinted at being capable of? Those things would have lifted it above mediocrity.

What am I enjoying about Marston’s Oyster Stout? Ignore the niggles, and it’s still a very good drink. I like how light and easy to drink it is. For a stout. I like how quickly you get used to the initial punch delivered to your taste buds. I like how well balanced the taste is. And I like how rich, smooth and full-bodied it is, at the same time as being drinkable. All things that point to good ingredients, a good recipe and a well made brew.

What aren’t I enjoying about Marston’s Oyster Stout? I’ve already said it. It could have stood out from the crowd by doing something a bit different. It hinted that it could do fruity and chocolaty, but it didn’t have the courage to go through with it. And that’s a pity. The strong taste, before you get used to it, will put some people off. It’s a little but gassy. And, at least down south, it’s hard to find and expensive.

How can I sum up Marston’s Oyster Stout? It’s not bad, but it could be so much better if they’d had the courage to pull off something original. As it is, there are better stouts and more interesting, easier to drink ales. Most of which also go just as well with sea food. So a lot like the other two Marston’s. Good, but lacking inspiration. This is one for the stout fans out there.

Rating: 3.9

Have you tried Marston’s Oyster Stout? What did you think of it? Leave your opinions, corrections, recommendations and places to buy, here in the comments.

Beer Review: Suma Penumbra Organic Stout

20 November, 2009

BACK to beer, and this time something, hopefully, as interesting as it is expensive. For £2.69 pence from the Bethnal Green Food Center, here is a bottle of Suma Penumbra Organic Stout. Why did I choose it when they also had a bottle of Suma blonde ale which also looked good? Simple. Every little brewery has a go at a blonde-this or golden-that. If Suma are taking the risk of stout production, I’m going to applaud them by trying it.

Interesting looking bottle, isn’t it? That funny shape neck should make pouring interesting. Talking of interesting, have a look at the label. Abandoning tradition, they’ve gone for a stylish up, to the minute design on a big wrap around label. With so much black, Penumbra looks different to just about everything else on the shop shelf.

With a nod to traditional roundels, this one has a spooky photo of a half-moon. And, for some reason, the name Penumbra is in a font more at home on anarchist newsletters. If nothing else, Suma are going to corner the market in stout for emo students.

Around the edge of the ‘roundel’, we learnt that Suma is not a normal company at all, but a workers’ cooperative. That makes it the first beer I’ve tried where the brewery is managed and owned by the people that work there. It’s as if they’ve made a list of everything a normal beer is, and then set about trying to do it all differently.

The left-side of the label continues in a similar vein. They start, though, with a description. They describe it as a “Rich black stout containing chocolate malt mixed with oats and wheat, Pemumbra Organic Stout has a full and creamy roasted flavour with aromas of orange, citrus and berry”. Two reactions to that… First, it sounds delicious. Second, it sounds a bit like the excellent Young’s Luxury Double Chocolate Stout.

Then the label goes bonkers. First with a suggestion of drinking it when the moon is out. Then with a health warning you could either describe as the most public spirited yet. Or the most patronising. Suma is a cooperative, so I’ll assume they were aiming for caring public health message. At only 2.4 UK units of alcohol, there’s no reason to panic. More proof of their lefty inclination can be found littering the bottom. Penumbra Organic Stout has full organic certification and a vegan logo.  Fortunately, they also have a “CAMRA says this is Real Ale” symbol.

Next comes the list of ingredients, and you have to give them credit for detail. They could have just said ‘malted barley’ and been done with it. Instead, Suma have gone above and beyond, not just listing darn near ingredient, but denoting if it’s organic. The highlights for the beer-nerds out there are Pale Ale, Wheat, Chocolate and Crystal malts, Pacific Gem and First Gold hops and orange peel. Even I, with my miniscule knowledge of how beer is made, know that that is a lot of ingredients.

Over on the right-side of the label are what I call the ‘story’, the small-print and the vital statistics.

The highlights from the ‘story’ is that Suma comes from the Calder Valley, where they’ve bagged an ex-pat “Dutch Master Brewer”. The good news continues by learning that this is bottle conditioned beer. That spells yeast sediment and all the adding interesting-ness that comes from it. Unusually though, they recommend serving it clear, by stopping pouring when you spot yeast sediment in the neck of the bottle. That would explain the funny looking neck. It does mean you won’t have the novelty of swirling the last of the contents to get the yeast out, so drinkers who can’t stand cloudy beer will be happy.

Down to the small-print now, and there’s a postal address in case you want to write them a letter. They also have a telephone number and an email address.com. Deciphering the email address lands us at the Suma homepage at http://www.suma.coop/. After a surprisingly tough search, I eventually tracked down the Penumbra Organic Stout homepage at http://sumawholesale.com/index.php/branded-goods/beers/suma-penumbra-stout-organic-12-x-500ml-rt214.html. It doesn’t look like Suma are set up for consumers just yet.

Lastly, those vital statistics. This is your regular 500ml bottle and the stout within has an ABV of 4.8%. Presumably that makes it a little more middle of the road than, say, the politics of the people behind Suma.

Hopes are high for Suma Penumbra Organic Stout. Will it be as quirky and interesting as the bottle is? There’s only one way to find out…

In the glass, the most expensive stout I’ve ever tried looks the part. Almost totally black, it’s topped by a thin, cream head. But ignore that. It’s the smell you should concentrate on.

What does Suma Penumbra Organic Stout smell of? The label says orange, citrus and berry. Whatever it is, it’s complex, rich and good. The sort of odours you want an expensive and interesting beer to smell of. It sort of reminds me of fruit cake or Christmas pudding, so I’ll go along with citrus and berry.

What does Suma Penumbra Organic Stout taste like? The label describes a “full and creamy roasted flavour”. Just like with the smell, my tongue on my first, and very pleasant sip can’t disagree. Packed with more malty types than I thought existed, I can’t help wondering what happened to them. And all the other ingredients. It takes a couple more sips to figure out that they didn’t disappear. Rather they’re all doing their jobs in the subtlest of ways. That makes it complex and interesting, but a challenge to try and describe.

