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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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BA SCORE
100
world-class

3,418 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,418
Reviews: 526
rAvg: 4.56
pDev: 8.33%
Wants: 2,262
Gots: 879 | FT: 91
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:
Beer added by: mcallister on 06-16-2007

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,418 | Reviews: 526 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bostonryan
4/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of JimmyFlatRock
4.84/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of dvmin98
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of ystazi
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of GrindFatherBob
5/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of bobv
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of Kopfschuss
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of n2185
4.36/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

Photo of bashiba
4/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of david131
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of JeffTheJuice
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of charlzm
4.35/5  rDev -4.6%
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!

Photo of CrellMoset
4.42/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

Photo of Mantooth
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of gatornation
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of MinorThreat
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of WeisGuy
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

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.

Photo of Danny1217
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of khargro2
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of Phelps
4.41/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

Photo of JohnnieNepal
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

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.

Photo of dwagner003
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of papat444
4.15/5  rDev -9%

Poured from a 12oz botle, 2014 vintage. Thanks to Tricerahops (i think).

Pours a black body with a very thin head. Not as boozy as expected but bourbon is strong in the flavor. Nuances of coffee and chocolate are present but this would probably open up in a few years. I will say it was very smooth and alcohol was very well hidden.

Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
100 out of 100 based on 3,418 ratings.