Bell's Special Double Cream Stout
This is one I have been sitting on and anticipating for a while now. It is a seasonal stout from Bell's, available October through March. My brother sent me one in Boston, so again I have to thank him for this brew. This is the kind of beer that makes me wonder why Bell's does not ship any of it's beer internationally. I mean they barely ship much of their beer outside of Michigan to begin with. I have never tried a bad beer from Bell's, this one is certainly not an exception. I suppose I will have to live with the fact that Bell's will be, at least for the foreseeable future, a special treat for when I return to Michigan.
Pours black and thick, just the barest hint of a tan head that sticks to the top of the beer. The aroma is all roasted malts, I mean a symphony of dark. Lots of chocolate and coffee in the aroma, as well as a nice round sweetness. It is like smelling espresso with cocoa added and plenty of sweet cream. The taste is very much the same. The bottle says this stout is made with 10 different kinds of specialty malts, and focuses on the coffee and cocoa areas of roasted malts. Well let me tell you, it accomplishes what it set out for. The taste is just round and smooth, super roasted. Milk chocolate and coffee dominate the taste. The aftertaste makes me swear that I just took a sip of really good coffee. I can almost feel the coffee grounds…but there is no coffee in this beer! I mean it is really amazing, possibly the best coffee stout I have ever tried, with no coffee at all to be found in the recipe. I can see why it is called double cream stout, the mouthfeel is full, but amazingly creamy and smooth. My experience with stouts using a massive number of specialty dark grains, is usually a muddling of flavor or an overpowering roasted flavor. This beer has none of that, a testament to Bell's brewing skill at being able to control and weave the flavor of so many specialty malts all in the same beer. This is honestly probably one of the best non-imperial stouts I have ever tried. Hell, it is one of the best stouts I have ever tried, period. It is such an amazing accomplishment to make a beer with this much complexity and not use any added flavorings or techniques, such as barrel aging or adding actual coffee. I just can't say enough. I am going to just savor the last of this bottle and lament the fact that my next bottle is 8 months and a whole ocean away.
(apologies for the rambling about there not being coffee in it, but that is seriously all I could think while drinking it)