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

Bell's Black Note StoutBell's Black Note Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

2,235 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2235
Reviews: 440
rAvg: 4.55
pDev: 8.13%


Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  11.80% 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: 2,235 | Reviews: 440 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Brabander
Brabander

Netherlands

4.74/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I got this beer last weekend from Trevorjk. This weekend began today. After a visit to the abbey of Westvleteren this was the one to open (strangely enough)! Poured in my small Struise chalice this is a wonderfull stout to look at. Almost pitchblack and a very nice bubbly head. Little to no lacing. Smell is like a ba stout should be. Nice boozy smell. The taste is one of the best i have ever encountered in this style. Very very impressed.

You can feel the smoothness in your mouth with the thick alcoholtaste. Boy, whished i had a crate of this beer...

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2013 19:54:51 | More by Brabander
Photo of cosmicevan
cosmicevan

New York

4.5/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have been fortunate enough to have had this beer on several occasions. I know I have reviews and notes somewhere and I know I gave this beer a 5. but that was back then...and now this beer has become much more readily available and I have been able to sample it multiple times (including tonight)...and as much as I love it it is no 5. so time to review it instead of waiting for tomorrow or whenever I will upload my notes.

the beer pours a sludgey jet black with a thin creamy off tan head. night nice barrel aged shine. smell is black roasted malt and bourbon. good wood presence and good balance. taste is silky and smooth. the heat is on for this one as the ABV is very noticeable. goes down easy and is definitely one of the better barrel aged stouts. just a bit more in your face then some of the others. I have always found this one to be the strongest feeling. definitely worth checking out and lives up to the hype but it is no 5.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2013 03:07:56 | More by cosmicevan
Photo of Dope
Dope

Massachusetts

4.76/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

12/29/12 batch.

A: Pours pitch black with a good sized and dense medium brown head. Head fades slowly with nary a trace of lacing. Decent retention, however.

S: Huge bourbon notes. Almost pure bourbon with the sweet, sweet caramel and some toasted coconut. No real sign of the stout, it's buried under the mountain of bourbon I think. Maybe a little chalky chocolate. Great bourbon aroma regardless.

T: Well, strong bourbon again up front but not overpowering at least. Loaded with sweet caramel. Ultra sweet caramel. Wonderful toasted coconut again. Roasted malt kicks in, wow is this nice. I love both of the base beers and this is just fantastic. Super smooth and creamy with loads of chocolate to boot. Tastes like a caramel chocolate cream milkshake. Bourbon stands alone in the lingering aftertaste with hints of sweet caramel and toffee and coconut. Not drying at all like a lot of barrel treatments.

M: Heavy but not too thick. Slick and ultra smooth. Creamy.

O: Whoa, glad I got my hands on this one. Masterful blend and barrel aging. The smooth creaminess really makes this one stand out. No harsh flavors, no excessive booziness. Strong flavors, yes. Great complexity, yes. Awesome barrel treatment, yes. Perfect blend, yes. Great beer, Bell's, my hat is off to you.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2013 02:35:34 | More by Dope
Photo of JoEBoBpr
JoEBoBpr

Missouri

4.44/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass from a 750ml bottle.
Bottle No: 455/1534

Pours a pitch black darkness that is quite thick. There is a nice quarter inch thick head that is light tan colored and is pretty dense. A nice swirl rises a head up to about half and inch and with some dense small bubbles.

Aroma is delicious! Starts off with fudgey chocolate notes. Delicious chocolate cake sweetness and richness. There is some nice bourbon sweetness that follows the chocolate notes and the bourbon is slightly balanced by some nice roast. There are some dark fruit notes present mixed in with some dark chocolate bitterness that shows itself on the back end.

Flavor starts off following the aroma. Starts off with nice fudgey and milk cocoa sweetness. Then there is a nice mix of bourbon with the coca notes. The Bourbon notes add some slight heat and some nice vanilla and almost cinnamon spice notes. There is a nice dark fruit notes with some raisins and prunes notes mixed in with the sweetness of chocolate. These notes are however not too strong and are very well balanced by the roast notes and the cocoa. All the flavors in this brew are very well crafted and represented. Yummy cocoa notes blended with bourbon notes that bring some vanilla and some nice dark fruit notes. All these notes are also very well balanced. Nothing overpowers the other notes and they all play well together. The body is nice and creamy and velvety smooth.

