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

very good
1,146 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: 1,146 | Ratings: 3,225
Photo of Kenye
2.68/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 Ounce bottle packaged on 10/15/12. Poured into pint glass.

Appearance - Nothing special for a stout. Dark black with an average sized head, and average retention. Almost no lacing.

Smell - This is where it all starts to go down for me. It smells like old stale coffee.

Taste - Follows the smell. There is a lot of coffee in this beer. Sadly, it's overpowering. I personally can't taste anything besides the coffee. It's very bitter. I feel like there needs to be something sweet to balance all that bitter coffee. Again, it tastes like I'm drinking old cold coffee, not a stout. The 7.5% ABV is well hidden.

Mouthfeel - Another average. Nothing really to write home about.

Overall - I'm very disappointed with this. I expected a lot more. There is no balance. If you like your coffee black and cold you might like this. I'm having trouble finishing it, it's that bitter.

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Photo of rastaman
2.7/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

To me, the aroma didn't appear to be right, lots of ashy roasted coffee beans, and oddly some rotting vegetables? I liked the first part of the aroma i mentioned, but not the second aspect. I dunno if ot was a bad bottle, but the palate didn't suggest it was. Palate is quite smooth, roasty and ashy, decent, with quite pronounced bitterness, interesting and innovative, but I don't think this quite worked. Thanks to Feloniousmonk for this!

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Photo of Gladius270
2.7/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 3

A- The beer poured an inky black, with very thin tan head. This head persisted throughout the duration of the glass.

S- Smells like fresh brewed coffee. Simple as that.

T- Same as smell. All I get out of this beer is black coffee. I enjoyed it more as it warmed, probably because cold coffee is a bit off-putting for me.

M- Very thin and watery. I would have liked a much creamier feel from this beer. In my opinion, the weak point of this brew.

O- Not a big fan of this one. The taste was very one-dimensional, and the thin mouthfeel is something I cannot put aside.

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Photo of vwcraig
2.71/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Black with ruby highlights around edges of glass. Creamy tan head dissipates to leave a thin ring around the rim. Huge coffee smell, no surprise there. That taste pretty much overpowers everything else. Heavy and deep, dark roasted coffee with a slight chocolately aftertaste. Followed up with a long and bitter finish. Mouthfeel was on the chalkier side. Tough one for me to get through but is unique for a stout to have this flavor. Respectable for what it is, my least favorite stout so far, but I am not a coffee drinker.

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Photo of BierReise
2.71/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

After being blown away by the Expedition Stout, I was hopeful of another good stout. Looks impressive with its deep brown body and fluffy tan head. Aroma of strong coffee reminded me of coffee ice cream. Crisp and slightly effervescent with medium fullness. Flavor tastes like that time when I accidently drank coffee grounds that were floating in my cup. This is rather unpleasant in my opinion. Like stale wet coffee grounds. I may not even finish this one.

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Photo of PaterMorse
2.74/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Interesting beer. Unfortunately, seems they worked too hard on the smell and left a one-note taste. I guess if you want a VERY COFFEE coffee stout, you may have found it; as for me, time to move on.

A: The more positive aspects of Bell's Double Cream (reviewed elsewhere, and notable for crimson/orange ring after head dissipates); but doesn't stay dark. Instead, looks like watery Coke (a downer for me).

S: Burned coffee grounds. Or, at times (sorry), a blackened hot dog burned weenie roast style (not a bad thing, just sayin'). Strong, noticeable aroma -- but one dimensional and overdone. It's like sticking your nose in a can of Folgers and campire ash.

T: Pretty big and bold. Not surprisngly, it's coffee, coffee, coffee (and burnt at that). Finish isn't as bitter as nose might suggest; and quite good after-taste.

M: Bit bulkier than Bell's Double Cream (which was too flimsy). Medium, leaning light.

O: Interesting. Glad I tried it, but not altogether enjoyable. An OK novelty beer but wouldn't order it off a good beer menu if I was out -- unless I was in a funky mood and craving a coffee stout.

