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

Subscribe now!

Bell's Special Double Cream Stout | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
1,426 Reviews
Read the review
Bell's Special Double Cream StoutBell's Special Double Cream Stout

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States

Style: American Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.10%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Double Cream Stout derives its name from its smooth, creamy texture, not the ingredients. Completely dairy-free, this stout blends ten different specialty malts to yield a remarkable depth of flavor. With only a touch of burnt notes, Double Cream Stout focuses on the softer, cocoa & espresso-like aspects of roasted malt.

Added by Mitchster on 12-30-2001

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,426 | Ratings: 3,724
Photo of thehooksman
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This is a nice full-bodied creamy stout that is smooth as a winter's night is long. It pours a nice deep dark brown with a tan head that unfortunately doesn't last too long. The nose is all malt. It is a very sweet stout but not overly sweet to the point you can't swallow it. There is a little bit of a burnt aftertaste that provides a nice balance. Thanks, Bell's, I'll have another.

 390 characters

Photo of ribby
3.84/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is a deep burgundy color, lighter than many stouts. Pours with a decent tan head. The aroma is relatively mild, roasted malt and maybe a hint of chocolate.

The flavor has more roasted malt than i would expect, definetely has a creamy smoothness to it. A bit bitter to start, but this is a really drinkable stout.

(I first drank a bells stout on tap when i was in college in ann arbor in 1985 or 86, that was a ridiculously sweet stout. time flies.)

 455 characters

Photo of fscottkey
4.43/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: [4.75] Poured a massive 2 finger head. The head is dense and tan. It forms a head like you expect on a good stout. The beer looks black but with lighting you can see it is really a deep ruby red with some minor light penetration. The head recedes slowly - but leaves lots of nice lacing. The bottle lists the born on date (10/30/14) and ABV (6.1%).

S: [4.25] I am getting smoke and malt. Like charred hardwood. The smell is like campfire and it is pretty inviting.

T: [4.50] The beer has a sweet start and continues with the smoke in the midpalate. The smoke and roasted malts last into the aftertaste. I am getting hints of chocolate and vanilla in the sweetness.

M: [4.25] "Double cream" sort of sets a mouthfeel expectation. This is not too creamy but it is very nice. It has solid body for 6.1% and the roasty finish is a nice addition.

O: [4.50] This is such a solid all around beer. The smell was inviting and the taste was spot on for the style. Really good flavor throughout. This is the best stout I have had in quite a while. The roasted malts balanced with the sweetness of the malts is fantastic.

 1,131 characters

Photo of Bone53
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Squirrel Hill Cafe

Appearance: Looks black from a distance but a brown hue is visible when put up to the light; A finger or two of tan head

Smell: Plenty of roasted malt along with slight coffee and dark fruits characteristics

Taste: Roasted malts hit my palate upfront, followed by slight coffee notes, malasses, and dark fruits especially as it warms

Mouthfeel: Light medium mouthfeel, but a little light for the style. However, it definitely lived up to its name with how smooth and creamy it is. This is my favorite aspect of this beer.

Overall: With all the stouts out there these days, id consider this one decently good. The flavors and aromas arent very robust or complex and nothing to write home about, but its tasty nontheless. The mouthfeel is where this beer shines, as the name implies.

 816 characters

Photo of ajm5108
3.49/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Decent stout, very smooth mouthfeel, muted flavor up front (might be the cream) but finishes with some roasted malt and medium espresso. A little bit of a boozey finish.

 170 characters

Photo of maedhros09
3.99/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Maltier and smoother than the kalamazoo stout, with a milder flavor profile but still a hearty roastiness. Medium to full bodied with a very appetizing presentation.

 165 characters

Photo of Jeffreysan
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, pitch black color with an eighth of a finger of caramel-colored head that quickly dissolved into a thin halo of foam that gripped the sides of the glass and formed wispy clouds that partially covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Tons of roasted malt, which imparts some slight smokiness and coffee aromas.

Taste: Exactly like the aroma. Lots of roasted malt flavors accented with some subtle smokiness and coffee flavors. I get some caramel-like sweetness and some subtle hops bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Slightly chewy and smooth, as there’s practically no carbonation to speak of. With an ABV of 6.1%, there is no presence of alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is a pretty good stout, but not a really good one. There’s some good roasty flavors balanced with some sweetness, but there’s something missing that is keeping this beer from being great. Unfortunately I don’t know what that is, I just know that this beer is missing it.

 1,022 characters

Photo of Vogie
3.69/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served in a Sam Smith stout glass. Bottled 1/31/14.

Pour is dark with hints of brown when held to the light. 1 finger of java colored head gives way to some spotty lacing. Aromas of dark chocolate brownies, black coffee, roasted malts, maybe a hint of vanilla? Taste is creamy upfront followed by roasted dark chocolates, coffee beans, and a slight bitterness and earthy hop finish. As it warms it seems to get sweeter with hints of dark fruit. Mouthfeel is smooth, medium body, and slightly carbonated.

