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

very good
1,150 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: 1,150 | Ratings: 3,235
Photo of Sammy
3.65/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A fairly thick stout with coffee grounds. Wake up and smell the coffee. Java and roast including burnt ground taste, Ok for some, but not my type of stout. Marvellous appearance, with the dark head. Creamy yet mouth numbing. Bitter and roasty aftertaste.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.36/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Maybe my beer was defective! I had 3 millimeters of head which dissipated quickly with almost no lacing which seems differ as compared to recent reviews. Very dark brown/black. Like motor oil.

S: As a coffee lover I will have a hard time being objective as this smelled great, like coffee/java obviously, and it wasn't too overwhelming.

T: Very nice! Though the coffee part did take away from the stout taste, it was easy to drink. Initial coffee taste with chocolate finish. The bitterness is there but its coffee flavored, what else would you expect?

M: Moderate to high carbonation. Full bodied.

O: I really enjoyed this one. I tend to like beers that go along with their genre with maybe a little something extra and though this wouldn't necessarily be a go to beer, it was overall excellent.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to bastu for sending me this one!

Pours an opaque black with a 2 inch dark khaki head that settles to a small cap. Very thin rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, coffee beans, and cocoa powder. Taste is of dark roasted malt and dark chocolate and cocoa dusted coffee/espresso beans. A mild roasty bitterness on the palate after each sip. This beer has a smooth mouthfeel with a nice light carbonation. Overall, this is a very good coffee stout and probably one of the best I have ever tried. I'm very glad I finally got to try this one.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

an extremely pleasurable beer, rather heavy on the coffee. don't be subtle, go for it! the one pours real dark, but looks more like good rootbeer when held to a sunny window. the head is an inch tall, but fades to a thin film in about a minute. plenty of yeast particles settled out on the bottom of my glass. the nose is bitter acidic coffee and burnt barley, super robust. almost like a pot of cold coffee a few hours old, and there is a slight smoke character too. the flavor is balanced coffee until the finish, when its flavors and its acidity take over. normally I don't like acidity in coffee beers, but in this one it provides a nice contrast to the big pillowy soft body and rolling carbonation, its needed. the alcohol is maybe a little higher than it needs to be, burns slightly with the coffee, but this is your hangover maker and killer in one bottle, probably better as a first beer than a last beer in a session. another solid bells brew by all counts.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.62/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This stout poured out as a deep rich brown color. The head was light brown on top. The lacing wasn't too great on this one. The smell of the beer had a good amount of coffee on the nose. The coffee was probably the entire aroma that this beer had in my opinion other than the roasted malts. The taste of the beer wasnt too bad but I felt that the coffee flavors were a little weak when comparing the nose. The mouthfeel was smooth and dry. Overall this beer was pretty good, I'd drink it again.

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Photo of metter98
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a finger and a half high beige head that gradually died down but consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are moderate aromas of dark chocolate and roasted coffee beans in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell, except that the flavors of coffee beans are more concentrated and there are additional hints of dark roasted malts.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little dry on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer tastes a lot like dark roast coffee beans so if you are a coffee lover you would probably like this beer.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.97/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hey, who put a pot of espresso in my beer glass? That is what it looks like, tastes like, and smells like. It has some high gravity sweetness and body, but the espresso flavors and ground bean texture overpowers it all. I don't know if the bittering is from intense flavor hopping or from grain astringency. It even has a bitter nose that is more reminescent of Itallian espresso than a stout yeast. Nicely earthy and nutty. Nicely alcoholic, something to cut through the body. Warming and intensely flavored into the finish. The aftertaste ligers like a fine cigar.

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Photo of brentk56
3.83/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a pitch black color with a reasonably thick dark tan head; spots of lacing

Smell: Dry tannic coffee tones; smells a bit charred

Taste: Starts out with a bitter, charred coffee flavor that fails to develop much beyond that

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Enjoyable, just like a decent cup of coffee is enjoyable; but it fails the complexity test

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Photo of kojevergas
3.7/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 10/15/12. 7.50% ABV confirmed. Acquired at Four Firkins for $3.59. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a Bell's pilsner glass in me sister's gaff in low altitude Minneapolis, Minnesota. Expectations are high given the reputation of the brewery and my love for their Kalamazoo stout - though I found Expedition underwhelming.

Served after a substantial period of rest once removed from the refrigerator. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Paired with pizza.

