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

Not Rated.
Bell's Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry StoutBell's Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

325 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 325
Reviews: 108
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 12.04%
Wants: 303
Gots: 40 | FT: 7
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:
American-style stout with tart Michigan cherries aged in bourbon barrels from various distilleries.

(Beer added by: mcallister on 07-21-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 325 | Reviews: 108 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of PlinyTheYoungest
1.75/5  rDev -57%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

Thanks to thedindaniel for sharing this with me. We were both excited and anxious to share it, and then we tasted it...

A- Besides there being no lacing the beer looks pretty good. A deep dark black with ruby edges (the ruby became more apparent going down the drain) and a nice thin khaki head.

S- Smells like a red wine with cherries. Or possibly like a Port or Sherry. Not a terrible smell but a bit off putting for me.

T- A rush of tart cherries that clings to the gums (thedindaniel's fiance enjoyed the faces I made while sipping). But the cherries are accompanied by a weird meaty quality. Slight hints of vanilla and bourbon but all overpowered by what tastes like to me, a ground beef cherry pie.

M- While I was only able to get through a few sips due to the aforementioned taste, the mouthfeel was really nice. Smooth and creamy with light bubbles coating the tongue.

D- Unfortunately this is the first beer I have ever poured down the drain. I used to think people were ridiculous for calling beers "drain pours", but thanks to this beer I now know exactly what they are talking about.

I'm shocked this beer has an A- on here, maybe some people are just into cherry meat pie.

PlinyTheYoungest, Jun 06, 2010
Photo of aforbes10
1.85/5  rDev -54.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Picked up a single bottle at the Bell's general store. Pours black with a short brown head. Laces like syrup, with not much bubble tracking. Smells, frankly, terrible. Awful, rotten fermented fruit in a garbage pail smell. Very buttery and gross smelling. Bourbon and cherries obvious on the nose too, but not in any way redeeming. Taste is an improvement on the smell. Cherry and chocolate stout flavor is a little fake-y. Bourbon obvious but not overwhelming. Quite muddled and not really all that good. A surprisingly poor effort form Bell's.

aforbes10, Aug 12, 2008
Photo of GratefulJack
2/5  rDev -50.9%

GratefulJack, Dec 14, 2013
Photo of thedindaniel
2/5  rDev -50.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

Acquired via trade thanks to swnicholson and shared with Pliny the Youngest on the same night as some vintage Stone RIS.

A- Looked pretty good, had hints of a dark-reddish color underneath its dark, dark brown. Not much lacing, thin light brown head.

S- Pliny hit it on the spot for me saying this smelled like a cross between a Port wine or even a darker red, a Malbec for instance. Also picked up on vanilla, obviously from the bourbon barrel. This had my mind racing of the possibilities that can happen when you mix bourbon stouts with cherries! (oh my!)

T- The cherry juices overpowered the rest of this beer for me, which I thought would be impossible for a bourbon barrel stout. Guess not. Overly sweet, artificial tasting almost. The beer was, as another friend would say, "a mess". It seemed lost, nothing seemed to work for it.

M- I only managed a few sips before drain-pouring this, but one of the few things this beer had going for it was its mouth-feel. Nice and thick, perfectly carbonated.

D- Definition of a drain-pour. Didn't want to too. I was really looking forward to this, seeing as I traded for it (though it was just one of several bottles), but it wasn't worth my time.

Had to review this beer to hopefully drop the rating a bit. Thought I couldn't go wrong with barrel aged RIS from a good brewery like Bell's and had an A- here at BA. Perhaps past vintages weren't so heavy on the cherries? If it was toned WAY down, this could work. Otherwise, avoid!!!

thedindaniel, Jun 07, 2010
Photo of SacoDeToro
2.05/5  rDev -49.6%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Sampled two separate bottles in two sittings, both with the same results.

The beer poured a deep black with a brown head that had a reddish tinge.

