Black Note Stout | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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Black Note StoutBlack Note Stout
4,679 Ratings
Black Note StoutBlack Note Stout

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

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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,679 |  Reviews: 745
Photo of labisch
4.6/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Purchased a four pack at a local store in January.

This beer looks absolutely beautiful in the glass, with an extremely dark, barely translucent color and a small but apparent head.

It smells of vanilla, bourbon, and something sweet and sharp, like a milky chocolate.

After sipping, you first notice the thick feel in the mouth and the creamy chocolate, fruity, and caramel taste. This is shortly followed up by a, sweet finish shared with a nice body of alcohol, but not as 'ethanoly' as I anticipated.

Overall the beer is worth the hype, and something to get your hands on. Save it for a special occasion!

 612 characters

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

Photo of Dr_Fox
4.65/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of atlbravsrno1
4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of taospowder
4.18/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of cbenson
4.43/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Black as the name suggests and barely opaque with some burgundy showing on the edges. Hardly any head. Slight carbonation.
Smell: Amazing! Strong notes of vanilla bean and dark chocolate with a tart freshness.
Taste: Exuberant and rich with notes of caramel, toffee, cherry and vanilla latte. A little too sweet on the tail end.
Mouthfeel: Thick, full and smooth with a hint of carbonation and a slightly dry finish.
Overall: Sweet, full, rich and delicious with no alcohol shining through. Very drinkable but perhaps a bit too sweet.

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

Photo of Gtwreck45
4.43/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of ManapuaMan
4.19/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Excited to get a couple bottles whilst in Ohio. Cracked one open during the holiday stretch when, admittedly, a lot of big brews were being consumed. I say this only because my experience didn't reach the lofty expectations set by the masses' experience.

Black body that looks a shade of brown at the edges. Faint cardboard-colored head quickly bubbles up and then fades within a few minutes. Dark, sedative and imposing liquid.

Aroma is a lot of dark fruit, char and subtle umami. I often pick up the latter when the char aspect is prominent. Noticeable booze and oak. Hot.

Taste follows along - dark fruit like stewed plum, raisins and fig lead the way followed by roasted malt, smoke, char and barrel. Light alcohol astringency. Chocolate undertones but not fudgy or sweet. Bold beer.

Finishes lighter than I expected; substantial in feel, for sure, but more of a product of the bold flavors and heavy ABV. Feels thin. Finishes with prominent alcohol heat.

I'll be revisiting this again in a few months and updating my review. When an experience deviates substantially from the experiences of such a large group of informed users it certainly feels like something could have been amiss with my busted palate.

 1,217 characters

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

Photo of JLS06
4.71/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

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

Photo of cuy50
4.68/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of BillRoth
4.47/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally had a bottle (2017). Good news or bad news I tasted it next to GI BA Bourbon (2017) and Alesmith BBA Speedway (2015).
I thought this was a remarkably excellent stout. But it did pale a bit in the comparison.
Beautiful pour with big creamy bead and perfect lacing. Nose was a bit restrained but rolled out as Beer warmed. Very nice. Taste was just delicious. Very malty with chocolate and dried fruit. Some background hops but no bitterness. Not much barrel though you could pick up hints of vanilla; nougat and mild roasty bitterness. It’s a wonderful gentle display of flavors. Feel is likewise velvety with very soft carbonation, but not the big full mouth feel of the other two.
Overall this is as good as the hype. Wonderful BBA IS from Bell’s. Really takes their excellent Expedition to another level.

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

Photo of Jsh987
4.48/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of fmccormi
4.45/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Straight pour from a pry-off 12oz bottle to a tumbler. Been saving this for a special occasion, and the government just shut down, so . . . that’s something.

Appearance (3.75): About one finger of brown sugar-colored foam rises off of the pour, fizzling away with fat bubbles in the middle and whipped foam at the edges, atop an essentially black body. Like, it’s a big stout. Of course it’s black as shit. Regardless, the head’s lovely, but doesn’t stick around as long as I might have expected.

Smell (4.25): Smooth dark chocolate, cold brew light-roast coffee, subtle vanilla bean, fruit cake, macerated dates, and bourbon-soaked raisins come together fairly smoothly, but with a nice oomph behind the boozy fruitcake aroma. Molasses comes out of the bottle, but it’s mostly fruitcake with vanilla, raisins, cocoa powder, and a touch of coffee behind it, kind of in descending order of prominence. I dig the fruitiness—and notable lack of woody oak!

Taste (4.5): Here, the barrel is a little more prominent, but in the way it brings tangy, somewhat boozy fruit to fore, rather than bashing you over the head with gross, vanilla-drenched (at best), woody (at worst) flavors. It helps to bring out the mixture of tannic, macerated dates and earthy, slightly bitter cocoa powder picked up in the nose, elevating them to a level above the tangy, boozy fruitcake and molasses. A light, fruity roast of coffee underscores the whole affair, resonating with the earthy cocoa powder, the colorful fruitcake, and the tangy molasses all at once. There’s a floral, slightly citrusy flourish behind the date and raisin flavors here that I have to attribute to the barrel aging—my guess is it was a fairly refined bourbon that rested inside these barrels. And thank God for that. The finish is smooth, chocolatey, and creamy, with shockingly little booze to be found on the palate.

Mouthfeel (5.0): Smooth, smooth, smooth—no burn, and again, shockingly not boozy. The body is full, go figure, but it spreads across the palate lightly with the most pillowy carbonation possible, before foaming into the softest, creamiest whipped espresso foam sort of feel you could ask for. The alcohol present in this beer (and in the barrel) makes itself known only in the way the body lightens up a bit as the beer goes down. Outstanding.

Overall (4.5): I wasn’t blown away by the appearance of this beer, but everything else about it is either very good to exceptional. Really, it’s a masterful imperial stout whose strong points are found equally in its most bombastic and most subtle characteristics. And, it’s not a kick-you-in-your-face imperial stout, but rather a sipper that continues to open up and entertain on multiple levels. Is it worth the hassle of actually getting your hands on a bottle? Maybe if you’re a stout hound. But it’s outstanding, regardless.

 2,885 characters

Photo of GlennWB
4.67/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of BradtheGreat7
4.56/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Scott_McCool
4.25/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Cobeezle
4.83/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Newbeergeek1
4.23/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The style is one of my favorites and Bell's is one of my wish list breweries to visit someday. Well worth the traveling around I had to do to get some (16 miles round trip). Total Wine only gave out one 4 pack/customer and I can see why as it's just a fine brew and their amount to sell was limited. I had to bring my beer mule wife to get a 2nd 4 pack. I bought on reputation alone and was not disappointed at all. In fact, I had a second one right after the first one and I rarely ever do that.

 501 characters

Photo of archero
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of JesseSC
3.58/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of PseudoLin
4.66/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Beer rating: 4.54 out of 5 with 4,679 ratings