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 Cherry Stout - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Bell's Cherry StoutBell's Cherry Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,949 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,949
Reviews: 933
rAvg: 3.53
pDev: 16.71%
Wants: 87
Gots: 117 | FT: 11
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Stout |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
"A mysterious dance of tart Michigan cherries with the dark, roasted malts of a big and bold stout." and "Stout brewed with cherry juice."

(Beer added by: Mitchster on 01-09-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,949 | Reviews: 933 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of soze47


3.75/5  rDev +6.2%

Appearance: Very dark black, yet dark cherry red highlights come through on the edges. Almost a fizzy ruby brown head comes and goes quickly.

Aroma: The aroma is a robust flavor that is hard to dissect. There is some tart cherry notes for sure, but a more complex malt bill hints of sweetness and bitterness. Almost candy like if it weren't for the slight boozy heat, especially as the glass warms.

Taste: Wow. A lot more cherry taste than smell on this beer. Very tart and authentic cherry tang. The malt that was so much bigger on the nose now is still there, slightly burned/slightly roasted/slightly caramelized.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Has an almost cherry cough syrup texture in the mouth, but it isn't nearly that viscous. It really hits your palette hard at first, but the linger is light enough to not be cloying.

Overall: This one is almost to sour proportions of beers. Don't expect a malt forward taste, the cherry tartness is what hits hardest and longest.

01-12-2011 00:31:11 | More by soze47
Photo of SickGnar


3.75/5  rDev +6.2%

A: Very nearly jet black. Short light brown head of fine bubbles that settles fast, but leaves a little bit of lacing. Sort of limp look.

S: Sweet / tart dark fruit aroma that is not plainly cherries but does lean strongly that way. Darkly roasted malts, burnt sugar at edges, faint bittersweet cocoa and hints of coffee. Good stout scent along with fruit.

T: Whoa....This is one different beer. Very distinct tart cherry. Everything else stays in background, especially at first. Hints of other dark fruits, but sweetly and mixed with the roasty malts. Like black plum/prune jam spread on nearly burnt toast. Faint ghost hints of coffee. Cocoa from the nose has disappeared. Tartness lingers as cherry fades. Roastyness fills in softly as burnt toast and coffee grounds - especially in the finish. Sharp edge for dark roast grains contributes an earthy character approaching bitterness (some of this might be hops). Gets a touch astringent as it warms.

M: A bit over medium body with slightly subdued carbonation. Lush and smooth, but really rich enough to be creamy. Some dextrins to chew on before leading to tart / dry finish. Slight alcohol warmth.

D: As others have mentioned this is sort of Black Forest Cake of a beer. Lots going on and it pulls it off nicely. It is an interesting, different and tasty fruit beer. Emphasis on the beer and the fruit - nothing fake or unhinged here. The dark side though, rather than the usual "whatever" wheat ale. Tart cherry is reasonably balanced by a by a relatively narrow profiled dark roasted malt. I think this would be better with more malt sweetness and rounded character. It is a nice treat - a desert beer even.

01-11-2011 12:56:53 | More by SickGnar
Photo of welldigger888

South Carolina

2.53/5  rDev -28.3%

Well, poured from growler into my trusty bell's shaker pint. Nice pitch black hue with a slight tan head that receeded quickly leaving little or no lacing.
Jan. 2010 vintage on keg!
Aromas are of a roasted grain and bad cherries for me.
Bitter cherry skins seem to dominate with some bitter chocolate on finish. Dry dry dry on finish as well, which is not a bad thing, trailing off with a tart cherry flavor that is pleasant.
Seems to be oily and slick with descent carbonation and a creamy stout like quality.
The aroma and flavor is a bit off putting for me on this brew!

01-09-2011 01:11:58 | More by welldigger888
Photo of JDFish


1.95/5  rDev -44.8%

Poured very dark, and a darker than usual head that was very thin. Initial smell was of Cherry Coke and sweet malts including molasses. Initial baker's cherry blast, very tart. That in itself is ok, but the rest of the flavors made this practically undrinkable. This is the second beer I've dumped in the last 10 years..the first being the Bell's Porter. Both of these are just kinda gross. Sorry

01-07-2011 03:00:01 | More by JDFish
Photo of Tone


3.9/5  rDev +10.5%

Pours a dark black color. 3/4 inch head of a tan color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of roasted malt, sweet malt, citrus, and slight hop. Fits the style of a Fruit / Vegetable beer. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. There is also a slight acidic feel. Tastes of citrus, hops, roasted malt, and sweet malt. Overall, great appearance, good aroma, and good mouth feel. The body is a little lacking though. The cherries are not strongly noticeable, but I enjoy that more than most probably would.

