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

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Bell's Black Note StoutBell's Black Note Stout
BEER INFO

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

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.40%

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
Reviews:
589
Ratings:
3,957
Avg:
4.5
pDev:
8.22%
 
 
Wants:
2,760
Gots:
1,035
For Trade:
94
User Reviews
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Reviews: 589 | Ratings: 3,957
Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.46/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2014 12 oz. bottle.

A - Dark body, opaque, with a short tan head that fades quickly. Minor lacing. Pretty typical for a solid barrel aged stout.

S - Roasted malt is forward, with a strong alcohol and wood hum, and hints of chocolate and vanilla. Fairly quiet, all told, but the nose promises deliciousness.

T - And this beer delivers. Solid. Front is boozy bourbon vanilla and wood, middle of dark chocolate and cocoa nibs, molasses and bread, close is slightly acidic.

M - Some carbonation, slick, warmth from the alcohol, and a biting close that scrubs the weight off and keeps things clean. A bit to brisk for me.

O - Glad I stumbled into this one, and that I got to try it. I think this is rock solid, a signal of Bell's skills. A strong, solid take on the bourbon-barrel aged stout.

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Photo of GOBLIN
4.21/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A very well done ba stout ! I can see why this is so sought after . . . glad to have tried it. Definitely in the upper echelon. Would have preferred a better feel though.

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Photo of monitorpop
3.92/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black with a one finger airy tan head that quickly faded to a ring.

S: Smooth bourbon with subtitle chocolate, coffee and vanilla extract.

T: Dominate bitter dark chocolate with some coffee that fades into lingering bourbon. More bitter than sweet.

M: A bit thinner and than I expected. Some nice warming alcohol in the finish.

O: More bitter and less sweet than I prefer, but still a really good beer that certainly improves as it warms up.

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

10oz pour at city taphouse bell's event

A: Deep brown/black body. One finger dark khaki head that held for some time after the pour. Spotty lacing.

S: Bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, sweet cream, molasses, roasted malts and dark fruits. Complex and well layered. Nothing really overpowers the other elements.

T: Nice blend of boozy-goodness and sweet, dessert like malts. Warm bourbon is present from the first drop. Sweet milk chocolate, cream, molasses, caramel, a little roasted coffee, vanilla and some figs.

M: Thick, full bodied and viscous. Low carbonation, but appropriate. A bit boozy, but not overbearingly hot. Nice lingering sweetness.

D: At first it was fairly easy drinking considering the thickness, but the beer eventually slowed down for me. This was likely the result of the underlying sweetness. A very nice beer, that is a bit different than the other big stouts out there. Thanks to Bell's and City Taphouse for the fun event.

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

From a trade with midwest4016. Added to "sweeten the deal." Good look, man! I'm excited for this beer. Bottled 12/28/2012, so it's been sitting for 13 months. Time to let this baby loose.

A- 12. oz bottle poured aggressively into a Bell's snifter. About half of a finger of a light mocha head fades within a minute. No light getting through on this one. Mastery of the art of darkness. A few bubbles of carbonation continue to rise, feeding a light film and ring of foam around the edge on top of the beer. Spotty lacing. Really good looking beer.

S- BOOM. Bourbon. So smooth. Beautiful notes of chocolate, toffee, vanilla. Huge dark fruits, as well. Without a doubt, the bourbon dominates, but it does so without being overwhelming. This aroma hits all the right notes. Just as I was typing that, my dog farted. Fuck you, Ginny.

T- Same as the nose, except, there's a roastiness that comes out as it warms. So glad that was maintained from the Expedition. That's what takes it to the next level for me. Smooth chocolate, warm bourbon, sweet toffee and vanilla. But the roast makes this a nearly perfect beer as far as flavor goes. Only drawback is that it is a HAIR too sweet. Still... Awesome. 11.8% ABV? Hidden remarkably well.

M- Light carbonation, though it almost borders on medium. Heavy, oily mouthfeel, though it was a tad thinner than I anticipated. Delightful warmth from the alcohol. Chocolate and bourbon smother the palette. Well done.

