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

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

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BA SCORE
100
world-class

3,363 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,363
Reviews: 515
rAvg: 4.56
pDev: 8.55%
Wants: 2,198
Gots: 848 | FT: 88
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: 3,363 | Reviews: 515 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of djre4orm
5/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of jheezee
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of MatthewBair
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of doucmehu
5/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.43/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Yes, this is that good. I sampled this stout at the Valpo Brewfest on 09/29/2012. Poured into my pint glass, the stout was a chocolatey black color with only the slightest hint of a head. The initial aroma was nicely boozy, making it apparent that the stout slept several months in bourbon barrels. The malt in the aroma was present, but was overwhelmed not the bourbon. The initial taste was a sour chocolate with vanilla note and bitter coffee. The booziness lays a pleasingly warm backbone amid the chaos of chocolate, vanilla and coffee notes. The mouthfeel is not quite motor oil, but it is fairly close. Thankfully, the taste lingered several minutes. The aftertaste left a warming sensation that was sticky enough to linger in the back of the throat for several minutes. As far as barrel aged stouts go, this is near the top of the list.

Photo of mgp2675
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Mscarpen for this growler, great trader, can't say enough about him. Drank this side to side with the base beers that make up Black Note: Expedition Stout and Special Double Cream Stout.

A- Black as night. Not much of a head on it, fades away pretty quickly.

S- When I took the cap off the growler I smelled it just for the heck of it and even the cap smelled like straight vanilla. No surprise the aroma had lots of vanilla in it, with the bourbon characteristic that's so typical of a good BA stout. Has a hint of oatmeal in the aroma as well.

T- Great bourbon presence, the bourbon and vanilla stand out as the two main flavors. It's a little sweet but not overpowering at all...just right. It has a little bit of a bitter dark chocolate taste to it, and definitely some coffee and burnt notes in the aftertaste. Bell's says you should pick up some dark fruits in here but I'm not getting any. It has a little bit of that lactic taste to it from the cream stout base but not a lot. That adds to it nicely. The alcohol is extremely well hidden. This might be the most vanilla I've ever had in a beer.

M- Creamy, like I said it gets some of that lactic taste/feel from the cream stout. It's nice and think, low carbonation.

O- When Black Note bottles came out earlier this year I swore I wouldn't give my cellar away for it cause some of the reviews I was reading weren't too great. Maybe this beer is a lot different on tap or maybe I just disagree with those reviews but this is a very good BA stout. It's got that chewy feel to it that I always look for, very smooth, good flavors from the barrel aging, balanced, and gets better as it warms up. There's nothing distinct about this that blows me away but it's really good, and definitely worth a try if this is your thing.

Photo of InspectorBob
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of hyoung41
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of FreshmanPour77
5/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of JPortillo
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of BrandonDZ
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of CuriousMonk
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured jet black with a nice one and a half finger tall mocha-colored head leaving sticky streaks of lace that lasted throughout. Aromas of warm bourbon, milk chocolate, vanilla, dark roasted malt, brown sugar and quite a bit of lactic creaminess. The flavor starts off with a big dose of warm bourbon, chocolate and some lactic creaminess from the double cream stout. Hints of vanilla, oak, brown sugar and rich coffee help to break things up and keep things interesting. Big and full smooth mouthfeel with a ton of sweet flavors and moderation carbonation throughout. The finish was quite sweet with plenty of boozy bourbon and some dark roast, lingering on the palate long after consumption. I look forward to cracking open my Black Note bomber that I acquired early in 2012!

Photo of amart80
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of zeledonia
4.8/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On-tap at Bryant-Lake Bowl for their stout bout. I came to the event mostly to try this beer, and I wasn't disappointed. Enjoyed 12 September 2012, reviewed from notes.

Pours straight-up black. Brought with a thin layer of medium-brown head, but I saw the server pour some more off. Decent lacing.

Smell is rich dark chocolate, surrounded by the loveliest bourbon-y aromas I've encountered in a beer. All sorts of rich dark malt aromas, but they're all tied together in a way that makes it hard to tease out characteristics.

Taste is, well... it's one of those indescribably good beers that is just beautiful and right. The rest of my description is a mostly-futile attempt to explain that beauty. Like a dark malt wash, with a little bit of bourbon. It has a core flavor that holds together so well, it's hard for me to say exactly what it is. No little bits sticking out to grab onto, just this big glom of deliciousness. The bourbon barrel comes through, but is so nicely balanced and integrated - mostly the rich grainy flavors of the bourbon that really shine through. This adds tons of flavor, but without the burn that accompanies so many barrel-aged beers. Moderately hoppy, but the hops don't come through that much because there are so many other flavors they have to contend with. Stunningly good.

Mouthfeel is thick and heavy with that smooth, full oat fluffiness. Medium-low carbonation, as it should be.

One of the best, if not the best, barrel-aged stouts I've ever had, and among the top beers I've had. In the vein of Bourbon County - a big, robust, flavorful stout with fantastic integration of the barrel flavor - but better. IMO, it blows some other highly-rated stouts (Parabola, Abyss) out of the water. I will be seeking this out again. Definitely worth the effort. I could drink this all day.

Photo of thingsidontremember
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of NathanFink
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of will1256
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of jisom123
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of eorwar
5/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of greg4579
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of JackieTH
4.6/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On draft at the 2012 Autumn Brew Review, from notes. We missed this at the 2011 ABR, so would not be foiled again.

2 ounce pour was oily black in appearance with a thin skein of mocha brown head. Smell was distinctly bourbon..vanilla, oak, subtle cherry, along with dark chocolate and subtle anise, toffee, dark fruit. Smells rich and delicious.

Taste follows the nose. Bourbon barrel, vanilla, figs, dark and sweet chocolates, coffee, dark fruits, blackstrap molasses, toffee. Booze. Bitter coffee, dark chocolate and hopping keeps some semblance of order in all the richness. Mildly warming. It's very, very good. Heavy creamy body as expected. Overall..The bourbon elements in Black Note aren't as over the top as other bourbon whiskey imperial stouts, it frames the dark chocolates and allows all the other flavor elements to really shine. Impressive.

Photo of ryancl
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of SamuelJackson45
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of szmnnl99
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of CoalPorter
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
100 out of 100 based on 3,363 ratings.