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Bell's Cherry Stout - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,212 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,212
Reviews: 966
rAvg: 3.52
pDev: 16.19%
Wants: 93
Gots: 178 | 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:
Beer added by: Mitchster on 01-09-2002

"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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,212 | Reviews: 966 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CrellMoset
3.47/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at Beer Run, Charlottesville, VA. Served in a 10 oz. nonic.

Appearance: Comes a dark, heavy brown with a sheen of fine, clean, cocoa-colored foam and a thin, delicate ring of lace - filled to the brim, so I can't fault the bartender for not giving me a good head! Lacing is splotchy, leaving pockmarks randomly scattered on the sides of the glass. I'm not sure what color I expected this one to be, a bright red? Either way, it's pretty standard/average looking for a stout - nothing good, nothing bad either.

Aroma: Not much cherry coming through here - it's mostly a solid array of roasted notes, with coffee astringencies and a faint smokiness coming through. There's definitely a fruit note, though I wouldn't necessarily identify it as cherry or as anything else; it's just a nice fruity aura, if you will.

Taste: Oh holy crap. People told me that it tasted like cherry barbecue sauce, but I didn't believe it 'til I just tried it. There's tons of tart and sweet cherry notes here - more tart than sweet - but very genuinely fruity throughout. It's initially pretty jarring, but though I can't say it grew on me, I can say it became pretty tolerable with time. The cherry is presented to you upon a bed of heavily toasted malts, not burnt or smoky, but faintly chocolate-like, faintly coffee-like, and the rest just dark and ever-so-slightly astringent. This one may have some hop bitterness somewhere in there, but lord knows I couldn't find it.

Mouthfeel: Almost no carbonation, leading to a very thick, syrupy, still beer.

Drinkable: I appreciate this beer as a cherry stout. That being said, I really wasn't a fan. I found it a little too tart and a little too overpowering for my tastes - this was more of a cherry beer with stout overtones than a cherry stout. In addition - though it was undetectable, which I appreciate - the alcohol was pretty high, which has gotta knock it down another half point or so. It took me a while to finish, as well, which is always a bad sign. Still, it's worth at least a try, as I'm actually sort of impressed they managed to dump this much flavor into a beer.

Photo of gdfan47
4.25/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- pours a pretty black color with a little brown head, doesnt appear overly thick
S- Like cherries, a little on the tart side too
T- Wow really interesting, def some cherries of course, but also some coffee and chocolate tones It finishes a little sour as well, but good sour
M- really nice, they call it a stout, and it is dark, but its not as drudgy and heavy as other stouts I have had
D- goes down pretty good, the alcohol is really well hidden

Overall a home run for bells, another beer which is a little off the beaten path. Fans of stouts and sours will esp like this one.

Photo of yourefragile
3.87/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic, Batch # 8731

A: Very dark, near black with little light passing through the liquid. Dark brown head, finger thick, that recedes to a thick ring and little lacing. Looks like a nice stout, nothing remarkable.
S: Big on roasted malt and sour fruity/cherry aroma. Slightly smokey, dark chocolate and more dark cherries. Not my favorite, but very nicely balanced and subtle.
T: Full body, very smooth, light carbonation, but also a strong prick of sour and tart from cherries. Interesting balance of sweet and sour from the start. Strong roasted malt, chocolate like body, remind me of a lighter Expedition but has a very strong sour, dark cherry bite that dominates the finish and lingers for a long time afterwards. Very little presence of alcohol. A very nice stout, and very drinkable but not for everyone.

Photo of sgoodship
3.87/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

OK, I have feared this brew for a few weeks now and yet, here I am reviewing it. I was terrified that I would hate the cherry flavor and pour it. A terrible fate for any beer! So, it has been sitting there, taunting me. Every time I opened the refrigerator door, it made me ashamed. Am I a real beer drinker?? Well, I decided tonight that this was the day that I would dominate that little Cherry Stout. Here goes... Oh, and BTW, my friend Brian donated this one. Thanks buddy!

