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

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Bell's Cherry StoutBell's Cherry Stout

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

Style: American Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
"A mysterious dance of tart Michigan cherries with the dark, roasted malts of a big and bold stout." and "Stout brewed with cherry juice."

Added by Mitchster on 01-09-2002

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Reviews: 1,015 | Ratings: 2,532
Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

At Beer Bistro's US fest. Pours a dark colour with a little pink lacing on glass. Appropriate and full-mouthed carbonation. More cherry cola than anything else, on the sweet side. Chocolate secondary. A novelty stout.I am sure that they have improved the recipe over time.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Kelly88 for sending me this one!

Pours a thick and opaque black with no head whatsoever. There is a tiny bit of a film on the top of the beer. Smells of roasted espresso beans, bittersweet chocolate, and sour cherry puree. Taste is of sour cherry juice up front with the dark malts, roasted coffee, and bittersweet chocolate on the finish. There is an acidic/sour twang to this beer with each sip. Somewhat of a high level of carbonation. A bit sticky in the mouth. Overall, a neat idea but something that is an acquired taste.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.98/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

do people really not like this? I thought it was a brilliant fusion of tart cherries and rich earthy stout. the fruit is maybe a little medicinal in the nose of this dark chocolate colored forthy tan headed wonder. sharp sting from the cherry and the alcohol is maybe a little much on the nose, but I think its pleasantly mellowed by the charred dark barley character and a hint of sweet cocoa. the flavor is better balanced I think than the nose, but equally dynamic. it is a stout first, lots of nice deep dark grain properties and a perplexing smoothness, while the cherries come on later. they marry well into the dark grain, a definitely chocolate covered cherry thing going on here, like those little ones soaked in booze you eat at holiday time. dark authentic fruit with enough tartness to almost trick me into tasting wild ale yeast or bacteria. its not though, its just piquant enough too, and clean in the finish for the style, not the least bit sweet. I like its complexity and its drinkability. it feels perfect with snow and christmas coming on, and like all bells beer, its expertly made. I would definitely buy this if it were available in Colorado.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.28/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out as a nice rich looking black color with a thin tan colored head on top. The head faded and doesn't really lace the glass all too much. The smell of the beer is sweet, roasted and has a tart cherry aroma coming off of it. I was hoping for more of a sweet cherry but either way you can tell there will be some cherry in there. The flavor if the beer is just a little off in my opinion. I was thinking that this would have gone better together but I felt the cherry was just a little too tart for me. The mouthfeel was a bit on the light side also which hindered my thoughts on this beer too. Overall this brew was fun to try but I haven't really got much desire to have it again.

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Photo of metter98
3.52/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Alewife, Long Island City, NY

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with just a few bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of dark malts and black cherries are present in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste has flavors of dark malts along with notes of dark cherries and hints of roasted malts.
M: It feels just about medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer isn't really that heavy compared to other beers in the style but has a nice mixture of cherry flavors.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.05/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Plops thickly and richly into the glass. Has all of the lacing and legging that you look for in a strong stout. Tart and sour aromas from the fruit flavors. Coffee and chocolatey as well. Tastes devinely sweet and tart. Like a chocolate covered cherry and coffee. The hop bitterness / flavors and the cherry sourness makes a bit much salty and metalic. Get some apple and oak flavors out of this. Full rich body makes me look for a fork and a knife. Creamy texture slides down easily. She's a sipper, but well worth the effort.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.06/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 fl oz. Brown glass bottle. Truncated review below:

HEAD: None. No lacing.

BODY: Opaque solid black with amber/red hues. No yeast particulate or hop sediment.

Looks typical of the style overall.

AROMA: Vague fruit - I guess cherry. Dark malts. Indistinct malty sweetness. Cream. The cherry isn't as authentic as it could be, but isn't puree-esque or extract-y. It's a pleasant marriage of fruit to dark malt build.

No yeast character, alcohol, or off-notes are detectable.

Aromatic intensity is above average.