Overall I'm glad I got to try this brew. It is quite delicious with great fudge notes and some slight roast. Then there are some definite bourbon notes that are present and give the brew some nice body and good dimensions but that don't overwhelm. Bravo Bell's.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2013 23:15:40 | More by JoEBoBpr
Photo of PsilohsaiBiN
PsilohsaiBiN

New York

4.88/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2012 bottle, much thanks to JerryM1984!

Appearance: Dark opaque with a small tan head that quickly recedes to the perimeter. Lots of little bubbles, nice.

Smell: Rich chocolate, vanilla, coconut, dark fruit, Bourbon. Amazing.

Taste: Wow, just wow. First, I get intense fudge brownie like chocolate richness with some coconut and Bourbon in the background. Afterwards in the middle of the drink, the Bourbon asserts itself more and overpowers the chocolate. In the end, the chocolate pops out again as the Bourbon subsides and leads into a smooth, balanced ending of chocolate and Bourbon. There's a background element of vanilla/coconut present throughout the whole drink.

I honestly can't find anything wrong with this; the booze is just hidden so well.

Mouthfeel: Velvety and silky smooth; just about perfect. Not as viscous as BCBS, yet definitely fuller in body than say KBS.

Overall: I don't know if I like this as much as BCBS, but it's damn close! There's just not much to dislike in this beer, even if you try to find things; this beer blew me away. Can't wait til' Bell's distro hits NY!

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2013 02:00:20 | More by PsilohsaiBiN
Photo of spicelab
spicelab

Australia

4.18/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle with big thanks to MrKennedy.

Decent hiss on opening. Dark chocolate brown, not your typical RIS motor oil look look, with a modest dark tan head that falls relatively quickly to a collar.

Undoubtedly a rich vein of bourbon running through notes of liquorice bullets, choc-caramel slice, soy sauce, used coffee grounds and molten plastic. Predominantly dry, big and deceptively complex.

A tad sweeter, with impressively rich caramel fudge and butterscotch giving way to coconut, vanilla and the woodier aspects of the barrel.

Light bodied for 11.8%, in no small part due to above average carbonation for the style. Makes it easier to drink, but reduces the oomph.

Worthy BA RIS no doubt, but not quite in the top echelon for me. Lacking a little in presence and intensity.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2013 15:24:09 | More by spicelab
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GeorgiaBeerGuy

Georgia

5/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This only gets better with age. This is the 2012, stored @ 50 F, and poured into a snifter.

A: Black , with thin head, thick pour.

S: Heaven. Vanilla, cherry, almond(?) and of course some chocolate.

T: Follows the nose. This was great when I had it fresh, but is AMAZING with some age on it. I have revised to a 5/5.

M: Smooth, creamy, velvety, and no alcohol bite. Slight bitter finish on the tongue from the barrel aging.

O: I am regretting trading this away, when I had 12 in the cellar. This will be an enjoyable one for future sessions, and I will definitely look for more this fall.

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2013 17:36:09 | More by GeorgiaBeerGuy
Photo of kylelenk
kylelenk

Michigan

5/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had both on tap and from 12oz bottle.

A-Hard not to fall in love with the darkness. Head dissipates quickly.

S-Wow, Bells nailed it. It's easy for BBA beers to be overwhelmed by the bourbon on the nose. Lactose from the Double Cream turns the aromas into an almost candy shop of fudge, chocolate, vanilla, and caramel.

T-Easily top-3 stouts I've ever had. The taste was reminiscent of a 2-3 vintage KBS but with sweeter notes brought on by the lactose.

M-Very creamy and dangerously easy to drink. Enjoyed quite a few at a Bells tasting party and didn't enjoy the walk back to my car in the morning when it was blizzarding...

O-Hard to compete against and hope Bells introduces this into their yearly lineup. Have went back and forth comparing against KBS and have given up. They're both very different beers.

