Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale | Guinness Ltd.

160 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Kilkenny Irish Cream AleKilkenny Irish Cream Ale

Brewed by:
Guinness Ltd.

Style: Irish Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
An "Irish Cream Ale", though this style does not exist on, and the closest style is Irish Red Ale.

Added by UncleJimbo on 08-23-2009

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 160 | Ratings: 679
Photo of mandolinhomebrew
3.38/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 33 cl bottle into my Hopus glass. Moderate pour produced a moderate head that was just shy of an inch.

A - Looks almost like Brandy.. a reddish amber/brown. Quite clear and transparent. -

S - Not a whole lot going on. You can tell it's an ale from the aroma at least. There is some malt there, maybe roasted & caramel. Maybe a hint of spicy hops. You really need a super strong sense of smell to get much more than that.

T - Malts up front. Some fruit-like flavors are there, maybe apples or pears, certainly not citrus fruits. There is this malty-alcohol flavor that you get in some Belgians, but much much much more subtle. Bitterness is very light, but it's still relatively balanced. Finishes on the dry side.

M - light to medium mouth-feel. moderately carbonated. smooth. when i had it on nitro-tap it was super light and smooth (but really lacked in aroma).

D - Goes down very easily. Flavorful enough (for a macro) that I could drink a couple before getting too bored.

Overall - For a macro that's readily available, it's pretty good. It's easy to drink, and has enough complexity and taste that it's a "go to" if only the typical macro line-up is available. It's hard to find ales here in Austria in general, so I'm glad this is around and easy to find.

 1,282 characters

Photo of LukeK1231
3.39/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Overall it was a good creamy beer. Obviously had the tight nitrogen head.

Very drinkable and nice finish however lacks some taste before swallowing. Appearance was dark reddish.

A good beer to have while in Ireland and different than anything I have ever tried before.

 272 characters

Photo of doktorhops
3.21/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale - one would be correct in thinking that this is a classic Irish red ale, from none other than the classic stout makers Guinness.

Poured from the regular 440ml "widget" can into my Guinness pint glass.

A: The body presents an inviting deep red hue whilst the head is firm packed with an off white colour (I settled on "beige"). The head started out at about 3cm and left rings in the glass on the way down.

S: Rich caramel malts... you can smell a sweetness to it - very inviting. The hops also add a distant aroma. You know exactly what to expect from this ale from it's scent - strong malts, bitter back notes and a dry aftertaste. Let's see then.

T: Strong caramel malts: check. Slight bitter back notes from the hops: check. Dry aftertaste (most likely from the yeast used): check. But there is something else in there, a slight metallic tang (well we've all been there with a macro brew), but it's not that... it's like a mix of pecans and brown sugar, not full-on but it's there hovering around in the background (wishing to be invited in for tea and crumpets).

M: Small letdown here - this beer is just as watery in the mouthfeel as I found Murphy's (and I'm sure it's the same for Guinness too). Carbonation is fine (for the style).

D: It's a go to beer if you're looking for something you can take on in a session. I'm not as much a fan of this style as I am of the Irish Dry Stouts but come Saint Patrick's day I'll drink a couple pints of both.

Food match: Oysters or light game hen with a green salad (rocket) and mashed potato.

 1,571 characters

Photo of PhillyStyle
3.98/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Cook McDoogal's Irish Pub, Kokomo, IN:

The beer appeared a dark golden color with a nice one-finger, creamy, white head and a thin cap remained throughout the beer. No lacing to note.

The aroma was light and of roasted malted barley.

The taste was roasted malted barley sweet and was nicely balanced.

The beer had a light feel to it, as expected, but the beer was extremely drinkable, crisp, very smooth and very creamy. I could drink this beer all day every day.

 477 characters

Photo of marcusR111
3.81/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark ale with a red tinge to it. Thick creamy head, bubbles are almost non-visible.

S- Doesn't have much smell but you can definately smell hops

T- Tastes kind of metallic. Hop taste as well

M- Head is very creamy almost like melted ice cream. A little watery, feels just like a Guinness.

