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

Bell's Kalamazoo StoutBell's Kalamazoo Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,999 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2999
Reviews: 1407
rAvg: 4
pDev: 10.5%

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
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Ratings: 2,999 | Reviews: 1,407 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of withliterature


3.6/5  rDev -10%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2010 22:44:48 | More by withliterature
Photo of Geuzedad


3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark brown into a Bells pint glass with no head whatsoever and a thin lacing that clung to the glass throughout.

Smell was coffee, roasty,cocoa,caramel and malts.

Taste was very good, a sweet coffee, followed by roasty malty and finishing up with a nice bitter bite finish with lingering tastes of dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel was medium, some carbonation but not overpowering and a sticky finish.

This beer was definitely drinkable but one was enough. I would definitely drink it again.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2011 00:47:44 | More by Geuzedad
Photo of Ehrnstrom


4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

appearance: pours a dark, chocolate color. mocha colored head that disappears very quickly.

smell: maybe the best aspect of this beer, roasted malts, chocolate, and coffee flavors are all present.

taste: rich chocolate that balances out the roasted malts and subtle addition of coffee

mouthfeel: could be a little more full-bodied, but for an affordable 6 pack, this is one of the better stouts you can get

overall: really the first beer that got me into craft beer. just an overall great beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2011 00:34:51 | More by Ehrnstrom
Photo of tgdigital


3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasty beer. Good flavor of roasted grains, not overly bitter at any point. Slightly burnt chocolate taste with even a slightly sweet finish. Not a lot of overwhelming hop character to this beer, but balanced well. I don't think I'd go out of my way to get my hands on more, but it is an easy beer to drink more than one of.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2009 15:08:45 | More by tgdigital
Photo of Cyrion


4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a nonic pint, and consumed in celebration of something or other.

Appearance: Completely black, and has a short, tan 1" head that vanishes quickly.

Aroma: Chocolate, malt, and a decent amount of brown sugar. No discernible coffee aroma.

Taste: A combination of bitter dark chocolate and malted milk. They don't blend together- I can taste both on my tongue at the same time, each one on its own, complementing but not mingling with the other. This is weird, but a good weird. The dark chocolate has an unusual flavor to it. I'm guessing that's the licorice influence, but since I have no idea what brewers licorice is, I'm going to drink some more of it.

Mouthfeel: Thick and clingy. Coats the mouth like an appropriate stout.

Overall: This stout is low alcohol (6.0%) but it's a formidable beer on taste alone. The absence of coffee and the presence of dark chocolate, makes this a memorable beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2013 01:35:43 | More by Cyrion
Photo of ClashmoreMike

District of Columbia

3.35/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is my first review, so take with a grain of salt. Anyhow, I took the bottle out of the fridge ahead of time and allowed it to warm up before pouring in a pint glass.

Appearance - Very very dark, redish brown -- almost black. Starts with almost two fingers of head, slowly going down to one then to nothing (just beer "algae"). Head color is like milk chocolate (made me think of ovaltine). Leaves a very thin lace from top to bottom. No ring marks.

Smell - Malt smell. Some sweetness. Toasty, caramelly. A little chocolate.

Taste - Burnt malt. Dominant taste to me is bitter coffee. A tiny hint of tobacco. No real sweetness, which I was expecting from this type of beer (and from the smell).

Mouthfeel - Very smooth. Fairly astringent (dry). Nice carbonation for type. Bitter/burnt taste coats and stays in the mouth.

Drinkability - Well, it's all subjective. Didn't really like the dominant and lingering bitter taste. I wish the beer would taste more like it smelled. Some sweetness would help.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2008 01:14:40 | More by ClashmoreMike
Photo of nihiloexnihil


4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle chilled to 54 degrees into snifter.

A. Dark brown, mocha colored head rises and disappears quickly towards the rim. A vigorous swirl shows off the beer's strong legs, but minimal lacing.

S. Dark chocolate. Star anise. Fresh cacao bean. Hazelnut.

T. Mild attack of oat and malt, creamy, long lasting coffee-like bitterness in the finish. Little sweetness, some burnt sugar notes. Very balanced, however: nothing takes over.

M. Not as smooth as their Double Cream stout, but has a hefty amount of carbonation that fills the mouth and goes down with a buttery creaminess.