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2013 19:05:38 | More by kylelenk
Photo of metter98
metter98

New York

4.54/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

On-tap at Thirsty Monk, Asheville, NC

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a patch of beige bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Strong aromas of vanilla are present in the nose along with notes of bourbon.
T: The taste has lots of flavors of bourbon and associated vanilla from the barrel aging process.
M: It feels full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation along with some warming from the alcohol.
O: This beer definitely tastes strong but does a good job hiding most of its alcohol.

Serving type: on-tap

05-30-2013 14:00:05 | More by metter98
Photo of mdaschaf
mdaschaf

Washington

4.46/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes.

A: Pours a very deep brown, practically black with a small tan/mocha colored head on top that forms a pretty tight cap. Decent read retention with thin lacing.

S: Dark chocolate upfront with some light roasted malt. Bourbon mixed with vanilla and a bit of brown sugar and molasses as well.

T: The first flavor I got was vanilla with dark chocolate, a great combination. The bourbon kicks in adding some wood, a bit of caramelized sugar, and some molasses. Faint dark fruit as well, cherries. Slight bitter/roast on the back end.

M: Full bodied with moderate carbonation, pretty smooth.

O: A very nice beer, understandable why it scores so hi. Very impressed and look forward to trying it again.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2013 11:06:40 | More by mdaschaf
Photo of gueuzedreg
gueuzedreg

Colorado

4.66/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. 2012 bottle into a Goose Island glass. Having had '11 750's, this may not give this beer justice.

A- yaya, jet black. Lots of retention leading down to a thin layer of lacing around the glass in mocha color.

S- Chocolate milk/bourbon that is so sweet that it is pleasant beyond belief to smell. Oak, woodiness behind.

T- By far the smoothest beer I have ever had. Cream, bourbon. I have had the sum of it's parts, and this beer joins the two and kicks ass afterward.

M- Again, sooo fkn smoooth. I have neglected this beer in my cellar; even though I have a few in my celar. I have been paying too much attention to Prairie. Great stuff here. Top 15 for sure.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2013 17:04:29 | More by gueuzedreg
Photo of da_beers
da_beers

Florida

4.68/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 12/28/12 and poured into snifter. Acquired in a trade.

A - Pours a bit thick, midnight black with almost no head to speak of, only a tan line around rim, no lacing.

S - Amazing espresso smell, chocolate, and bourbon! Such a sweet aroma, the nose is its best quality IMO.

T - Starts out with a bitterness like dark chocolate, then a smooth warmness comes out, and it ends with huge espresso notes. Reminds me of a mocha. Has some hints of dates as well.

M - Super full bodied, thick like a syrup almost. Coats the mouth and warms the body.

O - One knock is its drinkability, otherwise this is a homerun. This is my first Bell's beer, I'm very impressed.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2013 02:42:06 | More by da_beers
Photo of CManuel
CManuel

Colorado

4.59/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle dated 12-28-12. Poured into a snifter.

Awesome smell. Heavy on the bourbon, but also a lot of chocolate and vanilla present. One of the best smelling beers I've sampled.

Pours a very thick black with no head at all. Dark as night, very pretty.

Lot of stuff going on with the taste. Bourbon is very present, followed by a bit of vanilla, chocolate, and charred wood. Hides the 11+% well. Very thick bodied and smooth, awesome mouthfeel.

Overall, I love this beer. A little heavier on the bourbon than I would like, but I can still see why this is such a world class stout.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2013 00:19:31 | More by CManuel
Photo of nihiloexnihil
nihiloexnihil

Maryland

4.8/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle at 54 degrees poured into snifter.

A: Slick. Black. No head at all. Nothing, not even a rim around the edges. Holding it up to a light directly yields nothing. Not a single bubble rises in the glass. I guess since Mikkeller already has Black Hole they couldn't name it that, because light does not escape. Perfect.

S: Imagine someone taking a bar of Green's organic dark chocolate and punching you in the face with it. Sweet molasses, delicious white chocolate, vanilla, bourbon. Woodiness, oak. Something else I can't quite name. Perfect.

