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

Not Rated.
Bell's Black Note StoutBell's Black Note Stout

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2,830 Ratings
no score

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Ratings: 2,830
Reviews: 491
rAvg: 4.56
pDev: 8.33%
Wants: 2,007
Gots: 720 | 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: 2,830 | Reviews: 491 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dar482

New York

4.84/5  rDev +6.1%
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 Satchboogie

New Hampshire

4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

10-10-2013 03:25:12 | More by Satchboogie
Photo of david131


4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

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


4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

02-03-2013 22:09:49 | More by gatornation
Photo of jsprain1


4.69/5  rDev +2.9%
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 AleWatcher


3.25/5  rDev -28.7%

01-13-2013 01:38:06 | More by AleWatcher
Photo of MacQ32

South Carolina

4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2014 02:51:56 | More by MacQ32
Photo of portia99


4.33/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle (12/28/12) poured into a Brooklyn snifter.

A - Pours an extremely dark brown color with good clarity that can be seen around the edges of the glass when held to a light, showing more brown highlights. A thin half finger of head forms briefly, fizzing away slowly over a minute or so to leave a thin tan collar of foam...no real lacing.

S - Even without putting my nose to the glass, I am hit with the aroma of this beer. Tons of sweet toffee/caramel and brown sugar notes. Lots of vanilla, toasted coconut, bourbon, roasted malt notes.

T - Notice dark fruits up front - rather pruney. Vanilla and brown sugar sweetness, a touch of burnt malt, dark roasted malts, hints of licorice. Bourbon...noticeable for sure, but well controlled - mild booziness, but in proper proportion - well done.

M - Medium body with a medium carbonation that seems just a touch to high for my preferences. Very mild boozy warmth, nice variety of sweet, mild roast, finishing with cool licorice.

O - Overall, a very good BA imperial stout. Very nice aroma filled with lots of bourbon complexity, plenty of sweet notes, mild booziness - lots of good stuff for a stout lover. Body is a bit thin for me and carbonation a bit high...too much life here for my preferences. Minor complaints. Glad to finally try this one...has been eluding me for a while. Excellent BA stout, but doesn't weigh in at the top of the scale for me...several others that outshine this one.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2013 23:05:00 | More by portia99
Photo of Kmlund


4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

04-29-2014 16:03:47 | More by Kmlund
Photo of MattyG85


4.9/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at The Blue Door Pub in St. Paul, MN. Served in a 10 oz. goblet glass.

Appearance: Color is a oily jet black. Moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of deep tan creamy head that recedes to a very thin layer. Decent amount of lacing is left on the glass.

Smell: Big scent of bourbon whiskey up front with good hints of vanilla, wood, and oak. Sweet dark malts with big hints of dark chocolate, coffee, dark toasted bread, molasses, burnt caramel, toffee, and biscuit. A fair amount of syrup and burnt sugars. Subtle hints of dark raisin, plum, fig, and cherry. A light hint of smoke and earthy hops. The bourbon and sweet chocolate stand out the most. A big and rich aroma.

Taste: Just as big and complex as the aroma leads. Nicely dark, sweet, and boozy. Big taste of bourbon whiskey up front with good notes of vanilla, oak chips, and the whiskey barrel. A little bit of smoke. Big dark roasted malts with notes of dark chocolate, bitter coffee, toasted bread and biscuit, sweet molasses and syrup, burnt caramel, and toffee. Undertones of dark fruits including dark cherry, plum, and raisin. Subtle earthy hops in the background. The bourbon and dark chocolate elements really stand out. Rich and very good taste.

Mouthfeel: A fairly heavy body with a moderate amount of carbonation. Thick, creamy, and fairly slick and syrupy. Some alcohol heat is present but its not overly hot.

Overall: A really great barrel aged imperial stout. The bourbon flavor is big and great and the dark chocolate and molasses sweetness is very good.

Serving type: on-tap

09-11-2012 20:38:24 | More by MattyG85
Photo of Zachtheporter


5/5  rDev +9.6%

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

Alberta (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

06-14-2014 03:05:49 | More by joemcgrath27
Photo of jaasen64


4.33/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle from the 2012 batch poured into HF stemmed glass and shared three ways. Consumed on 4/19 during our mini stout tasting, reviewed from notes.

A- Pours a very dark brown that appears an opaque jet black in the glass. A very thin mocha head appears that has decent retention but recedes to a flat top.

S- Dark chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, fairly sweet but nicely balanced and fairly aromatic.

