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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.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

3,255 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,255
Reviews: 504
rAvg: 4.56
pDev: 8.55%
Wants: 2,147
Gots: 819 | FT: 80
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: 3,255 | Reviews: 504 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SaisonRichBiere
4.89/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served on draft, post Bell's tap-takeover at Aubree's in Northville, MI.

Appearance- Oily and dark, viscous, but a shade lighter than other BA stouts. Dark, dark espresso brown. One finger of beige head yields to a foamy veil atop the brew. As you drink, it dissipates further into a halo around the glass, leaving lots of lacing on the glass.

Smell- Caramel-coffee-toffee-creme brûlée. Big complex nose with a hint of bourbon heat. Roasty, roasty malts creep in. This smells awesome. One of the best.

Taste- Big boozy hit. Surprisingly more red wine than bourbon here. Fruity booze yields to a smooth 80 proof bourbon finish. What follows is awesome. Roasty espresso, big caramelly dark chocolate notes- think a chocolate riesen candy. Big strong Madagascar vanilla, creme brûlée and a blunt, dry roasty malt finish. Amazing.

Mouthfeel- Oily, smooth, creamy. A mouth-coating tingly whiskey burn that you really don't want to go away. Akin to the style with just a bit more.

Overall. One of the best, hands down. Extremely grateful that I was able to stumble on this (surprisingly) left over from a tap-takeover. The description does it justice, but this beer is so much more. If you have a chance to try this, try it. It will not disappoint. I thought CBS was the bar for the style, but this changes things. A shred more accessible than others of its ilk, this brings more Michigan BA stout firepower to the table. Drink this. Period. Thanks a ton Bell's!

SaisonRichBiere, Mar 02, 2013
Photo of Fanhitter
4.81/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Served at Aubree's Northville

As the glass arrived, it resembled a glass full of crude oil. Just looking at it I can tell it is syrupy and thick; the head is dark, reddish bruise-black. The head is a thin layer of microscopic bubbles that I can only imagine seeing in places like te La Brea Tar Pits.

Smells like vanilla-cinnamon-chocolate-coffee spiked with a sweet, wheated bourbon. There's a nice coffee aroma as well. It's big and sweet.

The flavor is a boozy bourbon bomb at first, followed with a balanced chicory and smoky sweetness. The vanilla notes come out shrouded in a caramelly, dark roast coffee finish. It finishes surprisingly dry for all that's going on here. This is a real treat for the tastebuds.

Mouthfeel is effortless for as boozy as this is; nice, oily, and smooth sipping.

Overall I am blown away by this. I've had CBS and KBS, and this tops out with both of them; however I like this better than KBS. This is a real treat to find on draft. Amazing beer.

Fanhitter, Mar 02, 2013
Photo of miadw3
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

miadw3, Mar 02, 2013
Photo of DukeX13
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

DukeX13, Mar 02, 2013
Photo of MDDMD
4.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A-dark brown black color with a smallish tan head and minimal lacing

S-chocolate, coffee, dark fruit, bourbon, oak

T-rich chocolate, coffee, raisins, figs, vanilla, oak, slight smokiness, all interwoven with delicious bourbon flavor

F-medium to full body with light to moderate carbonation, smooth and creamy mouthfeel

O-absolutely delicious, so well-balanced with a wide array of flavor and bourbon beautifully blended throughout, one of the best

MDDMD, Mar 02, 2013
Photo of DanE
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

DanE, Mar 01, 2013
Photo of Beeranator
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Beeranator, Mar 01, 2013
Photo of zestar
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

zestar, Mar 01, 2013
Photo of rodlavers
4.85/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

rodlavers, Mar 01, 2013
Photo of sil1
5/5  rDev +9.6%

sil1, Feb 28, 2013
Photo of Hopbully
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Hopbully, Feb 28, 2013
Photo of natemort13
4.76/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Been a while...lets make this a good one
2012.
Pours jet black with hardly any head.

