1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

3,395 Ratings
THE BROS
83
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,395
Reviews: 1,432
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.53%
Wants: 149
Gots: 264 | 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: 3,395 | Reviews: 1,432 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Batch 9984.

Appearance: With a quick pour, my glass fills with a dark brown ebony liquid with a viscous look and a creamy tan head. Eventually it fades to a collar and leaves just a bit of lace.

Smell: Roasted malt, a bit of smoke, roast coffee, and a bit of unsweetened dark chocolate dominate the nose.

Taste: The taste has a little sweetness sneak through along with the mostly unsweetened dark chocolate and roasted malt. The malt has some light burnt character to it, and there is some milk creaminess to it. The finish has a bit of licorice and a bitter coffee flavor.

Mouthfeel: The creaminess to the mouthfeel is nice. Too often stouts on the lighter part of the ABV spectrum just seem watery to me, but this has some character to it. The carbonation has a mostly creamy nature, but there are a few stray bubbles that are noticeably fizzy. The body is medium to full, and there is a soft stickiness to go along with the chocolate in the flavor.

Overall: This is definitely one of the more enjoyable stouts I have had in this ABV range. I would definitely have a few of these while I sat at a pub.

KickInTheChalice, Oct 28, 2011
Photo of FosterJM
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

894th Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter
12 oz

2011 Bottle

App- A very deep rich brown with garnet edges. A nice fizzy 1-1/2 finger fast receding khaki colored head. Very little in way of cling or lace.

Smell- Roast, Soy, Chocolate, Nuts. A lot crammed into a little bottle and a bit boozy.

Taste- A nice bit of that licorice flavor with a little burnt malt and some dark chocolate. A little grainular but still pretty tasty.

Mouth- A bubbly spritzy medium body with a paired fizzy carbonation level.

Drink- I like the use of the licorice in this bottle the format works well as I don't think I could do a whole bomber or 750 of this stout.

FosterJM, Oct 26, 2011
Photo of RnRManifesto
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

RnRManifesto, Oct 25, 2011
Photo of comfortablynumb1
3.6/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received as an extra in a recent trade. Thanks again Joey...

Poured from a 12oz bottle into RR snifter...

A - Pours black with a two finger brown head that dissipates at fairly hasty pace. There is a good amount of sticky lace that clings to the glass...

S - Dark roasted malts, coffee, and a little chocolate...

T - Pretty much follows the nose with roasted malts and coffee. Bitter chocolate, and a nutty presence are also in the mix. Finishes with more roasted malts, and a little sweeteness. Roast is definitely the main focus here...

M - Nice and creamy. On higher end of being medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation...

O - A solid offering from Bells, but probably not something that would be in my rotation. A little to much on the roasted/charred side for my likings...

Cheers...

comfortablynumb1, Oct 25, 2011
Photo of TheMultiYeast
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brown almost black. A light tan head leads the way to some lacing.

Smells like milk chocolate and toasted bread upfront. Figs and a touch of piney hops come through as well.

Dark fruits again in the taste with just a touch of licorice spice. Pleasant bitterness rounds it out with a little boozy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is slightly thinner than some stouts with a smooth start and mild carbonation.

Overall I would try this stout again. Good stuff from Bell's.

TheMultiYeast, Oct 25, 2011
Photo of Forb
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep dark ruby / brown with the outer body showing a slight ruby translucence. Carbonation bubbling up to a minor coffee brown head.

Taste: Definitely roasted taste almost similar charred nut brown flavor... interesting... but the licorice that is said to be within only presents itself oh so subtly... is this on purpose? Fine with me. The burnt, charred, roasted flavors are clearly the main focus with this stout.

Smell: Nose for me on this one is quite minimal and faint. Roasted elements are noticeable but I don't gather much more.

Mouthfeel: This is where I feel the beer takes a big hold on me. It comes across so smooth and creamy followed by it's bubbly entourage as to allow me to take gulps rather than sip. Full body, full flavor, yet oh so drinkable!

Overall: A great stout for somebody who doesn't want to be overwhelmed by the 'big' that is so common of this style yet keep from compromising the flavor. Easily understood as a 'cult classic'. Ty Bell's!

Forb, Oct 22, 2011
Photo of keethrax
4.55/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Black. Very black. Tan head, decent lacing.

Smell: Roasty, coffee, licorice

Taste. Sweet. Licorice at first, fades into dark chocolate followed up by a mildly bitter coffee aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy, closer to medium.

Way back when this was my first stout that wasn't a Guinness. Still one of my favorites.

keethrax, Oct 21, 2011
Photo of Ehrnstrom
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

Ehrnstrom, Oct 20, 2011
Photo of biboergosum
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, a souvenir from a visit to a kick-ass liquor store in Dearborn, Michigan, a few weeks ago.

