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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

2,798 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,798
Reviews: 488
rAvg: 4.56
pDev: 8.33%
Wants: 2,011
Gots: 712 | FT: 68
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: 2,798 | Reviews: 488 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of wintbs379
wintbs379

Michigan

4/5  rDev -12.3%

06-18-2012 01:50:00 | More by wintbs379
Photo of JohnSnowNW
JohnSnowNW

Minnesota

4/5  rDev -12.3%

03-29-2014 18:14:49 | More by JohnSnowNW
Photo of fhyden
fhyden

Florida

4/5  rDev -12.3%

02-21-2013 21:40:42 | More by fhyden
Photo of Rupert50
Rupert50

Ohio

4/5  rDev -12.3%

11-11-2012 17:18:54 | More by Rupert50
Photo of bleedsblu
bleedsblu

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -12.3%

04-28-2014 16:56:38 | More by bleedsblu
Photo of readbaron
readbaron

Illinois

4/5  rDev -12.3%

04-18-2013 19:08:59 | More by readbaron
Photo of dolfan54fl
dolfan54fl

Florida

4/5  rDev -12.3%

02-17-2012 15:50:54 | More by dolfan54fl
Photo of sbricker
sbricker

Illinois

4/5  rDev -12.3%

11-14-2011 15:12:14 | More by sbricker
Photo of THATGUY_BIGMIKE
THATGUY_BIGMIKE

Florida

4/5  rDev -12.3%

06-24-2013 18:42:58 | More by THATGUY_BIGMIKE
Photo of davewilson
davewilson

Michigan

4/5  rDev -12.3%

01-11-2012 19:24:50 | More by davewilson
Photo of jjheinrichs
jjheinrichs

Wisconsin

4/5  rDev -12.3%

01-09-2013 04:44:10 | More by jjheinrichs
Photo of BobCobb
BobCobb

Illinois

4/5  rDev -12.3%

07-31-2012 03:12:19 | More by BobCobb
Photo of MEW
MEW

Colorado

4/5  rDev -12.3%

03-24-2013 00:51:53 | More by MEW
Photo of Florida9
Florida9

Illinois

4.01/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Black in color. Forms a small mocha colored head that doesn't bother to stick around for long, receding fairly quickly to not even a hint of surface coating, leaving only a glossy, black liquid in the glass. Only a speck or two of lacing.

S: Aroma is sweet and boozy; a mix of chocolate, vanilla, molasses, fig, and a very slight mintyness.

T: Taste is sweet and chocolatey, with a bourbon kick. Actually this is the most chocolatey bourbon barrel aged stout I've ever come across. Flavor is sweet with notes of vanilla, raisin, plum, anise, and milk chocolate. A mix of alcohol and brown sugar sweetness on the finish

M: Very smooth, almost velvety, with a lower carbonation level. A bit boozy, but still a fairly mellow beer.

O: This beer reminded me of some sort of nouveau bourbon-infused chocolate dessert. Sweet and chocolatey with a pleasant bourbon quality to round it out. Would make a nice dessert, but its not exactly what I'm looking for in a beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2013 02:08:51 | More by Florida9
Photo of coreyfmcdonald
coreyfmcdonald

Georgia

4.03/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Porter Beer Bar, re-reviewed from a 2012 12oz bottle

A: Pours pitch black with two fingers of off white head. Retention is decent.

S: Strong bourbon upfront, I get dark chocolate, caramel, and licorice behind. Dark fruit in the background adds to the complexity. The aromas mix very well together.

T: Again, strong bourbon and caramel upfront, this time there is more coffee and roast to balance. I get a bit of lactose sweetness to give a bit more sweetness. I also get quite a bit of dark chocolate, intensifying as the beer warms. The beer always stays on the roasty/coffee side, but is very well balanced.

M: A bit on the thin side for the style with low carbonation. Definitely the worst part of this beer, but not terrible.

O: With a bit thicker mouthfeel, this would be significantly better. It still balances roast, bourbon, and chocolate extremely well, better than just about any other barrel aged stout that I've had.

