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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,392 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,392
Reviews: 1,047
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 11.99%
Wants: 127
Gots: 171 | FT: 13
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Stout |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 12-11-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,392 | Reviews: 1,047 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MIbeerfan


2.83/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Notes from a bar napkin:

Sampled at HopCat's in Grand Rapids MI, Dec 12.

Thick brown head and very dark black beer. Heavy coffee overtones, coffee overpowers all flavors. Very bitter aftertaste.

Not high on my list of coffee stout's. The bitter was too much for me.

Serving type: on-tap

12-20-2009 23:27:40 | More by MIbeerfan
Photo of elgiacomo


3.38/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle batch 9436, bottled Nov 10, 2009. Pours dark brown with a good-sized rocky brown head. Leaves rings of lacing on the glass.

Aroma is a big punch o' coffee. Unfortunately, not very good coffee. :( Some licorice, slight chocolate, and a bit of sourness round out the nose.

Flavor is of course big on coffee, some chocolate, caramel, licorice, roasted malts. Bitter coffee finish.

Mouthfeel is pleasant, medium to full with low to medium carbonation. Alcohol is well-hidden.

I like coffee stouts a lot and had high hopes for this one, but it isn't as good as others I've had. The coffee is very overpowering which hurts the balance, and doesn't smell or taste like the highest quality coffee either. More like day-old Folgers rather than gourmet beans. Granted my bottles are extremely fresh, so I'm hoping a few months of age may help mellow it out a bit. This review is based on my second bottle, about a week after the first one and it is better than initial impressions. The high price doesn't help either...

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2009 19:22:14 | More by elgiacomo
Photo of ScreamForMe


3.23/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Andrea for this extra! Poured into a tulip from 12oz bottle:

Black with definite coffee aroma from the glass. Head died down and left a good amount of lacing.

Coffee and more coffee. I didn't really detect anything else in the beer.

Drinkable for sure but rather unremarkable.

Next review!

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2009 00:20:26 | More by ScreamForMe
Photo of MbpBugeye


3.23/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Bodega in Columbus

A- Served in a normal pint. No real head. No lacing. The beer itself is pitch black.

S- BIG coffee smell. Thats really all I can pull out aside from some roasted malts. It smells like pure coffee grounds.

T- Similar to the nose. They dont call this java stout for nothing. Huge on the black coffee. The bitterness seems to come from the roasted coffee. The bitterness is mild but in all this is a well balanced beer.

M- Pretty smooth. Nothing special here.

This is a pretty good stout. Having sampled it once, however, I feel like I dont need to purchase it again. It was just a little too "coffee'd out" to make it an extremely good beer.

Serving type: on-tap

12-17-2009 06:57:03 | More by MbpBugeye
Photo of cdizinno

South Carolina

3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured into a stemmed glass from a 12 oz brown bottle same as pictured.

A: Black as night(similar to Bell's Cherry Stout) with medium tan head and moderate lacing.

S: Aromatic coffee grounds with mild roasted grains.

T&M: Medium to smooth. Lots of dark roasted coffee flavor. Extremely mild hopping provides just enough bitterness to balance some of the malt sweetness.

Much better than the Cherry Stout by Bell's. Would definitely like to try this one on tap.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2009 22:03:48 | More by cdizinno
Photo of ImusBeer


2.93/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured out of a bottle, very black with a tan head about a finger in size, died to just thin sheeting over the top, lots of lacing as I drank.

The smell was overpoweringly coffee, not much else. The flavour was the same, Coffee with nothing else that I could detect.

With no real bitterness but a silky texture due to coffee it seemed this was an OK beer. Seemed flat to me. Only problems too much coffee and no enough sweetness. Not very complex, I wasn't impressed.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2009 14:52:50 | More by ImusBeer
Photo of Onenote81

North Carolina

4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into my pint glass. Pours a very dark brown with some light ruby on the edges. No head at all with an aggressive pour. No lace, obviously. Scents of ground coffee, roasted malts, and slight leather.

