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

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Bell's Black Note StoutBell's Black Note Stout

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BA SCORE
99
world-class

542 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 542
Hads: 3,639
rAvg: 4.49
pDev: 2.45%
Wants: 2,510
Gots: 923 | FT: 81
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 542 | Hads: 3,639
Photo of Hophead717
4.49/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on tap at St Stephens Green as part of Philly Beer Week. Poured into a GI tulip glass.

A: Black, tiny head, with a bit of lacing along the glass, but not much.

S: Bourbon-heavy, with a light semi-sweet roastiness. Overall, a very sweet nose.

T: Very sweet also. Bourbon dominates throughout, beginning with the early sip. Mild roastiness provides the canvass for this great masterpiece of a beer.The double cream stout's influence is noticeable, as the base-beer is vaguely sweet. Semi-sweet chocolate also comes across mid-sip. The finish is mainly of bourbon, with light undertones of semi-sweet roastiness.

M: Medium-bodied. Not heavy or thick at all, which was unexpected. I perhaps would have liked this to be a touch thicker, but that's largely splitting hairs. Well carbonated.

O: Incredible beer and one that I am so glad I got to try. I wouldn't trade the farm for a bottle of this, but I definitely plan to seek it out every time it is on tap in the area. (978 characters)

Photo of JamesShoemaker
4.49/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into my snifter. First batch of 2012, I think. Bottled on 12/28/12. My Mom picked up three bottles of this for me in Michigan while I was away in New York. Thanks Mom!

A - not terribly impressive. Pours like an RIS, black with a little head, dark brown, recedes abnormally quickly. Not bad, but nothing super notable.

S - pretty delicious. A lot of bourbon on the nose, similar to Backwoods Bastard, if I had to compare it to anything else. A little sourness; I assume it's got a subdued hop profile. Malt forward, and very rich.

T - great, one of the most BBA-forward beers I've ever had. Lots of sweet, sticky whiskey with just a little malt on the end. An almost truly complete profile, delicious. Very negligible points off for the wood notes dominating the base.

M - smooth, smooth, smooth. Alcohol and carbonation are incredibly balanced; drinks dangerously easily. Sweetness sticks to the cheeks in a very pleasant way. I wish I had three hundred bottles of this instead of just three (now two).

O - excellent beer, one of my favorite BBA stouts. This is my first bottle; I look forward to getting some year in and year out, or at least asking my Mom to! (1,189 characters)

Photo of GJ40
4.49/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a 12oz bottle in a DFH snifter. 2012. Started at 60 degrees. Thanks surge1311!

A - Deep black with no light and a minimal tan head.

S - A nice mix of bourbon, oak, vanilla, chocolate and coffee. Great depth and very inviting.

T - A very balanced and complex blend of bourbon, oak, chocolate, vanilla and other subtle flavors. Assertive yet delicate. This is far from the bourbon bomb that some barrel aged beers deliver.

M - A moderately thick consistency with a low carbonation. Provides a very smooth delivery of the flavors.

O - A fantastic beer!!! (569 characters)

Photo of did3376
4.49/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 2/12/14 Poured into stout glass.

A:Thick and black. About a finger of dense, tan head that fades over a few minutes. This stuff is dark, held light behind glass and could not see it.

S:Slight bourbon, roasty, raisins and chocolate.

T:Hints of bourbon quickly followed by slight coffee, then dark chocolate. Chocolate flavor seems to linger. Some alcohol is noticeable in the nose, but not overly strong. Roasted caramel and hints of black cherry noticed as well.

M:Smooth, medium consistency. Slight feel of carbonation dancing on my tongue. Slightly astringent.

O:Very good. Well balanced. Slightly bitter aftertaste. I believe some aging would improve this beer nicely. Definitely improves as it comes up to room temperature. Bottle was taken from basement which was probably around 45-50 degrees. (812 characters)

Photo of AdmiralDiaz
4.49/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: very dark body with a one-finger brown head with decent retention and minimal lacing.