T: Bourbon immediately. Then it hits: creamy dark chocolate, vanilla, mellow rye whiskey notes. Alcohol burn, but the good kind. Not hot at all. And it lingers, and just hangs out in your mouth reminding you that it's almost impossible to get in Maryland, so I'd better make this bottle last. Perfect.

M: Creamy, more carbonated than expected given how black and imposing it is, but there's not as much thickness as some of the other world-class stouts I've had. Still, this is not a knock on it.

O: My favorite bourbon barrel-aged beer of all time is Bourbon County Coffee, followed by regular BCBS. Those are my standards. This matches, if not exceeds, both of them in all categories except mouthfeel. Make it a little thicker and more viscous, and it gets a perfect score from me. Until then, this is #3.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2013 22:30:02 | More by nihiloexnihil
Photo of jaasen64
jaasen64

Massachusetts

4.33/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle from the 2012 batch poured into HF stemmed glass and shared three ways. Consumed on 4/19 during our mini stout tasting, reviewed from notes.

A- Pours a very dark brown that appears an opaque jet black in the glass. A very thin mocha head appears that has decent retention but recedes to a flat top.

S- Dark chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, fairly sweet but nicely balanced and fairly aromatic.

T- Dark chocolate mixed with sweet bourbon balanced with a nice creamy vanilla presence and light oak. Finishes with light bitter chocolate balanced with more vanilla and a light clean booze (especially when considering the 11.5%). Nice balance between all the flavors, a little bit on the sweet side but not overly sweet.

M- Very smooth, nice carbonation, very easy drinking, decent body- not too thick but not overly light like some people complain about, overall an incredible feel for a 11.5% beer.

O- This was a fantastic barrel-aged stout which was actually one of our favorites of the night, which was impressive considering we paired it with the likes of Nooner, Marshall Zhukov, Hopped Up Johnnie, CBS, and KBS. Easily one of the better barrel-aged beers I've had and I hope Bell's continues to increase production of it as I would love to try it again.

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2013 20:08:03 | More by jaasen64
Photo of magictacosinus
magictacosinus

California

4.78/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Very happy to have tried this at DLD near the FFF brewpub in Indiana. Poured into a 9oz plastic tumbler.

The appearance is a blackened, near opaque color coated with a half finger of bone white head at the top, with slight streaks of carbonation visible at the edges of the glass. Leaves behind excellent lacing, which is impressive given the serving vessel and ABV. Contains a viscous, liqueur-like feel with each swirl, and ranges from looking like a freshly made cup of espresso coffee to a glass of fortified dessert wine. The head never seems to vanish, which adds charm to the beer's look. Looks quite menacing, yet inviting overall.

The aroma is most definitely complex - right at the front, there are traces of roasted chocolate notes soaked in oak, followed by huge caramelized and creamy vanilla bean and brown sugar aromas. Having never had either of the base beers used to make this, I cannot say where or how both of these draw the line against each other. However, in this case, this holds so well on its own that I pretty much don't need to! (Although I would still love to know.) Dark fruits abound such as blackberries and blueberries (on the sweetened side, not tart), slight tinges of coffee, maybe some coconut, but it's really the chocolate and oak and vanilla creaminess that shine here. It's truly refined and strives for balance in ways I haven't seen a stout of this kind go towards.

With my first sip, I expected an explosion of various flavors melding and conflicting with one another, but it's surprisingly as wonderfully soothing and comforting as the aroma. Large notes of dark chocolate abound with dried, juicy fruity notes imparted by the oak, only to be followed by a massive vanilla, crème brûlée-like flavor that feels wholesome and decadent without being overwhelming. The blueberries are there as well full-fronted in a sense that I usually only get with dessert wines, but what's more surprising of all is how isn't that sweet at all, but rather just the right balance of sweetness from the cream stout balancing gloriously well with the roasted, semi-dark chocolate character and light coffee. It's really these flavors balanced with the well carbonated, creamy mouthfeel that this beer is such an instant classic. The wood has really refined the flavors and makes it a relaxing yet full-bodied drinking experience, to the point where it adds character and fruitiness to the chocolate and vanilla, and finishes off the beer in a wonderfully buttery aftertaste that goes on and on. I really wanted to munch on something like Whoppers while drinking this in order to keep the chocolate flavor going! This felt like it was melting each time in mouth the warmer and warmer it got. What a fantastic thing that is.

