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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
99
world-class
589 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
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:
589
Ratings:
3,962
Avg:
4.5
pDev:
21.56%
 
 
Wants:
2,756
Gots:
1,035
For Trade:
94
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 589 | Ratings: 3,962
Photo of TMoney2591
4.18/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a tumbler at Firkin.

Review #2800! Solidarity rolls on for me with a beer I've been looking forward to for a long time. This stuff pours a straight obsidian topped by a finger of dark brown foam. The nose comprises bourbon, toasted wood, caramel, and roasted malts. The taste brings in more of the same, along with a touch of dark chocolate syrup. The body is a hefty medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a lightly chewy feel. Overall, a damn tasty stout. To me, the barrel is a bit overpowering compared to everything else, but it somehow doesn't go too far in this way. Good times, indeed.

 611 characters

Photo of orangesol
4.47/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap at Al's of Hampden, Brass Rail and Shady McGrady's all in the same week. Also out of a growler at ffej of july...Yeah, this area does not suck.

A - Pours jet black with a nice one and a half finger tall mocha colored head leaving sticky streaks of lace down parts of the glass.

S - Smells of warm bourbon, milk chocolate, vanilla, dark roasted malt, brown sugar and quite a bit of lactic creaminess. Bourbon is strong initially but the other aroma's grow to help keep it in check.

T - Starts off with a big dose of warm bourbon, chocolate and some lactic creaminess from the double cream stout. Hints of vanilla, oak, brown sugar and rich coffee help to break things up and keep things interesting. Finish is pretty sweet with plenty of boozy bourbon and some dark roast, lingering on the palate long after consumption.

M - Big, full body with a TON of sweet flavors and moderate carbonation. Smooth, boozy feel throughout the glass.

O - I have missed out on trying this one a few times in the past so I was really looking forward to trying it when I saw that it went on-tap. Now that I have had it 4-5 times in the span of a week I can say that it definitely lives up to its billing. Awesome beer for sure.

 1,226 characters

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

Review from notes.

A: Pours a very deep brown, practically black with a small tan/mocha colored head on top that forms a pretty tight cap. Decent read retention with thin lacing.

S: Dark chocolate upfront with some light roasted malt. Bourbon mixed with vanilla and a bit of brown sugar and molasses as well.

T: The first flavor I got was vanilla with dark chocolate, a great combination. The bourbon kicks in adding some wood, a bit of caramelized sugar, and some molasses. Faint dark fruit as well, cherries. Slight bitter/roast on the back end.

M: Full bodied with moderate carbonation, pretty smooth.

O: A very nice beer, understandable why it scores so hi. Very impressed and look forward to trying it again.

 722 characters

Photo of mdfb79
4.65/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap tonight at Churchkey in Washington, DC. 10 oz. pours in snifters. This was one of those whales I never thought I'd get to try unless it came to a festival, so was pretty happy to get a few glasses of it tonight.

a - Pours a pitch black color with one inch of dark tan head and light carbonation evident. Head lasts for a few minutes and leaves some spotty lacing on the glass.

s - Smells of bourbon, oak, vanilla, roasted malts, sweet and bitter chocolate, and caramel malts. Really amazing nose with the bourbon, vanilla, and chocolate mixing wonderfully. Pretty perfect nose.

t - Tastes of bourbon, oak, vanilla, sweet chocolate sweet dark fruits, roasted malts, bitter chocolate, and cream. Again, really great here.

m - Medium to full body and low carbonation. Somewhat thicky and creamy, really great mouthfeel. No alchool heat really at all.

o - Overall a truely fantastic beer; reminds me, as well as others I was with, a lot of BCS Rare. Nose is wonderful and no real alcohol heat, I had no problem drinking 3 full glasses of this one. I put it on par with BCS Rare and the normal BCS, which are two of my favorite stouts. Would love to have it again sometime.

 1,184 characters

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

I've always loved Expedition stout and since I've heard they did a barrel aged version I couldn't get away from wanting this beer. It's been a long journey and thanks to a local Pittsburgh distributor I finally came into contact with this one.

Pours a pitch black hue with creamy tan head floating above the head, let me tell you about this BA version of Expedition fine lacing left evenly around the chalice.

Aromatics dark malts charred oak, with vanilla and whiskey rich character...also has a toasted marshmallow note with booze that is much needed for a dark imperial stout called Black Note. The finish is full of caramelized dark sugars and it so nice and full of nearly burnt malts. Smells so good, it's amazing what a whiskey barrel can do to a stout, I'm glad New Holland tried to put whiskey into some stout barrels to see if the inverse were true. Each time I take a sniff I get hints of umami from soy sauce tainted meat and spicy notes of ginger impregnated in a marinade of chicken breast.

