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

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Bell's Black Note StoutBell's Black Note Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.40%

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
Reviews:
589
Ratings:
3,957
Avg:
4.5
pDev:
21.56%
 
 
Wants:
2,762
Gots:
1,034
For Trade:
94
User Reviews
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Reviews: 589 | Ratings: 3,957
Photo of ragnar3
4.58/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage poured into a tulip. Huge fudge, apparent but well integrated coffee and nice barrel notes. Extremely well balanced and highly recommended BA stout.

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Photo of Fcolle2
4.66/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage

Pours viscus black in color with a kahiki head. Rich aromas of bakers chocolate, fudge and vanilla with hints of oak, and dark fruit. Taste has surprisingly just as much chocolate as the nose with an enhanced presence of rich vanilla and caramel, hints of oak dark stone fruit and bourbon. Nice thick velvety feel, alcohol is very well hidden. Incredibly balanced.

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

2014 Vintage

L: Black as night, with a nice ruby hue on the edges when looked at through the light.

S: fudge, almonds, walnut, more fudge. Yum. Intoxicating. Illuminating.

T: dank fudge brownie (this is the more literal usage of dank, not the urban dictionary version of dank), figs, raisins. Complex.

F: a little less full bodied than I would expect, but maybe that is the age showing through? Also would like a little more creaminess to balance the richness of flavors.

O: I still don't understand why the label is blue. But that doesn't stop this beer. Can't stop won't stop this beer.

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Photo of Moose90
4.44/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 Vintage

A — Pours a dark rich pitch black hue into the glass, there is a thin filmy dark coffee brown head that forms and leaves behind a trace of oily lace with each sip.

S — Smell is strong and focused, notes of barrel, vanilla, oak, lightly charred coffee and malts. Slightly boozy. Dark chocolate, coffee, espresso, caramel cream.

T — Licorice, anise, bitter espresso, coffee, chocolate bark, dark chocolate malted milk balls, vanilla, Bourbon, oak, chewy.

M — Full-Bodied, rich, lingering full finish.

O — Very good overall, a fantastic BA Stout.

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Photo of dutesanch
4.53/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter and enjoyed thoroughly. Taste is almost identical to Parabola or BCBS but seems a little thinner on the mouthfeel. Alcohol is well hidden with the flavors. No much to say that hasn't already been said. Will never pass up on getting another one.

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Photo of erickehoe
4.79/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled 12/28/12 and opened on 12/1/15. I'm watching the Detroit Red Wings while reviewing.

The beer is awesome. Minimal head and little lacing. Smells like roasted cashews and has a nuttiness to it in addition to the sweet, bourbony smell.

The taste is smooth, sweet bourbon and oak. A faint alcohol flavor and a bit of carbonation on the end.

Hard to imagine a better stout than this.

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Photo of mabermud
4.41/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 Bottle

Look: Dark sultry body. The head is a creamy mocha. It quickly dissipates to a thin ring around my favorite 15.5 ounce brandy snifter. This appears viscous. The legs and lacing appear luxurious.
Smell: The smell is rich and amazing. It has a nice balanced bourbon smell, with medium roasted malts, faded coffee, easy dark chocolate, and creamy sweetness that brings everything together. Easy, and balanced.
Taste: Well, well, well. Everything described above is within the taste, and more. Dark chocolate has a bigger part than noticed in the smell. The oak bourbon barrel is nicely integrated, and provides big flavor. The dried fruit blends well. The finish is very short.
Feel: Medium body, somewhat dry. Not as creamy as expected. Full mouth feel.

Overall - Deluxe. I am a big fan of Expedition Stout, so naturally, I am a lover of Bell's Black Note Stout. I was never a fan of Double Stout, but it does a nice job combined with the other elements. Laid back big stout drinking here. My final words - I was expecting more...

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Photo of Mshea805
4.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Great beer, more mellow and drinkable than any of the other top rated BA stouts Ive had. The mild bourbon and dark fruit flavors really set this one apart from others in the category.

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Photo of Catracho5
4.68/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter

A: Pours pitch black with a creamy mocha head, lots of tiny bubbles in the head, good amount of carbonation, looks oily thick, lots of lacing, good head retention.

A: Bourbon, dark chocolate, dark fruits like figs, plums, raisins, alcohol is pretty mellow, smells big.

T: First impression is that this is incredibly smooth, up front bourbon, dark chocolate, dark fruits, a hint of coffee roasted bitterness in the middle, finishes dry, slight bitterness at the end, picking up a hint of Expedition stout soy sauce flavor, tastes world class., booze is well hidden.

M: Thick, oil like mouthfeel, incredibly smooth, great balance of carbonation in the mouthfeel, really good.

O: This is world class, it's a 2014 and it has aged very well, for 11.40% it's incredibly smooth, great balance of flavors, if this was available in Southern CA I would try to buy a case each year to cellar.

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Photo of BIll_Currie
4.83/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

got this one online. it was expensive but didnt have much choice. I got this one with some founders CBS. i thought this one was better. well rounded and another outstanding beer from Bell's

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Photo of Dolphinsmarlins1
4.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2014 bottle. Poured into a snifter. Very smooth, despite the high ABV...dangerously deceptive. Awesome flavors despite not possessing the boozy heat one would expect from the style. Very sweet. I want another.

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Photo of hoppymcgee
4.41/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage. 12 oz. bottle. Bottled on 3/12/14.

L: Nice and clean, with a dark tan head.

S: The booze still comes through a bit, so nothing too spectacular here.

T: Dark chocolate, slight caramel, only a hint of booze. The aftertaste is amazing - toffee, vanilla, and perfectly roasted coffee.

