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Review by joe1510 on 02/20/10  
 
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
80 3 9 16 4 8 2010
12oz Bottle

Batch #7777

I have the opportunity to try this Bell's specialty thanks to the one and only hoppymeal, here's to you Derek! Bell's Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout exits the bottle looking like strong black coffee. As the bulb on my snifter fills the liquid takes on the color of darkness, zero light is permitted through the body. A finger of tan head presented itself on the pour that eventually fizzled down to a thin cap and fat collar. The collar leaves behind some impressive drink lines.

The aroma on this sucker is big and oaky to the core. I'm smacked around immediately by buttery vanilla that's so intense at times it's like candy. Bourbon sweetness floats around beneath with a bit of char. Cherry shows up in the form of the sweet liquid that oozes from cherry cordials with the first bite. The only contribution from the actual stout is a roasty quality swimming around in the background. As this stout gets closer to room temperature there's a touch of lactic sourness that comes and goes but never gets in the way. This is an inviting brew on a bitterly cold evening like tonight.

The barrel aging is much more under control in the flavor. The second this beer washes over my tongue I'm hit with bourbon, charred oak, coconut, and vanilla all in that order. Semi tart, but also rich, cherry flashes through mid-palate while the delicious stout lingers underneath and lays down a foundation. The cherries actually bring along some tartness before the smooth buttery vanilla evens it out and a mild roastiness adds a touch of bitterness. As this stout warms some alcohol fumes rise through my nose but the alcohol is never tasted. This beer has layers, many of them, and I enjoy them all.

The body is airy as it first hits the tongue but quickly becomes richly silky smooth. The weight is on the lower side of heavy and leaves behind just enough stick to allow those charred qualities to linger. The carbonation is moderate and works very well here.

This is a big stout with robust flavors but the drinkability is high when taking that into consideration. It is by all means a sipper but an easy one to tip back. With zero noticeable alcohol this is a joy to drink.

Bells hit the nail on the head with this brew. I thoroughly enjoy this beer and would love to have a couple more. Hopefully this one gets made again. Thanks again for the treat Derek!

Reviewed: 1/17/09

Served In: Snifter