Heileman's Special Export - Pabst Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Heileman's Special ExportHeileman's Special Export

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95 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 95
Reviews: 50
rAvg: 2.8
pDev: 21.43%
Wants: 5
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Pabst Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Dortmunder / Export Lager |  ABV ?

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: elmocoso on 08-21-2002

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 95 | Reviews: 50
Reviews by corporatejim:
Photo of corporatejim
3.02/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear and golden yellow into the glass. Minimal head, but fairly decent lacing. I used to drink the shit out of this stuff when I was younger. I am over that, but at 14.00 for a 30 pack, I thought it was worth a try again. Smell doesn't impress, corny grainy, somewhat chemical, that is about it. Light carbonation burn followed by a corny taste. Not awfull, but not good either. I don't feel ripped off, but this is not a beer I would neccesarily reccomend either.

More User Reviews:
Photo of fizzy
3/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

By reading other reviews it's apparent that most people don't remember the Special Export brewed by Heileman when it was brewed in LaCross, Wisconsin. At that time Special Export was a Krausened beer, like Old Style and was a beer a big step up from Old Style or pretty much any other of the hundreds of ordinary beers of it's day. Like Ballantine XXX Ale, Export pretty much only exists in label and fond memories or earlier days.

Photo of Rifrafboy
2.85/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This looks and sounds like a premium beer. It is basically a typical American macro lager. It pours pale with a dry white head. Some hops are present. The nose smells malt and grain. Quite good carbonation. Finishes with a sweet malt/grain aftertaste. Not bad for a cheap beer in a 30 pack, but not good either. Where is this stuff exported to?

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.2/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Yellow beer, mild white head, about 1/8" in depth, very thin, disappears very quickly. Aroma was bad skunky, not the good kind, this was stale skunky instead of euro heneiken hop skunky.

Mild hopping, very light body, still that negative skunky aftertaste going on. A little on the sweet end, corny adjunct situation seems apparent, maybe its rice as well or in opposition but there's something not 100% barley in here judging by the sweetness and total lack of body. This is basically just a bmc type of lager, there is nothing special about it, other than the inflated price. These are prevalent in the Milwaukee-Chicago I-94 corridor.

WTF is an export lager? Never heard that terminology before.

Photo of ADR
2.87/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear straw with a fizzy short head and no real lace to speak of. Sweetish smell, barely brown sugar. Light body with generous carbonation. Flavor is hardly outstanding but there is a sense of bare grain to the malt, any adjuncts seem to be background players, and there's a "Pabst Blue Ribbon" bit of real hop balance. The carbonation, while lively, combines well with the hop and doesn't fizz down the throat as in some cheaper Lagers. I will probably drink a few more cans of this along with dumping them in coolers at cookouts.

Photo of Dinobambam
2.35/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

Cheap beer. Nothing offensive at all. A little more flavor than most adjuncts.

Photo of jackndan
2.6/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Special Export: how is it possible that one of the iconic beers of the 1980’s and early 90’s has but a hand full of reviews? I grew up drinking this beer, which was as premium as they come back in the day, but now its 10 bucks for a thirty pack.

Not that I’m complaining, this is a cheap, but easy to drink beer. Pure pale gold, not a lot of head, the aroma is heavily corn adjuncts.

The taste, however, ain’t bad, smooth, with a slight warming hit at the end, which follows a blast of sweet malts, and yes, a hint of malts. Not bad, not great, but not bad.

Photo of morimech
3.05/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

As a Dortmunder this is a below par example. As a macro-lager, it has decent flavor and a hell of a value. Pours a typical macro lager straw yellow with a white head that quickly disapears to just a thin cap. Very little if any lacing is left on the glass surface. The aroma is a bit schizo. Sometimes it smells fine with light malt and floral hops, other times it is grainy with a sweet corn and cooked pea aroma. If drinking straight from a can or bottle this shouldn't be much of a problem. Slightly sweet flavor and adjunct heavy. A touch of noble hops is present which sets it above many macros. Has a light body and fizzy carbonation.

If I am looking for a cheap beer with some decent flavor I will pick this up. I have always wondered if the ABV is higher than most macros.

Photo of bluemoonswoon
2.4/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

12oz can left over from the 4th poured into pint glass, no freshness date.

A: Pours a crystal clear light amber darker than most macros with decent active carbonation with the trademark overly fizzy pure white head that quickly fades into nothing, not even a decent sized ring! This beer is better appreciated in the can, which is pretty invinting compared to what comes out of it.

S: Smell is about as good as the appearance with nothing to hide outside or corn corn and more corn, sort of fruity with the sweetness that comes along with the adjuncts, at least it has a smell though, better than most macros that don't even give you that much.

T/MF: Sort of astringent which is strange because no hops are present on the tongue, very bubbly and slick. The taste is much like the smell with super sweet corn and overcooked mixed greens that is, that's the end of the taste. But to be fair, it is more flavorful the the other 30pack picks out there.

