Bell’s Black Note

Written by

Recently, I headed over to the Holy Grale to meet my buddy, Hipster Steve, for their Bell’s Black Note Stout tasting.  With the event starting around 4 p.m., I figured by the time I got there at 5 p.m., the place would be packed with people.  Per usual, I was wrong; I mean it was a Tuesday.  We grabbed a table and ordered the special offering of the evening.

Bell’s Black note is a blend of their Expedition Stout and their Double Cream Stout (both quality beers by themself) put to rest in freshly dumped oak bourbon barrels for months.  Although it’s been bottled before, this batch was draft only (well, that’s what the distributor said).  Therefore, this could have been my only chance to drink the beer.

Coming in at 11.5% ABV, the beer pours a pitch black with a thumbnails worth of cream light brown latte-resembling head.  Talking about our days at work allowed the head to settle a bit before I took my first sip. The first thing that hits is an intense amount of dark chocolate, like biting into those Dove candies my wife is all about.  I was surprised at how less boozy, and more smooth and creamy the mouth feel felt.  It reminded me of a 2009 Speedway Stout I had on New Years Eve of this year or just stuffing my mouth with a bunch of marshmallow fluff.  The nose was bittersweet chocolate, cream, and bourbon.

Some notes of bourbon and oak at the end of the taste, with a mixture of darker dry fruits (figs and dates) and even more dark chocolate.  I didn’t notice much roast at all, which is all right by me.  An extremely well balanced beer than didn’t stay in the glass that long.  I quickly ordered another as people started to come in by two’s and the Grale quickly resembled a Sunday morning at church, with just less booze.  I found out later the keg tapped not too long after I left, so to those who were able to get some, be very thankful.  The people at Bell’s know what the heck they are doing.


John King
John King can kill two stones with only one bird. He is just that awesome. An Illinois native, John has learned to embrace the Kentucky culture by rarely using his turn signal and drinking his bourbon neat. An avid runner, outdoorsman, and carpenter, John has been able to integrate craft beer into all of these hobbies without a single trip to the hospital. Although his writing is sub-par at best, employs him for his boyish charm and general affection for the local brewers.

Episode 32: Live Once More from Boombozz Taphouse

The fellas are podcasting live once again from Boombozz Taphouse in the Highlands (even though Wurth called it Boombozz in […]

Highlands Beer Festival – Spring 2014

It’s time once more for our favorite biannual craft beer festival in the Highlands.

My shoes are filled with Volga mud: (3) Beer hunters lurking nearby.

A travelogue in three parts. March 31: (1) A tale of a fateful trip. April 7: (2) The future is […]

Great Flood First Impressions (hint, they’re good)

Great Flood Brewing Company - Opening Feb. 2014

It finally happened folks.  Great Flood Brewing is officially open and pouring some damn good brews.  I’ve been down there […]

Ye Olde Mash-Up

Science strikes again!  For no particular reason, let’s talk about mashing today.  As with many of the topics that show […]

Great Flood Grand Opening Details

I stopped in to Louisville’s newest craft brewery, Great Flood Brewing, this evening, the night before their invite-only soft open, […]