They say…

Des de Moor
Best beer and travel writing award 2015, 2011 -- British Guild of Beer Writers Awards
Accredited Beer Sommelier
Writer of "Probably the best book about beer in London" - Londonist
"A necessity if you're a beer geek travelling to London town" - Beer Advocate
"A joy to read" - Roger Protz
"Very authoritative" - Tim Webb.
"One of the top beer writers in the UK" - Mark Dredge.
"A beer guru" - Popbitch.
Des de Moor

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From the cellar: Guinness Foreign Extra Stout (Nigeria)

ABV: 8%
Origin: Ikeja, Nigeria
Website: www.guinness.com
Date: 7 August 2000

This was my first ever published bottled beer review, written for the Oxford Bottled Beer Database (OBBD), a pioneering crowd-sourced beer review website founded in 1992, and predating the likes of Ratebeer and Beer Advocate. I’ll gradually be archiving my reviews from the site here, generally uncorrected — so please read them in that historical spirit. Thanks to Tom and Jasper of Sparks Computer Solutions, who founded OBBD and made the text available to me.

Nigerian Guinness, now politically correct too.

Nigerian Guinness, now politically correct too.

Guinness has three outposts in Nigeria: this example was from Ikeja. Working ‘under close supervision’ of the St James Gate brewery, they produce a blend of a light local beer (bottom fermenting?) with a stronger liquid brewed locally using concentrate sent from Dublin which bears more than a passing resemblance to Foreign Extra Stout.

The result isn’t half bad, not only stronger but much more complex and interesting than the rather dull ‘Original’ that’s become the standard-issue bottled Guinness in mainland Britain. It’s widely available from local shops in places with a significant West African population and the bottle even wears on its neck the classic slogan “Guinness is Good For You”, long since banned in countries with more delicate sensibilites.

The contents has a pronounced creamy, estery aroma of banana and solvents, a full burnt malt palate with some refreshing citric fruit and faint horse blanket notes (the residue, perhaps, of the <I>Brettanomyces</i> that inhabits St James Gate’s legendary wooden maturing vessels), and a very fresh mouthfeel for its strength. There are lingering delicate hops, bitter chocolate and ash in a pleasingly long finish. If only they’d bottle condition a beer of this complexity.

3 comments to From the cellar: Guinness Foreign Extra Stout (Nigeria)

  • I’m sure I remember reading that the Nigerian Guinness is made with sorghum in part due to a ban on the import of European malts (I think this was to help the local farming economy). It might account for the horse blanket note or have I confused Nigeria with another country? Guinness has been brewed in so many places.

  • Adrian Tierney-Jones

    this is part of Tim Hampson’s review of the beer which I commissioned for 1001 Beers in 2009:
    A dark stout wort concentrate is imported from Dublin, and this is blended with a Nigerian brewed pale beer made from locally grown sorghum and maize, resulting in a sweeter beer. The change in recipe resulted from a Nigerian Government ban on the importation of malted barley in the 1980s.

    And if you are interested in sorghum this is from another one of my writers for 1001 when I asked if anyone knew of any western sorghum beers

    Apart from the Nigerian version of Guinness Foreign extra, which notoriously is part sorghum, part malt, and part concentrate, the use of sorghum in western brewing these days is pretty much confined to the gluten-free market slot, apparently, Anheuser-Busch did launch something called Redbridge back in 2006 as a sorghum-based, gluten-free beer.

  • Des

    Thanks ATJ and Alec. As I said, I don’t plan on correcting any of these reviews so it’s helpful to have this stuff in comments. Yes, apart from Nigerian Guinness I think the only sorghum beers I’ve drunk were gluten-free ones but I suspect we’ll see even less use of it outside the countries where it grows readily what with Brewers Clarex enzymes and the like.

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