Thursday, 3 December 2009

Nigerian Guinness in Tesco

Hurry to Tesco...I never thought I'd say that but I discovered last night that the supermarket is selling the Nigerian version of Guinness Foreign Extra Stout (FES), usually only found in specialist or ethnic shops.
This is a different beer to the Dublin-brewed FES, though the strength is the same at 7.5%. On a visit to the Dublin brewery some years ago, I was taken through a tasting of all the different versions of FES sold around the world. Guinness brewers explained how the African versions are made. Due to a lack or shortage of barley in most parts of the continent, Guinness breweries in Nigeria and other countries make a wort from sorghum. In Dublin, a wort is made using barley malt and roasted barley and is then dehydrated. The syrup is sent to Africa where breweries blend the two worts and then ferment it. The label of the Nigerian beer states that beer is made from sorghum, malt, roasted barley and wheat.
The Nigerian beer is strikingly different to the Dublin version, which has a powerful roasted grain note and the "horse blanket" aroma that is the result of blending a young stout with an aged one. The Nigerian beer has a fruity aroma with blackcurrant and strawberry to the fore. It has a rich malt sweetness balanced by good hop notes.
If Sainsbury's is still selling the Dublin version I shall buy some and do a closer taste matching.
Nigerian FES costs £6.95 for four 325ml bottles. If your Tesco isn't stocking the beer, ask to speak to the manager!
Can we now look forward to a supermarket offering Belgian Guinness?


Blogger Laurent Mousson said...

I've done once an "horizontal tasting" with a few mates, featuring a Special Export (the belgian market version), and four versions of Foreign Extra Stout brewed in Ireland, Cameroon, Mauritius and Nigeria.
Pretty interesting experience indeed. In terms of complexity, the Nigerian and Irish versions were pretty much on a par, whilst the Belgian came off as sweeter, heavier and a bit one-dimensional.

3 December 2009 at 12:41  
Blogger Roger Protz said...

I much prefer the Dublin version because of the horse blanket nose and big roast character.
It's a long time since I had a Belgian version. Trouble is, when I'm in Belgium there are more interesting beers to drink!

3 December 2009 at 13:19  
Blogger Laurent Mousson said...

Indeed, the horse blanket edge of the Irish version is its greatest asset, but I was very pleasantly surprised by the richness and complexity of the Nigerian version. Well, it's a question of taste, I think. ;o)

3 December 2009 at 13:52  
Blogger The Beer Nut said...

To the best of my knowledge, the syrup made in Dublin is a token amount for marketing purposes. The main factory is housed in the desecrated corpse of Cherry's former brewery in Waterford.

3 December 2009 at 19:11  
Blogger Laurent Mousson said...

Hmmm, looks like Guinness have the same dilemma as Carlsberg... giving up production in their historical cradle 'cause its uneconomical, but having to keep a semblance of brewing on the spot...

4 December 2009 at 09:10  
Blogger Brad said...

Thanks for this inside info Roger. I've been able to enjoy authentic FES in a few places around the world; sadly in the U.S. all we get -- as far as I'm aware -- is the weak Canadian version.

4 December 2009 at 14:59  
Blogger Roger Protz said...

It would be interesting to know precisely how the Dublin version of FES is now made. On one trip to the brewery, I was shown three wooden vessels where beer was matured before blending with young beer. A few years later, I noticed that the wooden vessels were in a gantry inside the entrance at St James's Gate as part of a display of historic equipment. I have asked several times for information about how the beer is now blended but have never received a reply. Do they still "stale" a portion of the beer or do they acetify it in some other way? FES still tastes good!

4 December 2009 at 15:03  
Blogger The Beer Nut said...

It's injected with food-grade lactic acid.

The first barrel-aged Irish beer since Guinness abandoned wood is currently maturing at White Gypsy. It's due for release at the Franciscan Well Easter Festival next year.

4 December 2009 at 23:55  
Blogger Roger Protz said...

Thanks for that, Beer Nut -- I must try to get to the festival.

5 December 2009 at 08:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll be very interested in your tasting notes, Roger - here are mine from two and a half years ago, on Dublin FES and what appeared to be two different versions of the Nigerian product, though both bought in Tescos - I suspect that different Guinness breweries in Nigeria (there are two or three, I believe) differ slightly in the ingredients they use.

5 December 2009 at 15:23  
Blogger Roger Protz said...

Thanks for that, Zythophile -- I'll send you a horse blanket for Xmas! Useful information there and I will see if Sainsbury's still has Dublin FES. Next time I'm in Dublin I will press the Guinness people about how they brew FES these days.

6 December 2009 at 10:27  
Blogger Guinness Surger said...

Cheers for the info, but our Tesco has had them for about a year now.

What I'm trying to get a hold of is the Extra Smooth from Nigeria. It seems impossible to get a hold of it over here in the UK.

16 December 2009 at 20:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to let people know, my local Tesco has now moved the Nigerian Guinness to the ethnic section. Previously it was with all the other beers and I thought they had run out of the stuff before I found a lone four pack on the top shelf. However this item would not scan so they told me they couldn't sell it to me (how silly). But after a scout around with a member of staff we were finally directed to the ethnic section and lo and behold there were several magnificent 600ml bottles waiting for us. Sweet.

24 July 2010 at 20:33  
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