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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

548 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 548
Hads: 3,677
rAvg: 4.49
pDev: 6.46%
Wants: 2,544
Gots: 938 | FT: 75
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: 548 | Hads: 3,677
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 craytonic
4.8/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Near perfect for the style.

Smell: Deliciousness? Bourbon, cream, molasses, brown sugar, dates, figs. Perfect integration of bourbon and cream, typically it doesn't work out.

Taste: Bourbon, cream, dark sweet chocolate, sweet molasses, brown sugar, oak, vanilla, figs and dates. A bit of a hot chocolate element, also marshmallows, almost like a smore. Wow this is good stuff.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly creamy, rich and smooth.

Drinkability: Best imperial stout I have ever tasted. This one lives up to the hype. Wish I had a barrel of this. This stuff kills bourbon-barrel and vanilla-bean dark lord. Only a few minor imperfections with the malt keep this from being fives across the board. If you see how I rate other beers of this style you will realize how good this one really is. (797 characters)

Photo of pwoods
4.97/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sampled at The Comet in Cincinnati during Hopnosis and at South Park Tavern in Dayton during their Bell's event. Notes from both.

Pours deep black with a touch thinner viscosity than I'd expect. Pretty short head, I'd assume from the barrels but it leaves nice wisps of lacing. Great barrel aroma. Vanilla is very present, accentuated by the double cream but not too sweet, very pleasant(the expo has definitely handled DC's sweetness). Woody and earthy notes in the back. The DC and barrel has rounded out the Expo's huge hop profile though it still lingers. Great mixture of the two beers. Very chocolately, just enough sweetness and hops, great bourbon snap with the fantastic barrel to round things out. Body is full but not thick or chewy. Carbonation is pretty low but still maintains a fantastic smoothness. This beer is too fucking tasty to not be drinkable. You could literally drink this until you passed out before you were sick of it. Stellar. (956 characters)

Photo of Lemke10
4.42/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This pours a very dark brown/ black color with almost no head. The aroma is strong with bourbon and sweet robust malts. The taste is sweet, smooth and strong. This seems to be thinner in texture than most other bourbon barrel stout, but probably has the most unique taste that leaves a tart fruit after taste. A good, well made beer but to currently hold the #20 spot for best beer is a bit of a stretch. (404 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 brewskifan55
4.2/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter. Thanks, Darren.

A: Black with garnet highlights. No head, light lacing.

S: Bourbon, chocolate, anise.

T: Follows nose with a decadent smoothness. Sweet. Robust. A true sipper. The 11.4 gradually creeps up on you for a toasty buzz. Even better as it warms.

M: Medium with medium mouthfeel. A bit watery on the finish.

O: Outstanding. As tasty as it is hard to find. Recommended. (419 characters)

Photo of zac16125
4.64/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle into a snifter
Bottled on: 12/28/12

A: Pours an opaque black with some browning on the edges when held to light. 1/2 fingers width of light mocha colored head builds and then quickly recedes. Leaves only small patches of lacing.

S: Massive bourbon upfront. This is followed by rich dark cocoa and chocolate fudge. Oak, vanilla, the barrel notes are huge. Hints of roasted malt and dark fruits as well. Maple syrup. Incredible aroma.

T: The initial sip is luscious dark chocolate, followed by bourbon, and finished with coffee and roasted malt notes. The flavor levels with each sip are just wonderful. I also get raw oak, faint dark fruit notes, vanilla, some bitterness on the finish.

M/D: Velvety smooth, full bodied, fairly thick but not chewy, carbonation a touch higher than I prefer for the style, but appropriate. No hint of the ABV and drinkability is excellent.

O: Overall, just an excellent beer. I feel very lucky that I was able to get a hold of a bottle of this. Excellent from top to bottom. Definitely worth seeking out. (1,056 characters)

Photo of Kramerwtmf
4.67/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Had this side by side with Kbs. Kbs smelled better but everything about this beer makes it better including how smooth it is. The espresso flavor in the finish really sets this beer apart. It has a bourbon county aroma but the flavor is unreal. Do yourself a favor and get a bottle if you don't have one! (304 characters)

Photo of TwelveOunces
4.67/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter
2012 Vintage

A- As black as they come. A quarter finger of a khaki colored head. Impressive alcohol legs.

