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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

2,794 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,794
Reviews: 1,079
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 11.7%
Wants: 151
Gots: 263 | 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: 2,794 | Reviews: 1,079 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mothman
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Stub and Herbs

Served in a goblet.

Tan head. Very black in color. Left some splattered lace.

Aroma: fresh strong coffee, chocolate, big roasted malt flavor.

Taste: Huge fresh strong coffee taste, roasted malts, fresh earthy hop profile, chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, smooth. I like it. Full bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Ends with a coffee flavored clean aftertaste.

Overall, A great beer and I will definitely be buying some bottles of this one if I have a chance. Very drinkable with an awesome coffee flavor.

Photo of spointon
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this one from a 12oz brown bottle into a tulip pint glass.

A= This stout poured nearly black with a few faint hints of brown around the edges. The head rose a good 1" and then slowly settled to a substantial cap. Some nice lacing left behind on my glass. Good show so far.

S= I found aromas of dark roasty malts, coffee, and a sweet nutty/fruity character deep within. Not overly aromatic, but certainly enough to keep me interested.

T= Started off with lots of coffee and dark roasted malts playing nicely together. A bit of caramel and toffee soon made an appearance, as did a hint of chocolate. The hops were pretty non-existent, but the bitterness from the roast made this a pretty balanced ale. Some dark ripe fruit crept in midway and then disappeared just as quietly. Finished dried a bit but remained fairly balanced.

MF= Heavy side of medium bodied. The carbonation was crisp without being overdone.

D= I loved this beer and will be grabbing another six pack soon. Very flavorful and easy to drink, with the ABV staying well hidden. Highly recommended.

Photo of sweemzander
4.43/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter glass. Batch #9363

(A)- Pours thick and dark black. Produced a huge & thick tan head of massive volume that has ridiculous retention. It is still present after 5 minutes. Left behind tiny bits of foam as it dissipated and was consumed.

(S)- Freshly brewed dark roasted coffee with a light hazelnut nuttiness. Lightly dusted cocoa & subdued brown sugar that might even have a light smokiness to it.

(T)- Tons upon tons of dark roasted coffee. More bitter than sweet. This has some serious coffee flavors. Dry & nutty with hints of a caramel-ish to molasses themed malts. Only gets better as it warms up. Great roasted coffee profile. Has some cocoa in there amidst the molasses nuance. There is even a hint of cinnamon/nutmeg underneath the roasted coffee, but it could just be the nutty caracteristic.

(M)- Has a great balance to it. Simple but complex in how the flavors are layered upon one another; not all at once. Robust and dry with a touch of bitterness; just the way a black cup 'o joe should be! Great carbonation level and alcohol integration.

(D)- This is for serious coffee drinkers, if you dont like your coffee strong or black then you might not like this as much as I do. Nonetheless, this is fantastic. Well balanced with no fancy frills or a ridiculously high abv, just a well-made beer that I would gladly drink any saturday morning; especially in the dead of winter. Will definitely be picking up more of this.

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

Pours slightly oily, pitch black with a thin brown head that doesn't last long.

S- Aroma is deeply roasted, wood, bitter chocolate, smokey tobacco, leather

T- A tad sweeter than the nose implied. Well integrated chocolate and coffee. Finish is earthy with espresso tones and a subtle hoppiness.

M- Medium-full, milky smooth.

D- Full and rewarding. Holds up against some of the better coffee stouts.

Photo of TheViolator666
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into snifter.

Batch 9375 bottled on September 29th, 2009.

A: Pours opaque black with a small one-finger light brown head that dissipates to a thin soft cap. No signs of lacing.

S: Smells of dark roasted/burnt coffee malts. A hint of rich dark chocolate and earthy hops.

T: Tastes very similar to the smell. Roasted and burnt coffee malts mostly, and a finish that has a bit of chocolate and some earthy hops. The hops provide a bit of bitterness that adds to the very rich bitterness of the coffee.

M/D: It has a nice mouthfeel, with a decent amount of carbonation. Goes down with a bit of a bite from the alcohol.

Overall, tastes like a slightly toned down version of Founders Breakfast Stout.

Photo of paco1029384756
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with two fingers of tan head.

Scent of coffee, chocolate and roasted malts. Not very complex, but good, and with a nice strength that is not overbearing.

