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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

234 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 234
Reviews: 154
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 10%
Wants: 108
Gots: 20 | 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: 234 | Reviews: 154 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Murky mahogany with blood orange accents. Most of the pint glass is filled with immensely creamy, golden sandstone colored foam after a fairly vigorous pour. Who needs nitrogen? Melted marshmallow-like stickiness leads to a beautiful array of finely etched lace.

The nose (although everything that an export stout nose should be) isn't the best I've ever encountered. It's nice and roasted malty, with all the good things that implies. I'm expecting explosiveness once the glass is tipped up.

Guinness Special Export is damn good beer and a classic example of the style, but I don't understand why some people worship it. There are plenty of big stouts out there that are better. Having said that, the flavor is making a late move and is growing on me with each successive sip.

This beer definitely has a power that the much more widely available 6.0% Extra Stout lacks. It tastes impressively 'black' malty, with a burnt caramel vibe underlying the dark chocolate and roasted coffee beans. It's also raisin and date fruity, with slightly more sweetness and a less intense dryness on the finish than the smaller beer.

The body/mouthfeel is the only (admittedly slight) chink in the armor. The above score is probably too generous, but it really doesn't deserve the lower number. It's a fraction thin and loose for the ABV, possibly because the 'best by' date is a mere four days from today.

I have mixed feelings about Guinness Special Export Stout (brewed in Ireland for export to Belgium, France, Luxembourg and The Netherlands). It's a bona fide classic, but it isn't the be-all and end-all of the foreign/export style. Still, I'm thankful to have finally acquired this relatively rare gem. Thanks to tendermorsel for sending it my way.

BuckeyeNation, Mar 31, 2009
Photo of NjalThorgeirsson
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

NjalThorgeirsson, May 07, 2014
Photo of ToolHead
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

30 cl. bottle; served in Duvel tulip.
Black color; nice, creamy, tan head with good lastability.
Bitter, heavily roasted aroma. Impressive fullness and bite in a well-balanced bitter, dry taste that's nicely rounded and complex. The alcohol is impressively hidden and is noticeable primarily as a slowly warming sensation halfway into the glass. Assertive, long finish. Very nice, full mouthfeel. Highly drinkable.
A thoroughly impressive stout.

ToolHead, Apr 22, 2004
Photo of akorsak
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to upsjeff for this 330 mL bottle.

A: The stout is a dark brown, nearly black, color with the occasional ruby red flash. A finger and a half of tan leather head is lacing nicely.

S: The nose has lactic sourness amongst the roasted malts. Peppery flourish and mild hops round out the nose, which is much fuller than the 250th that I just had.

T: Mmmm! The stout has the thick qualities of a Guinness with a touch of Belgian spiciness. Chocolate malts are nicely roasted and augmented with cocoa powder. Lactic sweetness has an edge of sourness but not a significant one. A pronounced hoppiness resides near the end of each sip. Licorice and dark fruits are signs of the Belgian aspect. Luscious chocolate lingers on the palate long after a sip is gone.

M: The mouthfeel is rich, a nice twist on the classic Guinness export. A stout that embraces its Belgian side.

D: Quite the conundrum: it is the best Guinness but it is too rich to enjoy over and over again. The 8% doesn't really rear its ugly head, content to stay in the background.

akorsak, Oct 26, 2009
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 darklordlager
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown/black colour, with light brown edges when held up to the light....

About a 2" head forms after an aggressive pour, which recedes to a solid 1/2" tan layer.

Smell is of dark malts....smokey, chocolate, vanilla, some coffee....

Feels like a Thanksgiving gravy on the tongue.

Taste is chocolate, lots of dark malt, an bitter coffee bite at the end.

Great. I wish all the Guinness Draught drinkers could give this a try....

darklordlager, Nov 26, 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 BeerResearcher
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap 10oz glass at Belgian Beer Paradise in Tijuca Rio, of all places.
It pours the familiar coal tar black with a voluminous tan head and lots of sticky rimmed lacing.
First noticeable smell is smoked peat and a just opened can of coffee. This Guinness, though also has a distinct whiff of Kalua.
A nice taste of slightly burnt brown bread with a touch of molasses sweetness is upfront. A taste of rolled oats and a dry cardboard-like flavor is omnipresent, though more subdued.
A taste of Kalua lasts throughout and remains on the breath for a while.
This is a flavorful stout, yet goes down velvety smooth.

BeerResearcher, May 25, 2005
Photo of CwrwAmByth
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Pours nicely, with a thick head that lasts a few minutes befoe leaving a centimeter or so sitting on top. A very dark brown/black colour too.

Tastes almost as if it were a toned down Guinness foreign extra - it still has the complexity of taste and quite a strong presence of warming alcohol, though it isn't as thick and overbearing, with the alcohol toned down quite a bit.

A very good drop, which I would love to drink again.

