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
100
world-class

3,622 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,622
Reviews: 555
rAvg: 4.56
pDev: 8.33%
Wants: 2,500
Gots: 912 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,622 | Reviews: 555
Photo of mjtiernan
4.65/5  rDev +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 SaisonRichBiere
4.88/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served on draft, post Bell's tap-takeover at Aubree's in Northville, MI.

Appearance- Oily and dark, viscous, but a shade lighter than other BA stouts. Dark, dark espresso brown. One finger of beige head yields to a foamy veil atop the brew. As you drink, it dissipates further into a halo around the glass, leaving lots of lacing on the glass.

Smell- Caramel-coffee-toffee-creme brûlée. Big complex nose with a hint of bourbon heat. Roasty, roasty malts creep in. This smells awesome. One of the best.

Taste- Big boozy hit. Surprisingly more red wine than bourbon here. Fruity booze yields to a smooth 80 proof bourbon finish. What follows is awesome. Roasty espresso, big caramelly dark chocolate notes- think a chocolate riesen candy. Big strong Madagascar vanilla, creme brûlée and a blunt, dry roasty malt finish. Amazing.

Mouthfeel- Oily, smooth, creamy. A mouth-coating tingly whiskey burn that you really don't want to go away. Akin to the style with just a bit more.

Overall. One of the best, hands down. Extremely grateful that I was able to stumble on this (surprisingly) left over from a tap-takeover. The description does it justice, but this beer is so much more. If you have a chance to try this, try it. It will not disappoint. I thought CBS was the bar for the style, but this changes things. A shred more accessible than others of its ilk, this brings more Michigan BA stout firepower to the table. Drink this. Period. Thanks a ton Bell's!

Photo of Fanhitter
4.82/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Served at Aubree's Northville

As the glass arrived, it resembled a glass full of crude oil. Just looking at it I can tell it is syrupy and thick; the head is dark, reddish bruise-black. The head is a thin layer of microscopic bubbles that I can only imagine seeing in places like te La Brea Tar Pits.

Smells like vanilla-cinnamon-chocolate-coffee spiked with a sweet, wheated bourbon. There's a nice coffee aroma as well. It's big and sweet.

The flavor is a boozy bourbon bomb at first, followed with a balanced chicory and smoky sweetness. The vanilla notes come out shrouded in a caramelly, dark roast coffee finish. It finishes surprisingly dry for all that's going on here. This is a real treat for the tastebuds.

Mouthfeel is effortless for as boozy as this is; nice, oily, and smooth sipping.

Overall I am blown away by this. I've had CBS and KBS, and this tops out with both of them; however I like this better than KBS. This is a real treat to find on draft. Amazing beer.

Photo of MDDMD
4.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A-dark brown black color with a smallish tan head and minimal lacing

S-chocolate, coffee, dark fruit, bourbon, oak

T-rich chocolate, coffee, raisins, figs, vanilla, oak, slight smokiness, all interwoven with delicious bourbon flavor

F-medium to full body with light to moderate carbonation, smooth and creamy mouthfeel

O-absolutely delicious, so well-balanced with a wide array of flavor and bourbon beautifully blended throughout, one of the best

Photo of rodlavers
4.84/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12oz format, dated 12/28/12, poured into a snifter.

Less than a finger of thick dark tan mocha head, pretty much disappears after just a few minutes, maybe not even that long, leaving a very thin ring around the glass. Very minimal lacing. Black coffee coloring, with small traces of red, very small traces.

Nose really opens up as this thing warms a bit. At first a little one dimensional, with a flat roasted character present up front. After the pour, bourbon, vanilla, molasses, dark fruits, some coffee and chocolate, and whole host of other aromas announce themselves, giving Black Note a super complex, yet balanced overall aroma. There are earth tones in there, as well. Even a bit of tobacco.

Taste is equally complex and balanced, but not quite as amazing. Everything in the nose combines to create a very enjoyable flavor profile, but nothing is too prominent. It's all very balanced. I do find myself looking for something extra, more robust. It's not too hot, either.

Feel's smooth and velvety up front with a chalky finish, if that is possible. Somewhat hoppy and bitter at the same time. Carbonation is definitely noticeable.

