1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.
BA SCORE
88
very good

2,467 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,467
Reviews: 1,050
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 11.99%
Wants: 131
Gots: 175 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Bell's Java Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,467 | Reviews: 1,050 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of findlayfan
findlayfan

Ohio

3.8/5  rDev -3.1%

In sorting out the stock in my basement "beer cellar" (actually a c.1920 coal bin), I ran across three beers that I'd nearly forgotten and had been down there for about three years. I decided to take them in ABV order, starting with the Bell's (the others were Flying Dog's Gonzo Imperial Porter and Weyerbacher's Blithering Idiot barleywine).

The java stout poured jet black with a slight purple hue (no kiddin!) and a medium brown 3/4" head. The body was nearly opaque - the only time I could see ANY light through it was when I held my pint glass up to a clear 60W bulb and the filament showed through VERY faintly.

Lots of malt on the nose.

Just a bit of sweetness up front in the taste, with lots of molasses and coffee (of course).

Some lacing left on the glass.

Dry finish, with not much aftertaste (just a hint of bitterness at the end).

All in all, a pretty decent brew. The "average" drinkability balances the minus of the strong coffee taste against the plus of the complexity and well-concealed ABV.

Not a staple of my cellar, but I'd be happy yto give it another try, perhaps with a fresher example!

02-11-2008 01:59:49 | More by findlayfan
Photo of oakbluff
oakbluff

Manitoba (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +4.6%

Pours out a dark cola, with minimal head. Nose if a mix of sweet malt and an dark espresso. Taste- sweet milk chocolate, medium roasted coffee and slight bit of lactic sourness on the finish. Hops are also noticeable on the finish. Medium bodied and moderate carbonation. Drinkability is high and overall a very tasty stout.

02-10-2008 23:07:32 | More by oakbluff
Photo of yourefragile
yourefragile

District of Columbia

3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A: Relatively opaque black liquid with chocolate tones around edges. Hard pour results in a thick, small bubbly tan head that sticks all over the glass in a stringy web. Dissipates to a film with some clumps of small bubbles.
S: Coffee grounds, dirt, slightly nutty. Not much else in way of malt of anything else. Slight pinch of alcohol. If you love coffee you'll love this smell, but it's not particularly interesting.
T: Starts with a slight sweet, (hop) bitter taste. Body is very earthy, roast coffee ground, surprising dark fruit flavor present throughout, but not very strong. Coffee is strongest in the finish. As it warms up, starts to resemble a sweet stout more. Slightly hot with taste of alcohol as well.
M: Medium bodied, but slightly thinner than expected. Chewy texture and medium carbonation. Light metallic taste in the finish makes this a little more unpleasant as well.
D: This is a good coffee stout, but something just seems off to me. A little too sweet for my taste and a little too one dimensional in the coffee taste and not much else. Alcohol is also a little unpleasant in this. Would have this again but wouldn't seek it out. Nowhere near Founder's Breakfast but I think I still prefer this over Wake n Bake

02-10-2008 20:09:46 | More by yourefragile
Photo of prototypic
prototypic

Ohio

3.93/5  rDev +0.3%

Appearance: It's nearly black in color (no light coming through) with a thick, creamy tan two finger head. Retention and lacing were excellent.

Smell: Very rich espresso aroma. Chocolate malts blend well and give it a dark chocolaty aroma. Good bit of a roasted malt smell, as well. A faint hint of smoke on the tail.

Taste: It's very rich. Combination of espresso, dark chocolate and roasted malt flavors blend very well and virtually overpower everything else. In this instance, that's far from a bad thing. Hops and alcohol are unnoticeable. Slightly smoked flavor to it.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's medium bodied and well carbonated. I find it pretty drinkable despite the heavy coffee flavor. If you're not a coffee fan, it won't be near as drinkable. Nonetheless, I can't see myself drinking more than 2 in a sitting. Overall, this is a pretty fine beer. Highly recommended for coffee fans.

02-08-2008 02:22:04 | More by prototypic
Photo of PittBeerGirl
PittBeerGirl

Pennsylvania

3.98/5  rDev +1.5%

A- The body is jet black and is unforgiving even when held up to the light. An aggressive pour results in a very scanty head (less then 1/2 finger) that soon disappears. A very thin, dark tan collar is all that remains. No lacing is left behind in the glass.

S- Roasted malt is the first to hit the nose along with a ton off coffee. The nose basically says that I should be drinking this in the morning rather than past 11 PM.

