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

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Bell's Black Note StoutBell's Black Note Stout
BA SCORE
4.54/5
World-Class
4,563 Ratings
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): 11.20%

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:
#67
Reviews:
722
Ratings:
4,563
pDev:
7.93%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
2,702
Gots:
1,296
Trade:
141
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 4,563 |  Reviews: 722
Photo of Gtreid
3.5/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of afksports
3.5/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of TheoV
3.5/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of sliverX
3.5/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of clfrost
3.5/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of Spencer_G
3.5/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of mikehoffman02
3.5/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of hannydawg
3.5/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of smithj2154
3.5/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of tsauce2
3.5/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of BearsOnAcid
3.52/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Black pour; small mocha colored head that reduces to nothing.

Mollases, dark chocolate, charred oak, chocolate syrup in the nose. Slight medicinal/cherry quality.

Heavily charred/roasted espresso flavor. Low on malty sweetness. Bourbon finish; caramel, vanilla. Still not much sweetness.

Taste falls flat with a chalky/ashy roasted malt bitterness and not much else other than the barrel. Mouthfeel is basic.

Someone explain to me what is so amazing about this beer

 469 characters

Photo of Arbitrator
3.52/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Growler supplied by eyebrews and generously shared at the Pliny the Younger release. Sampled from a tasting glass. From notes.

A: Pours motor oil black, opaque in the center but lightly translucent at the edges. I have no idea about the history of this growler, but it was taped well, opened with a hiss, and there were clearly bubbles (dark mocha) on the brew. Retention was short. Promising.

S: Pretty bourbon-forward. Dark chocolate, vanilla, molasses. Anise and some booze.

T: Bourbon and chocolate are pretty evident. Anise, vanilla, molasses. The finish was hot and slightly harsh. I kept expecting more from the flavor; I picked up a lot of the barrel character, but not much of the Expedition or Cream Stout.

M: Silky, rich. Hard to criticize Bell's beers on mouthfeel, most of the time, but their barrel aging here leaves a lot to be desired: the beer is fairly hot and tannic.

D: I liked the beer, but I'm not convinced this is one of the top examples of the barrel-aged imperial stout "style." It's above-average, but nothing to give up the cellar for.

 1,073 characters

Photo of wulfie85
3.57/5  rDev -21.4%
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

 178 characters

Photo of ledouge
3.58/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Photo of pixieskid
3.6/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Fux for sharing this bottle last night. Has been on my list of rare Imp. Stouts for some time, glad to cross it off. Unfortunately, I didn't have the same experience...

Pours an almost black color with a thin white head, dissipating quite quickly.

Nose; bourbon, oak, charcoal, and some dark fruits.

Taste; bourbon upfront with a touch of bakers chocolate, I too got peanut butter, finishing with a ton of burnt malt and a slight salinity (reminiscent of soy sauce but not like 09' Abyss).

Mouthfeel; oily and surprisingly thin. This can happen with barrel treatments (i.e. Boris vs. BA Boris is the best example off the top of my head) but I think it comes from the Double Cream Stout aspect of the beer as well.

Overall; I wasn't a fan but I will admit, I have been a bit under the weather lately so I know my palate isn't quite up to par...

Retried a bottle of 2013 and can say that the initial review was so low because of the fact that the beer was oxidized. This recent bottle was much better but still not very impressive. The thin body and overly boozy aspect from the barrel aging didnt do much for me. Decent example of the style but over rated and no better than any other barrel aged imperial stout out there.

 1,241 characters

Photo of Ryan011235
3.61/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Matt the Miller's Grandview on 6/12/12

Nearly black with dark mahogany brown around the edges. No head, save for a thin ring.

The aroma has a lot of the stout - roasted and burnt sugars, molasses, prune, bitter chocolate and some coffee undertones. Creamy vanilla, some oak and hints of soft bourbon. The flavor has more bourbon and more heat. Some burnt sweetness, much similar to the nose. Pretty heavy blend between burnt roast and sugar and prune sweetness. Oak char on the finish. Full, slick body with sugary lingerings. Moderate, appropriate carbonation. Finishes clean for a barreled thing.

