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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
99
world-class

548 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 548
Hads: 3,677
rAvg: 4.49
pDev: 2.45%
Wants: 2,545
Gots: 938 | FT: 75
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: 548 | Hads: 3,677
Photo of pat61
5/5  rDev +11.4%

Had on tap at the Bryant Lake Bowl. This is a big bourbon barrel aged stout that smells and tastes like a bourbon barrel.
It pours black as night with a dark tan creamy cap that rapidly dissipates. The beer has legs and lace.Tthe beer hits the palate with all the major flavor groups - big alcohol, bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, sherry, caramel and the flavors delightfully linger long.
Big and chewy, the beer is a delight. (425 characters)

Photo of ediaz
4.75/5  rDev +5.8%

2012 into a Hunahpu's day snifter with a friend.

A: Opaque black with minimal light coming through on edges in a copper-orange hue. Minimal delicate lacing on the top. Somewhat flat with a minimal ring of bubbles hugging the glass.

S: fig, toffee, dark chocolate, malt, tobacco; bourbon whiskey, hints of vanilla, mild oak

T: bitter dark chocolate; raw tobacco, charcoal; sweet; dark fruits; toffee; egg; butter; finishes with a smooth burnt caramel

M: medium viscosity, oily, coating of mouth,; buttery, silky, lingers; a little more carbonation wouldnt have hurt

O: Incredibly balanced and smooth with a rich blend of interesting flavors. After 2 years the beer has mellowed and accepted the char nicely without ruining the bourbon flavor or the chocolate, coffee, toffee flavors you'd hope for in a bourbon stout. Overall, a great beer that I'm very happy to enjoy. If I was able to get this beer properly aged again, I'd be happy to trade for it. Very pleased; Does not possess an overly alcoholic taste even though there are definitely notes of bourbon whiskey initially. A smooth, buttery feel that lingers provides an opportunity to experience all the flavors in this beer. Overall, it is slightly better than what I remember first tasting 2 years ago and offers some pleasantly unusual tastes compared to other barrel-aged bourbon stouts. (1,355 characters)

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

August 9, 2014

12 oz bottle; Snifter

A – Jet black, thin brown head disappears almost immediately. Looks like pure motor oil.

S – Tons of vanilla, boozy warmth even on the nose. Sweet chocolate, mild oak.

T – Tons of vanilla, sweet chocolate malt notes, a hint of coffee. The burnt flavors are there, but seem to be “sweetly charred,” possible some caramelized flavors. Lots of bourbon and molasses, but very well balanced.

M – Milky, silky, very sweet. A lot of bitterness on the finish, some burnt notes.

O – This is a phenomenal, balanced, complex barrel-aged stout. My gold standard is Bourbon County, and the malt and hops here are much more balanced with the alcohol than with BCS (which is not to say I like Black Note more, just that it is more balanced.) This beer stands on its own as a fantastic example of barrel-aging. (851 characters)

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

Amazing balance of flavor, aged about six months. Dried blueberries, coffee, chocolate, oak and bourbon. Some of the barrel aged stouts can be overwhelming with bourbon barrel flavor, this is a perfect balance. The consistency is just right too, not overly syrupy or flat. It has a decent effervescence with a balanced mouthfeel. Aroma is great, but belies the complexity of the beer. (384 characters)

Photo of avalon07
4.62/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a jet black color and had a thick consistency. There was a small amount of creamy, tan-colored head that quickly dissipated. Fair lacing.

S: A big aroma of bourbon, dark fruit, and chocolate. Very enticing.

T: Tasted of bourbon, roasted malt, chocolate, dark fruit (plums, raisins), vanilla, and some coffee in the finish. A massive, assertive, muscular flavor. Extremely complex and flavorful.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a thick, chewy finish. Full-bodied.

O: Bell's seems to have a knack for making stouts (see Expedition and Java Stouts) and this one just adds to the pantheon. Not a brew for the faint of heart, Black Note is quite a robust beer and one of the best examples of the style. (752 characters)

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)

Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
99 out of 100 based on 548 ratings.