Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
1,134 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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,134 | Ratings: 3,180
Photo of warriorsoul
3.92/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to CRJMellor for this one of many Bell's offerings.
Jet black ink pours out of the bottle with less than 1/4 finger off light brown head.
Dark roast espresso in the nose with not much else able to poke its way through...well, ok...some dark chocolate thrown in too.
Taste is much more balanced than I was expecting...a strong coffee base but an equally distributed choclate flavor with enough malt sweetness to smooth it up. Hops are there, but very subdued...not bitter at all and I like it that way.
Mouthfeel is quite thick and the carbonation is divine....not sure how many of these I could throw back, but a couple is a no brainer.
Make room for another Bell's that delivers...if you like the style, this is a must try.

 736 characters

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.

 254 characters

Photo of kmpitz2
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep jet black color with a small deep tan head that falls to an almost complete skin over top of the brew. Good looking stuff. The aroma hit me immediately after opening the bottle. Lots of coffee. No doubting that this is a java stout. There is a really nice sweetness in there too, very much chocolatey, but dominated with coffee. It almost smells like a mocha shake. I am a fan. Flavor is all coffee upfront. A little mocha creeps in after swallowing with some lighter chocolate notes, but it is a bit one dimensional. A modest bitter comes through on the finish, thought its not apparent if this is from the coffee or hopping. Don't get me wrong...I like it, but I'd like to see more going on with it. Feel is chewy thick, with a very minimal carbonation. Not too thick where it gets in the way of the brew. I think the feel really compliments the brew. Alcohol is not apparent on this brew. I think this is a nice brew, thought I'd like to see the coffee a bit less with some more malty character coming through to balance. Bell's keeps me coming back.

 1,064 characters

Photo of SupaCelt
4.13/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured unto me at the top of the morning, this is one delicious looking super duty brown coloured beer in a glass. A very enthusiastic head rose up after much activity stirred within the epicenter of the pour. The result is a delicious looking chocolate biscuit head that appears to be a treat within a treat. A slow retreat by said head coats the glass with lace making this look more like dessert than breakfast. Cocoa coloured banners fly all the way down to the dregs as this glass progresses toward empty.

The nose of non java brewed stout styles reminds me more of coffee than this one does. Ah the nuances. This one has a very pleasant chocolate aroma that blends with the real and authentic coffee notes to create a scent that feels foreign to my nose. It is very nice though. It has a bizarre grilled chicken aspect to it that says flame broiled. I didn't see that coming at all.

The flavours are quite pleasing and mild. The bitterness factor is low. A creamy aspect seems to take its place here. This promotes more of a wet feeling on the palate as opposed to the traditionals that are more often primarily dry in character. It has chocolate and coffee flavours along with a some charcoal and ashy aspects that I must be feeling from the roasted nature and the bean components mixing. Quite nicley constructed I should say. A damn fine eye opener. You can't drink all day if you don't start in the morning!

Mouthfeel is medium. Just right. This brew is thick enough to inspire love and thin enough to inspire a great drinkability. This is a very worthy pick up that is a fine breakfast stout.

 1,613 characters

Photo of montageman
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Looks like black coffee when poured - the head is dark tan, reminiscent of the crema on a nice shot of espresso. The smell of coffee is immediate once the bottle is opened and even more so after the pour. The taste is sweet dark chocolate with a nice, bitter coffee/hoppy finish. Mouthfeel is thinner than many stouts I've had - it's kind of like a mildly carbonated coffee drink.

Very nice stout. Rich but not incredibly heavy. Quite drinkable.

 448 characters

Photo of hanco005
4.54/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle of batch 7221 into a nonic pint glass

A---pours black onyx with almost no head; no lacing as a result

S—strong roasted coffee beans. Honestly, that’s all I smell.

T—strong roasted coffee taste with a touch of bittersweetness (is that even a word?). The coffee flavor is so strong as the name suggests.

M—heavy and a little slimy, but smooth; not much for carbonation

D—Simply great! I love the coffee flavor in this stout. Think I will have a few more. Wonder if it will keep me awake tonight? Perhaps I should have this in the morning instead of coffee?

