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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

2,758 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,758
Reviews: 1,073
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 11.73%
Wants: 149
Gots: 249 | FT: 13
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: 2,758 | Reviews: 1,073 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Zadok
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had a pitch black appearance with a brown head ring. Has hints of spider web lacing as it receded.

Roasted malt and mild coffee bean with a touch of light chocolate.

Deep roasted malt flavor and somewhat surprised to say in light of other reviews but a mild coffee flavor. Has a very smooth flavor, balance is definitely the strength.

Smooth and creamy with actually a light carbonation. Nice mouthfeel overall.

A very tasty and easy drinking brew. Probably one of the better sessionable stouts I have had. Surprised by the light coffee flavor but overall quality makes up for it in aces. Now I look forward to trying the Expedition stout.

Photo of HugoGrim
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a standard pint. Solid black body with not much head to speak of. Spotty lace and bubbles.

Aroma boasts some toasted grains, sweet creaminess, and dark chocolate notes. I do not detect much if any coffee aromas. The nose is not nearly as robust as I like from this type of beer. I like being able to smell an Imperial Stout as it is being poured, and I have to really struggle to get much from this one. As the beer warms a bit the coffee does begin to come through in the aroma a bit.

Flavor is much better than the look and aroma. Very dark, roasted, and properly bitter. I say "properly" as it is not overly bitter for it's own sake, yet it has the firm substantial bitterness necessary in a beer of this style. A fresh coffee flavor shines through, and blends with a creamy ghost of sweetness as well as more bitter dark chocolates.

Photo of ph2001
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle in pint glass

this one pours black with one finger of dark head. it smells sweet, creamy and coffee like. it has a creamy medium body. the coffee taste is not very strong, although the flavor is more sharp, like black coffee. there is a nice roastiness as it warms and opens up. the aftertaste is like fresh raw coffee beans. well balanced and drinkable.

Photo of BeerImmediately
3.23/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Let this puppy warm to high 50's hoping for more enjoyment than the previous few in the 30's/40's... no such luck.

Pours black with a short, tan head which quickly disappeared.

Coffee? Yes. But also a strangely acidic, chemical smell which was a big turnoff.

Tasted of bittersweet coffee beans, with a biting aftertaste.

Very carbonated/effervescent. Thick and cloying after-film.

Ok on drinkability, and my suggestion to Bell's is to either tone down the beans, or somehow improve the overall smoothness. p.s. I'm a big coffee fan, drinking "Starbucks-style" dark coffee every day, so it's not that I'm not used to the acidity.

Photo of JoeySchlitz
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Bought a couple of these a few years ago and tried one initially and wasn't that impressed. Seemed too much into the strong coffee flavors and less on the stout - definitely needed more balance. Just cracked open the other tonight that has been aging for about 3 years and it was delicious.

A: typical stout - pretty dark and not much light penetration. Light head with small bubbles - lasted to the bottom of the glass.
S: actually smelled really sour and made me question whether it was still able to drink. Coffee, campfire smoke, hints of dark chocolate
T: really smooth. Again chocolate, smoky, day old office coffee (that sounds bad but it was actually good). The aged version drops off a lot of the harsh coffee taste.
M: think and syrupy, great viscosity
D: pretty drinkable given the abv and definitely easier to put down than the fresh ones.

Wish I would have picked up a sixer to let sit in the cellar for a couple of years - after 2-3 years these are golden.

Photo of Yesac
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours very dark brown almost black. An off brown small head that fades away quickly.

S - Fresh ground coffee beans some chocolate malts.

T - Extremly smooth, no bitter java taste. Like the smell, a very fresh ground coffee taste combined with a fine stout that has a dark roasted malt dominance. What a great job at combining the two.

M - Awesome. Thin and a very slight java taste is left on the palate.

D - Very high, what a smooth brew here.

Photo of lhaqq
2.6/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A friend had bought a six pack of these, but didn't like them so gave what he had left to me. Didn't have it for awhile, but when I finally popped it open, it left me disappointed.
A: Dark brown to black, with sizable head.
S: Very pungent and piquant smell. Has a strong espresso/bitter coffee smell mixed with an equally strong odor of hot red peppers.
T: The smell mingles with the flavor--although the coffee is stronger. But the peppery flavor still persists--I guess something that I don't terribly prefer in a beer.
M: Mouthfeel is generally good and like most stouts I've had.
D: Because of the taste, I wouldn't consider this very drinkable. I split the bottle with a friend, and both of us had a hard time wanting to finish.
Not sure if I ought to have had this sooner, and that is why the taste was funky. Haven't had any other American double stouts although have had a fair share of RIS. Oddly, I am also not a huge fan of Bell's RIS--the Expedition Stout, while I really enjoy most of their other beers.

