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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)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

228 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 228
Reviews: 154
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 9.76%
Wants: 107
Gots: 19 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Guinness Ltd. visit their website
Ireland

Style | ABV
Foreign / Export Stout |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: TheLongBeachBum on 06-28-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 228 | Reviews: 154 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bitterbill
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This one pours close to a pitch black but there's definitely some reddish hues there.

The smell has notes of vanilla, coffee, and some chocolate. Weird nose but nice.

The taste is big on the roasted malt, as it should be, followed by vanilla, chocolate, and a fairly substantial amount of coffee. I also get a lot of warming from the alcohol. lol. I didn't think I'd ever say that about a Guinness but this puppy is strong and lets you know it. But I have to say, the flavours more than make up for it; you just have to take small sips and I *do* mean small sips to appreciate it.

It has a fullish mouthfeel, the carbonation is on the light side of medium, and it finishes with bitter coffee notes. This is defintely a brew where I drink 1 and I'm done but there's nothing wrong with that and I suspect that the breweres didn't intend to offer up this brew as one to session on.

Bottom line: A great taster, looks great in the glass, has a great mouthfeel, good smell, and is not meant to be sessioned on so drinkability won't be the best. Try it if you see it!

Edit, Nov 28, 2010: I'm drinking side by this and the Guinness Foreign Extra...this is less roasty and has notes of pitted fruit that I didn't notice before. (plums and cherries?) I'm glad I did a comparison..

Bitterbill, Oct 29, 2008
Photo of gford217
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33cl bottle purchased from Carrefour in Athens, Greece, where I couldn't believe my luck.

Pours dark, dark brown out of the bottle and settles in as black in the glass with a huge rocky tan head that lasted for ages and left great lacing. The aroma is a little better than draught with a slightly more evident chocolate malt backbone but with the bitterness I expected. The taste, however, was much more complex than i expected. It has the roasted malt backbone but with milk chocolate sweetness balanced with some coffee bitterness in the finish. Very, very nice flavor. The mouthfeel was medium bodied with good carbonation with the patented Guinness creaminess. This is a revelation compared to standard Guinness and I'm lucky I got the chance to try this one.

gford217, Oct 05, 2008
Photo of morebeergood
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried this beer for the first time last year in Belgium. It was being sold in a convenience store for 1 Euro each. More recently, I was surprised to be sitting in a bar in Milan last month and saw this offered. It was 7 Euros for the bottle, but I was on vacation, and a second chance to have this beer sounded good.
Best glass I could get from the bartender was a mug. Oh well. When poured into a glass, it looks like normal Guinness. The smell, also, has that really roasted, bitter scent. But the flavor is way different, in a much better way. It's so much flavorful than normal Guinness. Flavors of chocolate and coffee are everywhere. It has a creaminess and, at the same time, a smoothness that is remarkable. At no point do you think that you are drinking an 8% beer. It's a shame this beer is not available in the States. I guess that makes it more of a treat when you find it overseas.

morebeergood, Sep 16, 2008
Photo of Overlord
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown, black core. Large whipped cream looking light tan head. Very long lasting foam.

Smells like roast coffee and vanilla. Taste is roast, and more roast, of malt, bitter chocolate, and some vanilla. There's an acrid twang that adds a sour note to the after-taste, it's pleasant at first, then a bit offputting.

Mouthfeel is thin, but overall, an excellent beer.

Thanks to brdc for the trade.

Overlord, Sep 06, 2008
Photo of philipquarles
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown/black with a tan head that lasts for quite some time. Very nice lacing.

Smells of dark roasted malt, blueberry and grape esters, and caramelized sugar. Tastes similar, with the roasted malt prevalent. Hints of coffee and chocolate, along with very slight hints of both hops and alcohol. Mouthfeel is fantastic. Very thick with an incredibly creamy head.

Really drinkable stout; it's a shame the normal Guinness is such a far cry from this.

philipquarles, Aug 12, 2008
Photo of tpd975
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy Trappistenbier, a big Thanks to Filip for bringing this from your home country.

A: Pours very deep dark black with a towering brown head. The retenion is great with spotty lace noted. Nice.

S: Nothing like your normal ho hum Guinness. Bold aromas with hints of coffee, chocolate, and dark fruit.

T: Taste of nice sweet malt and brown sugar. Hints of coffee and chocolate as well. Mild in taste but a good blend of flavors.

M: Medium in body, pretty smooth.

