Quick Review: Bell’s – Java Stout

It’s been a little while since I’ve had anything from Bell’s.  I will have to make a small confession; I have never actually even had Hop Slam.  I know as a beer geek I’m really ashamed to say that.  I will definitely be seeking it out this coming year for my first ever batch.  I kind of forget when I actually picked this particular one up, but I remember walking through the store and seeing this one off in the build your own six-pack section.  It’s kind of a small section of the store, but I like it because I always seem to find small bottles of good beers.  It’s helpful to up my supply without having to buy a bunch of six packs all the time.

I was really attracted to this one for a few reasons.  I love stouts, I love coffee, and I love Bell’s.  So those three things combined were a really good start to pretty much every aspect of picking this bottle up.  Doing some minor research, I was even more interested to learn that they use a custom blend of coffee beans that are roasted at a local coffee shop in their area.  I know it seems like a really minor fact, but I think it’s cool to stay local for some things.

Appearance: This one pours out a really dark black color.  The head isn’t extremely heavy, but it is a nice rich brown espresso color.  Of course it is too dark to really see what is happening with the haziness, and you can only see some slight carbonation around the edges.  There is some nice light lacing that happens around the edges.

Smell: The roasted notes of the coffee are the most obvious aspect of the scent.  This of course can’t help but combine with the coffee aromas; however, the roasted aspects of the coffee are the most prominent.  It happens to have a slightly clean smell to it as well.  There seems to be something a little sweet like caramel or chocolate mixed in as well.

Taste: There are some sweet malty aspects that start out the tasting; however, the extremely rich coffee comes in quickly.  The coffee hits you slightly before the really intense roasted quality.  The roasted nature is extremely thick and heavy.  I wouldn’t say it overpowers, but it definitely does take over your palate.  The roasted coffee aspects sit on your tongue long into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: This is a very heavy beer that has a slightly syrupy quality to it, but at least the syrupy nature doesn’t last the entire time. There is enough carbonation to help mellow the syrupy thickness.  The aftertaste is really pleasant, but you truly need to like coffee to enjoy it. If not, the coffee will sit on your tongue like a shot of pure espresso.

Overall I really like this beer.  I doubt I could take more than one of these at a time, but if you’re looking for a really nice rich coffee stout, you should definitely look this one up.

Teacher Grade: A

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