Cherry Stout - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store

Cherry Stout - Bourbon Barrel-AgedCherry Stout - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
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American Imperial Stout
Ranked #1,384
Ranked #3,505
4.11 | pDev: 10.95%
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Michigan, United States
Cherry Stout - Bourbon Barrel-AgedCherry Stout - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
Notes: American-style stout with tart Michigan cherries aged in bourbon barrels from various distilleries.
Reviews: 114 | Ratings: 417 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Tony210
Tony210 from New Jersey

3.85/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours very dark with minimal kakhi head. Big chocolate and cherry aroma, coconut, light barrel presence. Very tart at first, full bodied and sweet. As the tartness fades the chocolate comes through; bourbon barrel seems to bring it all together. Rich and creamy, yet very tart. Overall I am glad it but wouldn't buy again. Couldn't finish it and had to dump.

12 oz bottle dated 12/5/17
3.5 rating

Jul 19, 2018
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beerguy04 from Illinois

3.78/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark brown with an average tan head with lots of lacing. Smell is cherry and molasses. Taste is the same with a bourbon taste at the end. Mouthfeel is light for a stout. Overall, one of the better beers from Bell's.

Mar 05, 2018
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bubseymour from Maryland

4.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Really nice how the sweet cherries blend with the stout qualities in this beer. Bourbon isn't really noticed much. Overall it takes a little adjusting of the pallet but about 1/2 way through it really shines.

Feb 01, 2018
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superspak from Michigan

4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 12/5/2017. Pours opaque pitch black color with a 1 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big lightly tart cherries, fruit skin, milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, caramel, vanilla, toffee, bourbon, toasted oak, and dark/brown bread; with lighter notes of coffee, coconut, smoke, and roast/toast/oaky earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malts, cherries, and bourbon barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of big lightly tart cherries, fruit skin, milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, caramel, vanilla, toffee, bourbon, toasted oak, and dark/brown bread; with lighter notes of coffee, coconut, smoke, and roast/toast/oaky earthiness. Light roast bitterness, bourbon/oak spice, and cherry tang/tartness on the finish. Lingering notes of tart cherries, fruit skin, milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, caramel, vanilla, toffee, bourbon, toasted oak, dark/brown bread, light coffee/smoke, and roast/toast/oaky earthiness on the finish for a while. Awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malts, cherries, and bourbon barrel flavors; with an awesome roasted bitter/sweet and cherry tang/tartness balance; with zero cloying/astringent flavors after the finish. Slightly increasing pucker from cherries. Lightly increasing dryness from cherry tang/tartness, roast bitterness, and bourbon/oak spiciness. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a very smooth, creamy, silky, velvety, and rich mouthfeel that is fantastic. Light cherry tang/acidity, bourbon/oak tannins, and slight chalky roast. Minimal warming alcohol for 9.3%. Overall this is an outstanding barrel aged fruit stout! All around awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malts, cherries, and bourbon barrel flavors; very smooth and easy to drink for the ABV, with the mellowly acidic/tannic/drying finish. Absolutely perfect balance between stout, cherries, and bourbon barrels. Great barrel integration with zero booze at all. A highly enjoyable offering. Definitely a nice improvement over the base beer, which I still really enjoy. The silky barrel smoothness is definitely a highlight, along with the added barrel complexities.

Dec 23, 2017
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Knapp85 from Pennsylvania

4.4/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This poured out as a black color with a tan head on top. The smell of the beer has some cherry notes along with subtle chocolate and bourbon in the background. The taste of the beer isn't bad, there is a bit of sweet cherry in there at first, that gets pushed back but the roasted malts and bourbon flavors. The feel of the beer is smooth, not as rich as I was hoping for. Overall it was a nice beer to finally try.

Sep 08, 2014
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Alieniloquium from Florida

3.8/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black with a nice mocha head. Great retention and a thick collar.

Smell - Very oaky. Nice bourbon. Deep cherry. Kinda chocolatey.

