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

109 Reviews
Bell's Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry StoutBell's Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout

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

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

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Reviews: 109 | Ratings: 384
Photo of Sean9689
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Spaulding for trading this to me @ DLD '09.
Poured from a 12oz bottle into 6oz goblet.
Batch 7777, 01/02/07.

A - Pours black with a fizzy reddish/tan head that quickly vanishes leaving just a few bubbles here and there on the top of the stout. No lacing on this, just a simple blackish color.

S - Lots of cherry right up front (duh!) with some oak and bourbon hints as well. Also, I detect some vanilla sweetness on the end.

T - Tart/sour cherries, oak. Not really that much bourbon but I do get some heat while breathing through my nose with my mouth closed. Nothing mind-blowing here, hmm.

M - Light-Medium on body, too light for me for this style of beer. Fizzy carbonation, which I really don't care for, but it's not so bad I can't stand it. Really wish this one was a little more rich, thick, and creamy.

D - Tough to find but I'm not worried, not something I'm really going to go crazy about if I cannot locate any additional bottles.

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Photo of coldmeat23
3.94/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 50 degrees
Heliospahn hooked me up with this bottle at DLD '09. I've wanted this for a while now. Thanks, Scott!
BATCH #7777 (This pulls up 'regular' cherry stout but gives a date of January 2, 2007. Has it been that long?)

Pours a solid black color. One-finger head of loose, chocolate colored foam. Leaves a very thin covering of foam on top of the beer. Lacing is fine, but very slippery and doesn't hold.

The nose is full of cherries, floating in bourbon and melted butter. Wow, I don't think I've ever smelled a more butterey beer. Light notes of chocolate and booziness. Light notes of vanilla. Slight oxidation.

Big tart cherry notes. Huge butterey notes. Good bourbon presence. Nice vanilla notes. A light touch of caramel. Mild hints of semi-sweet chocolate. Light hint of molasses. Finishes with a nice cherry tartness.

Good medium body (I'd like it to be a touch fuller, myself). Nice and smooth drinking with a decent presence of creaminess.

Not something to be drank, just because you want a beer. It's definitely a dessert/special occasion kind of brew. You may even want to split the bottle, as it's pretty rich and full of flavor.

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Photo of mikedashg
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a 12 bottle on 03/29. Bottle label printed with: 7777. Very black with a little bit of brown tint to it and a bubbly brown 3/4" head.

S: Smells a little boozy, but mostly cherry, roasted malts of a typical stout and a little vanilla.

T: A nice but fairly light bourbon flavor is first to come on the pallet, followed by a malty chocolate stout, with a nice sweet/tart cherry finish. A little bit like a boozy chocolate covered cherry. The bourbon isn't as strong as some of the bourbon barrel stouts I've had, it's not overly bourbon, but still nicely present. The cherry makes itself known for sure! Almost dominated a little too much. Pretty tart and a little sweet (mostly tart).

M: Fairly high carbonation and full rich body. Carbonation is almost a little too much initially. But letting it warm up subsided this factor. Overall mouthfeel is great. Not too thin, not too thick.

D: The sweet tart cherries, the bourbon, and the stout makes this one a little hard for me to drink more then one in a sitting. Glad it was a 12oz bottle and not a 22 :D.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.77/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got a bottle of this from zapata, thanks man - and hey, where've you been? I'm tasting this side by side with Bell's regular Cherry Stout. Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into my shaker glass. Appears a dark brown, almost opaque color with around a finger or so of dark ecru foam. This smells amazing. Brings back memories of the cherry topping my mother used to make to go along with her cheese blintzes. Notes of sweet and tart cherries, vanilla, caramel, butterscotch and bourbon dominate the nose. Tastes of sour cherries, bourbon, tart cherry skin, butterscotch and molasses. A warming alcohol burn greets the throat with each sip. Moderate in body with medium carbonation and a dry, sour finish. It took me a while to sip my way through the entire bottle. This is a great pick for a nightcap beer.

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Photo of prototypic
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Once again, thanks to hoppymeal for this one. You've sent me way too much great beer, man.

