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

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602 Reviews
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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): 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:
602
Ratings:
4,032
Avg:
4.5
pDev:
21.56%
 
 
Wants:
2,740
Gots:
1,064
For Trade:
103
User Reviews
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Reviews: 602 | Ratings: 4,032
Photo of nerdboy19
4.37/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look : black, a lot. Small head.
Aroma : Bourbon, whiskey, malts, oak, dark chocolate and a little bit of vanilla.
Mouthfeel : medium-full bodied, low carb.
Flavor : Dark chocolate, coffee, roasted, bourbon, oak, vanilla, a little bit sweet but bitterness balances, bit of alcohol.
Overall : Very balanced bourbon aged imperial stout. Reminding me of Parabola than KBS or BCBS.

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

The beer pours a nice creamy tan colored head that dissipates quickly but leaves a nice ring around the inside of the glass. The beer itself is a nice , dark black color with a nice texture. The texture is a bit creamy and looks fairly smooth. While it doesn't have the same deep or heavy appearance other beers of similar make and style.

The smell is good. The smell has a nice and moderate bourbon note that mixes well with the other notes. The other notes consist of a nice cocoa notes and dark chocolate notes with a light creaminess. There is also a light alcohol note that surprisingly does not take away from the smell but adds an interesting note to it.

The taste is fantastic. It's a nice combination of barrel notes with imperial cream stout and imperial stout notes that work very well. The barrel notes consist of a nice moderate bourbon notes. The other notes consist of a nice creaminess but with strong cocoa and dark chocolate note to it.

The feel is very good. It's a heavy bodied beer with moderate carbonation but has a very nice and very silky feel to it. It's different from other stouts and this creaminess is fairly unique. It adds quite a bit to the beer's character.

Overall, this a very good beer and one that probably will get much better as it ages. With the very unique taste and wonderful texture, I can certainly see why this is one of the most sought after beers; other than it's rarity. This beer is a great and worthwhile whale to seek when it's available. Happy hunting fellow beer geeks.

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Photo of alarmclock314
4.64/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle, dated 7/1/16. Pours black with a medium sized khaki head; very nice lacing. Smells of bourbon, cocoa, roasted malt, and earthy hops; medium intensity. The taste follows closely with bourbon, complex roasted malt, cocoa, earthy hops, lactose, and some subtle dark fruit; much better intensity and very smooth. Light bitterness, dryness, and sweetness. The alcohol is completely hidden. Above average body and below average carbonation. Overall, this is a smooth, complex, and tasty IS.

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Photo of PDXAmbassador
4.06/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a 2014 batch after a year or two of cellaring. Looked pitch black, moderately carb'd, good aroma of dark fruits and bourbon....but really fell flat for me. Lacked the intensity of barrel, roast, chocolate, hops that other top tier BA stouts offer. It felt pleasant but just a bit flabby, neither sweet and chocolatey nor intensely dark and licorice-y....it's as if someone had mixed a milk stout and an imperial Russian stout...which is I suppose indeed what they did here. A fine stout; but not one I'd go out of my way to try again.

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Photo of bgold86
4.79/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a snifter glass, nose is of chocolate, coffee, sweet vanilla and dark fruits, good but not spectacular. Taste on the other hand is a different story, huge bourbon, huge chocolate, big dark dried fruits, just spectacular.

Falls short of a perfect 5/5 but well worth the price of admission.

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

this is every bit as good as they all say it is, one of the best beers ive had from bells, and one of the better bourbon barrel stouts going. this beer was ahead of its time, and its taken me far too long to track it down, but finally i have found it, and its worth the wait. a real gem, not quite black as the name suggests, more of a hersheys brown, with a short but sturdy and lasting tan head. heavy oak and char on the nose and taste, as much as there is whiskey and vanilla themselves, its woody and sweet, but intense in a different kind of way, somewhat more refined, and as much chocolate malt as there seems to be roasted barley on it, which i really dig, and i think is an underutilized element in these big barrel aged stouts. the flavor is like the nose, heavy wood and carbon, a lot of vanilla too, and just a bit of booze warmth. also some other middle flavors here, cocoa, raisin, even root beer, its quite evolved and interesting, and has a ginormous body, silky smooth though and slippery going down. this was head of its time, these are past en vogue to downright overdone these days, with the proliferation of barrel brokers and upstart egocentric breweries, these are everywhere, but its good to taste something this esteemed and appreciate again the fact that all barrel aged stouts are not created equal. this is better than most, and as elusive as its been for me, a much delighted in rarity. very high on this one right now...