How can I possibly describe the flavour of a stout that has more unusual ingredients than a meal prepared by Heston Blumenthal? The creamy roasted flavour is just the starting point. Unlike most other stouts and dark ales, that roasted-ness is much gentler. More like a porter. In this brew, that gives the other flavours and tastes room to breathe.

What does it all add up to? A combination of flavours and tastes that goes something like this… creamy roasted-ness with a hint of citrus and fruit. Smoothly and effortlessly followed by tastes of malt and hops. All wrapped up in a dry, understaded, rich, exceptionally well balanced and very satisfying package. You could probably write an essay on how it tastes, but that paragraph will have to do.

Half-way through the bottle, and there are a few things I’m enjoying about Suma Penumbra Organic Stout. I love how quirky and different it is. One of the things the world loves about British ales is how eccentric and full of character they are. Penumbra Organic Stout is no exception. I love how distinctive and interesting it is. I love that it manages that without being difficult to drink. It’s practically girl-friendly. I like how it smells and that it is bottle conditioned. I like how different it looks

What don’t I like about Suma Penumbra Organic Stout? I don’t like how difficult it is to find, and how expensive it is in shops that only bought in a small quantity of bottles. It’s a little gassy. And I am somewhat amazed that with all those ingredients, it doesn’t shout more strong and unexpected flavours at you. A tiny bit more risk-taking in the flavour department would be welcome by those of us who pay through the nose for unusual beers. That said, these are minor quibbles.

How can I sum up Suma Penumbra Organic Stout? It is one of the most distinctive and delicious stouts I’ve ever tried. Which, admittedly, isn’t that many. I’ll happily drink it again, though I’ll probably need a mortgage to afford another bottle. If you find it, and you can afford it, even if you don’t normally drink stout, buy a bottle of Penumbra Organic Stout. In a sentence, an interesting and satisfying drink.

Rating: 4.275

Have you tried Suma Penumbra Organic Stout? Have you tried another other Suma beer or cider? What did you think? Leave your opinions, corrections, recommendations and places to buy, here in the comments.

Beer Review: Young’s Luxury Double Chocolate Stout

14 January, 2009

I LOVE it when a brewer comes over all rebellious and decides “I’m going to make something with all the wrong ingredients”. You get magnificent results like Ruddles Rhubarb, Wells Banana Bread and Badger Blandford Fly. The flavours and tastes they have shouldn’t work in a beer. But they do. So I’m thrilled to have here a bottle of Young’s Luxury Double Chocolate Stout.

Young's Double Chocolate Stout bottle

This one was procured from the every surprising Bethnal Green Food Center for the sum of £1.79 pence.

The bottle is Young’s standard bottle. The dark glass does look particularly good against the purple labels in this case though. What of that detailed looking neck label?

 Young’s Luxury Double Chocolate Stout front neck label

Well the front of it is mostly marketing speak that read like a mission statement. It’s all well and good, but it doesn’t actually say anything useful. The other side of the wrap-around neck label is full of small-print.

 Young’s Luxury Double Chocolate Stout neck label back

Buried in the tiny print, we learn that this was bottled and brewed by Wells & Young’s Brewing Co Ltd in Bedford. And that their website is at www.wellsandyoungs.co.uk. Which, of course, reminds us that Young’s is part of Wells & Young’s, the UK’s largest privately owned brewery. It’s an interesting, if dense read on a better than average website.

A quick look around and we find the page dedicated to this very bottle of Double Chocolate Stout. The address is http://www.wellsandyoungs.co.uk/wellsandyoungs/beers/ales/youngs-double-chocolate and I thoroughly recommend that you give it a read because the labels on the bottle don’t do it justice. From the website, we learn that Double Chocolate Stout has won at least four Brewing Industry International Awards. That it was made with no less than pale ale and crystal malt and chocolate malt. Fuggle and Goldings hops. And real dark chocolate and chocolate essence. This is stacking up to be something special. Even if the labels on the bottle aren’t.

Back over to the front label now, and everything is where it should be.

Young's Double Chocolate Stout front label

It helpfully describes it as “Silky Rich & Creamy Smooth”. That, together with the purple colour and typeface makes it sound and look like chocolate packaging aimed at women. Which is probably what Young’s are aiming for with this Double Chocolate Stout.

Tucked away in the corners of the front label are the vital statistics. This bottle is the ubiquitous 500ml size. And the stout within weighs in at a healthy 5.2% alcoholic volume.

The back label, unfortunately, is a multi-lingual mess.

Young's Double Chocolate Stout back label

Look carefully though, and you’ll find some interesting information. They recommend that you serve Double Chocolate Stout “chilled”. And there’s the most complete list of ingredients that I’ve seen for a very long time. To quote the list, it was made with “brewing water, pale ale malt, chocolate malt, oats, sugar, hops, yeast, natural chocolate flavouring”. Not an ‘E’ number of preservative in sight.

The only other detail on the back label that isn’t on the front are the UK units of alcohol. What with this 500ml bottle containing a 5.2% alcoholic volume drink, you’ll get through 2.6 UK units of alcohol should you drink the contents of this bottle. That means that if you have two of them in a row, technically, you’ll be binge drinking.

Sadly, I only have the one bottle. And now it’s time to put that bottle of Young’s Double Chocolate Stout to the test. What does it actually taste like? Do I like it? And do I think you should go out and buy one? Let’s open the bottle and find out.

Young's Double Chocolate Stout poured into a glass

The first thing you notice about Young’s Double Chocolate Stout is that it doesn’t have a head. There are a few patchy bubbles floating on the surface, but nothing like the head that sits on top of glasses of Guinness. It’s as black as you’d like, but doesn’t look impressive without that head.

At first, I couldn’t smell any chocolate. The first few sniffs only turned up that delicious roasted smell that stouts have. It took a few more sniffs to realise that in that smell is chocolate. Yes, it really does have a faint smell of chocolate. And it’s rather nice.

