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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

2,725 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,725
Reviews: 487
rAvg: 4.55
pDev: 8.35%
Wants: 1,999
Gots: 698 | FT: 65
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: 2,725 | Reviews: 487 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Zach136
Zach136

Georgia

4.25/5  rDev -6.6%

02-02-2013 00:11:46 | More by Zach136
Photo of orbitalr0x
orbitalr0x

Illinois

4.5/5  rDev -1.1%

01-02-2012 01:13:02 | More by orbitalr0x
Photo of Phelps
Phelps

Arizona

4.43/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed (very much) in a chalice at the Hungry Monk during the Arizona Beer Week Eccentric Café event.

Not quite black, but as close to black as purple gets. Strawberry highlights. A tiny tuft of bubbles settles into the middle of the glass, but that's all the head I get.

Layers and layers of aroma. The component parts are obvious in here, with major black coffee coming from the Expedition, and heavy cream and oats coming from Double Cream Stout. The barrels are in perfect proportion, lending dark cherry, molasses and oak. Nice smooth dark chocolate swirls as well, as does toffee. It’s like a fruity, oaky red wine. Great balance.

Bourbon is in the flavor, but it's not the star, which is great. The front is vinous oak, burnt bread, espresso and spicy black strap. The swallow smooths things out with dark chocolate, bourbon-soaked dark cherries, a lot of buttery toffee and a little bit of toasted coconut. Oats and whipped cream rise at the finish. Gentle waves of flavor roll in with each sip. Strikes an impressive balance.

A little heartburn on the way down, but alcohol is well-hidden overall. A shade over medium in body, the brew exhibits a nice velvety texture and heft. Very light, tingly carbonation and a little fizz. Slightly tongue-numbing.

Got damn. So many great flavors mix in this brew. It’s like a bourbon-soaked cherry stuffed inside a dark chocolate toffee treat, with a heavy cream chaser. To balance both the Expedition and Double Cream as well as the barrel notes is just so impressive. The more I ponder it, the more I like it. Very grateful to have the opportunity to try it without giving up my first born. Though he might be on the table if anyone wants to send me a bottle.

Serving type: on-tap

03-22-2012 21:58:20 | More by Phelps
Photo of Tucquan
Tucquan

Pennsylvania

4.15/5  rDev -8.8%
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.

Serving type: growler

09-08-2012 18:43:08 | More by Tucquan
Photo of alleykatking
alleykatking

Indiana

4.68/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes I took at All Stout's Day.

A- Poured a nice oily black color. Small 1/2 finger mocha/tan colored head. Little lacing on the sides of the glass that just slid back down into the beer. Makes my mouth drool!

S- Like some others said it was muted when first served to me. I let it warm up a little while I sipping on the Oatmeal Stout and then came back to it. Wonderful roasted malts right in the forefront of this beer which I was a little afraid might be pushed back with other aromas. There were some oak and vanilla notes that came and went along with a light bourbon presence. Some chocolate came through a little more than the others mentioned. The alcohol was there but nothing overpowering. It almost smelled just like a Dark Lord dare I say.

T- Good big roasted flavor right off the bat mixes well with a light bourbon and oak middle. There was a light vanilla flavor that I picked up more and more once I drank it. The middle and the end of this beer was a little more creamy and chocolate notes ran freely. The alcohol was there but it was not messing with the overall flavors in the beer. Big tastes in this beer.

M- Heavy mouthfeel. I personally thought the carbonation was a little bit weak on this and could have used a little more. The beer needed a little help rushing across the palate but made its way in a roasted bourbony sweetness fashion. Nice clean afterflavors that enhance the entire drinking of this beer.

D- This beer is very drinkable even with the higher ABV. I couldn't get enough of it when I was at Bell's. I am glad I got to try this and it really was worth the hype that it had.

Serving type: on-tap

11-03-2009 04:17:13 | More by alleykatking
Photo of Ryan011235
Ryan011235

Ohio

3.6/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Matt the Miller's Grandview on 6/12/12

Nearly black with dark mahogany brown around the edges. No head, save for a thin ring.