D: I rememeber this tasting a lot better on the 4th (maybe I had a few too many) and better out of a can instead of poured into a glass. If you're going to pick up a cheapy make it this one but do yourself a favor and leave it in the can.

Photo of EagleTalon
2.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Decent for a macro. Nothing too offensive or too special about Special Export. Highly carbonated, pours to a sudsy head that dissapears quickly. Kinda dark for a fizzy yellow american lager. Taste is clean with noticable corn adjunct. Finishes with a bit of warmth and bitter bite. Tastes a bit strong in the alcohol department. If given the choice I definitely have to take this over the typical BMC offerings.

Photo of tone77
3.09/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to woodychandlerfor the trade.Poured from a 16 oz. can. Has a pale yellow color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of malts and grains. Taste is very mild, crisp and light, not much going on at all. Feels light in the mouth and is very drinkable. Overall a good beer on a hot day, but otherwise mediocre.

Photo of emerge077
2.96/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A few years ago, there were a handful of dwindling corner taverns in Chicago that showcased Special Export signs above their doors, as opposed to the ubiquitous Old Style sign, with their interchangeable tagline: "Zimne Piwo" or "Cerveza Fria". These lighted Special Export signs have become extinct in trendier locales, but certainly still exist in the folds of the city where few care to look. To me, Special Export is a snapshot in time, a time capsule of tavern culture in Chicago, dating back a few decades.

Little known fact: This was the champion beer of the Chicago
Beer Society's first Fall Tasting in 1977 (credit to Steve H. for the info).

Tallboy can from the corner liquor store, $1.20. JAN3111 on the bottom of the can, still a few months til the best by date.

Pale pastel gold, about a finger of white foam that sticks at the edges, but audibly dissipates like rice krispies. There's some lacing happening, forming a drippy semicircle around the rim.

Stale grain aroma, puffed rice and corn cereal.

Floral hop component to the flavor, that almost becomes vegetal. Malt is present in the aftertaste. This actually has some hints of flavor compared to other macros. Honestly I prefer this over PBR.
Moderate carbonic bite, lots of CO2. Bland and flaccid, somewhat seltzery feel, hiccups are guaranteed.

With the green can and skunky hop presence, I can only imagine they are going for a Heineken clone here. Not too successful, but hey the can is cool I guess.

Photo of EgadBananas
3.16/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pale, straw color, with a big white fluff of a head that laces well. My first of this style, but I have to think this is looking good for it.

Definitely got a bisuity aroma to it with maybe the faintest touch of citrus hops, but I may be reaching. It's ok overall.

Biscuits on the taste and a hint of sweetness. I dont think I get any hops, unless it's mixed in with the usual suspects for a pale lager.

Feel is crisp, light, maybe too crisp like the carbonation is a bit much. Texture has a slight creaminess to it and it's got a clean finish.

It's refreshing, which will come in handy in the coming months with summer looming.

Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.83/5  rDev +36.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Heileman's Special Export has a very thick, white head and a clear, golden appearance, with lots of bubbles streaming up and some minimal lacing. The aroma is faint, but a stereotypical American beer smell can be picked up. Taste is fuller, richer, and sharper than the average American-style lager, and one gets grain, sweetness, and a relatively high hop bite here. Mouthfeel is light to medium, and Heileman's Special Export finishes crisp, clean, dry, and refreshing. Overall, I really like this one and recommend trying it if you ever see it.


Photo of Brent
3/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This was one of those beers where, when it turns out not to be as bad as you expected, it then almost seems good. Bright pale gold with assertive carbonation. Sweetish, with some vague corn flavor and hopping that comes across with a bit of artificial grape flavoring. No skunking, despite the green bottle, which makes me think that some stabilizer must be in play here. I'd probably take this over many of the basic Eurolager crowd.

Photo of StuFox
1.68/5  rDev -40%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This is the dog of the Pabst line. Next to Old Style or even regular PBR, it can't stand up. This beer has the flavor of it's container. If it's from a bottle or tap, then you are lucky and it is at best flavorless. From a can, it tastes like aluminum. A great beer for heavy smokers, as it allows you to save money for cigarettes while not noticing that your beer is nickel and cadmium flavored.

Photo of supercolter
3.84/5  rDev +37.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is a surprising beer, as many of the reviews before me, I am not alone in my liking of this beer.
Appearance is very similar to an American macro.
Smell and taste are like taking all of the good qualities of a euro pale and all the good qualites of an American macro and putting them together. I know there are not many but together, with the slight hops and lack of corn smell, its a decent beer.
Mouthfeel is light as expected. And Drinkability is on par with the style.

Photo of Zorro
3.54/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

In the Pilsner glass this is a clear yellow colored beer with a decent white head that doesn't last.

Smell is sweet and surprisingly hopped up for a lager from an American macrobrewery. I would call this spicy this has a damn good Nobel hop scent to it. Clear lemon scent and grass and hay, this could fool me in to thinking it was German.

