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

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

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BA SCORE
89
very good

3,848 Ratings
THE BROS
83
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,848
Reviews: 1,506
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 10.8%
Wants: 172
Gots: 455 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-11-2001

Stout brewed with Brewer's Licorice.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,848 | Reviews: 1,506
Photo of nickfl
4.17/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - One and a half fingers of dark brown head on top of an opaque, black body. The head settles pretty quickly, but leaves good lace behind.

S - Strong dark chocolate and coffee aromas backed up by caramel malt.

T - Lots of nutty chocolate up front followed by mild, smooth sweetness. Roasty flavors come to the front in the finish along with mild malt bitterness.

M - Moderately thick body and medium-low carbonation, with a sweet finish.

D - An enjoyable and reasonably complex beer. Pretty drinkable, but with this level of sweetness I wouldn't want more than one. The chocolate notes in the flavor and aroma are particularly nice.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque black (no highlights when held to the light, but the yeast sediment is clearly visible at the bottom of the glass) with a frothy light tan head that holds fairly well before dropping to a decent collar and whispy surface covering. A short creamy head can easily be brought back, however, simply by swirling the glass, and it leaves some nice as well. The nose is rich with a sharp roastiness and notes of bittersweet chocolate, but also offers some floral and lightly earthy hops in the background. The medium body is enhanced by an exceptionally fine carbonation from bottle conditioning that leaves it creamy and smooth in the mouth. The flavor is also affected by the creamy carbonation, softening it's bitterness and rounding it's sharp roasted edges. It starts with an underlying fruitiness and dark chocolate, but immediately becomes quite roasty. It warms to reveal some caramel sweetness as it crosses the palate but reverts to deep roastiness and a solid bitterness in the finish. A rich, dark roasted coffee flavor lingers in the mouth long after the liquid had gone and occassional flashes of hop flavor can sometimes be found. Rich, complex, and highly enjoyable. This makes a great after-dinner drink or nightcap. Highly recommended and well worth seeking out.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired via trade from JAYW, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a very dark brown color with a thin but dense brown head that fades quickly and leaves a thick and even lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is robust, creamy and malty with chocolate & coffee.

T: The taste is smoky and sweet with malty flavors of roasted coffee & dark chocolate. There’s a very faint bit of hops, but there’s no bitterness at all, even the bitterness that you usually get from the intense chocolate & coffee flavors isn’t there. The after-taste is cream and sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium-to-heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, sticky finish.

D: Very tasty, goes down very easily, slightly filling, decent kick, this one is an excellent sipper, especially if you’re looking for a beer with the flavor of an RIS but less of the alcohol punch.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm re-reviewing this beer because my original review was laaame.

Pours black with a very thin dark tan head. Nose is a good bit of roasted and molasses tones. Flavor brings the same with an almost oat bitter tone that mixes in. Very hearty and robust. Nearly a meal in itself. Smooth liquid feel. Low carbonation. A nice winter time beer. It's 30-something outside and this is precisely what I should be drinking.

Photo of Slatetank
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - An opaque black w/ tan head and generous lacing.

S - roasted coffe and anise odors dominate.

M - Sweet, creamy, roasted and medicinal w/ good carbonation.

T - A deep molasses and roasted coffee taste at first taste. The smooth stout blends so effortlessly w/ a prominent black licorice taste. The anise comes in and catches you off guard w/ a nice herbal finish that is tasty and slightly dry.

D - A full bodied stout w/ a good hop profile + licorice flavor with tinges of molasses. The sweetness is balanced by the herbal flavors. It is not one I would drink single every day, but so smooth I probably could.

Photo of Jason
3.34/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

Appearance: The thick foaming light brown head leaves big sticky chunks in the glass, the colour is a shade or two from pitch black.

Smell: Yeasty aroma, dark fruitiness under a wild estery and buttery burnt caramel smell.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Full bodied, creamy smooth and on the sweet side ... the sweetness seems clouded though. Big yeast bite mixes it up with the roasted character. Ghost like beef broth and dark fruit. Bitter chocolate and some roasted coffee bean in there. A bit hoppy with some flavour middle to end, lots of soft charcoal flavour as well.

Notes: The minimal astringency does not get in the way yet the flavours just don’t meld well together … a little unbalanced some would say. I am not say it is bad, I enjoyed it but it certainly did not rock my world.

Thanks to sakaroo for the sample.

Photo of russpowell
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one from tpd975, cheers Greg!

Pours mahogany/ebony with 2 fingers of mocha head with molasses colored flecks. Above average lacing & average head retention

S: Mocha, charred grain &, a kiss of oaky vanilla & dark fruit once warm

T: Dark choclate & mocha & much cocoa powder dryness up front. A touch of grainyness, more chocolate, a bit of raisin, & coffee as this warms.