Photo of glid02
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this from the most generous maximum12. Yet another reason Tim Duncan is one of my favorite NBA players in the last decade.

Pours completely black with a thin light brown head. The head dissipates quickly into a wispy layer of bubbles on top and a thin ring around the glass. There's a good amount of lacing despite the thin head.

Smells good. Lots of roasted malts with a healthy dose of bitter coffee aroma.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Roasted malt flavors up front, that gets sweeter as the beer warms. There's also a big hit of coffee at the end and a bitterness that lingers well after I'm done with the sip. No hint of the alcohol.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a great thickness, and the carbonation has to fight through the viscous beer. Very smooth.

Drinkability is good. The bitterness is just a tad over the top, but everything else is spot on.

Overall I'm glad that I had the opportunity to try this. I would have no problem drinking a few more of these. Definitely worth a shot.

Photo of macster
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours from the bottle a deep black/ebony color under a 1/2 " dense tan head. Attractive foam retention with creamy, paisley shaped swirls accumulated on the surface. No lacing noted.

Aromas nicely show off a rich, dense freshly ground espresso bean presence supported by fainter smells of vanilla bean, dark chocolate and blackstrap molasses.

Mouthfeel was great for this beer style being creamy and smooth, but not overtly heavy or thick.

Initial flavor starts out bittersweet with notes of dark espresso, semi-sweet chocolate, roasted malts and vanilla cream. Finishes with some mild alcohol warmness and a touch of hop/fresh-brewed coffee bitterness and acidity.

If you're looking to sample a coffee flavored stout I would say this would be one of the best to try.

Photo of SargeC
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep black brew with a rough, tan colored head

Smell: Coffee, vanilla, roast malt and molasses

Taste: Hints of vanilla behind a wall of bitter chocolate and coffee. Malt shows up at the end and in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied brew. Good alcohol presence provides warmth.

Drinkablity: An interesting brew with strong character. Very enjoyable with a brunch.

Photo of ShrLSU
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Very dark black with brown around the edges. It had a nice tan head that dissapates quickly but left nice thick lacing.

N: Bitter coffee scents that give way to some chocolate and roasted malts. There is slight sweetness in the end of the nose as well that I can't put my finger on, but very interesting.

T: First off the coffee blast as this is a java stout. Then once the initial coffee taste wears down I got a big blast of chocolate, but not to bitter. This packed some sweetness. It tasted a bit creamy then bitter on the finish. This was very unexpected to what I would get out of a traditional coffee beer. It's more than just the bitter richness. This is a deep beer.

M: Nice and creamy. Slightly acidic but matched well with medium carbonation. Feels like you're drinking a cup of beer-coffee..

D: I could see myself sneaking this into my coffee mug at my office. No one would ever know! This was great. It was very diverse from what I expected to get from a java stout. It's a shame I heard that they aren't brewing this anymore, or at least for a while. Bell's wins again with this one. I recommend you have some while you still can.

Photo of ryrust5301
4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance - Color is a deep black with a sort of burnt brown around the edges. Very ample lacing which is to be expected from an imperial stout. Thin layer of head which was a nesquick color.

Smell - After working as a manager in a coffee house, I can tell you that this one carries an espresso smell worthy of the java stout label. It has the burnt almost smokey quality with more of a sweet chocolate smell than I thought would be there.

Taste & Mouthfeel - Maybe i'm in the minority on this one, but I find it hugely diverse. Most coffee stouts just blast away at your taste buds with a harsh bitterness that masks any other flavor in the beer. Don't get me wrong this has a big espresso bill, but they added such a wonderful handful of chocolate to give it a little sweetness. It's kinda like adding sugar and cream to your coffee. Mouthfeel is not bitter and biting, but rather smooth and gentle. It doesn't have the huge body that rakes at the side of your mouth, but I kinda like that about this one.

Drinkability - The Peche Mortel gets all the pub, and while it's good it's a little to harsh for my tastes. This is another triumph for bells. Do they do anything wrong? I'm sad that this beer is no longer brewed as it is my first and maybe last time i'll ever have it.

Photo of leif86
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black, no light comes through when it is held up to my lamp. Dark tan, frothy head.

S: Coffee, caramelized sugar, with a hint of alcohol ester.

T: Coffee but more of a balanced flavor than what I was expecting given the name and the strong coffee aroma. Sweet and malty in the middle before ending in a bitter blend of coffee and chocolate.

