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Bell's Kalamazoo Stout | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

1,526 Reviews
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Bell's Kalamazoo StoutBell's Kalamazoo Stout

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States | website

Style: American Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Stout brewed with Brewer's Licorice.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-11-2001

User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,526 | Ratings: 4,128
Reviews by JamesWn:
Photo of JamesWn
3.25/5  rDev -19.4%

More User Reviews:
Photo of citizencane
4.63/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Very dark appearance with decent head. Reddish tint, perhaps?

S: Smells of stout and licorice, though is not too fragrant. Smells damn good but the smell doesn't seem to carry far, and I found myself having to stick my nose deep into the glass to smell anything at all.

T: taste is where this beer shines. Solid stout flavor with a suitable amount of licorice. Delicious.

M: slightly too carbonated for my taste.

O: If you like stouts and licorice, get this. It's delicious.

 486 characters

Photo of steve50
2.5/5  rDev -38%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Just an average stout. Expected more,very little coffee and licorice .Disappointing

83 characters

Photo of bmeehan
3.52/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

It tastes like black licorice, but not in a way that makes you say, "Aw, shit...no one likes black licorice." It's good. It pours with a big head, so do so as slowly as you can, but it's a fun beer to drink.

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Photo of mchegash
3.81/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - 4.25/5
Very very dark brown, possibly black. A thin layer of light brown head

Smell - 3.75/5
Roasted malts, a hint of slight citrus hops, a little smokiness and maybe a little alcohol. I would have liked the roasty and smoky aspects of the malts to be stronger, still a decent aroma.

Taste - 3.75/5
Smoke, charcol, sweet roasted malts, sugary alcohol, the hops come up the most in the aftertaste. Overall this is a decent tasting stout. A nice amount of smokiness but not overpowering.

Mouthfeel - 4/5
Smooth, both creamy and crisp during different parts of the sip. Carbonation is medium. A nice feel overall

Overall - 3.75/5
This was a decent beer overall. Wouldn't be my first choice typically, but I'm glad I tried it.

 739 characters

Photo of clager
4.58/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Jet black, opaque with lacy tan head

S: Roasted malt, coffee, a little bit nutty

T: Nice balance of roasted malt, coffee, cocoa. Did not notice the licorice that others have mentioned but wasn't really looking for it either. One of the best tasting beers I've had, and I am normally a hophead.

F: Very smooth, less carbonated than I am used to but perfect for a stout

O: Really well-done stout, makes me want to brew one myself and try more

 447 characters

Photo of oberon
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black with rather big creamy almond colored head,the aroma is a mocha coffee and some nuttiness.Tastes sweet and roasted with some chocolate tones nice and creamy tasting.Its a beer to drink and savor for sure, this an Expedition are definently high quality stouts worthy of high marks.

 300 characters

Photo of RoyalT
4.73/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance – Beautifully black in color with a large, dark tan head that showed great retention and left a bit of lacing.

Smell – This is a nice combination of sweet cream, roasted malts, light espresso, and hints of chocolate.

Taste – Oh, this is good. It’s a lot bigger than it smells. Most Cream/Milk Stouts that I’ve had are heavy on the sweets and light on the malts, but this one is expertly balanced. The big, bitter, burnt toast malt just hits the nail on the head.

The other side of the coin is just as good. This doesn’t have a big milk flavor like most other examples of the style. This is true cream. It is good. It is luscious. It is right on without overpowering.

Mouthfeel – This is medium-bodied and will drive your saliva glands crazy. They got just the right combination of stouty roasted malts and fine, rich cream. This one also has a fluffy mouthfeel that will put you on cloud 9.

Drinkability – I wasn’t a huge fan of the Milk/Sweet Stout until trying this one. It is a great beer for introducing a stout lover to the style.

Comments – Big thanks to feloniousmonk for the hook-up!

 1,130 characters

Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.76/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Close to black with deep brown hues. Small brown head settles to a quarter inch. Smokey as a Siberian chimney after a hard winter. Aroma of creosote, heavily roasted barley, coffee, roasted nuts. Taste is dominated by huge smoky roastedness. Slightly sweet with a thick, rich body. Low carbonation leads to easy drinking. I remember it being much better on tap.