S- A roasted malt and a massive creamy caramel. A ton of bourbon and sour mash. A slight oak. Just soo smooth smelling I could smell this brew all day.

T- A slight sting of bitternes at first followed by a nice heap of roasted malt. The Bourbon takes over and dominates the palate. A big sour mash character. A slight alcohol feel and a charred oak flavor. There is a big caramel and underlying toffee note. Its rather well balanced and perfectly blended. This is a bourbon forward beer which is what I love.

M- Lots of alcohol feel. Drinkable and smooth. Thick and syrupy.

O- A fantastic Barrel aged stout, one of the best out there. I Barely got a hold of this beer. Hope the amp up the production of this brew. If I can get KBS and BCBS, I shouldn't have a problem getting a Bell's brew. Make more please Bells. (962 characters)

Photo of Furlinator
4.46/5  rDev -0.7%

Bottled on 05/17/14.

Pours opaque black. The thin khaki head fades to a thin film and ring on top and leaves spots of lace.

The smell is an inviting combination of dark chocolate, vanilla, coconut, pipe tobacco and black coffee.

The taste is of dark chocolate, black cherry, roasted (almost smoked) dark malt, vanilla, toasted coconut and bourbon.

The texture is heavy bodied wilow carbonation.

Hard to come by on the West Coast, I'm glad to have gotten my hands on this one. An absolute world class barrel aged imperial stout. (536 characters)

Photo of Abbbp
4.93/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Once again thanks for opening the cellar Bryan, the fact that we side by sided this with a KBS and an old Rasputin 17 was just awesome. But of the 3, sorry KBS and your #3 ranking, this Bell's is just flat out superior.

Poured into a snifter it darkens the cup, with lil to no head. It's aroma just reeks of an old bourbon warehouse, where the forgotten barrels have just soaked the bourbon for ages and the rest has been stolen as the angel's share. That and chocolate, big espresso, deep dark fruits all bring together a symphony for the nose.

The taste however is what really sets this ye old American Double apart- it isn't overwhelming. It's smooth, it's as though the fermentation of this fruit allows for delicious lambic carbonation to build giving it a drinkability like none other I've tried before.

Bravo bravo Bell's, you've done it. This not only lived up to the hype but far exceeded it. It's a damn shame that you're not in Texas, you leave me no choice to pillage other states and take their stock. (1,019 characters)

Photo of BlissJunkie
4.75/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served at room temp. An aggressively poured head dies down to a thin foam across the beer rather quickly. Whats left reminds you of the sweet crema left atop a well drawn espresso in both the color and body of the dense bubbles of the remaining head. The beer is espresso dark as well.

Vanilla and candied brown sugar are the first things I smell which trail off to sweet bourbon. None of the smells are over powering any of the others. In searching for what sticks out the most, I smell sweet, fresh brewed coffee from a coffee house, not the kind you make at home.

Vanilla and candied brown sugar carry over immediately to the taste. Dark fruit and bourbon take the middle, front of your tongue while coffee and astringency take over the back. The bourbon is everyone but in a soft, well presented manor. It has a good woody flavor that goes along with the bourbon that I really enjoy, almost a smokey flavor.

The mouth feel is great! This beer embodies why I like BBA beers so much. None of the hot/harsh alcohols just smooth woody goodness that pairs great with those vanilla notes.

All in all, its a sweet but balanced beer. It has lots and lots of good qualities but I think I would like it much more with a year in the cellar. It's not as roasty as some of the beers it shares its company with but its better in the sweet department than they are. I try to limit giving fives but it's tempting with this one. (1,420 characters)

Photo of magictacosinus
4.75/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Very happy to have tried this at DLD near the FFF brewpub in Indiana. Poured into a 9oz plastic tumbler.

The appearance is a blackened, near opaque color coated with a half finger of bone white head at the top, with slight streaks of carbonation visible at the edges of the glass. Leaves behind excellent lacing, which is impressive given the serving vessel and ABV. Contains a viscous, liqueur-like feel with each swirl, and ranges from looking like a freshly made cup of espresso coffee to a glass of fortified dessert wine. The head never seems to vanish, which adds charm to the beer's look. Looks quite menacing, yet inviting overall.

