11.8% ABV, Bottle

Appearance: Jet black. Poured with no head.
Aroma: Fruity nose. Bourbon sweetness.
Taste: Smoky, roasted, sweet and bourbony.
Mouthfeel: Malty, medium body.

Black Note Stout is “one of the most sought-after stouts in Bell’s history,” according to the website description. Let’s take it a step further and call it one of the most sought after in the craft beer realm. Period. This amazingly complex stout is a blend of the brewery’s Expedition Stout and Double Cream Stout, which is then aged in oak bourbon barrels.

The nose is strong with sweetness and just a hint of bourbon. The first sip is roasty, but calm. Caramel notes and hints of chocolate waver throughout. With every sip, you taste something different. The palate on this brew is one you actually want to swill a bit and savor the flavor. The body is surprisingly medium and smooth for a stout of this caliber. But the most amazing part of this stout is the almost underwhelming booziness of the bourbon aging. The fact that the bourbon isn’t in your face, but still clearly present, makes Black Note perfectly balanced…and just flat out perfect.