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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
99
world-class

548 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 548
Hads: 3,680
rAvg: 4.49
pDev: 6.46%
Wants: 2,553
Gots: 937 | FT: 73
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 548 | Hads: 3,680
Photo of Converge
4.6/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Huge thanks to Matt for this bottle!

A - Pours pitch black, with just a thin, soapy tan cap. Minimal head retention and lacing, but some sticky legs. Usually I'm a big fan of Bell's label designs, but I gotta say this one is lacking.

S - Thick base of roasted malt, with notes of bourbon, vanilla, cocoa, and a hint of coffee over top. Slight alcohol note detected. Overall pretty sweet and boozy, without too big an emphasis on the roast/coffee character. Subtle notes of dark fruit come through as well, namely medjool dates. Probably not the biggest or most complex nose, but very rich and inviting.

T - Starts off with a barrage of sweet vanilla and bourbon notes, with dark fruit and milk chocolate poking through. Finishes slowly, very slowly. Long after the swallow, a pronounced coffee roast rises up out of nowhere and permeates the palate with roasty, charred goodness. Definitely a stout on the sweeter side, with bourbon vanilla in the forefront, but also mild earthy notes of wood and molasses. A very saturated profile overall, with a dense residual sweetness that just doesn't let up.

M - Thick and creamy, very low carbonation. Heavy on the palate, and sticky on the lips. Slight alcohol heat, but very little considering the ABV. Just a dense, unrelenting stout.

D - Overall a seriously bold stout from Bell's. The barrel character really transforms the beer into a thick, bourbon-stout concoction. Delicious, but deceptively drinkable. Not for the faint of heart. (1,520 characters)

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.2/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12/28/12 on bottle
A- This beer pours an inky black thick body with a deep tan head that covers ½ of the glass before fading to a thick ring.

S- The aroma during the pour is a rich black malt with full barrel oak aroma and some buttery graham cracker malt and molasses make up the finish.

T- The full roasted barley flavor is rich but mellow with a big leathery oak flavor to follow and a blend of paper straws and deep chocolate nougat finishing with a sherry hint. The chocolate malt lingers after each sip. There is also a chalky quality in the finish which is pleasant.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a slippery texture and a nice alcohol warmth but very little carbonation in the mouthfeel.

O- This is a nice full flavored stout with big barrel character and it stayed very mellow in the malt bitterness and had some nice chocolate malt flavors which I thought started to get covered by the big oak character. (932 characters)

Photo of Stevedore
4.68/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2012 vintage 12oz bottle dated 12/28/2012, poured into a Bell's snifter today and quaffed 4/13/2013. This review is also based on the four times I've had this now- twice on tap, and twice in the bottle. This is the first time I've had a chance to sit down, relax and write a review. And I am thoroughly enjoying this just like all the other times.

Aroma: Smells delicious, like a dessert port. Decadent chocolate accompanied by vanilla, bourbon and oak. And it actually smells thick and creamy, like how I would imagine liquid Ritter Sport (German) chocolate would smell like. I mean, I've had my share of BA beers including the recent vintage of KBS and last year's BCBS and this definitely has them beat in the nose.

Colour: Pours like a thick, viscous motor oil. Jet black body, illuminates with just a tiny hint of dark, dark cola brown at the surface. Not a ton of head, it pours with a brief, less than 1 cm dark brown head that is ephemeral. It leaves no traces, not even a collar. You get spots of lacing here and there but for the most part it's this viscous liquid dark chocolate. Nice.

Flavour: Very, very complex and I really love this beer. Up front, and especially early on while it's still at cellar temperature, there is quite a bit of straight up bourbon, vanilla and oak wood. This quickly gives way to this pure chocolate sweetness, with a bit of molasses and fire-roasted marshmallows, just like the ones you make s'mores with. As the temperature warms up, I start to get a little bit of dark fruits- figs in particular, which actually reminded me of Expedition Stout the first time I had this beer before knowing what the components were. The finish is smooth and creamy, a little bit of espresso and cream like a cappuccino- but I want to say something more like macchiato- less cream, more bitter espresso yet smooth. This beer drinks like a dessert drink and there's nothing like this beer that I've had the privilege to drink. Even as it gets close to room temperature, the heat is pretty indistinct and covered up by all the complex flavours and smells of this beer. tl;dr- this is an incredibly complex beer that somehow melds all the flavours together well while hiding its 11.5% ABV very well.