Serving type: on-tap

10-26-2012 00:34:08 | More by coreyfmcdonald
Photo of calcio360jrd
calcio360jrd

Florida

4.03/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the bell's takeover at bx beer depot in lake worth, florida.

Glad i got to bx early for this event and got a seat right up at the bar. 2 9oz pours of this barrel aged imperial stout.

Poured out the usual motor oil color of dark black with a fairly good amount of head on it. The smell was overwhelmingly of bourbon, i guess that is what you get when you age a beer for 18 months in the barrel! Taste was less bourbony than the smell, was very enjoyable drink. Mouthfeel was a little thin on this one, again because i hold every RIS up to the zhukov standard of thick and chewy!

Glad to experience this on draft, i would by no means pay what people are paying on ebay for a bottle of this, good buy not life changing

JasonD

Serving type: on-tap

02-17-2012 17:04:24 | More by calcio360jrd
Photo of deebo
deebo

Minnesota

4.05/5  rDev -11.2%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

05-15-2012 02:57:21 | More by deebo
Photo of angrybabboon
angrybabboon

Rhode Island

4.05/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cheers to Bilco for sharing this

Review from notes, 4/18/14

Appearance: Dark, deep brown - pours with a wispy, light brown head, leaves some nice spots of lacing

Smell: Huge chocolate and some nice bourbon - smells very, very rich - big chocolate malts, with burnt and roasty notes, and some some caramel - some dark fruits and a ton of bourbon - chewy caramel, chocolate cake - decadent to say the least

Taste: Even bigger than the aroma - big, chewy malts - sweet caramel, molasses, and dark, roasty malts - chocolate in all forms, with semisweet chocolate, dark chocolate, and some milk chocolate - lots and lots of bourbon, but this mostly works - woody with some booze, demands to be sipped

Mouthfeel: On the full side of medium, or the light side of full - adequate carbonation, smooth

Overall: More appealing than a brown note

This was a beast. It was bigger than I expected. At least an hour should be devoted to sampling this beer, even if you split the bottle. It a bit bourbon-heavy, but I would try this again.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2014 06:48:04 | More by angrybabboon
Photo of BarryMFBurton
BarryMFBurton

Indiana

4.05/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally, a limited-release beer in a 12 oz bottle. Though the price-per-ounce is about the same, I don’t have to shell out a considerable chunk of my net worth just to try a specialty brew.

Brewed a little over a month before the date of this tasting (“PKGD 12/28/12).

A: Pours a slick dark brown, nearly black, with a surprisingly watery appearance. The only head to appear are some fizzy soda bubbles along the edge of the glass; slight wet lacing.

S: Sweet vanilla nougat and caramel candy tones with a flowing backdrop of woody bourbon. Overall, the aroma is malty as hell, but the booze and roast make the sugars manageable. Hints of hickory smoke, baking chocolate, and Irish cream play along the edges. Hints of slight oxidation appear in small, sparse doses, giving a cardboard scent.

T: A slow-building masterwork, this palate begins with a luscious wave of residual sugars: tastes of syrupy caramel and vanilla abound. As in the nose, it’s a candy sweetness. Soon after these sugars lay down as the body of the brew, tastes of cinnamon, anise, toasted coconut, and bitter chocolate shift the palate to a character of soft spice, a quick transition to the dark, roasty, finish. In a final burst of flavor, powerful tones of smoke, chili pepper, black coffee, and burnt toast overwhelm the sense and bring this beer to a staggeringly smoked end. Charred bourbon barrel tastes linger in a moderate aftertaste of oak, smoke, and astringent whiskey, along with a dried-out sugar flavor akin to cola.

M: Feels like it looks, actually – a little thinner than expected. With the hidden alcohol and all the residual sugars, it really drinks more like root beer at first. Light, foamy carbonation.

