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Bell's Black Note Stout | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
99
world-class
576 Reviews
THE BROS
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
576
Ratings:
3,871
Avg:
4.5
pDev:
8.44%
 
 
Wants:
2,746
Gots:
971
For Trade:
79
Bell's Black Note StoutBell's Black Note Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.40%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
One of the most sought-after stouts in Bell's history, Black Note Stout blends the complex aromatics of Expedition Stout with the velvety smooth texture of Double Cream Stout and ages the combination in freshly retired oak bourbon barrels for months. The resulting harmony of flavors captures the finest features of all three components: malty notes of dark chocolate, espresso & dried fruits, all buoyed by the warmth and fragrance of the bourbon barrel. Aimed squarely at the stout and bourbon aficionados, Black Note makes a grand statement about the art of the dark.

Added by mcallister on 06-16-2007

User Reviews
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Reviews: 576 | Ratings: 3,871
Photo of goblue30
4.27/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A solid, but unspectacular BA stout. Love Bell's, but often let down by their dark beers. Would not hesitate to give it another try, but definitely don't feel the need to go out of my way to get this.

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Photo of Masonz223
4.38/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2014 bottle
Smell: vanilla bourbon chocolate
Taste: vanilla bourbon creamy milk chocolate toasted coconut lactose dark fruit some smokiness a little bit of roast bitterness.
Feel: a little bit thin but medium bodied really creamy mouthfeel.
Overall: the mouthfeel is the only real complaint I have with this beer otherwise it's really complex and pretty damn good!

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Photo of MichaelCoyne
4.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Great beer. On the same level with KBS in my opinion. I've only had once. overall, its a pretty easy beer to trade for if you live in Michigan. Would love to try the 2012 bomber of it

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Photo of wulfie85
3.57/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Really nice and thick stout with excellent bourbon and vanilla flavors. Mouth feel was exactly the way I wanted it to be. The oak from the barrel came through excellently as well

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Photo of rabbott2
4.65/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2014 vintage drank in a snifter in line for Dark Lord Day 4/30/2016

This is an exceptional beer. Thick and heavy bourbon and chocolate. Not too complex, but the oak and vanilla notes shine nicely. Creamy and definitely some dark fruits coming through as well. Would love to just have a full glass of this myself to drink over an hour or so and taste all the changes as the temperature warms. Really great offering Bell's. Make more please!

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Photo of Gambyt20
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Finally got to taste this one! The expy and double cream stouts combine for a luscious thick creamy stout and the bourbon notes are great and not boozy at all. Might be my favorite of all but it was DLD bottle share and was very tough to nit pick.

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Photo of Juicer
4.42/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage. Great tasting brew. My only complaint is smell at times a bit off ; with a little bit of mouse piss going on. Feeling no pain after this one.

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Photo of sposter4
4.73/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2014 12oz poured into a 4 oz snifter. Pours like syrup and leaves a nice lace. Little to no head. Tons of dark fruit and tobacco with a smooth bourbon finish

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Photo of Stevem68
4.4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a jet black color with minimal head. Aroma is big bourbon and oak. Flavor is boozy and oaky. Has notes of deep roasted malts, a little chocolate with a hint of vanilla. Has a smooth creamy mouthfeel. Overall this is a great beer that lives up to the hype.

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Photo of Austin32
4.18/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 bottle opened, rich, aromatic, bourbon notes had toned down a lot ( I imagine ) the were there but very subtle. Very good though, would love to have had a newer one to compare to.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.26/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 bottle poured a motor oil/cola black body with similar viscosity and left minimal tan head. Aroma is heavy on the chocolate but also has striking scents of black cherries, figs, toffee, possible raisins, lactic/vanilla sweetness and has small notes of wood and booze. Unique beer as it is so thick and malty, bread notes even, but passes over tongue watery/slick smooth. This slickness contains chocolate notes (chocolate being the dominant taste profile), wood, lactic/vanilla sweetness, I guess in a way I'm saying beer has a chocolate milk vibe at times, with black cherry, raisins/figs, possible plum (runs the dark fruit gamut) tastes in the background. Wonderfully balanced beer and probably too sweet for some but one that I recommend to any beer drinker (not just stout drinkers).

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Photo of TheKlevin
4.3/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

When is this beer coming back? 2012 is falling off hard, while 2014 is still tasting fine. Would love to have this beer fresh again. It's definitely one of the best barrel aged stouts out there

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Photo of ragnar3
4.58/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage poured into a tulip. Huge fudge, apparent but well integrated coffee and nice barrel notes. Extremely well balanced and highly recommended BA stout.

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Photo of Fcolle2
4.66/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage

Pours viscus black in color with a kahiki head. Rich aromas of bakers chocolate, fudge and vanilla with hints of oak, and dark fruit. Taste has surprisingly just as much chocolate as the nose with an enhanced presence of rich vanilla and caramel, hints of oak dark stone fruit and bourbon. Nice thick velvety feel, alcohol is very well hidden. Incredibly balanced.

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Photo of NizzleEGizzle
4.7/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2014 Vintage

L: Black as night, with a nice ruby hue on the edges when looked at through the light.

S: fudge, almonds, walnut, more fudge. Yum. Intoxicating. Illuminating.

T: dank fudge brownie (this is the more literal usage of dank, not the urban dictionary version of dank), figs, raisins. Complex.

