A heritage craft
From where it all began—with one man and £100—to where we are now, we’ve been honing our craft since 1759. With over 20 world-class beers in production, and a wealth of exciting new brews being dreamed up daily by our ever-enterprising brewers, it’s no surprise that the Guinness name is known and loved in 150 countries. But, no matter where it is brewed or served, you can be sure your Guinness is still inspired by the pioneering batches of our legendary stout, crafted at St. James’s Gate in Dublin, over 200 years ago.
Hold your drink to the light
It's all about the barley
It begins with barley. Barley sown in Irish soil and malted behind our famous gates. It’s not an easy grain to grow, which is why we have relationships with farmers that span three generations.
This malted barley forms the foundation of our beer, carefully crushed by our brew house mills then mixed with water from Poulaphouca Lake in County Wicklow. Water that’s heated and added to the freshly milled malted barley before the mixture is mashed to extract the brewing sugars. This mash then drops down into a kieve—or mash tun—that separates the grain from a liquid we call ‘sweet wort’.
“This mash then drops down into a kieve—or mash tun—that separates the grain from a liquid we call ‘sweet wort’”
It’s now that our unique dark-roasted barley comes into play. The precision of the roasting process is what gives our famous stout its distinctive rich taste and dark, ruby-red hue. Raise your pint to the light and you’ll see how it glows. 232 degrees Celsius. That’s the temperature that transforms our barley into a black state of perfection. That’s the temperature that makes Guinness taste like Guinness. Any cooler and the beer won’t be as flavorful, any hotter and the barley catches fire.
“232 degrees Celsius. That’s the temperature that transforms our barley into a black state of perfection”
The Art of Barley Roasting
The Art of Barley Roasting
And then for another key ingredient: hops. These combine with the roasted barley to give Guinness its perfectly balanced flavor. After the hops are added, the sweet wort is then boiled for 90 minutes before leaving it to cool and settle.
Next comes the Guinness yeast, a strain that’s been handed down from generations past. It’s so precious that we keep a reserve amount under lock and key, just in case anything should happen to our main supply. The yeast captures the full freshness of every one of the painstakingly sourced ingredients, ensuring our beer is perfectly fermented and charged with the flavor that’s made us famous across the globe.
And then? Nothing. We stop. Just to let everything slow down and mellow. Maturation allows the beer to develop its perfectly balanced taste and consistency. After all, we’ve never been ones to rush a good thing.
“There’s a ‘head height test’ to ensure we have the correct amount of bubbles in every pint. ...Roughly 3,000,000, in case you’re wondering.”
Now for the nitrogen, the groundbreaking innovation that brings our draft beer to life, creating the inimitable Guinness surge and settle and the iconic creamy head. This is added in the packaging process, after which there’s a ‘head height test’ to ensure we have the correct amount of bubbles in every pint.
...Roughly 3,000,000, in case you’re wondering.
Making sure our beers are up to standard
And finally, before our beer can pass out through those impressive gates—be it in a keg, can or bottle—every single batch of Guinness is tested by a Sensory Panel to ensure nothing leaves the brewery unless it tastes precisely as our expert brewers intended. Some would say it’s the best job in the world. We’re inclined to agree.
A Beer Well Traveled
With that first batch of Irish stout there began a legacy of innovative brewing that’s since been upheld all over the world. Over 20 different beers now bear the Guinness name, and we’re proud to have gone to unprecedented lengths to set up 18 breweries across the globe. From kick-starting the barley-farming industry in Uganda to bringing a whole new dimension to American Lager, we've stopped at nothing to bridge cultures and cross continents.
And, no matter where it’s brewed or served, every single pint, bottle or can of Guinness adheres to the lofty standards set at St. James’s Gate in Dublin, the original birthplace of our beer. To do this, every brewer in every brewery is meticulously trained to make beer the Guinness way.
Making beer the Guinness way
And that’s not all. Batches of our legendary brews are sent back to Dublin each month where our Sensory Panel makes sure that each beer matches up to its unique flavor profile. And expert brewers from St. James’s Gate regularly travel the world to pass on their knowledge and passion to our international breweries. This means you can be sure of an unparalleled Guinness experience, no matter which country you’re drinking in. World-class brewing, the world over.