Bell's Java Stout | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

very good
1,145 Reviews
Bell's Java StoutBell's Java Stout

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States

Style: American Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Java Stout uses a custom blend of coffee beans, roasted locally for us by Water Street Coffee Joint, to generate its intense flavor. Possessing an unmistakable aromatic punch, Java Stout has long been one of our most popular stouts.

Added by kbub6f on 12-11-2001

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Reviews: 1,145 | Ratings: 3,224
Photo of ChadQuest
1.67/5  rDev -57.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Poured absolutely black,with 1-1/2 finger head. looks kinda thin on swirl.

Smells like stale coffee,wet paper.

Tastes Like roasted malt,and watery coffee that was left on the burner for an hour. I mean, yea its a coffee stout and they got alot of the "Coffee" flavor in there, but it tastes like garbage folgers coffee brewed in a perkulator yesterday, and then stored in a cardboard box overnight....and now your drinking it.

Mouthfeel is thinner then most stouts, and much thinner then i like em at least, but not REALLY bad, A bit of carbination helps out, but can only do so much.

Flavor stays with you, but i wish it was creamier and thicker.Could try to drink more of these, but i have no desire to. I had to spread this sixer around between beers over a months time just to give it more chances...nope doesn't deliever, and gave a couple away, not to look forward to. Won't spend $15 on it again. would hesitate to take one if handed to me, but maybe would feel compassion and give it yet another chance, maybe next years batch.

I'm a coffee geek as much(or more) as a beer geek, and worked in the coffee industry, so maybe i'm a bit harsh on the coffee flavor, but then i think about how greatly made Peche Mortel is, and then its ok. I'd much rather have 2 Peche Mortels then a 6er of this. Seems like others like it more them i did, maybe drinking some of the worlds best coffee skews me. I can't stand crappy coffee, and it makes sense i can't stand beer that tastes like crappy coffee.

Time to go french press some ethiopian yirgacheffe, to remind myself what good coffee tastes like.

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Photo of oelergud
1.68/5  rDev -57.6%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

Almost completely opaque body, only a little dark red gets through at the edge. Tan head that falls quickly and leaves little lace.
The smell is feet and day old coffee grind.
Taste is equally bad.
Nasty stuff. this is not a brew I'll have again anytime soon.


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Photo of GoGriz
1.78/5  rDev -55.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Much like other people that have had batch 9462, I can confirm that this must be infected. I just bought this beer in Philly at the Foodery after having had this beer earlier from a trade. The one from the trade tasted the exact same way and though i didn't review that beer or make note of the batch, I have to assume it was this same batch. DRINKER BEWARE that if you want to taste acidic rotten brew...this batch is it. The question is will I ever get a proper java stout frm Bells? I hope.

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Photo of gobucks1
1.78/5  rDev -55.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured black into a pint glass with a short tan head. Smells of used coffee grounds and burnt malts. I was surprised that the was not a stronger nose of warm coffe flavors (and maybe chocolate?)as you would expect for a coffee stout. The taste of burnt day old coffe overwelmed my tongue. The only other flavor I got was a slight alcohol finish. I am a huge fan of coffee stouts but this one just missed. I expected more from the high price tag.

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Photo of NODAK
1.8/5  rDev -54.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Smells quite strongly of roasted coffee beans. If you chilled an espresso drink and made it into beer, this is how it would smell.

The taste, however, is quite "interesting". The start of the taste is indeed roasted coffee beans but they don't come through as the aroma would have indicated and it has a really offputting stale taste to it. Then, this transitions into a bit of a licorice taste....finishing with what I would classify as an odd citric acid tangy sourness that's quite pronounced and just seems out of place. This is not an old batch, believe me I checked. So I'm confused by that.

My verdict here is that it has a great aroma and starts decent enough...but in the end, I'm turned off by what I'd consider to be "off flavors" for a stout.

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Photo of rosmhuire
1.82/5  rDev -54%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Poured from bottle into pint glass..

A: Black coloring, like a cup of coffee (duh). Tan-colored head.

S: Burnt/over-roasted coffee beans.

T: This is disgusting. Way over the top coffee flavor. This tastes like I'm chewing on coffee grounds.

M: Average, like most coffee stouts/RIS/oatmeal stouts. I won't even pretend that I can somehow notice the different mouthfeels when drinking different styles of stouts.

