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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: 6.46%
Wants: 2,544
Gots: 937 | 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 iadler
4.19/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On--tap at Hackneys Printer's Row.

A- Pours a pitch black with a one finger head that slowly dissipates into a thin cap. Minimal lacing is left behind.

S- Dark rich chocolate, coffee bean, roasted malt, vanilla bean, cream, dark fruits, sweet bourbon and wood. Very well balanced and complex.

T- Initially, the beer matches the nose with dark chocolate and coffee bean upfront followed by roasted malt, plumb, fig, raisin, bourbon, wood and some sweet vanilla bean and cream. As it warms up a bit though, the vanilla bean and cream become overpowered by harsh bitterness with char and burnt toast notes.

M- The most disappointing aspect of the beer. Medium prickly carbonation with a thin mouthfeel with the bitterness lingering on. Really wish there was some more body and less carbonation. The one good aspect is that the high abv is masked very well.

O- Black note is a great beer, however, it was too carbonated and was overtly bitter as it warmed up to make it a world class stout. Overall this beer is overhyped a bit, but certainly one to try if you get the chance. (1,079 characters)

Photo of AJacob81
4.55/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Promoted as a sideshow to the Hopslam firkin tapping at Hackney's, this of course was the first keg to blow. Glad I got some.

A - Pitch black, with a tightly packed cappuccino-colored head of about a finger that was retained surprisingly well, albeit without any significant lacing.

S - The bourbon asserts itself up front, but there are strong supporting RIS notes of roast, dark fruit, some chocolate and coffee. The bouquet opens up nicely as the beer warms, drawing you back pleasantly for each sip.

T - The nose is inverted, with the flavors of Expedition Stout hitting first, followed up nicely by the warming charred oak and booze of the bourbon barrel. Perfectly balanced, with a hint of sweetness in the finish that enhances rather than distracts.

M - Exquisitely smooth and velvety, the brilliant addition of Double Cream Stout shines through here. Soft and creamy, yet medium to full in body, this stout isn't as viscuous and chewy as some of its peers, but it sits on the palate wonderfully.

This is a beast of a bourbon barrel stout. Its various elements are in awesome harmony, and while it won't kick you in the face the way some of its ilk will (not that there's anything wrong with that), it makes a delightful late-winter companion, even in a ridiculously crowded bar. (1,291 characters)

Photo of MaxSpang
4.58/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Chappy's in Dayton, Ohio.

APPEARANCE

Well, what do you expect? It's black as night, and sat under a mocha-colored head that dissipated quickly. There was no lacing, but the beer had some pretty apparent alcohol legs. There wasn't any light coming through on this one. With a name like Black Note, would you expect anything else?

SMELL

This is heavy on the bourbon in the nose, which brings notes of vanilla and toasted coconut. There is a lot of nice complexity that ranges from sweet to slightly boozy. A hefty amount of chocolate and licorice comes through, and brings a bit of coffee and roasted malt with it. This is the type of beer that you get full from by just smelling - there is a LOT going on!

TASTE

First off, this beer is remarkably smooth. The bourbon is not as strong as it was on the nose, but it is definitely present. With the bourbon, notes of vanilla, licorice, and toasted coconut come out. Surprisingly, the alcohol is very well hidden. The beer starts off milky sweet, with smooth caramel and toffee characteristics, then finishes with a nice hoppy bitterness. The bourbon lasts a long time after the swallow, making this beer have an absolutely amazing after taste.

MOUTHFEEL

This beer drinks like a pillow - it's smooth! It has a velvet-creamy mouthfeel, sort of like melted chocolate. There isn't much carbonation, which adds to the creaminess. The beer has a nice big body which makes it a sipper. The intense aftertaste lingers for an extremely long time.

OVERALL

This beer is incredible. It can hang with the big boy bourbon barrel aged brews and hold its ground. It's a special beer that demands a special occasion, but the taste is so good that you'll find an excuse to drink it! I wouldn't say that this is the barrel-aged stout to end all barrel-aged stouts, but it is absolutely incredible and worth seeking out.

Cheers. (1,878 characters)

Photo of calcio360jrd
4.03/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the bell's takeover at bx beer depot in lake worth, florida.

Glad i got to bx early for this event and got a seat right up at the bar. 2 9oz pours of this barrel aged imperial stout.

Poured out the usual motor oil color of dark black with a fairly good amount of head on it. The smell was overwhelmingly of bourbon, i guess that is what you get when you age a beer for 18 months in the barrel! Taste was less bourbony than the smell, was very enjoyable drink. Mouthfeel was a little thin on this one, again because i hold every RIS up to the zhukov standard of thick and chewy!