01-05-2011 02:06:42 | More by Tone
Photo of dbossman


3.65/5  rDev +3.4%

A: Black with a thin head that dissipates quickly--very still with little obvious carbonation

S: Roasted malts and cherry and chocolate overtones; maybe a touch of coffee and vanilla

T: Lots of cherry; almost vinous; a pleasant malty backbone; a tad tart

F: A touch thin but decent mouthfeel

D: An interesting stout but the sweet cherry flavor is a bit too much

01-02-2011 16:43:56 | More by dbossman
Photo of BarrelO


3.78/5  rDev +7.1%

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Batch #9993, packaged on September 27, 2010.

A: Black body with little head and hardly any lacing.

S: Fruity, roasty, and sweet. Reminiscent of a chocolate cherry torte.

T: Big-time cherry sourness up-front. Once that recedes, the typical coffee/chocolate stout notes come to the forefront. It's like two beers in one. Both parts are decent, but they don't come together to become something greater than the sum of its parts.

M: Medium-bodied, pretty smooth.

D: Sour cherry notes aren't something that I thought would mix well with stout flavors, and this beer didn't really change my mind. I think this is about as good as a beer like this could be, but it's still not something I'd want to go out of my way for.

12-31-2010 05:33:06 | More by BarrelO
Photo of wvsabbath

West Virginia

3.13/5  rDev -11.3%

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Black with some red tint. No head, some lacing

Smell - Cherries, barley, chocolate overtones. Kinda bland really

Taste - Of course, strong dark cherry flavor. Pretty sour in a v8 juice kind of way. The barley and chocolate flavors are present and are the backbone to this. Surprized how bitter this is. Are actually cherries used or is it just juice? Maybe real sweet cherries would make this more balanced and better

Mouthfeel - Leaves tounge bittered and not much else. Its alot thinner than i figured, and lacks sweet cherry flavor.

Drinkabilty - If you enjoy this style then you could drink a few of these since the alcohol is masked very well. This is too bitter and bland for me, one and for sure done

12-28-2010 08:46:58 | More by wvsabbath
Photo of TheKtulu7


3.55/5  rDev +0.6%

Appearance: Very dark. Black with a red-brown head, thin, fades quickly. After it fades completely you can see cherry red tinting around the edges of the beer.

Smell: Chocolate and cherries. Kind of muted.

Taste: Tart cherries, a bit of chocolate. Lots of cherry juice, especially until the beer warms up some more. It balances a bit more as it warms so the chocolate comes more to the front.

Mouthfeel: Thin and smooth.

Drinkability: It's smooth and when it warms it's pretty good, but it's pretty bad before that.

12-27-2010 17:55:23 | More by TheKtulu7
Photo of damndirtyape


3.6/5  rDev +2%

Single bottle (batch 9969) poured into shaker pint glass.

Appearance: Pitch black beer with a dark tan foam ring around the edge of the glass. Not much of a head formed at all upon pouring and what was left behind was just the ring. Very little lacing - an island here and there.

Smell: Definite tart cherry in there along with roasted malt and coffee/bittersweet chocolate smells.

Taste: The cherry flavor starts at the beginning, the mixes with coffee and roasted malts in the middle, and then finishes at the end as well. As someone who has had those wonderful tart northern MI cherries before, this beer really screams that flavor. In fact it seems like the other flavors are just along for the ride - they compliment a tad, but the cherry is the main flavor here.

Mouthfeel: Very little carbonation - some on the tongue but it disappears quickly. The beer is very juice-like in consistency. Given the strong cherry flavor - I'd almost say it is cherry juice with some stout mixed in.

Drinkability: I'm glad I tried it,but I think you have to be a real cherry lover to reach for another one. As much as I like the tart cherry flavor of Northern MI, I usually have it an pie or a small glass of cherry juice. 12oz is a bit much after awhile. Maybe combined with the right desert this beer would be really something, but by itself it's a bit much.

