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

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4,340 Ratings
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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
Ratings:
4,340
Reviews:
678
Avg:
4.5
pDev:
8.22%
 
 
Wants:
2,724
Gots:
1,198
For Trade:
126
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 4,340 |  Reviews: 678
Photo of dirtylou
4.35/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

on-tap, Maduro-Madison

cellphone notes

appearance: served in a (short pour) bells pint glass, dark ebony body, creamy chocolatey head

smell: creamy chocolate waves, bourbon, vanilla, nice and roasty

taste: I think I've had this blend in years past, possibly before the black note name was branded. This one lasted until about 4pm on the eve of the GTOTM '11. A lot of the edge of expedition is cut by the double cream and barrel, which I think is a good think. Smooth and creamy, bourbon and vanilla more subtle than others, molasess, oak, dark chocolate, espresso.

mouthfeel: smooth, rich and creamy

taste: very good - tick it off the list

 646 characters

Photo of bobv
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of atone315
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of 2beerdogs
4.02/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.18/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

10 ox tap pour into a snifter at Burnhearts in Bay View last night. Thanks BJ and Paul for the event and swag and to D-Train for driving!

A - The constant flow from the tap as people lined the bar at least two deep produced a plethora of pitch black snifters on the bar-top, each one crowned delicately by loose dark brown foam.

S - Heavily roasted, plenty of coffee made its way out of this beer with cocoa and chocolate accents. Mellow oak and bourbon follow up.

T - Burnt toast and charred oak paired with the beer's already strong cocoa and coffee proved to be pretty taxing to drink. Chocolate and warm bourbon heat followed nicely.

M - Voluptuous and rich, the balance of this beer is well done. Plenty of hops aid the roasted bitterness while the thinning alcohol warmth finishes out.

O - While Black Note is certainly a great brew, it's also an example of what hype and "rarity" can elevate a beer to. Don't expect anything life changing from this one; it's another heavy stout but, thankfully, balance sets it apart from some other overly-alcohol-rich stouts.

 1,073 characters

Photo of 2dogbrew
3.75/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of teamwiggum
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of KarlHungus
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of hollywood_15063
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of xnicknj
4.79/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

on tap at devils den during the bells darkest day event

Pours an inky, viscous blackness with a crop of browned head. Fades out with little retention or lacing on the glass.

Sweet and robust in the nose with dark chocolate and roasted caramel malts. Chocolate cake with vanilla, oak, and warm bourbon. Boozy and sweet but balanced.

A wave of dark malts crash upon the tongue with chocolate and toffee notes. Coffee tones with sweet vanilla bean and oaky smoothness. Creamy and soft with a burly malt backbone and a dash of anise, tempered by the boozy warmth, which is incredibly smooth. Bourbon soaked chocolate cake on the back end, with some lingering warmth.

Fuller body, nice carbonation, creamy, smooth and ultra soft on the tongue. Drinks like an absolute dream - excellent balance and I can distinctly taste both of the base beers int he profile, along with the barrel character. THIS is what I want from a barrel aged stout. Thank you Bells.

 957 characters

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

Photo of Daniellobo
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

Photo of papat444
4.15/5  rDev -7.8%

Poured from a 12oz botle, 2014 vintage. Thanks to Tricerahops (i think).

Pours a black body with a very thin head. Not as boozy as expected but bourbon is strong in the flavor. Nuances of coffee and chocolate are present but this would probably open up in a few years. I will say it was very smooth and alcohol was very well hidden.

 333 characters

Photo of MattyG85
4.89/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at The Blue Door Pub in St. Paul, MN. Served in a 10 oz. goblet glass.

Appearance: Color is a oily jet black. Moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of deep tan creamy head that recedes to a very thin layer. Decent amount of lacing is left on the glass.

Smell: Big scent of bourbon whiskey up front with good hints of vanilla, wood, and oak. Sweet dark malts with big hints of dark chocolate, coffee, dark toasted bread, molasses, burnt caramel, toffee, and biscuit. A fair amount of syrup and burnt sugars. Subtle hints of dark raisin, plum, fig, and cherry. A light hint of smoke and earthy hops. The bourbon and sweet chocolate stand out the most. A big and rich aroma.

Taste: Just as big and complex as the aroma leads. Nicely dark, sweet, and boozy. Big taste of bourbon whiskey up front with good notes of vanilla, oak chips, and the whiskey barrel. A little bit of smoke. Big dark roasted malts with notes of dark chocolate, bitter coffee, toasted bread and biscuit, sweet molasses and syrup, burnt caramel, and toffee. Undertones of dark fruits including dark cherry, plum, and raisin. Subtle earthy hops in the background. The bourbon and dark chocolate elements really stand out. Rich and very good taste.

Mouthfeel: A fairly heavy body with a moderate amount of carbonation. Thick, creamy, and fairly slick and syrupy. Some alcohol heat is present but its not overly hot.

Overall: A really great barrel aged imperial stout. The bourbon flavor is big and great and the dark chocolate and molasses sweetness is very good.

 1,553 characters

Photo of cpetrone84
4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark coffee brown with tight dark tan head. Nose has some subtle roasted malt, notes of coffee, vanilla cream, chocolate cake. There is a mild sweet bourbon note. It tastes well balanced, faint touch of sweetness with rich chocolate cake and vanilla notes. The coffee is lighter, Light note of sweet bourbon that picks up as it warns, more present than the nose but still subtle. Soft creamy feel, full bodied but not heavy with good carb and extremely drinkable.