S: Smells of strong bourbon alcohol and strong notes of chocolate and some vanilla. Very bold and very attractive, can't wait to try a sip.

T: Similar to the taste, Strong alcohol with a bourbon creaminess along with chocolate, dark berries, and roasted malts. Very good, but didn't knock my socks off like I had hoped.

Overall: Well carbonated and silky mouthfeel. The drinkibility is lower on this one though, It's delicious and smell amazing but it would be hard to put down a couple pints of this. Great beer though, get it if you can, while you can. (649 characters)

Photo of ricknelson
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared this with a couple of fellow BA'ers and found it to be quite good, but not quite up to my Gold Standard, as set by Goose Island Proprietor's. But did a side by side tasting of it along with Lost Abbey's Agave Maria, and found it did edge out the Agave Maria by a nose. Pun intended. You would be hard pressed to drink a full bottle of this beer by ones self I feel. Solid 4.5 beer. (388 characters)

Photo of Immortale25
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Funky Buddha Brewery snifter. Back label says PKGD 03/12/14. Celebrating my 900th review with this miracle of a gift provided by mjshearer1.

A- Pours a fully opaque black color with a 1/2 inch light brown head that retains a bit before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a bubbly center patch of surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves a thin jagged ring behind.

S- Big rush of dark roasted malt with heavy notes of dark chocolate, bourbon and molasses. Also some caramel and vanilla undertones. Booze fume is there but works well with the rest of the aroma.

T- Initial dark chocolate comes across subtly and then the barrel creeps in and brings a bit more intensity as well as some vanilla sweetness. Wonderful black coffee aftertaste brings the profile around full circle. Additional notes of raisin and more molasses. So drinkable for the ABV and yet the flavors linger good and long so that they can be savored by only sipping sporadically. As it warms, it somehow becomes more sweet and even less boozy, however the dark roast becomes even more prevalent making it a bit more bitter.

M- Quite creamy and viscous plus there's some sticky residue in the afterfeel. Medium-low carbonation and the fullest of bodies.

O- A great BBA beer that's full-on with the bourbon presence but not so much that it becomes too hot or one-dimensional. Though I still think BCBS and KBS are both above it, this one is certainly a major contender and deserves to be appreciated for its own unique qualities. (1,534 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Derek, as always, for the bottle.

Black in color with a small tan head. Aroma is almost overpowering bourbon and vanilla. Rich chocolate and a bit of roasted malt. Simplicity at its finest. The flavor is similarly bold. A touch of alcohol, intense bourbon, oak, and vanilla. Tons of chocolate, some hints of coffee and roasted malt, and a bit of molasses. Excellent, decadent stuff. (398 characters)

Photo of CuriousMonk
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured jet black with a nice one and a half finger tall mocha-colored head leaving sticky streaks of lace that lasted throughout. Aromas of warm bourbon, milk chocolate, vanilla, dark roasted malt, brown sugar and quite a bit of lactic creaminess. The flavor starts off with a big dose of warm bourbon, chocolate and some lactic creaminess from the double cream stout. Hints of vanilla, oak, brown sugar and rich coffee help to break things up and keep things interesting. Big and full smooth mouthfeel with a ton of sweet flavors and moderation carbonation throughout. The finish was quite sweet with plenty of boozy bourbon and some dark roast, lingering on the palate long after consumption. I look forward to cracking open my Black Note bomber that I acquired early in 2012! (788 characters)

Photo of cosmicevan
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have been fortunate enough to have had this beer on several occasions. I know I have reviews and notes somewhere and I know I gave this beer a 5. but that was back then...and now this beer has become much more readily available and I have been able to sample it multiple times (including tonight)...and as much as I love it it is no 5. so time to review it instead of waiting for tomorrow or whenever I will upload my notes.

the beer pours a sludgey jet black with a thin creamy off tan head. night nice barrel aged shine. smell is black roasted malt and bourbon. good wood presence and good balance. taste is silky and smooth. the heat is on for this one as the ABV is very noticeable. goes down easy and is definitely one of the better barrel aged stouts. just a bit more in your face then some of the others. I have always found this one to be the strongest feeling. definitely worth checking out and lives up to the hype but it is no 5. (943 characters)

Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle courtesy of waltersrj, shared with Bitterbill and mkorpal at the Library bar in Laramie, WY. Bottle #242 (short review)

Pours black with a nice tan head, nice lacing and legs are left behind on the swirl. Nose has a lot of caramel and chocolate, quite malty with some hints of oak. Not boozy. Taste is really wonderful, an excellent blend of two stouts with additional complexity from a barrel. Barrel note is not the sole feature of this beer, and that is the reason we all enjoyed it. An incredibly well done beer and worth trading. Smooth and very easy to drink given the heft. (594 characters)

Photo of cpetrone84
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark coffee brown with tight dark tan head. Nose has some subtle roasted malt, notes of coffee, vanilla cream, chocolate cake. There is a mild sweet bourbon note. It tastes well balanced, faint touch of sweetness with rich chocolate cake and vanilla notes. The coffee is lighter, Light note of sweet bourbon that picks up as it warns, more present than the nose but still subtle. Soft creamy feel, full bodied but not heavy with good carb and extremely drinkable. (471 characters)

Photo of blackcompg
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed in a 5oz glass as part of a 6 beer flight at Bell's Brewery...

Appearance - Dark and black, very little head or lacing to speak of, semblance of legs when swirled in the glass.

Smell - Whoah! Wonderful combo of Vanilla, carmel, toffee, bourbon and oak.

Taste - OMG, what a rare treat! This was served fresh and on tap, starts big bourbon with vanilla bean and oak, then creamy bailey's and burnt toffee, then dark roasty coffee with dark fruit flavors. Lingering oak and bourbon with some pleasant heat between sips. Very special.

Mouthfeel - Medium to full mouthfeel and mouthcoating, silky and so smooth, there is just enough carb to add some wonderfully crisp edges along the sides of the tongue, add to overall complex mouthfeel.

Overall - So complex and well balanced, what a nice treat, plan your trip to Bell's around the availability of this in their taproom, I can only begin to imagine what a year or so would to to a wonderful stout like this, must try!

***Re-Review, this was is a bomber aged for 2.5 years, purchased after the 5oz pour that I rated above, which was poured fresh on draft - part of a flight at the brewery:

Appearance - Pours a solid finger of a warm medium brown cinnamon head that comes down to a thin rich looking cap in a minute, color of the body is an opaque black,

Smell - Begins with rich dark ripe fruits, sweet creamy vanilla, milk chocolate, a whiff of coconut, and a wonderful bourbon saturated oak. After letting it breath in a large snifter for a few minutes the nose "reverses", with the creamy vanilla and bourbon soaked oak taking the forefront, and the rich fruits and milk chocolates in the back

Taste - Wow, this is delicious, but is very much like the nose after breathing in the glass - the first dominant flavors are a lovely oaky bourbon, the vanilla is more of a dried vanilla bean now, and there to balance are a darker semi-sweet chocolate that's barely been dipped in cream, the fruits are present, hints of plum, fig, and black cherry. At the end of the quaff you get a slight astringency of dark fruit skins, some dried oak, some lightly roasted malt, even a hint of black licorice, and a slightly warming of bourbon that wafts up into the sinuses.

Mouthfeel - The mouthfeel is nearly full here, but this "effect" is mostly from the bold and mouth-filling flavors. This is very smooth and silky feeling, just short of creamy, but not heavy or mouthcoating at all. In fact, an aged Expedition coats the mouth quite a bit more than this. The finish is on the drier side, with pockets of warm bourbon fruits and dark chocolates left in the mouth corners. Carb on this is almost medium and still very effervescent, and while soft and smooth still provides just a bit of scrub, and leaves wonderful tingly edges over the sides of the tongue. Really a nice mouthfeel here.