T-The taste is much as the nose suggests. Initial flavor is medium strength and consists of rich roasted chocolate malt and coffee-with hints of a caramel sweetness. These flavors intensify for the finish and a sharp coffee bitterness is added. The bitterness soon subsides and what lingers is the taste of toasted malt, caramel,coffee, and the slightest hint of alcohol warmth.

M- Medium carbonation and mouthfeel is just a hair heavier than medium. The mouthfeel is not as thick as most from this style.

D- This is a nice, drinkable stout that I will have again. I was surprised that this wasn't a lower ABV stout-because it hides the alcohol well without being too rich. Job well done by Bell's

02-07-2008 04:32:31 | More by PittBeerGirl
Photo of SirChugsAlot
SirChugsAlot

Washington

3.4/5  rDev -13.3%

Thanks to pimpp for this one

A- pours a pitch black with a finger width of tan head that leaves a generous lacing around the glass

S- well it is a java stout. Smells of java with hints of chocolate and barley

T- Coffee flavor is big in this one with a semi-sweet chocolate hint and a hoppy after taste

M- Smooth drink with decent carbonation. the flavor lingers in your mouth for quite some time

D- I think i would throw this on the "Once in a while" list. Not one of my favs but worth a try for anybody.

02-06-2008 17:05:52 | More by SirChugsAlot
Photo of DavidEddie
DavidEddie

Illinois

4.1/5  rDev +4.6%

Batch 8216
Thanks to drunkmonk for this one!

Appearance - Black with a tan head and some sticky lacing.

Smell - Coffee, chocolate, and dark roasted malt.

Taste - Bitter chocolate, tons of coffee, and piney hops came out in the finish.

Mouth feel - Smooth and coating. Fair amount of carbonation.

Drinkability - Definitely good! Another solid brew from Bell's. Highly recommended.

02-04-2008 03:19:20 | More by DavidEddie
Photo of largadeer
largadeer

California

4/5  rDev +2%

Appearance - Black like espresso. A toffee-colored head retains for a minute or two and then settles into a ring, leaving behind a bit of spotty lace.

Smell - An incredible aroma of dark roasted, almost burnt, coffee is noticeable from a mile away. Closer inspection reveals hints of sweet toasted malt, dark chocolate and smoke.

Taste and mouthfeel - The burnt espresso flavor is very up-front, with notes of chocolate, toast and smoke taking a backseat. Body is about medium for a double/imperial stout, but this is right on the border between a regular stout and a double. A subtle sweetness is present in the background, providing a balance to what would otherwise be an exhausting dry coffee flavor. Notes of black coffee linger on the palate in the finish.

Notes - An awesome beer for people that enjoy coffee, but the coffee character is extremely prevalent. I personally like it.

02-03-2008 23:12:12 | More by largadeer
Photo of jbphoto88
jbphoto88

Texas

3.35/5  rDev -14.5%

Dark chocolate brown with a quick head that foams fast and then pulls a Kaiser Soze. Like that, poof it vanishes.

The coffee scent is immediately apparent even during the pour. I am not a coffee drinker but I can best describe the smell as old stale coffee. The kind that emanates from a coffee pot thats been left on all day. Slightly scorched scent with a little chocolate and malts in the distant.

Dominate coffee taste again but there are some sweet maltiness and some dark fruits as well. There is also a slight metallic sourness as well as a bitterness. Not a good hop bitterness but more of a java bitterness that kind of ruins the aftertaste.

This is a good beverage to take camping with you and have with breakfast. I get tired of the coffee flavor real fast and would not like to drink anymore then one.

02-03-2008 20:09:11 | More by jbphoto88
Photo of zdk9
zdk9

Texas

3.78/5  rDev -3.6%

A- Pours a pure black with half a finger of cocoa tinted foam topping the lucious liquid. Some light pocodoted lacing.

S- Roasted coffee grounds, top the smell catagory, like I'm putting my nose in a bag of freshly ground beans.

T- The taste is equally dominated by coffee flavor, but is considerably more complex. There is some sweet milky malt flavor. Some vanilla and slight bourbony flavors in the middle of the tongue. Not too much hop flavor which might bump it up some points, but still delicious.

M- Smooth and coats the mouth. The alchol is present, but not harsh.

D- If I was more into coffee I could probably drink this all day long. As it is, the flavor and smell are complex enough to enjoy quite a bit.

01-31-2008 01:15:55 | More by zdk9
Photo of wagenvolks
wagenvolks

Texas

3.7/5  rDev -5.6%

Poured on-tap at Village Draft House, Raleigh NC.

