Guinness Special Export Stout (John Martin - Belgium) - Guinness Ltd.
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Ratings: 223 | Reviews: 153 | Display Reviews Only:
4.6/5 rDev +9%
Guinness Special Export Stout | 330 ml | 8.0% ABV | vintage
Brewer: Guinness Ltd.
Style: Foreign / Export Stout
Orange-yellow label with the words "Guinness Special Export St. James's Gate Dublin". I'm told this is not available in the U.S. Luckily, my friend Justin brought one over after touring Europe.
Pours a beautiful matte black with a fine mocha head of 1". Great lacing.
Deep and rich coffee and dark chocolate flavors mingled with dark fruit and brown sugar. A tinge of oaky, whiskey-like alcohol lurks in the background.
Immediately the dark chocolate and espresso notes in the nose translate onto my palate. Unlike many stouts, the Special Export manages to imbue the standard cacao and coffee with a somber richness and complexity. The middle features a flash of cola and some brown sugar. It is at this stage that I am most reminded of the common Guinness Stout.The finish is oaky and a bit alcoholic with just the slightest hint of dark fruits.
Remarkably creamy and well-carbonated. It carresses the tongue like a sudden brush of silk against supple skin.
Extraordinarily complex and well-crafted. Flavors are vibrant and the aftertaste matures gracefully well after the last sip.
Price = It was a gift from the one and only Justin M.
Served/bottled on: Doesn't say
Best by: May 26, 2011
06-25-2010 01:21:09 | More by BeerNemesis
4.4/5 rDev +4.3%
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.
06-19-2010 17:30:10 | More by AgentMunky
3.93/5 rDev -6.9%
Color black with dark brown. The charred malt feels strongly, it offers scents of caramel brown, bitter coffee and a little toffee. The entry on the palate is alcoholic, slightly burnt and it offers, tasting, sour and bitter tingling that spread in the finish, added a powerful lasting bitterness. Good command of such export stout, well balanced and offers a nice range of flavors, it is the archetype without sublimate kind. Heady, strong and powerfully bitter, it is quickly exhilarating.
06-07-2010 17:23:42 | More by ThaCreep
4.3/5 rDev +1.9%
330ml bottle served in a chalice.
A: Pours a beautiful deep black color with a huge beige head that dissipates quite quickly leaving a lot of lacings
S: Great smell of roasted malts is simply fantastic here! Really. The high ABV gives it a special liquorous smell. Notes of coffee, dark chocolate, wood, Guinness hops
T: Follows the nose. Strong on roasted malts. Notes of coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla. Sweet upfront and a good stingy roasted earthy hoppy bitter end :)
M: Full body. Creamy. Molasses. Medium carbonation and delightly bitter aftertaste
O: Absolutely drinkable despite the high ABV. Excelent Stout. No mistake here
05-08-2010 19:41:05 | More by eduardolinhalis
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
4.47/5 rDev +5.9%
A - Deep black with some ruby hues especially at the edge. Gigantic, thick, foamy, creamy, meringue-like, light beige head. Great retention with a good lacing left. Very nice looking beer.
S - A touch faint, but a good amount of licorice, some fruit, also some mocca/espresso. These go along with the general roasted malt and chocolate. Has a bit of a BSDA smell.
T - It starts off with a bit of a roasted malt taste. This quickly gives to a BSDA-like flavor. There is a good amount of licorice, dark fruits, and some Belgian yeast. Then more stout flavors come out. A bit more roasted malt, along with some chocolate, mocca, burnt sugar/caramel, molasses, licorice, a bit of earthiness, and some lactose sweetness. Somewhat bitter, somewhat sweet, and a little warming alcohol presence all mix throughout the sip.
M - Medium body with average carbonation. Smooth and rich taste. Not quite as full and thick/chewy as I would have liked, but not bad really, the rest of the beer just set the bar pretty high.
D - Easy to drink and makes me coming back for more. A large diversity of flavors that mix well, and are easy on the palate. Well balanced and is smooth. Only probably for drinking multiple ones in a sitting is the ABV, which is pretty well hidden.
Notes: A very nice beer, too bad Guinness doesn't make more beer like this, or at least have this beer distributed to a larger area. Taste like a mix of a BSDA and a stout. A lot of different flavors that intertwine and mesh nicely. Glad to have tried this (and on St. Patrick's Day too).
