Ok, this one matters more than most doesn’t it. Im an Irishman, Guinness is stepping into the alcohol free beer market and the stakes are HUGE! I really hope this is decent, as do most of the world.
Ive drank more stouts that you can shake a stick at and more than my fair share of Guinness. Ive been both looking forward to this and terrified. What if it’s terrible? Surely not.
Let’s have a quick look at Guinness before the taste test.
If you’ve drank beer you’ve heard of the famous “black stuff” from St James Gate in Dublin.
Yes, i know the official colour is ruby red but its the black stuff alright. Ive had pints of Guinness from Dublin, Belfast, Australia, Peru and even the Galapagos Islands! There is something in the old theory that the further you go from the River Liffey, the worse the product is.
Back in 1752, Arthur Guinness inherited £100 (about £22k in todays money). He used it to set up his own brewery. 7 years later he moved to St James Gate in Dublin, took a 9000 year lease and the rest is history as they say.
Every day about 10mill glasses of Guinness are drank and every year 1.5 billion pints are drank. That is just phenomenal isn’t it. So you can imagine how much time and energy they’ve spent on the 0.0% version.
Why have Guinness launched a 0.0% beer?
Why would Guinness launch a 0.0 beer into a market expected to be $35.6 billion by 2030? Hard to figure out, right?!
I know only too well the many reasons people are turning to alcohol free beer, i’ve written an article on 12 of them here.
The market for non alcoholic and alcohol free beer is compounding at an annual growth rate of 8.1% so if you are in the beer business you have to be in the alcohol free beer business too.
This correlates with the percentage of the population and especially young adults who are now not drinking alcohol. Covid has accelerated the move to a more health conscious lifestyle.
A key bonus is there is no way you can get drunk on 0.0 beers, i’ve crunched all the numbers and its just not possible.
All in all means there is a lot of money to be made in the alcohol free market and Guinness are cashing in with a huge global marketing campaign.
Is Guinness 0.0 really alcohol free?
Guinness tells us their alcohol by volume is 0.0%. That means that it won’t have an ABV above 0.05%. You have to be careful how alcohol free and non alcoholic are marketed as the rules change for what can be called alcohol free around the world. Ive written about that subject here.
As a comparison as to just how alcohol free <0.05% ABV really is we can look at some food stuffs.
|Food or Drink||Alcohol by volume content %|
|Alcohol free drink||<0.05%|
So whilst Guinness 0.0 may have a tiny trace of alcohol, it is for all intents and purposed, alcohol free.
What type of beer is Guinness?
Guinness is a stout. Stouts are typically dark in colour due to the to roasted malt and you can get dry, oatmeal, milk or imperial versions. Guinness is a dry Irish stout.
Of the two, the 0.0 creates a smaller head. It isn’t quite as velvety on the tongue either. Th foam doesn’t cling to the glass as much.
The actual taste is very close to the draft, maybe a touch sweeter? You are in no doubt you are drinking a Guinness.
There is the chocolate, coffee and malted hops we all love. Im trying to define what the small difference in flavour is and it’s difficult. There is maybe more of a bitter end note and not quite as balanced as full alcohol version.
My wife tired them and couldn’t tell the difference but thought the 0.0 was the alcoholic one.
There is just more of a twangy after taste to 0.0 but overall a very very good attempt. I don’t think they can get nearer without adding alcohol.
Verdict – The taste is unmistakably Guinness. In a direct taste off, a seasoned drinker will tell the difference. If you just had the 00 from the get go could you tell? Maybe.
The question is do you care that the taste is a tiny bit different? Its a tiny bit worse for me but not much. Its still a great beer.
What i would say tho is, the best Guinness you can get comes from a tap so i NEED to get a pint of 0.0 to fully assess it.
Score – 9/10. There are good craft stouts but almost invariably they will have higher carbs, sugar or calories. I think it is hard to beat this.
Find out where this beer ranks compared to all the beers i have reviewed on my updated “Best Non Alcoholic Beers” page
Does Guinness 0.0 taste like Guinness?
Eh, basically it does. Guinness state their 0.0 has the exact same taste. We know that is usually nonsense. Chocolate manufacturers are always trying to get us to believe the 30% less sugar/fat bar is “the same great taste”. It never is.
That said, Guinness and Guinness 0.0 are very similar. I got my wife to blind taste them and she though the 0.0 was the alcoholic one but couldn’t really tell the difference.
I think they’ve got as close as you can get when you remove a major ingredient (alcohol)
|Calories per 100ml||35||17|
|Carbohydrate per 100ml||3||3.8|
|Sugar per 100ml||0.2||0.7|
Guinness is pretty low calorie to begin with, partly due to its relatively lowly ABV of 4.2%.
Guinness 0.0 is very low calorie with hardly any added sugar. It can be very difficult for a non alcoholic beer to replace the mouthfeel and fullness of alcohol without resorting to lumping in a load of sugar. Well done to Guinness (0.0) for this result.
You can read all about the calories, carbs or sugar in non alcoholic and alcohol free beers by clicking on the links to my articles. I have analysed just about everything you will want to know from my data set of over 100 beers.
For a full list of Guinness 0.0 questions and answers see my article here
Guinness notes from website
Aroma: Sweet smelling with a coffee and malty nose.
Flavour: Perfect balance of bitter and sweet with malt and roast characters.
Palate: Smooth, creamy and balanced.
ABV: 0.0% ABV
Appearance: A characteristically dark, ruby coloured liquid.
THE STORY OF GUINNESS® 0.0
Not drinking? There’s a Guinness for that. Introducing Guinness 0.0, our new alcohol-free beer from the brewers at St James’s Gate.
Brewed with our new cold filtration process. This ensures you get the same beautifully smooth taste, perfectly balanced flavour and unique dark colour of Guinness Draught, just without the alcohol.
The latest in 250 years of innovation, Guinness 0.0 is specially brewed to retain the characteristic flavours which make Guinness Draught our most popular beer.
A quite remarkable stout from the Guinness lads. I love it.