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.61/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 0z bottle poured into tulip glass.

A: Black body with no light escaping nice about inch head chocolate colored and soapy looking dies down quickly.

S: lots of bourbon and licorice. Anise, baker's chocolate, a little tobacco.

T: Nice soft flavors of bourbon, chocolate, roasted coffee, finishing with some licorice leather and tobacco.

M: nice creamy full body not as thin as some barrel aged beers.

O: this is an exceptionally well made beer. The flavors mesh and meld so well. No harsh alcohol taste and no heat. If you can find this do yourself a favor and buy it.

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Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.56/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- jet black and brimming with promise

S- all the usual culprits....oak, bourbon, vanilla, chocolate and booze

T-As with most top class bourbon stouts, taste follows the nose.exceptional blend of flavours.

F- thick, silky and smooth. Stunning mouthfeel that sums up this beer.

O- better than bourbon county.enough said.

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Photo of yesterdayfaraway
4.42/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L: pours almost pitch black with no head
S: big roastiness, slight bourbon, I with slight sweetness.
T: the roastiness is down from the aroma and the sweetness is up. A nice balance between the two. Not as much bourbon barrel flavor as I hoped.
F: very smooth with medium to thick mouthfeel.
O: a great beer, but let down a bit from my loft expectations for this one.

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Photo of nawpnawp
4.79/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

2012 bottle poured in 2016.

Pours dark black with a half finger of brown head that subsides rather quickly. The smell is intense in a good way: vanilla, chocolate, coffee, smokey ash and a hint of coconut. The taste is a complex mixture of much of the same from the nose. Amazing! It is not overtly sweet, and well balanced by some coffee bitterness. Chocolate, vanilla, caramel, bourbon -- you name it, it's in here. The mouthfeel is pretty good, though I wish it were a bit thicker. But really, that's my only complaint.

Expedition stout has always disappointed me whether fresh or aged, but this thing is a beast that makes my level of respect for Bell's go through the stratosphere!

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Photo of russpowell
4.45/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an oily/effervescent ebony with one finger of caramel colored head. Good lacing, slight better than average head retention, effervescent through out

S: Dark fruit, carob, caramel, vanilla. Bourbon picks up once warm

T: Vanilla, caramel, dark chocolate, raisin & a kiss of Bourbon up front. More vanilla, Bourbon notes, fig & raisin & carob as this warms, slight smokeyness too. Finishes with dark fruit, vanilla, Bourbon, & chocolate

MF: Chewy, warming, decent carbonation for the style

Despite the style & abv, this went down fast. Every bit as good as I hoped

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Photo of MUTINY
4.03/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2016

12oz bottle into a tulip.

Pours an opaque dark brown/black with 1/2" of off-white head that dissipates at a moderate pace. Retention & lacing are below-average to style. The nose betrays quite a bit of Bourbon & noticeable heat. Caramel & toffee, vanilla & milk chocolate are also detectable. The palate is vanilla, milk chocolate, caramel & Bourbon - in that order. There are additional notes of pitted fruit & black coffee, along with some spice. Feel is soft & dense, with low-to-moderate carb & a fairly delicate malt body. Altogether quite impressive.

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Photo of Redsunsx01x
4.74/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2016 in a TG Chalice

L: Pours Dark with a caramel head that fades fast.

S: has a strong smell of bourbon with hints of chocolate.

T: a big bourbon taste but it doesn't over power. hints of chocolate and coffee but didn't get any fruity notes.

M: light carbonation with warming fell afterwards. this beer has been one of the most smooth bourbon beers I have tasted.

O: I would love to have more of it but it was just so hard to find here in Chicago(i live in the burbs).

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Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.46/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2014 12 oz. bottle.

A - Dark body, opaque, with a short tan head that fades quickly. Minor lacing. Pretty typical for a solid barrel aged stout.