03-17-2010 21:36:10 | More by FreshHawk
4.65/5 rDev +10.2%
330 mL bottle, purchased in Rome in November '07. Best by 12/13/08, sampled 6/1/09. It pours quite black, with two thick fingers of voluminous head that pits and becomes dense as it recedes, while leaving loads of fine lacing. Very fruity and aromatic, with soft chocolate, mild coffee and an odd, ashy note that is not necessarily off-putting. Chocolate and mild fruitiness on the palate, woody?, with roasty, ashy and coffee notes, earthy malts, green hops and a sturdy bitterness. In the background, it's the same ol' Guinness, but, oddly, it lacks the light sour note one usually finds in the flagship beer. It is dry, with medium body, ample carbonation, and a very smooth, mildly bitter finish. This is a damn fine beer, one which belies its 8%, and one that has held up quite well despite all the traveling and time this bottle has been subject to.
03-08-2010 23:39:24 | More by mmmbeer
4.15/5 rDev -1.7%
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.
03-08-2010 08:46:48 | More by dgilks
4.28/5 rDev +1.4%
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.
02-21-2010 01:39:03 | More by MasterSki
4.05/5 rDev -4%
Jet black appearance with a tan head that lingers with a lacing that sticks down the glass as you sip.
Smells similar to regular Guinness but with added Belgian esters and chocolate.
Taste is great with less of the regular Guinness smokiness and bordering on Belgian Strong Dark Ale thanks to the added weight (ABV). A hint of bitter dark chocolate at the finish.
Silky smooth mouthfeel and the taste hangs around long after it's gone. Yum!
I have gone back to this stout on many occassions and it tastes damn fine.
If only the regular stuff tasted this good!
01-27-2010 11:16:13 | More by Bisho
4.22/5 rDev 0%
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!
01-04-2010 12:08:20 | More by Deuane
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
District of Columbia
4.25/5 rDev +0.7%
Nice enough looking brew, and it is not as 'black' as some of versions of Guinness that I've sampled; very deep, dark mahogany that verges on black, just not black; really great retention on the head that started as a nice creamy and a little bubbly tan head with some sticky lacing down the side of the glass.
Lightly sweet maltiness starts out first; then the roastiness comes in; a little hint of smoke and sweet tobacco; pretty nice aroma.
Punch of roasted malts; bit of a booze burn on the tongue coupled with the roasted malts; not really alcoholic in the taste; just a very nice warming on the palate and the back of the throat; really dark chocolate hints come in at the finish; some burlap as well.
Creamier, and very soft carbonation. A really warming 8% and I think that has to do with how roasty the malts come through in this. Really delicious, and it's a shame that this is not readily available in the US. Like some of the other export variants, this is what Guinness should be. Really good stuff.
12-08-2009 19:53:27 | More by Nickls
United Kingdom (England)
3.78/5 rDev -10.4%
0.33l bottle, purchased and consumed in Brussels Belgium out of a chalice.
Deep dark/black with reddish mahogany visible at the very top edge. Not at all translucent. Thin tan head of small bubbles, quickly dissapates.
Smells of molasses, and barley.
Flavor has a residual molasses, slight bit of dark chocolate, and a bit of coffee. Hard to pin the overall flavor. Hops in a long lingering finish. More bitter than a Guinness.
Good full mouth feel, that hits the palette in waves. Seems a bit thin, especially considering the color, but not lacking.
Not a beer I would consider drinking more than one of. I suppose it would be good to fit a niche - like if I was dying for a beer but also really wanted a coffee, and it had to be at exactly the same time. Since I can't imagine when that would happen, I don't know that I would reach for it again, given the wealth of other options available.
Overall a good beer, but likely only to be purchased for visitors who can't find it in the US.
11-17-2009 20:36:16 | More by ultrasupergenius
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
4.5/5 rDev +6.6%
Hahahahaaa... I just saw that my beerbuddy rvdoorn also reviewed this one. Let's see if we can agree on this one....
A: Poured it into my Rochefort glass. It has a nice dark brown/black color with a solid creamy head. Unfortunately it dissapeared too fast, but it left a nice dense lacing.
S: Roasted/burned malts, dark fruits and also a fruity sweetness.
T: Burned malts in the foreground. Caramel, dark fruits and surprisingly hoppy for a dark beer. Some apple sourness. Notes of cacao and liquorice.
M: Incredible creamy!!! Medium carbonation and great full body.
D: Hell yeah. Too bad that in Holland you mainly find draught on tap. I like it but the special export is in a totally different class.
09-20-2009 15:32:24 | More by PapaEugene
4.35/5 rDev +3.1%
Special version of bottled Guinness for Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. Poured into a Westvleteren glass. The beer pours a dark-brown-black color, with a nice beige-head.
Smell: coffee, dark chocolate, caramel and roasted malts all over the place, but also a bit alcoholic, sweet and fruity.
Taste: Roasted malts up front, then roasted coffee, caramel, hops, vague hints of liquorice, dark fruit (plum). Nicely balanced beer. Earthy hop and roasted malts with some dry coffee in the aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: very high carbonation for a Guinness beer (medium-high carbonation in general). Medium-bodied. Nice and drinkable.