This beer, like so many of these barrel blended stouts across the country, has been romanticized to death, and I said all I could with the little yet fabulous pour I was able to get. I really want to track this down in the bottle and see how it compares to the tap version, but this does well for me (especially if I can find more pours of this size for $5). A glorious stout. Works for any occasion at any time of the day. Like The Abyss, not a chore to drink at all. Absolutely worth tracking down!

Serving type: on-tap

04-29-2013 14:20:39 | More by magictacosinus
Photo of 4amepiphany
4amepiphany

Illinois

5/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served a la Mikey at DLD '13.

Wow. I thought BCS set the precedence for me, but this blew it away. Dark, dark color. Little head with respectable lacing. Sweet bourbon, where's the booze? To me, this was perfectly balanced and complex with each flavor joining hand in hand rather than going to combat. A peacemaker, if you will. Only thing, I wish this was as available as BCS. I could drink this all day, anyday. Then shower in it. Probably drinking the bathwater after. Just kidding. No, I'm not. FIND THIS!

Serving type: on-tap

04-28-2013 09:46:41 | More by 4amepiphany
Photo of Converge
Converge

Alberta (Canada)

4.61/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Huge thanks to Matt for this bottle!

A - Pours pitch black, with just a thin, soapy tan cap. Minimal head retention and lacing, but some sticky legs. Usually I'm a big fan of Bell's label designs, but I gotta say this one is lacking.

S - Thick base of roasted malt, with notes of bourbon, vanilla, cocoa, and a hint of coffee over top. Slight alcohol note detected. Overall pretty sweet and boozy, without too big an emphasis on the roast/coffee character. Subtle notes of dark fruit come through as well, namely medjool dates. Probably not the biggest or most complex nose, but very rich and inviting.

T - Starts off with a barrage of sweet vanilla and bourbon notes, with dark fruit and milk chocolate poking through. Finishes slowly, very slowly. Long after the swallow, a pronounced coffee roast rises up out of nowhere and permeates the palate with roasty, charred goodness. Definitely a stout on the sweeter side, with bourbon vanilla in the forefront, but also mild earthy notes of wood and molasses. A very saturated profile overall, with a dense residual sweetness that just doesn't let up.

M - Thick and creamy, very low carbonation. Heavy on the palate, and sticky on the lips. Slight alcohol heat, but very little considering the ABV. Just a dense, unrelenting stout.

D - Overall a seriously bold stout from Bell's. The barrel character really transforms the beer into a thick, bourbon-stout concoction. Delicious, but deceptively drinkable. Not for the faint of heart.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2013 22:51:29 | More by Converge
Photo of rhoadsrage
rhoadsrage

Illinois

4.23/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12/28/12 on bottle
A- This beer pours an inky black thick body with a deep tan head that covers ½ of the glass before fading to a thick ring.

S- The aroma during the pour is a rich black malt with full barrel oak aroma and some buttery graham cracker malt and molasses make up the finish.

T- The full roasted barley flavor is rich but mellow with a big leathery oak flavor to follow and a blend of paper straws and deep chocolate nougat finishing with a sherry hint. The chocolate malt lingers after each sip. There is also a chalky quality in the finish which is pleasant.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a slippery texture and a nice alcohol warmth but very little carbonation in the mouthfeel.

O- This is a nice full flavored stout with big barrel character and it stayed very mellow in the malt bitterness and had some nice chocolate malt flavors which I thought started to get covered by the big oak character.

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2013 14:53:35 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of Stevedore
Stevedore

Wisconsin

4.69/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2012 vintage 12oz bottle dated 12/28/2012, poured into a Bell's snifter today and quaffed 4/13/2013. This review is also based on the four times I've had this now- twice on tap, and twice in the bottle. This is the first time I've had a chance to sit down, relax and write a review. And I am thoroughly enjoying this just like all the other times.

