Guinness is one of the most popular beers in the world. Yuengling’s Black and Tan purports to model a “traditional English half & half”, a mix of dark and light beer. While Guinness enjoys huge international success, Yuengling is a well established brewer from the United States. If you’re wondering which beer is better, you’ve come to the right place.
Guinness is a creamy Irish stout with a very distinctive combination of sharp, sweet, and of course roasted flavors. The Yuengling, on the other hand, has caramel and coffee hints among its roasted malt flavor. Guinness is most notable for its “creamy” mouthfeel thanks to its use of nitrogen, rather than carbon dioxide. Both of these are big, flavorful beers, although the Yuengling Black & Tan is less robust than the Guinness.
Of course, this is far from the whole story. Below, we’re doing a deep dive on several aspects of both beers. Flavor, mouthfeel, calories, alcohol content, aroma, and the appearance and brewing process of both beers are worthy considerations. By the end of this article, you’ll be an export , that certainly doesn’t tell the whole story.
Below, we’ll discuss several aspects of each beer to identify which beer generally tastes better. We’ll discuss the flavor, mouthfeel, calories, alcohol content, and smell of the beers. Finally, we’ll also look at the appearance and the brewing process to see if there are things we do and don’t like. This way you’ll surely know everything there’s to know. Read on!
Guinness’ flavor comes from the manufacturers’ use of both malted and unmalted barley. There’s a characteristically sharp lactic tang to a pint of Guinness thanks to the addition of a portion of aged brew added to every batch. Most first-time Guinness drinkers, however, will notice the distinctive roasted barley finish.
Yuengling’s Black and Tan, on the other hand, has a thinner flavor by comparison. It has some of the sweet maltiness of a classic American lager, with grainy notes. There’s a mild bitterness to the finish of this beer, thanks largely to Yuengling’s inclusion of porter in the manufacturing. There are hints of coffee and cola to the front end of this beer’s flavor palate.
Seeing as Guinness is all stout, while the Yuengling is a combination of 60% porter and 40% lager, it makes sense that Guinness has a bigger, bolder flavor. Yuengling is mildly flavored compared to other dark beers, but if compared to a lager its flavor would be considerably more noticeable.
Guinness is famous for its thick, creamy head. When you see a properly poured pint of Guinness, in a pub, the head sits thick enough on top to allow the drinker to tilt the glass slightly sideways without spilling! This is thanks to the use of (primarily) nitrogen bubbles.
These bubbles not only give Guiness a thick head, but a very smooth, creamy mouthfeel. These tiny nitrogen bubbles also lack the sharper fizzy feeling of typical carbonated beers, further contributing to Guinness’ thick, velvety mouth feel. This mouthfeel is the reason that craft brewers imitating Guinness often call their nitrogenated stouts “milk stout”.
Yuengling’s Black and Tan has a thinner mouthfeel, closer to lager than to porter. It doesn’t quite have as heavy a body as Guinness. Its carbonation gives it more of the fizz and buzz of a classic American beer.
Guinness’ aroma is classic stout. Hints of coffee and chocolate, plenty of warm toasted notes. Its smell is, perhaps surprisingly, not as strong as its taste.
The aroma on the Yuengling Black and Tan is actually quite similar to that of the Guinness. It’s a little sweeter, perhaps thanks to the addition of lager in the brew. There’s some coffee and sweet cola notes, with plenty of sweet roasted cocoa, too.
It might surprise you to learn this, but Guinness actually contains far fewer calories than most lagers. That’s right, despite its big flavor and reputation as a “meal in a glass”, a pint of Guinness typically only has about 125 calories.
On the other hand, Yuengling Black and Tan has about 153 calories per can. Guinness has far fewer calories than Yuengling Black and Tan.
Partially responsible for Guinness’ lower calorie count when compared to Yuengling’s Black and Tan is its comparatively low ABV. Guinness draught has an ABV of only 4.2%. Yuengling Black and Tan, however, has an ABV of 4.7%, which is a little higher. Of course, half a percentage point between one drink and the other doesn’t make much difference on a typical night out, nor to your designated driver, so we’ll call this a negligible different.
