Bells Black Note

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Black_Note.JPGThe appearance of Bell's Black Note is a rich dark ruby mahogany. No light penetrates it's depths. It is perhaps the darkest stout I have seen to date. It pours with a minimal head and delicate lace that clings to the circumference of the glass. It presents a very pleasant bourbon nose. However unlike many bourbon barrel stouts, this one is not overpowering. Black Note still allows the rich malty notes and dark fruits to come through in the aroma. Overall a decently complex aroma for a bourbon stout.

Its taste is balanced just like the nose. Smooth and sweet, it coats the tongue giving a tiny alcohol burn in the finish, it is incredibly balanced for an 11.8% stout. This is the most balanced and drinkable bourbon stout I have had. The thing I really like about this ale is that unlike Brooklyn Black Ops where the Bourbon is almost undetectable, this bourbon is present. You don't need to go looking for the bourbon by any means, however it still allows the complexities of the base ales to come through. It is not so dominated by the bourbon that it's overwhelming.

My first impression that I had was that this was the best bourbon barrel stout I have ever had. But I have already said that about Founders CBS and Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Plead the 5th. So to be honest, I guess it is in the top two or three barrel aged stouts of all time. More balanced than Bourbon County Stout for sure, and even more balanced that BA Plead the 5th I think. It has everything that a huge bad barrel aged stout has, tannin bite, alcohol burn, bourbon, but all in it's place. The tannin bite and alcohol burn are just a passing glance. The real show here is the Imperial Stouts and their malt complexities.

Let's just say that jetting out of work at lunch to drive to Kalamazoo was worth every moment. I was so excited when I picked mine up I was shaking. I think that means you're a true blue beer geek - or something like that. 

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This page contains a single entry by Brewmaster published on January 10, 2013 11:37 PM.

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