I poured a 12oz bottle into a mason jar. It was bottled on 11/7/13 and cost $4.19 ($0.35 per ounce).
Appearance: Ink black hue with virtually no highlights whatsoever.
Initially pours to a fairly large, brown, soapy head, but it dissipates
almost completely and leaves no lacing.
Smell: Standard sweet stout aroma of dark roasted malt. Only a hint of cherry in the nose.
Taste: When fruit is used in a beer it tends to be the center of
attention, but in the case of Bell’s Cherry Stout, it’s the other way
around. This is a solid stout base that uses cherries for their tartness
rather than any kind of sweet or juicy flavor. The result is an
interesting twist on a familiar style and it works in that respect.
The palette starts off as a typical sweet stout with a general taste of
dark malt. There’s a slight cola-like flavor in the first half of the
swig with a light tart sensation as well. Once it hits the apogee, the
tartness takes over completely for a moment and adds a sweet taste of
authentic cherry (no cough medicine flavor here). Some dark chocolate
and a hint of coffee on the backend as well, imparting mild bitterness
and dryness. It all fades away rather quickly, though, which is
unfortunate because it’s quite pleasing while in the mouth. Perhaps a
fresher bottle would be more robust and complex, but there’s no obvious
flaws in this vintage.
Drinkability: Considering the type of beer this is and the fact it’s 7%
ABV, you might be inclined to think Bell’s Cherry Stout is a rich, thick
dessert brew, but that’s not the case. The mouthfeel is a little thin
and tepid, and extremely smooth going down. The tartness is prominent,
but still contained, so anyone should be able to handle it no problem.
It’s not necessarily a dessert beer, but more of a unique treat.