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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User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,150 | Ratings: 3,235
Photo of PeatReek
3.01/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Batch 7170 (bell's database can't find this batch):
Aroma: dominated by coffee (no surprise there), more of a drip/coldbrew smell than espresso.

Taste: Attack is a big mouthful of mediocre coffee, followed by some residual bitter-sweetness (coffee bitter, not hops bitter).

Appearance: 1/4-in. dark tan head dissolved to a thin rim pretty quickly, no lacing.

Mouthfeel: Rather thin and moderately carbonated. No significant alcohol feel.

Overall, I was not impressed with the coffee aroma & taste in this java stout. It reminded me of the results I get when I try to coldbrew coffee, which has never worked out well - it's strong on the bitterness and short on the roasty fullness. It's not a bad beer, but if you have access to the Bell's line of stouts, pick a different one.

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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 TheArtOfWort
3.03/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Bought a six pack, drank two beers on three separate occasions. First two at average fridge temp, tasted soapy.
The next two at room temp, soapy and very boozy (?)
The last two at freezer temp for an hour, not bad overall. Low carb, bland malt taste and less than average coffee flavor. Maybe i was unlucky

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Photo of jeffmonarch
3.03/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle in a pint glass.

A - Nice thick dark black color with a medium brown head that's thick and stays for a long time.

S - Coffee, coffee and some chocolate. There's also a slight coffee scent.

T - Lots of coffee flavor. Tastes like coffee grinds. Slight chocolate undertones.

M - Full bodied. Good carbonation.

D - I'm not impressed. I poured it out and thought, Oh my god! I was sitting in antisipation. It smelled good. The flavor is definitly coffee but it's more like the grinds left after you brew the coffee not the beans.

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Photo of TheSupremeAJ
3.04/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle from Abe's of Bethlehem poured into St Bernardus chalice.

A- Nice dark black. Thin dark coffee crema colored head fades the edges only.

S - Sweet roasty malts and added coffee.

T- Very acidic and tangy... characteristic of a Latin American blend of coffee beans. Not as dark and smokey as I would have preferred. Just a tad too sweet.

M- Average to low carb. Not full enough for my tastes.

D- Low to average.

Will not buy again.

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Photo of jscondon
3.05/5  rDev -23%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

pours a opaque brown with a head the foams like crazy then diminishes rapidly to a little ring. my nose is toast but i can get a strong coffee aroma plus some burnt wood. this beer smells very earthy. the flavor of this beer was a complex but a let down. it is sweet up front, foams to a used coffee ground flavor and finishes with a hint of toffee and sweetness. i like the thickness of this beer and thought that the mouthfeel was nice.

overall this beer is tough the first few sips, it took about 1/2 a pint to overcome the coffee ground flavor, which i found distracting to the overall flavor. once i drank this for a while my taste buds adjusted and i found this to be a decent beer. not sure if i would get more, but it was fun to try.

drank this at cellar temp.

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Photo of mr-jj
3.06/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter from a 12 oz bottle. Brought back from a friend on his trip to Ohio. Bottled date is 8/29/13.

Color is very dark brown with a one finger tan head. Good lacing. Smells like dark roasted, almost burned, coffee. Flavor follows the nose - lots of dark roasted coffee with a little roasted caramel malt. Finish is bitter coffee. Body is medium with good carbonation.

Overall, lots of coffee, not much stout.

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Photo of joshlara
3.07/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

Pours tar black with a thick dark tan head with abundant lacing. One of the most impressive beers I have ever layed eyes on. The aroma is almost strictly coffee as you can smell it twenty feet across the room. Overpowering to say the least. There is a hint of oreo cookie in the aroma as well as the flavor but coffee grounds again dominate both. I personally think the flavor is better than the aroma but is still too much like stale coffee grounds. The extremely astrigent harsh coffee taste is unpleasant. I had high hopes for this beer as I like both stouts and coffee but this took it too far. It isn't too much that I can't finish the beer but it sure comes close to that threshold. The mouthfeel is silky smooth and creamy. This coffee stout does have some great characteristics but the coffee is taken too far. I can't drink caffeine as it gives me headaches and unfortunately this did give me one. Consequently, drinkability is way down for me. A definite beer to try for stout and coffee fans, and I am glad I did, but I am also glad I only bought a couple of bottles.

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Photo of crossovert
3.08/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle. Batch 9462.

It pours a dark brown/black with a large creamy/foamy tan head. The head sticks for a good while and leaves a thick layer of lacing.

The smell is coffee with some caramel and a slight hint of chocolate thrown in, not complex but still enjoyable.

The flavor is coffee with a hint of tanginess. I don't really like it, i seem to be getting a lot of misses with coffee beers lately.