The aroma is most definitely complex - right at the front, there are traces of roasted chocolate notes soaked in oak, followed by huge caramelized and creamy vanilla bean and brown sugar aromas. Having never had either of the base beers used to make this, I cannot say where or how both of these draw the line against each other. However, in this case, this holds so well on its own that I pretty much don't need to! (Although I would still love to know.) Dark fruits abound such as blackberries and blueberries (on the sweetened side, not tart), slight tinges of coffee, maybe some coconut, but it's really the chocolate and oak and vanilla creaminess that shine here. It's truly refined and strives for balance in ways I haven't seen a stout of this kind go towards.

With my first sip, I expected an explosion of various flavors melding and conflicting with one another, but it's surprisingly as wonderfully soothing and comforting as the aroma. Large notes of dark chocolate abound with dried, juicy fruity notes imparted by the oak, only to be followed by a massive vanilla, crème brûlée-like flavor that feels wholesome and decadent without being overwhelming. The blueberries are there as well full-fronted in a sense that I usually only get with dessert wines, but what's more surprising of all is how isn't that sweet at all, but rather just the right balance of sweetness from the cream stout balancing gloriously well with the roasted, semi-dark chocolate character and light coffee. It's really these flavors balanced with the well carbonated, creamy mouthfeel that this beer is such an instant classic. The wood has really refined the flavors and makes it a relaxing yet full-bodied drinking experience, to the point where it adds character and fruitiness to the chocolate and vanilla, and finishes off the beer in a wonderfully buttery aftertaste that goes on and on. I really wanted to munch on something like Whoppers while drinking this in order to keep the chocolate flavor going! This felt like it was melting each time in mouth the warmer and warmer it got. What a fantastic thing that is.

This beer, like so many of these barrel blended stouts across the country, has been romanticized to death, and I said all I could with the little yet fabulous pour I was able to get. I really want to track this down in the bottle and see how it compares to the tap version, but this does well for me (especially if I can find more pours of this size for $5). A glorious stout. Works for any occasion at any time of the day. Like The Abyss, not a chore to drink at all. Absolutely worth tracking down! (3,256 characters)

Photo of SportsandJorts
5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Type: Bottle 2012
Glass: Snifter
From: Bell's General Store
Price: $24 a 4-pack

Appearance- Pitch black and opaque. Small tan head the faded pretty quickly and only left a lacing along the side.

Smell- Chocolate, molasses and bourbon, and a touch of sweetness

Taste- Chocolate, brown sugar, bourbon and molasses, with a finish of bitter roasted malts. Perfectly balanced and not lacking in any way.

Mouthfeel- Creamy and thick. Low carbonation and a warming finish. Exactly what it should be.

Overall- This beer is exactly what I want it to be. It is a stout no doubt with the perfect addition of bourbon. Most BBA stouts are taken over by the bourbon, while this is not a terrible thing, it still takes away from the beer. The use of Expedition and Special Double Cream gives it both a smoothness in the body but a slightly bitter finish that is perfect for the style. I couldn't and wouldn't as for anything different in a bourbon barrel aged stout. At $6 a bottle it is definitely a treat but one that I would buy a 4-pack at any opportunity. (1,051 characters)

Photo of SaisonRichBiere
4.88/5  rDev +8.7%
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! (1,465 characters)

Photo of kevanb
4.47/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #1071 - Thanks Shawn!

The pour is pretty standard for any stout, lovely jet back color with no transparency. Watching it pour is like watching motor oil pour from the canister, syrupy and viscous, yet thin enough to resemble something you would want to drink. An aggressive pour yields some head, but not much, and easily dissipates within moments, not uncommon of a high ABV stout. The nose is remarkable, the Double Cream Stout is in full effect in the nose, lots of milky lactose notes, roasted coffee and grainy malt compliments the subtle bourbon and charred wood that comes forth at the end, exceptional balance between the barrel and the base blend, neither seems to dominate, but instead they compliment each other quite well. I’ve had many a milk stout but the is the first time that the nose has suggested harmony between a milky or creamy stout and anything pleasant from a bourbon barrel. The flavors tend to favor Expedition Stout, heavier on the roast and bourbon, but also with a sweeter element, especially as it warms. Big notes of coffee and malt jump out, not unlike the Double Cream Stout, but they resinate in a way more reminiscent of Expedition Stout. The flavors are bigger, more robust and thicker, pairing well with the bourbon, which never takes over the beer, but only adds a nice layer of complexity and woodiness that compliments the roasted coffee and bold chocolate and caramel malt flavors. The body is nice and thick, minimal carbonation which plays nicely into the milky and creamy stout playbook of Double Cream Stout.