A: Pours a gorgeous one finger tan colour head of nice cream and thickness, and good retention considering the relatively high ABV. Colour is a solid opaque nontransparent black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Great evocative java/coffee. Roasty and chocolatey. Cream. Dark malts. The makings of a great stout. A subtle and complex aroma. Average to mild in strength.

T: Cream, subtle java/coffee, subtle chocolate, a dark malt foundation, subtle roasted barley, and a creamy finish. Excellently balanced. A well built stout. No yeast or alcohol comes through. I really like it. A flavorful stout. Predictably, coffee is dominant. Subtle and nicely complex.

Mf: Too smooth and wet for the style, but more importantly it does suit the flavour profile. Nicely creamy - one of its best attributes. Good carbonation and thickness.

Dr: Very drinkable. A great all around stout. I'd love to try this on-draught. I liked their Kalamazoo stout better, but this is also a very solid offering - and it's excellent at this price point as an import. Bell's disappointed me with their Expedition Stout, but these other beers are rapidly rebuilding expectations. Definitely worth trying. Could use more roast.

High B


12/01/13: Truncated notes. Cost for a single bottle was $2.99 USD. Packaged 08/29/13. 7.50% ABV confirmed. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with good label art and branded pry-off pressure cap served into a stem-tulip. Served cold. Side-poured.

A: No bubble show forms as I pour.

Pours a gorgeous khaki colour head of great creaminess and thickness. 1.5 fingers wide. Smooth consistency. Soft complexion. Highly appealing. Even consistent lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is an opaque solid black. No yeast particles are visible.

Overall, it's quite appealing for a stout and I'm looking forward to trying it.

Sm: Rich multifaceted coffee/java. Dark malts. Chocolate malts. Cream. Coffee roast. Some coffee bitterness.

Hop profile isn't overt. Yeast character is extremely tame.

An appealing aroma of above average strength.

T: Dark malts. Chocolate malt. Rich decadent full coffee notes. The coffee is multidimensional - roast, slight bitterness, a full developed coffee profile, cream, etc. Excellent balance. Gestalt build. No off-notes.

Pretty good depth of flavour. Above average duration of flavour. Average intensity of flavour. Good subtlety. Nice intricacy. Some nuance. Pretty good complexity.

Mf: Smooth, wet, creamy. Good presence on the palate. Well-carbonated. Good body and thickness. Complements the flavour profile well, with evidence of custom-tailoring.

Not oily, astringent, harsh, gushed, boozy, or hot.

Dr: A very drinkable stout with interesting coffee elements. I'd definitely get it again. An achievement from Bell's. I could easily have 3 or 4 of these in a night. Tasty stuff.


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Photo of emerge077
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Fresh batch #7768.

Pours black with tan foam, stays for a good half-hour.

Aroma of fresh-ground coffee beans, chocolate malt.

Medium acidic coffee bitterness, almost fruity and green. Rich and still approachable, a shade under Breakfast Stout and other "big" coffee stouts. Roasted malt in the middle, milld hop integrated with the coffee, bitter but not herbal or harsh. Fairly sweet, but mild with a residual caramel aspect.

Mouthfeel is ultra smooth, even carbonation that lasts. Very easy to have several in a sitting. My favorite session coffee stout.

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Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Black like espresso. A toffee-colored head retains for a minute or two and then settles into a ring, leaving behind a bit of spotty lace.

Smell - An incredible aroma of dark roasted, almost burnt, coffee is noticeable from a mile away. Closer inspection reveals hints of sweet toasted malt, dark chocolate and smoke.

Taste and mouthfeel - The burnt espresso flavor is very up-front, with notes of chocolate, toast and smoke taking a backseat. Body is about medium for a double/imperial stout, but this is right on the border between a regular stout and a double. A subtle sweetness is present in the background, providing a balance to what would otherwise be an exhausting dry coffee flavor. Notes of black coffee linger on the palate in the finish.

Notes - An awesome beer for people that enjoy coffee, but the coffee character is extremely prevalent. I personally like it.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of Plucier: Poured a deep pitch-black color stout with a nice big foamy head with great retention and great lacing. Aroma of medium dry coffee is well balance with roasted malt and light subtle dark chocolate. Taste of nice coffee without being too overpowering and some nice medium bitter roasted malt. Texture is quite creamy which is appreciated with a quite full body and some adequate carbonation. I thought this was a very well done and well balance example of a coffee stout.

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Photo of zeff80
4.54/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a jet black color with a light brown, one-finger head. Left no lace.