D. A very drinkable, solid, go-to stout. I like it better than the Double Cream.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2011 20:39:11 | More by nihiloexnihil
Photo of kenpo23


3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Took one sip of this and said 'ooh, thats good' and then i got distracted and came back to it 10 minutes later. glad i did as i got alot more flavor from it after letting it warm up some.

A: nice roasted brown color but not quite black. decent lacing.

S: smells really nicely of cocoa/coffee with a little hidden licorice smell mixed in there. i almost wouldn't have noticed the licorice if i had had other brews first.

T: tastes pretty good...i was pretty surprised that i found myself liking it as much as i did. it just has that nice stout taste (stout lovers will understand what i'm talking about!). very very nice malty taste with just the right amount of roastiness.

M: medium body, could have been a tad thicker for my tastes but very smooth.

D: i could kill a few of these fairly quick due to the smooth goodness of them. i would absolutely drink this again.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2011 21:10:16 | More by kenpo23
Photo of davidbowers13


3.18/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A - Pitch black. Moderate to vigorous pour yielded one to 2 fingers of tan head.

S - Black licorice, coffee, chocolate and roasted malts.

T - Coffee and licorice dominate the front. The finish is smooth, but not much there. Kind of one dimensional.

M - Very thin for a stout. It leaves a coating, but not a overly powerful one.

O - Overall a good to average beer. A little one dimensional, but enjoyable. Not sure I'll rush back to it any time soon.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2011 01:55:47 | More by davidbowers13
Photo of RnRManifesto


3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

The beer is dark, black, with a very small tan head that goes away quickly. Not much lacing to speak of.

Smells is roasted malts, faint licorice, some fruitiness.

I don't really taste the licorice, which is a plus for me, as I never did like black licorice flavor. I'm tasting roasted malts, some coffee, chocolate and some malt sweetness. A small aftertaste similar to black coffee, but not unpleasant. All in all this is a pretty good tasting stout. Much better than I expected.

Pleasant mouth feel, not thick or syrupy like some stouts can be. Just enough carbonation.

I'm glad I tried this, though it would not be my first choice for a stout, it is interesting and good.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2011 22:32:52 | More by RnRManifesto
Photo of Kmccabe33


3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Appearance is pretty standard, deep brownish black color, whiteish brownish head. Nothing spectacular here like you see on some other stouts, but still good looking.

S- Smell is very malty, quite roasty, and can definitely smell a hint of licorice that is mentioned it is brewed with. Great smell for a single stout, definitely enjoyable but not over the top.

T- Taste is quite the same as the nose, quite a malty and roasty brew, hints of licorice, coffee, faint malty bitterness on the finish. Quite well rounded for a single stout.

M- Mouthfeel is quite thin in my opinion, seems to be lacking in the mouthfeel department. That is my only beef with this beer, it is not a very full mouthfeel, yet is more on the thin watery side.

O- Overall I think this is a great everyday stout, lower abv, good balance, and something I would go for again if I wanted a low abv stout. I will get the higher abv imperial stouts next time though if I am looking for the stout flavor I love.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2012 00:47:06 | More by Kmccabe33
Photo of timn


4.63/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours black as night, with a very small amount of brown foam on top. The head is thin, but has a nice, appetizing mocha color.

S: The licorice comes through above all else, along with some hints of raisin.

T: Hits with an immediate burnt, smoky wood flavor, with a hint of the licorice. The licorice actually is less prominent than in the smell, but melds nicely with the smoky flavor. Ends with a bit of coffee acidity.

M: On the thicker side of medium, but very nice mouthfeel. Creamy, smooth, great all around.

O: Teriffic. The nice smoky wood flavor is wonderful up front, and the licorice adds a nice touch. This almost reminds me of Dogfish Head's Chicory Stout, only better and more regularly drinkable. I really enjoyed this one, and will definitely be buying again.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2013 02:25:48 | More by timn
Photo of Thaddeus


4.16/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Dark chocolate with an ample light brown head.

Aroma & Taste: Had a big chocolate and toffee aroma. The beer was heavy and full bodied with a long finish. The chocolate and toffee mashed well over slight molasses and spice undertones. The long finish added to the enjoyment.