F: Smooth and not too rich for the style and ABV. Proper amount of carbonation.

O: The aftertaste is amazing. Similar beers have a bitter aftertaste, as you get from some chocolates and coffees. There was something strange in that as the beer sat and warmed it fell off; I don't think my palate suddenly gave way, so this was pretty curious.

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Photo of danh53
4.24/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with one finger fluffy tan head. Aroma is oak and vanilla from the bourbon, chocolate, and dark fruits. The barrel comes through big time on the nose. Smells boozy, but in a good way. Taste follows the nose with barrel as a highlight. Some chocolate notes and licorice come through from the base beer. It's sweet with slight roast on the finish. I'm not getting as much dark fruits on the taste. The cream stout comes through in the mouth feel. The silky, creamy character really got my attention at first, but that didn't last through the whole glass. What it gains in creamy smoothness is lost in low carbonation and a lack of roast heft that I appreciate in expedition stout. That's being picky because this is a great beer and worth seeking out.

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Photo of DrinkMoreBigBeers
4.34/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage bottle

Poured out pitch black and had a dismal dark mocha head that dissipated rather fast. Strong smell of bourbon, some dark espresso,some boos, slight burnt sugar, figs, and some dark chocolate after swirled (complex.) Stong Dark chocolate and roast, a little bourbon, slight boos, Lots of vanilla in the finish with a pleasant smooth ending note. This beer is dry and thin in the mouth with low levels of carbonation. This is a impressive beer worth trying. A sipper at that and one with a lot of interesting complexity. Definitely worth picking up and trying, Cheers!

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Photo of SGerrard
4.49/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 2014 bottle into a Teku glass. First noticed that it was quite a thin head, different from many other high ABV stouts that I've had. Rich mouth feel without being syrupy. Bourbon is well integrated with other flavors, including molasses and dark fruit. Exceptional quality stout and one I'd look to procure again.

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Photo of kkleu357
4.51/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Got a bottle of this as an extra. Never had it before, but reminds me of of CW Bourbon Barrel Stout, just thicker and boozier. Thick dark body. Tons of chocolate flavor with oak and slightly too much whiskey. Very good.

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Photo of NolaHopHead
4.43/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. Deep brown, very thin head disappears. Sweet bourbon chocolate aroma. Taste is outstanding, vanilla notes and chocolate, bourbon is present but not overwhelming. Crazy smooth silky finish. Overall, one of the best BBA stouts I've had.

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Photo of -Rick
4.51/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L: jet black with almost no head. Little carbonation also
S: bourbon, vanilla, chocolate and coffee
T: like the nose, sweet. Anika bourbon followed by a chocolate coffee finish. So well blended.
F: creamy goodness that lingers in the mouth for a long while
O: an amazing BB Stout. Not flashy or fancy with odd characteristics, just a solid solid beer!

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Photo of WhoKnew23
4.28/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The first one I had, I wasn't blown away. However, a second pour, and I was amazed. I think I had to let the hype in my head die down. Very creamy and the barrel character is perfect. Not too overpowering, and not too faint. The perfect middle.

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Photo of EveningCordial
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2013 bottle into snifter.

A- jet black, little carbonation, small light khaki head.

S- dark chocolate and bourbon are dominant. Also some vanilla and earthy wood and some coffee or expresso.

T- lots of smooth vanilla bourbon and mocha. Super balanced and velvety. Nice dry finish of wood and sweet chocolates with a hint of coffee.

M- full bodied, but I'd have thicker stouts. I guess that's the cream ale talking.

O- really great take on the style. Bells did an awesome job blending and aging this one.

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Photo of madelfonatree
4.62/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2014 enjoyed May 30, 2015

Look - Oily black. Thin light tan head. Lacing not so much.

Smell - Bourbon. Black licorice. Sweet. Chocolate.

Taste - Bourbon/alcohol taste is very subdued. Honey and fruit. Sweet chocolate finish.

Feel - Heavy. Really no carbonation to speak of. This is what I like in a stout.

Overall - I got it! I like it better than KBS. Too bad this isn't as readily available.

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Photo of winningwes91
4.29/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Looks like a typical ba stout. Might even pour a bit thinner. Smells of coffee, chocolate and a bit of bourbon. Taste is mostly the same, with the bourbon taking a backseat. Also, some dark fruits come out into play from the expedition. The mouthfeel is thinner than I like for this style. Is it what people say it is? No. is it still an amazing beer? Absolutely.

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Photo of tmbgnicu
4.73/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

One of the best BA stouts I've ever had. Split a 12oz botttle(2013) with my wife and two of our friends to celebrate the births of our children. Lucky for me, most of my guests didn't care too much for BA stouts, so I had the lion's share of the pour. As complex as BCBS without being overly boozy. Got a huge espresso nose, but not a lot in taste.

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Photo of maxifunk777
4.23/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

UPDATE MAY 2016 I had another 2014 Black Note....... judging the beer by its own merits not the hype this an excellent Bourbon barrel aged beer. Lacks the sweetness I love but just a solid A stout.
not live up to the hype 2014 poured into a Bruery Snifter dark as night.
Just slightly above average Stout high B low A at best would drink it again but not sure I would seek it out . Smell was tame, Taste was smooth but not anything that made me go wow on any level. mouthfeel once again good not great.

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Photo of Monktastic7
4.31/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Such a wonderful stout. This was a "whale" for me when I first started and now every year I walk away with nearly a case from chasing trucks haha Love it, super dense, strong bourbon and soft vanilla notes.

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Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.5 out of 5 based on 3,957 ratings.
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