12-26-2010 23:14:25 | More by damndirtyape
Photo of yeahnatenelson


3.55/5  rDev +0.6%

Batch 9969

Appearance -- Pours a deep, dark brown with a slim and sudsy brown head that dissipates quickly. Coats the glass quite well. Dig it.

Smell -- Finely roasted malt, espresso, slight mineral character, and the faintest shadow of cherry, which could certainly be a figment of my imagination. Let's assume it is not.

Taste -- Coffee with cream, dark toast, bakers chocolate, light molasses, and sweet/tart cherry juice. The rich roastiness of the stout base is in the forefront with the cherry, while being prominent, takes a backseat. This is the polar opposite of the New Glarus Cherry Stout. Lingering flavor of dark chocolate and burnt breadcrust.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-light in body with moderate prickly carbonation. Not bad, really.

Drinkability -- Clearly a well-crafted stout -- Bell's knows what they are doing -- but it's not my cup of tea. As a Fruit/Vegetable beer, it's pretty good aside from the lack of cherry in the aroma, but as a stout I could take or leave it.

12-22-2010 23:33:56 | More by yeahnatenelson
Photo of SpdKilz


3.5/5  rDev -0.8%

Appearance - Pours a dark chocolate into a generic tulip I have at home. Just a hint of light shows through the edges of the glass. About a finger of black head that dissipates quickly leaving spotty lacing.

Smell - Dark roasted malts, dark chocolate, slight cherry (almost medicinal) aroma, and stale coffee. Also, just a hint of alcohol.

Taste - Similar to the nose. The cherry flavor does come through quite nice but there is just something a bit off. Not as "real" of a cherry flavor as I was hoping for. There is a heavy roasted grain characteristic, a slight rubbing alcohol flavor, and cheap chocolate and coffee notes.

Mouthfeel - Medium to light bodied, lower carbonation.

Drinkability - One and done. The cherry sweetness comes through more as it warms up, and becomes a cloying sweetness. Glad to try, glad I only got a single.

12-21-2010 02:24:46 | More by SpdKilz
Photo of kiddynamite920


3.78/5  rDev +7.1%

A: Dark brown with a light brown head, very close to black in color. Wasn't expecting this depth in darkness. Head is sticking around one finger.

S: Smells rich and sweet like a milk stout with a bit of acidity from the cherries I suppose. Has a chocolate covered cherry aroma. Not overly roasty, which allows the cherry to come through.

T: Wow! Unexpected amount of tart cherries on the palate. Almost loses the stout body though with all the tartness upfront. Michigan cherries are quite potent indeed. Lacks a substantial roasted character to balance the overpowering cherries.

M: A very interesting beer for sure, the body of the stout remains through but the flavor doesn't. Has the fairly aggressive tart quality that puckers the mouth a bit, but finishes with an almost chalky, sweet stout type of feel. Enjoyable beer.

D: This is a nice "change of pace" beer, definitely not what I expected on the nose or palate. I guess you could say it is a surprising beer. Don't think I'll be grabbing more than one of these at a time, but it was a nice experience. Solidly interesting beer.

12-18-2010 21:38:17 | More by kiddynamite920
Photo of marchoftheclouds


4/5  rDev +13.3%

I've only had one other cherry beer ... Wisconsin Belgian Red from New Glarus and it to me was more like wine. More cherry than beer flavor ... but good grief, it's absolutely LOADED with Wisconsin cherries.


This had a very dark color, chewy mouthfeel, with a bit more carbonation that I'm comfortable with. I won't have any trouble drinking this 6-pack. It has a warming, but not in your face alcohol "burn". First impression is coffee and cherry. I wouldn't mind getting this again, but since I'm new this year to trying different beers every time I go to Friar Tucks ... I might wait awhile.

12-17-2010 02:49:00 | More by marchoftheclouds
Photo of GLM0011


3.55/5  rDev +0.6%

Tastes like an imperial stout but lighter on the bitterness. Cherry tart backend. I liked it but wouldnt drink it all the time. Still a good beer if your looking for something different. It became more enjoyable as I got into a few of them. Drank five. I will drink again for sure.

