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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

3,346 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,346
Reviews: 512
rAvg: 4.56
pDev: 8.55%
Wants: 2,183
Gots: 841 | FT: 87
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: 3,346 | Reviews: 512 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.05/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle pour courtesy of mrbubbler at Woodshop 7 held at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roated malt, cocoa, bourbon, wood, and vanilla. Taste is much the same but the flavors are a bit more muted than I was expecting from the aromas. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a great smell but a smooth and somewhat mellow flavor.

Photo of laymansbeerfan
5/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of Shibbykaiyai
4.83/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Ashley's in Ann Arbor, MI for a special event.

My buddy dragged me to this event for the sole purpose of trying this beer. And I am happy that he did.

You can smell the bourbon in the pour and it has the some of the best characteristics of the two brews that were combined to make it. It is a great mixture of the Expedition and the Double Cream Stouts.

Although I am normally not a stout person, this is one the best brews I have had in a long time. I just wish it was more readily available.

Photo of throwback
5/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of ncaudle
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of bvdubn
5/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of liamt07
4.43/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks a ton to Sammy for pulling this out for just the two of us, bottle 24 of 1081 (Batch 10136). 750ml into tulips, gotta love full pours.

Black, with a transient brown head. Moderate legs, but only whisps of some head and a thin collar remain. Bourbon is big in the nose, along with coconut, vanilla, and brown sugar. Quite sweet, barrel aging is front and center. Taste leads with more smooth bourbon, coconut, mild chocolate and roast flavours. Great barrel flavours, creamier notes are slightly present. Medium full body, warming with some noticeable alcohol after some larger gulps. Low carbonation, with great density and smoothness. An awesome BBA'd stout, but not the best I've ever had form the style. Awesome to have tried though.

Photo of vandemonian
4.48/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bell's Black Note is a delicious imperial stout with lovely dark fruit, bourbon and oak flavours.

A: Black colour and a thin head that fades fast. 4

S: It smells of bourbon barrel as well as sweet raisiny malt. 4.5

T: A strong and slightly bitter malt flavour. There is some coffee flavour too. Delicious. The finish is quite sweet with some sweet raisin and dusty oak. 4.5

M: Thick and foamy. 4.5

O: 4.5

Photo of VncentLIFE
4.73/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On draft at the Mellow Mushroom in Greensboro, NC.

The smell has a pretty good amount bourbon. Thick roasty characteristic from Expedition.

The taste is wow. The bourbon from the barrel stands out straight away, then you get all that roasty malt and notes of coffee and dark chocolate. The most impressive part is the addition of the creaminess from Double Cream Stout.

Perfect blending of base beer.

Photo of Brutesling57
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of Sammy
3.98/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle 24 of 1081. Virtually no head on black, looks like a wine. carbonation still there though understated.Smoth mouthfel. Rich bourbon,not overpowering but substantial. Chocolate and coconut, this was barrelled a while, some mustiness. Better as it aired.Steve's bottle, thanks for not putting it up on ebay. My bottle shared with Liam.

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

On tap at Al's. Luckily this one lasted until I got back from vacation.

A: The stout is dark, a black combination of two already black beers. A crème colored head, pulling some of the darkness of the ale into its whiteness, is ample is size, coating the sides of the glass.

S: The nose is bourbon, tempered by the cream and imperial stout aromas. Coffee and roasted malts, chocolatey, have a sweetness that goes nicely with the vanilla from the barrel. Sweetness, not sugary, is the mark of the stout - rich and warming.

T: Sweet bourbon leads off, the vanilla and coconut pairing with wooden thickness. The wood sets up the stout flavors that follow. The Expedition adds coffee and burnt bread flavors - filling on their own. Lactic sweetness, thank you Double Cream, fills a void, softening up the Expedition's full-on assault. The bourbon remains throughout each sip, mingling with the stout. It returns for a heavy, boozy swansong at the finish, a strong dose of flavor that isn't too strong. The Expedition and bourbon go very nicely together.

M: Mouthfeel is smooth and full, delicious without too much booziness. One glass, allowed to warm, did the trick for me. A heck of a find for Al's and I'm glad that I snagged some - a delicious stout.

Photo of TheoV
3.5/5  rDev -23.2%

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

On tap at Bx Beer Depot. A keg of Hopslam and a keg of Black Note. Amazingly, the Hopslam kicked long before the Black Note, so I enjoyed three of these as I watched people go nuts for Hopslam.

Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Big khaki head. Not a particularly dark head, though. Decent retention. Oh yeah, it's black.

Smell - Huge barrel notes. Bourbon, vanilla, and oak. Roasted chocolate, but otherwise the stout is a touch lost in the barrel. Boozy, too.

Taste - Chocolate and a building tingle of bourbon. Vanilla flavor throughout. The chocolate comes back in the finish in a much more bitter manifestation. Less boozy in the finish that the smell would indicate. Really wonderful incorporation of barrel and stout.

Mouthfeel - Very creamy, which I assume is the Cream Stout. Boozy and chewy, but not too thick. Low carbonation, which is strange. Nearly flat.

Overall - It's damn good. I don't know how much separates the best BA stouts, but this one is quite nice. I'm happy not to have traded for it and rather just came and drank the equivalent of a 750 on tap. Will be back for more next year.

Edited based on drinking the hell out of this at the Michigan Summer Beer Festival.

Photo of AndrewK
4/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of challenja
4.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served On Tap at ChurchKey DC.

