Murphy’s Irish Stout

The last post was one of the lightest beers (at least in color). Now we go to one of the darkest. Murphy’s Irish Stout. The beer brewed from a blessed well in Cork, Ireland. Although the beer we get here in the States is brewed under contract in England.

Murphy's Irish Stout from the Widget Can

Most people first experience an Irish Stout by drinking Guinness. In fact, before the 80s it was probably one of the only decent beers you could find in this country. Murphy’s is in the same style of beer, and maybe has been less susceptible to the general decharacterization of beers that the whole world went through.

When I first came across dry stout (in the form of Guinness) we all convinced ourselves that this was such a heavy beer, kind of like a meal. Of course, compared to the Miller High Life that we had been drinking up until then, to us, it was the pound cake of beer. Of course now I know that Irish Stout is one of the smallest beers. It rarely has an ABV above 5%, and the final gravity, or level of residual sugars left after fermentation is very small. Hence why it is a Dry Stout, and not a sweet stout. This of course means the mouthfeel tends to be lower.

And like most Irish Stouts that we get in the US, the canned version has a nitrogen widget which simulates the nitrogen commonly used to pump Irish Stout from a keg. This is mostly the reason Irish Stouts have that Ice Cream creaminess.

Of course, this isn’t the same beer as Guinness. Murphy’s tends to be slightly sweeter and less assertive than Guinness or even Beamish. Guinness once had an advertising slogan “Guinness, the beer you’ve been training for”. Murphy’s advertising retort “Murphy’s Irish Stout – No Experience Required.”

Aroma

A very roasty malt, with coffee and chocolate ice cream notes. There is no hint of hops at all. It kind of smells bitter, if bitter could be smelled. My guess is that it could be the acidity.

Appearance

It is opaque and very dark brown or black. It has a creamy light brown head.

Taste

The first thing you notice is that it is very creamy, like  a milk shake. This of course comes from the nitrogen widget, and wouldn’t be noticeable in the bottled version of this beer. This gives me a perceived sweetness that I think comes from the creamy texture. It also helps that this is one of the sweeter dry stouts. It has a roasty toasty flavor and has some coffee notes. It also has a bitter flavor which comes from the highly roasted malts. It’s the same reason that dark French roast coffee is more bitter than lighter City Roast coffee. No noticeable hop flavors.

Mouthfeel

 Creamy light mouthfeel with light, almost unnoticeable carbonation.

Overall Impression

A great beer, that has a good roast flavor. It went perfect with the Italian Beef sandwiches. A dry stout like this is almost a required ingredient for a nice homemade beef stew. It has very similar and complimenting flavors to the other ingredients of the stew and will really round out the taste.

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