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

Bell's Black Note StoutBell's Black Note Stout
BA SCORE
4.55/5
4,397 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): 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

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#61
Reviews:
688
Ratings:
4,397
pDev:
7.91%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
2,714
Gots:
1,194
Trade:
126
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 4,397 |  Reviews: 688
Photo of oline73
4.52/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is review #1000 on BA. Poured from the bottle into my Hunahpu's snifter.

Appearance: This beer pours black with just under a finger of thick tan head. The head fades fairly quickly to a ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Sweet roasted malt and full of bourbon heat. I'm getting some chocolate and dark fruit notes as well. Lots going on here.

Taste: Doesn't disappoint at all. This is a very smooth and creamy stout, especially given the abv. Roasted malts with some sweet chocolate notes. I'm getting hints of coffee and dark fruit as well. The bourbon taste is rather strong, but it doesn't overpower the other flavors, it adds to them.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thick side of medium, but I think it could have been a little bit thicker and that would have been alright. The carbonation is tingly and the finish is dry.

Overall: I really enjoyed the balance and complexity of this stout. It was a sweet beer, but not in an overwhelming way. The rest of the flavors were allowed to contribute and it all worked out perfectly. I would love to have more given the chance.

 1,091 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
4.5/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of zeff80
4.47/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tap at Sycamore - Columbia, MO

A - Poured an opaque, jet black color with a small, light brown head of bubbly foam. It left sudsy sheets of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of dark chocolate, toffee, vanilla, oak and roasty malts.

T - A delicious blend of roasted malt, dark chocolate, vanilla, burnt molasses and a slight bourbon flavor.

M - It was crisp, sharp and very smooth. A medium to full bodied stout with a dry finish.

O -This is a fantastic imperial stout. I'm glad Sycamore was able to get a keg of this.

 522 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.98/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep black color stout with a nice large dark brown color foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of bourbon with some vanilla notes and black chocolates. Taste is also dominated by a well-balanced mix between some vanilla, bourbon, creamy black chocolates and light bitterness. Body is thinner then I had anticipated with good carbonation and no alcohol was apparent. Very solid barrel-aged stout but I would have loved a bit more of body to this beer.

 493 characters

Photo of largadeer
3.73/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to stfun37 for this one.

Black in the glass with a tiny dark brown head that rapidly recedes to a ring.

The aroma is woody and earthy, with a backbone of bittersweet chocolate. Boozy bourbon is present but more subtle than I was expecting, and sweetness is very reserved. Expedition's unmistakable burnt licorice/molasses character shines through with surprising strength here.

The taste is impressively complex; licorice up front, burnt whole grain bread, bakers chocolate, tobacco, vanilla and light earthiness. Medium-bodied without much sweetness. Hot bourbon flavors come through more in the finish, along with woody tannins, strong burnt bitterness and lingering espresso.

This was a pretty interesting beer. The Double Cream Stout and -bal aging have helped tame Expedition's harshness, but not as much as I would have liked. Still enjoyable, but not as remarkable as I was expecting.

 906 characters

Photo of zestar
4.75/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 12/28/2012. Pours dense pitch black color with a small tan head with decent retention, that reduces to a spotty lace cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, toast, vanilla, toffee, bourbon, oak, clove, raisin, licorice, light coffee, cream, light char, and roasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of roasted malt and barrel notes; with good strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, vanilla, toast, toffee, bourbon, oak, clove, light coffee, cream, raisin, licorice, light char, and roasted earthiness. Minimal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, vanilla, toast, toffee, oak, bourbon, clove, light coffee, cream, raisin, licorice, light char, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and balance of dark/roasted malt flavors with very balanced barrel complexity; with zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light carbonation and full bodied; with a very creamy and slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic barrel aged imperial stout. All around fantastic complexity and balance of dark/roasted malt flavors with barrel character; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

 1,443 characters

Photo of Kurmaraja
4.75/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of mothman
4.72/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this for my first beer at Stub and Herbs for Darkness Eve! I am very happy that I got to try it!

Pour was a 7 oz glass.

Color is a big oil black with tan head. No lace to to pour, but I am ok with that because there was more beer in the glass.

Aroma: Amazing. Bourbon, chocolate, roasted malts, earthy hops. Also has some cream flavors and vanilla notes with oak. Very robust and smooth. Wow it is good and I am ready to dive in.

Taste: Bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, oak, earthy hops. Very rich, robust and all around amazing taste. The bourbon is very warming in a good way. You can definitely tell it is there, but it doesn't wreck the beer.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, rich. Full bodied with a nice amount of carbonation. Ends pretty clean with a malty bourbon flavored aftertaste.

Overall, I love this beer and want more of it. I really hope Bells does this again, because it has to be one of my favorite beers of the style. Simply amazing and very drinkable! Well done!

 982 characters

Photo of DrBier
4.25/5  rDev -6.6%

Photo of chinchill
4.43/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at NOC.
Black with brown edges. The head is not durable but the ring is.
Very, very rich aroma and flavor. Mildly sweet with fairly well hidden ABV.
Barrel aging is obvious.Dark infused fruit.
Very smooth feel, with a good bit of warming.
Indescribably delicious.

 275 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
4.5/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of olradetbalder
3.71/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of jlindros
4.57/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to both mcsecne (Reddit) and erric (Reddit) for bottles of this gem.