O- Amazing beer. Ages incredibly. I've now had a vintage, but have not yet tried the beer when fresh. Needless to say, I will be seeking this out when it is released this year. Phenomenal representation of the style. I could get lost in the sweet music of Black Note for eternity. Must. Get. More.

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Photo of kevanb
4.47/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #1071 - Thanks Shawn!

The pour is pretty standard for any stout, lovely jet back color with no transparency. Watching it pour is like watching motor oil pour from the canister, syrupy and viscous, yet thin enough to resemble something you would want to drink. An aggressive pour yields some head, but not much, and easily dissipates within moments, not uncommon of a high ABV stout. The nose is remarkable, the Double Cream Stout is in full effect in the nose, lots of milky lactose notes, roasted coffee and grainy malt compliments the subtle bourbon and charred wood that comes forth at the end, exceptional balance between the barrel and the base blend, neither seems to dominate, but instead they compliment each other quite well. I’ve had many a milk stout but the is the first time that the nose has suggested harmony between a milky or creamy stout and anything pleasant from a bourbon barrel. The flavors tend to favor Expedition Stout, heavier on the roast and bourbon, but also with a sweeter element, especially as it warms. Big notes of coffee and malt jump out, not unlike the Double Cream Stout, but they resinate in a way more reminiscent of Expedition Stout. The flavors are bigger, more robust and thicker, pairing well with the bourbon, which never takes over the beer, but only adds a nice layer of complexity and woodiness that compliments the roasted coffee and bold chocolate and caramel malt flavors. The body is nice and thick, minimal carbonation which plays nicely into the milky and creamy stout playbook of Double Cream Stout.

Verdict: Exceptional stout from Bell’s, I wish they released more of this so it could get around, but I’m very happy to have had a bottle. The creaminess and roastiness go hand in hand and the barrel aging adds just enough complexity to take this blend to a new level, without overpowering or dominating the palate. If you have the chance to try this beer, make it a top priority, the hype is deserved.

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Photo of Rimbimhoot
4.09/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2014 bottle.

S: Bourbon, dark fruit, oak, cocoa
T: Huge oak, fudge, tannin, dark chocolate, bourbon, light bitterness, coconut, light vanilla, molasses, hidden alcohol, dry

Overall if the oak tannin was toned down this would get a significant bump

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Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.92/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the tap at Birreria Paradiso into a very generous snifter, Happy Hour price $4. LOL I would have paid... well never mind. The liquid was dark too black had a cool looking one finger mocha head with a bit of lace.

The smell was just oh so good, big bourbon on that great Bell's stout. Lots of coffee and chocolate noted dancing with the vanilla and alcohol, truly a master piece.

The taste followed the aroma, lots of bourbon, mild vanilla working with all the great flavors of the cream stout.

The mouthfeel was good to very good thick and creamy but the carbonation could have been a bit better to make the body just right.

The drinkability was A1A, man did I enjoy this brew. This is a must try beer. Thanks Larry! Prosit und Zum Wohl. MK

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Photo of jasonpeckins32
4.3/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours black as night, with a strong brown colored head that suddenly disappears before I even take a sip. It's aroma is great. Roasty, full of bourbon, molasses, chocolate, oak and more. It's high abv is very prevalent in it's aroma.

Malty and sweet, boozy and warm, with notes of molasses, black licorice, more boozy warmth, figs, and coffee. It's downright tasty. It's slightly thinner than I was expecting it to be. It's absolutely full-bodied, but probably a touch thinner than bells expedition stout, and I wasn't expecting that. It's a great beer. One that *almost* lives up to it's mega-hype.

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.51/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

What an awesome beer. Had a pull at Churchkey.

Pours super thick black with a ring of tan head and a nice web of lacing. Looks great, and it previews the excellent silky feel.

Smell is good, I get licorice, vanilla, some sweeter bourbon and oak, a little malt, a touch of roast, and some maple syrup. I just knock it cause it isn't really jumping out of the glass. Some alcohol pops out with a swirl.

