Bell's Black Note Stout

Bell's has put out some great beers including the Two Hearted Ale that is one of the best beers I've had. This beer was set aside for me by the reliable proprietor of City Sliquors, as my love of rare and delicious beers is known to him. With Bell's, it seems a fair bet I'm going to like this beer.

The black beer sports a brown (not tan, mind you) head and absorbs photons in its immediate area. The aroma is very heavy bourbon and oak. The versions of these bourbon barrel beers that I liked always had it in the background, just coaxing out the other flavors and adding its specialness to them. This seems like it might be a bit too much, but the aroma isn't everything, is it?

First sip is really damn oaky and heavy with the alcohol of a brown liquor. The stout upon which it is based doesn't seem to be coming out to play at all, but I have been fooled by this kind of thing before. Sometimes a complex beer just can't be sipped if you want to taste it correctly. Instead, we swig.

Tip-in is oak, smoke, light carbonation, and hints of chocolate and coffee. The middle rolls in with a solid oak branch. The wood taste isn't that bad, and it has a lot of smoke to it, but it's not the taste of a stout. The finish is more of a cherrywood with a bit of vanilla and a harsher wood taste to go with more smoke.

Bottom Line: Drinkable, but not my favorite.



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