MF: Smooth, medium bodied with low carbonation

Drinks easy, a good, not great stout, middle of the road as Bell's offerings go

Photo of Rifugium
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at City Tap House, Philly, PA

Great stout. I've had this on tap and in bottles. Pours opaque black with a cream beige head. Aroma of roasted malts, milk chocolate, and licorice. Taste of dark roasted malts with coffee notes, sweet chocolate, caramel, and light sensations of dark fruits and licorice. Full-bodied, smooth and rich, and nicely drinkable.

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

Appearance: Dark ruby brown could easily be mistaken for black so full it pours thick from the bottle, the thicket of foamy moccha tan head is magnificant looks like bread rising has that texture very chunky and bubbly so nice forms collar of lacing as it slowly dwindles, quite the resiliency on this one. Aroma: Dark roasts create joy on multiple levels but the aroma here contains tones of mild cocoa, baking cookies, and an underlying tone of coffee beans very light but evident the oatmeal like tones are also very inviting toward my first sip. Taste: Such a beautiful balance of dark chocolate roasts and harsh bitterness from the dark roasts sweet robust flavor is just awesome solid all around, the ideal session stout. Mouthfeel: Fluffy yet medium to full bodied and smooth at the same time, unique quality to the mouthfeel can't quite describe it completely. Drinkability: A very tasty stout that helps me remember why I love dark beer so much, I once was stuck on the fact that only hops could suffice my beer sweet tooth but this is the type of brew that helps pull off a convert to stouts with still a great amout of bitter tones from the dark roasts so smooth and silky going down, just gotta love this one from Kalamazoo.

Photo of kojevergas
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a New Belgium goblet at me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Acquired at Ramirez Liquor. I've been quite underwhelmed by Bell's in the past, so I'm hoping this is the one that shows me how truly great they are. Bottled 09/26/12. 6.0% ABV confirmed.

Served after a period of rest from the refrigerator. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Presentation: I dig the label and its artwork. Understated and classy.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger beautiful brown head of great thickness and cream, and good retention for the above average ABV. Body colour is a solid dark black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Nontransparent. Opaque.

Sm: Dark malts are dominant. Chocolate. Cream. I search for roast but struggle to find any. Licorice. A moderate strength aroma. Not real complex or subtle considering the style, but pretty good.

T: Creamy up front and on the finish, with a lightly roasted dark malt foundation. Minimal hop presence, if any. Little licorice; it's very restrained. No yeast or alcohol comes through. Hints of caramel. Chocolate. No real coffee or toffee notes. Roast is also underdone. Well malted. A tasty creamy stout. Impeccably balanced. Quite subtle for the style. It's amazing how much they've done here. This is fucking delicious.

Mf: Smooth and wet - overly so on both counts. Should be more dry and coarse. Feels more like a porter than a stout. Still, the creaminess is fantastic, and the thickness is good. Good carbonation as well. Nice presence on the palate. Suits the flavours nicely.

Dr: A fantastic stout from Bell's. I'm starting to understand the hype a little bit; I like this a lot more than the Expedition Stout. At a better price than it is as a SoCal import, I could definitely see myself picking this up regularly. It's pretty much everything I want out of the style. Obscenely drinkable; I could easily down this all night. One of the best American stouts I've ever had.

A

Gets better as it warms, but I'd still serve it chilled.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.55/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Color is deep, dark black, black as a licorice whip, and, we find, it tastes like one, too. Good, thick, boggy and bubbly brown head. And an aroma that is roasted flavors to gills, as charred and heady a stout this side of an Imperial. Full of flavorful connotations, chocolate, coffee, more rich flavors, mollasses, syrup, anise.
Hugely flavorful hop bitterness jumps right on board the palate and swims through the mouth. Full, thick, rewarding, delicious. This one sticks in the mouth like peanut butter, constantly abiding finish. Perfect balance, with massive amounts of everything, it contains certain essences of Imperial stouts, without going overboard in alcohol.
I'm not sure if the style milk/cream/sweet stout is appropriate here, but then I'm not sure what to call it, myself.
Who cares? It's delicious!

Photo of smcolw
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A light head but it sticks around, leaving ample spots on the glass. The color is near black where no light passes through.

A fairly mellow stout aroma. There are elements of darkened toast from black patent malt, but it is not harsh.

The flavor is closer to the classic dry stout profile. It has notes of espresso and faint nuttiness. There's a blend of hop and burnt toast taste in the finish which lingers long after the swallow. The body light to moderate and the carbonation is spot on. A good, but not great, stout.