Taste is amazing and so is the feel, it's so silly and inviting with a range of amazing layers of flavor. Sticky, chewy, semi sweet and savory, there is no heat in there which amazing. Flavors include licorice, sweeter bourbon-very nice bourbon like van winkle 12, nice roasty chocolate notes, oak, lactose sugar, a little alcohol sweetness, some savory slight bacony notes, and some espresso cream. Wow, stunning beer.

Overall this is killing. What a great beer, my favorite bells and that says something.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Type: Bottle 2012
Glass: Snifter
From: Bell's General Store
Price: $24 a 4-pack

Appearance- Pitch black and opaque. Small tan head the faded pretty quickly and only left a lacing along the side.

Smell- Chocolate, molasses and bourbon, and a touch of sweetness

Taste- Chocolate, brown sugar, bourbon and molasses, with a finish of bitter roasted malts. Perfectly balanced and not lacking in any way.

Mouthfeel- Creamy and thick. Low carbonation and a warming finish. Exactly what it should be.

Overall- This beer is exactly what I want it to be. It is a stout no doubt with the perfect addition of bourbon. Most BBA stouts are taken over by the bourbon, while this is not a terrible thing, it still takes away from the beer. The use of Expedition and Special Double Cream gives it both a smoothness in the body but a slightly bitter finish that is perfect for the style. I couldn't and wouldn't as for anything different in a bourbon barrel aged stout. At $6 a bottle it is definitely a treat but one that I would buy a 4-pack at any opportunity.

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

Thanks to fellow BA cvm4 for sending this bottle along in a trade. Enjoyed out of a 12 oz brown bottle with the vintage "2014" stamped on the front of the label. Poured into a 33 oz brandy snifter. Reviewing from notes after enjoying on 2/14/15.

Appearance (4.25) - A pour of moderate aggression yields a finger of caramel-brown foam that dissipates fairly quickly, leaving more of a ringlet around the edges and a spackling of lace on the sides of the glass. Beneath the head lies a dark walnut brown body with no light able to pass through except for a gentle glow of refraction right around the edges.

Smell (4.5) - The smell really makes a good impression, with notes of graham cracker, caramel and some molasses are the initial aroma, with trailing scents of chocolate and roasted malt close behind. There is a slight hint of astringent booziness, but it's faint and really only serves to cut through the sweeter aromas.

Taste (4.5) - Not quite as impressive as the aroma, but good enough that the difference is negligible, the taste isn't quite as sweet as what the smell suggested was to follow. Still notes of caramel and molasses, now complemented by vanilla and some oak, with a stronger presence from the alcohol that wasn't as prevalent in the smell. Again, bitterness comes in the form of roasted malt char and some cacao bittersweet characteristics.

Feel (4.0) - Body is on the slightly heavy side of medium, but still doesn't rise to the girth that I want to have in big imperial stouts like this one. I know the barrel-aging makes that difficult. Carbonation is low and soft, without any of the harshness that might cut through the decadence of the beer. Finish is semisweet.

Overall (4.25), a really nice barrel-aged stout and one that I would gladly drink again if it weren't pretty much a trade-only beer for me to access. However, I don't think I would go out of my way to trade for it again, as there are barrel-aged imperial stouts that are just as good, if not better, that I personally have an easier time getting my hands on.

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Photo of cfrances33
4.73/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Bell's Eccentric Cafe, served in a snifter.

Pour: Pitch black, with a half finger of deep khaki head. Nice legs, and this beer is a little more splashy than the pitch black body would tell you.

Smell: Really nice vanilla bourbon, with a distinct roastiness, and creamy milk chocolate. A touch of dark fruits.

Taste: Wow. Bourbon vanilla bomb up front. Nice sweet milk chocolate creaminess, which mixes with roasted malts. Creamy vanilla bourbon finishes.

Mouthfeel: Not too heavy, and just a touch of bourbon heat. Really nice carbonation, which play well with the creamy flavors.

