Guinness Foreign Extra Stout

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by SummitSeries72, Jan 26, 2013.

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  1. SummitSeries72

    SummitSeries72 Initiate (164) Mar 17, 2011 New Jersey

    My local beer store recently brought in Guinness Foreign Extra Stout. I have never been a "Guinness guy" like some can be. There always seems to be a devoted Guinness drinker in every beer crowd. But when I saw Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, a beer very hard to come by, I was intrigued. Beer Advocate rates it very highly (BA 91, the brethren 96). High right? So I had to buy some and try it for myself.

    First, let me say that I like it. It's a good beer. 7.5% ABV contributes to a nice warming feeling. The alcohol is not at all evident. It's got nice fruity notes. Good malt presence. Nice on the nose. BUT (you knew there was a "but") I was still a little disappointed. For several reasons. There was way too much of a head on this beer, and it doesn't seem to dissipate. It seems like you're drinking mostly head. Second, there is absolutely no carbonation to speak of. Third, I detected no hop presence to counterbalance the malt sweetness. To me, this beer almost tastes more like a Doppel Bock than it does a stout. Is this typical of Irish stouts?

    Again, don't get me wrong; I liked the beer. But I must confess that I was expecting a lot more from this highly rated beer. Anybody else feel this way? Or disagree?
  2. mintjellie

    mintjellie Defender (630) Oct 2, 2005 Ontario (Canada)

    It's not an Irish Dry Stout, it's a Foreign Export Stout. I haven't had many, but the ones I've had have tended more towards the sweet and malty side of things. For comparison, easy to come by beers in this style include Lion Stout (AKA Sinha) from Sri Lanka, Dragon Stout (extremely sweet) from Jamaica, and Royal Extra Stout from Trinidad. These are traditional drinks in the places they come from.
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  3. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,369) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    The yeast signature is fantastic, all dates and figs, as is the balance between the roasted grains and residual sugars- the hops are definitely incidental, but they are just there to make sure the rest of it works. I really like its personality- it's got some horsepower to it, but isn't all in your face about it. And the more you have, the more those fruits come to the fore.

    Just have a few more over the next few days if you have them, and maybe it'll grow on you.
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  4. diesel59

    diesel59 Initiate (0) Jan 3, 2012 New York

    I like it just the way it is.............. but I'll drink anything...........
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  5. Derranged

    Derranged Devotee (484) Mar 7, 2010 New York

    I like it.

    It doesn't pair well at all with Sheppard's Pie though. I tried.
  6. Jacurdy60

    Jacurdy60 Initiate (0) Jan 23, 2013 Massachusetts

    Foreign extra is fantastic. Its dark, but drinkable and crisp. I feel like I could drink 12 of them in a sitting.
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  7. SummitSeries72

    SummitSeries72 Initiate (164) Mar 17, 2011 New Jersey

    I do like it; I'm not saying that I don't. But it was a tad disappointing as I was expecting more. I love American Craft stouts. This beer left me wanting ... a little.
  8. Ohsaycanyoubeer

    Ohsaycanyoubeer Initiate (0) Feb 8, 2012 Colorado

    I love foreign stouts. I think they are fantastic and wish more breweries would experiment with them. Left Hand made one a while ago as part of their "Fade to Black" series that I thought was wonderful.
  9. SummitSeries72

    SummitSeries72 Initiate (164) Mar 17, 2011 New Jersey

    Yeah, I can see your point. A little too sweet and malty from my perspective. Not that that makes it a bad beer. I guess I just prefer traditional stouts. I was really excited to try this beer after seeing how highly it was rated. Given that context, it was a letdown of sorts.
  10. kingofhop

    kingofhop Initiate (0) May 9, 2010 Oklahoma

    I like it alright. Still prefer Extra Stout. You can keep Draught.
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  11. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,369) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    That's cool- I definitely got where you were going with the first post. I was just pointing out that sometimes over time beers (or anything else, really) can go from being something that you like and appreciate to something that you totally crave- and that's what I was getting at by saying 'grow on you'. It happens quite a bit with me.
  12. SummitSeries72

