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

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

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BA SCORE
100
world-class

3,626 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,626
Reviews: 555
rAvg: 4.55
pDev: 8.35%
Wants: 2,501
Gots: 914 | FT: 82
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:
Beer added by: mcallister on 06-16-2007

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,626 | Reviews: 555
Reviews by shawlaqua:
More User Reviews:
Photo of Jeffrey84
4.77/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

After a long search I finally got my hands on one single bottle with nearly a year in the cellar. This beer is amazing. It's as if BCBS and KBS meet at a bar,fell in love then had a child called Black Note.

Black Note was the biggest baby ever born in that hospital and nearly broke the state records for length and weight. Over the years Black Note began to develop characteristics of his parents. The strong bourbon and vanilla flavored of his father BCBS. Black Notes mother,KBS, loved chocolate especially with a cup of coffee.

As he grew up into a young man,Black Note balanced these features in perfect harmony and did the one thing his parents wanted for him the most. He became a better beer than them. He is Better educated, more successful and happier than they ever were.

Photo of Sammy
3.97/5  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.

Photo of infinitebruner
4.59/5  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.

Photo of kojevergas
3.99/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Huge props to Duff27 for this bottle!

BOTTLE: 2014 vintage. Bottled: 08/12/14. 11.4% ABV. 12 fl oz. Brown glass.

Expectations are sky high; this is currently #25 in the Top 250. Served cold into a tulip/teku hybrid and allowed to warm over the course of consumption.

HEAD: 1 finger wide. Beautifully creamy, full, and thick. Has an exquisite rich shiny complexion, which is gorgeous combined with the rich khaki colour head. Leaves a thick even coating of lacing as it recedes. Retention is excellent - ~8 minutes.

BODY: Deep dark black. Opaque. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

A special and great looking stout with apt carbonation. I can't wait for the first sip.

AROMA: Amazing bourbon barrel notes. Rich white oak, authentic vanilla (not artificial vanillin extract), barrel sugars, and toasted wood. Wow.

As amazing as the bourbon character is, it doesn't seem to eclipse the base, which brings notes of subtle dark fruit (fig and plum primarily, with subsidiary notes of date), chocolate, and subtle coffee with a kiss of roast. Pleasant cream is also noticeable, but I'm not finding the espresso mentioned on the label - as nice as the coffee is.

Constructively, I have come across stout aromas with richer more expressive chocolate and more complex roasty coffee notes. I nitpick, but it's an incredible aroma overall.

As it comes to temperature, hidden notes of marshmallow and toasted coconut begin to emerge, as well as a fleeting kiss of faint char and burnt sugar.

Moderate aromatic intensity. This evocative aroma suggests a luxuriously well-balanced beer with plenty of subtlety and complexity. Mouthwatering. Wow.

No hop profile or yeast character is detectable, nor are any off-notes.

TASTE: The open greets the drinker with notes of cream and soft bourbon. The bourbon barrel character is fantastic, boasting notes of authentic vanilla, slightly toasted white oak, and barrel sugars that remain strong throughout the beer, lending it a natural guiding cohesion. The bourbon doesn't overwhelm the base beer, but rather accents its notes of impressively subtle dark fruit (fig and plum), roasted barley, and coffee.

The coffee, unfortunately, is quite shallow and uninteresting compared to other stellar imperial stouts; more complexity, diversity, and depth of flavour is needed for the coffee note to play with the big boys.

Chocolate is similarly limited; I get some creamy milk chocolate, but it's limited in scope and intricacy. We've all had better chocolate notes in beer. As it warms, though, some fudge emerges.

The foundation is comprised of dark malts and chocolate malts, which form an easily imposed-upon neutral stout base - a blank slate into which the more interesting notes can insert themselves.

I find a glimmer of coconut which never fully resolves. And the marshmallow I thought I found in the aroma is absent here...or is it? It flirts with notes of grape and currant, but never fully commits.

Balance is nearly impeccable, with few flaws noticeable aside from a faint charred and burnt character at the bottom of the second act. There's definite complexity and nuance in this build, but I can't find the espresso promised by the label, and if we're nitpicking (as I feel we must do whenever a beer is in the Top 250), I have had more complex & intricate imperial stouts. But few feature such a well-attuned harmony of bourbon barrel and base beer notes. This tastes like a gestalt whole.

Still, this is a delicious brew of the highest quality, and I find myself drinking slowly to savor each sip.

