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

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

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

Style | ABV
Foreign / Export Stout |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

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

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Reviews: 159 | Hads: 264
Photo of biegaman
4.27/5  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!

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Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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

(Served in a nonic)

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of akorsak
4.25/5  rDev +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.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
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..

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Photo of Bighuge
4.53/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of dgilks
4.11/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's an interesting aroma. A light hint of roast, some yeast fruitiness and just a wisp of diacetyl. The aroma is unfortunately weak.

Very dark brown-black colour with a massive, creamy tan head. Good head retention.

The flavour is good. The roast bitterness is smooth tempered by a rich, round malt body and a hint of alcohol. Some nice fruity esters come through. Just a hint of acidity that is the trademark of the Guinness brand and a light touch of diacetyl. Solid.

Medium body with moderately low carbonation. Simple, smooth and effective. Greamy and with a nicely dried out finish.

A great beer. The alcohol is well hidden in the flavour and works effectively to temper some of the flavours. The best Guinness product I've tried.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.22/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

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

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

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

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

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

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Photo of ccrida
4.33/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of stcules
3.48/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The color is black. It has two fingers of a beautiful cream colored foam, creamy. Good appearance.
Stout smell, intense, strong, with malty notes, liquorice, dark malts. Dark and intense notes.
The taste is strong and intense too, with a lot of liquorice, cocoa, hazelnut, and a rhubarb touch. Even some bitter roots.
It is for sure less smooth than a regular Guinness Draught, but more interesting.
Intense, strong, full.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

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

Poured from a 33cL bottle into a Rochefort goblet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of tavernjef
4.71/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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!

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Photo of gford217
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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

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

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.69/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: A 33cl Tall thin neck brown bottle. Purchased in Belgium during my 2003 Easter Trip. Standard black, red & light orange label, very similar in style to that of Foreign Export Stout. Labeled as “Selected by John Martin, Alc. 8% Vol.”, the middle of the front label has the Red Letter M with a small JM above it, followed by the number “461009”. Brewed in St.James's Gate, Dublin for John Martin N.V., B-2060 Antwerpen. "Belgium Guinness".

Appearance: Pours a thick black color. A darkish brown thin head forms slowly as the beer is poured into my Belgium McEwan’s Scotch Ale Goblet. The minimal carbonation that existed in the beer expired quickly to reveal a rather flat looking darkish brown fluid. However, when the beer was swirled, it slowly allowed more carbon dioxide to come out of solution. The yeast that remained in the bottle slipped slowly into the Glass with the dregs of the pour.

Nose: Deep strong smooth malts. Slight vinuous hints mixed with some Port. Fino Sherry like whiffs occasionally permeate the air as the beer is swirled.

Taste: Massive and complex multi-layered tastes that reveal themselves at various stages. Strong coffee roasted malts that have been smoothly rounded by time in the bottle, lend Drinkability. Has a body reminiscent of a good Port. The 8% alcohol by volume is barely noticeable, yet there is a warming aspect to the finish of the beer in the stomach. Well-balanced.

Mouthfeel: Strong malts dominate the massive presence in the mouth, coating the tongue, cheeks & teeth. This all helps to create a fantastic lingering mouthfeel even after the beer has been swallowed.

Drinkability: A sipper that at times, simply dazzles you with its strong tastes, massive mouthfeel & gorgeous ‘aged’ finish. A simply huge beer, that has stood the test of time extremely well. A true, bottle-conditioned Strong Stout of the highest order and quality.

Overall: Totally Astounding. Sheer Bloody Brilliance. You can keep the Nitro-Can, the naff plastic bottle and the thin watery draft versions.

Oh, but just if all Guinness was like this….<sigh>

Note: The obverse label is dated, but its smudged, 10/11/9…., the last digit could be an ‘8’ or a ‘0’. The Zero is not as far fetched as it sounds. That’s because I bought this dusty old bottle from a tiny little Bar in Huy, Belgium. The woman who ran the Bar sold me this dusty old bottle, and the last 3 of her McEwan’s 1993 Christmas Ales (plus a free Glass) for just €5 this Easter – the stuff of legends!

