When I started planning this tasting, I knew it would be hard to get away from Guinness in one form or another. When people think of stout, Guinness is nearly always linked and is by far and away the biggest stout brand in the world today but quite some margin. When looking through their products though, I knew I wanted something a bit different from the normal standard beer. When I found that they had launched an IPA a few years ago and I could easily get hold of it, I bought it straight away. I really wanted to see if they could brew a great beer that was completely different from stout. The resulting beer was a disappointment, I’m not going to lie.
This beer poured with a deep amber colour but the most impressive thing was the head. The nitrogen widget caused the creamy, incredibly thick head to hold perfectly. It was maybe one of the best head retention I’ve ever seen in any beer, let alone an IPA. It was really more akin to a Guinness stout head, and I really didn’t expect it. It was literally like a layer of cream sitting on top of the liquid. Although it looked amazing, I think it actually had one big disadvantage. I think the thick head was actually holding back some of the aromas as the smell was incredibly light. There was some caramel sweetness but the hops were fairly subdued on the nose. There was a deep, rounded bitterness with that classic Guinness mouthfeel upon tasting. The hops were there but not at the forefront. It was in the manner of a British style IPA, with a big malt focus and the hops gently backing that up. The malt, dark bread and minor earthy bitterness came through on the palate but the taste was nothing to write home about. The aftertaste was short and sweet and regrettably quite forgettable.
It was interesting to try an IPA infused with nitrogen, just to see how it affected the head. I think it made it pretty but ultimately didn’t really help the beer as I think the thick head helped to contain the aromas and thus diminish the beer somewhat. Fun to sample but I wouldn’t say this would become a favourite anytime soon.