Bell's Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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Bell's Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry StoutBell's Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout

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BA SCORE
89
very good

108 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 108
Hads: 368
rAvg: 4
pDev: 14.5%
Wants: 311
Gots: 37 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mcallister on 07-21-2007

American-style stout with tart Michigan cherries aged in bourbon barrels from various distilleries.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 108 | Hads: 368
Photo of Onslow
4.78/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

the highlight of the first ever Stumelagram Event ... Oak!, BOURBON!!!, cherries, cherry liquer, brandy..!!! .... Complex as the entire universe!! ... sweet and wild... oily ... i didn't want this to end.. just an amazing beer that i will think of on my deathbed.. bell's! (272 characters)

Photo of seanpachefddfa
4.77/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Poured a midnight black with no light getting through. A 1/2 dark brown head that quickly vanished leaving only a thin cap.
Smell - First of let me star of by saying wow. This beer has a sweet vanilla and tart cherries up front followed by some dark choc and bourbon. Very complex very nice.
Taste - Tart cherries bourbon some sweet vanilla and a oak/nut flavor as well. Very well balanced.
Mouthfeel - Very smooth and creamy. good carbonation and the alcohol is vey well hidden.
Drinkability - This was a great beer. I new it would be good but not this good. (572 characters)

Photo of Justin_Neff
4.69/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Keystone Bar and Grill in Hyde Park - Cincinnati.

Had on tap at Bells, review from notes. Thanks to Kevin for this one!

A: Very dark - not quite motor oil-like, but close. Fizzy, bubbly head that settles into a thin ring.

S: Smell is awesome. Chocolate, vanilla, bourbon-forward, oak, and slight cherry.

T: Follows the nose, with a little less bourbon than I would expect - but it's about the perfect amount. The tartness of the cherries is awesome. Vanilla and chocolate balance the whole thing perfectly. Some roastiness comes through also, but not enough to negatively affect the flavor at all.

M: Medium-full body with little carbonation. Moderately creamy and oddly finishes a little dry.

O: This one was money. Really glad I found it on tap. The balance and complexity of this is really amazing. Good amount of tart, sweet, and barrel was something almost unrivaled. (888 characters)

Photo of david131
4.65/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pitch black with a monstrous, creamy brown head. The head retention is astounding and it is so dense that is dimples the top of the beer.

S- Lots of sweet vanilla and some tart cherries in there as well. There is an almost red wine characteristic to this that is fantastic. When you really get in there, some chocolate and coffee are noticeable as well. It is amazingly complex and I cannot stop smelling it.

T- Vanilla, tart cherries, coffee and chocolate. There is some oakiness and nuttiness in there as well. Very smooth and not too tart, everything seems to blend really well together.

M- Very smooth and creamy. The carbonation level is wonderful. Whatever the alcohol level, it is hidden very well.

D- I am absolutely blown away by this. I was not expecting this beer to be as delicious as it was. It is sort of a sipper, but it is smooth and tasty as hell. What a treat. (885 characters)

Photo of SkeeterBoganski
4.65/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The color here is deep mahogany; light red at the top; no head; minimal lacing; boozy on the nose, slightly sweet; very bourbon-y in flavor; very faint smell/taste of cherry; delicious and extremely well balanced...dank! This is honestly one of the finest bourbon barrel offerings I've had in a tap room EVER. (309 characters)

Photo of OWSLEY069
4.6/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours jet black with a tan head that goes away fast. In the aroma, BOURBON, and a small hint of cherry. In the taste, bourbon, vanilla, small cherry, roasty coffee and chocolate. A smooth and big body mouthfeel, and a semi dry to clean bourbon aftertaste. Great flavor, and big bourbon. I bet this will age very well. (317 characters)

Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.59/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Anwar for this bottle!
I don't know what it is, but Larry has a knack for picking the right barrels and amount of time for his beers. This along with the BA Expo/DC, BA Java, BA Third Coast are all exceptionally done.
The balance between bourbon and cherry is perfect. Only on a few sips did the bourbon dominate. Mostly they were neck and neck fighting for the forefront. Delicious mouthfeel. Very good BA undertones. The oak, vanilla everything melds well together with the cherry. Good mouthfeel.
I'm still waiting on the straight BA Expedition! Bottle some of that for a brotha! (596 characters)

Photo of hopdog
4.59/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle acquired in trade (thanks Derek!!!).

