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

Not Rated.
Bell's Black Note StoutBell's Black Note Stout

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

2,917 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,917
Reviews: 493
rAvg: 4.56
pDev: 8.11%
Wants: 2,042
Gots: 747 | FT: 71
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  11.40% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
One of the most sought-after stouts in Bell's history, Black Note Stout blends the complex aromatics of Expedition Stout with the velvety smooth texture of Double Cream Stout and ages the combination in freshly retired oak bourbon barrels for months. The resulting harmony of flavors captures the finest features of all three components: malty notes of dark chocolate, espresso & dried fruits, all buoyed by the warmth and fragrance of the bourbon barrel. Aimed squarely at the stout and bourbon aficionados, Black Note makes a grand statement about the art of the dark.

(Beer added by: mcallister on 06-16-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,917 | Reviews: 493 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JamLand
JamLand

Hawaii

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

04-09-2014 01:14:17 | More by JamLand
Photo of muskiesman
muskiesman

New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

05-18-2014 04:01:55 | More by muskiesman
Photo of jrenihan
jrenihan

Ontario (Canada)

4.48/5  rDev -1.8%

Bottled Dec 28, 2012.

Beer is jet black with a small tan head.

Nose is very good. A nice blend of bourbon scents (oak, vanilla, bourbon itself), dark fruits, and chocolate. The nose reveals a well blended barrel-aged stout, with the barrel being obvious but not overwhelming.

Taste lives up to the promise of the nose. There is nothing unexpected here: it has all the flavours one would expect from a bourbon-barrel aged stout. What makes it great is two things: (i) the base beer is of a very high quality; and (ii) the flavours are very well proportioned. Bourbon, oak, vanilla, dark fruits, chocolate and some roasted malt are all there, and all harmonious with one another.

Mouthfeel is also great. Full bodied, moderate to low carbonation level and very very smooth. Despite the high ABV, it drinks quite easily. Alcohol hear is there but surprisingly muted for what it is.

Overall, terrific. Absolutely a first rate BBA stout.

04-18-2014 20:57:20 | More by jrenihan
Photo of hollywood_15063
hollywood_15063

Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

01-29-2014 21:22:33 | More by hollywood_15063
Photo of ThePorterSorter
ThePorterSorter

Missouri

4/5  rDev -12.3%

Bottle 923/1081...don't know what that means. But I feel more special letting people know.

Dark black with no head and shiny flecks of garnet in the light. The nose presents a good presence from the oak and a slight touch of oxidation. The taste follows suit with the addition of a nice chocolaty malt base that screams stout.. but definitely not a Russian imperial with only a modestly thick mouthfeel. The mouthfeel is slightly bourbon boozy, but not enough to scream BBA. It's just weak-sauce in comparison to the other stouts I've had.

08-04-2012 02:24:43 | More by ThePorterSorter
Photo of nrbw23
nrbw23

Ohio

4.1/5  rDev -10.1%

A- Pours a pitch black color with pretty much no head. Head consists of just a handful of bubbles and leaves no lacing.

S- I thought the aroma was the best part of this brew. Quite a bit of vanilla, very faint coffee, bourbon, chocolate, and some faint dark fruits.

T- Pretty solid brew for sure, but overall very sweet. The sweetness was almost over powering everything else in this brew. Follows the nose well with a ton of vanila. Bourbon is here but fairly light. A good amount of booze too.

M- Medium in body and a lot thinner than I expected. Carbonation was also pretty low.

O- A good beer that might be a victim of the hype train. Glad I got to try this one.

06-24-2012 19:16:03 | More by nrbw23
Photo of DonFrap
DonFrap

Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

07-10-2013 22:25:40 | More by DonFrap
Photo of vonnegut21
vonnegut21

New York

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

03-18-2014 01:05:19 | More by vonnegut21
Photo of GreesyFizeek
GreesyFizeek

New York

4.34/5  rDev -4.8%

Bottle purchased at Nathaniel Square Corner Store in Rochester, NY.

