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Murphy’s Irish Stout Vs Guinness?

Ireland is known for its rich brewing history, with a variety of beers and ales that have earned international acclaim. Among these iconic brews, two stouts stand out as the most famous: Murphy’s Irish Stout and Guinness.

The two brands have been in a friendly competition for decades, each with its own dedicated fan base. But what exactly sets these two stouts apart? After years of sampling and brewing, I’ve gathered a wealth of knowledge and personal experience on these two Irish icons.

The main difference between Murphy’s Irish Stout and Guinness lies in their flavor profile, mouthfeel, and overall brewing process. While both beers are dark, creamy, and feature a distinct roasted barley taste, Murphy’s is generally seen as milder and sweeter compared to the more bitter and robust Guinness.

Let’s dive in!

1. A Brief History

Murphy’s Irish Stout

Murphy’s Irish Stout, also known as Murphy’s Draft, was first brewed in 1856 by James J. Murphy in Cork, Ireland. It has since become a staple in the Irish brewing scene and is now owned by the Dutch brewing company, Heineken.

Over the years, Murphy’s has built a strong reputation for its smooth, creamy texture and milder flavor profile.


Guinness, on the other hand, dates back to 1759 when Arthur Guinness started brewing his beer in Dublin, Ireland. Today, it is one of the most recognizable and beloved brands globally, with its signature dark color, velvety mouthfeel, and robust flavor.

The brand is now owned by the multinational alcoholic beverages company, Diageo.

2. The Brewing Process

Murphy’s Irish Stout

Murphy’s is brewed using pale malt, chocolate malt, and roasted barley to achieve its signature dark color and flavor profile. It is also brewed using a process known as “dry hopping,” which adds hops to the beer later in the brewing process.

This helps to create a milder, more balanced flavor.


Guinness, like Murphy’s, uses pale malt and roasted barley but adds a unique ingredient: flaked barley. This addition provides a distinct flavor and mouthfeel, setting it apart from other stouts.

Guinness is known for its iconic “surge and settle” effect when poured, achieved by using nitrogen gas in the brewing process. This gives the beer its characteristic creamy head and smooth texture.

3. Flavor Profile

Murphy’s Irish Stout

Murphy’s is often described as having a milder, sweeter flavor compared to Guinness. It features subtle notes of chocolate and coffee, with a smooth, almost caramel-like finish. The sweetness is balanced by a gentle bitterness derived from the hops, creating a well-rounded and enjoyable taste.


Guinness is known for its robust, bitter flavor that comes from the roasted barley and flaked barley. It has a strong coffee and dark chocolate taste, with a hint of toffee and a dry, lingering finish. The bitterness is more pronounced in Guinness compared to Murphy’s, making it a more intense and bold stout.

4. Mouthfeel and Texture

Murphy’s Irish Stout

One of the key differences between Murphy’s and Guinness is the mouthfeel. Murphy’s has a lighter, creamier texture that is often described as “silky” or “velvety.” This smoothness is due in part to the use of nitrogen gas in the beer, which creates a smaller, more stable bubble structure.


Guinness is also known for its velvety texture, but it has a slightly thicker, more full-bodied mouthfeel compared to Murphy’s. This can be attributed to the use of flaked barley in the brewing process, which contributes to its more robust and substantial feel.

5. Color and Appearance

Murphy’s Irish Stout

Murphy’s has a deep, dark brown color with ruby red hues when held up to the light. It’s topped with a thick, creamy, beige head that lasts throughout the drinking experience. The nitrogen gas in the beer helps to create this fine, dense head that adds to the beer’s overall visual appeal.


Guinness is famous for its almost black color, which can also appear as a very dark ruby when held to the light. Its head is a rich, creamy, off-white color that has become synonymous with the brand. The head is long-lasting and leaves a beautiful lacing on the glass as you drink.

6. Aroma

Murphy’s Irish Stout

The aroma of Murphy’s is a pleasant mix of roasted malt, chocolate, and a hint of coffee. There is also a subtle sweetness in the aroma, which adds to the overall mild and inviting nature of the beer.


Guinness has a more intense aroma, with prominent roasted barley, dark chocolate, and coffee notes. There is also a hint of earthiness and a slight sweetness, but overall, the aroma is more robust and bitter compared to Murphy’s.

