Bell's Java Stout - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Bell's Java StoutBell's Java Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,937 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,937
Reviews: 1,113
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 11.7%
Wants: 162
Gots: 312 | FT: 12
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Stout |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 12-11-2001

Java Stout uses a custom blend of coffee beans, roasted locally for us by Water Street Coffee Joint, to generate its intense flavor. Possessing an unmistakable aromatic punch, Java Stout has long been one of our most popular stouts.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,937 | Reviews: 1,113
Reviews by WesM63:
More User Reviews:
Photo of Stevedore
3.99/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle. Dated 9/11/2014. Poured into a Bell's snifter 11/16/2014.

A- Dark black body. One finger dark mocha head with good retention time. Just enough to appreciate, and just enough that it doesn't get into your way. Medium-thin collar remains after the head dissipates. Not much lacing to be found. [4]

S- Aroma of a freshly opened bag of unground coffee beans. Deep, smoky, roasty, acidic, but coarse in the sense that is slightly different from freshly ground coffee. Very coffee-forward stout with a bit of milk chocolate and roasted malt. Solid depth and intensity but I wouldn't mind a bit more of the base stout to be present in the nose. [3.75]

F- Like in the nose, there is an ungodly amount of rich coffee bean flavours. The balance is more apparent on the palate- nice roasted malt, milk chocolate, cocoa stand out quite a bit more on the palate which nicely balances out the coffee bean flavours- otherwise I might as well suck on coffee beans, right? Nice rich chocolate goodness in the middle with a mix of bitter black coffee and milky sweetness on the finish. [4]

M- Medium bodied with a nice substance to it. Smooth, just the right amount of carbonation to keep the flavours at the forefront, with a nice bittersweet finish, combining black coffee and milk to make for a nice Cafe Americano. [4]

O- Very nice coffee stout from Bell's. In my opinion, this is a very good coffee stout overall; it delivers very nicely on the coffee intensity with a proper roasted malt backbone to balance out the astringency of the coffee. A must-try for coffee drinking craft beer aficionados. [4.25]

Photo of humuloner22
3.96/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love Bell's don't get me wrong. I have passed on this one for several rounds now. But I have begun to appreciate the coffee stout this year so I figure now would be the best time to evaluate this beer.

Look: Pretty much your standard stout. Very dark, very little if any light penetration and a mellow layer of head lingering over the top of the beer.

Smell: Coffee hits you immediately, more of a coffee grounds aroma than a fresh brew aroma. Some malts but pretty much a one hit note here.

Taste: Coffee, bland not much else going on really.

Overall: For the price this is not that good. If this beer was about the same is Two Hearted then I would consider it a better option. But, considering other breweries are putting out better beer in the same category for less money then this beer doesn't get the rating from me. I think price is what kills this one most of all, otherwise its an alright beer.

Photo of ClavisAurea
3.25/5  rDev -17.3%

Fridge temps in a snifter glass; bottle dated 09/2014.

Appearance: Blackish brown with little carbonation. There is a very small brown head that disappeared pretty quickly. It poured kinda thin, nothing like an Imperial stout but this doesn't claim to be one. You can see light through the sides and a dark brown hue.

Nose: Burnt black coffee similar to the kind you would get at church or a auto repair shop. Little dark chocolate, roasted black malts.

Taste: Very nice but thin like the appearance, very coffee forward, the burnt taste really comes out, this is almost like a dunkle rauchbier, harsh alcohol in the beginning that fades to a warming feeling, slightly fruity, dark fruit, dates but without the sweetness, I caught a bit of a milky tang for a second there but that could be a fluke.

Overall: Well, I have 5 of these left and the website says they can be cellared for a year. Hopefully they improve with a few months on them. I'll check this one out in the new year.

Photo of mr-jj
3.06/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter from a 12 oz bottle. Brought back from a friend on his trip to Ohio. Bottled date is 8/29/13.

Color is very dark brown with a one finger tan head. Good lacing. Smells like dark roasted, almost burned, coffee. Flavor follows the nose - lots of dark roasted coffee with a little roasted caramel malt. Finish is bitter coffee. Body is medium with good carbonation.

