Beers you must try: Bell’s Java Stout

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I seem to have a thing for coffee stouts. Well, coffee and beer are two of my favorite flavors so it’s pure economy on my part.

This one is spendy. A sixer set me back $16. But quite worth it, just not every week.

The coffee stout my fellow beer geeks think is best is another Michigan product, Founders Breakfast Stout. That one is great especially since it features Sumatra and Kona coffee, two of my favorites. Founders, however, is an Imperial stout, i.e., ass-kicking alcohol volume. This one is a milder stout: a session stout, actually. Features Sumatran coffee too, which has distinct flavors. Tropical fruit, spice, smoke, and maple. Coffee geek Ken Davids calls Sumatran “the Scotch whisky of coffee.”

Pair that up with a stout, with its roasty malty chocolatey flavor, and it’s a winning combination. I like this better than Founders, I think: all the pleasant flavors without the ass-kicking that comes with an Imperial stout.

Pours a deep mahogany color into the glass with a solid mocha-colored head. The head settles down and leaves the desired lacing on the sides of the glass. Coffee is the prevailing flavor (naturally), with a bit of chocolate and vanilla after the glass warms up a bit. Very little hop presence which is also a difference from an Imperial. Feels “chewy” in the mouth. Lightly carbonated. A dry roasty flavor on the back of the mouth that lingers nicely. The alcohol provides a wee bit of warming, which is ALSO a difference from an Imperial.

You probably aren’t going to buy this every week. (If you do, invite me over.) It’s one of Bell’s winter seasonals, though, so get some quick before it’s gone.

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