How to pour a perfect pint of Guinness

Colin Joliat Alcohol & Food Editor

If you’ve ever watched and waited as your Guinness sat 75% full behind the bar, you know there’s more to pouring their beer than just opening the tap. There’s actually a six step process to pouring the perfect pint.

Pint Eye Level HiRes 151x214 How to pour a perfect pint of Guinness

Guinness

I had the pleasure of participating in a perfect pint competition last week with the proceeds going to the Leary Firefighters Foundation. Unfortunately I came in 2nd of four, so I feel I let all of you down. It was a fun experience though, and I learned why it takes so damn long just to get a pint of Guinness.

There are actually a few different things going on that were completely unknown to me, including a custom spout on the end of the tap that drives the beer through 5 tiny holes. That causes it to shoot out significantly faster than normal. Picture putting your thumb on a hose. This creates the solid finger of head even though you’re aimed at the side of the pint. The secondary pour is also what gives the head the ability to hangout well above the rim of the glass.

Pouring the Perfect Pint

  1. Use a clean, dry, room-temperature glass
  2. Hold glass at 45 degree angle and never allow the spout to touch beer or glass
  3. The Pour – pull faucet all the way down and allow beer to fill 75% of the glass
  4. The Settle – allow the nitrogen bubbles create the theater and wonderful surge event creating the beautiful creamy head. This takes 119.5 seconds.
  5. The Top Up – the beer has settled (distinct gap between dark liquid and head) and the glass is topped up slowly to create a domed effect with the head proud of the glass
  6. The Presentation – Give the creation of the perfect pint to the adoring customer

I think we all agree that six is the best step. Just give me the beer already. I lost in the finals round of my contest because the foam didn’t dome as far above the glass as the other competitor. I’ll bet I could have drank it faster than he could though.

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