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Guinness Special Export Stout (John Martin - Belgium) - Guinness Ltd.

Not Rated.
Guinness Special Export Stout (John Martin - Belgium)Guinness Special Export Stout (John Martin - Belgium)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

159 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 159
Hads: 264
Avg: 4.21
pDev: 12.83%
Wants: 126
Gots: 41 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Guinness Ltd. visit their website

Style | ABV
Foreign / Export Stout |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: TheLongBeachBum on 06-28-2003

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 159 | Hads: 264
Photo of BrewMaster
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at Delhaize in Vervier, Belgium about a month ago.

Appearance: Poured from the little bottle into my trusty 25 oz crystal sniffer glass. The beer is a dark brown with a creamy tan head. The head is sticky and thick and lasts pretty well. Very pretty in the glass.

Smell: I was quite surprised by the nose on this beer. It is meaty and smoky and actually smells like sliced smoked ham from the deli. I love smoked ham. There is faint toast to the nose as well. My, my, my, this is not what I expected from Guinness, but I am quite pleased with it.

Taste: This is unlike any other Guinness I've had, and that's a good thing. There flavor is complex with smoky and meaty flavors much like a rauchbier. Rich and fruity with plum, raisins, maple and more smoke. The ending produces more of the roasty flavor and is slightly sour and vinous near the end. Very yummy.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and creamy. Wonderfully soft with light carbonation and a medium to heavy body.

Drinkability: This beer is excellent. I really enjoyed the smoky and meaty flavors along with the rich creamy feel. If only this was available in the USA...

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Photo of numenor1
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had an 10 hour layover in London, and planned to see a few sights, but due to transportation delays after the bombings, I decided to just grab this from The Beer Store (Beerfly) and head out.

Appearance: It's jet black and pours a thick tan head that diminishes after a few minutes and leaves lacing all the way down.

Smell: Somewhat sweet chocolate malts with a slight hint of alcohol. Very rich.

Taste: The taste is fantastic, wonderful deep roasty flavors, with a sweet hint of molasses that counters the bitter chocolate malts. Plenty of espresso at the back of the tongue. Perfect. There's a gentle yet lingering hop, espresso finish and a mild warming sensation in the throat (the only hint that it's 8%).

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is incredible. It's thick and smooth with the perfect amount of carbonation. It definitely improves as it warms up. Simply amazing.

Drinkability: Considering it's 8%, the drinkability is excellent. I feel as if i could drink this all day, though anything more than slow sipping is a waste. It's silky smooth going down. I'd peg this at 5% alcohol if i didn't know better. The gentle warming of the throat is the only clue.

Incredible stout, wish i had access to it.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was served to me at an old Dutch bar off of Rue Sobloinerre in Brussels. This stuff is as dark as it gets! An opaque black colour with an immense head of tan. The aromas are of chocolate, deep-roasted malts, booze, and more! THe taste is boozy, malty, chocolate-y and perfect. The mouthfeel is thick but not cloying and the drinkability is wonderful...

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Photo of Pepeton
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a much better beer than the most common nitro bottle and nitro can of Guinness Draught that I can more easily find.

After five --non consecutive!-- bottles, with no doubt I can state that I prefer this version of Guinness over the regular draught.

It pours a dark, brown and thick brew, but in the glass it's dark as a moonless night. If you lift your glass to a light or a sunlit window you can only see a small redish glow.
It has a dark, small but lasting head; little cobweb-like lacing in the top of my glass.

Roasted malts, some chocolate and, of course, alcohol is present to the nose.

The taste is mokka-ish. You can clearly detect the coffee and chocolate flavor, which for me has a lot to do with an authentic mokka coffee; plus all it's maltiness.

Creamy, silky and hoppy aftertaste.

Where I live, with hot weather during almost 7 months, this is a beer that you'd prefer in the peak of Winter, since you don't want to drink it too cold to truly appreciate all it's character.

It's a great beer, with a steep price, even for México where imported beers always bear a big tag.


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Photo of FreshHawk
4.48/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep black with some ruby hues especially at the edge. Gigantic, thick, foamy, creamy, meringue-like, light beige head. Great retention with a good lacing left. Very nice looking beer.

S - A touch faint, but a good amount of licorice, some fruit, also some mocca/espresso. These go along with the general roasted malt and chocolate. Has a bit of a BSDA smell.