Overall, lots of coffee, not much stout.

Photo of StrongRepublican
3.87/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

9/14 bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours dark and viscous with minimal traces of head or discernible carbonation. After pouring a very thin tan head forms but quickly fades. A slight collar is left behind and a small amount of lacing.
S: Baker's chocolate and medium-roast coffee aromas dominate with some hints of acidity and roasted barley.
T: Roasted barley and deep roasted coffee take the forefront, dark chocolate and black patent show some pretense,slight acidity/tannins from the coffee.
M: Full bodied and fairly viscous, well carbonated, but not overly done.
O: A bit too roast-forward for my taste, but definitely a drinkable coffee stout.

Photo of oberon
4.27/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown with a mocha colored thin head,great aroma of chocolate with some nuttiness and a hint of earth.Very rich flavored beer like chocolate devils food with the coffee really coming thru in the finish and aftertaste its like drinking coffee with a nice rich chocolate cake.A great beer will bring some south with me.

Photo of RoyalT
4.87/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – The body is almost pitch black and hazy, if that makes any sense. The head is just right; moderate with a careful pour and darkly tanned. It even left some film as it slowly receded.

Smell – Brewed with coffee, or coffee grounds? This is good stuff. The dark, roasted stout aroma has found its equal in the huge, coffee ground notes. What I find so appealing about this nose is that these are basically the only two smells that I can pick up. They dance the dance of lovers, that’s for sure.

Taste – Oh, man, if you love coffee and if you love stout, you will love this beer. Living in Seattle they sell coffee everywhere, and all the peddlers have their own interpretations of what they think is good. Well, this is good.

Starbucks should be so good. This is some of the best-tasting coffee I’ve ever had, but of course that could be because it is equally mixed with some of the best stout that I ever had. Move over Reese’s, this is the next great combination.

Mouthfeel – Bigger than medium but not quite full, this is so smooth it makes me salivate. The mouthfeel is pleasant as can be.

What makes this a 5.0 Mouthfeel for me is the flavor blendings that create nirvana in between the cheeks. The huge bitterness of this Stout rounds things to perfection.

Drinkability – Hath a more drinkable coffee-flavored stout been made? Me thinks not!

Comments – One good Bell’s deserves another. Last night Kalamazoo, this night Java Stout. What a treat. A treat that was made possible by feloniousmonk, so I have to give him props for this killer trade.

Photo of tectactoe
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a soft, velvety black color with a tan colored head that appears to get darker and darker as the beer continues. Head is big, fluffy, and lasts forever, however it leaves little lacing to speak of. Aroma is thick and can be noticed as soon as you pop the cap off of this one - concentrated with sweet and creamy coffee beans, roasted malts, and some deep, dark espresso at the tail end. Taste is more of the same; huge roasted malt body infused with roasted coffee. Starts off light, creamy, and sweet, then transitions into a darker, slightly bitter version of its former self. Toasted and roasty, up and down with some slight alcohol warmth hitting the very back of my tongue. Hints of black licorice become more and more prominent the more I drink. Hops don't make their appearance until the very end, but they are surely there; leafy and a bit ashy in character, they leave a nice trail of bitterness in the aftertaste that fades out with the sweetness in great harmony. Medium, silky body with an overall pretty low amount of carbonation.

I had this on tap at Bell's a while ago. The bottled version is not quite as good, but it's still a decent brew when all is said and done. Little pricey for what you're getting, though.

Photo of brownbeer
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours slightly oily, pitch black with a thin brown head that doesn't last long.

S- Aroma is deeply roasted, wood, bitter chocolate, smokey tobacco, leather

T- A tad sweeter than the nose implied. Well integrated chocolate and coffee. Finish is earthy with espresso tones and a subtle hoppiness.

M- Medium-full, milky smooth.

D- Full and rewarding. Holds up against some of the better coffee stouts.

Photo of weatherdog
3.57/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle poured into a 25oz. snifter

Batch 9375

It pours a cola colored body with a small mocha head that dies too quickly and ends up with just a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.

