Bell's Special Double Cream Stout

There was the outright fantastic Bell's Two-Hearted Ale and then the letdown of the Kalamazoo Stout. What does this mean for the new, supposedly special stout in front of me? It means there is the potential for greatness. I respect that potential, and I want to taste it right now - so I will.

The brown-black beer (yes, I'm trying out that descriptor for these black beers for now, shutup!) has a very thin head made of exceedingly tiny bubbles that eventually leaves a central lilypad and a ring around the outside very artistically. The aroma is sweet chocolate, malt, and coffee.

First sip is more bitter and has more oats than I expected. This isn't an oat stout, but I'm definitely getting oats from it. This isn't quite as upsetting as when those jerks put coffee in their beer and didn't bother to put it on the damn label, but it's a surprise. Maybe it's a side effect of the malt they're using or something, but it's oats.

Tip-in is moderate carbonation burn with a chocolate and malt taste to it; it's certainly not off-putting. Middle is light coffee and oats with the malt and chocolate taking a back seat to it while the whole thing stays nice and sweet. As the finish arrives, the coffee and the bitterness associated with it peak, and there is a smoky oat trail-off that leaves sweetness on the lips.

Bottom Line: A little unbalanced, but a good beer.



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