Saturday, August 16, 2014

Bell’s Special Double Cream Stout (8/10)

Bell’s Brewery of Kalamazoo, Michigan (that state up north) brings us this beer.  I’ve not encountered a cream stout in my travels (or at least nothing labeled as such), much less a Double Cream Stout like this.  The Bell’s web site says that it “derives its name from its smooth, creamy texture, not the ingredients” and that it’s “completely dairy-free”.  They reportedly used ten different specialty malts to get the intensely malty flavor.

It pours a nearly black color with finger-thick light brown head that lasts a minute or two before incorporating into the beer.  It leaves a spotty lacing on the glass as you drink it.

The aroma is primarily one of dark roast coffee with some sweet malt behind it.
The flavor starts with a very well-balanced mix of malt and hops.  The initial malty burst backs off a bit and the creamy element of the beer rises up.  The cream element is considerable, giving the mouth feel of a slightly melted milkshake.  I get a hint of date or fig in there along with all the malt.  Finish is malty and bitter.  The bitterness lingers a bit after you stop drinking.  It’s not an unpleasant level or quality of bitterness, but it’s a noticeable one.  It’s more dark-roasted grain and mild hops than overly-done hops.

Beer Advocate gives this beer  an 83-89 out of 100.  RateBeer is much kinder, giving it a 99 out of 100.  I’m rating it a 8 out of 10, not because of any flaws in it, but because I’m not as big a fan of stouts as I am of many other beer styles.

I found this particular bottle at Cost Plus World Market, priced at $2.19.

Flavor Profile:
Sweet, Malty, Dry, Bitter, or Sour:
Spice Level:  None
Hops Level: Low to Medium
Dominant Flavors: Malt, coffee, hops
ABV:  6.1%
IBU:  Unknown
My Rating: 7/10

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