TASTE: Heavier on the fruit/cherry than I anticipated. Slightly syrupy. Heavy dark malts, chocolate malts. Some pomegranate. No yeast character, alcohol, or off-notes. Some raisin. It's just not that well balanced for what it is, but I do like it. Not complex/intricate, subtly executed, or nuanced. Pretty straightforward and plain.

Average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour.

TEXTURE: Smooth, wet, medium-bodied, a biteen too thick. Suits the taste decently, but doesn't elevate the beer. Overcarbonated. Too coarse on the finish.

OVERALL: Not a good execution of the premise. I do like it generally, but I expected better from Bell's. I wouldn't recommend it to friends or trade partners. Drinkable.


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Photo of emerge077
4.05/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served with a small tasting glass at Jerry's in Chicago.

Black body that has a ruby glint around the edges. First pour was headless, but the second one managed to get a mocha cream layer on the surface. Aroma was slightly lactic, milk sugar, chocolate. Cherry was slight if there at all, it may have been residual after a few sips. Chocolate and cherry tartness in the taste. Cherry isn't sweet, or fruity really. It reminded me of more tart dried cherries that have a little acidity even. Very smooth and velvety body, rich and malty. Easy to finish, although I didn't really want more than one...

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.59/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle courtesy of Tpaliga: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a medium foamy head with low retention and no lacing. Aroma of roasted malt and coffee is quite dominant and interesting with some cherry notes also noticeable. Taste is a weird mix between roasted malt and cherry, which I don’t seem to agree with. I really don’t like the mix between the sweet cherries and roasted malt. Body is lighter then expected but still about average for the style.

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Photo of oline73
2.75/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours almost black with some light coming through at the edges. There is a finger and a half of bubbly dark tan head that goes away completely.

Smell: Mildly sweet and quite roasty. I'm only picking up a hint of the fruit in the smell.

Taste: I don't really like the way this one goes together. I feel like the roast and the tart cherry are fighting each other. There is a sourness from the cherry that I'm not in love with. Not awful or anything, just doesn't work for me.

Mouthfeel: Quite thick and smooth. There is only a very little bit of carbonation. The finish is really dry, especially given the body.

Overall: I just didn't like the way this one came together. The roast and the tart fruit kept fighting for my attention.

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Photo of zeff80
3.11/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Poured out a dark, dark brown color with a small, foamy, tan head. It left some lace.

S - It smelled of very tart cherries, caramel and some chocolate.

T - The tart cherry flavor is almost overpowering. The burnt toast malt is muted compared to the cherry taste.

M - It was fairly soft and smooth. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This was tough to drink. Just too much tart cherry flavor. I need more sweetness to balance it out.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.72/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Very dark with a tanned head.

S: Plenty of cherries present in the nose, along with a good amount of chocolate.

T: Lots of cherries and chocolate. A decent amount of complexity.

M: A little bit thin and a little too tart. I'll have to take some advise I've heard and age one of these for a while.

D: Drinkability is average. The flavors are a little overpowering and the mouthfeel is a tad off, but a pretty good tasting beer.

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Photo of mothman
3.58/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 8219

Poured into Sam Adams Sensory Glass

Pours a 1/2 finger fizzy head. Tan head that has a slight pink touch. Fizzles down to a thin layer. Color is a deep black. Can't see through it when held to the light.

Aroma is of soy sauce, sun-dried cherrys, and roasted malts. Maybe some chocolate (like chocolate covered cherrys).

Taste is of soy sauce at first. Then cherry tart comes through. Has a roasty taste to it.

Mouthfeel is kind of crisp, smooths out a lot and then becomes clean. Goes down easy with a slightly roasted aftertaste, but clean.

Overall, I was scared that it was too old (soy sauce taste) but I really enjoyed the cherrys. I am slowly sipping away at this one. Probably a one-only beer. But I will enjoy another one some other night.