Appearance: It's very dark and looks onyx in color. No light is getting through at all. Very ominous. It's capped with a darker mocha colored head. It only reached a finger deep and dissipated with haste. Carbonation appears to be quite active.

Smell: The nose is very strong on buttered toffee initially. The more I stick with it, it becomes apparent that it's the predominant aroma. There's a nice bourbon scent that comes through at the secondary level. I don't know what to expect. It smells like it's more of a complementary element. I'm hoping that's the case. Not much cherry is appreciable on the nose. There's a little, but it's very faint. Smells like a healthy amount of roasted and chocolate malts were used. It smells good, but it's a little heavy on buttered toffee.

Taste: The flavor profile is kicked off with buttered toffee. It is a strong flavor and I'm not a huge fan of it. Roasted and chocolate malts give it a solid base that's a little sweet. A nice bourbon flavor creeps in and improves it quite a bit. It is more of a complementary player and plays that role nicely. Vanilla and light cherry are noted and add some quality depth and character. It's slightly boozy and runs a tad warm. It's not enough to offend me, but it is notable. Finishes sweet and warm.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's medium bodied and feels too thin. It'd be better with a fuller body. Carbonation is also a little high and buzzy. Drinkability is above average. The feel is alright and it's got a good flavor. But, the buttered toffee aspect will make one of these more than enough.

Barrel Aged Cherry Stout is good beer. It's a ways away from excellent beer. It's got a good, deep flavor. But, there's too much buttered toffee. If that'd could be eliminated or softened, this beer would be much better. Overall, I enjoyed it and am glad I had the opportunity. But, can't help but that about what could've been. Thanks, Derek.

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep impenetrable black color with a small tan head that receds pretty quickly leaving a nice ring and ok lacing.

Nose is really akward. cream, bourbon barrels, really sweet cherries. Strange smell. The mixture of the cherries and bourbon heat kinda make this one smell like some bad flavored smirnoff. That sounds harsh, but i dont mean it in a horrible way, just an akward way.

Wow. Taste is pretty good. quite good actually. Nice roasted malt and cherry flavor. The barrel aging is noticeable and a bit hot, but not bad. Bourbon flavor mixes well. Adds a bit of a vanilla character to the cherries which makes for nice complexity without getting crazy cloying and hot.

Mouthfeel is about where it should be. Not too thick for the massive amounts of flavor shining through. Carbonation is right on, good QC there at Bell's.

Drinkability is ok, but i can't see taking down more than one of these at a time due to the richness.

Overall a very complex and interesting beer. I like the combination of the wood vanilla action and the cherries. A fine beer, one i wouldn't mind putting some age on just to see what happens. Good beer.

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Photo of madtowndmb1
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a small tan head that quickly dissapates. Smell is bourbon with a small amount of tart cherry. WOW, it tastes like bourbon. It's great! Starts with the boozy feel and then blends to a tart cherry! It is a smooth drinker for a taste so over the top bourbon. I split this with a friend and I'm glad I did, it's a spliter beer, but great!

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.96/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle, batch 7777. Pours black with a small tan head. Aroma is heavy on the diacetyl and bourbon. Flavor is sweet and bourbony with diacetyl in the background and butterscotch in the finish. The cherry is much less pronounced than in the regular cherry stout--here it's just more of a sweetness. Sticky and a bit heavier than the regular too. I can't really say it's an improvement....not really a fan.
6/4/6/3/13 (3.2/5)

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Photo of akorsak
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 12 oz bottle courtesy of swnicholson in Black Booty 3.

A: The ale is pitch black, moonless midnight, with a cordovan brown colored head. That head swelled to almost two fingers before receding like a deflated moon bounce.

S: The ale smells like a butter rum dumdum, only thick with boozy potential. Vanilla is strong, matching the butter rum. Wild cherry lingers just below the surface but is not as strong as in the original.

