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

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Bell's Black Note StoutBell's Black Note Stout

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BA SCORE
99
world-class

543 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 543
Hads: 3,645
rAvg: 4.49
pDev: 6.46%
Wants: 2,513
Gots: 926 | FT: 79
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 543 | Hads: 3,645
Photo of mynie
4.39/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Glugs out very dark and viscous with minimal carbonation and small brown head.

Smells like whiskey, chocolate, and vanilla. The aroma is strong but not overpowering. A very nice blend.

Tastes like it smells--it's clear that this is Bell's direct response to BCBS. Whiskey and stout barley start things off, moving into a bittersweet middle of vanilla and dark chocolate, finishing off with the pleasant burn of ethanol.

Tried this side-by-side against a regular bottle of 2013 BCBS, and Goose Island's brew was a narrow winner due its firmer body and more complex finish. The fact that Black Note gave it a run for its money is quite a compliment, though, and I look forward to sampling some more of these in the future. (724 characters)

Photo of larryarms847
4.79/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a crude oil like pitch black with a wonderfully light brown head that just looks like I could lay on it is so thick and fluffy.

Aromas of sweet chocolate, tart and bright coffee/espresso, raisins/plums/dark fruits, and bourbon envelops the overall package.

Take the chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, bourbon, perfectly balanced them, and what you have is Black Note Stout.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, perfect for how I like my stouts!

This is a truly remarkable BBA imperial stout, really. Bell's nailed it on the head with this one and I'll be on the hunt for it again this next release season. (605 characters)

Photo of stephenjmoore
4.23/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014 Vintage

A- Pours a very dark brown, settles into the glass with a near-black body and frothy, mocha-colored head. Some carbonation bubbles coast up the side of the glass and meet the head.

S- Roasted malts, barrel character including oak, bourbon, burnt sugar, toasted coconut, hint of cocoa.

T- Pretty similar to the nose, roasty malts and bourbon characteristics. More coconut, caramel and vanilla than I would have expected. Some lactose qualities with oak and booze coming through as well.

M- Full bodied, but a bit thinner than I would have expected. Carbonation is medium with a coating, sweet and boozy aftertaste.

O- I had high hopes for this one, but was somewhat disappointed. A very good beer, but not in the same class as BCBS, Parabola and others. The flavors do not some together quite as well as others and the flavor/aroma is somewhat less than I expected. Hoping the one I have cellared will turn out better. (936 characters)

Photo of wvsabbath
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Dark pitch black with a nice creamy, foamy 1 inch thick head. Tons of thick lacing.

Smell - Classic bourbon aroma, with chocolate, vanilla, coffee and added sugars. Roasted malts, some smoke also. The cream stout is noticed slightly at the finish.

Taste - First sip starts off with plenty of bourbon, along with some dark roasty malts, coffee and chocolate. The addition of the cream stout comes in after the initial blast of bourbon, and adds some sweet, creamy notes. Some dark fruits such as raisin and plum add a tart, bitterness. Vanilla is a large amount of flavor in each sip. Smoke and wood are also picked up at the finish.

Mouthfeel - Bourbon and Dark roasty malts are the dominate flavor throughout this beer. Palate gets dark fruits, coffee, chocolate and the cream stout flavors. Aftertaste is malty, woody, bourbon warm.

Overall - Excellent beer yes. Complex flavors, big, bold flavors. Is it the best beer ive ever tasted? Not at all. Honestly id prefer a simple barrel aged expedition stout over this 50/50 blend. The huge java/mocha flavor of expedition is replaced with some cream stout flavor that im not a big fan of. In all, a great beer that everyone needs to try but nothing to go crazy over. (1,256 characters)

Photo of ricknelson
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared this with a couple of fellow BA'ers and found it to be quite good, but not quite up to my Gold Standard, as set by Goose Island Proprietor's. But did a side by side tasting of it along with Lost Abbey's Agave Maria, and found it did edge out the Agave Maria by a nose. Pun intended. You would be hard pressed to drink a full bottle of this beer by ones self I feel. Solid 4.5 beer. (388 characters)

Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.42/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2014 version, it is a 12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip/snifter style glass. Liquid come out of the bottle is a cola brown color but gets dark brown as it rises in the glass. Not much in the way of highlights. Slightly darker than tan colored head, mostly small bubbles goes away after a few minutes, not much in the way of lacing. Each sip gives sort of a syrupy cling to the glass though. Decent looking beer, decent representation of the style.

