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

very good
1,141 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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User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,141 | Ratings: 3,213
Photo of skybluewater
3.58/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brownish black color. Smells better than some other Bell's beers I've had, but still seems off. Taste isn't bad at all, but not great (compared to, say, Kalamazoo or Expedition). Indeed it does taste of coffee, but (to me at least) it's that coffee that's been sitting in the pot with the burner on all day. Drinkable, recognizable as the good stuff you had that morning, but off tasting. Mouthfeel is nice, quite creamy.

Overall, this isn't a beer I'd buy again. While I'm glad I tried it, I think in the future, I'll stick to drinking Kalamazoo, Expedition, and Third Coast Old Ale if I want a Bell's brew.

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Photo of LuckySevens82
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle courtesy of feloniousmonk.
Pours a jet black with just a hit of amber when held up to a stong light. A creamed-coffe head of decent retention and thickness tops this brew.
Smell is coffee, coffee, and coffee...oh yeah, coffee as well. There is some chocolate, roasted grains and some hop round out the aroma.
Taste is, well shoot, go In addition, some chocolate, caramel and burnt sugars. Some hop bitterness is in there, but it is kind of overshadowed by the bitter coffee.
Mouthfeel is very nice as well, undeniably smooth and just a great beer.

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Photo of Tballz420
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This brew here is a jet black concoction, brown hues in the light. Dark brown head sits on the top, some lace. The scent is not surprisingly dominated by coffee aroma. The sweet malt roasted malt front is blown away by a rich coffee taste. Hops are there but are dominated as well. Smooth creamy body. Stouts arent my favorite, and i normally dont like coffee, but this beer is done quite right. Especially if you like coffee, this ones worth a shot.

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Photo of mobyfann
3.71/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Paid $9.49 flat for a 6-pack.

The beer pours a pure black base, with a medium-large caramel colored head, very good head retention and very nice lacing effects. The smell is only 2-dimensional, dark roast coffee meets chocolate bar.

The taste is a nice smooth stout, but it's not very complex as typical stout. however with the name Java Stout, one must expect this. The smoothness makes the mouthfeel a good one, smooth stout on the palette is nice. The drinkability is average, granted it tastes great at 7.5% abv, but I could not drink two of these in a row as I could belgian ales...

Final Thought: A little disappointed as high expectations were shattered; however, this beer is still good if you're just into dark roast coffee and chocolate in one -- with that, then this is your beer.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.37/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Secret Santa 2004 #6

Appearance: A body so dark that the only light that could pass through it would be a phaser. Dark tan head full of micro bubbles and topped by some above the rim cream. Quickly breaking down to a half finger table top. Some lacing.

Aroma: the moment the cap pops, you're in Starbucks. Roasted and burnt coffee just fills the air. Take the head off, have someone inhale and I bet they tell you it's coffee cooled to room temperature.

Taste: A bit more blended than the aroma. The coffee is there, but I sense that there is a stout lurking here also. Roasted malts roll acoss the tongue, followed by a rising column of hoppiness, dead center and on the tip of my tongue. Finishes with an increasing taste of deep roasted coffee.

Mouthfeel is a tad disappointing, not quite as slick, oily, or full as I would have preferred. Not really lacking, but not excelling.

Goods down quite easy, and satisfying. Wish I had another.

If you don't like coffee, you might want to skip this. If you do like coffee, embrace it.

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Photo of assurbanipaul
4.58/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark coffee-brown, not quite opaque, with a good-sized, very dark tan head. Aroma is sweet coffee, maybe some mild cocoa.

The flavor here is -- in a word -- robust. Coffee flavors, naturally, but not just any supermarket joe; something like Sumatran dark roast, a volcanic-soil variety. Rich and heavy, sweetly bitter, traces of milky malt and dark chocolate. Not a trace of alcohol in the taste, finish is bitter and nutty, more stout-like. Leaves me with coffee breath.

Mouthfeel is thick, silky and smooth. Hard to make the call whether this is a coffee-flavored beer or a beer-flavored iced coffee. Far and away the best coffee beer I've ever tried. Blessings to trbeer for feeding both my addictions.