Overall, I do really enjoy Black Note. It's complexity and uniqueness lend it something other bba stouts do not have. It's definitely not as smooth as some others I've had , but it's amazing in its own right. Cheers.

Photo of natemort13
4.77/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Been a while...lets make this a good one
2012.
Pours jet black with hardly any head.

Nose is the sweetest of Carmelly bourbon. Vanilla, oak, delicious.

Taste brings out dark fruits that weren't present in the nose but otherwise it's more of that very carmelly bourbon. Booze is well incorporated. Smoothest vanilla, some cola, hint of smoke.

Mouthfeel is extremely smooth, full bodied, light alcohol prick that doesn't detract from the taste.

Overall this beer is fantastically balanced for how big it is. Superb.

Photo of BarrytheBear
4.3/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle courtesy of Brian. Thank you for the opportunity. Poured into my Darkness snifter.
Bottle dated 2/28/12, so this bottle is almost a year old. Happy birthday you little minx.

Looks like a stout.

Massive wave of dark fruits hit you on the pour, mainly in the form of prune and plum. Light char and ash mix with vanilla and rich fudge. Tannic laced alcohol heat as well. One the sweeter side, maybe this is the prominence of the aging on the double cream stout? Truth be told I cannot remember the last time I had an Expedition....this calls for future exploration.

Sweet dry fruit and chocolate cake batter. Again the Double Cream stout flexes its relative muscle. Alcohol is abundant but not overwhelming. Vanilla molested plums and raisin. Bourbon is well woven and not abrasively in your face. I would not deem this a bourbon bomb. More milk chocolate than dark with a light oak on the end that hints at the barrel aging as well.

Not overly thick and syrupy, more towards medium bodied if not veering towards lighter bodied. Rather airy and smooth while not weighing you down.

Overall, this is pretty solid. I like bourbon beers that show nuance and aren't all brawn and no brains. This fits that category well. However, I find Double Cream stout borderline cloying and its inclusion here does steer this beer into a fairly sweet realm. Love 12 oz barrel aged beers and am thankful to have the opportunity.

Photo of srv33
4.46/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A 2012 poured into a tulip. Pours a near black chocolately brown with minimal lacing and no head. Scent of raisin, fig, swiss milk chocolate, coffee, and caramel. With a nose like that it must be fantastic, right?

The nose is fully expressed in the taste, rich dark fruits, chocolate, coffee, and caramel are all present and craftfully balanced. I've had the pleasure to try KBS, Expedition, and CBS, and would remark that this deserves its place among them. I would say the general flavor palate is quite similar but differs a fair bit in mouthfeel and richess, especially when compared to K/CBS. Compared to those it is much less rich, lacks the sort of near-syrupy richness of CBS or the earthy depth of KBS. There is also a much smoother touch of fine carbonation, more than K/CBS.

I had just as hard a time finding this as I did finding its cousins. Certainly glad I finally got to see what the hype is about. For some, this will certainly be perfect, (to those who find CBS or KBS simply too much) and others might find it lacking when compared to those, though somewhat similar in terms of flavor. Would I buy this again if I had the chance? Yes. Is it Bells best? I wouldn't say so, but it is certainly up there. Is it an absolutely fantastically crafted stout? WIthout a doubt. Cheers!

Photo of screamking
4.76/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle poured into snifter.

Appearance-pours black with a small light brown head, head is gone quickly, nice lacing around glass. 4.25

Aroma-oak, roasted coffee, vanilla, plum, toffee, butterscotch, hint of dark chocolate, black cherry. 4.5

Taste-dark chocolate covered raisins, creamy toffee, oak, roasted coffee is hiding but there, alcohol is present, vanilla. 5

Feel-full bodied, thick with mild carbonation, coats mouth very well, a little blast of heat at the end. 4.75

Overall- great bourbon profile! This is how to age beer in a barrel. One of the best bourbon beers I've had. Too bad I was only able to get my hands on one bottle. Hopefully they increase production of this next year. Being a bourbon guy, beer doesn't get much better than this. 4.75

Photo of FUwolfpacker
4.56/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Really happy that I was able to grab this one at a local store. Got 2 of the last 5. Bottled 12/28/12.

Poured from the bottle into a Westbrook tulip.

A: Pours black as oil and just as thick. Very thin tan head. Mild lacing.

