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

very good
3,248 Ratings
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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Ratings: 3,248 |  Reviews: 1,152
Photo of shand
4.55/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a chalice.

This is a pitch-black brew. No light shines through it. The head is fairly substantial but retains right down to wisps. Lacing is very nice. The aroma is quite nice, I get espresso, roasted malts and, surprisingly, a nice hop character here. The taste is also quite good, a nice creamy coffee character is primary here, with some bittering hops on the backend. Delicious.

The mouthfeel is very creamy and feels just great going down, and the drinkability is exceptional. I really had a good time drinking this one, this is just a great stout. Bells just has hit after hit with regards to stouts, they're quickly becoming one of my favourite breweries.

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Photo of bobhits
3.56/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

You have to love brewers adding coffee to stouts which already have a coffee flavor. This beer pours deep dark black, a decent head, good lacing, all that jazz. Doesn't have the best legs and seems a touch watery but still in line with a big stout. The nose and the taste are of ground coffee and espresso. There's a good bit of bitter chocolate, hops, and a rather sweet sugary malt trying to hold things together. The flavors linger in the mouth, mostly the espresso well well after the beer is gone.

Over all a good beer, far short of beers such as founders breakfast stout, but if you want a bit more espresso this might be the way to go.

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Photo of yuenglingfan101
5/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A perfect beer. Pours black. Smells of coffee and chocolate, which is a benefit for those that are coffee and chocolate lovers. Tastes of malts, coffee and chocolate of course. Smooth overall feeling. Drinkability, just like my coffee can't stop at one cup, well this beer I can't stop at one bottle

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Photo of haddon
3.42/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours black as onyx in the glass with not much head. little lacing down the glass

smells like stale coffee... smokey, salted nuts, little bit of sweet molasses

lots of coffee notes... toasted malts, bitter chocolate, and a bit of hoppy bitterness at the end. strange how the aftertaste begins to fall apart, almost like a scorched pot of coffee that has been on the burner too long

medium body with not much carbonation but the style wouldn't call for it

to me, coffee stouts are very hit or miss. this one doesn't quite get it. I'm not going to ding a beer that's in a style that I'm not wild about but this one seems to miss something on the aftertaste.

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

A - Batch 9992 makes this about 5 months old at tasting. An ink black appearance with a tan 3 finger head that receeds to a cap. Tons of lace.

S - Bittersweet coffee. One it should be. Smells like a good, strong, coffee shot.

T - All coffee. A nice, strong, bitter espresso. Also noted is some hop bitterness after the coffee backs off a bit. There is also a very pleasant semi-sweet chocolate flavor that lingers on the back of the palate. I like it.

M - Medium body. A quick swirl revives a creamy head.

O - A nice surprise here. This goes down REALLY easy. And that is on top of an Old Raspy! Very drinkable. It tastes good and the lingering flavors of coffee and chocolate rival many I have had. At 7.5 is well hidden.

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Photo of FattyJLE
3.42/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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

A - Pitch black with a quarter inch beige head that dissipates quickly, leaving minimal lacing.

S - Diacetyl/buttery notes with a hint of coffee, sugar and alcohol. Smells very similar to that of irish coffee.

T - Slightly roasty malts combined with a moderate buttery flavor. Stale coffee emerges on the end and carries into a lingering coffee/earthy hop bitterness. The alcohol is well-hidden by the coffee and bittering hops.

M - Moderate to low body for a stout with a dry finish. Appropriate carbonation.

O - I was expecting more from this beer. I felt the flavor was lacking for a coffee stout. It could have used a more intense roastiness and although the coffee smells and flavors were definitely there, I would have preferred a fresher taste. Instead I felt as if I was drinking a cold, watered down irish coffee. I will not seek out this beer again.

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Photo of travis224
4.17/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #8158. This beer is over 4 years old but there is still a lot of coffee flavors in here. A bit boozy but seriously delicious. i don't drink a lot of coffee but this is a coffee lovers dream Can't speak for it fresh but with four years on it there's still plenty of carbonation and deliciousness in this glass. Bell's always kills it.

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Photo of srandycarter
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Almost black, medium tan head. Slow to leave. Lots of viscous cling lace and cascading bubbles.

S - Burnt coffee, milk chocolate, chocolate chip cookies.

