1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

Not Rated.
Bell's Black Note StoutBell's Black Note Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

3,259 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,259
Reviews: 504
rAvg: 4.56
pDev: 8.55%
Wants: 2,148
Gots: 819 | FT: 80
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 3,259 | Reviews: 504 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mklisz
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

mklisz, May 19, 2014
Photo of StoutHunter
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

StoutHunter, Jan 13, 2013
Photo of atone315
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

atone315, Feb 12, 2013
Photo of Stinger80OH
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Stinger80OH, Oct 25, 2013
Photo of RedneckBeerz
5/5  rDev +9.6%

RedneckBeerz, Feb 03, 2013
Photo of beergorrilla
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

beergorrilla, Dec 16, 2012
Photo of Satchboogie
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Satchboogie, Oct 10, 2013
Photo of jzeilinger
4.59/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Rich black in color with a toffee/molasses colored creamy head, thick and viscous looking.

S - Rich caramel cream, roasted toffee, dark chocolate malt, vanilla, bourbon, and some oak.

T - Rich and flavorful with vanilla, some traces of dark chocolate, oak, and bourbon. Ends with a sticky oak, vanilla, bourbon finish.

M - Luscious and rich velvety texture, thick, and slightly sticky on the lips.

O - An outstanding barrel aged stout.

jzeilinger, Jun 24, 2013
Photo of zonker17
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

zonker17, Jan 26, 2013
Photo of Adamostella
5/5  rDev +9.6%

Adamostella, Apr 16, 2013
Photo of ThePorterSorter
4/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle 923/1081...don't know what that means. But I feel more special letting people know.

Dark black with no head and shiny flecks of garnet in the light. The nose presents a good presence from the oak and a slight touch of oxidation. The taste follows suit with the addition of a nice chocolaty malt base that screams stout.. but definitely not a Russian imperial with only a modestly thick mouthfeel. The mouthfeel is slightly bourbon boozy, but not enough to scream BBA. It's just weak-sauce in comparison to the other stouts I've had.

ThePorterSorter, Aug 04, 2012
Photo of seeswo
4.22/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed a pour at the GTotMW 2011. Poured into the special taster glass. Very dark with a cocoa powder head. Looks great. The nose is big vanilla, bourbon and chocolate with some roasty goodness. Just a touch of oak as well. Dark chocolate, bourbon, vanilla and roast are the dominant flavors. Again, just a touch of oak. Very smooth, creamy and actually somewhat low-key in flavor. Good, creamy body with a low-medium carbonation is very nice for a BA Imperial Stout that is not overly sweet. This beer is more impressive in its balance, ease of drinking and mouthfeel than it is for its huge flavors or substantial complexities. Very enjoyable and glad I was able to give this a run. A buddy and I liked GL BA Blackout better, which were darn near side-by-side, but that isn't and indictment on the Black Note.

seeswo, Aug 20, 2011
Photo of twenty5
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

twenty5, May 10, 2013
Photo of tclapper
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

tclapper, Apr 23, 2012
Photo of Brew33
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Brew33, Sep 29, 2013
Photo of greenspointexas
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

greenspointexas, Mar 23, 2014
Photo of MacQ32
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - near black color with a finger if dense, lasting, chocolate colored headm decent lacing too

S - boozy and vanilla, oaky and lots of chocolate too

T - similar to the aroma but more chocolate and vanilla than anyrhing else. Also a hint kf dark fruit on the backend.

M - ideal, mediumish bodied decent carbonation
Relatively drinkable

MacQ32, Mar 03, 2014
Photo of nrbw23
4.1/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a pitch black color with pretty much no head. Head consists of just a handful of bubbles and leaves no lacing.

S- I thought the aroma was the best part of this brew. Quite a bit of vanilla, very faint coffee, bourbon, chocolate, and some faint dark fruits.

T- Pretty solid brew for sure, but overall very sweet. The sweetness was almost over powering everything else in this brew. Follows the nose well with a ton of vanila. Bourbon is here but fairly light. A good amount of booze too.

M- Medium in body and a lot thinner than I expected. Carbonation was also pretty low.

O- A good beer that might be a victim of the hype train. Glad I got to try this one.

nrbw23, Jun 24, 2012
Photo of Howlader
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Howlader, Aug 23, 2013
Photo of Zach136
4.06/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pitch black, little to no head. OK for ABV.

Aroma: Medium+ aroma of caramel, oak, bourbon, and chocolate notes with a background of light roast malt.

Flavor: Pretty apparent booze, more roast on the palate than the nose. Oak/bourbon are covered by other flavors.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, but perceived a bit drier from the booze.

Overall: Good, definitely not worth the hype and chasing down. Way too boozy for 11 and change ABV.

Zach136, Feb 02, 2013
Photo of Arbitrator
3.5/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Growler supplied by eyebrews and generously shared at the Pliny the Younger release. Sampled from a tasting glass. From notes.

A: Pours motor oil black, opaque in the center but lightly translucent at the edges. I have no idea about the history of this growler, but it was taped well, opened with a hiss, and there were clearly bubbles (dark mocha) on the brew. Retention was short. Promising.

S: Pretty bourbon-forward. Dark chocolate, vanilla, molasses. Anise and some booze.

T: Bourbon and chocolate are pretty evident. Anise, vanilla, molasses. The finish was hot and slightly harsh. I kept expecting more from the flavor; I picked up a lot of the barrel character, but not much of the Expedition or Cream Stout.

M: Silky, rich. Hard to criticize Bell's beers on mouthfeel, most of the time, but their barrel aging here leaves a lot to be desired: the beer is fairly hot and tannic.

D: I liked the beer, but I'm not convinced this is one of the top examples of the barrel-aged imperial stout "style." It's above-average, but nothing to give up the cellar for.

Arbitrator, Feb 21, 2010
Photo of Tucquan
4.15/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on 2012-09-08 in Columbia, PA

A - India ink black with a tan-brown short head with light lacing and lots of alcohol legs.

S - Bourbon, dark fruit, oak tannin, roasted malt. Very big aroma that's heavily on the bourbon side.

T - Bourbon, medium roasted malt, dark cherry, plum, prune, coconut and a touch of umami, and black licorice (not my favorite flavor). Fairly sweet but balanced with some astringent and hop bitterness. I definitely get the influence of the Expedition Stout. Alcohol is quite noticeable but generally blends in and supports the sweetness.

M - Medium-heavy body and light carbonation.

O - Big, big flavors for sure. Didn't quite float my boat as some other Imperial Stouts. For example, I prefer Founders KBS over this for a bourbon-influenced brew. I had this a few hours after having it on-tap. The only difference is there was no head at all from the growler but there was a bit of head on-tap. It wasn't that much of a difference to take points off for the appearance since you don't expect much of a head at this high ABV level.

Tucquan, Sep 08, 2012
Photo of baybum
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

baybum, Jan 12, 2013
Photo of Herky21
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Herky21, Oct 29, 2014
Photo of DonFrap
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

DonFrap, Jul 10, 2013
Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
100 out of 100 based on 3,259 ratings.