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RATINGS: 871   WEIGHTED AVG: 4.32/5   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 315   ABV: 10.5%
Black Note blends the complex aromatics of Expedition Stout with the velvety smooth texture of Double Cream Stout. The combination is aged in freshly retired oak bourbon barrels for months. The result is a malty harmony of dark chocolate, espresso and dried fruit notes, all buoyed by the warmth and fragrance of the bourbon barrel. Aimed squarely at the stout aficionados, Black Note makes a grand statement about the art of the dark.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
spycow (21) - Illinois, USA - DEC 26, 2015
Black note is Bell’s once of year big stouts that literally looks black with tastes of dark rich coffee and rich tobacco notes. Rarely do you taste the bourbon but more the notes of the malt and hops character. It doesn’t taste as strong as the 10.5% but something everyone should try. Cheers!

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Hoprider (455) - DENMARK - DEC 23, 2015
2012 bottle: Somewhat clear black pour with pretty much no head. A thin film of fizz is all but thats more than enough. The nose is killer. Chocolate cake, a little dark roast but mostly just chocolate cake.. The taste sweet boozy chocolate cake, a little rum raisin action, bourbon cask, prunes, sweet licorice but mostly just chocolate cake. The mouthfeel is great here. Oily without being fat and with just enough carbonation to prickle a bit on the tip of the tongue. Great! Aftertaste is good too with a bunch of notes I really cant pinpoint too well. No bitter roast or tannic dryness. A sweet tooth stout fo sho. Pretty f-ing chocolaty. Loved it.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
rouhlas (2803) - GREECE - DEC 19, 2015
355ml (v2012) bottle at home. Black color with beige head. Malty aroma, roasted, sweet bourbon, wood, vanilla, coconut, dark dried fruits, chocolate, caramel, some vinous notes in the beginning. Sweet and light bitter taste, milk chocolate, coconut and vanilla again, caramel, dark dried fruits, spicy cinnamon notes, light alcoholic. Full silky body with soft carbonation.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Pyrmir (5608) - Uppsala, SWEDEN - DEC 6, 2015
On tap at CBC15. Pours black with tiny tan head. Aroma is complex, roasted, chcoolate, coffee, lots of bourbon barrel notes, vanilla. Taste is deep and complex, bourbon barrel, vanilla, roasted malt, coffee and darker chocolates leading to a long and slightly boozy finish