Glad to experience this on draft, i would by no means pay what people are paying on ebay for a bottle of this, good buy not life changing

JasonD (736 characters)

Photo of WillCarrera
4.38/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Hackney's in Chicago. Poured into a stemmed pokal glass.

A- Pours pitch black with a big thick mocha colored head.

S- Big roasted aroma, chocolate and coffee, lots of oaky bourbon as well.

T- Dark chocolate, some coffee and heavily roasted malt. Warm bourbon and vanilla in the back as well as some oak, has a really nice chocolatey burnt finish. The bourbon makes itself heard but is done well enough to keep it from becoming overpowering.

M- Full-bodied, thick and creamy feel, moderate carbonation.

O- A very tasty, drinkable stout with nice balanced flavors, its nothing earth-shattering, but its a wonderful beer. I'm not sure it's worth the fuss, but I would love to drink this beer any day. (712 characters)

Photo of BearsOnAcid
3.52/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Black pour; small mocha colored head that reduces to nothing.

Mollases, dark chocolate, charred oak, chocolate syrup in the nose. Slight medicinal/cherry quality.

Heavily charred/roasted espresso flavor. Low on malty sweetness. Bourbon finish; caramel, vanilla. Still not much sweetness.

Taste falls flat with a chalky/ashy roasted malt bitterness and not much else other than the barrel. Mouthfeel is basic.

Someone explain to me what is so amazing about this beer (469 characters)

Photo of b3shine
4.7/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draft to pint (yep, and only $7!). On draft at Northside Tavern during Cincy Beer Week. Looks great; pitch black with little lacing. Smells great too! I love how the two blends marry with the bourbon to produce such a great scent. The same can be said for the taste...although it's about flawless. Mouthfeel is good, although it could be perfected with age. Overall, one of my top 3-5 beers of all time. (403 characters)

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

8/13/11. On tap at the GTMW. Awesome bourbon barrel aroma with vanilla coconut and coffee. Very nice flavor that hosts a perfect balance of BA - coconut, vanilla, sweetness, and more - and robust impy stout with coffee and roastiness. The superb balance makes this awesome. (273 characters)

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.18/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

10 ox tap pour into a snifter at Burnhearts in Bay View last night. Thanks BJ and Paul for the event and swag and to D-Train for driving!

A - The constant flow from the tap as people lined the bar at least two deep produced a plethora of pitch black snifters on the bar-top, each one crowned delicately by loose dark brown foam.

S - Heavily roasted, plenty of coffee made its way out of this beer with cocoa and chocolate accents. Mellow oak and bourbon follow up.

T - Burnt toast and charred oak paired with the beer's already strong cocoa and coffee proved to be pretty taxing to drink. Chocolate and warm bourbon heat followed nicely.

M - Voluptuous and rich, the balance of this beer is well done. Plenty of hops aid the roasted bitterness while the thinning alcohol warmth finishes out.

O - While Black Note is certainly a great brew, it's also an example of what hype and "rarity" can elevate a beer to. Don't expect anything life changing from this one; it's another heavy stout but, thankfully, balance sets it apart from some other overly-alcohol-rich stouts. (1,073 characters)

Photo of JAYBLACK
4.25/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was lucky to get one of the last glasses of this at the Bells Party in Indianapolis. 8 oz pour served cold in a snifter. The appearance is very dark, almost black with minimal carbonation and very little head. The smell is wonderful, with lots of vanilla, chocolate, dark fruits and a hint of bourbon. The taste is surprisingly smooth for the abv. I get a lot of vanilla and creamy chocolate upfront with a hint of bourbon and it finishes a bit dry with a hint of hops and bourbon. I would like a little more bourbon but that is just my personal preference. The mouthfeel is thick and creamy with little to no carbonation and very sticky. I feel like this is a fantastic offering by bells and would love to see them start making it on a larger scale. It wasn't my favorite example of the style but definitely among the top. Seek this one out if you get the chance. (866 characters)

Photo of dpasotti
4.35/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Deep black with a thick brown cap that leaves great lace. Smells of strong vanillin and bourbon, with lots of roasted malt character. Brown sugar and a little chocolate as well.

