Beer Info FAQ

What is the Difference Between a Guinness and a Lager?

Guinness and lager are two popular types of beer that have distinct characteristics in terms of brewing process, flavors, and serving temperatures. While both are enjoyed by beer enthusiasts worldwide, understanding their differences can enhance your appreciation for these unique brews.

Brewing Process and Ingredients

One of the primary differences between Guinness and lager lies in their brewing processes. Guinness is a stout beer that is brewed using roasted barley, giving it a dark color and rich, malty flavor. The brewing process involves the use of top-fermenting yeast, which ferments at higher temperatures and produces ales. This results in a creamy and full-bodied texture that is characteristic of Guinness.

On the other hand, lager is a type of beer that is brewed using bottom-fermenting yeast, which ferments at lower temperatures. This process creates a clean and crisp flavor profile. Lagers are typically brewed with pale malts and have a lighter color compared to stouts like Guinness.

Flavor Profile

Guinness is known for its distinct flavor profile, which includes notes of roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate. It has a smooth and creamy texture with a slightly bitter finish. The use of roasted barley gives Guinness its characteristic dark color and robust flavors.

Lagers, on the other hand, have a more subtle flavor profile. They are often described as having a clean and refreshing taste with a balanced combination of malt sweetness and hop bitterness. Lagers can vary in flavor depending on the specific style, ranging from light and crisp to malty and slightly sweet.

Serving Temperature

Another notable difference between Guinness and lager is the recommended serving temperature. Guinness is traditionally served slightly warmer than lagers, typically between 45-50°F (7-10°C). This slightly higher temperature allows the flavors of Guinness to fully develop and enhances its smooth and creamy texture.

Lagers, on the other hand, are best served chilled at temperatures ranging from 38-45°F (3-7°C). The colder serving temperature helps to accentuate the crisp and refreshing qualities of lagers.


In conclusion, Guinness and lager are two distinct types of beer with contrasting characteristics. Guinness is a stout beer brewed using roasted barley, resulting in a dark color, rich flavors, and a creamy texture. Lagers, on the other hand, are brewed with bottom-fermenting yeast and have a lighter color, clean flavors, and a refreshing taste. Understanding these differences can help you choose the beer that best suits your preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can Guinness be considered a lager? A: No, Guinness is not a lager. It is a stout beer brewed using roasted barley and top-fermenting yeast.

Q: Are lagers always lighter in color than stouts like Guinness? A: Yes, lagers are typically lighter in color compared to stouts. However, there are darker lager styles such as Dunkel and Schwarzbier.

Q: Can I serve Guinness and lager in the same glassware? A: While it is not necessary, it is recommended to use different glassware for Guinness and lager to enhance their respective flavors and presentation. Guinness is often served in a pint glass, while lagers are commonly served in a tall, narrow glass called a pilsner glass.

Q: Which beer is more suitable for pairing with food? A: Both Guinness and lagers can be paired with a variety of foods. Guinness pairs well with hearty dishes such as stews and roasted meats, while lagers are versatile and can complement a range of cuisines, including seafood, grilled meats, and salads.

Q: Are there any hybrid beer styles that combine characteristics of Guinness and lagers? A: Yes, there are beer styles such as Irish Red Ale and Black Lager that incorporate elements of both Guinness and lagers, offering a unique blend of flavors and characteristics.