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

Not Rated.
Bell's Black Note StoutBell's Black Note Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

3,123 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,123
Reviews: 499
rAvg: 4.56
pDev: 8.33%
Wants: 2,106
Gots: 788 | FT: 74
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  11.40% ABV

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.

(Beer added by: mcallister on 06-16-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,123 | Reviews: 499 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Phelps:
Photo of Phelps
4.43/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed (very much) in a chalice at the Hungry Monk during the Arizona Beer Week Eccentric Café event.

Not quite black, but as close to black as purple gets. Strawberry highlights. A tiny tuft of bubbles settles into the middle of the glass, but that's all the head I get.

Layers and layers of aroma. The component parts are obvious in here, with major black coffee coming from the Expedition, and heavy cream and oats coming from Double Cream Stout. The barrels are in perfect proportion, lending dark cherry, molasses and oak. Nice smooth dark chocolate swirls as well, as does toffee. It’s like a fruity, oaky red wine. Great balance.

Bourbon is in the flavor, but it's not the star, which is great. The front is vinous oak, burnt bread, espresso and spicy black strap. The swallow smooths things out with dark chocolate, bourbon-soaked dark cherries, a lot of buttery toffee and a little bit of toasted coconut. Oats and whipped cream rise at the finish. Gentle waves of flavor roll in with each sip. Strikes an impressive balance.

A little heartburn on the way down, but alcohol is well-hidden overall. A shade over medium in body, the brew exhibits a nice velvety texture and heft. Very light, tingly carbonation and a little fizz. Slightly tongue-numbing.

Got damn. So many great flavors mix in this brew. It’s like a bourbon-soaked cherry stuffed inside a dark chocolate toffee treat, with a heavy cream chaser. To balance both the Expedition and Double Cream as well as the barrel notes is just so impressive. The more I ponder it, the more I like it. Very grateful to have the opportunity to try it without giving up my first born. Though he might be on the table if anyone wants to send me a bottle.

Phelps, Mar 22, 2012
More User Reviews:
Photo of Sammy
3.98/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle 24 of 1081. Virtually no head on black, looks like a wine. carbonation still there though understated.Smoth mouthfel. Rich bourbon,not overpowering but substantial. Chocolate and coconut, this was barrelled a while, some mustiness. Better as it aired.Steve's bottle, thanks for not putting it up on ebay. My bottle shared with Liam.

Sammy, Jul 13, 2012
Photo of infinitebruner
4.6/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

August 9, 2014

12 oz bottle; Snifter

A – Jet black, thin brown head disappears almost immediately. Looks like pure motor oil.

S – Tons of vanilla, boozy warmth even on the nose. Sweet chocolate, mild oak.

T – Tons of vanilla, sweet chocolate malt notes, a hint of coffee. The burnt flavors are there, but seem to be “sweetly charred,” possible some caramelized flavors. Lots of bourbon and molasses, but very well balanced.

M – Milky, silky, very sweet. A lot of bitterness on the finish, some burnt notes.

O – This is a phenomenal, balanced, complex barrel-aged stout. My gold standard is Bourbon County, and the malt and hops here are much more balanced with the alcohol than with BCS (which is not to say I like Black Note more, just that it is more balanced.) This beer stands on its own as a fantastic example of barrel-aging.

infinitebruner, Aug 11, 2014
Photo of ediaz
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

2012 into a Hunahpu's day snifter with a friend.

A: Opaque black with minimal light coming through on edges in a copper-orange hue. Minimal delicate lacing on the top. Somewhat flat with a minimal ring of bubbles hugging the glass.

S: fig, toffee, dark chocolate, malt, tobacco; bourbon whiskey, hints of vanilla, mild oak

T: bitter dark chocolate; raw tobacco, charcoal; sweet; dark fruits; toffee; egg; butter; finishes with a smooth burnt caramel

M: medium viscosity, oily, coating of mouth,; buttery, silky, lingers; a little more carbonation wouldnt have hurt

O: Incredibly balanced and smooth with a rich blend of interesting flavors. After 2 years the beer has mellowed and accepted the char nicely without ruining the bourbon flavor or the chocolate, coffee, toffee flavors you'd hope for in a bourbon stout. Overall, a great beer that I'm very happy to enjoy. If I was able to get this beer properly aged again, I'd be happy to trade for it. Very pleased; Does not possess an overly alcoholic taste even though there are definitely notes of bourbon whiskey initially. A smooth, buttery feel that lingers provides an opportunity to experience all the flavors in this beer. Overall, it is slightly better than what I remember first tasting 2 years ago and offers some pleasantly unusual tastes compared to other barrel-aged bourbon stouts.