T- Dark chocolate mixed with sweet bourbon balanced with a nice creamy vanilla presence and light oak. Finishes with light bitter chocolate balanced with more vanilla and a light clean booze (especially when considering the 11.5%). Nice balance between all the flavors, a little bit on the sweet side but not overly sweet.

M- Very smooth, nice carbonation, very easy drinking, decent body- not too thick but not overly light like some people complain about, overall an incredible feel for a 11.5% beer.

O- This was a fantastic barrel-aged stout which was actually one of our favorites of the night, which was impressive considering we paired it with the likes of Nooner, Marshall Zhukov, Hopped Up Johnnie, CBS, and KBS. Easily one of the better barrel-aged beers I've had and I hope Bell's continues to increase production of it as I would love to try it again.

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2013 20:08:03 | More by jaasen64
Photo of CoolEthan


4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

07-28-2013 23:38:18 | More by CoolEthan
Photo of Photekut


4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

02-19-2013 01:12:37 | More by Photekut
Photo of WeisGuy

New York

4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

04-18-2012 18:30:11 | More by WeisGuy
Photo of bum732


4.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Churchkey, ecstatic i was able to try it.

S: Bourbon mostly up front, some stout characteristics. Light coffee and cappucino as it warms.

L: Thick black, not much head except a ring of tan foam around the glass.

T: Bourbon with vanilla leading to a dark chocolate malt backbone. Creamy sweet body with lots of cappuccino mocha flavors. Low bitterness leading to a very smooth roasty finish. Some sweetness on the finish with a touch more bourbon.

M: Creamy full body, low carbonation, alcohol slightly warming.

Just an amazing beer. Incredibly smooth with the cream stout base and just enough character from the RIS base as well as the bourbon to round everything out. While this beer is sweet, it is also very well balanced with the bourbon which i love in -bal aged beers. One of the best.

Serving type: on-tap

12-07-2011 14:24:16 | More by bum732
Photo of trxxpaxxs

New York

4/5  rDev -12.3%

08-20-2013 15:40:07 | More by trxxpaxxs
Photo of schnarr84

Alberta (Canada)

5/5  rDev +9.6%

06-04-2014 05:04:56 | More by schnarr84
Photo of n2185

North Carolina

4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: pours black with a finger of dark tan head that fades into a thin ring with no lacing.

S: roasted malts with dark chocolate and coffee up front followed by smooth vanilla, toffee, oak, and bourbon.

T: roasted malts with creamy dark chocolate and coffee. Oak, toffee, and bourbon bring up a roasted and sweet finish with a light alcohol burn.

M: thick body with medium carbonation, this beer is a little more carbonated than most examples of the style.

O: a delicious and wonderful smelling beer. I wish it had a bit creamier body, but that's about the worst I can say about it.

Serving type: on-tap

08-27-2012 20:48:27 | More by n2185
Photo of SpeedwayJim

New York

4.35/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 561/1081. Thanks to JAXSON for this one. 750ml corked and caged bottle into a Cigar City snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Pours pitch black. 1 finger dark mocha head that dissipates quickly. Spotty lace. Amazingly thick legs. Solid.

Nose is vanilla, lactose, chocolate, fudge, and a boozy tickle. Real sweet but nice complexity. Aromatic too.

Opens sweet soy sauce, chocolate, fudge, and cocoa powder. Some roasted malt, molasses in the middle. Sweet brown sugar and caramel. More molasses at the end. Booziness throughout sweetens the brew but doesn't overpower or cover the complexity. Amazing. Sweet, syrupy aftertaste.

Medium to full bodied with low carbonation. Oily and slick in the mouth and goes down with some heat. Messy finish with a lingering aftertaste. Really good.

There are a lot of barrel-aged stouts with a lot of hype behind them. Some are good, some not so much. Black Note definitely deserves the praise it gets. A nicely complex brew with just the right amount of barrel presence and a great mouthfeel to tie it all together. Can't wait to get my hands on more!

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2012 02:37:06 | More by SpeedwayJim
Photo of ajzy


5/5  rDev +9.6%

05-25-2013 17:05:37 | More by ajzy
Photo of nlmartin


4/5  rDev -12.3%

04-06-2013 11:36:07 | More by nlmartin
Photo of baybum


4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

01-12-2013 00:39:10 | More by baybum
Photo of Kurmaraja


4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

04-10-2014 15:32:56 | More by Kurmaraja
Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
100 out of 100 based on 2,830 ratings.