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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.

1,958 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,958
Reviews: 933
rAvg: 3.53
pDev: 16.71%
Wants: 88
Gots: 120 | FT: 13
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
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Ratings: 1,958 | Reviews: 933 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of winomark
3.5/5  rDev -0.8%

2003 bottling.

Appearance: Pours a deep black with a slight reddish tint around the rim. Otherwise, pitch black. Miniscule head that instantly disappears.

Aroma: Good amounts of roasted and chocolate malt control the nose. Very mild cherry tones noticable. Not as much cherry aroma as I was expecting.

Taste: A tale of two palates. Roasted malt has a firm grip on the front, but the tart cherry flavor controls the finish. Slightly reminds me of dark chocolate covered cherries.

Mouthfeel: Suprisingly light for a stout. Flavorful, with a dry, slightly sour/tart finish, which is lingering and quite nice.

Drinkability: Wasn't sure of this combo going in, but I enjoyed this one wuite a bit. Good balance of toasty malt and tart cherries. Another great offering from Bell's. Try this one when you can.

winomark, Feb 10, 2004
Photo of JackTheRipper
4.53/5  rDev +28.3%

Pours a photon resisting slightly reddish black color. Head is minimal, but that's my fault, the last one of these I had, the floaters in the beer skeered me, so I was more careful to leave the stuff on the bottom of the bottle there.

Smell: Strong coffee, a whiff of cherries, and a definite smell of the alcohol. Quite a pleasant smell.

Taste: Cherry Stout indeed! Dark coffee taste with cherries in the background, a very nice balance of a fruity taste with a more stouty taste.

Mouthfeel: Big, bold, and chewy, this is a beer that grabs my attention. There's also a sort of sour and dry finish that is very nice. Alcohol is definitely noticeable. Carbonation is spot on. For a stout with fruit, this beer takes the best of both and does a nice job of combining them.

Drinkability: This beer, while certainly a "big" beer, goes down surprisingly easy. Nicely done, and I would recommend this one.

JackTheRipper, Jan 24, 2004
Photo of CortexBomb
3.2/5  rDev -9.3%

Pours out with a good dark brown-reddish colour, with the tiny head dissipated rapidly though, leaving only minor lacing behind. Scent surprisingly light on the cherry end (though definitely present), mainly roasted, but nothing spectacular.

Taste is entirely different though, a little roast but mainly a strong, tart cherry flavour that grows substantially on the back end, very intense, and enjoyable at first, but it starts to drag by the end, just a little too much tartness conflicting with the stout methinks.

Mouthfeel is good but not great on this, some thickness, but not as much as I'd like in a stout. Drinkability is decent at first, but is definitely a liability toward the end.

CortexBomb, Jan 23, 2004
Photo of beerluvr
4.13/5  rDev +17%

Flows forth into the glass with a tan head setttling over inky black w/slight reddish tinted liquid. The nose is roasty barley and yeasty fruitiness right off the bat, only a very brief hint of cherry. The taste is comprised of wonderfully tart cherries with a roasty toasted malty background. Viscous mouthfeel. It finishes super roasty/bitter and sour...the sourness from the cherries mingling with the highly roasted barley is an appealing taste combination. A nice warming alcohol sensation is felt after swallowing, a very unique ale!

Thanks again to CRJMellor for this beaut!

beerluvr, Jan 18, 2004
Photo of babyhobbes
3.25/5  rDev -7.9%

This beer pours with very little head even when pouring straight into the glass. There is only a super small ring of foam. The color is dark mahogany.

A deep sniff reveals malt and some cherry scent. There isn't the typical coffee or chocolate scent often associated with stouts.

The taste is strongly cherries. Tart cherries dominate the taste buds. There is some maltiness and a little flavor of alcohol as an endnote. Really the flavor is huge cherries. This is what I imagine a cherry cider would taste like!

The mouthfeel is kind of syrupy, although this isn't a sweet beer.

If you like a sour cherries this is the beer for you! However, this isn't the beer for me. This is certainly something to try if you wonder how beer could be overpoweringly fruity and not sweet.

babyhobbes, Jan 12, 2004
Photo of ManekiNeko
3.65/5  rDev +3.4%

12 oz bottle served lightly chilled in a Rapscallion goblet.

Appearance: Jet black with crimson highlights topped by a short-lived brownish head. Head goes to a ring right quick and leaves wee blotches of foam on the glass, but nothing that's overly impressive.