F: a little less full bodied than I would expect, but maybe that is the age showing through? Also would like a little more creaminess to balance the richness of flavors.

O: I still don't understand why the label is blue. But that doesn't stop this beer. Can't stop won't stop this beer.

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Photo of Moose90
4.44/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 Vintage

A — Pours a dark rich pitch black hue into the glass, there is a thin filmy dark coffee brown head that forms and leaves behind a trace of oily lace with each sip.

S — Smell is strong and focused, notes of barrel, vanilla, oak, lightly charred coffee and malts. Slightly boozy. Dark chocolate, coffee, espresso, caramel cream.

T — Licorice, anise, bitter espresso, coffee, chocolate bark, dark chocolate malted milk balls, vanilla, Bourbon, oak, chewy.

M — Full-Bodied, rich, lingering full finish.

O — Very good overall, a fantastic BA Stout.

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Photo of dutesanch
4.53/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter and enjoyed thoroughly. Taste is almost identical to Parabola or BCBS but seems a little thinner on the mouthfeel. Alcohol is well hidden with the flavors. No much to say that hasn't already been said. Will never pass up on getting another one.

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Photo of erickehoe
4.79/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled 12/28/12 and opened on 12/1/15. I'm watching the Detroit Red Wings while reviewing.

The beer is awesome. Minimal head and little lacing. Smells like roasted cashews and has a nuttiness to it in addition to the sweet, bourbony smell.

The taste is smooth, sweet bourbon and oak. A faint alcohol flavor and a bit of carbonation on the end.

Hard to imagine a better stout than this.

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Photo of mabermud
4.41/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 Bottle

Look: Dark sultry body. The head is a creamy mocha. It quickly dissipates to a thin ring around my favorite 15.5 ounce brandy snifter. This appears viscous. The legs and lacing appear luxurious.
Smell: The smell is rich and amazing. It has a nice balanced bourbon smell, with medium roasted malts, faded coffee, easy dark chocolate, and creamy sweetness that brings everything together. Easy, and balanced.
Taste: Well, well, well. Everything described above is within the taste, and more. Dark chocolate has a bigger part than noticed in the smell. The oak bourbon barrel is nicely integrated, and provides big flavor. The dried fruit blends well. The finish is very short.
Feel: Medium body, somewhat dry. Not as creamy as expected. Full mouth feel.

Overall - Deluxe. I am a big fan of Expedition Stout, so naturally, I am a lover of Bell's Black Note Stout. I was never a fan of Double Stout, but it does a nice job combined with the other elements. Laid back big stout drinking here. My final words - I was expecting more...

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Photo of Mshea805
4.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Great beer, more mellow and drinkable than any of the other top rated BA stouts Ive had. The mild bourbon and dark fruit flavors really set this one apart from others in the category.

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Photo of Catracho5
4.68/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter

A: Pours pitch black with a creamy mocha head, lots of tiny bubbles in the head, good amount of carbonation, looks oily thick, lots of lacing, good head retention.

A: Bourbon, dark chocolate, dark fruits like figs, plums, raisins, alcohol is pretty mellow, smells big.

T: First impression is that this is incredibly smooth, up front bourbon, dark chocolate, dark fruits, a hint of coffee roasted bitterness in the middle, finishes dry, slight bitterness at the end, picking up a hint of Expedition stout soy sauce flavor, tastes world class., booze is well hidden.

M: Thick, oil like mouthfeel, incredibly smooth, great balance of carbonation in the mouthfeel, really good.

O: This is world class, it's a 2014 and it has aged very well, for 11.40% it's incredibly smooth, great balance of flavors, if this was available in Southern CA I would try to buy a case each year to cellar.

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Photo of BIll_Currie
4.83/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

got this one online. it was expensive but didnt have much choice. I got this one with some founders CBS. i thought this one was better. well rounded and another outstanding beer from Bell's

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Photo of Dolphinsmarlins1
4.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2014 bottle. Poured into a snifter. Very smooth, despite the high ABV...dangerously deceptive. Awesome flavors despite not possessing the boozy heat one would expect from the style. Very sweet. I want another.

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Photo of hoppymcgee
4.41/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage. 12 oz. bottle. Bottled on 3/12/14.

L: Nice and clean, with a dark tan head.

S: The booze still comes through a bit, so nothing too spectacular here.

T: Dark chocolate, slight caramel, only a hint of booze. The aftertaste is amazing - toffee, vanilla, and perfectly roasted coffee.

F: Smooth and not too rich for the style and ABV. Proper amount of carbonation.

O: The aftertaste is amazing. Similar beers have a bitter aftertaste, as you get from some chocolates and coffees. There was something strange in that as the beer sat and warmed it fell off; I don't think my palate suddenly gave way, so this was pretty curious.

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Photo of danh53
4.24/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with one finger fluffy tan head. Aroma is oak and vanilla from the bourbon, chocolate, and dark fruits. The barrel comes through big time on the nose. Smells boozy, but in a good way. Taste follows the nose with barrel as a highlight. Some chocolate notes and licorice come through from the base beer. It's sweet with slight roast on the finish. I'm not getting as much dark fruits on the taste. The cream stout comes through in the mouth feel. The silky, creamy character really got my attention at first, but that didn't last through the whole glass. What it gains in creamy smoothness is lost in low carbonation and a lack of roast heft that I appreciate in expedition stout. That's being picky because this is a great beer and worth seeking out.

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Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
99 out of 100 based on 576 ratings.