T - It starts off with a bit of a roasted malt taste. This quickly gives to a BSDA-like flavor. There is a good amount of licorice, dark fruits, and some Belgian yeast. Then more stout flavors come out. A bit more roasted malt, along with some chocolate, mocca, burnt sugar/caramel, molasses, licorice, a bit of earthiness, and some lactose sweetness. Somewhat bitter, somewhat sweet, and a little warming alcohol presence all mix throughout the sip.

M - Medium body with average carbonation. Smooth and rich taste. Not quite as full and thick/chewy as I would have liked, but not bad really, the rest of the beer just set the bar pretty high.

D - Easy to drink and makes me coming back for more. A large diversity of flavors that mix well, and are easy on the palate. Well balanced and is smooth. Only probably for drinking multiple ones in a sitting is the ABV, which is pretty well hidden.

Notes: A very nice beer, too bad Guinness doesn't make more beer like this, or at least have this beer distributed to a larger area. Taste like a mix of a BSDA and a stout. A lot of different flavors that intertwine and mesh nicely. Glad to have tried this (and on St. Patrick's Day too).

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Photo of PapaEugene
4.48/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Hahahahaaa... I just saw that my beerbuddy rvdoorn also reviewed this one. Let's see if we can agree on this one....

A: Poured it into my Rochefort glass. It has a nice dark brown/black color with a solid creamy head. Unfortunately it dissapeared too fast, but it left a nice dense lacing.

S: Roasted/burned malts, dark fruits and also a fruity sweetness.

T: Burned malts in the foreground. Caramel, dark fruits and surprisingly hoppy for a dark beer. Some apple sourness. Notes of cacao and liquorice.

M: Incredible creamy!!! Medium carbonation and great full body.

D: Hell yeah. Too bad that in Holland you mainly find draught on tap. I like it but the special export is in a totally different class.

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Photo of LukeK1231
4.47/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pured from a bottle into a O'Hara's (Carlow Brewing Co.) pint glass. No snifters on hand, because I am studying abroad in Dublin.

Color: Wonderful dark (almost black color) with a huge 3 finger nut brown head.

Aroma: This is one of the best smelling beers I have ever had. Wonderful nut and chocolate notes, with some coffee, and a slight alcohol smell in the background

Taste: The taste is wonderful and I would have this all the time over the Foreign Extra if it was more available in Ireland or when I get back to the States. Following the smell, it had a rich chocolate taste with superb caramel and nut notes as well.

Finish: The finish is a light chocolate taste.

I must say I love this beer. I wish it was a little more popular so I could have it more often. The bottle was meant for Belgium as it was written in French, Dutch, then English. (comissioned there in 1912) I cannot get enough of this, hope to find it back home.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.46/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

After chasing this beer since I became a beer lover, I finally tried this, thanks to Clvand0. Creamy and roasty to the nose with a light hint of lactose sweetness and malt sourness. The head is thick and brown, even with no NO2 added. Creamy to the sight with low carbonation. The first sip reveals a smoother and creamier texture than any Irish Stout that I've sampled. Quite robust with a hearty balance of dark malts, roasted grain, toastiness, and a bitter balance; partly from hop, partly from roasted grain. Toasty and without the chalkiness usually exhibited. Very smooth and creamy texture without becomming thick or heavy. Remarkably drinkable for an 8% beer. Light hints of alcohol warming, but not fusals or phenolice. A joy to drink.

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Photo of TheSarge
4.45/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Guinness Special Export pours jet black, and forms massive amounts of toasted almond colored head. Reddish hues are barely detectable on the bottom rim of the glass.

Aroma characteristics of semisweet chocolate and coffee, and the alcohol is slightly detectable with a boozy smell.

This tastes of rich dark semisweet chocolate, very rich in cocoa flavors.

This feels coarse and finishes quite dry. It feels like I'm eating something more so than drinking a beer.

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Photo of taez555
4.45/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased the bottle in Amsterdam Aug ‘04, sampled in Oct ’04

This beer poured a thick pillowy dark tan head with an opaque black body.

The nose was a rich chocolate smell mixed with malt and some soft smoke.