A: Pitch Black Vin Diesel style viciousness! No foam, straight Kung Fu Bizness! Hi YAAA..
S: This beer was a struggle to get a nose on, served in a snifter too! Lots of huffing and puffing to pull notes on this one.
Vanilla bean and smoked oak barrell, Dark Cocoa nibs, around 80 % cocoa. Dark roasted coffee, and dark smoked italian meats.. weird.. bourbon barrel wiffs
T: Straight off the bat Vanilla Bean rings through, Dark Colombian Bean bitters, Dark juniper berries, hints of candied cherries. Fire roasted English malts. Dark Cocoa with a nice boozy bourbon barrel finish.
M: This is one impressive beer. Vicious, thick and creamy. Fantastic medium to light carbonation that really pushes the Juniper berries through the Vanilla bean burnt cask. mmm.

O: A Fantastic A+ stout. A vicious Customer so tread with Caution. If you like this you will love KBS, Firestone Parabola, Epic Big Bad Baptist Stout, and Lienenkugal Big Eddy Imperial Stout

Photo of Jeffo
4.3/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle so generously provided by hotpipes29. Thanks for going the extra mile on this one. Much appreciated.

From a 75cl bottle into a snifter
Batch 10,136
Bottle 618 of 1081
Blend of Expedition Stout and Double Cream Stout aged in bourbon barrels.

APPEARANCE: A black pour yields a one finger, medium looking, light mocha colored head with decent retention. Head fades to a good wisp and sticks to the sides of the glass. Jet black body with lower levels of carbonation. Looks pretty solid. A swirly wisp and ring remain the whole way and leave dots of lacing down the glass. Good looking beer.

SMELL: Some roasted malts and dark chocolate under a very nice bourbon barrel. Oak, milk chocolate and a touch of sweet cream. Not overly bold, but the base beer of roasted chocolatey goodness meshes really well with the bourbon barrel notes. Well done.

TASTE: Bourbon barrel and caramel malts up front with some roasted notes and dark chocolate in there as well. Lots of barrel on the swallow, with bourbon, oak, vanilla and caramel sweetness. Big, bold and lingering aftertaste is full of barrel flavors, dark chocolate and roasted malt notes as well. Big barrel presence, but plenty of stout still plays and important roll. A very impressive barrel-heavy beer that still shows a solid base beer underneath it all. Excellent stuff.

PALATE: Medium body with slightly lower levels of carbonation. Creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes somwehat sticky on the palate. Solid feel here.

OVERALL: This was a good beer for sure. In all honesty, I'm not the hugest Bell's fan, especially after being underwhelmed with Hopslam and Expedition, but this one really pushed all the right buttons. With a thick, dark pour, and bold, balanced aromas and flavors, this one really impressed. An excellend BA imperial stout that I would love to have again at some point. Cheers for the beer hotpipes! We really enjoyed this one.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.35/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 561/1081. Thanks to JAXSON for this one. 750ml corked and caged bottle into a Cigar City snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Pours pitch black. 1 finger dark mocha head that dissipates quickly. Spotty lace. Amazingly thick legs. Solid.

Nose is vanilla, lactose, chocolate, fudge, and a boozy tickle. Real sweet but nice complexity. Aromatic too.

Opens sweet soy sauce, chocolate, fudge, and cocoa powder. Some roasted malt, molasses in the middle. Sweet brown sugar and caramel. More molasses at the end. Booziness throughout sweetens the brew but doesn't overpower or cover the complexity. Amazing. Sweet, syrupy aftertaste.

Medium to full bodied with low carbonation. Oily and slick in the mouth and goes down with some heat. Messy finish with a lingering aftertaste. Really good.

There are a lot of barrel-aged stouts with a lot of hype behind them. Some are good, some not so much. Black Note definitely deserves the praise it gets. A nicely complex brew with just the right amount of barrel presence and a great mouthfeel to tie it all together. Can't wait to get my hands on more!

Photo of wo87810
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of cwd
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of John_M
4.73/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Al's of Hampden.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with excellent head retention and considerable creamy, sticky lacing all around. The nose is terrific in this beer, as I pick up dark chocolate, coffee, vanilla, considerable bourbon and even some apple brandy. This really smells great... yet as good as it smells, damn if it doesn't taste even better. The flavor profile largely replicates the nose, but there's a nice dash of hoppy bitterness in the finish that really helps to buoy and counter the moderate sweetness in this beer. For such a big beer, it's really well balanced, and is just so easy to drink. Also, despite the high alcohol, there's not a hint of heat from alcohol in the finish. Mouthfeel is fairly full, with a long, chocolate, coffee and vanilla finish. This is just a delicious beer. Really impressed by how well the brewer managed to keep everything in just the right preportion in this excellent beer.

Clearly among the barrel aged RIS elite. Very, very well done.

Photo of tylermains
4/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of Kaydogg
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of GrizXTKEX519
5/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of nrbw23
4.1/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a pitch black color with pretty much no head. Head consists of just a handful of bubbles and leaves no lacing.

S- I thought the aroma was the best part of this brew. Quite a bit of vanilla, very faint coffee, bourbon, chocolate, and some faint dark fruits.

T- Pretty solid brew for sure, but overall very sweet. The sweetness was almost over powering everything else in this brew. Follows the nose well with a ton of vanila. Bourbon is here but fairly light. A good amount of booze too.

M- Medium in body and a lot thinner than I expected. Carbonation was also pretty low.

O- A good beer that might be a victim of the hype train. Glad I got to try this one.

Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
100 out of 100 based on 3,346 ratings.