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

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Bell's Black Note StoutBell's Black Note Stout
BA SCORE
4.54/5
World-Class
4,563 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:
722
Ratings:
4,563
pDev:
7.93%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
2,702
Gots:
1,297
Trade:
141
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 4,563 |  Reviews: 722
Photo of stephenjmoore
4.23/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014 Vintage

A- Pours a very dark brown, settles into the glass with a near-black body and frothy, mocha-colored head. Some carbonation bubbles coast up the side of the glass and meet the head.

S- Roasted malts, barrel character including oak, bourbon, burnt sugar, toasted coconut, hint of cocoa.

T- Pretty similar to the nose, roasty malts and bourbon characteristics. More coconut, caramel and vanilla than I would have expected. Some lactose qualities with oak and booze coming through as well.

M- Full bodied, but a bit thinner than I would have expected. Carbonation is medium with a coating, sweet and boozy aftertaste.

O- I had high hopes for this one, but was somewhat disappointed. A very good beer, but not in the same class as BCBS, Parabola and others. The flavors do not some together quite as well as others and the flavor/aroma is somewhat less than I expected. Hoping the one I have cellared will turn out better.

 936 characters

Photo of thagr81us
3.8/5  rDev -16.3%
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 Dogbrick
4.45/5  rDev -2%
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 Casey3236
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of popery
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of cp45
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of Sludgeman
3.75/5  rDev -17.4%

Photo of AgentZero
4.28/5  rDev -5.7%
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 wedge
4.32/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

@ Tyler's (Raleigh)

I completely stumbled upon this like it was meant to be.

Black, of course, with a creamy tan ring of a head collecting at the edges. Smooth bourbon and roast aromas featuring thick molasses, toasted coconut, vanilla, wood, and toffee. Super smooth taste: loads of chocolate, dark fruity esters, vanilla bourbon notes, and some oak with a little espresso in the finish. Rather light on the alcohol for its strength. Very pleasant, definite whiskey barrel, but far from overly boozy or harsh. The flavor is good, but I am madly in love with the lingering after taste of berries, coffee, and an almost marshmallow-like element. Luscious, heavy mouthfeel with light carbonation.

Better than the Bourbon Barrel 9000, which, while good, was immense and sticky. This was more cohesive and not too rich. Excellent.

 829 characters

Photo of Nunya
4.25/5  rDev -6.4%

Photo of RochefortChris
4.15/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Tucquan
4.17/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on 2012-09-08 in Columbia, PA

A - India ink black with a tan-brown short head with light lacing and lots of alcohol legs.

S - Bourbon, dark fruit, oak tannin, roasted malt. Very big aroma that's heavily on the bourbon side.

T - Bourbon, medium roasted malt, dark cherry, plum, prune, coconut and a touch of umami, and black licorice (not my favorite flavor). Fairly sweet but balanced with some astringent and hop bitterness. I definitely get the influence of the Expedition Stout. Alcohol is quite noticeable but generally blends in and supports the sweetness.

M - Medium-heavy body and light carbonation.

O - Big, big flavors for sure. Didn't quite float my boat as some other Imperial Stouts. For example, I prefer Founders KBS over this for a bourbon-influenced brew. I had this a few hours after having it on-tap. The only difference is there was no head at all from the growler but there was a bit of head on-tap. It wasn't that much of a difference to take points off for the appearance since you don't expect much of a head at this high ABV level.

 1,071 characters

Photo of Ristaccia
4.53/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of skaboom420
4.46/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Jeffo
4.28/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle so generously provided by hotpipes29. Thanks for going the extra mile on this one. Much appreciated.

From a 75cl bottle into a snifter
Batch 10,136
Bottle 618 of 1081
Blend of Expedition Stout and Double Cream Stout aged in bourbon barrels.

APPEARANCE: A black pour yields a one finger, medium looking, light mocha colored head with decent retention. Head fades to a good wisp and sticks to the sides of the glass. Jet black body with lower levels of carbonation. Looks pretty solid. A swirly wisp and ring remain the whole way and leave dots of lacing down the glass. Good looking beer.

SMELL: Some roasted malts and dark chocolate under a very nice bourbon barrel. Oak, milk chocolate and a touch of sweet cream. Not overly bold, but the base beer of roasted chocolatey goodness meshes really well with the bourbon barrel notes. Well done.

TASTE: Bourbon barrel and caramel malts up front with some roasted notes and dark chocolate in there as well. Lots of barrel on the swallow, with bourbon, oak, vanilla and caramel sweetness. Big, bold and lingering aftertaste is full of barrel flavors, dark chocolate and roasted malt notes as well. Big barrel presence, but plenty of stout still plays and important roll. A very impressive barrel-heavy beer that still shows a solid base beer underneath it all. Excellent stuff.

PALATE: Medium body with slightly lower levels of carbonation. Creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes somwehat sticky on the palate. Solid feel here.

OVERALL: This was a good beer for sure. In all honesty, I'm not the hugest Bell's fan, especially after being underwhelmed with Hopslam and Expedition, but this one really pushed all the right buttons. With a thick, dark pour, and bold, balanced aromas and flavors, this one really impressed. An excellend BA imperial stout that I would love to have again at some point. Cheers for the beer hotpipes! We really enjoyed this one.

 1,940 characters

Photo of st9647v3
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of BeerBeast
4.56/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of gford217
4.25/5  rDev -6.4%

Photo of ArkyVaughan
4.31/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage.

13 characters

Photo of CHickman
4.91/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

PKG 11/03/2016: Pours pitch black color with a foamy 1 finger brown head that faded slowly, leaving great spotty lacing.

Smells perfect for a bourbon barrel aged stout. The bourbon and oaky notes lead the charge, followed by molasses, dark chocolate, cocoa powder, vanilla, syrup, burnt coffee, hot fudge, dark fruit and then more chocolate with a hint of piney hops which makes for an extremely complex and wonderful nose.

Wow, it tastes just like it smells but with booze and heat from the high ABV, however it does not negatively impact the flavor. Even more chocolate and coffee come through with espresso, chocolate syrup, smoked malt, charred wood and brown sugar adding dynamics before some earthy and woody barrel notes kick in. It's hot in a good way with the rich malt, bourbon and barrel notes making for a delicious combination. World class indeed.

 862 characters

Photo of socon67
4.25/5  rDev -6.4%

Photo of DrMindbender
4/5  rDev -11.9%

Photo of HaveUSeenMyCellar
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%

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

Photo of Hootie159
4.53/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Beer rating: 4.54 out of 5 with 4,563 ratings
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