Bell's Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout - Bell's Brewery, Inc.
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Ratings: 293 | Reviews: 108 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by abedenbaugh:
3.9/5 rDev -4.4%
A: Dark black with a hint of red in the color. The head was dark brown and was alittle small.
S: You could smell this right away as we opened the bottle and poured it into a glass. Very aromatic. The cherry and Bourbon aroma is very strong and up front. Neither of the cherry or bourbon dominates the nose more than the other. Also has a little bit of sweetness.
T: The cherry is upfront in the flavor. The bourbon begins to show up in the mid-palate. Low on roast flavor for this to be a stout. Earthy and a touch of sweetness in the end. Also the alcohol warm is just perceivable in the end.
MF: Medium mouth feel and medium carbonation.
D: A good drinkable beer. A bit of an alcohol warmth. The cherry is almost too much, but luckly it isn't too much.
09-30-2008 18:52:51 | More by abedenbaugh
More User Reviews:
4.21/5 rDev +3.2%
On tap, Michigan Summer Beerfest 2013. Been wanting to try this brew for quite some time, glad I finally have the chance! It pours out nearly black, with only a thin, thin outline of ruby and dark brown. The tan-espresso head shows excellent staying power and clings to the sides of my cup quite nicely. Very impressive looking brew so far.
The aroma is rich, sweet cherry juice meets smooth bourbon-soaked oak chips. Lots of cherry and lots of bourbon barrel presence, both competing in a compelling game of king of the hill. The cherries provide a touch of sweet, tart, a syrupy, while the barrel, aside from bourbon and oak, introduces some nice vanilla notes. It's got a roasted malt backdrop, but it goes largely unnoticed due to the bourbon barrel cherry aromas.
First sip... cherry juice. Sweet, cherry juice. Some warming bourbon and oak, light tannins. Second sip... more cherries, and perhaps some darker fruits, like prunes, that come along with a mild, up-front tartness. More vanilla and oak, bourbon warms up a bit more. Third sip... I'm pulling a little more out of the barrel now, as I start getting some coconut that mixes nicely with the vanilla.
The mix of cherry tartness, barrel goodness, and malty sweetness forms a unique combo that keeps my palate guessing with each and every sip. Many people aren't fans of mixing dark malts and any form of tartness, but sometimes - it just works. And this is one of those times. Very nice, lingering finish with molasses, cocoa, maraschino cherry, vanilla, and dry oak. The mouth feel could be a bit more boisterous; medium bodied, oily, slick, and carbonated well.
This one didn't let me down. I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would, and even more than most of the other people on this website, it seems. Ready for me to blow your mind? I'd take this beer over Bourbon Barrel Batch 9,000 and BCS Cherry Rye. It reigns superior in drinkability over both by avoiding cloying levels of sweetness and never showing too much heat in the bourbon character. Plus I love the pureness of the tart cherries. All around, a very nice brew from Bell's.
08-06-2013 16:59:20 | More by tectactoe
4/5 rDev -2%
Review from BeerAdvocate magazine Vol. II Issue X:
Wow ... stout, bourbon and cherry all in one bottle. Our mouths are salivating before we even pop the cap.
Pours a tight and multi-sized, bubbled brown lace, which holds its own, nearly pitch-black in color. Smells of a really good but scary hunch punch (meaning booze and juice mixed together). The bourbon does come out a little bit further in the aroma with some vanilla and wood. Both the bourbon and tart cherry flavors backhand the taste buds a few times and the taste buds respond with, "Thank you, may I have another?" As soon as the palate becomes accustomed to the booze and fruit, it focuses in on the stout characteristic of char and cocoa powder, though some of that char could have come from the barrel, depending on freshness. Quick kiss of alcohol, though it stays somewhat tame for 8.5-percent ABV. Slight astringent wood tone in the drying finish.
A straight-up sipper here, even a 12-ounce bottle will take a good while to go through ... regardless of how you want to tackle this beer, it is a lot of fun to drink.
09-20-2010 17:29:22 | More by BeerAdvocate
4.43/5 rDev +8.6%
On tap at the Eccentric Cafe 2012 version
A – Pours deep brown, essentially black with very little head and no lacing.
S – Nice bourbon aroma. Actually a little subtle, but in a good way. Lots of vanilla, some oak and caramel, only a little noticeable alcohol. Some nice tart cherry coming through as well.
T – Tart cherry is much more prominent in the taste. The barrel aging is a very nice complement here, providing some depth in the flavor with vanilla and caramel, and subtle oak. I’m not a huge fan of the regular cherry stout, which seems a bit one-dimensional and thin, but this is very enjoyable.
M – Medium mouthfeel, not particularly heavy. Starts tart, and actually has a bit of earthy bitterness on the finish.
