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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

2,832 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,832
Reviews: 492
rAvg: 4.56
pDev: 8.33%
Wants: 2,008
Gots: 721 | FT: 70
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: 2,832 | Reviews: 492 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CrellMoset
CrellMoset

Virginia

4.47/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bell's Bourbon Barrel Aged Expedition/Double Cream Stout Blend, 10% abv, on tap at Capital Ale House, downtown location, Richmond, VA, on January 26th, 2009 at Black Moonday.

Appearance: Arrives a thick-looking bastard of a brew in a 10 oz. cervoise, a practically black, oily body though with flourishes of ... something ... around the edges, not quite garnet, but not quite brown either. The head is relatively fast-fading head, though at 10% abv and barrel aged, what do you expect? A faint sprawl of sheen and thin tan foam of lace is all that's left after it's gone. To be honest, there's not much going on here, but I've learned that brews that don't always look great don't look great for a reason.

Aroma: Maple syrup absolutely dominates, backed up by a strong, heavily oaky bourbon note, spicy with a slight prickle. It's very, very sweet smelling, heavily roasted, with lots of notes approaching pure caramel and/or toffee.

Taste: The melding of notes here lends an overwhelming butterscotch-esque note here, sweet and buttery, though not cloying or "bad" by any stretch of the imagination. Just had to get that out of the way, as it's the dominant tasting note here. The rest - a faintly chocolate-like spike, a spicy, estery, woody bourbon lick, fainter hints of char and vanilla, stronger overtones of maple syrup and caramel - all surge and bubble underneath this layer in a wonderful orgy of flavors. This is one big, bold-tasting brew.

Mouthfeel: Thick but big bubbled, that sort of "frozen in time" feel, crisp but sticky. Bubbles are big, but it's oh-so-foamy and creamy given the thickness and how well it holds together.

Drinkability: Well there 'ya have it. Very, very glad I got the chance to try this one. It's a huge, flavorful, over the top brew - and what do you expect from a melding and barrel aging of two of Bell's other biggest, over the top brews? - that manages to hit most of the right notes. The sweetness may not be to some's liking, the high abv% to others, but it did wonders for me - I'd be glad to have it again.

Serving type: on-tap

01-29-2009 22:42:26 | More by CrellMoset
Photo of peensteen
peensteen

Ontario (Canada)

4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Liam.

Deep brown nearly jet black, ring of tan head, little to no lace really. Smell is bourbon forward, lots of coconut and vanilla, well roasted, chocolate with liquorice and coffee as well as a bit of a fruity hint in there as well. Taste has quite a bit of chocolate, coffee and oak, coconut, vanilla witha bit of a light lingering sweetness, bourbon in the finish. Medium-full body, lightly carbonated and bit oily with a creamy mouthcoating as well. Just awesome stuff, an awesome beer consumed on a night filled with awesome beers, would love the opertunity to revisit this again.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2013 00:24:10 | More by peensteen
Photo of Stinger80OH
Stinger80OH

Ohio

4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

10-25-2013 21:19:48 | More by Stinger80OH
Photo of Kopfschuss
Kopfschuss

Oregon

4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

01-28-2014 23:24:07 | More by Kopfschuss
Photo of vonnegut21
vonnegut21

New York

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

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

Alberta (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

08-23-2013 14:29:16 | More by Howlader
Photo of Adamostella
Adamostella

Washington

5/5  rDev +9.6%

04-16-2013 03:43:18 | More by Adamostella
Photo of barczar
barczar

Kentucky

4.43/5  rDev -2.9%
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 Tucquan
Tucquan

Pennsylvania

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.

Serving type: growler

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

Nebraska

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

12-08-2012 01:21:55 | More by MinorThreat
Photo of Phelps
Phelps

Arizona

4.43/5  rDev -2.9%
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 macrosmatic
macrosmatic

Florida

4.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes. Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a CCB pint glass.

A: Pours a very dark brown, basically opaque. A half-finger medium brown head forms, and there is no visible carbonation.

S: Chocolate, bourbon, vanilla (from the oak?), leather & tobacco. Overall impression is that of moderate sweetness.

T: Follows the nose exactly. Maybe more pronounced cacao and coffee mixed with the chocolate, vanilla, oak and bourbon. Hang is sweet, with lingering bourbon and oak.

M: Thick body, almost chewy, sticky. Moderate alcohol for style, low carbonation sensation. Silky smooth mouthfeel. I would give it a 6 here if I could.

O: Awesome. This lives up to every bit of its reputation.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2013 20:54:39 | More by macrosmatic
Photo of Zach136
Zach136

Georgia

4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

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

North Carolina

4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

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

New York

4.6/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 3/12/14; consumed on 5/15/14, making this one just 2 months old. . . .

A: Poured from the bottle into a Piraat tulip/snifter-type glass. Body is inky jet black with only a hint of head on top - which then disappears immediately anyway, leaving behind absolutely no lace.

S: Bourbon, molasses & vanilla. Quite pleasant nose.

T: Pretty much follows the nose, with bourbon dominating, some molasses and a lot of vanilla. As it warms I note some dark fruits (black cherries come to mind) and even licorice on the aftertaste. High-ABV (11.4%) is noted more as warmth on the belly than as heat on the palate - a neat trick for a beer of this strength and considering the bourbon. Also as it warms up I'm getting more general roastiness cutting through the bourbon. Oh and the ABV is definitely working its wonders, buzz-wise.

M: Full-bodied, heft-wise, and fairly slick in feel, though as it warms up the carbonation seems to activate itself and cut through that slick feel. . . .

O: Real nice. I'd love to do a blind tasting with this, Goose Island Bourbon County Stout and Founders KBS. This one is heavier on the vanilla/molasses side of things, while others have more roasty malt to balance the bourbon.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2014 01:49:57 | More by Kendo
Photo of SpdKilz
SpdKilz

Illinois

4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

03-25-2013 02:00:50 | More by SpdKilz
Photo of orbitalr0x
orbitalr0x

Illinois

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

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

Indiana

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

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

Pennsylvania

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Indiana

4.68/5  rDev +2.6%
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 -21.1%
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 MDDMD
MDDMD

Pennsylvania

4.7/5  rDev +3.1%
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 JoEBoBpr
JoEBoBpr

Missouri

4.44/5  rDev -2.6%
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 mltobin
mltobin

Connecticut

4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

12-09-2013 20:15:37 | More by mltobin
Photo of charlzm
charlzm

California

4.36/5  rDev -4.4%
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
Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
100 out of 100 based on 2,832 ratings.