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Guinness is one of the most consumed and popular Irish beers in the world.
Famous for being dark, creamy, and foamy, Guinness stouts are made from water, malted and roasted barley, hops, and yeast (1).
The company has over 250 years of brewing history and sells its beer in 150 countries.
This comprehensive review tells you all you need to know about Guinness, including its different varieties, their ABVs, and their nutrition facts.
Beer is made from four key ingredients — water, cereal grains, spices, and yeast.
Guinness’s choice of grain is barley, which is first malted, then roasted, to give it its dark shade and characteristic richness (2).
Hops are the spices used to add flavor, and Guinness yeast — a particular strain that’s been passed on for generations — ferments sugars to produce alcohol in the beer (
Lastly, Guinness added nitrogen to their beers in the late 1950s, providing them with their iconic creaminess.
It’s estimated that a 12-ounce (355-ml) serving of Guinness Original Stout provides (4):
- Calories: 125
- Carbs: 10 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: 0 grams
- Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.2%
- Alcohol: 11.2 grams
In this case, the 11.2 grams of alcohol in 12 ounces (355 ml) of Guinness contribute 78 calories, which accounts for roughly 62% of its total calorie content.
Thus, the calorie count for various types of Guinness is highly influenced by their alcohol content, as well as their particular recipe.
Guinness beers are made from malted and roasted barley, hops, Guinness yeast, and nitrogen. Their nutritional value varies according to the specific recipe and alcohol content.
Alcohol by volume (ABV) is a standard measure used around the world to determine the amount of alcohol in an alcoholic beverage.
It is expressed as a volume percent and represents the milliliters (ml) of pure alcohol in 100 ml of the beverage.
The U.S. Dietary Guidelines urge consumers to limit their alcohol intake to two drinks per day for men and one for women (
One standard drink equivalent is defined as providing 0.6 ounces (14 grams) of pure alcohol (
For example, a 12-ounce (355-ml) Guinness Original Stout at 4.2% ABV corresponds to 0.84 standard drinks.
Note that drink equivalents take into account the volume of the beverage. Therefore, if you have a larger or smaller serving, it will vary accordingly.
Since one drink equivalent contains 14 grams of alcohol, and each gram provides 7 calories, each drink equivalent would contribute 98 calories from alcohol alone to the beverage.
The ABV tells you how much alcohol is in an alcoholic beverage. It’s also used to determine drink equivalents, which may help estimate the calories from alcohol in a drink.
There are seven types of Guinness beers available in the United States (7).
The following table offers a brief overview of each, along with their ABVs, standard drink equivalents for a 12-ounce (355-ml) serving, and calories from alcohol for the same serving size.
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Moon Milk Stout
In addition to these varieties, Guinness has created many types of beers over the years. Some of them are sold only in certain countries, while others have been limited editions.
The seven sold in the United States are outlined below.
1. Guinness Draught
Guinness Draught was developed in 1959 and has been the top-selling Guinness beer ever since.
It has the distinctive black color of a Guinness beer while feeling smooth and velvety to the palate.
Just like the Guinness Original Stout, this beer has an ABV of 4.2%.
This means it has a drink equivalent of 0.8 for every 12 ounces (355 ml) of beer and thus provides 78 calories solely from alcohol.
2. Guinness Over the Moon Milk Stout
This milk stout is a sweeter variety than Guinness’s regular beers.
Brewed with added lactose — milk’s natural sugar — alongside a series of specialty malts, this beer has an espresso and chocolate aroma.
Yet, Guinness does not recommend this product for consumers who may be sensitive or allergic to dairy or lactose.
The Guinness Over the Moon Milk Stout has an ABV of 5.3%, granting it a drink equivalent of 1 for every 12 ounces (355 ml), meaning that it packs 98 calories from alcohol alone.
3. Guinness Blonde
The Guinness Blonde twins the Irish and American brewing traditions for a refreshing, citrusy taste.
This golden beer achieves its unique flavor by switching the regular Mosaic hops for Citra hops.
Its ABV of 5% means that it yields 98 calories from alcohol and accounts for 1 drink equivalent per 12 ounces (355 ml).
4. Guinness Extra Stout
It’s said that the Guinness Extra Stout is the precursor to every Guinness innovation.
This pitch-black beer has a peculiar bittersweet flavor often described as sharp and crisp.
Its ABV stands at 5.6%, conferring it a drink equivalent of 1.1 for every 12 ounces (355 ml), which translates to 108 calories from alcohol.
5. Guinness Foreign Extra Stout
The Guinness Foreign Extra Stout has a stronger flavor that’s also fruity to the palate.
The secret to its particular taste is the use of extra hops and a stronger ABV, which were initially meant to preserve the beer during long overseas excursions.
This beer has an ABV of 7.5%. Its drink equivalent for every 12 ounces (355 ml) is 1.5. Thus, it packs a whopping 147 calories just from its alcohol content.
6. Guinness 200th Anniversary Export Stout
This variety celebrates 200 years of Guinness in America and was designed to bring to life a recipe that dates back to 1817.
It has a dark ruby-red color with a slight chocolate flavor.
Its ABV of 6% means that 12 ounces (355 ml) equal 1.2 drink equivalents. That’s 118 calories from alcohol alone.
7. Guinness Antwerpen
The Guinness Antwerpen variety arrived in Belgium in 1944 and has remained highly sought ever since.
It’s produced using a lower hop rate, giving it a less bitter taste and a light and creamy texture.
However, a lower hop rate doesn’t mean a lower alcohol content. In fact, with an ABV of 8%, this beer has the highest ABV of the varieties on this list.
Therefore, 12 ounces (355 ml) of Guinness Antwerpen has a drink equivalent of 1.6, which translates to 157 calories from alcohol alone.
The many types of Guinness beers vary in flavor, texture, and color. Their ABV also differs greatly, ranging from 4.2–8%.
The brand’s famous 1920s slogan “Guinness is good for you” has little to do with an actual health claim.
All the same, this beer contains some antioxidants. Its barley and hops provide a significant amount of polyphenols — powerful antioxidants that help your body combat unstable molecules called free radicals (
Aside from their potent antioxidant activities, polyphenols offer cholesterol-lowering properties and decrease platelet aggregation, reducing your risk of heart disease and blood clots, respectively (
Still, the downsides of regular drinking beer and other alcohol outweigh any potential benefits. Excessive alcohol intake is linked to depression, heart disease, cancer, and other chronic conditions.
Thus, you should always drink Guinness and other alcoholic beverages in moderation.
Although Guinness provides some antioxidants, its negative effects are greater than any health benefits. Excessive alcohol intake harms your health, so be sure to drink in moderation.
Guinness beers are recognized for their dark color and foamy texture.
While you may believe that the intensity of their color and flavor equals a high calorie content, this isn’t always the case. Rather, these attributes result from the roasted barley and the amount of hops used for brewing.
The calorie load of the different types of Guinness is instead highly influenced by their alcohol content or ABV.
While both their barley and hops confer Guinness with antioxidant properties, you should remember to indulge in beer in moderation to reduce your risk of negative health effects.