D- Could maybe drink 1 or 2 but no more than that in one sitting.

Serving Type: Nitro-can

 388 characters

Photo of BeerManDan
3.88/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When poured from the tap, there was not a ton of foam in the glass, but, two tons and after finishing off the pint, there was one ton of lace on the side of the glass. The color was a light hazy cream brown when served, but after a few minutes, the color was of a clear medium goledn brown. The smell of roasted malts and a hint of spice? or fruit? or whatever had a pleasant aroma. The taste was of the sweet/bitter roasted malts and a nice balance of, whatever the components were in the ale. I really enjoyed it, especially being in an Irish Bar in SF.

 555 characters

Photo of Matt1516
3.91/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

All hail the floating widget! I love the excitement of cracking one of these open.

The cascade in the glass is also part of the show. A goodly finger of head sits atop and remains till the end. The lacing is medium. It's a rusty penny-coloured dark copper ale. The mouthfeel is very creamy (thus the invented category of Irish Cream Ale). The first taste is sweet malts with a late bitter aftertaste.

The ABV is low at 4.3%--a perfect choice for session drinking. One of my early favourites.

 495 characters

Photo of ChrisCage
4.34/5  rDev +27.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Ahh, I finally review the beer that got me interested in drinking this fine beverage in the first holds a special place in my heart :)

A- Well who can argue with the look of this brew? It is a reddish/brown color, is clear, and pours with a beautiful pillow like foam head, created of course by the nitro widget in the can....I wish it cascaded like Guinness does though...oh well. Fine carbonation clings to the side of the glass and gently rises to the top of the brew. the lacing is incredible! A thick foamy layer covers the side of my glass as I drink this down! A fine looking beer for sure!

S- Overall, the aroma is mild, but there are notes of sweet malt, unsalted butter, and just a hint of hop bitterness. Nothing else to report but just a pleasant aroma profile.

T- Starts out smooth and creamy....gentle caramel malts grace the palate, with mild burnt brown sugars and/or toffee. It finishes off with just a slightly bitter leafy hop note, yet creamy....overall just nicely balanced.

M- A solid medium bodied beer....leaning slightly towards full bodied. The carbonation is probably as fine as a person will find in a beer, but it's just enough for this style....closer to an English/Irish draft beer than anything canned.

D- Give this to me any time and I'm gonna enjoy it! With or without food, this is so easy to drink...low alcohol, creamy, sweet throughout, yet bittering enough to just balance the flavor profile. A great starter for anyone just discovering beer outside of BMC types, and just a great session beer!

 1,550 characters

Photo of Vdubb86
3.28/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a pint glass at Peggy Kinnane's in Arlington Heights, IL

I've never had an Irish Red on nitro before, so how could I turn this down. This pours a beautiful cascading ecru foam leaving a firm fat finger of head. This covered a nice amber red body that is how it was supposed to look. The aroma was rather bland in nature there was a bit of hop and green apple. The flavor consisted mostly of malted barley and green apple. The green apple almost made me think I had mistakenly ordered a cider, but this was not true. It wasn't bad but it wasn't good either. The flavor however was muddled greatly due to the nitro tap. I'm not sure how good it was supposed to be but the kind I had was extraordinarily water. This is the worst mouthfeel I've ever given a nitro-tap. It was drinkable no real problems taking it down, but It's not really the best beer I've had from Guinness, but it held it's own, and was definitely an interesting experience.

 951 characters

Photo of woodychandler
3.68/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another CAN from one of my solids, BigBry, who CAN certainly list himself as a member of The CANQuest (TM).

The Crack & Glug also included some odd noises as a result of the widget priming itself, I suppose. Man, I do love watching the cascade when pouring from an N2 CAN!It resulted in a finger of thick tawny head with great retention. Color was a deep-coppery orange with NE-quality clarity. Nose had a lightly malty sweetness which was okay with me. Mouthfeel was creamy, which is as it should be with this serving style. The taste was pleasantly mildly bitter with a hint of nuttiness on the tongue. Finish was slightly dry, pleasant, easily quaffable. This was a nice, simple beer, somewhat unobtrusive, but with such low alcohol that I could easily see having it in my cooler for a day out.