Taste of coffee, grassy hops, grain, roasted malts, and chocolate. Coffee flavor dominated everything else here, but is not too roasted, a quality coffee flavored Stout.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a fairly strong bite of carbonation.

Photo of homebrew311
4.24/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: pours a deep brownish black with a tan head that dissipates to a slight ring that sticks through out. appears very thick and silky

S: ever smell a fresh bag of ground gourmet coffee? That is what this smells like. it is ALL coffee. I drink a lot of great coffee, and this beer smells bolder than some of those. The smell is so bold, I even smell a really deep strong smell that I can only relate to leather or rubber... that may sound weird, but I assure you that it is in a good way

T: like the nose, there is an absolute assault of coffee. This is the heaviest coffee flavor I have experienced in a beer, even more than FBS which is surprising. There is some chocolate sweetness to go along with the coffee, but honestly, if I drank this blind, I may mistake it for a black iced coffee with carbonation. You better like coffee to enjoy this one. I do, so this beer is divine.... even if it lacks balance.

M: Medium to heavy body with a velvety mouthfeel. Medium carbonation.

D: Be careful, if you drink more than a few in an evening, you may never get to sleep. This one certainly delivers a caffeine jolt! This is rich, sweet, and awfully tasty...but not suited for a session. A little pricey too.

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz received a long while back from Redwood21 (I tip my hat and bow to the Godfather) in the LNBA BIF.. Thanks David!! I've been try to clear out some of my older brews and found this one.

Poured into MNFG. 2 finger brown head good lacing... the brew is black.

The nose still has plenty of coffee notes surprisingly.. makes me think of a Flying M Americana... coffee for sure and some dry cocoa...

Flavor is pretty nice.. plenty of coffee beans take place of the expected roasty maltiness... a bit of milky sweetness helps tie things together for me.. pretty rich for such a low ABV "big stout". The mouthfeel is pretty creamy.

I cracked this one expecting the coffee characteristics to be pretty much gone, but I am very pleasantly surprised..

I've had this one a bunch of times over the years and always thought the roasty char was too much combined with the acidity of the coffee.. well... I like this and maybe it just needs a bit of time to round out... Had I known it was gonna be this good, I probably would have waited and shared it with the Boise crew... Thanks again David!!

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

Presentation: 12 oz bottle into a nonic. 9375 stamped on the back.

A- Very deep mahogany/borderline black, and nearly opaque. Sturdy pour yields ~1/2 finger of brown head, which fades into a thin, oily film and a few bubbles for a cap.

S- Roasted, pungent coffee. Perhaps some chocolate notes floating around.

T- Robust black coffee meets dark chocolate with a splash of malty sweetness. Accompanied by the acidic bitterness that one would expect from the dominant black coffee, and slightly notable alcohol notes.

M- Moderate carbonation with a moderately full feel. A certain amount of expected astringency, yet fairly smooth going down.

D- Very good. Surprisingly easy drinking for an IS.

Future outlook: If you don't like bold coffee flavor, you won't like this coffee stout. I happen to be a coffee fiend...so I like this stout, and am happy to have nabbed a sixer.

Photo of jt31914
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle:

A: 1 finger foam appears - head retention is good; dark coffee color with little rising carbonation.

S: Strong coffee char smell - very consistent.

T: Strong, frothy, and creamy coffee taste - very smooth and crisp. Strong, but not overwhelming. Wonderful coffee beer.

D/M: Refreshing and smooth, I had one bottle and immediately was ready for another.

Great beer one of my new favorites.

Photo of jdg204
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ever since I had (and loved) Kalamazoo Stout, I've been on a mission to try all Bell's Stouts. I found (and loved) Double Cream a few weeks ago and now the good folks at Abe's Cold Beer just pulled in the first Java of the season!

A: Pours a pitch black color with a reasonably thick dark tan head which left good lacing.

S: Dry, charred coffee notes.

T: Starts out with a bitter, dark roasted/ charred coffee flavor which overpowers all the other traits.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

D: Another solid brew from Stouts but not quite up to their high standards. This beer was pretty much just really dark roasted (charred) coffee with a pretty eh aftertaste, no depth or complexity here. I've also enjoyed other Coffee Stouts a lot more (Jahva, Depth Charge) as this just didn't wow me. If you love dark roasted coffee, you'll probably enjoy this brew like me, but don't expect to get your socks knocked off. Still excited for Expedition Stout in a few weeks!

