746: Bell’s Cherry Stout

746 - Bells Cherry StoutName: Bell’s Cherry Stout
Brewery: Bell’s Brewery, Inc.
Country of Origin: United States
City & State: Galesburg, Michigan
Style: American Stout
Alcohol Content (ABV): 8.5%
First Brewed: 2001
Price: $2.67

Tasting Notes
Chocolaty notes with cherry top notes and a dab of alcohol and fruity esters. On the palate, it is mouthwateringly tangy, the sweet-and-sour balance augmented by the deep roasted malt flavors. Finishes bright and fruity with roastiness at the very end.

Ricky’s Thoughts

This beer is rare, and they didn’t brew it last year. There was apparently a cherry shortage in the Midwest last year, and they didn’t brew it. Come to find out they use cherry concentrate, and not real cherry juice… But that’s fine. I don’t typically like the flavor, but the older I get the more I can appreciate the flavor. I don’t like cherry pie, I tell you that much. But since this beer is rare, and on the list, I figure we would give it a shot. We found this at GCM the other night.

I am not hearing good things about it this year. Several people on Facebook said it was a drain pour and my buddy Drew Larison just said he didn’t like it. I hope they are wrong… And I am going into this beer with an open mind and a clean palate. So… Here goes nothing. Oh, and this is our last beer from Bell’s on “the list.” They make a lot of great beers, so maybe we will sneak an “off the wall” review from this brewery in the future. Cheers!

In the Glass: As I was pouring this, I thought to myself, “Man… That is dark.” Ricky, it’s a stout. Of course it’s dark! Duh!!! The beer did produce a really nice head and leave a somewhat stick lace. I really hope this beer delivers. I will be mad if I waited 2 years for this (since it wasn’t brewed last year) and it sucks. Let’s see what she smells like.

Nose: Hmm… That isn’t what I expected. It doesn’t really smell like cherries. I am getting more chocolate than I am cherry. I am still mad they don’t use actual cherries and/or cherry juice in this beer. Cherry concentrate just isn’t fun! For a beer this big and with this much history, considering it was one of the first fruit beers ever brewed in the United States, I was expecting more punch. I hope it tastes better than it smells.

Flavor: It does taste MUCH better than it smells. There is an instant punch of tart from the cherries and the dark roasted malts really take over as you swallow and into the finish. I can see why people wouldn’t like this, and why some people would turn up their nose for this, but I really like it. Jazz said to get a 6 pack, and while I only grabbed 2 bottles, it makes sense why some people would love this beer. I guess they are right… Love it or leave it. I will choose to love it! Especially if this beer gets better with age.

Mouthfeel: The beer hits your palate with a ton of tangy cherry flavors (not real cherries, by the way) and then finishes like a good stout should. There is still a nice cherry/sour flavor as you swallow, but the finish, which is my favorite part of this beer, is worth writing home about. Wouldn’t that be funny… If I sat down and wrote a letter to my mom about how good this beer was. Ha. That would be funny!

Aftertaste: The finish is that of a nice well made stout. There is still, even after a few minutes, a nice tart cherry flavor, but it dries out just enough making me want another sip. I bet this beer is GREAT warm. Oh, and I heard there is a barrel aged version of this. I bet that is good, too.

To all you folks that didn’t like this, I am not saying you are wrong… I get it. I understand why you don’t like it. But man, that is a good flavor and I encourage you to grab another bottle and spend some time with it. Let it warm up and maybe pair it with a danish or pastry.

Bell’s, well done.

Bell’s Cherry Stout – The bottle says: “A mysterious dance of tart Michigan cherries with the dark, roasted malts of a big and bold stout.”

Rating: 4/5

Sheryl’s Thoughts

I was kind of surprised that this beer was on the list. I’m not exactly sure why, maybe just because we happened to get it recently, and I thought it was just a good beer we heard about and decided to try. But nope, it’s on the list. It sounds pretty good, honestly. I like cherries and I like stouts and I like Bell’s. Let’s see if it’s as good as it sounds.

The beer looks exactly like I’d expect a cherry stout to look like. It’s very dark and looks pretty thick in the glass. Even the head on top had a bit of a pink look to it. But I smelled it already, and it doesn’t smell anything like I expected. It actually kind of smells smoky, as opposed to any kind of cherry smell. I hope it doesn’t taste smoky, because that’s just not really what I’m looking for out of something called a cherry stout. But, let’s see.

Whoa. That is… interesting. The cherry is definitely there. And the smoke is as well. It’s actually kind of sour. I can’t quite decide if I like it or not. It’s kind of a strange combination of flavors, and it leaves a bit of a dry aftertaste. It starts to grow on you once you have a few more drinks. It’s definitely not a taste for everyone, but I think I kind of like it. This one might be one I buy again if I get the chance.

Rating: 3/5

745 bottles of beer on the wall…

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