 589 characters

Photo of KarlHungus
4.43/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This brew pours an opaque black color. The head is two-and-a-half-fingers in height, creamy, and dark tan in color. This brew simply looks like a solid stout. The aroma screams of java while the beer is still once agitated chocolate bursts through. Java diffinately dominates the flavor, but like the aroma, a chocolaty, malty backbone makes itself very present. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a little more carbonation than most other stouts. However, I think that is a good thing, as it doesn't interfere with the beers flavor, and makes it easier to drink. Overall, this is a fine brew. It doesn't seem to complex, but it does a great job of being what it says it is, a java stout.

 689 characters

Photo of CultureJamMN
4.44/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep mahogany, with purple/reddish hints. Head is about 1 finger, and sustains througout. Head has the color of creamy caramel. Lacing is nice, with a bit of a fade at the end.

The aroma here is fantastic. Coffee yes, but very specific... Dark roast sumatra coffee from a french press, almost perfect.

This beer smells better than it tastes, but only by a little bit. The coffee notes dominate the taste as well, but I also noted blackberry and maybe even boisenberry in there as well. There is a good amout of bitterness, however it seems to come from both the coffee and the hops, and neither is overpowering.

Lightly carbonated, but there is a very pleasant mouthfeel here, substatial feeling.

All in all, a coffee lovers dream come true, this is a fantastic example of a coffee stout. Bell's has a reputation for a reason.

 847 characters

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

Huge concentrated coffee aroma. Deep black with a head that remindmed of those snake firework things you’d set on fire on the 4th that just raised up as they burned. This head just flew up once the pour was finished. Wow this actually tastes more like coffee than it does like stout. Huge coffee flavor that is so acidic it actually burns the throat. Ample chocolate and minor notes of roasted barley. Touch of cream sweetness in the finish. I could see how some might be put off by this. I however love the hell out of it.

 524 characters

Photo of hgrong
3.73/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 7221, 2005

Poured dense and black with a rocky brownish head that disappeared as it sat in the glass. The nose is one dimensional. It smells like coffee, espresso to be more specific. It smells delicious, but it does not really smell like beer, which I find disappointing. The palate is again dominated by the espresso which eventually gives way to dark chocolate malts. As the beer warms up the flavors become slightly more balanced. The hops are there, but they are hidden in the background. They are definately not the star of this show. The mouthfeel is dense and slightly viscous. It almost seems slightly under-carbonated. Overall the experience is pleasant, but dominated by the espresso.

I believe that this beer will be much more impressive with a year of bottle age under its belt. I think that the flavors will mellow a bit and this beer will really come into its own.

 891 characters

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.

 1,032 characters

Photo of bahumutx
4.55/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours black with a small tan head.

Smell: Coffee, dark fruits and a slight sweetness and a very slight alcohol aroma.

Taste: The main flavor in this beer is of course Coffee. The coffee flavor lasts through out. There are also flavors of roasted grain and it ends with a creamy sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium Mouthfeel. Not much carbonation.

Drinkability: I love coffee and beer so this one is very drinkable to me.

Another great beer from Bell’s brewing. Great for a coffee and beer lover. I will be definitely picking some more of this up. Keep up the great work!!!!

 643 characters

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.

 790 characters

Photo of Frozensoul327
4.62/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yeah, buddy. This one ranks up there with the likes of Founder's Oatmeal Stout. This is a bad-ass brew. Poured out to a dark black color with a syrupy like delivery into the glass. A big, yummy foam head quickly developed and stood strong at about 3/4 of an inch. Aromas of cocoa and roasted malt mixed perfectly with coffee and sweet cream. Nice. Taste was superb; coffee, roasted malts and chocolate dominate and fill the palate with sweet, sweet flavors. Mouthfeel is very good; thick, with a chewy element, but not so much as to feel like it's sticky or too dense. Drinkability is good. I could hammer this down in no time flat and go for another one in a heart beat.