This one pours dark and opaque, as I would expect given how light-repelling Expedition was. Small, mocha-colored head that recedes quickly, with a little bit of lacing. Surprisingly, there's a good bit of visible carbonation.

Smells strongly of dark fruits, with some dark chocolate, and mild, smooth bourbon.

The taste is similar, and pretty great. This is one of the dark fruity-est stouts I've ever had, just a ton of sweet, but earthy fruit flavors- currants, raisins, cherries, plums, etc. Some bitter dark chocolate, and subtle bourbon that folds in nicely with the other flavors.

Creamy, smooth moutfeel, despite the appearance, there's not much carbonation noted on the palate. Unfortunately, the body seems a bit thin for a bourbon barrel aged imperial stout- maybe I'm spoiled by other one's I've tried, but the body just doesn't quite stack up. A disappointing tick against a pretty damn good beer.

This is one is definitely one of the best BA stouts, but it just misses the top tier due to the slightly thin body. If it was thicker and more viscous, it would be near perfect. The dark fruit flavor in this is just amazing.

05-03-2014 20:03:30 | More by GreesyFizeek
Photo of Brew33
Brew33

Ohio

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

09-29-2013 12:40:10 | More by Brew33
Photo of StoutHunter
StoutHunter

Michigan

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

01-13-2013 20:20:44 | More by StoutHunter
Photo of Davepoolesque
Davepoolesque

Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Bottle poured between 2 Jack's Abby snifters, 2012 Vintage.

It poured dark brown with a wisp of an off white head that receded almost instantly. Smelled of whiskey/booze, hints of dark chocolate, dark fruits like raisin or prune, roasted malts in the background. Taste was interesting. A big punch of whiskey up front, then mellowed out into dark chocolate, and a bit of tang from the dark fruits. It's wonderful on the tongue. Finishes dry with a nice warming sensation. Makes you want to keep sipping this. I thought this tasted very similar to Blackout or BA Siberian. It's on the thinner side for a stout.

04-11-2014 13:54:51 | More by Davepoolesque
Photo of mrebeka
mrebeka

Michigan

5/5  rDev +9.6%

02-01-2012 01:08:41 | More by mrebeka
Photo of Stinger80OH
Stinger80OH

Ohio

4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

10-25-2013 21:19:48 | More by Stinger80OH
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VeganUndead

Virginia

4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

03-22-2013 01:08:40 | More by VeganUndead
Photo of atone315
atone315

Wisconsin

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

02-12-2013 15:54:48 | More by atone315
Photo of beergorrilla
beergorrilla

Michigan

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

12-16-2012 03:39:38 | More by beergorrilla
Photo of Zbeetleman
Zbeetleman

California

4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

05-15-2013 06:21:47 | More by Zbeetleman
Photo of jegross2
jegross2

Illinois

4.83/5  rDev +5.9%

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.

01-26-2012 04:18:50 | More by jegross2
Photo of whatname
whatname

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -12.3%

04-19-2014 06:54:57 | More by whatname
Photo of CuriousMonk
CuriousMonk

Virginia

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

This beer poured jet black with a nice one and a half finger tall mocha-colored head leaving sticky streaks of lace that lasted throughout. Aromas of warm bourbon, milk chocolate, vanilla, dark roasted malt, brown sugar and quite a bit of lactic creaminess. The flavor starts off with a big dose of warm bourbon, chocolate and some lactic creaminess from the double cream stout. Hints of vanilla, oak, brown sugar and rich coffee help to break things up and keep things interesting. Big and full smooth mouthfeel with a ton of sweet flavors and moderation carbonation throughout. The finish was quite sweet with plenty of boozy bourbon and some dark roast, lingering on the palate long after consumption. I look forward to cracking open my Black Note bomber that I acquired early in 2012!

