Bell's Black Note Stout - Bell's Brewery, Inc.
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Ratings: 2,949 | Reviews: 495 | Display Reviews Only:
4.47/5 rDev -2%
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.
02-01-2012 12:02:19 | More by zeff80
3.75/5 rDev -17.8%
Big thanks to stfun37 for this one.
Black in the glass with a tiny dark brown head that rapidly recedes to a ring.
The aroma is woody and earthy, with a backbone of bittersweet chocolate. Boozy bourbon is present but more subtle than I was expecting, and sweetness is very reserved. Expedition's unmistakable burnt licorice/molasses character shines through with surprising strength here.
The taste is impressively complex; licorice up front, burnt whole grain bread, bakers chocolate, tobacco, vanilla and light earthiness. Medium-bodied without much sweetness. Hot bourbon flavors come through more in the finish, along with woody tannins, strong burnt bitterness and lingering espresso.
This was a pretty interesting beer. The Double Cream Stout and -bal aging have helped tame Expedition's harshness, but not as much as I would have liked. Still enjoyable, but not as remarkable as I was expecting.
10-14-2009 19:14:32 | More by largadeer
4.36/5 rDev -4.4%
Ah the fabled Black Note. It's quite boozy with strong bourbon tones. Heavy and forward, but balanced enough. Mild vanilla on the back end. Thick and well bodied in character and feel. It's a strong bourbon aged stout. I wouldn't mind more complexity, but it's nice.
04-20-2014 02:33:24 | More by RblWthACoz
5/5 rDev +9.6%
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.
05-20-2014 03:35:20 | More by WVbeergeek
4.75/5 rDev +4.2%
On tap @ The Great Taste of the Midwest (Madison, WI) on 8/14/10. Several samples served in a tasting mug.
Pours a dense black, with a rich topping of dark mocha colored head. This quickly fizzles out however, leaving a black and still surface staring back at me. The aroma is packed with chocolate fudge, creamy smelling sweetness, sticky molasses character, and a DEEP burnt roastiness to it in the back. The sweet tang this puts off in the nostrils is just fabulous.
The taste is bitter and blackened tasting at first with roast and coffee, being quickly followed by the luscious sweet tang of chocolate, vanilla, and sticky charred molasses, before diving into a heady roasted finish and lingering notes of green woody tannins. Just the right amount of charred bourbon flavor is present without any kind of excessive heat. The mouthfeel is full, thick, and chewy and is hiding it's ABV VERY well. Nuff said!
Badass in a glass sums this up perfectly and I was really glad to finally get to try this one again. An awesome BA blend here and it's definitely one of the best I've had from Bell's.
08-19-2010 17:31:20 | More by Kegatron
4.49/5 rDev -1.5%
Ninety-nine down, one to go (or at least until the top 100 changes again). Finally got to try this elusive brew at the Bell's 30 Taps World Record event at Beer Sellar in Indy. Had three 5oz tasters of this stuff.
N.B. This was listed as "BB Double Cream Stout", but Larry Bell assured everyone it was the blend and that the erroneous name was merely due to a label approval issue.
A - A half-finger of dark mocha foam with solid retention, and a little bit of lacing. Pitch black - there was no trace of color, even at the fringes. It's about what I expect from a high gravity Imperial Stout.
S - Tons of bourbon and vanilla notes, a bit of roastiness - it wasn't the most complex nose. I even patiently waited for it to warm up, as it was served WAY too cold, but I didn't really get much more than the basics here.
T - The taste was superb, and was somewhat shocking after the lukewarm aroma. Tons of bourbon, vanilla, sweet malts, milk chocolate, and a bit of dark fruit and barrel. I love the way the Double Cream Stout portion offsets the roasty bitterness and acidity. As a result the aftertaste is surprisingly mild.
M - Mild carbonation, super smooth, lighter in body than I expected (more medium-to-full). Plenty of residual stickiness in this one, and shockingly a bit of heat (even after a couple years in the keg).
D - Super drinkable for what it was - the multiple tasters went down pretty easy. I think out of the ten tickets my wife and I got, we used at least half of them on this superb brew. The only problem is the ABV, and is that really that big of a problem? ;-)
06-23-2009 22:34:39 | More by MasterSki
4.43/5 rDev -2.9%
I've been offended for a long time that this beer has slipped through my grasp. Everyone raves about it, and it is good, but how much better than a decently treated Bourbon county is it? Not much.
Beer served on draft in a snifter. Beer is black with a lazy head of tan bubbles, some lacing, minimal carbonation, lots of lacing.
Aroma is sweet, bourbon, malt, not much else.
Beer is also sweet, smooth, creamy, decent, mouth-feel is the best thing about this beer, high in alcohol, sweet, good finish, a decent barrel aged whatever but don't knock yourself out looking for it like i did.
12-07-2011 01:06:09 | More by drabmuh
4.56/5 rDev 0%
Big thanks to both mcsecne (Reddit) and erric (Reddit) for bottles of this gem.
Light fizzy darker colored head, pitch black dark beer with nice long legs, decent thick head as I swirl.
Nose is awesome, tons of dark malts, chocolate galore, some rich thick expensive Belgian chocolate, bakers choc, a little dark even, velvety too. Little espresso and coffee with a bit of roasted malt but no burnt aromas, cocoa nibs. Then barrel, some vanilla with light toasted oak, decent bourbon, little alcohol tingle. Velvety and maybe even creamy oats.
