Guinness is one of the most well known and consumed beers in the world due to it’s availability. It is brewed in nearly 50 countries and available in over 120. Guinness first began in 1759 at St. James’s Gate in Dublin, Ireland which is the brewery of Arthur Guinness. While some beers have many different variations and versions, Guinness relies heavily on it’s two main beers which is why Guinness Draught vs Extra Stout is an interesting comparison.
If you see Guinness Draught and Extra Stout all over and are never sure which one to get, you’ve come to the right place. In this Guinness Draught vs Extra Stout guide, we will go over what makes the two different. Before we get there, let’s look at what brought Guinness to the lime-light.
As mentioned, Guinness was created in 1759, but didn’t make it across the Irish Sea and over to Great Britain until 1769. He started with sending over just 6 1/2 barrels. The popularity of Guinness grew in Ireland and neighboring Great Britain, and by the mid 1800’s it was one of the largest breweries in both countries.
In the 1900’s Guinness made two moves that stood out to me. First, they began welfare schemes for the ~5,000 employees costing them 40,000 Euros a year, or one-fifth of their total wages. Second, during the first world war 800 of the employees joined the British army. Guinness paid their families half wages and promised the soldiers jobs when they returned. While it may seem small, or even shameful, by today’s standards, it was not common practice back then.
Guinness Draught vs Extra Stout Composition
Now that we’ve covered some basic history of Guinness, it’s time to cover the information you are really here for. What differentiates these two beers?
Guinness Draught Composition
Guinness Draught is the primary beer that you’ll see. If you order a Guinness, this is likely what you’re asking for. Guinness Draught was developed in 1959 after Michael Ash, a mathematician and brewer, discovered a mechanism that made pressurizing a beer with nitrogen instead of carbon dioxide.
Nitrogen allows for a creamier texture than a sharper one that is produced by CO2. Along with nitrogen, Guinness Draught is made with malted barley and unmalted roasted barley to produce the distinct taste of Guinness. The Draught does use CO2 as well, as its a mix of nitrogen and carbon dioxide.
Guinness Extra Stout Composition
Guinness Extra Stout is based on the original Guinness. For 200 years, prior to the 1970’s, Guinness was a much stronger, darker beer than it is today. Guinness decided to re-launch their Extra Stout beer to make it more drinkable. They began using pale malt and isomerized hop extract to achieve a beer that went down easier.
Guinness Extra Stout uses malt, Irish barley, and hops. The Extra Stout is pressurized with straight carbon dioxide, which makes the beer more crisp than creamy.
Guinness Draught vs Extra Stout Taste
Now, the big question is, how do they taste? Which is better? Which should I buy? Well this all depends upon personal preference, but we’ll cover their individual flavors and which one we prefer.
Guinness Draught Taste
The first thing you’ll notice as you look at a Guinness Draught is the rich, creamy head. With most beers, you want very little head, but the Draught has a nice full flavor that isn’t as bubbly. In terms of the aroma, it is a heavy mix of coffee and malt. On the palate, it is a little sweet and bitter in a very good way, as the malt, roasted barely, and coffee aromas transfer from the nose to the mouth.
Ultimately, the number one thing you’ll hear and taste with the Guinness Draught is its rich creaminess due to the use of 75% nitrogen and 25% CO2.
Guinness Extra Stout Taste
As we’ve discussed the Extra Stout is a bit more crisp, but at first appearance is still has that frothy or creamy head. It has some fruity notes, but mostly a strong, dark, and roasted smell. Generally, the Extra Stout will be described as a little more bitter which is characteristic of such a dark beer.
Guinness Draught vs Extra Stout Taste Summary
Which is better then, Guinness Draught or Extra Stout? Most people typically prefer the Draught in comparison to the Extra Stout, but again, it all depends upon your taste. The Draught is rich and creamy, it tends to be a bit more sweet and has a coffee taste to it.
Guinness Extra Stout is sharp, more like the usual beer you are probably used to drinking. This is due to the carbonization and results in a quicker, more crisp beer. The extra stout is a little more bitter and a little less sweet than the Draught.
Ultimately, the best way for you to find out which you prefer is to go try them both. As mentioned, the Draught is the most popular Guinness by far but the Extra Stout may be better for you. Here at 52 Brews, we appreciate Guinness Extra Stout, but definitely prefer the Draught.
Guinness Draught vs Extra Stout Differences
Below we are going to list off the key differences between Guinness Draught and Guinness Extra Stout. Many of these are covered in the article above.
- Guinness Draught is 4.2% ABV
- Guinness Extra Stout is 5.6% (This may vary country to country, here in the US it’s typically found at 5.6%)
- The Draught is creamy due to the use of Nitrogen to pressurize the beer
- Extra Stout is more crisp as it uses CO2
- Guinness Draught was developed in 1959
- The Extra Stout has used the same ingredients since 1821
Guinness Draught vs Extra Stout Summary
Guinness Draught is one of the best selling beers in the world for various reasons. The availability of it across countries and continents is a big reason. However, this is only possible because the rich, creamy, and smooth taste of Guinness. Guinness Extra Stout isn’t adored by as many, but for those that do enjoy the Extra Stout, they typically love it.
Here at 52 Brews, we prefer the Guinness Draught but recommend you try both! Guinness is a storied company that produces cherished dark beers all across the world.
If you enjoyed our article about the most popular Irish beer, check out this post on the most popular Irish whiskey. If beer is your go to, head here to learn all about domestic beer!