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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

2,835 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,835
Reviews: 492
rAvg: 4.56
pDev: 8.33%
Wants: 2,006
Gots: 723 | FT: 70
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: 2,835 | Reviews: 492 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Stevedore:
Photo of Stevedore
Stevedore

Wisconsin

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:
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Yellolab2010

Pennsylvania

4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

08-02-2014 01:25:45 | More by Yellolab2010
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krustster

Michigan

5/5  rDev +9.6%

08-02-2014 01:12:58 | More by krustster
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MaxPowers

Michigan

5/5  rDev +9.6%

08-01-2014 18:17:30 | More by MaxPowers
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Chrisfarleywine

Illinois

5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Amazing balance of flavor, aged about six months. Dried blueberries, coffee, chocolate, oak and bourbon. Some of the barrel aged stouts can be overwhelming with bourbon barrel flavor, this is a perfect balance. The consistency is just right too, not overly syrupy or flat. It has a decent effervescence with a balanced mouthfeel. Aroma is great, but belies the complexity of the beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2014 15:38:47 | More by Chrisfarleywine
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Kruxx

Texas

4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

08-01-2014 14:30:05 | More by Kruxx
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Narthax

Oklahoma

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

07-31-2014 19:21:57 | More by Narthax
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TBarJr

Ohio

4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

07-30-2014 23:45:06 | More by TBarJr
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avalon07

South Carolina

4.64/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a jet black color and had a thick consistency. There was a small amount of creamy, tan-colored head that quickly dissipated. Fair lacing.

S: A big aroma of bourbon, dark fruit, and chocolate. Very enticing.

T: Tasted of bourbon, roasted malt, chocolate, dark fruit (plums, raisins), vanilla, and some coffee in the finish. A massive, assertive, muscular flavor. Extremely complex and flavorful.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a thick, chewy finish. Full-bodied.

O: Bell's seems to have a knack for making stouts (see Expedition and Java Stouts) and this one just adds to the pantheon. Not a brew for the faint of heart, Black Note is quite a robust beer and one of the best examples of the style.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2014 18:03:04 | More by avalon07
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sunnrider

Spain

4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

07-30-2014 15:00:51 | More by sunnrider
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CavemanRamblin

North Carolina

4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

07-30-2014 14:27:56 | More by CavemanRamblin
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Dicers

Texas

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

07-30-2014 13:34:07 | More by Dicers
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ramay86

Minnesota

4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

07-30-2014 03:50:58 | More by ramay86
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Jamison85

Indiana

5/5  rDev +9.6%

07-30-2014 02:00:03 | More by Jamison85
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grom111

California

4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

07-30-2014 00:50:59 | More by grom111
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LLL_MKE

Wisconsin

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

07-29-2014 21:01:55 | More by LLL_MKE
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AmericaGWShark

Georgia

4/5  rDev -12.3%

07-29-2014 14:58:10 | More by AmericaGWShark
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Schlafly33

Missouri

4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

07-29-2014 12:11:32 | More by Schlafly33
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Gunch43

Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

07-28-2014 22:06:06 | More by Gunch43
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TWStandley

Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

07-28-2014 18:18:29 | More by TWStandley
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Texsuds

Texas

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

07-28-2014 18:08:18 | More by Texsuds
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mrw1zard

Alabama

5/5  rDev +9.6%

07-28-2014 16:00:14 | More by mrw1zard
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mynie

Indiana

4.39/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Glugs out very dark and viscous with minimal carbonation and small brown head.

Smells like whiskey, chocolate, and vanilla. The aroma is strong but not overpowering. A very nice blend.

Tastes like it smells--it's clear that this is Bell's direct response to BCBS. Whiskey and stout barley start things off, moving into a bittersweet middle of vanilla and dark chocolate, finishing off with the pleasant burn of ethanol.

Tried this side-by-side against a regular bottle of 2013 BCBS, and Goose Island's brew was a narrow winner due its firmer body and more complex finish. The fact that Black Note gave it a run for its money is quite a compliment, though, and I look forward to sampling some more of these in the future.

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2014 15:42:52 | More by mynie
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spham

Texas

5/5  rDev +9.6%

07-28-2014 14:37:29 | More by spham
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Maryland

4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

07-28-2014 02:53:01 | More by weezarc
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Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
100 out of 100 based on 2,835 ratings.