The aroma of the beer was dominated by an awful butterscotch smell. Diacetyl all over the place. There were notes of roast, bourbon, and cherries in there, but I was nauseated just trying to get past this buttery mess.

The flavor of the beer had a lot of roast and cherry flavors with some bourbon, but the diacetyl was very prominent. It left a nasty buttery flavor in my mouth. A few small sips was all I could handle.

The mouthfeel was full along with the body. The carbonation was medium and appropriate for the style.

My threshold for diacetyl is very low. The large amounts in both bottles killed it for me. I was hoping the first bottle was a fluke, but unfortunately, it wasn't. I normally would've recused myself from rating a beer so poorly, but getting two consecutive bottles with the same issue signaled either a problem in the beer prior to bottling or an issue with the overall packaging.

I'm surprised how many reviews I've read where people have denoted strong butterscotch and butter flavors/aromas. This is a major flaw.

SacoDeToro, Jul 21, 2008
Photo of maximum12
2.28/5  rDev -44%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Pulled in a 10 oz. snifter of this at Whistle Binkie's after having a Batch 9000.

Pour is black. Smell is cherry & bourbon. So far, so good.

Bourbon Barred Aged Cherry Stout suffers from a weak base beer. The cherry is sharp & rather tart, which clashes sword-on-shield with the bourbon. Grunk. Frankly, that contrast just made me wince & wish I'd stuck with the 9000....really, really wished. Cherry, bourbon, tart, sweet malt. What hurts is the medicinal, Walgreen's cherry Generic Cough Syrup taste. Couldn't finish my glass & left at least a third in the glass.

Perhaps I was naive to think bourbon could help the base beer, or that I'd like it more than I had in the past, but that wasn't the case. This is simply not a good beer.

maximum12, Jan 19, 2013
Photo of brdc
2.45/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Thanks hoppymeal for this one.
Small capped bottle, aged at least one year, poured into a snifter.

Nearly pitch black, with only a faint reddish highlight on the very edge. Thin tan head, no retention or lacing.
Aroma is reasonably well balanced, with some stout notes and just a hint of cherry tartness and bourbon.
The flavor, unfortunately, gets completely out of hand, and the coffee and chocolate just get buried under a barrage of cherries.
You gotta love cherries, because there is not much more left here.
One of the few Bells misses.

brdc, Mar 02, 2010
Photo of Mark5252
2.5/5  rDev -38.6%

Mark5252, Nov 14, 2012
Photo of rallison
2.58/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Just like SacoDeToro, I was hoping the first bottle I had was a fluke with the diacetyl. Not so much..

This beer looks nice, but the first smell is butterscotch with cherry and some chocolate mixed in. This is one of the most diacetyl-laden beers I have smelled.

The taste is decent given that you don't concentrate on the smell. Good, creamy imperial stout with nice cherry notes. However, I cannot get past the diacetyl on this beer.

Good mouthfeel - low to medium carbonation with a nice richness. Drinkability is low for me given the flaws.

Not recommended. Kill that diacetyl and you've got a pretty decent beer. As is, I've heard there are things called drains. I've also heard you can pour things into them. I wonder, what happens when you pour something like this into this new-fangled thing called a drain. Oh, right - order is restored in the universe.

rallison, Jul 27, 2008
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.95/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle, batch 7777. Pours black with a small tan head. Aroma is heavy on the diacetyl and bourbon. Flavor is sweet and bourbony with diacetyl in the background and butterscotch in the finish. The cherry is much less pronounced than in the regular cherry stout--here it's just more of a sweetness. Sticky and a bit heavier than the regular too. I can't really say it's an improvement....not really a fan.
6/4/6/3/13 (3.2/5)

LilBeerDoctor, Mar 10, 2009
Photo of Tunguska
3/5  rDev -26.3%

Tunguska, May 27, 2012
Photo of JPortillo
3/5  rDev -26.3%

JPortillo, Nov 13, 2012
Photo of mattafett
3/5  rDev -26.3%

mattafett, Nov 17, 2012
Photo of Filabee
3/5  rDev -26.3%

Filabee, Jun 03, 2014
Photo of brentk56
3.18/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Looks like soda, with a huge reddish-brown head that fizzes away completely leaving neither foam nor lace above the espresso brown colored liquid

