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

BA SCORE
99
world-class
4,312 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:
4,312
Reviews:
669
Avg:
4.5
pDev:
8.22%
 
 
Wants:
2,720
Gots:
1,196
For Trade:
127
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,312 |  Reviews: 669
Photo of thegerm87
4.5/5  rDev 0%

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 Dope
4.72/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

12/29/12 batch.

A: Pours pitch black with a good sized and dense medium brown head. Head fades slowly with nary a trace of lacing. Decent retention, however.

S: Huge bourbon notes. Almost pure bourbon with the sweet, sweet caramel and some toasted coconut. No real sign of the stout, it's buried under the mountain of bourbon I think. Maybe a little chalky chocolate. Great bourbon aroma regardless.

T: Well, strong bourbon again up front but not overpowering at least. Loaded with sweet caramel. Ultra sweet caramel. Wonderful toasted coconut again. Roasted malt kicks in, wow is this nice. I love both of the base beers and this is just fantastic. Super smooth and creamy with loads of chocolate to boot. Tastes like a caramel chocolate cream milkshake. Bourbon stands alone in the lingering aftertaste with hints of sweet caramel and toffee and coconut. Not drying at all like a lot of barrel treatments.

M: Heavy but not too thick. Slick and ultra smooth. Creamy.

O: Whoa, glad I got my hands on this one. Masterful blend and barrel aging. The smooth creaminess really makes this one stand out. No harsh flavors, no excessive booziness. Strong flavors, yes. Great complexity, yes. Awesome barrel treatment, yes. Perfect blend, yes. Great beer, Bell's, my hat is off to you.

 1,283 characters

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

Bottled Dec 28, 2012.

Beer is jet black with a small tan head.

Nose is very good. A nice blend of bourbon scents (oak, vanilla, bourbon itself), dark fruits, and chocolate. The nose reveals a well blended barrel-aged stout, with the barrel being obvious but not overwhelming.

Taste lives up to the promise of the nose. There is nothing unexpected here: it has all the flavours one would expect from a bourbon-barrel aged stout. What makes it great is two things: (i) the base beer is of a very high quality; and (ii) the flavours are very well proportioned. Bourbon, oak, vanilla, dark fruits, chocolate and some roasted malt are all there, and all harmonious with one another.

Mouthfeel is also great. Full bodied, moderate to low carbonation level and very very smooth. Despite the high ABV, it drinks quite easily. Alcohol hear is there but surprisingly muted for what it is.

Overall, terrific. Absolutely a first rate BBA stout.

 938 characters

Photo of MDDMD
4.7/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A-dark brown black color with a smallish tan head and minimal lacing

S-chocolate, coffee, dark fruit, bourbon, oak

T-rich chocolate, coffee, raisins, figs, vanilla, oak, slight smokiness, all interwoven with delicious bourbon flavor

F-medium to full body with light to moderate carbonation, smooth and creamy mouthfeel

O-absolutely delicious, so well-balanced with a wide array of flavor and bourbon beautifully blended throughout, one of the best

 451 characters

Photo of thagr81us
3.8/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ah Black Note... How you have eluded me for this long I will never know. Had during Brewvival 2012! Served from tap into a Brewvival sampler imperial pint. Poured pitch black with a minimal brown head. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, roasted malt, cream, wood, and sweet alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, roasted malt, cream, wood, sweet alcohol, and spices. It had a heavy feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a fairly good brew. I went into this one expecting to be blown away if I am honest. However, it fell short of what I was expecting it to be. All of the aspects on this one were good, but the flavor left a lot to be desired. There was a lot more roastiness going on here and not enough sweetness to balance it out at all. The spice note didn't help this fact either. The bad thing is that it was enjoyed with a group of BA buddies and all of us agreed that it was quite lackluster. Worth trying if you have not done so, but I doubt I would seek it out again myself based on what it takes to land it.

 1,090 characters

Photo of bubseymour
4.64/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of anteater
4.53/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle.

A: Black and deep, practically no head whatsoever

S: Strong! You can smell this one from far away. Roasty malt, espresso, chocolate, bourbon and vanilla

T: More of the nose. Rich espresso, bourbon, roasty malt, chocolate and vanilla from the oak. Bitterness is present but in the background. Lots of flavor, very well balanced

M: Pretty thick, very smooth

O: One of the better barrel aged stouts I've had. Better than KBS, not as good as BCBS.

 476 characters

Photo of Dogbrick
4.45/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sample at the Bell's tasting at Brews Cafe on 3/6/08: This beer pours a matte black color with a medium thin light brown head with decent retention. Small patches of lacing on the glass. Aroma of coffee liqueur, bourbon and toasted malt. Rich, chewy body with loads of roasted malt and bittersweet chocolate flavor, as well as bourbon and plum. The finish is roasty and sweet at first with mild alcohol and coffee in the aftertaste. Very enjoyable, and a close second to the Bourbon Barrel Java Stout at this event.

 515 characters

Photo of DanGeo
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of jeff1973
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of pkalix
4.76/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

wow. very smooth; very mellow. 2012, February, almost three years old and drunk on the anniversary of my dad's passing. cheers! nothing to compare it to, never had one before, but very, very nice. thanks to Dan for the brew! this bottle says 11.8%. lots of tempered bourbon aroma and flavor, dark fruit, fig, chocolate, caramel, tobacco..... but no egg as someone mentioned (?)....

 381 characters

Photo of popery
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of cjgiant
4.36/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shared bottle: nice bourbon-tinged chocolate where barrel shows in a thinner feel late taste. Well balanced and a must revisit for full review.

144 characters

Photo of Keananmichael5
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

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

Photo of AgentZero
4.28/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Black bodied beer, nicely opaque. Couple of fingers of brown head that had nice retention and left some good lace.

S - Some moderate bourbon smell, oak, vanilla, bit of chocolate. Smells really nice, meets the expectations you would want for a BA stout.

T - Smooth bourbon, some unsweetened cocoa, oak, little vanilla. Pretty flavorful beer, but was not quite as sweet as I thought it would be, was expecting some more decadent brownie or something. Still, that's not a horrible thing, it's very smooth and goes down easily. Bit of heat on the end.

M - Smooth and full bodied.

O - After hoping to try this for the longest time, happy to say this beer is not a disappointment. Very well crafted and enjoyable to drink. Would like to cellar a few bottles if/when they are released.

 787 characters

Photo of deonreds
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of khargro2
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of Lukass
4.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

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.

 705 characters

Photo of tbryan5
4.68/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

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

Photo of Zuidman
4.5/5  rDev 0%

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

Well blended BB stout. Just not enough bold flavor for me top-rated higher.

75 characters

Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.5 out of 5 based on 4,312 ratings.
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