Review: Bell’s Black Note

In Beer Reviews by Ryan

Bell’s Black Note combines three of the greatest things on the face of the earth; (1) Bell’s Special Double Cream Stout, (2) Bell’s Expedition Stout & (3) bourbon barrels.

Expedition is, hands down, one my favorite Russian Imperial Stouts — especially after some time in the cellar.  And the Special Double Cream Stout is a great go-to beer in the winter months. Bell’s Black Note is a magical blend of the two, and is then aged in bourbon barrels.

I had this beer on tap at Sheffield’s in Chicago.  And was very fortunate that there was any leftover from the Craft Brewers Conference a few weeks prior.

Black Note arrived, black as night, with a tiny bit of khaki tan head.

An uncomfortably long sniff (for those around me) uncovered an intoxicating nose of bourbon, vanilla, coconut & sun tan lotion.  Apparently the look on my face said it all, “this is the most excited I have ever seen you look about a beer,” my fiance said from across the table.

The taste was an overwhelmingly smooth mix of bourbon, chocolate, oak, and vanilla.

I nursed this beer.  Oh boy, did I nurse it.

As the beer warmed the vanilla and chocolate flavors became more pronounced.  A bit of coffee even joined the party too.

There was nothing clunky about this beer.  It wasn’t too hot or boozy.  No flavor dominated more than another.  This was simply a spectacular beer.

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About the Author



Equal parts beer nerd and policy geek, Ryan is now the curator of the Guys Drinking Beer cellar. The skills he once used to dig through the annals of state government as a political reporter are now put to use offering unique takes on barrel-aged stouts, years-old barleywines and 10 + year verticals.

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