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Photo of ONUMello
3.09/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a Bell's pint glass, dated 11/16/11
A: Pitch black, with a one-finger tan head.
S: Smells like burnt/overly bitter coffee. Aromatic but not in a pleasant way.
T: Tastes like day old coffee. A hint of toasted grains and molasses.
M: Thin and uninteresting.
O: I generally love Bell's beers, but this is probably my least favorite I've tried. Unbalanced, thin, and not particularly pleasant. Maybe just an off-batch?

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Photo of rrski198
3.1/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Jet black and can't see through this beer at all. Nice tan colored head. Not red, not beige. Head disapeared quite quickly

S: It smells exactely like the coffee grounds left in the filter from the day before. Actually disapointing, as I would have thought the smell would have been of fresh coffee. Burnt, stale smell.

T: Ok so not bad. I have had better coffee stouts. Again, this beer feels like a stout was mixed with left over coffee. Bitter, but not in a good way.

M: Full bodied, which I enjoy. Coats the mouth nicely.

D: Bells produces some outstanding products. This one is not one of them. Average at best. Full bodied, which I enjoy, but I can't get past the smell and taste of old, soggy, day old coffee grounds.

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Photo of ahking
3.1/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Serving suggestion: If this beer has been in your fridge for a while, leave a bottle out for 15 minutes before drinking. It really needs a higher serving temp to be appreciated. That being said, this is a disappointing beer for me, The worst stout I have had from Bells, which produces great stouts (pick up some KalamazooStout!). Pours nice enough, black and thick, deep brown head that is fleeting. Aroma is also great. Rich and complex, coffee grounds, dark chocolate. Great coffee beers smell like fresh espresso, this is a bit stale though. Alcohol is apparent in the aroma. The ale is quite flat. This is typical of a thick stout, but it would have benefitted from more C02. Malty sweet and less dry than I like, the hops are also on the light side. Generally stale tasting and lacking somewhere. Again, more stale grounds than fresh espresso. On the positive side, the smoky toasted malts are nice and a rich fudge flavor emerges as it warms. As much chocolate malts as the base malt would allow are used here. Bravo to that.

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Photo of Buebie
3.1/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle.

I had pretty high hopes for this one. Poured an inky black, black as night, no transparency at all. Head was 1 finger light brown that quickly disapeared. Minor retention bubbled. Very little laceing.

Smell is of, I brewed some strong coffe and threw it in the fridge. It is a potent dark roast coffee aroma. Also smells like brownies?
A swirl of the glass brings huge coffee and caramel scents around.

Taste up front is of sweet dark malt, then the surge of dark black cold coffee comes around. Some nutty flavor in there, almonds? The coffee tones continue to get darker and bolder even after the swallow. There is a nice sweetness present just before the swallow, but the tinge of bold coffee sweeps it away. Some hoppy biterness, but its mostly overpowered by dark roast.
Mouthfeel is kind of watery, with some similarities to an inkyness. But the watery character overpowers anything that may have resembled a creamy texture.

I dont think I'll do this one again, but if I was on a desert island and this was all I had, I'd drink it.

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Photo of bigfnjoe
3.11/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A- jet black with a quarter finger head thats a light shade of mocha. Head fades pretty quickly. No lacing. Disappointing

S- ridiculously dark almost smells burned. Honestly? This smells like my grandfather's house, and he was a big pipe smoker. Its really not appealing in the slightest

T- dark coffee and roasted malts. Very bitter in that respect. No alcohol taste at all, which is a huge positive. Theres no real balance to it...all I'm getting is the coffee. Give me some chocolate, give me some more roastiness...come on now.

M- its got a good thickness to it, I'll give the beer that. Not syrupy in the slightest.

D- if you can get past the smell, its not too dessert beer in my mind.

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Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
3.11/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into a tulip

A: Pours a deep, dark brown and settles gratuitously opaque with a thin tan head.

S: Aroma is rich with coffee and dark with chocolate and roasted malts, even a bit salty like soy sauce.

T/M: It has a medium amount of carbonation, pungent bitterness from coffee bean and more roasted bitter malts. The finish is acidic, almost tannin-like but more astringent.

I wouldn't say it's the greatest coffee themed beer but definitely a decent competitor.

