Guinness Draught – weighing in at 14.9 ounces
Murphy’s Stout- weighing in at 16 ounces
Both beers were stored and served under the exact same conditions.
They were poured at the same time and kept at the same temperature together.
When opening the cans, the Murphy’s fizzed a little, but the Guinness came up out of the mouth of the can, foamed up and ran down the side of the can. Maybe we can call it a False Start?
On first glance, the Guinness head is cream-colored, while the Murphy’s is more tan. The Guinness head looks creamier. Murphy’s has larger bubbles visible in the head.
In the pint glasses, Guinness has no bubbles at all, while Murphy’s has bubbles sticking to the inside of the glass. I cleaned each glass the same, but the extra bubbles could be my fault.
The aroma of the Guinness is distinctly smoky. Lots of dark, roasted malt aromas, nutty. I’m surprised how smoky it smells. It hadn’t jumped out at me in the past. There is a bit of a chocolatey aroma with a hint of hops. I always remember there being coffee aromas, but they’re not there.
The Murphy’s is distinctly hoppier, but its aroma has more malt, a bit of molasses and sweet caramel. It’s not nearly as smoky as the Guinness. It has just a hint of smokiness.
The flavor in the Guinness is very mild. I hesitate to say it’s mild, because there’s not too much flavor there. It’s at the correct temperature, but the flavors avoid being in your face. There are subtle flavors of European hops, fruity and not as bitter aromas as American. There is just a hint of the smokiness present from the aroma. There is a tiny bit of chocolate. Malt flavors are there, but they’re subtle. I’m trying every way possible to avoid saying there’s just no flavor to this beer.
The Murphy’s flavor leans clearly more toward the chocolate end of the spectrum. It also has a bit more flavor overall. More malt, more hops. It simply has more flavor. It’s also more balanced. The flavor is nowhere near the level of flavor of a craft or micro stout, but it has more flavor than Guinness.
In terms of mouth feel, the Guinness is thinner than I remember. It’s light bodied. The Murphy’s is the same.
Drinkability on both is amazingly high. They are very drinkable because they are both like drinking water. ABV for each is in the low 4% range. Easily sessionable.
So, after I’ve had my way with each glass, I let my wife taste them both, with Guinness first. Her response: “It tastes like water”. Wow! My wife historically hates stouts and she says Guinness tastes like water. That’s just sad. Her opinion of Murphy’s was having more flavor then Guinness, and she could drink a glass of either.
After my first craft/micro beer back in the ‘90s, I gravitated toward Guinness and thought I was Hot Shit because I drank Guinness. I used to love Guinness. I thought it would crush Murphy’s. I clearly thought it would win but I’m happy for Murphy’s that they came out ahead. I think the recipe for Guinness may have changed because it’s nowhere near how I remember it. I was so looking forward to this head 2 head tasting and I’m actually disappointed by both beers. I think they’re both disqualified.
Guinness seems to be the Macro Brew of the Irish Stouts. Reduce the taste to as close to flavorless as possible so as many people as possible can drink it, say the like it, and feel like they’re cool. I’m now a Murphy’s fan… go figure.
Think I’m a little too harsh on Guinness? Tough. They deserve it. They should be making kick-ass stout and taking it to the bank. Instead, they’re making crappy stout and taking it to the bank. What a waste. Maybe it was a sign that the can of Guinness is 14.9 ounces… it’s not even a pint next to the country that created the pint!
Well, that’s all for my unexpected rant.
Overall: Guinness – C Murphy’s – B–
Winner – Murphy’s