Murphy's Irish Stout

I have never given Murphy's a proper shot. The problem is that I was introduced to Guinness long before I tried Murphy's the first time, so I always thought of it as Guinness' less capable brother. However, since my recent feud with Guinness over the unnecessary cobbling of their bottled beverage by removing the nitrogen widget and redesigning their process to attempt - and fail - to make it taste the same, I figured I would try Murphy's, which I now view as its arch-rival.

First thing I noticed is that Murphy's in a can has the widget. It's the same basic widget that Guinness still has in their cans and used to have in their bottles when they were still good. The widget absorbs ambient nitrogen when it is introduced to pressure. When the pressure is released, the nitrogen is released. As a result, the beverage has the natural nitrogen that is in the beer re-released into it when it is opened. I cannot describe what a huge difference this makes in the taste of the beer.

It is black as the darkest night. The head is rich and frothy with the staying power of snow on the top of Everest. The rich reverse cascade of nitrogen bubbles brings warmth to my heart. The aroma is vaguely floral hops and burned and smoky malt. The malt is sweet, so the effect is like sugar seared on the bottom of a pan. There is chocolate and coffee in there as a result of the malt, and it smells fabulous.

First sip is very Irish. It reminds me a lot of my beloved Guinness, but it is a bit more watered down and a little metallic. It is very clearly very drinkable, though. It tastes of vanilla and chocolate and a bit of coffee, but it's all in a rush as a sip, which is almost definitely not the right way to drink this lovely beer. It's more sweet than Guinness is in a sip, though, that much is very clear. I am positive I never gave this beer enough of a chance. The lacing on the glass is probably the most I've seen in a beer in a very long time, too. It's checking all the boxes, and I haven't even had a proper swig yet.

Tip-in is chocolate malt with a smokey undertone. The hint of vanilla in there with a light nitrogen fizz is very nice, and it almost covers the metal of the can. As the middle comes on, the milky smooth beverage takes on a life of its own. It is sweeter than I expected, and it has a nice, full body of taste and voluptuousness. The finish is a work of art. There is a bit of tart with the coffee and then the sweet chocolate comes in to cover it up. No bite here - just a very good beverage.

Bottom Line: A tremendous beer. If Guinness never existed, it would be a fantastic flag barer for Irish stouts.

4.75/5

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