A: I didn't pour vigorously enough, so I didn't get to see the full spectacle. Small, attractive reddish brown head. Dissipated very quickly. Carbonation visible through the fine dusting on the surface. Thin ring and dusting remained throughout. Black liquid but definitely has a reddishness to it. A hint of red on the edges against the light but barely. This is a dark brew for sure. No lacing to speak of.

S: Nice malt. Roasty, slight smokiness. A little coffee, a little licorice and plenty of dark chocolate. Dark cherry is there obviously but isn't as pronounced as I was expecting it to be. I did catch a whiff of stronger cherry when I popped the cap.

T: Wow. Not expecting that. Got me either side of my jaw bone. A zing and tartness. Very interesting. Upon further exploration, the sweetness is right up front. It is cherry but it is very light and mixed with the carbonation. It hits you right in the palette of your mouth. Almost a sweet red wine-like tannin aftertaste. The zing even gives you a little tingling on the lips. After letting it warm up a bit, the cherry seemed to take on a more blackberry flavor. It retained it's tartness to the last. That was to be expected.

M: Very light for a stout. The carbonation and tanginess makes it feel even lighter. I like my stouts heavier and rounder in the mouth. After warming and letting the carbonation run it's course, the mouthfeel felt fuller, thicker and more rewarding.

D: I was happy to drink it but I am not sure that I could have had more than one in a sitting.

I am not a fan of cherry, so this was never going to be a big win for me. I did find this brew to be a very interesting experience. Bells makes a fine brew and although this one is not for me, I can still appreciate the art that went into it. For those wanting to try a fruit beer, I would recommend giving this a try.

Photo of emerge077
4.05/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served with a small tasting glass at Jerry's in Chicago.

Black body that has a ruby glint around the edges. First pour was headless, but the second one managed to get a mocha cream layer on the surface. Aroma was slightly lactic, milk sugar, chocolate. Cherry was slight if there at all, it may have been residual after a few sips. Chocolate and cherry tartness in the taste. Cherry isn't sweet, or fruity really. It reminded me of more tart dried cherries that have a little acidity even. Very smooth and velvety body, rich and malty. Easy to finish, although I didn't really want more than one...

Photo of adamette
4.13/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale pint from a bottle exactly like the one pictured above.

A Interesting. There is a short lived dark brown head over a deep, deep black body. I thought that I had seen hues of a deep red (from the cherry presumably) but held my glass up to direct light and absolutely no light comes through. I love the way that this looks.

S Well, smells like a stout..with cherry. No problem with that. It, like other stouts that I have had, does not have a tremendously intense smell. It is subtle.

T oooo...I really like this...there is a strong tangy sweetness in the front of cherry, but black cherry...stronger and more confident than any Maraschino cherry would be. You know, on second thought...it is just like regular cherry (naturally sweet without the faky sugar sweetness of the Maraschino. The stout aspect is great, just like I would expect from Bell's, having recently had their Expedition Stout.

M Full for sure. Not very much carbonation, goes in and down like bitterweet matly cherry nectar. I can hear Jason Alstrom saying, "where is the carbonation?" as he did in his review of Expedition Stout.

D Not a session beer IMO but very tasty. I could imagine sharing a six pack with two friends and being very satisfied.

Notes: Another great entry from Bell's. I recommend it.

Photo of WakeandBake
3.53/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle. Pours deep black with a light brown head that disapates fairly quickly.A light aroma of dark roast and tart cherries. Medium body, with some sweetness upfront. Warming sensation in my chest indicating alcoholic strength. Flavor is dominated by the sour cherries. Roast is evident, but not prominent. Some chocolate notes as it warms. Finishes slightly dry with a fair amount of tartness. Overall, a very nice beer, but certainly not what I was expecting. This stout pales in comparison to the other fine stouts Bells puts out, and while the sour cherries are fantastic, it just doesn't quite live up to expectations.

Photo of IBUnit63
4/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 8731 into Duvel tulip on Thanksgiving Day...

