Dismiss Notice

Site Performance Updates: We're aware of the nightly site outage, and working on resolving the issue.

Follow our progress ...

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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
99
world-class
576 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
BEER STATS
Reviews:
576
Ratings:
3,871
Avg:
4.5
pDev:
8.44%
 
 
Wants:
2,746
Gots:
972
For Trade:
79
Bell's Black Note StoutBell's Black Note Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.40%

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.

Added by mcallister on 06-16-2007

User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 576 | Ratings: 3,871
Photo of russwbeck
4.37/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Churchkey in DC. The lone keg to make the DC/MD/VA area. Very lucky to get to try this.

A: Viscous black pour with a small brown head. What does stick around laces decently. 4

S: The aroma is extremely well balanced. Bourbon and some booze up front, but a lot of chocolate balance it out. Roastiness, I'm guessing coffee, hides in the shadows. Making it's presence known when you need it. 4.5

T: The taste follows the smell wonderfully. The bourbon is up front, but chocolate and booze quickly provide balance and body, before roasty coffee takes over the backend. The balance is there, the flavor profile develops nicely on the palate, and overall the taste is far above average. 4.5

MF: The body could have been a bit fuller, at times I believed it was too watery, still medium to heavy overall. Booze is noted, dry finish. 3.5

O Delicious, certainly lives up to the hype. Balance is enough to make it great. The bourbon is not too intrusive. I thought it was very drinkable. Happy to have had the chance to try this. 4.5

--

Desert at RFD Washington's Bell's Beer Dinner. Bell’s Black Note Stout paired with a Black Note Brownie with ice cream and caramel.

A: Motor oil black pour without much head at all. What was there was light brown. 4

S: Bourbon mainly with a ton of chocolate, some roasted malts and vanilla are coming out underneath. The aroma is rich and balanced nicely. Just on a different level. 4.5

T: My God this is good. And with this decedent brownie and ice cream...it’s a good thing I was sitting down. So much chocolate is in front of me. The integration of the bourbon and the stout is what really makes this great. 5

MF: Very heavy body, low carbonation. Just a perfect pairing with the brownie. Wish I could do this more often. 4.5

O: Extremely enjoyable. The perfect way to finish the dinner off. Rich and boozy. 5

 1,865 characters

Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served on tap in a cervoise at the Great Taste of the Midwest. I have anticipated trying this for three years, so needless to say, I am excited.

Appearance: My pour is an ebony black color with a modest creamy tan head. As I would expect with the high ABV, the cap fades rather quickly and leaves just a few dots of lace on the glass.

Smell: The aroma does not jump out of the glass, but it is full and complex. Lots of roasted malt and chocolate fudge are noticeable, with coffee and cream, subdued bourbon notes, and some raisins or other dark fruits as well.

Taste: The blend here is just fantastic. It is difficult to describe the intricacy of the interaction of the flavors, but I will do my best. A light bourbon presence exists throughout, so each flavor melds in with that base. Full, deep, almost burnt roasted malt create the deepest bitterness and set the tone for the rest of the flavors. The taste lightens up with some creamy coffee notes. Still bitter, but light and creamy as well. From there, gooey fudge makes an appearance, sticking with a full creamy flavor. The bitter, creamy, and sweet flavors all work well with the bourbon to create different sensations. Some vanilla, oak, molasses, and anise add even further complexity.

Mouthfeel: Luxuriously thick and creamy. Using double cream stout really smooths out any rough edges in the feel. Lightly sticky sweet, a touch of oaky dryness toward the end. Creamy carbonation, a deceptive lack of alcohol presence, and a full body.

Overall: Wow, this is pretty incredible. This is definitely an artful blend of two already good beers. The result capitalizes on the strengths of both beers - creamy and roasty, with the perfect amount of bourbon to blend everything together. This was tapped right as the rain started to come down at GTMW, so it was easy to get several pours as long as you were willing to venture out into the rain. Worth every effort to get it, and I would recommend putting forth any effort necessary to try this beer.

 2,012 characters

Photo of sukwonee
4.56/5  rDev +1.3%
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 Scotchboy
4.29/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Uber-geeked to try this one...Aaron, I can't thank you enough! 12oz 2012 bottling split into tulips with my bro -

A: Black opaque pour, very VERY dark and ominous. Minimal head and lace.

S: Initially BIG barrel notes, more whiskey-like than bourbon to my nose...burnt sugar, oak, and a touch of smokiness. Nose is rounded out with notes of sweetness, caramel and vanilla.

T: Caramel and vanilla, lots of it caramel, especially...marshmallow too. A decent bit of warming from the alcohol...milk chocolate, suggestion of roast, light woodiness from the barrels. Well-integrated barrel-aging.

MF: Smooth, full body with lower carbonation levels. Just a touch of heat, and it isn't distracting.

