1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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.
very good

2,558 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,558
Reviews: 1,054
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 11.99%
Wants: 139
Gots: 207 | FT: 10
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: 2,558 | Reviews: 1,054 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of zdk9
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

zdk9, Jan 31, 2008
Photo of wagenvolks
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

wagenvolks, Jan 30, 2008
Photo of EGledhill
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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

EGledhill, Jan 28, 2008
Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.43/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

deltatauhobbit, Jan 27, 2008
Photo of MarkSCCOT
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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!!!

MarkSCCOT, Jan 27, 2008
Photo of HardTarget
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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)

HardTarget, Jan 26, 2008
Photo of BeerSox
4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

BeerSox, Jan 26, 2008
Photo of jscondon
3.05/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

jscondon, Jan 24, 2008
Photo of Floydster
2.9/5  rDev -26%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

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

Floydster, Jan 21, 2008
Photo of GbVDave
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

GbVDave, Jan 15, 2008
Photo of sfoley333
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

sfoley333, Jan 13, 2008
Photo of ViveLaChouffe
3.55/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

ViveLaChouffe, Jan 13, 2008
Photo of shadow1961
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

shadow1961, Jan 11, 2008
Photo of johnnnniee
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

johnnnniee, Jan 11, 2008
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.38/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

ChainGangGuy, Jan 08, 2008
Photo of mikesgroove
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

mikesgroove, Jan 05, 2008
Photo of JugglerPeter
2.28/5  rDev -41.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

I bought this beer on tap on a cold day looking for a dark beer to warm up. The beer was served without head in a pint glass.

The color was not as dark as I expected for a stout, but it looked nice, had a nice roasted smell to it.

Then I tried it. The beer had absolutely no ballance. I like coffee and dark stouts, but did not like this one. I felt like I was drinking beer that someone had thrown ashes into. All I could taste of this beer was the roasted nature of the malt. I had the beer with a very strongly flavored goat cheese and mushroom pizza, and still found the beer too dominant for the food. If I hadn't just paid $5 for the beer I wouldn't have finished it at all.

This is the first offering from Bell's that I have been dissatisfied with.

JugglerPeter, Jan 03, 2008
Photo of gmcfarre
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Java Stout
12 oz bottle poured into Chimay chalice

A - Pours a very dark black color with a nice 1/2 inch dark tan head. Head never fully disappears, settling at a thin layer of creamy goodness. Lacing is very nice and remains for quite some time.

S - Smell is not very strong, but it does prominently feature roasted dark malt with strong espresso and dark chocolate flavors. Just a touch of alcohol.

T - Smooth and creamy with a lightly sweet and strong roasted espresso flavor. Hops add a touch of bitterness, but little flavor. Chewy molasses flavor with a hint of dark chocolate. Tasty.

M - Very creamy and full bodied with a nice drying and bitter aftertaste.

D - After a long day of epic skiing here in Crested Butte, I don't know if I could have picked a better beer. Refreshing for a stout with great flavor and appearance. Another winner from Bell's.

gmcfarre, Jan 02, 2008
Photo of Zorro
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Obtained in trade from WeisGuy.

Very dark brown colored beer with a good brown head. This beer is quite close to light proof but not quite.

Strong coffee aroma is the first thing you smell. Slight chocolate aroma but pretty much nothing gets past the coffee aroma here.

The taste starts out what else could it be but strong Coffee with a fair amount of sweetness. Chocolate comes on strong in the aftertaste. A pleasant smoke flavor appears after a while, basically "Charbucks" coffee flavor.

Mouthfeel is good.

A good beer with some qualifications, you MUST like coffee or you will hate this. Pretty much the THE coffee beer without any Bourbon in it.

Zorro, Jan 02, 2008
Photo of Tilley4
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I'm not sure that I can expound on any of the other reviews already given. Big, strong coffee taste and aroma. Jet black pour, no head though. This is a good coffee stout. I should be receiving a couple of Wake and Bakes in the next few days and want to compare the two.

Tilley4, Jan 01, 2008
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours opaque with a massive tan head. Nose is a roasted bean kind of thing with an odd perfume edge to it. Flavor is thick with a nice robust character. On the end I get a roasted edge and that odd perfume thing comes out. It is almost like liquid flowers, with leaves and stems along for the ride. At first this seemed nice. Then that weird flowery perfume edge was kicking in way too hard and it just detracted from an otherwise interesting beer. Nice to try for the first half at least.

RblWthACoz, Jan 01, 2008
Photo of SilentSabre
4.6/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured black like motor oil with a craggy, pitted, caramel coloured foamy head which left sticky lacing on the sides of the glass.
The smell was precisley what I thought it should be. So many coffee beers; stouts which claim to contain coffee or have some coffee-like nuance to them, so often fall short of my expectations and either have a really faint, or really synthetic coffee aspect to them. This smells like a soggy, used coffee filter full of coffee grounds, and little else. Absolutely divine. Hands down, the best coffee stout I have ever had. The taste, too, is very aggressively coffee-like. Upon taking a sip, it is simply bitter, black coffee from start to finish. If there are hopos present here, I cannot find them.
Mouthfeel is where it should be for a stout of this nature. I don't care about the 7,5%abv or the heaviness of this stout. I could drink several of these throughout the course of a cold, damp evening/night. This is a truly fantastic stout! Good job, Bell's, and many, many thanks to my friend BA Ding for sharing this gem with me!

SilentSabre, Jan 01, 2008
Photo of wedge
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque very dark brown color with a nice creamy brown head that drops to a sticky ring. The aroma is coffee as advertised...chocolaty, creamy and a tad ashy. Tasty sweet coffee flavor. Roasted malts and chocolate...very rich. Medium-full bodied, almost chewy and silky with a lightly drying bitterness. The chocolate becomes more and more prevalent as it warms.

Deliciousness. These Bell's people sure know how to make a stout.

wedge, Dec 31, 2007
Photo of ncvbc
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Man, this stuff is amazing on-tap! I just had a few from the bottle recently so it was nice to have that to compare it to. Pour was pretty black with a cocoa tan head with not much staying power. Smell was great. Rich, roasty malts abundant here. Taste even topped the smell. Fresh roasted coffee grounds that aren't as big as from the bottle. Chocolate plays a bigger role and also a hint of oatmeal. Also the bitter finish isn't there like it is in a bottle. Unbelievable. Mouthfeel is nice and pretty full. So damn creamy and like velvet on the tongue. Trying this on-tap was definitely a step up from the bottled version. Quite enjoyable.

ncvbc, Dec 27, 2007
Photo of LittleBreeze
3.1/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tasting Bell's Ball - Java Stout

Outstanding aroma. The smell alone is a "pick me up."

Strong bitter coffee. Not enough chocolate or malty love to balance.
I enjoy coffee and coffee stouts. I did not enjoy this stout. It may have been to bitter on the back end for my taste.

LittleBreeze, Dec 21, 2007
Bell's Java Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
88 out of 100 based on 2,558 ratings.