TEXTURE: Damn. This beer just melts into the palate with incredible softness and angelic delicacy. Creamy, comforting on the palate, and fragile. Smooth and wet, enhancing drinkability. The creaminess coupled with the softness is divine, and carbonation is near perfect. It's aptly full-bodied and has ideal thickness, which is needed to support the beer's many flavours. Incredibly well executed, with superb overall presence on the palate. This is a mouthfeel that elevates a beer beyond its taste, and accentuates the notes in the flavour profile, coaxing out their nuances. Majestic.

If not for a slight harshness brought on by burnt sugar and char in the late second act, this mouthfeel would be perfect.

OVERALL: Shockingly drinkable for its unnoticeable 11.4%. Easily one of Bell's best beers (if not THE best), and absolutely a beer that deserves its high ratings. I'm not sure I'd consider it the 25th best beer in the world, but it's a treat of a brew and avoids the common pitfalls of the style: it's not too sweet or dessert-like, it doesn't have acrid or overly bitter coffee, the bourbon barrel doesn't eclipse the base, it doesn't lack a roasted barley presence, and while it has notable complexity, it doesn't sacrifice balance to attain it.

Its main flaw is that pesky burnt/charred character.

High B+

Might easily become an A- with age. But I could never hold onto a bottle for that long; it's too good.

Photo of ediaz
4.75/5  rDev +4.4%

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.

Photo of oberon
4.54/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

Photo of tectactoe
4.66/5  rDev +2.4%
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!

Photo of BubalooBrewMaster
4.71/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

Photo of Hamburgers
4.59/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 Vintage. Pours black with one finger mocha brown head. Aroma is sweet bourbon, vanilla and dark chocolate. Flavor is bittter sweet chocolate, dried fruit, charred oak and coffee all tied together with delicious bourbon. Perfect creamy body with light carbonation. Everything a barrel aged stout should be. In my opinion best there is.

Photo of barhoc11
5/5  rDev +9.9%

A: Black as the name says with a nice creamy tan head

S: Smooth bourbon with a hint of cocoa nibs/coconut

T: Wow, this is so creamy and smooth its hard to believe this is 11+% abv. The bourbon is not harsh at all and comes across with a coconut taste which is so very good

O: I think this is my favorite barrel aged stout... less than 12%. It is such a smooth drinking Imperial Stout that it is hard to describe. I would be sure to pick some up if you ever get the chance

Photo of alarmclock314
4.37/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

3/12/14 printed on the back of the label. Pours black with a light khaki colored head; fluffy with small bubbles that last. Smells like hops, chocolate, and bourbon. Tastes like chocolate, caramel, and bourbon with hints of oak and coffee. Hop presence throughout. Minor sweetness and drying finish. Good coating mouthfeel. Medium carbonation for the style. This is a quality BA IS, but not quite world-class.

Photo of mverity
4.23/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Deep, full, black color with medium colored tan head that held well, especially for a barrel aged stout. Great legs, medium collar, good wisps. Aroma is sweet bourbon, deep malt that has a molasses note to it. Taste is much like the aroma: sweet dark caramel up front, bourbon behind that, a hint of coffee, some dark chocolate. No alcohol bite on this 11.4% beer. Nice full body that holds well on the tongue, with low-medium carbonation.

Photo of CandaceLai
3.28/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

I like the smell a little fruity but not too strong -- the dark color is slightly intimidating, the taste is too bitter

Photo of tjthresh
3.86/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dense black with a large brown head. Sweet chared sugar with chocolate, coffee, and roasted character. The flavor is a nice coco/bourbon mix. Lush, rich, and a dry finish finish this off. I don't seem to be as high on this as most. Still really good beer.

Photo of codysjb
4.83/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bells Black Note
Poured from a growler into my CCB sniffer.
A: Black as motor oil, low viscosity unlike BCBS. Very good lacing, small head when poured.
S: Chocolate, molasses and coffee notes with an overall bourbon smell.
T:Thick, lots of coffee up front that leaves a nice bourbon flavor on the end.
M: An overall bourbon flavor that coats the mouth.
O: An excellent beer. I think I prefer BCBS (especially when its been aged out a bit and its much easier to get than Bells BN), but pretty amazing.

Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.41/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Michigan Craft Beer stand at Comerica Park, during the Tigers-Sox game. Was about to order something else, but the bartender told me they just put this one on. Score!

Poured into only the finest plastic cup. Nearly black, caramel around the edges. Carbonation is visible here, and there was only a thin head that didn't survive long. Chalk that one up to the serving vessel, I suppose.

Smells fantastic - rich chocolate, caramel, booze, bourbon, oak and milk/cream. Smells like a top class bourbon barrel imperial stout.

