Give a shout for Java Stout?

A personal thanks to Max for his passionate field reporting – keep those field reports comin’! 

I am a big fan of Bell’s beers, Two Hearted Ale and Oberon are among my favorites, so I was very interested to read Max’s take on Bell’s Java Stout.

Notes from the Field: Maxwell Randall, Seattle.

I’m drinking my very first Bell’s beer tonight a Bell’s Java Stout. I got this as an extra in a beer trade that arrived today from an awesome trader in Illinois, thanks Nick!

Java Stout comes in at 7.50% abv, and according to Beeradvocate it’s classified as an imperial stout.  In my opinion, that classification is debatable — most imperial stouts range anywhere from 8.5% all the way up to 18% — so the 7.5% abv on this beer seems a little low to be an imperial stout.

The appearance is typical of a stout: deep dark brown/black when being poured from the bottle, but when held to the light it’s not jet black like many other imperial stouts; you can’t see through it, but there are hints of red around the edges and base of the glass.  There is about a single finger of an off-white khaki head that dissipates rather quickly, not much left on the glass to speak of.

The nose on this beer is interesting…I can sum it up pretty easily, a cigarette smoke filled coffee shop.  Tobacco is the first thing I pick up in the nose, followed by the coffee (I wouldn’t necessarily say that the coffee smells great, it smells a little bit like an empty coffee pot that hasn’t been washed out in awhile), and then some maltiness. 

The taste is about like the smell.  There is an overpowering taste of bitter French roast coffee in the beginning, then that tobacco shows up in the middle, and it ends with a touch of malts and a slight warm finish.  The mouthfeel is a bit thin and watery.  If I was blindfolded when I tasted this beer, I would call it a porter based on the mouthfeel.

This beer got a little better as it warmed, but overall I was a little disappointed with the first offering I’ve had from Bell’s.  I am hoping the Bell’s Expedition Stout turns out better.

Java isn’t the worst beer I’ve had, but I wouldn’t seek it out again, it gets a 6 out of 10 from me.

Maxwell Randall