1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.

2,913 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,913
Reviews: 493
rAvg: 4.56
pDev: 8.11%
Wants: 2,042
Gots: 745 | FT: 71
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,913 | Reviews: 493 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Madison6


5/5  rDev +9.6%

02-14-2013 01:11:00 | More by Madison6
Photo of ZombiesAteMyDog


4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

02-14-2013 00:46:48 | More by ZombiesAteMyDog
Photo of ChicagoNick


4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

02-14-2013 00:31:19 | More by ChicagoNick
Photo of kdb150


4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

02-13-2013 20:42:42 | More by kdb150
Photo of Charlie_Hoss

New Jersey

5/5  rDev +9.6%

02-13-2013 02:52:14 | More by Charlie_Hoss
Photo of jlindros


4.56/5  rDev 0%

Big thanks to both mcsecne (Reddit) and erric (Reddit) for bottles of this gem.

Light fizzy darker colored head, pitch black dark beer with nice long legs, decent thick head as I swirl.

Nose is awesome, tons of dark malts, chocolate galore, some rich thick expensive Belgian chocolate, bakers choc, a little dark even, velvety too. Little espresso and coffee with a bit of roasted malt but no burnt aromas, cocoa nibs. Then barrel, some vanilla with light toasted oak, decent bourbon, little alcohol tingle. Velvety and maybe even creamy oats.

Taste starts with malts again, dark malts with syrupy dark malts, lots if creamy velvety chocolate, cocoa nibs, bakers choc, etc. The malts have a light roast, little bitter tannin char but not really burnt. Cocoa leads to barrel, light vanilla and barrel, must a touch of bourbon. Light warning tingly booze. Light bitter hops but not much. Finish is long creamy chocolate, cocoa, vanilla, light bourbon barrel, little sticky sweet with a bit more booze, so much mouth layered thick chocolate.

Mouth is big bodied, thick and creamy lush velvety, decent carb, some warming booze but doesn't drink like an 11+% beer.

Overall very nice, great base stout with tons of chocolate, nice dark malts and decent barrel but if I could complain about anything maybe a bit more bourbon as I love bourbon.

02-13-2013 02:18:59 | More by jlindros
Photo of rudzud


4.55/5  rDev -0.2%

Big thanks to JLindros for sharing this bottle! Poured into a Kate the Great tulip.

A - Poured a deep dark brown nearly oil with a good half finger mocha head that fades to leave light clouds and a puffy halo. Solid, solid appearance for the high ABV.

S - Aromas of a very well done but classic aroma. Good bourbon notes here but not overwhelmingly so, nice barrel and vanilla much fainter than I've grown accustomed to. Chocolate and sweeter malts with the alcohol noticeable but very downplayed for the ABV.

T - Taste is just delicious. Sweet malts, sweet bourbon and barrel notes. Chocolate and sort sweet, good quality bourbon. I appreciate that. Nice faint alcohol notes, very well planned out beer with everything working in harmony.

M - Mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy, chewy but not boozy.

O - Overall this was a very good bourbon aged stout. Very very nice, wish I had my own 6 pack to enjoy! Well done!

02-13-2013 00:55:24 | More by rudzud
Photo of mjohnson17


4.94/5  rDev +8.3%

2012 12 oz bottle

A: Pours jet black, slight head that instantaneously dissipates. Some alcohol legs

S: Balances, a bit muted but well rounded charred oak, fig, roasted malt

T: roast, oak, charred wood, fig, a bit of chocolate and coffee. More of an earthy dry taste than a caramel/toffee sweetness that's sometimes seen in other BB stouts.

M: Very well balanced stout. Coats mouth nicely but not sticky. Full body.

Overall: Fantastic beer. One of the best stouts I've had, let alone bourbon barrel stout. This and BCBS are a near tie for perfection. I also really love the 12 oz format of the 2012 batch. If you have a chance to try this stout do not pass it up!