One hell of a tasty stout, and by a very wide margin the best - and strongest - beer I've ever had at a ball game. Despite the plethora of bourbon barrel stouts out there, I really never get tired of the stuff, and this one is no exception. Similar flavors as in the nose - robust whisky and cream notes, as with some nice vanilla and rich chocate-caramel. Damned tasty stuff.

Mouthfeel is a little thinner than I'd like, with zesty carbonation. Still, a creamy, silky beer.

Hats off to Bell's for this terrific stout, and to Comerica for putting this one on tap. Made my night!

Photo of deebo
4.05/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Bryant-Lake Bowl.

A-Served a healthy 10 oz pour in a snifter. This baby is black as a black note with a tan film that stubbornly hangs on til the last drink.

S-Sweet and roasted malts are dominant, the bourbon is there too but subdued at first, becoming stronger as the beer warms.

T-The taste is definitely on the sweet side. The malts are chocolately with a medium amount of roasting. Bourbon character is there but not overpowering at all.

M-A bit oily but not nearly as much viscosity as say a GI BCS. Body is also on the light side for such a strong brew, the odd thing is you would expect the alcohol to come out stronger, but it is really well hidden...a definite plus for this version. Very light on carbonation.

D-Probably the highest for any 10%+ BB stout I've tasted.

O-Tastes like a BB stout, but shines in the drinkability. Lacks the complex flavors of some others but a solid beer. Well done.

Photo of mjtiernan
4.65/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Courtesy of Kzoobrew...thanks Kevin!

2012 vintage. 12oz bottle poured into a CBS snifter. Served near cellar temp (~55 deg).

A: Pours thick and black. Half a finger of tan head that didn’t hang around too long, leaving an oil slick behind. Decent ring of bubbles around the edge throughout. Prominent alcohol legs. Nothing extreme.

S: Not as much alcoholic bourbon as I expected. Cocoa nibs, molasses, licorice and some dark fruit are most noticeable. An additional tinge of sweetness that I can’t identify.

T: Tremendous. Chocolate, a little bitter roast coffee, some dark fruit, vanilla, a touch of caramel/toffee. The sweetness and bitterness are wonderfully balanced. The bourbon and barrel characteristics are there, but I can’t get over how integrated they are with the entire spectrum of flavors. Moderate warming alcohol in the finish.

M: Creamy, more creamy than most oily BA beers that I have tasted. Low-to-medium carb. Full-bodied. Finishes dry and alcoholic.

O: One of those rare beers that just gets everything right. Feels great, tastes great. A harmony of extreme flavors...which is difficult. Worthy of the attention it gets.

Photo of pat61
5/5  rDev +9.9%

Had on tap at the Bryant Lake Bowl. This is a big bourbon barrel aged stout that smells and tastes like a bourbon barrel.
It pours black as night with a dark tan creamy cap that rapidly dissipates. The beer has legs and lace.Tthe beer hits the palate with all the major flavor groups - big alcohol, bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, sherry, caramel and the flavors delightfully linger long.
Big and chewy, the beer is a delight.

Photo of ehammond1
4.62/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Growler

Acquired via trade
Thanks, Shilt!

Black throughout and thick in body. A very small hint of a head consisting of very smell dark brown bubbles. Very little visible carbonation, but still a menacingly appropriate, beautiful, thick barrel-aged stout. It just looks right.

The aroma is incredible. Big, layered notes of chocolate abound, along with rich, expressive, espresso and subdued bourbon. There's a hint of an alcohol kick but it's tame considering this beer's ABV. There's some mellowed bourbon notes as well, but the chocolate and coffee are quite dominant.

The flavor is boldly expressive; it's an incredible combination of chocolates, espresso, cream, vanilla, and integrated bourbon. The alcohol is present but not distracting. Remarkably drinkable.

Full in body. Creamy. Decadent. Rich.

I had 2 10 oz. pours and was regretting not drinking more. But, hey, sharing is caring. Amazing stuff, and very generous of Shilt to get it out my way. Thanks, again!

Photo of MattyG85
4.89/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at The Blue Door Pub in St. Paul, MN. Served in a 10 oz. goblet glass.

Appearance: Color is a oily jet black. Moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of deep tan creamy head that recedes to a very thin layer. Decent amount of lacing is left on the glass.

Smell: Big scent of bourbon whiskey up front with good hints of vanilla, wood, and oak. Sweet dark malts with big hints of dark chocolate, coffee, dark toasted bread, molasses, burnt caramel, toffee, and biscuit. A fair amount of syrup and burnt sugars. Subtle hints of dark raisin, plum, fig, and cherry. A light hint of smoke and earthy hops. The bourbon and sweet chocolate stand out the most. A big and rich aroma.