 799 characters

Photo of Stinkypuss
2.83/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Kilkenny pours a murky brown with a light tan head. Light aroma, hard to get anything but some mild malt. Flavor fails to impress, mild nutty malt and lactose are there but very light. The mouthfeel is so slick and dare I say too smooth, since it lacked any real body or substance. I'd stick to Smithwicks, Guinness or Harp over this one.

 338 characters

Photo of A380
3.78/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pretty dark gold almost a light red. very nice creamy head. kinda smells and tastes like a guinness yet without the roasted notes but they are a bit noticeable in this one. aftertaste is just like a guinness imo. also tastes pretty watery but a good kind of watery.. not like light beer, but it actually tastes like this was brewed with good quality water.. and it goes down pretty good. not something i would drink too often as it isnt really my thing but its pretty good and i could see a few people really take a liking to it.

 537 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.93/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On nitro-tap 10/9/2010 at Mews Tavern in Wakefield, RI, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright reddish brown color, with a large dense off-white head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is faint but contains caramelized malts, tea, some fruit and a little bit of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of caramel and a little fruit. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and the nitro-tap brings some creaminess. The hops presence is mild and provides a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: A little crisp and very smooth, medium body, light carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a solid beer to drink for a while if you're in the mood for the style.

 838 characters

Photo of kwjd
3.06/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep amber colour with a finger of thick white head. Head doesn't dissipate at all and leaves nice rings of lacing on the glass. Smell is of sweet toasted malt with the slightest hint of floral hops. Flavour is balanced of sweet and bitter, but it is a bit lacking overall. Mouthfeel was very creamy. A nice beer to have sometimes, but it is just ok.

 358 characters

Photo of nokes
3.45/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass, medium reddish brown with a two-finger head and the classy-looking nitro-can mini bubbles throughout. I like the feathery look as these bubbles go up. Cool.

Smells good. Malty and caramelly but not overwhelmingly. Feels like it could be more complex, but it's fine.

Taste is okay, but doesn't live up to the way the beer looks or smells...the sweet caramel came out as expected and diminished to a dry finish, but it somehow feels again like it lacks some complexity or depth that it could have.

The mouthfeel is where this beer really let me down. It's been a long time since I had Kilkenny on tap, but maybe that would be better? It came off ultimately as a bit thin and flat.

In the end, a drinkable beer and mostly enjoyable, but a fuller mouthfeel would really help it. Not my favourite, but okay.

 833 characters

Photo of smithza9
3.08/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a very solid beer. Any beer from Dublin must be quality. I'm not normally a big fan of the red beers but this one hit the spot with Shepard's Pie in an Irish pub in Canada. It looks good, has that very noticeable cream ale taste, and is easily drinkable.


 271 characters

Photo of jneiswender
2.62/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Had this on tap at St James Gate in Amsterdam. Served on tap, cool in a pint glass.

A-brown red body and a thick off white head.

S-butter and caramel.

T-sweet and watery, some caramel and a light British hop finish.

M-medium to light and thin.

D-not robust at all. the light flavor is disappointing after an appealing aroma. I would not have this again.

 358 characters

Photo of OtherShoe2
3.29/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received a deep red brew with an outstanding tan/beige 1 finger creamy head. Good clarity and a good pour by the barman. Fantastic lacing.

Light boiled grain aromas with some light cereal scents. Not much here.

Some toasted malt, with bread crust and clean bitterness. Not alot of power in this one. Intensity is lacking (not watery, just kinda weak. Flavors are palatable, and the finish is creamy edgefrom a lingering headappropriate.

Good medium body and nice cream in the texture from the head.

Overall, not terrible, but lacks depth. Fairly easy to drink, but you teeter on the edge of mediocrity/boredom with this one.

