Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
81
good

997 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 997
Hads: 2,433
Avg: 3.56
pDev: 25%
Wants: 102
Gots: 273 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States | website

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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 997 | Hads: 2,433
Photo of MaximalC
3.38/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours seal brown with good opacity and a minimal cap of mocha foam. Aroma smells of molasses and toffee--no cherry to speak of.

The tartness of the cherry juice is definitely noticeable in the taste, however. There’s also an aggressive prickliness on the palate that I can’t place. It would have to be terribly poorly concealed alcohol for this ABV, yet it doesn’t taste quite like spicy hops either. Whatever it is, it’s definitely there, and it’s dominant. The malt flavor is mostly molasses with a bit of roast, but it’s not very pronounced. Some peat comes through in the finish once it’s warm enough. The body is a little thin for the style, but not aggregious, with a slick mouthfeel.

Overall, this is more of a novelty beer than anything. The cherry taste is contrived and achieves no synergy with the rest of the flavor profile. The harsh prickliness is offputting, and there’s just not enough else there to overcome its flaws. If you want cherry, find yourself some New Glarus or a good sour ale.

 1,032 characters

Photo of EHopkinsi
3.7/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured in a tulip pint and consumed 28 November 2014. Bottle packaged 16 October 2014.

Look- Pours a viscous chocolate with reddish undertones. No head at all. Looks thinner once it's in the glass than it did when it was pouring.

Smell- Understated malt, and chocolate, with a hint of cherries.

Taste- huge sour cherries, lots of coffee. Earthy aftertaste. It is what it says it is.

Feel- Thin, yet syruppy...

Overall- I can't say they didn't tell me what it was. Still, it's kinda disappointing. Not terribly balanced. If you don't like big fruit notes, especially tart ones, stay away.

 603 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.98/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

do people really not like this? I thought it was a brilliant fusion of tart cherries and rich earthy stout. the fruit is maybe a little medicinal in the nose of this dark chocolate colored forthy tan headed wonder. sharp sting from the cherry and the alcohol is maybe a little much on the nose, but I think its pleasantly mellowed by the charred dark barley character and a hint of sweet cocoa. the flavor is better balanced I think than the nose, but equally dynamic. it is a stout first, lots of nice deep dark grain properties and a perplexing smoothness, while the cherries come on later. they marry well into the dark grain, a definitely chocolate covered cherry thing going on here, like those little ones soaked in booze you eat at holiday time. dark authentic fruit with enough tartness to almost trick me into tasting wild ale yeast or bacteria. its not though, its just piquant enough too, and clean in the finish for the style, not the least bit sweet. I like its complexity and its drinkability. it feels perfect with snow and chirstmas coming on, and like all bells beer, its expertly made. I would definitely buy this if it were available in Colorado.

 1,165 characters

Photo of tigerbeer90
3/5  rDev -15.7%

On tap poured into a snifter

A: Jet black, no head. Looks like a stout should

S: Some medicinal type of cherry smell. Some chocolate and then just a kind of funkiness I can't place atm.

T: Tart up front, not really a cherry tart just tart. Follows sweet and washes away the tart aspect. Get a little medicinal cherry in the aftertaste. Rather odd.

M: Good mouthfeel for a 7% stout, not too thin

O: Not what I expected from a Bell's stout, much less a cherry stout. The cherry was apparently code for sour stout, with some cherry qualities. I've seen this in six packs, and loving most Bell's I had reluctantly passed this up for others on the shelf. Glad I did, a pint was all I needed. Try it, but at a bar first before purchasing the 6-er

 749 characters

Photo of ordybill
3.73/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass.
Aroma- Has malt, chocolate and maybe some cherry extract in the mix.
Appearance- The beer is brown with a moderate tan head.
Taste- I can taste the cherry, chocolate and malt, it has a nice flavor.
Palate- This is a medium bodied, medium carbonated brew. It has a slightly oily texture to it.
Overall- This is a pretty good beer, but hey, it comes from "Bell's" so the expectations are always high.

 445 characters

Photo of BeerDawgs
3.84/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A 12oz bottle with a bottled on date of 10/16/14

L - Pitch black with 1 finger of tan head and sticky lace left on the glass

S - A deep rich stout with cherries of course. Aroma is really kicking, and cherries are strong.

T - A sweet cherry stout. Cherries make it a little sweeter than I would like. But an original twist and worth a drink or 3

F - Full bodied and well carbonated

O - A good stout, but I prefer mine cherry-less. However, if you like cherries and stouts you are in luck

 496 characters

Photo of ksimons
3.6/5  rDev +1.1%

An interesting mix of tart cherries and roasted malt. Medium body with moderate carbonation. Not sure I would seek this beer out again but glad to try it.