Full-bodied beer here. Slight chewy feel. Moderate amount of carbonation. Flavors of coffee, cocoa, coffee, roasted flavors, and more coffee. This is the most coffee-forward beer I've ever had. If you are into that sorta thing, this is the beer for you. I liked it.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2009 05:03:25 | More by Onenote81
Photo of BeerFMAndy


4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Nonic. 7.5% ABV, Batch # 9363 (Packaged on Sept. 22, 2009).

Thanks to Sweemzander for this bottle!

A - Silky cascading goodness on a tall pour leaves this clear, insanely black beer with a giant three-finger toffee-tan head. Nicely retained and giant clumps of sticky lace all over the glass makes it a spectacle to see.

S - The nose is bursting with robust roasted malts and coffee beans. This is a breakfast beer if I've ever had one! A touch of smoke and hints of molasses and brown sugar add layers of complexity to this dancing cup of java!

T - Right off the bat the nose alludes to it being a heavily roasted malt flavor and the flavor sure mirrors that. In fact, it's a bit too roasted I think. The coffee flavor is mediocre and imparts a dry bitterness more than flavor. Some unsweetened chocolate adds another layer to the flavor as well.

M - Full-bodied and chewy with a bold, robust, yet smooth feel. The finish is dry and bitter from the roasted malts and the coffee.

D - It's a good coffee stout to be certain but it lends itself to the sipping category more than anything. Nicely brewed but I'd back off on how roasted the malts are if it were me. It would let the coffee flavor pull through a little more I think.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2009 21:35:11 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of Genghis22


3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours a nice jet black. A vigours pour resulted in a nice finger and a half of light khaki colored head.

S - Lots of coffee bean in there. I say bean specifically. Smell reminds me of crunching down on chocolate covered coffee beans, which leaves a very unique taste in your mouth. The coffee completely dominates the nose. Hard to pick up much else.

T - Coffee domination. It is that distinct flavor of coffee bean. The aftertaste reveals a touch of chocolate and roasty malts, but then the coffee comes back again.

M - Medium to full bodied, with moderate carbonation. A tad thin for a stout, but acceptable.

D - It's as close to breakfast as any beer I've had. The coffee is the star, so you better be a big coffee fan to enjoy this. In it's current state, I would say one and done. I am interested to see how it would age, perhaps letting some of the intense coffee flavor meld more into the beer. I would have liked it more if I could have tasted more of the beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2009 05:58:28 | More by Genghis22
Photo of Mavajo


4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark near-black with a brown fluffy head. Retains for a bit and settles into a nice foam. Moderate lacing.

Nose and taste are both loaded with coffee. Slight hints of cocoa and smokiness. But this brew features first and foremost one thing - coffee. Slightly bitter aftertaste, which is to be expected. Mouthfeel is thick and full and fairly creamy. Carbonation is appropriate. Enjoyable to drink, but quite heavy - you're not chugging this thing.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2009 01:58:01 | More by Mavajo
Photo of Cyberkedi


4.58/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma is just like fine coffee with a smoky overtone - hardly like beer at all, but most inviting! It pours a deep opaque sable, nearly black, with a very thick, fine-bubbled tan head. Flavor is rich and very smoky, maybe a wee bit too smoky. It has a tasty chocolate undertone and hints of toffee and molasses. Texture is thick, smooth, fairly tingly, and quite satisfying. Overall, an immensely pleasing stout.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2009 01:58:43 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of Reaper16


3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle served into a tulip

Pours as black as a working man's cup a' joe (I thought I'd get the requisite coffee joke out of the way). It is pretty much black. The head is tan in a boring way; its the exact color that you'd expect. There isn't much of it either. One finger or so before dissipating to a tiny cap. The lacing is not exactly there. It looks fine, and the darkness of the brew is attractive, but I can't say that this is "good" compared to its peers.

Coffee explodes out of the glass before you even bring it to your nose. It strikes me as a common domestic coffee-type smell. Other coffee stouts I've had have had an espresso quality to them or had traces of lemon or other fruit that would be indicative of Ethiopian blends. Bell's Java Stout smells more like a small-town doughnut shop that has Folgers percolating nonstop. (In fact, what I can't help but be reminded of as well is a certain area of Broadway in Kansas City, MO right by the Folgers plant. The smell of the street near that downtown roasting facility is what this beer smells like). There is a sugary malt sweetness, too (also somewhat reminiscent of the sweet bready smells in a doughnut shop). Whereas I would discriminate against Folgers, say, if up against better, local, fair-trade coffee I am not going to discriminate against Bell's Java Stout just because it smells like a lesser bean. This is good stuff.

Bell's Java Stout tastes just like you think that it would. Lots of coffee (again, it isn't any specialty blend. Maxwell House all the way). Bittersweet chocolate hits back of your palate and clings to the roof of your mouth. The roast character is not aggressive. It is plenty good. What its missing is complexity. Peche Mortel and Founders Breakfast Stout blow this beer away in terms of complexity. One reason why could be that this doesn't taste like a double/imperial stout. This beer is much more reminiscent of Schlafly's Coffee Stout -- a single stout. Even still, Schlafly Coffee Stout is probably a pinch better.

Mouthfeel is fine. You don't want even semi-aggressive carbonation in a coffee stout so as not to upset the coffee flavors and Bell's hasn't made the mistake of overcarbonating this one. The flavor is smooth enough that you could drink 3 or 4 of these over the course of an evening and be satisfied.

This is a super-solid coffee stout. I must take umbrage with two things: 1.) this isn't a double/imperial stout, imo and 2.) at $14-$15 a sixpack, this is incredibly, incredibly overpriced. I was tempted to knock the drinkability down because of the outrageous price but then I realized that I never do that with any beer. Those two things said, this is yummy. That's the most important thing. Seek it out if you're a coffee stout fanatic.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2009 03:05:56 | More by Reaper16
Photo of billab914


3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

Pours near black in color with a small tan head that settled down to a small covering.

Aroma is dominated by coffee but also has some bitter chocolate from the roasted malts.

Coffee is also the dominant taste, like the aroma it has some bitter chocolate flavors and roasted flavors as well.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is good if you like coffee.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2009 21:34:03 | More by billab914
Photo of fastsrt

New York

4/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bottle to sniffer
appearance : pours with a small brown head that quickly dissipates, looks of black coffee the carbonation barley able to keep the head alive.
aromatics: smells of old brewed coffee, roasted malts and toffee.
flavor: tastes of coffee and toffee. the alcohol come in at the end but is subtle, for being of higher abv.
finish: is smooth and leaves a pleasant coffee flavor on the pallet, the bitterness form the coffee and hops blend well together and there is a very pleasant after taste the makes the desire for another sip.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2009 20:23:05 | More by fastsrt
Photo of Xul


4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: 12 oz bottle poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass. Pitch black with ruby highlights on the edges when held up to the light, capped with a finger of mocha colored head that's rather quick to die down.

S: Coffee, backed by roasted malts and some bitter chocolate character. The aroma is a bit subdued, even after letting the beer warm out before opening it.

T: Predominant coffee up front, backed up by chocolate and some hints of vanilla. Balancing bitterness comes from both the coffee and chocolate, with a bit of hop character showing through. Alcohol reveals itself on the aftertaste as the beer warms but never goes beyond a subtle level.

M: Medium to just above medium carbonation, with a good creaminess. The carbonation could probably get scaled back a bit with positive effect but it doesn't detract from the beer.

D: Very drinkable, this would definitely be one that I could drink several of in a sitting if it was distributed to CA.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2009 06:19:06 | More by Xul
Photo of Lolli1315


4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- A dark blackish brown, not quite opaque but almost there. Big tan head that holds nicely. Gorgeous lacing. One of the better looking stouts I have seen.