T: The bourbon intensity from the nose settles into a groove in the taste, far more relaxed. The cherries manage to make themselves knwon, in fact they dominate the taste with a sour-sweet body. After the initial blast of tartness, butter rum sweetness emerges. While I've never come across butter rum in a bourbon barrel, the sweetness pairs nicely with the cherry. A medicinal sweetness follows the barrel and springs from the tartness. A nice twist on the original cherry stout.

M: The mouthfeel is pleasingly tart. The butter rum from the bourbon barrel is different but I think that it works in this ale.

D: The ale is a little too heavy to really crack into. This bottle is a nice nightcap.

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Photo of Reagan1984
3.76/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big Thanks to Fiver29 for providing this in a recent trade. Thanks!!!

Pours with a luxurious thick active head. Creamy, dark tan and nice retention.. The beer is the darkest brown color there is... The head eventually fades to a ¼ thick cap on the beer.

The aroma is deep and of bourbon and cherry. (lots of insight there huh??) You get a sense that this may be a tart beer.... Does not smell artificial. Perhaps some vanilla tones.

Wow, tart is right.... My initial thought is that it needs a bit more sweetness for balance. A touch of cocoa powder at first, then the tart cherry flavor comes through. This settles back and melds with a dark roasted flavor... Finally giving way to a touch of bourbon and vanilla notes. I almost want to put in a ¼ teaspoon of sugar to balance it a touch. (I won't)

I do admit that this is a beer that grew on me as I worked my way through the glass.

Creamy mouth feel, but the tartness takes away from that a bit as you slightly pucker towards the end. Pretty thick bodied beer.

Fairly drinkable. Not sure it's really my cup of tea. The cherry is a bit much. I am not a sweet beer fan, but this one deserves just a touch more sweetness. This might be good over vanilla ice cream.

Very glad I had a chance to try this unique beer.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.59/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Anwar for this bottle!
I don't know what it is, but Larry has a knack for picking the right barrels and amount of time for his beers. This along with the BA Expo/DC, BA Java, BA Third Coast are all exceptionally done.
The balance between bourbon and cherry is perfect. Only on a few sips did the bourbon dominate. Mostly they were neck and neck fighting for the forefront. Delicious mouthfeel. Very good BA undertones. The oak, vanilla everything melds well together with the cherry. Good mouthfeel.
I'm still waiting on the straight BA Expedition! Bottle some of that for a brotha!

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Photo of michdmb
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought a six pack in Summer '08 and have been slowly enjoying it since.

Initial impression: A good cherry stout. Alcohol taste a little strong, but not overwhelming. Lets you know you're drinking a strong beer.

Malt is plentiful, a good representation of this style. A smoky malt taste from start to finish along with the cherry and bourbon flavors make this a flavorful treat. The Michigan cherries really make this beer a true Michigan classic. Anyone from this state will appreciate the local tribute this beer gives to the state.

Not very sessionable, but your collection will appreciate your slow consumption of this beer.

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Photo of Bung
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on draft. Pours black with a tan head. All sorts of stuff going on here, some caramel, raisin, light chocolate. Very dry and clean, the cherry tart at the finish. Very interesting. Pretty drinkable, but you wouldn't want too many of these. A huge improvement over the regular cherry stout. Seen this classified as a sweet stout, may be a bit more fitting.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to bort11 for this brew.

Poured into a chalice a very nice dark brown color, nice carbonation, nice little creamy tan head, with some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, slight bourbon, cherries, toffee. The taste is malty, slighlty sweet, nice bourbon notes, cherries/toffee. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a pretty tasty brew, recommended.

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Photo of joe1510
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle

Batch #7777

I have the opportunity to try this Bell's specialty thanks to the one and only hoppymeal, here's to you Derek! Bell's Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout exits the bottle looking like strong black coffee. As the bulb on my snifter fills the liquid takes on the color of darkness, zero light is permitted through the body. A finger of tan head presented itself on the pour that eventually fizzled down to a thin cap and fat collar. The collar leaves behind some impressive drink lines.