T - Taste follows smell, but heavier on the burnt coffee. Maybe too heavy for me. Nice 90% Cocoa flavor too.

M - Medium body, balance too much to bitter coffee. Texture a little phlemy in the center.

D - Not a session for sure.

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Photo of veinless
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jesse13713 for this brew, got it in a trade with him. Second one of the Bell's bottles he sent - thanks again Jesse.

Pours jet black and pretty viscous with a half-finger dark mahogany head that retains pretty well for how meager it is. Bubbling is of assorted size and leaves spotty lace.

Nose is one-dimensional: it's a dark roasted coffee bomb, and offers awesome coffee aroma. Wet grounds that lack any sweetness fill the nose and make you feel like you're getting ready in the morning. However, there is nothing beyond that smell, and this IS a coffee STOUT after all; I admire the nose but wish there was something else to offer complexity. Still worthy of a solid 4 though due to the quality of the one smell present.

Taste has a lot of the coffee, but does add some other flavors, namely a slight pineapple for just a moment in the middle. Some toasted biscuit comes out a bit as well, but this is a coffee showcase for the most part. That happens to be a good thing here, as the coffee is dark, roasted, slightly rubbery and a tinge spicy at the end.

Mouthfeel is full and thick, but strangely a bit watery for brief moments. Drinkability is excellent due to the awesome coffee flavor being well balanced and not too bitter at all. Bell's clearly aims for one thing in this beer, and they achieve it well.

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Photo of Chaney
3.01/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark, dark brown, with absolutely no light passing through it, even around the edges. The dense 1/2 finger or so mocha head stayed at least a ring around the brew throughout the session.

S: The intense coffee grounds laid waste to everything else that either is, or once was around it. A tinge of roast was present.

T: Intense coffee, but it was more of the Maxwell House variety. The coffee taste not only ruined my palate, it just might have stained my teeth as well. This brew could have definitely benefited from a bit of caramel-like sweetness.

M: The intense coffee bitterness was just simple too much for me. The carbonation was low.

O: I try this one year after year and I just can't get a taste for it. I want to cheer for it because of my love for the brewery, however, I found this to be a very rough beer session...

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Photo of ElGrecoVerde
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Very dark brown with a relatively thin brown head.

Bitter coffee notes with some roasted grains and dark chocolate.

Thick espresso flavors, very bitter yet nice. Hints of burnt toast, dark chocolate and even a bit of smoke.

This is where the beer falters. The flavors needed a bold feel, yet it feels a bit thin. Little creaminess and even a bit oily. Maybe it was an old bottle. Still a decent beer.

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Photo of Nerudamann
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

Look - jet black with about two finger's worth of a dark khaki-colored foam that dissipates slowly.

Smell - malty and very coffee-like, as the name would suggest. Not as much of a "roasted" aroma as I would have expected.

Taste and Mouthfeel - bitter stout with a very coffee bean extra. Creaminess too, like a coffee-flavored cream soda. Bitter, but the aftertaste is mild. Texture is lighter than I would have expected, leaning slightly more toward the watery side, but still in the middle.

Drinkability - Decent brew, but not very complex in taste.

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.17/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A black colored beer. It looks to be a thick viscosity beer judging from the pour.
About a fingers worth of foamy head.
Aroma is of rich roasted malts and cofee beans, maybe some smoked malts too.
Rich malt tasing with sutle nuiances of coffee and chocolate roasted or burnt malts.
Tart and spritzy beer with a medium mouthfeel.
It seem the tartness is out of character for this beer and was most unappealing to me.

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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 Nesued
3.67/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Made a random 6-pack at one of my local stores to try some different offerings than those to which I usually gravitate. This being one of them. Poured a deep brown almost black color. Moderate head formed upon the inital pour and left a one-finger head as the pour finished. No lacing and a thin ring remained as I allowed this offering to warm a bit before tasting.

Smell - As expected, if "coffee" isn't the first thing on your list of initial impact statements, you need a new sniffer. What else? you may ask? Hard to say really. Some chocolate notes as well if you really focus.

Taste - Hoo boy, this will wake you up in the morning if you are so inclined. Lush coffee coats your tongue but suprisingly doesn't remain as long as you would think. An ample hop presence well gives a much-needed cleansing component. The chocolate comes through to balance the potentially overbearing weight thrown at you out of the gate. Some caramel and even some vanilla come to the party as well. A somewhat complex offering, ending with a smoky finish.

