GUINNESS, Beamish, Murphy's – whatever stout you favour from the holy trinity, there’s nothing more disappointing than a badly poured pint.
Here we have attempted to put together the definitive guide to the art, science and alchemy that goes into pouring a perfect pint of the black stuff.
Step One: The Glass
Always start with a clean, dry glass.
Guinness of course will insist that their glass is the perfect vessel for the job, but any 20-ounce tulip-shaped pint glass will do.
Remember: The tulip shape is important, providing enough space for the all-important travelling nitrogen bubbles to reach their full potential. Black magic.
Step Two: The Angle
Everyone agrees that the perfect pint is a combination of magic and mathematics. The glass must be held at a 45-degree angle beneath the tap.
Warning: The tap faucet must not make contact with the inside of the glass. The nitrogen bubbles hate this.
Step Three: The Pour
Easy does it, let the beer flow smoothly and gently into the angled glass, but don’t take your eye off the ball because this step also calls for some quick mental arithmetic.
The pint needs to be poured to precisely three-quarters full, or to the half-way point of the harp, depending on your brand loyalties.
Step Four: The Settle
Patience is a virtue, as is accuracy, so get out your stop watch. If you want your stout to settle properly and form the perfect domed head, you need to give it some time. Two minutes to be precise. You can’t hurry love.
Step Five: The Finale
Only once successfully settled can you commence with the final stage.
This time, hold the glass level and fill by pushing the tap away – this slower pour allows you to gently finish off what should now be the perfect pint of stout.
For those who wish to study the craft more closely, The Guinness Storehouse, who take this kind of thing very seriously, have released a YouTube video demonstrating how they pour the perfect pint.
Watch out though, because YouTube is awash with amateurs convinced their videos can show you how to pour the perfect pint of stout from a can.
Ignore these. You cannot pour the perfect pint of stout from a can.