This beer pours a solid black, with slight cola highlights, and one fat finger of dense puffy pale beige head, which leaves a broad swath of a lace paint job around the glass as it settles. It smells of gritty, chalky baker's chocolate, caramel malt, earthy licorice, and leafy hops. The taste is still big into the chocolate - bittersweet, and enveloping, with a narrow coffee stripe. The licorice is there, a tight somewhat astringent natural black anise essence, cutting into the cocoa blanket, aided by some mild booze and underwhelmingly edgy hops. The carbonation is present, on a low-fi fizzy plane, the body damn-near full, expansive, and smooth, with a creamy predilection. It finishes with butterfly-imitating malt, bursting forth from below, finally joining the chocolate, middling licorice, and oafish hops, late to the party.

A decent, well-flavoured, dessert-adjacent Yankee stout. The extra point of ABV well-obfuscated, the licorice not overplayed - what's not to like?

biboergosum, Oct 19, 2011
Photo of OWSLEY069
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with a light tan head. In the aroma, roasty and a small, sweet licorice presence. In the taste, a small roast, sweet coffee, and notes of licorice. A small bite, yet mainly smooth and a medium to bigger bodied mouthfeel, with a dry and roasty coffee and licorice in the aftertaste. Nice sweet to dry coffee and notes of licorice.

OWSLEY069, Oct 18, 2011
Photo of DIM
3.35/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

a: This had a black body and it poured with a medium sized tan head.

s: Fairly strong licorice with roasty, lightly astringent coffee and dark chocolate.

t: Sweet licorice with chocolate notes up front with a strongly bitter coffee-ish finish.

m: Surprisingly thin, borderline watery.

o: Just okay, not something I would revisit.

DIM, Oct 15, 2011
Photo of shoky01
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz chilled and poured into a pint.

A: Dark black, almost opaque. Oil slick. 1/4 inch brown tan head. Light carbonation.

S: Malts, a light smokiness with licorice.

T: Coffee, and bitterness. Its more real black licorice than jelly bean. Slight vanilla.

MF. Fizzy and smooth. Little sticky.

OA: Its okay, more regular stout than licorice. I liked the Stone Belgo Anise IRS better, just had the stronger anise.

shoky01, Oct 15, 2011
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.63/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to shrek086 for sending me this one!

Pours an opaque black with a 1/2 foamy khaki head that settles to a film on the top of the beer. No lacing on this one on the drink down. Smell is of uncooked bread dough, slight chocolate, and oddly enough a bit like playdough. Taste is of dark roasted malt, cocoa powder, and some mild coffee bean flavors. I am not getting licorice in either the smell or taste. A mild roasty bitterness quickly fades from the palate after each sip. This beer has a crisp level of carbonation with a nice bubbly mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good stout but nothing that great in the long run. I enjoy the way this beer smells more than the way it tastes.

UCLABrewN84, Oct 14, 2011
Photo of BeerNutz324
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottle into an oversized wine glass

Ap- more black than brown. can't see through it at all. nice cinnamon colored head that looks delicous. doesnt last long though.

Ar- roasted, burnt malts with a little coffee flavor. the licorice doesn't come thru till the end.

T- tastes like your typical stout up front. lots of roasted malts, a little coffee flavor. The bitterness of the licorice hits ya at the end. Pretty much follows the nose.

M- medium/heavy body. lightly carbonated which is good for this style.

O- not a bad take on a stout. the licorice at the end is kinda different but that isn't always a bad thing. I enjoyed this but it didn't wow me.

BeerNutz324, Oct 09, 2011
Photo of MattyG85
4.43/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a stout glass.

Appearance: Dark black with a little brown color shining through the bottom. Decent two fingers of tan head fade into a patchy layer. Moderate amount of lacing.

Smell: Dark roasted caramel malts with big notes of dark chocolate and roasted coffee. Hints of nuts, milk, and liquorice. Smells very roasty and full.

Taste: A lightly sweet and fairly bitter mix of dark roasted malts, dark chocolate, and roasted coffee. Solid hints of chocolate milk, caramel, nuts, and liquorice. Bitter notes of coffee linger in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with a lower level of carbonation. Creamy and finishes slightly dry.

Overall: A very solid stout that is very full flavored and heavy for a non imperial stout.

MattyG85, Oct 09, 2011
Photo of nandemo1
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black with a thin tan head that falls quickly. Leaves little lacing.

Smell is sweet roasted malts and some licorice. Taste contains dark chocolate and roasted malt, with a slight bitterness in the background.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and a little oily.

An impressive everyday stout that mixes in some flavors other than straight coffee. Really liked the licorice scent.

nandemo1, Oct 08, 2011
Photo of chilly460
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours darker black with 1 1/2 mocha head. Dissipates quickly with marginal lacing.

S: Pick up cocoa and dark roast espcoffee. Definite hint of the brewer's licorice.