This beer was pretty "meh" for me. With thousands of stouts to choose from these days it might be easy to pass this one over.

 639 characters

Photo of wagoneer79
3.79/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

Look - Dark jet black with thick chocolate milk head. Poured heavily created a lovely 3/4 inch head that receded quickly but left fair legs and lacing.
Smell - Deep dark chocolate notes...coffee, bourbon, stiff malt character, light raisin.
Taste - Fleeting chocolate with fleeting bourbon character; light bitterness; background biscuit
Feel - Light for the style; almost crisp by comparison to others; not the deep malty flavor that the look implies; leaves a bit to be desired.
Overall - Delicious and easy drinking. Only detraction is the light mouthfeel that is incongruous with the color, head, and nose.

 611 characters

Photo of Tripel_Threat
4.65/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This jet black beauty went right from from the bottle to the trusty tulip with enough of an aggressive pour to produce a full inch of mocha head right to the brim. Waiting for the head to settle allowed the stout to warm a bit. Do not drink this ice cold; the warmer it gets, the more pronounced the burnt chocolate /espresso becomes, and all all without being to bitter on the way down. A double cream mouthfeel indeed. The easiest drinking stout I can remember, with a tiny bit of bitterness on the finish. Usually I like a stout as a sipper, or something to have with a big, full meal. This one is refreshing, I want more than one, and can see myself going through a couple on a hot summer day. Highly recommended.

 717 characters

Photo of BeerWithMike
4.58/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Sampled last night on 1/3/14. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured in to a snifter glass.

Pours close (if not) a pitch black in color with a thin beige head. Sheets of lacing is seen when sipped. The aroma is of cocoa, dark roasted malts and espresso. Bit more going on with the taste with some caramel and sweet cream in the mix also. Very smooth and goes down easy with no bitter or harsh after taste at all. Medium-bodied with perfect carbonation. One of the finest for this style of brew.

 521 characters

Photo of ilikebeer03
4.04/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottled 9/18/14.

pours black with a nice khaki head.

S: burnt / roasted malts. chocolate / coffee.

T: chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, some malty sweetness lingers on the palate.

F: a wonderfully thick creamy (as the name would imply) mouth feel.

O: delicious beer.

 270 characters

Photo of Longhorn2750
4.46/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was by far the highlight of my latest visit to Bells. I sampled it on the paddle initially and went back for a full pint on the nitro pour. It has a great chocolate brown non transparent look with a fabulously thick rich creamy head. With a mild roast,bold taste of coffee and malt that made for a smooth creamy finish. A rich malty feel with a nice bite of grain.

 369 characters

Photo of Jeffo
3.03/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Mom and dad picked this one up in Michigan for me a while back. Cheers guys!

From a bottle into a snifter
Bottled 7 November 2013

APPEARANCE: A clear, dark brown pour yields a three finger, medium looking, creamy, light tan head with excellent retention. Clear black body with lots of active carbonation. Head fades to a full cap leaving sheets of lacing down the top of the glass. A splotchy wisp remains until the end with lots of lacing left on the glass as it empties. Nice looking head, though it’s a little too brown for the style.

SMELL: Cream, light cocoa powder and some roasted and burnt malts on the nose. Medium strength.

TASTE: Sweet cream and caramel up front. Sweet and roasted finish is bold and lingering, with flavors up light cocoa powder, caramel and vanilla sweetness, and some slightly burnt malts as well. A little lack luster, really. Not all that much character.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. A little prickly perhaps, goes down fine and finishes a bit mouth coating.

OVERALL: Okay, but not all that special. A bit burnt and a decent amount of sweet flavors, but this is a little one dimensional and not all that interesting. Besides black note, I hate to say that I haven’t found much to enjoy in Bells’ stout beer. This certainly is nothing worth writing home about.

 1,324 characters

Photo of SFNC
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured dark with minimal head, light lacing. The smell is roasted grains, chocolate and caramel. Taste follows suit, nice, but unexceptional. Not too thick, but a very creamy mouthfell, light carbonation. Bells can sometimes deliver a masterpieces, this is not one of those times. I'd drink it again, but would not seek it out.

 332 characters

Photo of Gear54
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From a bottle into a pint glass.
Edit** I was fortunate enough to have this on cask at the local watering hole. It is very good this way as well

Oil black with 1/2 finger of thin kaki foam. Little lace left on the glass

Smell is roasted malt with coffee and dark chocolate in the background.

Taste follows smell well. Creemy coffee and coco with roasted malts

A bit light for a stout in my opinion. Still easy drinking but light in flavor and punch.