O: This is a good barrel-aged beer, one that shines with a bit more caramel/vanilla/marshmallow sweetness than even BCBS (we tasted the 2012 of BCBS version tasted side by side with BN). It has a lighter body than BCBS too, while still maintaining an Imperial Stout-like mouthfeel with good drinkability.

Good stuff. Thanks again Aaron, cheers!

 1,041 characters

Photo of Lemke10
4.42/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This pours a very dark brown/ black color with almost no head. The aroma is strong with bourbon and sweet robust malts. The taste is sweet, smooth and strong. This seems to be thinner in texture than most other bourbon barrel stout, but probably has the most unique taste that leaves a tart fruit after taste. A good, well made beer but to currently hold the #20 spot for best beer is a bit of a stretch.

 404 characters

Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.41/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Michigan Craft Beer stand at Comerica Park, during the Tigers-Sox game. Was about to order something else, but the bartender told me they just put this one on. Score!

Poured into only the finest plastic cup. Nearly black, caramel around the edges. Carbonation is visible here, and there was only a thin head that didn't survive long. Chalk that one up to the serving vessel, I suppose.

Smells fantastic - rich chocolate, caramel, booze, bourbon, oak and milk/cream. Smells like a top class bourbon barrel imperial stout.

One hell of a tasty stout, and by a very wide margin the best - and strongest - beer I've ever had at a ball game. Despite the plethora of bourbon barrel stouts out there, I really never get tired of the stuff, and this one is no exception. Similar flavors as in the nose - robust whisky and cream notes, as with some nice vanilla and rich chocate-caramel. Damned tasty stuff.

Mouthfeel is a little thinner than I'd like, with zesty carbonation. Still, a creamy, silky beer.

Hats off to Bell's for this terrific stout, and to Comerica for putting this one on tap. Made my night!

 1,122 characters

Photo of mjtiernan
4.65/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Courtesy of Kzoobrew...thanks Kevin!

2012 vintage. 12oz bottle poured into a CBS snifter. Served near cellar temp (~55 deg).

A: Pours thick and black. Half a finger of tan head that didn’t hang around too long, leaving an oil slick behind. Decent ring of bubbles around the edge throughout. Prominent alcohol legs. Nothing extreme.

S: Not as much alcoholic bourbon as I expected. Cocoa nibs, molasses, licorice and some dark fruit are most noticeable. An additional tinge of sweetness that I can’t identify.

T: Tremendous. Chocolate, a little bitter roast coffee, some dark fruit, vanilla, a touch of caramel/toffee. The sweetness and bitterness are wonderfully balanced. The bourbon and barrel characteristics are there, but I can’t get over how integrated they are with the entire spectrum of flavors. Moderate warming alcohol in the finish.

M: Creamy, more creamy than most oily BA beers that I have tasted. Low-to-medium carb. Full-bodied. Finishes dry and alcoholic.

O: One of those rare beers that just gets everything right. Feels great, tastes great. A harmony of extreme flavors...which is difficult. Worthy of the attention it gets.

 1,154 characters

Photo of deebo
4.05/5  rDev -10%
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 bamadog
4.32/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really enjoyed getting to sample this one at the 30 tap party in Indy. Easily the best beer I was able to try... At least in my opinion.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown, near black and is opaque - no light having a chance of coming through; comes off the pour with no head and just a thin ring around the surface that is pretty much straight up tan; no presence of carbonation in the appearance.

Smell: Smells sweet, like a desert custard of some sort -- creme brulee?; slight presence of alcohol in the nose and some sweet maltiness that comes across like burnt sugar, very enticing overall...

Taste: Very solid mix of the creme brulee sweetness along with vanilla extract and a bit of an oaky woodiness to it; alcohol is definitely present but definitely closer to the bourbon flavor; slight hint of a mild roastiness in the back and even slighter hints of a semi-sweet chocolate. Very wonderful tasting beer.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, rich and creamy; minimal carbonation; leaves a thin but even coating throughout the mouth; mouth is definitely warmed as is the chest and throat from the higher ABV and presence of it being closer to bourbon.

Drinkability: Probably too good for a beer of this weight and ABV. It was definitely tasty, and if I was drinking it on a cold night, it would probably be even higher than waht I gave it (it's kind of hard to enjoy a double stout when it's almost 90 and humid out).

 1,414 characters

Photo of shivtim
4.57/5  rDev +1.6%
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 craytonic
4.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Near perfect for the style.

Smell: Deliciousness? Bourbon, cream, molasses, brown sugar, dates, figs. Perfect integration of bourbon and cream, typically it doesn't work out.

Taste: Bourbon, cream, dark sweet chocolate, sweet molasses, brown sugar, oak, vanilla, figs and dates. A bit of a hot chocolate element, also marshmallows, almost like a smore. Wow this is good stuff.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly creamy, rich and smooth.