S - Roasted malt is forward, with a strong alcohol and wood hum, and hints of chocolate and vanilla. Fairly quiet, all told, but the nose promises deliciousness.

T - And this beer delivers. Solid. Front is boozy bourbon vanilla and wood, middle of dark chocolate and cocoa nibs, molasses and bread, close is slightly acidic.

M - Some carbonation, slick, warmth from the alcohol, and a biting close that scrubs the weight off and keeps things clean. A bit to brisk for me.

O - Glad I stumbled into this one, and that I got to try it. I think this is rock solid, a signal of Bell's skills. A strong, solid take on the bourbon-barrel aged stout.

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Photo of jasonpeckins32
4.3/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours black as night, with a strong brown colored head that suddenly disappears before I even take a sip. It's aroma is great. Roasty, full of bourbon, molasses, chocolate, oak and more. It's high abv is very prevalent in it's aroma.

Malty and sweet, boozy and warm, with notes of molasses, black licorice, more boozy warmth, figs, and coffee. It's downright tasty. It's slightly thinner than I was expecting it to be. It's absolutely full-bodied, but probably a touch thinner than bells expedition stout, and I wasn't expecting that. It's a great beer. One that *almost* lives up to it's mega-hype.

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Photo of goblue30
4.27/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A solid, but unspectacular BA stout. Love Bell's, but often let down by their dark beers. Would not hesitate to give it another try, but definitely don't feel the need to go out of my way to get this.

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Photo of Masonz223
4.46/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Smell- lots of dark fruit rasin plums milk chocolate vanilla some booziness.
Taste- right upfront you get some vanilla and dark chocolate middle of the mouth rasin plums burnt sugar slight milk chocolate finishes with more dark chocolate dark coffee roastiness and a nice smokey almost burnt woody characteristic. A creamy vanilla taste shows some flashes in the aftertaste. But mostly the burnt roasted notes linger in the finish.
Feel: medium to full body better body then the 14 dry in the finish creamy mouthfeel.
Overall: I had a 14 and now a 16 the body on the 16 is better and there are more of those barrel notes in the 16. I think the 16 is slightly better. A really really good beer.

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

Great beer. On the same level with KBS in my opinion. I've only had once. overall, its a pretty easy beer to trade for if you live in Michigan. Would love to try the 2012 bomber of it

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Photo of wulfie85
3.57/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Really nice and thick stout with excellent bourbon and vanilla flavors. Mouth feel was exactly the way I wanted it to be. The oak from the barrel came through excellently as well

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Photo of rabbott2
4.65/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2014 vintage drank in a snifter in line for Dark Lord Day 4/30/2016

This is an exceptional beer. Thick and heavy bourbon and chocolate. Not too complex, but the oak and vanilla notes shine nicely. Creamy and definitely some dark fruits coming through as well. Would love to just have a full glass of this myself to drink over an hour or so and taste all the changes as the temperature warms. Really great offering Bell's. Make more please!

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Photo of Gambyt20
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Finally got to taste this one! The expy and double cream stouts combine for a luscious thick creamy stout and the bourbon notes are great and not boozy at all. Might be my favorite of all but it was DLD bottle share and was very tough to nit pick.

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Photo of Juicer
4.42/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage. Great tasting brew. My only complaint is smell at times a bit off ; with a little bit of mouse piss going on. Feeling no pain after this one.

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Photo of sposter4
4.73/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2014 12oz poured into a 4 oz snifter. Pours like syrup and leaves a nice lace. Little to no head. Tons of dark fruit and tobacco with a smooth bourbon finish

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Photo of Stevem68
4.4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a jet black color with minimal head. Aroma is big bourbon and oak. Flavor is boozy and oaky. Has notes of deep roasted malts, a little chocolate with a hint of vanilla. Has a smooth creamy mouthfeel. Overall this is a great beer that lives up to the hype.

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Photo of Austin32
4.18/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 bottle opened, rich, aromatic, bourbon notes had toned down a lot ( I imagine ) the were there but very subtle. Very good though, would love to have had a newer one to compare to.

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Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.5 out of 5 based on 4,032 ratings.
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