Mouthfeel - Thick body with ample carbonation to move the beer around your mouth. Lots of legs here.

Drinkability - If you love coffee in your beer, this one is for you. Nicely balanced as compared to other coffee offerings I've had. Not something I would make a habit of having, due to the intense nature of the coffee addition, but I can appreciate the depth needed to make this more than a "one-trick-pony".

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Photo of CooperEllis
3.64/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz into DFH snifter from CruisaC, thanks!

Dark dark pour with no head. Very thin bubbles, alomst dirty yellow/white as opposed to a clean tan.

A lot of coffee in the aroma, but it is not the prominent aroma, there are stronger notes of roast malt and chocolate - there is also a slight spice note, maybe cinnamon.

Taste is flat compared to the aroma. Given the other offerings from Bells, I was expecting a rich body with a coffee note, this is thinner then that with a strong coffee flavor.

It's certainly fine, and better than most, but not the quality I was expecting.


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Photo of BretSikkink
3.88/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark black color with a foamy and toasted-tan colored head. Pretty nice look, although the head isn't quite as imposing as some other Bell's stouts. Nose is of decent strengths, and exudes all characteristics of the coffee bean: roasted and burnt is the order of the day. I like it but could use more force.

The flavor sticks strictly to the coffee end of the equation, not even much sweetness to balance. Chocolate does emerge, especially on the finish, but it's heavily balanced toward the Java. Pretty bitter, but not much in the hops direction. Body is middle of the road, could definitely be bigger for my taste. Pretty smooth, but the carbonation works too hard up front. Definitely a coffee stout from top to bottom, and as a daily drinker of black joe, I enjoy it very much. Not for everyone.

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Photo of jsanford
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Pint Glass. Batch 9959.

A - Pours an inky black with a creamy, 2-inch mocha-colored head that hangs around for a bit, and leaves some sticky lacing as it recedes.
S -! Very dark roasted coffee, quite bitter and earthy smelling. Bit of dark malt, chocolate, and ash as well.
T - Rich, earthy coffee dominates the flavor, backed up by dark chocolate malt and brownie batter flavors. Quite smooth, I was expecting a more bitter coffee presence, but this is nice and silky.
M - Smooth and creamy with a full body and moderate "prickly" carbonation.
D - I'm drinking this pretty quickly, this is a very tasty coffee stout. If you're a coffee fan this is a must try!

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Photo of PorterLambic
4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours nearly black, opaque with a good head that fades really fast, nought but a thin film left.
Smell is heavily soy sauce with smoky notes and molasses.
Taste is soy, smoke and molasses well balanced here as well as in the nose.
Smooth, rich and chewy. Low effervescence with a full body. Some coffee(burnt) shows up in the aftertaste. A thoroughly fine brew in all regards.

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Photo of bucklemyshoe
3.46/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle at 48 degrees into a Stone IRS tulip.

A: It pours an opaque black with a finger of khaki head with average retention and lacing.

S: Dust, over-roasted coffee beans, and a little cocoa powder.

T: Strong, potent coffee, chocolate, and some dark fruitiness as it warms.

M: It has a medium-thick body with some creaminess and long-lingering tastes.

D: This is okay but the roastiness is way over done. It does not come close to FBS or Wake n' Bake.

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

While I was on vacation visiting family in Woodbridge Virginia, I got a chance to go to a Total Wine in Springfield to pick up some local beers, or any that are distributed there that are not sent to California. Picked up one bottle of this as part of a make your own six pack.

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Bruery Tulip glass

The beer pours thick, rich, and is a deep dark black color. The head is a thin brown, that rose about a half inch that receded quickly, but could be coaxed back up with a little swirling. Some moderate lacing on the sides of the glass.

The aroma's are of fresh ground roasted coffee, chocolate mocha, a little smoke, and roasted malts.

The nose was spot on to what the flavors would hold. Bursts of clean espresso, some sweet chocolate notes, and the roasted malts on the finish. The coffee notes is a big wave up front, and the middle is dominated by the roasted flavors with the chocolate being the subtlest flavor. It's only deduction is that the coffee notes are so dominant, that it reminds me of just a coffee stout, and this being a RIS, it is lacking some of the other flavors for me.

