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How to Pour a Pint of Guinness

If you’ve visited Ireland, you know how important it is to pour a pint of Guinness properly. You may also be aware that Guinness outside of Ireland somehow tastes differently: this is partially due to how to pour a proper Guinness step by step and serve it like in Ireland.

In fact, pouring and serving a proper Guinness requires training and patience both in respect of the drink itself, considered a national heritage in Ireland, and of the person who is drinking.

One of the first things we’ve learned in Ireland, as residents, is how to pour a pint of Guinness: now we want to share our knowledge with you to help you to enjoy a real pint.

How to pour a Guinness and serve it the Irish way

No matter where it’s brewed or served, every single pint of Guinness can be a real experience as every brewer in every brewery is meticulously trained to pour beer the Guinness way. Throughout every stage of the brewing process, the strive for perfection is constant. 

The two-part pour (and six steps method) ensures the barman produces a consistent pint of Guinness every time with the perfect taste and visual presentation.

Keep reading the six steps required to pour the first-class Guinness!

The Glass

  • Select a cool, clean, dry pint glass;
  • The glass should ideally be correctly branded (drinking Guinness in a Heineken glass is not ideal!) ;
  • Always handle the glass by the base.

The angle

  • Hold the glass at a 45° to the tap just below the spout.

The Pour

  • Pull the tap handle fully forward and allow the Guinness to flow down the side of the glass;
  • Slowly straighten the glass as it fills;
  • Shut off the tap when the Guinness is approx. 15-20mm (1⁄2” – 3⁄4”) from the top.
  • Never put the tap spout into the Guinness.

The Settle

  • Place the glass in clear view of the customer on the settling tray;
  • Allow the Guinness surge to settle. This takes approx. 2 minutes.

The Top-Up

  • Hold the glass straight under the tap spout;
  • Push the tap handle backward and fill the glass so that the head is just proud of the rim.

The Presentation

  • Present the perfect pint to the customer with a steady hand and no overspill.
  • The wording “Guinness”, the brand, should always face the customer.

How long does it take to pour a perfect pint of Guinness?

It should take about 119 seconds to pour a Guinness, and that’s why the company strongly advertises that “good things come to those who wait”: waiting is part of the process, and cannot be skipped. That’s also why a lot of pints of Guinness outside of Ireland taste of nothing: if a Guinness is not poured correctly, it will taste bland.

Why is the glass important when it comes to Guinness?

It is! The Guinness is all about the bubbles and only a tulip-shaped pint glass guarantees that the nitrogen bubbles can go back up. The nitrogen bubbles are the main components of the Guinness and can only be created if the glass has the perfect shape: this will give Guinness its sweet, creamy and white head, in contract with the malty and bitter fluid.

Learning how to pour a pint of Guinness

The best way to learn how to pour a Guinness is by visiting the Guinness Storehouse and joining the Connoisseur Experience, where you will learn how to craft your own pint of Guinness and also taste different variants of the world-famous beer.

We recommend you book your Connoisseur Experience in advance so as to skip the queue and be sure to avail of this great experience at a great price: click here and book your Guinness Experience.

Now that we’ve explained how to pour a Guinness, it’s time to talk about how to drink a Guinness: in fact, there are basic rules to follow when it comes to drinking the black stuff. We made the same mistakes everyone makes: drink the beer without waiting for it to settle.

We’ve learned very soon the rules of drinking a pint of Guinness, and we want to share them with you to really feel like an Irish.

How to drink a pint of Guinness

Guinness is not a beer you sip at the beginning; you need to break through the foam to experience the perfect taste and that’s why there are a few rules to be followed:

  • Hold your arm with your elbow out so your forearm is horizontal with the glass;
  • Then, take a gulp big enough to break through the foam and get a taste of the beer below.

Fascinating, isn’t it? If you’re used to classic beers, drinking a Guinness and following all the rules it’s a real pleasure and an experience you don’t want to miss.

The best way to learn how to pour and drink a Guinness is by visiting Dublin.

If you’re looking for the best accommodation for your stay in Dublin, recommend Booking.com for finding the best hotel: you can click here and see the availability and the prices for your given dates. Usually, Booking doesn’t charge you at the time of booking and you’ll pay directly at the property; if you want to save, choose the Non-Refundable Options, and you’ll surely be in for a treat.

Facts About Guinness Beer

But there’s more about Guinness: this drink is really connected to the Isle of Ireland, and its history goes hand by hand with Irish history. These are some facts about Guinness beer you want to know:

  • In 759 Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease on the St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin, still valid today;
  • A pint of Guinness only contains 198 calories: it’s basically like a meal;
  • Guinness is made with barley malt, hops, yeast and water and, although it is called “black”, it really is not black but has a distinctive, ruby red color;
  • Ireland, despite appearances, is not the largest consumer of Guinness. Africa holds the record with more than 30% of total world consumption;
  • The Guinness Storehouse is the most visited attraction of Ireland and of Europe. Even today the beer is produced in the Storehouse, while a whole space is reserved for tourists. Read more about the Guinness Storehouse.
  • A few years ago, a new experimental brewery has been opened inside the St. James Gate Brewery: it’s called The Open Gate Brewery and you can read everything about it here;
  • Guinness is the most drank beer during St. Patrick’s and inside the Storehouse many events are held. Learn more about St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin;
  • It is said that the better Guinness is the one you drink close to the factory where it is produced. That’s why, according to many, the Guinness drank in the Gravity Bar just inside the Storehouse is the best ever as well as in pubs in the same area, the Liberties. The farther you go, the more the Guinness, according to legend, changes;
  • It is not true that the recipe for Guinness changes according to the country for which it is prepared. The recipe is always the same, all over the world.

Bonus Time!

We’ve a bonus for you: we know there are a lot of How To in regard to pouring a pint of Guinness, but we know a real Irish trick we want to show you so you can easily understand if you’re Guinness has been poured correctly.

How to determine if a Guinness has been poured correctly?

There’s a trick to understand if your pint of Guinness has been pouted correctly: the white stays on the glass after the Guinness is drank. If it stays, it means your Guinness was poured in the right way. If not, you need to change your pub of choice!

How cool is the science behind pouring a glass of Guinness? We know for sure you’re now dying for a pint of this Irish beer… but we’ve something else for you!

Are you heading to Dublin and do you need more information on things to do, where to eat and drink and tour you can organize? Write us an email or follow us on Instagram and Facebook and do not be afraid to ask for more information or a customized consultation!

[All the photos and content are copyright; names and trademarks are registered and copyright of Guinness Ireland and can not be freely reproduced. This post contains affiliate links, which means that we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.]

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About the author
Veruska Anconitano
Veruska is a freelance content marketer and digital strategist. She's an accredited journalist, a member of the British Guild of Travel Writer, and a certified sommelier. She's the co-owner of TheFoodellers and a bunch of other websites.
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