Stick With What You Know
A Review of Guinness Black Lager by Guinness Ltd.
Posted on 7/11/2012 by Brew's Your Daddy
When it comes to certain brands in life, there are standards that have been set that I fully expect to be upheld. Ferrari is known for making some of the baddest cars on the road. So if they decided to make a truck, it better be the most awesome truck man has ever created. Levi Strauss & Co makes some of the most iconic, durable, and comfortable jeans ever cut from a piece of denim. If someone from their marketing department decides they should start making recliners, they had better last a lifetime, and feel like laying on cloud. Guinness has always been associated with one of the best overall beer experiences in the drinking world, so when they decided to deviate from their stout roots and make the Guinness Black Lager, the bar was already set and almost impossible to reach.

To begin with, the side of the bottle instructs you to enjoy it straight from the container. Excuse me? And neglect myself from one of the more pleasing visual experiences is in the better beer world? I thought to myself ''Fine. I'll give it a shot, but this better be one outstanding brew if I'm going to have to stare at a bottle while I drink it''. The first sip really just didn't do it for me because there seems to be nothing there. It gives the feeling of a super watered down and weak porter. Not pleased at all, I decided to go against the bottle instructions and pour it into a glass.

Once in the glass, there is a brief moment where it looks like a typical Guinness. Dark brown, almost black coloration, and a thick, tan, waterfall actioned head forms on top. The first smell of it again comes across as a weak porter. Some faint cocoa and burnt malt aromas make up the majority of the nose, with just the slightest sign of some hops being detected after some serious digging. I waited and waited in hopes that more might come through, but nothing ever seemed happen. The word ''bland'' came to my mind on more than one occasion.

Going in for the first taste from the glass, I really had high hopes that things would open up a bit and get more lively. Unfortunately, no such luck. I realize that the bottle says lager on it, but everything about this beer screams amazingly watered down porter. A lot of cocoa powder dominates up front, with just a hint of smoky wood coming through at times. There is a slight hops tingle on the tongue, but it's nothing to write home about. Once again, I found myself more than underwhelmed by it. The overall body comes across as a bit thin, and the aftertaste consists of mostly a brown sugar syrup flavor.

There's an old saying that goes something like ''stick to what you know''. Guinness obviously knows about stouts. Their legend has been built upon their interpretation of it. They should have stayed there and continued to build. Instead, they decided to go down another avenue without what seems to be much real thought or concern. Unfortunately for them, Guinness Black Lager isn't a straight forward Guinness. If you want to know the truth, in my book it really isn't even a lager. To me it's a mediocre porter at best. But since it claims to be a lager, I am forced to grade it accordingly. That being said, you can do much better. It is best viewed as an ''in a pinch'' option. Minimal effort would produce much better as far as selections go.

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Guinness Black Lager by Guinness Ltd.
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