Smell is really good. Dominant feature throughout is vanilla and oak aromas from bourbon barrel aging. Outside of that there's plenty of dark roasted malts providing a nice sweet and rich chocolate characteristic with a touch of bitterness. At the end there's some candy coated dark dehydrated fruits.

Taste is a step up. Lots of roasted malts providing the chocolate and the faintest light roasted coffee flavor; a little sweeter than I anticipated based on the smell, but in a good way. The candy/liquor coated dark dehydrated fruits (figs, raisons, dates) come through a little stronger. Broubon, vanilla and oak are obviously strong characteristics as well. Everything is meshed really well together, you can tell this is a carefully crafted beer.

Mouthfeel is probably the best part. I guess I'd say full bodied with an appropriate lasting/lingering flavor, but it doesn't feel as heavy as a full bodied beer, more like it'd be a medium body. Nice and smooth with a low medium carbonation level. Appropriate sweetness gradually moving to a warming finish, almost hot. A little bit of age could do alright to take a little heat away but I wouldn't do it more than 6-8 months, this was ready to drink now. Really drinkable, this one goes down nice and easy and is a year round bourbon barrel stout. Huge props to EasyReader for this one, you're the man! (1,809 characters)

Photo of Hesscabob
4.15/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

I was very excited to be able to try this beer for the first time... and was quite disapointed.
Expedition stout is far and away a better stout than Black Note. Lacked the mouthfeel, taste was overly carbonated for a Barrel Aged brew, smelled fantastic but was not in the same ball park as BCBS, KBS, or Pt5. All that being said, its a solid beer just not worth the hype in my opinion. Plan on aging a couple just in case it improves.. hopefully it does. (455 characters)

Photo of foobula
4.66/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

12/28/12 12-oz bottle. Taken out of the fridge and warmed up for ~20 mins before opening. Dark black appearance with a small rust-colored head dissipating quickly. Nose is intense bourbon sweetness, roast. Taste is so much bourbony sweetness in the front that really pops. Tangy on the sides. Nice roast toward the back and throughout. Just a little sourness that doesn't quite belong. Lingering oaky finish. Mouthfeel all right, not super-thick but decent carbonation. A little syrupy. Overall, a fantastic barrel-aged beer that could be thicker but tasty as all get-out. Aging it these 1.5 years certainly didn't hurt. (620 characters)

Photo of Gryphon69
4.38/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 3-12-14

A- Very dark chocolate brown, near black. virtually no head to speak of, but left a nice ring around the glass, with some very light runny lacing.

S- Nice smooth bourbon up front, dark chocolate, roasted malts, caramel, some vanilles, followed by deep dark fruit.

T- Very good throughout, good smooth and not overpowering bourbon, deep chocolates, hints of dark mixed dark fruits. Very good stout flavors.

M- Thick, creamy, smooth, slick and sticky. Everything lingers on the tongue.

O- This is a very good beer, but after reading all the reviews I was expecting more. I cant say I was let down, but not up to the super hype and the years of waiting IMO.
Was kinda of surprised that the lacing didn't coat the glass with a bigger head, the smell is awesome and the taste is wonderful but I have had some much less expensive that comes very close or equals this one. The feel was amazing though, every stout should strive for this part.

