For this installment of my Tuesday Tastings reviews, I’m exploring the two new Guinness specialty beers that they sent to me a little while back: their Antwerpen Stout and Rye Pale Ale. These are available through this month, both from their “Brewers Project” series that includes their Blonde American Lager and Nitro IPA.
This is a hefty 8% alcohol by volume with 52 IBUs. Brewed for export to Belgium (and theoretically only available there, until now), they said in the press release:
Guinness Antwerpen Stout was brewed for the first time in 1944 for its namesake: the Belgian city of Antwerp. Though known by a different name – Guinness Special Export – it’s still a fan favorite in the European city. The beer won everyone over with its intense roasted malt, smoked wood, raisin and licorice notes and its sweet smells of bittersweet chocolate, coffee and a touch of black currant. In fact, even the brewers within St. James’s Gate have been known to line up for a few bottles before the beer makes its way to Belgium.
Appearance: Motor oil dark, near black with deep brown at the edges when held to the light. The wood putty tan colored head is big, and continued to rise after the initial pour.
Smell: Deep roasty chocolate aromas, with the comforting and familiar stout character of black malts and a touch of licorice. Sweet and slightly creamy coffee/mocha notes.
Taste: Slightly sweet, roasted coffee beans with a hint of char, toasty dark malts that highlight dark chocolate, molasses, a touch of lactose, and a hint of toffee. No discernible alcohol even for its 8%.
Mouthfeel: Medium-full body with a very pleasant creamy sweetness that still finishes dry.
Overall: This is good, a beer that I’d look for on draft (or especially cask) if it weren’t in a limited run.
A much lighter beer at 5% abv and only 18 IBUs, I’m not sure if they were trying to hit an American styled pale or quite what, exactly. From the press release:
Guinness Rye Pale Ale got its start just last year when The Brewers Project cooked it up as a fun holiday gift for their friends and families. Everyone loved the beer so much that Guinness decided to try it out on tap at the Open Gate Brewery in Dublin. There, the rave reviews continued. Guinness decided to move the brewing process to a bigger brew house so even more people could try the surprise hit. The rustic ale has a peppery bite thanks to the rye malt used, but gets a nice balance from the grapefruit and citrus flavor from Mosaic and Cascade hops.
Appearance: Amber-orange color, hazy, with ample off-white head that is finely bubbled.
Smell: Subtle spiciness, bready, and mellow. A little bit of raw honey otherwise a pretty low/muted profile.
Taste: Grassy, slightly watery, with a hint of rye spice and a toasty biscuit note. There’s an “amber” maltiness which might be something like Vienna malt or a hint of Munich, throwing a touch of caramel but without the sweetness you’d get from crystal malts. Otherwise it’s mellow and frankly doesn’t taste like there is a whole lot else going on.
Mouthfeel: On the lighter side of medium-bodied, with something of a watery presence on the tongue.
Overall: It’s drinkable, but I’m looking for something with more depth of flavor and body, and I would definitely like to taste more rye and American hops that are advertised.