Poured a dark black with brown edges and an averaged sized brown head. Aromas of wood/oak, vanilla, the cherries were present but not overpowering, some bourbon, and light smoke. Tastes of cherries (starts out sweet and ends lightly tart), vanilla, oak, bourbon, some roastiness, and light chocolate. Creamy body with the alcohol well hidden. Cherry burps. I found neither the cherries or bourbon was over done and worked well together. I had this one after dinner and it made a great dessert.

Notes from 6/4/08 (563 characters)

Photo of kzoobrew
4.55/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up straight from the General Store. Brew is sitting at around 11.5% according to the staff on hand.

Pours deep brown leaning towards black. Decent head which disappears rather quickly. Decent lacing, the beer like to stick to the side of the glass.

Smell of sweet bourbon and cherries. Almost a butterscotch aroma.

Smooth bourbon taste upfront along with sweet tart cherry flavor. Vanilla and a definite woody barrel quality to the flavor/

Mouthfeel is full but very smooth. Not overly carbonated but well suited.

Very drinkable. Not overwhelming. The aged version is much better than the standard Cherry Stout. With the higher ABV stated to me, makes this brew all the more drinkable, alcohol is hidden well. (723 characters)

Photo of BMoney575
4.54/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on 6-12-08
Batch 7777
Bottled on 1-2-07

Pours super thick and black, with a foamy brown head that settles quickly.

Smell is absolutely fucked up. A sharp booze/fermented fruit kicks at first, followed by a mega-sweet almost frosting like quality. I'm terrified to take a sip.

Taste isn't nearly as scary as the smell, sweet malt and vanilla at first, followed by a sweet and sour cherry flavor, and finishing with a boozy, bitter cherry finish. Strong, but surprisingly well balanced.

Mouthfeel is good, slick to go with the flavors.

Drinkability is much better than expected, if you can handle something big.

Overall, a one-of-a-kind beer. The bourbon mellows out the cherry, and the whole thing tastes like a malty mixed drink. Highly Recommended. (764 characters)

Photo of weeare138
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another winner provided by hopdog(this guy never quits)...
Appears an opaque black with a small tan head that holds nice retention. Tons of spotty lacing left all over the glass.
Smell is of bourbon, cocoa, cherry, rhubarb, brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, and oak.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a buttery, milk and cream flavor coming through in the flavors.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, oaky, sugary, sweet, and balanced. Another beautiful and complex stout from Bell's. (475 characters)

Photo of waltonc
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up in a trade thanks to tytoanderso. Wow, it's been a while since I had regular Bell's Cherry Stout and I wasn't a big fan of that, but this is awesome.

A: Looks pretty much black to me with 3/4 inch tan head upon pouring.

S: butterscotch, vanilla, bourbon, and cherries.

T: Wow, more of those smell components in the taste. This is a really nice balance of slightly tart cherry, oak, bourbon, vanilla, butterscotch, and dark roasted malts. I wouldn't have imagined that they could be harmonized in a single beer. But Bell's has done it.

M: Medium bodied, carbonation is on the lighter side of medium.

D: I imagine this may be a polarizing beer, but I think it's great, and could drink a lot of it. So high marks. (732 characters)

Photo of brew3crew
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Part of an epic tasting at jackie o's with brad and Co.

A-black in color with no head
S-nice blend of bourbon and cherry
T-very tart taste up front but a smooth bourbon finish. Very sweet at the end
M-medium bodied and smooth
O-very good. Age has done a lot for this (267 characters)

Photo of BeerTruth
4.49/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to iceicebaby for this limited brew.

12 oz. bottle poured into a nonic. Batch 7777.