7. Availability and Popularity

Murphy’s Irish Stout

Murphy’s is more popular in its hometown of Cork and the surrounding areas, but its distribution has expanded over the years. It is now available in many countries worldwide, although it may not be as readily available as Guinness in some places.


Guinness is undoubtedly the more famous and widely available of the two stouts. You can find it in almost every country and in various formats, including draft, cans, and bottles. Its popularity has led to a variety of spin-off products, such as Guinness-flavored snacks and even a Guinness museum in Dublin.

8. Food Pairings

Murphy’s Irish Stout

Murphy’s mild and sweet flavor profile makes it an excellent pairing for a variety of dishes. It pairs well with hearty, savory dishes like beef stew or shepherd’s pie, as well as desserts like chocolate cake or brownies. Its smoothness also complements spicy foods, such as Indian or Thai cuisine.


Guinness’s robust flavor profile is perfect for pairing with bold, rich dishes. It goes well with grilled or roasted meats, like steak or lamb, and can even be used as an ingredient in recipes like Guinness stew. Its bitterness also balances out the richness of cheese, making it a great choice for a cheese board.

9. Personal Preference

Ultimately, the choice between Murphy’s Irish Stout and Guinness comes down to personal preference. Some people prefer the milder, sweeter taste of Murphy’s, while others enjoy the bold, bitter flavor of Guinness.

Both beers have their unique qualities and characteristics that make them worth trying, and you might find that you appreciate each one in different situations or with different foods.


In conclusion, the main differences between Murphy’s Irish Stout and Guinness are their flavor profiles, mouthfeel, and brewing process.

Murphy’s is milder and sweeter, with a lighter, creamier texture, while Guinness is more robust and bitter, with a thicker, fuller mouthfeel. Both stouts have their unique appeal and are enjoyed by beer lovers worldwide.

To help you remember the key differences between these two iconic Irish stouts, here are 10 facts about them:

1. Murphy’s was first brewed in 1856, while Guinness dates back to 1759.
2. Murphy’s is brewed in Cork, Ireland, while Guinness is brewed in Dublin.
3. Murphy’s uses pale malt, chocolate malt, and roasted barley, while Guinness uses pale malt, roasted barley, and flaked barley.
4. Murphy’s is dry-hopped, giving it a milder, more balanced flavor.
5. Guinness has a more pronounced bitterness due to the roasted and flaked barley.
6. Murphy’s has a lighter, creamier mouthfeel, while Guinness has a thicker, full-bodied texture.
7. Both stouts have a deep, dark color and a rich, creamy head.
8. Murphy’s has a sweeter aroma, while Guinness has a more robust, bitter aroma.
9. Guinness is more widely available and famous worldwide.
10. Both stouts pair well with a variety of foods, from hearty savory dishes to rich desserts.

Whichever stout you prefer, there’s no denying that both Murphy’s Irish Stout and Guinness are iconic brews that represent the rich brewing history of Ireland. So grab a pint, savor the flavors, and enjoy the distinctive characteristics of these two delicious stouts. Cheers!


What is a good substitute for Guinness?

A good substitute for Guinness would be a dark stout beer such as Murphy’s Irish Stout or Beamish Irish Stout.

What cream ale is similar to Guinness?

Cream ales are generally lighter and less roasty than Guinness, but if you’re looking for something with a similar smoothness and creaminess, try Left Hand Brewing’s Milk Stout Nitro or Young’s Double Chocolate Stout.

Does Murphy’s taste like Guiness?

Yes, Murphy’s Irish Stout has a similar taste profile to Guinness, with notes of roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate. However, some people may prefer one over the other due to slight differences in flavor and texture.

What’s better Murphys or Guinness?

Both Murphy’s and Guinness are popular Irish stouts with distinct flavors. It ultimately comes down to personal taste and preference.

What can I use instead of Guiness?

You can use any other type of stout beer as a substitute for Guinness, such as Murphy’s or Beamish. Alternatively, you can use a dark ale or porter.

Is Irish stout same as Guinness?

No, Irish stout is a style of beer that originated in Ireland and Guinness is a specific brand of Irish stout.

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