Mouthfeel: Initially, I would have guessed they had to have some contribution from Double Cream Stout, because the mouthfeel reminds me a lot of that particular Bell's offering. It's a very thick bodied, very smooth and creamy beer that is actually well carbonated based on how my tongue perceives the beer. It fizzes quickly as I swish it around, coating my palate in a thick and viscous chocolatey heaven. The aftertaste is sweet, bitter and creamy all at once- like if I made a macchiato and put a block of dark Belgian chocolate in it. Simply sublime.

Overall: I've just been so impressed with this beer. It's one for the ages. I say the same for BCBS, but in the realm of subjective preferences, I'm going to take Black Note over BCBS if I were ever offered the choice (which is probably going to be very rare). It's exceptionally smooth, creamy sweet and such a decadent pleasure to quaff. The heat, even when it gets close to room temperature, is relatively minimal. It's truly a joy to drink and I treasure each opportunity I have to be able to drink this beer. (3,297 characters)

Photo of tectactoe
4.66/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Mmm... Bell's Black Note. Half Expedition Stout, half Special Double Cream Stout - two beers that I love - aged for months in old bourbon barrels. How can you go wrong, right? This is one of those beers that often gets compared to KBS and BCBS, so needless to say - I'm very excited to try it. The pour is pitch black as it tumbles out like old motor oil that should've been changed months ago. The half-inch tan cap lasts for longer than expected and leaves behind some wet lacing. Very nice looking beer.

The aroma follows suit for this style of beer very closely. In other words, it's pretty fantastic. The bourbon barrel notes are the first thing to jump out - smooth bourbon, wet oak, vanilla. Very powerful without being brash. Lots of rich chocolates up front, too. Milky sweet and savory. Nice, sweet molasses underbody with plenty of roasted malt and coffee in the tail end. The aroma has a perfectly inviting warmth to it. It doesn't change much as the beer warms up, it just gets stronger. I'm okay with that.

I certainly don't think I would have been able to pick out Expedition or DC Stout had I not been told, but after taking a few sips, I certainly can believe it. The mouth feel is fantastic. Silky, smooth, chewy, robust, thick - just so pleasing to let this one sit and swish around your palate for a bit. Huge robustness right out of the gate with a solid bourbon character that lasts from start to finish. It has one of the richest, creamiest, and most full-bodied inductions of chocolate that I've ever tasted. Sweet, delicate cocoa with a faint wisp of bitterness. Milky, creamy, and elegant.

The barrel flavors are definitely pronounced and become even more heady twenty minutes in. Heavy oak and vanilla, still with the solid meshing of warm bourbon. Some lightly burnt coffee beans make their way in and out, but must really be searched for. The roast from the malt injects a little more bitterness that plays well with the sweetness of the beer and the warmth of the booze. A nearly perfect trifecta of balance is happening on my palate. The finish shows some super-dark, bourbon-soaked and lightly sugar coated fruits; dates and figs being the best descriptions. That's what reminds me the most of Expedition. The finish has lots of dark chocolate, roasty malt, and oak-soaked bourbon with a fading vanilla note. Incredibly complex and super enjoyable.

Incredible beer. I love both of the base beers, so mixing them together and aging them in bourbon barrels is most-likely going to be a success, and it definitely was. Very drinkable for being nearly 12% ABV, but it's still better to enjoy this one over the course of an hour. Insanely complex and insanely delicious - get some! (2,713 characters)

Photo of Hamburgers
4.59/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 Vintage. Pours black with one finger mocha brown head. Aroma is sweet bourbon, vanilla and dark chocolate. Flavor is bittter sweet chocolate, dried fruit, charred oak and coffee all tied together with delicious bourbon. Perfect creamy body with light carbonation. Everything a barrel aged stout should be. In my opinion best there is. (339 characters)

Photo of gunpwdr
4.37/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Nose: Sweet soy sauce, vanilla, caramel, dark chocolate, hint of salty oatmeal, all framed by bourbon. Palate: Coconut cream, vanilla, bourbon, and bitter chocolate on the attack. Chocolate liqueur on the mid-palate fades to bourbon with hints of toasted, nutty oak on the finish.

This BA stout has every opportunity to push into syrup territory but doesn't, thanks to its great bones. Excellent concentration of flavors and supporting carbonation. This is one of the more restrained and balanced BA stouts I have had. (519 characters)

Photo of axeman9182
4.44/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle, bottled on date of 12/28/12. Received this one from gpawned and tat2dhllblly. It was allowed to warm before being poured into my Brooklyn Brewery tulip.

