Beer Review 0284: Bell’s Java Stout

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It’s Stout season and making a reappearance on bottle shop shelves is Bell’s Java Stout, a winter seasonal that is brewed with a custom blend of coffee beans that are roasted locally to the Kalamazoo, Michigan brewery.

Bell’s was started by a guy named Larry Bell, who opened a home brewing supply shop in 1983 under the Kalamazoo Brewing Company moniker.
A couple years later, the shop began selling its own beer, which was brewed in 15 gallon soup kettles covered with Saran Wrap. Today, Bell’s has two separate brewing facilities and a brewpub. They still sell home brewing supplies, encouraging the most avid among beer lovers.

Java Stout, with its unique pastel-colored logo, is 7.5% ABV (alcohol by volume). That makes this one almost Imperial, but not quite.

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The pour produced a beautiful beer; the head was large and creamy, and it lasted atop a very dark but not completely black beer. The color was dark brown; almost like you’d expect coffee with a hint of creamer added. I couldn’t tell about particles and sediment because the brew was so dark. Lacing was very excellent, coating the glass in a thick foggy sheet.

The aromatics, as I expected, were fairly one note: loads and loads of coffee, black and roasted. There was a hint of smoke and as the drink warmed, a small dose of dark chocolate. Right out of the bottle, the coffee was almost burnt smelling, but it turned sweeter the more it was allowed to rest in the glass.

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On the taste, there was fresh coffee and a dash of dark fruit up front, followed by a sweet middle that offered up notes of dark and milk chocolate. The finish brought on more coffee, black and bitter, with a slight acidic kick present in most coffee beer. Java Stout was full-bodied with a medium mouthfeel, and it was quite foamy in the mouth, not creamy like you’d imagine a Stout to be.

I know my review for this beer might not be inspiring or sound interesting past the coffee flavor, but the beer is exactly what it claims to be: a Java Stout. The coffee flavor is rich and layered, and couples well with the hints of dark chocolate and fruit. This is a nice brew that is easy drinking and an absolute treat for a coffee lover.

Bell’s Java Stout, 91 points. Price: $2.99 for one twelve ounce bottle.

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