 457 characters

Photo of Brackh
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark. Smell isn't overwhelming. Nice balanced malty flavor. Easy to drink. Gets better as it warms. Well balanced creamy and carbonated. Nice easy stout that is exactly what they are shooting for.

 202 characters

Photo of ryanmextorf
3.74/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz glass poured into a snifter. Poured a fairly deep brown/black with some red hue around the edges of the glass. Created a decent one finger of a khaki colored head. Overall a pretty good looking beer in the glass. Fairly underwhelming nose on this one. Some chocolate, mild coffee, and as the title says, maybe a little bit of cream or maltiness. Taste kind of follows suit here with chocolate and perhaps some very subtle dark fruits coming through. Fairly thin mouth for a stout. Decent overall but nothing I'll be seeking out again.

 540 characters

Photo of mrmaps
4.02/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L: Dark. Head rises creamy and is durable.

Sm: Malt, coffee, licorice, hops

Taste: Malt, coffee, mild hops with a mild carbonation. Well blended flavor profile without anything being overly aggressive. The flavor is long lived and the beer opens up well after about 10 minutes.

Feel: Smooth, creamy finely carbonated.

Overall: The beer has a low alcohol content which is further shoved to the back ground by making this beer smooth and readily drinkable. The hops an coffee flavors are well balanced and long lasting. A good beer.

Value: I have to admit, I am partial to Bell's beer. It is priced slighter higher than most beers, but this is balanced by a better quality than other beers. I like it.

 718 characters

Photo of MaximalC
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours seal brown with a thin cap of khaki foam. Pleasing aroma smells of molasses, roasted malt, dark chocolate, and peat.

The taste is headlined by bitter roasted malt with earthy hops and traces of the aforementioned peat and dark chocolate. A bit of warming really starts to bring out the dark chocolate in the finish. Medium-full body and creamy mouthfeel are spot-on for the style.

Overall, this is a bitter, roast-forward stout that comes off as quite sessionable on account of the smooth finish and excellent mouthfeel. I’m not a fan of everything Bell’s does, but they do seem to have a knack for stouts.

 622 characters

Photo of mfnmbvp
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, with bottled on date 09/18/2014 printed on the back label. A new seasonal beer to me from Bell's, acquired a single bottle of this stuff from the local beer store.

Poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

A - It pours a dark chocolate brown; opaque black in the glass with about a half finger of mocha foam head that thins to a ring quickly. Leaves behind some nice sticky spotty lacing. Looks pretty damn nice.

S - A very pleasant dark roasty malt profile on the nose. Notes of cream, vanilla, chocolate, cocoa, woodsy earthiness, and a very mild dark fruit presence.

T - Taste follows the nose - very smooth & creamy, borderline milky /chocolatey for being lactose-free. Notes of cocoa, vanilla, and coffee beans. Perhaps not entirely as roasty as I was expected, based on the 10 different malts used here.

M - The feel is bitter, roasty, creamy, & smooth. Medium-bodied with excellent carbonation. Very easy-drinking.

Overall, an excellent stout from Bell's. Very creamy and easy-drinking. Definitely a stout I will be revisiting.

Bell's Special Double Cream Stout -----4/5.

 1,095 characters

Photo of WestmontStorm
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%

Had a couple of these at a local restaurant on tap. Definitely a heavy stout for a winter day. Outstanding flavor. Actually prefer this over Guinness. Next to a great burger, forget about it...

 193 characters

Photo of SomethingClever
4.36/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

On tap poured into shaker pint

A: very dark black slightly off white small head

S: very roasty nice deep smell of coffee and roasted malts 

T: very smooth a little roast a little coffee a little licorice quite a nice taste and a good dose of chocolate

M: Average to thin but for a lower ABV beer it's not too bad 

O: it's got a great flavor but it's thin which hangs me on most stouts but it still is one of Bells better offerings 

 449 characters

Photo of ttroha
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Bottle from Maltitude. Pours dark black with almost no head. Aroma of roasted malts, vanilla, espresso and chocolate. Tastes very smooth, with flavors of roasted malts, roasted coffee beans, and vanilla. Light carbonation. Sweet and delicious.

 243 characters

Photo of gillagorilla
3.48/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter (bottled on 9/8/14 B [13474])

A: Pitch black, with the lightest tan collar. No lacing either.
S: Definitely smells like espresso with hints of cocoa. A lot of acidic black coffee and roast.
T: Lots of roast and a bit of coffee. A bit thin but I think that works here to come across as espresso. I kind of wish this had been a milk/sweet stout. The title is misleading, it needs to be creamy and a bit sweeter.
M: It's carbonation is akin to when a waves washes up on the beach and there is the leading line that rushes up with a froth of foam and then recedes.
O: Good, but got nothing on Expedition or Black Note. I don't have much hope for Java Stout, considering how all of their regular stouts have tasted.

 758 characters

Bell's Special Double Cream Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.97 out of 5 based on 3,724 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!