Spent motor oil black with 1/2 finger maple-chestnut-gingerbread brown head. Lacing is moderate, carbonation sparse. Very formidable.

Hop pine is present as is austere, woody chocolate-roasted malt and clean sour cherries. Slate-ish yet quite eclectic. Stewy and warm.

Creamy roasted malt with solid matural cherry nectar feel - tartness brightens this up - moderate hop grass & pine...not quite Beautiful Chemistry but very solid and enjoyable.

The bitter grassy hops, copious sour cherries and austere chocloate roasted really emerge with warmth. Finish is quite clear and there's a bit of depth. Wicked enjoyable.

A lot goin' on with this one. Quite enjoyable but a little on the heavy side...

Photo of Greggy
3.35/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Pours a dark tan head , semi soapy, 1.5 fingers in height. As it recedes, it leaves some light lacing. The body is pitch black with no light showing through.

S- Big dark roasted chocolate, hints of coffee, and toasty grains with a nice balanced cherry dancing in the middle.

T- Starts out with a chocolate, then bam, a huge tart cherry that is semi sour and drying. The finish has the cherry, a bit of chocolate, and some sourness.

M- Low carbonation. The tartness is a bit off putting and hides the stout characteristics.

D- This was a bit painful without food. Paired with some chocolate, it became more balanced. I still, however, will not drink this again.

Photo of orcasteve
4.4/5  rDev +25%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured a rich black with a hint of red that cant be seen through with a heavy tan head that rises on this one. the sent of rich malt and tart black cherrys filled my nose, the taste in the begining is sour tart cherrys and coffie, the middle is the cherrys fading to a mild sweetness mixed with heavy dark roasted malt taking the forground, and the end is sour but sweet at the same time cherrys begging you to drink more! all the while the 8.5 % alchoal is hiden well. this is a great beer

Photo of corby112
3.26/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap at Monks Cafe in center city Philadelphia.

Pours a very dark almost black color with burgundy edges and a small off white foam head. Roasted malty aroma with a strong cherry scent. Odd combination of roasted chocolate maltiness, coffee, oatmeal, toffee and sweet cherry flavor. Sweet and malty with a very dry finish.

Photo of DoctorDog
3.85/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

**NOTE** This brew is listed here as having an 8.5% ABV, while the Bell's site lists it at 7.0% ABV.

Presentation: 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A- Deep mahogany/black and opaque. Pours with ~1 fingers of sturdy brown head, which fades gradually, leaving a thin coating. No lacing noted.

S- Earthy notes, with a bit of cherry cordial.

T- Sweet, sour, acidic cherry, along with coffee and cocoa notes. A bit of mid-tongue astringency, and mild bitterness on the finish. 8.5% ABV (?) is extremely well concealed. Contrary to the recommended 40-45°F serving temperature posted here, this one started out all over the place at that range, but really came together and balanced out pretty well as it warmed up.

M- Somewhat thin and watery, though this seemed to fit this brew better than most stouts.

D- Tough call here. Interesting drink, to be sure, but the sour/acidic/astringent aspects would probably keep this one down a little bit. Could probably muster a few in a row.

Future outlook: Situationally likely to purchase again. Might be interesting to try aged, so I'll probably sock a few of them away for another time and place.

Photo of nick76
3.14/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The aroma is really the best part of this beer. It's got cherries and toasted malt with chocolate and coffee. The appearance is dark brown with a small head. The taste has all the elements from the aroma but it is also sour and bitter in an astringent way. Not good. The palate is thick. Overall it's good but not really something I want a lot of.

Photo of Imstillthegman
3.57/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Just for notes sake, this was bottled on Jan. 2, 2007...so it's been aged awhile. Batch 7777.

Pours a completely opaque, deep, dark, brown. Thin tan head formed and quickly faded to a ring. No lacing in sight.

The aroma has some dark cherries, chocolate, roasted grains (almost oat-like), light coffee, and a hint of port wine. Interesting....

