Irish Stout

Glassware: Tulip pint
  • Ireland
  • Ale
  • ABV = 4.0 – 4.5% (Lower to normal)^
  • IBU = 25-45
  • SRM = 25-40

A very dark, lower-strength Irish ale with a pronounced roasted flavour and often a dry, coffee-like finish.

Draught versions are typically served using a nitro pour, giving the beer a full, creamy texture and very long-lasting head of foam.


  • Colour^ = Brown to black
  • Clarity = Opaque

Key Aromas & Flavours:

  • Malt = Moderate; coffee-like, may have a secondary dark chocolate, cocoa and/or roasted grain notes
  • Yeast = None to moderate; fruity, if present
  • Hops = None to low; earthy or floral, if present
  • Malt = Moderate; coffee-like, may also have a bittersweet / unsweetened chocolate character
  • Yeast = None to moderate; fruity, if present
  • Hops = None to moderate; earthy, if present
  • Perceived Bitterness^ = Pronounced
  • Balance = Can range from fairly even to quite bitter (from both the hops and roasted grains)

The finish can be dry and coffee-like to moderately balanced with a touch of caramel or malty sweetness. The bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate character can last into the finish.


  • Body = Medium; somewhat creamy character particularly when served with a nitro pour
  • Carbonation = Low to medium
  • Astringency = May have a light astringency from the roasted grains, although harshness is undesirable

Characteristic Ingredients/Processes:

  • Malt = Pale malt; may use chocolate or other dark/specialty malts
  • Yeast = British ale yeast
  • Hops = English hops
  • Other = Roasted (unmalted) barley

Historical Development:

Originally called a “Stout Porter”, the stout style first described English porters with a fuller, creamier, more “stout” body and strength. Stout then diverged from porter with an emphasis on dark roasted malts. After WWII, Guinness began using roasted (unmalted) barley, which has become a signature for the Irish Stout style, giving the beer its dry, bitter, coffee-like finish.

Commercial examples of this style are almost always associated with a nitro pour which gives the beer a full, creamy texture and very long-lasting head of foam. More on the nitro pour here.

Commercial Examples:

Guinness Draught, Harpoon Boston Irish Stout, Murphy’s Irish Stout

^Sourced from the Cicerone Certification Program’s International Certified Beer Server Syllabus.
All other information is sourced from the BJCP 2015 Style Guidelines.

Discovering Beer is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Cicerone® Certification Program.

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