Very glad I finally found it to try and will defiantly pick it up again at some point, just wouldn't run out and drop a lot of dollars on it next time. Very good beer and do recommend it to everyone. (1,158 characters)

Photo of Setmup10322
4.93/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is creamy, smooth glory in a glass. Everything most stouts try and fail to be, if you find a bottle snag it immediately. It's cloyingly sweet, with heavy malts, and a noticeably delicious bourbon taste. I enjoyed just slowly sipping it on a spring evening. (266 characters)

Photo of TheBrewo
4.47/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

We pop the top on a bottle of the 2012 stock (thanks Ashley P.!!), and pour into our oversized tasting snifters. It shows the deepest Tootsie pop brown, letting though a few faint rays of shimmering ruby when scrutinized intensely under direct light. The pour was delicate and produced only a few aggregates of chocolate mousse colored bubbles, but a rough swirl of the glass kicks up more of a crown. Spots of lacing are found peppered around the glass in rows. No haze or sediment is noted, and carbonation appears to be light. The aroma, right from the start, gives epic waves of buttery, warming bourbon smoothness, even when still cold at fridge temperatures. As it warms it really starts to bud, offering notes of densely roasted chocolate and brown malts, singed molasses crisp, sweet brown breadiness, rich milk chocolate creaminess, dried raisins and candied black cherries, plum juiciness, soy sauce saltiness, plastic and chemical phenols, powdered cocoa, charred oak, gentle charcoal, harsh fusel ethanol, and faint grassy hop bitterness. Our first impression is that this beer is absolutely fantastic, and lives up to the hype with everything you would hope for. As we sip, the taste begins with fusel boozy burn of bourbon and its accompanying soured oak, sweet and lactic creaminess, cloying cherry fruit juiciness, sweet chocolate, coffee, and general brown maltiness, dark plum flesh, burning stomach acid acidity, and crisply roasted espresso beans. The middle peaks with undeniable sweetness of white sugar, musk, tannic breakfast tea leafiness, slimy Muscat grape skins, cloying milk and dark chocolate syrups, ethanolic rumbles, and smoky X-mas ham. Following through the end is a blend of bitter char and light smoke, sweeter brushes of both melty nibs and powdered dark cocoa, fig, truffle and sesame oiliness, musky oakiness, gravel, heavy creamer, and a final heavy roast of the malts mixing with the fleetingly smooth sweetness of the bourbon. The aftertaste breathes of rich and dark chocolate cocoa, bittering leathers, plastic phenols, fuming smokiness, distant floral hops, black cherry and plum juiciness, burn of bourbon, cooked brown sugars, buttery pie crust, diacetyls and sweet banana esters, basement musk, and perfumed phenols. The body is medium to fully, but chewy, while carbonation is light to medium. Each sip gives excellent slurp, smack, cream, froth, and pop, with the lips left speckled with quickly drying residual sugars. The mouth is coated and left sapped with those same sugars. This remains for quite some time, eventually giving way to a surprisingly mild tannic pucker focused towards the far back of the palate. The abv is appropriately warming, and the beer sips wildly slowly, as you’re not quite sure if you’ll ever see her again, and want to savor every last minute you have left with her.

Overall, the most enjoyable aspect of this brew was its flavoring. The wood and the bourbon exemplified here are exceptional, and scary mellow with the additional two years they had on them. There are no real shockers with this beer. What we mean by that is you kind of get what you expect, without any major surprises or curveballs. We know it is becoming ridiculous with all of the things that are showing up labeled “barrel-aged” this, or “oak-aged” that, but this guy is one of the original heavy hitters, up there with the likes of Bourbon County. We try not to compare, but they have a good deal of parallels. The buttery diacetyls shine, and the bourbon remains sweet and rich throughout. What we get here, specifically, is the sweetness of chocolate from the base beer, but this also adds a needed bitterness on the tail end, keeping things balance the whole way through. This is the best beer we’ve had from Bell’s to date, as we’ve not yet been introduced to their barreling program, but we are ultimately happy and pleased with the final result. This beer deserves all the recognition it gets, so if you find some, cherish it, and be sure to share it with some close, like-minded friends who can really appreciate what they’re embarking on. (4,122 characters)

Photo of shangwang
4.11/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Was very excited to come across Black Note at the Cambridge during Philly Beer Week; been on my most wanted list for a while.

Poured a deep walnut color with very little head and thin lacing made up of tiny bubbles. Very boozy nose, there was no hiding the bourbon. Also hints of cocoa and coffee in the nose. The taste came in two layers, first a mellow milk chocolate that then bloomed into a roasty acidic Irish coffee that left a nice burning sensation on the way down. The mouthful was thin and light on the tongue.

