Dismiss Notice
Extreme Beer Fest:Los Angeles

Join us December 9th in Los Angeles for the ultimate throwdown of craft beer creativity!

Learn more...
Dismiss Notice
Introducing: Project Extreme Brewing (a Dogfish Head + BeerAdvocate project)

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

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Bell's Black Note StoutBell's Black Note Stout
BA SCORE
4.54/5
World-Class
4,448 Ratings
Bell's Black Note StoutBell's Black Note Stout
BEER INFO

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

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.20%

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

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#67
Reviews:
698
Ratings:
4,448
pDev:
7.93%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
2,710
Gots:
1,234
Trade:
130
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 4,448 |  Reviews: 698
Photo of countrypeddler8
4.28/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of carlso_aw
4.18/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BeerGuy8315
4.84/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter. Bottled 11/3/16.

A: Pours jet black in color with a 1/3 inch, foamy, dark brown-cola colored head with minimal retention. Thin, tan lacing throughout.

S: Aromas of coffee, dark chocolate, cherry, raisins, caramel, vanilla, and roasted malts with small hints of bourbon.

T: Starts off with bitter coffee/espresso and dark chocolate followed by caramel, vanilla, cherries, and roasted malts. Finishes with a nice bourbon barrel character followed by the return of mild lingering coffee bitterness with slightly sweet notes of dark chocolate.

F: Full bodied, thick, smooth, and super creamy.

O: Overall, this is an awesome BA stout. Bourbon barrel character is definitely present, but at a nice level that pairs excellently with the other flavor profiles, especially the coffee and dark chocolate. Looking forward to trying it with some age on it. Definitely worth seeking out!

 922 characters

Photo of Scarter82
5/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of Wrex68
4.53/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of elkinbrown
4.73/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Gemini6
4.37/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Photo of Cparthemore
4.77/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of JayORear
3.95/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Have to say right up front that I'm biased by having drunk a number of Firestone and Bottle Logic stouts recently, and those memories persist, giving the disadvantage to Black Note. The look is dark, almost black, but in a very one-dimensional way. Moving it around it front of light doesn't bring out any subtlety, the way it does with many other stouts. The head is very thin, also nothing to get excited about. The smell, to my mind, is the best part of the beer: it promises depth and complexity, especially as it warms, with bourbon, chocolate, and vanilla next to currants and figs. But it simply doesn't translate into the taste, which is somewhat splintered, unintegrated. You can detect many great indvidual flavors that simply don't meld. A slightly vinegary undertone doesn't do it any favors. My biggest recent point of comparison here is Bottle Logic Byzantine Vision, which, although it derives some of its complexity from adjuncts, has one of the best integrated flavor profiles of any "big beer" I've tried. Mouthfeel is rather thin, and evaporates quickly from the tongue. I realize I'm in the minority here, but I find it to be a solid but unremarkable example of the style.

 1,192 characters

Photo of Jake_Skayhan
4.58/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Ron_Mexico
5/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of Cooper925
4.42/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Mwiggi1
4.44/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of RajaSTL
4.6/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of yeaprolly
4.39/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of dannkarlson
4.8/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of OrangeMen
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2016 vintage
~3 months from bottling date

Appearance- Pours a black color, opaque. Thin layer of dark tan colored head, soapy / bubbly. Alcohol legs coat glass w/ a film-like layer, lots of small beads of head lacing.

Aroma- Dark chocolates, rich fudge, savory sweetness. Loads of fresh sweet bourbon, dry oak, creamy vanilla, barrel char and smoke. Roasty malts, coffee, caramel, dark fruits, creamy sugars.

Taste- Roasted malt, dark fudgy chocolates. Bourbon, charred wood, spicy oak, tobacco, leathery earthiness. Vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, molasses, milk chocolates. Coffee, dark fruits, raisins, cherries.

Feel- Medium bodied, creamy and very silky smooth, drying from all the barrel characteristics. Moderate to lower carbonation.

Overall- Decadent richness combined with such raw and flavorful barrel characteristics. So much bourbon and oak, with all the underlying complexities of vanilla, char, smoke, tobacco, etc. Nuanced flavors of chocolate, dark fruits, and creamy sweetness just make the beer so complex and complete. A true treat to try.

 1,063 characters

Photo of drahodo
4.15/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Czequershuus
4.45/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a very dark black with almost no head. The aroma is savory, with chocolate, anise, rosemary, sweet bread, brown butter, gingerbread, cumin, cinnamon, and soy sauce. The flavor features brown sugar, molasses, burnt sugar, cinnamon, anise, soy sauce, cumin, and dark chocolate. The mouthfeel is fairly average bodied with very low carbonation. Overall this ais not a rich as many stouts in its class these days, but it has fantastic savory notes, with great complexity and development.

 499 characters

Photo of hobojungle
4.52/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Jonnydrinker
4.62/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of JoeySchlitz
4.23/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of JLK7299
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired in a recent trade. What a BBA Stout! I often feel like BBA stouts are overbearing on the bourbon but this one has just the right amount. Very drinkable! More please!

 174 characters

Photo of Mistro
4.71/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of tbryan5
4.68/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Beer rating: 4.54 out of 5 with 4,448 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.