What does it taste like? The first gulp of this thick stout is a pleasant one. As was the second one. What Young’s Double Chocolate Stout is not, is complex. Double Chocolate Stout has a gentle, largely uncomplicated taste. It tastes a tiny bit of chocolate. But the flavour that dominates is a variant on the roasted malty taste that all stouts have. Unlike lots of other stouts, there’s no real bitter aftertaste. There’s so little bitter aftertaste, that it’s almost not there at all.

That else? Well, the drink itself is rich and creamy. Much like how they describe it on the front label in fact.

What am I enjoying about Young’s Double Chocolate Stout? The answer is quite a lot. The flavour is easy-going and tasty. The aftertaste doesn’t deliver an unpleasant sting in the tail. And those things make it one of the easiest to drink stouts on the market today. I love the rich flavour and how smooth it is. And how I can drink it without burping. This is a very good quality drink.

What am I not enjoying so much? It’s still a stout, so if you don’t like the syrupy liquid that makes you thirsty, you might not like this one. Even thought this one fixes a lot of my criticisms of what stout is. The biggest complaint I have is that the chocolate isn’t as prominent as I had hoped it would be. It’s very easy to forget that you’re drinking a chocolate-y stout in Double Chocolate Stout. I’d like to see it take bigger risks with the flavour by being as chocolate-y as the billing. The only other complaints I can think of are that it’s not easy to get hold of. There’s every chance that the shop where I bought this bottle will be selling something else the next time I visit.

Where does this leave Young’s Luxury Double Chocolate Stout? It leaves it as one of the best stouts I’ve tried. Forget the chocolate element. Sadly, the chocolate hardly features. And that means Double Chocolate Stout won’t be one of the great flavour-hybrid beers of the world. What it does have is the easiest drinkability of any stout I’ve tried. And that’s an achievement worth drinking to.

Rating: 4.15

Have you tried Young’s Luxury Double Chocolate Stout? What did you think of it? Leave your corrections, opinions, suggestions and recommendations in the boxes below.

Beer Review: Guinness Draught in a can

11 October, 2008

DID you catch my last post comparing every type of bottled Guinness I could get my hands on? In it, I group tested Guinness Draught, Guinness Original, Guinness Foreign Extra and Guinness Foreign Extra Imported. If you came here the normal way, it should be directly under this post. If you didn’t, then CLICK HERE to read that post first. That’s because this post is tidying something up.

You see, that group-test nearly happened with a can of Guinness Draught instead of the bottle. Yet, I still have that can of Guinness Draught. I thought about just drinking it. But then decided to try answering a couple of outstanding questions. What is it like and is it better or worse than the bottle of Guinness Draught? Let’s find out.

Just like the bottle, it’s cleverly designed to look like a glass of Guinness. On the front, there’s precious little apart from the world-famous branding and words “Serve Chilled”.

There’s a few odd details on the ‘side’ of the can without the barcode.

Guinness Draught side of can

Among them are Guinness & Co.’s North West London address. Those reassuring words “Brewed in Dublin”. The www.guinness.com web address. And all the patents and trade mark information you could hope for.

Fortunately, the barcode ‘side’ of the can has a few more interesting titbits.

Guinness Draught barcode side of can

They open by describing it as “Smooth & Creamy”. And by declaring that this “Guinness Draught Stout” has an alcoholic volume of 4.1%. Which, in this 440ml can, brings it up to 1.8 UK units of alcohol. Which is a little more than the bottle. Mostly because it was smaller.

There’s no complete list of ingredients on here. Just that it “Contains Barley”. Under the Drink Aware messages, is the note that this can contains a floating widget. This source of all it’s powers also means that you can hear it ratting in there, and that you shouldn’t shake the can. Not unless you’re particularly cruel and intend on giving that shaken can to a victim. Not even their consumer helpline number could help you there.

And that’s all the detail there is to report. There’s noting left to do now than pour it into a glass. Something that they recommended against with the bottle. But that they haven’t said anything about on this can. Time to get pouring.

That was one of the most pleasant ‘pouring from a can’ experiences I’ve ever had. Opening it immediately triggered the widget, and I could hear some fizzing going on in there. Pouring into the glass was very smooth. There was absolutely no glugging. Presumably because it’s so much thicker and syrupy than the usual lager you get in cans, it came out at it’s own pace. Which made it very easy indeed. Even I managed to get it to look about right.

It also answers the question of whether it looks similar to the bottle of Guinness Draught. The answer is, it does. It also looks like a pint of Guinness poured for you at one of our countries fine public houses. Which, incidentally, is exactly what Guinness Draught seems to be aiming for.

What does it smell like? It smells of roasted barley with a hint of malt. Which is about how is should smell. And it’s as strong as you’d want Guinness to smell. Does it smell like the bottled version? Mostly. I remember describing the bottled version as smelling slightly of vanilla. Don’t know what I was picking up on there, but there is something a tiny bit different about this can. Otherwise, it smells right.

What does it taste like? It’s time to give it a couple of sips. Well, it’s rich, smooth and creamy. You can’t fault the description on the side of the can. A few more sips, and I begin to make sense of the flavour and taste. You can taste the flavour of slightly malty roasted barley. But it’s not as full-on as I was expecting. That would be Foreign Extra having raised my flavour expectations to impossible heights. What hits me most is that taste and aftertaste. It’s got a bit of “bite” to it. That “bite” gradually transforms into a warm, lingering bitter aftertaste. And an aftertaste that’s not particularly hoppy. Just bitter.

What will you like about Guinness Draught from a can? By my extremely limited experience, it’s one of the best ways to get a good stout from a can. I like bottles. But one thing you can say about cans, is that they’re portable. Guinness Draught from a can, then, is your Guinness or stout option that you can take with you on a train journey or buy in bulk from a supermarket.

You might also like Guinness Draught out of a can if you happen to love Guinness in all its other forms. I know there are a lot of you out there that do. If, like me, you don’t necessarily love Guinness, but you like a good bottled stout or dark ale, this can isn’t a bad option. That’s because it’s got much more body, flavour and quality than most tin based options. And, not even I could mess up the pouring of this one. It’s also as widely available as cigarettes and usually cheaper.