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into signature pint glass, bottled on 10/8/2013. Pours fairly pitch black color with a 1 finger dense dark tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass. Aromas of dark chocolate, roasted malt, cocoa, coffee, tart cherry, cherry skin, light char, toast, and roasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt with a fair amount of cherry presence; with good strength. Taste of tart cherry, cherry skin, dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, toast, light coffee, light char, and roasted earthiness. Good amount of cherry tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of cherry, dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, light coffee, light char, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt flavors with prominent cherry flavors; with great robustness and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a creamy and slightly syrupy mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice fruited stout style. All around good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt and cherry flavors; and very smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of nickfl
3.57/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Small, tan head settles quickly. The body is black with ruby highlights.

S - Black coffee/ espresso aroma with moderate hop character.

T - A mix of fruit and coffee up front, followed by chocolate notes and a distinct cherry essence in the middle. The cherries strengthen in the finish and overwhelm the malt, though there is some hop character shining through.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Moderately drinkable. While the base stout is solid and the cherry essence is nicely done, but the two elements do not mesh as well as I would have hoped. The cherries clash with the malt more than they compliment it, and the percived sweetness is a bit over the top.

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Photo of oberon
3.44/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to AKSmoked Porter for this bottle,pours a oily looking black with no head or no carbonation looked like a oil slick no trace of head here at all.Nice aroma though of tart cherries and bitter chocolate,big tart cherry flavor hits right away with some baking spices notes, with a taste of earthiness in the finish.Felt like a oil slick in the mouth as well Iam not sure what that feels like but this is it,a little cloying in sweet/sour dept as well.Probably the worst offering I have had from Bells but it was nice to try.

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Photo of chinchill
3.67/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - an appealing red-tinged opaque black, but with no head.
{Possibly improper handling by Hopjacks (Pensacola, FL) -- the guy next to me returned his Magic Hat beer because it was completely flat.)
S - sweet and fruity stout with a clear cherry note.
T -substantial (sour?) cherry flavor. Tart and a bit salty. Decent finish.
M - smooth but not quite creamy; light but detectable carbonation.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.4/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bell's Cherry Stout does what most don't, it combines true stout flavor with gosh-darnit-honest tart and lightly sweet cherry flavor. There's nothing at all fake about it.

It pours the typical stout appearance with an opaque brown-black body topped by a creamy head of dark tan froth, but unfortunately the head retention is quite limited and only very minor spots of lace are left behind.

The nose is more stout than cherry, but it's there for sure amidst the cocoa and soft roastiness.

In the flavor the tartness of the cherry hits you first, bright and brash, and then softens to reveal chocolatey and cocoaish notes followed by soft roastiness, and then some more fruit. The bitterness is kept to a minimum, as might be expected. It's smooth and creamy in the mouth, and it finishes the same way. It's kind of like a blend of an Oud Bruin and a softly cocoaish and chocolatey stout - very unique - and the fact that you can taste both the cherry and the stout seperately is really remarkable.

I enjoy it as an apertif or dessert beer, although I'm sure there are many great food pairings for it. Really remarkable. Worth seeking out.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.88/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From batch # 7674

Pours almost reddish brown with a similar colored head. Aroma is very strong with tart cherries and some light chocolate & malt.

Mouthful is creamy with some light carbonation. Taste of malt & chocolate up front that is then nearly hidden by an overpowering finish of sour cherries. A very stark combination of a stout and some kind of fruit beer.

Even without much of a balance between the stout flavors & the sour cherry taste, I still really dug this. It would maybe work better with less of a sour taste but I still found it to be highly drinkable.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
2.88/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Acquired via trade from WeisGuy, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a very thin brown head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of cherries, chocolate and dark malts.

T: The taste is fruity and malty, with strong flavors of cherries & chocolate and a dry sweetness. There’s not much of a hops presence but you don’t really expect it in this type of beer anyway. The after-taste is slightly sweet. It seems like someone decided to take the chocolate-covered, liqueur-filled cherries and make them into a beer.

M: Smooth with a little crispness, medium-to-heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, finish is very sticky.