Black Note pours jet black, with maybe half a finger of dark, mocha foam crowning the beer. Head retention is good, but the lacing left behind is minimal. The nose is spectacular, with aromas of vanilla, marshmallow, brown sugar, bourbon, and a dusting of dark chocolate all waft out of the glass. The only (minor) complaint I have is that the barrel characteristics are highlighted so much more so than that of the base beer. The flavor profile does have some more cocoa to it, as well as even just a little bit of espresso. It comes at the expense of the nuanced bourbon barrel profile. The marshmallow disappears completely, and vanilla and caramelized sugar fade. All are replaced by more of a straight off boozy bourbon flavor. It's great that more stout shines through, but the tradeoff isn't quite worth it. Still, the flavor's very good (just doesn't quite live up to the expectations set by the nose). The mouthfeel has a certain silky quality to it, and it's paired with an appropriately subdued carbonation. The body just isn't quite full enough to really be excellent though. I've had a couple of "hyped" beers that didn't quite measure up lately, but I'm happy to say that Black Note isn't one of them. Superb barrel aged stout from Bell's (1,420 characters)

Photo of hardy008
4.63/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark black with an extremely small dark tan head which vanishes quickly, leaving spotty lacing. The aroma has bourbon, vanilla, dark fruit, chocolate, and coconut.

The taste is a real treat. Bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, dark fruit, coconut, and dark roasted malt. Sweet without being too sweet. The alcohol is noticeable, but is not hot. In fact it is just right.

Full bodied with soft carbonation. Smooth and silky to drink. As I mentioned, the alcohol is noticeable, but there is no alcohol burn to the taste. Just a tremendous beer. No wonder it is so highly sought after. (584 characters)

Photo of Scotchboy
4.29/5  rDev -4.5%
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 srandycarter
4.46/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pretty darned black. No head. Some small cling lace.

S - Soy sauce!!! I cannot tell you how much it is soy. Behind that is charred sweet malt.

T - Pretty much the same as the smell. Sweet malt lingers a bit at the end.

M - Somewhat creamy, good carb, good balance. I like it.

D - Very boozy, but hides it pretty well. I like this one. (341 characters)

Photo of thegoon55
4.74/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2012 vintage into a three floyds teku

A- motor oil black, nice tan head.

S- sweet bourbon followed by a nice chocolate vanilla.

T- following the nose, sweet bourbon then a nice complex vanilla with a mellow chocolate finish. really a complex awesome beer. 11.5% abv is very well hidden.

M- fully body, nice and creamy. just a amazing beer.

O- just one hell of a beer. Bells is killing it with their barrel aging program between this and BA 9000. (452 characters)

Photo of shivtim
4.57/5  rDev +1.8%
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 zac16125
4.64/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle into a snifter
Bottled on: 12/28/12

A: Pours an opaque black with some browning on the edges when held to light. 1/2 fingers width of light mocha colored head builds and then quickly recedes. Leaves only small patches of lacing.

S: Massive bourbon upfront. This is followed by rich dark cocoa and chocolate fudge. Oak, vanilla, the barrel notes are huge. Hints of roasted malt and dark fruits as well. Maple syrup. Incredible aroma.

T: The initial sip is luscious dark chocolate, followed by bourbon, and finished with coffee and roasted malt notes. The flavor levels with each sip are just wonderful. I also get raw oak, faint dark fruit notes, vanilla, some bitterness on the finish.

M/D: Velvety smooth, full bodied, fairly thick but not chewy, carbonation a touch higher than I prefer for the style, but appropriate. No hint of the ABV and drinkability is excellent.

O: Overall, just an excellent beer. I feel very lucky that I was able to get a hold of a bottle of this. Excellent from top to bottom. Definitely worth seeking out. (1,056 characters)

Photo of davey101
4.51/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2012, 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass. Batch #11620, bottled 12/28/2012. Thanks to ObiWanKushnobi for this long time want!

A - Pours a pitch black body with two fingers worth of mocha foam. Settles out into a thin cap. Moderate lacing and retention.

S - Starts off with the bourbon...oak, vanilla, and some char. Then some roasted malts and sweet cocoa powder. A touch of dark fruits too. No element really dominates here, just well integration of two base beers + a barrel.

T - Just all kinds of balance going on here. Smooth vanilla and oak, a bit of a bourbon butterscotch, lightly bitter coffee beans, and dry cocoa powder. A little bit of everything here. Finishes with a real faint but pleasant alcohol warmth.

