Black Note by Bell’s

Black Note Stout by Bell's Brewing

© 2015 popsonhops

Tasting: January 30, 2015
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
Beer #: 695

Black Note

A couple of years ago, my annual trek to Shangey’s for a gleaming green case of Bell’s Hopslam included an additional quest – get my hands on a case of Bell’s behemoth stout – Black Note. Before I made the hour plus long trek, I had read that Bell’s Black Note Stout was released simultaneously and I surmised it could be on the same truck. Talking to a store clerk, I learned that about five-hundred cases of Hopslam made their way from the Michigan brewery and only nine cases of Black Note came along for the ride. When I asked this clerk if he would sell me a case, he really looked like he was considering it. A few tense seconds later, he said that he couldn’t and these precious few were going to their retail accounts. At least I went home with a case of Hopslam.

Fast forward two years and I finally have my hands on a couple of bottles that I acquired through two different trades. Black Note is a bourbon-barrel aged blend of Expedition Stout 93 points and Double Cream Stout (not rated) and it checks in at a robust 11.4% alcohol by volume.

A bit thin but certainly complex. Baker’s chocolate, cherry with minor coffee and raisin notes. Black Note has a strong streak of vanilla and oak which certainly is influenced by the barrel. At times, it seems a bit too much barrel. Really enjoyed this more and more as I worked my way through this twelve ounce bottle. I’m between 95 and 96 points and since absence (in the form of my empty bottle in front of me) makes the heart grow fonder, I’ll settle Black Note at 96.

This Monday’s trek to Shangey’s looks to be in jeopardy with a looming snow storm. Who knows, maybe there’s a case of Black Note just waiting for me.

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