 156 characters

Photo of byronic
3.25/5  rDev -8.7%

Straight out of the gate this one leaves me conflicted. I want to like this beer. It pours jet black and almost oily devoid of any carbonation or even lacing. It's nose is it's best feature, a malty sweetness with presence of coffee and cherries. It tastes like a nice stout with some great malt accompanied by coffee which introduces some bitterness. The second half of it's flavour quickly turns into a sickly sweet experience before the tart cherries finish it off. This is the part which leaves me conflicted. The stout by itself would be great, the middle is very off-putting and the cherries at the end just don't seem to belong. In the end the mixture of sweet, alcohol and tart is reminiscent of cough syrup. I have a second bottle and hope to revisit this after a better experience.

 791 characters

Photo of DeanMoriarty
4/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours midnight black, a decent tan head that dissipates somewhat quickly with average retention, lacing is nice though, coating my glass from start to finish. Smell is classic Export Stout - roasted malt, chocolate and faint coffee - no cherries in the aroma for me (???). The flavor saves this one for me - a ton of fresh tart cherries up front, followed by roasted malt, chocolate, mild sweetness, and espresso. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and extremely creamy, finishing just a bit dry and somewhat chalky. Overall very enjoyable and tasty Cherry stout that is well balanced and definitely left me wanting to drink another. A great beer for the Fall season upon us.

 667 characters

Photo of WestHam973
1.5/5  rDev -57.9%

The Tart Cherry is just to overwhelming for my tastes, I could no even finish the bottle. I would have preferred a more subtle cherry. I'm sure there are those who will love this it's just not for me

 199 characters

Photo of Dwkasper
4.25/5  rDev +19.4%

A: Dark, no transparency, finger of light khaki foam with consistent lacing

S: A hint of tart fruit, cola, hint of dark chocolate

T: Solid stout taste up front with a very fresh sour cherry finish. Not too sour, just write. This beer is not a sweet beer, it's a little tart but taste compliments the stoutness very well.

M: Smooth, a little carbonation with a fresh sour cherry aftertaste. Leaves a lingering taste that reminds me of eating fresh cherries during the summer.

O: This is a great beer and is very refreshing for a stout. Highly recommend and don't understand why it only has a score of 80 except that people may expect it to be a sweet cherry taste.

 675 characters

Photo of foobula
4.3/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 10/4/11, enjoyed 10/14/14. Appearance is dark black with a reddish tinge around the edges. Not much of a head to speak of. Smell is roasty & a bit sour. Taste is quite tart. I'm pleasantly surprised at how much tartness it has. There is a subtle sweetness from the cherries too. It's nowhere near being a cherry bomb, but the cherry notes really do add something special to this beer. As a stout it's got good roast also. I'd buy it again, age it again, and consider it pretty underrated at a mere 80 points BA score.

 525 characters

Photo of Fargrow
3.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours black with a medium brown head. The head was only about an inch and I poured vigorously. It disappears very slowly.
S: Dark malts, smoke, coffee, but also tart cherry. The combination kind of smells like garbage that needs to be taken out.
T: At first you get the dark roasted malts, milk chocolate, smoke, but then you're hit hard with the tart cherries. This could be great if the cherries were more subtle. I've never heard anyone say this needs more cherry.
M: Nice medium mouthfeel until you get the tart of the cherry at the end.
O: This is a decent beer, but not one I'd really want to drink again. It reminds me how I wish the the BB version was better as well. More malts, less cherries, and this could be great.

Bottled: 9/18/14. Poured into a snifter.

 773 characters

Photo of PBRmeasap1980
3.8/5  rDev +6.7%

Bottled 10/8/13

The cherries are still tart and delicious while the base stout is roasty malt with a slight bitterness. If memory serves correct, this beer tastes a lot like it did fresh.

 189 characters

Photo of Rizalini
3/5  rDev -15.7%

12 oz. bottle dated 10/08/13

The smell is fantastic! Rich and roasty malts with just a hint of cherry. The taste on the other hand is very tart and briney. I'm trying really hard to enjoy this one, but if can't get past the initial taste of olive juice type flavor. I personally think that the cherry juice needs to toned down a lot in order to make this one palatable. Glad I can say I've tried this one, but I personally didn't care for it and wouldn't drink it again.

 473 characters

Photo of allengarvin
4.03/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark, dense brown with a small tan head.
S: Lots of cocoa and toffee, though no cherriness I can detect.
T: Cherries do come through in the flavor, and thankfully with no added sweetness. The tartness blends quite well to balance the malt sweetness, which offers lots of chocolate malt notes. Bitterness is low, appropriately. This is a marriage of malt and cherries, and it's very well done.
M: Soft, creamy, not too carbonated.

Good beer! Nice to have at the end of cherry season, too.

 491 characters

Photo of Swettenham_Shire
3.89/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Got excited when I saw this bottle at the store. Then I realized it wasn't the barrel aged version. Oh well, still gave it a shot.

The appearance and smell bring forth the stout. Don't get any cherries on the nose. Those came later on the finish; slightly sour, which I like. This beers starts out all stout then finishes almost all cherry syrup. Occasionally you'll get the stout mixed with cherry tartness - which is excellent. Good, but not great. Would like to try the barrel aged version sometime.