A huge part of the Guinness appeal is the pour, surge, and final look of a properly poured pint. Guinness is notable not just among beers but among liquids for its famous sinking bubbles. Guinness, when poured properly, will take a few moments to settle.
The bubbles in the beer will surge around your glass. You can actually watch the color of the beer change from a light brown to deep black as the bubbles appear to sink to the bottom of the glass.
Once your pint of Guinness has settled, it should have a thick, creamy white head about one to two fingers wide. The head should be domed on the top, and it should stay right on top of the pint. The body should be a deep black, with clear separation between the body and head.
Yuengling’s Black and Tan has a similar appearance, although it isn’t quite as deep and dark as Guinness. It’s more of a dark autumnal brown color, with a thinner head that dissipates quite quickly. The color of this beer is actually not unlike that of a glass of cola!
What Do Other People Think About Both Beers?
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As you can see, Guinness is the clear winner across all reviewers, except Drizly, who gave both beers identical scores. A score of 8.2 as opposed to 7.7 isn’t a massive difference, but it does clearly indicate that most consumers preferred Guinness.
Of Guinness, one reviewer said:
A classic. Beautifully poured with a dark black color and moderate tan head. Classic stout smell with hints of coffee and chocolate. Taste is lighter than you’d expect from the color. It has the traditional stout bitterness with notes of chocolate and just a hint of coffee. Mouthfeel is smooth and velvety.Source
Brewing Process & Ingredients
Guinness is made from a mixture of water, both malted and unmalted barley, roast malt extract, hops, and brewer’s yeast. Guinness uses hops from Czech Republic, England, New Zealand and the US, mainly Galena, Nugget and Target. To achieve Guinness’ dark color and characteristic roasted taste, a portion of the barley used in brewing is malted. Guinness is both pasteurized and filtered. \
Yuengling’s Black and Tan is combination of 60% Yuengling Porter and 40% Yuengling Lager. Yuengling Lager is brewed using bottom-fermented yeast at a cold temperature. Yuengling beers are brewed using water, corn grits, and malted barley.
Their lighter beers are cooked for longer and at lower temperatures than their dark beers. Hops are added to the wort in the Brew Kettle, and then yeast is added in the Fermenting Cellars. After fermentation, the beer is aged and filtered, and its carbon dioxide levels are adjusted.
Guinness is indelibly associated with Ireland and the Irish diaspora. If you’ve ever been around Irish people, they were probably drinking Guinness – or telling you how much better the Guinness is in Dublin! Guinness has a long-standing reputation for innovation both in the scientific design of their beer and in marketing.
Many old-school Guinness adverts including animals – particularly toucans – are still popular and can be seen in pubs today. Guinness, helped in no small part by devoted Guinness drinkers like poet Brendan Behan, is viewed as a “twinkly-eyed bar-room intellectual” beer.
Yuengling, on the other hand, is a classic American brewer. It’s the oldest operating brewing company in America. Just as Guinness is considered to be the quintessential Irish beer, Yuengling is the quintessential Pennsylvanian lager.
Yuengling’s brand identity is more that of a Northeastern craft brewer, as opposed to a typical middle-American mass-produced beer. It owes much of its heritage and brand identity to the early nineteenth-century waves of German immigration to the USA.
Yuengling Black and Tan vs Guinness
Yuengling’s Black and Tan is a canned version of a pub drink popular in the British Isles. Be careful not to ask for a “black and tan” in Ireland, however – the black and tans were notoriously brutal British paramilitary, and remain thoroughly unpopular in Ireland.
In Ireland and Britain, the “black and tan” is usually referred to as a “half and half”. It’s a combination of dark and light beer, and it’s not uncommon to see Guinness used as the darker half of the equation.
Most drinkers prefer Guinness for its broader flavor and solid international reputation. However, on a warm day, or when you feel like something less heavy, but still big on flavor, the Yuengling Black and Tan makes a great alternative.