Flavor has milky creamy dark chocolate notes, flowing with heat of bourbon barrel aging effects, charred oak, and rich vanilla booze infused stout character. Dark fruit with plums and over ripened fruits that are soaked in alcohol infusing through the palate with each sip. In the backend I definitely get that meaty soy sauce, umami character that I've come to know and love salty/sweet and a bit of braised beef or grilled tuna approaches the palate. I believe either of these would be great pairings amongst this beverage.

Mouthfeel full bodied creamy texture seduces your palate, even slow bubbling carbonation what a great experience that is too be had by all lovers of great barrel aged stouts. Salty sweet combination reigns supreme on the palate and leaves me wanting more and more.

Overall, one of the best barrel aged creations I've ever had...light years ahead of the complexity of KBS and Arcadia Shipwrecked BBA beers. I will hold onto the rest of the six pack I have left.

 1,999 characters

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

Ah the fabled Black Note. It's quite boozy with strong bourbon tones. Heavy and forward, but balanced enough. Mild vanilla on the back end. Thick and well bodied in character and feel. It's a strong bourbon aged stout. I wouldn't mind more complexity, but it's nice.

 266 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.63/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On draft at Churchkey in D.C.

The beer is black with a thin beige head. After a few swirls of the snifter the head expands to 3/4 inch, leaving a thick sheet of lacing cascading down the snifter.

The aroma, while nice, is quite a bit weaker than expected, offering bourbon and roast with a hint of vanilla.

The flavor, on the other hand, is a thing of beauty. Bold bourbon presence throughout. Oily thick with a delicious roast character. This is indeed a world class beer and in my top tier of barrel aged imperial stouts. Not terribly complex, per se, but masterfully balanced and just superb.

The mouthfeel is ridiculously good, perhaps the best I have yet encountered in a beer of this ilk. The Double Cream Stout shows itself here. Creamy and full bodied, with alcohol content gracefully disguised.

Worthy of its overall A+ rating, this beer was sublime.

 865 characters

Photo of stakem
4.22/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Draft served in a snifter. The brew pours black in color with a rich mocha head. The cap fades pretty fast leaving spotty patches of lace sticking to the glass.

The smell is vibrant with bourbon and barrel aging characteristics that smell of coconut, vanilla and lots of neutral oak. Roasty grain is present smelling of coffee and chocolate. Some tangy booze rounds things up.

The taste is tangy with bourbon booze quality right out the gate that doesnt diminish during the experience. Bitter unsweetened cocoa lingers in the mouth coupled with coffee, raw oak, vanilla, and some hints of caramel sweetness as it warms up.

This is a medium bodied brew with a light level of carbonation. It is quite a boozy sipper that is enjoyable. Fans of expedition stout will go crazy over this. Very well done and worth seeking out if it doesnt cost you a limb.

 852 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.42/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Bx Beer Depot. A keg of Hopslam and a keg of Black Note. Amazingly, the Hopslam kicked long before the Black Note, so I enjoyed three of these as I watched people go nuts for Hopslam.

Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Big khaki head. Not a particularly dark head, though. Decent retention. Oh yeah, it's black.

Smell - Huge barrel notes. Bourbon, vanilla, and oak. Roasted chocolate, but otherwise the stout is a touch lost in the barrel. Boozy, too.

Taste - Chocolate and a building tingle of bourbon. Vanilla flavor throughout. The chocolate comes back in the finish in a much more bitter manifestation. Less boozy in the finish that the smell would indicate. Really wonderful incorporation of barrel and stout.

Mouthfeel - Very creamy, which I assume is the Cream Stout. Boozy and chewy, but not too thick. Low carbonation, which is strange. Nearly flat.

Overall - It's damn good. I don't know how much separates the best BA stouts, but this one is quite nice. I'm happy not to have traded for it and rather just came and drank the equivalent of a 750 on tap. Will be back for more next year.

Edited based on drinking the hell out of this at the Michigan Summer Beer Festival.

 1,196 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
4.16/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 Bottle from BlowOffTube, thanks for the opportunity!
Solid black color with a quickly fleeting head. Chocolate, roast, molasses, vanilla, wood, light dark fruit, there's lots going on here and its all good. Rich sweet silky creamy thick body with light carbonation. Damn that's good, wish I had more!

 306 characters

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

Ninety-nine down, one to go (or at least until the top 100 changes again). Finally got to try this elusive brew at the Bell's 30 Taps World Record event at Beer Sellar in Indy. Had three 5oz tasters of this stuff.