 471 characters

Photo of Sabtos
4.1/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Very dark brown mahogany with a fleeting mocha head.

Thick, rich smell that I can even feel in my throat when I take a small whiff. Nutty, thick chocolate, walnut and wet, dense oak, with a faint, spicy, peppery bourbon resting in the background.

Taste is heavily charred, dark oaky, woody, nuttiness, finishing as a slick, waxy chocolate. There is almost a hint of peanut butter in there. Bourbon continues to not be overpowering on the palate, with a spicy kick of heat on the very back end.

This is blended expertly, with a full bodied feel, soft hefty froth, some lightening tang, a nice balance of flavors, and a complexity and deepness of characteristics not often found in the barrel aged stout. However, this review was for the 2016 version, and I found, having a 2014 version about a year later that the heat of the beer doesn't actually seem to mellow out substantially over time, sort of putting rest to the idea of hoarding these for a better day, at least for this beer. If you don't like what heat this beer does bring, you probably shouldn't buy a ton to cellar.

 1,080 characters

Photo of Durge
4.39/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Yet another goodie at Stub & Herb's in Minneapolis, MN . This shows a solid black brown color with a modest tan head and decent lacing. The aroma says cabernet and sour coffee with a hint of licorice. Awesome and fairly intense. The flavor is an incredible medley of coffee cherry chocolate with wonderful root hints that suggest Vicks Formula 44. There is an herbal hop bite here that blends with the medicinal qualities. This is full bodied and sliky feeling with some resinous qualities perhaps. Minute but very tangy carbonation. Not highly drinkable at all, just too intense but very tasty. There's raisin and juniper and the blend is superb. And I thought the Expedition alone would be unbeatable...Wow!

 709 characters

Photo of warnerry
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of bsuedekum
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of tectactoe
4.66/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Mmm... Bell's Black Note. Half Expedition Stout, half Special Double Cream Stout - two beers that I love - aged for months in old bourbon barrels. How can you go wrong, right? This is one of those beers that often gets compared to KBS and BCBS, so needless to say - I'm very excited to try it. The pour is pitch black as it tumbles out like old motor oil that should've been changed months ago. The half-inch tan cap lasts for longer than expected and leaves behind some wet lacing. Very nice looking beer.

The aroma follows suit for this style of beer very closely. In other words, it's pretty fantastic. The bourbon barrel notes are the first thing to jump out - smooth bourbon, wet oak, vanilla. Very powerful without being brash. Lots of rich chocolates up front, too. Milky sweet and savory. Nice, sweet molasses underbody with plenty of roasted malt and coffee in the tail end. The aroma has a perfectly inviting warmth to it. It doesn't change much as the beer warms up, it just gets stronger. I'm okay with that.

I certainly don't think I would have been able to pick out Expedition or DC Stout had I not been told, but after taking a few sips, I certainly can believe it. The mouth feel is fantastic. Silky, smooth, chewy, robust, thick - just so pleasing to let this one sit and swish around your palate for a bit. Huge robustness right out of the gate with a solid bourbon character that lasts from start to finish. It has one of the richest, creamiest, and most full-bodied inductions of chocolate that I've ever tasted. Sweet, delicate cocoa with a faint wisp of bitterness. Milky, creamy, and elegant.

The barrel flavors are definitely pronounced and become even more heady twenty minutes in. Heavy oak and vanilla, still with the solid meshing of warm bourbon. Some lightly burnt coffee beans make their way in and out, but must really be searched for. The roast from the malt injects a little more bitterness that plays well with the sweetness of the beer and the warmth of the booze. A nearly perfect trifecta of balance is happening on my palate. The finish shows some super-dark, bourbon-soaked and lightly sugar coated fruits; dates and figs being the best descriptions. That's what reminds me the most of Expedition. The finish has lots of dark chocolate, roasty malt, and oak-soaked bourbon with a fading vanilla note. Incredibly complex and super enjoyable.

Incredible beer. I love both of the base beers, so mixing them together and aging them in bourbon barrels is most-likely going to be a success, and it definitely was. Very drinkable for being nearly 12% ABV, but it's still better to enjoy this one over the course of an hour. Insanely complex and insanely delicious - get some!

 2,713 characters

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

Photo of JamieDuncan
4.46/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of scottfrie
4.52/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into Lost Abbey stemmed glass. Thanks a TON for sending me this bottle Jay. You’re the man!

A: Pours pitch black with a minimal head. Not getting much lace but that’s expected.
S: I get huge notes of vanilla with undertones of bourbon, caramel and deep chocolate. There are some spicy notes as well.
T: Phenomenally smooth notes of chocolate fudge, sweet bourbon, caramel, hints of barrel spice and smoke. The finish is super smooth and bourbony and so very mellow.
M: Ultra smooth and creamy beer. The booze is well hidden and the body is thick and chewy. This feels awesome.
O: One of the better stouts I’ve ever had. I could drink a whole bottle of this myself. Thank you so much Jay!

 710 characters

Photo of mig100
4.61/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of hilgart1
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.5 out of 5 based on 4,340 ratings.
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