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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
99
world-class

3,162 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,162
Reviews: 499
rAvg: 4.56
pDev: 8.33%
Wants: 2,120
Gots: 796 | FT: 77
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: 3,162 | Reviews: 499 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.98/5  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.

Sammy, Jul 13, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
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.

UCLABrewN84, Jul 24, 2012
Photo of spycow
5/5  rDev +9.6%

spycow, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of djrn2
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

djrn2, Jun 02, 2013
Photo of zestar
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

zestar, Mar 01, 2013
Photo of Thorpe429
4.63/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had a few glasses on tap at the Stub and Herb's Fermented Eclipse event.

A: pours a smooth deep brown with the tiniest layer of a tan head.

S: very rich. Loads of bourbon and hints of oak atop some molasses, dark chocolate, vanilla, and roasted malt.

T: very similar to the nose with a nice, semi-sweet creaminess coming through; this is the first area where the Double Cream starts to make it's way in, rounding out what was already a very nice brew.

M: rich, creamy, and chewy without too much alcohol.

D: very, very nice. Fantastic brew all around and I am thrilled to have finally gotten a chance to try it.

Thorpe429, Jun 28, 2010
Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -12.3%

acurtis, Jun 02, 2013
Photo of nmann08
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

nmann08, Mar 09, 2013
Photo of metter98
4.54/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

On-tap at Thirsty Monk, Asheville, NC

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a patch of beige bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Strong aromas of vanilla are present in the nose along with notes of bourbon.
T: The taste has lots of flavors of bourbon and associated vanilla from the barrel aging process.
M: It feels full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation along with some warming from the alcohol.
O: This beer definitely tastes strong but does a good job hiding most of its alcohol.

metter98, May 30, 2013
Photo of Texasfan549
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Texasfan549, Sep 04, 2012
Photo of brentk56
4.43/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Tasted at the Kerstbier Fest at the Capital Ale House

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with an obsidian color and a tan head that spots the glass with lace

Smell: Bourbon, cream and dark fruit, primarily dates

Taste: Figs and dates dominate the opening flavor profile with dark chocolate and bourbon flavors arriving by mid-palate; after the swallow, the creamy flavor also plays a role along with a surprising hint of licorice

Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy body with moderate carbonation and some warmth

Drinkability: Wonderful balance between the fruit and the chocolate, the cream and the bourbon

brentk56, Jan 03, 2008
Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

kjkinsey, Aug 31, 2012
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.

BEERchitect, Feb 14, 2013
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.98/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep black color stout with a nice large dark brown color foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of bourbon with some vanilla notes and black chocolates. Taste is also dominated by a well-balanced mix between some vanilla, bourbon, creamy black chocolates and light bitterness. Body is thinner then I had anticipated with good carbonation and no alcohol was apparent. Very solid barrel-aged stout but I would have loved a bit more of body to this beer.

Phyl21ca, Sep 21, 2013
Photo of GRG1313
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

GRG1313, Jul 28, 2012
Photo of ygtbsm94
4.72/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From the tap at EBF 09! I must have drunk 10 samples of this stuff during the two day event. Poured an opaque black while cascading into a fine frothy head; perfect! The aroma was incredible if you're a BB lover. Sweet vanilla, chocolate, oak, and of course, bourbon notes abound; could inhale this all night. The taste was superb; roasted chocolate malt, vanilla, and oak blend so well with the bourbon that it just melts in the mouth. Very smooth and creamy with a very slight hint of ABV; which is scary! One of the best well balanced BB stouts that I have tasted. Too bad this isn't bottled!!

ygtbsm94, Mar 12, 2009
Photo of mikesgroove
4.8/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I cannot believe I was actually able to land this beer. Persistence pays off people! Much thanks to the wonderful man from Kentucky who grabbed me a small growler of this one earlier in the week and rushed it right down to me. Chilled down in the fridge and then immediatly decanted into a pint glass. This one was consumed on 06/26/2009.

The pour was as dark and inky black as one could possibly get. Amazing this thing looked like a black hole. A very small little puff of tan came up over the top and settled down very quickly leaving the top nearly bare with just a touch of lacing. The there was the aroma. Tons of molasses and bourbon that was laced with huge notes of vanilla and coffee. A hint of licorice maybe? Possibly dark fruit but simply amazing and intense but that was nothing compared to what I was in for when I took that first elusive sip. It was on now. Big. Full bodied, thoroughly coating and amazing flavor. Nearly the perfect balance of hot bourbon, rich milk chocolate and coffee all hit you up front. But as it warms it morphs on you, prune like flavors, hints of maybe some grapes like tartness overlay the vanilla from the barrel and make it a sublime finish that literally seemed to get sweeter with every sip.

Overall I am not gonna lie, this one kicked my butt! It was an supreme joy to drink, but it is strong. Taken in context though, I could have sipped on this at the end of the night, every night. It was simply divine. Much thanks again for getting to try this, it was worth the wait and one of the best tasting stouts I have ever come across.

mikesgroove, Jun 27, 2009
Photo of jaydoc
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

jaydoc, May 29, 2014
Photo of womencantsail
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

womencantsail, Aug 07, 2012
Photo of kylehay2004
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

kylehay2004, Jun 25, 2014
Photo of Knapp85
4.28/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This was sent by mjmadsen21, thanks man!!

This poured out as a rich looking black color with a thin brown head on top. Very quick fading retention and no lacing. The smell of the beer is big, lots of bourbon, roasted malts and some subtle vanilla in there. The taste of the beer is very rich with more vanilla, chocolate, molasses and wood. The mouthfeel is slick, kinda harsh at first but softens up as it warms. Lingering sappy finish to it also. Overall this beer is really good and really glad I got to try it finally.

Knapp85, Jan 26, 2013
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
5/5  rDev +9.6%

westcoastbeerlvr, Aug 15, 2012
Photo of oberon
4.56/5  rDev 0%
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.

oberon, Feb 03, 2013
Photo of SocalKicks
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

SocalKicks, Jul 29, 2013
Photo of largadeer
3.75/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to stfun37 for this one.

Black in the glass with a tiny dark brown head that rapidly recedes to a ring.

The aroma is woody and earthy, with a backbone of bittersweet chocolate. Boozy bourbon is present but more subtle than I was expecting, and sweetness is very reserved. Expedition's unmistakable burnt licorice/molasses character shines through with surprising strength here.

The taste is impressively complex; licorice up front, burnt whole grain bread, bakers chocolate, tobacco, vanilla and light earthiness. Medium-bodied without much sweetness. Hot bourbon flavors come through more in the finish, along with woody tannins, strong burnt bitterness and lingering espresso.

This was a pretty interesting beer. The Double Cream Stout and -bal aging have helped tame Expedition's harshness, but not as much as I would have liked. Still enjoyable, but not as remarkable as I was expecting.

largadeer, Oct 14, 2009
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Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
99 out of 100 based on 3,162 ratings.