 671 characters

Photo of benito
3.97/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The bottle describes this as an 'enchanting' beer.

It pours a strict black with little color around the edges and a small head which lingers. The aroma is pure coffee: like the smell I take from the bag of whole bean dark roast each morning before grinding, it's happiness for the olfactory senses. Not much else for bouquet save a yummy roastiness.

The coffee flavor is pronounced and well-balanced into the body of the rest of the beer, which is quite substantial. Both smooth and sweet, this brew also had a fluffy or creamy mouthfeel present in each swig that fit in well with the medium weight and length of the brew. Coffee flavors linger for a good while.

A nice dessert treat; I'd happily drink another two or three of these if I didn't think it'd keep me awake all night. Enchanting indeed.

 810 characters

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

This offering from Bell's is a superb combination of a distinct coffee note coupled with a rich dark stout. The initial pour was very smooth and did not churn or overhead in the glass. The head was chocolate brown and hung in there for the beer, though much thinner toward the end. The smell was a rich odor of dark coffee, roasted malts, and a slight alcohol nose. The taste was initially that of the roasted and dark malts but not overly sweet. The coffee flavor then came through and was very pleasant and not at all overpowering. The alcohol taste was noticeable on the back of the throat and a nice compliment to the deep, complex flavors of this brew. I really enjoyed this beer; I thought it was complex but well planned. Very enjoyable, not a session beer, but well worth enjoying any time!

 798 characters

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

Pours a very dark oily black, with a 1/4 inch head that slowly fades to a thin cap and leaves lots of lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell: very strong roasted, has a burned coffee ground smell, mild hints of chocolate, sweet malt and mild hops. The burned coffee smell has me a litlle bit worried.

Taste: the coffee stand out right away, followed by some bitter hops, and a little chocolate. The burned coffee doen't follow through quite as much as I feared it would in the taste, but it's still there. Mouthfeel is nice and thick and creamy, just how I like my stouts. Not my favorite stout, but still glad I gave it a try.

 634 characters

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

Damn Sam. Had one of these last night at Mackenzie's with fellow BA's Stubob and Fantome. Deep dark color. Appears almost a dirty oil color in glass. Big brown head looking like oil sludge again. Big coffee and roasted malt nose. THis beer looks thick and follows through on that promise. Heavy lacing down the inside of the glass. Huge coffee taste followed by huge roasted malt taste. Stout is not one of my favorite styles. This is an extreme stout IMO however and deserves to be tried at least once. Has kind of a syrupy heavy mouthfeel. This beer is a little too much for me. Glad I tried it though. Not sure I will again.

 627 characters

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

12 ounce bottle. This beer pours out black with half an inch of tan foam. The aroma is mostly coffee, but also nuts, oak, and chocolate. Roasted, chocolatey flavor with lots of coffee. Some fruit in the finish. Tasty hop flavor. Oatmeal too. This beer has an inredible variety of flavors, and they really work well together. The mouthfeel is thick and very smooth. Well carbonated. Alcohol is noticable, but does not take over the flavor. Anyone who is a fan of coffee and stout is certain to love this beer.

 508 characters

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.52/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 6624. The Bell's Java Stout pours from the bottle a deep dark onyx black with a full inch of dark tan foam atop the brew. No light is getting through thisn one!! Looks very appealing in the glass with some nice lacing. Aromas of freshly ground coffee beans are the first to hit my nose. Just like opening the can of beans in the morning. Underneath there's lots of dark, toasty, roasted malts and hunks of chocolate. Slightly smoky with a dollop of caramel. I just love the marriage of coffee and stout...I could sit and adore the aroma of this brew all day.

First sip brings a wave of viscous dark, roasted, smoky maltiness. It rolls over the palate with force, bringing along with it a healthy helping of freshly brewed black coffee. The tug of war between the sweet aspects of the stout and the bitter of the coffee work really well here. Rich and chocolatey, this is a damn fine coffee stout that is simply luscious and very enjoyable. So much flavor.