The flavor is a sweet, black cherry slap to the tongue. After the initial shock, the sweetness turns a bit sour then fades into some coffee and bakers chocolate. Tart at the finish. Wow...what interesting ride for my taste buds. Sweet, sour, bitter, tart...

Medium body, lighter carbonation. Leaves a Warhead candy type of sour tartness in the mouth for an aftertaste. This one is going to be hard to finish. Maybe it's the age, maybe it's just the beer....I don't know. This one isn't working for me, though.

Photo of Proteus93
3.62/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A thick, inky brown... completely opaque. Head is a brownish cream, but it doesn't last long. Traces the edges of the brew when all is said and done.

S: Dark chocolate covered cherries and a warming graininess of malts. Smells like dessert.

T: Many of the stout qualities are a bit drowned out by the cherry flavours - and cherry juice, at that. It's that taste more like "from concentrate" than actual cherry mash. The fruit flavour would do well to be a little more subdued, in my opinion... with some delicate touches, this could be a fabulous beer.

M: Slick and a little fuller... the tart cherry almost lends a 'sharp' feeling on the tongue.

D: The bottle I had lists the ABV as 7% rather than 8.5, which would make a little difference in overall drinkability. With the big, tart flavour, it's still a sipper, though.

Photo of drumrboy22
3.29/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Received as an extra in a trade with nflmvp. Thanks! Batch 7220 - bottled January, 2006. I didn't intend on aging this one, but I forgot it was in the cellar.

Poured from 12oz. bottle into an Urthel chalice. Beer was black in color with a quickly fading, small tan head. Soft carbonation and no lacing around the glass.

Aroma was thin, but had faint notes of cherry, vanilla and coffee.

Taste was tart, almost sour cherries. Some light bitter coffee flavors are also present, but the tart cherries take over on this one.

I'm generally a big fan of Bell's beers, but this one just isn't working for me. It's not bad, but I'm disappointed by it. I've never had it fresh, so it could be the accidental aging that I don't care for. I'm not sure. I won't go out of my way to find this one again.

Photo of sholland119
3.9/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at TJs Everyday.

A-Pours a rich deep brown. A rich creamy tan head which has hints of raspberry and very nice lacing.

S-Mocha and cherries with some caramel also.

T-Taste starts with a milk chocolate sweetness that quickly is overtakes by a surprisingly sour cherry flavor. It appears not everyone enjoys this astringent flavor but I dug it.

M-Nicely creamy and rich with medium carbonation.

D-Having said all that, the sourness makes this a once a session drinker. Very nice, though.


Photo of hopdog
3.97/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz sized bottle.

This one poured a dark black color with almost no head. Light and subtle cherry aromas with chocolate, and roast. Tastes of the same subtle cherries, chocolate, and coffee. Finished with a little sour and tartness.

Notes from 8/24/04

Photo of marcpal
2.46/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

This was a throw-in from a trade a while back, apologies for not recalling the trade but thank you.

Not my two favorite styles, but very interested in giving it an effort.

12oz bottled poured into goblet.

A: Virtually black with a considerably dark brown thin head with great lacing and stickiness. A great looking pour.

S: Chocolate covered cherries and when it was much colder- chocolate covered raisins.

T: Chalky coffee flavor followed by an unorganized fake cherry taste. Would have been much better if they just left out the cherry portion- let the licorice and raisin come through instead.

M: Pretty thick and fluffy body. Carbonation was spot on and pretty slick. Sticky sweetness from the cherry syrup or whatever was used.

D: It wasnt horrible but pretty hard to drink- the flavor came out far too fake. Made me feel like I was drinking a stout with one of those Starbucks coffee flavorings added.

I feel pretty strongly that this could have been on its way to a nice stout without the cherry- the alcohol is 100% hidden. Oh well, my wife loved and wanted this one to be here in NJ.

I felt the need to edit this as I forced down the end of the beer. It went from not good to horrific by the end. Bells, what were you doing?

