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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

3,122 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,122
Reviews: 499
rAvg: 4.56
pDev: 8.33%
Wants: 2,106
Gots: 788 | FT: 74
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: 3,122 | Reviews: 499 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rmalinowski4
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

rmalinowski4, Jan 25, 2012
Photo of Rhettroactive
4.28/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From tap to snifter on 1/10/12
*From notes

-- Thanks to the folks at RFD for hookin' me up with this epic want --

A: Black. Or damn close to it. Really, this is one dark glass of beer. Minimal head, with a faint, creamy collar.

S: Heavy whipping cream, aged wood, toasty brown sugar and luscious bourbon overwhelm my nostrils.

T: One of the things I love so very much about craft beer is the journey, where the brew leads your palate. Bell's Black Note, my friends, is this kind of beer. It begins rather mellow, it doesn't push the limits and extremes that others in the BA RIS world do. Rather, it's a delicate balancing act of whipping cream, rich chocolate, crushed vanilla bean, toasted tannin and incredibly smooth bourbon. There's also a pretty sizeable hop kick on the mid to finish.

M: Not overly viscous. It's quite mild and medium bodied, allowing the beer to almost flow through, without getting caught in the density of many in-style.

O: Bell's Black Note has easily been one of my top wants for years, and to have the opportunity to have a giant snifter of it at my leisure with good friends was an absolute pleasure. This really did remind me of a Charlie Parker number, as all you gotta do it sit back and let the master do their thing.

We did this side-by-side with BCBS '11, which in my opinion did this beer a disservice. A brew as special as this shouldn't be compared to what I feel is the best in class. Rather, it should stand on it's own. So yeah, BCBS may have packed the oomph that Black Note didn't, but on it's own, this delicate little number really is something special.

Rhettroactive, Jan 24, 2012
Photo of projectflam86
4.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes.

Poured from the tap into a snifter.

A- Pours a jet black color with only the tiniest bit of light shining through the edges. A thick coffee brown head leaves good lacing.

S- The first thing I notice is how subtle the bourbon is on the nose (which is much more preferable to it being overpowering). Deep roasted aroma with some hints of vanilla and oak.

T- Amazing how much bourbon flavor you get without the stingy alcohol burn. Waves of roasted coffee, vanilla, milk chocolate, anise, dark fruits, and bourbon all meld together nicely.

M- Full bodied with medium/low carbonation. The alcohol is hidden so well I would have guessed this at 8%.

O- Truly a special brew. I'm so glad I got the chance to try this.

projectflam86, Jan 22, 2012
Photo of cpmichael
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

cpmichael, Jan 22, 2012
Photo of mistakebythelake
5/5  rDev +9.6%

mistakebythelake, Jan 21, 2012
Photo of Alpar
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Alpar, Jan 21, 2012
Photo of MBrausen
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

MBrausen, Jan 20, 2012
Photo of ryantastad
5/5  rDev +9.6%

ryantastad, Jan 19, 2012
Photo of jacewg
4.43/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a deep jet black with a two finger mocha head that settles to a small ring. Spotty lacing.

Nose: Lots of bourbon character. Oak and vanilla. Caramelized sugars with molasses. On top of chocolate, roast, espresso, and dark fruit.

Flavor: Opens with dark chocolate and espresso and moves quickly into vanilla, oak, and lots of dark sugars. For how big it is, this beer actually dries out quite a bit on the finish which aids drinkability immensely and brings forth slightly vinous dark fruit notes. There's also a decent amount of bitterness coming from seemingly both the hops and the roast. Sweetness builds mid palate but dries out quickly. Impressive combination of flavors.

Mouthfeel: Viscous and creamy. Finishes dry with a bit of acidity. Long finish with notes of roast, chocolate, and hints of acidity.

Overall: In the course of my beer drinking days Bourbon Barrel Stout has shifted from being one of my favorite styles to one of my least favorite. That doesn't detract anything from this beer. Outstanding and well-constructed.

jacewg, Jan 18, 2012
Photo of alano
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

alano, Jan 15, 2012
Photo of otrejo
4/5  rDev -12.3%

otrejo, Jan 13, 2012
Photo of sobeleg
5/5  rDev +9.6%

sobeleg, Jan 12, 2012
Photo of davewilson
4/5  rDev -12.3%

davewilson, Jan 11, 2012
Photo of siege06nd
3.98/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter at RFD. Thanks a million, Josh!

A. Pitch black, like a rolling thundercloud. Surprising amount of head and retention for a beer this big....a light brown, quarter finger ring circles the glass and rests peacefully through the session. Really good lacing absolutely coats the glass. Top notch.