M: Perfect level of carbonation. Creamy and smooth without being syrupy. Barely sticky at the end. Very nice.

D: More please. I'm not a huge fan of coffee this or java that in my beer but this I can do plenty of.

Photo of jraycee
3.48/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to nflmvp for this bottle.

Pours almost completely black with a nice head that fades quickly but leaves behind a little lacing.

Smell is dark coffee, dark chocolates, and slight malts.

Taste is more complex sweet caramels up front followed quick and strong by the coffee. Finishes like that cup of joe that sat too long in the pot and is now coffee concentrate. Coffee overtakes alot of the malts when its cold. Warming reveals a bit more character.

Mouthfeel is light with smalll bubbles with a slight bit of of slickness in the finish.

Drinkability is good. The only other beer in this style that I've liked has been Valdez, and this is kinda a less complex version of that. If its really 7.5% I'd be shocked.

Photo of 7ways
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Sebletitje for the bottles.

A: Black as night with a deep brown corona around the edge. Unexpected inch of head that receded amazingly fast. Bizarre lace, almost a camoflage pattern.

N: Bitter coffee grounds and German chocolate cake. Not complex, but what do you expect? Coffee is damn pungent.

T: Up front, like coffee that has been sitting out for a while. But somehow, that's not a bad thing at all. Mid-palate, a burst of chocolate. Sweeter than I would have expected based on the smell, kind of like a java chip frappuchino from Starbucks. Delicious. Then the chocolate recedes into the background almost as abruptly as it appeared, leading back to the coffee. Left me with a long lasting bitterish taste, and pleasantly acidic. Is that from the hops or the coffee?

M: Hmm. Thin and creamy. Is that even possible? Could be more full bodied, but the carbonation matches it well.

D: Very drinkable. Seems like I should be enjoying it at a nice little cafe with some almond biscotti. Or maybe pouring it over some vanilla icecream.

Couldn't help myself. Made a beer float with the Java Stout and vanilla bean icecream. This is what happy tastes like.

Photo of aerozeppl
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This little dip in the tempature has me reaching for stouts.

A: Poured black with only the slightest hints of brown around the edge when held directly up to light. Massive two fingers of fluffy mocha head. Good amount of lacing.

S: Massive bitter coffee nose. Almost smells like hot peppers as well. Weird.

T: Super bitter right up front. Massive coffee taste. Then it goes into this nice chocolate The bitterness really lingers afterwards. This is up there with massive coffee taste.

M: A little bit thiner than I would like but it is still a heavy body. The taste almost demands a body that could be described as tar.

D: Splitting a 12oz bottle is nice. The bitterness and massive coffee taste cuts down in drinkability. Really nice beer. I will probably be awake for 3 days now.

Photo of CrellMoset
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Market Street Wine, downtown location, Charlottesville, VA. Poured into a traditional American pint glass.

Appearance: A thick, deep, coffee-brown bodied beer with some delicate spidery lacing and a one-finger tan head with slightly below-average retention. Attractive.

Aroma: A pretty full roast, but lacking a little in crisp freshness. It's heavily roasted, earthy - nice, but a little one-dimensional.

Taste: Lots of dirty, earthy ground coffee - milky and creamy, sweet without being too sweet. Two creams, one sugar, I'd say. There're other toasted hints - dark chocolate, some smoky toast - a very mild hop bitterness, and a couple heavier, darker fruity esters.

Mouthfeel: Fairly even, a little slick and oily, small-to-medium bubbled, lots of milky creaminess. Nice.

Drinkability: Not the most natural or the best coffee stout I've ever had (that honor probably goes to the Peche Mortel, if we're talking purely about pure coffee stouts), but not a bad one.

Photo of iuhophead87
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip.

A-A super dark beer that lets absolutely no light through. A fairly large tan head sticks to the glass for an outstanding looking beer.
S- Good morning it's time to wake-up and get the Led out! Yes it does smell like coffee along with a hint of alcohol. Its like I woke up and went to heaven.
T-Is there alcohol in this cold beverage? Lots of dark coffee with a creamy finish. Oh My God, I could drink this every morning. This is one of the best Java stouts I've had in long wile. It doesn't hurt that I can get it anytime.
MF- Do I need to say more? Fantastic!
D- this is a great beer, but it does taste a little like a cheap coffee bean. Anyway, this is an outstanding breakfast beer. Can you say college football tailgate? I CAN!

Photo of barefootbrewer
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a deep used motor-oil color with a brown head which quickly receded. The aroma is bold with coffee. There are malt and spice notes. I smell what I think is an undertone of cinnamon. The taste is definitely coffee - unmistakable. There are also big malty flavors that balance the coffee bitterness. The mouthfeel is full and lush, which is excellent for this brew. Bell's brews are always a pleasure and I think this ranks up there with their best.

