Guinness Special Export Stout

Drilling Down on GSX

[To serve as today’s posting, below is the comment I just posted in the Guinness Wood Barrel thread, replying to a comment by English reader Ben Morgan, but adding some hyperlinks and with one edit].

Ben, David Hughes’ history of bottled Guinness states that from 1912 John Martin in Belgium got a special version of Guinness called Special Export or GSX in Guinness code.

On the current website of what is now called Anthony Martin, the same code is mentioned, GSX. I am not clear if this is a Guinness extract (hopped wort reduction) or the racked beer but in any case, Martin was bottling and selling this from before WW I. All Guinness was all-malt then. If you page through references to Martin and Belgium in the book, Martin also states when the second war started, Guinness closed the agency in Antwerp and all records were moved to London.

Then Guinness started up again after the war with Martin, ’46-’47. I think what happened was, in 1944 Martin crossed the channel to discuss the restoration of the brand to his market. It doesn’t seem the brand originated then or any stout was shipped to Belgium during WW II, at least from what I can tell, unless some went earlier in 1944 (before D Day) and then stopped until war’s end.

Anthony Martin still markets Special Export in Belgium, which possibly is all-malt (or maybe roasted barley and the rest malt). Guinness sells its Antwerp 1944 one which I think is the same recipe. One online review, in the Barley Blog, likens the 1944 Antwerp to Carnegie Porter which is high praise. I know Carnegie and Guinness Special Export as I recall it from 20-30 years ago was similar to Carnegie. Yet in 2011 in Paris I bought Special Export and didn’t like it, but I’m not sure what I had was the Belgian one aka 1944 Antwerp Stout, maybe it was just a stronger version of Extra Stout (Original).

This is as best I can piece it and happy for anyone to add more detail.

Note re image: The image above was obtained from the  Internet. All intellectual property therein belongs solely to its lawful owner or authorized user, as applicable. Image is used for educational and historical purposes. All feedback welcomed.