D: Nice treat, wish this was on tap in every bar in America instead of our version of Guinness.

tpd975, Aug 09, 2008
Photo of timbro81
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ordered from an online "Belgium" "Shop" and arrived in 15 days. Pours an inky black that is impervious to light. Large frothy light tan head that laces down to a hefty little ring. Smells lightly of sweet roasted burnt malts and some vague hop bitterness. Mouth feel is light to medium with a minimal amount of silkiness to it. Nice roasted coffe notes on the tongue with a dry finish of chocolate and dark fruit. Aftertaste dwells on the roasted side. Hides the 8% pretty well. Would really like to try this out of a nitro tap or can, I think I just blew my own mind. Better than it's little brother. All in all it is a good beer, I'm glad I tried it, but I don't feel like I was missing out on much.

timbro81, Jul 25, 2008
Photo of
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 (11. something?) oz. bottle.

Opaque, darkest brown leaning towards black, liquid. Large, cocoa colored head. Very creamy. Good lacing, modest legs.

Fruity scent (raisins & figs) at first pour. Dark chocolate. Bit of earthy funk. Alcohol. Roast character/coffee, milder than expected.

Taste brought the roast flavor to front and center. Overall, more bitter than sweet. Dark chocolate was next note, followed by coffee - mild, but espresso like. Strong herbal bittering at the finish. Alcohol.

Medium to full body. Medium carbonation. Not very dry.

Not your typical Guiness by a long shot! Very complex. I enjoyed it, but wouldn't describe it as a top stout for my taste. My preference tends towards more sweet elements in a stout.

, Jul 15, 2008
Photo of tempest
3.2/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bottle from Drinks of the World.

I dont know if this beer has been mistreated, but it certainly doesn't live up to my expectations. It poured a nice black body with tn head that left lacing, but it was downhill from there. The flavor and aroma especially are dominated by a thick caramel note with chocolate and coffee roast faint around the palate. Still, this beer was surprisingly drinkable and not bad overall - just nothing special.

tempest, Jul 12, 2008
Photo of punkindrublic50
3.73/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Take your normal Guinness and put it on steroids. Darker. Thicker. Sweeter. Then make it only availible in Belgium and (where I found it) West Germany to torment beer drinkers everywhere else, and you have Guinness Special Export.

Coloring is almost completely black, with a strong tan head. Scent is pretty much identical to taste in every way, strong but not overpowering, dark fruits, coffee, chocolate. This beer is thick and creamy, to the point that it severely hurts the drinkability. Nice to sit down with one and relax, but this is by no means an every day sipper or a drink to get drunk sort of beer.

punkindrublic50, Jun 18, 2008
Photo of brdc
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Small capped bottle. Poured into a snifter.

It is almost pitch black, except for some faint reddish-brown highlights on the edges; tan fluffy head occupies a large part of the top of the glass, slowly comes down leaving an enormous amount of lacing on its wake.
Aroma comes right out as you pour it, vibrant but not overpowering, dark fruits that somehow feel fresh, coffee and lots of chocolate, but milk chocolate, not bittersweet.
Medium bodied but easy going, it starts relatively sweet with the same milk chocolate notes, evolving into some fruitiness and then turning quite dry and roasted, which lingers a long time.
Easily the best Guiness out there, and a very nice midway between the extremely flavorful but "poorly drinkable" imperials and the less flavorful but quaffable "regular" stouts. Lots of flavor but still goes down easy.

brdc, Jun 04, 2008
Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.55/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to goryshkewych for this one!

This one looks black at a glance, but a nice, nutty red wine comes through when held to the light. The head is an irregular tan film.

Smells of molasses, pungent sour coffee, cherry pie and sour grains.

Tastes of a similar blend of molasses, caramel, red grapes and day old coffee.

Feels a tad viscous with a frothy carbonation that appears out of nowhere and jams things up a bit.

Fun to try, but not one I'll seek out again.

DarkerTheBetter, May 10, 2008
Photo of Goliath
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

Goliath, Apr 26, 2008
Photo of scootny
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle courtesy of ggaughan. Thanks, I owe you for this rare and special experience. Pour a super dark brown. Light does NOT pierce the glass. Huge light brown head that leaves lacing throughout. It slowly diminishes to a thin soapy blanket to keep the beer cozy. Carbonation is not really evident but it had to be there cause the blanket stays and thickens a bit after each sip.

Smell is coffee, burnt caramel, roasted and sweet malt and a specter of alcohol. Faint hops in the back somewhere.

Taste is top shelf. Sweet malt and light, basically hidden alcohol sugar. Roasted malt, and toasted yeasty black bread. Coffee is strong. Hops are present and in balance but are a minor player in the body of the drink. They are more prominent in the finish where they cut off the sweet malt alcohol serenade sharply. The finish is long and hoppy dry. Delicious!