12-14-2010 21:21:23 | More by GLM0011
Photo of JAZwara

New York

3.78/5  rDev +7.1%

A: practically black, thin tan head, not much lacing; bottle-poured stouts always are a little disappointing for the lack of head

S: very malty, a bit of a coffee scent and a hint of sour cherry

T: very good, very quality stout, with just enough cherry flavor to balance out the malt; the sourness of the cherries lasts past the roasted malt

M: different than the normal stout, the sourness leaves a bite rather than the creaminess of most stouts

D: good, but probably would only drink one in a row, though definitely leaves you wanting another stout; would love to follow it up with a mocha stout

Bell's and Southern Tier are my go-to's for stouts, both do very interesting ones that are based off of quality stouts; the Cherry Stout is a very good one from Bell's that makes me want to follow it up with Choklat or Mokah from Southern Tier

12-13-2010 20:32:39 | More by JAZwara
Photo of micromaniac129


3.85/5  rDev +9.1%

Pours very dark brown with a thin tan foam head. Fades to just some lacing on surface.
Smells of roasted malt and coffee. A tart cherry aroma is present.
Tart and acidic are the first thing I get from a deep drink. Cherry flavor is sutle and not as strong as one would think.
There is a nice roasted maltiness that balances out nicely with the tart cherries.
medium mouth feel and acidic aftertaste.
A little to tart for me to drink many. I would drink another

12-12-2010 18:15:08 | More by micromaniac129
Photo of JizackFH

New York

4.22/5  rDev +19.5%

A - This beer pours a very dark brown color, almost black. It has a 1-finger dark tan head. The head dissipated quickly, leaving little lacing behind.

S - It smells of nice dark roasted malts, and a nice dark cherry fruitiness. Also, notes of chocolate and coffee are present.

T - The cherry flavor pops out right away. It is also accompanied by dark grainy roasted malts. I am also getting notes of bittersweet chocolate and coffee. The finish has some cherry sourness and more of the dark grainy maltiness.

M - The body of this is thinner than i expected, and it has a nice amount of carbonation. The cherries leave a bit of a sour feeling in the mouth.

D - Drinkability is good. This is a very unique and interesting beer. It goes down easy and smooth. The dark malts really balance out the cherries, and I think it just works really well. This is one of my favorite beers that incorporates cherries. If you haven't tried it, give it a shot. Good job Bell's. Cheers.

12-12-2010 01:28:17 | More by JizackFH
Photo of kbutler1


3.9/5  rDev +10.5%

Bottle. Batch 9993. Trying this one again after some time. I recall years ago having it and not being able to drink it all that much. Poured into my KBS chalice glass a dark brown color with a medium tan head that quicly settles to form a slight collar. Dark roast notes in the nose with a touch of sweet fruit. Medium mouthfeel with some carbonation. Roasted flavors with a subtle and lingering sweetness with some tartness. Overall, not bad.

12-11-2010 21:31:14 | More by kbutler1
Photo of Rifugium


3.95/5  rDev +11.9%

First had: on tap at Ginger Man, NYC, NY

Dark brown with ruby tints, nearly completely opaque, capped off with a nice brown head. Aroma of malty chocolate, sour cherries. Mildly sour black cherries obviously right up front on the palate and lingering throughout. Roasty malts in the background. It's hard to get a fruit flavor that doesn't clash with roasty dark malts, but Bell's does a pretty good job of it here. Medium-to-heavy body, not too thick. Moderately drinkable, though not many people seem to be into stouts that have a sour twist to them, so take that as you will. Overall, very tasty.

12-11-2010 18:29:38 | More by Rifugium
Photo of designofduality


3.85/5  rDev +9.1%

Appearance: Poured 12 oz bottle into pint glass. Pours black with a very thin dark tan head that dissipates quickly. Appears more brown than red when held to light.

Smell: Not a very strong aroma. Smells like dark, unsweetened chocolate with lesser notes of fresh cherries and coffee. There is also a tiny bit of alcohol.

Taste: The taste is much fuller than the smell indicates. Immediately, there is an acidic sour taste of tart cherries. Then, towards the end and the aftertaste, the bitter chocolate and coffee are quite pronounced. There's one thing I love about the taste of this beer - all the flavors you would expect are present, but with no added sweetness. It tastes like real cherries, which are tart and sour, dark unsweetened chocolate, which is bitter, and black coffee that hasn't had 3 creams and 8 sugars added to it.

Mouthfeel: Due to the wonderful (imo) lack of sweetness, it doesn't feel thick or syrupy as some flavored beers tend to. For being a stout, it's actually fairly refreshing because of the sour from the cherries.