Taste starts with malts again, dark malts with syrupy dark malts, lots if creamy velvety chocolate, cocoa nibs, bakers choc, etc. The malts have a light roast, little bitter tannin char but not really burnt. Cocoa leads to barrel, light vanilla and barrel, must a touch of bourbon. Light warning tingly booze. Light bitter hops but not much. Finish is long creamy chocolate, cocoa, vanilla, light bourbon barrel, little sticky sweet with a bit more booze, so much mouth layered thick chocolate.
Mouth is big bodied, thick and creamy lush velvety, decent carb, some warming booze but doesn't drink like an 11+% beer.
Overall very nice, great base stout with tons of chocolate, nice dark malts and decent barrel but if I could complain about anything maybe a bit more bourbon as I love bourbon.
02-13-2013 02:18:59 | More by jlindros
4.5/5 rDev -1.3%
First had: on tap at City Tap House, Philly, PA
First (and only at the time) keg to come to Philly!
Served in a snifter, dark brown to black, opaque, with a minimal tan head. Aroma was luscious with dark malts, licorice, vanilla and chocolate; some alcohol noticeable. Taste was rich with malts, dark chocolate, sweet sugars, bourbon-soaked wood; strong in flavor and booze; quite simply amazing all around. Nicely thick and creamy, full bodied. Highly drinkable, and among of the best stouts I've had.
12-11-2010 18:25:20 | More by Rifugium
4.53/5 rDev -0.7%
This is review #1000 on BA. Poured from the bottle into my Hunahpu's snifter.
Appearance: This beer pours black with just under a finger of thick tan head. The head fades fairly quickly to a ring around the edge of the glass.
Smell: Sweet roasted malt and full of bourbon heat. I'm getting some chocolate and dark fruit notes as well. Lots going on here.
Taste: Doesn't disappoint at all. This is a very smooth and creamy stout, especially given the abv. Roasted malts with some sweet chocolate notes. I'm getting hints of coffee and dark fruit as well. The bourbon taste is rather strong, but it doesn't overpower the other flavors, it adds to them.
Mouthfeel: The body is on the thick side of medium, but I think it could have been a little bit thicker and that would have been alright. The carbonation is tingly and the finish is dry.
Overall: I really enjoyed the balance and complexity of this stout. It was a sweet beer, but not in an overwhelming way. The rest of the flavors were allowed to contribute and it all worked out perfectly. I would love to have more given the chance.
05-27-2012 02:03:12 | More by oline73
4.63/5 rDev +1.5%
Had on tap tonight at Churchkey in Washington, DC. 10 oz. pours in snifters. This was one of those whales I never thought I'd get to try unless it came to a festival, so was pretty happy to get a few glasses of it tonight.
a - Pours a pitch black color with one inch of dark tan head and light carbonation evident. Head lasts for a few minutes and leaves some spotty lacing on the glass.
s - Smells of bourbon, oak, vanilla, roasted malts, sweet and bitter chocolate, and caramel malts. Really amazing nose with the bourbon, vanilla, and chocolate mixing wonderfully. Pretty perfect nose.
t - Tastes of bourbon, oak, vanilla, sweet chocolate sweet dark fruits, roasted malts, bitter chocolate, and cream. Again, really great here.
m - Medium to full body and low carbonation. Somewhat thicky and creamy, really great mouthfeel. No alchool heat really at all.
o - Overall a truely fantastic beer; reminds me, as well as others I was with, a lot of BCS Rare. Nose is wonderful and no real alcohol heat, I had no problem drinking 3 full glasses of this one. I put it on par with BCS Rare and the normal BCS, which are two of my favorite stouts. Would love to have it again sometime.
12-07-2011 03:10:00 | More by mdfb79
4.55/5 rDev -0.2%
Pours pitch black and completely opaque with a half finger beige head that quickly settles into thin, lasting ring. Spotty lacing and legs coat the glass.
Incredibly inviting nose with sweet and spicy bourbon barrel notes excellently integrated into the elements of the base beer. Spicy whiskey/bourbon with toasted oak and vanilla. Toasted coconut and vanilla notes really stand out along with the dry, earthy oak presence. Underneath, there's some luscious chocolate, licorice, vinous fruit, oatmeal and toast. Smells amazing!!!
Viscous and full bodied with a strong bourbon presence that is perfectly integrated into the flavors of the base beer. Some dry toasted oak and spicy bourbon along with smooth vanilla bean and roasted coconut. Again, the toasted coconut flavor is realy prominent and the vanilla rounds out the hot booze. Great bourbon flavor. Underneath, there is a nice combination of sweet and roasted malt notes with hints of dark chocolate, burnt sugar, toast, oatmeal and coffee bean coutered by licorice and vinous fruits. Slightly dry in the finish with a good amount of boozy heat and warmth in the chest. Abv not masked very well but the base beer flavors aren't obliterated and it's still somewhat easy to drink. Very nice.
09-09-2013 02:11:50 | More by corby112
4.63/5 rDev +1.5%
Huge thanks to egajdzis for this...
Appears a near black with dark brown edges. The small tan cap fades into a little film and mild collar. Spotty streaks of lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of butter cream, lactose, bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel, cocoa, dark chocolate...pretty intense, complex, and enticing.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a "smores" like taste (I see egajdzis took author rights for my original thoughts), along with creamy caramel standing out.
Mouthfeel is sweet up front, smooth, full of bourbon and cocoa. Delicious stuff. This is what I had hoped KBS was going to be.
07-19-2007 19:09:27 | More by weeare138
Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
100 out of 100 based on 2,949 ratings.