Updated at: 08-07-2023 - By: John Lau

Ever wondered how to create the visually strikingtwo-toned beer cocktail known as a Black and Tan? It’s an iconic blend of light pale ale and dark Irish stout that grabs attention at any gathering.

This article unravels the mystery of this layered drink, taking you through easy steps and expert tips to pour your perfect pint right in your kitchen! Ready for cool sips with a wow-factor? Let’s dive in.

What Two Beers Are in a Black and Tan?

How To Pour A Black And Tan (1)

Creating the tantalizing layered effect of a Black and Tan cocktail relies on two different types of beer – usually a stout and lager blend.

The rich, dark Guinness beer is typically used as the stout portion, with its robust flavor profile and creamy texture providing both taste and visual appeal to this Irish-inspired drink.

On the other hand, the Pale Ale or Lager forms an excellent light beer base, contributing a contrasting hue that gives this iconic half-and-half beer its name.

You might also find variations in Black and Tan recipes using different combinations such as local stouts paired with regional pale beers.

Nevertheless, it’s essential to make sure your choice remains true to creating that unmistakable twotone look resulting from skilled layering techniques in pouring your black and tan.

How to Layer a Black and Tan Properly

How To Pour A Black And Tan (2)

To create the perfect layered effect in a Black and Tan, follow these simple steps:

  1. Start with a frozen pint glass to ensure that your Black and Tan stays cold for longer.
  2. Begin by pouring the Pale Ale or Lager into the glass. Tilt the glass slightly and pour quickly, allowing the beer to hit the side of the glass, rather than pouring directly into the middle.
  3. Aim to fill the glass slightly more than halfway full with the Pale Ale or Lager. This will form the base of your Black and Tan.
  4. Now it’s time to layer on the Guinness Stout. Slowly pour the stout over a spoon positioned just above the surface of the Pale Ale or Lager. The spoon helps distribute the flow of beer and prevents it from mixing too quickly.
  5. As you pour, watch as the stout settles on top of the Pale Ale or Lager, creating that iconic two-tone effect that makes a Black and Tan so visually appealing.
  6. Be patient during this step, as pouring slowly is key to achieving a beautifully layered Black and Tan.
  7. Once you’ve poured as much Guinness as desired, allow a moment for any remaining bubbles to settle before serving.

Tips and Techniques for Pouring a Black and Tan

How To Pour A Black And Tan (3)

To ensure a perfect pour when making a Black and Tan, here are some essential tips and techniques:

  1. Use the right glass: A pint glass with a slight taper towards the top is ideal for pouring a Black and Tan. This shape helps to create the layered effect.
  2. Freeze your glass: Before pouring your Black and Tan, place your pint glass in the freezer for about 10 minutes. This helps to keep the beers separate while pouring.
  3. Start with the pale ale or lager: Begin by pouring the lighter beer, usually Bass or any other pale ale or lager, into the frozen pint glass. Fill it slightly more than half full.
  4. Tilt and pour quickly: Tilt the glass at a 45-degree angle while pouring the pale ale or lager, allowing it to slide down the side of the glass quickly. This technique helps prevent too much mixing between the two layers.
  5. Use a spoon for layering: Place an upside-down spoon over the top of the pint glass, just above where you poured the first beer. Slowly pour Guinness stout over the back of this spoon until it fills up to near or slightly below halfway from the top.
  6. Slow and steady wins: Pouring Guinness slowly is essential for achieving that distinct layered look in a Black and Tan. The key is to pour gently to avoid excessive mixing between layers.
  7. Avoid disturbing the layers: Once you’ve poured both beers, resist any temptation to mix or stir them together as this will ruin their distinctive appearance and taste.
  8. Garnish if desired: To add an extra touch of flavor and presentation, you can choose to garnish your Black and Tan with a slice of lemon or lime on top.

Serving and Enjoying a Black and Tan


Serving and enjoying a Black and Tan is an experience that beer enthusiasts can truly savor. Once you have successfully poured your layered masterpiece, it’s time to sit back, relax, and take in the unique flavors of this classic Irish cocktail.

To fully appreciate a Black and Tan, hold the glass up to admire its landmark color contrast. The rich dark stout resting on top of the pale ale creates a visually stunning two-tone effect that adds to the overall appeal.

Next, take a moment to inhale the aromas wafting from your glass. The combination of malty sweetness from the ale and roasted notes from the stout create an enticing bouquet that prepares your taste buds for what’s to come.

Now it’s time for your first sip. Bring the glass to your lips and let both layers blend together harmoniously in your mouth. As you savor each sip, you’ll notice how the flavors intermingle – hints of caramel and breadiness from the ale paired with bold coffee and chocolate undertones from the stout.

It’s truly an experience like no other.

Whether you’re celebrating St Patrick’s Day or simply indulging in a delicious beer cocktail any time of year, serving and enjoying a perfectly poured Black and Tan is sure to elevate your drinking experience.



In conclusion, pouring the perfect Black and Tan is all about technique and precision. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you’ll be able to create a visually stunning two-tone beer cocktail that tastes as good as it looks.

Whether you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day or simply want to impress your friends with your bartending skills, mastering the art of pouring a Black and Tan is sure to elevate your drinking experience.

So grab a pint glass, some Guinness and Bass, and get ready to create a masterpiece! Cheers!