S: Mostly vanilla and oak at the start. Maybe a little roastiness. Some mild coconut.

T: As you would expect, the vanilla, oaky, bourbon booziness is the first thing you taste. While it is prevalent, it isn't overwhelming like many of the bourbon barrel imperial stouts I've had. A nice sweetness but not cloying. Some mild warming in the chest but no burn. It's faint but there is some mild chocolate, roasted coffee, coconut, and dark fruit (raisins?) as the bourbon notes fade away. They become a little more prevalent as the beer warms. Roasted flavor and maybe some mild oak flavors stick around for a little while.

M: Very smooth, silky, creamy. Carbonation is mild but it is there.

O: This is a truly great bourbon barrel aged imperial stout. The bourbon character is there, but is not overwhelming. This makes it a pretty drinkable despite the 11.5% ABV. Definitely the best BBA stout I've had to this point. Worth making the effort to get if you haven't had it.

Photo of ncketchum
4.87/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle, served cellar temp in a Tyranena tulip, split with my dad

A - pours a silky black with mocha head, leaving slight lacing

S - aroma is fantastic- bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, and coffee, very well balanced, best I've encountered in awhile

T - again, expertly balanced with chocolate,, malt, and bourbon, nothing overpowering.

M - thick, smooth as silk, minimal alcohol

O - fantastic, I feel lucky to have found a bottle, easily one of the best stouts I've come across

Photo of Florida9
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.

Photo of CooperEllis
4.84/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Beautiful draft at a Takeover night at the Tap House in Rochester, MN. Poured in flight sized pours (4-5oz).

Soft bourbon and oak notes with a great deal of layered notes in the aroma. The taste is equally full, with a breadth of flavors which compliment. This is one of the easiest drinking beers I've ever had and the -bal compliments the base beer nicely without adding a strong 'booze' presence.

Mouthfeel is solid, if unspectacular. Light up front but a touch sticky at the end. Really, quite light given the complexity, robust flavors and abv. I'm actually more impressed that it's this light on the palate.

Damn fine all around.

(200th)

Photo of brewtus
4.8/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle poured into tulip. Obviously 2012

A- pours black with a half finger dark tan head the quickly disappears
S-milky, bourbon is very prevalent, dark fruit, chocolate, some subtle cinnamon
T-woah, dark chocolate that makes way for oak and bourbony warmth. Some faint vanilla, slight coffee flavors, amazing silky smooth texture, no burn.
O- wow I'm glad I spent so long trying to track this down, this beer is complex, smooth, and delicious. The bourbon isn't overpowering but it is balanced perfectly with the smooth creaminess of stout mixture. If you had the opportunity to get some, buy as much as you can, it's worth the price tag for sure.

Photo of smakawhat
4.48/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured from the 12oz. bottle into a large snifter glass.

Barely a whisp of faint tan head is made off the pour, but settles to a common 1mm collar while drinking. A nice little coffee cream top, with a body that is walnut black in color, just a little hint of see through around the edges.

Nose is very subtle, with hints of classic bourbon barrel aging. A controlled heat mixing with a large thick roast and caramel mix. Hints of charring thickness and booze. Hints of peanut like and salty character, Somewhat one dimensional and a little varied, but it's a good profile.

A real wonderful thickness. Great thick chocolate ganache finish on this beer, with hints of dark chocolate and bitter cocoa coating feel. A real controlled lingering very mild bitterness on the finish that lasts and lasts. Mild sweetness lingers on the tongue with this powder light heat and faint sting from a little tinge of carbonation. Incredibly coating palate and a nice dark chocolate. This is without question the most dark chocolate tasting brew I have had to date. The hint of sweet and punching dark bitter on this is just perfect.

This brew is all in the aftertaste, with a real incredible chocolate rich darkness. Drinks incredibly easy for such a large stout as well. Very memorable but not for the reasons that are mentioned on the bottles description. I would be shocked if Bell's could pull this beer off on a regular basis. Please try again!

Photo of DaveAnderson
3.45/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The aroma of this beer was overpowering from the second I opened it. It was like a fart aged on bourbon. The pour was beautiful, with a full, brown head. As expected, the beer was as dark as night.