Overall - This is really an excellent bourbon barrel aged stout. I've just recently rate a similarly aged bottle of KBS, and this is Better. Better because the flavors are so well balanced, and the mouthfeel is superior as KBS just seemed a bit less substantial. BCBS is still perfection, but this comes pleasantly close. The bourbon is so well balanced by the depth of additional flavors, and the mouthfeel and weight are right for the style. This is also typically more attainable and available multiple times throughout the year. Get your hands on some Black Note. Fresh is good but aged is even better for those that are willing to cellar it for awhile - keep an eye out for this in a 4-pak which has been done a few times recently. Cheers! (3,591 characters)

Photo of callmemickey
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

10oz pour at city taphouse bell's event

A: Deep brown/black body. One finger dark khaki head that held for some time after the pour. Spotty lacing.

S: Bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, sweet cream, molasses, roasted malts and dark fruits. Complex and well layered. Nothing really overpowers the other elements.

T: Nice blend of boozy-goodness and sweet, dessert like malts. Warm bourbon is present from the first drop. Sweet milk chocolate, cream, molasses, caramel, a little roasted coffee, vanilla and some figs.

M: Thick, full bodied and viscous. Low carbonation, but appropriate. A bit boozy, but not overbearingly hot. Nice lingering sweetness.

D: At first it was fairly easy drinking considering the thickness, but the beer eventually slowed down for me. This was likely the result of the underlying sweetness. A very nice beer, that is a bit different than the other big stouts out there. Thanks to Bell's and City Taphouse for the fun event. (950 characters)

Photo of mrn1ceguy
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very smooth, light BA stout. Drink it fresh so that the non BA cream stout portion can really smooth everything out. Easy to enjoy solo in one sitting. (155 characters)

Photo of ChugginOil
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed at The Bavarian Lodge.

Pours a deep black color that shows no light. There is a thin layer of dark tan head. There is oily residue but no lace.

The nose is amazing. Toasted coconut, chocolate, molasses, light vanilla, and a touch of booze. Rich bourbon notes are married well together.

The flavors involve more toastes coconut, dry oak tannin, vanilla, light chocolate and molasses. The bourbon comes in again and smooths things out. Very tasty and actually quite similar to BCBS.

The mouthfeel is rich and creamy upfront and then transforms into a dry feel. Light carbonation.

Overall, Black Note is a great bourbon barrel stout that really doea live up to the outrageous hype. Great nose, awesome flavors, and velvet smooth. Great brew. (751 characters)

Photo of woosterbill
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle (#290/1081) poured into a medium-sized Duvel tulip. Gigantic thanks to Chris for tracking down and sharing this scarce gem.

A: Completely opaque black body with a solid, creamy cap of brown head. Good retention, delicate lace. A swirl reignites the head and coats the glass with some reddish legs. Lovely.

S: Pure, straightforward bourbon-barrel goodness. Vanilla, coffee, bourbon, chocolate, licorice, and some faint dark fruits. Hugely complex, with a nice balance of sweetness and booziness. Terrific.

T: Sweet and bourbon-soaked at first, with vanilla, coconut, coffee, molasses, and spicy alcohol. Delicious.

M: Rich, creamy, full-bodied. Perhaps a bit more carbonation than necessary for the style, but luxurious all the same.

O: What a beer. It was amazingly close to breaking through to perfect scores in every single category, and was a sheer pleasure to savor. If I were to offer a complaint, it would be that it wasn't particularly distinctive - it just tasted like I expect a really, really great BBA stout to taste (much like Czar Jack, although with a bit more intensity that that incredibly smooth beer). It was worth the hype, and I just hope that Bell's makes more of it after they expand. I'd love to have it again.

Cheers! (1,260 characters)

Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served on tap in a cervoise at the Great Taste of the Midwest. I have anticipated trying this for three years, so needless to say, I am excited.

Appearance: My pour is an ebony black color with a modest creamy tan head. As I would expect with the high ABV, the cap fades rather quickly and leaves just a few dots of lace on the glass.

