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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.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

314 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 314
Reviews: 108
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 12.01%
Wants: 300
Gots: 41 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Bell's Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout Alström Bros
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Ratings: 314 | Reviews: 108 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

t0rin0, Aug 22, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.86/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle pour at the 2014 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest held at the Paso Robles Event Center in Paso Robles, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, bourbon, funk, and slight cherry aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa, cherry, and bourbon flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast bitterness and an alcohol kick on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a cherry presence that is slightly funky and sour all around.

UCLABrewN84, Jun 04, 2014
Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -2%

zestar, Mar 08, 2014
Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

spycow, Jan 18, 2013
Photo of Thorpe429
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to ygtbsm94 for opening this bottle. Batch 7777 served in a Bruery tulip.

Pours a very dark brown with a minimal off white head. THe nose has a lot of the barrel character plus loads of cherries and a bit of vanilla. Bourbon and oak are highly prevalent. The bourbon dances with the cherry quite beautifully in the flavor department. Really nice interplay between all the flavors with the oak and vanilla playing a nice supporting role. Medium body and low carbonation. This one came onto my radar recently, and I was quite fortunate in having it poured right in front of me by the ever-generous Brad.

Thorpe429, Apr 12, 2011
Photo of nmann08
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

nmann08, Aug 16, 2013
Photo of brentk56
3.18/5  rDev -22.1%
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 BEERchitect
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Admittedly, I'm not the biggest fan of Bell's classic Cherry Stout- for me the taste of roast and tartness just clash for me. And without the support that I need, the beer never really comes together. But Bell's has it right with this bourbon barrel aged version. With up to eight months of age hibernating in those barrels takes their Cherry Stout to a whole new level.

Starting off with quiet pitch-black pour, the opaque stout gets a little tawny around the edges- quite evident through a delicate off white creme of foam that gives the stout a very espresso-like image.

Aromatic dark roast coffee, dark chocolate, and unmistakable bourbon notes lead the way. But the always-present cherry notes of the barrel fuse together nicely with the actual cherry additions to the stout. The barrels bring out a smoother and more chocolaty scent than the charred grain scent that I'm used to in the beer. In tandem the cherry-chocolate interplay is propped up by the carmelly bourbon notes and carry the overall scent very well.

And with a very consistent line, the flavors hold true to aroma with a focus on smooth espresso and chocolate base malt flavor. The barrels seem to have ground the rougher edges of the roast to a more refined fudge flavor that's much less offensive than the ashy char. The chocolate flavors envelop the cherries and drive home memories of chocolate covered cherries, except with a deviant bourbon ball twist. But the flavors don't stop there- carry on are accessory notes of rich velvety vanilla, vinous port wine, dense oak, and masculine bourbon flavor.

The stout's rich upstart is quickly slashed by the tartness of cherries which keeps the beer thinned out and much more drinkable than it should. Where the original recipe is a drier stout, the bourbon impressions and silkier mouthfeel makes the mouth want to register higher viscosity. The resulting textures gives the beer a forgiving drinkability that's rare in bigger imperial stouts. It's lush finish concludes just before the cherry tartness and lightly powdery tannin take command. Warm, shy of sour, and highly savory- the beer extends briefly into aftertaste.

Again, Bell's proclamation that the beer" seduces the palate" is spot on. Without the influence of the bourbon barrels, the beer seems to be two stouts battling it out in a single glass. But the barrels are like a big security blanket that pulls the stout together effortlessly.

BEERchitect, Jan 24, 2013
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep pitch-black color stout with a small dirty brown foamy head with good retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of semi-sweet cherry juice with roasted malt notes and loads of black chocolate notes as well. Taste is also a nice balance mix between some semi-sweet cherry juice (taste like real cherry and not some fake syrup) with loads of black chocolate malt notes and a light dry roasted malt finish. Oak was not to apparent. Body is quite full with good carbonation for style with no apparent alcohol. I usually don't like so much sweetness in my stout but this one was interesting enough.

Phyl21ca, Sep 11, 2010
Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

GRG1313, Sep 21, 2014
Photo of mikesgroove
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this one up in a trade a little ways back but had not gotten around to trying it, so here it goes. Served at cellar temp in a goblet. Consumed on 08/28/2008.

Poured a very nice deep, dark brown, with a little bit of a whispy head of light lace going through it. Easy settle down produced a nice crown that stuck with it throughout the session. Very nice side glass lace thoroughly coated the entire glass.

