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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
99
world-class

548 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 548
Hads: 3,680
rAvg: 4.49
pDev: 6.46%
Wants: 2,553
Gots: 935 | FT: 73
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: 3,680
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 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 shivtim
4.57/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from a friend. 2012 vintage aged in his beer cellar in Michigan for one year.

Nearly opaque black/brown, with brown tinged edges when held up to light. Slight lacy brown head.
Nose is bourbon-soaked raisins. Chocolate. Slight anise. Fantastic.
Taste is deep malt, bourbon, some sweetness.

Excellent stout. (318 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)

Photo of JackieTH
4.6/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On draft at the 2012 Autumn Brew Review, from notes. We missed this at the 2011 ABR, so would not be foiled again.

2 ounce pour was oily black in appearance with a thin skein of mocha brown head. Smell was distinctly bourbon..vanilla, oak, subtle cherry, along with dark chocolate and subtle anise, toffee, dark fruit. Smells rich and delicious.

Taste follows the nose. Bourbon barrel, vanilla, figs, dark and sweet chocolates, coffee, dark fruits, blackstrap molasses, toffee. Booze. Bitter coffee, dark chocolate and hopping keeps some semblance of order in all the richness. Mildly warming. It's very, very good. Heavy creamy body as expected. Overall..The bourbon elements in Black Note aren't as over the top as other bourbon whiskey imperial stouts, it frames the dark chocolates and allows all the other flavor elements to really shine. Impressive. (859 characters)

Photo of ChugginOil
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed at The Bavarian Lodge.

Pours a deep black color that shows no light. There is a thin layer of dark tan head. There is oily residue but no lace.

The nose is amazing. Toasted coconut, chocolate, molasses, light vanilla, and a touch of booze. Rich bourbon notes are married well together.

The flavors involve more toastes coconut, dry oak tannin, vanilla, light chocolate and molasses. The bourbon comes in again and smooths things out. Very tasty and actually quite similar to BCBS.

The mouthfeel is rich and creamy upfront and then transforms into a dry feel. Light carbonation.

Overall, Black Note is a great bourbon barrel stout that really doea live up to the outrageous hype. Great nose, awesome flavors, and velvet smooth. Great brew. (751 characters)

Photo of ChrisPro
4.32/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft (x2) at City Taphouse during Philly Beer Week.

Pours super dark brown with the slightest hints of ruby in the light. No head whatsoever.

Aroma was big thick chocolate and vanilla dominating the nose, with some hints of molasses and oak. I couldn't get much fruit on the nose, but i felt like there was something there.

Flavor was a super sweet big thick dessert drink. I didn't think i'd get through 3 oz. let alone a whole glass, but the flavor was so incredible I had no problems...and then I went back and got another. Vanilla, molasses, chocolate and some roasted cashews on the finish.

Did I mention that this was big and thick?

Overall, incredible, but not even sure it was in my top 10 beers of Philly Beer Week. (730 characters)

Photo of sukwonee
4.56/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks for the trade Jim!!!

A: Black body with very little head

S: wow. Huge vanilla, bourbon, oak, dark fruits, some hops, coffee, chocolate,
5 stars here.

T: ok so not as good as it smells - still great. more bourbon notes over vanilla and oak than in the nose. alcohol heat is definitely there. I pick up brown sugar, caramel, coffee, chocolate, but not much dark fruit as in the nose.

M: It's syrupy alright but it's not the thickest stout I had or anything like that. as mentioned alcohol heat is there (dry).

O: Another excellent BA stout. Nothing crazy or anything but great BA stout. I love the fact that it comes in 12oz bottle now. (648 characters)

Photo of AmitC
4.56/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this from Joe.. who brought it for me from some store. Almost $7 for a single bottle. Dated : 12/28/2012. This better be good.

Poured from the 12 oz bottle into a large snifter glass. About one finger thick dark tan almost shining brown colored head that settles slowly into a thin layer. Thick oily dark brown colored appearance while pouring. Darkest of black inside the glass. Truly is a black note. Calm inside the glass, heavy and viscous. Very good lacing on the sides with each sip.

Smell is fantastic. One of the best smelling Imperial Stout. A lot of chocolate and very apparent bourbon barrel aged notes. Some vanilla that is anticipated. No traces of alcohol. Extremely good burnt up malts and very slight amount of coffee. Too much bourbon heavy. Sweetness and maltiness is also present.