N.B. This was listed as "BB Double Cream Stout", but Larry Bell assured everyone it was the blend and that the erroneous name was merely due to a label approval issue.

A - A half-finger of dark mocha foam with solid retention, and a little bit of lacing. Pitch black - there was no trace of color, even at the fringes. It's about what I expect from a high gravity Imperial Stout.

S - Tons of bourbon and vanilla notes, a bit of roastiness - it wasn't the most complex nose. I even patiently waited for it to warm up, as it was served WAY too cold, but I didn't really get much more than the basics here.

T - The taste was superb, and was somewhat shocking after the lukewarm aroma. Tons of bourbon, vanilla, sweet malts, milk chocolate, and a bit of dark fruit and barrel. I love the way the Double Cream Stout portion offsets the roasty bitterness and acidity. As a result the aftertaste is surprisingly mild.

M - Mild carbonation, super smooth, lighter in body than I expected (more medium-to-full). Plenty of residual stickiness in this one, and shockingly a bit of heat (even after a couple years in the keg).

D - Super drinkable for what it was - the multiple tasters went down pretty easy. I think out of the ten tickets my wife and I got, we used at least half of them on this superb brew. The only problem is the ABV, and is that really that big of a problem? ;-)

 1,591 characters

Photo of smakawhat
4.48/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured from the 12oz. bottle into a large snifter glass.

Barely a whisp of faint tan head is made off the pour, but settles to a common 1mm collar while drinking. A nice little coffee cream top, with a body that is walnut black in color, just a little hint of see through around the edges.

Nose is very subtle, with hints of classic bourbon barrel aging. A controlled heat mixing with a large thick roast and caramel mix. Hints of charring thickness and booze. Hints of peanut like and salty character, Somewhat one dimensional and a little varied, but it's a good profile.

A real wonderful thickness. Great thick chocolate ganache finish on this beer, with hints of dark chocolate and bitter cocoa coating feel. A real controlled lingering very mild bitterness on the finish that lasts and lasts. Mild sweetness lingers on the tongue with this powder light heat and faint sting from a little tinge of carbonation. Incredibly coating palate and a nice dark chocolate. This is without question the most dark chocolate tasting brew I have had to date. The hint of sweet and punching dark bitter on this is just perfect.

This brew is all in the aftertaste, with a real incredible chocolate rich darkness. Drinks incredibly easy for such a large stout as well. Very memorable but not for the reasons that are mentioned on the bottles description. I would be shocked if Bell's could pull this beer off on a regular basis. Please try again!

 1,439 characters

Photo of drabmuh
4.4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've been offended for a long time that this beer has slipped through my grasp. Everyone raves about it, and it is good, but how much better than a decently treated Bourbon county is it? Not much.

Beer served on draft in a snifter. Beer is black with a lazy head of tan bubbles, some lacing, minimal carbonation, lots of lacing.

Aroma is sweet, bourbon, malt, not much else.

Beer is also sweet, smooth, creamy, decent, mouth-feel is the best thing about this beer, high in alcohol, sweet, good finish, a decent barrel aged whatever but don't knock yourself out looking for it like i did.

 590 characters

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

Review from 10-22-12 updated with bottle enjoyed on 11-08-13. Bottle number 129/1534. Batch #11620.

A - Poured dark black; medium thickness on the pour. A thin layer of espresso coloured head formed and quickly disappeared.

S - Huge whiskey and oak aromas up front. The barrel characteristics dominate the nose with some sweet chocolate fudge in the background.

T - Bourbon, some vanilla and toasted oak up front. Although the barrel is dominant, the base beer comes through more than nose indicated. Chocolate fudge, bitter roast, molasses and light espresso flavours integrate nicely with the barrel flavours.

M - Full body. Thick and somewhat viscous. Light carbonation.

 678 characters

Photo of tempest
4.1/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had a large snifter at Republic in Seven Corners. Overall, a delicious stout and well worth the $8, but I though the character was relatively dull for everything that's been put into it. The bourbon barrel character is smooth, and pleasant with oaky vanilla, but it sits in the background behind even smoother cocoa malts. It's almost like it's too balanced, with few flavors really standing out. I'll admit though, I'm being hard on this very tasty beer. I just don't think it drinks up to its potential.

 505 characters

Photo of SadMachine
4.41/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

'12 vintage

A- Pours black as night with a finger of tan head that recedes to a collar. Very little lacing, but it does leave nice alcohol legs when swirled.

S- The aroma explodes with bourbon, dark fruits, and oak. Sweet figs, dates, raisins, and prunes. Vanilla, grains, perhaps some sweet chocolate, and definitely a good bit of booze round out the nose.