ediaz, Sep 07, 2014
Photo of oberon
4.56/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got one of the last few at Bestway and Iam thankful to Roger for it.Poured into a snifter jet black with a one inch deep beige head atop.Aromas of chocolate and roasted nuts mixed with alcohol dipped dark fruit,very rich and appetizing.Thick and chewey in the mouth,it coats the mouth and glides down easily.Wow the complexity on the palate is something to savor,dark roast and chocolate with some nuttiness and even some faint wood smoke,the alcohol is big but not over bearing lending some sweetness to go along with some deep raisin notes.You really gotta give it to guys or gals who can craft a beer like this,so rich and lush but with so much complexity,kick ass that's all I can say about it.

oberon, Feb 03, 2013
Photo of DanGeo
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

DanGeo, Apr 16, 2013
Photo of Smokesnotes
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Smokesnotes, Jul 19, 2014
Photo of tectactoe
4.68/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Mmm... Bell's Black Note. Half Expedition Stout, half Special Double Cream Stout - two beers that I love - aged for months in old bourbon barrels. How can you go wrong, right? This is one of those beers that often gets compared to KBS and BCBS, so needless to say - I'm very excited to try it. The pour is pitch black as it tumbles out like old motor oil that should've been changed months ago. The half-inch tan cap lasts for longer than expected and leaves behind some wet lacing. Very nice looking beer.

The aroma follows suit for this style of beer very closely. In other words, it's pretty fantastic. The bourbon barrel notes are the first thing to jump out - smooth bourbon, wet oak, vanilla. Very powerful without being brash. Lots of rich chocolates up front, too. Milky sweet and savory. Nice, sweet molasses underbody with plenty of roasted malt and coffee in the tail end. The aroma has a perfectly inviting warmth to it. It doesn't change much as the beer warms up, it just gets stronger. I'm okay with that.

I certainly don't think I would have been able to pick out Expedition or DC Stout had I not been told, but after taking a few sips, I certainly can believe it. The mouth feel is fantastic. Silky, smooth, chewy, robust, thick - just so pleasing to let this one sit and swish around your palate for a bit. Huge robustness right out of the gate with a solid bourbon character that lasts from start to finish. It has one of the richest, creamiest, and most full-bodied inductions of chocolate that I've ever tasted. Sweet, delicate cocoa with a faint wisp of bitterness. Milky, creamy, and elegant.

The barrel flavors are definitely pronounced and become even more heady twenty minutes in. Heavy oak and vanilla, still with the solid meshing of warm bourbon. Some lightly burnt coffee beans make their way in and out, but must really be searched for. The roast from the malt injects a little more bitterness that plays well with the sweetness of the beer and the warmth of the booze. A nearly perfect trifecta of balance is happening on my palate. The finish shows some super-dark, bourbon-soaked and lightly sugar coated fruits; dates and figs being the best descriptions. That's what reminds me the most of Expedition. The finish has lots of dark chocolate, roasty malt, and oak-soaked bourbon with a fading vanilla note. Incredibly complex and super enjoyable.

Incredible beer. I love both of the base beers, so mixing them together and aging them in bourbon barrels is most-likely going to be a success, and it definitely was. Very drinkable for being nearly 12% ABV, but it's still better to enjoy this one over the course of an hour. Insanely complex and insanely delicious - get some!

tectactoe, Apr 13, 2013
Photo of t2grogan
5/5  rDev +9.6%

t2grogan, Oct 08, 2014
Photo of CavemanRamblin
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

CavemanRamblin, Jul 30, 2014
Photo of jono0101
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

jono0101, May 05, 2014
Photo of brownbeer
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

brownbeer, Feb 14, 2014
Photo of Schlais
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Schlais, May 17, 2012
Photo of Spaten454
5/5  rDev +9.6%

Spaten454, Jun 14, 2014
Photo of SanFranJake
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

SanFranJake, Dec 25, 2013
Photo of ricksrealm
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

ricksrealm, Feb 16, 2012
Photo of delaced21
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

delaced21, Apr 06, 2014
Photo of SkiBum22
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

SkiBum22, Jul 23, 2013
Photo of RebeccaMB
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

RebeccaMB, Apr 24, 2014
Photo of BubalooBrewMaster
4.71/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12oz bottle...2012 vintage.

About an 1/4 inch of espresso colored head that vanished very quickly.
Its as dark as midnight,when poured its a lil thinner then oil.
It smells of coffee,bourbon and vanilla....the best smells that comes from beer IMO.
Taste is the same as smell,AMAZING ..although I prefer some more bourbon I understand the 2 years it aged it deff calm the bourbon flavor allot.Mouthfeels is quiet smooth and not very chewy as allot of BA beers are.
Overall one of the better BA beers Ive had up to date....Highly recommended.

BubalooBrewMaster, Mar 31, 2014
Photo of newk340
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

newk340, Feb 04, 2012
Photo of orbitalr0x
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

orbitalr0x, Jan 02, 2012
Photo of sabitu
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

sabitu, Nov 01, 2013
Photo of supa0525
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

supa0525, Jan 29, 2013
Photo of bulldogg915
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

bulldogg915, Nov 21, 2013
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Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
100 out of 100 based on 3,123 ratings.