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

Not Rated.
Bell's Kalamazoo StoutBell's Kalamazoo Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

3,409 Ratings
THE BROS
83
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,409
Reviews: 1,432
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.53%
Wants: 152
Gots: 265 | FT: 10
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Stout |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

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

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-11-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Bell's Kalamazoo Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,409 | Reviews: 1,432 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Dave_Treat
2.5/5  rDev -37.3%

Dave_Treat, Sep 06, 2012
Photo of nyclee
2.5/5  rDev -37.3%

nyclee, Feb 11, 2014
Photo of Cris4545
2.5/5  rDev -37.3%

Cris4545, Nov 04, 2012
Photo of JBarx
2.5/5  rDev -37.3%

JBarx, Aug 19, 2012
Photo of gonger
2.5/5  rDev -37.3%

gonger, Dec 24, 2011
Photo of jtierney89
2.65/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pitch black color with a thick mocha head. Rich cocoa nibs and chocolate on the nose with touches of asphalt and anisette. Bitter black coffee as well.

On the fuller side of medium bodied. A little watery in certain parts of the mouth; underneath the tongue and on the finish. Slight sweetness balanced by a pronounced bitterness that lingers a little while. Flavors are a lot like whats on the nose. Licorice plays a big part in the finish but other wise everything's pretty subdued.

A drinkable stout but it leaves a lot to be desired.

jtierney89, Jul 09, 2012
Photo of Floydster
2.65/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle acquired in a trade with MuenchenerKindl, thanks for providing this generous extra

Split with my friend tonight, poured into my Ommegang glass agressively

Color was pretty black but could faintly see through it in the light, light tan head that was about a half inch tall and stuck around for close to ten minutes surprisingly, not much lacing

Smell had black licorice unfortunately which was an immediate heads up for me, some dark roasted malt, faint chocolate aroma, also some small scents of caramel and milk

Taste was a little nasty in my opinion even though the licorice was not as powerful as it was in the smell, not enough chocolate to balance it still though, some hoppiness used in attempt to settle the malt down but it failed in my opinion, could not really tell what kind of hops were used either, thought this would be much sweeter but it was just a weird dry and funky stout overall

Body was pretty thin and highly carbonated, taste went away pretty quickly as well, definitely not a creamy mouthfeel like the Double Cream I drank before this

Could not drink more than another bottle of this if that, too heavy, alcohol is low but it is filling, the black licorice taste makes it hard to get down as well, not very drinkable, not smooth

Pretty disappointed with this one for the most part, do not think it measures to any of the other Bell's stouts I have tried, not worth seeking out if this beer is unavilable to you like it is for me, stick with some of the other Bell's brews

Floydster, Jan 21, 2008
Photo of pweis909
2.7/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Aroma – nothing strong, but smells remind me of molasses and chocolate, but also off aromas, like metal and rotten egg.

Dryer taste than the porter, no hops, dry finish. Bland

Texture seems thin, unimpressive.

Appearance is like porter, but with fuller head with large bubbles that are quick to dissapate.

My most disappointing Bells brew. I will give it another try sometime, as it seems like I had a bad bottle (see aroma). The Bells Porter beat this stout handsdown.

EDIT: Just read some other reviews and I don't seem to be the only one who has found the smell off-putting. Could be a more extensive problem

pweis909, Nov 16, 2006
Photo of Spartan13
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%

Spartan13, Sep 10, 2013
Photo of beerFool28607
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%

beerFool28607, Mar 08, 2012
Photo of FullObs
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%

FullObs, Oct 26, 2012
Photo of kraticus41
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%

kraticus41, Mar 28, 2014
Photo of cwkash
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%

cwkash, Sep 01, 2013
Photo of gamecock74
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%

gamecock74, Apr 15, 2012
Photo of osuskin
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%

osuskin, Jul 21, 2013
Photo of Thickfreakness
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Batch 9801

A- Pours charcoal black into my DFH glass. A thin whisp of a head fades quickly and leaves little pools of dark tan foam lying on the surface. This one lies pretty flat with no carbonation to speak of.

S- Licorice and coffee candy are the first things that hit the nose. Has some spicy notes of Birch Beer/Root Beer. Lots of roasted chocolate maltiness. Not as lively in the nose as I was hoping for.

T- Day old iced coffee, licorice, chocolate twizzlers, and root beer hard-candy. Some charred malt, no hops at all. Not a whole lot going on here.

M- Like licorice water. I've had iced coffee thicker than this. This is pretty limp. No body, creaminess, or carbonation.

O- Hard to believe that the same brewer that makes Expedition, makes this watered down, flat stout. I guess I can tick this off the list and never be wanting one again.

Thickfreakness, Apr 07, 2012
Photo of Bice4
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%

Bice4, Feb 26, 2014
Photo of TheDoctor
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%

TheDoctor, Feb 26, 2014
Photo of alltakn
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%

alltakn, May 29, 2013
Photo of Mississippi
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%

Mississippi, Mar 26, 2014
Photo of NODAK
2.85/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Smell on this one is pretty straight forward, I think. Very malty, very chocolatey. Standard, but pretty good.

