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

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Black Note StoutBlack Note Stout
Black Note StoutBlack Note Stout

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Michigan, United States

Style: American 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.

User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 806 | Ratings: 4,876
Photo of brureview
4.2/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opaque chocolate color in a Stone RIS glass with a 2F head.

Chocolate aroma, not pronounced.

Very complex taste: milk chocolate which deepens with warming.

Very enjoyable beer,

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.85/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottle. Recently hit MA over the past month or so. I have wanted to try this forever. Surprisingly this beer was bottled about a year ago. Aroma and flavor are oxidized. Oak character is very mild. Oxidized fruits chocolate and some coffee. Overall this was disappointing. Won't be slapping a $20 down on the counter for this 4 pack again.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.21/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

(2017 12 oz bottle, PKG 10/05/2017... poured into a snifter)

L: impenetrably black (or very dark brown) liquid, topped with a khaki-colored loose foam which collapses into a chunky collar

S: espresso, subtle menthol, roast/char... prune, ethanol... bittersweet dark cocoa, ash... essence of the barrel seems to be the last thing to slowly emerge, then it dominates... roast and booze most prominent, mostly the former... overall intensity seems a touch restrained

T: bourbon character dominates upon first sip with underlying oily black coffee and licorice in the malt finishing with a subtle flash of a berry brandy note; aftertaste is rather dry with a delicate essence of charcoal and black licorice lingering... upon second sip, a toasty cookie grain builds in the back with maybe even a hint of oxidation... malt really opens up as approaches barely cool to the touch

F: medium-bodied, a lil muddy, a lil plush; cold heat from the booze... phenomenal sipper, smooth, only a subtle teasing burn

O: a tasty, full-flavored, elegant strong stout... second time having this but I'm not sure it's quite worth the $10/bottle it fetches in the city - luckily got it a bit cheaper in the burbs... I'll might grab another bottle just to see how it ages... good, but not unique

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Photo of HoppingMadMonk
4.35/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Has a nice creamy thick body with light carbonation. Aroma is malt, bourbon, black coffee. Comes off almost like a coffee bourbon candy smell
Taste is sweet with a mild bitter finish. Sticky sweet bourbon coats the tongue and lingers a long while. Coffee and espresso show up as well in the taste.
Overall it's an excellent beer that I would seek out again

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Photo of Holderness
4.35/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Aged for a year

L -- Pitch black body with 2.5 fingers of light brown head produced with moderate pour. Excellent retention given the ABV. Some lacing
S -- Roast, dark chocolate, fudge, bourbon, fig, prune, raisin, dark roast coffee, caramel, vanilla
T -- Rich, smokey, and fudgy. Nice dried dark fruit character and a bit of earthen hop character in the back. Bourbon barrel character is very well integrated, imparting a nice boozy sweetness without overpowering. Booze is pretty well hidden. Also getting some espresso and ash
F -- Smooth and silky. Not super chewy or anything, but I don't get the sense that's what this beer sets out to do: it's not a dessert/pastry stout
O -- A lovely brass-tacks bourbon barrel aged stout. Probably won't knock your socks off, but it's very solidly made


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

Bottle Date: 10/5/17
Palate Contaminants: other beer

The color is that super-dark brown that lets no light through. Fine head shows up quickly and goes away quickly. No lacing.

The main scent is black licorice, and lots of it. There's also some figs and a little molasses. Lactic, and it's coffee creamer, which isn't something I can say I've encountered in any other brew. Good Intensity. Even some honey as it warms.

Main tastes are smoke and an anise that's somewhere between that black licorice and a lighter version. That smoke is tied to coffee and 90%+ chocolate, but that connection just might be somewhere in my brain after the fact. Figs are there, but dialed back. Fair to say that prunes are in there, too. Coffee bitterness, but the bitterness and smoke are disconnected, if you follow. This might go really nicely with smoked meat; heavy flavor, and it could stand shoulder to shoulder.