As it opened, more aromas emerged. This one is an oak monster, which almost completely masks some of the more interesting notes, like hops and chocolate and fruits. Once it hits the tongue, there is an unexpected charred taste that throws this into complete disarray. This beer makes no sense to me. Neither the flavors nor the smells work together.

I wouldn't say it's unpleasant, but neither would I drink this again. There are too many well-crafted beers out there waiting for me.

Photo of KYGunner
4.6/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black and beautiful, there was a layer of brown froth at the top. Very thick in appearance and feel it was viscous and smooth on the tongue.

All the vanilla and coconut one can handle, the scent was as smooth as the feel. Very elegant in the nose, the scent is creamy and pronounced.

The taste is as smooth and creamy as the nose would intimate. Barrel oakey flavor mixed with strong vanilla tones, there's a coconut flavor near the end. Slight hints of chocolate/caramel brownie finish it off. As good as any taste I've had in a stout.

Overall I find this the closest to BCBS, which ranks as tops with me!

Photo of sleuthdog
4.54/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This bottle thanks to genuinedisciple
12 oz bottle poured into Kuhnhenn tulip
Bottled on 12/28/12

Pour: Jet black with a very minimal tan head that dissipated almost instantly. Looks like your run of the mill big bourbon stout. No lacing but alcohol legs are visible.

Smell: Bourbon, char, oak, vanilla, some chocolate and coffee. Some dark fruits but its all about the bourbon with this one.

Taste: This is a big sweet, huge bourbon forward beer. There is oak and barrel notes throughout the entire taste profile. Vanilla and roast and I'm getting an earthy type character. Chocolate and faint coffee noted as well.

Mouthfeel: On the heavy side of medium and not like the other big bourbon aged stouts I have had being a bit thinner. It does coat the palate with it's sweet bourbon goodness and is creamy and silky.

Overall: A very good beer and of obvious high quality. Is it the best BA stout I have had, no but a damn fine beer. Not a beer to empty your cellar over or jump through hoops to get but if it is within reach, don't hesitate to grab it.

Photo of silverking
4.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I felt compelled to try this when I saw it, so here it goes. It pours jet black with a thin mocha head. Lacing is nice enough. I gives forth sweet aromas of dark roasted malt, charred oak, licorice, cocoa, and dark fruits(cherry in particular). The taste is extraordinary. Now for the taste. Smooth vanilla fades softly into a smokey, woodsy dark chocolate flavor. Subtle hints of Plum, cherry, and licorice appear throughout. The finish shows strong notes of espresso. there is a slight warming alcohol note at the end as well, but it's gentle and enjoyable. The mouthfeel is rich and creamy. It coats the mouth and lingers on the palate. Overall, great. The alcohol is well hidden among the jungle of aromas and flavors. Buy some if you come across it.

Photo of AlMarzo
4.95/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a Dogfish Head Specialty glass / snifter
A: Thick and dark, this beer allowed no dark to shine through. Not much of a head however of what was there the color was a dark brown; it vanished to the sides quickly. Some great lacing followed.
S: Amazing aroma of dried fruit, dark chocolate, a hint of bourbon / oaky, a lot of raisin, hints of a floral aroma came through, along with some spice.

T: Sweet raisins, hints of Carmel, followed by a lot of dark fruit dipped in rich dark chocolate. a nice thick to medium body with a sweet mocha finish. Not too much bourbon present in the initial taste, but it became prominent in the after taste. Almost like a great cookie with the roasted malt, chocolate and hint of vanilla. Some dryness crept in toward the finish, but the sweetness won out. Some heat from the alcohol developed in the finish and aftertaste.

O: A great beer, I expected more bourbon, but it was a very dynamic stout with a great flavor profile. The appearance made me have my doubts but the aroma and taste won me back immediately. It only got better as it warmed. Nicely done!

Photo of JamesShoemaker
4.49/5  rDev -1.5%
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!

Photo of BEERchitect
4.74/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bell's, you're making it look easy! Where the beers of Expedition and Double Cream are fantastic in their own right, they have room for improvement. Their fusion and the bourbon barrel aging propels the taste into the stratosphere.

The "Expedition" appearance gives Black Note the majority of its attributes: extremely dark black with a deep mirror-like reflection, insisting on its clarity. But more like the "Double Cream" the beer's head is slow an creamy on its release. The dainty espresso-like creme dissolves back into the beer and is regenerated with a swirl of the snifter. The beer prefers brandy-like legging to any lace. This is one manly looking beer.