D: A little tasty, goes down ok, slightly filling, nice kick. This beer didn’t exactly get a ringing endorsement form a fellow BA that I talked to before I traded for it but, I wasn’t as bad as he made it out to be. However, this really isn’t a beer that I would want to drink more than one of.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.63/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear but opaque jet black in color with very light amounts of gentle visible carbonation along the surface of the beer and a hint of dark cola brown highlights. The beer has a quarter finger tall foamy dark tan head that reduces to a small to medium sized patch of very thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of tart cherries and chocolate over lighter aromas of roasted malts.

T: Upfront there is a light flavor of roasted malts with some moderate flavors of bittersweet chocolate. That is followed by strong flavors of tart cherries, possibly a little bit too tart but still with slight hints of sweetness. Light amounts of of bitterness are present but it fades quickly.

M: Slightly heavier than medium bodied with slightly heavier than moderate amounts of carbonation. Light amounts of acidic prickliness in the finish.

O: While this is a great idea, sour cherries in a stout, it might need to a little more balance between the tartness of the cherries and some sweeter cherries or more milk chocolate flavors.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.95/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Ginger Man, NYC, NY

Dark brown with ruby tints, nearly completely opaque, capped off with a nice brown head. Aroma of malty chocolate, sour cherries. Mildly sour black cherries obviously right up front on the palate and lingering throughout. Roasty malts in the background. It's hard to get a fruit flavor that doesn't clash with roasty dark malts, but Bell's does a pretty good job of it here. Medium-to-heavy body, not too thick. Moderately drinkable, though not many people seem to be into stouts that have a sour twist to them, so take that as you will. Overall, very tasty.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.48/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle - $2.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Batch 8957. "Your Bell's Cherry Stout was packaged on February 5, 2009". Fascinating!

Appearance: Pours a deep, black body with a rather tall, frothy, tan-colored head.

Smell: Quite a mixture of deeply roasted barley, bittersweet chocolate, chicory, and tart-scented cherries. A bit like a Black Forest cake.

Taste: Roasted barley interspersed with some burnt malts. Heavy bittersweet chocolate sauce taste mingled with ground chicory. Moderately sweet. Blitz of tart, sourish dark cherry juice with a touch of acidity. Lightly earthy hops alongside the roasty bitterness of the malts. Slightly tart, roasty finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Smooth, slick mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Decent. I do so love a great stout and Bell's does make a great many of them, but, well, this one just doesn't quite do it for me. Pass the Kalamazoo or Expedition, please!

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.92/5  rDev -18%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Midnight black with very little light at the edges. The medium-sized head is dusty brown in color, falls quickly to a thin film and deposits almost no lace. Cocoa, coffee and (of course) cherries are present in the nose.

The flavor is of chocolate and cherries, but is way too tart. The sourness actually crosses the line into unpleasantness. The mouthfeel needs to be a lot more full given the style. It's reasonably smooth, but has a touch too much fizziness.

When I was a kid we had a sour cherry tree in the backyard. Every summer my mom would bake the most wonderful cherry pies. In fact, I have never had a better pie in all the years since. She had a knack for knowing just how much sugar to add so that the sourness of the cherries was perfectly counteracted by the sugar. The result was something to behold.

It appears as though Bell's could learn a thing or two from my mom. I'm not a brewer, but perhaps the answer is less sour cherry juice, whole cherries instead of juice, or maybe some percentage of sweet cherries. I really wanted to like Cherry Stout and feel that with a few tweaks here and there, it could be good.

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Photo of billab914
3.54/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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

Pours near black with a thin tan film barely covering the top of the beer.

Aroma is slightly sweet with cherry flavoring. The roasted grains come through as well with a little bit of chocolate flavor.

Taste is very strong with sweet cherry juice. A little too much juice flavor for me. Also present is some of the roasty malt flavors.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and carbonation is moderate.

Drinkability is average, I can finish one of these but the cherry juice is too sweet for me to drink much more. Overall it is an interesting beer but I would have preferred the cherry flavor be a little more subtle.

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Bell's Cherry Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.56 out of 5 based on 2,532 ratings.
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