Oct 26, 2016

Bell’s Black Note Stout

Bell’s Black Note Stout has been a highly sought after beer ever since its 2007 debut. The big (10.8% ABV) barrel-aged imperial stout combines elements from two of my favorite products from the brewery — the big aroma of their Expedition Stout and smoothness from Double Cream Stout. And now, I can finally check this one off the list.

This tasting almost never happened actually. I was just about to pull out the credit card to purchase a basket full of singles and a couple of six packs when I spied a small Bells’ branded box in my periphery, tucked behind the counter. I immediately requested it be added to my checkout much to the detriment of my wallet and, had their not been a single bottle limit, perhaps much to the chagrin of the kid’s college fund.

At any rate, Black Note Stout not only lived up to lofty expectations, it obliterated them. This is a richly rewarding drinking experience with a complex array of flavors that meld with one another incredibly well. The stout never confuses the tastebuds despite is layers of influences — soft bourbon, wood, espresso, cocoa, anise and more.

My only regret in opening this 2016 bottling of Black Note is not stealing away with a second (or third) bottle for cellaring. This beer would make an outstanding candidate for long term storage. I can only imagine how its flavors would come together over time. A truly outstanding barrel-aged beer that delivers with elegance.