 503 characters

Photo of antott0523
2.96/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Notes from 7/16/14 at Hopleaf in Chicago, IL

Bottle into pint glass.

A: Opaque dark brown with a light brown head that disappears. Minimal lacing

S: Tart cherries, dark chocolate. Yeasty and musty.

T: Tart cherries. Roasted malts.

M: Thin a mildly carbonated. Too thin for what I was looking for in a stout.

D: Not very drinkable. Thin and tart. Does not hold up well to room temperature. This is cherry juice with a little stout, not the other way around, unfortunately.

 481 characters

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.79/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Pours black with a large fading head.
Nose shows chocolate, roasted malt and chocolate fudge.
Flavours include more chocolate and roast but there's also an acidity from the cherry along with authentic cherry flavours. Could use more roast.
Carbonation feels a bit too lively.

 275 characters

Photo of rustyeaton
4/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured very dark, two finger head, plenty of lacing.
Smelled of roasted coffee with hints of cherries and malt.
taste was strong coffee and malt that faded to a tart cherry wine followed by a chocolate finish.
I will definately be drinking more of these, and hopefully the barrell aged variety as well.

 302 characters

Photo of Franziskaner
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dark black in color and impenetrable to any light. The head is minimal,dark brown,and does not cover half of the top of the beer. Aroma of roasted barley, along with more of a sweet cherry note that seems almost along the lines of a plum note. The sweetness of the cherries is on the front end and nicely transitions into a bitterness from the roasted barley. The mouth is pretty carbonated and creamy.

 402 characters

Photo of TheBeerDrinker
3.68/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This bottle is probably about 5 months old (lost in the refidgerator) so take it for what you will. I would have thought this would have held up but seems to have dove a tiny bit.

Pours out dark brown but is nontranslucent black in the glass with a tiny light brown head with not much retention.

Smell dark malts, molasses, definitely malt forward with no hint of hops or cherry.

Taste is dark malts, molasses, burnt malts, with a nice tart cherry in the background. From memory the cherry was more prominent when fresh but this is what I'm reviewing.

Mouthfeel is mid thickness and about right for this type of smaller stout.

Overall a really drinkable beer that I love and will definitely be buying it every year.

 720 characters

Photo of jwc215
3.59/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 11/07/13:

Pours black with slight ruby tinge on the edges. No head. No real lacing.

The smell is of chocolate-covered cherries with alcohol. Reminds me of mildly spiked Black Forest Cake.

The taste of sour cherries dominate. There is a bitter chocolate. This one is sour and bitter with very little sweetness. A vague earthy touch mixes in - between anise and chickory. Not bad tasting if you like sour cherries, but the imbalance, along with the noticeable alcohol slow it down.

I do give credit for cherries tasting real, but the cherries are almost too tart. For the price, I wouldn't get it again. Worth trying one time, though.

 644 characters

Photo of Tsar_Riga
3.74/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - Solid black, red edged, with very minimal head that fades to nothing. No lacing.

S - Very good roasted malt. A certain sour undercurrent may signal the cherries, but it is very subtle.

T - Until you drink the beer, at least; then the sour comes up and out front. The fruit elements, beyond the sourness, are muted, however. As the initial sourness fades down into the close, you get more roasted malts, along with a bitterness that trails out.

M - The sour line is strong, enough for mild puckering. Carbonation is present, making itself clear in a bubbling sensation during the swallow.

O - Interesting beer, but I find the sourness somewhat distracting in a stout that, absent the cherry, would be offering a smooth lusciousness and very nice roasted malt characteristics. As it is, I'm glad I tried it, but pretty sure it won't enter the short list of my go-to options.

 880 characters

Photo of StoneTSR
3.47/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

APPEARANCE: Dark as night almost all the way through, but JUST at the very surface a little reddish-brown light gets through. A sizable, finger-and-a-half tall head foams up, but has almost zero retention as it quickly collapses into exceptionally thin wisps that resemble a distant galaxy. No lacing.

SMELL: Medicinal cherry aroma with a bitter, coffee smell and a touch of dark chocolate.

TASTE: Hoowee...that is TART. Certainly not as tart as a good sour, but way more tart than I anticipated. This is not the sweet, candy-like cherry that a lot of other beers have, it's legit, Michigan Cherries. Wow. Dark chocolate provides a backbone along with some hints of roasted coffee beans.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium to big bodied with a bigger sparkle than one might expect. Dry throughout the start, almost to a point of puckering, with a sweet finish.

OVERALL: I like what Bells tried to do here, but I think it missed the mark. The cherries are a little too tart, while (somewhat contradictory) the finish is too sweet. Good beer here and I'll revisit it in the future, but this just didn't do it for me the way most Bells Beers do.

 1,129 characters

Bell's Cherry Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
81 out of 100 based on 997 ratings.