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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

2,672 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,672
Reviews: 1,066
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 11.99%
Wants: 146
Gots: 230 | FT: 11
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: 2,672 | Reviews: 1,066 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of blackdog1101
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a shaker pint.

A- Pours black into the glass with a short lived 2 finger head. No lace retention on the glass.

S- Smells of black coffee and malt. Also some background chocolate notes.

T- During the first half of the glass I felt like I was drinking a coffee soda due to the sweetness and carbonation. Later in the glass I felt more like I was drinking a stout, since the carbonation subsided. Overall the tastes of black coffee and chocolate are nice. This is a very sweet beer.

M- To me this seems a bit thin, and early on it seemed over-carbonated. As I said, it seems like a soda. If this were a bit thicker and had less carbonation I think it would be a lot nicer. I'm liking the second half of the glass better than the first.

D- This is a good beer, but not as full-bodied as I hoped. I like coffee and stouts, so I had hoped I would really like this. For the price I think I probably won't buy this very often.

blackdog1101, Dec 27, 2009
Photo of mklinger
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass. Looks like a nice, typical stout. Not such a durable head as you might hope but a fine looking stout anyway.

Aroma was full of coffee -- just rich & full of coffee aroma. I've had a bunch of coffee stouts but this one smells like I just stuck my face into a freshly roasted bag of beans -- fresh, not brewed beans.

Taste is overwhelmingly of fresh coffee beans. Where this was a big plus for the aroma, the degree to which it overwhelms all else is a bit of a minus here. It is really a great coffee flavor, though -- better than any other I've had.

Mouthfeel was a bit thin I thought. Drinkability was fine but not awesome. The strength of the coffee character was a bit too much.

mklinger, Dec 27, 2009
Photo of CMW
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a very, very dark brown. There is a large tan head that has good retention.

S - Smells of coffee, roasted malt and chocolate.

T - Very similar to the nose. Coffee and roasted malt flavors come through first and the finish has a dark chocolate bitterness that brings the flavors together.

M - Nice and fluffy, medium body.

D - While I like the taste, the sweetness may preclude me from drinking more than one. Good beer though.

CMW, Dec 23, 2009
Photo of avalon07
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a jet black color and a totally opaque consistency. There was an inch of creamy, tan-colored, very long-lasting head and excellent lacing. One of the best-looking Imperial Stouts I've seen.

S: A big aroma of coffee (or espresso), malt and hints of chocolate.

T: Coffee is the big component here, more than anything else. Also tastes of roasted malt and a little chocolate. Not what you would call overly complex, but very bold and flavorful.

M: A good amount of carbonation and a dry finish. Full-bodied.

D: Definitely, a drinkable beer. Very straightforward and powerful.

avalon07, Dec 21, 2009
Photo of Urbancaver
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- A very dark coffee colour with lots of frothy brown head that sticks around for quite a while...

Aroma- Smells like a startbucks black coffee... a bit burnt

Taste- Tastes like it smells.. the coffee flavour hits you hard and doesn't yield any complexity. There is a bitter kick at the end of each sip that doesn't sit quite right with me. After a few drinks there is a bit of creaminess that seeps through but that bitter kick hangs in there

Mouthfeel- Nice and creamy, thick feel.

Drinkabilit-: all I have to say here is I wish it didn't taste like burnt starbucks :(

Urbancaver, Dec 20, 2009
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.

MIbeerfan, Dec 20, 2009
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...

elgiacomo, Dec 20, 2009
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!

ScreamForMe, Dec 18, 2009
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.

MbpBugeye, Dec 17, 2009
Photo of cdizinno
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.

cdizinno, Dec 15, 2009
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.

ImusBeer, Dec 15, 2009
Photo of Onenote81
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.

Onenote81, Dec 14, 2009
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.

BeerFMAndy, Dec 13, 2009
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.

Genghis22, Dec 12, 2009
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.

Mavajo, Dec 12, 2009
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.

Cyberkedi, Dec 09, 2009
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.

Reaper16, Dec 08, 2009
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.

billab914, Dec 06, 2009
Photo of fastsrt
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.

fastsrt, Dec 06, 2009
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.

Xul, Dec 04, 2009
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.

Lolli1315, Dec 04, 2009
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

Slatetank, Nov 29, 2009
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.

apbarwood, Nov 28, 2009
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.

Arbitrator, Nov 25, 2009
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.

mikedashg, Nov 24, 2009
Bell's Java Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
88 out of 100 based on 2,672 ratings.