Glugs out a complete onyx black with a big bubbled two finger brown head that quickly dies down to a thin creamy layer of bubbles. A fair amount of lacing left on the sides, but not as much as I'd like for the style. Sweet Kentucky bourbon on the nose up front with a fudge dipped cherry scent to back it up, heavenly. Smell is very wine-esque, similar to an aged merlot paired with bittersweet chocolate. A hint of coffee grinds tickle the nose as well, such a complex aroma that I can't stop sticking my schnoze into. Taste begins with a big bourbon presence, a bit strong for my liking but still very full flavored. Fortunately the big bourbon flavors weaken a bit and give way to more stout like qualities. Dark chocolate, bitter french roast, and some oak midway with the slightest bit of ground cherries. Aftertaste is a bit dry with a lingering bourbon sweetness. Medium to full body with a rich and creamy feel. I recall not enjoying the regular Cherry Stout, but this is a completely different beast and a damn good one at that. One to sit down, take your time with, and enjoy. If you like bourbon, get your hands on this one for sure. (1,246 characters)

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.47/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle shared by normyk (I think) at a Jackie O's tasting. Thanks Rob! Another 2oz pour (the second review I'm making with such a small sample, but I really wanted to keep a note of it for the future).

It was dark black and opaque, tan head (i.e. looked like a stout). The nose was REALLY nice, boozy bourbony chocolate and sour cherries, man this smelled potent and rich. And just as intense in flavor too, tart cherries up front, rich tofee in the middle, lots of bourbon throughout.

I'd love to get a full bottle of this stuff, and I imagine I'd take my time going through it. This feels like a luxurious sipper. (622 characters)

Photo of craytonic
4.47/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Deep black mahogany pour with a dark-colored head

Smell: Tart cherry juice with some very faint oak, bourbon, and vanilla. It is subtle but enjoyable.

Taste: This one is mild but I like that you have to hunt for it - it is all there. Things don't have to be 110% in your face to be good. Tart cherry juice, fudge, fresh tobacco leafs, toffee, brown sugar, oak, vanilla, and bourbon.

Mouthfeel: A bit thin when judged against its contemporaries in this style, but not in a bad way.

Drinkability: Could have been a bomber! Great desert nightcap. (559 characters)

Photo of Lothore
4.44/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed in my bells pint thanks to hoppymeal!

A- Pours a deep brown, almost black with a small, brown head which fades quickly.

S- Smell is extremely enticing. A candied cherry scent with some bourbon on the back end. Like no other beer I have ever smelled.

T- Taste is a sublime mix between a deep, sweet stout character (chocolate, roasted malt, smooth sweetness) and a strong cherry characteristic. The cherry rides on top of the flavor but doesn't overpower the stout and then transitions seamlessly into hints of bourbon on the back end.

M- Medium bodied, quite a bit of carbonation.

D- This is not only extremely drinkable but very interesting. There is a barrage of flavors without having an extremely high alcohol content. Bells should start producing this on a bigger scale. By far the best beer i've ever tasted from this brewery. (845 characters)

Photo of warnerry
4.42/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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. (953 characters)

Photo of Billolick
4.42/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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. (335 characters)

Photo of thagr81us
4.42/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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. (871 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
4.42/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of stubone (thanks Allen). Shared on 2/3/10.

A: The pour is a dark, dark brown (you could easily call it black) with a nice (but thin) tan head on top.

S: The nose is very interesting on this beer. There's the obvious stout components of chocolate, roasted malt and coffee, but the cherries provide a slight tartness to the nose that works amazingly well with the rich roasted and bourbon aromas.

T: The flavor profile is unlike any other beer I've had. The cherries are slightly tart (not sour), and interact in such an interesting with the chocolate, roasted malt, and bourbon.

M: The body is medium to full with a low level of carbonation.

D: This is really a different beer, but an absolutely delicious one. The cherries are not sour, but they do provide a touch of tartness to cut through the rich flavors of the base beer and the barrel characteristics. (880 characters)

Photo of seaoflament
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to hoppymeal and BidDaddyWil for sending me this beer as an extra, I really wanted to try it! Cheers to both!

Pours an intensely dark color, and even a slow pour produced a good inch of foam that settled to a thin layer in about one minute.