Smell: The aroma does not jump out of the glass, but it is full and complex. Lots of roasted malt and chocolate fudge are noticeable, with coffee and cream, subdued bourbon notes, and some raisins or other dark fruits as well.

Taste: The blend here is just fantastic. It is difficult to describe the intricacy of the interaction of the flavors, but I will do my best. A light bourbon presence exists throughout, so each flavor melds in with that base. Full, deep, almost burnt roasted malt create the deepest bitterness and set the tone for the rest of the flavors. The taste lightens up with some creamy coffee notes. Still bitter, but light and creamy as well. From there, gooey fudge makes an appearance, sticking with a full creamy flavor. The bitter, creamy, and sweet flavors all work well with the bourbon to create different sensations. Some vanilla, oak, molasses, and anise add even further complexity.

Mouthfeel: Luxuriously thick and creamy. Using double cream stout really smooths out any rough edges in the feel. Lightly sticky sweet, a touch of oaky dryness toward the end. Creamy carbonation, a deceptive lack of alcohol presence, and a full body.

Overall: Wow, this is pretty incredible. This is definitely an artful blend of two already good beers. The result capitalizes on the strengths of both beers - creamy and roasty, with the perfect amount of bourbon to blend everything together. This was tapped right as the rain started to come down at GTMW, so it was easy to get several pours as long as you were willing to venture out into the rain. Worth every effort to get it, and I would recommend putting forth any effort necessary to try this beer. (2,012 characters)

Photo of wvsabbath
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Dark pitch black with a nice creamy, foamy 1 inch thick head. Tons of thick lacing.

Smell - Classic bourbon aroma, with chocolate, vanilla, coffee and added sugars. Roasted malts, some smoke also. The cream stout is noticed slightly at the finish.

Taste - First sip starts off with plenty of bourbon, along with some dark roasty malts, coffee and chocolate. The addition of the cream stout comes in after the initial blast of bourbon, and adds some sweet, creamy notes. Some dark fruits such as raisin and plum add a tart, bitterness. Vanilla is a large amount of flavor in each sip. Smoke and wood are also picked up at the finish.

Mouthfeel - Bourbon and Dark roasty malts are the dominate flavor throughout this beer. Palate gets dark fruits, coffee, chocolate and the cream stout flavors. Aftertaste is malty, woody, bourbon warm.

Overall - Excellent beer yes. Complex flavors, big, bold flavors. Is it the best beer ive ever tasted? Not at all. Honestly id prefer a simple barrel aged expedition stout over this 50/50 blend. The huge java/mocha flavor of expedition is replaced with some cream stout flavor that im not a big fan of. In all, a great beer that everyone needs to try but nothing to go crazy over. (1,256 characters)

Photo of kzoobrew
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on tap a few times recently at Bell's, review is taken from notes from each occasion.

Poured into an oversized snifter. Deep black and opaque body, light fails to break the surface. One and a half finger coffee stained head lingers a bit longer than I expected. A slight amount of lacing clings to the walls of the glass.

Beautiful aroma. Chocolate and caramel aromas meld with the Bourbon. The balance between the the sweetness and bourbon is inching close to perfection. Roasted malt with slight char is subtle beneath. Pleasant vanilla noted through out.

Bell's could not have picked two better beers to blend and barrel age. The bold and assertive flavors of Expedition are complimented wonderfully by the smooth and creamy Double Cream. The flavor begins much like the aroma. Caramel and chocolate infused bourbon rolls across the tongue. Pleasant roast develops on the midpalate only to has the edge softened by a vanilla and milk creaminess.

Full bodied, though tiptoeing on the lighter side of full. Low carbonation, very appropriate, provide a very enjoyable creaminess to the mouthfeel. Long finish, I would not want it any other way.

Black Note had been my biggest personal wale for the longest time. I am very fortunate to live close to Bell's and have had the opportunity to drink it several times now. Each time I drink it I am as impressed as the first. Tremendous balance in the blend and the bourbon is integrated beautifully. Very easy to drink but one that will certainly catch up with you. As enjoyable as any beer I have ever had, one worth seeking out. (1,589 characters)

Photo of jimmy82063
4.51/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Finally received the elusive Black Note - Poured into a Bell's Snifter

A - Jet Black with a thin brownish head. Minimal lacing.

