Guinness Special Export Stout (John Martin - Belgium) - Guinness Ltd.
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Ratings: 221 | Reviews: 153 | Display Reviews Only:
4.35/5 rDev +3.1%
Thanks to my wife and son for picking this up in Belgium about 18 months ago. My son pointed out today that the BB date is 11/07/08, I hadn't noticed that due to the very faded yellow print on the bottle. Poured darker than the Jamaican-purchased Guinness Foreign Extra (FE) I enjoyed side-by-side, opaque, darker than midnight. Despite its advanced age, the tan head was a generous four fingers with excellent retention and viscous sheet lacing. Smell of chocolate biscotti but more than that, stewed prunes with apple slices and sugar, similar to what my Polish mother made us for dessert way back when I was a kid.
Taste is more complex than the FE with rich, deep, dark bitter chocolate and a prune tort-cake fruitiness. Mouthfeel smoother than the FE as well, more viscose. With warming, there was a smell of minty chocolate and raisin bread. The taste was balanced with a nice bitter/malt equilibrium. Dry aftertaste of chocolate wafer.
Overall, more complex than the FE, smoother, tastier and better retention: with an inch of brew in my glass, there is yet a head covering the surface while the FE went relatively flat at that stage. While I tend to favour the American stouts, this is a good example of the UK style modified for the Belgian market and I can certainly admire that as well. Delightful gift from two loved ones who went to Belgium when I couldn't, everyone should be so lucky to get such a nice souvenir, I feel fortunate to have sampled a rare brew like this.
04-22-2009 01:18:35 | More by ThatWineGuy
4.15/5 rDev -1.7%
Deep dark pour that borders on black with garnet highlights when held to the light. A half inch of tan foam leaves some spotty lacing as it falls. Aromas start out with clean roasted malts along with chocolate accents. There's a slight sour / lactic edge along with dark fruits and big molasses. Caramel and licorice hints work in as well with just a touch of coffee.
First sip brings dark roasted malts upfront leading into a mix of bold molasses and licorice flavors with toffee undertones. Dark fruits meander in and out as it flows down along with a coffee/cream flavor that's just a touch sour. Finishes off with a nice lingering malty roasted flavor.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth...there's quite a bit more malt body here than in the standard Guinness we see in stores in the U.S. that is for sure. Good steady carbonation makes this one a treat. Overall, if this was the Guinness I could buy in the store here I'd be buying it quite a bit more often! Thanks to clvand0 for sending this one my way.
04-11-2009 21:36:38 | More by orbitalr0x
3.88/5 rDev -8.1%
Big thanks to tprokop7 for sending this rare extra and finally knocking if off my wants list.
33cl. brown bottle poured into a snifter.
A: Pours pitch black with a large creamy mocha head with some pretty decent retention. Nice lacing throughout.
S: Lots of roasty aromas backed by some cream notes. There's a definite lactic smell throughout, close to a milk stout. Plenty of sweetness, maybe some vanilla.
T/M: Nicely roasted malts, not too bitter but nicely balanced. More of the somewhat big lactic notes. Pretty sweet with more of the vanilla. Has a pretty dry finish that kind of tastes like necco wafers. Light, milky, chocolately notes in the back that come out further as it warms. Body is medium with nicely smooth carbonation. A bit of alcohol comes out as it warms and adds a nice touch. If not at room temperature, you'd never guess this at 8%.
D: Pretty easily drinkable and 8% isn't much of a factor. Very glad I got to try this. Thanks Todd!
04-07-2009 02:58:56 | More by pwoods
4.25/5 rDev +0.7%
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.
03-31-2009 15:10:41 | More by BuckeyeNation
3.48/5 rDev -17.5%
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.
03-10-2009 21:21:37 | More by stcules
4.47/5 rDev +5.9%
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.
03-02-2009 00:19:32 | More by Damian
4.38/5 rDev +3.8%
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.
02-23-2009 20:25:11 | More by kkipple
4.38/5 rDev +3.8%
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.
02-13-2009 03:16:03 | More by khiasmus
4.18/5 rDev -0.9%
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
02-12-2009 01:29:58 | More by Floydster
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
4.1/5 rDev -2.8%
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.
12-08-2008 03:08:59 | More by aerozeppl
4.28/5 rDev +1.4%
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....
11-26-2008 21:58:06 | More by darklordlager
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
4.13/5 rDev -2.1%
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.
11-14-2008 20:33:35 | More by Suds
4.38/5 rDev +3.8%
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
11-12-2008 20:44:04 | More by hopdog
3.9/5 rDev -7.6%
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.
11-02-2008 11:45:32 | More by Jeffo
4.75/5 rDev +12.6%
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!
11-01-2008 22:39:45 | More by BarryNL
4.15/5 rDev -1.7%
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.
10-30-2008 17:26:52 | More by coldmeat23
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%
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.
10-05-2008 02:48:55 | More by gford217
4.13/5 rDev -2.1%
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.
09-16-2008 03:13:40 | More by morebeergood
4.33/5 rDev +2.6%
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.
09-06-2008 08:23:41 | More by Overlord
4.08/5 rDev -3.3%
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.
08-12-2008 20:24:58 | More by philipquarles
3.75/5 rDev -11.1%
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.
08-09-2008 15:54:57 | More by tpd975
4.03/5 rDev -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.
07-25-2008 03:53:46 | More by timbro81
Guinness Special Export Stout (John Martin - Belgium) from Guinness Ltd.
94 out of 100 based on 221 ratings.