O: A good stout is never unwelcome in January, and this one hit the spot. If you like smoke and barrel, this is your beer – I really thought I’d be able to pick out the beers that go into this blend, but the whiskey pulls it together in one big, woody package. Nothing average here.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2013 01:06:00 | More by BarryMFBurton
Photo of rodkin
rodkin

New York

4.05/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Got a pour at the STLhops anniversary party.

Looks like a stout. Black, smallish head. Poured into a tasting glass so I couldn't get a great sense, but it's nothing special.

Smell is vanilla, coffee, bit of chocolate, some oak, roasty bitterness, some dark fruits. It's pretty good, but it's a bit muddled. Not a lot of balance.

Taste gets better as it warms. Vanilla, coffee, bourbon, oak, caramel. Really rich, very tasty.

Mouthfeel was too thin and flat. I don't want it to be hypercarbonated, but more than it has would be good. It's also too watery. I like my stouts to be thick and chewy, which this was not.

This is a solid stout. However, the mouthfeel was really lacking, and it was a bit unbalanced. A bit disappointing. I'd like to try it again sometime, maybe get a better experience.

Serving type: on-tap

11-11-2012 04:15:13 | More by rodkin
Photo of Duff27
Duff27

Illinois

4.05/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a mid mocha head on a black body. Wonderful head retention and lacing for a stout. My favorite aspect of this beer.

Smooth, sweet bourbony chocolate.

Present bourbon but not overpowering by any means. Big roasted cocoa notes. Slight cherry aftertaste. Well hidden ABV.

Creamy mouthfeel but doesn't have the thickness you may associate with an impy stout. Low carbonation.

Overall a well put together bourbon barrel age stout from Bell's. Black Note didn't knock my socks off but I would have it again. Thanks for sharing 4DAloveofSTOUT!

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2012 03:54:40 | More by Duff27
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

4.05/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle pour courtesy of mrbubbler at Woodshop 7 held at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roated malt, cocoa, bourbon, wood, and vanilla. Taste is much the same but the flavors are a bit more muted than I was expecting from the aromas. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a great smell but a smooth and somewhat mellow flavor.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2012 01:46:08 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of mjpolzin
mjpolzin

Wisconsin

4.05/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 vintage split with by brother in law.

A great beer but another example of a "world-class" brew that doesn't quite live up to the hype once I get a chance to try it.

Fairly thick pour into the glass but not the thickest beer I've ever seen. More bourbon in the nose than what I got once I tasted it. The roastiness that is characteristic of Expedition Stout was here as well. It helped make it a fairly complex beer once the roasted malts and bourbon blended together but I may actually prefer this one with a little more age on so some of the roasted flavor could fade away.

Would like the opportunity to try a fresh one just to see what changes happen in the 1 year+ that this bottle sat for.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2014 18:38:10 | More by mjpolzin
Photo of hooliganlife
hooliganlife

Missouri

4.08/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

@stlhops 5th anniversary PaRtY

poured dark thick black, little dark cocoa head. very viscous looking.

some chocolate, light vanilla, and light roasted malt. the BA was there but lighter than i was expecting.

similar to nose, a bit like a BA expedition or expedition blended with double cream, but all 3? i guess... i thought this was tame, it was good but lacked a deep complexity. the BA was soft and subtle. the chocolate and coffee were faint. did not really pick up any oak.

thick, creamy, and chewy. great mouthfeel. no heat at all.

it was good but not worth the effort to seek out.

Serving type: on-tap

11-12-2012 00:22:28 | More by hooliganlife
Photo of jsanford
jsanford

Georgia

4.08/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Brewvival 2102

Poured an inky black with a dense mocha head. Luxurious aromas of cream, bourbon, malt, chocolate, and roasted malt. Taste is similar to the nose, lots of hot Bourbon, chocolate, molasses, raisin, and roasted malt. Definitely tasty, but no better then any of the other 78472397629289 Bourbon-barrel Stouts out in the world. Full-bodied, with a creamy mouthfeel and ample carbonation. Overall a great BA Stout, but the definition of "overhyped".

Serving type: on-tap

04-22-2012 17:22:38 | More by jsanford
Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
100 out of 100 based on 2,798 ratings.