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Rating: 4.4/5 (14 votes cast)

Beer Profile

  • Brewery: Guinness Ltd.
  • Website:
  • Country: Ireland
  • State:
  • Style: Schwarzbier / Black Lager
  • Malts:
  • Hops:
  • ABV: 4.5%
  • IBUs:
  • Tasting Notes:
  • Preferred Glass: Imperial Pint
  • Food Pairing:
  • PHM Grade: C

Guinness Black Lager

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Guinness! Personally, I think it can be placed in the top 5 greatest companies this world has seen. Whatever your feelings are on the brewery, its operations, marketing, or the beer it produces, the legacy of Guinness is shrouded in a family instilling [Christian] values into future generations that chose to make a difference in the world. It single handedly rescued Dublin, and Ireland, from despair and continually came to the aid of those disenfranchised. Guinness humble beginnings and growth where but a vehicle for this humanitarian family. If you don’t believe me read Stephen Mansfield’s book The Search for God and Guinness: A Biography of the Beer that Changed the World.

With that in mind, I passed this little beauty on the shelf and decided to give it a try. Guinness is known for its Stout which falls into the classification of Ales. Reading the label I noticed three things: 1) this is a Black Lager (Schwarz bier), 2) it is “cold brewed” (insert ridiculous marketing lingo), and 3) the color/design looked cool to me.

The bottle states that this beer “delivers the perfect blend of unique Guinness character and then the refreshing taste of lager.” Well, let’s find out what this test product released in March 2010 has to offer.

Appearance: typical Guinness black color, but this is not as opaque and clear on the edges that have a medium mahogany hue. I went overboard with the pour and produced a large head tan that was obviously not as compact and creamy as a normal pint.

Aroma: Mellow, smooth and lacking the astringent bitter/sour character common to a glass of Guinness. It had a bready and rich quality paired with a well, roasted grain highlight. The burnt barley was evident, but cleaner giving more of a coffee presence found in Porters.

Taste: Classic Guinness flavors are noticeable, but you can tell it is a variation. It is not as robust as the Stout or even some other Black Lagers (namely Shiner and Sam Adams). Those possess a much deeper roasted flavor of coffee and dark chocolate. This is subdued lending minor flavor during the sip and a roasted bready/yeasty finish.

Mouthfeel: Took about half the glass to get use to the difference in mouthfeel. It was watery at first, playing a trick on my mind. The carbonation give it some live while the lager aspect made this just as drinkable as the Stout. Lighter on the palate, this turns out to be a little lacking in the body despite the darker grains. I’d liken it to that time I used my coffee maker and Black Patten to brew batch of “coffee.”

Overall: Worth a try, but don’t get your hopes up. Not the best rendition of this style.

Guinness Black Lager, 4.4 out of 5 based on 14 ratings
  1. Gotta love the marketing guys. “Cold brewed” – no crap, it’s a lager. I prefer black lagers to the lighter variety, finding most of the latter tasting too much like lawnmower beer. I’ll give this one a try if it shows up in Mississippi.

    Andrew — September 24th, 2010, 9:33 AM
  2. Watery, overcarbonated, thin taste. Not at all what one would expect from a quality brewer like G’s. I agree with review: Sam Adams Black is noticeably superior.

    Ron — December 2nd, 2010, 11:47 PM
  3. Hi 🙂 Your reviews are great, but when it comes to Ireland, they are not quite on the money… while the beers from Guinness etc are worth a mention, they couldn’t really pass for craft beers. I was really sad to see that you haven’t tried any of our 15 artisan beers (19 if you count those in the North) made by dedicated small brewers and finding an ever-swelling body of fans.
    I have to declare an interest… I’m so passionate about Irish Craft Beers I’m highlighting them at a festival next week
    However, for all the info on the really good stuff, the best place to go is which is the Irish craft brewers association. They’re all listed there.
    Then the next best thing to do is get on over here and try some! I won’t even name a favourite as they are all so full of flavour and character… you’ll just have to judge for yourself!

    Lily de Sylva — October 21st, 2011, 7:42 AM
  4. Lily … thanks for your comment. We love craft beer, no matter where it comes from. The problem is simply distribution. I’m not sure we can get our hands on any of the craft brews you’re talking about. Leave us a list of the different breweries and I’ll see if we can find ’em…

    Taylor — October 24th, 2011, 1:15 PM
  5. Can you please confirm the shelf life of a bottle of Guinness Black Lager?

    Thank you.

    Kevin — October 17th, 2012, 1:19 PM
  6. Very bland stuff: if you want a much better and tastier black lager, try Hermann’s Dark Lager from Vancouver Island Brewing Co. Plus, Hermann’s is 5.5% alcohol, compared to Guinness’ 4.5%.

    Gary Ansell — September 4th, 2013, 4:04 PM
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