Freshly ground espresso and cocoa bean give the beer its strongly roasted scent. But burnt molasses notes provide malty underpinnings and weave into the barrel character seamlessly. Oak, barrel-derived caramel, vanilla, and heavy whipping cream become the bridge that connects the beer's scents. As the stout warms, fruit notes that are reminiscent in Expedition emerge here with vinous wine-like tang, blackcurrant, and raspberry. The fruits accompany the strong bourbon alcohol scent for an overall seductive aromatic experience.

Powerful flavors seduce the taste with bold roasted chocolate and espresso. Backed with the underlying taste of whipping cream, vanilla, scorched malt sugars, and molasses, the beer seems to melt onto the mouth with complete saturation. The sweetness and strength is only tempered by vinous fruit tartness and alcohol. Cherries, tart berries, plumb, currant, and grape meet up with charred oak, sherry, and port-like flavors at mid-palate and develop into a deeply bourbon-infused taste to finish. It's incredibly powerful taste is as variant as it is stern.

The stout's taste is only matched by its body. Highly viscous, the beer oozes onto the palate with creamy warmth and port-like saturation. Its early creaminess develops into a tangy acidity to finish, but with a marshmallow and powdery dryness in between. Its long finish and extended aftertaste is chocked full of bourbon warmth, fruit tartness, and roasty acidity.

Where I often think that Expedition is a little overbearing with roast and alcohol, and the Double Cream is a little too yogurt-like, this combo gives both the finesse and fullness that each may lack. The extended bourbon barrel age has smoothed the beer and added so much complexity to make this stout an undeniable top-tier beer.

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

appearance: pours thick and dark, with a dense, dark brown head

smell: unbelievable chocolate, vanilla, coffee, and bourbon

taste: sweet, coffee, bourbon, vanilla, oak, chocolate

mouthfeel: smooth, thick, full... awesome. Sipped it for over an hour.

overall: one of the best beers I have had, and do believe that the hype probably had some effect in my interpretation, but I feel it lived up to the hype.

Serving type: bottle

Photo of barczar
4.45/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque black with a quarter inch foamy brown head that dissipates into a ring around the rim.

Deep toasty, nutty notes are prominent early, with lots of chocolate and a not of booze, along with a hint of roast malt at the finish. Subtle dark fruit is present in the form of cherries and plums. Vanilla and oak surface late.

Flavor is sweet, chocolatey, and raisiny, with moderate roast character. Booze is evident in the finish, along with sweet cherries. Oak emerges as it warms.

Body is syrupy and velvety, with minimal carbonation and significant alcohol warmth.

Less roast character than most, and leaning toward the sweet side. Cherry is fairly dominant near the finish. A little hot, but tasty.

Photo of jlindros
4.57/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to both mcsecne (Reddit) and erric (Reddit) for bottles of this gem.

Light fizzy darker colored head, pitch black dark beer with nice long legs, decent thick head as I swirl.

Nose is awesome, tons of dark malts, chocolate galore, some rich thick expensive Belgian chocolate, bakers choc, a little dark even, velvety too. Little espresso and coffee with a bit of roasted malt but no burnt aromas, cocoa nibs. Then barrel, some vanilla with light toasted oak, decent bourbon, little alcohol tingle. Velvety and maybe even creamy oats.

Taste starts with malts again, dark malts with syrupy dark malts, lots if creamy velvety chocolate, cocoa nibs, bakers choc, etc. The malts have a light roast, little bitter tannin char but not really burnt. Cocoa leads to barrel, light vanilla and barrel, must a touch of bourbon. Light warning tingly booze. Light bitter hops but not much. Finish is long creamy chocolate, cocoa, vanilla, light bourbon barrel, little sticky sweet with a bit more booze, so much mouth layered thick chocolate.

Mouth is big bodied, thick and creamy lush velvety, decent carb, some warming booze but doesn't drink like an 11+% beer.

Overall very nice, great base stout with tons of chocolate, nice dark malts and decent barrel but if I could complain about anything maybe a bit more bourbon as I love bourbon.

Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
100 out of 100 based on 3,622 ratings.