What won’t you like about Guinness Draught from a can? If you don’t like Guinness there might be problems. If you don’t like stout or dark ale there could be issues. And if you don’t like strong flavours and tastes, you may be disappointed. But, if you’ve purchased a can and have drunk it, you probably know all of these things already. So what isn’t there to like here? If you’re new to this style of beer, are a lager drinker or a woman, you’ll probably be scared off. And that’s no bad thing. I have been for a long time, but I keep coming back. And you know what? It’s starting to grow on me.

Guinness Draught from a can is, in my uninformed view, nearly identical to Guinness Draught from a bottle. Both of which are probably very similar to a pint of Guinness. I say similar, because I haven’t yet had a pint in a pub. But I am now looking forward to trying it.

How can I sum up Guinness Draught? If you love Guinness already, you’ll probably like this. If you don’t, then you won’t. If, like me, you’re new to the stuff, then it’s a good way in. Nearly at the bottom of the glass now, and I’ve rather enjoyed this can.

Rating: 4

Have you tried Guinness Draught from a can? What did you think of it?

Do please leave your comments, thoughts, corrections, opinions, requests, recommendations, and, for our overseas readers, places to buy this drink.

Bottled Beer Review: Guinness Draught vs. Guinness Original vs. Guinness Foreign Extra vs. Guinness Foreign Extra Imported

10 October, 2008

GUINNESS. I had to get around to looking at this world-famous, Irish mega-brand eventually. But, I’ve never been a huge fan of stout, or dark ale, or whatever you care to call it. Just look at my posts on Murphy’s Draught Irish Stout, Jamaican Dragon Stout and Orkney Dark Island. This left me with something of a dilemma. You see, I could get away with criticising something that only twelve people have heard of. But if I go into a one of my uninformed ‘reviews’ of Guinness, there would be no end of people writing in from all corners of the globe telling me that I was wrong, and that I’m a useless, ill-informed piece of chewing gum stuck to the sole of society. Regular readers will know all this to be true. But it would make passionate Guinness drinkers the world over unnecessarily angry.

What could I do? Could I manage to test nearly all the big name bottled beers on the market with the exception of Guinness? Or could I find an angle where my indifference to stout would be less of an issue? We’re about to find out as I put every variation of Guinness in a bottle to the test. What is the question I’m going to try and answer? Simple. What the heck is the difference between them all? Will all four of them be identical? Will I find a favourite from the bunch? And will there be one to avoid? And, most importantly, which is the real Guinness?

Here’s the line-up. From left to right, they are Guinness Draught, Guinness Original, Guinness Foreign Extra and Guinness Foreign Extra Imported.

Starting on the left, the tall, curvy one with the white neck is Guinness Draught. It is, I think, the bottled equivalent of the ubiquitous Guinness Draught in a can. The can that I very nearly put in its place, until discovering this bottle hidden away in an off-licence in Brick Lane. See the similarity?

If there’s demand out there, I’ll give the can a test drive next time, to discover the differences. If there are any. For now, all I can see is that both of them have widgets in them, and that the bottle has 0.1% more alcohol in it.

The neck label certainly doesn’t tell us much. In fact, it doesn’t say anything. It’s a white band of colour on top of the black around the rest of the bottle. But then, that’s probably all they need to say. If their message is “this is a glass of Guinness right here in the bottle”, then they’ve succeeded. In exactly the same way as they have with the can.

The front label does much the same thing as the can, too. In fact, it isn’t even like a normal bottle label. That’s because it’s repeated over on the other side, the same way that cans do.

Like the can and unlike the bottles, there’s no big cream coloured Guinness roundel. Instead, the harp takes centre stage. With all that black, grey, gold and white, it’s immensely tasteful. It’s minimalist too. The whole thing looks classy. And, thanks to decades of brand building, it’s all as familiar rain. The harp is familiar. The red Arthur Guinness signature is familiar. The “Guinness” stamp style logo is familiar. The year 1759 is familiar, not least because of their latest advertising campaign.

There are a few other differences besides the absence of the Guinness roundel. The bottle is nearly as curvy as Nigella Lawson. Quite a departure from the traditional shape adopted by all the other bottles in the Guinness range. At the bottom they urge you to “Serve Extra Cold”. Which, I think, is colder than with the can. Also down there is the news that this is the typical 330 ml size.

As with cans, the disparate bits of information are grouped together into two thin strips. Here’s the one that doesn’t have the barcode.

The most noticeable thing is the alcoholic volume. Which is a reasonable 4.2%. At a smidgeon higher than the can, the UK units of alcohol is no different. This bottle has 1.4 of those.

Also on this side are some instructions. And they are considerably more involved than with most other bottles. Here, they inform us that “For Best Results Chill For At Least 2 Hours And Remove Bottle Top In One Quick Movement”. This is the first time I’ve read advice about how to remove the bottle top. What will happen if you don’t remove it in one quick movement? With only a single bottle at my disposal, I can’t find out.

They go on to say that it includes a patented widget. Which will rattle. And, that no settling time is required. This is the most can-like bottle I’ve ever seen.

The side of the bottle with the barcode has yet more information.

At the top is a big, prominent symbol telling you to “Drink Straight From The Bottle”. Not only does that cement it as the most can-like bottle ever, it’s also hugely unusual. It also poses a problem. You see, I like to pour beers into a glass so that you can see what it looks like. I also like to give everything a fair chance by following the instructions. So, here’s the plan. Later on, I’ll pour a little bit into a glass to see what it looks like. I’ll then drink the rest from the bottle and describe how it tastes. That way everyone wins.

Next to the barcode, they describe it as “Guinness Draught Stout”. And, unhelpfully, that it’s “Brewed in Dublin And London”. Gaaa! Which city did this bottle come from? Dublin or London? I’d like to know that sort of thing.

Lastly, at the bottom of this ‘side’, is the web address. Something that we’ll probably see on all the bottles to come. The address they give is www.guinness.com. It’s another Flash heavy, corporate website where you first have to enter your date of birth. Cleverly though, it figured out that I was visiting it from Great Britain, so it immediately served up the right language and matching promotions. In all, a perfectly adequate big-name, international brewery website.

