Bell’s Cherry Stout will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year. The beer is a 7 percent ABV stout brewed with Montmorency cherries grown in Traverse City, Mich. This month, Bell’s Brewery will be releasing a beer made just for the anniversary, but in the meantime, I’m reviewing another variant.

 

Whiskey Barrel Aged Cherry Stout is exactly what it sounds like, a barrel-aged version of the popular stout. Bell’s says it ages the beer for up to one full-year, which increases the ABV from the base beer’s 7 percent to 9.3 percent, which is a bit lower than what labels originally showed the beer would come in at.

The beer was first released in late 2017, with my bottle showing a bottling date of December 2017.

Bell’s Whiskey Barrel Aged Cherry Stout pours a near black color with about a half finger of tan head. Aromas hit the nose with whiskey, dark cherries and a malty sweetness. Taste follows with some of the same aromatic characteristics with whiskey-soaked cherries, sweet malts, lightly bitter hops and a touch of oak.

The mouthfeel is unexpectedly smooth and clean with a bit of an alcohol burn and a pleasant finish of dark chocolate covered cherries. A great balance showcases all of the elements without any of them overtaking the others.

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Bell's Whiskey Barrel Aged Cherry Stout
BREWERY: Bell's Brewery
LOCATION: Kalamazoo, Mich.
STYLE: American Stout
ABV: 9.3 percent
IBU: n/a
PRICE: n/a
RELEASE DATE: December 2017
AVAILABLE IN: 12-ounce bottles
BEERS POURED: One
A lot of times when a base beer is barrel-aged, a lot of the original elements suffer and succumb to the sometimes overpowering alcohol elements. This is not the case with Bell's Whiskey Barrel Aged Cherry Stout, as the barrel-aging adds an even greater complexity to an already superb beer. Although the whiskey pushes the limits at times, especially as the beer warms, it continues to reign itself in and bring forth a well-balanced brew that continues to showcase the main ingredient: cherries
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