Photo of heliosphann
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased locally. Batch 9363. Served in a Pint glass while watching the Colts put up another W!

A: Very small amount of mocha head. Fades quickly and hangs around the edge of the glass. Pours very dark, but not quite pitch black. There's a little reddish brown on the fringe. Lacing is pretty good.

S: Strong, but pleasant roasted coffee smell. A little bit of dark chocolate and a splash of vanilla. Not overtly complex, but very nice.

T: Rich, black coffee with some roastiness. Bitterness from the coffee is there, but it's not too extreme. Some dark malts are also in the mix and there's a hint of vanilla lurking about. Finish is slightly sweet, with a nice chocolaty aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied. Feels a bit on the thin side. Carbonation is low, but that's acceptable in this style

D: I was surprised how fast this one disappeared. At 7.5%, you could easily drink a few of these. The coffee bitterness is low, so it doesn't really beat up the palate.

Nice to see Bell's bring back this seasonal offering. A very solid coffee stout, even if it is pretty straight forward. Not my favorite, but far from the worst I've had.

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

Black and opaque, topped with a creamy coffee stained head. Head measures a finger and a half but sticks around for a while. Rather impressive lacing left behind.

Aroma is deep and dark. Dark roasted coffee aroma comes from the delicious Sumatra roast from Water Street in Kalamazoo. I tell you I love this coffee on its own but you put it in beer and it is so much better. Rich roasted malt with a slight char weaves its way into the intense coffee aroma.

With one smell you should be more than aware what you is ahead of you. Heavy coffee flavors pair with a deep roast malt and rich chocolate flavors.

Mouthfeel is rather smooth and quite creamy. Medium to full body with adequate carbonation.

Drinkability is off the charts. Fantastic brew. I am glad to see this back as a rotating seasonal. Mighty tasty and easy to drink.

Photo of pzrhsau
4.02/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Nice opaque brown color with a sizable head.
Smell: It has a really nice coffee scent that blends well with the roasted malt smell of the beer.
Taste: I felt like I was drinking an iced coffee. It was a nice hint at the end but this beer took the term roasted to another level.
Drinkability and Mouthfeel: Its a stout, so its going to be harder to drink a lot of these. It was very thick but had a good subtle carbonation that I didn't notice at first. Overall, I thought this was the consummate coffee drinkers beer.

Photo of Beejay
4.53/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black. Quite Black. The head on this is killer. Like cappuccino foam, thick, soft tan in color. Very pretty.

S: Coffee, coffee coffee, chocolate. And coffee.

T: That's a lot of coffee flavor. The taste reminds me of a well made coffee ice cream. Roasty and delicious without a huge bitter kick. This is fantastic.

M: Creamy, thick and luscious. Soothes as it goes down.

D: Man this is a great beer all around. I am very impressed. I saw this in the store and thought I would try it on a whim, thinking it would be about average, but man it is way better than that!

Photo of hosehead83
4.44/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass
Dark, obsidian pour, thick, tan, oatmeal-like head
Aroma-You can smell it as soon as it leaves the bottle-Strong, almost burnt roasted coffee
Taste-Big, black, burnt coffee and bitter dark chocolate-dry finish
Overall-Excellent coffee flavor and aroma-strong and black
A must for coffee-stout lovers

Photo of tai4ji2x
4.23/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thanks to i believe either akorsak or vwcraig for this, one of my early trades.

12oz bottle w batch code 7706 (bottled in oct 2006). tasted in late may 2009. poured into tulip.

black, almost opaque. hints of brown under the light. 2-finger tan head, eventually fades to wisps and ring, plus suds. some splotchy but relatively consistent lacing.

aroma: coffee and roast malts w touch of fruity acidity. hints of chocolate. earthy and leafy hops in back, mixing w roasted malt and coffee tones. trace vanilla.

taste: coffee and roasted malts again. caramel notes. light acidity, seemingly from either the coffee or the mash, but still a hint of fruitiness too (fresh plum?) coffee, roast and hops give earthy tones and a solid, bold, yet not overpowering bitterness. nutty in the finish, with more hints of coffee. treacle? paradox of simple and complex.

medium body, smooth, w acidity and astringency in the finish. mild to moderate carbonation is tingly upfront, and helps with creaminess.