Overall: Awesome beer, definitely looking forward to having this again.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.87/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

First off, let me say my thanks to Larry Bell for making this gem, and thanks to The Party Town for making this available for growler fills.
That being said, wow, what a treat! I’m a huge expedition fan, so this beer is what I’m all about. Pours a dark brown with a slight head that recedes quickly after pouring. This is possibly one of the best noses I’ve ever had come from a beer. I spent quite a bit of time sniffing this one. Smell is velvety bourbon, with notes of chocolate and espresso coffee. The taste is incredible. Think bourbon barrel aged Expedition with a very creamy and silky finish due to the Double Cream. This is the perfect combination, everything is working incredbily together. If bottled this would rival and give Kentucky Breakfast a run for its money. Very happy that I had the chance to enjoy this, but very sad as well, because the chances of coming across this rare gem again is small.

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Photo of Treebs
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml C&C bottle served in a Deschutes tulip. Bottle # 272/1081. Huge thanks to Andrew (nasty31) for the share. This was the night cap to the pre-DLD tasting.

A: Pours a jet black with a light khaki head forming on the pour. It recedes slowly to a thin collar that leaves some soapy looking lace across the glass.

S: Bourbon up front in the nose and slowly the dark fruits and pure chocolate start to emerge. As the glass warms the sweeter notes of caramel to show and the roasted malts also get amplified.

T: The dark fruits and the bourbon flavors are up front with smooth oak and a nice combination of dark chocolate and sweet milk chocolate. The finish is roasty with a nice addition of caramel and vanilla from the barrel.

M: Smooth and sweet with a low carbonation and chewier body. There is a mild warmth on the back end of each sip.

O: I really got the nice dark fruit and dark chocolate flavors from the Expedition Stout and the creamy malt and milk chocolate flavors from the Double Cream Stout. Overall, combined with the barrel aging this was a very nice beer.

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Photo of shivtim
4.57/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from a friend. 2012 vintage aged in his beer cellar in Michigan for one year.

Nearly opaque black/brown, with brown tinged edges when held up to light. Slight lacy brown head.
Nose is bourbon-soaked raisins. Chocolate. Slight anise. Fantastic.
Taste is deep malt, bourbon, some sweetness.

Excellent stout.

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

12 oz bottle. Deep brown, very thin head disappears. Sweet bourbon chocolate aroma. Taste is outstanding, vanilla notes and chocolate, bourbon is present but not overwhelming. Crazy smooth silky finish. Overall, one of the best BBA stouts I've had.

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Photo of younger35
4.21/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this at Stub & Herbs on Darkness Eve. They had one hell of a stout lineup that night and between this brew and Bell's Rye Stout, they were the best. Drank from a small 7oz sampling glass. Taken from notes on phone.

Appearance- Pours a pitch ass black with basically no head, no cap or collar or lacing.
Smell- The first thing that jumps out at me is the immediate rush of vanilla that meets my nostrils. The oak is very noticeable but not the dominate nasal trait. Sort of boozy as well but plenty of Tootsie Roll milk chocolate and a raw cocoa nib scent. Maybe a touch of molasses and caramel as well.
Taste- Starts very slightly sweet with a browny batter like chocolaty fudge. The brew is very intense and sort of concentrated with plenty of oak and vanilla. I don't really get much of the Cream Stout as I think the wood and Expedition just dominate. Some light caramel and toffee sit in middle as the beer finishes with some light molasses and brown sugar. Like the nose, the alcohol is noticeable but not devastatingly harsh. Loads of vanilla and nuts in the warm finish.
Mouthfeel- Not the biggest feel in the world but considering all things involved not bad. Somewhere around medium with a light carbonation that you have to search for. Slick warming feel.
Drinkability- The beer is huge in flavor and smell but a bit lacking in the feel and looks department. But I could drink this thing all day. It's like drinking a chocolate covered peanut and caramel truffle. Really nice beer that I'm really glad I got to try. Keep up the good work John!

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Photo of deebo
4.05/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Bryant-Lake Bowl.

A-Served a healthy 10 oz pour in a snifter. This baby is black as a black note with a tan film that stubbornly hangs on til the last drink.