The mouth feel is creamy and smooth, with light to medium carbonation.

Overall, a good beer, since I love coffee. Good sipper, with nothing you would not expect from a coffee stout. Though just like with coffee, one is usually enough in a sitting.

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Photo of cocogan
4.07/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Visual: Pours Jager black with a tan head that barely covers the beer. Leaves a slight spotty lacing.

Smell: Peppers and espresso.

Taste: Coffee, and a pepper taste (some kind of jalepeno/bell/banana combo) along with a slight cocoa kick. Ends with a balanced hop-malt finish.

Mouth: Medium body and carbonation.

Drunkability: Great beer but not sure on how many I could drink wihtout switching to something less distinct. Pepper taste gets to me even tho I do love it.

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Photo of KYBrewgrass
4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- 4 Poured a dark, dark brown (pretty much black). Nice light brown head color. Not a thick head- it died down quickly- but bubbly around the edges of the glass with the slightest movement. Good lacing.

S- 3.5 Roasted coffee, dark malt. A little sweetness - maybe chocolate. Not quite as pungent as I expected for this brew but still nice.

T- 4.5 What was lacking on my nose was made up for in taste. Strong coffee/chocolate combination. I love both, so I thought this was tasty. Very slight booziness on aftertaste.

M- 4 Creamy and goes down smooth. Slightly fuller than medium body. Ample carbonation. Not too dry compared to some stouts, which I liked.

D- 4 I don't usually want to have multiple stouts in one sitting, but I think I could get there with this one. Its really not all that heavy for its style and I enjoyed its flavor. I'd recommend trying this one to anyone that loves java and brew.

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

Batch 9992: Packaged Oct. 2010.

Pours pitch black in color. No light comes through even when the glass is held directly up to it. The head stands an impressive 3 fingers tall following my fairly aggressive pour. Head has settled to a thin lace after about 10 minutes, but there is lacing all over the glass!

Smell is a good mix of coffee and roasted malts, but there's something else going on in the aroma, and I'm not sure if I like it or not? Almost seems a tad sour?

At first, the sour smell seemed to carry over into the taste, but with each sip, I continue to notice it less and less. Good mix of coffee and roasted malt flavor going on here. There is a slight bitterness from the hops, but it's in the background for sure.

Medium body, leaning towards full with a fairly low carbonation level.

I could drink a few of these before moving on to something else.

Morey's Bottom Line: A pretty good coffee stout. I just drank a FBS prior to this, and I prefer it, but this is still pretty good.

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Photo of StoutHunter
4.18/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked up a single of this last week for $2.49 at the Lager Mill. I am a big fan of bell's but for some reason I haven't got a hold of this brew before, but I generally love coffee stouts so lets see how this one stacks up. Batch#9992 brewed October !3 2010. Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a pint glass.

A- This beer has a cool looking label, I like the crazy looking coffee cup and the pastel colors in the background, it really makes this beer stick out from all the other mundane labels. But there is some dispute over the gender of the coffee cup. This beer poured a nice deep dark black just like I expect from this style. It had a nice fingers worth of mocha colored head that faded to a thick bubbly ring.

S- There's no mistaking this for a normal stout, I'm hit with large amounts of sweet chocolate and tons of bitter black coffee. Exactly what you would expect from a coffee stout.

T- Coffee really dominates the taste of this brew. I am immediately hit with lots of bittersweet coffee that mixes in with some of the chocolate and vanilla flavors from the base stout to create a nice espresso and mocha like flavor that is quite pleasing. The alcohol is barely noticeable and I don't pick up any hops.

M- Full bodied but slightly lighter then most coffee stouts. Smooth with great carbonation.

D- For it's style this beer is pretty drinkable. It has a good balance of flavor and the alcohol is well hidden, if I had another I would drink it.

Overall I thought this was a pretty good coffee stout. It had all the flavors that I have come to expect from this style but was better balanced then most and the flavors never felt artificial as they sometimes can. After all is said and done I would say this is the second best coffee stout I have had with Founders Breakfast Stout being slightly better, but not by much. I was pretty impressed with this brew and I don't know why it took me so long to try it. This beer has definitely earned a place in my fridge, keep it up Bell's, you guys rock.

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Bell's Java Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.96 out of 5 based on 3,248 ratings.
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