Taste - The bourbon is the highlight. Nice oaky vanilla. Black bitter chocolate. Cherry flavor isn't as tart as regular.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Not very heavy or sweet. Well carbonated.

Overall - High quality beer. Covers up the parts of the base beer I don't love.

Jul 03, 2014
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KYGunner from Kentucky

4.33/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I was not a fan of the Bells Cherry Stout, gave it a 3, but you can put just about anything in a barrel and it's good. Well never have I seen an improvement of a base beer more than in this gem. This is not overly complex in the nose or flavor but what it does is temper the cherry and add the vanilla from the barrel. Suddenly this becomes a chocolate covered cherry in a vanilla milkshake. The balance is remarkable and the flavors are never cloying. I absolutely loved this beer and hope it becomes more available.

Jul 02, 2014
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roger617 from Indiana

4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 poured into Huna snifter glass at 50 degrees. Bottle 207 of 1718, batch 11600. Compliments of mattvandyk, thanks again for this share!

A: Pours a thick, dark black with almost a finger of tan head that reduces at a fair rate, leaving a medium size collar. No lacing appears throughout the glass.
S: There is a strong up front hit of cherries that is present throughout the glass. I get bourbon in the back, which gets more noticebale as the glass warms. The cherries are by far the most dominant throughout.
T: Bells claims this use start Michigan cherries, and I absolutely believe them! The Cherry flavor is much more tart than it is sweet, and like the aroma, the Cherry presence is the most dominant. I get bourbon, roast, chocolate as well.
M: Carbed slightly high, and feel is a little bit thin compared to what I was hoping for. Dry aftertaste, which I like in this one.
O: The cherry was more powerful in this beer than I had expected. Almost so much that it took away from the other aspects that make it great. I got the bourbon and chocolate, but they were very faint.

Jun 08, 2014
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UCLABrewN84 from California

3.85/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle pour at the 2014 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest held at the Paso Robles Event Center in Paso Robles, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, bourbon, funk, and slight cherry aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa, cherry, and bourbon flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast bitterness and an alcohol kick on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a cherry presence that is slightly funky and sour all around.

Jun 04, 2014
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sweemzander from Illinois

4.54/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL corked and caged bottle poured into a tulip
(A)- Pours pitch black. Produced some nice brown froth that stuck around for awhile
(S)- A bit dry, but with some nice chocolate covered cherries with subtle oaky bourbon notes
(T)- A really nice mildly tart cherry character that is met with a great chocolatey base. Subtle oaky vanilla on the finish.
(M)- A nice mellow carbonation level. It is rich; dessert-like, but not overly sweet. Great mild fruit tartness in combination with oak aging, really gives this a nice edge to it
(O)- One of 3 beers that originally got me started in this craft beer journey. Absolutely awesome that Bells remade this again so I could revisit!

Oct 01, 2013
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tectactoe from Michigan

4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

On tap, Michigan Summer Beerfest 2013. Been wanting to try this brew for quite some time, glad I finally have the chance! It pours out nearly black, with only a thin, thin outline of ruby and dark brown. The tan-espresso head shows excellent staying power and clings to the sides of my cup quite nicely. Very impressive looking brew so far.

The aroma is rich, sweet cherry juice meets smooth bourbon-soaked oak chips. Lots of cherry and lots of bourbon barrel presence, both competing in a compelling game of king of the hill. The cherries provide a touch of sweet, tart, a syrupy, while the barrel, aside from bourbon and oak, introduces some nice vanilla notes. It's got a roasted malt backdrop, but it goes largely unnoticed due to the bourbon barrel cherry aromas.

First sip... cherry juice. Sweet, cherry juice. Some warming bourbon and oak, light tannins. Second sip... more cherries, and perhaps some darker fruits, like prunes, that come along with a mild, up-front tartness. More vanilla and oak, bourbon warms up a bit more. Third sip... I'm pulling a little more out of the barrel now, as I start getting some coconut that mixes nicely with the vanilla.