The aroma has a lot of the stout - roasted and burnt sugars, molasses, prune, bitter chocolate and some coffee undertones. Creamy vanilla, some oak and hints of soft bourbon. The flavor has more bourbon and more heat. Some burnt sweetness, much similar to the nose. Pretty heavy blend between burnt roast and sugar and prune sweetness. Oak char on the finish. Full, slick body with sugary lingerings. Moderate, appropriate carbonation. Finishes clean for a barreled thing.

Overall, this is good but I would much rather drink Expedition or Double Cream Stout or bourbon.

Serving type: on-tap

10-10-2012 23:43:17 | More by Ryan011235
Photo of jak
jak

North Carolina

4.75/5  rDev +4.4%

02-25-2013 01:21:10 | More by jak
Photo of beergorrilla
beergorrilla

Michigan

4.5/5  rDev -1.1%

12-16-2012 03:39:38 | More by beergorrilla
Photo of vonnegut21
vonnegut21

New York

4.5/5  rDev -1.1%

03-18-2014 01:05:19 | More by vonnegut21
Photo of JoEBoBpr
JoEBoBpr

Missouri

4.44/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass from a 750ml bottle.
Bottle No: 455/1534

Pours a pitch black darkness that is quite thick. There is a nice quarter inch thick head that is light tan colored and is pretty dense. A nice swirl rises a head up to about half and inch and with some dense small bubbles.

Aroma is delicious! Starts off with fudgey chocolate notes. Delicious chocolate cake sweetness and richness. There is some nice bourbon sweetness that follows the chocolate notes and the bourbon is slightly balanced by some nice roast. There are some dark fruit notes present mixed in with some dark chocolate bitterness that shows itself on the back end.

Flavor starts off following the aroma. Starts off with nice fudgey and milk cocoa sweetness. Then there is a nice mix of bourbon with the coca notes. The Bourbon notes add some slight heat and some nice vanilla and almost cinnamon spice notes. There is a nice dark fruit notes with some raisins and prunes notes mixed in with the sweetness of chocolate. These notes are however not too strong and are very well balanced by the roast notes and the cocoa. All the flavors in this brew are very well crafted and represented. Yummy cocoa notes blended with bourbon notes that bring some vanilla and some nice dark fruit notes. All these notes are also very well balanced. Nothing overpowers the other notes and they all play well together. The body is nice and creamy and velvety smooth.

Overall I'm glad I got to try this brew. It is quite delicious with great fudge notes and some slight roast. Then there are some definite bourbon notes that are present and give the brew some nice body and good dimensions but that don't overwhelm. Bravo Bell's.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2013 23:15:40 | More by JoEBoBpr
Photo of VeganUndead
VeganUndead

Virginia

4.75/5  rDev +4.4%

03-22-2013 01:08:40 | More by VeganUndead
Photo of david131
david131

California

4.75/5  rDev +4.4%

01-13-2013 06:36:37 | More by david131
Photo of dar482
dar482

New York

4.84/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The beer comes in black color with tinges of brown coming in through the light. A ring of tan head.

The aroma is bourbon, oak, vanilla, dark chocolate, hints of dark fruit (cherry and dried plums), coffee.

The flavor hits in the front of sweet and dark chocolate, molasses, and vanilla. There's hints of coconut and dark dried dark cherry and plum as well. Bourbon flavor hits throughout. The finish is of sweet roasted coffee and drying oak.

The mouthfeel is very full and bold at first and falls off reasonably quickly by the end of the beer.

This beer changes throughout with temperature, very much so compared to other bourbon barrel aged beers I have had. A very interesting beer to take an hour or so on.

In the end, slightly weak on the finish, but one of the best bourbon barrel aged stouts.

Serving type: on-tap

02-13-2014 05:58:40 | More by dar482
Photo of jsprain1
jsprain1

Minnesota

4.69/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A- Black, with a one and a half finger cocoa head. Fell down a little quicker than I would like, but boy that is a nice color.
S- Licorice, coffee, chocolate, burned toast.
T- Heavy on roasted character but there is a bit of rounding hops to it. More licorice, coffee, chocolate, and a hint of vanilla. Really in your face with delicious flavors. Long finish to it.
M- Full bodied. Low carbonation. Silky.
O- Loved this one. It is not a regular drink, but definitely worth tracking down.