T- This beer is both bold and subtle at the same time. Focused, yet complex. There's a lot of bourbon, and that makes it mellow, smooth, and boozy. Then there's plenty of the fig/date/raisin flavor. This is all complimented and rounded out with touches of vanilla, vinous flavor, oak, and a surprising bit of dry roastiness in the finish. Quite complex and delicious.

M- The mouthfeel is moderately thick, and very smooth/creamy thanks to the barrel. Lightly carbonated, and a good bit of warming booze.

O- This is a very nice representation of the BBA stout style, and I look forward to trying my other bottle with more age on it.

 994 characters

Photo of liamt07
4.41/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks a ton to Sammy for pulling this out for just the two of us, bottle 24 of 1081 (Batch 10136). 750ml into tulips, gotta love full pours.

Black, with a transient brown head. Moderate legs, but only whisps of some head and a thin collar remain. Bourbon is big in the nose, along with coconut, vanilla, and brown sugar. Quite sweet, barrel aging is front and center. Taste leads with more smooth bourbon, coconut, mild chocolate and roast flavours. Great barrel flavours, creamier notes are slightly present. Medium full body, warming with some noticeable alcohol after some larger gulps. Low carbonation, with great density and smoothness. An awesome BBA'd stout, but not the best I've ever had form the style. Awesome to have tried though.

 744 characters

Photo of Duff27
4.09/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a mid mocha head on a black body. Wonderful head retention and lacing for a stout. My favorite aspect of this beer.

Smooth, sweet bourbony chocolate.

Present bourbon but not overpowering by any means. Big roasted cocoa notes. Slight cherry aftertaste. Well hidden ABV.

Creamy mouthfeel but doesn't have the thickness you may associate with an impy stout. Low carbonation.

Overall a well put together bourbon barrel age stout from Bell's. Black Note didn't knock my socks off but I would have it again. Thanks for sharing 4DAloveofSTOUT!

 546 characters

Photo of aasher
4.2/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was sampled at the Beer Sellar in Indianapolis for their Super Bell's Party before the Super Bowl. It poured a full bodied darkest of blacks with a one finger khaki head. It smells like a barrel aged stout. It has the creamed coffee, chocolate, with a touch or bourbon and vanilla. It is essentially a poor man's Bourbon County. It has a good amount of roast with a good amount of bourbon and vanilla. That said, lighter and less intense than Bourbon County. It's really drinkable because of this. The alcohol takes a backseat as well. The longer you sip the more the char makes itself known, alongside the vanilla. It leaves plenty of roast behind. Regardless, it drinks really nice and everything meshes rather well. This is a nice barrel aged stout. I'm glad I could try it.

 782 characters

Photo of BARFLYB
4.3/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On Tap at the City Tap House for their 31 flavors of Bell's event for Philly Beer Week, I love this city!

Black note came to me looking black like night with a bubbly thin layered dark tan milkshake head. Some rough patches of lace on the way down, nice considering the barrel aging.

Smells is of dark bakers chocolate, dark fruit, plums, and some vinious qualities in the back. Sweet roasty notes, cream for your coffee with some coffee as well. The bourbon, while not overly huge is a welcomed guest.

Black Note tastes like you think it will, delish. Dark chocolate, semi bitterseet, cocco powder, A light splash of roasted coffee beans, lucious sweet malt roasty malt. A dark fruit component from the expo, a vanilla creamy vibe from the DCB. Some mollasses along with the sweet vanilla are welcome. A nice amount of bourbon from a great barrel that's not all that boozy.

I gotta say, this is the smoothest BA beer that I've had for a while. Smooth, creamy, easy, a steady slope. While the alcohol seeps in a bit, this is not hot in any way. The way this went down after 20 minutes in the glass brings tears to my eyes.

It's big beer, but i found myself taking bigger gulps than usual for a stout. Much smoother as time passes and temps rise, easy drinking, just be careful, it will get ya. Another treat during beer week. I knew this beer would be a winner ever since I heard about it.

 1,394 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.26/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Received a few 2012 12'oz bottles in a recent trade with krl2112.... Big thanks Kurt!!

Poured into my HotD goblet... short lasting dark brown head with a thick glass coating black brew...no real lacing.. retention is pretty sad.

Huge bourbon and dark fruits... cherries and raisins... vanilla and fudgy coffee spiked brownies... very rich... a bit hot, still little cold and the EtOH is warm.

Great mix of bourbon, molasses, tons of bittersweet chocolate... some cold brewed coffee for good measure.. again the alcohol is pretty hot... lingering bourbon/vanilla and brownie sundae on the finish... just lingers forever.. pretty damn well done. Happy that this one isn't overly sweet and an insulin shot isn't needed like BT.