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Photo of BeerFink
4.45/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours opaque black with a healthy tan/brown head. Good lacing and nice head retention. A nice strong aroma of coffee, chocolate, and roasted malt. The taste is full of chocolate and roasted coffee beans, with a hint of smoke. Strong roasted malts countered with black coffee bitterness make for one hell of a big beer. The finish is dry and roasted, much like a sip of black coffee. The huge coffee flavor may be intimidating for some, as a black coffee lover, I adore this stout.

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


This is one potent, complex and utterly satisfying brew! Pours a thick black with a nice dark brown head. Very smooth and silky with a good amount of carbonation. The smell is outstanding, a nice rich stout smell combined with an awesome coffeehouse java vibe right under the surface. The balance I think is flawless somehow. (coffee.... and beer? together?)

Absolutely nothing to complain about here folks, unless you just plain can't stand coffee, then maybe you've got a point. Otherwise, grab a pint!


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Photo of alexgash
4.68/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown to coffe-black. No light penetrates this black beauty. Thick, big dirty-brown head floats powerfully atop. Laces like a sonofabitch. Outstanding. Smells of freshly-ground, dark roast coffee beans. Coffee aromas mix well with the peaty, smoky, and slightly sweet roasted malt. Mama likes. Wow! They [Bell's brewer(s)] definitely put some coffee in here. Dark, roasty bitterness right up front. Like carbonated coffee. Mid-palate reveals the familiar Kalamazoo stout base. Earthy, peaty, roasty with a hint of sweetness and quite delicious. Finish is sweetish with a roasty coffee bitterness. Full-bodied and chewy, with more carbonation than it needs. Another great Bell's stout. Maybe I should drink this every morning...

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Photo of mattcrill
3.53/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours motor oil black with a tight, tan head. Looks pretty monsterous in a glass. The head doesn't stick around too long but it's nicely done.

Smell: Folgers all the way. A bit of dry chocolate but it's primarly average ground coffee smell. Kind of a bummer but I'm still interested.

Taste: Folgers and dry chocolate with a tight, dry finish. Pretty strong, bitter aftertaste. Roasted coffee is very dominant in the taste. There is a mild alcohol note throughout but the coffee dominates.

Mouthfeel: Thick, creamy, and slick.

Drinkability: Pretty heavy stuff so I couldn't see drinking a ton of this. This paired nicely with my wife's fresh baked brownies. This is good but there are better versions out there.

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Photo of sabrills70
3.29/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a jet black with minimal head and almost non existant lace.
Smells of over roasted bitter burt coffee (I don't mean that in a bad way). The easiest way to explain the taste is nicely roasted stout mixed with a shot of esspresso. A bit too much roasted bitterness perhaps. Leaves a strong aftertaste so drink this one when you are all done drinking everything else. This is one to keep in the fridge and pull one out every now and again. Not super drinkable, but tastes good every once in a while.

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Photo of carln26
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This came from another gift bottle (Thanks Zac!). It poured a deep brown to black with little head or lace. The malty sweet aroma is accented by the coffee added to this beer. The coffee accents some chocolate malt added to the mixture. The coffee is more subtle in this beer than in others of this style I’ve tried. It still dominates the taste, but doesn’t mask some of the chocolate and other flavors that come from the malt. Any hops are completely disguised by the addition of the coffee. It has that same silky smooth Bell’s mouth feel, and has a decent drinakbility. This is a fairly stout stout, and the alcohol would prevent drinking too many of these.

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Photo of meathookjones
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours out the expected pitch black with a quick forming tall dark brown head. The head stays for a while and leaves nice chunks of lace around the glass. As soon as you pop the cap you know this is going to be one coffee intense brew. Without much effort you can smell the huge amounts of coffee that went into this. Aroma is chock full of coffee goodness with a lighter back by chocolate malts and a bit of roastiness. This smells like liquid coffee beans almost. Flavor starts of with a strong bitter coffee followed by chocolate and roasted malts. After taste is a bitter lingering coffee one. Mouthfeel is medium to full with a good amount of carbonation. Quite drinkable to if you like the taste of coffee otherwise the huge coffee flavors would get too much after awhile but for me its great. Taste is a little simple but still good and this can definitely be a replacement for your morning cup of coffee. Many thanks to clvand0 for this one.