For a stout, mouthfeel is pretty thin here. I'm actually surprised by it.

Taste is pretty malty with roasted chocolate flavors mixed in with some tanginess...perhaps that's the licorice that's advertised on the bottle. Finish is full of bitter chocolate and a little sourness too. Some alcohol is even noticeable as well.

As far as stouts go, I don't think this would be among my top choices, as the chocolate is a bit on the bitter side for me, and it's just too thin. Pretty average.

NODAK, Aug 16, 2010
Photo of dgilks
2.85/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Very dark brown with a slightly orange highlight. Small tan head. Poor head retention.

Earthy with a spritzy, spicy alcohol note. For me there is a fair amount of sweet, fusel alcohols here. Not great.

Sweet malt with a touch of chocolate. Fusel alcohols. Not good.

Medium-thin body with moderate carbonation. Okay.

For me there is something wrong here. The alcohol note is slightly acetone like and fusel-y. Further, the malt character doesn't have the chocolately, coffee, roasty note expected of the style.

dgilks, Jul 14, 2011
Photo of jwhawkins81
2.88/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Batch 9457 Packed on 11/19/2009 tasted on 3/31/2010

Aroma - Dark roasted malts with a hint of sweetness with a light aromatic hop aroma in the background

Appearance - Dark with a big light brown head that slowly dissipated

Taste - Sharp hop bitterness upfront with hints of coffee and roast but that hop bitterness is overpowering

Notes - Plenty of carbonation

jwhawkins81, Apr 18, 2010
Photo of Cavery
2.88/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz shared with Klym, poured into Stone Nonics. Bottle was an extra courtesy of SpdKilz.

A: More of a thin film than any actual head formation. cinnamon dusted brown bubbles over a motor oil brown body. This beer moves pretty violently and reflects the ABV in that it's lower alcohol. No red flags, but I'm skeptical.

S: A rootbeer like note from black licorices. Coffee crackers/biscuits come through with a promisingly pastry like note. The smell is certainly more promising than the look. The licornice smell does seem a bit "off" in some ways though. The end of the licorice note blends with cheap coffee liqueurs to create a stout inspired cocktail flavor. This is a bit shocking considering the ABV.

T: Hmm, where did the stout go? Shockingly absent flavor that only flirtatiously suggests coffees and woody licorice. The wood flavor in this beer is more like sawdust. Sweet hidden notes of anise come forward to add a dissonant flavor to the soggy wood shavings. Not very enticing. Coffee does appear to be more there in the finish.

M: This is really quite watery. At no point in the drinking process did I ever feel like I had a dark beer in my hand. The mouth really made me feel like I had some sort of young wood infused light-bodied porter. The watery character becomes a very frustrating factor in the drinkability of this brew.

O: Not the best showing from Bells, but I'd say licorice is a hard flavor to balance in a single style stout. There's no real bite to any of the flavors, and that's something that really bothers me. As someone that is really quite the flavor fiend, I can't help but feel frustrated by a strong flavor ingredient being subdued by the nature of the body feel and complimentary flavors. I just don't understand why they'd bother with licorice if it ends up being so dissonant in such a light bodied stout. Perhaps this used to be a classic, or even one of the breweries first beers; but it really feels like a novelty. Just because an ingredient should work on paper, doesn't mean it works in execution. Go big and imperial with your licorice, or risk being a dissonant and imbalanced single stout.

Cavery, Jul 16, 2011
Photo of teromous
2.9/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A: It has a nice dark shade of brown...it appears black but just looking at it I get a slight brown hue to the blackness which is neat. The head is perfect on this beer. It's a fluffy tan head that stays up for a long time, not too big or too small...with excellent lacing.

S: The scent in this beer is very subdued. I get a very faint caramel scent along with what smells like dates. It has a nearly Belgian scent but it's very faint.

T: The beer doesn't have a whole lot of flavor either. It has a large amount of bitterness. There's a charcoal bitterness in after drinking. There's a kind of spicy flavor to the beer as well. There is some sweetness in the beer but it comes like this...drink...no flavor...sweetness...strong bitterness...sweetness. There is a candy+hop flavor in the aftertaste.

M: The mouthfeel is pretty good but the beer feels very light and thin. I wish it had more body and presence.

O: Overall I'd say that the appearance and some of the uniqueness in flavor of the beer's taste balance out the shortcomings of body and "traditional' stout flavor. It's a beer that makes you want to take a second sip after the first because you can't really figure out what flavors your taste-buds are pointing you towards. I didn't get a lot of coffee, caramel, chocolate, etc from the beer and I thought it was actually quite thin. It's a tossup.

teromous, Jan 20, 2012
Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
89 out of 100 based on 3,409 ratings.