What intrigues us almost as much as the seductive taste sensation of this Guinness and ice cream float more intrigued by the art of it all—the patient pour, the perfect melding of bitter and sweet, the ideal glass-to-taste-buds delivery system.

Ready? First, pour slowly. Second, any stout will do, as will other flavors of ice cream, among them coffee, mocha, and chocolate. (Actually, some of us on staff have even done this time and again with amber ale rather than stout, and swooned each time.) Finally, we have it on darn good authority that any approach you can muster—whether a straw, spoon, even a barehanded approach to the glass—will suffice. Let us know how it goes.

Guiness Ice Cream Float FAQs

What is stout?

Stout is a dark, top-fermented beer with a number of variations, including dry stout, oatmeal stout, milk stout, and imperial stout. Soon after its discovery, stout became associated with porter, and become a synonym of dark beer. Stouts that are produced in the U.S. combine the typical dark body and creamy notes with the hoppy bitter flavors characterized by American beers. American stouts are strong, highly roasted, bitter, and hoppy, with high malt flavors that give them the taste of coffee or dark chocolate.

What’s the best way to keep your float from overflowing?

To cut down on foaming and overflow, sloooooowly fill your glasses only half full with beer. Then add the ice cream and the rest of the beer. Patience is a virtue.

Two Guiness floats with straws on a grey metal try with a few spoons lying beside them.

Guinness Ice Cream Float

5 / 5 votes
This Guinness and ice cream float, made with stout and vanilla ice cream is kind of like a root beer float for adults.
David Leite
Servings2 servings
Calories550 kcal
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes



  • Divvy the ice cream between 2 tall, ice-cold, wide-mouthed glasses, soda fountain glasses, or beer mugs.
  • Divvy some of the Guinness equally between your 2 glasses, pouring it very slowly over the ice cream. Wait a little for the foam to subside, then pour in the rest of the beer. Stir gently. You can take it from here.
The Country Cooking of Ireland

Adapted From

The Country Cooking of Ireland

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Serving: 1 floatCalories: 550 kcalCarbohydrates: 61 gProtein: 9 gFat: 26 gSaturated Fat: 16 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 7 gCholesterol: 104 mgSodium: 189 mgPotassium: 471 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 50 gVitamin A: 996 IUVitamin C: 1 mgCalcium: 303 mgIron: 1 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2009 Colman Andrews. Photo © 2009 Tanya Schroeder. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Major bang for the buck! This one comes together in mere seconds, and even the most skeptical of guinea pigs—I mean dinner guests—were noisily slurping up whatever stray drops had eluded them. (Definitely serve this with a straw.)

We tried it with both chocolate and vanilla ice cream (homemade), and actually preferred the latter. The chocolate ice cream was a bit of overkill as Guinness already has lovely bitter chocolate and coffee flavors. I won’t be able to keep both ice cream and Guinness in the house at the same time if I want to be ready for bathing suit season. This recipe is dangerous.

Beer floats are one of those things that people either love or hate. I always prefer sweet root beer to beer in my floats, but I do admit that the sweet creaminess of vanilla ice cream does offset the slight bitterness of beer very well. Guinness is a good choice because it’s smooth and creamy on its own. When you’re ready to experiment, try Young’s Double Chocolate Stout or your favorite microbrew stout (stouts are creamy enough for this; porters I find too bitter).

Long-handled teaspoons come in handy when you want to get that perfect bite of ice cream and beer.

To cut down on foaming and overflow, fill your glasses half full with beer, then add in the ice cream (two scoops to each glass). Top it off with more beer.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


    1. Haven’t had one in years, ruthie, but now I sorta crave one just so I can toast you with it…

  1. Ooh, we make something very similar at my house. A Guinness and Pepsi Shandy, with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream. Mmmmm. Great minds. 😉

    1. Niiiiiice. Even better that you call for Pepsi and not Coke, in the opinion of this editor. Thanks, ruthie!

  2. 5 stars
    Another winner! Only one problem! We had it RIGHT after an Irish boiled dinner…big mistake. This is just as filling as the meal itself, but oh…so very good. The more the vanilla ice cream and the Guinness beer would blend together, the more we felt a slight coffee taste, so much so we thought about trying it again by actually adding a shot of expresso with it.