Guinness Special Export Stout (John Martin - Belgium) - Guinness Ltd.
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Ratings: 222 | Reviews: 153 | Display Reviews Only:
4.63/5 rDev +9.7%
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!
11-03-2004 03:58:51 | More by feloniousmonk
3.98/5 rDev -5.7%
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.
11-10-2010 02:58:19 | More by drabmuh
4.33/5 rDev +2.6%
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.
11-13-2003 23:37:57 | More by Gueuzedude
United Kingdom (England)
3.05/5 rDev -27.7%
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.
05-26-2011 20:59:04 | More by BlackHaddock
4.43/5 rDev +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.
06-03-2011 17:03:12 | More by kojevergas
3.2/5 rDev -24.2%
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.
07-12-2008 18:25:41 | More by tempest
4.33/5 rDev +2.6%
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.
07-20-2005 02:22:54 | More by Billolick
4.28/5 rDev +1.4%
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.
10-26-2009 12:35:03 | More by akorsak
4.43/5 rDev +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.
10-14-2007 14:37:36 | More by rhoadsrage
4.28/5 rDev +1.4%
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.
10-07-2007 23:44:15 | More by Zorro
4.18/5 rDev -0.9%
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.
01-27-2009 05:00:05 | More by DoubleJ
United Kingdom (Wales)
3.8/5 rDev -10%
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!
07-08-2011 01:21:39 | More by mothman
4.33/5 rDev +2.6%
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.
01-25-2008 16:06:55 | More by Wasatch
4.25/5 rDev +0.7%
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!
10-06-2007 15:15:51 | More by biegaman
4.53/5 rDev +7.3%
Inky black appearance. One finger airy light brown head. Retention is outstanding and the lacing comes in full sheets. Sharp nose of espresso, dark chocolate, vanilla bean and roasted malts. Mouthfeel is velvety. Body is a little better than medium. The taste is full of bitter goodness. Roasted bitterness dominates to a point, but doesn't overpower. There's also some nutty character and smoke and tobacco and char and baker's chocolate and...Wow. Nice mix of flavors. This is hands down the best Guiness offering.
Gotta thank the Bum for such a rare treat.
07-22-2004 04:15:36 | More by Bighuge
3.95/5 rDev -6.4%
Thanks! The beer is black with a frothy light brown head. The nose displays a dry roasted malt quality with a light coffee character. Smells like a nice dry stout. Alcohol is noticeable in the flavor with a moderate dry roasted grainy malt character and a touch of nutty character. The beer finishes dry and light with a touch of coffee and a lingering dry roast. The mouthfeel is full, creamy, and dry, with a lower level of high carbonation.
09-09-2010 20:49:37 | More by HopHead84
4.3/5 rDev +1.9%
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.
11-21-2008 00:24:56 | More by johnnnniee
4.38/5 rDev +3.8%
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.
04-27-2010 02:28:16 | More by TurdFurgison
4.35/5 rDev +3.1%
Bottle that I brought back from Belgium about 2 months ago, poured into my Delirium snifter, Guinness Special Export is black with a big dark tan head, which is very dense and fluffy, with long last and tons of foamy lace.
Smell is very fruity, classic cured dark fruit Belgian esters. Very strong, prunes.
Taste is quite a bit more Belgian strong dark ale then stout, not much roast to speak of, just dark malts and fruity esters. Most acrid on the finish, more char then roast, but just enough that it can be legitimately called a stout. Really quite tasty, if not what I was expecting. The stout aspect builds on my palate as I work through the beer, but it's still very Belgian.
Mouthfeel is very dry, viscous but medium bodied.
Drinkability is pretty good, a nice Belgian stout. Much better then the regular Guinness, it actually has flavor, and it's good.
12-29-2009 02:23:53 | More by ccrida
4.2/5 rDev -0.5%
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..
10-29-2008 00:32:29 | More by Bitterbill
4.25/5 rDev +0.7%
330 ml bottle, 24-11-13 00:49 printed on back label. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with a half inch tan head. Head retention is decent, and there's a good amount of lacing. The brew smells like roasted malt, licorice, bittersweet chocolate, coffee, and some caramel. I think the taste is mostly like the aroma, but there's the addition of some burnt/charred malt. It starts off bitter, but gets sweeter as the beer warms up more. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's slick and creamy with moderate carbonation. The 8% ABV is well hidden in this brew. I think it's a good overall brew, I liked it.
12-21-2012 00:03:58 | More by bluejacket74
4.1/5 rDev -2.8%
Pours jet black with a tan head. In the aroma, sweet roasted malt and a small bitterness. In the taste, roasted malts, a sweetness, a note of alcohol and a dry hop in the end. A bitter and medium to bigger bodied mouthfeel , with a dry chocolate roast in the aftertaste. It is like an imperial stout, or Guinness on steroids.
11-08-2011 12:44:21 | More by OWSLEY069
4.75/5 rDev +12.6%
Darkly pitched in black with periodic flashes of brown tinting. Lofty huge dark tan top of smoothed over foam. Stays at the helm forever and a day and never leaves its seat, fanning out eventually to leave enormous amounts of thick lacing.
Well rounded aroma of dark cocoa and milk chocolate with a light roasted quality and even lighter fruity notions of cherries and figs.
Flavor is quite full of action from front to back. Slender and dark fruity front, sweetly sided undertones at first, then, bold and creamy, big roasted chocolate cake center, dry and bittering finish with burnt crusty edges of roasted malts and grains. Turns to smoke, charcoal, tar, coffee grounds, and dry licorice spice as it cinders off into the finish. Wonderfully complex and layered with fun roasty flavors. A great whirlwind at the finish totally knocks it out of the park.
Feel is rich, thick, and velvety with a unique sweet under carriage that keeps a very nice balance. The roast never really completely takes over but makes great efforts to do so. The body of this stout continues to grow in texture as it warms, becoming creamier and warmer in cocoa returns towards the finish as does the coffee grade.
A fantastic beer. The true Guinness! So truly sad that many here in the states don't realize what they think and drink as the "Original" - isn't actually what it should and could be. Oh well...
I thank the hell out of Shaughn256 for sending this as an extra in our latest trade! Osu!
09-20-2005 01:54:45 | More by tavernjef
4.18/5 rDev -0.9%
Bottle that I received as an extra from Masterski. Thank you, Alex, this has been on my wants for about 2 years and I finally get a chance to drink this.
This is another first for me - this bottle actually has nutritional information on it! 0 grams of fat, 4 grams of carbs and 0.8 grams of protein per 100ml for a grand total of 64 calories per serving, best by 27 August 2010.
Pouring a very dark brown, this sits black with reddish dark brown highlights. A mocha colored head is present, dense, creamy and beautiful lacework. The nose is excellent. Licorice and molasses, there's also some spice character. The spice is a blend of yeast and licorice. Unsweetened dark chocolate syrup and a little coffee are present, but what strikes me the most is the complex yeast profile - spicy with a little clove? Some vanilla and brown sugar are also present.
The palate opens with a blend of licorice, cocoa and some spice character. Moderately yeasty, particularly on the mid-palate. The malt backbone is quite complex, with a blend of moderate roast, a little acidic burnt malt bitterness, some burnt sugar and some molasses. Drying on the finish with some yeast, this beer is medium in body with moderate carbonation. Spicy and yeasty on the finish, this is enjoyable, and I'm glad to have got the chance to drink this. Excellent
01-16-2011 01:59:44 | More by DefenCorps
Guinness Special Export Stout (John Martin - Belgium) from Guinness Ltd.
94 out of 100 based on 222 ratings.