S-Sweet and roasted malts are dominant, the bourbon is there too but subdued at first, becoming stronger as the beer warms.

T-The taste is definitely on the sweet side. The malts are chocolately with a medium amount of roasting. Bourbon character is there but not overpowering at all.

M-A bit oily but not nearly as much viscosity as say a GI BCS. Body is also on the light side for such a strong brew, the odd thing is you would expect the alcohol to come out stronger, but it is really well hidden...a definite plus for this version. Very light on carbonation.

D-Probably the highest for any 10%+ BB stout I've tasted.

O-Tastes like a BB stout, but shines in the drinkability. Lacks the complex flavors of some others but a solid beer. Well done.

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Photo of sukwonee
4.56/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks for the trade Jim!!!

A: Black body with very little head

S: wow. Huge vanilla, bourbon, oak, dark fruits, some hops, coffee, chocolate,
5 stars here.

T: ok so not as good as it smells - still great. more bourbon notes over vanilla and oak than in the nose. alcohol heat is definitely there. I pick up brown sugar, caramel, coffee, chocolate, but not much dark fruit as in the nose.

M: It's syrupy alright but it's not the thickest stout I had or anything like that. as mentioned alcohol heat is there (dry).

O: Another excellent BA stout. Nothing crazy or anything but great BA stout. I love the fact that it comes in 12oz bottle now.

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Photo of chugalug06
4.68/5  rDev +4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Damn dark black brew. Not overly thick. Caramel colored soapy head grows slowly. No lacing. Thin legs.

DEEP vanilla caramel aroma. Oaky. Robust. Nicely faded coffee. High heat burn, but it's damn nice.

Lots of caramel, vanilla, robust, strong aroma. Smooth, super drinkable. Low (perfect) carbonation. Sweetness is low; 70% chocolate. Bitterness is non-existent. Nearly perfect flavors. Slight rubber aftertaste on the very backend. Sweetness is perfect. Flavors are great!!! Prickly carbonation.

Yep, this one meets expectations. Knocked out of the park, flavors are exception. Feel could be slightly improved. Well blended. Complex. Highly recommended, hope to try again sometime.

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Photo of russwbeck
4.37/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Churchkey in DC. The lone keg to make the DC/MD/VA area. Very lucky to get to try this.

A: Viscous black pour with a small brown head. What does stick around laces decently. 4

S: The aroma is extremely well balanced. Bourbon and some booze up front, but a lot of chocolate balance it out. Roastiness, I'm guessing coffee, hides in the shadows. Making it's presence known when you need it. 4.5

T: The taste follows the smell wonderfully. The bourbon is up front, but chocolate and booze quickly provide balance and body, before roasty coffee takes over the backend. The balance is there, the flavor profile develops nicely on the palate, and overall the taste is far above average. 4.5

MF: The body could have been a bit fuller, at times I believed it was too watery, still medium to heavy overall. Booze is noted, dry finish. 3.5

O Delicious, certainly lives up to the hype. Balance is enough to make it great. The bourbon is not too intrusive. I thought it was very drinkable. Happy to have had the chance to try this. 4.5

--

Desert at RFD Washington's Bell's Beer Dinner. Bell’s Black Note Stout paired with a Black Note Brownie with ice cream and caramel.

A: Motor oil black pour without much head at all. What was there was light brown. 4

S: Bourbon mainly with a ton of chocolate, some roasted malts and vanilla are coming out underneath. The aroma is rich and balanced nicely. Just on a different level. 4.5

T: My God this is good. And with this decedent brownie and ice cream...it’s a good thing I was sitting down. So much chocolate is in front of me. The integration of the bourbon and the stout is what really makes this great. 5

MF: Very heavy body, low carbonation. Just a perfect pairing with the brownie. Wish I could do this more often. 4.5

O: Extremely enjoyable. The perfect way to finish the dinner off. Rich and boozy. 5

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

2014 bottling poured into a small Great Lakes snifter. I just had a bottle of BCBS out of the cellar a few days ago so it will be pretty fresh in my mind for comparison. The beer pours out very, very dark, but not quite black. Carbonation is low (not uncommon and perfectly acceptable for a barrel-aged stout). I'm getting lots of dark fruit and barrel character on the nose instead of the roasty notes I expected. Plums, dark cherries, and some vanilla and bourbon notes. I also get some bittersweet chocolate notes.

