1759 - Arthur Guinness signs a 9,000-year lease on an unused brewery at St. James’s Gate, Dublin. It costs him an initial £100 (about $147 US dollars) with an annual rent of £45 (about $66 US dollars) - this includes crucial water rights. The brewery covers four acres and consists of a copper, a kieve, a mill, two malthouses, stabling for 12 horses and a loft to hold 200 tons of hay. Arthur begins brewing porter and ale.
In honor of the St. Patrick's Day
holiday we thought we would cover that classic beer style; the Stout.
Although there are many stout styles outlined by the BJCP, there is
one that is more prolific than the others, and we can thank the Irish
1.050 – 1.075, IBUs: 35 – 75, FG: 1.010 – 1.022, SRM: 30 –
40, ABV: 5 – 7%
Foreign Extra Stout
1.056 – 1.075, IBUs: 30 – 70, FG: 1.010 – 1.018 SRM: 30 –
40, ABV: 5.5 – 8%
1.044 – 1.060, IBUs: 20 – 40, FG: 1.012 – 1.024, SRM: 30 –
40, ABV: 4 – 6%
1.048 – 1.065, IBUs: 25 – 40, FG: 1.010 – 1.018, SRM: 22 –
40, ABV: 4.2 – 5.9%
Russian Imperial Stout
1.075 – 1.115, IBUs: 50 – 90m FG: 1.018 – 1.030, SRM: 30 –
40, ABV: 8 – 12%
Dry Irish Stout
1.036 – 1.050, IBUs: 30 – 45, FG: 1.007 – 1.011, SRM: 25 –
40, ABV: 4 – 5%
Of Course the Dry Irish Stout has been
popularized by that iconic Irish brewery, Guinness. So how did the
Irish (dry) stout come to be so popular? Well, stout is actually a
relatively new type of ale for the Irish. Some kind of red ale is
mentioned in am 8th century poem about Irish ale, among
other beers from the around the Emerald Isle, but sadly the poem
makes no mention of a Stout or other dark roasted barley beer. But
the Irish have a long history of beer. Old Irish laws required
farmers to have brewing equipment and room for malting beer, just so
they would have beer on hand in case they had to entertain nobles.
Laws also required brewers to adhere to specific malting practices.
Seems like the Irish were even more strict about their country's beer
production than the German's Reinheitsgebot.
While there are mention of red and
brown ales in the UK before 1772 it seems like dark toasted malt
wasn't used in excess until the invention of the malt roaster in 1817
made a smooth black malt available. The history of the stout starts a
bit earlier though and in fact were not stouts at all, but porters.
It is generally accepted that porters date back to 1722 and a London
Brewer Ralph Harwood who made what was called an “Entire” which
was a blend of different beers. Many believe this blend became
popular with the dock workers and quickly became known as “Porter”.
This already strong beer eventually broke into different variants of
color and alcohol content; “export”, “stout, and “extra
stout”. These British porters quickly made their way across the
water to Ireland (and other parts of Europe), and large breweries
put their own spin on it using their own yeast strains and local
water. The Irish generally used mostly pale malt with just enough
roasted malt to darken the beer, and with the porter's popularity
growing, Guinness doubled down on the porter by excluding all other
styles by 1799.
The Irish Stout was further defined by
Ireland's tariffs on barley which lead to a lower gravity porter. The
use of black malt lead to a darker smoother beer, and the Guinness
version of the Irish Stout was born, and through shipping, marketing,
and production volume (the Guinness brewery was the largest in the
world for a time), their version of the Dry Stout became synonymous
with the style itself like Budweiser is to the Standard American
So even though St. Patty's day may seem a bit
trite, go ahead and drink an Irish stout and know that there is some
very real history in your mouth.
Want to know more about the Guinness Brewery: