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

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

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very good

2,790 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,790
Reviews: 1,079
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 11.7%
Wants: 152
Gots: 262 | 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

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,790 | Reviews: 1,079 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of yeahnatenelson
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 9959

Appearance -- Pours a deep dark brown, nearly black in the glass with the slimmest of chestnut highlights, with two fingers of grainy, chocolate brown head. Splendid.

Smell -- The aroma of coffee is overwhelming. Very rich, like cafe macchiato, along with plenty of dark chocolate. Overall, very rich, but well-balanced.

Taste -- Similarly, there is still an abundance of coffee flavor. First morning's cup with cream, black patent and chocolate malts, burnt bread crust. Finish is coffee grounds and burnt crust.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-full in body with milder carbonation: my kind of stout.

Drinkability -- I'm inclined to say that this is the ultimate coffee stout. The coffee flavor is so rich and deep that no others can really compare in that respect. However, this also makes the beer slightly one-dimensional, so you've got to really like coffee for this one to make your day. Fortunately, I'm in this camp.

Photo of injuredreserve
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A; Pitch black with a thick mocha head.

S: Coffee, coffee and more coffee up front followed by chocolate malt.

T: Strong coffee throughout finishing with nice bitterness.

M: Nice carbonation and medium body.

D: I like it, and can easily drink a few tonight.

Photo of prdstmnky
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

*review from notes on 2/19/10*

Batch #9451

Dark brown pour, nearly black. Fairly aggressive pour leaves a mere 1/4 inch of creamy head, decent lacing throughout consumption. Strong nose, lots of coffee, roasted malts, chocolate, even a hint of vanilla. Lots of rich coffee flavor, with a nice coffee bitterness with a smooth, creamy finish. Nice coffee stout from Bell's.

Photo of tylernim
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pours a dark chocolate color into a tulip glass. I had to force a head on it, which dissipated quickly thereafter.

Smells of spent coffee grinds, a touch of malt, and a touch of chocolate. On the tongue it was pretty one dimensional. Spent coffee grinds, some bitterness, some malt, and a touch of chocolate.

The feel was good. Fairly light, with decent carbonation dancing on the tongue. A little lacking all around to rate drinkability any higher.

I was really looking forward to this. I'm a huge coffee lover. That being said...I found this disappointing overall. Glad I only grabbed a single.

Photo of daledeee
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A nice addition to the Bell's lineup in Iowa. Kudos to Bell's for making excellent beer that is actually available.

Poured this and got an intensely dark brown body with a dark brown robust head and nice lacing as I drank the beer.

The smell is very smokey and coffee.

Taste is probably the most coffee taste I have had in a beer. It is rather bitter but is sweet and syrupy at the same time. There is some earth and must mixed in.

Alcohol is apparent and taste is strong. A real sipper.

Photo of axeman9182
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle courtesy of StormKing47, batch 9451 which was bottled November 19, 2001, poured into my Duvel tulip.

The beer pours black, no highlights shining through at all. A 2-3 finger tan head rises up and lingers for a moment. Lacing and head retention are both decent, but overall I've seen a few more impressive looking stouts. Bell's Java Stout has one of the best/most potent aromas I've found on a beer in a long time. After pouring I could smell the coffee from halfway across the room (and we're talking a pretty good sized room to boot). Further olfactory inspection leads to the discovery of a fair amount of dark chocolate sweetness, though rich coffee is definitely still in the driver's seat. Each sip brings exactly what the nose promised, a healthy dose of coffee with dark chocolate making some noise in the background. I'd like to see a little bit more going on before I give it a better score, a dash of caramel, a hint of fruits, just something beyound the coffee/chocolate. I also am picking up on a little bit of a harsh bitterness, it feels like maybe Bell's extracted some unwanted flavors when adding coffee to Java Stout. Not to the point of being a real nuisance, but definitely noticeable. Carbonation is on the low side, but definitely still present. Perfectly suited for the style. Java Stout is impressively rich for a stout of relatively small size, very creamy. Java Stout is another very good offering from Bell's, up there with Terrapin's Coffee Oatmeal Stout and FBS as one of the best coffee stouts around today.

Photo of Frosty80
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Color: pours dark brown. sits black with a tiny brown rim and creamy light brown head

Smell: solid, but not overpowering, roast/coffee aroma with a little bit of chocolate

Taste: mellow roasted malt flavor with a hint of chocolate. light bitterness throughout and lingers well after finish. light alcohol presence throughout

Mouthfeel: medium-full body with medium carbonation

Notes: good coffee stout. not my favorite and certainly not as good as it was last year if i remember right and my taste hasnt changed too much. seems like they spared some expense on the ingredients. flavor came up a little short just like some of their recent stuff

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

Batch #9451, if I would have waited just one more month this would have been a year old.

Poured into a pint, this brew appears a very dark brown to black. Some ligher brown is seen around the edges of the glass. The head appeared a finger strong with a dark tan color that faded to just a thin film across the top.

Even after almost a year, this brew still has a strong scent of coffee in the nose. There is some strong heavily roasted grain smells included that push a bit of chocolate notes forward and in the background is a citrus scent that is not really an inclusion of the hops but more of the citrus tang that coffee can impart in a brew. Other hints of dark fruity esters are evident in the nose as the glass is swirled. As it warms, some sweetness comes out that was not previously evident. Overall not bad, I need to seek a fresh one of these out to see how much more intense the coffee aroma is.

The taste is dark roasted grain with a tangy front end that is maybe somewhat citrusy from hops but again there is that citrus component quite familar to the taste that only a coffee bean can impart. There is a very nice roasty bitter flavor throughout the body as well as a bold sense of the 7.5% abv. The alcohol comes forward not only with a warmth that wacks the back of the throat but provides a bit of fruity esters that were previously indicated in the aroma. As the brew warms, there is a bit of residual sweetness that really brings this brew home and balances it out. A long lingering aftertaste of coffee and dark grain hangs in the mouth.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. Overall it is quite drinkable and a good represenation of the style. Having this at nearly 1 year old has me wanting to go get a fresh one immediately. Give it a try.

Photo of 3FaveryRogue
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is listed as an imperial stout? Really? Enjoyed back to back with a Left Hand Milk stout.

By style:

Batch #9959

[L] Pours an inky black, very dark from bottle. Gorgeous looking, tight-bubbled tan head, which soon settles to almost nothing.

[S] Smell is a straightforward, cold cup of coffee. With a very robust coffee shop smell. Spent grounds. Slight cocoa powder.

[T] You guessed it: coffee. Very dominant; although it is obviously the focus point of the beer, for an imperial stout I find it to be a one-trick pony. It IS a BIG coffee stout, but it is no Expedition stout. The depth and profile of the coffee are great here, I can't argue.

[F] Thin to mild, with carbonation on the lower-end. The cofee bitter is similar to a cup of black "homebrew". Folgers or Maxwell house, maybe. I would prefer this to be a little more viscous; but a light body isn't a fail to the style, either.

[D] For an "imperial" stout, I find this very drinkable. Could probably do 6 over the course of a few hours, at any time of the day. Early morning? Plus side is that is probably has a good amount of caffeine in it, too.

For whatever reason, I find this to be a much tastier brew than FBS. Even though FBS seems to carry more of the body of an Imperial stout, I don't find it packs 1/3rd the flavor Bell's squeezes into this Java stout. FBS seems to balance in a bit more chocolate in its flavor than this one. Comparing the two, I wonder if BJS has any oats in the mash, itself.

Sounds like a good opportunity for a side-by-side. Maybe with Expo as a 3rd party.

Photo of drewba
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

A - jet black with a nice finger khaki head. A thin khaki ring remains with a touch of lacing.

S - Fresh roasted coffee, coffee grounds. A hint of vanilla.

T - Upon first tasting, my mouth is plastered with semi bitter coffee. The coffee is nice and roasty and has very low acidity - if you're a starbucks super acidic whore, you may be wanting more from the coffee. The finish has a touch of cocoa, vanilla, oats and a slight bitter.

M - The body of this beer with the carbonation is perfect. Tiny bubbles, so you have that nice creaminess with a fantastic, medium and not overpowering mouthfeel.

D - Because there is so much coffee slammed into this beer, it leaves your mouth a little dry and overwhelms the palate, so I'm good after one bottle.

This is one of those beers that is so full of coffee, I'm sure has as much caffeine as a cup of coffee , so drink it for breakfast, kids!

Photo of FreshHawk
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark mahogany color with a little above average sized, frothy, sticky, creamy, light tan head. Good retention leaving a thin, creamy layer of lace.

S - Very strong roasted coffee/espresso aroma. Some smokey and tobacco aromas as well. Roasted malt and dark, spicy and earthy aroma as well.

T - Also contains a lot of coffee flavors. Both used coffee grounds and strong espresso flavors dominate the flavor. Pick up some strong smoky, tobacco flavors toward the finish of the sip. Some roasted barley provides a background, but for a stout, it is not strong. Burnt flavors show up mid-sip as well. Maybe just a little sweetness, but this is overwhelmed by roasted, bitter, and coffee flavors.

M - Fuller side of medium body with a nice level of carbonation. Incredibly smooth and creamy feel with a nice slickness. Great body and mouthfeel.

D - Decent drinkability, but the strong charred coffee and bitterness gets to be a bit much.

Notes: Definitely a coffee stout. Coffee dominates with not a lot else coming out too strong as it just gets overwhelmed. Went back and forth about how I feel about the taste, deciding that in small doses, it's nice, but I don't really want too much. The smokey tobacco flavors are probably what really probably brings this down. The mouthfeel is excellent though. Worth a try, especially if you're a coffee lover.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Cakanator for this one. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Blue Point snifter.

A: Viscous pour yields a .5 finger thick, light mocha head that dissipates very quickly. Beer is an opaque, motor oil black. Lacing is stringy and cobweb-like with good cling but sticks very closely to the top of the beer.

S: The nose of this beer tells me that it means business! A huge rush of deliciously roasted coffee beans assaults my nostrils, smothering it, not allowing me to smell anything else. Subtle hints of chocolate and liquorice are just barely detectable but add a nice layer of sweetness.

T: Big coffee bitterness upfront that fades gradually into the background. Chocolate, cocoa, and brownie move to the forefront, sweetening this one significantly in the middle. Milky. Coffee makes a reappearance towards the end but showcases a slightly different side, with hints of roasted (pleasant) sourness. Finishes coffee with a roasted malt aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied with very little carbonation. Very appropriately smooth, oily, and viscous. Finish is subtle and aftertaste is filmy and lingers.

D: Definitely one of the more impressive imperial stouts out there, Bell's is really impressing me more and more with each offering. Perfect flavor and spot on mouthfeel, this one is worth seeking out and I'm looking forward to revisiting it!

Photo of Thorpe429
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a vet dark brown with a tan mocha head and a faint bit of lace. Nose consists mostly of coffee and roasted malt with a bit of chocolate. Coffee takes over the flavor win some dy roast. Between the coffee flavor and bitterness, I really like the feel. Not one of the best coffee beers, but a solid offering.

Photo of cetherid
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured into a pint glass.


an extremely dark beer. pitch black with a little tan head.


strong coffee. roasted coffee beans. perhaps some subtle bitter chocolate in there but coffee is the dominant smell.


same as nose. if you don't like coffee, you probably wouldn't like this. roasted coffee with a hint of bitter cocoa in there at the end. finish is a little bitter and dry.


medium bodied, with a decent amount of carbonation. a little tingle in the mouth as well.


a decent tasting beer but definitely not an A beer. maybe because I'm not a huge coffee fan, but something like Founder's Breakfast Stout is much better. This is a little too bitter, like it's straight black coffee. doubt I'd have more than 1 at a time. Would definitely have again though, preferably on tap.

Photo of LiquidCucumber
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark as the darkest of stouts with a small dark tan head that looks a bit meringue-y.

S - Coffee as expected, a little sweet cocoa and hiding behind the massive java smell is a touch of sweet malt.

T - Roasty malt well-backed by sweet coffee. A touch of bitter carob also comes up. The malts become increasingly chalky as it warms. It's quite sweeter than expected and could easily benefit from a chocolate variant.

M - Carbed a bit higher than I like but holds a medium to decently heavy body that makes this brew nice and rich.

D - Not bad at all. Very easy to handle for most anyone. I'd drink these all the time if I could afford it.

Photo of 321jeff
3.25/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 9363 - reviewed on 10/9/2010

Pours black as night with a finger of mocha colored head. Retention is good, leaving a thing layer for the duration.

Smell is of a bitter, earthy coffee and dark chocolate. Pretty straightforward for a coffee stout.

Taste is similar, all coffee with hints of dark chocolate. Coffee tastes a little stale, but this bottle is about a year old.

The beer is medium in body with plentiful carbonation, but as I swallow, it leaves a nice chocolatey coating around my mouth, feeling very similar to eating a piece of chocolate. Not the most drinkable coffee stout I've ever had, but it does go down pretty easy for a 7.5% beer.

Photo of PTMcB
3.3/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - It pour thick and malty. It's dark with a full two fingers of head. Even the head seems to have a tint of brown tint to it.

S - The smell is stout chocolate that tries to hide the coffee.

T - The taste is of little chocolate, tasty malt, and of heavy coffee grains. In fact, the coffee grains seem to be close to overwhelming. I recommend to have this drink very lightly cooled.

M - Mouthfeel is not bad at all. The head not only helps the taste but the feel. Though thick, it is a good beer to have after a light meal.

D - This beer is unique and I like it for that. I don't believe this is something I will have often, but when having a craving for it (probably rarely). All together it's a great beer to try, but I recommend getting a single bottle if at all possible.

Photo of Anthony1
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a big rocky brown head. Very evident coffee aroma on the nose. Opaque color. Burnt malts on the nose also. The coffee taste is not subtle in this beer. It meshes so nicely in this brew. I am not a coffee drinker, but absolutely love this beer. There's a bit of carbonation in this one. Besides coffee, I get toffee and roasted undertones. A great bitterness present from coffee and Roasted malts rather than hops

Photo of GoGriz
1.65/5  rDev -58%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Much like other people that have had batch 9462, I can confirm that this must be infected. I just bought this beer in Philly at the Foodery after having had this beer earlier from a trade. The one from the trade tasted the exact same way and though i didn't review that beer or make note of the batch, I have to assume it was this same batch. DRINKER BEWARE that if you want to taste acidic rotten brew...this batch is it. The question is will I ever get a proper java stout frm Bells? I hope.

Photo of stonelis
1.75/5  rDev -55.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Batch 9462. Poured a deep dark black. Nice tan head. Smells good, coffee with hints of chocolate. That's where the good traits end. This tasted awful! I usually love stouts. I drink cold espresso and coffee. I've had other Coffee Stouts. This was bitter and putrid. The only beer I ever poured away because I couldn't choke it down. I would be curious to know if this was a bad batch. I did notice one other review which mentioned this batch number and they had the same experience. If so shame on Bells for letting this out of the brewery. This rated a "D" because out of fairness it did look and small good but It should be a "F"

Photo of harpus
3.15/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours a jet black viscous body with no head, just a thin layer of dark mocha foam forms and falls quickly to a thin ring.

S: Huge aroma of coffee, roasted caramel malt, bittersweet chocolate.

T: Massive flavor of roasted coffee, malt and chocolate on the nose are almost non-existent. Sadly this is too heavily dominated by coffee/espresso to be considered a good example of the style, needs a lot more balance.

M: Medium heavy mouthfeel, nice smooth carbonation and dry on the finish, the abv is well hidden.

D: The mouthfeel helps this beer and as it warms it develops a little more complexity and balance, but overall this beer needs more malt profile and balance to make it a truly great example. Too much coffe aroma and flavor for me

Photo of jonvan04
2.15/5  rDev -45.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

I bought a bottle of this as part of a mix a 6 from Food & Friends on 20th & Spruce in Philadelphia. I must have purchased a bad bottle, it was from batch #9462. The smell was there, it had an awesome coffee aroma to it that I was very excited for. Until I tasted it. It tasted like a sour. I love sours, but not when I'm expecting a coffee stout.

Photo of JackieTH
4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Very dark brown/black with a a finger of medium density head that dissipated to leave a bit of lacing.

Smell: Very inviting coffeehouse aroma of roasted coffee and espresso. Perhaps a hint of mellow chocolate.

Taste: It's thoroughly java espresso up front, but not overpowering like a double espresso heavy french roast. Gentle chocolates make a fleeting appearance. Roasted malt and a subtle burnt sugar taste appear as one gets accustomed to the coffee bean bitterness, and is welcome. Mild lingering bitterness on the palate.

Mouthfeel: Medium heavy and almost creamy, moderately low carbonation.

Notes: Not overly complex but seems well balanced with hop/coffee/not overly sweet and because the espresso isn't in your face strong it's quite drinkable.

Photo of rebel1771
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a pitch black color with almost no head.

S: Rich aroma of dark chocolate with a large dose of roasted coffee.

T: Tastes exactly as it smells, dark chocolate with an espresso bite with a semisweet finish.

D: I was afraid this beer was going to be so overdone that it would be nearly undrinkable, gladly I was wrong. Very tasty brew that is pretty easy on the palate.

Photo of DrDemento456
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found a bottle of this at my Monroeville Gateway Grill for 3.25, pretty awesome since I didn't think I would be able to find it till this fall!

A - Pours a blackened color with no head probably due to this beer being almost a year old.

S - Roasted coffee greatness. The malts really play on the nose giving it a sweet yet bitter smell of java or espresso.

T - Mostly bitter coffee. A friend told me it was like the beer version of Folgers coffee which I can relate since I drink it from time to time. A really smooth tasting coffee flavor with little bite from any hops. Aged well.

M - Heavy to medium bodied. Enjoyed it as a sipper.

D - Well I will have to try a fresh one for sure to see if I can get any hops with all this coffee malt I sampled here but for the price it's a very good smooth beer. Nice.

Bell's Java Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
88 out of 100 based on 2,790 ratings.