That’s Guinness Draught covered. On the outside, at least. The next one up is the considerably more traditional Guinness Original.

Not only does it look like a normal bottle of ale. But it has a proper neck label. It has a proper front label with a roundel. And it has a back label too. All of which are reassuringly traditional. Take the neck label.

It has all the big Guinness imagery. And a cream colour scheme. Very nice. It’s much the same with the front label.

There is nothing on it that you wouldn’t expect when you buy a bottle of Guinness wanting the real thing. It has the iconic, cream coloured roundel. Upon which is all the Guinness imagery that is so familiar. The only thing worth mentioning about it, are the words around the border of the roundel. “Genuine Quality” sits at the top. And “St. James’s Gate Dublin” proudly announces where it comes from. It’s almost like the label is nodding and winking, knowing that you know what it’s all about.

The back label has lots of juicy details. All very easy to read. And all very well laid out.

Could Guinness Original be the real Guinness? Yes, according to the back label, which describes it as “The one that started it all”. They go on to describe the drink itself as having a “deep-dark colour”. And that it has a “crisp hint of roasted barley, the fresh breeze of hops. The refreshing bite. The bittersweet reward”. Not short of confidence, are they? And “refreshing bite”? Isn’t that a lager trait? I’d never have associated it with a Guinness, but I’m expecting some surprises with this test.

What other facts are on there? A lot. To summarise, they describe it as “Guinness Original Stout”. The address is from North-West London, but they also say “Brewed in Dublin”. Which is good to know. The web address is unchanged, at www.guinness.com. The bottle is the regular 330ml size. The alcoholic volume is the same 4.2% as the Draught bottle. Which brings it to a moderate 1.4 UK units of alcohol. There’s a consumer helpline telephone number. And they even have a table breaking down the nutritional information. Female readers will be interested to know that Guinness Original has 0 grams of fat.

Guinness Original does look very appetizing. But there are two more to go. Next up is Guinness Foreign Extra. The Foreign Extra that wasn’t imported.

You won’t confuse it with Draught or Original that easily. The bottle has more curves than Original, bit not as outrageously so as Draught. If you look at it very carefully, you’ll also spot harps embossed around the shoulder, and the “Guinness” name embossed around the bottom. But both are hard to see. If it were a person, it would be someone wearing flared trousers.

What can we say about the neck label?

Nothing. It looks almost identical to Original. Hopefully the front label will say something helpful.

No. It doesn’t really. The only thing separating it from Original are the words “Foreign Extra” in place of the word “Original”. To be fair though, it is prominent. Unless you’ve got the carelessness of a pre-credit crunch mortgage salesman, you won’t confuse it with much else.

Helpfully, there’s more than enough detail on a huge back label to clear up any confusion. It really is packed with information.

They open the description with the intriguing assertion that “Foreign Extra Stout is a beer like no other”. To learn why, I read on. They describe it as “The most full-flavoured of all. Singular and striking. Uniquely satisfying. Brewed with extra hops and roasted barley for a natural bite. Bitter and sweet. Refreshingly crisp. Always rewarding.” Before ending with the tag line they used on the other bottle: “Pure beauty. Pure Guinness”. What will all this mean? It looks to me like they’ve done the same thing they did to make Original. Only more so. They’re trying to make a good thing better by doing more of it. A bit like King Size chocolate bars.

As usual, there’s a whole pile of detail, also on the back label. To summarise, it was “Brewed In Ireland”, but imported by Guinness & Co. in North-West London. Their address is on there again if you want to write them a letter. The web address is unchanged at www.guinness.com. There’s a telephone helpline if you want to call them. The nutritional information is broken down in a nice table. Which again indicates no grams of fat. If you’re an overweight Guinness drinker, it won’t be because of the fat in the drink.

All very boring. The really interesting bit is the alcoholic volume. By upping the ante, they’ve upped the volume considerably. Instead of hovering around the 4% mark like the others, this comes in at sizeable 7.5% alcoholic volume. For this small 330ml bottle, that weighs in at 2.5 UK units of alcohol. If the bottle were much bigger, you’d exceed your daily units in just one drink. Correspondingly, if you notice bad spelling and grammar in this post after I’ve done the taste test, you’ll know why.

The last bottle in this little round-up is possibly the most intriguing of all: Guinness Foreign Extra Imported.

On the face of it, there’s little difference between it and regular Foreign Extra. The bottle is the same size and shape. The harps around the shoulder and the “Guinness” name around the bottom are embossed with better definition this time around. Yet again, the neck label doesn’t give anything away.

In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find anything to distinguish it from the others. To find any difference, you need to look at the front label. And even there, it holds its mystery.

It’s a different design to the others. Subtle is may be, but is it lighter. And it’s somehow more up to date looking than the roundel on Original and Foreign Extra. Look hard enough and you’ll start to see signs of what makes this one different. Around the top border, they describe it as “Foreign Extra Stout”. And, in red, at the bottom of the roundel, is the all important word “Imported”. But from where?

As usual, the back label is the place to look for clues. But this one looks entirely different to either Original or Foreign Extra.

The big round thing dominating most of the back label is unusually vague. Instead of answers, it witters on in marketing speak about how Guinness is enjoyed all over the world. And how the “finest quality barley, hops and malt” give Guinness its “rich and satisfying good taste”. One thing that isn’t satisfying is that description.

Reading on for more clues quickly reveals the answers I demand. Written vertically on one side, we learn that Foreign Extra Imported was “Brewed under licence by Guinness Nigeria Plc, 24 Oba Akaran Avenue, Ikeja”. Yes, you read that correctly. This comes from the same country as all those people who kindly try to relieve you of all your money through Internet scams. A fact that’s confirmed elsewhere on the label with the line “Stout: Imported from Nigeria for its unique taste”. This then, is a bottle of Nigerian Guinness. What do you think of that? Comments at the end of this post please.