The waiter slid me a pint of stout with a seal brown body and a thick, creamy, burnt chocolate head. Retention was excellent, and lacing was everywhere...probably left some down my sides, too. The aroma was a bit faint, with some smooth notes of lactose, baker's chocolate, oatmeal, coffee, and earthy hops.

The flavor was more intense than I had expected. Abundant bitter, chocolatey, coffee notes paired with a boozy, warming alcohol presence that punished the palate. At first, the intensity was enjoyable, but the alcohol and bitterness began to wear on my senses. The body was uber-thick, viscous, and brought on a bitter, alcohol and coffee finish. Carbonation was almost non-existant. I imagine that if you poured a Dark Lord into a pint of Guiness, you'd end up with something close to Bell's Java Stout: thick & creamy, with an assault from the malts. Although I doubt I'll ever reach for one of these again, it would be interesting to see how a bottle of BJS holds up to a year of cellaring.

01-30-2008 19:04:04 | More by wagenvolks
Photo of EGledhill
EGledhill

Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

poured in goblet

A. jet black with a 1 finger head that dissapates quickly

S. dark coffee and bitter chocolate. Very mild alcohol smell

T. the bitter coffee taste is prodominant with hints of chocolate malts. very good pick me up

M. thick, almost oily mouthfeel on this one

D. Delicious dessert beer though i'm not sure how many i could have in one sitting

All in all it's a very good beer worth the try coffee fans will love this. also recommend the fuel cafe if you like this one

01-28-2008 05:25:31 | More by EGledhill
Photo of deltatauhobbit
deltatauhobbit

Maine

4.43/5  rDev +13%

Thanks to EGledhill for the chance to try this beer off my wants list.

Pours jet black, not light can get through, good size tan head that fades slowly and leaves lots of sticky lacing.

Smell has a heavy coffee aroma, pretty much masks anything else, not too complex but still inviting.

Much like the smell, the taste is highly dominated by a roasted coffee presence, malt and chocolate are more noticeable though. Very creamy taste and smooth, good amount of carbonation. Slight bitterness at the end, probably not from any hops but the coffee itself.

Never been a coffee drinker, but if coffee was like this, it'd make me a converter.

01-27-2008 23:38:18 | More by deltatauhobbit
Photo of MarkSCCOT
MarkSCCOT

South Carolina

4.1/5  rDev +4.6%

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle courtesy of stopbarking into an oversized wine glass.

A. Dark dark brown with rubylike edges. Tan head with minimal lacing. Carbonation hard to discern.

S. Beautiful rich coffee over a strong barley backbone. I was able to sit with this beer as it warmed from refrigerator temperatures to it's recommended serving temperature. As it warms some dark fruit character emerges.

T. Definitely a beer for the coffee lover. The malt is apparent in the finish and there are numerous complicated dark fruit tastes.

M. Very smooth and creamy. Thick chewy finish.

D. Hard to find here, but when Bell's comes to SC this will be a regular beer for me.

A Strongly crafted coffee stout well worth a try!!!

01-27-2008 17:24:08 | More by MarkSCCOT
Photo of HardTarget
HardTarget

Texas

4/5  rDev +2%

Bottle Inspection: Brewed with coffee, no other information, no date, no abv. nothing.

Aroma: Dark roasted coffee bean, dark roasted barley.

Appearance: Black with some thick ruby edges, modest cover of dark tan that doesn't really give up much lace.

Flavor: Rich in coffee flavor, the stout roasted grain is supportive but really stays back and lets the coffee do the talking. There is a sweetness in the finish that has a bit of toffee.

Mouthfeel: Slick, a bit oily, and mouth coating, takes a minute to slowly dry off the chops. Lower carbonation level.

Overall Impression: Another really nice stout from Bell's. Coffee flavor is at a nice level, strong but not bittering or overwhelming the beer. No flaws noted, clean, if a bit simple and straightforward. I'd love a dry hopped Russian Imperial version of this! (oh, it is listed as an Imperial, hmm, a bit weak in that category then)

01-26-2008 06:16:38 | More by HardTarget
Photo of BeerSox
BeerSox

Virginia

4.45/5  rDev +13.5%

12oz bottle into nonic.

Super dark with a one finger light brown head that lowly settles to a bubbly cap and rim, leaving behind a stringy wall of lacing.

The aroma contains roasty malts with a bit of an organic coffee aroma. A little bit of chocolate is also in there.

This is very similar to a strong coffee flavor, more than a beer. The Java flavor really comes through, as advertised. I feel like I'm drinking something from Starbucks (not that I go there that often). Full bodied. The finish is exactly like a strong coffee brew without a load of cream and sugar.