S- Dark roasted malts with a splash of chocolate. The coffee aroma is also quite noticeable with a somewhat bitter chocolate smell finishing out the beer. There may be a slight smell of alcohol as well.

T- A bitter chocolate taste is the first thing to hit me with a much larger roasted coffee taste following. The bitter chocolate taste once again comes through in the taste. An almost nutty flavor seems to be coming through as well.

M- A nice, thick, chewy mouthfeel that I would expect out of a this sort of beer. Great for a cold night.

D- Easy to drink and would be even easier to put down one more.

Notes: Great beer, but I think that I enjoyed the taste a little more on tap. Unfortunately I wasn't able to write my review down so the bottle will have to do for now.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2009 00:39:49 | More by Lolli1315
Photo of Slatetank


4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks to tenderbranson69 for sharing this bottle - poured chilled from the 12oz into a 1/2 pint.

A - coffee brown w ruby hues -thick, creamy head of beige which coats the glass w/ lace

S - The smell has lots of green un roasted bean notes -roasty w/ creamy sweet malt undertones. Slightly nutty and vanilla accents w/ modest earthy elements

M - The feel is rich and creamy w/ mild sweet tinges and dry tannic notes w/ slight spiced and alcohol edge. There is subtle residual sweetness in the finish

T - The taste has dark roasted coffee w/ mild vanilla and a slight dark sugar taste w/ mild toasted dark bread and mild pepper w/ a slight sweet creamy almost chocolate flavor in the finish. The taste of alcohol is mild and only noted as it warms slightly

D - The drinkability is very high, this is a fantastic stout and has plenty of coffee flavor, definitely recommended for those who like coffee augmented beer

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2009 19:37:07 | More by Slatetank
Photo of apbarwood


4.55/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A deep, dark brown with a sandy colored head. Could have used a bit more head retention and/or lacing but it was good enough in my estimation. Smells of bitter coffee and dark chocolate. These aromas are present in the flavor profile as well and give the overall impression of chocolate covered espresso beans. The roasted bitterness is present but restrained and balanced to perfection with the hop bitterness. Light-bodied with a good carbonation and a nice mouth-coating malt presence. Definitely one of the best coffee stouts I've had. I'm not usually a huge fan of the style but I could definitely see myself having this one again. Once again, Bell's has lived up to their reputation. This is a definite must-try coffee stout.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2009 19:51:04 | More by apbarwood
Photo of Arbitrator


2.03/5  rDev -48.2%
look: 5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

An extra from a trading stud, KeefD. Thanks Keith!

A: Pours pretty much a pitch black in the glass, with a hint of mahogany translucence around the edges. The head is thick and cream-colored; retention is outstanding, and it leaves nice lacing down the glass. Truly a pleasure to see.

S: Espresso, roast, and... uh.... smoke. Specifically, cigarette smoke. Er.

T: While I don't like the taste of black coffee, I am beginning to appreciate its presence in stouts and porters lately. The roasted coffee flavor sets the tone here, but it's backed up nicely by a melange of chocolate and roasted malt. Great beginning. Toward the finish, it attempts to get smoky, but it reminds me more of cigarette butts than anything else. I have had a few other coffee stouts with this characteristic, so I don't think the bottle is bad; I think it's just something I don't appreciate.

M: Medium-full, with velvety and smooth carbonation.

D: I'm not sure what was up with the cigarette thing, but I think it ruins what is otherwise a pretty solid coffee stout. Maybe I'll try it again in the future.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2009 19:36:10 | More by Arbitrator
Photo of mikedashg


4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got as an extra, poured from a 12oz into a snifter.

A - Black, with a small light tan head that dissipated quickly, light lacing.

S - Fresh brewed espresso/coffee. Roasted malts. Licorice. Molases, a little smoky.