    SummitSeries72 Initiate (164) Mar 17, 2011 New Jersey

    Gotcha. I'll keep an open mind. I've got six more in tow. But, at this point, I'd be surprised if I develop a craving for it. That has happened with me too though.
  13. mintjellie

    mintjellie Defender (630) Oct 2, 2005 Ontario (Canada)

    Guinness FES is a traditional stout. Far more traditional than any American Double. FES was actually brewed long before Guinness Extra or Guinness Draught.
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  14. JohnQVD

    JohnQVD Initiate (0) Jan 23, 2011 New York

    I prefer cider with Shepherd's Pie, myself, though I like stouts with beef stew.
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  15. mintjellie

    mintjellie Defender (630) Oct 2, 2005 Ontario (Canada)

    Maybe it would pair better if you used it as the liquid base for your gravy? Substitute it in for a portion of the beef stock in your recipe. I've done this with dry stout, and also with a smoked impy. Should work fine.

  16. BladeRunner

    BladeRunner Aspirant (210) Apr 4, 2007 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Good beer for sure, but I think it's a little overpriced.
  17. Hanzo

    Hanzo Initiate (0) Feb 27, 2012 Virginia

    I can only drink this beer after I have a buzz, otherwise I find it very offensive.
  18. JohnQVD

    JohnQVD Initiate (0) Jan 23, 2011 New York

    I usually do this with my stews, but I made shepherd's pie for the first time last week. I used to get it at a British pub in Miami, but since I moved, I'm learning to make my own. I'll give that a try next time and see how it works. Probably as well as the stew, I'm guessing.
  19. BeerSingh

    BeerSingh Initiate (0) Jul 25, 2009 India

    The beer is fantastic, and pairs well with a bourbon - before or after
  20. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,369) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    You have a good point there- this beer should most properly be evaluated against others of its type. IMO- none of those, although good in their own right, can hold a candle to Guinness Foreign Extra. There is a cloying element in all of those that will definitely show in direct comparisson over many glasses, while Guinness just gets better with each successive one. For a domestic version I do like Schlafly's take on the style better than Lion, Dragon or Royal: but even that one doesn't compare to Guinness where the rubber meets the road.
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  21. WYVYRN527

    WYVYRN527 Initiate (0) Jan 8, 2007 Minnesota

    I've always enjoyed Guinness Foreign Extra. My St. Patrick's Day sipper every year.
  22. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (12,602) Mar 18, 2010 California

    I think it's a great beer, not only by Guinness standards, but amongst other beers of the style as well.
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  23. patto1ro

    patto1ro Zealot (526) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands

    Not traditional? Guinness Foreign Extra Stout is far more like 19th century Guinness than Extra Stout or Draught.
  24. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,295) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    GFES was once "hard to come by" in the US (it disappeared from the US market sometime in the late 1960's, and US drinkers had to make do with going to the Caribbean or Ireland/rest of Europe for it) but Diageo rolled it out in the US nationally back in the fall of 2010.

    I'd suspect that every US Guinness wholesaler stocks it (or could stock it), but it's up to the retailers to order it. I could certainly see a lot of retailers thinking, "Why do I need yet another "Guinness" on the shelf when I've already got Draught in bottles and cans and ES in bottles?"
  25. Blueribbon666

    Blueribbon666 Zealot (596) Jul 4, 2008 Ohio

    GFES is what I prefer to the muddy water that is the Draught:confused:
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  26. Chickenhawk9932

    Chickenhawk9932 Savant (928) Jul 19, 2010 Pennsylvania

    I gave my brother in law some of this, he came in from mowing the lawn and slammed the four pack like it was coors light. My sister found him passed out when she got home.
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  27. Blueribbon666