The aroma was deep rich cherry juice juice, with a hint of bourbon and lots of wood. Some light notes of vanilla mixed in as well, though nothing terribly strong here. The flavor was much more of the same, the bourbon did not seem fully immersed in the profile yet, maybe needs to time to really come out, but lots of fresh cherry flavor, hints at molasses and vanilla and a nice alcohol warming in the finish. Smooth, consistent full bodied feel with a nice rounded carbonation profile. A definite sipper, and the warming led me to believe this was at aleast above 8%, but where it fell I could not tell.

Overall I was very pleased with this one. Good change from the original with some nice differences, some subtle, with the bourbon, and some a little more pronounced. Either way a solid beer I would not mind having again anytime.

mikesgroove, Aug 29, 2008
Photo of ygtbsm94
4/5  rDev -2%

ygtbsm94, Dec 27, 2011
Photo of womencantsail
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

womencantsail, Feb 08, 2010
Photo of Knapp85
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%

Knapp85, Sep 08, 2014
Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pitch black, darker than I was expecting. A three finger dark tan head lies on top, settling slowly into half an inch of thick foam.

Smell: Strange - a very homogenous mix of sweet and tart cherries, chocolate, bourbon and butterscotch. The aroma becomes more pleasant as it warms.

Taste & mouthfeel: Cherries up front, sweet and sour, with bourbon barrel flavors of tannic oak, caramel, vanilla and a hint of butter. The dark roasty stout flavors come out more in the aftertaste, leaving a bit of charred bitterness on the tongue. Medium-to-full in body and silky smooth, this beer is deceptively mellow - I'm guessing this is at least 9% ABV.

Notes: Thanks to fiver29 for a unique and delicious brew. Bell's continues to impress me.

largadeer, Jun 21, 2008
Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

SocalKicks, Jun 02, 2014
Photo of emerge077
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased today from Bells General Store, this is a recently released batch #7777 ('07 Cherry Stout?).

It pours a rich tone on very dark brown, and becomes an opaque black in the glass. A creamy tan head emerges and retains itself.

Lactic cherry aroma reminds me of yogurt, and there's also a good dose of chocolate and an undercurrent of whiskey and buttery oak.

Flavors are unusual at first, but the complexity reveals itself in time. Big chocolate cherry cordial, dry oak barrel, and mild bourbon notes in the finish. It has a milky, lactose creaminess to it. There's a mild bitterness, similar to dark chocolate. Cherry is a component of the whole, and doesn't dominate.

Overall a very tasty and creative brew from Bells.

emerge077, Jun 09, 2008
Photo of Kegatron
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Kegatron, Aug 06, 2008
Photo of XmnwildX12
4/5  rDev -2%

XmnwildX12, Nov 22, 2013
Photo of imperialking
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

imperialking, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of drewone
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

drewone, Jun 03, 2014
Photo of weeare138
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
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.

weeare138, Dec 04, 2008
Photo of stakem
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a tulip. Batch 7777 (I don't know why i'm stating that since its the only batch for this one I believe.) The brew pours black in color with a thing mocha topping that dissolves down to a thin line across the top. Rising bubbles of carbonation maintain a ring around the rim of the glass and produce a small island of lace consistently throughout the duration. A light swirl revives less than a half finger of froth that again quickly dissolves and produces some small patches of lacing effect on the glass.

The smell is inviting with barrel presence bringing forth lots of vanilla that really augment the roasted grain quality which smells like chocolate. The more I smell this, the more decedent it gets with a very strong dessert appeal like creme brulee. After the vanilla subsides, there are caramel notes before the onset of the cherry inclusion. The cherry is present with a pronounced fruity scent that blends the transition nicely between chocolate grain and barrel sweetness to the nose. Once warm, the faintest touch of soy is noted which keeps this back from being a 4.5-5 score.

The taste is shocking. This is 100% strikingly reminiscent of a cherry flavored tootsie pop. The first thing that hits your tongue is a juicy flavor of cherry juice that almost becomes tart but then fades into a rich sweetness. The barrel presence here is equally as impressive and as bold as the aroma of this brew. A strong flavor of vanilla blends into a rich chocolate taste from the grain. A hint of anise is noted across the middle before finishing with some earthy notes of leather/coffee. As it warms up, this brew gets progressively warming with the alcohol being felt all the way down. After the brew gets warmer, a hint of oxidation is noted with a bit of almost soy sauce and savory aspect.

This is a medium bodied brew with a perfectly level and feel of carbonation. For 8.5% it is dangerously drinkable and very rich and flavorful. I honestly wish I had more of this to share with my family who are not big beer fans. I am sure this would get them hooked simply based on the cherry tootsie pop idea.

stakem, Mar 28, 2012
Photo of Billolick
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

Billolick, Aug 17, 2008
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Bell's Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
91 out of 100 based on 314 ratings.