Prominent vanilla tones, dark chocolate bitterness, coffee, sweet molasses, and alcohol on the palate. The menu says "...with bourbon undertones," but that couldn't be more inaccurate -- bourbon absolutely dominates this beer. Good thing that's what I was looking for. It lacks the bourbon 'attack' (for lack of a better descriptor) that GI Bourbon County Stout has, which is not a slight towards Black Note. The bourbon character is awesome. Loads of vanilla match the sweet roasted malt foundation very well.

The minimally-carbonated, dense body is far and away the highlight of this beer. Quite possibly the silkiest, smoothest body I have ever experienced, in liquid form at least... Mr. Bell does it again. Black Note is an exquisite sipper. High on my list of stouts as well as barrel-aged beers. (982 characters)

Photo of aasher
4.2/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was sampled at the Beer Sellar in Indianapolis for their Super Bell's Party before the Super Bowl. It poured a full bodied darkest of blacks with a one finger khaki head. It smells like a barrel aged stout. It has the creamed coffee, chocolate, with a touch or bourbon and vanilla. It is essentially a poor man's Bourbon County. It has a good amount of roast with a good amount of bourbon and vanilla. That said, lighter and less intense than Bourbon County. It's really drinkable because of this. The alcohol takes a backseat as well. The longer you sip the more the char makes itself known, alongside the vanilla. It leaves plenty of roast behind. Regardless, it drinks really nice and everything meshes rather well. This is a nice barrel aged stout. I'm glad I could try it. (782 characters)

Photo of phisigben
4.68/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

8oz pour served in a snifter at the Super Bells party at the Beer Cellar in Indianapolis

It is black as motor oil with a nice tan mocha head that leaves a nice ring of lacing with each drink. I get nice oak from the bourbon barrel, followed by coffe, and bitter chocolate. The taste is great I get bourbon right up front, next is the coffee and chocolate with a nice sweetness from the malt and cream, at the very end is a roasted flavor for me its a little too much its the only reason this didn't get a 5. The mouthfeel is amazing it feel as thick as other big stouts but at the same time that feeling leaves as you drink it and the carbonation is great for this style. Overall is one of the best stouts that I have ever had, I can't believe its this good. (759 characters)

Photo of zeff80
4.47/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tap at Sycamore - Columbia, MO

A - Poured an opaque, jet black color with a small, light brown head of bubbly foam. It left sudsy sheets of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of dark chocolate, toffee, vanilla, oak and roasty malts.

T - A delicious blend of roasted malt, dark chocolate, vanilla, burnt molasses and a slight bourbon flavor.

M - It was crisp, sharp and very smooth. A medium to full bodied stout with a dry finish.

O -This is a fantastic imperial stout. I'm glad Sycamore was able to get a keg of this. (522 characters)

Photo of jeonseh
4.55/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Has this on tap at Tribes Alehouse.

A - Poured into a snifter, its a very, dark black beer that allows no light to get through. It has a small coffee colored head that stays strong along the edges

S - Notes of coffee, vanilla, dark chocolate, caramel malt and bourbon barrel spicyness. You definitely get the creamy sweetness of the double cream stout with the darker expedition favors. As I let it sit and warm up, the nose become much stronger and sweeter as the vanilla becomes more prominent

T - Initially, sweet vanilla, mocha chocolate, caramel and the heavier coffee favors come through. You definitely get the barrel aged spiciness in this one. One of the nice things about the barrel aged aspects of this is its blended in perfectly with the beer to add new levels of flavor. The spice from the bourbon really lingers on the tongue. As it warms up, the vanilla and sweetness really opens up.

MF - Velvety smooth allowing it to coat the tongue and mouth beautifully. This is where adding the double cream stout really stands out as that and the aging seem to have taken off some of Expedition's rougher edges. After the beer goes down, it leaves a nice tingle on the tongue to go with the bourbon flavors. This is the part of the beer that is just amazing.

O - A wonderful, well balanced beer by Bell's. It shows how well barrel aging can add to a beer's flavor without overpowering it. Definitely worth having and a great beer overall (1,455 characters)

Photo of BuckyFresh
4.67/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a tulip glass at 7 Monks in Traverse City. Enjoyed in the company of zoso1967 and TCHopCraver.

Appearance: Pours about as black as they come, with some mocha accents sneaking through around the edges of the glass. A bubbly, tan one-finger head tops things off, with pretty spectacular lacing crawling up the sides of the tulip. Surprisingly good retention. You can just tell by looking at this one that it's going to be a beast.

Smell: Very sweet up front in the nose. Lots of molasses, brown sugar, vanilla, dark chocolate, coffee, and licorice. Some oak and bourbon are discernible as well. The more bitter notes are lingering in the background, but provide a nice backdrop for the sweeter elements and really add to the depth and complexity of the aroma.