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
corby112 (2804) - philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - NOV 13, 2015
Pours pitch black and completely opaque with a half finger beige head that quickly settles into thin, lasting ring. Spotty lacing and legs coat the glass. Incredibly inviting nose with sweet and spicy bourbon barrel notes excellently integrated into the elements of the base beer. Spicy whiskey/bourbon with toasted oak and vanilla. Toasted coconut and vanilla notes really stand out along with the dry, earthy oak presence. Underneath, there’s some luscious chocolate, licorice, vinous fruit, oatmeal and toast. Smells amazing!!! Viscous and full bodied with a strong bourbon presence that is perfectly integrated into the flavors of the base beer. Some dry toasted oak and spicy bourbon along with smooth vanilla bean and roasted coconut. Again, the toasted coconut flavor is realy prominent and the vanilla rounds out the hot booze. Great bourbon flavor. Underneath, there is a nice combination of sweet and roasted malt notes with hints of dark chocolate, burnt sugar, toast, oatmeal and coffee bean coutered by licorice and vinous fruits. Slightly dry in the finish with a good amount of boozy heat and warmth in the chest. Abv not masked very well but the base beer flavors aren’t obliterated and it’s still somewhat easy to drink. Very nice.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 20/20
Alengrin (4604) - BELGIUM - NOV 6, 2015
Beer geeks around the world celebrated International Stout Day yesterday, so I decided to dig into the cellar to find one of the most exclusive ones I have left. I expect a lot from this one seen its reputation... ’Vintage’ bottle (2014). Loudly crackling, moussy, deep tan coloured head, retaining fairly well (even remaining completely stable around the edge) over an opaque and practically black, but actually very dark chestnut brown beer (becoming increasingly apparent as the glass is emptied) with visible fizz on the edges. Strong aroma upon opening the bottle, offering everything one expects from a barrel aged RIS: thick whiffs of dark chocolate, espresso gone cold, coffee beans even, hazelnut paste, sweet cherries soaked in brandy, wet leather, bourbon, vanilla-like oak, raisins, salmiak, chocolate cake dough, very old madera, candied dates, soy sauce, bayleaf, stewed beef, cloves, gingerbread, pear syrup, black olives, Cuban cigars, it just goes on and on. Intense, thick, extremely rich taste, opening with a restrained and refined, dense candied sweetness perfectly balanced with soy sauce-like umami flavours and a soft, ’generic’ sourishness; mouthfeel is expectedly big and oily, full-bodied yet still elegant and supple, with a finely tingling carbonation perfect for this style. A slight alcohol warmth can be felt at an early stage but is largely drowned in an abyss of malts, with delicious dark bittersweet ’chocolateness’ prevailing over toasty and nutty flavours and the coffeeish roasted bitterness gently and gradually building towards the finish. Ends in a big, thick wave of this black maltiness, with the initial sweetness discretely balanced by not just the black coffee bean-like roasted bitterness, but lovely oaky ’woodiness’ as well, supporting peppery hop bitterishness in the right place. Alcohol is evident, but feels like a good bourbon or even rhum rather than being brutal and ’blank’; it brings a very agreeable wave of heat to the throat and chest without becoming obnoxious. Some sweetness lingers in the throat after swallowing but the roasted, hoppy and light alcohol bitterness dominate the aftertaste. The bouquet is just wonderful at cellar temperature and becomes even more enchanting, not to say addictive, at room temperature: this beer is completely flawless to me, I could not stop sniffing it for the whole duration of the tasting (of an entire bottle). Some other ’hyped’ American impies are equally impressive but are perhaps a tad too boastful; this one remains discrete and shows finesse and elegance galore. The ’sticky’ sweetness is exquisitely balanced, which is less the case in e.g. Dark Lord or Surly’s Darkness; the wood and the bourbon add another layer of complexity without disturbing the equilibrium of the basic beer’s malty, hoppy and fruity properties. This is a lot like BCBS in many ways, with the same degree of drinkability; I already gave Bell’s Expedition Stout a near perfect score, and since this one ups the ante with the extra dimension of bourbon barrel ageing, I guess I have no choice but to honor this artful masterpiece with my first 5/5. I’ve been struggling with this idea for a while all through the tasting, I tend to keep a kind of platonic viewpoint in believing a beer in the real world can never be completely perfect, but this one truly has it all, it has the looks, aroma, taste and feel of a perfect imperial stout. This is a divine beer in all respects and the perfect choice for celebrating something as geeky as an international beer style day, I guess...

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
WillRunForBeer (2342) - Massachusetts, USA - OCT 18, 2015
Pour at Pour it Black. Rate 1600. One pour left and it’s all gone. Nearly black with a light brown head. Aroma is dark chocolate, charred oak, raisin. Flavor is dark chocolate, molasses, lightly charred oak, licorice. A very full, complex stout.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
furthur (920) - Eagle River, Alaska, USA - OCT 18, 2015
500th rate, 100th imperial stout. Bottle, very thick and black, little head, some lace. Aroma is raisin, plums, molasses, shoyu, vanilla, bourbon, coffee. Taste is vanilla, bourbon, coffee, molasses, dark fruit, oak, a hint of mint and sprucey hops at the finish. Palate quite rich and thick, almost chewy, carbonation very subdued. Not too sweet, big vanilla bourbon fades into roasty with a hint of hops dryness at the finish. This is just a tad bit hot at the beginning , but a very well rounded, excellent beer.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
markducommun (926) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - OCT 9, 2015
Opaque black brown, mahogany tinged. Small head. Molasses, raisin, fig, dark fruity notes, vanilla. Bitter, sweet, finishes very dry. Long finish, surprisingly clean. Chewy. Amazing.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
yourilevesque (1417) - Montréal, Quebec, CANADA - SEP 30, 2015
Une grand merci à Clark pour cette magnifique bouteille! Cheers my friend! Bière issue de la cuvée 2012 en format 341ml avec capsule. La bière est d’un noir d’encre et sans mousse, si ce n’est qu’un mince anneau brunâtre et sombre en bordure de ce trou noir inquiétant. Nez duquel émanent de puissantes et chaudes vapeurs de bourbon, de vanille et de mélasse. Je m’attends ici à un liquide dense dominé par le vieillissement en barriques. Outre le bois et l’alcool, des fruits noirs confits, de la réglisse et un chocolat au Grand Marnier. Texture huileuse, alcool réconfortant, vapeur douces dans l’arrière-palais... Ohhhhh que c’est agréable! Du chocolat à profusion mêlé à un bourbon vanillé des meilleurs! Les malts rôtis offrent une base des mieux balancées et aromatiques à ce liquide charpenté et complexe. Une douce effervescence ajoute une touche de vie à ce liquide qui aurait sans doute été trop pâteux. Je suis sous le charme!

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