Overall, this is good but I would much rather drink Expedition or Double Cream Stout or bourbon.

 708 characters

Photo of Aerizel
3.61/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of WorldWideStout
3.61/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this during D.C. Beer Week at The Big Hunt.

A: It's a bit dark in the room, but I can tell there's the typical pitch-black body. What's unusual is that a wisp of a head stays around for several minutes, even after I take a few sips.

S: Mostly bourbon. There is a little bit of roast and biscuit in there as well.

T: The taste opens up with some toffee from the malts, and then ripe dark fruits make an appearance. Towards the middle the bourbon comes out in full force. It's not the sweet bourbon I'm used to in BA stouts - it's more rough and young. The end of each sip and aftertaste is fairly unpleasant - harsh booziness.

M: Nice velvety mouthfeel with the appropriate small amount of carbonation.

O: I was not terribly impressed by this beer. The barrel notes are too prominent, and it's pretty boozy. I'd try it again if it had been aged for a year plus, but I didn't find the draught version worth all the hype.

 929 characters

Photo of Egotist
3.62/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Photo of nrs207
3.63/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Let's be real, this beer is all hype. It's not really that good. It has a hint of bourbon barrel, some decent roasty notes, but every time I have it, I expect it to be pretty good. It never lives up to any of the other beers I've had that night. BCBS is in another league, and even just an above average beer like KBS kills this. If you've gotten this far, here is my full review.

A - Fairly dark, not the darkest stout out there. Decent appearance overall.

S - Pretty dry, doesn't smell very sweet. Has a hint of bourbon barrel there. Some chocolate notes.

T - Fairly dry in the taste as well. Doesn't have a lot of bourbon. It tastes like an OK roasty stout got thrown in a bourbon barrel for about 2 weeks. I'm not sure what Bell's is doing, but they're doing it wrong. It's truly not that good. There are an incredible amount of bourbon barrel stouts I'd seek out over this.

M - It's fairly smooth, but nothing too incredible. The best quality of this beer is that it's not very boozy. It's a bit thin for the ABV, but at least the booze is well hidden.

O - This beer is not worth seeking out. If it was on the shelf at $3 a bottle, I probably wouldn't buy it. That is NOT good for a bourbon barrel stout, let alone a very good one. I actually would for trade value I guess, but definitely not to drink. Skip this one unless you just want to tick it. It's like Hopslam, just a tick. Nothing special. It's outdated, and many many other breweries have caught up and surpassed Bell's. The only beer I consider worthwhile from them is Two Hearted. For the price, it's the only beer they make that's worth buying imo.

 1,621 characters

Photo of olradetbalder
3.71/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of largadeer
3.73/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to stfun37 for this one.

Black in the glass with a tiny dark brown head that rapidly recedes to a ring.

The aroma is woody and earthy, with a backbone of bittersweet chocolate. Boozy bourbon is present but more subtle than I was expecting, and sweetness is very reserved. Expedition's unmistakable burnt licorice/molasses character shines through with surprising strength here.

The taste is impressively complex; licorice up front, burnt whole grain bread, bakers chocolate, tobacco, vanilla and light earthiness. Medium-bodied without much sweetness. Hot bourbon flavors come through more in the finish, along with woody tannins, strong burnt bitterness and lingering espresso.

This was a pretty interesting beer. The Double Cream Stout and -bal aging have helped tame Expedition's harshness, but not as much as I would have liked. Still enjoyable, but not as remarkable as I was expecting.

 906 characters

Photo of scream
3.74/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Have read many reviews of this one here, but it just did not do it for me

Look-fine 4
Smell-Smells decent w a hint of sweetness 3.75
Taste is just average, not picking up any barrel notes
Feel - I think the carbonation is a bit too much for the style-3.5
Overall- 3.75

 269 characters

Photo of Krafty34
3.75/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Photo of virinow
3.75/5  rDev -17.4%

Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Beer rating: 4.54 out of 5 with 4,563 ratings
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