S - Outstanding - bourbon comes right through.

T - Bourbon of course, coffee, chocolate and some nice drak fruit. There is a real nice semi sweet chocolate finish at the end. A bit of the oak and burnt sugar are noted as well.

M) - This is so smooth and in regards to other style offerings this is where this stands out. Absolutely no harshness!

O) An outstanding beer, very easy to drink - this will cause a commotion if it ever hits the New York area. (586 characters)

Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.51/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a pitch black with a very thin tan head.

S - Aromas of heavy bourbon with some vanilla and chocolate.

T - Starts out with a hint of bourbon that transforms into a nice mix of chocolate and coffee. There is a nice vanilla sweetness throughout. Alcohol is very well hidden.

M - Full bodied with low carbonation. Silky smooth mouthfeel.

O - An awesome treat. Lots of rich and lucious flavors. Very smooth and drinkable for BA sout. Highly recommended. (464 characters)

Photo of davey101
4.51/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2012, 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass. Batch #11620, bottled 12/28/2012. Thanks to ObiWanKushnobi for this long time want!

A - Pours a pitch black body with two fingers worth of mocha foam. Settles out into a thin cap. Moderate lacing and retention.

S - Starts off with the bourbon...oak, vanilla, and some char. Then some roasted malts and sweet cocoa powder. A touch of dark fruits too. No element really dominates here, just well integration of two base beers + a barrel.

T - Just all kinds of balance going on here. Smooth vanilla and oak, a bit of a bourbon butterscotch, lightly bitter coffee beans, and dry cocoa powder. A little bit of everything here. Finishes with a real faint but pleasant alcohol warmth.

M - Creamy, smooth, and decadent....thank you Double Cream stout! Surprisingly high drinkability compared to other BA stouts.

O - Perhaps the most balanced and easy drinking BA stout I have ever had. This is a damn impressive beer and I wish I somehow had year round access to this. Forever ISO, but I still prefer BCBS for its unrelenting bourbon element. (1,088 characters)

Photo of soughtbygod
4.51/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

About to try my first black note: 2012 poured from a 12oz bottle,

I am a huge fan of BBA stouts, I have had CBS, CW BBA stout, KBS, Class X kern River, BCBS, Parabola etc, some live up to the hype and others fall flat, I am about to test drive Bells Black note:

Appearance: Opaque black no like gets through as you pour it almost no head forms and the head that does form is dark dark tan with fine bubbles.

Smell: Wow interesting, this has dark plum, raisins, black licorice, the bourbon is there but very muted and hidden, I also get almost a sweet coffee on the nose.

Taste: The taste is very good this is definitely a top 5 for me, the hidden bourbon is no longer hidden that is the first upfront flavor, but even though that is the upfront flavor it is not hot like one would expect for 11.8 %, as it continues to ease over my taste buds the other flavors emerge vanilla first, then a touch of sarsaparilla, and finally on the very back of the tongue coffee candy that reminds me of loomis coffee candies in the gold wrapper my mother used to eat them when I was young.

Mouth feel: not much to say here this was very typical, smooth and creamy not the best mouth feel I have had but not the worst.

Overall: I am very impressed with this beer, I still give higher rating to my all time favorite CBS, but this is def in the top 5 for me and worthy of seeking in the future, cheers fellow BA's (1,404 characters)

Photo of treznor
4.51/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Jet black and inky with a dark tan head.

S - Can definitely get the bourbon off the aroma here! Some dark chocolately, raisany notes down there as well.

T - Complex, dark, the taste lingers for a bit and increases in complexity with something extra coming out at the end.

M - The 'weak' point of the beer as its slightly thin.

O - A great beer to sit around and sip. (374 characters)

Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
99 out of 100 based on 542 ratings.