Overall, a very enjoyable experience that required ordering a second. Not quite up to the level of KBS or BCBCS in my opinion, but a great beer. (667 characters)

Photo of dorianmarley
4.12/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance is a very rich, dark coffee black with nice lacing.

Nose is initially alcohol with sweet soy and burnt sugars and roasted chicory. Savory finish.

Taste is sweet and smooth malt and dark chocolate, with tart alcohol that fades into a pucker.

Mouthfeel is meaty, full, and smooth without much carbonation. Alcohol throughout.

Overall, it has lots of unique character, but the alcohol is a lot, which becomes distracting unless it is a dark, cold winter night. (472 characters)

Photo of Brew_Bro
4.34/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

This is a great beer. I got it in a trade and poured into a snifter.

The pour was nothing special. Typical stout black and the head was just average. It's barrel aged so I expect a small amount of head and it delivered about a half finger worth. Good enough.

Smell was great. I pick up the bourbon and a lot of chocolate. It reminds me a lot of a Zhukov even though Zhukov isn't BA.

Mouthfeel is the best part about this beer. After my first sip I looked at the glass is amazement. It's incredibly silky smooth. One of the best I've ever had in this regard. Incredible.

The taste is great. Incredibly chocolaty with a good bourbon flavor. It's as if someone made a chocolate candy with bourbon infused. You get a slight alcohol presence from the barrel but it's not overtly so. It's nice.

Overall I was impressed. After the pour I was a little skeptical if it lived up to the hype but after drinking this beer I must say it's worth it. I would totally buy this next time it's released no problem. (1,001 characters)

Photo of bound4er
4.7/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2014 Version

A. Black with a two finger tan head that recedes to an 1/8 inch covering.

S. Bourbon, vanilla, oak, toffee, coffee, caramel, creme brulee ... holy shit!

T. Vanilla, oak, caramel, toffee, dark roast coffee and a hint of booze. No hop bitterness detected - could use just a touch on the finish to clean things up on the back end.

M. Creamy and full bodied without coming across syrupy and gloppy.

O. Barrel-aged beers generally don't excite me (see my BCBS review). That said this beer is very enjoyable and very well made. Its richness and creaminess never gets tiring like so many BA beers. Its alcohol, though present, never gets in the way. Well done. (675 characters)

Photo of Dawgboned37
4.99/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer was amazing! I didn't think they could significantly improve the Expedition stout, but somehow they found a way. Picked up a 2012 bottle in trade and poured into a tulip glass. One finger of caramel-colored head and a very dark body. Bourbon scent was quite mild and did not overtake the initial flavors of dark chocolate, roasted malt, and dried fruit. The creamy texture pushed this one over the edge for me. Flavors continued to develop as the beer warmed. (469 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've always loved Expedition stout and since I've heard they did a barrel aged version I couldn't get away from wanting this beer. It's been a long journey and thanks to a local Pittsburgh distributor I finally came into contact with this one.

Pours a pitch black hue with creamy tan head floating above the head, let me tell you about this BA version of Expedition fine lacing left evenly around the chalice.

Aromatics dark malts charred oak, with vanilla and whiskey rich character...also has a toasted marshmallow note with booze that is much needed for a dark imperial stout called Black Note. The finish is full of caramelized dark sugars and it so nice and full of nearly burnt malts. Smells so good, it's amazing what a whiskey barrel can do to a stout, I'm glad New Holland tried to put whiskey into some stout barrels to see if the inverse were true. Each time I take a sniff I get hints of umami from soy sauce tainted meat and spicy notes of ginger impregnated in a marinade of chicken breast.

Flavor has milky creamy dark chocolate notes, flowing with heat of bourbon barrel aging effects, charred oak, and rich vanilla booze infused stout character. Dark fruit with plums and over ripened fruits that are soaked in alcohol infusing through the palate with each sip. In the backend I definitely get that meaty soy sauce, umami character that I've come to know and love salty/sweet and a bit of braised beef or grilled tuna approaches the palate. I believe either of these would be great pairings amongst this beverage.