Fine, well-integrated carbonation. Aftertaste is figs and anise. Bitter, but not to its detriment. Good, heavy weight.

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

Bottled 10.5.17, poured 8.4.18

Dark brown / black liquid, solid two finger frothy brown foam cap, settles to a solid pencil thin layer, some lacings

Aroma is licorice, bourbon, dark chocolate

Taste is roast malts, bourbon, dark chocolate

Low sudsing, smooth, dark chelate lingers on the tongue , alcohol is well hidden for an 11.2%abv stout

Good stout

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4.37/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had to pour this into a frosty glass as it’s so freakin humid out back .
Dark black with very little head on an average pour .
Smell is not bourbon poweredand actually reminds me a lot of one of my favorites Ten Fidy .
First sip out this frosty glass was delicious .
Nice rich flavors that coat the tongue .
Overall an excellent addition to my stout lineup every year .
$6.99 a single vs $20.99 a 4 pack kind of a no brainer

Highly recommend !!!


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Photo of NJBarstool
4.82/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I wasn't going to fall for the hype of this thing. But there ain't a damn thing wrong with it. It pours black with coppery tan head that fades fast. The aroma is very complex. I'm getting chocolate with almonds, raisins, oak, vanilla, whiskey, but it comes together like one sensible fragrance. The taste of this 2017 vintage is so smooth and easily drinkable for being over 11 percent it's crazy. Usually stouts that get this big get super sweet. Not this one. Its really refined. Bells is setting the bar for this style. Go get one

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

2017 vintage; bottled on 10/5/2017. Poured from bottle into tulip glass. It pours almost ink black with over a half finger of long-lasting, creamy, khaki-colored head and substantial creamy lacing. It's a classic stout pour. There's subdued bourbon on the nose, along with bakers chocolate, burnt coffee, caramel, char, and nuts. Its taste features roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, burnt coffee grounds, brown bread, earthy, smoky char, light caramel, and subdued bourbon. As the glass warms, there are also dark fruit notes. The feel is thick and creamy with moderate carbonation, and a strong 11.2% ABV that is evident from the first sip. It's quite boozy. Overall, this Stout deserves its World Class rating. It is beautiful in the glass, delicious in its flavors, and super pleasant in feel to drink. It's a tour de force!

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Photo of SawDog505
4.88/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured slightly chilled into a 16 Flying Goose Snulip, bottled 10/05/17. Pours a viscous black with a finger plus light brown head that leaves some thin waves of lace behind, sip after glorious sip.4.75

Smell is dark chocolate, strong dry coffee, oaked vanilla, and a little char from the barrells, maybe a little bourbon. 4.75

Taste follows very roasty coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla, some alcohol from the bourbon, and just a little hint Smokey char. 4.75

Mouthfeel is big, the perfect amount of carbonation for the style, slightly creamy, a touch dry, and a sipper that drinks way to easy at 11.2%. 5

Overall I went in with really high expectations and it absolutely delivered and I got the 4 pack for $20.99 sadly that feels like a steal these days. 4.75

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Photo of beerbully
4.59/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L-Black........1 inch mocha head that settles to a cap after a minute.........moderate lacing and retention

S-in no order.........Caramel, coffee, chocolate, coconut, wood, smoke, roast, nuts, vanilla, bourbon, molasses, brown sugar

T-similar to the nose........roasted malts,dark chocolate, molasses, oak, slight booze but not as pronounce as other similar beers, coffee..takes you on a journey of sweet to savory......enjoy the balance of this brew...has a warm roastiness bite in the finish

M-Creamy but not as full bodied as some other beers of this style...........perfectly carbonated.......booze is not overpowering

O-Smooth, Balanced, complex, enjoyable.......happy to try it and would buy it again....