T - Similar to nose. Lots of coffee. Good amount of roasted malts, but also has a nice bitterness to it. Dark/bitter chocolate. A little earthy hops, but mostly coffee chocolate like bitterness. A little vanilla, smokiness and black licorice

M - Moderate to moderately high carbonation in the mouth. Surprised how carbonated it was by the little amount of pop/head I got from the pour. A little creamy.

D - Very good example of style, pretty complex nose and taste. Spot on coffee stout.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2009 07:29:35 | More by mikedashg
Photo of bamadog


4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review is from notes taken on 11/20/09. Poured from the bottle to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour is a thick, near black viscous fluid that comes with a one finger dark tan, creamy looking head that fades to a thin and uneven skim and a large polywog of bubbles; a firm wall of foamy lacing clings to the side; body is opaque.

Smell: Super strong; deep dark roastiness and even burnt espresso/coffee beans; nice hints of a syrupy bitter-sweet chocolate as well. My mouth is watering just smelling this brew.

Taste: Much like the smell, tons of a roasty malty espresso; a bitter chocolate combines with it; a very slight hoppy/earthy presence adds to the bitterness as well; very solid overall, a fine bitter stout; slight presence of alcohol as it continues to warm.

Mouthfeel: Pretty smooth and creamy -- some stouts seem to have a grittiness to them but this one feels pretty clean, actually; mouth is left with a bit of a coating on the roof and the belly is left pretty warm.

Drinkability: Nice flavors, near perfect for a cool night; rather filling and the ABV is a tad high for more than one though.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2009 05:56:58 | More by bamadog
Photo of trbergman


4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A - Black as night, with a thin lace of cinnamon-colored head.

S - A coffee lover's dream, with a heavy dose of espresso, some roasted grain, chocolate, and anise.

T - While cool, this beer drinks like iced coffee, but as it warms, more stout flavors emerge. Bitter chocolate, roast barley, anise, vanilla. Very little hop flavor, if any - perhaps a bit of earthiness - but assertive hop bitterness meshed well with the bitterness of coffee.

M - Medium body, gentle carbonation.

D - If you don't enjoy coffee, look elsewhere. For those of us who do, Java Stout is a must. This is definitely a coffee beer, not just a beer with coffee. Delicious.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2009 06:25:07 | More by trbergman
Photo of alkemy


3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Looked like I poured a cup of coffee into my pint glass other than the noticeably thicker viscosity and the half finger of dark tan head. Really has a coffee aroma along with some bitter chocolate. The taste is much of the same, although I felt there was a hint of chocolate brownies in there as well. Velvety smooth going down. I like strong black coffee (hot and iced) so this was right up my alley. I did notice some alcohol on the back-end, but nothing overt.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2009 19:46:42 | More by alkemy
Photo of BarrelO


4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Batch #9363, packaged on September 22, 2009.

A: Black body with a two-finger coffee-colored head.

S: Coffee all up in your grill. No subtlety at all. Not that that's a bad thing, mind you.

T: Major coffee up front, in the middle, and in the back. Also some hints of chocolatey and smoky flavors.

M: Not all that thick.

D: This was the first coffee beer I ever had. And it's still one of the best.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2009 05:36:16 | More by BarrelO
Photo of d0ggnate


3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured with a mud-like brown color to my glass. Quickly topped with a rich frothy mocha-tan head, but that was gone before I knew it.
S: Cold and bitter coffee. Slightly metallic while cold. A hint of hazelnut.
T: Like a mocha from your local coffee shop. Sweet and bitter together. Smooth milk-chocolate flavors.
M: Creamy, but less viscous that the beer appears. I could see as I poured it that this one would present like most other stouts, but lacked something in body. This deficit is palatable, but doesn't ruin the beer.
D: True to its name, Java Stout brings together the best of coffee and beer in a classic way. I found this one to be a great example of the style and wish it was readily available. Another good beer from Bell's.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2009 05:28:23 | More by d0ggnate
Bell's Java Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
88 out of 100 based on 2,392 ratings.