1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

3,512 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,512
Reviews: 539
rAvg: 4.56
pDev: 8.33%
Wants: 2,368
Gots: 896 | FT: 87
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
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 3,512 | Reviews: 539
Photo of Jeffo
4.28/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle so generously provided by hotpipes29. Thanks for going the extra mile on this one. Much appreciated.

From a 75cl bottle into a snifter
Batch 10,136
Bottle 618 of 1081
Blend of Expedition Stout and Double Cream Stout aged in bourbon barrels.

APPEARANCE: A black pour yields a one finger, medium looking, light mocha colored head with decent retention. Head fades to a good wisp and sticks to the sides of the glass. Jet black body with lower levels of carbonation. Looks pretty solid. A swirly wisp and ring remain the whole way and leave dots of lacing down the glass. Good looking beer.

SMELL: Some roasted malts and dark chocolate under a very nice bourbon barrel. Oak, milk chocolate and a touch of sweet cream. Not overly bold, but the base beer of roasted chocolatey goodness meshes really well with the bourbon barrel notes. Well done.

TASTE: Bourbon barrel and caramel malts up front with some roasted notes and dark chocolate in there as well. Lots of barrel on the swallow, with bourbon, oak, vanilla and caramel sweetness. Big, bold and lingering aftertaste is full of barrel flavors, dark chocolate and roasted malt notes as well. Big barrel presence, but plenty of stout still plays and important roll. A very impressive barrel-heavy beer that still shows a solid base beer underneath it all. Excellent stuff.

PALATE: Medium body with slightly lower levels of carbonation. Creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes somwehat sticky on the palate. Solid feel here.

OVERALL: This was a good beer for sure. In all honesty, I'm not the hugest Bell's fan, especially after being underwhelmed with Hopslam and Expedition, but this one really pushed all the right buttons. With a thick, dark pour, and bold, balanced aromas and flavors, this one really impressed. An excellend BA imperial stout that I would love to have again at some point. Cheers for the beer hotpipes! We really enjoyed this one.

Photo of KevMo84
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of PA-Michigander
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of jrenihan
4.47/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled Dec 28, 2012.

Beer is jet black with a small tan head.

Nose is very good. A nice blend of bourbon scents (oak, vanilla, bourbon itself), dark fruits, and chocolate. The nose reveals a well blended barrel-aged stout, with the barrel being obvious but not overwhelming.

Taste lives up to the promise of the nose. There is nothing unexpected here: it has all the flavours one would expect from a bourbon-barrel aged stout. What makes it great is two things: (i) the base beer is of a very high quality; and (ii) the flavours are very well proportioned. Bourbon, oak, vanilla, dark fruits, chocolate and some roasted malt are all there, and all harmonious with one another.

Mouthfeel is also great. Full bodied, moderate to low carbonation level and very very smooth. Despite the high ABV, it drinks quite easily. Alcohol hear is there but surprisingly muted for what it is.

Overall, terrific. Absolutely a first rate BBA stout.

Photo of NJBeer265
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of MacQ32
4.42/5  rDev -3.1%
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

Photo of vonnegut21
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of baybum
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of CTJman
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of JohnParadee
4.71/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Wow! Really enjoyed this stout. Poured from bottle into chilled pint glass. Deep, dark, black color. Virtually zero head, but nice beige/tan collar. Zillions of tiny bubbles coat the edges, but lacing is minimal and not at all sticky. Nose was subtle, but sexy -- bourbon, coffee, dark chocolate, and vanilla hints compete with one another. The palate is where this stout really displays it's showcase qualities -- bourbon and chocolate dominate. Reminds me of a less syrupy sweet version of BCBS and/or a less boozy version of Parabola. Roasted coffee and vanilla make appearances as well. Great finish and mouthfeel. If you don't love this stout, then you obviously have your head up your coo-loo.

Photo of Hanzo
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of Tyrawlings
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of jsanford
4.08/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Brewvival 2102

Poured an inky black with a dense mocha head. Luxurious aromas of cream, bourbon, malt, chocolate, and roasted malt. Taste is similar to the nose, lots of hot Bourbon, chocolate, molasses, raisin, and roasted malt. Definitely tasty, but no better then any of the other 78472397629289 Bourbon-barrel Stouts out in the world. Full-bodied, with a creamy mouthfeel and ample carbonation. Overall a great BA Stout, but the definition of "overhyped".

