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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

238 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 238
Reviews: 154
rAvg: 4.19
pDev: 10.02%
Wants: 109
Gots: 21 | 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: 238 | Reviews: 154 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.7/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thank you Abusmaster. Jet black with substantial off-white creamy head. Good malty and licorice and roasted barley aroma. Taste is dry and bitter, baker's chocolate, with diesel fuel and smoke at the end of the bottle. Easy creamy mouthfeel while you absord this dry stout, Certainly better than any Guinness I have had, far from the best stout.

Sammy, Jul 27, 2007
Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -4.5%

spycow, Jan 14, 2013
Photo of Thorpe429
3.85/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle thanks to drabmuh. Served in a Bruery tulip.

Pours with a thin tan head and a nearly-black body. There are some light spots of lacing around the sides and bubbles on top. The nose is light roast and a surprising amount of caramel and, especially, toffee character. There's some light candy and brown sugar as well.

The taste brings a good dose of toffee along with some light roasted character and some super mild espresso following through after that. Medium body with moderate carbonation. The finish is fairly smooth and slightly dry. This is nice and easy to drink. The finish seems to dry out even more as I get through the bottle. Pretty good stuff. Thanks again, Matt.

Thorpe429, Nov 16, 2010
Photo of BEERchitect
4.47/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

BEERchitect, Dec 27, 2005
Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -4.5%
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 BuckeyeNation
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
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 ygtbsm94
3.75/5  rDev -10.5%

ygtbsm94, Mar 17, 2012
Photo of mikesgroove
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
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 Slatetank
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Slatetank, May 26, 2013
Photo of russpowell
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
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 MasterSki
4.28/5  rDev +2.1%
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 drabmuh
3.98/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Part of my #1 beer per style series. Foreign export stout, #1 beer Jonh Martin Guinness SPECIAL EXPORT STOUT. Its cool how the label says special. How excited am I to have a few bottles of this beer? About an 8. Long time want, closing in on the goal.

Beer poured from a bottle into a Russian river goblet. Beer is brown, dark with a mocha head of small and medium bubbles, good sized head at that. Leaves a lot of lacing as the head falls away to a convex shape resting on the top of the glass. Carbonation moderate to low. Looks good.

Aroma is sweet, malty, yeasty, mild esters. Smells like a Belgian ale. Interesting. Mild roast.

Well this is the strongest variation of Guinness and it shows. Beer is light in body and dry on the finish. There are some late bitterness and roast with a midpalate of mild esters and some sweetness. The beer is absent up front and the midpalate is quickly eclipsed by the dryness. Its mildly alcoholic too, but oddly late in the palate. Its good though. I am enjoying it, but its not like any Guinness I've ever had.

drabmuh, Nov 10, 2010
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.63/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

solid ebon hue, saves ruby tinges around the bottom, enormous, volcanic, creamy tan head, with honeycombed appearance, leaving lace, a delight to watch dwindle down, gracefully...
the nose is a blast of dark, yet bright fruit, mingled well with molasses and mocha, delicious, a shiny sensation, bold and beautiful, trickling hints of anise and pepper, with sweetness heavier than the spice...notes of vanilla, a bit of butterscotch...staggeringly complex, and right up my alley, aroma-wise...
Thick and sweet in the mouth, with forceful, yet pleasing presence on the palate, slying slinks on the tongue, dripping flavor throughout...same complexity of flavor found in the aroma occurs again in the taste, a rich mix of cocoa and coffee, sweet caramelly tones, dark molasses, tar, licorice, pepper, and a fresh feeling, though I have no idea how long it's been since this beer was bottled. Full bodied, long, strong, sweet finish, excellent balance...tons of dark malt, not much hops, but still, a wonderful interplay and a unique flavor combination.
This is an astonishing stout...the alcohol is well hidden, and sneaks up on you, and delivers one into a comfortable lull. A relaxing brew, luxurious, and immensely rewarding. It goes without saying that I wish this were as easily available as the Extra Stout found here, let along the "Draught" version.
If I found a genie in a bottle, that's where one wish would go!

feloniousmonk, Nov 03, 2004
Photo of Gueuzedude
4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
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 kojevergas
4.43/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

kojevergas, Jun 03, 2011
Photo of BlackHaddock
3.05/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Right, this is a live review: I am in my hotel room on the Belgian coast. The wife is dead on her feet, so we stopped at a 'Night Store' for me to have a night-cap beer. The only beer they sold that I hadn't reviewed was this one. Can't believe I'm reviewing an Irish beer in Belgium!

33cl Brown bottle, best before 29 Jan 2012, reviewed in Middelkerke on 26 May 2011.

Poured into a glass tumbler, because that is what was available in the hotel room.

It's a Guinness, so it's dark with a huge tanned head: the smell is of a regular Guinness with alcohol added. Even the head (which refuses to shrink) tastes like an alcoholic infused normal Guinness.

Dry and malty taste, the alcohol detected in the aroma is hidden better within the mouth flavours, but appears somewhat in the aftertaste as the mouth drys; and as already mentioned, in the foaming head.

Not as well balanced as I expected and not a beer I'd search for, certainly not in Belgium: where there are so many great beers to try.

BlackHaddock, May 26, 2011
Photo of Billolick
4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
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 tempest
3.2/5  rDev -23.6%
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 mothman
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to dougofthefuture for this one.

Poured into snifter. Pours a finger of creamy chocolate hued head. Great retention leaving some thick lace rings. Color is pretty much black.

Aroma: Chocolate milk and cocoa powder. Creamy and nutty. Kind of sweet.

Taste: It reminds me more of stout than the other guinness beers I have had, but I can still pick out the guinness characteristics in it. It is very chocolately and creamy. Has a cocoa powder flavor. Creamy again with a touch of nuts. A bit of coffee and roast in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and dry. Medium to full bodied with a bit higher amount of carbonation. Ends dry and roasted.

Overall, this was a decent stout. It was very flavorful and pretty easy to drink. Thanks Doug for this one!

mothman, Jul 08, 2011
Photo of akorsak
4.28/5  rDev +2.1%
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 DoubleJ
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Guinness Draught was my first true love of beer. I have come a long way since then to try what is proclaimed to be the best of the Guinness line. They had this at Asterix in São Paulo, of all places, when it wasn't as ridiculously expensive (R$32) compared to other places in the city. I checked the back label, and yep, this is the Martin's edition (although mine said Anthony Martin). On to the beer:

At first, the head is thick and semi-tan on top before falling to a thin sheet and leaving thin coats of lacing. Blacker than midnight. The aroma is ripe fruit with chocolate, a tad fruity. The taste is where the fun begins. Starting off is licorice and chocolate liqueur. Some fruit, courtesy of the booze, makes appearances. More chocolate liqueur and melted chocolate bars. The aftertaste lingers of chocolate liqueur. Yet despite all this, it doesn't kick your ass.

This is a big and heavy stout. I could see why this is so widely acclaimed, it's very mellow and a pleasure to sip on.

DoubleJ, Jan 27, 2009
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.43/5  rDev +5.7%
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 +2.1%
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 Wasatch
4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
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 biegaman
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
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
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Guinness Special Export Stout (John Martin - Belgium) from Guinness Ltd.
93 out of 100 based on 238 ratings.