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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

2,932 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,932
Reviews: 495
rAvg: 4.56
pDev: 8.11%
Wants: 2,040
Gots: 755 | FT: 69
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: 2,932 | Reviews: 495 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Jayli
Jayli

Massachusetts

4.28/5  rDev -6.1%

Poured in to a pint glass

A: This beer pours an opaque black with a 1/4 inch of medium brown head. Head recedes almost immediately. No lacing to speak of.

S: Nose is woody oak, bourbon, vanilla, roasted malts and light chocolate notes.

T: Taste starts with roasted malts and licorice, dark fruits. Oak and bourbon come through.... lots of bourbon, but not overpowering with a slight vanilla character. The bourbon flavoring is blended nicely. Nice deep bitter chocolate towards the finish. Aftertaste has lingering coffee notes to it.

M: Medium to fuller body, moderate carbonation, smooth, silky body.

O: Goes down easily, very tasty, not too filling, well hidden kick, great representation of style. I have looked forward to this brew for quite some time and did not disappoint.

09-29-2011 01:51:33 | More by Jayli
Photo of Tucquan
Tucquan

Pennsylvania

4.15/5  rDev -9%

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.

09-08-2012 18:43:08 | More by Tucquan
Photo of zonker17
zonker17

Texas

4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

01-26-2013 09:14:48 | More by zonker17
Photo of Bierguy5
Bierguy5

Ohio

4.65/5  rDev +2%

On tap at South Park Tavern. Pouts a nearly jet black color. No highlights to be found. A thin tan collar.

Nose full of bourbon, oak, chocolate, caramel, and some dark fruit. A whiff of vanilla in there two. What a complex, and inviting nose!

Lots of wood up front. Fades into a creamy chocolate with a hint of dark fruit. Some bourbon comes out, and a hint of coffee. A bit of vanilla finishes things off.

Full body. Very creamy, with lower carbonation. Lots of lingering warmth from the alcohol. A very complex, fantastic beer.

01-25-2009 15:48:42 | More by Bierguy5
Photo of Kmlund
Kmlund

Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

04-29-2014 16:03:47 | More by Kmlund
Photo of Zach136
Zach136

Georgia

4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

02-02-2013 00:11:46 | More by Zach136
Photo of sholland119
sholland119

Pennsylvania

4.4/5  rDev -3.5%

Had this one at City Tap House, 6/7/10.

A-Pours deep black, a bit oily with a very dark mocha head and some pretty good lacing.

S-Outstanding. Caramel, rich dark chocolate, a nice whiff of bourbony vanilla.

T-Warm, rich and sweet from the start. A bourbon sweet note to begin, along with some alcohol warmth, then milk chocolate and sweet cream kick in before a warming finish.

M-A bit heavy in body but a joy to drink.

D-Delicious, though one at a sitting is certainly plenty.

HV

06-08-2010 14:17:56 | More by sholland119
Photo of mltobin
mltobin

Connecticut

4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

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

Washington

5/5  rDev +9.6%

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

New York

5/5  rDev +9.6%

02-19-2013 09:49:43 | More by GrindFatherBob
Photo of malfunxion
malfunxion

New York

5/5  rDev +9.6%

08-07-2014 05:51:29 | More by malfunxion
Photo of bashiba
bashiba

Iowa

4/5  rDev -12.3%

11-22-2011 16:23:59 | More by bashiba
Photo of peensteen
peensteen

Ontario (Canada)

4.4/5  rDev -3.5%

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.

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

Indiana

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

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

Alberta (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

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

Florida

4.65/5  rDev +2%

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.

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

Virginia

4.47/5  rDev -2%

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.

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

Pennsylvania

4.59/5  rDev +0.7%

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.

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

Oregon

4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

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

North Carolina

4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

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

Washington

4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

04-10-2014 15:32:56 | More by Kurmaraja
Photo of MacQ32
MacQ32

South Carolina

4.4/5  rDev -3.5%

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

03-03-2014 02:51:56 | More by MacQ32
Photo of Phelps
Phelps

Arizona

4.43/5  rDev -2.9%

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.

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

New York

4.6/5  rDev +0.9%

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.

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

Nebraska

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

12-08-2012 01:21:55 | More by MinorThreat
Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
100 out of 100 based on 2,932 ratings.