Drinkability: Overall, this is a pretty good one. They made a flavored beer that actually tastes like the flavor without taking it too far. Don't think I'd get tired of this one as quickly as some similar brews. Another solid beer from Bell's.

12-08-2010 03:56:26 | More by designofduality
Photo of drizzam


4.05/5  rDev +14.7%

A - Poured with a dark opaque black body topped with a nice light brown head. Not the greatest head retention as it receded to a thin cap after a few minutes. Left some spotty lacing down the inside of my glass.

S - Dark malt, bitter chocolate...roasty smelling. Maybe a hint of cherries in the nose, but not much.

T & M - This is interesting. The tart cherry taste is much more prevalent than was noticeable in the aroma, and it almost seems like the roasty stout aroma took more of a back seat to the cherry. The flavors do play together well, cherry and malt and chocolate. This is a medium bodied brew with a VERY creamy mouthfeel.

D - I've enjoyed this beer a lot. This is one of those beers that will have either very high ratings (as a fruit beer) or lower ratings (people looking for more stout flavors). This thing lies right in the middle of the two styles in my opinion. It's listed as a fruit beer here, and that is probably the closer style...but the stout aspect cant be discounted in this one. Very good and worth a try! Bells did a good job with this one.

12-06-2010 21:12:04 | More by drizzam
Photo of Magpie14


3.58/5  rDev +1.4%

A: pours a murky brown chestnut with pitch black notes. My glass houses darkness. A soft and fuzzy brownish cap joined shortly after a strong pour. Looks heavy and slick in the glass, with a spattering of lace

S: nose houses roasted malts, chocolate, sour cherries, and coffee. Nothing overly complex here just a lot of cherries as sniffing continues

T: cherries steal the show, being fairly strong. Everything starts tart and sour. Eventually lightly roasted malts, cocoa and some coffee characters can be pulled out. However, I find that things are lost amongst the fleshy red stone fruits. Its not very balanced. The cherry juice even houses a light acidity

M: not bad. Slick and dreamy. Has enough carbonation to tickle the tongue

D: one of my lesser favorites from a long list of favorites from Bells. Good from time to time

12-06-2010 17:34:46 | More by Magpie14
Photo of BlackBearForge


3.63/5  rDev +2.8%

Bell's Cherry Stout pours dark like a stout but with a purplish tint much like a very dark grape juice. Head it practically non-existant but perhaps I didn't pour hard enough.

The aroma not surprisingly is of chocolate covered cherries with just a whiff of alcohol and dark roasted malts.

The flavor is all about tart cherry juice with hardly any sweetness from the malt to even it out. Dark roasted grains, bitter in and of themselves, heighten the acidic nature of the cherries while giving a hint of dark semi sweet chocolate and coffee notes. I'm curious to see what warming brings as I sip it. Warming does blend the existing flavors and reduces the acidic tartness of the cherries somewhat, but adds little in the way of additional flavor notes.

The body is medium-heavy with a very smooth mouthfeel. Carbonation lends no creaminess but is present enough to bring just a touch of tingling to the tongue.

I have to say drinkability on this beer is not very high for me but then most fruit beers just don't do it for me. The cherry flavor is not cloying like some other cherry beers I could name but I think could be a tad sweeter perhaps. If you like tart cherries this is right up your alley!

12-05-2010 22:30:20 | More by BlackBearForge
Photo of boomer31


4.2/5  rDev +19%

Batch 8219

A - Nice pop especially for a 3 year old beer. Pours black with a few tan bubbles that wouldn't qualify for head. Brown around the edges.

S - Big cherry and chocolate nose. Hints of roast, probably the highlight of the beer. Very nice

T - The cherries are tart but not overwhelming. The roast malts come out much more in the taste than in the nose and the chocolate only makes it in the back. i like the cherry flavor in this beer so much more than some of the other cherry stouts (NG for example). This aged very well.

M - Low carb. I wouldn't call it rich but it's certainly more full bodied than your typical stout. The cherries linger a bit. Not wverly sweet or dry, nice finish

D - If you like cherries and stouts this is a very good beer.

I would put this ahead of NG Cherry Stout as the cherries taste very tart rather than medicinal. A very good beer, I'm happy I cellared this one.

12-05-2010 01:37:12 | More by boomer31
Bell's Cherry Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
80 out of 100 based on 1,949 ratings.