How do you pour a Glass of Guinness?

Guinness Storehouse
Guinness Draft
Harald Bischoff, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

How to pour a Guinness properly?

At the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin we learn how to pour a Guinness beer properly. We're not the only ones interested. Even Barack Obama and his wife have tried it at the Ollie Hayes Pub in Moneygall, Ireland.


Michelle Obama pours a Guinness
Pete Souza, Public Domain


You can learn that at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin

A visit to the Guinness Storehouse is a visit to the museum, which is all about the Irish dark ale. The exhibition rooms of historical documents, beer vats, fermentation canisters and funny advertising ideas that the Guinness brewery in Dublin used throughout its centuries-old history. Among them is the lease, in which Arthur Guinness has leased the brewery grounds for the next 9000 years - a far-sighted man, as it turned out. Today, this site is home to one of the largest breweries in the world, in the heart of Dublin, the capital of Ireland.

A tour through the history of Guinness beer

As we walk through the floors of the Guinness Storehouse, we learn more about what is special about Guinness and how it differs from the usual stouts and beers of the British beer scene. The water from the Wicklow Mountains plays a major role, as does the types of treatment of the barley that are used in the brewing process: raw barley, malted barley and - and this is typical of Guinness - roasted barley. Then there are hops and water, which together make up the thick, dark beer Ireland is known for.

Create flat
Create flat

The Gravity Bar in the Guinness Storehouse

We visit the Guinness Storehouse one day after the St. Patrick's Day Weekend - obviously the time with the most visitors. We are told that in these three days alone more than 25.000

Visitors have pulled through the brewery's exhibition grounds. All with one goal: the Gravity Bar on the top floor, a glass-lined bar that offers an all-round view of Dublin and the surrounding area. On a clear day you have a view of the Wicklow Mountains in the south of Dublin from here.

However, they hide in the fine spring rain before our eyes, so we prefer to direct our gaze to the glass of Guinness in our hand. At first I had a hard time with the spicy beer - I didn't really like it. But after a few tries I get used to the rather bitter taste, and I think if our trip to Ireland had taken a few days longer ... who knows, maybe I would even have become a fan of the Irish brew. Reason to come again?

This is how you properly pour a Guinness beer
This is how you properly pour a Guinness beer

This is how you draw a Guinness properly

One thing I learned during our visit to the Guinness Brewery: how to properly tap and pour a Guinness. That wants to be practiced, because after all you want to reach the thick white foam, which bulges slightly over the edge of the glass upwards. First, I put the glass flat under the tap and then set it up slowly until it stands upright under the tap.

Then let the glass rest for one minute, until the foam collects on top and clears the beer in the lower part of the glass.

Then hold it again under the tap and fill the glass until the solid foam hood bulges slightly above the edge of the glass. Experienced beer tappers can turn and turn the glass until they leave a cloverleaf or other “paintings” in the foam, for example. But this is something for experts. I am satisfied with my nice thick foam layer.

Why is Guinness tapped this way?

There's a reason Guinness is tapped this way. Before 1960, every Guinness beer that left the brewery was tempered in the barrel. Only then was the transport introduced in a nitrogen-carbonic acid gas mixture. In the old barrels, the beer often arrived very frothy in the small pubs in the country. However, the shortage of storage space and the great thirst for beer among customers meant that freshly delivered kegs were quickly consumed. There was no time for the beer to settle in the warehouse. The innkeepers poured frothy beer from new barrels into the glass, left it for a minute and then filled the glass with beer from barrels that had been standing for a long time.


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In the barrels in which Guinness is delivered today, the beer no longer foams as strongly. Therefore, tapping in two stages would actually no longer be necessary. However, this method was retained in order to make the beer from modern kegs more palatable to customers.

The type of tap does not change the taste of the beer

The brewery has been delivering its beer in the new barrels for decades. The type of tapping does not change the taste of a Guinness. It is tradition and at the same time a marketing gag of the company. The perfect pint is celebrated - in the brewery, but also in pubs all over Ireland. If you take it very carefully, the process of tapping a Guinness with two tapping should take exactly 119,53 seconds. The brewery also propagates this in its advertising campaigns. Every child in Ireland knows the saying “Good Things come to Those Who Wait”.