Moutfeel is creamy velvet and oh so smooth. Carbonation whips the cream and coats your mouth with nectar like drops of stouty goodness.

Drinkability is incredible. The alcohol is craftily hidden and the smooth creamy mouth experience will have you through as many bottles as you head can handle.

A world class stout. In the same neighborhood as the Brooklyn BCS in the stout hall of fame

scootny, Apr 25, 2008
Photo of mikesgroove
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have been attempting to hunt this one down for quite a while now, and it always seems to be alluding me. I am not a fan of Guinness by any means, so the chance to try one that was so highly rated was a chance I had to take. The pour was very nice, a little bit more of a dark brown then your standard jet black pour, but still essentially opaque with a thick tan head that reached a height of easily over three inches. Really a very impressive looking stout with copious amounts of side glass lace and a very evenly distributed head of lace. Really very nice indeed.

The aroma was rich chocolate and roasted malts that were predominant here. Lots of lactose aromas and a touch of coffee were present as well, this was night and day from the version we get here. The flavor was really very nice. Not nearly as dry and bitter as I was expecting, this was much more of a sweet stout, with dark chocolate hints running throughout. There was a good deal of coffee notes, lots of lactose, deep roasted malts and a touch of sweet vanilla as well. As it warmed there was some nice dark fruit coming though in the finish, more then likely a good bit of yeast. The finish was very sweet, with a smooth creamy long lasting flavor. The body on this one was really full, and nicely carbonated, much different then the dry, bitter version I had been used to.

Overall, I thought this was fantastic. A far cry from the crappy version we get here. This was really a solid beer with a great flavor profile and a full body. I would love to have this again as it is truly deserving of its reputation and worth every penny.

mikesgroove, Apr 12, 2008
Photo of Cromster
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from Beer Temple in Brugge

Poured from a Bottle into a pint glass

Appearance - Dark black color with a thick medium brown colored head that lasted a long time.

Smell - Smells of coffee, roasted malt, chocolate and hops.

Taste - Chocolate, roasted malt, some spice and a stronger than normal amount of alcohol kick compaired to a normal Guinness. Has a heavy after taste of dark roasted malts.

Mouthfeel - Creamy mouth coating feel. I like how this one feels in my mouth. Just the right amount of carbonation for a stout. Very nice.

Drinkability - I wish all Guinness tasted like this. I would drink it more often if I could find this version here in the states.

Cromster, Apr 06, 2008
Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of thewolf: Poured a deep black color stout with a huge light brown color head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of liquorice with some light roasted malt and some sweet malt notes. Taste is a mix between some light roasted malt with some notes of liquorice and medium sweet Belgian malt with what appears to be a Belgian type yeast. Medium full body with great carbonation and no apparent alcohol. A very well balance beer overall with a level of complexity greater then the regular version of Guinness available over here.

Phyl21ca, Mar 26, 2008
Photo of dedrinker
3.73/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black porter looking beer with a thin tan head. Roasty nose with some burnt edges. Tastes like regular Guinness with more body, more roast, added baking chocolate, and not as much sour tang - almost none in fact except where the bitterness of the roasted malts come into play. Not unlike an imperial stout, but perhaps on the milder side of that.

dedrinker, Feb 15, 2008
Photo of rye726
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown, near black, with a creamy tan head. Good lace.

Musky Hops, big malt structure, spicy Blegian yeast and

Chocolate, black ,roasted and wheat malts complimented well by earthy hops. Good peppery yeast presence with dark fruits and candy.

Full with a nice dry finish. Nice light carbonation.

This is what Guinness should be. Why do they even bother making anything else?

rye726, Feb 14, 2008
Photo of Wasatch
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice a nice black color, nice small creamy tannish head, which leaves some nice sticky lacing afterwards. The nose is malty, sweet, slight scents of toffee, chocolate, caramel. The taste is sweet, malty, and some nice dark tones to it. Medium body. Very drinkable, this one is way better than the original. Highly recommended.