Wow, intense aroma of bourbon and whiskey, so much that it made me shiver and shake and have flashbacks of pounding the hard stuff in my teens. Not a huge fan on such an overwhelming liquor aroma in my beers but I'll try. Ok, after the initial shock this smells incredibly good. The bourbon tones down quite a lot and what is left is a mixture of vanilla, Irish crème, condensed milk, sweet chocolate, oak, rocky road ice-cream, maraschino cherries, whipped cream and bourbon in the background. There is so much going on in this beer; there is also brown sugar, charred wood, roasted barley, bitter chocolate and oak. Very complex but well integrated. There's still quite a bit of heat that overlaps with the other aromas.

Now on to the first sip....wow there's the cherry, oak, wood, chocolate, bourbon, roasted barley...hold on hold on, let me catch my breath! A little tart at first because of the cherries, then it leads to vanilla, chocolate and lots of oak (the oak profile in the flavor reminds me of the Abyss). After a few sips I begin to taste the Irish crème flavor, maybe some hazelnut, definitely some nutty flavors near the finish and aftertaste. The aftertaste is a little dry with oak chips, a touch of bourbon, chocolate and vanilla, maybe some sugar cookie too.

During the pour I could see the tiny bubbles quickly forming and bursting rather quickly, which I've experienced with other beers and the mouthfeel tends to be overly carbonated and sharp on the tongue, but that is not the case with this one. Well carbonated and smooth on the palate, the sourness of the cherry is what hits the tongue first and then the carbonation passes smoothly and cleans the palate.

This beer is an interesting one. I was a little apprehensive at first with the blast of bourbon but it turned out to be delicious. (2,076 characters)

Photo of grub
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

biegaman was nice enough to share this one. thanks jan!

12oz bottle. batch 7777. sampled june 14/08.

pours very dark red-brown, nearly black, with a small light brown head that drops fairly fast and leaves a few spots of lace.

aroma is odd. as soon as it was poured i immediately said it smelled like microwave popcorn, and everyone else seemed to agree. buttery up front. once it breathes for a few minutes you can pick out some other stuff. cherry. vanilla. light roast. bit of alcohol. red wine. raw oak. bit of dark chocolate.

taste is interesting. merlot. cherry. big vanilla. raw oak. butterscotch. bit of toffee. bit of tannin. light caramel and fruity sweetness. hint of sour cherry. not really any direct bourbon character, but the barrel is definitely there. whire bread. cracker. blindfolded i would swear this was a glass of merlot.

mouthfeel is good. medium-low well integrated carbonation. just over medium body.

drinkability is good. at first i didn't enjoy the aroma, but the taste redeemed it. nicely balanced. an interesting and complex barrel aged beer. (1,078 characters)

Photo of HopHead84
4.37/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Opened up the nifty Bell's widget and entered the batch number 7777. This thing tells me the calorie content. 275? Not bad. I don't think the widget app is accurate for the bourbon barrel version of the cherry stout because, well, it just says cherry stout on the widget instead of bourbon barrel aged cherry stout.

Acquired in a trade with BigDaddyWil. Pours dark black with a deep reddish tint. A 2 finger dark brown head recedes in a minute and the lacing s good.

Aroma is of cherries, vanilla, bourbon, coffee, molasses, and cocoa. The cherry aroma is not overwhelming and it isn't too sweet. It fits in really nicely with the typical stout aromas and is very interesting. Great aroma.

Delicious bourbon and sweet roasted malt accompanies tart and sour cherries. Bittersweet chocolate makes its presence known somewhere along the way, as does vanilla. Alcohol isn't hidden but the bourbon flavor is very good. I'm a sucker for tasteful use of cherries in beer, and this is well done. The finish is chocolate cherry alcohol with a low level of bitterness.

Robust and full bodied with good carbonation. (1,109 characters)

Photo of KYGunner
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I was not a fan of the Bells Cherry Stout, gave it a 3, but you can put just about anything in a barrel and it's good. Well never have I seen an improvement of a base beer more than in this gem. This is not overly complex in the nose or flavor but what it does is temper the cherry and add the vanilla from the barrel. Suddenly this becomes a chocolate covered cherry in a vanilla milkshake. The balance is remarkable and the flavors are never cloying. I absolutely loved this beer and hope it becomes more available. (517 characters)

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Bell's Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
89 out of 100 based on 108 ratings.