The chocolate and bitter black coffee dominate the aroma. After that initial wave there is a heavy roastiness to the beer.

The flavor is all about a heavy bitter black coffee taste. There is also a little metallic flavor as well. The roastiness and bitterness is too much for my preference, similar to a cup of Starbucks coffee, the beans are over-roasted to hell and the end product suffers because of it. There is a little residual sugar to counteract the acrid coffee but not enough.

The mouthfeel is smooth for the level of roastiness but it hampers the drinkability for me.

Photo of SIRIUS2
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours dark brown, near black, with a thin light brown head of only about 1/4" or so. No lacing.

S: Heavy coffee aromas - dark espresso and dark roasted malts. There is just a slight hint of alcohol on the nose as well.

T&M: Thick and chewy as it crosses over the tongue but not too viscous. Flavors are full and intense, with heavy coffee accents. There is a complexity that comes forth as it is difficult as both the dark roasted malts mingle with the actual coffee used in the brew. Making things interesting is the slightly more than subtle sweetness that comes through as well. Carbonation is light, adding to the overall creamy smoothness. Very nice. The finish is a bit sweet at first, with some coffee bitterness that lingers, mixing with a subtle warming.

D: This is a fantastic brew and it was highly enjoyable. The only reason I dinged it with a '4' is because one of these in a sitting is really plenty. I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in an impy stout or a Russian impy.

Photo of newk340
3.41/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

split w/ hu5om (received as a trade extra) in 6oz sampler glasses.

A: a nice black pour with a slight brownish hue, some slight carbonation and a tan foam ring.

S: burnt espresso beans/coffee grounds

T: a bitter espresso warmth permeates the mouth in a wave of fizzy deliciousness.

MF/D: a sizzle of flavor leaves a lasting tingle, carbonation offers a slight buzz on the tongue, though a little too coffee heavy for my liking.

Photo of skybluewater
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brownish black color. Smells better than some other Bell's beers I've had, but still seems off. Taste isn't bad at all, but not great (compared to, say, Kalamazoo or Expedition). Indeed it does taste of coffee, but (to me at least) it's that coffee that's been sitting in the pot with the burner on all day. Drinkable, recognizable as the good stuff you had that morning, but off tasting. Mouthfeel is nice, quite creamy.

Overall, this isn't a beer I'd buy again. While I'm glad I tried it, I think in the future, I'll stick to drinking Kalamazoo, Expedition, and Third Coast Old Ale if I want a Bell's brew.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.52/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 6624. The Bell's Java Stout pours from the bottle a deep dark onyx black with a full inch of dark tan foam atop the brew. No light is getting through thisn one!! Looks very appealing in the glass with some nice lacing. Aromas of freshly ground coffee beans are the first to hit my nose. Just like opening the can of beans in the morning. Underneath there's lots of dark, toasty, roasted malts and hunks of chocolate. Slightly smoky with a dollop of caramel. I just love the marriage of coffee and stout...I could sit and adore the aroma of this brew all day.

First sip brings a wave of viscous dark, roasted, smoky maltiness. It rolls over the palate with force, bringing along with it a healthy helping of freshly brewed black coffee. The tug of war between the sweet aspects of the stout and the bitter of the coffee work really well here. Rich and chocolatey, this is a damn fine coffee stout that is simply luscious and very enjoyable. So much flavor.

Mouthfeel is big and bold with a hefty body that's not at all afraid to assert itself. Small bubbly carbonation flows across the palate. Quite easy to drink. I really love coffee stouts but they are more of a treat for me. I don't think I could sit down to more than a few of these at a time. Had this on tap at the Great Lakes Brewfest and it's just as good in the bottle. Another Bell's stout...another wonderful experience. Well worth seeking out if you enjoy coffee stouts.

Edit: Just looked up this batch number on Bell's website and realized this was packaged on October 28, 2004. At almost a year old this brew is still amazing. I will have to try one fresh and then get some more to cellar!!

Photo of blitz134
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Half inch of tan head, fairly dense foam that tried to reduce to a thin layer but hangs out around the edges. This is pretty dark, basically black but some Coke colored liquid shows at the edges.