The mix of cherry tartness, barrel goodness, and malty sweetness forms a unique combo that keeps my palate guessing with each and every sip. Many people aren't fans of mixing dark malts and any form of tartness, but sometimes - it just works. And this is one of those times. Very nice, lingering finish with molasses, cocoa, maraschino cherry, vanilla, and dry oak. The mouth feel could be a bit more boisterous; medium bodied, oily, slick, and carbonated well.

This one didn't let me down. I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would, and even more than most of the other people on this website, it seems. Ready for me to blow your mind? I'd take this beer over Bourbon Barrel Batch 9,000 and BCS Cherry Rye. It reigns superior in drinkability over both by avoiding cloying levels of sweetness and never showing too much heat in the bourbon character. Plus I love the pureness of the tart cherries. All around, a very nice brew from Bell's.

Aug 06, 2013
Photo of Justin_Neff
Justin_Neff from Ohio

4.69/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Keystone Bar and Grill in Hyde Park - Cincinnati.

Had on tap at Bells, review from notes. Thanks to Kevin for this one!

A: Very dark - not quite motor oil-like, but close. Fizzy, bubbly head that settles into a thin ring.

S: Smell is awesome. Chocolate, vanilla, bourbon-forward, oak, and slight cherry.

T: Follows the nose, with a little less bourbon than I would expect - but it's about the perfect amount. The tartness of the cherries is awesome. Vanilla and chocolate balance the whole thing perfectly. Some roastiness comes through also, but not enough to negatively affect the flavor at all.

M: Medium-full body with little carbonation. Moderately creamy and oddly finishes a little dry.

O: This one was money. Really glad I found it on tap. The balance and complexity of this is really amazing. Good amount of tart, sweet, and barrel was something almost unrivaled.

Feb 10, 2013
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weonfire from Illinois

4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had this on tap at the in a 10oz snifter at the Beer Trappe in Lexington, Ky.

A - Dark dark brown almost black. rim of glass is a deep burgundy. snifter was pout to brim of glass so not much head available. small light brown head.

S - Cherry, and cherry, chocolate and cherry, other aged fruit maybe?

T - yep, cherry is in there. chocolate. bourbon comes thru.

M - nice and think. not at think and dominating as either of the bells 9000s tho.

O - while i may have stressed the cherries a bit much - everything is blended very well. yes, it will be a bit sweet for some folks but i really enjoyed it. I would order this again.

Jan 25, 2013
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Admittedly, I'm not the biggest fan of Bell's classic Cherry Stout- for me the taste of roast and tartness just clash for me. And without the support that I need, the beer never really comes together. But Bell's has it right with this bourbon barrel aged version. With up to eight months of age hibernating in those barrels takes their Cherry Stout to a whole new level.

Starting off with quiet pitch-black pour, the opaque stout gets a little tawny around the edges- quite evident through a delicate off white creme of foam that gives the stout a very espresso-like image.

Aromatic dark roast coffee, dark chocolate, and unmistakable bourbon notes lead the way. But the always-present cherry notes of the barrel fuse together nicely with the actual cherry additions to the stout. The barrels bring out a smoother and more chocolaty scent than the charred grain scent that I'm used to in the beer. In tandem the cherry-chocolate interplay is propped up by the carmelly bourbon notes and carry the overall scent very well.

And with a very consistent line, the flavors hold true to aroma with a focus on smooth espresso and chocolate base malt flavor. The barrels seem to have ground the rougher edges of the roast to a more refined fudge flavor that's much less offensive than the ashy char. The chocolate flavors envelop the cherries and drive home memories of chocolate covered cherries, except with a deviant bourbon ball twist. But the flavors don't stop there- carry on are accessory notes of rich velvety vanilla, vinous port wine, dense oak, and masculine bourbon flavor.

The stout's rich upstart is quickly slashed by the tartness of cherries which keeps the beer thinned out and much more drinkable than it should. Where the original recipe is a drier stout, the bourbon impressions and silkier mouthfeel makes the mouth want to register higher viscosity. The resulting textures gives the beer a forgiving drinkability that's rare in bigger imperial stouts. It's lush finish concludes just before the cherry tartness and lightly powdery tannin take command. Warm, shy of sour, and highly savory- the beer extends briefly into aftertaste.