Drinkability: Terrible - I could barely finish this. I'm so sad I have another one of these in my fridge. I can't stand to pour things down the drain, so I'm already annoyed that I'm going to eventually force myself to drink the second bottle some night.

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Photo of stonelis
1.9/5  rDev -52%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Batch 9462. Poured a deep dark black. Nice tan head. Smells good, coffee with hints of chocolate. That's where the good traits end. This tasted awful! I usually love stouts. I drink cold espresso and coffee. I've had other Coffee Stouts. This was bitter and putrid. The only beer I ever poured away because I couldn't choke it down. I would be curious to know if this was a bad batch. I did notice one other review which mentioned this batch number and they had the same experience. If so shame on Bells for letting this out of the brewery. This rated a "D" because out of fairness it did look and small good but It should be a "F"

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
1.96/5  rDev -50.5%
look: 5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Appearance - black stout pour. Only a strong back-lighting will unlock some beautiful dark ruby color. A full 3 fingers of mocha head recede, leaving large patches of head in its wake.

Aroma - the expected mix of charcoal and coffee, but something's coming across stale. Reminds of how Cave Creek Chili beer smells, that unpleasant stale pepper aroma. Strange but that's what I'm getting. A conflicted aroma and decidedly unpleasant.

Taste - starts out big, malty and thick. Loads of charcoal-fired espresso. Very smoky, with burnt flavors abounding. Unfortunately, that peppery stale Cave Creek flavor is here in abundance as well, pretty much ruining this beer for me. I don't care for this Bell's offering. Larger gulps minimize the off flavors and make it better, at least making it easier to get through.

Mouthfeel - very smooth, heavy, with medium carbonation.

Drinkability - didn't particularly care for this, but if I see it on tap, would be inclined to give it a 2nd chance.

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Photo of fastd03
2.03/5  rDev -48.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Most beers try to walk the tightrope between one flavor and the next, greatly concerned at the prospect of an overbearing flavor. This is not one of those beers! Although I generally like beers, I had no idea as to just how strong the java flavor of this one would be. I generally like milk and sugar with my coffee, admittedly, but I can tolerate coffee black from time to time. The Bell's Java Stout, however, has a stronger coffee flavor than coffee itself! So my recommendation: if you are a coffee fiend, this may just be your holy grail. If you are beer/stout fiend, though, you may want to give this order a second or third thought...

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Photo of nhindian
2.06/5  rDev -48%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

12oz bottle poured into a globe.

Batch 9462, bottled on November 19, 2009. Much older than I would like and judging by some research this is a bad batch. Oh boy...

A - To start with, it's looks very solid. Almost pitch black body mixed with a dark khaki-colored head, 2-fingers in height with good retention. The lacing is solid as well, leaving generous coatings of foam behind.

S - The smell is where this beer starts to falter a bit. Although not completely off, and the impact of the age certainly doesn't help, this beer's aroma is a little skewed. The coffee is there, if not faint, and it smells delicious. There's also some slight baker's chocolate to really sweeten the pot. However, soon a rush of metallic, sour cherries assault the nose and it's all downhill from there.

T - Much like the nose but with less coffee and chocolate and more band-aids and metal. The cherries aren't awful as I love me some cherry chocolate stouts, but the metal and sour in this makes it almost unpalatable. Disgusting, to say the least, but still better than the two Short's beers I've had that were infected!

M - Mouthfeel is thin with moderately low carbonation. Leaves a metallic taste in the mouth, like licking a battery.

D - Drinkability is low. Unfortunately for the look and (first half of) the smell, the taste and infection just destroy this. Didn't even get halfway through before throwing in the towel. I will be looking out for a fresh batch of this, though, as it does seem to have promise.

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.06/5  rDev -48%
look: 5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

An extra from a trading stud, KeefD. Thanks Keith!

A: Pours pretty much a pitch black in the glass, with a hint of mahogany translucence around the edges. The head is thick and cream-colored; retention is outstanding, and it leaves nice lacing down the glass. Truly a pleasure to see.

S: Espresso, roast, and... uh.... smoke. Specifically, cigarette smoke. Er.