Medium to full bodied. A dark rich chocolate taste. Not a milk or unsweetened type chocolate, but a DARK chocolate taste. Like those little bars you used to get at Halloween that you didn’t like as much as Mr. Goodbar or Krackel. A very Belgian style yeast flavor mixed with that classic Guinness burnt roasted barley flavor. You can really taste the bigger alcohol in this baby. There’s a slight burnt wood taste as well, even a hint of dry bark. It has some bitterness but for the most part it’s the roasted barley bitterness doing the bitter thang.

Ok, imagine Guinness stout mixed with chimay blue. Bam, you’ve got special export. Quite simple a damn good beer that you can’t get in the USA. What is wrong with this world?

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.42/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a nonic)

A- This beer has an opaque black body with tiny strands of bubbles gliding up the sides of the glass. There is a creamy oatmeal colored head that is thick and last for the full beer. There are register marks of foam on the glass with each sip.

S- The smell of fruity prunes turns into a smooth dark black malt smell with a light earthiness.

T- The dark black malt has an earthy note and a cream taste. There are some caramel malt notes that support the black malt. There is a faint roasted licorice note and a finish of black bitterness and a chalk note. The black roasted note lingers nicely after the finish.

M- This beer has a light mouthfeel with a slight slippery texture. There is a soft spice of alcohol heat at the finish.

D- This beer has a great roasted black malt flavor with smooth quality and a nice bitterness. This is not a full bodied Guinness often enhanced with NO2 but a much lighter bodied but still full flavored Guinness. Very drinkable even at 8% ABV.

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Photo of davidfoley
4.42/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Nutty brown, caramel, ruby colour. Poor head retention. light carbonation

Smell - Citrus fruit, vanilla, moderate hops, coffee, chocolate, mint, caramel

Taste - Good balance, robust carbonation. Coffee, mild chocolate, banana, moderate hops, blackberry, & blackcurrant flavor. Aftertaste is bitter with lingering coffee flavors & carbonation still tickling the tongue.

Mouthfeel - Smooth like velvet with robust carbonation.

Drinkability - Great beer if a little heavy. Close to an imperial stout. Great taste! High alcohol and heaviness on the stomach would make this a sipper and you couldn't have too many.

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Photo of EPICAC
4.41/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a bottle at Delirium Café in Brussels.

Appearance: Pitch black, topped by a very thick brown head that fades leaving heavy lace on the glass.

Smell: Lightly sweet chocolate, and some roasted coffee notes.

Taste: Sweet chocolate upfront, moving into light tartness, with heavy coffee roasted flavors in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, moderate carbonation, creamy.

Drinkability: Very nice, full-flavored, sweet but well balanced by roasted bitterness.

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Photo of ggaughan
4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Obtained this bottle from Belgium a year or so back and sampled on St. Patrick's Day as it seemed appropriate. The beer poured a nice black body with a thick tan fluffy head that receeds but still held up well. Poured into one of my favorite Guiness glasses purchased at the Guinness brewery 7 years ago. The nose was a very nice toasted malt quality, more than in the typical pint of Guiness that we usually drink. The taste was a pure malty sweet with chocolately notes as well. The beer was very smooth and had a nice thick body that was filling. Although I enjoy the typical Guinness, this very blows the regular away.

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Photo of hopdog
4.38/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33cl bottle dated best before 03/08/06.

Poured a dark, dark brown with red edges and a large sized light brown head. Aromas of mocha chocolate, licorice, roasted malts and a light toffee almost butterscotch. Tastes of roasted malts, dark chocolate, and dark fruits. Bitter coffee finish. Creamy and smooth body. Some lacing left on the glass. Alcohol well hidden. I wish the Guinness we get here in the states was the same as this!

Notes from 11/18/05

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Photo of kojevergas
4.38/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle served into a badass looking Guinness goblet (which I intend to steal *ahem* borrow in the future) in a bar in Ghent, Belgium. Reviewed from notes. On 15 June, 2011, I did a literal side by side analysis of Foreign Extra with Special export, and served into a Guinness pint glass.

A: 2.5 finger head [into a Guinness goblet; 5 finger head into a Guinness pint glass] of lovely tan colour, brilliant cream, and excellent thickness. Black colour, though probably technically an extremely dark ruby like other Guinness offerings. Nothing short of absolutely brilliant. Amazing retention, especially for the ABV. Side by side, this retains for a bit longer than the Foreign Extra, despite being higher ABV. Very impressive all around.

