This is the one we’ve been waiting for folks! At least I have. Since giving alcohol the boot at the end of 2019, the plethora of alcohol-free beers available on the market has been enough to slake 99% of my thirst for liquid malt and hops without ethanol. As evidenced by the reviews on this blog, I’ve been sorted for stouts, loaded with lagers, well stocked with wheat beers and swimming in a sea of IPAs. The one thing that has been missing in this beery bonanza is Guinness. Sure, there are some great stouts out there, but nothing comes close to the taste of the black stuff from St James’s Gate in Dublin. It has a taste of it’s own, and I’m sure the majority of you readers will agree with me.
Guinness 0.0 was initially available for a short period at the end of October 2020, before being recalled due to fears of ‘microbiological contamination’ – potentially mouldy beer. I suppose this could be a danger for a lot of non-alcoholic beer, as the presence of alcohol in normal beer would help to inhibit such biological nasties. Diageo spent the subsequent 11 months refining their processes, and Guinness 0.0 was soft-relaunched at the end of August 2021. The brewer uses a technique they call ‘cold filtration’ to remove the alcohol from their beer, and I think this refers to the reverse osmosis system, where the liquid is forced through an extremely fine filter, leaving the flavour compounds on one side and the alcohol/water mix on the other. The alcohol is then distilled away, and the remaining water added back to the tasty stuff.
This is not Diageo’s first venture into the nolo beer world, their previous offerings being ‘Pure Brew’, a lager, and ‘Kaliber’ which was, along with Beck’s Blue, one of the staple non-alcoholic beers available from the 1980s onwards. After their pretty disastrous initial launch I’m betting they’ve pulled out all the stops to get Guinness 0.0 to the highest standard they can. The alternative would surely be a blow for the perception of alcohol-free beer, so I’m sure everyone involved in the industry is hoping for genius. Time for me to pop that can open and prepare to pour.
Opening the can, we get the famous ‘pschhttt’ as the nitrogen in the widget gets to work on the brew. The beer pours with a smooth milky look before settling into a dark ruby red colour, almost completely black. The head settles to a dense, creamy topping, and sticks around as we drink, giving a good amount of lacing. The pour is just like the full ABV stuff, but I think it settles a bit quicker. The nose is Guinness to a tee, dark roasted grains dominating, with only minimal coffee and dark chocolate notes.
The taste is roasted malt forward, hints of chocolate and coffee, with a good hit of bitterness and a background of sweetness. I have read a few opinions mentioning the sweetness was very prominent, but I disagree. The body of the beer is excellent, with the nitrogen giving a creaminess and the carbonation being moderate. The beer is certainly thinner than it’s full-fat big brother, but not to a huge degree. We get a short, bitter, slightly sweet finish to the drink.
Thank the lord, the Irish boyos have done it. Guinness 0.0 is, whilst not an entire carbon-copy of it’s famous sibling, the Guinness smell, taste, and drink experience we’ve been waiting patiently for. From the pour, to the first sup, to the last mouthful, you know you’re drinking a Guinness. Soon to be widely available I’m sure, this is bound to be a success for the company after last year’s setbacks, and will be a treat of mine on many nights to come, accompanied with a packet of salt and vinegar crisps (try it!).
Buy Guinness 0.0
I’ve seen Guinness 0.0 for sale in larger branches of Tesco, Morrisons and Co-Op, and I suspect more will follow suit. I don’t think it will be long before we see it on draught in pubs too. Buy it online from the following shops:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the can)|
|Water, Malt, Barley, Roast Barley, Fructose, Natural Flavourings, Nitrogen and Hops|
|Country of Production||Ireland|
|Brewer||Guinness & Co – https://www.guinness.com/|
Guinness 0.0 Alcohol-Free Stout Review
It’s Guinness! Just without the alcohol! If you’re a fan, you’ll love it!