02-12-2013 20:01:50 | More by mjohnson17
Photo of bepps


4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

02-12-2013 19:01:48 | More by bepps
Photo of atone315


4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

02-12-2013 15:54:48 | More by atone315
Photo of Azrael

3/5  rDev -34.2%

02-12-2013 05:11:17 | More by Azrael
Photo of KiMiRaiK


4/5  rDev -12.3%

02-12-2013 04:20:47 | More by KiMiRaiK
Photo of rmaste6282


4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

02-12-2013 04:19:24 | More by rmaste6282
Photo of mdmusch


4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

02-12-2013 02:03:32 | More by mdmusch
Photo of timc13


4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

02-12-2013 01:37:46 | More by timc13
Photo of Holmes698


4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

02-11-2013 22:58:34 | More by Holmes698
Photo of jsurfs82


5/5  rDev +9.6%

02-11-2013 22:43:53 | More by jsurfs82
Photo of littlebeer


4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

02-11-2013 22:17:45 | More by littlebeer
Photo of sdpaul


4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

02-11-2013 18:43:59 | More by sdpaul
Photo of BierJager89


4.83/5  rDev +5.9%

Holy shit. Poured from a growler?! into a snifter in California?! From a complete stranger?! Thank you to every single person and thing and event that allowed black note to cross the threshold of my mouth. Especially the stranger at the bar and my friend with whom I tried this.

A: Solid black with a faint brown ring of head that is all but completely absent. Little carbonation as this was poured into a growler at the brewery and transported all the way to california before being poured into a snifter.

S: Old yeast and dark bittersweet chocolate, very reminiscent of Older Viscosity, as well as vanilla, roasted malt, oak and alcohol in the nose.

T: Anise, oak, vanilla, dark bittersweet chocolate, medium roast coffee, alcohol. Absolutely delicious. A near paragon of the bourbon barrel aged imperial stout style. Lacks the strong vanilla character I love about the style, as well as caramel and is a bit more faint in oak than I'd prefer.

M: Literally perfect for an imperial stout, to my taste. The fullest of silky, creamy smooth bodies coats the mouth.

O: Rich, hearty, delicious, and impossible to find. Just barely overrated (it isn't really a 100, but then again they inflate ratings on this website, which is unnecessary and stupid). Recommended? If you can find it. I feel my luck may have reached the apex of it's potential given that such an odd way of coming upon a taste of this beer was the result of layer upon layer of sheer happenstance. But enough about me. This beer is amazing.

02-11-2013 07:49:33 | More by BierJager89
Photo of AgentMunky


4.58/5  rDev +0.4%

Poured into a small snifter from a growler of unknown provenance. Thanks stranger at the bar.

A: Completely dark. No head. Some clinging lace.

S: Rich, deep, dark bourbon, flat malt and stale yeast. A little like an old ale. The barrel aging seems to have mellowed all aspects but heightened the sweetness. Slightly pungent alcohol.

T/M: Absolutely fucking luxurious. It envelops the mouth the way silk sheets might cradle an emperor. The Double Cream Stout sweetness shines and is accentuated by the bourbon barrels, but the darker, bitterer anise and dark chocolate and hints of creamy coffee from Expedition Stout are also noticeable. I don't even miss the carbonation because this beer is so full and sexy and caressing. The aftertaste is dry and more bitter than the rest of the beer.

O: This is truly magnificent and I cannot overstate how thrilled I am to finally try it. Definitely recommended. Best bourbon barrel aged beer I've had.

02-11-2013 05:02:41 | More by AgentMunky
Photo of vodkammunion90


4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

02-11-2013 04:13:40 | More by vodkammunion90
Photo of egrace84


4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

02-11-2013 03:49:00 | More by egrace84
Photo of beerandcycling88


4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

02-11-2013 03:02:48 | More by beerandcycling88
Photo of CheapBeerBuzz


4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

02-11-2013 01:50:19 | More by CheapBeerBuzz
Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
100 out of 100 based on 2,913 ratings.