Why Guinness tastes different in Ireland

It's not just in your head — the pint of Guinness that you had while on vacation in the Emerald Isle may actually taste better than it does at home. And scientists have your back! Researchers from the Institute of Food Technologists performed a study in 14 countries using 103 non-expert beer tasters which found that Guinness in Ireland was more enjoyable than in any other country (via Irish Central).

Tasters were sent to dozens of different pubs around the world where they considered the ambiance of the pub, the appearance of the Guinness, the flavor of the beer, and its aftertaste. Perception of Guinness in Ireland received an average score of 74/100 whereas the score in other countries averaged 57/100. 

This wasn't exactly a blind taste test, however, and things that don't directly impact the flavor, such as pub ambiance, were included. In any event, the study didn't get to the bottom of why Guinness tastes different in Ireland — but there are a few theories. 

Theories behind the different flavor of Guinness in Ireland

There are a number of theories behind why the famous stout has a different flavor in the country where it was born. One of the widely accepted reasons is that even though it doesn't take the beer nearly as long to arrive in North America from Europe as it used to, Guinness in the U.S. simply isn't as fresh as it is in Ireland (via Thrillist). 

Another factor may be the pressure put on Irish bars by Guinness representatives. Each and every pub which serves Guinness in Ireland is consistently checked by employees of the brewery to ensure that their kegs are being stored properly, their bartenders are pouring the beer well, and that taps are functioning correctly (via Food & Wine). The brewery incentivizes the best-performing pubs, which encourages them to do everything in their power to make each Guinness they pour as delicious as possible. This likely leads to a more consistent pint.

However, another equally possible reason that Guinness tastes different in Ireland is that it's all mental, which is what beer expert Pete Brown told the British newspaper The Daily Mail: "Drinking Guinness in Ireland is always going to be more enjoyable than in London or Paris, or anywhere else," he said. "People will go to Dublin with the intention of ordering a pint of the black stuff, so you're already gearing yourself up for that satisfaction before it's passed your lips."