The traditional beers of Ireland contained in this category are amber to dark, top-fermented beers of moderate to slightly strong strength, and are often widely misunderstood due to differences in export versions, or overly focusing on the specific attributes of beer produced by high-volume, well-known breweries. Each of the styles in this grouping has a wider range than is commonly believed.
IRISH RED ALE
An easy-drinking pint, often with subtle flavors. Slightly malty in the balance sometimes with an initial soft toffee/caramel sweetness, a slightly grainy-biscuity palate, and a touch of roasted dryness in the finish. Some versions can emphasize the caramel and sweetness more, while others will favor the grainy palate and roasted dryness.
IBUs: 18 – 28
SRM: 9 – 14
ABV: 3.8 – 5.0%
Caffrey’s Irish Ale, Franciscan Well Rebel Red, Kilkenny Irish Beer, O’Hara’s Irish Red Ale, Porterhouse Red Ale, Samuel Adams Irish Red, Smithwick’s Irish Ale
A black beer with a pronounced roasted flavor, often similar to coffee. The balance can range from fairly even to quite bitter, with the more balanced versions having a little malty sweetness and the bitter versions being quite dry. Draught versions typically are creamy from a nitro pour, but bottled versions will not have this dispensederived character. The roasted flavor can be dry and coffee-like to somewhat chocolaty.
IBUs: 25 – 45
SRM: 25 – 40
ABV: 4.0 – 4.5%
Beamish Irish Stout, Guinness Draught, Harpoon Boston Irish Stout, Murphy's Irish Stout, O’Hara’s Irish Stout, Porterhouse Wrasslers 4X
IRISH EXTRA STOUT
A fuller-bodied black beer with a pronounced roasted flavor, often similar to coffee and dark chocolate with some malty complexity. The balance can range from moderately bittersweet to bitter, with the more balanced versions having up to moderate malty richness and the bitter versions being quite dry.
IBUs: 35 – 50
SRM: 25 – 40
ABV: 5.5 – 6.5%
Guinness Extra Stout (US version), O’Hara’s Leann Folláin, Sheaf Stout