Serving type: on-tap

11-18-2013 03:02:50 | More by jsprain1
Photo of charlzm
charlzm

California

4.36/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Consumed on March 11th, 2013 at 50 degrees F in my trusty Triple Petrus snifter. Thanks to Vurt for the bottle.

Beer pours a very dark brown: one shade lighter than black. Super-deep maroon highlights. A smallish light brown head forms and is gone almost instantly, leaving behind only a tiny crown that encircles the brew and leaves minimal trace behind. A gentle swirl reveals that this beer has some legs.

Aroma - bourbon is the primary component, but it's a modulated component, leaving room for some plum and chocolate notes.

Flavor is a bit salty and soy-sauce-like. Smooth bitter chocolate, some fleeting and creamy lactic notes, dates/plums and a wood mingle with leather and a touch of tobacco. Bourbon is mostly absent from the palate. Not especially boozy, all the flavors mingle and merge with none being especially dominant.

Mouthfeel is thick and slick with a little alcohol heat. Warming after a few sips. A little more carbonation would have been amazing...

Certainly the best use I have ever encountered for Expedition Stout, a beer I don't enjoy on its own. Goose Island's Bourbon County Stout is still the standard for this style as far as I'm concerned, but this is a fine, fine effort. Everyone, keep trying to top BCS!

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2013 03:37:28 | More by charlzm
Photo of gatornation
gatornation

Minnesota

4.75/5  rDev +4.4%

02-03-2013 22:09:49 | More by gatornation
Photo of Satchboogie
Satchboogie

New Hampshire

4.25/5  rDev -6.6%

10-10-2013 03:25:12 | More by Satchboogie
Photo of AleWatcher
AleWatcher

Illinois

3.25/5  rDev -28.6%

01-13-2013 01:38:06 | More by AleWatcher
Photo of fredmugs
fredmugs

Indiana

4.5/5  rDev -1.1%

10-25-2012 17:09:45 | More by fredmugs
Photo of barczar
barczar

Kentucky

4.43/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque black with a quarter inch foamy brown head that dissipates into a ring around the rim.

Deep toasty, nutty notes are prominent early, with lots of chocolate and a not of booze, along with a hint of roast malt at the finish. Subtle dark fruit is present in the form of cherries and plums. Vanilla and oak surface late.

Flavor is sweet, chocolatey, and raisiny, with moderate roast character. Booze is evident in the finish, along with sweet cherries. Oak emerges as it warms.

Body is syrupy and velvety, with minimal carbonation and significant alcohol warmth.

Less roast character than most, and leaning toward the sweet side. Cherry is fairly dominant near the finish. A little hot, but tasty.

Serving type: on-tap

02-14-2013 01:35:55 | More by barczar
Photo of jzeilinger
jzeilinger

Pennsylvania

4.59/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2013 21:33:22 | More by jzeilinger
Photo of Zachtheporter
Zachtheporter

Wisconsin

5/5  rDev +9.9%

04-20-2013 14:40:33 | More by Zachtheporter
Photo of joemcgrath27
joemcgrath27

Alberta (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev -1.1%

06-14-2014 03:05:49 | More by joemcgrath27
Photo of MDDMD
MDDMD

Pennsylvania

4.7/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A-dark brown black color with a smallish tan head and minimal lacing

S-chocolate, coffee, dark fruit, bourbon, oak

T-rich chocolate, coffee, raisins, figs, vanilla, oak, slight smokiness, all interwoven with delicious bourbon flavor

F-medium to full body with light to moderate carbonation, smooth and creamy mouthfeel

O-absolutely delicious, so well-balanced with a wide array of flavor and bourbon beautifully blended throughout, one of the best

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2013 03:42:29 | More by MDDMD
Photo of mrebeka
mrebeka

Michigan

5/5  rDev +9.9%

02-01-2012 01:08:41 | More by mrebeka
Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
100 out of 100 based on 2,725 ratings.