The aroma is pretty intense and I can catch wiffs of it from a couple feet away every now and then. The coffee is really evident and plays a key spot. It works in well with some dark roasted malts and even a bit of char. A bit of wood smoke even comes out. This is really nice.

Flavor has lots of the dark roasted malts again but doesn't present as much char as the aroma suggested. Coffee follows and the finish is the smokiness again. A little sweet malt plays a background role and peaks out every now and then. A touch of alcohol is noticable but you really have to look for it. Good flavor here though.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied. Not as thick as some stouts I've had but it still has a nice creaminess to it that coats the mouth well. Flavor lingers for a while. Maybe there is a touch too much carbonation that weakens the mouthfeel...hard to say.

Superb drinkability. Lots of coffee and dark roasted malts. All the flavors work well together and the aroma is really inviting. Pretty easy to put down a few if I wanted to and definately something I would pick up again. I find this somewhat similar to the Terrapin Wake-n-Bake stout I normally get down here. I think I'll try a side-by-side with my remaining bottle of this.

Photo of warnerry
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes. Batch 9992, consumed 1/29/11

A - Pours deep brown/black with three fingers of head with excellent retention.

S - Smell is deep roasted (almost overly roasted) coffee. Also, a bit of chocolate and earthy roasted malts.

T - Initial taste is slight bitterness from the the coffee and some faint hops. A bit of smokiness. Coffee is less intense than Founders Breakfast, but still the dominant flavor.

M - Not mouthcoating, but more of a medium mouthfeel with bright carbonation. Finishes pretty dry.

O - The 7.5% isn't really noticeable. Pretty easy drinking. Hard to not compare this with FBS. Falls short of FBS in pretty much every category, but still a well made and enjoyable stout.

Photo of Todd
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A cheerfully labeled 12oz bottle pours a lifeless pint of thick black liquid. Absolutely no head. Aroma is cold 1-day old coffee with an earthy, roasty, nutty background. Light twang, full, watery body ... and nothin' but more cold 1-day old coffee. Some more nuttiness, char and a spicy / smoky linger. Hmm ... and chocolate brownies as the beer warms. Is this coffee or a beer? Where's the half-and-half and sugar? Finish is dry with coffee on the breath.

If you don't like coffee, move along. Otherwise, this is a coffee/beer geeks wet dream! And a very intense marriage of the two. Not the best coffee beer that I've had -- it lacks balance and is a bit overdone -- but it's worth a try for adventurous / coffee lover.

Photo of marvin213
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark as the pitch, a lightly tanned head has impressive enough staying power. It's black like a java stout should be, and the carbonation seems fitting--it looks like another fine Bell's production. All the good Bell's we get down in the Carolinas, but only as an extra (thanks to NotCreative) do I get to enjoy this one. Looks like a Bell's Java Stout.

Really nice coffee smell punches thru the liquid. It's pleasing and soothing, just like the smell of strong coffee on an early Sunday morning. It lacks the chocolatey licorice and plummy fruit nose of other stouts, and that's good because it's a java. I'm eager to hava sip.

Absolutely solid, but a bit tamer than the look and smell might suggest. Truth be told, the beverage looks and smells like a 10+%er. The taste, a little more watered-down, is more aligned with the 7.5% identified here. I detect a hoppy balance to the coffee stout components, but not enough to think it an "American Double." The way I understand it, that means it should have a DIPA hop-edge to it. Perhaps predictably, I'd go for more hops and more coffee!

The bitter (hoppy?) coffee mouthfeel is fantastic. I figure you can't make a beer without water, but even in this top-notch, tasty beer, I'd like more of its active ingredients: coffee, hops, toasted malts, etc. I'm glad, however, that there are no fruity or otherwise sweet flavors on the feel. Like most of the Bell's I've encountered, it's exactly as advertised.

For any kind of coffee stout, it's relatively drinkable. Like real coffee, you don't want to guzzle it--and I realize that's not necessarily what drinkability means. Still, this beverage is probably better sampled with friends than poured as a single serving.