Sm: Light hops, caramel, and chocolate. Not as complex as the Foreign Extra stout but more subtle, a very respectable tradeoff. The smell of the foreign extra is just a hair better. There's more coffee in the Foreign Extra.

T: Chocolate, caramel. The coffee of Irish Guinness is missing. Some smokey rauchbier baconey notes are also prominent. Very dark roasted barley forms an amazing foundation. Trust me lads; I've had me fair share of Guinness, and this is way different - even from the foreign extra variant. Brilliant complexity and subtlety. Some warm alcohol is present. One of the best built beers I've ever had the delight of tasting. Balanced incredibly well. There are many fringe notes that are subtle but contributory; I wish I possessed the expertise to adequately describe them. Better than the Foreign Extra by as much as it can be at this high a level of quality; the three people I'm side-by-side-ing with agree with me. Less caramel than the foreign extra.

Mf: Very smooth, but perfectly dry. Brilliant. No stout I've ever had, except perhaps Mikkeller, has done a stout mouthfeel this well. How do you make a beer that's simultaneously dry and refreshing? Bravo, lads. Nothing short of incredible. Perfectly complements the flavours of the body.

Dr: I had this the same day I went to the Westvleteren brewery, and let me tell you: it's still fecking brilliant by comparison, lads. The best Guinness I've ever had, and I live in Ireland. Why we don't have this back home is beyond me. If you told me I could have one beer only for the rest o' me life, I assure you, this would be it.

A (4.43)

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Photo of jhtipton
4.38/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, nice stout. Pours a very dark brown almost like tar or rich corinthian leather. Initial quaff makes me thinks I bought a sherry from Jerez. It gave me some head and I appreciated it. Probably about one inch of light brown foam and it laced nicely. I feel like it is a touch of brown sugar, coffee and cocoa in both smell and taste. Mouth feel is medium bodied-kind of like a sandwich on light whole wheat bread. Drinkability is good-I could do two and WILL try to pick this up again. I like this better than its cousin that seems to be brewed in Canada now.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.38/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 33cL bottle into a Rochefort goblet.

A: Looks impressive. Dark, dense, and brown with acceptable head that quickly dissipates. Interesting tracing on the surface and nice lacing on the sides.

S: Rich roasted malts and hops hit the nose and hint at coffee and dark chocolates. This is what a stout should smell like. Unfortunately, this greatness does not endure and the smell fades with time.

T: Way better than normal Guinness and the best stout I've ever had. Surprisingly light and alcoholicly sweet at first, this inital flavour burst gives up ground to the dominant character of this beer...Assertive, strong bitter notes -- hops and roast coffee -- march on through the mouth, fading slowly into a balanced, pleasant, and dry aftertaste.

M: The 8% gives this stout the oomph it needs. Lightly carbonated for a pleasant tingle. Balance prevents overpowering bitterness.

D/O: As good as this beer is, it's one I wouldn't drink often. It's too distinctive and...arrogant. The strong hops add a different character to the traditional stout, and I heartily approve.

EDIT (16 June): Changed the Drinkability/Overall from 3.5 to 4.5.

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Photo of Boto
4.38/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

33cl bottle: I saw this sitting on a shelf in a store in France and new right away there was something out of the ordinary. The bottle said "8%ABV". Closer inspection revealed this to be the Belgian version. You can tell this is different from "normal" Guinness as soon as you open the bottle. There is much more of an aroma than you are used to. The beer pours a dark brown color. There is no hint of ruby color to it if you hold it up to the light as in standard Guinness. The aroma is much stronger. It contains notes of roastiness and chocolate. Possibly a hint of licorice (I was getting something sweet). Similar to normal Guinness in taste, but much more rich, with the flavors much more prevalent. More chocolate notes than the original. Still very creamy and silky.

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Photo of BeerTruth
4.38/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one from tprokop7 as an EXTRA! It's been on my 'wants' list forever so I was pretty happy when I unwrapped this bad boy.

33 cl.bottle poured into nonic.

