I poured a 12oz bottle into a nonic pint glass. It was bottled on 10/24/13 and cost $4.19 ($0.35 per ounce).
Appearance: Ink black body with no visible carbonation. Pours to a
large, dark tan, frothy/creamy head which laces and retains wonderfully.
Smell: Huge nose of coffee and roasted malt.
Taste: It seems like coffee stouts are almost foolproof in a way. You
take a stout, add coffee, and it just usually tastes really good. I
suppose that’s a really cynical way of approaching Bell’s Java Stout.
What sets it apart from others of the genre is that the coffee flavor
never fades and neither does its genuine hefty stout base brew. In fact,
there really isn’t much to critique the taste on - it’s a beer that’s
excellent in comparison to others of the style that are just plain good.
What it comes down to is that it’s a little more robust and consistent.
No aggressive bitterness, no sourness, no cloying sweetness. If I had
to find a flaw - it would be that the palette is fairly simple. But, the
flavors that are present are really tasty to say the least, so that’s
more than good enough in my book.
Drinkability: Another reason Bell’s Java Stout is better than your
average coffee stout is its drinkability. The mouthfeel is soft and
smooth with a silky texture and ridiculously easy finish. There’s tasty
bitterness on the finish, but the aftertaste is a mild sensation of
roasted malt and coffee. There’s no alcohol presence even at 7.5% ABV,
though it’s quite tempting to binge on this brew instead of enjoying it
as a liquid dessert.