S - It smelled of java and some sweet toffee.

T - Tasted of coffee and oatmeal. It had a strong roasted malt flavor, too. Not really bitter for a coffee stout.

M - It was dry and sharp. A medium-bodied beer.

D - I'm not a coffee drinker but this is a very tasty beer.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a vet dark brown with a tan mocha head and a faint bit of lace. Nose consists mostly of coffee and roasted malt with a bit of chocolate. Coffee takes over the flavor win some dy roast. Between the coffee flavor and bitterness, I really like the feel. Not one of the best coffee beers, but a solid offering.

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Photo of mothman
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Stub and Herbs

Served in a goblet.

Tan head. Very black in color. Left some splattered lace.

Aroma: fresh strong coffee, chocolate, big roasted malt flavor.

Taste: Huge fresh strong coffee taste, roasted malts, fresh earthy hop profile, chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, smooth. I like it. Full bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Ends with a coffee flavored clean aftertaste.

Overall, A great beer and I will definitely be buying some bottles of this one if I have a chance. Very drinkable with an awesome coffee flavor.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into signature pint glass, bottled on 9/10/2012. Pours lightly hazy extremely dark brown color with a nice 1-2 finger dense tan head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass. Aromas of big roasted coffee beans, espresso, dark chocolate, roasted malt, light char, caramel, and light herbal. Damn nice aromas with big coffee presence and nice background malt balance. Taste of big roasted coffee, dark chocolate, espresso, roasted malt, light char, toffee, caramel, and light herbal hops. Light coffee bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of coffee, dark chocolate, roasted malt, light char, caramel, and herbal on the finish for a good bit. Nice flavor balance and complexity with plenty of coffee flavor; very nice malt/bitterness balance; zero cloying flavors noticed after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a creamy and slick mouthfeel that is very nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an excellent coffee stout! Plenty of coffee flavor with nice malt flavor balance; very smooth to drink. Really enjoyable offering.

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Photo of nickfl
4.17/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - One finger of tan head on a black body with ruby highlights. The foam has average retention and leaves nice lace.

S - Distinct roasted coffee aroma with some caramel and notes of toffee.

T - Sweet coffee flavor up front with spicy notes of cinnamon and clove. Maltiness in the middle with some caramel and chicory. The finish is malty with mild hop character and a bit of round malt bitterness.

M - Smooth, medium heavy body with moderate carbonation and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Easily drinkable. This has an excellent coffee essence without becoming overwhelming in the way that many other coffee stouts tend to be. The roasted character is complex and it exhibits all of the best attributes of good coffee.

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Photo of oberon
4.27/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown with a mocha colored thin head,great aroma of chocolate with some nuttiness and a hint of earth.Very rich flavored beer like chocolate devils food with the coffee really coming thru in the finish and aftertaste its like drinking coffee with a nice rich chocolate cake.A great beer will bring some south with me.

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Photo of jlindros
4.07/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Got a slew of Bells lately and I've loved each one, so it's time to start going threw them. This one is thanks to Solomon420.

A: A smaller dark creamy head forms over the pitch black light imprisoning color. The head slowly dissipates to a light covering.

N: I could smell this from a mile away on the pour, with lots of coffee to start. Then some rich stout like aromas, creamy chocolate, rich roasted malts, dark chocolate, creamy goodness.

T: Very rich flavored, luscious and thick. A heavy stout taste hits first with bitter earthy flavors and charred malts. Thats accompanied with some coffee flavor, though not as heavy as I expected, pretty good coffee level. More roasted malt flavors come through. Rich dark bakers chocolate and some creamy milk chocolate blended.

M: Thick and creamy, luscious, good carbonation for the style.

F: Finishes bitter from the stout flavors and scorched malts. It dries off a little from the bittersweet start. A little spicy as well. It leaves a coating on the entire mouth, leaving you the rich coffee and roasted flavors for a while. A nice beer, pretty thick and rich, a little difficult to drink, a big sipper.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.65/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired via trade from northertimber so a big “Thank you” goes out to him.
Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a thin brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is strong and pleasant; the only words I can use to describe it would be “black coffee”.

T: Heavy, bitter-sweet roasted coffee/espresso flavor is the prime element here. Again, as good as it is, there really isn’t any other way for me to describe it.