Wasatch, Jan 25, 2008
Photo of kmo1030
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

delicious looking opaque brown with a thick creamy tan head that hangs around and laces.
first sniff reveals a fruity dubbel smelling beer, but that subsides quickly leaving you with a fantastic malt ball, roasted coffee, milk chocolate stout, with some subtle plum and fig type dark fruits. rum develops with warmth, maybe a little to much actually
the taste contains lots of malty chocolate and soft roasted coffee with a slightly lactic component. there's a brown sugary character thats plays off of a musky, slightly smokey flavor. it has a hint of dark fruit (same as aroma, plus maybe some black cherry) to keep things even more interesting. the sweet rum flavor comes out with warmth just like the aroma.
the mouthfeel is fairly full with pretty moderate, but delicate carbonation.
good drinkability overall. the nose is a little boozy, but that's forgivable. i can't believe our guinness is so much different from the belgian variety... the difference is like night and day.

kmo1030, Dec 13, 2007
Photo of basica
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am a little excited to try this beer; I bought it from CrackedKettle.com and it is the very much coveted Guinness Special Export Stout. After cracking it open, my first whiff told me that this was like a Belgian dark ale with the fruty nose but on a second sniff I am catching the roasted malts, milk, caramel, a bit of coffee and a bit of chocolate. Predominantly, I am getting milk and roasted malts. I do not think the smell was as strong as the FES but I like it on this one. The pour yielded a creamy rocky head (creamier than the FES) that refuses to settle (this has to be a family trait in Guinness brews). Almost jet black in color; very nice appearance and a nice lacing turned up after drinking it for a bit. I took a sip and man the first thing I notice was the ultra slick mouthfeel on entry and throughout till I swallowed it. Before getting to the taste I am already going to give a 5 to mouthfeel. Let's break my usual rules and do the mouthfeel first. Unlike many beer that goes in with a slight sting, the SES was just smooth, so very smooth creamy, milky entry of the rich and thick stout. A low but apt amount of carbonation for this one and the milky creamy smoothness with the thick richness is the winner for the mouthfeel of this one. The taste starts off with roasted malts and some hints of chocolate and coffee which is constantly flooded with this lactic milkiness backing which I loved. Best of all the bitterness was so well contained it was well acceptable by my standards. Compared to the FES this one's a pleasure to drink and it's drinkability is nothing but a 5. The taste was rich yet mellower than the FES which gets a bit stingy at times. Some very faint dark fruits (I found plums which came on just before the finish and lasted into the after taste) which got onto the nose though I think if this one has a proper sweet fruitiness to it, I am almost certain taste would score a 5 as well. Goodness... But talking about sweetness this one does have a tad bit of sweetness. The dark fruits were in the after taste led by plums wich are blended amidst roasted malts and lactic milkiness which was pretty omni-present but very nicely balanced. The milkiness found its way to the nose as the fruitiness became a little raisin like; almost analagous to the dark belgian ales. Bitterness was there but well under control. A stout brewed close to perfection; a pity it is so hard for me to obtain this one.

basica, Nov 16, 2007
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

rhoadsrage, Oct 14, 2007
Photo of Zorro
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black colored beer with a brown head that completely fills the glass. Don't know what they can do to make it look any better.

Sweet smelling with lots of coffee and candied fruit aroma. Fair amount of fig aroma with some chocolate and molasses smell. Slight boozy Kahlua scent with a trace of rum.

The taste starts out sweet and roasty toasty chocolate flavor with a little vanilla and caramel. Lots of flavor here gets a bit more bitter as you drink it and the rum gets a little stronger. Little bit of berry taste after most of the glass is drank.

Good mouthfeel, tiny bubbles make it seem creamy like regular Guinness.

Nice and drinkable, if I had a regular source I could see myself drinking this often. Sampled through the efforts of northyorksammy.

Zorro, Oct 08, 2007
Photo of biegaman
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle purchased in Bruxelles.

A nice ebony coloured body with some more brown, even auburn, highlights on the bottom. Still opaque, however, with but a trim of ivory white head.

An intense aroma filled with cocoa and chocolate. Notes of anise become very obvious and the aroma strongly starts to resemble sambuca. There is also a light note of espresso that fits the bill well.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly a little sour, the yeast seems to carry with it a bit of 'funk'. The finish is especially sour. Low carbonation. The "special" is easy to find but the "stout" seems to have been lost along the way. A sweet, anise filled aftertaste. Far nicer to drink than the standard Guinness!

The flavour is pleasant - albeit a little light. The taste entertains the palate with notes of chocolate mousse, anise, and an interesting yeast. There is a strong element of roast barley that is distinct from the regular Guinness. Maybe even some hops? Essentially this is dark chocolate, dark malts, coca beans, and anise. Tasty no doubt.

A very neat beer indeed, quite a trip from the standard Guinness. This is no doubt a lovely Belgian style stout - nothing but pleasantry - but I was far from impressed enough to consider this "world class". My impression was that it wasn't quite deserving of the reputation it's earned. That said, I'd be more than happy to have another!

biegaman, Oct 06, 2007
Guinness Special Export Stout (John Martin - Belgium) from Guinness Ltd.
93 out of 100 based on 228 ratings.