Light carbonation with a silky thick mouthfeel.

Wish I had more of these. I opened up a 2011 750 last weekend and it was heads and shoulders better... but I just think this brew needs time to meld.

4/4.25/4.25/4.5/4.25

 950 characters

Photo of IrishColonial
4.41/5  rDev -2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at RFD. Thanks a bunch Josh!!

A: squid ink black with a beautiful ring of chocolate milk bubbles around the side. Not much lacing, typical of the style. Awesome. I want to drink the sh*t out of this.

S: Mmmm, delicious bourbon. Vanilla notes. Roasted chocolate malt. A bit of hot booziness. As it warms, the malt profile comes through a bit. But mostly bourbon.

T: The taste is surprisingly dry and hoppy. Dominated by bourbon flavors but fades quickly into a malty, mild coffee aftertaste. Dried fruit flavors overarch more than others of the style. A bit thin for my taste.

M: Thin for a bourbon barrel stout. Also creamy and more carbonated. Pleasant but different.

O: This is a delicious beer and one of the better ones I've had. I love the bourbon and hoppyness flavors and the creamy mouthfeel. Probably from the double cream stout. However, the taste and nose are a bit too bourbon (one-note) dominated. If I had a bottle (not likely) I would definitely age at least a year. Outstanding beer. But it's no BCBS.

 1,029 characters

Photo of biegaman
4.42/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Trivia Question: What do you get when you blend Double Cream and Expedition Stout? Answer: A beer with a head that's darker than most brown ales. Bell's Black Note is black on black, that's for sure - it's darker than deep space. Almost amazingly, the foam never collapses.

Did I mention the blend is also aged for a few months in bourbon barrels? This fact isn't apparent at first but comes clear in due time. There develops so much vanilla flavour that it smells almost like cream soda (but has enough roasted malt to avoid seeming artificial or candy-like).

The taste resembles an iced coffee of sorts but also contains rich notes of fudge, vanilla, chocolate macaroons, treacle and a bit of fig too. It offers an unrivaled combination of sweet malt, bitter espresso and dried fruit qualities. The bourbon barrels work behind the scenes to add complexity but don't feature much in the spotlight.

The mouthfeel is super lush and surprisingly light; it's not often you find the phrase "goes down easy" used in reference to an 11% stout. But there is a good amount of brown sugar in the mouthfeel and a vein of red wine astringency that brightens this very dark beer.

Bell's Black Note is definitely a product of the black arts - it's wickedly good and somehow manages to balance delicacy and density. Unlike most bourbon barrel stouts, this one derives more from rich, chocolatey malts than it does barrel aging or bourbon. It's a big beer but not the kind to put hair on your chest; this is one to cuddle up to.

 1,521 characters

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

On tap at Al's of Hampden.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with excellent head retention and considerable creamy, sticky lacing all around. The nose is terrific in this beer, as I pick up dark chocolate, coffee, vanilla, considerable bourbon and even some apple brandy. This really smells great... yet as good as it smells, damn if it doesn't taste even better. The flavor profile largely replicates the nose, but there's a nice dash of hoppy bitterness in the finish that really helps to buoy and counter the moderate sweetness in this beer. For such a big beer, it's really well balanced, and is just so easy to drink. Also, despite the high alcohol, there's not a hint of heat from alcohol in the finish. Mouthfeel is fairly full, with a long, chocolate, coffee and vanilla finish. This is just a delicious beer. Really impressed by how well the brewer managed to keep everything in just the right preportion in this excellent beer.

Clearly among the barrel aged RIS elite. Very, very well done.

 1,006 characters

Photo of HopHead84
3.82/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Shared by largadeer on 11/06/2009 and poured into a snifter. Thanks Chris! The beer is black with a wispy light brown head. Retention is decent and lacing is scattered.

The nose is of dark chocolate, vanilla, and prominent molasses. The chocolate has a fudge-like quality and licorice presence is strong. Booze and anise are evident. Nice rich nose.

The flavor is licorice, molasses, fudge, and dark chocolate. As the beer warms, the licorice becomes increasingly powerful. The finish is alcoholic and somewhat harsh. Molasses and licorice eventually overwhelm the other flavors. The beer is full bodied with a thick and slightly syrupy mouthfeel. I enjoyed the nose, but the taste had too much licorice and molasses for me. I was enamored for the first couple ounces, but I quickly became disenchanted

 804 characters

Bell's Black Note Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.5 out of 5 based on 3,962 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!