 361 characters

Photo of DanGeo
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of tectactoe
4.07/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an intense dark-brown, basically black with some deep ruby tips around only the edges of the beer. Leathery tan head, cloudy and fluffy atop the brew; lasts for quite a while but doesn't leave much lacing. Aroma on this beer is huge - deep, dark fruits, boozy raisins and dates, dark chocolate fudge, black licorice, heavy, roasted malts. Very intoxicating, it smells delicious. The taste is full steam ahead with black licorice alongside some sweetness in the form of booze-soaked dates and grapes. The malt is roasted to hell and is very tasty, leaving a huge toasty flavor along all sides of the palate. Mouth is slightly creamy but a bit more thin than expected from the initial pour. Touch of bitterness in the aftertaste, but the bitter notes seem to come more from the bitter, unsweet coffee flavors than hops - the hops go fairly unnoticed here. Mouth is also left with a slightly woody char that fades out nicely. Low side of the carbonation scale.

Overall, this is a solid stout that is packed with a huge aroma and a huge flavor, especially for being only 6% ABV. The body could stand to be a bit thicker and creamier, but this is still something that is very drinkable and very flavorful, all the way up and down.

 1,232 characters

Photo of t2grogan
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of TCHopCraver
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: This is pretty much the standard appearance for a 6% stout: black body with a 1-finger head that vanishes rapidly. The fast fading head is a khaki-brown and the lacing left behind is light and dotty on the sides of my oversized wine glass.

S: I pick up a wonderful roasted coffee aroma with hints of dark chocolate, toffee, and light vanilla flavors. I find this to be an impressively big smell for a not big beer. Definitely the standout component of this brew.

T: Roast-y toasty. Scorched dark grains and burnt toast are the biggest players on my palate. Bitter chocolate and coffee flavors are present, but in the background. The roasted, burnt flavors become less bitter and give way to the sweeter tastes as my mouth becomes more accustomed to swishing this around.

M: Medium bodied with a nice bitter, puckering finish - a nice hop contribution to this malt heavy brew.

D: I would have another, for sure. This is a well-crafted beer that would be highly session-able for the stout lover. Pretty decent price tag, too.

 1,034 characters

Photo of OhioBobcat
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of brownbeer
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours pitch black with a creamy, brown head.

Deep roast in the nose, tobacco, burnt chocolate, oak, subtle licorice. Rich and complex.

Bitter and roasty flavors that I would normally associate with higher ABV stouts. This though, has lighter body and alcohol presence. Creamy up front fading to ashy coffee and dark chocolate notes and a very dry, almost chalky, finish.

This is a stout you could pour into a snifter and sip as a winter warmer when you're not in the mood for a high alcohol bomber.

 501 characters

Photo of npala86
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of withliterature
3.56/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: pours a very dark brown that lets through not a single gleam of light; a small, medium brown head that reduces to a very thin layer of bubbles and steady lacing down the glass

S: coffee, soy sauce (this is all I know to call that savory scent that I get from some stouts and porters), and maybe some bitter chocolate; a very bitter scent--I'm excited!

T: molasses taste right off the bat, yet with no sweetness; malty and rich; coffee-like bitterness with a bitter aftertaste

F: fairly thick; a little bit sticky so that it does coat the mouth and leave that bitterness; moderate carbonation

D: the bitter aftertaste might be the only thing to diminish drinkability; you probably wouldn't drink this with food due to that; the stickiness and bitterness will leave you wanting water; however I could definitely drink two of these before moving on to a less dense and strong-tasting brew

I liked this quite a bit overall. I am a fan of bitter stouts, though.

 964 characters

Photo of weatherdog
4.37/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Bells tulip glass. Batch 9801

It pours a nearly pitch black with a 2 fingered tight bubbled mocha colored head. Retention is medium long with no lacing on the sides of the glass.

The aroma is of perfectly roasted coffee. It's roasty but not acrid with a nice subtle chocolate undertones. It also is just a little bit sweet at the end.

The taste has more of a roasted character than the nose but still very coffee heavy. Either the hops or the roasted barley lend a semi-firm bitterness to the beer. There is a little bit of residual sweetness t the beer but it is by no means a sweet stout. The finish is pretty dry and leaves a bit of lasting roast on the tongue.