Nose is the sweetest of Carmelly bourbon. Vanilla, oak, delicious.

Taste brings out dark fruits that weren't present in the nose but otherwise it's more of that very carmelly bourbon. Booze is well incorporated. Smoothest vanilla, some cola, hint of smoke.

Mouthfeel is extremely smooth, full bodied, light alcohol prick that doesn't detract from the taste.

Overall this beer is fantastically balanced for how big it is. Superb.

natemort13, Feb 28, 2013
Photo of BobSmooth
3/5  rDev -34.2%

BobSmooth, Feb 28, 2013
Photo of HumanParaquat
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

HumanParaquat, Feb 28, 2013
Photo of BarrytheBear
4.29/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle courtesy of Brian. Thank you for the opportunity. Poured into my Darkness snifter.
Bottle dated 2/28/12, so this bottle is almost a year old. Happy birthday you little minx.

Looks like a stout.

Massive wave of dark fruits hit you on the pour, mainly in the form of prune and plum. Light char and ash mix with vanilla and rich fudge. Tannic laced alcohol heat as well. One the sweeter side, maybe this is the prominence of the aging on the double cream stout? Truth be told I cannot remember the last time I had an Expedition....this calls for future exploration.

Sweet dry fruit and chocolate cake batter. Again the Double Cream stout flexes its relative muscle. Alcohol is abundant but not overwhelming. Vanilla molested plums and raisin. Bourbon is well woven and not abrasively in your face. I would not deem this a bourbon bomb. More milk chocolate than dark with a light oak on the end that hints at the barrel aging as well.

Not overly thick and syrupy, more towards medium bodied if not veering towards lighter bodied. Rather airy and smooth while not weighing you down.

Overall, this is pretty solid. I like bourbon beers that show nuance and aren't all brawn and no brains. This fits that category well. However, I find Double Cream stout borderline cloying and its inclusion here does steer this beer into a fairly sweet realm. Love 12 oz barrel aged beers and am thankful to have the opportunity.

BarrytheBear, Feb 28, 2013
Photo of TripelBlove
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

TripelBlove, Feb 27, 2013
Photo of langchops
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

langchops, Feb 27, 2013
Photo of Rainblows
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Rainblows, Feb 27, 2013
Photo of iL0VEbeer
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

iL0VEbeer, Feb 27, 2013
Photo of PHKrames
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

PHKrames, Feb 27, 2013
Photo of Rion
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Rion, Feb 26, 2013
Photo of Sirvis
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Sirvis, Feb 26, 2013
Photo of srv33
4.46/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A 2012 poured into a tulip. Pours a near black chocolately brown with minimal lacing and no head. Scent of raisin, fig, swiss milk chocolate, coffee, and caramel. With a nose like that it must be fantastic, right?

The nose is fully expressed in the taste, rich dark fruits, chocolate, coffee, and caramel are all present and craftfully balanced. I've had the pleasure to try KBS, Expedition, and CBS, and would remark that this deserves its place among them. I would say the general flavor palate is quite similar but differs a fair bit in mouthfeel and richess, especially when compared to K/CBS. Compared to those it is much less rich, lacks the sort of near-syrupy richness of CBS or the earthy depth of KBS. There is also a much smoother touch of fine carbonation, more than K/CBS.

I had just as hard a time finding this as I did finding its cousins. Certainly glad I finally got to see what the hype is about. For some, this will certainly be perfect, (to those who find CBS or KBS simply too much) and others might find it lacking when compared to those, though somewhat similar in terms of flavor. Would I buy this again if I had the chance? Yes. Is it Bells best? I wouldn't say so, but it is certainly up there. Is it an absolutely fantastically crafted stout? WIthout a doubt. Cheers!

srv33, Feb 26, 2013
Photo of johnyb
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

johnyb, Feb 25, 2013
Photo of kirkfrailey
5/5  rDev +9.6%

kirkfrailey, Feb 25, 2013
Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
100 out of 100 based on 3,255 ratings.