T: First shot is the roasted coffee flavor. Some chocolatey tones as well, then you get a licorice and some ripe plum as well. Pretty complex for an american stout, flavor is a bit muted.

M: Creamy and smooth with a dry finish.

O: Really solid, licorice is a differentiator. Flavors could be a little more bold.

chilly460, Oct 07, 2011
Photo of fountainofyouth
4.75/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased a six-pack after hearing so many good things! Poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a pretty big, two-finger light brown head. This could easily be mistaken for crude oil, no chance of light getting through. Good lacing.

Smell: Sweetish and almost oaty, despite no use of oat in the malt. There are also hints of caramel and sweet chocolate.

Taste: This beer is like having a piece of very dark, almost burnt toast -- I want to chew on it! The semisweet oat quality is also present. Virtually no hops.

Mouthfeel: There's a strange and unique duality -- a clean finish on the palate, but a heavy coating on the tongue. Light carbonation that doesn't interfere with the taste at all.

Overall: An excellent stout in all regards. Very hard to beat.

fountainofyouth, Oct 05, 2011
Photo of zachary80
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into New Belgium Globe. Batch 10232

Black body, brown head fades relatively quickly. Lacing could be better.

Aroma is mostly a malty sweetness, with what I guess are notes from the brewers liquorice. Smell is very full and almost heavy

Taste is quite full for a regular stout, and has a nice balance of bitterness to sweetness.

Mouthfeel is almost perfect for a stout, could be perhaps a bit smoother which would be perfect. Carbonation is nicely mellow.

Kalamazoo Stout is an amazing American Stout.

zachary80, Oct 05, 2011
Photo of Rifugium
4/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

Rifugium, Oct 01, 2011
Photo of Phocion
3.25/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into a pint glass with a small but highly retentive frothy brown head sitting on top of a nearly pitch-black body. Thick, sticky lacing.

Aroma is full of roasted malts. Slight hints of acidity and anise, very nutty and full of dark chocolate and bitter coffee.

Flavor is coffee and bitter dark chocolate. Slight toffee flavor. Very bitter, almost charred finish.

Medium-bodied and medium carbonation. Surprisingly slick and oily.

Overall, too bitter. Not necessarily in a hoppy way, but more of a burnt manner. Mouthfeel is too oily. Not overwhelmingly impressed.

Phocion, Sep 29, 2011
Photo of ehammond1
4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle (2010)

Acquired via trade
Thanks sendsilk!

(Aged for 1 year)

Black as can be with an espresso brown head. Sheets of lacing mess the glass.

Incredible aroma. Significant roasted malt and coffee but lots and lots of chocolate (a nice balance between bitter/sweet). There's a hint of stinging licorice, but it really is quite faint.

The flavor follows the aroma except there's far more licorice character present than in the aroma. There's still lots of roast, coffee, and chocolate, but the licorice is definitely a major player in the flavor.

Medium to thick mouthfeel.

A delicious stout. Thanks again!

ehammond1, Sep 29, 2011
Photo of Hoptometrist
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from the bottle into a nonic glass

A- Poured black with a one and a half finger dark mocha head with nice lacing.

S- Big roasty coffee notes, chocolate, and mineral qualities in the aroma

T- Lots of bitter dark chocolate and milk chocolate, nice amount of roastiness, and mineral flavor on the finish

M- Creamy mouthfeel with nice prickly carbonation on the finish

O- Reminds me a lot of Edmund Fitzgerald, but with the chocolate notes being at the forefront of this one rather than the roasted coffee being at the forefront of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Good balance of sweet, roasty, and bitter though and very drinkable.

Hoptometrist, Sep 28, 2011
Photo of backfat
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to my buddy natedog for this bottle. Bottle number 9801.

Pours a fizzy black with brown highlights. An impressive rocky khaki head dances on top. sticky lace.

smells of roasted chocolate, sugary candies, toasted malt, and a touch of anise. maybe a bit of dark fruit in there as well.

The taste is smoky. cream, fudge, and some soft bitterness on the back of the tongue.

A nice milky viscosity with appropriate carbonation.

This has always been a beer I have avoided because I really don't like anise. I think time may have faded it a bit to a "not that bad" beer.

backfat, Sep 27, 2011
Photo of BucannonXC5
3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass at Dema (Westin) in Detroit, Mich. Color was coffee caramel. More than an inch of head. Healthy amount of lacing. Lots of film on the sides.

Smelled mostly of roasted coffee malts.

Coffee heavy on the taste. Malty, smoky finish.

Full body. Creamy texture. Lively carbonation. Almost felt kind of fake. Flattened out at the end.

I couldn’t get behind this as much as the other three Bell’s I had (Pale Ale, Two Hearted, Amber Ale), but that won’t stop me from trying more Bell’s.

BucannonXC5, Sep 25, 2011
Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
89 out of 100 based on 3,395 ratings.