Overall: By miles the best Guinness worldwide. Full of taste. Not a typical sport-pub beer like other Guinness beers, but a beer that one should drink at home with friends, while eating some nice trappist cheese! One word; YES
09-19-2009 13:58:19 | More by rvdoorn
3.73/5 rDev -11.6%
Bottle split thanks to Bobsy. Thanks for sharing this hard to get brew!
Pours a dark dark brown with mahogany around the edges, a light cappuccino head. Not a ton of bubbles.
First thing I get off the nose is honey bread (odd I know), followed by smooth choco nibs and a hint of caramel. Some light roasting, sweet smelling.
Taste is light cocoa, choco nibs, hints of dark fruits, coffee grinds, a touch of baking chocolate, honey, vanilla. Luxurious body, smooth and yet light feeling in the mouth - not heavy at all. Dry finish.
As Bobsy said, kind of an amped up Dry Irish though, to be honest, I was also disappointed. This lacked the bold roast flavor that I would be looking for, focused too much on the sweet chocolate, and, while certainly complex and rich in flavor, lacked in body. A nice beer and miles better than your average Guiness but still not something that I would get excited about. Thanks again Rob!
09-13-2009 15:40:14 | More by ritzkiss
3.65/5 rDev -13.5%
Nice appearance, with a jet black body and a light tan head, which has good retention an deposits globs of lacing on the glass. Dry roasted grain aroma mixing in with cocoa. The taste is fine, but by no means spectacular. Kinda reminds me of a slightly amped up Irish dry stout. Prominent oak and stale coffee flavours, mixed in with cocoa powder. Some hints of fruit and sugar, but overall very dry. Medium mouthfeel and carbonation. Alcohol isn't even perceptible.
This didn't really impress me that much. While it is a decent beer its not in the same class as other foreign/export stouts, and it didn't have the richness of flavour I look for.
09-13-2009 14:02:08 | More by bobsy
4.3/5 rDev +1.9%
33cl bottle poured into a tulip. Marked 07.12.08 (which I assume means bottled on Pearl Harbor Day, 7 December 2008). Drank 9 Sept 2009. Thanks to coldmeat23 for this bottle.
A = Pours a dark mahogany, not quite opaque, when held to the light it has a clear redwood look, head pours very large and sturdy in a light tan color, composed of mostly small bubbles, decent retention and leaves heavy lacing as it slowly dissipates into a 1/4 cover of foam and small bubbles on surface.
S = Some cocoa powder but though prevalent that is not the primary smell I get, or rather it is closely joined with a whipped cream and light sugared coffee, also present are some good fruity smells of plums and similar dark fruits.
T = Very sweet flavors on the front of the tongue but bitterness builds thought the drink until a nice mixture of bitter-sweet in a long finish. There is both sweetened cocoa powder and bitter, sour dark chocolate, light hints of dark pumpernickel bread. Great mix of sweet and sour. This is what Guinness should taste like.
M = Medium-heavy body, smooth, thick & creamy feel, good mouthcoating, carbonation is present but mostly of a smooth foamy quality, not a stinging biting bubbling type.
D = This is a sipper, but it really is very good. I like taking each drink and I would definitely like another.
09-10-2009 01:54:50 | More by Traquairlover
4/5 rDev -5.2%
Now this I never expect to get a hold of. But after seeing it in a convenience store in Brussels, I knew I had one of my hardest finds.
APPEARANCE: Pours into an English style pub glass black in color with a 2-finger high light-tan head. The bubbles are both tight and loose and slowly dissipate to a full coating of foam with some spotty lacing dotting the glass.
SMELL: Not very aromatic at all, but the dark chocolate aroma I am getting are extremely rich. It's coupled with a slight smell of dry, acrid, black malt. That's about it though.
TASTE: My initial 2 word reaction to this beer is completely contradictory - flavorless and complex. It's got such a dry stout profile going on that it fails to deliver the rich robustness of a foreign extra stout. But the dry black malt flavor is so nice. It adds such depth and dimension to this beer that is found in no other. It really contributes most of the bitterness to this beer. Other than that, there's some raw cocoa and a hint of sweetness on the end. One thing I will say: I can tell it's a Guinness product.
MOUTHFEEL: Medium bodied with a slightly below average carbonation. No complaints here other than maybe it could've had a bit more body.
DRINKABILITY: I was on the fence here until I noticed it's listed at 8%. Holy crap, I never would've guessed! This does go down really nicely though a second bottle probably wouldn't be in order.
Wow, this is not what I was expecting, but it certainly was a nice surprise. All the different names for the different varieties of Guinness can get confusing, so I'd just call this "Guinness - The Good One"
08-29-2009 22:26:30 | More by jmalex
4.25/5 rDev +0.7%
33 cl bottle I received as a very suprising extra in a trade with HogWildLiquor. Can't thank him enough. Been wanting to get my hands on this beer for quite a while now and here it is in my pint glass.