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Photo of DoctorZombies
4.79/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Ink black pour with two fingers of dark tan bubbles and long retention; no clarity under cap; heavy ring with swirling islands of fizz post cap; moderately heavy lace; thin legs. Coco nibs and Espresso nose; no detectable hop aromas. Taste follows nose with bittersweet dark chocolate up front; more roasted coffee bean notes as liquid continues to warm; flavors of toasted brown bread in the background; no char or smoke; no alcohol. Medium plus feel; smooth and silky tongue coating; no astringency; moderate minus carbonation with dry finish. Overall a pleasure to drink; not boozy; well balanced between roast bitterness and semi sweet chocolate.

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

12oz bottle received in a box from Gopens44 (I think). I've been sitting on it a while now, so that may be incorrect. Bottled on October 5, 2017, per the stamp on the rear label.

Poured into a semi-tulip glass from Selkirk Abbey, this was a quite viscous looking pour. Pretty much the color of a moonless night, even when held up to light, this had an inch or so of dark tan foam perched on top. Decent lace.

Whoa! Big nose to this. Chocolate, coffee, brown sugar, dark fruits, vanilla, whiskey, tobacco-it's all here, and blended very well.

Whoa, again! The sweet and savory aspects of a bba imperial stout collide at the moment it hits the tastebuds. All the elements noted above are present. This is ridiculously well balanced. Although there's a lot of booze here, and it's not hugely old in the grand scheme of things, the resulting alcohol "heat" is extremely low in the mix, only emerging as a quietly warning boozy warmth way in the background after it warms up for a bit and about halfway through the glass.

Coating, velvety rich mouthfeel.

A decadent drinking experience. Probably should have saved this for after dinner. Oh, well, it's delicious whenever. Thank you so much for this, Greg!

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Photo of stevoj
4.23/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from Modern Liquors. Black pour, scant head, come off as a bit thin. And thats the only weak point. All else this baby has it in spades. Aroma is sweet and roasty, some underlying bourbon notes rising through. Taste beings more of the sweetness, molasses and brown sugar, marshmallows and vanilla. Lingering sweetness with some more of the whiskey notes.

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Photo of Stout80mizer
4.54/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

7.99$ a pop , bottle from 10/17.... A tasty treat for sure...big on chocolate and that classic double cream creaminess...Hug this sucker for a while and warms nice to more pronounced barrel notes and one awesome finish!

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Photo of DavidR_9
4.54/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm so glad this bottle made it still sealed from my recent trade. The bottle had the slightest crack under the label so I opened it immediately, just in case.

Bottled 10/5/17 into belgian tulip

Looks amazing. Smooth dark black body and a thin layer of mocha colored head. Small bubbles, recedes to the rim of the glass.
Roasty imperial stout aroma, chocolate fudge, burnt caramel, vanilla, restrained espresso, dried dark fruit like plum and raisin, smooth and light bourbon notes.
Taste follows the aroma closely with fudgey espresso, chocolate milk, malt roastiness and bitterness then takes over followed by a super smooth bourbon character with a slight warming.
This brew BALANCED. Smooth, velvety, creamy and just enough carbonation. Truly milkshake like texture without being too thick or viscous.

I love this beer. It reminds me of the first time I had Parabola in that its so intensely flavorful, smooth, not too sweet and still easy drinking despite the abv. Huge winner in my book.

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Photo of q33jeff
4.56/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75


Bottle to snifter at Bru. Philly craft beer week.

Look: dark black, healthy tan head. 3Xvelkwnt retention.

AROMA: roasty Stout, dark chocolate, coffee fudge, Light whiskey.
TASTE: fudge, bourbon, chocolate milk.
FEEL: silky smooth, full-bodied but drinks light. Not sticky despite sweetness.

This is a superb beer. So glad I got to try it. Great meld of roasty and creamy Stouts.


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Photo of patre_tim
4.22/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black Note Stout, 2017

Pitch black with a ruby tinge when held to a bright light. Topped with a quarter finger of rusty, chocolate milk coloured head.

Smells of black liquorice, tar, tobacco, brown sugar, and a hint of perfume, but old fashioned black liquorice is predominate.

Sweet and smooth, chocolatey and velvety, mocha shake, and loads of coffee on the end.