Again, Bell's proclamation that the beer" seduces the palate" is spot on. Without the influence of the bourbon barrels, the beer seems to be two stouts battling it out in a single glass. But the barrels are like a big security blanket that pulls the stout together effortlessly.

Jan 24, 2013
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maximum12 from Minnesota

2.35/5  rDev -42.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Pulled in a 10 oz. snifter of this at Whistle Binkie's after having a Batch 9000.

Pour is black. Smell is cherry & bourbon. So far, so good.

Bourbon Barred Aged Cherry Stout suffers from a weak base beer. The cherry is sharp & rather tart, which clashes sword-on-shield with the bourbon. Grunk. Frankly, that contrast just made me wince & wish I'd stuck with the 9000....really, really wished. Cherry, bourbon, tart, sweet malt. What hurts is the medicinal, Walgreen's cherry Generic Cough Syrup taste. Couldn't finish my glass & left at least a third in the glass.

Perhaps I was naive to think bourbon could help the base beer, or that I'd like it more than I had in the past, but that wasn't the case. This is simply not a good beer.

Jan 19, 2013
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billab914 from Virginia

4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Rustico's Novemberfest. Black in color with a dense, tan colored head covering the top. decent lacing and head retention to it.

The aroma mixes the cherries, dark chocolate and light bourbon very well. It's got some roasted malts to it as well. The cherries and bourbon are particularly nice together.

I get more cherry flavor in the taste as well as some more barrel character. The chocolate and roasted malts play more of a supporting role in the taste, but they are there. I love the bourbon soaked cherry flavor I'm getting to it.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and creamy, but not as thick as I'd like it to be for the style. Great beer overall, I loved the cherry and bourbon combination. A little more of a bigger, bolder stout character to go along with them and this would have been amazing.

Dec 21, 2012
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jera1350 from Minnesota

4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at New Bohemia.

Thinner black body with a sudsy head of tan foam. Smells of sweet malt, bourbon and tart cherries. The taste starts off with a strong dose of ripe cherry with a touch of tartness then develops to the bourbon and malt sweetness that adds notes of oak and vanilla. The finish is very clean. Medium bodied feel with an terrific drinkability to it. Really surprised at how much I liked this one. Would love to have it again.

Dec 16, 2012
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cpetrone84 from Pennsylvania

4.18/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from tap at Mad Mex.
pour is jet black with creamy caramel head. Nose is strong cherry, light roast, some dry chocolate, and noce balance of woody bourbon. Taste is the same, cherry forward with some roasted malt and rich chocolate balancing. The bourbon is interwoven very gently towards the back adding subtle depth. Body is thick and creamy, not heavy. Assertive carbonation and very smooth. Light wood notes come out as it warms more towards the forefront.

Shared from bottle with me from a generous BA at Dark Lord day 2010.

A-pours a dark brown, pretty much black liquid with a dark tan colored head, tight and creamy, that lingers for a little and leaves so nice lace on the glass

S-the nose is quite nice, bourbon right up front, not overpowering but present. Light notes of chocolate and molasses come in towards the middle. The back has tart ripe cherries.

T-nice bourbon notes come in right up front with hints of oak and vanilla right behind. Molasses and some dark chocolate come in at the middle with sweet cherries and a nice tartness coming in at the finish.

M-this is extremely smooth and creamy, so nice on the palate. It is medium to full in body with a nice light carbonation to make it slide down the throat but hold throughout the drink

D-this is delicious, one of the best beers I got to have at DLD. The bourbon and oak is done so well, the stout flavors are great and the cherry and tartness add a whole other dimension

Nov 29, 2012
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mdaschaf from Washington

4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Bells, review from notes. Thanks to Kevin for this one!

A: Pours practically black with very little head or lacing.

