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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

3,274 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,274
Reviews: 507
rAvg: 4.56
pDev: 8.55%
Wants: 2,149
Gots: 825 | FT: 80
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: 3,274 | Reviews: 507 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of chinchillin85
2.95/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I had this on tap at the Bavarian Lodge. I was really excited to see what was in store for this beer.
A- It was a nice deep black typical of imperial stouts with crimson around the edge of the glass where the light was hitting it. I typically like my stouts a much deeper color though.

S- Sweet bourbon hits you right away. It smells really boozy. Then I get chocolate, roasted notes with some toffee.

T- At first it was too boozy. I let it warm up and It got better. It was smooth and a decent stout but nothing better than what is on the shelf

M- I would like a lot more thickness from this beer with a name like Black note

O- This is an overrated beer if I've ever seen one. Did not live up to the hype. KBS is 100 times better. I cannot stress enough that this beer is no better than another bourbon barrel aged stout on the shelf at your liquor store. I was really struggling to get any complexity's from it and there was no coffee flavor what so ever. Don't get me wrong this is a good beer but It's definitely is nothing special and I still can't believe what people will trade for this. Do yourself a favor and mix expedition and double cream yourself and add a little bourbon. You'll have the same thing.

chinchillin85, Apr 19, 2012
Photo of ChugginOil
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed at The Bavarian Lodge.

Pours a deep black color that shows no light. There is a thin layer of dark tan head. There is oily residue but no lace.

The nose is amazing. Toasted coconut, chocolate, molasses, light vanilla, and a touch of booze. Rich bourbon notes are married well together.

The flavors involve more toastes coconut, dry oak tannin, vanilla, light chocolate and molasses. The bourbon comes in again and smooths things out. Very tasty and actually quite similar to BCBS.

The mouthfeel is rich and creamy upfront and then transforms into a dry feel. Light carbonation.

Overall, Black Note is a great bourbon barrel stout that really doea live up to the outrageous hype. Great nose, awesome flavors, and velvet smooth. Great brew.

ChugginOil, Apr 18, 2012
Photo of WeisGuy
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

WeisGuy, Apr 18, 2012
Photo of brystmar
4.15/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to shutyourface for sharing this one.

Dark brown/black, tan head, decent lace. Smell reminds me of Expedition Stout with bourbon character on top. Layers of roasted malts & coffee flow freely. Aroma is this beer's best quality.

Taste is about what I expected: a good imperial stout with mild bourbon flavors. Much more Expedition than Double Cream. I applaud their choice to not go overboard on the bourbon like so many brewers do today. Love that smooth & creamy body.

That said, Black Note is a perfect example of the BA hype machine getting out of control. Like most Bell's beers, Black Note is pretty good but not exceptional. It's a step up from Expedition Stout, yet it cannot touch the top-tier stouts like Hunahpu's and Black Tuesday.

brystmar, Apr 16, 2012
Photo of shufon
3/5  rDev -34.2%

shufon, Apr 15, 2012
Photo of whartontallboy
3.75/5  rDev -17.8%

whartontallboy, Apr 15, 2012
Photo of Zaphog
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Zaphog, Apr 14, 2012
Photo of injuredreserve
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

injuredreserve, Apr 13, 2012
Photo of mtrog313
5/5  rDev +9.6%

mtrog313, Apr 07, 2012
Photo of kif
4.58/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pitch black, tar appearance. Light tan 1 finger head with nice lacing.

S - Very aromatic. Scents of chocolate, raisin, roasted malt, hints of plum.

T - Chocolate, some bitterness from the roasted malt. Hints of plum. Alcohol burn is prevalent. Oak flavoring comes in late.

M - Medium to thin. Way less thick than expected. Very carbonated from an imperial stout.

O - A very good beer. Some acidity, but overall very drinkable. If there was less alcohol burn, this might be my favorite imperial stout, but I think that is the flaw. A great effort, just needs a slight refining.

kif, Apr 07, 2012
Photo of adnielsen
4.93/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had two snifters of this on tap at Bells back in November. It has a deep black appearance with a light brown head. The aroma was fantastic with smooth, sweet bourbon, toffee, dark chocolate, and oak. The flavor was even tastier and was quite smooth for the abv. Tons of caramel, dark chocolate, toffee, and vanilla to go along with the oaky, bourbon elements. I couldn't believe how smooth this was. Excellent.

adnielsen, Apr 06, 2012
Photo of stewart124
4.63/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass.

Deep brown to black with a tiny amount of dark tan head.

Nose has strong roasted malt aroma with espresso and chocolate present. Some dark candied fruits coming out as well.

