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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.

3,459 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,459
Reviews: 529
rAvg: 4.56
pDev: 8.33%
Wants: 2,334
Gots: 889 | FT: 84
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: 3,459 | Reviews: 529 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of emottram
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of Quackus
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of bifrost17
4.73/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

Photo of claaark13
4/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of Beerdudenumberone
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of duobob
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of jschonert
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of Cottzilla
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of alysmith4
4.76/5  rDev +4.4%
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!

Photo of RyanSchwam
5/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of MarkFy
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of Wantbeer
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of hopoilcrazy
4.66/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

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 paultierney1
4.79/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Can't tell you how I got the bottle.

What an awesome stout! At first I thought: Wow, that's really good. Then it only got better. So complex, so much going on. It truly deserves the 100 rating. I'm just piling on. Out of my way. Amazing brew from Bell's!

Photo of daledeee
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of Festigio
5/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of bcostner1
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of seplo
5/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of Beerontwowheels
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of jamiecoppin
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of mixed_master7
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of EigenBeer
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of leschkie
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
100 out of 100 based on 3,459 ratings.