M: Extremely smooth, medium body, light-to-medium carbonation, finish is a little sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, a little bit filling, this one is a perfect sipper but you can still knock a few back fairly quickly, another excellent Bell’s product.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque jet black in color with minimal very dark amber highlights and a light amount of gentle carbonation near the surface of the beer. The beer has a finger tall creamy mocha head (almost like what you would see on a latte) that slowly reduces to a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Strong aromas of dark roasted malts, dark chocolate, and freshly ground espresso beans. Very subtle hints of vanilla and caramel.

T: Moderate to strong flavors of dark roasted malts with some strong notes of dark chocolate and freshly made espresso. There are some light notes of caramel sweetness and some vanilla hints as the beer warms. Also, there is a light to moderate amount of coffee bitterness in the finish which lingers.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Silky smooth and creamy - almost like a nitro-stout but I'm sure this one was not since it came from the bottle.

O: I really enjoy this beer and used to drink it fairly regularly when I lived in an area that Bell's distributed their beers - I'm a huge fan of coffee and I really like a big stout so this is the best of both worlds. Very nice coffee/espresso flavors and smells with a similar bitterness to it. Definitely one that I would come back for again and again. Pretty easy to drink with the well hidden alcohol and the lightness in the body.

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Photo of mactrail
3.39/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Rich and grainy powerful stout.

Opaque black in the glass without much head. Very aromatic in the nose; blackberry jam. A big mouthful of flavors. A hint of malt sweetness to offset the sour burnt malt and burnt oatmeal flavors. The coffee is quite evident, but reminds me too much of the bitter dreg from the old percolator. Without the coffee it might be great, but if you're a java fan you might love it this way.

This one is more like a jacked-up Irish stout than the smooth and mellow Imperial stouts and porters that are more akin to barley wines.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.36/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a black body with a lush, though brief, light khaki-colored head.

Smell: Lightly chocolatey aroma with a bit of molasses and the strong scent of stale coffee. There's a vague fruitiness there as well which doesn't really carry over into the taste.

Taste: Sweet, rich chocolate flavor with some sugar laced coffee. Then a roastiness arises and begins to build alongside an earthy bitterness. Eventually, the taste goes to burnt malts and scorched coffee, long ago abandoned in a glass pot on the burner. Starts off good but goes downhill quick.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Silky mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Decent enough, but outshone by some of the other coffee stouts available.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.76/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Impenetrable onyx with the merest suggestion of medium brown highlights along the bottom edge of the glass. The coffee-with-cream colored head looks to be milkshake thick and creamy, although I'm pretty sure it's lighter than that. Even without seeing any lace (yet), this how I believe an American double stout ought to look: big and bad. Given the torn curtains that are now beginning to decorate the glass, the score is a pretty easy call.

How one feels about the nose is probably directly related to how one feels about espresso, hugely roasted coffee beans, that sort of thing. I'm not a fan, but even I can appreciate that this is a coffee stout nose of prodigious power. An odd 'cigarette ash' character makes me a little uneasy though.

I like Java Stout, but I don't love it. There's a massive chocolate and roasted malt backbone that shares the stage with roasted coffee. The trouble is, from my standpoint at least, there's too much acrid, burnt ashiness for me to count this as anything but a well-brewed, 'java lovers only' curiosity.

I'd like at least a little chocolate or cocoa to peek through... but it doesn't. It's a fine line with beer of this sub-style. Do you add so many beans that it tastes like iced coffee or do you create a coffee-accented stout? It's a shame that Bell's chose to brew the former because I tend to like the latter. As always, your mileage may vary.

The mouthfeel is an unqualified success; no surprise to anyone who drinks Bell's beer on a regular basis; lucky bastards (oh wait, that includes me now). It isn't as full as the very best of this style, but it's medium-weight silky and as smooth as the day is long. For some reason, I'm not feeling quite as enamored with it as it loses carbonation.

For better or for worse, this a 'love it or sort of like it' kind of beer. It's the latter for me, a non-coffee drinker. If you have that java monkey on your back when you wake up in the morning, and if you have the day off, I can't imagine a better way to start the day than with a bottle of Bell's Java Stout. I'll stick with Kalamazoo and Expedition though, thanks.

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Photo of billab914
3.99/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a perfect pint glass.

Pours near black in color with a small tan head that settled down to a small covering.

Aroma is dominated by coffee but also has some bitter chocolate from the roasted malts.

Coffee is also the dominant taste, like the aroma it has some bitter chocolate flavors and roasted flavors as well.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is good if you like coffee.

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Bell's Java Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.96 out of 5 based on 3,235 ratings.
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