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Photo of StJamesGate
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Vertical tasting w/ 2014, 2013, and 2010 expiry dated bottles; ratings are averaged.
2014: Garnet black with webby tendrils of tan.
Metallic and lean nose with slight raisin.
Giant treacle body with some coffee grounds and dried cranberry.
Pure Baker’s chocolate end and drying vinous linger.
Medium to full, dry, and chewy.

Much tinnier and port-like than I’d expect - raisiny yet dry. No sweetness to help you swallow it. Mighty but easy.

2013: Bigger vinous nose, great webbing, and a much fuller and silkier body. Big chocolate thread; reminiscent of Polish rum-raisin bon-bons. So much to dig into; almost not the same beer.

2010: Tobacco nose comes out now, there are more oxidized sherry notes, and it’s starting to get too fizzy. Past its peak, but still has an incredible long, layered sultana finish.

Overall all a very different creature from Foreign Export - goes for tart over sweet, dark fruit over coffee. Should be laid down and then tasted like port. Worthwhile.

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Photo of Suds
4.14/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My wife picked this beer up at a local supermarket in northern Italy. It pours as a deep blackish-brown liquid with a monstrously fizzy head. The head settles down quickly, but leaves some pretty lace. The aroma is fantastic...chocolate, coffee beans, very roasted grain, charcoal, and a lot of caramel. As the beer warms, a slight alcohol smell comes forth as well. The taste is solidly good. It's moderately dry, despite some notable malt flavors (quite a bit drier than the Foreign Extra Stout). There's a lot of bitterness, both from hops and also from highly roasted grains. The mouthfeel is full, thick, and satisfying. This is quite good, and easily one of the best Guinness products that I've had.

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Photo of tpd975
3.78/5  rDev -10.2%
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.

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

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

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

Notes from 11/18/05

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

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

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Photo of Deuane
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to clockworkorange for sharing a bottle of this with me.

A-Deep black with just a hint of subtle chestnut highlights. A medium light tan head hangs on strong and leaves clingy lace.

S-Light chocolate and cereal grains. Not overly aromatic but certainly better than "regular" Guinness!

T-Rich and robust with bitter dark chocolate and espresso. A light touch of burnt roasted malt in the dry finish.

M-Medium body rich and satisfying with nice lingering roasted malt and earthy hop bitterness.

D-NIce. A BIG improvement over the standard stuff. Rich and roasty with a pleasant bitter bite. I wish this was more readily available...if it was I would drink Guinness more often!

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Photo of msubulldog25
4.62/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

We bought a 4-pack of this beer (33 cl's) at a GB Supermarket near Brussels, Belgium (cost: about €5...). Returned with it to US, poured to a pint glass & enjoyed at my kitchen table. Best before: 25.01.08.

A: Pitch black, with a rich, creamy 2-finger ivory head. Bits of clinging lace. No nitro added, so the creamy fullness of the head was a real surprise.

S: Wow! Decadent dark chocolate/cocoa maltiness. Notable candy sugar sweetness, hints of ripe fruit (plum, cherry) and a mild spiciness. Toasted malt and a potent & warm alcohol nose.

T: A cascade of chocolate bittersweetness upfront with a healthy dose of espresso bean bitterness to follow. Coupled with the sweetness is a slightly acerbic tang. The alcohol found in the smell is detectable also in the taste; it comes across similar to the spicy sweetness of rum.

M: Quite full in the mouth. A strong beer that loses some of the creaminess and approaches being a more carbonated Dark Ale. There is a lingering and likable bittersweetness.

D: Very enjoyable and extremely drinkable - only it's high gravity would prevent one from having several of these in a session. Or maybe it wouldn't? I'd put this near the top of the list for stouts, especially ones I've tried myself. Highly recommended.

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