Drinkability: Best imperial stout I have ever tasted. This one lives up to the hype. Wish I had a barrel of this. This stuff kills bourbon-barrel and vanilla-bean dark lord. Only a few minor imperfections with the malt keep this from being fives across the board. If you see how I rate other beers of this style you will realize how good this one really is.

 797 characters

Photo of pwoods
4.97/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sampled at The Comet in Cincinnati during Hopnosis and at South Park Tavern in Dayton during their Bell's event. Notes from both.

Pours deep black with a touch thinner viscosity than I'd expect. Pretty short head, I'd assume from the barrels but it leaves nice wisps of lacing. Great barrel aroma. Vanilla is very present, accentuated by the double cream but not too sweet, very pleasant(the expo has definitely handled DC's sweetness). Woody and earthy notes in the back. The DC and barrel has rounded out the Expo's huge hop profile though it still lingers. Great mixture of the two beers. Very chocolately, just enough sweetness and hops, great bourbon snap with the fantastic barrel to round things out. Body is full but not thick or chewy. Carbonation is pretty low but still maintains a fantastic smoothness. This beer is too fucking tasty to not be drinkable. You could literally drink this until you passed out before you were sick of it. Stellar.

 956 characters

Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.59/5  rDev +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 pokesbeerdude
4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle courtesy of waltersrj, shared with Bitterbill and mkorpal at the Library bar in Laramie, WY. Bottle #242 (short review)

Pours black with a nice tan head, nice lacing and legs are left behind on the swirl. Nose has a lot of caramel and chocolate, quite malty with some hints of oak. Not boozy. Taste is really wonderful, an excellent blend of two stouts with additional complexity from a barrel. Barrel note is not the sole feature of this beer, and that is the reason we all enjoyed it. An incredibly well done beer and worth trading. Smooth and very easy to drink given the heft.

 594 characters

Photo of TwelveOunces
4.67/5  rDev +3.8%
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 rodlavers
4.84/5  rDev +7.6%
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

Photo of BlissJunkie
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%
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 RoamingGnome
4.52/5  rDev +0.4%
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 magictacosinus
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%
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 JMScowcroft
4.82/5  rDev +7.1%
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 PsilohsaiBiN
4.87/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2012 bottle, much thanks to JerryM1984!

Appearance: Dark opaque with a small tan head that quickly recedes to the perimeter. Lots of little bubbles, nice.

Smell: Rich chocolate, vanilla, coconut, dark fruit, Bourbon. Amazing.

Taste: Wow, just wow. First, I get intense fudge brownie like chocolate richness with some coconut and Bourbon in the background. Afterwards in the middle of the drink, the Bourbon asserts itself more and overpowers the chocolate. In the end, the chocolate pops out again as the Bourbon subsides and leads into a smooth, balanced ending of chocolate and Bourbon. There's a background element of vanilla/coconut present throughout the whole drink.

I honestly can't find anything wrong with this; the booze is just hidden so well.

Mouthfeel: Velvety and silky smooth; just about perfect. Not as viscous as BCBS, yet definitely fuller in body than say KBS.

Overall: I don't know if I like this as much as BCBS, but it's damn close! There's just not much to dislike in this beer, even if you try to find things; this beer blew me away. Can't wait til' Bell's distro hits NY!

 1,103 characters

Photo of zoso1967
4.45/5  rDev -1.1%
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 JohnnyHopps
4.42/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Yes, this is that good. I sampled this stout at the Valpo Brewfest on 09/29/2012. Poured into my pint glass, the stout was a chocolatey black color with only the slightest hint of a head. The initial aroma was nicely boozy, making it apparent that the stout slept several months in bourbon barrels. The malt in the aroma was present, but was overwhelmed not the bourbon. The initial taste was a sour chocolate with vanilla note and bitter coffee. The booziness lays a pleasingly warm backbone amid the chaos of chocolate, vanilla and coffee notes. The mouthfeel is not quite motor oil, but it is fairly close. Thankfully, the taste lingered several minutes. The aftertaste left a warming sensation that was sticky enough to linger in the back of the throat for several minutes. As far as barrel aged stouts go, this is near the top of the list.

 844 characters

Photo of JackieTH
4.6/5  rDev +2.2%
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 Beer-A-Lot
4.48/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Birch.

A - Classic imperial stout look, great lacing, nice brown head, pitch black.

S - Very appealing smell, smoke, charcoal, bitter chocolate.

T - Bitter taste, smokey, pretty complex. Very substantial in abv taste. Very delicious.

M - Fairly creamy and full bodied.

O - Although it may not be one of the best beers around right now, it still earns its reputation as a superb quality beer. Have I had better lately? Maybe. But this is still excellent.

Oh, bullchips. This is awesome.

 501 characters

Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
99 out of 100 based on 576 ratings.