Repeat? I wouldn't stock it as a staple; but I'd keep it as a novelty for coffee lovers and for that every-now-and-then unique experience.

Where? Fun to incorporate into beer sampling party or take to campfire

Two Words: Burnt Folgers

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Photo of JLaw55
2.75/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Not as good as I had hoped, I have had better coffee stouts. Also, the alcohol really comes through, which I do not care for.

Would Drink Again: No
Would Purchase Again: No

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Photo of Nowhereman529
2.75/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

This poured a nice deep dark brown color with a little tan head on top that quickly reduced to a lace around the edge of the glass.

Smell is strong on coffee with a little chocolate thrown in. The smell may be the best part of this beer.

The taste is something atrocious. It's distinctly day old maxwell house coffee grounds with a little chocolate and dark malt thrown in to try to add some depth.

Mouthfeel is alright. It's a little too heavy/syrupy for my tastes. Don't get me wrong, I like a good chewy stout, but this is just a little much.

I would not drink this again. I tried hard to like this beer after all the reviews I read I guess I expected a little bit more, but in the end you gotta go with what you like.

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Photo of hotstuff
2.78/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer poured a brown head with small-medium bubbles. The hue of this beer was black and there was no lacing. The nose was coffee and it had a strong coffee flavor. The mouthfeel of this beer was smooth. Unfortunately, I didn't like this particular stout because I just can't acquire a taste for coffee tasting beers even though this particular stout didn't have as strong of a coffee taste as I have recently tried. But, at least I tried it!!

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
2.78/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12-ounce bottle into a tulip-shaped Duvel glass.

A: Reflective black in color with a two-finger head of creamy, rocky brown foam. Thing rings of lace hang in the wake of this pitch black brew.

S: Roasted black malt, wet coffee grounds, bittersweet cocoa, and a dry, herbal hop and tobacco aroma.

T: Sweet, and almost tart roasted malt flavor up front with lots of herbal and hop bitterness to it. The coffee flavor isn't exactly fresh to me, but it is quite potent. Finish is deep roasted malts and coffee beans with a lingering amount of that tartness, which is a bit of a buzzkill for me. Bad bottle or just the way it is?

M: Creamy, tangy and full-bodied, with a slick, lubricating resins across the mid-palate and lingering in the finish.

D: Sort of an out of whack coffee stout if you ask me. I do fear most that the bottle may be past prime, but I've also encountered other carbonated coffee beverages with this same issue. At any rate, the 7.5% ABV, which carries a bit of a stinging, hard swallow. That combined with the sour coffee flavor doesn't score it very high with me.

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
2.78/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a rich and roasty black with a small tan head. The bubbles quickly disappear leaving only a thin tan ring around the top of the beer.

S: Smells mainly of roasted malt and coffee. Good thing considering its a coffee stout.

T: The initial hit is sweet, but the coffee notes quickly take over. Unfortunately that nice coffee doesn't last very long. The taste drastically changes to massive tartness. There is no bottled on date, so I have to assume this beer is well past it's prime. Refermentation perhaps?

M: Medium bodied, lots of thickness but nothing to chew down.

O: The refermentation (or whatever) makes this beer pretty undrinkable. After a few sips, the novelty of a sour coffee beer wears off. I tried this beer for the first time a few months ago and wasn't impressed. Now, the second time around, it's even worse.

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Photo of PDXHops
2.8/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to brewdan for this 12 oz bottle, poured into a tulip.

Not much to look at, although looks can certainly be deceiving. 1/2 finger of tan head disappears within a minute or so. Near black body, little lacing.

Yesterday's coffee (still sitting cold in the pot) is the primary aroma, with hints of roasted malt and bittersweet chocolate to make it a bit more appealing.

More lively in the mouth, with burnt malt, bakers chocolate and chocolate chips, but the old coffee taste dominates, and not in an entirely pleasant way. A bit of hoppy sting in the swallow. Medium-thick body with a rather fluffy feel. Quite coating, although the old coffee isn't what I really want sticking to my palate.

Overall impression: Too much old coffee flavor, not a beer I'd seek out.