I guess if you're a coffee lover, or a java lover, then you're going to enjoy this one. Solid and complex. Everything in this beer seems to hit a good note. Recommended.

01-26-2008 05:03:18 | More by BeerSox
Photo of jscondon
jscondon

Massachusetts

3.05/5  rDev -22.2%

pours a opaque brown with a head the foams like crazy then diminishes rapidly to a little ring. my nose is toast but i can get a strong coffee aroma plus some burnt wood. this beer smells very earthy. the flavor of this beer was a complex but a let down. it is sweet up front, foams to a used coffee ground flavor and finishes with a hint of toffee and sweetness. i like the thickness of this beer and thought that the mouthfeel was nice.

overall this beer is tough the first few sips, it took about 1/2 a pint to overcome the coffee ground flavor, which i found distracting to the overall flavor. once i drank this for a while my taste buds adjusted and i found this to be a decent beer. not sure if i would get more, but it was fun to try.

drank this at cellar temp.

01-24-2008 00:33:33 | More by jscondon
Photo of Floydster
Floydster

California

2.9/5  rDev -26%

12 ounce bottle also received in a trade with pimpp, thanks for giving me the opportunity to try this one

Split with a friend tonight, poured into my Flying Dog glass slowly after seeing the size of the immediate head forming

Color was pretty close to black, small amounts of light did get through though, 3/4 inch light tan head that stuck around for about fie minutes, some nice retention, decent lacing as well

Smell had lots of freshly roasted coffee and ground up beans, super dark chocolate, burned malt, some maple syrup, and roasted barley

Taste was tons of coffee from the very beginning to the end, not much else going on until it got warmer, some rich chocolate flavors towards the end, needed some hops or sweeter malt to balance this out more, something just missing and I could not really put a finger on it, fairly one dimensional in my opinion, at least it did not really have an espresso-like bite, I would not have been able to finish my five or six ounces if that was the case

Body was thin, too much carbonation, taste disappeared quickly, coffee dominated the mouthfeel making it a little tiresome after a while

Could drink many more ounces of this stuff, tasted like I went to Starbucks and threw some stout in with a latte, maybe not the drastic but you get the point, ABV is fairly high but that is not as much as a factor than the heaviness of this beer

Usually a huge fan of coffee brews and this one was definitely not one of my favorites, needs to be more mellow, like to taste more beer than java if you know what I mean, not sure if I could recommend this anyone, glad I tried it for myself nevetheless

01-21-2008 07:21:21 | More by Floydster
Photo of GbVDave
GbVDave

Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a 20oz imperial pint glass.

A: Pours a rich, dark-black color. A vigorous pour yields a 2 1/2 finger head of a creamy and bubbly consistancy that's dark khaki in color.

S: Nice aromas of espresso, dark chocolate, dark roasted malt, some cinnamon, green hops, and cocoa powder.

T: Dominating espresso and roasted malt flavosr. As the coffee and malt subside, subtle dark chocolate, spice, hops, cherry, brown sugar, dark fruit, and the aforementioned cocoa powder flavors emerge.

M: Bitter! Bitterness from the espresso, dark chocolate, and hops. All this bitterness is tempered by a creamy milk stout quality that pokes out as it warms.

D: Very good. Unlike some of the other reviewers, I thoroughly enjoyed the espresso bitterness and I thought that if it weren't for that this might be considered rather pedestrian. A great coffee stout.

01-15-2008 00:13:26 | More by GbVDave
Photo of sfoley333
sfoley333

Brazil

3.98/5  rDev +1.5%

Poured from 12oz bottle (thanks weisguy)...Poured a black cola color with a thick tan head. Smells is an espresso, charred malt aroma with a little chocolate smell. It has a very bitter coffee flavor that not very well balanced. The mouthfeel is great and this beer is certainly drinkable for such a dark style.

01-13-2008 10:46:23 | More by sfoley333
Photo of ViveLaChouffe
ViveLaChouffe

Georgia

3.55/5  rDev -9.4%

Still more stout from Bell's and more beer from the trip to the Great Midwest...

It pours blacker than black with a thin tan head. Powerful coffee aromas, big mocha and bitter chocolate. Roasty but still lots o' sweet chocolate.
The flavor is dominated by coffee. Lots of mocha and bitter chocolate. Unfortunately, the coffee taste builds and overwhelms the beer in time. It's too much coffee for me. A lingering bitterness in the finish.

Outside of the heavy handed coffee, it would be an outstanding beer. Even so, it's still pretty good. In the interest of equal time, K (my wife) loves this brew.