Reading on, and the ingredients are “water, malt, sorghum, wheat, barley” and “hops”. What is sorghum? And why is it in this bottle? Over on the other side of the label, we learn that this bottle was imported to the UK by Kato Enterprises Ltd from Surrey.

There’s no big table breaking down the nutritional information this time. But the details are still on there. And there’s still no fat.

What about the vital statistics? Well, the alcoholic volume is the same as regular Foreign Extra at a strong 7.5%. Oddly, the bottle is a tiny bit smaller, at 325ml instead of the ordinary 330ml. And there’s no UK units of alcohol. But there doesn’t need to be. You know it’s going to be a big number.

With all the tattle about bottles and labels done, it’s time now for the fun bit. What will they taste like? Will they all be different or all the same? Which will I like most? And which is the real Guinness? Time for me to get pouring.

First thing that struck me was that they don’t look the same. They didn’t respond the same way either. First, the widget powered bottle of Draught started frothing up. Pouring the small amount into the glass was tricky because all that came out was froth.

As they went from left to right passing through Original, Foreign Extra and Foreign Extra Imported, the heads became darker and darker. Draught has a thin white head. It looks the like an actual pint of Guinness. Which is exactly what it’s supposed to do.

Original had a cream coloured head. And both of the Foreign Extra’s had dark brown heads. One or two of them frothed right up, but died down after a few minutes. Of them, Foreign Extra had the wackiest head. All of them became quite reasonable after a couple of minutes.

They had different consistencies too. Draught poured and feels fairly light. Thick for a beer, but lighter than the rest. Original poured slightly slower and seems a little bit thicker. As for Foreign Extra and Foreign Extra Imported, they have the consistency of tar. It was like pouring treacle.

How do they smell? Broadly the same. It’s the strength of that smell that changes. They all have that rich smell of roasted barley. And it smells rich, full and delicious no matter which variety you sniff. Draught is the most delicate and lightest. As well as the roasted barley, there was something vanilla-like about it. Original has a stronger, yet balanced smell of roasted barley, combined with the other ingredients. Foreign Extra and Foreign Extra Imported smell almost identical. They both have the richest, strongest, most full-on smell of roasted barley I’ve ever witnessed. Of the two, the regular, non-imported Foreign Extra seemed a little stronger. I quite like it, but I can see the smell of the stronger brews putting some people off.

Right, what do they taste like? Let’s start with Guinness Draught.

Okay, so I poured some when they said drink from the bottle. But that was only to satisfy my curiosity about what it looked like. So, I’m trying this one from the bottle. First impressions are that it seems like it’s trying to escape the bottle. Which would be the widget doing its thing. It tastes of roasted barley. That’s the flavour. And it’s there in the aftertaste too. The aftertaste leaves you with a lingering bitterness. But you can taste the ingredients through it all. The whole thing is lighter than and not as strong as I feared. Guinness Draught could be the stout for the lager drinker. It really is that light and drinkable.

Does it taste any different from the glass than from the bottle? I’ve just taken a sip from the glass, and, I didn’t expect to say this, but it does taste different. I don’t know what that widget is doing or what effect the bottle is having, but it tastes much better from the bottle. From the glass, it tastes sort-of vinegary. Like bad red wine. From the bottle, it tastes a bit sweeter. And definitely fizzier. All of which makes drinking Guinness Draught from the bottle seem perfectly acceptable to me. If a little gassy.

Then again, I haven’t compared it to anything yet. So, here is Guinness Original. Poured into a glass and drank from a glass.

I’ve just taken a sip, and the experience is quite a lot different. A gulp seemed entirely the wrong way to take this one, so sips are the way to go. It’s much thicker than Draught. And considerably less fizzy. This makes Original a much more sedate experience. The taste profile is balanced a little differently too. You get a flavour of roasted barley. Not a particularly strong flavour. Maybe just a notch higher than with Draught. That’s followed by a bitter “bite”. It’s a stronger “bite” than I was expecting. It feels more like a lagery “bite”, and it leaves a bitter aftertaste behind. That bitter aftertaste lingers too. You can still taste some of the roasted barley, but this is a strange experience. It’s like drinking an ale-lager hybrid.

How can I explain it? Draught had the Guinness flavour I expected, but in a light and fizzy lager style drink. Original has more of a bitter lager style “bite” and aftertaste, but in something that feels like a rich, thick ale. My stomach is telling me that it isn’t enjoying Orignal as much. And I have to agree. It might be the “one that started it all”, but it will need some time to grow on me.

How do the Foreign Extra’s fair? Let’s turn the dial up to eleven with Foreign Extra.

First sip and it takes a few of seconds to realise that Guinness Foreign Extra is Guinness in a whole new gear. The roasted barley and bitter taste I had in my mouth from Original is swept away in a tidal wave of flavour. This has flavour. Masses of it. It tastes of barley that has been thoroughly roasted. It’s fuller, richer and stronger than almost anything else on the shop shelf. Only Marmite gets anywhere near. And that’s not even a beer. Somehow, they’ve made it so that the flavour holds its place in your mouth for a couple of seconds before the aftertaste appears. An experience a bit like jumping in the air, and then waiting a couple of seconds before gravity pulls you back to the ground.

The aftertaste that does come along is much less of the lager-style “bite” than Draught, and particularly Original have. It’s more like a crisp bitterness. And it’s a lingering bitterness that can do nothing to shift the strong flavours from the back of your tongue.

My stomach is no longer complaining. And therefore neither am I. Guinness Foreign Extra is strong, crisp and full of Guinness flavour. I rather like it.

Last is our most quirky Guinness. What will Guinness Foreign Extra Imported be like? Time to find out.

One sip in, and Foreign Extra Imported tastes different to every one of the above. I expected it to taste like Foreign Extra, but it doesn’t. For one thing, the flavour phase of the sip is different. It still tastes, strongly, of well roasted barley. But different somehow. As if the flavour mellows and changes before going. I’m going to say that is has complexity.