Aroma: Smells delicious, like a dessert port. Decadent chocolate accompanied by vanilla, bourbon and oak. And it actually smells thick and creamy, like how I would imagine liquid Ritter Sport (German) chocolate would smell like. I mean, I've had my share of BA beers including the recent vintage of KBS and last year's BCBS and this definitely has them beat in the nose.

Colour: Pours like a thick, viscous motor oil. Jet black body, illuminates with just a tiny hint of dark, dark cola brown at the surface. Not a ton of head, it pours with a brief, less than 1 cm dark brown head that is ephemeral. It leaves no traces, not even a collar. You get spots of lacing here and there but for the most part it's this viscous liquid dark chocolate. Nice.

Flavour: Very, very complex and I really love this beer. Up front, and especially early on while it's still at cellar temperature, there is quite a bit of straight up bourbon, vanilla and oak wood. This quickly gives way to this pure chocolate sweetness, with a bit of molasses and fire-roasted marshmallows, just like the ones you make s'mores with. As the temperature warms up, I start to get a little bit of dark fruits- figs in particular, which actually reminded me of Expedition Stout the first time I had this beer before knowing what the components were. The finish is smooth and creamy, a little bit of espresso and cream like a cappuccino- but I want to say something more like macchiato- less cream, more bitter espresso yet smooth. This beer drinks like a dessert drink and there's nothing like this beer that I've had the privilege to drink. Even as it gets close to room temperature, the heat is pretty indistinct and covered up by all the complex flavours and smells of this beer. tl;dr- this is an incredibly complex beer that somehow melds all the flavours together well while hiding its 11.5% ABV very well.

Mouthfeel: Initially, I would have guessed they had to have some contribution from Double Cream Stout, because the mouthfeel reminds me a lot of that particular Bell's offering. It's a very thick bodied, very smooth and creamy beer that is actually well carbonated based on how my tongue perceives the beer. It fizzes quickly as I swish it around, coating my palate in a thick and viscous chocolatey heaven. The aftertaste is sweet, bitter and creamy all at once- like if I made a macchiato and put a block of dark Belgian chocolate in it. Simply sublime.

Overall: I've just been so impressed with this beer. It's one for the ages. I say the same for BCBS, but in the realm of subjective preferences, I'm going to take Black Note over BCBS if I were ever offered the choice (which is probably going to be very rare). It's exceptionally smooth, creamy sweet and such a decadent pleasure to quaff. The heat, even when it gets close to room temperature, is relatively minimal. It's truly a joy to drink and I treasure each opportunity I have to be able to drink this beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2013 23:50:16 | More by Stevedore
Photo of tectactoe
tectactoe

Michigan

4.68/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Mmm... Bell's Black Note. Half Expedition Stout, half Special Double Cream Stout - two beers that I love - aged for months in old bourbon barrels. How can you go wrong, right? This is one of those beers that often gets compared to KBS and BCBS, so needless to say - I'm very excited to try it. The pour is pitch black as it tumbles out like old motor oil that should've been changed months ago. The half-inch tan cap lasts for longer than expected and leaves behind some wet lacing. Very nice looking beer.

The aroma follows suit for this style of beer very closely. In other words, it's pretty fantastic. The bourbon barrel notes are the first thing to jump out - smooth bourbon, wet oak, vanilla. Very powerful without being brash. Lots of rich chocolates up front, too. Milky sweet and savory. Nice, sweet molasses underbody with plenty of roasted malt and coffee in the tail end. The aroma has a perfectly inviting warmth to it. It doesn't change much as the beer warms up, it just gets stronger. I'm okay with that.

I certainly don't think I would have been able to pick out Expedition or DC Stout had I not been told, but after taking a few sips, I certainly can believe it. The mouth feel is fantastic. Silky, smooth, chewy, robust, thick - just so pleasing to let this one sit and swish around your palate for a bit. Huge robustness right out of the gate with a solid bourbon character that lasts from start to finish. It has one of the richest, creamiest, and most full-bodied inductions of chocolate that I've ever tasted. Sweet, delicate cocoa with a faint wisp of bitterness. Milky, creamy, and elegant.