Photo of mdfb79
3.7/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a dark brown color with about 2 inches of tan head with great retention and lacing. Moderate carbonation evident.

s - Coffee, roasted and toasted malts, licorice, hints of cream.

t - Bitterness prevails here. Bitter coffee jumps out first, followed by licorice and roasted malts. No cream from the smell is evident in the taste.

m - Full body and little carbonation.

d - Not a bad stout. I enjoyed the smell much more than the taste; I thought the bitterness was a little too prevalent in the taste. I would drink this again.

Photo of drabmuh
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thorpe gave me a holiday 5 pack of this beer, have to love the holiday 5 pack tradition. Thanks. Poured into a Bell's glass because I can.

Beer is dark black and completely opaque. I poured a little harder than I should be I coaxed a nice thick tan head out of the beer that slowly receded, leaving a little lacing on the walls of the glass. Carbonation is a mystery.

Aroma is nice though. It's a little sweet, some chocolate, some great mild roast, this smells really awesome.

Beer is medium in body and pretty creamy in the mouth with minimal carbonation on the palate. There is a nice chocolaty midpalate flavor, after the initial mild sweetness, the bitterness in this beer is practically perfect. A very good beer all around.

Photo of jwc215
3.4/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours nearly black with a thin, tan head.

The smell is of licorice, slightly burnt coffee and toast with chocolate notes.

The taste is of licorice and plenty of it. Reminds me of licorice candy. Coffee and chocolate notes mix in. Earthy bitterness balances out the sweetness. There is a mix of burnt, though not really smoky, (coffee?, or just "burnt...") that gets in the way, as well as some chalk, which is a shame, as it otherwise would be very good. Finishes with a balanced, though slightly awkward, finish.

Something seems "off" and astingent. I do like it, especially the way the licorice plays in, but too chalky and burnt to really enjoy.

Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into signature pint glass, bottled 9/14/2011. Pours pitch black color, with a nice 2 finger fairly dense tan head with great retention that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Some decent lacing clinging to the glass. Aromas of big milk chocolate, caramel, coffee, roasted malt, light herbal hops, and a hint of licorice. Nice well balanced aromas with good strength. Taste of big milk chocolate, coffee, caramel, roasted malt, pine, herbal hops, and a bit of spiciness. Good amount of bitterness on the finish with lingering notes of milk chocolate, caramel, pine, and herbal spiciness for a bit. Very robust flavors for 6%, with great balance. Medium carbonation and body; with a nice creamy mouthfeel. Hardly any alcohol presence except for a slight warming after the finish. Overall this is an excellent and highly robust stout. Very drinkable with great flavor balance.

Photo of orangesol
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Hunger N Thirst.

A - Pours pitch black with a dense one and a half finger tall tan head, slowly dissipating down to a thin film, leaving thick sheets of lace on the sides of the glass.

S - Smells of coffee grounds, chocolate malt, toffee, vanilla and some smokey malt.

T - Starts off with a mix of coffee and dark roasted chocolate malt quickly being joined by the vanilla, light smoke, vanilla and a touch of bitter earthy hops. Finish is roasty with a touch of sweetness, lingering long after the finish.

M - Heavy body with moderate carbonation. Smooth, roasty feel usually wears on the palate but this one isn't as bad.

O - A very nice stout. I love that it is only six percent, allowing you to really enjoy the beer without fear of it messing you up too bad.

Photo of chinchill
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottled served in a pint glass. Code on bottle ("9612") MAY indicate best by date of 6 Sept. 2012 or 9 August 2012; anyway, this bottle should be plenty fresh.

This is a truly black and opaque beer; even held up to sunlight coming thru my window I can see no light, only the tiniest dark brown at the very edges. The head is a thick tan color, and starts ample (about 2 fingers) but quickly settles to a top coat and ring. It leaves moderate lacing on the glass.

Aroma is moderately strong and consists mainly of dark roasted malts and some alcohol phenols. Also present, some traces of hops and a hint of dried dark fruits.

T - While the flavor is dominated, as it should be, by dark roasted malts. Has a lasting and rich finish featuring dark roasted malts with a hint of hop spiciness, black licorice and bitter dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel: medium body with medium-low carbonation. Not bad, but I find the body a tad thin for style although the carbonation is near ideal.

O - I sampled this Bells immediately after a Sierra Nevada Stout. Overall, and in most respects, I found the SN superior. The Bells does have a slightly stronger aroma and flavor, with dark malts more dominant over the hops.
I note that the Bells Stout is "brewed with brewers licorice" which "Increases head retention while imparting slight flavor" according to a brewers' supplier.