Smooth, slightly oily, milkshake like feel, with light and foamy carbonation.

Got this in Albany, NY on January 1st, 2018. Drinking literally on lake Rosseau at the boathouse, May 31st, 2018. Excellent brew.

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Photo of Lone_Freighter
4.81/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Had two bottles, but from two different people. First partaking was back in December 2017 and I noticed a sharper black licorice spice, now I'm noticing the faded character of the black licorice. Here's the rest of my observations.
The appearance, tonight, is a nice dark black color with a sustaining little off white to eggshell white foamy head slowly sliding off into the night. Just a delicate film of spotty lace glazes along the sides of the glass.
The aroma had a wood spicy/semi-cinnamon-like quality playing with a light earthy to roasty involvement. Dark and milk chocolates gloss their way through some bitter nibs and sweet counterparts. Black licorice is there, but it's semi-subdued and not what I remember back in December 2017.
The flavor leaned towards the barrel/woody spice at first and then dipped into the bitter and roasty subsiding roasty coffee bean, dark chocolate and touches of the milk chocolate. The aftertaste seemed to center around the woody spice pretty nice.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a fine sipping quality about it. Carbonation still felt on par even with the age to it. Finish was semi-dry with a moderate roast and a touch of stickiness. ABV felt fairly close to what was projected.
Overall, so many breweries out there brewing absolutely excellent beers these days and I commend them for their stellar efforts but how many of them ever going to brew something as killer as this.

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Photo of Spipenger
5/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is shear heaven...though damn hard to get and extremely expensive. I typically find this for $15 per bottle in my local bar (Bronx Ale House), and even about $12 per bottle in any supermarket. The pour is a deep, dark black, almost black licorice dark. It has a deep brown head with black highlights. It has a deep, roasted nutty aroma with highlights of very dark chocolate and a hint of black licorice. The texture is very smooth with a touch of a bourbon-barrel to it. Its smooth and slinks down your throat with a bit of a burn as it descends your throat. It is a sipping beer both because of the high alcohol content and because of its taste and texture. You have to savor this beer. I cannot say enough good about this. It's first class. It's high class. It's second to none. IF you can find it, buy as much as you can because, much like Brigadoon, it appears like gangbusters briefly, but disappears as quickly and is not heard from until the following Fall/Winter.

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Photo of dafla67
4.73/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Under appreciated BA stout. Dark brown color with a decent head. Immediate smell of chocolate and bourbon. The taste is amazing with a great balance of the chocolate, bourbon. Definitely could be a bit stronger with the bourbon flavor.

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Photo of BJB13
4.48/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 10/5/17
12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Pouring dark brown and opaque with a nice deep brown head of sticky foam.
The nose is excellent. Lots of bourbon with cocoa trailing behind.
Big bourbon and chocolate flavors wih sweet syrup-like malt flavors to a lesser degree. Smooth and little apparent alcohol.
Full bodied and soft. Foaming a little as it sits on my tongue. Low carbonation. Finishes with a bit of heat.
Deceivingly easy drinking.
Very good.

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Photo of bl00
4.36/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours deep black, virtually opaque. Tan head dissipates quickly.

Nose is largely bourbon, some chocolate and biscuit after. Chcolate notes become more pronounced as it warms.

Taste is whiskey, cola, raisins. Finish leans bitter, some heat as the swallow progresses. Woody notes linger on the sides of my tongue just like drinking bourbon. Vanilla becomes prominent as the beer warms.

Mouth feel is thick and creamy, meshing up with the taste nicely.

Overall, I wasnt sold on my first few sips, but this beer is a great example of one that really open up when you can take your time with it. Id love to get a few more to cellar.

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Photo of Tripel_Threat
4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2017 release. Poured from bottle to tulip glass. Cola colored with two fingers mocha head. Lots of roast notes in the aroma, with vanilla, coffee, and cocoa. Not a lot of booze. Flavor is very much the same, cocoa, coffee, some fig, very smooth and balanced.

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Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 4.54 out of 5 with 4,876 ratings