Smell: Prominent roasted barley aromas with decent whiffs of cherries. Faint chocolate and coffee aromas.

Taste: Reverse of the smell. Tart cherries with mild tastes of dark roasted malts.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied in feel with lingering roasted malt aftertastes.

Drinkability: Not completely certain what to make of this. Quirky and yummy. It's a stout and a fruit beer (and a floor wax?). This would most likely rawk with a dessert of a chocolately or fruity derivation.

Thanks for feloniousmonk for the sample and to xlperro for arranging the holiday goodness.

ManekiNeko, Jan 12, 2004
Photo of mikeys01
4.13/5  rDev +17%

Served from a 12 oz bottle, courtesy of Truthbrew froma recent trade. Pours out a deep dark brown color with just traces of dark tan foam swirling about the top of the glass. Aroma is a tantalizing blend of chocolate and coffee with subtle notes of cherry tartness. first taste was mostly malty and coffeeish at first, then the tang of tart cherries comes rushing in to fill out the flavor profile along with some hints of chocolate malt. The cherry flavor develops and becomes more apparent as you drink more, tastes very authentically cherryish, reminiscent of the Traverse City Cherry Festival. Body is more medium than full. Alcohol becomes a bit apparent in the finish but isn't too noticeable. A delicious stout from Bells, I'll have to find some more of this one...

mikeys01, Dec 16, 2003
Photo of HossMcGraw
3.58/5  rDev +1.4%

Pours thick and black with no head. Aroma is all sour cherry. Taste is all sour cherry. Hey, I thought this was a stout not a lambic! Some very faint roasted malt flavors poke through as it warms, but it's too little, too late. If I'm drinking a stout, I want dark chocolate and roasted malts not lip puckering cherry. Not a bad beer by any means but not really much of a stout.

HossMcGraw, Dec 14, 2003
Photo of beergeek279
3.13/5  rDev -11.3%

Served in the 12 oz. bottle. The color is stout-black, with wisps of tan head. The smell is roasted malt. The taste has the cherries covering up too much of the malt character, and leaving a very bitter/tart aftertaste. Mouthfeel is smooth. Drinkability-wise, not quite sure I'd want another.

Well, Bell's certainly isn't perfect. The cherry tartness doesn't mix well with the bitter roasted malt taste, and in fact overwhelms the beer. An interesting experiment, although a failed one, and I'm not likely to have another one of these.

beergeek279, Dec 12, 2003
Photo of CRJMellor
3.78/5  rDev +7.1%

Pours very black in color with a thick tan head that. Aroma dominated by chocolate and roasted coffee with a subtle cherry underlying note. Very full-bodied in the mouth.The roasted malt really dominates the front and the cherry flavor kind smoothes the back end. Alcohol level is hidden pretty well with balanced flavors. I've yet to meet a fruit stout that I liked but this one grabbed my attention for some reason, really drinkable beer.

CRJMellor, Dec 11, 2003
Photo of rabidawg
3.75/5  rDev +6.2%

Appearance: Absolutely opaque darkness with a small espresso-like head. Spots and speckles of lacing.

Smell: Mostly malt, with a decent roasted coffee nature about it. I figured I would have smelled the cherries by now, but maybe my sniffer's broken.

Taste: Initial cola-like sweetness, and then a wild cherry sourness grabs my jaw and doesn't let go. Overwhelming cherry flavor that's much better after the swallow than before. Aftertaste is nice and crisp, with lingering flavors of real cherry. Marks for taste would have been lower were it not for the remarkable finish.

A very interesting beer, and one I'm quite proud to have tried. Another big thanks goes out to the monk for this one!

rabidawg, Dec 11, 2003
Photo of frank4sail
3.13/5  rDev -11.3%

Decent brownish head. Cherry/sweet malt smell. Cherry lactic flavor with a touch of dry coffee. A little overbearing with the sour cherry. Also a little light in the body as well... Quite carbonated and sparkely... It is unique.. it in my mind has an identity crisis.

frank4sail, Dec 07, 2003
Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.88/5  rDev -18.4%

Midnight black with very little light at the edges. The medium-sized head is dusty brown in color, falls quickly to a thin film and deposits almost no lace. Cocoa, coffee and (of course) cherries are present in the nose.

The flavor is of chocolate and cherries, but is way too tart. The sourness actually crosses the line into unpleasantness. The mouthfeel needs to be a lot more full given the style. It's reasonably smooth, but has a touch too much fizziness.