More important than the type of tap is the temperature at which a Guinness is served. Here the brewery recommends serving a draft Guinness at six degrees. An Extra Cold Guinness should be served at 3,5 degrees. This recommendation does not always correspond to the taste of Guinness lovers. In the past, a Guinness was served at cellar temperature (approx. 13 ° C). There are even supposed to have been beer fans who enjoyed their Guinness at room temperature (approx. 20 ° C). So you can see that it is confirmed once again. The tastes are different.


Guinness taps
Tim Sackton - Guinness On Tap, CC BY-SA 2.0

The beer is served in a tulip glass

The fact that glasses influence the taste of their contents is something that one has wine tasting discovered. The wine actually tasted more intense and better in a special glass. We have not tested to what extent this also applies to beer. In any case, there is a glass shape that is recommended for serving Guinness. The American Esquire magazine says that the beer should only be served in a tulip-shaped glass. However, there are also forms here that differ from one another. So far, beer has mainly been served in large tulip glasses that have a curved shape. The brewery designed a new glass in 2010 and plans to change the shape of the glass in the future. In future, your beer will only be served in large glasses that are slightly wider at the top.


Guinness glass
New shape of the Guinness glass - ArchiveCarrickfergus - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

This is how the foam is created

The firm and velvety foam is typical of a glass of Guinness. This must be so that a Guinness tastes as such. To do this, hold the glass under the tap at a 45 degree angle and pour the glass 3/4 full. The beer is pressed through the tap at high pressure. This creates small nitrogen bubbles that turn into foam. This gets a thick consistency, which is typical for Guinness. During the second tap you fill the glass until a foam crown forms over the top of the glass.

For me, the foam is what makes a glass of Guinness so special. Only when it is thick enough that a foam rim forms on the mouth while drinking do I enjoy this beer. It creates a velvety feeling on the lips, which I only associate with Guinness. Only then does the spicy taste follow, which is so typical for this beer from Ireland. I can only agree with the brewery's slogans when they say: "A Guinness is good for you."



Guinness advertising

That the Guinness Marketing Department does a good job is not only evident in the Guinness Storehouse. On the contrary! Across the country one comes across advertisements referring to the beer. You can see them on tin signs in pubs. There they hang on the walls and advertise the advantages of the beer. Always with a pinch of humor. It is simply a part of Ireland.

advertising sign

Guinness advertising signs

We have a Guinness advertisement in our kitchen. The funny signs put you in a good mood and remind us of our trips to the Green Island. My favorite motif is this one with the coachman pulling his horse behind him on his own carriage.

Advertisements for the brewery even appear on the walls of houses. One thing in particular sticks in my mind. There is a pub on a country road in the Wicklow Mountains from which a beer driver laughs at the driver. Instead of his horse pulling the beer carriage full of beer barrels, he loaded it into the wagon. He himself pulls the carriage with the slogan on his lips: "A Lovely Day for a Guinness".

A good Choice of advertising signs * can be found here. You can drive the coachman with his horse Order here*.


In the Guinness Storehouse, an exhibition room is dedicated to the humorous sayings and posters that promoted Irish beer over the years.

Visiting the Guinness Storehouse is fun

A visit to the Guinness Brewery with a guided tour through the “hallowed halls of the art of beer” should not be expected in the Guinness Storehouse. It is more of an excursion into the past of brewing in Ireland and into Guinness history. So we had a few hours of fun on our tour through the halls of the beer temple, and even with our own beer service.

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Guinness Storehouse
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Source: own site research kindly supported by Failte Ireland

Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline

How do you pour a Glass of Guinness?

2 thoughts too "How do you pour a Glass of Guinness?"

  1. It's fun, it's kind of an interactive museum that's all about Guinness: the people, the brewing process, and of course the beer itself.

  2. 9000 years! : D The man was really smart!
    I have always dismissed the storehouse as a tour trap. The fact that the brewing process is not presented here as in a Scotch whiskey distillery, but a museum ... makes it interesting for me.
    Next time I have time to kill in Dublin, I could learn to have a beer tavern!
    LG Claudi

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