CwrwAmByth, Jun 29, 2011
Photo of MasterSki
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up in Belgium this summer. This stuff is available at every corner store in Brugge. Best before August 27th, 2010. Served in a Surly pint glass.

A - Pours with a big billowing two fingers of mocha foam that takes a long time to dissipate, and leaves clumps of chunky lacing and a thick cap. The body is dark, dark, brown with a glint of ruby highlights and transparency.

S - Molasses, dark chocolate, roastiness, dark fruits, a touch of smoke & tobacco. Even though candi sugar isn't listed as an ingredient there's something "Belgian" about the smell - perhaps the yeast used, even though this is brewed at St. James' Gate.

T - Dark roast coffee/espresso, dark chocolate, not quite as sweet as the nose, and with lots of bitterness in the finish. The aftertaste is actually surprisingly clean, as the bitter flavors dissipate quite quickly. Alcohol is quite well hidden.

M - Smooth medium body, with light carbonation tingle. There's a little bit of warmth after a few sips. It's perhaps a little thinner than I like for an 8% stout, but otherwise I have no real complaints.

D - Why the heck isn't all Guinness like this? It's a sipper with the intense flavor, bitterness, and 8% ABV, but otherwise it's easy drinking. Worth seeking out if you're ever across the pond.

MasterSki, Feb 21, 2010
Photo of russpowell
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

BBD of 4-29-11, got this from Bitterbill, cheers Bill!

Pours mahogany/ebony 3+ fingers of rocky mocha head, such a good looking pour! Great lacing & good head retention

S: Figs, woody & leafy hops, raisins & iron. all kind of drop off as this warms

T: Dark fruit in abundance, dryness, a touch of carob & just a hint of coffee up front. Figgyness & leafy hops rule the day with just a hint of molasess & vanilla as this warms. finishes dry, roasty, fruitty & with carob & leafy hops

MF: Full bodied, low but noticable carbonation, well balanced, smooth

Drinks too easy, I know I could come closer to sessioning on this versus the more well known little brother bottled or canned version. If I ever come across this I love to cellar some to see how this ages..

russpowell, Jan 03, 2011
Photo of Traquairlover
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

33cl bottle poured into a tulip. Marked 07.12.08 (which I assume means bottled on Pearl Harbor Day, 7 December 2008). Drank 9 Sept 2009. Thanks to coldmeat23 for this bottle.

A = Pours a dark mahogany, not quite opaque, when held to the light it has a clear redwood look, head pours very large and sturdy in a light tan color, composed of mostly small bubbles, decent retention and leaves heavy lacing as it slowly dissipates into a 1/4 cover of foam and small bubbles on surface.

S = Some cocoa powder but though prevalent that is not the primary smell I get, or rather it is closely joined with a whipped cream and light sugared coffee, also present are some good fruity smells of plums and similar dark fruits.

T = Very sweet flavors on the front of the tongue but bitterness builds thought the drink until a nice mixture of bitter-sweet in a long finish. There is both sweetened cocoa powder and bitter, sour dark chocolate, light hints of dark pumpernickel bread. Great mix of sweet and sour. This is what Guinness should taste like.

M = Medium-heavy body, smooth, thick & creamy feel, good mouthcoating, carbonation is present but mostly of a smooth foamy quality, not a stinging biting bubbling type.

D = This is a sipper, but it really is very good. I like taking each drink and I would definitely like another.

Traquairlover, Sep 10, 2009
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 johnnnniee
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received in trade from brdc, thanks for the opportunity.

Pours a solid dark brown with garnet highlights when held to the light. Fluffy mocha head persists for a while. Smells of dark dried fruits, Grainy malt and oats. Faint chocolate and roasted malts. Bit of a sour note on the nose as well. Taste is chocolate, dried dark fruits and a sour twang with a dry finish. Roast/chocolate fill the palate long after the liquid is swallowed. Mouthfeel is creamy very coating. Body is medium to thick. Carbonation is medium to high. Great export stout! This is the one that should be sold in the States, I'd buy it often if it were more available.

johnnnniee, Nov 21, 2008
Photo of eduardolinhalis
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle served in a chalice.

A: Pours a beautiful deep black color with a huge beige head that dissipates quite quickly leaving a lot of lacings

S: Great smell of roasted malts is simply fantastic here! Really. The high ABV gives it a special liquorous smell. Notes of coffee, dark chocolate, wood, Guinness hops

T: Follows the nose. Strong on roasted malts. Notes of coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla. Sweet upfront and a good stingy roasted earthy hoppy bitter end :)

M: Full body. Creamy. Molasses. Medium carbonation and delightly bitter aftertaste

O: Absolutely drinkable despite the high ABV. Excelent Stout. No mistake here

eduardolinhalis, May 08, 2010
Photo of Aethien
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

300ml bottle.
Pours black with a small brown head, just as a stout should look.
Smell: Chocolate, caramel, malts, coffee and a little raisin. Quite sweet smelling.
Taste & mouthfeel: Full bodied and creamy with chocolate, malt and caramel goodness, a little sweet but not too sweet. It finishes dry and with a coffee or cocoa bitter and some roasted malts in the flavour. There are some notes of booziness and raisins throughout that tie it all together.