M - Creamy, smooth, and decadent....thank you Double Cream stout! Surprisingly high drinkability compared to other BA stouts.

O - Perhaps the most balanced and easy drinking BA stout I have ever had. This is a damn impressive beer and I wish I somehow had year round access to this. Forever ISO, but I still prefer BCBS for its unrelenting bourbon element. (1,088 characters)

Photo of nootch23
4.68/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Thanks akuyper sending this in a trade. Served in a pint glass.

A - pours a solid black with about an half an inch of light coffee colored head

S - right up front there is a boozy smell showing the alcohol but gives way to a mixture of chocolate, coffee smell with a little vanilla and very little roastiness. Kind of a sweet smell once you get past the bourbon scent

T - the taste of this beer is amazing. Right off the bat was the bourbon but that faded quickly as the chocolate came through. Pretty rich taste without it being sweet. Notes of caramel and vanilla mixed in with a malty, roasty quality to it.

M - the feel of this stout lingers and leaves with a rich, creamy taste. Very smooth going down. I didn't pick up any carbonation.

O - this is a really good stout. Its no wonder I've heard so much about it. There are a lot of stouts out there that really give you a shot of bourbon or booze that tends to take center stage in front of the other qualities. I was a little concerned that this one would follow suit but it was a pleasant surprise as to how much chocolate came through without it being too sweet. Very easy to drink and very well balanced. This one is definitely worth seeking out. Well done! (1,222 characters)

Photo of ThickNStout
4.54/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle from jaheussner (thank you!). Bottled 12/28/12. Served in a Sweetwater snifter.

Pours oil black with a thin quarter finger cap of mocha head. A few dots and veins of lace.

Smells of sweet vanilla, bourbon, chocolate and roasty malts. Very inviting.

The taste doesn't disappoint. Smooth, sweet boubon, oaky vanilla, dark chocolate, creamed coffee, dates/figs, leather and syrup. Booze is near non-existent. Phenominal depth and balance.

Smooth, creamy, medium heavy body yet lighter than expected. Nice light carbonation. The elixir coats the tongue and lingers for a long bourbon soaked, chocolate covered dates aftertaste.

Outstanding. I'm a fan of Bell's stouts and this is by far my favorite. Wonderful balance between the roasty, chocolatey malts and sweet barrel character. After getting shut out of all of the local stores supply, I'm very happy to have gotten to try this. Definately worth seeking out to try. (938 characters)

Photo of RoamingGnome
4.52/5  rDev +0.7%
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 gcamparone
4.66/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter. Acquired in a trade with t4haughton.. thanks dude!

A- Pours a deep brown pour, once it's in the glass it's jet black and opaque. The head is mocha brown, modest and about 1/2" and reduces after about 30 seconds to a brown ring.

S- The aroma is amazing - It's vanilla-bourbon forward, the best way I can describe it is a freshly made Belgian waffle with french vanilla ice cream and maple syrup. There's also coffee and chocolate mixed in there. Dialed in some dark fruits on a whiff, but they're chilling way back there. Extremely inviting, my mouth is watering.

T- Milk chocolate bourbon vanilla, caramel upfront, progresses into a more bittersweet chocolate and roasted coffee flavor. The finish is just what I like in a BB stout - it's roasty and delicious. The alcohol is subtle for 11.5 ABV.

M- Medium-heavy body, not quite as heavy as BCBS but creamy and silky. Low carbonation.

I can see why this beer ranks so high.. it's complex and flavorful. Definitely one of the more bourbon forward BA stouts that I've tried. Try it if you like this style! (1,104 characters)

Photo of macrosmatic
4.64/5  rDev +3.3%
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. (691 characters)

Photo of elgiacomo
4.29/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottled December 28, 2012. Served at cellar temperature. Always been a huge fan of Expedition and this is one I’ve sought for many years, excited to have a chance to try it (and thanks to Bell’s for the 12oz package and distribution!)

Pours black with a two finger brown head that settles to a light swirly creamy cap and foamy ring, leaves short-lived lacing behind.

Aroma is a big blast of bourbon, rich dark chocolate, oak, vanilla, coffee, a bit of anise, hint of smoke. Good to very good strength.

Flavor is rich and delicious. Quite bourbon-forward, a lot of vanilla and serious chocolate, marshmallow, roasted malts, anise, some dark fruit, little caramel, rather sweet, minimal bitterness, decent alcohol bite, but fits for the style/size. Really good!