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Photo of frenchblood21
2.81/5  rDev -29%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance- Pitch black with a large tan head.

Smell- Of course, coffee and chocolate. Mine had a distinct smell of soap, and I know it wasn't the glass.

Taste- Same as the nose minus the soap.

Mouthfeel- Coats your mouth like an iced mocha would. Very heavy up front and thins out as it goes down.

Overall- To be honest, I've come to expect a bit more from Bell's. Its a drinkable beer but not at all memorable for its style/class.

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Photo of sjohansen
2.84/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours pitch black into a snifter. Creamy caramel colored head, dissipates quickly leaving some wisps. Leopard spotted lacing during the session. The visual is as appetizing as it's ever going to get for a stout.

Smells of coffee shop sweet morning blend.

Smooth through the palate, more so as it warms. Sweet up front. Bitter coffee finish. Sour aftertaste. Coats like cough syrup, and leaves a less then desirable finish. There is not a noticable trace of alcohol, which is pretty good feat at 7.5%.

Mouthfeel is smooth, velvety with the slightest buzz of carbonation.

At best, this is a great coffee beer. Unfortunately, the finish took away from the delicious sweet/bitter combination of the coffee/stout.

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Photo of MIbeerfan
2.85/5  rDev -28%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Notes from a bar napkin:

Sampled at HopCat's in Grand Rapids MI, Dec 12.

Thick brown head and very dark black beer. Heavy coffee overtones, coffee overpowers all flavors. Very bitter aftertaste.

Not high on my list of coffee stout's. The bitter was too much for me.

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Photo of brdc
2.85/5  rDev -28%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

This is a pitch black brew that generates a foamy brown head that unfortunately disappears quickly, although leaving some lacing behind.
Nose is pleasant, but unidimensional and even overpowering, coffee and more coffee.
The taste is slightly more balanced, with some other roasted malts barely discernible in there, but still overwhelming, overpowering coffee and more coffee.
Medium-bodied, drinking this brew is limited to one bottle (or in my case, less than half) given the overpowering excess of coffee that blunts everything else.
Will definitely not try this again.

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Photo of Cresant
2.86/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured this 12 oz. brown bottle into a pint glass. Dark, dkark brown body let zero light through. Three fingers of creamy tan head eventually faded to a ring.

Smell was ashy and powdery. Freash coffee and cocoa powder.

Taste was Creamy sweet and brightly hoppy. Nicely balanced.

Mouthfeel was smooth and rounded. Medium to full bodied.

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Photo of Ryanm1
2.88/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

If I had two words to aptly describe this beer they would be: Java & Stout.

This beer was pour from a bottle into a 4oz. tasting glass. It was the absence of color, black. The smell was of a stout without a doubt.

After a long night of tasting several high abv beers (mostly stouts) the concensus was that tasting this was like cigar ash. It reminded me of Starbucks left sitting on the pot for a few hours, ice cold. It tastes like I should be having this brew with cream and splenda. A dark dark roast of coffee. Bold.

Was not a huge fan of this 7.5% abv beer. Might give it a shot as the first beet of the night. Better for winter months. Not to be consumed in mass quantities.

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Photo of derekgw123
2.88/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Other than the Expedition stout, Bells has really disappointed me. This beer had a bit of a tinny after taste and was not as full bodied as I expected it to be. I usually love dark beers with choco/coffee notes, but this was a dud.

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Photo of avaldivia
2.92/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Nice very dark brown color. Off white head that dissipated very quickly. Decent lacing.

S: Coffe is definitely present and almost overpowering. Some roasted malts as well.

T: Tastes of stale coffee. I wa very disappointed with the flavor of this. It is ok but I was expecting more from the smell. The coffee just overpowers everything and not in a way I am all too crazy about.

M: Not particularly smooth. Lighter than I was expecting.

O: Reminds me of a stale French Press coffee. I was not crazy about this. I am looking at my past reviews and it looks as if I don't like coffee stouts, but I swear here are quite a few that I do like. This is just not one of them.