S. Lots of vanilla, molasses, chocolate, dark fruit, and oak. Smells like bourbon soaked chocolate cake. It's pretty tame right now. Not exploding off the nose, but it has a velvety, decadent bouquet. Still, I would have liked to see a more complex, assertive nose on this. Good, not great.

T. That's very nice thank you very much. Packed with vanilla, bourbon, oak, dark fruit, raisin, molasses. Slightly dry, hoppy finish. Black Note has a significant and pleasing dark chocolate presence, backed up with some roasted coffee and oak char. A caramel smoothness softens the edges around this one....just a kiss of booze on the back end. It is very well made, yet somewhat light for a such a bruiser. I expect more of a sweet, cloying, decadent treatment a la Goose Island. This is good, but I have had more complex and better barrel aged stouts.

M. Is it fair to say this drinks thin? Here is where I feel Black Note loses out to the competition, particularly Firestone, Founders, and Goose Island. There is a decidedly absent feel here. An abbreviated finish leaves me wanting. Well integrated flavors give this a good mark but greatness escapes the Black Note.

O. Good. A smooth, rich bouquet and decadent molasses make this a very good barrel aged stout. But it is not worth the hype. Not by a country mile. BCBS and CBS kick this in the boobs. Do not trade your cellar for it. But definitely try it if it is on tap nearby.

siege06nd, Jan 11, 2012
Photo of IrishColonial
4.43/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at RFD. Thanks a bunch Josh!!

A: squid ink black with a beautiful ring of chocolate milk bubbles around the side. Not much lacing, typical of the style. Awesome. I want to drink the sh*t out of this.

S: Mmmm, delicious bourbon. Vanilla notes. Roasted chocolate malt. A bit of hot booziness. As it warms, the malt profile comes through a bit. But mostly bourbon.

T: The taste is surprisingly dry and hoppy. Dominated by bourbon flavors but fades quickly into a malty, mild coffee aftertaste. Dried fruit flavors overarch more than others of the style. A bit thin for my taste.

M: Thin for a bourbon barrel stout. Also creamy and more carbonated. Pleasant but different.

O: This is a delicious beer and one of the better ones I've had. I love the bourbon and hoppyness flavors and the creamy mouthfeel. Probably from the double cream stout. However, the taste and nose are a bit too bourbon (one-note) dominated. If I had a bottle (not likely) I would definitely age at least a year. Outstanding beer. But it's no BCBS.

IrishColonial, Jan 11, 2012
Photo of jIsh
5/5  rDev +9.6%

jIsh, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of bstyle
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

bstyle, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of nsmartell
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

nsmartell, Jan 07, 2012
Photo of azorie
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

azorie, Jan 06, 2012
Photo of mobius387
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

mobius387, Jan 05, 2012
Photo of aliving1
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

aliving1, Jan 03, 2012
Photo of FosterJM
4.3/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1023rd Review on BA
Growler to Snifter

Thanks to MrHirschybar for this tick!

App- A very inky black pour out of the growler with only a few bubbles but no color to them. Sadly I feel that this was the end of the line for this grolwer but Steve was gracious enough to save me enough to make a go of it. No cling or lace but very creamy and dense in my snifter.

Smell- Across the board it was a bit thin from sitting but thats okay. It was nicely aromatic with notes from the bourbon and a bit of creamy chocolate but didnt smell overly grainy or small. A little bit of creeping vanilla on a big pull with a slight roast note.

Taste- Still very bourbon forward out of the growler that was on its final leg. Much more smooth than I would have thought as expedition was a bit grainy for me. The double cream blend makes this really nice. A lot of cream comes on the final flavors with a bit more vanilla which was a welcome suprise.

Mouth- As the growler is closing this did lose a little bit on the feel. I felt it was a bit thin to me with a good low/medium carbonation with just touches of airiness to it. A little bit of bourbon, booze and vanilla remain on the palate.

Drink- A very good stout that was treated well and blended very well. I think this one would do well being on tap for me or a fresher bottle. STILL, I will capitalize that one. I cant thank MrHirschybar enough for being a great BA and friend to make this one last for me. I recommend him as a trader and this beer to all.

FosterJM, Jan 03, 2012
Photo of elephantrider
5/5  rDev +9.6%

elephantrider, Jan 02, 2012
Photo of MrHirschybar
5/5  rDev +9.6%

MrHirschybar, Jan 02, 2012
Photo of Centennial
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Centennial, Jan 02, 2012
Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
100 out of 100 based on 3,122 ratings.