Oddly, those strong and interesting flavours aren’t replaced by much of an aftertaste. I couldn’t detect any “bite” at all this time. Just a strangely tangy bitterness that rolls into your mouth. All of which leaves you with a mouth that tastes bitter and still has a strong taste of roasted barley.

If Foreign Extra Imported was a track of music, is would be Foreign Extra, the Imported mix. Different things are emphasised in it. It’s very strong. But not too difficult to drink. And that complexity, taste and balance are fantastic. I like it.

Where does all of this leave my questions? The answer to the question of how similar or different they are is simple. They’re all different. Sometimes, very different to each other. Even Foreign Extra was quite a different drink to Foreign Extra Imported. That’s great news. I’d hate to think that they were just tweaking the brew around the edges. What you get instead are four different mixes of Guinness. It also gives you a great excuse to go out and try them all to find your personal favourite.

Which do I like most? That’s tricky. Guinness Original might be the original, but I didn’t get on well with it. That “bite” was just too lager-like for me. It even made me feel queasy. With it being the “Original”, I’m sure that there will be bazillions of readers complaining of my stultifying lack of taste. But this is my blog and my opinion. Original is down in last place as my least favourite. It’s just too awkward, especially compared to its cousins.

In third place, I’m going to put Draught. It’s light and drinkable, but still tastes the way I think Guinness should. If I were out and about one night, I’d happily choose a bottle of this stuff. And another. And another. This is your night out bottled Guinness option.

That means my first and second choice is going to be one of the Foreign Extras. But which one? That’s a tough call to make. As bottles of beer go, they are both excellent choices. There’s no doubt that either will give you much to savour on a cold, autumn evening. But which one is best?

After extensive sipping, I’m going to put Foreign Extra in second place and Foreign Extra Imported from Nigeria as my favourite Guinness. I’m as surprised as you are.

Why did I make this decision? They’re both terrific stouts. I may as well have flipped a coin to decide. But Foreign Extra Imported just had the edge. It’s got a more interesting flavour. The balance of bitterness and other qualities makes it easier to drink than the non-imported stuff. And it’s from Nigeria and therefore a total mystery.

The last big question is, which is the “real” Guinness? That’s simple. Going by the labels, Guinness Original is the real thing. It’s the only one that boasts the more than 200 year heritage. Frustratingly then, it’s my least favourite. I wish I could report that it and not the Nigerian Foreign Extra Imported was my favourite. But I can’t. What I will do is ask for pints of Guinness while out and about until I get used to it. Surely it’s only a matter of time before I get used to that taste?

How can I sum up this massive experiment? It has been an eye-opener. Before the round-up, I thought they would all be the same. They weren’t. Not by a long shot. Sure, they all tasted of roasted barley in that uniquely Guinness way. But the product itself was so utterly different each time. If you’re as curious as I was about Guinness, there is no substitute for trying them all until you find your favourite.

Did I get comprehensively sloshed? A little. But not as much as I expected. Most of them are just too thick and syrupy to drink quickly. Lots of them are too difficult to drink easily. Which is why, as I write this, a lot of them are still in their glasses and bottles, waiting for me to finish drinking them. Honestly, it’s all made me feel more queasy than inebriated.

Have I learned to love Guinness? Not yet. Although I can see why it’s one of the most popular stouts out there. All of them were distinctive, tasty and very high-quality.

Have you tried Guinness Draught, Guinness Original, Guinness Foreign Extra or Guinness Foreign Extra Imported? What did you think of it or them?

What did you think of my first group comparison?

Do please leave your opinions, corrections, thoughts, requests and recommendations here.

Beer Review: Sole Bay Brewery – Adnams Broadside Strong Original

12 April, 2008

TESCO have a new range of bottled beers in stock. So it’s my solemn duty to review every last one of them. This one is Adnams Broadside Strong Original. It’s from the Sole Bay Brewery from Southwold, Suffolk, England. And it costs slightly above average for a 500 millilitre bottle.

Adnams Broadside bottle

The dark glass and background label give this bottle a stylish dark look. I think it looks like a small bottle of rum or some other spirit. It looks good.

The little neck label has a small illustration of some sort of sword wielding warrior and the slogan “Beer From The Coast”. Something that turns up again and again, including embossed on the glass at the bottom of the bottle.

Adnams Broadside neck label

The front label uses colour to good effect. Even if all the words are a little jumbled up. The Adnams name is orientated one way. The Broadside name another. And there’s the reference Solebay and 1672. It’s not immediately clear if Adnams or Solebay (or should that be Sole Bay?) are the brewer. What does get my attention is the picture of a ship. And the 6.3% volume. Which makes this a strong ale. And I like strong ales. That’s actually why I chose this beer over others on the shelf.

Adnams Broadside front label

Over on the back label, and the nautical theme continues. The little story tells us that Broadside commemorates a 1672 navel battle with the Dutch Republic, just off the Southwold coast. Presumably, that’s the time in history when the Dutch decided that wars weren’t their thing, and turned their attention to tulips and soft drugs instead.

Adnams Broadside back label

Keeping things to the point, the label continues with a short description of what to expect from this beer. This includes mentions of “fruit cake aromas, almonds and conserved fruit”. The language might be different to what’s on most beer bottles, but I think it means that this will have plenty of complex, fruity flavours.

The web addresses listed include www.adnams.co.uk and www.beerfromthecoast.co.uk. Both of which work, and take you to some very professional and informative parts of the Adnams empire. That’s an improvement over the addresses given on some ale bottles out there.

One interesting addition is on the little red bar at the bottle of the rear label. It turns out that this is the lightest 500 millilitre beer bottle in the UK. And that is because light glass has been used. Which it transpires is better for the environment. George Monbiot will be pleased.

Also on the small print, this 500 millilitre bottle has 3.2 UK units of alcohol. And has the slogan “Remember, you can have too much of a good thing”. Very responsible. I’d suggest that something similar be printed on the cans of high-strength lager, but you couldn’t call them a “good thing”. Adnams on the other hand, call a beer to “savour”, so let’s see if they’re right.