T: While I don't like the taste of black coffee, I am beginning to appreciate its presence in stouts and porters lately. The roasted coffee flavor sets the tone here, but it's backed up nicely by a melange of chocolate and roasted malt. Great beginning. Toward the finish, it attempts to get smoky, but it reminds me more of cigarette butts than anything else. I have had a few other coffee stouts with this characteristic, so I don't think the bottle is bad; I think it's just something I don't appreciate.

M: Medium-full, with velvety and smooth carbonation.

D: I'm not sure what was up with the cigarette thing, but I think it ruins what is otherwise a pretty solid coffee stout. Maybe I'll try it again in the future.

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Photo of cproioi
2.16/5  rDev -45.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

The beer poured a syrupy black back that had an ever so slight brown head to it which dissipated rather quickly. The aroma was nothing more then just coffee. Well there also was a slight presence of alcohol in the nose but mainly it was an overwhelming aroma of coffee. The taste was to no suprise coffee. All I could figure out in the taste was coffee with some alcohol. If I have a coffee stout I would like the nose and the taste to have at least a little hint of stout. The beer moved slowly over my tounge the way a double stout should, with a slight alcohol warming to it. This beer left me rather unimpressed and not wanting another one.

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Photo of TheAdventurella
2.17/5  rDev -45.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

I love beer and I love coffee, so you would think this beer would be perfect, but not so. This java stout features a combination of a weak "stout" beer and a coffee that tastes as though it has been sitting in the pot for weeks, and was very weak when brewed. Everyone else seems to love it on here, so maybe a just got a bad bottle.

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Photo of maximum12
2.18/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours black with a thin head that quickly dissolves into a ring clinging to the inside of the glass. Smells of coffee - not as strongly as I'd of thought for a brew entitled "java".

Then there's the taste. Coffee, bitter toasted & burnt coffee & malts & nothing else. The bitterness overwhelms whatever positives might be lurking in the brew.

Not a good-drinking beer. I've long been a fan of Bell's & their Expedition Stout is one of my favorites. This was a serious let-down & I won't be trying another one; only the second drain-pour I've every had.

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Photo of jonvan04
2.32/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

I bought a bottle of this as part of a mix a 6 from Food & Friends on 20th & Spruce in Philadelphia. I must have purchased a bad bottle, it was from batch #9462. The smell was there, it had an awesome coffee aroma to it that I was very excited for. Until I tasted it. It tasted like a sour. I love sours, but not when I'm expecting a coffee stout.

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Photo of danglero
2.36/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

First review for me. Can't get over the overwhelming taste/aroma of generic coffee beans. Seriously, mouth feel appearance etc. are all put aside due to being a coffee snob as well. The taste was like drinking a mixture of some crappy coffee like "choc full of nuts" and carbonation. If you like drinking gas station coffee then you might enjoy the heartiness. The texture is actually what I would expect from a full-bodied brew, and low head with slow tracing would all be appealing if I didn't have to deal with aforementioned crap coffee taste and aftertaste.

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Photo of JugglerPeter
2.4/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

I bought this beer on tap on a cold day looking for a dark beer to warm up. The beer was served without head in a pint glass.

The color was not as dark as I expected for a stout, but it looked nice, had a nice roasted smell to it.

Then I tried it. The beer had absolutely no ballance. I like coffee and dark stouts, but did not like this one. I felt like I was drinking beer that someone had thrown ashes into. All I could taste of this beer was the roasted nature of the malt. I had the beer with a very strongly flavored goat cheese and mushroom pizza, and still found the beer too dominant for the food. If I hadn't just paid $5 for the beer I wouldn't have finished it at all.

This is the first offering from Bell's that I have been dissatisfied with.

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Photo of Brent
2.42/5  rDev -38.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I love stouts and porters that feature coffee flavors. I like coffee. I like most of Bell's products. But I did not like this beer. Poured an oily, inky black. Aroma was like cold used coffee grounds. Flavor was that of a pretty good dry stout with a 50/50 mix of extra-strong Columbian coffee. Unlike malt-derived coffee flavors, here the real coffee used in the brewing process imparted a thin, harsh cold coffee flavor. For me, this was like their Cherry Stout - a beer that was an interesting exercise and worth having tried, but not one I care to have again.

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Photo of claspada
2.52/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a nice dark black body with a lush light khaki-colored head.

Aromas begin with (to be honest) stale, day-old coffee. There's a little more roasted malt smell as well but it's really pretty much stale coffee. Fairly disappointing.