Light fizzy darker colored head, pitch black dark beer with nice long legs, decent thick head as I swirl.

Nose is awesome, tons of dark malts, chocolate galore, some rich thick expensive Belgian chocolate, bakers choc, a little dark even, velvety too. Little espresso and coffee with a bit of roasted malt but no burnt aromas, cocoa nibs. Then barrel, some vanilla with light toasted oak, decent bourbon, little alcohol tingle. Velvety and maybe even creamy oats.

Taste starts with malts again, dark malts with syrupy dark malts, lots if creamy velvety chocolate, cocoa nibs, bakers choc, etc. The malts have a light roast, little bitter tannin char but not really burnt. Cocoa leads to barrel, light vanilla and barrel, must a touch of bourbon. Light warning tingly booze. Light bitter hops but not much. Finish is long creamy chocolate, cocoa, vanilla, light bourbon barrel, little sticky sweet with a bit more booze, so much mouth layered thick chocolate.

Mouth is big bodied, thick and creamy lush velvety, decent carb, some warming booze but doesn't drink like an 11+% beer.

Overall very nice, great base stout with tons of chocolate, nice dark malts and decent barrel but if I could complain about anything maybe a bit more bourbon as I love bourbon.

 1,342 characters

Photo of oberon
4.54/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got one of the last few at Bestway and Iam thankful to Roger for it.Poured into a snifter jet black with a one inch deep beige head atop.Aromas of chocolate and roasted nuts mixed with alcohol dipped dark fruit,very rich and appetizing.Thick and chewey in the mouth,it coats the mouth and glides down easily.Wow the complexity on the palate is something to savor,dark roast and chocolate with some nuttiness and even some faint wood smoke,the alcohol is big but not over bearing lending some sweetness to go along with some deep raisin notes.You really gotta give it to guys or gals who can craft a beer like this,so rich and lush but with so much complexity,kick ass that's all I can say about it.

 700 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
4.62/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had a few glasses on tap at the Stub and Herb's Fermented Eclipse event.

A: pours a smooth deep brown with the tiniest layer of a tan head.

S: very rich. Loads of bourbon and hints of oak atop some molasses, dark chocolate, vanilla, and roasted malt.

T: very similar to the nose with a nice, semi-sweet creaminess coming through; this is the first area where the Double Cream starts to make it's way in, rounding out what was already a very nice brew.

M: rich, creamy, and chewy without too much alcohol.

D: very, very nice. Fantastic brew all around and I am thrilled to have finally gotten a chance to try it.

 617 characters

Photo of nickfl
4.25/5  rDev -6.6%

Photo of ygtbsm94
4.75/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From the tap at EBF 09! I must have drunk 10 samples of this stuff during the two day event. Poured an opaque black while cascading into a fine frothy head; perfect! The aroma was incredible if you're a BB lover. Sweet vanilla, chocolate, oak, and of course, bourbon notes abound; could inhale this all night. The taste was superb; roasted chocolate malt, vanilla, and oak blend so well with the bourbon that it just melts in the mouth. Very smooth and creamy with a very slight hint of ABV; which is scary! One of the best well balanced BB stouts that I have tasted. Too bad this isn't bottled!!

 596 characters

Photo of Ciocanelu
4.75/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Black color with tan head. Aroma has really nice fudge, caramel, bourbon and butterscotch. Taste follows with bourbon and caramel, roasted malt, more bitter on the finish, lingers on the aftertaste with smooth bourbon. Medium to full bodied, really smooth mouthfeel. Overall it's a classic imperial stout with really nice bourbon flavors that are integrated really well and create an excellent drinking experience.

 414 characters

Photo of Rifugium
4.53/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

First had: on tap at City Tap House, Philly, PA

First (and only at the time of this review) keg to come to Philly!

Served in a snifter, dark brown to black, opaque, with a minimal tan head. Aroma was luscious with dark malts, licorice, vanilla and chocolate; some alcohol noticeable. Taste was rich with malts, dark chocolate, sweet sugars, bourbon-soaked wood; strong in flavor and booze; quite simply amazing all around. Nicely thick and creamy, full bodied. Highly drinkable, and among of the best stouts I've had.

 519 characters

Photo of Kegatron
4.72/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ The Great Taste of the Midwest (Madison, WI) on 8/14/10. Several samples served in a tasting mug.

Pours a dense black, with a rich topping of dark mocha colored head. This quickly fizzles out however, leaving a black and still surface staring back at me. The aroma is packed with chocolate fudge, creamy smelling sweetness, sticky molasses character, and a DEEP burnt roastiness to it in the back. The sweet tang this puts off in the nostrils is just fabulous.

The taste is bitter and blackened tasting at first with roast and coffee, being quickly followed by the luscious sweet tang of chocolate, vanilla, and sticky charred molasses, before diving into a heady roasted finish and lingering notes of green woody tannins. Just the right amount of charred bourbon flavor is present without any kind of excessive heat. The mouthfeel is full, thick, and chewy and is hiding it's ABV VERY well. Nuff said!

Badass in a glass sums this up perfectly and I was really glad to finally get to try this one again. An awesome BA blend here and it's definitely one of the best I've had from Bell's.

 1,101 characters

Photo of billab914
4.5/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.5/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of smithj4
4.5/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of vfgccp
4.5/5  rDev -1.1%

Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Beer rating: 4.55 out of 5 with 4,397 ratings
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