    Blueribbon666 Zealot (596) Jul 4, 2008 Ohio

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  28. RealalefanBermuda

    RealalefanBermuda Initiate (0) Jan 27, 2013

    The stout is usually available in many markets in Africa, and the Caribbean, and in the mid Atlantic country that I am from, Bermuda. The real beer connoisseurs have informed me that the best Guiness that is only available in Ireland, and at one pub in Scotland, is far superior to the canned draught.
  29. marquis

    marquis Crusader (775) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    It makes no sense to compare beers brewed for different purposes. The Draught is intended to be drunk in volume as a DRINK , probably over a long period whereas FES is to be consumed in smaller amounts.
    Mercedes produce the E class saloon and the Sprinter delivery vehicle. Which one is the better? It depends on what you want it for.But comparison is equally pointless.Different horses for different courses.
  30. SummitSeries72

    SummitSeries72 Initiate (164) Mar 17, 2011 New Jersey

    It may be a "Traditional Stout," but I must say that it tastes much more like a doppelbock to me.
  31. mintjellie

    mintjellie Defender (630) Oct 2, 2005 Ontario (Canada)

    I don't find Lion/Sinha cloying at all - the sweetness is actually quite restrained, imo. Dragon and Royal Extra, on the other hand, are very sweet. Especially Dragon. Both of them could be classified as milk stouts as well though, and the use of lactose as an adjunct contributes to that sweetness.

    FWIW, I've made ice cream with Dragon Stout and it was pretty good.

  32. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,369) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    That ice cream does sound pretty darn good. I need to get an ice cream machine for stuff like that.

    As for the Lion- maybe I'm going with a distant memory on that one. I'll definitely have to revisit it soon.
  33. betterbgood

    betterbgood Initiate (181) Aug 23, 2008 Ohio

    i like it, its better than there Nitro and guiness extra stout
  34. chinabeergeek

    chinabeergeek Meyvn (1,279) Aug 10, 2007 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    your post seems to indicate an overly aggressive pour or a heavily scratched-up piece of glassware. that may be the reason for the combination of excessive head and perceived lack of carbonation.

    as for the lack of hop presence, perhaps your bottle was old, in which case the hops will have faded. but in any case it is likely using european hops, which are less aggressive than american varieties, and/or is simply less hopped than american stouts to begin with.
  35. Blueribbon666

    Blueribbon666 Zealot (596) Jul 4, 2008 Ohio

    I get it. I get that it's lower abv lends itself to sessioning. My likening the TASTE to muddy water has ZERO to do w/abv. Abv for me means little if the taste on the palate is undesirable. And the Draught is undesirable to me if I can have the FES instead.
  36. chinabeergeek

    chinabeergeek Meyvn (1,279) Aug 10, 2007 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    but that's marquis' point - try doing with FES what you can do with draught. have three or four FES within one hour and you'll be blowing on a breathalyzer - and not because you chose to...
  37. Blueribbon666

    Blueribbon666 Zealot (596) Jul 4, 2008 Ohio

    I believe in beer not breathalyzers. I do the serious drinking @ home, don't need all that legal interference. And AGAIN my comment about the draught was taste based not abv based.
  38. chinabeergeek

    chinabeergeek Meyvn (1,279) Aug 10, 2007 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    fair enough, but you do make your argument more ambiguous when you say:

  39. Blueribbon666

    Blueribbon666 Zealot (596) Jul 4, 2008 Ohio

    You are correct, sir.
  40. KStark

    KStark Devotee (422) Jul 13, 2012 British Columbia (Canada)

    I enjoy all the Guinness beers for what they are. The draught is a good session stout, the extra has more flavour but is still session able and the FES is a good sipper that you can savoir on a cold evening or anytime for that matter. This gives the Guinness Geek options. At present in my local we only have access to the draught version although I did drink FES when on holiday in the US last year and thought it was pretty good and would buy it if I could again.

    Is it is good as all the hype ? I think it is pretty good and a bench mark for the style so if there are better Foreign Stouts what are they? What about Coopers Stout from Australia , ABC stout from Singapore? There must be others.
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