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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

233 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 233
Reviews: 154
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 9.76%
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: 233 | 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 stcules
3.48/5  rDev -17.1%
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.

stcules, Mar 10, 2009
Photo of Damian
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank from a 33cl bottle
A consommer de preference avant fin: 23/05/08
Served in a snifter

Acquired in a trade with jastack

The beer poured a near opaque brown/black color with a creamy, bubbly, two-finger, saddle brown head that faded to a thick lasting ring. Large blocks of lacing coated the glass.

The aroma was super dry and powdery initially. Roasted grain came through strong. As the beer warmed, the nose became much more rich and complex. A sweet, dark fruit quality appeared out of nowhere. Somewhat Belgian-y. Notes of brown sugar and booze were also present.

The taste was dark and roasty. Rich malts and dark chocolate notes were quite noticeable. Fruity and semi-sweet with hints of raisins, figs and prunes. Pithy, oaky, woody and a touch smoky. Somewhat reminiscent of a Belgian strong dark ale. Burnt coffee and raisins lingered in the dry, roasty, bitter finish. A touch of booze came through as well.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied. Creamy and slick on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.

Drinkability was quite good. The sweet/dry combination in both the aroma and the flavor was rather intriguing. Furthermore, the 8% ABV was well masked by the potent and complex flavor profile.

Hands down, this was the best version of a Guinness I have yet to try. Now, if only this were available in the states.

Damian, Mar 02, 2009
Photo of kkipple
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big props to Pingwin407 for lugging two of these back from his recent Belgium trip!

A. Looks basically like Guinness Extra Stout, good lacing, and maybe a tad bit thicker.

S. Mmm, this is Guinness Plus. Richer, sweeter, tighter, bolder. Some smoke and maybe maple syrup? Very roasty and pleasing, mocha hints and a touch of milk chocolate. Appealing, bold, approachable. Familiar, yet amped up. I like the way this smells.

T. Exactly as advertised. A sweeter, lusher Guinness that is very easy to drink and has some subtle smoke and creamy coffee flavors going on. The roasted malt is layed and complements the sweetness quite well. If you like Guinness (and who doesn't honestly?) you will dig this. Well put together and belies the 8% abv.

M. Fantastic. Creamy-smooth, a delight to drink. Finishes roasty-sweet and leaves you craving more.

D. Absolutely yes! Why we can't buy this in the States, I'm sure I don't know. A real treat and a beer that shows off the brewing chops of the folks at Guinness. Highly recommended.

kkipple, Feb 23, 2009
Photo of khiasmus
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black with faint ruby/brown highlights. An immense amount of light tan head that laces, a solid wall.
Aroma is dominated by roast, with a distinctly sweet cream note, almost like an imperial milk stout. A milky-sweet aroma with a background hint of smokiness, almost rauchbier-esque, along with the dark roasted grain, and an excellent strong maple note.
Flavour follows the aroma. This is simply an imperial, roastier, darker, heavier version of original Guinness. That same creamy, lightly sweet note with an excellent rounded roast flavour. exceptional.
The mouthfeel is good. creamy, smooth, much like a nitro Guinness, but this is simply with carbonation. Smooth, creamy, and slides down the throat far too easily.
This beer is excellent. This would be a beer of choice were it available here. I wish it was possible to get this, other than by going to Belgium.

Many thanks to Pingwin407.

khiasmus, Feb 13, 2009
Photo of Floydster
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle purchased from Cracked Kettle in Amsterdam for a few bucks, consumed 12/30/08, reviewed from notes, drank from a Dogfish Head snifter, color is a very dark brown that is almost black, 3/4 inch creamy beige head that had good retention, nice lacing at first, aroma consists of sweetness, hazelnuts, roasted barley, other nutty scents, mild coffee and dark chocolate, and light bread, taste starts off a lot sweeter than I would expect a Guiness to, a little chewy in the middle, lots of underlying chocolate once it warms, more malts and spice continue to come out as it warms, really enjoyed the nuttiness in this brew, chewy, slightly sweet, sticky, and mildly roasted mouthfeel, moderate level of carbonation, taste lingers well, went down easy for an eight percent beer, alcohol was hidden, smooth and not near as dry as its normal version which I am used to, good drinkability, significantly better than the normal Guinness I am used to drinking, wish this stuff was available here, would enjoy drinking again, recommended

Floydster, Feb 12, 2009
Photo of DoubleJ
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
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 aerozeppl
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to drseamus for this.