09-20-2012 19:42:30 | More by CuriousMonk
Photo of oglmcdgl
oglmcdgl

Pennsylvania

4.47/5  rDev -2%

On tap at city tap house. 31 bells beers, looks like I've got my work cut out for me. Got one with my main squeeze katie.

A- blackalicous and capped with a finger of coffee and cream colored head. Coats the glass beautifully. Legs for days, this dames got steams.

S- tons of milk chocolate, caoco powder, and sweet cream. Roasty and toasty with some oak and bourbon.

T- oh boy! Opens up with all the rich veinous qualities with port wine, dark chocolate and over ripe black berries. Wood and bourbon with some vanilla and black strap molasses. Plums, dates, raisins all the dark fruits. I keep coming back around and finding new levels of complexity.

M- thick and chewy with some slick and stick. Perfect carb, just enough to lift it all up but not too much that it doesn't stay on the palate for the right amount of time. Bliss.

D- well for a brew of this stature and abv this is as drinkable as it gets. I love it in so many ways.

06-08-2010 02:29:57 | More by oglmcdgl
Photo of barczar
barczar

Kentucky

4.43/5  rDev -2.9%

Pours an opaque black with a quarter inch foamy brown head that dissipates into a ring around the rim.

Deep toasty, nutty notes are prominent early, with lots of chocolate and a not of booze, along with a hint of roast malt at the finish. Subtle dark fruit is present in the form of cherries and plums. Vanilla and oak surface late.

Flavor is sweet, chocolatey, and raisiny, with moderate roast character. Booze is evident in the finish, along with sweet cherries. Oak emerges as it warms.

Body is syrupy and velvety, with minimal carbonation and significant alcohol warmth.

Less roast character than most, and leaning toward the sweet side. Cherry is fairly dominant near the finish. A little hot, but tasty.

02-14-2013 01:35:55 | More by barczar
Photo of Jayli
Jayli

Massachusetts

4.28/5  rDev -6.1%

Poured in to a pint glass

A: This beer pours an opaque black with a 1/4 inch of medium brown head. Head recedes almost immediately. No lacing to speak of.

S: Nose is woody oak, bourbon, vanilla, roasted malts and light chocolate notes.

T: Taste starts with roasted malts and licorice, dark fruits. Oak and bourbon come through.... lots of bourbon, but not overpowering with a slight vanilla character. The bourbon flavoring is blended nicely. Nice deep bitter chocolate towards the finish. Aftertaste has lingering coffee notes to it.

M: Medium to fuller body, moderate carbonation, smooth, silky body.

O: Goes down easily, very tasty, not too filling, well hidden kick, great representation of style. I have looked forward to this brew for quite some time and did not disappoint.

09-29-2011 01:51:33 | More by Jayli
Photo of Tucquan
Tucquan

Pennsylvania

4.15/5  rDev -9%

Had this on 2012-09-08 in Columbia, PA

A - India ink black with a tan-brown short head with light lacing and lots of alcohol legs.

S - Bourbon, dark fruit, oak tannin, roasted malt. Very big aroma that's heavily on the bourbon side.

T - Bourbon, medium roasted malt, dark cherry, plum, prune, coconut and a touch of umami, and black licorice (not my favorite flavor). Fairly sweet but balanced with some astringent and hop bitterness. I definitely get the influence of the Expedition Stout. Alcohol is quite noticeable but generally blends in and supports the sweetness.

M - Medium-heavy body and light carbonation.

O - Big, big flavors for sure. Didn't quite float my boat as some other Imperial Stouts. For example, I prefer Founders KBS over this for a bourbon-influenced brew. I had this a few hours after having it on-tap. The only difference is there was no head at all from the growler but there was a bit of head on-tap. It wasn't that much of a difference to take points off for the appearance since you don't expect much of a head at this high ABV level.

09-08-2012 18:43:08 | More by Tucquan
Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
100 out of 100 based on 2,917 ratings.