Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews

Double Cream Stout

Bell’s Brewery, Inc.
Galesburg, MI

Style: Sweet Stout
ABV: 7.5%

Nigel’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Recommended)

Hello friends, Nigel here again after a brief sabbatical. Wow- almost two weeks without a review. The reason? Well, friends, after sampling so many different brews in order to share my totally useless, completely off-base thoughts with the world, sometimes Nigel likes to curl up on the sofa and enjoy some of his favorites, all of which have already received the Nigel seal of approval in this very space. The past 2 weeks found me in full-fledged Hophead mode, enjoying some of my favorite brews heavy on that wonderful little flower that makes the world go 'round: Bell's Two Hearted, Founder's Centennial IPA, Dogfish Head 120 Minute, Hop Devil, and Hop Wallop. Ahh... life is good. I'm ready to leave the hops behind for a bit, and today is a perfect day to indulge in a nice, warming, heavy brew. That's right, the Blizzard of '07 is upon us, and according to the national media, that means the end of life as we know it here in the Midwest.

Ah, yes- a good ol' fashioned Midwestern blizzard. Nigel is actually looking forward to this one for a few reasons. First of all, February is almost over, which means spring is right around the corner (I believe it comes in late June here in Nigeland). Therefore, the 48 feet of snow that's predicted will likely be gone soon. Second, it's a Sunday (no need to leave the house anyway), and we're on the eve of Nigel's favorite month of the year: MARCH MADNESS!!!! Not only is Nigel a Hophead, he's a Hoophead- college hoops, that is (boo NBA). To get it started, Nigel's #1 ranked Badgers will be facing the dirty cheaters from Ohio St., who are ranked, uh... #1 (don't get me started on how ridiculous this is). That's right, #1 vs. #1 for the Big Ten title, and I'm drooling in anticipation, even after my Badgers celebrated their first ever #1 ranking by getting pounded by some obscure school in Michigan less that 24 hours later. Oops. Anyways, Nigel made a trip to his local grocer this morning to stock up on craft brews, TV dinners, and red pistachios for the big game, wholly anticipating that one to two feet of snow that's predicted. As I sit here hours after it was reported to have begun, we have received exactly... drumroll, please... nothing. Yay for weathermen. I'm seeing national media plastered all over the Midwest to inform the rest of the country about the anarchy that will undoubtedly ensue after we get inundated with the most horrible natural force this world knows: frozen water. So far, we've got nothing. On the plus side, people on the coasts are finally hearing of strange new places, small villages like Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Detroit, Cleveland, Indianapolis, St. Louis, and that tiny little township called "Chicago". Who knew such places even existed? I never realized there were any cities located between New York and Los Angeles. How interesting.

On to the review. Honestly, us Beer Dorks aren't receiving any money under the table from Larry Bell, despite the fact that Bell's brews seem to be the most popular for reviewing here at and are usually met with much celebration. What can you say- Bell's is a quality brewery with a good selection of brews, so the reviews will keep on coming (Nigel will now pause to run to the bank). Double Cream Stout is a winter seasonal, and after my euphoric experience with Bell's Consecrator Dopplebock (Nigel's very first review), I had very high expectations for another full-bodied Bell's brew. Well... not so much. It's a good beer, very warming, very strong, but not as good as I was hoping it would be- essentially, its your standard craft stout. It pours very dark, almost black in color, with heavier than normal head for a stout. The dark tan head does dissipate quickly as it should, with a slight dark trace leftover on the top of the glass, without much carbonation after the initial pour. The smell is very good, with a plethora of malt making for a sweet, sugary aroma topped off by a noticeable hint of coffee. The flavor was solid, though somewhat disappointing. There is an abundance of dark roasted malt, which makes for a taste that is equal parts chocolate, caramel, molasses, and coffee- it's pretty much Godiva gone liquid (but not in an evil Starbucks sort of way). My quibble is this- none of these flavors acutally stands out above the rest, and when combined, it really doesn't do anything to set it apart from any other craft stout. Bell's uses 10 different types of malt, but that doesn't seem to have much of an effect in my opinion. It doesn't matter if you use two or ten different malts- if you don't do anything to seperate your flavor from the rest of the craft stout pack, your just another example. Bell's is very rich, very sweet, and very strong (though the alcohol is undetectable due to the sweetness), but not overly unique or outrageous. This is a full-bodied brew with a heavy aftertaste, one that certainly will warm you during the "Blizzard of '07", but won't blow you away like some of Bell's brews do. All in all, Nigel did enjoy a small dose of Double Cream Stout, but won't rush back to the store for more. Besides, CNN tells me the store is surely buried in snow. May God save the Midwest from the evil frozen water. Cheers!

Reviewed by Nigel Tanner on February 25, 2007.
Agree with this review?

Drinkin’ And Thinkin’

Beer Dorks News

Want to know how healthy the craft beer industry is? As always, look to Portland. Craft pioneer Bridgeport announces sudden closure, adding to a growing list of PDX casualties.
Did Anheuser-Busch Chicago offer their shit beer to Cody Parkey before his missed field goal? Because that may explain why he "accidentally" biffed it.
Chicago now has the most breweries of any city in the country. Other things Chicago has the most of: murders, mobsters, and Ditkas.
Trying to spin it positive, BA releases end of year graphic. Only 5% growth in the craft sector when nearly 1000 new breweries opened? That's a collapse waiting to happen.
R.I.P. Tallgrass... another casualty as the regional/national craft beer market continues to get squeezed.
Wait... Constellation Brands cut all of the Ballast Point and Funky Buddha sales staff? They merged it with their Corona/Modelo staff?? We're SHOCKED!!!
Pizza Beer founder crying about failure of company, blames everyone else. Reminder, the beer tasted like vomit. Try having better ideas or making better products so you're not a failure.
It's Bud Light so doesn't really matter, but we expect this beer to be sitting around for awhile.
Indiana brewery to open with controversial beer names to "get the conversation going". Translation: taking advantage of serious issues for free publicity.
Hundreds of amazing beers in Wisconsin and the Cubs took back the one everyone drinks just because it exists and people have heard of it. How fitting...