An Englishman, an Irishman, a Dutchman and a German went into bars to find out where Guinness tastes best.

Piers Fawkes, PSFK
  • 27 may 2011

Powered by
This article titled “Barack Obama was right: Guinness really does taste better in Ireland” was written by Eoin Lettice, for on Friday 27th May 2011 11.05 UTC

Visiting his ancestral home in Moneygall, Ireland, this week Barack Obama announced that the Guinness tastes better in Ireland than anywhere else in the world.

“The first time I had Guinness,” Obama said, “is when I came to the Shannon airport. We were flying into Afghanistan and so stopped in Shannon. It was the middle of the night. And I tried one of these and I realised it tastes so much better here than it does in the States … You’re keeping all the best stuff here!”

Maybe he’s right. According to research published in the Journal of Food Science in March, Guinness does not travel well.

Like all great funny stories to come out of a pub, it started with an Irishman, an Englishman, a Dutchman and a German walking into bars. They spent a year of their spare time (probably quite happily) testing the stout in 14 different countries.

During what the authors lightheartedly describe as “extensive pre-testing”, a number of factors that might be involved in making the perfect pint were considered. This included such things as the height of the head on the pint, its temperature and its flavour.

In addition, to capture the entire experience, factors such as the temperature of the pub, the sex and nationality of the bartenders, their level of experience and pint-pulling technique were also considered.

They were certainly thorough. Even the presence or absence of female company was considered: it turned out that having women drinking companions did not “inflict any unplanned blinding of the testers, who were all dedicated to the measurements”.

From the variables measured, the authors were able to score each pint using a specially designed Guinness Overall Enjoyment Score (GOES) which allowed the drinking experience in different countries to be compared. They used what is known as Student’s t-test: a relatively simple way of establishing whether there are significant differences between two groups of data, in this case, between pints in Ireland and pints consumed outside Ireland.

This is particularly apt, given that the t-test was developed at the Guinness brewery in Dublin by one William Sealy Gossett. In 1908, Gossett developed the test to monitor and improve the average annual yield of barley. Due to the competitive advantage using the test could provide over other brewers, Guinness was reluctant to let Gossett publish the work under his own name, so he used the pseudonym Student.

The results of the Guinness-tasting t-test were clear. Pints consumed in Ireland had a mean GOES score of 74, compared with a score of 57 in pubs outside Ireland. While Ireland may not necessarily keep the best stuff to itself, the science is clear: Guinness tastes better over here.

Eoin Lettice is a lecturer in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at University College Cork, Ireland. He blogs at Communicate Science © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

Published via the Guardian News Feed plugin for WordPress.


Flower Pencils Create Cherry Blossom Petals When Sharpened

Arts & Culture
Technology Today

Fragrance Will Release The Smell Of Data If Your Private Information Is Being Leaked

The device is designed to create a physical cue for the potential dangers lurking online

Retail Today

LYNK & CO Is A New Auto Brand That Promises Mobile Connectivity On Wheels

Online access and mobility sharing are driving the company to disrupt the auto industry


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Work

See All
Gaming & Play Today

Nintendo’s New Console Pushes For Portable Gaming

The Switch allows gamers to seamlessly play on the go by themselves or with friends

Related Expert

Oscar Wilson

retail, marketing

Entertainment Today

Speaker Displays Song Lyrics As Music Is Played

The device is able to generate the graphics on a translucent screen and retrieve the words from a connected database

AI Today

Travel Assistant Scans Your Emails To Make Planning Easier

This AI add-on will sync with your inbox and sends reminders to make sure you don't miss anything important

Millennials Today

FOMO Survival Kit Helps Millennials Cope With Social Anxieties

The satirical product is meant to be a playful diversion for people who feel like they are missing out


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed Yesterday

Wearable Tech Expert: Designing Technology To Empower Connection To Ourselves

Billie Whitehouse, Founder of Wearable Experiments, shares her new vision for the quantified self

PSFK Labs Today

PSFK Picks: Top 5 Performance-Enhancing Wearables

Our new report looks at innovations pioneering the future of performance through intelligent activewear and predictive analytics

Food Today

New York Restaurant Uses Tomato Sushi As Its Newest Meat Alternative

fresh&co is using sous vide Roma tomatoes to create a vegan option that has the texture and taste of tuna

Advertising Today

Red Bull Converts Sao Paulo Payphones Into Data-Driven Bus Schedules

The booths allow city residents to check local transit times through a simple toll-free phone call

Work Today

Health Expert: Nutritional Meal Replacements Are A Solution To Corporate Wellness

Ample Foods Founder Connor Young explains why supplements are the next food trend coming to the workplace

Retail Today

Why Experiential Events Could Replace Trade Shows

Marketers are seeking creative and impactful new ways to connect with influencers

Children Today

Modular Kit Teaches Kids How To Make Their Own Robots

MODI features magnetic modules and a platform for programming to encourage experimentation

Infants Today

Work Table Doubles As A Baby Seat

Designer Kunsik Choi created the furniture to facilitate emotional communication between between parents and their children

Technology Today

Album Turns Into Something New Each Time It’s Streamed

Bill Baird's new album explores the relationship between time and music through a website crafted by design team, One Pixel Wide

Technology Today

Wearable Device And Lamp Recreate Beautiful Sunsets In Your Home

Sun Memories can record up to six hours of natural light and reproduce it via a connected light at a later date

No search results found.