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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
100
world-class

3,456 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,456
Reviews: 530
rAvg: 4.56
pDev: 8.33%
Wants: 2,324
Gots: 890 | FT: 82
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: 3,456 | Reviews: 530 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mjohnson17
4.93/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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!

Photo of bepps
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of atone315
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of Azrael
3/5  rDev -34.2%

Photo of KiMiRaiK
4/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of rmaste6282
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of mdmusch
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of timc13
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of Holmes698
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of jsurfs82
5/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of littlebeer
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of sdpaul
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of BierJager89
4.83/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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.

Photo of AgentMunky
4.56/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

4A: Completely dark. No head. Some clinging lace.

4.25S: 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.

4.5T/5M: 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.

5O: 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.

EDIT 16 Jan 2015: Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a St Bernadus goblet. 2012 vintage. Bottle 28 Dec 2012.

4A: As above.

4.5S: Smells slightly sharper, but also richer. Dark malts, only a hint of old ale yeast.

4.75T/4.75M: Oh gods. As above, but sharper and more carbonated around the edges. Still velvety.

5O: Still incredible.

Photo of vodkammunion90
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of egrace84
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of beerandcycling88
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of CheapBeerBuzz
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of Soneast
4/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of WYVYRN527
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of jvillefan
4.62/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A: jet black with a very minimal mocha colored head.

S: A mixture of bourbon with chocolate is dominate in the aroma of this beer. Roasted malt come through in the background of this beer.

T: A nicely blended well balanced mixture of roasted malts, chocolate, and bourbon. Very rich and intense flavors.

M: It is very think and heavy with the perfect amount of carbonation for this beer.

O: Amazing stout. Well worth trading for.

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.97/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

A: Poured black , sordove sluggish with a moderate dirty cap which leaves some good bubbles and lacing.

S: Chocolate, light whiff of licorice, coffee and a light booze sting

T: Big coffee upfront with chocolate, black licorice and roasted notes. Light addiions of dark fruit in the background. I felt any barrel was really backseat on this bottle but then again I had been consuming bookoo stouts. But really, I perceived more velvety stout qualities than I did barrel so that was a hit for me.

M: Full bodied, low to medium carbonation, yet I felt it was a bit thin going down. Its not as full or thick as I expected from the pour

O: A good beer but I have been drink a lot of Kalamazoo lately and I actually enjoy it over this Imperial Stout. Odd huh?

Photo of DovaliHops
4.29/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into small Eclipse snifter glass. 2012. Pours a pitch black color with a tiny light brown/tan head that disappears quickly. Scent is sweet vanilla and bourbon up front. A little oak and cherry aroma with some bitter chocolate and dark fruits. Roasted espresso as well. More vanilla lingering in the nose with a bit of toffee. Taste immediately reminded me of a BA stout I've had on multiple occasions. The initial flavors remind me of some of the Eclipse variants, where the overall beer remind me of Parabola (somewhat). Bitter chocolate up front with some nice bourbon flavors (and burn). Sweet vanilla with some sherry and oak flavors. A hint of coconut with some boozy whiskey flavors. More chocolate and a bit of roasted espresso in the finish. Mouthfeel starts out very nice, but tends to be a bit thin in the finish. Drinkability is pretty high for such a high ABV BA imperial stout. Overall, this beer is a great one. I guess for how hard the 750ml bottles were to get, I expected a little more. I absolutely love Parabola and rated it very highly. Although the flavor of this beer remind of Parabola in a way, I feel it is not on the same level. Solid beer overall, and I am VERY glad I scored me a four-pack via trade.

Photo of brstls4drmrs
4.63/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Thanks MADpolo for this one. 12oz bottle.

A - pours a viscous black color with almost no head. The froth that does come is caramel in color and appears like a snowflake. Great lacing.

S - some booze with bourbon and a hint of licorice. Some nice malty aroma with hints of nut and chocolate (very small). Expressi in there too.

T - a malty bourbon delight with some nice caramel overtones going down. Very pleasing to the palate and dances around like silk.

M - very smooth and delightful with mild to medium carbonation.

O - an excellent stout. A must have.

Photo of thegerm87
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
100 out of 100 based on 3,456 ratings.