Overall: This is simply a very good stout, it is as a stout should be. It's not shocking or special or strange but it sets the bar for all other stouts.

Aethien, Apr 18, 2012
Photo of Billolick
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My wonderful wife returned from Belgium with one little bottle of this fine product, bless her heart! "best before end of" dating (18/02/06) Pours the expected jet black with a long lasting dark tan head, leaves respectable lacing. Nose is loaded with cocoa and vanilla. Very smooth and tasty stout, that does a masterful job of hidding its 8%. Notes of pleanty of toasted/slightly burnt malts, vanilla, cocoa, cafe au lait. Mild and quite pleasant, I wish I had a few bombers of this instead of one 11.2 oz bottle...oh well, it was a pleasure to try this one.

Billolick, Jul 20, 2005
Photo of Metalmonk
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not being quite as big a Guinness fan as many others out there, I was happy to get my hands on this one (thanks to msubulldog25!). I'd heard this was a great one, and it is. I just wonder why the hell it's all but impossible to acquire west of the Atlantic?!

Pours out looking like a regular Guinness stout, with a creamy head and an opaque ruby-hued black.

Aroma is fruity, milky sweet, some chocolate, some cocoa, and something that reminds of a Scottish Ale (musty? peaty?).

A plethora of flavors arrive within the first few sips: smoke, burnt grains, figs, other dark fruits, dark chocolate, pumpernickel, coffee. The mouthfeel is frothy, foamy, tight and bubbly.

A joy to enjoy. It gives you lots to contemplate and grapple with in the flavor, where it counts most. The most impressive and enjoyable that I've had from the Guinness family. Bring it over here!

Metalmonk, Oct 03, 2007
Photo of mdagnew
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml Bottle bought from The Vineyard, Belfast

Poured a deep dark red colour with slight hint of brown when held up to light... Head was big and foamy. Colour was creamy tan - lasted quite a long time...

Aroma - Strong roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate, slight spiciness, nuttiness...

Taste – Nice roasted maltiness, dark fruits (prunes, raisins), peppery, vanilla hints, strong coffee...

Feel - Quite smooth and creamy. Medium carbonation...

Overall - An exceptional stout, highly recommended. If only all Guiness was as good as this...

mdagnew, Oct 31, 2005
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 Gueuzedude
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled in Belgium. This is a thick dense beer, much thicker than any other Guinness that I have had. It pours with a tan head. It is loaded with flavor, unlike the draft U.S.A. version, which I find bland. It tastes thick and sweet with lots of roast malt character.

Gueuzedude, Nov 13, 2003
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 Douberd
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought in the Netherlands, poured from a bottle of 300 ml. Colour is a very dark brown, almost black if not against light. Pours a thick beige head, which is leaving heavy lacing around the glass as it goes down. Aroma is chocolate and coffee. The taste follows the aroma, bitter chocolate with a sweet finish. Tick in body with average carbonation. The high ABV is there but it goes unnoticeable until you think about it. Overall a great dark beer!

Douberd, Feb 08, 2012
Photo of Absumaster
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
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!

Absumaster, Feb 24, 2007
Photo of ThatWineGuy
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my wife and son for picking this up in Belgium about 18 months ago. My son pointed out today that the BB date is 11/07/08, I hadn't noticed that due to the very faded yellow print on the bottle. Poured darker than the Jamaican-purchased Guinness Foreign Extra (FE) I enjoyed side-by-side, opaque, darker than midnight. Despite its advanced age, the tan head was a generous four fingers with excellent retention and viscous sheet lacing. Smell of chocolate biscotti but more than that, stewed prunes with apple slices and sugar, similar to what my Polish mother made us for dessert way back when I was a kid.

Taste is more complex than the FE with rich, deep, dark bitter chocolate and a prune tort-cake fruitiness. Mouthfeel smoother than the FE as well, more viscose. With warming, there was a smell of minty chocolate and raisin bread. The taste was balanced with a nice bitter/malt equilibrium. Dry aftertaste of chocolate wafer.

Overall, more complex than the FE, smoother, tastier and better retention: with an inch of brew in my glass, there is yet a head covering the surface while the FE went relatively flat at that stage. While I tend to favour the American stouts, this is a good example of the UK style modified for the Belgian market and I can certainly admire that as well. Delightful gift from two loved ones who went to Belgium when I couldn't, everyone should be so lucky to get such a nice souvenir, I feel fortunate to have sampled a rare brew like this.

ThatWineGuy, Apr 22, 2009
Guinness Special Export Stout (John Martin - Belgium) from Guinness Ltd.
93 out of 100 based on 234 ratings.