Mouthfeel is big and bold with a hefty body that's not at all afraid to assert itself. Small bubbly carbonation flows across the palate. Quite easy to drink. I really love coffee stouts but they are more of a treat for me. I don't think I could sit down to more than a few of these at a time. Had this on tap at the Great Lakes Brewfest and it's just as good in the bottle. Another Bell's stout...another wonderful experience. Well worth seeking out if you enjoy coffee stouts.

Edit: Just looked up this batch number on Bell's website and realized this was packaged on October 28, 2004. At almost a year old this brew is still amazing. I will have to try one fresh and then get some more to cellar!!

 1,670 characters

Photo of IrishRedRock
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love it when beer exceeds my expectations. Poured this into a tulip and glad I did, as it greatly enhances the appearance, a deep black with a pillowy soft brown head. Upon close inspection, lots of tiny cascading bubbles can be seen rising to the top of this, keeping the small lace head alive, as now the large initial head has faded. Nose has notes of toasted bread, milk chocolate, bakers chocolate and of course coffee. Warming after just a sip, the alcohol is clearly there but gives a nice balance to the rest of the flavors - and there's a lot to pick out. Aside from an odd astringent plastic flavor, which is mild and I think from the coffee, a sweet cream and solid hop bitterness balances the darkness of the chocolate and roastiness of the coffee, making this a pretty nicely flavorful brew. Nice!

 812 characters

Photo of Fish113d
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle at room temp into a tulip glass, it pours an the color or used motor oil, leaving a 4cm foamy, lite, chocolate colored head taht dissipates to a nice solid surface layer with some latticework on the glass.

First woft is of dark roast coffee w/ soem caramel malt sweetness tickling my nose. Also some little earthy hops is noticed. Well done!

Taking a sip, I notice a huge roasty flavor along with the coffee and some almond flavors. Nice bitter finish with just a touch of mocha aftertaste...very good!

well balanced carbonation helps the body of this brew. However, the full-body and sweetness of it make it a little tough to drink; definitely a brew that I'd drink one at a time per week maybe. Very tasty with just a touch of alcohol...i really enjoyed this one!!!

 798 characters

Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.63/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle compliments of beerhandy via BB&B BIF.

Pours jet black. Made me smile as it made it's way into my glass. Has a light caramel head with no apparent lacing.

Smells wonderful, like a cool mocha cappucino. Plenty of rich roasted chocolate and coffee aromas.

This one tastes pretty good, but it doesn't live up to the promise of the smell. It has a rich coffee flavor, followed by a very bitter aftertaste. I don't get much malt coming through, and the chocolate that presented itself in the smell seems to be lost in the flavor. I think it could be a little more balanced.

It's meaty from start to finish. Perfect for the style.

I could enjoy one of these from time to time, but not on a regular basis. Maybe I just need to start drinking black coffee to truly appreciate this stout.

 808 characters

Photo of ddarden
3.83/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz Bottle poured into a chalice. It is jet black with a brownish head that falls fairly quickly to a just a covering. Smell is kind of hard to get, but there are dark roasted malt with coffee overtones.

The taste is like the smell, bitter roasted malts, java, nice hop finish. It seems the coffee flavor gives it the bitterness, like expresso. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. Very nice. The drinkability is good, but not great.

I am a coffee lover, but the aftertaste of this beer kind of reminds me of coffee that is made too strong and cooked on a burner for a couple hours. This is a good beer and would love to try on draught. The drinkability suffers a litte from the aftertaste but is still slightly above average.

 730 characters

Photo of battlekow
4.39/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing Bell's Java Stout and Expedition Stout together, brother vs. brother. May the manliest man win.

The Java Stout is as badass black as the Expedition, but it has a substantial tawny head to contrast.

Smells fucking amazing. This is the best-smelling beer I've ever had. It smells like exotic, spiced, fresh-roasted coffee, like you're standing in [Trendy East Side Coffee Shop]. A true five.

Tastes like...coffee! Really good, but not quite on the same transcendent level as the nose.

Mouthfeel is creamy and awesome.

Wow. I love this beer.

 564 characters

Bell's Java Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.96 out of 5 based on 3,180 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!