When I was a kid we had a sour cherry tree in the backyard. Every summer my mom would bake the most wonderful cherry pies. In fact, I have never had a better pie in all the years since. She had a knack for knowing just how much sugar to add so that the sourness of the cherries was perfectly counteracted by the sugar. The result was something to behold.

It appears as though Bell's could learn a thing or two from my mom. I'm not a brewer, but perhaps the answer is less sour cherry juice, whole cherries instead of juice, or maybe some percentage of sweet cherries. I really wanted to like Cherry Stout and feel that with a few tweaks here and there, it could be good.

BuckeyeNation, Dec 01, 2003
Photo of Winter
4.33/5  rDev +22.7%

Pours black in color with a thick than head that eventually settles on the surface of the body. Aroma consists of chocolate malt, hints of roasted coffee and tart cherries. Alcohol becomes more evident on the nose as the beer warms to room temps. Full-bodied mouthfeel. Stout coats the tongue with some mild crispness. Flavors of roasted malt and chocolate emerge initially. Tart/sour cherry flavor is blended in with some burnt malt toward the middle. That tartness carries through into the finish and combines with a slight hint of oak. Nice warming sensation as it goes down. Alcohol is masked pretty well, but becomes a little more noticable as the stout warms up a bit.

I enjoyed this one quite a bit. Interesting change-up from the typical stout taste. I think either you're a fan of the tartness that the cherries provide or you're not. For me this added another dimension as to what a stout could be. Very nicely done.

Winter, Nov 17, 2003
Photo of WVbeergeek
2.93/5  rDev -17%

Appearance: Deep dark pretty much opaque brew with a thin tan head, lacing is thin and pretty sparse. Aroma: Dark roasts produce mild dark chocolate and black coffee robust tones with an air of nuttiness and tart cherries blended in there. Is reminiscient of Amaretto with that almond cherry blend found in that. Tastes: Sharp acidic tartness in the forefront, blended by dark bitter roasts not very complex a bit one dimensional with tart cherries I don't think I am a fan of this one just doesn't do it for me. Mouthfeel: Rather thin figuring the appearance of a dark liquid pouring into my glass weighing in at 8% would be packing some chewy textures and full body right, well that's not the case here a medium to light bodied brew leaves me rather unimpressed. Drinkability: Just not my kind of stout lacks extreme body and contains entirely too much tart cherry juice, not a fan don't like it.

WVbeergeek, Nov 16, 2003
Photo of Ellbert
3.63/5  rDev +2.8%

Appearance: A nice dark brown stout color with reddish tint. Absolutely no head when poured and no lace afterwards. The consitensy seems a little thin.

Smell: Very sweet with a nice smell of sweet/sour cherries, coffee, and chocolate malt.

Taste: Starts out with a very sour cherry flavor at the begining then goes on to bring in some coffee flavors with a rush of chocolate.

Mouthfeel: A nice amount of carbonation, fairly thick on the tongue. A decent stout mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Not that drinkable because of the alcohol content and the richness of the flavors. A very good dessert beer to have with some chocolate dessert or cherry dessert.

Ellbert, Nov 12, 2003
Photo of Boilermaker88
3.18/5  rDev -9.9%

One of the singles from the Bell’s lineup I was fortunate to get at Kahn’s in Indianapolis. Presented in a 12oz. brown bottle, this brew had a near-black hue with some minor ruby colored edging. A thin tan head fought a losing battle for existence before dying down to a tiny ring. No carbonation was visible and no lace was left by that broken ring of foam.
The smell had a strong sour cherry aroma mingled with the smell of burnt malt and old coffee. Can’t say it was all that appealing. The taste was initially a semi-sweet roasted malt flavor before a strong tangy cherry flavor exerted itself and left a powerful sweet-and-sour taste on the tongue long after the sip was swallowed. Some bittering was present in the finish, by hops or crushed cherry pits I don’t know. I guess it was hops and dark malt based on Kalamazoo Brewing’s use of cherry juice instead of whole cherries in this brew. The feel was medium-bodied but not as smooth as other stouts offered on the Bell’s line.
Overall, this is a middle-of-the-road fruit beer. The sour aspect of the cherry juice added with the bitterness imparted by the hops and dark malt overwhelm the sweeter nature of the beer, leaving a tartness that is kind of hard to take in very large doses. I’ll stay with others from Bell’s.