Verdict: Exceptional stout from Bell’s, I wish they released more of this so it could get around, but I’m very happy to have had a bottle. The creaminess and roastiness go hand in hand and the barrel aging adds just enough complexity to take this blend to a new level, without overpowering or dominating the palate. If you have the chance to try this beer, make it a top priority, the hype is deserved. (1,972 characters)

Photo of larryarms847
4.79/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a crude oil like pitch black with a wonderfully light brown head that just looks like I could lay on it is so thick and fluffy.

Aromas of sweet chocolate, tart and bright coffee/espresso, raisins/plums/dark fruits, and bourbon envelops the overall package.

Take the chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, bourbon, perfectly balanced them, and what you have is Black Note Stout.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, perfect for how I like my stouts!

This is a truly remarkable BBA imperial stout, really. Bell's nailed it on the head with this one and I'll be on the hunt for it again this next release season. (605 characters)

Photo of zoso1967
4.45/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black Note pours a deep, dark and pretty much opaque blackish brown that is exactly what I had expected since this is supposedly a blend of Expedition and Double Cream. The head is a deep tan in color. The head retention and lacing are both quite nice.

The aroma is intoxicating with plenty of vanilla and bourbon notes mixed with super chocolaty and rich caramel aromas. The wood and bourbon really are the star of the show in the aroma though. (I had this again at the TC Winter Beer Fest and even out in the cold with bonfires all around I could really pick up on the barrel aged notes)

The flavor is very similar to the aroma but with a bit more chocolate and a slightly charred flavor. Vanilla also plays a big role in the flavor with the oak shining through well. I also must note that there is some serious tootsie roll character going on in this bad boy.

The mouthfeel is medium and a bit thinner than I would like, but that is a common problem I find in beers that have been barrel aged. The finish is sweet, roasty and enjoyable without being too taxing.

This brew is well regarded in the BA community and for good reason. In my opinion it does not quite rise to the heights of KBS or CBS, but it is a well crafted and aged BA stout that I will surly do my best to have a snifter or two of if I get the chance. (1,324 characters)

Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.59/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2014 bottling poured into a small Great Lakes snifter. I just had a bottle of BCBS out of the cellar a few days ago so it will be pretty fresh in my mind for comparison. The beer pours out very, very dark, but not quite black. Carbonation is low (not uncommon and perfectly acceptable for a barrel-aged stout). I'm getting lots of dark fruit and barrel character on the nose instead of the roasty notes I expected. Plums, dark cherries, and some vanilla and bourbon notes. I also get some bittersweet chocolate notes.

The beer has a full body and a strong, complex flavor. Some sweet malt and a big hit of bourbon up front greet you first. The texture of the beer really enhances all this rich flavor. Some of the dark fruit slides in and out, but mostly it's toffee-like malt, toasted oak, and bourbon. You half expect the bourbon to intensify towards the back of the palate, but it maintains consistency of strength and never quite burns you. It lingers while the profile gradually tends toward dark chocolate and espresso, then keeps lingering on the finish after you swallow.

Very interesting beer. It has a lot of intense bourbon flavor, but never quite seems as hot as it threatens. It's much more like BCBS than KBS, in that it embraces the bourbon instead of coffee and chocolate. Spectacular beer that I hope I am fortunate enough to score again some day. (1,366 characters)

Photo of elgiacomo
4.29/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottled December 28, 2012. Served at cellar temperature. Always been a huge fan of Expedition and this is one I’ve sought for many years, excited to have a chance to try it (and thanks to Bell’s for the 12oz package and distribution!)

Pours black with a two finger brown head that settles to a light swirly creamy cap and foamy ring, leaves short-lived lacing behind.

Aroma is a big blast of bourbon, rich dark chocolate, oak, vanilla, coffee, a bit of anise, hint of smoke. Good to very good strength.