The mouthfeel is medium to medium full with a level of carbonation which lends a little bit of creaminess in the mouth. Drinkability is pretty good with the only ding against it being the lasting roast after the sip is done. I find this character in many, but not all, stouts and I don't find it very pleasant. Overall this is a really great stout, readily available, and with a great flavor profile, One of the better ones I have had.

 1,132 characters

Photo of GameOfBeers
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of Shakerman
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of SIRIUS2
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass, producing sort of a thin layer of light brown bubbles that eventually went to thin ring. Light lacing. Color is a think inky brown.

S: Very faint chocolate malt aroma, not quite coffee in nature.

T: Robust heavy taste rich in bitter chocolate malts. The malts seem to have their own bitterness but there isn't much in the way of discernible hops.

M&D: Thick and chewy in the mouth with light but sharp carbonation that works to enhance the mocha bitterness. Heavy and satisfying.

Nice chewy stout. The flavors are complex and there is a struggle between sweet and bitter over the tongue. That bitter chocolate coffee taste wins out though with a similar linger that sticks with you way past the finish. I don't know that I necessarily agree with the "sweet stout" designation but I enjoy the beer just the same.

 862 characters

Photo of Brent_ray
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from Beeradvocate Magazine March 07.

A bit of a cult classic for Stout lovers, the label states, "Stout Brewed with Brewers Licorice." Okay, it's got our interest.

Pours out a thick brown with a tight, tiny-bubbled head. Head retention is above average. Pretty much pitch black in color--there is no light shining through this liquid. Charred-wood aroma with faint smoke, a hint of licorice, mineral and a kiss of black currant in the back. Primo smoothness sets the full-bodied tone. Big on char and burnt flavors, with just enough astringency to play off the malt underneath, and not so much that it ruins the palate. The licorice adds a complex top layer unlike any other beer we've had. Hints of fruit, burnt toffee, baker's chocolate and dark roast coffee in the middle. Finishes bittersweet with a long, lingering char flavor that the palate just can't shake.

Yeah, we can see why this beer has cult status. This Stout is so robust, you can almost chew it. Big thumbs up for the subtle and artful addition of licorice. For a pairing, try some rosemary beer-braised lamb lollipops, or even an old-fashioned pot roast.

 1,132 characters

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Bell's Kalamazoo Stout pours from the bottle a deep, menacingly dark onyx black with a two finger head of creamy tan foam that doesn't seem to want to go away. No light dares to attempt to get through my glass. Aromas of liquified milk chocolate are the first thing I notice followed by a wonderful roastiness with hints of ground coffee beans and a touch of burnt bread. Rich, deep and decadant.

First sip brings strong rush of dark roasted, burnt maltiness that carries a subtle smokiness. Creamy milk chocolate collides with a somewhat bitter coffee flavor. A touch of hops is there on the way down. Slightly lactic with a lingering burnt taste that follows each sip. This does a nice job of balancing the sweet and bitter. A wonderfully full flavored stout that doesn't hold back. Very nice.

Mouthfeel is big and viscous, it fills the mouth and definetly has a nice chewiness. However at the same time it is incredibly drinkable and I find my glass emptying rather quickly. A great stout overall, from a brewery that seems to never miss with the style. Put the words Bell's and stout together on a brown bottle and you'll undoubtedly see a smile on my face. Well worth seeking out if you're a fan of the style.

 1,224 characters

Photo of blitz134
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nearly pitch black brew. Some brown around the edges. Medium brown head was small and fleeting. As expected this is a sweet smelling stout. Comes across with a bit of milk chocolate and some caramel maltiness. The slightest bit of charring in the background. This has a very pleasing flavor which isn't overdone at all. Again, slightly sweet to start. Some raisin, plum fruitiness. This fades to a sweet chocolate, toffee flavor, and finishes with a touch of bitterness from some faintly floral hops and dark roasted malts. Nice and crisp mouthfeel makes this one refreshing. Still has an oilyness to it as well. Drinkability is superb. A very well crafted beer.

 662 characters

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Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
90 out of 100 based on 1,526 ratings.