The beer has a full body and a strong, complex flavor. Some sweet malt and a big hit of bourbon up front greet you first. The texture of the beer really enhances all this rich flavor. Some of the dark fruit slides in and out, but mostly it's toffee-like malt, toasted oak, and bourbon. You half expect the bourbon to intensify towards the back of the palate, but it maintains consistency of strength and never quite burns you. It lingers while the profile gradually tends toward dark chocolate and espresso, then keeps lingering on the finish after you swallow.

Very interesting beer. It has a lot of intense bourbon flavor, but never quite seems as hot as it threatens. It's much more like BCBS than KBS, in that it embraces the bourbon instead of coffee and chocolate. Spectacular beer that I hope I am fortunate enough to score again some day.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served on tap in a cervoise at the Great Taste of the Midwest. I have anticipated trying this for three years, so needless to say, I am excited.

Appearance: My pour is an ebony black color with a modest creamy tan head. As I would expect with the high ABV, the cap fades rather quickly and leaves just a few dots of lace on the glass.

Smell: The aroma does not jump out of the glass, but it is full and complex. Lots of roasted malt and chocolate fudge are noticeable, with coffee and cream, subdued bourbon notes, and some raisins or other dark fruits as well.

Taste: The blend here is just fantastic. It is difficult to describe the intricacy of the interaction of the flavors, but I will do my best. A light bourbon presence exists throughout, so each flavor melds in with that base. Full, deep, almost burnt roasted malt create the deepest bitterness and set the tone for the rest of the flavors. The taste lightens up with some creamy coffee notes. Still bitter, but light and creamy as well. From there, gooey fudge makes an appearance, sticking with a full creamy flavor. The bitter, creamy, and sweet flavors all work well with the bourbon to create different sensations. Some vanilla, oak, molasses, and anise add even further complexity.

Mouthfeel: Luxuriously thick and creamy. Using double cream stout really smooths out any rough edges in the feel. Lightly sticky sweet, a touch of oaky dryness toward the end. Creamy carbonation, a deceptive lack of alcohol presence, and a full body.

Overall: Wow, this is pretty incredible. This is definitely an artful blend of two already good beers. The result capitalizes on the strengths of both beers - creamy and roasty, with the perfect amount of bourbon to blend everything together. This was tapped right as the rain started to come down at GTMW, so it was easy to get several pours as long as you were willing to venture out into the rain. Worth every effort to get it, and I would recommend putting forth any effort necessary to try this beer.

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Photo of rodlavers
4.84/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12oz format, dated 12/28/12, poured into a snifter.

Less than a finger of thick dark tan mocha head, pretty much disappears after just a few minutes, maybe not even that long, leaving a very thin ring around the glass. Very minimal lacing. Black coffee coloring, with small traces of red, very small traces.

Nose really opens up as this thing warms a bit. At first a little one dimensional, with a flat roasted character present up front. After the pour, bourbon, vanilla, molasses, dark fruits, some coffee and chocolate, and whole host of other aromas announce themselves, giving Black Note a super complex, yet balanced overall aroma. There are earth tones in there, as well. Even a bit of tobacco.

Taste is equally complex and balanced, but not quite as amazing. Everything in the nose combines to create a very enjoyable flavor profile, but nothing is too prominent. It's all very balanced. I do find myself looking for something extra, more robust. It's not too hot, either.

Feel's smooth and velvety up front with a chalky finish, if that is possible. Somewhat hoppy and bitter at the same time. Carbonation is definitely noticeable.

Overall, I do really enjoy Black Note. It's complexity and uniqueness lend it something other bba stouts do not have. It's definitely not as smooth as some others I've had , but it's amazing in its own right. Cheers.

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Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.5 out of 5 based on 3,957 ratings.
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