What Is A Black And Tan

When it comes to , one name stands out among the rest – the Black and Tan. This popular layered drink is made by combining two different types of beer: a pale or and a or porter. The result is a visually stunning pint with distinct layers of color and flavor.

The name “Black and Tan” is derived from the two beers that it requires: a Bass pale ale at the bottom and Guinness stout beer on the top. These two beers make perfect “black and tan” layers in the glass if they're poured correctly. The lighter-colored ale forms the base, while the darker stout floats atop it, creating a two-tone pint that's the obvious source of the drink's name.

The key to a successful Black and Tan lies in the density difference between the two beers. The stout, such as Guinness, is less dense than the ale, allowing it to float on top. This creates a striking contrast in both appearance and taste.

Traditionally, a Black and Tan is poured at the bar to achieve the perfect layered effect. The bartender carefully pours the ale into a glass, filling it about halfway. Then, using a special tool called a “Black and Tan spoon,” the stout is poured slowly over the back of the spoon to create a gentle cascade, allowing the layers to form naturally. With a steady hand and a bit of practice, bartenders can create a flawless Black and Tan every time.

Aside from its visual appeal, the Black and Tan offers a unique flavor profile that combines the bitterness of the ale with the smooth richness of the stout. The pale ale or lager provides a hoppy, slightly fruity taste, while the stout adds a creamy, roasted flavor. The two beers complement each other, creating a balanced and satisfying drinking experience.

The origins of the Black and Tan date back to the 19th century in Britain. It was a popular drink among the working class, who would often mix different types of beer to create a more affordable and flavorful pint. The original tan on the bottom was Bass ale, a well-known English pale ale. Over time, the drink gained popularity and variations emerged, with different combinations of beers being used.

It's worth noting that the term “Black and Tan” can also have historical and political connotations. It was used to refer to a controversial paramilitary force during the War of Independence, and as such, some people may find the term offensive. It's important to be aware of this context and use the term responsibly when referring to the beer cocktail.

The Black and Tan is a classic beer cocktail that continues to delight beer enthusiasts around the world. Its striking appearance and unique flavor combination make it a favorite among those looking for a visually appealing and tasty drink. Whether enjoyed at a pub or made at home, the Black and Tan is a true beer lover's delight.

Black And Tan 1696926819

What Is A Traditional Black And Tan?

A traditional Black and Tan is a layered beer drink consisting of half stout, typically Guinness, and half pale ale, often Bass. The name of the drink comes from its characteristic two-tone appearance, with the stout floating atop the lighter-colored ale. The reason this layering occurs is due to the density difference between the two beers. Guinness, being a stout, is less dense than the pale ale, allowing it to float on top. The result is a visually distinct pint with a dark layer of stout sitting on a lighter layer of ale. This layered effect is what defines a traditional Black and Tan.

What Kind Of Beer Is In A Black And Tan?

A Black and Tan is a beer cocktail that typically consists of two different types of beer layered in a glass. The first part of the drink is a bitter, amber ale, pale ale, or pale lager. These types of beers generally have a lighter color and a milder flavor profile. The second part of the Black and Tan is a stout or porter, which is a darker and more robust beer.

Here are some key points about the types of beer commonly used in a Black and Tan:

1. Bitter: A bitter beer is characterized by its hoppy flavor and can range from light to medium in color. It adds a refreshing and slightly bitter taste to the cocktail.

2. Amber Ale: An amber ale is a medium-bodied beer with a reddish or amber color. It typically has a balanced flavor profile with malty sweetness and a hint of .

3. Pale Ale: A pale ale is a hoppy beer with a pale golden color. It often has a fruity or floral aroma and a moderately bitter taste.

4. Pale Lager: A pale lager is a light-colored beer that is crisp, clean, and refreshing. It is typically low in bitterness and has a smooth, malt-forward flavor.

5. Stout: A stout is a dark beer with a rich, roasted flavor. It is often thick and creamy with notes of , chocolate, and sometimes even hints of smoke.

6. Porter: A porter is similar to a stout but generally has a lighter body and a slightly less intense flavor. It still offers the roasted malt characteristics but may have a more balanced profile.

When ordering a Black and Tan at a bar, the bartender will pour the two beers carefully to create a layered effect, with the darker stout or porter on top. This visually appealing presentation enhances the drinking experience and allows you to enjoy the distinct flavors of both beers in a single glass.


The black and tan is a classic beer cocktail that is enjoyed by beer enthusiasts worldwide. This layered drink, consisting of a bottom layer of Bass ale and a top layer of Guinness stout, creates a visually striking two-tone pint. The name “black and tan” refers to the two distinct colors of the beers used in its preparation.

The black and tan cocktail is not only visually appealing but also offers a unique flavor profile. The combination of the bitter, amber ale or pale lager with the rich and creamy stout or porter creates a harmonious blend of flavors. The contrasting characteristics of the two beers complement each other, resulting in a well-balanced and satisfying drink.

Traditionally, the black and tan is poured at the bar in a specific manner to achieve the layered effect, with the darker beer on top. This requires skill and precision to ensure that the two beers do not mix and maintain their distinct layers. When served correctly, the black and tan becomes a visually stunning that is sure to impress.

The black and tan is a testament to the artistry and craftsmanship of beer making. It showcases the versatility and creativity that can be achieved by combining different beer styles. Whether you are a beer connoisseur or simply looking to try something new, the black and tan is a must-try drink that offers a delightful sensory experience.

Photo of author

Thomas Ashford

Thomas Ashford is a highly educated brewer with years of experience in the industry. He has a Bachelor Degree in Chemistry and a Master Degree in Brewing Science. He is also BJCP Certified Beer Judge. Tom has worked hard to become one of the most experienced brewers in the industry. He has experience monitoring brewhouse and cellaring operations, coordinating brewhouse projects, and optimizing brewery operations for maximum efficiency. He is also familiar mixology and an experienced sommelier. Tom is an expert organizer of beer festivals, wine tastings, and brewery tours.