The barrel flavors are definitely pronounced and become even more heady twenty minutes in. Heavy oak and vanilla, still with the solid meshing of warm bourbon. Some lightly burnt coffee beans make their way in and out, but must really be searched for. The roast from the malt injects a little more bitterness that plays well with the sweetness of the beer and the warmth of the booze. A nearly perfect trifecta of balance is happening on my palate. The finish shows some super-dark, bourbon-soaked and lightly sugar coated fruits; dates and figs being the best descriptions. That's what reminds me the most of Expedition. The finish has lots of dark chocolate, roasty malt, and oak-soaked bourbon with a fading vanilla note. Incredibly complex and super enjoyable.

Incredible beer. I love both of the base beers, so mixing them together and aging them in bourbon barrels is most-likely going to be a success, and it definitely was. Very drinkable for being nearly 12% ABV, but it's still better to enjoy this one over the course of an hour. Insanely complex and insanely delicious - get some!

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2013 18:48:16 | More by tectactoe
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Hamburgers

California

4.6/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 Vintage. Pours black with one finger mocha brown head. Aroma is sweet bourbon, vanilla and dark chocolate. Flavor is bittter sweet chocolate, dried fruit, charred oak and coffee all tied together with delicious bourbon. Perfect creamy body with light carbonation. Everything a barrel aged stout should be. In my opinion best there is.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2013 07:19:20 | More by Hamburgers
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gunpwdr

Virginia

4.36/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Nose: Sweet soy sauce, vanilla, caramel, dark chocolate, hint of salty oatmeal, all framed by bourbon. Palate: Coconut cream, vanilla, bourbon, and bitter chocolate on the attack. Chocolate liqueur on the mid-palate fades to bourbon with hints of toasted, nutty oak on the finish.

This BA stout has every opportunity to push into syrup territory but doesn't, thanks to its great bones. Excellent concentration of flavors and supporting carbonation. This is one of the more restrained and balanced BA stouts I have had.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2013 03:13:12 | More by gunpwdr
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axeman9182

New Jersey

4.44/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle, bottled on date of 12/28/12. Received this one from gpawned and tat2dhllblly. It was allowed to warm before being poured into my Brooklyn Brewery tulip.

Black Note pours jet black, with maybe half a finger of dark, mocha foam crowning the beer. Head retention is good, but the lacing left behind is minimal. The nose is spectacular, with aromas of vanilla, marshmallow, brown sugar, bourbon, and a dusting of dark chocolate all waft out of the glass. The only (minor) complaint I have is that the barrel characteristics are highlighted so much more so than that of the base beer. The flavor profile does have some more cocoa to it, as well as even just a little bit of espresso. It comes at the expense of the nuanced bourbon barrel profile. The marshmallow disappears completely, and vanilla and caramelized sugar fade. All are replaced by more of a straight off boozy bourbon flavor. It's great that more stout shines through, but the tradeoff isn't quite worth it. Still, the flavor's very good (just doesn't quite live up to the expectations set by the nose). The mouthfeel has a certain silky quality to it, and it's paired with an appropriately subdued carbonation. The body just isn't quite full enough to really be excellent though. I've had a couple of "hyped" beers that didn't quite measure up lately, but I'm happy to say that Black Note isn't one of them. Superb barrel aged stout from Bell's

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2013 02:38:49 | More by axeman9182
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hardy008

Minnesota

4.64/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark black with an extremely small dark tan head which vanishes quickly, leaving spotty lacing. The aroma has bourbon, vanilla, dark fruit, chocolate, and coconut.

The taste is a real treat. Bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, dark fruit, coconut, and dark roasted malt. Sweet without being too sweet. The alcohol is noticeable, but is not hot. In fact it is just right.

Full bodied with soft carbonation. Smooth and silky to drink. As I mentioned, the alcohol is noticeable, but there is no alcohol burn to the taste. Just a tremendous beer. No wonder it is so highly sought after.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2013 03:04:46 | More by hardy008
Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
100 out of 100 based on 2,235 ratings.