Photo of kegger22
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a thick, dark brown with a generous head that quickly dissipated to a collar The aroma was coffee with chocolate in the back. The taste was true to the aroma with coffee and chocolate, both bitter and sweet made their presence known. The feed was full bodied and oily, with very little carbonation. Drinkability was good for a big, fat, imperial stout. An excellent stout, more than holding it's own in a very competitive category.

Photo of PDXHops
2.8/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to brewdan for this 12 oz bottle, poured into a tulip.

Not much to look at, although looks can certainly be deceiving. 1/2 finger of tan head disappears within a minute or so. Near black body, little lacing.

Yesterday's coffee (still sitting cold in the pot) is the primary aroma, with hints of roasted malt and bittersweet chocolate to make it a bit more appealing.

More lively in the mouth, with burnt malt, bakers chocolate and chocolate chips, but the old coffee taste dominates, and not in an entirely pleasant way. A bit of hoppy sting in the swallow. Medium-thick body with a rather fluffy feel. Quite coating, although the old coffee isn't what I really want sticking to my palate.

Overall impression: Too much old coffee flavor, not a beer I'd seek out.

Photo of dukedevil0
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a single at Total Wines in Fort Myers, FL. Batch code 8315.

A: Pours a very nice looking dark dark brown/black (really only brown at the edges) with a couple of fingers of chocolately mocha colored head that laces the glass as it settles down to a light film of bubbles.

S: Seriously this smells awesome. Scents of chocolate, fresh black coffee, almost like a mocha or latte from Starbucks, roasted malts, slight vanilla

T: A little more roasty bitterness comes out in the flavor, but not to the point where it overwhelms like a lot of imperial stouts do. The flavor is tasty, but not as complex as the smell was leading me to believe it would be. Tastes like mellow roasted malts, chocolate, fresh black coffee with a slight bit of sweetness. The more I drink the more I pick up a tiny amount of dark fruitish characteristics in there.

M: Surprisingly creamy, thick feeling and full bodied since the pour and appearance looks somewhat thin. The actual liquid itself is thinner than I'd prefer in a RIS, but I think the carbonation is spot on which compensates and brings out the creaminess in the mouthfeel.

D: Really liking this beer. It's not a BIG imperial stout, but if you were looking for more of a session imperial stout, I think this would be pretty darn spot on. The flavor is really tasty, there's no alcohol picked up, it's thin enough to drink a lot of, but thick enough to coat your mouth. I will definitely pick some more of this up just to have around if I see it in the future.

Photo of washburnkid
4.23/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed in grandpa's snifter. When I cracked open this bottle, I was surprised at how loud the fizzle was!

A: A good finger of bubbly, tan head. Brew is jet black with no light pulling through. A ring of head retains and there is some lacing left behind on the snifter.
S: Toasted day-old coffee grounds. Some alcohol, dark chocolate, and dark ripe fruit.
T/M: Big-bodied mouthfeel brings out tempered coffee beans and bitter cacao, with the latter really lingering in the aftertaste. Medium carbonation (just a bit too much for my liking) and some clear citrus hop in the back to balance. The roasted notes in this beer are huge and quite enjoyable.
D: This beer pairs wonderfully with breakfast foods...I recommend eggs, potatoes and some toast!

Photo of gford217
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle provided by josephselander poured into a snifter.

Pours black in the glass with hints of mahogany showing through the edges. There is an impressive two-inch tan head that hangs around as a small cap and leaves good lacing.

The aroma is like a coffee milkshake with a shot of chocolate syrup. The dominant aroma is that of spent coffee grounds but there is an underlying chocolate malt presence that keeps the coffee from being the only player.

The taste doesn't quite hit the excellence of the aroma but, as a coffee lover, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's got the dominant roasted espresso taste but it's definitely got a more toasted character than the aroma, almost burnt. There is a decent malty sweetness but the finish is very roasty and bitter.

They mouthfeel is on the fuller side of things and super creamy with soft carbonation.

This is an stellar stout that sits somewhere just short of an imperial stout, but is extremely tasty and a must-try for the coffee lovers out there...like me. Another great beer from Bell's.

