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Published on November 20th, 2008 | by Denise Borders

Is Guinness brewed with meat?!?

Legend says back when Guinness was relatively new, the workers went to clean out the tanks (and it had been a while…). When they opened the tanks, they found dozens of dead rats at the bottom. After quietly cleaning them out (very quietly, since the black plague was still feared in Europe), people complained that the flavor just wasn’t the same. To try to regain that thick, rich taste that consumers had grown to love, meat was added to make up for the lack of dead rats. How much of this legend is true is any body’s guess. To this day, no one can really find out the truth to how they continue to brew their beer today (if it is with or without meat). I can see them using some meat to in their brewing process, because the fermenting meat would definitely bring a different taste.

But does Guinness really use meat to brew their beer? It still remains a mystery!

Hmm.. beef.

So, while we still don’t know if they use meat to brew the beer, I have heard that Guinness can be great for cooking meat, especially in slow cookers. I’ve found numerous recipes online for beef stew using Guinness, it seem to be fairly popular! I’ve never tried it myself, but I would definitely be up for it.

This stew can be prepared a day or so in advance. Refrigerate it tightly covered. Remove and discard any congealed fat from the surface then reheat gently.


• 3 pounds boneless beef chuck, trimmed, cut into 11/2-inch pieces

• 1/2 cup flour

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

• 1/4 cup vegetable oil

• 1 large (14 ounces) yellow onion, coarsely chopped

• 1 can (14.9 ounces) Guinness Draught beer or 1 3/4 cups Guinness Extra Stout

• 4 cloves garlic, chopped

• 1 can (141/2 ounces) beef broth

• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

• 2 bay leaves

• 2 small sprigs fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried

• 1 pound small red boiling potatoes, halved

• 3 carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks

• 1/2 small rutabaga, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks

• 1 package (17 ounces) frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package, optional

Pat the beef dry with paper towels. Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Add the beef; toss to coat well with the flour. Reserve the remaining seasoned flour for later.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet. Add the beef in batches in a single, uncrowded layer. Cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes per batch. Transfer to a slow-cooker. Add the onion to the skillet; cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the Guinness and garlic; boil 1 minute, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the mixture to the slow-cooker.

Add the broth, parsley, bay and thyme to the slow-cooker. Cover; cook on low until meat is almost tender, 21/2 to 3 hours. Sprinkle in the reserved seasoned flour; stir. Add potatoes, carrots and rutabaga. Cover; cook on high until tender, about 1 hour. Taste pan juices; adjust seasonings.

If serving the stew with the pastry crust, heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut pastry sheets into quarters. Place on 2 baking sheets; pierce several times with a fork. Bake until crisp and golden, about 10 minutes. Spoon a portion of the hot stew into individual dishes. Top with a pastry square.

Note: To cook stew in the oven, transfer the browned meat and onion mixture to a large Dutch oven. Proceed with the recipe as directed; cook, tightly covered, in a 325-degree oven until meat is fork-tender, about 2 hours. Add vegetables, cover the pot and return to the oven until the vegetables are tender, about 1 hour. Makes 8 servings.

• Per serving: 493 calories, 53 percent of calories from fat, 28 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 105 mg cholesterol, 22 g carbohydrates, 36 g protein, 539 mg sodium, 3 g fiber

(recipe from

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About the Author

Denise Borders

33, Los Angeles. Denise founded PWV in 2008 and remains the primary manager and photographer/videographer. She thinks the world would be a better place if there were more John Joseph's walking around.

3 Responses to Is Guinness brewed with meat?!?

  1. Jim says:

    That’s fucked up.

  2. Tomc says:

    My dad was in the Irish army and while in Dublin went on a tour of the factory. This was in the early 1950’s and he said that there were rats visible in the tanks. He asked about it and they just said that they ferment into the bear and become part of the flavour.

  3. ???? says:

    I’m strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. When possible, since you gain expertise,keep writing and happy blogging;2

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