 628 characters

Photo of BucBasil
3.23/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the 330mL bottle into a pint glass.

A:The beer is a golden-orange color with some carbonation within. Head is tan and about 2 and a half fingers thick.

S: A twinge of sweetness permeates the smell and remains the dominant note. Inside are some fruits, and an overall "clean" smell, that I can only describe as watery hops. Light citrus and tangy apples.

T: Way more taste than its on-tap counterpart, which is a nice surprise. Mainly malty here, bready and not overpowering - made to be an easy drinker. Some bitterness comes in there, and finishing living up to it's "cream ale" billing with a smoothish aftertaste.

M: A low point, and where the tap version wins out. Somewhat watery.

D: This is, as I said before, made to be an easy drinker. Better than some other big name Irish Reds. An ok choice, but more taste in the bottle.

 848 characters

Photo of albertjr21
3.7/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown with an amber hue under a big cream white head.

S: Muted for the most part with just the faintest malt accent.

M/T: An upfront creamy and slightly metallic bitterness with a bold roasted nut center and light bitter follow through.

D: A nice alternative to Guinness for me to have with my rasher cashel blue cheeseburger and fries.

 347 characters

Photo of goblue3509
3.79/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dirty anber color with a fist thick frothy head which gave way togobs of lacing up and down the glass. The aroma was of faint malts with a hint of fruit notes. The taste followed suit with a nice malt backbone, caramel and english malts with a slight musty wet hop bite and some mild fuitiness. The mouthfeel was mild carbonation and dry. The drinkability was high, a very easy drink, nice flavor with a nice balance of bitterness and sweet. You could easily drink more than one of these.

 496 characters

Photo of nickfl
3.23/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Poured with a tiny, white head of thick, creamy foam. The head refuses to settle and leaves thick lace as the beer leaves the glass. The body is copper-brown with good clarity.

S - Light, toasted bread notes with some musty hops. Little else.

T - Dry bread up front with a surprisingly strong, musty hop character. Light bitterness creeps in towards the middle and grows stronger towards the finish. Hefty bitterness in the finish with very light bready malt.

M - Medium-light body, low carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - Dry and bitter, this comes across more like an English bitter than an Irish red. Even so it would be a poor bitter with a weak malt profile that is not up to dealing with the strong hop character. A drinkable beer, and perhaps better than average as Irish beer goes, but not something to go for if you have access to any real beer.

 861 characters

Photo of rarbring
3.27/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer is clear dark brownish amber, big bubbles, a rather small head, and some lacing left on the glass.

The smell is sweet malty, brown bread somewhat nutty.

We have an upfront, brown sugar, sweetness, then taste of dark bread some sour notes, and a rather metallic bitterness at the end.

Rather high carbonation, medium light body, a bit fizzy, and a sharp dryness.

I'm not a fan of Irish Red, and Kilkenny does not really improve that view.

 450 characters

Photo of Apek
3.84/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Obtained from liquor store - refrigerated section. Evaluated the next day.

A: Lovely ruddy amber and sparklingly clear after the nitro cascade settles. Head is a perfect high density foam typical of this serving type - very much like nitro guinness stout

S: Faint malty notes and faint hop aroma (difficult to characterize). This is not a big aroma beer

T: Mild malt, mild bitter. Well balanced but no overwhelming theme. mild bitter aftertaste that fades quickly.

Drinkability - a good session beer, very light and the typical low carb for this style does not "fill" you up.

Overall - A nice refreshing beer - perhaps more typical of an English Mild but not particularly malty.

 684 characters

Photo of Cyberkedi
3.61/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Comes out of the tap a clear, dark golden amber with a very fine-bubbled creamy-white head. Aroma is malty, slightly fruity and slightly hoppy, not all that strong but still appealing. Flavor is malty and somewhat, but not nastily, bitter, with a whisper of fruit. Texture is velvety smooth and slightly fizzy so it goes down the pipes nicely.

 343 characters

Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale from Guinness Ltd.
3.41 out of 5 based on 679 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.