Bell's Black Note Stout - Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 2,798 | Reviews: 488 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Stevedore:
4.69/5 rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
2012 vintage 12oz bottle dated 12/28/2012, poured into a Bell's snifter today and quaffed 4/13/2013. This review is also based on the four times I've had this now- twice on tap, and twice in the bottle. This is the first time I've had a chance to sit down, relax and write a review. And I am thoroughly enjoying this just like all the other times.
Aroma: Smells delicious, like a dessert port. Decadent chocolate accompanied by vanilla, bourbon and oak. And it actually smells thick and creamy, like how I would imagine liquid Ritter Sport (German) chocolate would smell like. I mean, I've had my share of BA beers including the recent vintage of KBS and last year's BCBS and this definitely has them beat in the nose.
Colour: Pours like a thick, viscous motor oil. Jet black body, illuminates with just a tiny hint of dark, dark cola brown at the surface. Not a ton of head, it pours with a brief, less than 1 cm dark brown head that is ephemeral. It leaves no traces, not even a collar. You get spots of lacing here and there but for the most part it's this viscous liquid dark chocolate. Nice.
Flavour: Very, very complex and I really love this beer. Up front, and especially early on while it's still at cellar temperature, there is quite a bit of straight up bourbon, vanilla and oak wood. This quickly gives way to this pure chocolate sweetness, with a bit of molasses and fire-roasted marshmallows, just like the ones you make s'mores with. As the temperature warms up, I start to get a little bit of dark fruits- figs in particular, which actually reminded me of Expedition Stout the first time I had this beer before knowing what the components were. The finish is smooth and creamy, a little bit of espresso and cream like a cappuccino- but I want to say something more like macchiato- less cream, more bitter espresso yet smooth. This beer drinks like a dessert drink and there's nothing like this beer that I've had the privilege to drink. Even as it gets close to room temperature, the heat is pretty indistinct and covered up by all the complex flavours and smells of this beer. tl;dr- this is an incredibly complex beer that somehow melds all the flavours together well while hiding its 11.5% ABV very well.
Mouthfeel: Initially, I would have guessed they had to have some contribution from Double Cream Stout, because the mouthfeel reminds me a lot of that particular Bell's offering. It's a very thick bodied, very smooth and creamy beer that is actually well carbonated based on how my tongue perceives the beer. It fizzes quickly as I swish it around, coating my palate in a thick and viscous chocolatey heaven. The aftertaste is sweet, bitter and creamy all at once- like if I made a macchiato and put a block of dark Belgian chocolate in it. Simply sublime.
Overall: I've just been so impressed with this beer. It's one for the ages. I say the same for BCBS, but in the realm of subjective preferences, I'm going to take Black Note over BCBS if I were ever offered the choice (which is probably going to be very rare). It's exceptionally smooth, creamy sweet and such a decadent pleasure to quaff. The heat, even when it gets close to room temperature, is relatively minimal. It's truly a joy to drink and I treasure each opportunity I have to be able to drink this beer.
Serving type: bottle
04-15-2013 23:50:16 | More by Stevedore
More User Reviews:
4.23/5 rDev -7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
A- Pours a very dark brown, settles into the glass with a near-black body and frothy, mocha-colored head. Some carbonation bubbles coast up the side of the glass and meet the head.
S- Roasted malts, barrel character including oak, bourbon, burnt sugar, toasted coconut, hint of cocoa.
T- Pretty similar to the nose, roasty malts and bourbon characteristics. More coconut, caramel and vanilla than I would have expected. Some lactose qualities with oak and booze coming through as well.
M- Full bodied, but a bit thinner than I would have expected. Carbonation is medium with a coating, sweet and boozy aftertaste.
O- I had high hopes for this one, but was somewhat disappointed. A very good beer, but not in the same class as BCBS, Parabola and others. The flavors do not some together quite as well as others and the flavor/aroma is somewhat less than I expected. Hoping the one I have cellared will turn out better.
Serving type: bottle
07-22-2014 01:57:45 | More by stephenjmoore
Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
100 out of 100 based on 2,798 ratings.