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The Best Way To Pour Guinness

First Posted: 03/13/2012 9:28 am EDT Updated: 03/14/2013 9:43 am EDT

When a product has been around for over 250 years and 10 million are sold everyday, you know you've found something special. And if there's just one word to describe this stout, special would be it. Whether you love Guinness or hate it, when a beer can advertise itself as being "good for you" you know it's a pretty unique beverage -- and one made of quality ingredients. After all, pregnant women in Ireland were once advised to drink a Guinness a day to fortify themselves and their baby.

A product with such a long history comes with some steeped traditions, and Guinness definitely has a traditional way in which their stout should be enjoyed. In Ireland, it's a bit of an artform and every part of the process is very much intentional. And with Saint Patrick's Day right around the corner, it's just the right time to brush up on your Guinness drinking skills.

The most important step in enjoying this brew is getting a proper pour. Guinness isn't like every other beer out there. You can't just pump it out of a keg like some of those watery pale-yellow lagers. Nope, Guinness requires a little more respect, a little finesse. And if you hope to get the best flavor, make sure to follow these steps.

According to the company, it should take about 119 seconds to pour a Guinness. That's almost two full minutes. And in beer time, that's an awfully long time to wait; but it's also why the company advertises that "good things come to those who wait," because waiting is just an inevitable part of the process.

The Guinness should be poured in a tulip-shaped pint glass. The glass is a very important component to getting a proper pour since it guides the nitrogen bubbles back up -- and this stout is all about its soft bubbles. When the beer goes through the keg, it has to pass a five-hole disk restrictor plate at high speed; this creates friction and brings out the nitrogen. It's those nitrogen bubbles that give Guinness its sweet, creamy head, which makes such a nice contrast to the malty, bitter fluid.

Like most beers, you want to hold the glass at a 45 degree angle while pouring. But unlike other beers, you'll want to do a double pour. This means that you stop pouring the stout when the glass is about three-quarters full, which allows the nitrogen to settle (and also gives you a chance to watch the tumultuous movement in the beer as the bubbles race to the top and create the white head).

Allow the beer to settle. Once the action inside the stout has quieted down and the head is formed, you can top off the glass by pouring a little more Guinness straight down into the glass. Fill the pint glass until the creamy, white head just peaks over the edge of the glass. Lastly, enjoy.

Chocolate Guinness Cake With Irish Cream Caramel Sauce
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You might not think that the richness of the stout could be translated into a cake, but once you've had a taste of this one, it'll be hard to not go back for more. And topping it with a whiskey-spiked caramel sauce makes it heavenly.

Get the Chocolate Guinness Cake with Irish Cream Caramel Sauce recipe

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Filed by Julie R. Thomson  |