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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

3,459 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,459
Reviews: 530
rAvg: 4.56
pDev: 8.33%
Wants: 2,325
Gots: 891 | FT: 83
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,459 | Reviews: 530 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Tyrawlings
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of vonnegut21
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of jsanford
4.08/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Brewvival 2102

Poured an inky black with a dense mocha head. Luxurious aromas of cream, bourbon, malt, chocolate, and roasted malt. Taste is similar to the nose, lots of hot Bourbon, chocolate, molasses, raisin, and roasted malt. Definitely tasty, but no better then any of the other 78472397629289 Bourbon-barrel Stouts out in the world. Full-bodied, with a creamy mouthfeel and ample carbonation. Overall a great BA Stout, but the definition of "overhyped".

Photo of Satchboogie
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of Kmlund
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of CraigTravor
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of JohnK17
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of thewimperoo
3.75/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of oldp0rt
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of MacQ32
4.42/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - near black color with a finger if dense, lasting, chocolate colored headm decent lacing too

S - boozy and vanilla, oaky and lots of chocolate too

T - similar to the aroma but more chocolate and vanilla than anyrhing else. Also a hint kf dark fruit on the backend.

M - ideal, mediumish bodied decent carbonation
Relatively drinkable

Photo of NJBeer265
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of zonker17
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of CTJman
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of Nichols33
3.12/5  rDev -31.6%

Photo of mcallister
4.77/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bought at Party Town in Florence Kentucky. Thanks Party Town!!!

A very nice looking beer and not sure why I'm not givinig it a 5 out of 5. Black in color with a small tan head that fades quickly. Very still and mysterious.

Quite possibly the best nose I've witnessed on a beer. Charred bourbony oak aromas with toasty vanilla tones. Roasted burnt chocolate malts, mollasses, and raisin with a large lactose aroma on the finish. Black fruits of currant, black cherry, and hints of pepper. Somewhat sweet and very enticing.

Again hard not to give a perfect score for taste. Just the slightest imperfection in the mid palate keeps this from coming to fruition. This beer is hugely complex with intense roasted chocolate malts. Marshmallow flavors with a thick creamy lactose induced mouthfeel and mid palate. Charred flavors with a tingly carbonation with creamy, silky smooth textures. Vanilla and caramel meld well with the layered dark fruit flavors. Hints of licorice in the flavor and sweet toasted oak. Bourbon flavors show through and really integrate nicely with the roasty flavors. Alcohol shows through somewhat but isn't overwhelming. A beer I could honestly drink the rest of my life and never get tired of.

Photo of mikeincharleston
4/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of grub
4.8/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

sampled on tap at hopcat jan 22/2010 as part of their 2nd annual extreme beer fest. listed as Black Note, which i understand to be the new name for this BA blend.

pours inky black and nearly opaque, but holding it to the light you can see that it is crystal clear at its thinnest point. a thin ultra-fine dark brown head forms, dropping fairly fast and leaving a bunch of fine lace behind.

aroma is great. bourbon. light vanilla. anise. dark and milk chocolate. coffee. medium toast whole wheat bread and biscuit. dark fruit. hints of earth. nice depth.

taste is amazing. vanilla and bourbon. bit of butterscotch. caramel and toffee. dark and milk chocolate. bit of bittersweet chocolate too. toasted multi-grain bread and biscuit. touch of cracker. lightly warming alcohol. nice light fruity component that works great with the barrel and stouty character.

mouthfeel is great. nice big body. silky smooth super fine medium-low carbonation level.

drinkability is excellent. big and complex yet drinkable as hell. it doesn't seem near 11% and i think i could sip on this all night. great stuff!

Photo of Howlader
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of jpd7374
5/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of nickd717
4.67/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hand bottle shared by largadeer - thanks a lot for sharing this rarity, Chris!

A - Pours pitch black with a small, frothy brown head.

S - Amazing aroma of bourbon, vanilla, coffee with cream, and rich chocolate. Some slight -bal notes. The smell of well-crafted beers of this type is seriously one of my favorite smells in the world.

T - Roast and creamy coffee, lots of vanilla and bourbon balanced by an awesome, thick, intense base stout with loads of chocolate, and hint of anise, and some date and raisin notes. Yes, it is awesome. This is definitely up near the top impy stouts I've ever had.

M - Incredibly creamy, smooth, and full palate with soft carbonation. Not really any astringency from the coffee, and not very boozy, especially after it warms up.

D - Pretty high for a bourbon -bal aged imperial stout. I know a lot of people can't stomach much of this type of beer, but I could get through a bomber by myself easily.

Photo of JohnParadee
4.71/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Wow! Really enjoyed this stout. Poured from bottle into chilled pint glass. Deep, dark, black color. Virtually zero head, but nice beige/tan collar. Zillions of tiny bubbles coat the edges, but lacing is minimal and not at all sticky. Nose was subtle, but sexy -- bourbon, coffee, dark chocolate, and vanilla hints compete with one another. The palate is where this stout really displays it's showcase qualities -- bourbon and chocolate dominate. Reminds me of a less syrupy sweet version of BCBS and/or a less boozy version of Parabola. Roasted coffee and vanilla make appearances as well. Great finish and mouthfeel. If you don't love this stout, then you obviously have your head up your coo-loo.

Photo of ThePorterSorter
4/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of brez8791
5/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of Stevedore
4.68/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

Photo of Wowcoolman
4.24/5  rDev -7%

Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
100 out of 100 based on 3,459 ratings.