Adnams Broadside in a glass

I thought I had poured carefully. As you can see, the head disagreed by frothing up, held together only by surface tension. And that was with stopping and starting, letting it settle every so often. Still, it soon settled down enough to drink. Be warned if you try to pour from the bottle yourself. Broadside needs time and care.

Apart from the head, a couple of other things struck me. First was the colour. This is much darker than I was expecting. It looks more like a stout. This is partly backed up by the other thing that struck me. The smell. The label describes the aroma as being like a rich fruit cake. I’d describe it as smelling like the rich malts you find in stouts. It is very rich smelling indeed. But what does it taste like?

The first gulp leaves me thinking “what is that?” It does have that deep, rich, malty flavour of a stout. But the aftertaste, or should that be aftertastes, go beyond that. This is going need a few more gulps to understand…

A few more gulps in, I think I’m cracked it. The aftertaste is where you’ll find all those fruits and things mentioned on the label. That makes this an unusual beer. The first tastes and flavours are like that of a stout. But it’s more than that. After those flavours, it changes to the fruity and hoppy flavours that you’d find in an ale.

This is a very strong flavoured brew. Full-bodied and with lots of character are some of the jargon terms that get used for this kind of beer. It is somewhat gassy, but it is smooth and easy to drink. The quality is much in evidence.

The flip side of this is that it won’t be to everyone’s tastes. In fact, I’m still unsure whether to love it or hate it myself. If you like stout, you’d be insane not to try this. If you like ales with lots of complex flavours. Or if you like beers and ales with lots of fruit, then by all means give Broadside a go. But be prepared for the possibility that you’ll find it to be just too much.

Personally, I’m going to rate it as above average. It’s got quality in spades. Flavours and taste combinations that I previously hadn’t thought possible. And originality. But it’s just too stout-like and inaccessible for me. And will be for other people to. It’s an excellent half-a-litre, but I wouldn’t open another bottle straight after it. I would however be eager to try other beers carrying the Adnams name to see if the positives carry-over.

Rating: 4.025

Have you tried Adnams Broadside? Or anything else by Adnams?
What did you think of it?
Comments in the comments box please.

Beer Review: Jamaican Dragon Stout

1 February, 2008

Stout. Why do I persist with it? I’ve never been much of a stout drinker, yet I keep giving it yet another try. Why then did I decide to give Jamaican Dragon Stout a go?
Bottle of Jamaican Dragon Stout
Well look at it. It is tiny. By far the most diminutive bottle I have yet seen. It holds only 284ml which barely fills a half-pint glass. Unlike others where a small bottle is a drawback, for me, here, it could be a benefit if it means there is less drink to get through.

Dragon Stout front label

But let’s not write it off so hastily. At 7.5% volume, it’s the most potent beer I’ve yet tested. And I’ve tested some strong beers over the last few weeks. And then there’s the price. At my local off-licence, it’s only £1.09. It mightn’t be long then, until the teenagers of the land gather in parks late at night to down bottles of cheap and strong Jamaican stout.

The labels tell us almost nothing. Other than the facts I have just mentioned, we are only told that it has been established since 1920, and that it comes from Jamaica. A million miles from our home-grown ales boasting heritage dating back centuries. I like to know what I’m drinking. Or thinking about drinking, while looking at the bottle while standing in a shop. To that end, I’d warmly welcome more information on the labels of this enigmatic drink.

Dragon Stout back label

Once emptied into a shockingly small glass, everything looks problem-free. The head is white and frothy, and liquid is the right colour. Unlike a famous Irish stout however, it takes no time at all for it all to settle. Useful, if you’re in a hurry. Which anti-social teenagers in parks late at night are prone to be.
Dragon Stout in a glass

You better like the smell of barley. Should you happen to inhale whilst your nose is in the same hemisphere as this drink, you may detect more than just a hint of the stuff. This is no bad thing if, unlike me, you’re already a stout drinker. I, on the other hand found it repellent in a cough medicine way.

Does it taste as strong as it smells? Without a doubt. But does that make it revolting? Not exactly. There’s no denying the super-strong taste, and aftertaste of barley that you’d expect. But there’s something else in there too. Something hotter or spicier than you’d expect. Not much of it, but I’m nearly certain that it’s there. Like someone added a tiny drop of Worcester or Tabasco sauce.

I’m surprised as you are to find myself reporting that this strong and violent Jamaican is actually drinkable. Somehow, it managed to be light and crisp. How? How does it manage that? This soon led to the contents of the miniscule bottle vanishing all too quickly. Despite my indifference to stouts.

All in all, an interesting experience. Not to my taste, but I still enjoyed it. Like with Innis & Gunn’s Oak Aged Beer. That said, Jamaican Dragon Stout isn’t perfect. To be different, Dragon Stout needs to up the ante on the spiciness and fruitiness. Play more on the on the theme of being an unusual Caribbean take on a traditional old brew.

What do you think? Would my plan lead to big things for Dragon Stout?

Rating: 3.25. But if I was a fan of stouts, you could bring it up to 4.25.

Have you drink Jamaican Dragon Stout? What did you think of it?

Beer Review: Murphy’s Draught Irish Stout

22 December, 2007

Last week, I bought a bottle of Guinness Foreign Extra. Not being a stout drinker, the extra strong Nigerian (no, seriously, this Guinness WAS imported from Nigeria of all places) overwhelmed me. In the sort of way an oil slick overwhelms a sea gull.

Reliably informed by television that a lot of people do like stout, I thought it was worth another try. This time, I opted for a bunch of Murphy’s Draught Irish Stout cans from Tesco. At £2.44p and costing less than water, I was already happy with the choice.

Then can the time to try it. At such a low price, I should have seen this coming. It was the cheap larger of the stout world. Right down to the bitter taste, watery consistency and generic alcohol odour. If you take the time to pour it into a glass, it does at least look the right colour. But don’t believe it. This is cheap larger dressed in black and wearing a white baseball cap.

That said, it is very cheap. And being cheap myself, I shall probably buy it again.

In conclusion, buy this if you are broke or want some variation on cheap supermarket larger.

Rating: 2


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