01-13-2008 05:55:45 | More by ViveLaChouffe
Photo of shadow1961
shadow1961

Minnesota

3.53/5  rDev -9.9%

Bell's Java Stout pours a big creamy sand colored head over a black brew.
Carbonation? Who can tell- but the nose is ground coffee and dark toasty
malt. The flavor is intense black coffee (but fresh roast, not espresso) up
against sweet-ish dark malt, baker's chocolate, and a grass/herbal hop
aftertaste. Mouthfeel is full and round, but finishes dry due to the bitterness.
Definately a sipper, and just the thing if you're in a mood for an edge of bitterness.

01-11-2008 08:10:29 | More by shadow1961
Photo of johnnnniee
johnnnniee

New Hampshire

4.05/5  rDev +3.3%

Received this in a trade with Jay23, thanks for the opportunity.

Pours a solid black that no light gets through. Average pour almost overflowed my glass with head. We've got some carbonation in suspension here. Aroma is overwhelming with coffee. I also pick up some dried fruits and a bit of chocolate. If there was steam coming out of my glass I would think it was a flavored coffee. Taste is more roasted coffee bitterness with some creamy chocolate mixed into the fold. Creamy mouthfeel with a coffee bitterness in the finish. Solid double stout with coffee added. Another great beer from Bell's.

01-11-2008 00:40:10 | More by johnnnniee
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

3.38/5  rDev -13.8%

Appearance: Pours a black body with a lush, though brief, light khaki-colored head.

Smell: Lightly chocolatey aroma with a bit of molasses and the strong scent of stale coffee. There's a vague fruitiness there as well which doesn't really carry over into the taste.

Taste: Sweet, rich chocolate flavor with some sugar laced coffee. Then a roastiness arises and begins to build alongside an earthy bitterness. Eventually, the taste goes to burnt malts and scorched coffee, long ago abandoned in a glass pot on the burner. Starts off good but goes downhill quick.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Silky mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Decent enough, but outshone by some of the other coffee stouts available.

01-08-2008 03:51:34 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.93/5  rDev +0.3%

12oz bottle served at 50 degrees and poured into a pint glass

A – Poured a deep thick dark brown, essentially black and completely opaque with the color of oil coming to mind, although it did not pour as thick as there was some movement of this and it poured rather easily into the glass. A very nice three finger high head of brown colored foam quickly rose up over the top of it and gradually settled down into the glass. Once completely settled there remained a very nice half inch high layer of foam across the top which hung on until the very end of the session. Copious side glass lace was the norm with this one as the glass was almost completely obscured by the end of the session.

S – The aroma was rich with dark baker’s chocolate and an even dark French roasted coffee type of smell. This actually came to me very specifically and I could pick it out right away. Very nice deep smell as well, not overly strong or pungent as you had to get right on top of it to pick it out, but it was very deep and dark. As it warmed there was a subtle bit of sweetness that started to come out and was clearly evident in the overall aroma, a nice hint of caramel, and perhaps vanilla really serving to accent and bring out the rest of the flavors quite nicely.

T – The flavor itself was very good. An overtly coffee like tone took front and center stage on this one as you would have expected, but it was not terribly strong nor was it the sole dominating force in the profile. As it warmed up you could clearly make out lots of lactose sugar flavors and a definite hint of vanilla in the background. It was nice and decently complex in its overall presentation. The coffee notes merged into a dry finish that had the slightest hint of a bittering chocolate agent to it, but again was not overwhelming or dominant and a touch of a grassy like hoppiness to cap it off.

M – Very smooth and silky, I would have thought this would have been a bit thicker then it was to be honest. Now don’t get me wrong this was not thin in any capacity, but rather it was like a strong porter with a medium to full body instead of the thick as milkshake big stouts that I have been used to as of late. Very nice smoothness though and the carbonation seemed to really hang around for a good long time never letting it feel dull or watered down.

D – A very nice session stout would be the way I would categorize this one. The ABV was not terribly high and the flavors were rich but not over the top. It was just full enough to keep it interesting without being too much and having to make a meal out of it. I would have easily put down a few more of these during the course of the night.

Overall I would have to say this one was not terribly bad at all, and in fact was quite a nice little surprise. I really enjoyed that it was not too big and it was something I actually could enjoy without being overwhelmed. I would probably pick up one of these again sometime; it was definitely a good call.

01-05-2008 00:05:31 | More by mikesgroove
Bell's Java Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
88 out of 100 based on 2,467 ratings.