Photo of Nichols33
3.12/5  rDev -31.6%

Photo of LehighAce06
5/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of Howlader
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of thewimperoo
3.75/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of JohnK17
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of zonker17
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of mikeincharleston
4/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of oldp0rt
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of Stevedore
4.68/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2012 vintage 12oz bottle dated 12/28/2012, poured into a Bell's snifter today and quaffed 4/13/2013. This review is also based on the four times I've had this now- twice on tap, and twice in the bottle. This is the first time I've had a chance to sit down, relax and write a review. And I am thoroughly enjoying this just like all the other times.

Aroma: Smells delicious, like a dessert port. Decadent chocolate accompanied by vanilla, bourbon and oak. And it actually smells thick and creamy, like how I would imagine liquid Ritter Sport (German) chocolate would smell like. I mean, I've had my share of BA beers including the recent vintage of KBS and last year's BCBS and this definitely has them beat in the nose.

Colour: Pours like a thick, viscous motor oil. Jet black body, illuminates with just a tiny hint of dark, dark cola brown at the surface. Not a ton of head, it pours with a brief, less than 1 cm dark brown head that is ephemeral. It leaves no traces, not even a collar. You get spots of lacing here and there but for the most part it's this viscous liquid dark chocolate. Nice.

Flavour: Very, very complex and I really love this beer. Up front, and especially early on while it's still at cellar temperature, there is quite a bit of straight up bourbon, vanilla and oak wood. This quickly gives way to this pure chocolate sweetness, with a bit of molasses and fire-roasted marshmallows, just like the ones you make s'mores with. As the temperature warms up, I start to get a little bit of dark fruits- figs in particular, which actually reminded me of Expedition Stout the first time I had this beer before knowing what the components were. The finish is smooth and creamy, a little bit of espresso and cream like a cappuccino- but I want to say something more like macchiato- less cream, more bitter espresso yet smooth. This beer drinks like a dessert drink and there's nothing like this beer that I've had the privilege to drink. Even as it gets close to room temperature, the heat is pretty indistinct and covered up by all the complex flavours and smells of this beer. tl;dr- this is an incredibly complex beer that somehow melds all the flavours together well while hiding its 11.5% ABV very well.

Mouthfeel: Initially, I would have guessed they had to have some contribution from Double Cream Stout, because the mouthfeel reminds me a lot of that particular Bell's offering. It's a very thick bodied, very smooth and creamy beer that is actually well carbonated based on how my tongue perceives the beer. It fizzes quickly as I swish it around, coating my palate in a thick and viscous chocolatey heaven. The aftertaste is sweet, bitter and creamy all at once- like if I made a macchiato and put a block of dark Belgian chocolate in it. Simply sublime.

Overall: I've just been so impressed with this beer. It's one for the ages. I say the same for BCBS, but in the realm of subjective preferences, I'm going to take Black Note over BCBS if I were ever offered the choice (which is probably going to be very rare). It's exceptionally smooth, creamy sweet and such a decadent pleasure to quaff. The heat, even when it gets close to room temperature, is relatively minimal. It's truly a joy to drink and I treasure each opportunity I have to be able to drink this beer.

Photo of Wowcoolman
4.24/5  rDev -7%

Photo of mcallister
4.77/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bought at Party Town in Florence Kentucky. Thanks Party Town!!!

A very nice looking beer and not sure why I'm not givinig it a 5 out of 5. Black in color with a small tan head that fades quickly. Very still and mysterious.

Quite possibly the best nose I've witnessed on a beer. Charred bourbony oak aromas with toasty vanilla tones. Roasted burnt chocolate malts, mollasses, and raisin with a large lactose aroma on the finish. Black fruits of currant, black cherry, and hints of pepper. Somewhat sweet and very enticing.

Again hard not to give a perfect score for taste. Just the slightest imperfection in the mid palate keeps this from coming to fruition. This beer is hugely complex with intense roasted chocolate malts. Marshmallow flavors with a thick creamy lactose induced mouthfeel and mid palate. Charred flavors with a tingly carbonation with creamy, silky smooth textures. Vanilla and caramel meld well with the layered dark fruit flavors. Hints of licorice in the flavor and sweet toasted oak. Bourbon flavors show through and really integrate nicely with the roasty flavors. Alcohol shows through somewhat but isn't overwhelming. A beer I could honestly drink the rest of my life and never get tired of.

Photo of BDeibs
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
100 out of 100 based on 3,512 ratings.