The aroma on this sucker is big and oaky to the core. I'm smacked around immediately by buttery vanilla that's so intense at times it's like candy. Bourbon sweetness floats around beneath with a bit of char. Cherry shows up in the form of the sweet liquid that oozes from cherry cordials with the first bite. The only contribution from the actual stout is a roasty quality swimming around in the background. As this stout gets closer to room temperature there's a touch of lactic sourness that comes and goes but never gets in the way. This is an inviting brew on a bitterly cold evening like tonight.

The barrel aging is much more under control in the flavor. The second this beer washes over my tongue I'm hit with bourbon, charred oak, coconut, and vanilla all in that order. Semi tart, but also rich, cherry flashes through mid-palate while the delicious stout lingers underneath and lays down a foundation. The cherries actually bring along some tartness before the smooth buttery vanilla evens it out and a mild roastiness adds a touch of bitterness. As this stout warms some alcohol fumes rise through my nose but the alcohol is never tasted. This beer has layers, many of them, and I enjoy them all.

The body is airy as it first hits the tongue but quickly becomes richly silky smooth. The weight is on the lower side of heavy and leaves behind just enough stick to allow those charred qualities to linger. The carbonation is moderate and works very well here.

This is a big stout with robust flavors but the drinkability is high when taking that into consideration. It is by all means a sipper but an easy one to tip back. With zero noticeable alcohol this is a joy to drink.

Bells hit the nail on the head with this brew. I thoroughly enjoy this beer and would love to have a couple more. Hopefully this one gets made again. Thanks again for the treat Derek!

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Photo of tburkhart
3.82/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up at the brewery awhile back and am just now getting around to drinking it.

Pours black. Light brown head. Not a whole lot else to these beer, but that's all this beer needed.

Smells of bourbon and chocolate. Cherries come through a bit, but not over barring.

Cherries come through strong in the taste and boy are they tart. I was hoping for a bit more bourbon flavor but all I got was cherries.

Very smoot and creamy mouthfeel.

Personally I could only drink 1 of these on occasion (not a huge cherry fan), but if you enjoy cherries you could sip on a few of these.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.37/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Opened up the nifty Bell's widget and entered the batch number 7777. This thing tells me the calorie content. 275? Not bad. I don't think the widget app is accurate for the bourbon barrel version of the cherry stout because, well, it just says cherry stout on the widget instead of bourbon barrel aged cherry stout.

Acquired in a trade with BigDaddyWil. Pours dark black with a deep reddish tint. A 2 finger dark brown head recedes in a minute and the lacing s good.

Aroma is of cherries, vanilla, bourbon, coffee, molasses, and cocoa. The cherry aroma is not overwhelming and it isn't too sweet. It fits in really nicely with the typical stout aromas and is very interesting. Great aroma.

Delicious bourbon and sweet roasted malt accompanies tart and sour cherries. Bittersweet chocolate makes its presence known somewhere along the way, as does vanilla. Alcohol isn't hidden but the bourbon flavor is very good. I'm a sucker for tasteful use of cherries in beer, and this is well done. The finish is chocolate cherry alcohol with a low level of bitterness.

Robust and full bodied with good carbonation.

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, batch 7777. Pours black in color with a tan foamy head. Head trickles down to a thin layer rather quickly.

Oak, bourbon and vanilla notes up front. A whiff of sour cherry and alcohol. Very nice aroma.

A slight roasty note, with some tart, but not overly sour cherry. Nice bourbon note, with some tannins that seem to dry things out. Decent heat from the alcohol makes this a sipper.

Maybe a bit too much carbonation here. Still, very enjoyable.

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Photo of waltonc
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up in a trade thanks to tytoanderso. Wow, it's been a while since I had regular Bell's Cherry Stout and I wasn't a big fan of that, but this is awesome.

A: Looks pretty much black to me with 3/4 inch tan head upon pouring.

S: butterscotch, vanilla, bourbon, and cherries.

T: Wow, more of those smell components in the taste. This is a really nice balance of slightly tart cherry, oak, bourbon, vanilla, butterscotch, and dark roasted malts. I wouldn't have imagined that they could be harmonized in a single beer. But Bell's has done it.

