Dublin or West Indies – Guinness Porter Taste-Off

The Brewers Project an offshoot of the main Guinness brewery as sent the Irish in America (and any other beer drinker) a pair of porters with stylized labels modeled after the original old-timey-wimey bottle designs.

# 1 Dublin Porter – Originally created in 1796 during a time when porters were all the rage in London, Guinness brewed up its own Irish version of the style at St. James’s Gate and shipped to England. While the porter originated in London, the Guinness brewer’s Irish take on the style proved quite popular with its earthy and lively flavor. Today, the Dublin Porter delivers a sweet, smooth beer with dark caramel and hoppy aroma notes with a burnt biscuit finish for a beer reminiscent of a different time — when after a hard day’s work, you’d visit your local haunt for a porter, the “working man’s beer,” and Guinness would have been the respected choice. (3.8% Alc/Vol)

# 2 West Indies Porter – Constantly pushing the envelope to showcase what its brewers could do, Guinness sought to create a porter that could maintain its quality taste and freshness aboard West Indies-bound ships across the ocean for more than a month. In 1801, the brewers at Guinness rose to the challenge, developing a beer with higher hops and more gravity that didn’t just survive the journey, but offered a unique new beer. Based on the original recipe, today’s porter remains an immensely flavorful beer, with generous hops and notes of caramel-toffee giving it a sweet, almost chocolate aroma. In fact, this beer was a precursor to Guinness™ Foreign Extra Stout enjoyed all over the world today. (6% Alc/Vol)

Those are the descriptions from the brewery but who wins the taste test for me?

The Dublin Porter is quite light. It has a creamy, sweet milkshake quality to it. It is smooth with caramel notes. They would really have to amp the hops for me to taste them. What Dublin thinks is hoppy is not to someone in California. There is an Oyster stout mineral note tucked in this beer as well. It is nicely complex and is a beer for a spring with clouds.

The stronger West Indies Porter could be mistaken for the regular Guinness stout. It has more meat on the bones, as it were, with notes of smoke and chocolate and savory salt notes to it. The aroma is very biscuity to the point of toast. It is deceptive in that it tastes rather light despite the higher ABV.

In the end, I would take the heartier West Indies Version. It dispenses with the sweetness and heads straight to thicker and more mineral tasting. No mucking about.

2 Replies to “Dublin or West Indies – Guinness Porter Taste-Off”

  1. “Originally created in 1796…”
    Lies like this are one of the reason these beers irk me so. They’re very much creations of Diageo 2014, but slapping the historical marketing thing on them, misleading drinkers to believe, inter alia, that an eighteenth century porter might be 3.8% ABV, is disrespectful to the brewery’s own history and disrespectful to the consumer.

    As regards what Dublin thinks hoppy is, these beers do NOT speak for the city, its breweries or its beer drinkers.

  2. We all have sore spots with breweries. Since I am not as close to Guinness as you are, they don’t irk me as much as they do you. I prefer to encourage them (even the larger companies like Diageo that seem more geared to marketing then crafted beer) to go back to the history recipe record even if it is more of a riff on old styles for modern times than a faithful re-creation.

    Thanks for writing though and passing on the information. It is always helpful to me to hear other sides beside the marketing material.

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