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2013 15:45:42 | More by Thaddeus
Photo of Kongquistador


4.53/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was consumed after a marginal extra pale ale, and the difference was a kick in the pants, a light in the tunnel. Except that no light comes through this dark brew, and the only sign of color was a faint ruby around the edges. Otherwise, it was completely opaque. The head was a nice light mocha color, with a nice texture and some holding power. A good layer of lace persists the whole way down. The nose is all coffee and chocolate blending together beautifully, tempting you to drink it even before it has been properly admired. Some faint roast malts linger in the background, but they are secondary.

This beer tastes mostly of chocolate and coffee, as promised by the aroma, but it also has distinct roasted and caramel note to offset and balance the flavor. A faint flavor of alcohol lingers in the sip, but it is nothing serious. The finish is a nice bitter hop, with some sweetness to balance it out. Perhaps my biggest complaint on this brew is that it doesn't hold any character to back, to be developed later in the drink. Still, it is a nice full flavor from the beginning, and that can't be overlooked.

All in all, this is a stellar brew, just lacking that special something to make it a 5. The mouthfeel on this is very nice, with a reasonable amount of carbonation balancing the thickness, and helping it go down easy. As far as drinkability goes, I do like this stout for its moderate alcohol content but full flavor. Definetly one to return to again and again for an evening stout, although I haven't experimented with mixing it with food yet. Overall, an excellent beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2003 04:45:06 | More by Kongquistador
Photo of crzyd12


3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bell's has produced a very good stout with this beer. I served myself a bottle of the Kalamazoo stout in a pint glass and initially I thought that I had made a poor pour but after a second or two a strong inch thick head formed. I did not measure the temperature of the beer at serving but my best guess is that it was below the reccomended serving temperature.

Held up to the light this beer is nearly jet black, hardly any light makes it throught the full apperance of this stout. All I could make out of the smell was that of a typical stout but, personally I have a weak sense of smell to begin with and one nostril was clogged at the time of tasting. I enjoyed the taste of this beer right off the bat.

A smoky flavor is complemented by the malts which came through as the dominant flavor. There was also a sweet aftertaste left in my mouth, so I would assume this beer is a sweet stout. Mouthfeel for this beer can be described as confident. Not brash or cocky nor weak or feeble. The beer lets you know it is there, in your mouth, but it doesn't overwhelm your senses. As the I drank more of the beer, and the temperature increased the flavors seemed to become stronger and bolder, as one would expect. This, however did not affect the drinkability at all, as it went down smooth for the entire twelve ounces. I would reccomend this to anyone looking for a good regional stout in the area.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2005 03:23:19 | More by crzyd12
Photo of jellis00


4.8/5  rDev +20%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a really good stout. This is my favorite beer by Bell's.

A: Dark with really small bubbles.

S: smells like a coffee shop.

T: What a great taste. Very bold flavors that compliment each other nicely (coffee, caramel, etc).

M: It sits in the mouth nicely. Smooth drink.

O: I would recommend this beer where Bell's is housed. I could keep drinking it all day.

This may be my favorite stout I have had all year.

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2011 03:23:32 | More by jellis00
Photo of SeaOfShells


4.53/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. into Duvel tulip

A: Pours fairly dark, but once in the glass it's completely opaque. The faintest tinges of red peak out from the curves of the glass. The beer kicked up a 2 finger dark tan head leaving decent lacing as it receded.

S: well, it's pretty typical actually, but for some reason this one stands above the others. Roasted malts take center stage, and there is a decent coffee scent. Deeper down I get licorice and sweet bread. It's a winner.

T: full flavored. Roasted malt again, finishing with a brilliant coffee bitterness. No alcohol can be detected. There's a fair amount of sweetness up front, which eventually gets crushed by the bitterness from the roasted malts (or is it the hops?). A stout that stands taller than its contemporaries. Well done.

M: the fuller side of medium bodied. It feels great in the mouth. The perfect amount of carbonation, creamy and slick. I'll have another.

O: it's always a treat to get the chance to try a Bell's beer here in California. I've had several varieties, and haven't been let down yet, save for Cherry Stout. They sure know what they are doing in MI. I can see myself buying this on a regular basis. The only other year round un-imperial stout that holds a candle is Deschutte's Obsidian.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2012 02:50:28 | More by SeaOfShells
Photo of AUGRAD06


4.46/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

So I picked up the Bell's Kalamazoo Stout without really checking it out. I figured, "It's cold outside, a Stout sounds good." It wasn't till I got home that I realized it was brewed with licorice. I've been a huge licorice fan since my childhood. It poured dark and silky into my glass. A nice coffee scent with just a hint of licorice. The taste was the same with very light carbonation. A great stout. I will definitely get this beer again!!!!