Taste: I think the taste trumps the aroma of this beer as far as balance and complexity go. Very creamy and delightfully smooth, with the sweeter elements up front again. As you finish a sip, the roasty oak, bourbon, and bitter coffee/chocolate take over and leave you with a pleasantly dry finish, given how much malt punch there is on the front end. So balanced and smooth; I never would have guessed the ABV was higher than 11%.

Mouthfeel: Medium/Full bodied, creamy and smooth, with minimal carbonation. While quite sweet at first, the beer finishes surprisingly dry. As such, it is not all that taxing on the palate, even with an ABV of 11.5%.

Overall: This beer certainly lived up to my expectations and was an incredibly complex, balanced, and delicious example of the style. Very drinkable for the ABV and stands toe-to-toe with the best imperials out there. (1,639 characters)

Photo of jegross2
4.82/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing the infamous Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery Inc. Black Note Stout is a barrel aged blend of Bell's Expedition Stout and Double Cream Stout. A huge thank you to BeerAdvocate user FrankenBrew for tipping me off to this under-the-radar tapping.

Score: 97

Unknown vintage keg tap pour served in a 12+ oz pilsner glass and enjoyed on 01/25/12, courtesy of the Malt House in Madison -- one of the best bars in the Midwest.

Appearance: The lighting in the bar is not great, so bear with me. Body is a jet black color with thin caramel colored highlights at the absolute top of the glass. I arrived with a glass of this awaiting me (to ensure getting a pour), so I am unsure if it was served with any head (and if so, what the head looked like). A super thin tan ring of head coats the outside of the glass. No real lacing, but a slowly dripping, thick oily layer coats the side of the glass as you drink. 4.5/5

Smell: The aroma is incredibly complex. There is raisin/fig, other nondescript dark fruit and vanilla from my first pull. Then sticky brown sugar and molasses, followed by light amounts of licorice. Definitely getting notes of chocolate and caramel malt as well. At points, the beer smells like molasses-and-vanilla soaked raisins. The aroma is a perfect blend of stout and barrel aromas. 5/5

Taste: Equally as complexly flavored as the aroma, and incredibly balanced. First impression is an interesting blend of creamy (milk?) chocolate and vanilla. There is a slight roastiness in there, but it's very faint. The flavor of this brew falls somewhere between Kentucky Breakfast Stout and Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout. The midpalate is loaded with mellow, slightly sweet dark fruit, creamy malts, molasses/brown sugar and bourbon flavors without the alcohol bite. Light dark licorice flavors are in there somewhere towards the finish, but no licorice lingers in the finish at all. Absolutely no alcohol is detectable, save for a little warming effect as the beer warms, so I was a bit shocked to discover that this beer is 11.5% ABV. Finish lingers with an interesting mix of light chocolate, vanilla, molasses and dark fruit. Each sip leaves a seemingly different mix of those finishing flavors. Some pulls finish with more raisin-and-brown sugar like flavors, while others seem chocolatier, while others seem like a smooth vanilla-and-molasses mix. This is an absolutely astonishing medley of stout and barrel flavors. Everything you could want from either is present. This beer is dangerously drinkable. 4.75/5

Mouthfeel: Not overly heavy, but still thick and viscous. Medium bodied, minimal (if any) carbonation. Mouthfeel is creamy and sticky. Finish is decently (but not overly) sweet -- essentially raisin-and-vanilla like. 4.5/5

Overall: Hoo boy! This one absolutely lives up to the hype. I would have to have them side by side before I can say this definitively, but I think that I enjoyed this beer ever slightly more than Kentucky Breakfast Stout. I had the fortune of drinking five or six glasses of KBS on tap over the past few days, so the comparison is relatively fresh in my mind. Bell's Black Note Stout brings every flavor and aroma you could possibly want in either a stout or a barrel aged beer, and it blends them in an incredibly drinkable, palate-satisfying experience. A world class beer, no doubt. If only I had the time for another pint, I'd have knocked back several.

Recommendation: Seek this one out. Chicago will have a tapping of this sometime mid-February, so if you are the area, make room on your calendar.

Pairings: A medium-cooked New York Strip would go wonderfully with this beer.