Boilermaker88, Nov 08, 2003
Photo of gueuzegeek
2.58/5  rDev -26.9%

I have to say this is a first for me. I have abstained from reviewing beers that I just really did not enjoy, however, for the sake of others, I shall review this one. I do not wish to disuade anyone from trying this, but rather just want you to try it with the proper frame of reference.

It poured a very dark brown with not a whole lot of lasting head. The body was okay, but nothing great. The smell was a bit sour and just seemed "off" to me. Now to the taste...I have actually tried this one once before, but for some reason, I thought I would give it another go. My memory was that the taste was a real shocker and nothing like what I was hoping for, so I thought maybe with a different frame of mind, I would like it better, but alas, no such luck. For some reason, I just kept tasting what I would say was fermented prune juice and I honestly have not tried fermenting prune juice but imagine this is kind of what it would taste like. I must admit, I did not even get 1/2 way through this one. This may just be one that goes on the books as "to odd for even a gueuze lover". Keep in mind, while reading this review, I generally appreciate some of the "odder" funkier brews, but just not this time.

gueuzegeek, Nov 03, 2003
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
2.88/5  rDev -18.4%

Another 12 ounce long neck bottle that looks exactly like that of the BA Database picture. No neck label, No freshness date & No Alcoholic strength indicated.

Appearance: After the Java Stout this was a bit of a let down, the head really struggled to emerge from the black pool of the Stouts body. The black body had some ruby highlights – if you put a Lighthouse behind the Pint & stare carefully anyway. Broken halo head develops & stays – soon no head is to be seen at all. Little carbonation.

Nose: Sour, acidic Cherries mixed with a pungent sweetness that offends. Not sure I want to smell this too many times whilst reviewing this beer. You could be forgiven for thinking that this beer is infected or “off”, however, I suspect that this purely down to the effects of the Cherry “Juice”. Shoulda used whole cherries chaps.

Taste: Goodness me!!! There is no mistaking that there are definitely cherries in this beer. I say it as I see it; this reminds of (close eyes) Belle Vue Kriek mixed with a Van Steenberge Wilson Mild Stout. Sweet cloying Cherries with a little sharp sourness. That said, it is sweet, but it has a lingering sourness & some sharpness like sucking one of those Cherry cough syrup drops. I think the fact that Bell’s have used Cherry Juice is now really detracting from this beer.

Mouthfeel: Pretty average feel – dominated by the sweet/sour Cherries.

Drinkability: I have grown to love Bell’s beers, their quality & style range – whilst I acknowledge the creativity & effort in producing a Cherry Stout – I have to say that this is **way** too much like Cherry syrup for my liking. Just too Bloody overpowering, I really struggled with the 12 ouncer – which is unlike me.

Overall: Well it’s a nice effort – but I think that the Bell’s range of Stouts contains far too many excellent variants for me to be bothered with this one again. Nice try – but its just too damn “cherry” for me.

Hey, when they decide to make this with whole cherries, & not too many of them – then I will definitely return – because I believe this Stout needs a small amount of whole cherries. When you drink lambics made from sweet fruit juices and whole cherries, you know that there is a WHOLE world of difference. This beer needs a hint of Cherries I feel, as opposed to a “Full Front Impact” of Cherry Syrup, it would so much benefit from whole Cherries, leave the Juice for Soda makers.

Thanks for plucking my Cherry with this one Al – the last of the Bell’s but what a great Journey!

TheLongBeachBum, Oct 19, 2003
Photo of ngandhi
3.78/5  rDev +7.1%

Viscous pour with no head. Looks oily; hence, the lack of head is excusable.

Stout indeed! Hearty roasted barley and probably some black patent on the nose. Seems to be a standard, but solid malt profile. Light phenols buried beneath the malts and no aroma hops.

Very stout taste, almost a dumbed-down Expedition Stout without the intense coffee. Appropriate hop bittering. Without the cherry (extract) this is a standard microbrewed stout. The cherries are there, however, and working hard on every level. Their sweetness (maraschino-like, candied) is well-preserved and boosts the dry malts. The tartness, almost tannic, is symbiotic with the bittering hops. The flavor is pronounced in all aspects, yet so well-integrated we might even miss it. It is cherry-flavored in much the same way Expedition is -- very natural, ubiquitous.

The label turns me off -- anyone would rather see "100% real cherries" than "made from barley, malt, and cherry juice." Having just tried New Glarus Belgian Red, however, I must say that using juice seems to allow for better preservation of sweetness. You get less extraction of harsh, tannic qualities from the skins and pits when using juice. Further, because the flavor from this fruit can be so intense, I think it works best with a rich stout.