Flavor is rich and delicious. Quite bourbon-forward, a lot of vanilla and serious chocolate, marshmallow, roasted malts, anise, some dark fruit, little caramel, rather sweet, minimal bitterness, decent alcohol bite, but fits for the style/size. Really good!

Mouthfeel is full bodied, very creamy, smooth, sticky, low to moderate carbonation.

Fantastic beer. Right up there with the big boys in the style. A real treat and worth seeking out. (957 characters)

Photo of axeman9182
4.44/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle, bottled on date of 12/28/12. Received this one from gpawned and tat2dhllblly. It was allowed to warm before being poured into my Brooklyn Brewery tulip.

Black Note pours jet black, with maybe half a finger of dark, mocha foam crowning the beer. Head retention is good, but the lacing left behind is minimal. The nose is spectacular, with aromas of vanilla, marshmallow, brown sugar, bourbon, and a dusting of dark chocolate all waft out of the glass. The only (minor) complaint I have is that the barrel characteristics are highlighted so much more so than that of the base beer. The flavor profile does have some more cocoa to it, as well as even just a little bit of espresso. It comes at the expense of the nuanced bourbon barrel profile. The marshmallow disappears completely, and vanilla and caramelized sugar fade. All are replaced by more of a straight off boozy bourbon flavor. It's great that more stout shines through, but the tradeoff isn't quite worth it. Still, the flavor's very good (just doesn't quite live up to the expectations set by the nose). The mouthfeel has a certain silky quality to it, and it's paired with an appropriately subdued carbonation. The body just isn't quite full enough to really be excellent though. I've had a couple of "hyped" beers that didn't quite measure up lately, but I'm happy to say that Black Note isn't one of them. Superb barrel aged stout from Bell's (1,420 characters)

Photo of beerdrifter
4.34/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up this 2012 vintage bottle in a great trade with Evan! Pitch black pour with a one finger caramel-colored head that fades quickly with minimal lacing. Bourbon and milk chocolate dominate the nose along with hints of licorice, oak, booze, and some subtle dark fruit. The taste really rich and is once again dominated by the bourbon and milk chocolate along with hints of fudge, licorice, vanilla, dark fruits, espresso, brown sugar, and oak. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and slightly syrupy with a smooth and subtly warming finish. Overall, this is right up there with my favorite BA Stouts. The ABV is well hidden and it's not as hot and boozy as most in this category. Highly recommended! (699 characters)

Photo of dbossman
4.34/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another great beer shared with my tasting group; thanks again, guys

A: Near black with no head and just a film of lacing

S: Sweet and malty and bourbony; even a bit hoppy and spicy; man, this is oaky and boozy with just a touch of dark fruits--raisins, plums, etc.

T: Boozy and chocolatey and a touch thin but malty and nearly as sweet as it smells; the dark fruits play off the semi-sweet malts and bourbon quite well

F: A bit too thin for a big stout--much too thin (perhaps unfortunate that I tried this after a huge stout--GI Rare) but still fairly sticky which almost makes up for that

O: This is a great beer but I just wish it had more body; if it did it would truly be world class (693 characters)

Photo of RoamingGnome
4.52/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bell's Black Note

Glad I finally get the chance to try this beer. Split a bottle amongst friends at my favorite bottle shop. Served lightly chilled.

A) Definitely black on the pour. There was not much had generated, maybe a half finger. It was dark tan in color, and settled quickly to a collar.

S) Needed to warm up a bit, but once it did the aroma really opened up, and was very pleasant. There is vanilla, bourbon, bit of roast, it's definitely got some of that oak barrel woody aroma to it. There's some chocolate too. The chocolate was more noticeable at near room temp.

T) Follows the nose nicely. Pleasantly chocolatey, vanilla sweetness, light roast, oak barrel, and bourbon. The 11.5 ABV is well hidden. The quality of this stout's aroma and taste is reminiscent of BCBS.

M) Medium bodied and lightly carbonated. This is very smooth, very supple, very soft, very easy to drink. No alcohol burn. Nice aftertaste.

O) Ranks right up there with any other barrel aged stout I have had the pleasure to drink. I certainly wish I could get a hold of a few more bottles. Glad to recommend. (1,095 characters)

Photo of deebo
4.05/5  rDev -9.8%
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. (927 characters)

Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
99 out of 100 based on 548 ratings.