Photo of morimech
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark black with a large tan head that perfectly tops of the beer. Retention is excellant and heavy lacing is left on the glass.

I smell coffee. And that is all I can smell. Very one dimensional but still a pleasing aroma to welcome the day.

The flavor is a wonderful bitter coffee. If you like big, bold coffee flavor in your stout then this beer will be up your alley.

The mouthfeel is unimpressive. Lacks a creamy texture I prefer in my big stouts. The body is thinner than most as well.

I enjoyed this stout from Bell's more so than their other stouts.

Photo of Metalmonk
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours as expected...a beautiful frothy light brown head, sitting atop complete and utter darkness. Impenetrable. Minor dots and splotches of lace ring the glass.

Aroma reminds of morning, all groggy and hazy, until that first whiff of freshly-ground coffee beans provides the ultimate perk-me-up. The huge coffee presence in this stout gives the aroma that same "hello, world!" vibe--it's clearly made with kickass quality coffee. There's just a touch of sweet milkiness, with the more robust dark baking chocolate elements of a typical stout coming through. But it's clearly about the coffee, in the aroma anyway.

The flavor is rather unsubtle. Dark Roast Incarnate. You dig strong coffee? Here you go. You dig big stouts? This is all about you. There's a bitterness that reminds of dark baking chocolate, while an uber-nutty coffee dominance keeps things kicking. A bit rough, and a lot robust, the only thing I was hoping for was a creamier texture, along the lines of Bell's Expedition or Southern Tier's Jah-va stout. That kind of decadently round creaminess seems to work with with big coffee-centered stouts, but the texture here leans on the coarse side. Not in an overly-carbonated way, although that's a factor, but more in an unrefined roughness. Did I still enjoy the hell out of this? Yep.

I guess the trick is NOT comparing it to Bell's best stout (Expedition), Southern Tier's Jah-va, Peche Mortel, or whatever else this could remind you of. Taken for what it is, it's a total pleasure, and would be one of those rare beers that's drinkable for breakfast. It's 6:40 PM...should I be worried about a caffeine buzz as I hit the hay a few hours from now...???

Photo of corey0212
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Got this from chemmie in a trade!!

Pours deep dark brown/black, nice tight tan head rises and fades to a thin ring around the beer, not much lacing at all. Absolutely massive coffee aroma on this, like sticking your nose into a sack of freshly roasted coffee beans. Taste delivers with the coffee! Big, bold, and burnt coffee taste, a touch of cocoa in the mix too. Love the mouthfeel on this, creamy, and a quick swish turns this into a frothy coffee milkshake. This is one kick-ass coffee stout! Love this...

Photo of Strix
4.75/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch bottled 11/7/07.

Pours dark dark brown with a decent brown head.

Heavy coffee element to the smell. I'm not a coffee drinker, but very nice.

Coffee obviously present in the taste too, balanced by lots of roasted malt and some dark chocolate. Again, I'm not a coffee drinker, but this is nice.

Mouthfeel heavenly smooth, like all Bell's Stouts have been.

This was quite impressive. Bell's stouts rock.

Photo of donaldchapman
3.2/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Very dark brown to black, with a long lasting tan head and ruby highlights.
S - An intense coffee aroma that borders on acrid with aromas similar to peppers.
T - A definite coffee presence with roasty, caramal, toffee, and chocolate flavors. A balanced bitterness and hop flavor.
M - Good body, with a moderate carbonation. Malt seems to help balance presence of coffee.

This beers flavors and mouth feel are great, but the aroma leaves a lot to be desired. The aroma is an overwhelming acrid coffee smell that brings the aroma out of balance. The flavor was much better, offering a good malt body to back up the coffee flavors.

Photo of Nowhereman529
2.65/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

This poured a nice deep dark brown color with a little tan head on top that quickly reduced to a lace around the edge of the glass.

Smell is strong on coffee with a little chocolate thrown in. The smell may be the best part of this beer.

The taste is something atrocious. It's distinctly day old maxwell house coffee grounds with a little chocolate and dark malt thrown in to try to add some depth.

Mouthfeel is alright. It's a little too heavy/syrupy for my tastes. Don't get me wrong, I like a good chewy stout, but this is just a little much.

I would not drink this again. I tried hard to like this beer after all the reviews I read I guess I expected a little bit more, but in the end you gotta go with what you like.

Bell's Java Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
88 out of 100 based on 2,758 ratings.