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Photo of necoadam
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

When I popped this one open and poured it out, my wife thought that the coffee maker was on. Surprised me as well with the coffee aroma as well.

Poured out a medium black color with a nice tan head that leaves a nice lacing.

Smell consisted of But some nice roasted aromas pop up as well. Some dark fruit hides in the background as well.

Taste was big. Big flavors that seem to be "in your face." Good coffee flavors along with some big roasted flavors. Towards the middle some hop bitterness shows up to add to the big flavors of this beer. But it just balances out so nicely.

Moutfeel was good. This is a full bodied beer, don't kid yourself. The right amount of carbonation is also in this beer.

A nice treat, really it is. Don't know if I would want a second or third one, but this is a nice night-cap for sure. Wife gave it 2 thumbs up as well!

Thanks to Pisskynights and Feloniousmonk for each sending me a bottle. Good stuff.

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Photo of Ave
3.41/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle from the 2003 batch, reviewed in November of 04.
Yeast left in the bottle.
Pours a solid & impenetrable black. 2 full inches of head comprised of giant bubbles. The head shows remarkable staying power. Sweat beef, chocolate & of course lots of coffee hit you’re nose from several feet away. The coffee aroma has a somewhat odd character too it, one that I guess is typical of coffee stouts, but that maybe is a bit more sour than it should be. Hard to pin down. Flavor is full & roasty, but disappointingly un-unified. An enjoyable, if confusing, blend of the darkest malt & unfinished coffee. The coffee character has the flavor of beans that have been soaked in cool water for a week rather than brewed. A fascinating flavor, but one that sounds better in theory than in execution. Better than the one I had when I bought the 6 last year, but not nearly as good as I had hoped after its time left to it's self.

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Photo of redmosquito
3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep opaque brown with a brown head. In the light, the edges appear a nice amber. Good solid lacing. The aroma is initially chocolate, giving way to roasted malts and coffee. The flavor is bitter and malty, chocolate and roasted malts. This is a great stout, not relying too heavily on the coffee for character. It has some body and a slightly astringent aftertaste. I enjoy the balance here, it makes it more drinkable.

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Photo of walleye
4.11/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured dark brown with brown head arma duh coffee, flavor coffe, chocolate. I was a little hesitant about buying this becausse of the java because of past experiences I have had with things with coffee flavor in it but this was differant. the flavor of the coffee ws like the cuban blend that I like to drink strong bout not bitter a very good beer.

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Photo of Winter
4.26/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a thick creamy tan head. The aroma consists of dark roasted coffee (French roast and expresso combined), chocolate and a touch of fruit (raspberry syrup). The mouthfeel is full-bodied. The front features dark chocolate, expresso and roasted malt. Middle sweetens a bit, almost like chocolate frosting. The finish combines flavors of burnt malt and introduces a slight bite from the hop bitterness. A touch grainy too. Java stout is complex and robust both in flavor and texture. This is a filling stout and although delicious, one all by itself, hits the spot.

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Photo of far333
4.33/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thick and oilly looking, almost black. Amazing fat head over an inch high with dark brown color and craters and lumps. Looks like chocolate ice cream sitting on top of a float.

Rich flavor of coffee like the grounds I spoon into my coffee maker every morning, plus some cocoa on the fringes, and a little talc. Even mouthfeel, pretty smooth.

Flavor is also silky smooth. Definite coffee flavor without being bitter or overpowering. Nuances of chocolate and molasses, some caramel and toffee, but make no mistake about it - this is all about the coffee, and it really delivers. Each sip leaves another layer of lace around the glass as thick sheets run up the sides.