Cost: $6 for a glass. I am not sure what a 750 ml bottle sells for, but I can assure you that $6 for a full pint of this brew is one of the best beer deals you will ever find in a bar. (3,843 characters)

Photo of Rhettroactive
4.27/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From tap to snifter on 1/10/12
*From notes

-- Thanks to the folks at RFD for hookin' me up with this epic want --

A: Black. Or damn close to it. Really, this is one dark glass of beer. Minimal head, with a faint, creamy collar.

S: Heavy whipping cream, aged wood, toasty brown sugar and luscious bourbon overwhelm my nostrils.

T: One of the things I love so very much about craft beer is the journey, where the brew leads your palate. Bell's Black Note, my friends, is this kind of beer. It begins rather mellow, it doesn't push the limits and extremes that others in the BA RIS world do. Rather, it's a delicate balancing act of whipping cream, rich chocolate, crushed vanilla bean, toasted tannin and incredibly smooth bourbon. There's also a pretty sizeable hop kick on the mid to finish.

M: Not overly viscous. It's quite mild and medium bodied, allowing the beer to almost flow through, without getting caught in the density of many in-style.

O: Bell's Black Note has easily been one of my top wants for years, and to have the opportunity to have a giant snifter of it at my leisure with good friends was an absolute pleasure. This really did remind me of a Charlie Parker number, as all you gotta do it sit back and let the master do their thing.

We did this side-by-side with BCBS '11, which in my opinion did this beer a disservice. A brew as special as this shouldn't be compared to what I feel is the best in class. Rather, it should stand on it's own. So yeah, BCBS may have packed the oomph that Black Note didn't, but on it's own, this delicate little number really is something special. (1,607 characters)

Photo of projectflam86
4.67/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes.

Poured from the tap into a snifter.

A- Pours a jet black color with only the tiniest bit of light shining through the edges. A thick coffee brown head leaves good lacing.

S- The first thing I notice is how subtle the bourbon is on the nose (which is much more preferable to it being overpowering). Deep roasted aroma with some hints of vanilla and oak.

T- Amazing how much bourbon flavor you get without the stingy alcohol burn. Waves of roasted coffee, vanilla, milk chocolate, anise, dark fruits, and bourbon all meld together nicely.

M- Full bodied with medium/low carbonation. The alcohol is hidden so well I would have guessed this at 8%.

O- Truly a special brew. I'm so glad I got the chance to try this. (739 characters)

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

Appearance: Pours a deep jet black with a two finger mocha head that settles to a small ring. Spotty lacing.

Nose: Lots of bourbon character. Oak and vanilla. Caramelized sugars with molasses. On top of chocolate, roast, espresso, and dark fruit.

Flavor: Opens with dark chocolate and espresso and moves quickly into vanilla, oak, and lots of dark sugars. For how big it is, this beer actually dries out quite a bit on the finish which aids drinkability immensely and brings forth slightly vinous dark fruit notes. There's also a decent amount of bitterness coming from seemingly both the hops and the roast. Sweetness builds mid palate but dries out quickly. Impressive combination of flavors.

Mouthfeel: Viscous and creamy. Finishes dry with a bit of acidity. Long finish with notes of roast, chocolate, and hints of acidity.

Overall: In the course of my beer drinking days Bourbon Barrel Stout has shifted from being one of my favorite styles to one of my least favorite. That doesn't detract anything from this beer. Outstanding and well-constructed. (1,061 characters)

Photo of siege06nd
3.98/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter at RFD. Thanks a million, Josh!

A. Pitch black, like a rolling thundercloud. Surprising amount of head and retention for a beer this big....a light brown, quarter finger ring circles the glass and rests peacefully through the session. Really good lacing absolutely coats the glass. Top notch.

S. Lots of vanilla, molasses, chocolate, dark fruit, and oak. Smells like bourbon soaked chocolate cake. It's pretty tame right now. Not exploding off the nose, but it has a velvety, decadent bouquet. Still, I would have liked to see a more complex, assertive nose on this. Good, not great.

T. That's very nice thank you very much. Packed with vanilla, bourbon, oak, dark fruit, raisin, molasses. Slightly dry, hoppy finish. Black Note has a significant and pleasing dark chocolate presence, backed up with some roasted coffee and oak char. A caramel smoothness softens the edges around this one....just a kiss of booze on the back end. It is very well made, yet somewhat light for a such a bruiser. I expect more of a sweet, cloying, decadent treatment a la Goose Island. This is good, but I have had more complex and better barrel aged stouts.

M. Is it fair to say this drinks thin? Here is where I feel Black Note loses out to the competition, particularly Firestone, Founders, and Goose Island. There is a decidedly absent feel here. An abbreviated finish leaves me wanting. Well integrated flavors give this a good mark but greatness escapes the Black Note.