The taste begins with light dark chocolate (if that makes sense). Mildly sweet, chocolate flavor with some sugar laced stale bitter coffee again. The roastiness begins to build alongside an earthy bitterness. As it warms, the tastes shift to burnt malts and scorched coffee, long ago abandoned in a glass pot on the burner. Starts off good but goes downhill quick.

The mouthfeel is medium-bodied with medium carbonation. Silky mouthfeel; the only real highlight of this beer.
Overall, pass just a huge miss as far as coffee beers (or any beer for that matter) goes. I don't plan on finishing this even though it's already mainly gone. Wow, Bells continues to disappoint me beer after beer...

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Photo of vintajuess
2.52/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As a stout lover and--to a greater extent--a coffee lover, it's only fitting that this beer was... totally disappointing. It accented the least appealing elements of both halves of the name and made me wish I'd double-fisted a good mug of each.

A - Poured into a glass stein... looked as the name would have you want it to look--a lot like stout, a lot like coffee.

S - More yeasty than expected. Bad sign of things to come.

T - If you also love coffee, you know that "coffee taste" opens us to a whole other analytic corridor, but for simple context, think: stale pot, 11am oil change, local Jiffy Lube. As for the stout half, the hints of blue cheese were an unwelcome surprise. The flavor of the yeast jumped out right away. An Aussie could tell you it tastes like Vegemite.

M - The feel was nice and even when I swished and swallowed. I'll give it that. Probably the best part about this beer.

D - Ignore the label and any preconceived expectations (especially if you're a coffee connoisseur), and it's actually a pretty unique and pleasing beer experience.

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Photo of JohnnyDuvel
2.55/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I love coffee, and I love beer. I love beer that tastes like coffee. But this tasted like a beer with coffee grounds dumped in it. I could only take a couple of sips. I actually thought I would love this combination, but, as much as I love strong coffee, if I brewed this I would have dumped it. Tasted just like when you screw up and get grounds in your coffee (and make it far too strong).

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Photo of Dubber55
2.62/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Looks excellent. Smells like ground coffee. Tastes like ground coffee beans. Not getting much else. An acrid aftertaste. Not very drinkable IMO. Very one dimensional for me. I like my beer to taste a little bit like coffee. This is coffee that tastes a little like beer.

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Photo of barnettch
2.63/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

It looked very good pouring. It was a dark almost black color with little head. I was very eager to try this one. The aroma did not disappoint. The smell of coffee and a hint of chocolate is present. The coffee and chocolate taste is present but not as plentiful as I imagined after the smell. The taste was disappointing. I have tasted much better coffee stouts. The mouthfeel was decent but seemed to lose the flavor and did not go down as smooth as I thought. It is easy to drink but would rather have others.

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Photo of coreyfmcdonald
2.64/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A: Pours very dark brown with a finger of dense light brown head. The head seems to stay around forever.

S: Interesting - a mix of coffee with some spicy, roasty, possibly smoky aroma. The coffee aroma is a bit stale, though. Having had this aged before, I was hoping it smelled better fresh.

T: Burnt coffee taste with some bitter chocolate. Not great.

M: a bit thin and prickly.

O: I was hoping this beer would taste better fresh, but I was wrong. It tastes like burnt coffee with some faint dark chocolate flavor. I'm not sure what Bell's was trying to do here.

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Photo of lhaqq
2.66/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A friend had bought a six pack of these, but didn't like them so gave what he had left to me. Didn't have it for awhile, but when I finally popped it open, it left me disappointed.
A: Dark brown to black, with sizable head.
S: Very pungent and piquant smell. Has a strong espresso/bitter coffee smell mixed with an equally strong odor of hot red peppers.
T: The smell mingles with the flavor--although the coffee is stronger. But the peppery flavor still persists--I guess something that I don't terribly prefer in a beer.
M: Mouthfeel is generally good and like most stouts I've had.
D: Because of the taste, I wouldn't consider this very drinkable. I split the bottle with a friend, and both of us had a hard time wanting to finish.
Not sure if I ought to have had this sooner, and that is why the taste was funky. Haven't had any other American double stouts although have had a fair share of RIS. Oddly, I am also not a huge fan of Bell's RIS--the Expedition Stout, while I really enjoy most of their other beers.

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Bell's Java Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.96 out of 5 based on 3,224 ratings.
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