T: Very nice aroma, a combination of light bourbon, vanilla, and oak with some slightly tart cherry and some caramel.

T: Tart cherry mixed with some vanilla and caramel. A bit of chocolate and coffee with caramel and a little roasty malt.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation, slightly tart.

O: Really enjoyed this beer, the hint of tartness mixed in with the bourbon and stout flavors works nicely.

Nov 22, 2012
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Weli from Wisconsin

4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Republic West Bank MSP

A- Pitch black with thin brown head ringing glass

S-Cherry is evident but not overpowering, dark cocoa, roast malt, vanilla and a hint o sweetness

T- Surprisingly tart and drinkable despite its high abv and complexity. Tart cherry flavor balances, dark cocoa and coffee. Hints of vanilla and oak, assertive bourbon character

M-Tart and Dry. Quite sessionable despite its high abv.

O- For a fruit beer it is not sweet at all, the cherries really add complexity without detracting from the fruit beer.

Nov 21, 2012
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homebrew311 from Illinois

3.41/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appears a dark brown with layer of light brown head. Smell features heavy cherry, bordering on artificial. Chocolate, brownies, and caramel come through. Bourbon character is tame. The taste starts with tart cherries and fizzles out from there. Sweet cocoa character comes next but falls off quickly. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy and thick. Overall, not a huge fan.

Nov 17, 2012
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SkeeterBoganski from Colorado

4.65/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The color here is deep mahogany; light red at the top; no head; minimal lacing; boozy on the nose, slightly sweet; very bourbon-y in flavor; very faint smell/taste of cherry; delicious and extremely well balanced...dank! This is honestly one of the finest bourbon barrel offerings I've had in a tap room EVER.

Nov 11, 2012
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brewandbbq from New Hampshire

4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from a few years ago IIRC.

Pours opaque black with a quick whisp of beige foam. A placid surface with zero lacing for the duration.

Aromatics lead off with roasted malts, bourbon, and cherries. Coffee grounds, bakers chocolate, vanilla, and char follow through.

Fullish bodied with a slick, oily mouhtfeel. Thin for the style.

Bourbon-laced smokey malt with ripe, red fruit starts the palate. Slightly tart and plenty boozy with a charred sweetness and background dark chocolate.

Finishes with lingering bourbon, cherries, and stout essence. Slightly vineous.

Tasty beer, but thinnish for a stout and the tart character doesn't jive.

Nov 06, 2012
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JDizzle from Indiana

3.83/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap @ the Eccentric Cafe. 2012 version

Looks really nice. Super dark black in the middle with light brown edges. Not much head to speak of.

It smells like a bourbon barrel aged stout. Not a whiff of cherries? Still, smells good.

I thought I would love this, but its not the case. The bourbon barrel is upfront and powerful the tart cherry hits in the middle, but keeps on lingering too long through the finish. Almost like an cherry that is not ripe. Kinda reminds me of Skoal cherry...

Not as thick and chewy as I thought it would be. Low carbs. Sour finish.

Glad I was able to try this one.

Oct 19, 2012
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warnerry from Michigan

4.42/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Eccentric Cafe 2012 version

A – Pours deep brown, essentially black with very little head and no lacing.

S – Nice bourbon aroma. Actually a little subtle, but in a good way. Lots of vanilla, some oak and caramel, only a little noticeable alcohol. Some nice tart cherry coming through as well.

T – Tart cherry is much more prominent in the taste. The barrel aging is a very nice complement here, providing some depth in the flavor with vanilla and caramel, and subtle oak. I’m not a huge fan of the regular cherry stout, which seems a bit one-dimensional and thin, but this is very enjoyable.

M – Medium mouthfeel, not particularly heavy. Starts tart, and actually has a bit of earthy bitterness on the finish.

O – Trying not to overrate this just because it is barrel-aged, but this is much better than regular Cherry Stout. It is a meaty beer, but not overly heavy in any way really. Hope they make this more regularly.

Oct 09, 2012
Cherry Stout - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 417 ratings