Taste is sweetish and quite strong in hops in a good way. Almost spicy this has a solid strong Nobel hop flavor with a solid bitterness. Beyond the hops this is just a good clean lager that doesn't get in the way.

Mouthfeel is good.

A surprisingly good lager in a place I would not have expected it. Hard to believe that Pabst made this, an American beer from a macrobrewery that is good. A nice surprise in the glass at $2.99 for a six pack.

Photo of mooseisloose
2.63/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

The old classic "Green Death". Bottle smell is corny and sweet. Poured into a tankard, great head, tiny bubbles, real foamy. Golden color. Taste is very pilsner-like. Good carbonation. No notable bitters even in finish. Taste is same throughout. Kind of boring. Good lawnmower beer. Recommend ice cold on a hot summer day.

Photo of happygnome
2.28/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

a: pale straw color with about a half inch of head that dissapears fast leaving a little lacing not much though
s: sweet corn grain aroma, mild hints of hops
t: much like smell, starts with sweet corn grain flavor followed by mild hop bitterness
m: medium to light bodied, heavily carbonated

overall, this beer isnt too bad but i do prefer some of Heilmanns other offerings. This could be very refreshing on a hot summer day

Photo of richerd
2.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Found this at City Wide Liquors in downtown South Bend, IN. I hadn't seen Special Export in years and decided to give it a try. Poured from a can. Could've been worse, could've been better. Pretty much a mediocre beer with a mediocre taste. Meh...

Photo of woodychandler
4.03/5  rDev +43.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

The CANQuest (TM) CANtinues to find new beers in a CAN as evidenced by my recent visit to Madison, WI by way of Chicago. CAN you dig it?

My pour initially produced a finger-and-a-half of rocky bone-white head, but its retention level caused it to do a pretty quick fade. Color was a deep golden-yellow with NE-quality clarity. Holy nose, Batman! This actually smelled like clean, unadulterated lager! It had a clean lager sweetness with just a hint of hops. Oh, be still, my beating heart! Mouthfeel was medium with a smooth, pleasant flavor of simple lager, slightly sweet with a touch of bitterness in the mouth. Finish was equally pleasant and devoid of any off flavors. Houston, we have a winner! This is definitely going into my cooler, if I had the opportunity to score some on a routine basis.

Photo of Getinthevan
3.1/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz can poured into my friend's Indiana Jones pint glass.

The color resembled a shade of dark yellow with light carbonation and little to no head. Looked just like a typical lager with barely any lacing.

Smell was high in corn and faint malts. Nothing really spectacular about it, but for $12 a case, cheapness is the priority here.

Taste was a bit smooth, with the hints of corn and a very small minute amount of spice. It tastes like a smoother version of Pabst Blue Ribbon with just a little bit more flavor, but nothing eye opening.

Mouthfeel was pretty smooth, but no frothiness or fullness existed to the beer. Pretty mediocre, but as said before, it's a cheapie and a pretty decent one.

Drinkability is pretty good. While it isn't a fulfilling beer, it's not bad for the football season and for $12 a case, you certainly cant beat it.

Photo of Frozensoul327
3.65/5  rDev +30.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Honestly now, this is a pretty good beer for a friggin' macro. Poured out to a clear golden color with medium carbonation. A 1/2 inch head was present, but quickly dissipated. No traces of lace noted. Aromas of malt and adjunct, with a floral like quality as well. Taste is very comparable to other import lagers, as that is what Heilmann was going for; flavors of corn, malt, oats, grain, and a bit on the sweet side. Finished crisp with a touch of dryness. This is a well made macro. Would make a killer session beer. If you like import lagers, like Heineken, Beck's or the like, this is the beer for you at half the price.This is also a good place to make your start for micro's and higher quality beers, if you're still stuck in swill-land. Recommended.

Photo of Redrover
3.47/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 0z Green long Neck bottle. No freshness date

Beer pours a medium yellow with a decent head and minimal lacing.

You notice the hops when you smell the beer, however adjuncts are present as well. Still smells a tad better than Michelob or similar Macro brews.

The taste is clean but it could use a little more character. You can pick out the hops & malt does make itself known as well. The beer is nicely carbonated and the bubbles are very small. You get another small does of hops as you make your way through this beer.

This was once Heilemann's premium beer. When I first stated drinking, this was considered almost exotic. You loved to find bars that had this in the returnable green long necks. Now the beer seems very pedestrian. It is still better than the Michelobs, Millers, etc. but you have a lot more good choices now.

You can get this at very attractive prices. I have seen it for $5.99 to $6.99 a 12 pack. At this price this is a more than suitable beer. Just don't have huge expectations and you won't be disappointed.

Perhaps a good starter beer for college drinkers looking for a small step-up without investing all the book money. You can drink this stuff all night if you wish.

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Heileman's Special Export from Pabst Brewing Company
67 out of 100 based on 95 ratings.