(revisited and tweaked with a 2012 bottle in Nov. 2013 - paired with a Green Flash Double Stout which proved to have more flavor but otherwise was quite similar.}

Photo of WesWes
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep dark black color with a thick frothy brown head that fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich dark malt scent that is dominated with chocolate and roasted barley. It is sweet to the nose and seems a bit creamy. The taste is good. It has a dry black malt flavor with some chocolate hints and a semi-sweet finish. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a fine stout. It has great aroma and flavor a good sessions ale.

Photo of dbrauneis
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 11/21/2011

A: Pours an opaque jet black in color with some very faint hints of red when held up to the light. The beer has a half finger tall tan head that quickly reduces to a thick patch in the center with a slighter thinner ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate lacing is observed.

S: Aromas of burnt malts, licorice, light bittersweet chocolate, and just a little hint of coffee. There is some nice complexity to the aroma.

T: The taste pretty much follows the smell with perhaps a slightly more present bittersweet chocolate. The primary flavors are burnt/dark malts and licorice. There is a nice lasting bitterness but it is not agressive or intense.

M: On the fuller side of medium bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Creamy and smooth.

O: This is a pretty nice stout with lovely notes of licorice in it. There is an enjoyable flavor, aroma, and mouthfeel. Not exactly a sessionable beer but it is pretty easy to drink and you could probably enjoy a couple in an evening.

Photo of Mora2000
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to barzigkin for sharing this bottle.

Pours black with a tan head. The aroma is awesome, with coffee, roasted malts and some cream. The flavor is bitter coffee, roasted malts, cream and some chocolate. The aftertaste is cream. Thick mouthfeel and low carbonation.

Photo of mdaschaf
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours an inky black with a one finger mocha colored head. Decent retention leaving a little bit of foam in the center and ring on the outer edge. Moderate lacing.

S: Not overly strong smelling. A sweet smelling beer, coffee, licorice, some brown sugar, and molasses. I get a little bit of butter as well.

T: The predominant flavors are coffee and mocha, but the coffee is more like coffee ice cream than hot coffee. There is a roasted malt flavor in the middle a little bit as well as hints of chocolate, molasses, and oatmeal.

M: Creamy and chewy. Medium to full bodied, nice carbonation that seems to fit well. Has a surprisingly dry finish.

O: Quite happy with this beer. Glad that the coffee doesn't overwhelm the beer since I am not a fan of coffee beers. Not my favorite stout, but I wouldn't turn it away.

Photo of mothman
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 8432. Packaged on April 11, 2008.

Pours a thick brown/tan head. This beer is pretty much as black as the night sky (but really just a extremely dark brown). I was in awe when I first saw this beer come out of the bottle. The head stayed up almost the entire time, while the lacing was dominate. That's right dominate.

The smell is of roasted/chocolate malts, while the beer is amazingly balance between the hops and the malts. The presence of both were well represented. I could again taste the same roasted/chocolate malts and the hop flavor was grassy.

This is such an amazing beer and I would recommend this to anybody! I am so impressed with Bells on this one!

Photo of GClarkage
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

04/18/05- Received as a gift from BA member Spinlock.

Presentation- 12oz bottle with no dates. Poured into my Reaper pint glass.

Appearance- Fairly black in color with a nice 1/2 inch head and average lacing.

Smell- Nice and sweet with a bit of roasted scent.

Taste- Yummy sweetness with a nice chocolate kick. Maybe a tiny bit of coffee and nicely rounded malt texture.

Mouthfeel- Mouthcoating chocolate as it warms. Lower carbonation.

Drinkability- One of the best stouts I have had. Creeping fairly close to Stone IRS. Wish I had easy access to these. I've been damn lucky with stouts and porters as of recent.

Photo of ShanePB
3.73/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle shared with some friends. Poured into three miniature 5 ounce snifter glasses.

A: Deep dark brown borderline black body with a creamy and frothy tan head. A few swirls in the glass and it looked as if it was on nitro. Very minor lace with a thin creamy retention cap. Nice looking regular stout, especially the head color which you don't always see.

S: Dark malts come through big, slightly roasted with a bitter caramel note. Faint coffee and anise is there, just enough to provide some complexity without dominating. A distant grassy element is in the background. Complex enough without going over the top.

T: High percentage dark chocolate, mildly roasted coffee beans, vanilla and lactose. Back of the palate has the anise but it's extremely faint, and personally I don't think enough comes through to warrant it being plastered on the label. Rich, robust and flavorful; nicely done.

M: Creamy and silky, a bit on the higher end of carbonation but I haven't come to expect an extremely chewy body on a regular stout. Pretty nice with a clean finish.

This was certainly a surprise as I tend to dislike anything brewed with anise/licorice. The good part is that it's not overpowering by any means, and really works as an addition to the base flavors. Again, put it on the label? I don't think so, unless you just want to say you're doing something different.

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
89 out of 100 based on 3,848 ratings.