Beer Review 0284: Bell’s Java Stout
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.
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.
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.