Smell: Butterscotch diacetyl dominates but is joined by coffee, dark chocolate and some cherry juice

Taste: Opens with a load of butterscotch that is replaced, by mid-palate, with a more respectable blend of dark chocolate and tart cherry; after the swallow, the chocolate and cherry flavors are joined by coffee; tart cherry juice finish; the bourbon is very subtle but arrives at the very end

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with very little carbonation left after the first few minutes; warmth from the alcohol

Drinkability: Despite being marred by diacetyl and carbonation problems, this beer concept has some potential; maybe we will see it better executed another time

Thanks, hoppymeal, for the opportunity

brentk56, Dec 02, 2008
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.23/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Trevor for this beer! Really excited to try this rarity from Bells!

Vintage 2008. Batch Number 7777; it was packaged on 11/10/08.

poured into oversized tulip.

Appearance: black bodied beer with less than one finger of a deep red and brown head. This beer really stains the beer glass. Head drops down to a ring around the glass really quickly.

Smell: Jet fuel and really tart cherries. I think it get some oak, but its really hard to pick out.

Taste: Okay, the nose scared me and I was thinking that this beer was way past its prime and was going to be a disaster. Its better tasting than I expected. Beer starts out with tart cherries. Little bit of oak, tobacco, and its got a sour note to it. I am guessing that the sour note is what happened to the bourbon notes from aging in the bottle for this long. The cherries notes are decent to me because they do not taste like cough syrup like most other cherry stouts do, but the beer is all cherries from start to finish. Where is the stout hiding at in this beer?

Mouthfeel: moderate bodied beer with low to moderate carbonation. The beer still has decent carbonation for its age. A little swishing of the beer in your mouth brings the beer back to life as far as the carbonation goes. This beer has no heat to it and its not syrupy or boozy.

Overall: Never drank this beer fresh, but I stumbled upon it in my travels with a fellow BA while driving up to the Founders KBS release last weekend. All things said...I think that this beer is past its prime. It was awesome to be given this oppurtunity to review the bottle! Thanks again for the beer Trevor!

4DAloveofSTOUT, Mar 16, 2012
Photo of Hendrick24
3.25/5  rDev -20.1%

Hendrick24, Aug 24, 2014
Photo of dannyfayy
3.25/5  rDev -20.1%

dannyfayy, Aug 25, 2014
Photo of IrishColonial
3.25/5  rDev -20.1%

IrishColonial, Jul 19, 2014
Photo of cfrances33
3.25/5  rDev -20.1%

cfrances33, Jun 18, 2013
Photo of TX-Badger
3.25/5  rDev -20.1%

TX-Badger, Jun 28, 2014
Photo of homebrew311
3.43/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appears a dark brown with layer of light brown head. Smell features heavy cherry, bordering on artificial. Chocolate, brownies, and caramel come through. Bourbon character is tame. The taste starts with tart cherries and fizzles out from there. Sweet cocoa character comes next but falls off quickly. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy and thick. Overall, not a huge fan.

homebrew311, Nov 17, 2012
Photo of Douglas88
3.48/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle shared by footbalm, thanks man. Pours a dark brown body with a thick light brown head. The aroma was perhaps the oddest thing I've ever smelled in a beer; buttery sweet candies, like butterscotch mixed with oak and some cherry. I must say for some time I couldn't get over that butterscotch, it's in the flavor too. After a bit I noticed more cherries, a sweet chcolate finish and a smooth rich body. Very nice, but also quite odd. I think that I'll try it again, but the butter/cheese flavor and aroma was way too much. Decadent for sure.

Douglas88, Nov 08, 2008
Photo of AgentZero
3.5/5  rDev -14%

AgentZero, Nov 30, 2012
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Bell's Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
91 out of 100 based on 325 ratings.