Bell's Black Note Stout | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

4,365 Ratings
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Bell's Black Note StoutBell's Black Note Stout

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

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
One of the most sought-after stouts in Bell's history, Black Note Stout blends the complex aromatics of Expedition Stout with the velvety smooth texture of Double Cream Stout and ages the combination in freshly retired oak bourbon barrels for months. The resulting harmony of flavors captures the finest features of all three components: malty notes of dark chocolate, espresso & dried fruits, all buoyed by the warmth and fragrance of the bourbon barrel. Aimed squarely at the stout and bourbon aficionados, Black Note makes a grand statement about the art of the dark.

Added by mcallister on 06-16-2007

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,365 |  Reviews: 683
Photo of Jjwilli2
4.68/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Mdaniel723
4.15/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of a77cj7
4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Dharmelink
4.49/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of JackRWatkins
4.1/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: pours a viscous black with a light tough of beige to off white foam, no real head to speak of, the alcohol clings to the glass a bit
S: surprisingly mellow, with a boozy note and a dry, mildly tannic/tart roastiness, and subtle chocolate/cacao
, hints of vanilla, nice aroma but too weak, some dark fruit as well
T: smooth, well balanced, roasty, with some dark fruit and a molasses like (or beet sugar maybe) character, chocolate, and some bourbon, but not a lot
M: not thick enough for me
O: it's excellent, but it doesn't stand toe to toe with the other best examples of the style, it's great but I had it in a comparative review with KBS and BA El Gordo and they were so far ahead of this it's not even funny

 719 characters

Photo of GRPunk
4.71/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bell's Black Note
12oz. Bottle (freebie) dated 07/01/16 poured into a Stone snifter.

A- A normal our makes for 1-finger of dark brown head. The body is as near Black as possible, with the darkest brown edges. The head settles to a light film and leaves awesome, sticky rings on the glass.

S- My first take is on the sweet side, like stewed raisins. There's definitely bourbon and woody/vanilla tones. Complex and quite robust. Just a hint of aged rum boozieness as it warms.

T- Oh, that's good. Raisins, semi-sweet and dark chocolate, dark roast coffee with a couple packets of raw sugar. With warmth a magnified flavor of bourbon and aged rum comes through. Some vanilla and scorched woody flavors too. Incredibly smooth for 10.8%.

M- So creamy and viscous. Slightest alcohol warmth. While the finish is quite clean, there's a sticky/sweet linger that's rather pleasant considering the big grain bill.

O- A superb sipper. Complex and smooth. Too bad beers like this have such limited access. I count myself fortunate to have procured this one.

A- 4.5 S-4.75 T-4.75 M-4.5 O-4.75

 1,099 characters

Photo of MatthewHopHead
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

So underrated for the price - fantastic Stout.

46 characters

Photo of Jangoon24
4.87/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

4.46/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.75

This is not trying to be everything, just an amazingly clean stout. Close to perfect

84 characters

Photo of aussiebeer
4/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of CBrodbeck
4.43/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of mpwiemann
4.39/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of JacobusFavier23
3.88/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L-Looks great, pours a nice thick black colored beer with an orangish brown head. Slight carbonation.
S-Very faint smell, but distant delicious chocolate/vanilla mixed with sweet, sweet bourbon. Unfortunately it is just not very strong.
T- Bourbon, oak, vanilla, chocolate. Nicely crafted. Yet still very minimal.
F- Creamy.
O-This beer is meant to be a heavy hitter. And unfortunately, in my opinion, it isn't. It's too minimal, and is weaker than other bourbon barrel aged stouts, like Kbs and El Gordo. I don't think this beer deserves this rating. It's a very well crafted beer, but it is just that. Not world class in my opinion, just a better than average, good beer.

 673 characters

Photo of tigg924
4.26/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours opaque, jet black in color with minimal head. Taste is BOSCO chocolate syrup, deep oak, char, and bourbon. Heavy bodied, sweetish, with low carbonation. Makes for an excellent bourbon filled adventure of a sipper. Complex and tasty. Glad I got a four pack. Will be interested to see how this ages.

 310 characters

Photo of locoformavs
4.6/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of rypkr
4.59/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Snifter pour from draft at vintage estate in Ohio

Looks - A little thin. Color remiscent of coca cola with similar looking large bubbly carbonation. Light beige half finger head.

S - Tons of bourbon, a little vanilla, molasses, cream.

T - Wow. Again, tons of bourbon, malty, roasty, sweet. A nice medium roastimes with very low bitterness.

M - Decadently creamy.

One of the best ba beers I've ever had and I've had a lot

 426 characters

Photo of cshafer7
4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of ArtAttackEd
3.83/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

4.59/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thick, viscous, bourbon goodness. Great barrel character, and is slightly sweet( I like) just wish it wasn't so rare cause I could drink my weight in it!!

 154 characters

Photo of OHbeertraveler
4.6/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Bugsmcl
4.48/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of SierraFlight
4.14/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Amguerra305
4.15/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Pours nicely thick with almost no head from an aggressive pour in to a teku. Leaves no ring or lacing and no head to speak of whatsoever. Smell is barrel aged stout goodness. Notes of chocolate on the front, with a strong vanilla sweetness in the middle and boozy bite in the end. The taste is not as pleasant as the nose to be honest. A touch sweet up front but in a pleasant way that is nicely balanced by some roasted dryness on the back end. Where this beer completely falls apart for me is in the feel. WAY too carbonated for the style. I feel like the taste really suffers because it has this very tiny bubble carbonation that does not allow all the richness this beer has to truly coat your tongue. You can't form a head if you try and as soon as it hits your tongue all you feel is bubbles and head. There is a silkiness to the other parts of this beer but is overshadowed by the feel. Overall this beer is really good but there is something off with the carbonation that hurts the overall experience substantially.

 1,034 characters

Photo of mwvman
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.18/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Pours an inky, black body with a sustained, light sandy-beige head.

Smell: Char-hinting heavy roastiness with a crust of bitter dark chocolate, with lesser touches of dark fruit, vanilla-infused molasses, woodsiness and peppery alcohol.

Taste: Bulky roastiness, a bit ashen and chary and laden with booziness and soy. Rolls sweet to bitter (charred) with a salient, less-than-satisfying alcohol presence coupled with woody tannins. A bit of dark chocolate, licorice, gummy molasses and prune. The nose held a bit more promise, though the heavy char, soy and booze leave it lopsided and unbalanced.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Light carbonation.

Overall: Downright overhyped.

 691 characters

Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.5 out of 5 based on 4,365 ratings.
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