Photo of PorterLambic
1.79/5  rDev -49.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Pours pitch black. Black hole black. Absolutely no light penetration at all. Extremely little head. dissipates quickly and leaves no lace.
Very little smell at all. What there is, is roasted malt, toasted oak & smoke.
Taste is very sour cherry, almost acidic, malt with vinegar-like overtones.
Medium body, light effervescence.
I've enjoyed every other Bell's beer I've had but this was so bad, I gave it away to the bartender (who enjoyed it and confrimed that it was not skunked).

Photo of craytonic
4.24/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark black with burnt amber-ruby edges when you hold it to the light. Nice one inch cherry-colored foam head in my pint glass. Good lacing all the way down.

Smell: Smells like chocolate-coated tart cherries, some sweetness

Taste: First, the cherries, then chocolate, then a little coffee and lingering tartness. It is a very nice progression. Taste is of tart cherry juice, not tart cherries. I wish they would use the actual cherries instead of juice. There is some sweetness & toastiness to balance the tart. I generally and a huge fan of anything tart in life, if you are not you will not like this beer. No taste of alcohol.

Mouthfeel - Medium body, I believe this could benefit from more body. I had no problem with the carbonation.

Drinkability - I enjoyed it, but think the limit is two. Nice as dessert.

Could be improved by using real tart cherries, not juice concentrate. However, I really enjoyed it.

Photo of olegv40
3.11/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Very dark with a chocolate milk colored head. However, the head did not last, and was not frothy, so disappointing. I couldn't taste the cherries, at all. The initial taste was very sour making me think that a tart cherry flavor was to come next, but it never did. The sourness goes away fast though, and the drink finishes clean. A very creamy mouthfeel coats your mouth without being syrupy.

I just don't see myself getting this again.

Photo of cindiwindi1025
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A - Poured out a very dark brown color, alonst opaque with a small, tan head. A little lace that doesn't linger long.

S - Cherries, some caramel and light chocolate...nothing in the smell is overpowering.

T - The tart cherry flavor is too much. The malts and chocolate are drowned out by the very tart cherry taste.

M - Silky mouthfeel. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This was difficult to drink. The tartness is very difficult on the salivary glands and it stays in the mouth for a long time. There really are no other flavors that can harmonize with the tartness.

Serving type: bottle

Photo of treyrab
3.53/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Split two of these on brew night with jac5084 into two pint glasses...

A: This one pours a very dark brown...I would call it black, but there is some brown/ruby around the edges when held to light. The center of this beer however is black as night. The head is very nice and bellows up from beneath to form a dark brown head that does not lace.

S: Tons and tons of cherries in various forms. Cherry puree, cherry juice, chocolate covered cherries, fresh ripe cherries. Just cherries galore. Also some bitter roast, chocolate, and a vinegary scent.

T: Wow the cherries really blow you away. Vast arrays of cherries that had a tendency to mask the other flavors this beer was offering. There was some chocolate and roast, but not much. Also not much bitterness or hops could be discerned.

Overall, a decent fruit stout from Bell's. However, if I were in the mood for one of their stouts in the future, I would go with Expedition or Kalamazoo.

Photo of Shaw
3.61/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was a new Bell's beer for me. At $15 a six-pack, it's pretty pricey.

A lovely jet black with just a hint of red on the surface and in the head: neat.

The aroma is of roasted malts, chocolate and coffee with just a hint of tart cherry.

The taste is very interesting. The tartness from the cherries is very apparent, which gives the stout a twang like a dry stout, though more so. People who like tart beers should try this.

The other stout flavors are creamy and mellow and light on the roasted flavors.

In other words, it's well balanced with a large amount of tartness.

The body is quite nice, being creamy and smooth and typically stout-like.

Overall, this is a pretty good beer. Sour fans should seek it out. But if I want to spend this much on beer, I'll go for an excellent one, like Bell's Hopslam.

Bell's Cherry Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
80 out of 100 based on 2,212 ratings.