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Bell's Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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Bell's Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry StoutBell's Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout
BA SCORE
4.07/5
Exceptional
384 Ratings
Bell's Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry StoutBell's Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout
BEER INFO

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

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
American-style stout with tart Michigan cherries aged in bourbon barrels from various distilleries.

Added by mcallister on 07-21-2007

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#2,874
Reviews:
110
Ratings:
384
pDev:
11.3%
Bros Score:
4
 
 
Wants:
306
Gots:
42
Trade:
3
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 384 |  Reviews: 110
Photo of Texasfan549
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

 718 characters

Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Knapp85
4.4/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

 415 characters

Photo of nmann08
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.16/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of BEERchitect
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

 2,429 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.12/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased today from Bells General Store, this is a recently released batch #7777 ('07 Cherry Stout?).

It pours a rich tone on very dark brown, and becomes an opaque black in the glass. A creamy tan head emerges and retains itself.

Lactic cherry aroma reminds me of yogurt, and there's also a good dose of chocolate and an undercurrent of whiskey and buttery oak.

Flavors are unusual at first, but the complexity reveals itself in time. Big chocolate cherry cordial, dry oak barrel, and mild bourbon notes in the finish. It has a milky, lactose creaminess to it. There's a mild bitterness, similar to dark chocolate. Cherry is a component of the whole, and doesn't dominate.

Overall a very tasty and creative brew from Bells.

 732 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.14/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Looks like soda, with a huge reddish-brown head that fizzes away completely leaving neither foam nor lace above the espresso brown colored liquid

Smell: Butterscotch diacetyl dominates but is joined by coffee, dark chocolate and some cherry juice

Taste: Opens with a load of butterscotch that is replaced, by mid-palate, with a more respectable blend of dark chocolate and tart cherry; after the swallow, the chocolate and cherry flavors are joined by coffee; tart cherry juice finish; the bourbon is very subtle but arrives at the very end

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with very little carbonation left after the first few minutes; warmth from the alcohol

Drinkability: Despite being marred by diacetyl and carbonation problems, this beer concept has some potential; maybe we will see it better executed another time

Thanks, hoppymeal, for the opportunity

 875 characters

Photo of oline73
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep pitch-black color stout with a small dirty brown foamy head with good retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of semi-sweet cherry juice with roasted malt notes and loads of black chocolate notes as well. Taste is also a nice balance mix between some semi-sweet cherry juice (taste like real cherry and not some fake syrup) with loads of black chocolate malt notes and a light dry roasted malt finish. Oak was not to apparent. Body is quite full with good carbonation for style with no apparent alcohol. I usually don't like so much sweetness in my stout but this one was interesting enough.

 609 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pitch black, darker than I was expecting. A three finger dark tan head lies on top, settling slowly into half an inch of thick foam.

Smell: Strange - a very homogenous mix of sweet and tart cherries, chocolate, bourbon and butterscotch. The aroma becomes more pleasant as it warms.

Taste & mouthfeel: Cherries up front, sweet and sour, with bourbon barrel flavors of tannic oak, caramel, vanilla and a hint of butter. The dark roasty stout flavors come out more in the aftertaste, leaving a bit of charred bitterness on the tongue. Medium-to-full in body and silky smooth, this beer is deceptively mellow - I'm guessing this is at least 9% ABV.

Notes: Thanks to fiver29 for a unique and delicious brew. Bell's continues to impress me.

 749 characters

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of mothman
3.92/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 7777

Poured into Darkness Snifter

Pours about 1/4 finger of mocha tan head that fades down to a ring quickly. Color is a pretty much straight forward black.

Aroma: Starts out with some fresh cherries, then the oak and vanilla come into play, and follows up with some chocolate, raisins, and molasses. Very nice aroma.

Taste: Hmm, the taste is a little off it seems. Something must not have aged that well here. Starts out with tart cherry juice, then a big amount of roasted malts with a vinegar taste comes out. Also has some chocolate and oak flavors with very subtle vanilla notes in the background. A very dry flavor.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy, with the slightest hint of heat. Pretty full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends with a tart cherry taste full of roasted malts.

Overall, I was a little disappointed with the taste of this one. It just wasn't what I expected it to be. It was good to get to try it, but not something I would go crazy to try again. It is a sipper and my 12 oz bottle may take a little bit to finish.

 1,058 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to ygtbsm94 for opening this bottle. Batch 7777 served in a Bruery tulip.

Pours a very dark brown with a minimal off white head. THe nose has a lot of the barrel character plus loads of cherries and a bit of vanilla. Bourbon and oak are highly prevalent. The bourbon dances with the cherry quite beautifully in the flavor department. Really nice interplay between all the flavors with the oak and vanilla playing a nice supporting role. Medium body and low carbonation. This one came onto my radar recently, and I was quite fortunate in having it poured right in front of me by the ever-generous Brad.

 609 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of Kegatron
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into my Bell's Tulip glass. Huge thanks to Hoppymeal for helping hook me up with this!

Pours a dense black with a finger of burnt looking tan fizzy head. Quite the active carbonation too, as this one spurts and spits as it peters down pretty quicky but then settles into a thin creamy retention. Nice patches of lace down the sides of the glass. The aroma is naturally strong with Bourbon, with huge, sweet, vanilla notes coming out the most in the nose. There is just a bit of sour cherry underneath but make no mistake, this bouquet belongs to the Bourbon character!

The taste posesses much more of the cherry tartness than the aroma does, actually being fairly prominent and is balanced out by notes of chocolate and vanilla sweetness. There is also some additional dry Bourbon sweetness that comes out in the finish and lingers. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a slightly lighter feel than you would think (which is also true of the regular Cherry Stout). This does seem to have more of a slick feel though and not as much carbonation as the regular version. There is also a good bit of warmth delivered via the Bourbon character that comes off a little too brazenly at times.

The Bell's Cherry Stout seems to be quite a polarizing beer (I happen to like it) but I think that this Bourbon aging really adds something special to it. There is a nice balance between the cherry tartness and vanilla oak notes that works well together. The Bourbon itself though seems a bit too forcefull at times though and I'm interested to see how age will maybe help temper that some. Quite the interesting (and tasty) take on one of their staple seasonals.

 1,667 characters

Photo of billab914
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

 813 characters

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.12/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of PhineasMcClintock
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

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Bell's Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Beer rating: 4.07 out of 5 with 384 ratings
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