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Photo of ImusBeer
2.93/5  rDev -26%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured out of a bottle, very black with a tan head about a finger in size, died to just thin sheeting over the top, lots of lacing as I drank.

The smell was overpoweringly coffee, not much else. The flavour was the same, Coffee with nothing else that I could detect.

With no real bitterness but a silky texture due to coffee it seemed this was an OK beer. Seemed flat to me. Only problems too much coffee and no enough sweetness. Not very complex, I wasn't impressed.

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Photo of Floydster
2.93/5  rDev -26%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

12 ounce bottle also received in a trade with pimpp, thanks for giving me the opportunity to try this one

Split with a friend tonight, poured into my Flying Dog glass slowly after seeing the size of the immediate head forming

Color was pretty close to black, small amounts of light did get through though, 3/4 inch light tan head that stuck around for about fie minutes, some nice retention, decent lacing as well

Smell had lots of freshly roasted coffee and ground up beans, super dark chocolate, burned malt, some maple syrup, and roasted barley

Taste was tons of coffee from the very beginning to the end, not much else going on until it got warmer, some rich chocolate flavors towards the end, needed some hops or sweeter malt to balance this out more, something just missing and I could not really put a finger on it, fairly one dimensional in my opinion, at least it did not really have an espresso-like bite, I would not have been able to finish my five or six ounces if that was the case

Body was thin, too much carbonation, taste disappeared quickly, coffee dominated the mouthfeel making it a little tiresome after a while

Could drink many more ounces of this stuff, tasted like I went to Starbucks and threw some stout in with a latte, maybe not the drastic but you get the point, ABV is fairly high but that is not as much as a factor than the heaviness of this beer

Usually a huge fan of coffee brews and this one was definitely not one of my favorites, needs to be more mellow, like to taste more beer than java if you know what I mean, not sure if I could recommend this anyone, glad I tried it for myself nevetheless

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Photo of Hojaminbag
2.96/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bell's Java Stout has a dark brown, opaque body and a finger and a half of brown head. Pretty good retention with minimal lacing.

Pretty good coffee aroma that is joined by some dark malts. Mostly just coffee.

Bell's Java Stout is another coffee stout that falls into the category of a coffee flavor that is really strong. So strong, in fact, that it is unpleasant, making the beer acrid and bitter. The coffee flavor comes off as burnt and ashy. The chocolate malt, malt sweetness, and roasted malt are barely noticeable underneath the coffee flavor.

The body is fairly good. Not really big or thick or chewy, but it is smooth and creamy.

Many coffee stouts that I come across share the same problems with Bell's Java stout, where the coffee is so aggressive it is unpleasant. Too bad, I like Bell's.

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Photo of winomark
2.96/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

2003 bottling.

Appearance: Pours a pitch black with a nice medium tan head with good lacing.

Aroma: Very bitter coffee hits first. And keeps hitting! Hard! Reminds me of my homebrew when I added too much coffee. Everything but the coffee is deeply hidden.

Taste: Palate follows the nose. Coffee bitterness controls the whole palate, allowing the roasted malt to sneek in the deep finish. All becomes more balanced in the lingering finish.

Mouthfeel: Very flavorful and strong, but not too heavy. Somewhat unbalanced in the mid-palate.

Drinkability: Not my favorite coffee stout. Too much coffee bitterness takes away some enjoyment, but oddly enough grows on me over time. Give this one a try when you can.

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Photo of nortmand
2.97/5  rDev -25%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Really dark brown/black pour with a dark brown head.

Strong burnt coffee aroma, not much else. A little chocolate, I suppose. I love a coffee aroma that comes from real coffee, but this is an overroasted, Charbucks coffee, as opposed to, say, Founders Breakfast Stout, which has a much more interestinf coffee. I mean, if you're going to make a beer with coffee in it, you may as well use really freakin' good coffee.

The sweetness in the flavor works to lessen the effect of burnt coffee.

Medium bodied, an ok stout, but I think they failed to give this beer a really pleasant coffee character.

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Bell's Java Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.96 out of 5 based on 3,225 ratings.
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