Poster That's it. Hand in your pipes, shave off the beards and get rid of the beer nerd t-shirts the game is up. We are all at Irish Craft Brewer a mockery of a travesty of a sham as beer tasters. It turns out a random collection of pub goers were better at guessing what stout they were getting than we were.

Colin from The Beer Cellar decided to test the public preferences for stouts in O'Neill's pub, Suffolk Street. The beers being tested were Guinness, Beamish, Murphy's, O'Hara's and Molly's Chocolate stouts.

Irene handed out trays of beers marked so only she knew what beer a particular tray was. A tray with a particular number always held the same beer. People were asked to put their beers in order of preference and also to name the beer. 45 voted on their favourite beer, most gave their preferences for all the beers and 35 also tried to guess the beer.

The collection consisted of four people from ICB, a few tourists, many random punters and three people from the breweries. It was very brave of the brewers to put their reputation on a line in a blind tasting, so Carlow and Hilden have to be commended for taking that risk.

The voting was a plurality with elimination system and the results were as follows:


Round Murphy's Guinness Beamish Molly's O'Hara's Comments
1 6 14 9 7 9 Murphy's gone
2 - 16 9 8 12 Molly's gone
3 - 17 13 - 14 Beamish gone
4 - 25 - - 18 Guinness wins


2 ballots had only 1 preference listed. So Guinness was the most popular beer.

How about amongst women? There were 11 votes with female names on them


Round Murphy's Guinness Beamish Molly's O'Hara's
1 1 2 3 2 3
2 - 2 3 3 3
3 - - 3 4 4
4 - - - 6 5


Molly's Chocolate Stout is the winner.

So Molly's Chocolate Stout seems to be the most popular beer amongst women. O'Hara's was so close that a bigger sample size might alter the result.

People's attempts to name the beer made us look like phoneys. If you have 5 choices and you pick randomly you would expect to get one right, on average. So as we have 35 people's guesses we would expect each to get one right on average, therefore 35 is the expected number of right answers.

81 stouts were guessed correctly. This is statistically significant. Sp people can name the stout at a better chance than random. Our previous attempts to name stouts in a blind tasting did not show ICB members were any better than a monkey throwing darts at a board, so we were beaten on that one.

The chances of guessing all five beers correctly at random is one in 125. Two people out of 35 did name all the pints though.

People correctly guessed the following number of times (7 each is what you would expect at random)
Murphys 11

Guinness 14

Beamish 10
Molly's 30
O'Hara's 16

Murphy's and Beamish being two Cork drinks and the test taking place in Dublin probably says something about why these beers were not recognised and scored low. Rerunning the test in Cork could be interesting. If the test was run again I would recommend recording peoples gender and getting people to circle their usual stout.


The brewers from Carlow and Hilden recognised their beer. Seamus O'Hara got all the beers correct. Thank you to everyone who took part and to The Beer Cellar and O'Neill's for a fun night tasting beers. And congratulations to Diageo on producing Guinness the most popular beer.

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