Photo of barhoc11
4.75/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Dark as a coffee stout should be

S: You smell coffee, not hints of coffee, but actual coffee. This is one of the best traits of this beer

T: Tastes like a nice smooth and dark blend of coffee and dark malts, its really a match made in heaven

M: Just as it should be, not too carbonated

O: This is my favorite everyday stout. I love the coffee taste so if that is not your thing, this beer is not for you. If you are looking for a good coffee stout, try this beer and you won't be disappointed, it is what it says it is.

Photo of Jason
3.86/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

Appearance: Fast to foam and slow to cascade, the big billowing tan head sticks all over the glass. Black as night with absolutely now light to come through.

Smell: Estery dark fruit alcohol, spent coffee grounds and roasted grain make for a slightly astringent aroma.

Taste: The alcohol stays hidden for the most part but there is a lingering dark fruitiness in the back which is pleasant. Lots of dark roasted coffee flavor, earthy and woody which complements the roasted grain character. Mild hopping provides just enough bitterness to balance some of the malt sweetness.

Notes: A solid coffee stout with just enough coffee flavor not to get in the way yet add something special to the palate.

Photo of merlin48
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep and dark, opaque, with a two finger tan head. Patch and sheet lacing appear all over the glass.
Good stout aromas, with dark, roasted malts, a hint of chocolate, and a pronounced, note of fresh coffee beans.
Mouthfeel is creamy and full bodied, with a mild hops presence.
Taste is heavy on the roasted coffee beans. A touch of dark chocolate, a hint of smoked almonds, and a vague floral hoppiness add a nice complexity.
A very solid stout, with a pronounced coffee character, as intended, with the use of fresh roast beans. Well done.

Photo of Billolick
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My wonderful wife returned from a trip to Michigan with an assortment of Bell's beers! We've never seen this stuff in NY, very exciting beerwise.

This one pours black with a dark beige head, leaving well established lace.
Aroma and Taste is of roasted malt and coffee, lots of coffee. Nicely bittered, dry and smooth, medium to heavy body. A different and well crafted brew.

Photo of warriorsoul
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to CRJMellor for this one of many Bell's offerings.
Jet black ink pours out of the bottle with less than 1/4 finger off light brown head.
Dark roast espresso in the nose with not much else able to poke its way through...well, ok...some dark chocolate thrown in too.
Taste is much more balanced than I was expecting...a strong coffee base but an equally distributed choclate flavor with enough malt sweetness to smooth it up. Hops are there, but very subdued...not bitter at all and I like it that way.
Mouthfeel is quite thick and the carbonation is divine....not sure how many of these I could throw back, but a couple is a no brainer.
Make room for another Bell's that delivers...if you like the style, this is a must try.

Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: black in color, 1/3 inch head, moderate carbonation

Smell: coffee grounds

Taste: big dose of pure black coffee. At the end there is a sweet sugar/cream taste

Mouthfeel: bitter start which gets a bit sweeter at the end. medium/heavy body, minimal carbonation

Drinkability: I could have three not six. This has got a near perfect coffee taste and what I envision when I think coffee___stout. Bells knows how to make pleasing stouts.

Photo of badbeer
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours out very dark, with a nice tan head leaving a good lacing and plenty of head stays on top. The name says it all, this one definately smells rich of coffee. If you don't care for coffee, it might be too strong, but to me it smells awesome. Taste starts with a bit of coffee, and then some sort of green flavor comes in, not strong, but I can only seem to describe it as fresh vegetables straight from the garden, then the taste shifts back into a bitter chocolate flavor before joining back up with the coffee for a choco-coffee finish. Med-high carbonation, thin little bubbles bounce around on the tongue, light bodied and pretty dry. Mouthfeel doesn't say Double Stout, says more Irish Dry Stout to me. I imagine this would be nice just about any time during the day, breakfast would fit in well with this, but it becomes a bit cloying by the end, one bottle would be enough. Definately worthy of a try and I could see myself having more, but probably wouldn't break my regular lineup.

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Bell's Java Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
88 out of 100 based on 2,937 ratings.