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Photo of blammasterj
3.13/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours as black as coffee with a thin brown head that dissolves into almost nothing except a thin ring around the glass. The smell is almost all coffee: roasted beans, burnt grinds and cold coffee. There is also a little stout aroma in there: dark fruits, some almond and roasted malts. The flavor just accentuates all of these aromas. Espresso, black coffee, roasted malts, some leather, but also a bit of cinnamon and a vague sweetness. The coffee flavor is very strong, but not necessarily the best coffee flavor that I've had in a coffee stout: it tastes a bit like old, cold coffee. The finish is pretty mild with a faint roasted bitterness. However the aftertaste is really nice and creates some nice eructations. It's a pretty good coffee stout, but I've been spoiled on the likes of Breakfast stout and Berkshire Coffeehouse porter and this isn't quite in their league.

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Photo of BrentMC
3.13/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I picked this us as I have long been a fan of Bell's.

I poured this, not a great head and it dissipated quite rapidly. I was dissapointed in the aroma. I was expecting a nice roasty, coffee scent and was rewarded was next to nothing.

My first taste found only a muted coffee flavor, and a very average malt/bitterness. I tasted watery, though had good mouthfeel.

To be fair, I picked this up in April, and who knows how long it had been sitting on the store shelf.

In a pinch, I could drink it, but for the price there are far better stouts to be had.

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Photo of uwmgdman
3.13/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours jet black with a thick tan head. The aroma is moderately roasty, slight chocolate and some burnt coffee. The flavor is initially like a typical roasty stout but is quickly followed by a rush of coffee. The swallow has a prickly bittersweetness a combination acidic bite and hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is very smooth and full bodied with moderate carbonation. Overall an interesting, well crafted brew. Not something I would drink a lot of or drink very often; if you like coffee give it a try.

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Photo of Onibubba
3.13/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Black pour. A thick 1" beige head is gone before you know it. Faint coffee aroma, more about burnt sugar aids? Bleh. Taste is ye olde soy sauce stout with a touch of coffee maybe. Not in your face coffee taste like Speedway, more of a "it says java on the label, so I must be tasting coffee" taste. Carbonation is high, mouthfeel is thin. Alcohol is a bit more noticeable than it should be. Not going back to this one.

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Photo of fropones
3.15/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - A nice very dark brown with a 1 finger cafe head.

S - Lots of roasted coffee as soon as I crack the bottle. Not much else.

T - Bitter, acrid coffee flavors. Some chocolate, but very acrid. I almost want to say that I think this might be infected. Almost sour, even.

M - Tongue-tingling effervesence up front that I don't really look for in a stout. Decent carb and medium heft.

D - The acridness makes this one a hard beer to drink. The alcohol is hidden, but that sour acridness makes it tough going down.

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Photo of clvand0
3.15/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer poured a dark color with a small tan head and left a little lacing on the glass. The aroma was mostly comprised of a coffee smell. Nothing much else in the aroma. The taste is totally dominated by the coffee - very strong blend of coffee at that. There is a hint of a roasted malt but it is well covered by the strong coffee. Not being a coffee fan, I found this beer to be OK. It is a well made beer if you're a coffee fan.

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Photo of donaldchapman
3.15/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Very dark brown to black, with a long lasting tan head and ruby highlights.
S - An intense coffee aroma that borders on acrid with aromas similar to peppers.
T - A definite coffee presence with roasty, caramal, toffee, and chocolate flavors. A balanced bitterness and hop flavor.
M - Good body, with a moderate carbonation. Malt seems to help balance presence of coffee.

This beers flavors and mouth feel are great, but the aroma leaves a lot to be desired. The aroma is an overwhelming acrid coffee smell that brings the aroma out of balance. The flavor was much better, offering a good malt body to back up the coffee flavors.

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Photo of harpus
3.16/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours a jet black viscous body with no head, just a thin layer of dark mocha foam forms and falls quickly to a thin ring.

S: Huge aroma of coffee, roasted caramel malt, bittersweet chocolate.

T: Massive flavor of roasted coffee, malt and chocolate on the nose are almost non-existent. Sadly this is too heavily dominated by coffee/espresso to be considered a good example of the style, needs a lot more balance.

M: Medium heavy mouthfeel, nice smooth carbonation and dry on the finish, the abv is well hidden.

D: The mouthfeel helps this beer and as it warms it develops a little more complexity and balance, but overall this beer needs more malt profile and balance to make it a truly great example. Too much coffe aroma and flavor for me

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Photo of Jwale73
3.16/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served in a standard pint glass. Poured an opaque dark brown. Quarter-inch coffee-colored head dissipated in a thin oily slick of beer algae; lacing was non-existent. Strong nose of roasted coffee and lots of it, but something else as well. If I had to describe it the secondary smell was a combination of something vegetal and dirt or sour coffee grounds. Taste similar to nose, with that funky flavor lingering at the end. Mouthfeel was very lively; surprisingly so considering the lack of a head. Drinkability was okay, but overall, I was a bit disappointed.

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