Mouthfeel is full bodied, very creamy, smooth, sticky, low to moderate carbonation.

Fantastic beer. Right up there with the big boys in the style. A real treat and worth seeking out. (957 characters)

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.26/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Received a few 2012 12'oz bottles in a recent trade with krl2112.... Big thanks Kurt!!

Poured into my HotD goblet... short lasting dark brown head with a thick glass coating black brew...no real lacing.. retention is pretty sad.

Huge bourbon and dark fruits... cherries and raisins... vanilla and fudgy coffee spiked brownies... very rich... a bit hot, still little cold and the EtOH is warm.

Great mix of bourbon, molasses, tons of bittersweet chocolate... some cold brewed coffee for good measure.. again the alcohol is pretty hot... lingering bourbon/vanilla and brownie sundae on the finish... just lingers forever.. pretty damn well done. Happy that this one isn't overly sweet and an insulin shot isn't needed like BT.

Light carbonation with a silky thick mouthfeel.

Wish I had more of these. I opened up a 2011 750 last weekend and it was heads and shoulders better... but I just think this brew needs time to meld.

4/4.25/4.25/4.5/4.25 (950 characters)

Photo of bifrost17
4.73/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2012 vintage. 12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter, thanks again Nick for making this possible.

A: It absolutely lives up to the name. Opaque. Pitch black, but not intimidating, instead it's very beautiful really. Pours with a surprisingly bright tan head that pretty quickly turns into a nice creamy ring around the glass. Looks almost like the foam on a latte. Carbonation bubbles stream up the glass to keep the ring going. Spotty lacing. Looking in the glass I can see my reflection against the blackness, again, what a beautiful beer.

S: I'm getting big time dark fruit notes on the nose, figs, and plums immediately come to mind. After the initial onslaught of dark fruit I'm getting lots of vanilla, oak, bourbon, dark chocolate, and alcohol notes.

T: Wow. Up front the dark chocolate and fig notes play perfectly together, then in the middle of the tongue I get a lot of the sweet vanilla notes. Finishes with a bitter dark chocolate/espresso flavor. Really amazing.

M: Not much to say about the mouthfeel. Velvety, creamy, not too thick. The carbonation couldn't be more perfect, moderate enough to let the size of the beer shine, but just enough to let you know you're still drinking beer, and not wine.

O: This is one of the best stouts I have ever had, and I'm only two days removed from a bottle share that included Chocolate Rain, Black Tuesday, and Bourbon County Cherry Rye. While all those beers were amazing in their on right Black Note easily stands up to them. I love the fact that Black Note is more bitter than sweet, when you get into these big monster barrel aged stouts a lot of them have the tendency to become big sweet boozy malt bombs, the balance of Black Note is impeccable. This is easily the best offering I've had from Bells. Outstanding. (1,778 characters)

Photo of alysmith4
4.76/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Managed to try just a bit of this at a bottle-share, but it was definitely memorable. I didn't care for Expedition, however Black Note is truly a testament to what barrel-aging can really do to a beer. It was so velvety smooth and creamy, and the lactose really helped offset the boozy heat it seems. Tasted like a melted bar of bittersweet chocolate and figs. Very enjoyable! (376 characters)

Photo of hopoilcrazy
4.66/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to cheeseheadnation for this treat. 2012

A- The only thing that I am not in love with in this beer is the appearance. It is beautiful in its almost blackness, but sadly the lacing falls short. This is splitting hairs.

S- The malts are so forward that it smells like some stout dribbled into some bourbon. Smoky, caramel maltiness, barrel funk, sour mash, blackstrap, tobacco. This shit is right on. The licorice-y notes almost remind me of amaretto or Dr. Pepper

T- Wow. Absolutely perfect balance. That is between alcohol, sweetness, and barrel, with the hop spiciness reigning it in in the finish, really making it a true pleasure to drink. Why did I only trade for two 12ozers?!?! Coffee, watered down bourbon, great barrel character. Boozy finish.

M- Straight up bourbon tingle, heavy viscosity. So smooth.

This beer is amazing. It really has a great brewmasters touch and intuition. It is not specific as to how long Black Note is aged, but this 2012 is so nuanced that it seems very richly aged. Must force myself to save the other 12 oz for a special occasion and drink Peruvian Morning to get my fix until then. (1,131 characters)

Photo of charlzm
4.35/5  rDev -3.1%
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! (1,245 characters)

Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
99 out of 100 based on 548 ratings.