Mouthfeel full bodied creamy texture seduces your palate, even slow bubbling carbonation what a great experience that is too be had by all lovers of great barrel aged stouts. Salty sweet combination reigns supreme on the palate and leaves me wanting more and more.

Overall, one of the best barrel aged creations I've ever had...light years ahead of the complexity of KBS and Arcadia Shipwrecked BBA beers. I will hold onto the rest of the six pack I have left. (1,999 characters)

Photo of MasterfulIdiot
4.8/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.75

2014 version poured into an Ikea snifter. The liquid is totally black, with some mahogany hues on the edges when you hold it up to light. The pour produces a nice dark brown, nearly purple cap that leaves some nice lace on the side.

Dark chocolate is the main aroma I get on the nose, followed by plums, bourbon, and vanilla. There are some nice spice flavors as well - maybe cinammon? Like a delicious, complex chocolate cake. There's a slight alcohol burn without being solvent. And it's decadent and desert-y without being cloying. Doesn't smell like much at first, but lots of smells come out as it warms to room temperature.

Flavor follows the nose, and lives up to it. On the palate, it's everything from the nose mixed together perfectly, and I feel like you get different flavor notes with every sip. Hazelnuts come out for me as it warms. The aftertaste is chocolate, plums, and raspberries, with an ever-so-slight bitterness that compliments it perfectly.

Body is the right amount of thickness without being syrupy. Unfortunately, I find it pretty over-carbonated. :( It's much better after I've let it sit for a while and let most of the bubbles run out. Before that, I feel like the carbonation impedes the flavor. Still, I guess it's better over- than under-carbonated, because at least this way I can wait and the problem fixes itself!

Overall, it gives BCBS a run for its money - it has a pretty similar flavor profile, and is much less sweet, which I think is an improvement over BCBS. Still, the over-carbonation is disappointing, but that's really the only flaw I can find in this beer, and, like I said, it's pretty much the best flaw you can have because it fixes itself. It's an incredible desert beer without being cloying, and the alcohol doesn't quite kill you. This is pretty much exactly what I want in a BBA Imperial Stout. (1,854 characters)

Photo of FanofHefe
4.71/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12 oz. bottle poured into a Bells chalice. Unfortunately the store label covered some of the dating but it looks like 3-12-14. Deep, dark, black body with a very small dark tan head. The head dissipates almost immediately, as expected for the high abv.

One of the better aromas I've had from a stout. Strong vanilla, caramel with light notes of roasted malt and bourbon. Light licorice note as it warms.

Delicious! The bourbon is much more noticeable in the brew than other barrel aged beers I've had, and that's good! Plenty of the aforementioned vanilla, caramel, and roasted malt with light added notes of molasses and a citric finish - light orange peel.

The mouthfeel is a bit lighter than expected but it does not detract from the overall experience. If I could get a few bottles of this and try it as often as I've had KBS and BCBS, it might be a tough fight to pick a winner. (886 characters)

Photo of KFBR392
4.27/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 Vintage

Appearance: Pours with a dark brown head of about a finger on an aggressive pour. The head settled in to a thin later across the top while drinking. Sits jet black in the glass with above average active carbonation for the style.

Smell: Potent bourbon front greets the drinker. Vanilla, oats, and barley are well integrated with the bourbon front. bright oak, cherries, and dried fruits make up the body. Some mossy hops round out the aroma.

Taste: Oak wins out on the front with a mixture of dried fruit and smokey bourbon. The bourbon opens up more on the body with the additions of vanilla and dark chocolate. There are roasted dried coffee flavors on the back end. Interesting combination of vanilla malt sweetness and bitter coffee grounds.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is light and suits the heavier tones of this brew. Rich coffee, vanilla, and bourbon textures left on the palate long after drinking.

Overall: Love the vanilla tones of this beer. Bourbon character is potent and meshes well with the chocolate, coffee, and dried fruits. Would be interested to see how this beer ages, drinks really great right now. (1,137 characters)

Photo of HoppySeb
4.36/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured form bottle into KBS snifter, bottle had been stored in cellar and refrigerated for a couple of hours prior to serving. The pour is majestic - a velvety jet black that immediately starts forming a beautiful head on the glass. The head is mocha in color and quite thick and foamy.