O – Trying not to overrate this just because it is barrel-aged, but this is much better than regular Cherry Stout. It is a meaty beer, but not overly heavy in any way really. Hope they make this more regularly.
10-09-2012 02:47:50 | More by warnerry
4.43/5 rDev +8.6%
12 ouncer, purchased at the brewery, pours the expected dark mahogany, almost black, very dark tan head and then sheeting and splotchy lace. Cherry, sour and alcohol in the nose, then more of the same, sour cherry, dark malts, coffee, wood, smoke, more alcohol and chalky drying in the finish. Strong and flavorful, more Bells quality.
08-17-2008 04:19:52 | More by Billolick
4.1/5 rDev +0.5%
12oz. bottle as an extra in a recent first time trade with Dyan. Thanks a bunch, excited about reviewing this one!
Appearance- Pours with a surprisingly massive and pillowy two finger brown head over a completely opaque black that doesn't let any light in. Head retains very well and settles down to about half a finger for awhile before finally diminishing to a fine layer over the surface of the beer. My New Belgium snifter keeps the carbonation surprisingly lively as well in the center of the brew, with beading surfacing throughout the drinking experience. Very nice looking.
Smell- Really like the nose on this one. Lots of huge notes of sweet malt, roastiness, caramel, and chocolate come through initially. I predominately notice the malt and chocolate tones before catching some astringent bite that suggests a little bit of the cherry and some booze showing through. Very sweet smelling but combines nicely with that little bit of bite in the nose as well to balance out.
Taste- Interesting. The bourbon certainly makes this a bit of a different animal from the normal cherry stout. Initally I get chocolate again, lots of sweet malts with a touch of roastiness, and some vanilla from the bourbon. However, these flavors are followed closely by a sharp bite of cherry and alcohol. The sharp bite is much more prominent in the taste than in the nose and competes a little bit with the sweeter, vanilla elements from the barrels. However, this competition isn't bad, just two sides of the the same coin in this beer. The flavors could use to meld a touch more, but they do somewhat as the beer warms. That being said, I really dig the combination of the cherry and the bourbon actually. A lot going on.
Mouthfeel/Drinkability- For the unique style, drinkability is fairly high on this beer. The sharp bite of the cherry does well to take on the sweeter nature of bourbon and allows this brew to be much more drinkable than it might be otherwise. That being said, in terms of mouthfeel, I did find the alcohol to be somewhat prominent and the brew to be a bit on the thin side overall for a bourbon barrel aged stout. However, it was not so bad as to detract from the overall qualities of this beer.
Overall, a very interesting and unique beer to put through the bourbon barrels. The aging only served to make it more unique. Comes with my recommendation. Thanks again Dyan!
08-15-2009 01:12:17 | More by boatshoes
4.19/5 rDev +2.7%
Had this on tap at the in a 10oz snifter at the Beer Trappe in Lexington, Ky.
A - Dark dark brown almost black. rim of glass is a deep burgundy. snifter was pout to brim of glass so not much head available. small light brown head.
S - Cherry, and cherry, chocolate and cherry, other aged fruit maybe?
T - yep, cherry is in there. chocolate. bourbon comes thru.
M - nice and think. not at think and dominating as either of the bells 9000s tho.
O - while i may have stressed the cherries a bit much - everything is blended very well. yes, it will be a bit sweet for some folks but i really enjoyed it. I would order this again.
01-25-2013 17:13:54 | More by weonfire
4.23/5 rDev +3.7%
Had on tap at Bells, review from notes. Thanks to Kevin for this one!
A: Pours practically black with very little head or lacing.
T: Very nice aroma, a combination of light bourbon, vanilla, and oak with some slightly tart cherry and some caramel.
T: Tart cherry mixed with some vanilla and caramel. A bit of chocolate and coffee with caramel and a little roasty malt.
M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation, slightly tart.
O: Really enjoyed this beer, the hint of tartness mixed in with the bourbon and stout flavors works nicely.
11-22-2012 16:07:50 | More by mdaschaf
4.13/5 rDev +1.2%
Pours a deep impenetrable black color with a small tan head that receds pretty quickly leaving a nice ring and ok lacing.
Nose is really akward. cream, bourbon barrels, really sweet cherries. Strange smell. The mixture of the cherries and bourbon heat kinda make this one smell like some bad flavored smirnoff. That sounds harsh, but i dont mean it in a horrible way, just an akward way.
Wow. Taste is pretty good. quite good actually. Nice roasted malt and cherry flavor. The barrel aging is noticeable and a bit hot, but not bad. Bourbon flavor mixes well. Adds a bit of a vanilla character to the cherries which makes for nice complexity without getting crazy cloying and hot.
Mouthfeel is about where it should be. Not too thick for the massive amounts of flavor shining through. Carbonation is right on, good QC there at Bell's.
Drinkability is ok, but i can't see taking down more than one of these at a time due to the richness.