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2014 01:39:05 | More by AUGRAD06
Photo of daaru


4.53/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

bell's kalamazoo stout is a very good thing. not a whole lot of head but it holds for a long time. rich, malty aroma with floral, hoppy accents, and a rich malty, not aggressively hopped taste with a smooth finish. and dark, very dark--almost as dark as darth vader's soul. if the seasonal double cream is better, as some people telll me it is, i'm going to buy a case as soon as it is available.

perfect for a gloomy, rainy afternoon.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2007 18:33:08 | More by daaru
Photo of darkmaven


4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle served at Hopjacks in Mobile, Alabama

I am NOT a licorice fan, so I had my doubts about this one.
I nervously pour it in the Riedel, and take a timid sniff. Yep, smells like licorice. Duh. But here's where I am SHOCKED. I like it! It is not overbearing, but is somehow gentle and perfectly balanced with the other aromas. Those being liquid dark chocolate, blackstrap molasses and savory, almost meaty aromas.

That molasses follows through on the palate with a swift kick of vanilla. And as I leisurely took my final sips, I got an aroma and flavor of chocolate mousse. Like the final bite of a delicious dessert. Great job Bells.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2010 00:02:20 | More by darkmaven
Photo of reeverbythespeak


3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had a half pint of this the night it was tapped. The head had awesome retention, as have all the Bell's casks I've tried. The nose nearly matches the flavor of the actual liquid, being light and playful with the roasted malts that are typically quite heavy. Needless to say it was gone way before I was ready to be done with my beer. Kudos to Bell's again.

Serving type: cask

05-03-2010 22:29:43 | More by reeverbythespeak
Photo of Hoser77


4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance-Pours a thick, viscous jet black color. Creamy, thick tan head that lingers and persits. Still there though the 1st half of the NCAA championship! Likely from the licorice? Deep mahogany highlights when held to the light.

Smell-Dark coffee and chocolate notes. Subtle burnt toast and biscuit notes. Low sweetness from malt, possibly from licorice. Subtle earthy hop aroma. Low to moderate fruity fermentation esters.

Taste-Mild coffee roast up front grows in intensity across your palate with dark chocolate in the background. Moderate toast and biscuit malt notes. Earthy hop flavor, mild hop bitterness. Very distant fruity fermentation esters.

Mouthfeel-Very dextrinous and chewy up front, but finishes crisp and dry from the roasted grains. Moderate roasted grains astringency. Creamy, appropriate carbonation.

Overall-A very enjoybale drinking experience! This stout is lively and flavorfull and dances on your palate. I am not a huge stout fan, but this is one of the better examples out there and definitely a 2-3 pinter!

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2011 02:25:44 | More by Hoser77
Photo of BA_Berto

New York

4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I picked this up while in Virginia, and I am glad that I did! This stout has incredible roasted malt flavor! It smells fantastic, and taste is just as good! When drinking it, I felt that it was similar to some RIS without the huge ABV. This is a great weeknight beer when you want that big stout taste without opening a bomber to get it! If you see it, pick one up because it is outstanding!
A- Black, with virtually no head.
S- Started out like roasted malts and coffee, but as it warms the licorice definitely comes through.
T- Coffee, licorice, malt
M- Great mouthfeel, similar to Stones RIS
O- Try it! It's great!

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2013 02:30:02 | More by BA_Berto
Photo of beerbill


3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a pretty damn good stout. The head is seriously lacking, and the mouth feel leaves a lot to be desired, but other than that this is a solid, standup stout. It has a nice flavor of burnt coffee that is really satisfying. This entry is better than most, but I would rather drink guinness.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2003 03:39:41 | More by beerbill
Photo of sutcliff


4.72/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Simply excellent. As soon as I finished my first bottle, I was online looking up the brewery and how far it was from St. Louis. The aroma was sublime. The taste was warm, sweet, and urging me to take another sip. The color was black as a moonless night. The head was nice and thick with good lacing throughout the glass.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2004 22:29:25 | More by sutcliff
Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
90 out of 100 based on 2,999 ratings.