Pours a deep cola black with the slightest bit of a ruby outline and a monstrous three finger light brown head. Crazy webbing left on the sides of the glass as the huge crown descends. Smell consists of light cocoa powder, roasted malts, and some coffee beans. Sweet caramel malts, vanilla, and a bit of lactose as well. A metallic aroma is detected in the nose too. Taste begins with molasses, caramel, and brown sugar. Midway some smokey flavors emerge with espresso and cream. Warm milk chocolate flavors in the aftertaste with a hint of alcohol, but still extremely low for a beer that clocks in at 8%. Medium to hefty body with a rich, smooth feel in the mouth. Like I mentioned before, the 8% abv is tough to find, making this scary drinkable. If this was available in the states, I'd have it in my fridge as much as possible. Good stuff, glad I had the opportunity to try. Thanks again Todd!

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Photo of kkipple
4.37/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big props to Pingwin407 for lugging two of these back from his recent Belgium trip!

A. Looks basically like Guinness Extra Stout, good lacing, and maybe a tad bit thicker.

S. Mmm, this is Guinness Plus. Richer, sweeter, tighter, bolder. Some smoke and maybe maple syrup? Very roasty and pleasing, mocha hints and a touch of milk chocolate. Appealing, bold, approachable. Familiar, yet amped up. I like the way this smells.

T. Exactly as advertised. A sweeter, lusher Guinness that is very easy to drink and has some subtle smoke and creamy coffee flavors going on. The roasted malt is layed and complements the sweetness quite well. If you like Guinness (and who doesn't honestly?) you will dig this. Well put together and belies the 8% abv.

M. Fantastic. Creamy-smooth, a delight to drink. Finishes roasty-sweet and leaves you craving more.

D. Absolutely yes! Why we can't buy this in the States, I'm sure I don't know. A real treat and a beer that shows off the brewing chops of the folks at Guinness. Highly recommended.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.37/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I picked up a few bottles at the Brussels Midi station to bring back to the States, something like 2 euros each. It's always surprising how simple it can be to find my most treasured bottles so easily available in some convenience store (like Andechs beers in Munich, various Kolsch beers in Cologne, or God knows what else in Belgium).

The beer is dark brown to the point of blackness, completely opaque, with a thin mocha-hued head. The aroma is nice, big Belgian character, not too far from a BSDA. Some roasted malts but more sweet than roasty, some dark fruits like plums or figs.

The beer tastes so good, this is what I always wanted Black Albert to taste like, a Belgian stout. Definitely has Belgian character, possibly the yeast used, doesn't seem spiced at all. Sweet up front with long aftertastes of the dark fruits from the aroma. The mouthfeel is much thicker than any Guinness I've tried before, not quite syrupy but heading in that direction. Absolutely the best Guinness I've ever had, I'm so glad to have a few more to savor.

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Photo of khiasmus
4.36/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black with faint ruby/brown highlights. An immense amount of light tan head that laces, a solid wall.
Aroma is dominated by roast, with a distinctly sweet cream note, almost like an imperial milk stout. A milky-sweet aroma with a background hint of smokiness, almost rauchbier-esque, along with the dark roasted grain, and an excellent strong maple note.
Flavour follows the aroma. This is simply an imperial, roastier, darker, heavier version of original Guinness. That same creamy, lightly sweet note with an excellent rounded roast flavour. exceptional.
The mouthfeel is good. creamy, smooth, much like a nitro Guinness, but this is simply with carbonation. Smooth, creamy, and slides down the throat far too easily.
This beer is excellent. This would be a beer of choice were it available here. I wish it was possible to get this, other than by going to Belgium.

Many thanks to Pingwin407.

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Photo of Absumaster
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a deep black color with a creamy, fine bubbled head that clings to the glass and leaves rings with every sip.

Smell is burned, roasted with some smokiness. There is a slight tartness in there which gives the beer that extra kick.

Taste is burned with some roasted malt notes, which remind me of liquorice and give the beer a good malt bitterness. Hop bitterness is also present and makes the beer pretty intense. The tartness in the smell is also coming back in the taste and makes a nice combination with the bitterness and roast flavors. This beer is a classic!

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Photo of Goliath
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black and is completely opaque. A large two inch frothy tan head sits on top with excellent retention and some nice lacing.

The aroma is quite nice. Notes of banana, clove, and dark roasted malts are all present.

The taste is also quite nice. Hints of banana, dark roasted malts with chocolate flavors that are fairly bitter. Delicious.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation.

Drinkability is moderate due to moderately high alcohol and big flavor. A pleasant evening drink.

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Guinness Special Export Stout (John Martin - Belgium) from Guinness Ltd.
93 out of 100 based on 159 ratings.