Overall a very complex and interesting beer. I like the combination of the wood vanilla action and the cherries. A fine beer, one i wouldn't mind putting some age on just to see what happens. Good beer.
03-20-2009 04:46:10 | More by AKBelgianBeast
3.85/5 rDev -5.6%
Once again, thanks to hoppymeal for this one. You've sent me way too much great beer, man.
Appearance: It's very dark and looks onyx in color. No light is getting through at all. Very ominous. It's capped with a darker mocha colored head. It only reached a finger deep and dissipated with haste. Carbonation appears to be quite active.
Smell: The nose is very strong on buttered toffee initially. The more I stick with it, it becomes apparent that it's the predominant aroma. There's a nice bourbon scent that comes through at the secondary level. I don't know what to expect. It smells like it's more of a complementary element. I'm hoping that's the case. Not much cherry is appreciable on the nose. There's a little, but it's very faint. Smells like a healthy amount of roasted and chocolate malts were used. It smells good, but it's a little heavy on buttered toffee.
Taste: The flavor profile is kicked off with buttered toffee. It is a strong flavor and I'm not a huge fan of it. Roasted and chocolate malts give it a solid base that's a little sweet. A nice bourbon flavor creeps in and improves it quite a bit. It is more of a complementary player and plays that role nicely. Vanilla and light cherry are noted and add some quality depth and character. It's slightly boozy and runs a tad warm. It's not enough to offend me, but it is notable. Finishes sweet and warm.
Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's medium bodied and feels too thin. It'd be better with a fuller body. Carbonation is also a little high and buzzy. Drinkability is above average. The feel is alright and it's got a good flavor. But, the buttered toffee aspect will make one of these more than enough.
Barrel Aged Cherry Stout is good beer. It's a ways away from excellent beer. It's got a good, deep flavor. But, there's too much buttered toffee. If that'd could be eliminated or softened, this beer would be much better. Overall, I enjoyed it and am glad I had the opportunity. But, can't help but that about what could've been. Thanks, Derek.
03-21-2009 02:45:54 | More by prototypic
3.79/5 rDev -7.1%
750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.
Appearance - Black with a nice mocha head. Great retention and a thick collar.
Smell - Very oaky. Nice bourbon. Deep cherry. Kinda chocolatey.
Taste - The bourbon is the highlight. Nice oaky vanilla. Black bitter chocolate. Cherry flavor isn't as tart as regular.
Mouthfeel - Medium body. Not very heavy or sweet. Well carbonated.
Overall - High quality beer. Covers up the parts of the base beer I don't love.
07-03-2014 00:35:14 | More by Alieniloquium
4.08/5 rDev 0%
12 oz bottle into my Bell's Tulip glass. Huge thanks to Hoppymeal for helping hook me up with this!
Pours a dense black with a finger of burnt looking tan fizzy head. Quite the active carbonation too, as this one spurts and spits as it peters down pretty quicky but then settles into a thin creamy retention. Nice patches of lace down the sides of the glass. The aroma is naturally strong with Bourbon, with huge, sweet, vanilla notes coming out the most in the nose. There is just a bit of sour cherry underneath but make no mistake, this bouquet belongs to the Bourbon character!
The taste posesses much more of the cherry tartness than the aroma does, actually being fairly prominent and is balanced out by notes of chocolate and vanilla sweetness. There is also some additional dry Bourbon sweetness that comes out in the finish and lingers. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a slightly lighter feel than you would think (which is also true of the regular Cherry Stout). This does seem to have more of a slick feel though and not as much carbonation as the regular version. There is also a good bit of warmth delivered via the Bourbon character that comes off a little too brazenly at times.
The Bell's Cherry Stout seems to be quite a polarizing beer (I happen to like it) but I think that this Bourbon aging really adds something special to it. There is a nice balance between the cherry tartness and vanilla oak notes that works well together. The Bourbon itself though seems a bit too forcefull at times though and I'm interested to see how age will maybe help temper that some. Quite the interesting (and tasty) take on one of their staple seasonals.
08-06-2008 16:50:26 | More by Kegatron
4.43/5 rDev +8.6%
Big thanks goes out to my boy sincereNC for sharing this one with the table at the ORF '11 release! Served from bottle into a sampler snifter. Poured pitch black with a half finger tan head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, cherry, dark chocolate, and sweet alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, cherry, dark chocolate, wood, and sour cherry. It had a medium feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was a great brew. This one was one of the highlights on the morning for me if I am honest. This was really pleasant and tasty much to my surprise. I really wish this one would have come in a larger format bottle so I could have drank this all morning. Really glad I got the chance to try this one as I would definitely try to seek this one out to have it again.
08-16-2011 12:01:25 | More by thagr81us
Bell's Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
91 out of 100 based on 293 ratings.