I could sip on this one for a long while. Thanks to Brent for sharing.

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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 trumick
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dar black with half inch head that quickly fades. Some lacing is left on the glass as it slowly gets sipped.
Smell is of used dark roasted coffee grounds (smells like the used coffee filter when I first open the coffee maker) there is also sweet, dark, roasted malts.
Taste sweet, dark, raosted malts, dark fruits and dark roast coffee gounds with a sweet espresso finish.
Mouthfeel is robust, full bodied, nice carbination.
Drinkability is good. These go down quite nice and smooth.

This is a nice beer. Bells has done it once again. I have found a couple of Bells that I don't like, but this one is nice.

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Photo of noclue
3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Serving type: 11.2 ounce bottle served in 16 ounce shaker.

Appearance: Black. Absolutely opaque. Medium sized creamy head khaki to brown in color. The head died quickly, but laces beautifully. Low carbonation.

Smell: Aroma is rich with dark roasted malt. Coffee...burnt. No apparent hop aroma.

Taste: The same dark roasted coffee flavor with a hint of fruitiness. Slightly bitter finish. The coffee flavor lingers excessively on the palate.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body. Watery texture.

Drinkablity/Overall: Unbalanced, yet smooth. All that is missing is the caffeine. Not too bad, but It's not something I'd stock up on.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.87/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – The body is almost pitch black and hazy, if that makes any sense. The head is just right; moderate with a careful pour and darkly tanned. It even left some film as it slowly receded.

Smell – Brewed with coffee, or coffee grounds? This is good stuff. The dark, roasted stout aroma has found its equal in the huge, coffee ground notes. What I find so appealing about this nose is that these are basically the only two smells that I can pick up. They dance the dance of lovers, that’s for sure.

Taste – Oh, man, if you love coffee and if you love stout, you will love this beer. Living in Seattle they sell coffee everywhere, and all the peddlers have their own interpretations of what they think is good. Well, this is good.

Starbucks should be so good. This is some of the best-tasting coffee I’ve ever had, but of course that could be because it is equally mixed with some of the best stout that I ever had. Move over Reese’s, this is the next great combination.

Mouthfeel – Bigger than medium but not quite full, this is so smooth it makes me salivate. The mouthfeel is pleasant as can be.

What makes this a 5.0 Mouthfeel for me is the flavor blendings that create nirvana in between the cheeks. The huge bitterness of this Stout rounds things to perfection.

Drinkability – Hath a more drinkable coffee-flavored stout been made? Me thinks not!

Comments – One good Bell’s deserves another. Last night Kalamazoo, this night Java Stout. What a treat. A treat that was made possible by feloniousmonk, so I have to give him props for this killer trade.

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Photo of Shaw
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My friend and co-worker's girlfriend brought a sampler of Bell's to us Florida crackers to sample. Thanks Adam!

I think it's funny that I don't drink coffee but like this stout. But maybe true coffee drinkers find this beer's coffee flavors to be too obtuse. Whatever. This beer has a great coffee aroma and a very pronounced roasted coffee flavor. It is more like drinking a shot of espresso than regular coffee.

I lowered the drinkability score a half-point because this is one beer that you don't want to drink much of. It's good, but a little goes a long way.

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Photo of Todd
3.68/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A cheerfully labeled 12oz bottle pours a lifeless pint of thick black liquid. Absolutely no head. Aroma is cold 1-day old coffee with an earthy, roasty, nutty background. Light twang, full, watery body ... and nothin' but more cold 1-day old coffee. Some more nuttiness, char and a spicy / smoky linger. Hmm ... and chocolate brownies as the beer warms. Is this coffee or a beer? Where's the half-and-half and sugar? Finish is dry with coffee on the breath.

If you don't like coffee, move along. Otherwise, this is a coffee/beer geeks wet dream! And a very intense marriage of the two. Not the best coffee beer that I've had -- it lacks balance and is a bit overdone -- but it's worth a try for adventurous / coffee lover.

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Bell's Java Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.96 out of 5 based on 3,213 ratings.
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