Taste: Just as big and complex as the aroma leads. Nicely dark, sweet, and boozy. Big taste of bourbon whiskey up front with good notes of vanilla, oak chips, and the whiskey barrel. A little bit of smoke. Big dark roasted malts with notes of dark chocolate, bitter coffee, toasted bread and biscuit, sweet molasses and syrup, burnt caramel, and toffee. Undertones of dark fruits including dark cherry, plum, and raisin. Subtle earthy hops in the background. The bourbon and dark chocolate elements really stand out. Rich and very good taste.

Mouthfeel: A fairly heavy body with a moderate amount of carbonation. Thick, creamy, and fairly slick and syrupy. Some alcohol heat is present but its not overly hot.

Overall: A really great barrel aged imperial stout. The bourbon flavor is big and great and the dark chocolate and molasses sweetness is very good.

Photo of Soonami
4.18/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Bell's 31 flavors event at City Tap House. This review is based on notes I took from the tasting. The beer is incredibly complex from the mixture of double cream stout and Expedition, which is then aged in bourbon barrels.

The beer looks like a double stout, and smelled like one: chocolatey, vanilla, woody, and with a tinge of alcohol. The beer tasted just as it smelled, with good burnt and roasted bitterness and a gentle velvety texture. The finish is sweet and creamy, a bit cloying.

A beer big on color, aroma, taste and alcohol. A must try for any RIS/IS fan, but I don't know if this beer necessarily deserves a ranking in the top 100's, but it is in the top quartile of imperial stouts I've had.

Photo of HoppySeb
4.36/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured form bottle into KBS snifter, bottle had been stored in cellar and refrigerated for a couple of hours prior to serving. The pour is majestic - a velvety jet black that immediately starts forming a beautiful head on the glass. The head is mocha in color and quite thick and foamy.

Aromas are sweet and spicy - predominantly bourbon, vanilla and chocolate. There is a hazelnut presence as well. The taste mirrors the aromas quite well, its hot/boozy as it touches your tongue and as the alcohol fades, vanilla, hazelnut and chocolate take over. There is a cinnamon taste that reminds me of spiced rum as well. The finish is sweet and there's a mildly bitter aftertaste that lasts several seconds.

The mouthfeel is thick although not quite to the point that I would describe it as chewy. Carbonation is very light.

Overall this is a fantastic beer that's deserving of the hype it receives. Beautiful example of a BBA stout - reminds me of BBPt5.

Photo of WVbeergeek
5/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've always loved Expedition stout and since I've heard they did a barrel aged version I couldn't get away from wanting this beer. It's been a long journey and thanks to a local Pittsburgh distributor I finally came into contact with this one.

Pours a pitch black hue with creamy tan head floating above the head, let me tell you about this BA version of Expedition fine lacing left evenly around the chalice.

Aromatics dark malts charred oak, with vanilla and whiskey rich character...also has a toasted marshmallow note with booze that is much needed for a dark imperial stout called Black Note. The finish is full of caramelized dark sugars and it so nice and full of nearly burnt malts. Smells so good, it's amazing what a whiskey barrel can do to a stout, I'm glad New Holland tried to put whiskey into some stout barrels to see if the inverse were true. Each time I take a sniff I get hints of umami from soy sauce tainted meat and spicy notes of ginger impregnated in a marinade of chicken breast.

Flavor has milky creamy dark chocolate notes, flowing with heat of bourbon barrel aging effects, charred oak, and rich vanilla booze infused stout character. Dark fruit with plums and over ripened fruits that are soaked in alcohol infusing through the palate with each sip. In the backend I definitely get that meaty soy sauce, umami character that I've come to know and love salty/sweet and a bit of braised beef or grilled tuna approaches the palate. I believe either of these would be great pairings amongst this beverage.

Mouthfeel full bodied creamy texture seduces your palate, even slow bubbling carbonation what a great experience that is too be had by all lovers of great barrel aged stouts. Salty sweet combination reigns supreme on the palate and leaves me wanting more and more.

Overall, one of the best barrel aged creations I've ever had...light years ahead of the complexity of KBS and Arcadia Shipwrecked BBA beers. I will hold onto the rest of the six pack I have left.

Photo of chinchill
4.43/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at NOC.
Black with brown edges. The head is not durable but the ring is.
Very, very rich aroma and flavor. Mildly sweet with fairly well hidden ABV.
Barrel aging is obvious.Dark infused fruit.
Very smooth feel, with a good bit of warming.
Indescribably delicious.

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Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
100 out of 100 based on 3,626 ratings.