M: Medium bodied, carbonation is on the lighter side of medium.

D: I imagine this may be a polarizing beer, but I think it's great, and could drink a lot of it. So high marks.

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Photo of kasper
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours oily, few shades from pitch black. Short but creamy chocolate-colored head fades to a ring with globs of wet lacing.

S: Initially strong aromas of red wine, an acidic sourness from the oak, and underlying aromas of vanilla.

T: Expecting cherry, but more of the wine flavor. This is similar to SFTO Wine, only with a different body style. Somewhat astringent flavors of red wine and sour cherries with a noticeably acidic sourness that lingers on the finish along with a tad of dryness from the oak. The sour cherry/wine flavors overshadow most of the malt, which i cannot decipher.

M: Medium bodied, low carbonation, fairly smooth. A tad sticky.

D: This was apparently a one-off brew and I have no idea how this brew should taste fresh. It's fairly sour/tart so the flavors may have developed in the bottle. It's interesting and complex but I feel many of the "stout" characteristics are missing.

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Photo of kkipple
3.92/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Cracked in the middle of a fine tasting in Columbia. From notes:

A. Dense, opaque red-brick brown. Tiny head.

S. Sharp and immediate bourbon, oaky and boozy, vanilla, ah, there's the cherry! Smells more like cherry pie... tart and earthy with a pinch of sugar. Good but a bit young, some aging might take the whiskey heat off.

T. Sweet; molasses and chocolate. Malt is thick but is enlightened by tart, sour cherries and a bourbon oak flavor that is the heart and soul of this dark delight. Earth, cocoa and roasty-bitter flavors all make an appearance. Cherries and bourbon return for the finish. Warming.

M. Same as the normal Cherry Stout, really. Low carbonation, heavy and slick on the palate.

D. Low, but this is tasty. Not too sweet, the bourbon adds a great deal of character to this one. Worlds better than Bell's normal Cherry Stout. In this case, the wood aging brought a lot of complexity to the table and took the edge off the sour cherry that was over-present in the base version.

Recommended. Drink with chocolate cake if you.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this brew from tburkhart, Thanks Tim!

12oz bottle served in a tulip glass.

L - black color with a small tan head that thinned to a ring after a short time.

S - tart cherries, vanilla bean and woody aromas.

T - tart cherry taste starts things off with roasted vanilla bean and oaked flavors popping in for a bit before the tart cherry takes over again on the finish. Taste to me, is somewhat similar to a Flanders Oud Bruin style. A less sour version of Lost Abbey's Red Poppy Ale comes to mind.

F - medium bodied with low end carbonation.

D - enjoyable, slow sipper.

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Photo of weeare138
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another winner provided by hopdog(this guy never quits)...
Appears an opaque black with a small tan head that holds nice retention. Tons of spotty lacing left all over the glass.
Smell is of bourbon, cocoa, cherry, rhubarb, brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, and oak.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a buttery, milk and cream flavor coming through in the flavors.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, oaky, sugary, sweet, and balanced. Another beautiful and complex stout from Bell's.

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Photo of brentk56
3.14/5  rDev -22.1%
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

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Photo of danielharper
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark black opaque body with a slight reddish tinge to the top, with a thick slightly pink head that dissipates quickly. Looks interesting.

Smell: Strong tart cherries up-front with the chocolatety coffee-ish undertones present underneath. Slightly astringent, slight notes of hops.

Taste: The cherries are way up top on this one, very tart, slightly astringent. The middle balances it out with the more standard "stout-like" flavors of roasted chocolate malts. Finishes sweet, dry, but clean. I've had a few bottles of this, and some are more tartly astringent than others -- it's almost a luck of the draw thing.

Mouthfeel: Thick, coats the tongue nicely. No significant hops or carbonation.

Drinkability: This is one of Bell's one-off releases that is unlikely to be widely available, but if you can find it and are a fan of stouts that don't fit the "standard" definition of a stout, this might just be up your alley.

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Bell's Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.03 out of 5 based on 384 ratings.
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