A: Has a great appearance which is what you expect from a Guinness. Its not a Guinness unless it has an impressive appearance and this beer is no different. Have a seemingly thick pour that builds a really nice black body. Held to the light, I am not getting any light coming through. Maybe at the bottom of the glass a little light makes it a dark brown in color there, but otherwise this beer is pretty damned black. The pour got me a perfect two fingers of creamy tan head. That head falls slowly to a half finger, lasting top cap that throws up some morphing blobs of lace on the glass. No disappointment here.
S: Well it smells . . . like a Guinness with just a bit more. Very dark malts, maybe a bit more heavy on the chocolate and caramel presence than the normal offering. There is a little bit of a lactose presence as well. Dark fruits, maybe some dark cherry hints and some prune. Finally there is very much a brown sugar and molasses heft here. Just smells like a bakers pantry. Not bad at all.
T: Takes the aroma and runs a bit further. The malts are on point. Absolutely some chocolate in here that is mixing with some caramel and coffee goodness. Milky layering in here as well brings the lactose sugars. Absolutely some molasses and brown sugar mixing with some light spice (almost a dark rum maybe?). There is absolutely some dark cherry lingering in the background and maybe a little more fruit but I can't pick it out. Yeasty earthiness rounds all this out. Wow, I am digging this more than I expected.
M: Maybe a heavy medium to a light full body? Its definitely in between there. It has some weight but it doesn't get crazy. Carbonation is medium, just as expected from a Guinness. That carbonation still allows for some refreshing qualities even if this is bigger than its normal offering. Just a touch of ABV coming out with a light heat on the throat, but otherwise it hides very nicely. Aftertaste is some chocolate and cherry. I'll take it.
D: This is what Guinness does. They take a seemingly simpler beer and take it to a higher level. I am a fan of the normal Guinness we Americans have constant access to, but this taking that beer much further. Still it brings that great appearance and refreshing quality in a noticeably bigger flavor and aroma. Wish I could get this constantly to tell you the truth because its that tasty but still easy drinking. Damned good and pleasure to have been able to try.
07-21-2009 05:57:24 | More by everetends
3.33/5 rDev -21.1%
Poured dark brown with a tan/brown pillowy head. Looked quite appetizing and the head stayed thick and present for as long as I was drinking the beer. The best part of the beer by far was its gorgeous appearance... a little more lacing would have made it a 5.
Smell: Caramel, roasted coffee, and dark chocolate combine to create a pleasant aroma. There is a noticeable hop aroma as well, but it doesn't carry over into the taste.
Taste: Dark chocolate dominates with a hint of careml in the background. It tastes noticeably like a guinness stout, and only marginally better than their other products. I had high expectations that were let down by how one-dimensional this turned out to be. The alcohol was well hidden, but the taste seemed almost entirely made up of roasted barley. There was, however, a slight taste of fruits during one of my sips, but that passed quickly and I did not taste it again.
Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy at first with a delayed roasted bitterness that becomes quite intense. The alcohol presence is subtle but adds to the complexity giving an almost balanced mouthfeel.
Drinkability: the intense roasted bitterness and alcohol would make it better if ther was more complexity in the taste. It's almost an RIS, but too simple and not interesting enough.
07-05-2009 15:54:29 | More by dbalsock
4.03/5 rDev -4.5%
A 33cl bottle poured into a standard shaker glass. Out of the fridge and allowed to warn up for at least 15 minutes. Shared with Deuane. The stout appears a dark and opaque brown color with about two fingers of creamy, lingering ecru foam. There is no evidence of this beer clocking in at 8% judging by the aroma and flavor. Notes of bittersweet chocolate, medium roasted coffee beans, caramel, a touch of vanilla, milk chocolate, pipe tobacco are all present. This stout falls somewhere between medium and full bodied with adequate carbonation. It's a shame this one is such a bitch to obtain because it's mighty drinkable.
06-16-2009 20:14:42 | More by ClockworkOrange
4.4/5 rDev +4.3%
Guinness Special Export pours jet black, and forms massive amounts of toasted almond colored head. Reddish hues are barely detectable on the bottom rim of the glass.
Aroma characteristics of semisweet chocolate and coffee, and the alcohol is slightly detectable with a boozy smell.
This tastes of rich dark semisweet chocolate, very rich in cocoa flavors.
This feels coarse and finishes quite dry. It feels like I'm eating something more so than drinking a beer.
06-04-2009 05:10:50 | More by TheSarge
Guinness Special Export Stout (John Martin - Belgium) from Guinness Ltd.
94 out of 100 based on 223 ratings.