A: Looks black with brown around the edges. Minimal brown head.

S: Little bit funky. A little roasty. Belgian yeast. Swetness behind it.

T: Very roasty. Nice sweetness. More of a Belgian beer than a stout. Best Guinness I have ever had.

M: Very dry. Makes sense considering the origin of this beer.

D: Very nice. Not quite top 100 for me but a damn good beer. Again the best Guinness I have ever had.

aerozeppl, Dec 08, 2008
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 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 Suds
4.13/5  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.

Suds, Nov 14, 2008
Photo of hopdog
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
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

hopdog, Nov 12, 2008
Photo of Jeffo
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this at the bottle shop down the road from me.

From a bottle into a snifter

APPEARANCE: Pours black with some nice carbonation effect after the initial pour. Afterwards, no carbonation evident at all. A big three finger medium tan head fades relatively slowly into a thin film. Some lacing evident.

SMELL: Dark fruits initially, with some roasted barley malt and some black licorice. Nose is alright and powerful enough.

TASTE: Mirrors nose somewhat. Roasted barley malt with a smoky component as well up front, with some bitter hops and chocolate flavors through the finish. A touch of alcohol at the end, but well controlled. Alcohol and bitterness in a strong and longer lasting aftertaste. Good stuff for sure.

PALATE: Medium-thick body and pretty creamy on the palate. Carbonation is there but balanced well. Goes down smooth but finishes with a bit of a bite. A slight bit of stickiness lingers. Good here.

OVERALL: Obviously this is a very different beer than their pub draft; they are not comparable and are not meant to be compared. I could see how someone who loves the pub draft would not like this. Too bad, because this is a great beer on its own right. It's certainly drinkable, and the nose is sharp and impressive. Looks and feels great too. This is a perfect example of how good Gunniess can be. One I'll re-visit. Recommended.

Jeffo, Nov 02, 2008
Photo of BarryNL
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Yet another brew from the Guinness family and again, a shame they all seem to bear the same name because this is a completely different brew from the rather bland liquid that most people know as Guinness.

A: Super black with a very stable tan head - sure the nitro kegged draught has a white 'n' tight head but this has a proper beer head with great stability and lacing and just looks like a proper beer rather than something designed by a marketing department.

S: Big smell of roasted malts and sour tang.

T: Roasty malts and sour tang. This is probably something very close to the true original taste of porters/stouts (the so-called "entire butt" beers) which were a blend of young and older, soured (almost lambic like) beers. An extremely complex combination of sweet malt, bitter hop and soured beer. One of the most complex tastes you will find. It's a shame that Guinness seem to have stopped using the soured essence in most of their beers, but at least it's still to be found here.

M: Gorgeous, big chewy mouthfeel.

D: Gimme more. I could keep drinking this one till I fall over. The taste is so well balanced between sweetness, bitterness and sourness that it never becomes tiring.

This is really an excellent beer. As outstanding as their pub draught is bland. It's so sad that this amazing beer is almost a footnote for the Guinness brand while the bland standard version is so lauded. Stock up before they stop making it!

BarryNL, Nov 01, 2008
Photo of coldmeat23
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

GLASS: Imperial Pint Glass
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees

Dark, dark brown. Verging on blackness. Medium pour produces a massive 5-finger head of thick creamy tan foam. About a full finger of it was standing above the rim of the glass. Excellent retention and amazing lacing.

Butterey caramel and coffee with a touch of chocolate. Dark fruits. English toffee. Vanilla extract.

Nice roasted malts upfront. Sweet vanilla caramel follows. Nice dark fruit hints. Finishes with the bite of burnt coffee grounds. Hides it's alcohol quite well, even though it does provide a slight bit of warmth.
Much more complex than the more readily available version.

Feels good, but is not quite as creamy and velvet-like as it's relative. Still great compared to others in the same style, but could stand to be a bit thicker and richer.

Very drinkable, in general. Would rate higher if not for that nasty bite, at the end. Still, I wish I could bet better access to this.

coldmeat23, Oct 30, 2008
Photo of Bitterbill
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mouthfeel is thin, but overall, an excellent beer.

Thanks to brdc for the trade.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

M: Medium in body, pretty smooth.

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

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

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

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

12 (11. something?) oz. bottle.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Picked up a bottle from Drinks of the World.

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

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

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

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

punkindrublic50, Jun 18, 2008
Guinness Special Export Stout (John Martin - Belgium) from Guinness Ltd.
93 out of 100 based on 233 ratings.