Photo of Gtreid
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Batch #8315, bottled Feb. 2008, poured into my Stone Imperial Russian Stout tulip.

A: Pours a very deep brown, almost black, but when backlit a tiny reddish hue comes through. One finger of light tan head appears and then receeds to a thin rim.

A: I get the chocolate first, and it's a lot of chocolate, then comes the coffee, roasty espresso! Very earthy malt and hop profile, some dried currant and cherry also appear.

T: Very breakfasty. Tastes of coffee beans, chocolate, dried fruit, and vanilla.

M: Heavy body, but not as heavy as what I was expecting. Some carbonation gives it a little tingle.

D and overall impression: Drinkability is through the roof! At 7.5% and a coffee stout nonetheless, I could drink a ton of these. I think this is a very good beer. The mouthfeel is a little thin, but all in all quite nice. I wish I had a fresh bottle to compare this to, I think the age has done this a ton of good, after all it is 16 months old. Too bad Bell's has stopped brewing Java Stout, coffee lovers will be depressed. Skal.

Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 12 ounce bottle - batch 8158. Poured into my Imperial pint glass, this stout appears a nearly opaque deep brown color with about two fingers of creamy, dense, lingering ecru foam. The head leaves a thin lace on my glass in it's wake. Nose consists of dark roasted coffee beans, milk chocolate, raisins, and molasses. Flavor is dominated by espresso, dark roasted coffee beans, bitter cocoa, bakers chocolate, a bit smokey, milk/cream, and bitter grassy hops. Medium to full bodied and a tad bit oily in the mouth with ample carbonation. Certainly worth a try if you can still find some.

Photo of ohmybock
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours with a very slight ring of a head, but it persists until the last drop. It smells of instant coffee and dry Dutch-process cocoa powder. I've smelled better coffee aromas in a quality coffee shop, when squeezing a package of coffee in the aisle of my local grocery store, or even in a few other coffee brews, but I still enjoy this Java Stout aroma. The taste provides some sweetness up front which is quickly followed by a nicely balanced combination of dark chocolate and aged coffee beans. The chocolate/coffee flavors then seem to linger for a very long time. Nice! I really like the balance of flavors in this brew which start mildly sweet, but end up on the dry side. This brew doesn't smell or taste like it uses some sort of exotic coffee beans. It also doesn't have that "fresh-roasted" coffee flavor that some other coffee brews have. I suspect some of that might be because it hasn't been brewed in over a year. Instead, this brew reminds me very much of some packaged, dark-chocolate-covered, coffee beans I've munched on in the past. However, that's not a "bad" thing. Make no mistake, I like this coffee brew. Even though it hasn't been brewed in a long time, it still tastes really good and (thankfully) can still be found in some areas. On the other hand, I can't remember what this brew tastes like when it's fresh so I can't say for sure if it currently tastes better, not as good, or about the same as it did originally. Whatever the case, I think this is an excellent brew so it must have aged well even though the alcohol content isn't all that high. This isn't the strongest coffee-flavored brew I've had (not that a stronger coffee flavor is necessarily better), but this Bell's brew is certainly one of the better and more-heavily coffee-flavored brews I've had from across North America and abroad. It's also one of the best in regards to the balance of sweetness, chocolate, and coffee. With a lot of coffee brews I've had, it would be hard to drink much of them in one sitting even though I liked them, but with Bell's Java Stout, it's pretty darn drinkable. I can't wait for Bell's to start making this one again.

Update: In late 2009, Bell's finally released this brew again. The batch I currently have was bottled in mid-November of 2009. I don't think it's as good when fresh, though. The coffee flavor is still strong with a highly roasted/almost burnt taste. There's a bit of chocolate, but there's an even stronger stogie character. In fact, after drinking more than one bottle on a recent evening, I woke up the next morning with an uncanny "tastes just like I smoked a cigar last night flavor" burned into my tongue from this new batch. Weird...I wasn't expecting that! I like this fresh version, but I miss the previous "aged" and more mellow version. If the new version is anything like the last one, it will improve over the next year and develop a tasty cocoa flavor. The last version was quite good at around a year or so, but then went south in a hurry. Overall, I'm just not as excited about the new version, but hopefully it'll improve with a little age.

Bell's Java Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
88 out of 100 based on 2,794 ratings.