Everything I'd expect from Bell's. I've never been one to drink fruit beers and I don't think I'll start now, but I appreciate the Bell's effort to use cherries as an additive and, as always, put beer first.

ngandhi, Oct 17, 2003
Photo of Gusler
4.05/5  rDev +14.7%

Into the “Chalice” goes this ebony beauty, the head baronial in size, creamy in its texture and the color a dark chocolate brown, as it dematerializes a glutinous and clinging sheet of lace is form to caress the glass. The nose is like a cherry chocolate coke that was a favorite of mine in the long distant past, sweet malt, coffee, and quite pleasing to the eyes and nose, start is cherry sweet with lots of malt, the top rich and plentiful as it clings to the palate. Finish is spirited in its acidity, the hops pleasantly spicy and the bittersweet chocolate aftertaste lingers on and on, another great beer from a great brewery, how lucky you Midwesterners are to have this readily available, and my thanks to tavernjef for his supplying me with this bottle.

Gusler, Oct 07, 2003
Photo of beerguy101
4/5  rDev +13.3%

Dark black color. Small head. Aroma is roasted malts, chocolate and molasses. Full bodied. Roasted malts are chocolate and coffee. The cherry flavor is tart and sour and very definitely there, but it adds to the beers flavor while it still retains all the stout-like qualities. Flavors are chocolate, coffee and sour cherries. Smooth taste. Very nice beer. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean. Aftertaste is slightly bitter, with a lingering sour cherry flavor. Amazing.

beerguy101, Aug 26, 2003
Photo of IrishRedRock
3.75/5  rDev +6.2%

8% ABV?! I had no idea, it's quite well hidden in here. This brew pours like Pepsi in every characteristic. Same color, and the fizzy head builds then dies even faster. Highly carbonated. Yeasty sediment floats around and some sticks to the bottom of the glass. Roasty malts, dark chocolate, and a tart cherry aroma come through in the nose. My lips puckered upon my first sip of this, the cherry flavor was more tart and powerful than I expected. Flavor has some very chocolatey malt notes...could probably pass for a chocolate cherry stout. The mouthfeel reflects the appearance, with some bubbly, fizzy characteristics. Feels a tad thin for a stout as well. After my first sip, I rather enjoyed the chocolate/cherry flavor. And like I said, the alcohol is well hidden, though after finishing the glass I do feel somewhat warmed. An interesting brew; nice flavor and smell, but could use some work towards becoming a true stout.

IrishRedRock, Aug 23, 2003
Photo of clvand0
3.85/5  rDev +9.1%

It pours a dark red color with a nice off-white head and some lacing on the glass. The aroma is very sweet and malty with strong hints of cherries. The taste is odd, but interesting. It is quite sweet and it has a nice malty character. Slight sour from the cherries, but the cherries add a nice flavor. Interesting beer here.

clvand0, Aug 18, 2003
Photo of Mitchster
4.35/5  rDev +23.2%

OG=1.082, 8.5% ABV.

Pours out to a thick and oily pitch-black brew, forming a thin wisp of a dark brown head despite a vigorous pour. Retention is poor and lacing is nonexistant. Aroma is very nice, but competing with the other complex notes, it takes a while for the cherry to sneak up on you. Previous samples (albeit from 1997) had a rather strong cherry note. This one has been aged about 10 months. Aroma is black walnuts, oily french roast coffee, bittersweet chocolate, cocoa, and at the very end...sour cherries. Carbonation is very mild. Mouthfeel is thick and tenacious with a surprisingly bubbly feel despite its appearance. Taste is great...a complex interaction of sweet, burnt and sour. Begins with burnt, black oily coffee with a brief butter note, followed by a moderately-strong chalkiness, a twangy sour cherry bite, burnt marshmallows towards the end...a hint of cocoa, the taste of raw dark woods and moss, charcoal, and a touch of smoke. Hops are very earthy and contribute a lingering moderate bitterness in the finish. Alcohol is not perceptable in taste.

This one is a definite sipper...it gets better as it warms and takes on a lambic sourness. If you've ever wondered what a Gueze Stout would taste like, try this:) A very interesting and enjoyable brew from the stout masters at Kzoo.

Mitchster, Aug 08, 2003
Bell's Cherry Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
80 out of 100 based on 1,958 ratings.