Mostly roasted malt characters and more espresso with a nice dose of bourbon barrel. Firm bitterness with some of the alcohol detectable. Overall smooth and easy to drink. There is noticeable residual sweetness but nothing cloying. As this warms more fruit comes out and there is a chewiness that leans towards the double cream stout.

Rich, smooth, and generally a delicious Imperial Stout. I was very excited to get my hands on this and even more excited that it came in a pint glass. Sneaky alcohol percentage and another one of Bell's beers that is so drinkable.

stewart124, Apr 05, 2012
Photo of Doodler
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle cracked open at Forgetfu's big stout tasting (thx greatly Bill). Poured a dark brown body with a thin cocoa head. Nose is roasted coffee and chocolate, with a oaky bourbon aroma. Taste is molasses sweet with some dark fruits, coffee, vanilla and bourbon. Decent body with light carbonation and a creamy rich mouthfeel on the finish. Very nice stuff from the folks at Bells.

Doodler, Apr 04, 2012
Photo of minterro
4.48/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Crunchy's in East Lansing, rating from notes

snifter= 7$

A&S: A wide range of smells: dark cherries, raisins, bourbon, roasty malts, burnt sugars, marshmallows tones. Kinda smells like a Old ale (lots of similarities to 4D). Medium tan ring of head, with whisks of head in the center. Spots of lacing like a fine wine. Very syrupy looking pitch black colored beer. Not much head probably due to the plus 10% ABV.

T&M: Many similarities to the scent. Differences include lots of bourbon midetaste to the back. Roasty with hints of dark chocolate upfront. Much smoother then their expedition stout, with even a bolder taste.

Overall: very good, no flaws. I wish I had a bottle to sit down and enjoy vs drinking at a bar. I had really high hopes for this beer and they were pretty much all met.

minterro, Apr 03, 2012
Photo of duels
5/5  rDev +9.6%

duels, Apr 03, 2012
Photo of mdvatab
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

mdvatab, Apr 03, 2012
Photo of Shoo65
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Shoo65, Apr 02, 2012
Photo of paslaugh
3/5  rDev -34.2%

paslaugh, Apr 01, 2012
Photo of raszputini
4.73/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From tap at Thirsty Monk. Incredibly fierce, big stout. Notes of chocolate, coffee, cocoa and, milk are followed by intense bourbon tones. Pours thick but smooth with heavier brownish head. Syrupy mouth feel. One of my favorites of the barrel-aged imperial stouts.

raszputini, Mar 31, 2012
Photo of ZackH
5/5  rDev +9.6%

ZackH, Mar 27, 2012
Photo of redlegacy
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

redlegacy, Mar 26, 2012
Photo of Jose2412
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Jose2412, Mar 26, 2012
Photo of Ultraman9000
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Ultraman9000, Mar 26, 2012
Photo of zoso1967
4.45/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black Note pours a deep, dark and pretty much opaque blackish brown that is exactly what I had expected since this is supposedly a blend of Expedition and Double Cream. The head is a deep tan in color. The head retention and lacing are both quite nice.

The aroma is intoxicating with plenty of vanilla and bourbon notes mixed with super chocolaty and rich caramel aromas. The wood and bourbon really are the star of the show in the aroma though. (I had this again at the TC Winter Beer Fest and even out in the cold with bonfires all around I could really pick up on the barrel aged notes)

The flavor is very similar to the aroma but with a bit more chocolate and a slightly charred flavor. Vanilla also plays a big role in the flavor with the oak shining through well. I also must note that there is some serious tootsie roll character going on in this bad boy.

The mouthfeel is medium and a bit thinner than I would like, but that is a common problem I find in beers that have been barrel aged. The finish is sweet, roasty and enjoyable without being too taxing.

This brew is well regarded in the BA community and for good reason. In my opinion it does not quite rise to the heights of KBS or CBS, but it is a well crafted and aged BA stout that I will surly do my best to have a snifter or two of if I get the chance.

zoso1967, Mar 25, 2012
Photo of badbilly30
4.33/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from my good trading buddy in the great state of Michigan. Black pour with an expresso tan head that fades and easily reappears with a swirl of the glass. Aroma is medium bourbon with vanilla and coconut and a roasted malt character. Taste is smooth bourbon followed by layers of dense, earthy malt with the signature bitterness from the Expedition Stout. Taste also presents with coffee, chocolate, roast, and more bourbon through the finish. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Exceptionally well balanced and drinkable. Very impressive beer.

badbilly30, Mar 25, 2012
Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
100 out of 100 based on 3,274 ratings.