Taste is pretty much the reflection of the nose. Very smooth, lacking booze altogether. Typical Bourbon finish. Burnt up notes are low. Bourbon, wood, vanilla and chocolate in the flavor. Awesome taste overall. Low on the hops so bitterness is only mild. Dry and slightly burnt up finish.

Mouth feel is very much on the full and thick side. Drinks pretty easy, High on alcohol, but no real burning sensation or feel. No astringency of any kind. At 11.8% it drinks very smooth and won't let you feel anything. Provides good amount of warmth. Perfect for the snow season.

A lot of price for an excellent beer. Comes very near BCBS but does not quite deliver the extra value.

Style Rate: 4.5
Personal Rate: 4.5 (1,520 characters)

Photo of Gosox8787
4.8/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: Big thanks to Urbancaver for bringing this and giving me the chance to try this. Around a 4 oz. pour served slightly chilled into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Black to dark brown in color. A touch of a brown lacing.

Aroma: A whole lot of coconut upfront, with layers of chocolate, vanilla and bourbon. Really nicely balanced. Definitely one of the more coconut forward beers in the aroma I've ever had.

Taste: Bourbon, vanilla, chocolate and bourbon all belnd nicely together. There is a lot of barrel character but it blends almost perfectly with the base beer and there is little to no heat. There is a touch of roasted coffee bean notes. Really balanced and tasty. Near perfect.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a nice creaminess throughout. Spot on for the style.

Overall, one of the better bourbon barrel beers I've ever had. There was almost no heat from this being that fresh, and the flavors are incredibly complex and balanced. It is drinking great right now so I'm not sure time would help this much. (1,024 characters)

Photo of alcstradamus
4.65/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On tap and Stub & Herb's. Only ordered 7 oz. which upon reflection was a big mistake. This may be the only chance I ever have to try this beer, and it lasted for nearly an hour and a half so I had plenty of opportunity to get more.

My pour came from a pitcher so I just got a plain black liquid. However, I saw other pours that came directly from the tap and this one was a beauty. Pitch black with a full finger of caramel brown head. Classic imperial stout.

The smell is the one aspect of this beer that I just couldn't fully appreciate. There was no smoke in the bar, but the lingering food smell plus other distractions make it hard to really get the full experience. But what I got was a spectacular rich bourbon aroma that was just screaming at me to drink it now.

And oh boy...drink it I did. And I loved every single drop of it. Huge caramel and vanilla notes. Smooth luscious bourbon with no burn whatsoever. This might be the smoothest barrel aged beer that I've had to date. Just absolutely rich and decadent, almost like the liquid manifestation of a marble cake with bourbon icing. One of the best tasting beers I've ever tried.

Mouthfeel was full and creamy, exactly as it is supposed to be. I drank my 7 oz. and looked around and most other people in the place had only gotten down half of that. And I wanted more, I needed more, but stupidly I chose not to get more. This is a fantastic beer that I will probably never have again, but I will always remember it as being one of my favorites.

UPDATE 8/18 -- Had a chance to consume about 12 oz. of this beer at the 2010 Great Taste of the Midwest. I have nothing to add to my original review other than that is was perhaps a bit hotter than I remembered but every bit as tasty (1,745 characters)

Photo of JMScowcroft
4.82/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bell's Brewery, Inc. - Bell's Black Note Stout, poured into a Craftgeer snifter.

Aged 1 year, from 12/12/2012

Look - Pours a medium viscosity jet black with no head to speak of (common for these aged stouts, not a big deal). Negligible lacing (the fact that there was some at all is amazing).

Smell - Rich chocolate, coffee, woody, nutty, fruity. Malty w/bourbon throughout. Not overly woody, just right, the fruit is slightly sweet.

Taste - Smooth fudge chocolate and coffee with dark fruits and a touch of bourbon at the end. Sweet vanilla in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Full-medium bodied with low-medium carbonation. Surprisingly not boozy (seriously). Sticky coating in the mouth.

Overall - This is super tasty, from reading other reviews it appears that this one definitely enhances with age, glad I got to try one that was aged one year. Cheers! (854 characters)

Photo of rodlavers
4.84/5  rDev +7.8%
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. (1,364 characters)

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