Aromas are sweet and spicy - predominantly bourbon, vanilla and chocolate. There is a hazelnut presence as well. The taste mirrors the aromas quite well, its hot/boozy as it touches your tongue and as the alcohol fades, vanilla, hazelnut and chocolate take over. There is a cinnamon taste that reminds me of spiced rum as well. The finish is sweet and there's a mildly bitter aftertaste that lasts several seconds.

The mouthfeel is thick although not quite to the point that I would describe it as chewy. Carbonation is very light.

Overall this is a fantastic beer that's deserving of the hype it receives. Beautiful example of a BBA stout - reminds me of BBPt5. (952 characters)

Photo of Kendo
4.59/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 3/12/14; consumed on 5/15/14, making this one just 2 months old. . . .

A: Poured from the bottle into a Piraat tulip/snifter-type glass. Body is inky jet black with only a hint of head on top - which then disappears immediately anyway, leaving behind absolutely no lace.

S: Bourbon, molasses & vanilla. Quite pleasant nose.

T: Pretty much follows the nose, with bourbon dominating, some molasses and a lot of vanilla. As it warms I note some dark fruits (black cherries come to mind) and even licorice on the aftertaste. High-ABV (11.4%) is noted more as warmth on the belly than as heat on the palate - a neat trick for a beer of this strength and considering the bourbon. Also as it warms up I'm getting more general roastiness cutting through the bourbon. Oh and the ABV is definitely working its wonders, buzz-wise.

M: Full-bodied, heft-wise, and fairly slick in feel, though as it warms up the carbonation seems to activate itself and cut through that slick feel. . . .

O: Real nice. I'd love to do a blind tasting with this, Goose Island Bourbon County Stout and Founders KBS. This one is heavier on the vanilla/molasses side of things, while others have more roasty malt to balance the bourbon. (1,218 characters)

Photo of barnzy78
4.78/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle, batch 12811, packaged on 03/12/14, 11.3% ABV
L - thick, black colored ale topped with a tall, creamy, tan head that holds incredible retention and leaves chunky lacing
S - a waft of bourbon and roasted barley fills the room. Closer inspection reveals more booze, dark chocolate, fruit, cream, vanilla
T - wow. This is awesome. Roasted barley, dark chocolate, boozy bourbon, dark fruit - faint blackberry, blueberry, plum; oak, vanilla, cream
F - full bodied, sweet and sticky, super creamy, heavily boozy but that was expected
O - just phenomenal. Outstanding complexity and balance of flavor. Glad I have one more bottle to save for another day. So glad I finally found this beer! (697 characters)

Photo of Sensaray
4.78/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2014 Bottle
Pour had a thickness to it, brown in color, pours into a dark brpwn with a small dark tan head that built up then dissipated shortly after to minimal remnants
Vanilla, bourbon, fruity deep sweet, alcohol, hints at dark fruit
Taste is incredible wow didn't know what 100 meant but ok ok I see now. Just everything good is there in the taste. Vanilla, molasses, bourbon, warming booziness, caramel, tootsie roll, spicy warmth that builds and has a perfect close to a dry finish. Dark malts, chocolate, has a nice bitter element, sweet.
Mouthfeel is very smooth yet kinda sticky with great finish, can carry the weight of this one
Really good beer, great stout. (670 characters)

Photo of kingston2
3.99/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

With all the hype this beer gets I was thrilled to score a couple in trade at DLD. Must say I think it is a bit over hyped. Certainly a very good and maybe even great beer, but I found the mouth feel a bit thin and the overall taste a bit short. Very dark pour with nice lacing once the small head faded. Bourbon and vanilla smells dominate. Nice flavors but again, rather thin with little to no coating of the tongue and mouth. I like my stouts to stay with me a bit and this did not. Very good but I think the scarcity has the overall perception over hyped a bit. (565 characters)

Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
99 out of 100 based on 543 ratings.