Black Note Stout | Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store

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Black Note StoutBlack Note Stout
BA SCORE
4.54/5
World-Class
4,721 Ratings
Black Note StoutBlack Note Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
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:
#68
Reviews:
752
Ratings:
4,721
pDev:
7.93%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
2,703
Gots:
1,339
Trade:
143
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,721 |  Reviews: 752
Photo of warnerry
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of Durge
4.39/5  rDev -3.3%
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 bsuedekum
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of Nunya
4.49/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of argock
4.22/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bourbon dominant with not a lot of stout character - covered by the barrel notes. Looking forward to trying this in a few months when the barrel has dropped away some.

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Photo of tectactoe
4.66/5  rDev +2.6%
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 Rizzy17
4.04/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of RickyBfromCT
4.3/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Casey3236
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of hilgart1
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of tbryan5
4.68/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Sludgeman
3.75/5  rDev -17.4%

Photo of KevinGordon
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of williamjbauer
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of CTJman
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of anteater
4.53/5  rDev -0.2%
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 mportnoy
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 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 thegerm87
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of CHickman
4.95/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | 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.

2017 bottle listing 10/05/2017: it pours a dark as a black hole with solid 2 finger foamy tan colored head that was packed with tiny bubbled and dissipated very, very slowly , leaving really nice foamy lacing and a layer on top. Impressive for an 11.2% ABV BA stout, the head had better than expected staying power. Bumping "Look" score up from 4.25 to 4.5. Smells exactly like the 2016 bottle, but with a little more bourbon and vanilla, which works for me.

Tastes was world class again, especially for a bottle that's only 2.5 months old. A lot of chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, cocoa and burnt coffee come through with espresso, soy sauce, chocolate syrup, brown sugar, smoked malt, charred wood and woody barrel notes. Zero heat from the booze, the deep malts, bourbon and barrel notes making for a delicious combination again but this year the batch is not boozy and slides down easier than it should. I raised the "feel" score from 4.5 to 4.75 since I know this will age and get even easier to drink and more complex. Overall "Rating' score went up a bit from 4.91 to 4.95.

 1,943 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 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 socon67
4.25/5  rDev -6.4%

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

Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 4.54 out of 5 with 4,721 ratings