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

BA SCORE
99
world-class
4,318 Ratings
THE BROS
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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:
4,318
Reviews:
671
Avg:
4.5
pDev:
8.22%
 
 
Wants:
2,723
Gots:
1,197
For Trade:
127
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 4,318 |  Reviews: 671
Photo of Pearlstreetbrewingco
4.68/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of DrMindbender
4/5  rDev -11.1%

Photo of leitmotif
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of Tucquan
4.17/5  rDev -7.3%
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 Satchboogie
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

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

750ml bottle (#290/1081) poured into a medium-sized Duvel tulip. Gigantic thanks to Chris for tracking down and sharing this scarce gem.

A: Completely opaque black body with a solid, creamy cap of brown head. Good retention, delicate lace. A swirl reignites the head and coats the glass with some reddish legs. Lovely.

S: Pure, straightforward bourbon-barrel goodness. Vanilla, coffee, bourbon, chocolate, licorice, and some faint dark fruits. Hugely complex, with a nice balance of sweetness and booziness. Terrific.

T: Sweet and bourbon-soaked at first, with vanilla, coconut, coffee, molasses, and spicy alcohol. Delicious.

M: Rich, creamy, full-bodied. Perhaps a bit more carbonation than necessary for the style, but luxurious all the same.

O: What a beer. It was amazingly close to breaking through to perfect scores in every single category, and was a sheer pleasure to savor. If I were to offer a complaint, it would be that it wasn't particularly distinctive - it just tasted like I expect a really, really great BBA stout to taste (much like Czar Jack, although with a bit more intensity that that incredibly smooth beer). It was worth the hype, and I just hope that Bell's makes more of it after they expand. I'd love to have it again.

Cheers!

 1,260 characters

Photo of Reagan1984
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of muskiesman
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of JoeMans
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

Photo of zonker17
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

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

A: Pours black with a one finger khaki colored head that settles down to a ring above the beer fairly quickly. Not a particularly dense looking body, but this is no Kate Moss by any means.

S: A dark, rich blend of espresso and mellow bourbon. Charred barrel, raisin, toffee and baker's chocolate. Smells absolutely incredible. So much espresso.

T: Opens with an amazing soft bourbon and dark, dark chocolate. Vanilla, light coconut, toffee, black currant and faint molasses and raisin. Tons of rich espresso throughout and the espresso and barrel notes together are fantastic. In the words of Salad Fingers: Practically Orgasmic.

 631 characters

Photo of prototypic
4.4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Arrived with a two and a half finger, creamy tan head. It's a very dark brown color, nearly black. No light creeping through. Retention and lacing were excellent.

Smell: Very complex. Bourbon aroma is readily apparent and blends extremely well with roasted and chocolate malts. Dark fruit and cherry are present in addition to a light coffee flavor. Excellent smelling beer.

Taste: Just as complex and fascinating. Roasted and chocolate malts are sweet and smooth. The creamy, lactose element of this beer really contributes to its smooth nature. Bourbon flavor is excellent and really elevates this beer to another level. Hints of dark fruit, cherry, and even vanilla add depth and complexity. Alcohol is slighty noticeable, but hardly offensive.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's thick and certainly a sipping beer. One to savor. Carbonation is excellent. ABV is ostensibly high, but it's sooo smooth and drinkable. It's anyone's best guess as to how strong it really is. Drinkability is obviously limited somewhat, but not much. This truly is a special beer. I can only hope I encounter it again someday.

 1,117 characters

Photo of ArkyVaughan
4.31/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage.

13 characters

Photo of whartontallboy
3.75/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of Mantooth
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of Rizzy17
4.04/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

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

Photo of Zonian1
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of Can_has_beer
4.53/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

Reviewed from notes. Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a CCB pint glass.

A: Pours a very dark brown, basically opaque. A half-finger medium brown head forms, and there is no visible carbonation.

S: Chocolate, bourbon, vanilla (from the oak?), leather & tobacco. Overall impression is that of moderate sweetness.

T: Follows the nose exactly. Maybe more pronounced cacao and coffee mixed with the chocolate, vanilla, oak and bourbon. Hang is sweet, with lingering bourbon and oak.

M: Thick body, almost chewy, sticky. Moderate alcohol for style, low carbonation sensation. Silky smooth mouthfeel. I would give it a 6 here if I could.

O: Awesome. This lives up to every bit of its reputation.

 691 characters

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

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

A: good head and a bit of lacing. Very dark and beautiful looking.

S: good bourbon angel but it does not overpower. There are some roasted notes that shine through.

T: again excellent bourbon, oak, vanilla, and some coffee, chocolate, and a slight bitterness.

M: medium carbonation on a big body is wonderful

O: excellent beer all the easy through. Would have again. Paid 8 dollars for a10 ounce pour. Worth every penny.

 427 characters

Photo of Wowcoolman
4.24/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of FosterJM
4.27/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1023rd Review on BA
Growler to Snifter

Thanks to MrHirschybar for this tick!

App- A very inky black pour out of the growler with only a few bubbles but no color to them. Sadly I feel that this was the end of the line for this grolwer but Steve was gracious enough to save me enough to make a go of it. No cling or lace but very creamy and dense in my snifter.

Smell- Across the board it was a bit thin from sitting but thats okay. It was nicely aromatic with notes from the bourbon and a bit of creamy chocolate but didnt smell overly grainy or small. A little bit of creeping vanilla on a big pull with a slight roast note.

Taste- Still very bourbon forward out of the growler that was on its final leg. Much more smooth than I would have thought as expedition was a bit grainy for me. The double cream blend makes this really nice. A lot of cream comes on the final flavors with a bit more vanilla which was a welcome suprise.

Mouth- As the growler is closing this did lose a little bit on the feel. I felt it was a bit thin to me with a good low/medium carbonation with just touches of airiness to it. A little bit of bourbon, booze and vanilla remain on the palate.

Drink- A very good stout that was treated well and blended very well. I think this one would do well being on tap for me or a fresher bottle. STILL, I will capitalize that one. I cant thank MrHirschybar enough for being a great BA and friend to make this one last for me. I recommend him as a trader and this beer to all.

 1,497 characters

Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.5 out of 5 based on 4,318 ratings.
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