O. Good. A smooth, rich bouquet and decadent molasses make this a very good barrel aged stout. But it is not worth the hype. Not by a country mile. BCBS and CBS kick this in the boobs. Do not trade your cellar for it. But definitely try it if it is on tap nearby. (1,748 characters)

Photo of IrishColonial
4.41/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at RFD. Thanks a bunch Josh!!

A: squid ink black with a beautiful ring of chocolate milk bubbles around the side. Not much lacing, typical of the style. Awesome. I want to drink the sh*t out of this.

S: Mmmm, delicious bourbon. Vanilla notes. Roasted chocolate malt. A bit of hot booziness. As it warms, the malt profile comes through a bit. But mostly bourbon.

T: The taste is surprisingly dry and hoppy. Dominated by bourbon flavors but fades quickly into a malty, mild coffee aftertaste. Dried fruit flavors overarch more than others of the style. A bit thin for my taste.

M: Thin for a bourbon barrel stout. Also creamy and more carbonated. Pleasant but different.

O: This is a delicious beer and one of the better ones I've had. I love the bourbon and hoppyness flavors and the creamy mouthfeel. Probably from the double cream stout. However, the taste and nose are a bit too bourbon (one-note) dominated. If I had a bottle (not likely) I would definitely age at least a year. Outstanding beer. But it's no BCBS. (1,029 characters)

Photo of FosterJM
4.27/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1023rd Review on BA
Growler to Snifter

Thanks to MrHirschybar for this tick!

App- A very inky black pour out of the growler with only a few bubbles but no color to them. Sadly I feel that this was the end of the line for this grolwer but Steve was gracious enough to save me enough to make a go of it. No cling or lace but very creamy and dense in my snifter.

Smell- Across the board it was a bit thin from sitting but thats okay. It was nicely aromatic with notes from the bourbon and a bit of creamy chocolate but didnt smell overly grainy or small. A little bit of creeping vanilla on a big pull with a slight roast note.

Taste- Still very bourbon forward out of the growler that was on its final leg. Much more smooth than I would have thought as expedition was a bit grainy for me. The double cream blend makes this really nice. A lot of cream comes on the final flavors with a bit more vanilla which was a welcome suprise.

Mouth- As the growler is closing this did lose a little bit on the feel. I felt it was a bit thin to me with a good low/medium carbonation with just touches of airiness to it. A little bit of bourbon, booze and vanilla remain on the palate.

Drink- A very good stout that was treated well and blended very well. I think this one would do well being on tap for me or a fresher bottle. STILL, I will capitalize that one. I cant thank MrHirschybar enough for being a great BA and friend to make this one last for me. I recommend him as a trader and this beer to all. (1,497 characters)

Photo of jethrodium
4.52/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Devil's Den. Pours a dark black with a small light tan head the settles to a ring at the edges and leaves some light lacing on the glass. The aroma is molasses, dark chocolate, some bourbon and vanilla, a bit of roastiness, some light coffee, a bit of coconut, some light alcohol, and hints of raisin and cherry. Quite awesome. There is a lot going on here. The initial taste is sweet with dark chocolate. Then comes some molasses, licorice, and some bourbon and vanilla. There is also some light coconut, a bit of cherry, and some coffee roastiness. The finish has a mild bitterness with some roast and a bit of alcohol. Big, full, creamy mouthfeel that is quite nice. Medium-low carbonation. Amazing beer. Right up there with the best barrel aged stouts. (766 characters)

Photo of xnicknj
4.79/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

on tap at devils den during the bells darkest day event

Pours an inky, viscous blackness with a crop of browned head. Fades out with little retention or lacing on the glass.

Sweet and robust in the nose with dark chocolate and roasted caramel malts. Chocolate cake with vanilla, oak, and warm bourbon. Boozy and sweet but balanced.

A wave of dark malts crash upon the tongue with chocolate and toffee notes. Coffee tones with sweet vanilla bean and oaky smoothness. Creamy and soft with a burly malt backbone and a dash of anise, tempered by the boozy warmth, which is incredibly smooth. Bourbon soaked chocolate cake on the back end, with some lingering warmth.

Fuller body, nice carbonation, creamy, smooth and ultra soft on the tongue. Drinks like an absolute dream - excellent balance and I can distinctly taste both of the base beers int he profile, along with the barrel character. THIS is what I want from a barrel aged stout. Thank you Bells. (957 characters)

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