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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

3,476 Ratings
THE BROS
83
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,476
Reviews: 1,439
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.53%
Wants: 157
Gots: 290 | FT: 11
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: 3,476 | Reviews: 1,439 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TheDudeRules
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my Darkness snifter.

Batch 9122. Jet black pour. Every ray of light is swallowed up. Full finger of mocha head that almost billows over my glass. Recedes pretty quickly. Smell is of coffee notes, bakers chocolate and black licorice. Taste is right in line with the smell. Not a very thick beer. It drinks very well though.

My first beer I had mixed feelings on it. The licorice was commanding to me. As it warmed it was less prominent. A solid beer from Bell's.

TheDudeRules, Aug 30, 2011
Photo of Rickythejeweler
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Opaque black, light brown 1/2 finger fizzy head, light diminishing lacing.

S - Chocolate, oatmeal, licorice, roasty malts, coffee, light earthy hops.

T - Sweet chocolate, coffee, light molasses, roasty malts, light hop bitterness in the middle, semi-dry coffee bean finish.

M - Delicate medium body, abundant prickly carbonation, semi-dry finish.

O - Tons of roasty goodness, great representation of the style. I was worried about this being overly licorice-y, but the licorice gives a nice light note. It could be a little more full bodied.

Rickythejeweler, Aug 28, 2011
Photo of mikul93
3.03/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A Pours black with medium viscosity. Nice healthy light tan head with heavy lacing.

S A bit one dimensional. I get a tad bit of roast, but all I'm really smelling is the licorice. It actually smells a little like soy sauce.

T Again, all I'm really getting is the licorice. It hits the tongue immediately and finishes with it as well. I'm not getting any coffee or malt. Some bitter hops at the end, but just slight.

M It's a clean drinking beer. It's easy to drink and actually refreshing.

O Disappointed with this beer. Was looking forward to it but I will definitely not be seeking this out again.

mikul93, Aug 26, 2011
Photo of output01x
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. capped bottle (Batch #10162) into a snifter glass.

A strong pour yields a 1 1/2-finger mocha-colored head that dies after just a few minutes, leaving only a thin island of dusting and thick foam ring. The body is about as close to black as brown can get. Some light lacing attempts to gain a foothold on the sides of the glass, but succumbs to gravity in time.

Aromas of dark, bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee beans, brown sugar, and raisins make for a very rich and deliciously sweet nose.

Similar to the nose, dark roasted coffee, milk chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, molasses, dark fruits, and licorice are all pleasantly represented throughout each sip. Once the beer is swallowed, the rich and bold coffee and chocolate flavors become more pronounced.

Medium to full bodied with excessive carbonation, this beer has great drinkability for a stout. The body is just a little sticky and coating, which is just right for the flavors and the style. On the other hand, the carbonation is so powerful it truly detracts from the beer. While it does help to make this beer more drinkable, it is so strong and fizzy that it covers the flavors when the beer is held in the mouth.

output01x, Aug 25, 2011
Photo of bugaboo416
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black as midnight, weak legs, head dissipates quickliy

S: Roasted malt, dark caramal, halfway to soy sauce but not there so still good

T: roasted malt, slight coffee, slight astringency/dryness at the end. You can taste the licorice halfway through your taste. I'm not too familiar with black licorice but it adds a nice flavor to the beer. moderate bitterness throughout

M: light body, light creaminess

O: Very nice stout which, while not medium or heavy bodied and super creamy is still creamy enough and thick enough that it's not a porter and coupled with the licorice, really add another layer of character to the beer. Worth trying and drinking more of.

bugaboo416, Aug 24, 2011
Photo of jsprain1
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours essentially the color of coffee with a thin head that lasts decently well but disappears pretty quickly and leaves almost no lacing.
S- One of the best smelling beers I've come across. There is coffee, some smokey aromas, a touch of chocolate and coffee and I'm picking up just a bit of a dried fruit, like a dried fig aroma.
T- Unfortunately the flavors don't quite line up for me. There is too much caramel and not enough roasted flavors. There is some coffee and the smoke comes out a little more here, but caramel is too heavy for me. Roasted flavors come out in the finish more, but I'd like to see them throughout.
M- Nice full body, but I found the carbonation too prickly for me.
O- A good beer but the smell was really the only thing I found memorable about this one.

jsprain1, Aug 24, 2011
Photo of MeisterBurger
3.68/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Fresh bottle from the brewery. Pours opaque black with rust highlights topped by a mocha coloured head. Great lacing.

Aroma is roasty and metallic, like wet coffee grinds and a tinge of wet cardboard.

Taste is similar. Roasty with dark fruits and coffee grinds. Finishes dry. Hints of baker's chocolate. The label says it's brewed with brewer's licorice. First I have heard of such a thing. I can only guess it's a very mild form of licorice as I only get a hint of black licorice here.

Mouthfeel is a little on the light side, unfortunately.

Overall a pretty straightforward but decent stout.

MeisterBurger, Aug 23, 2011
Photo of FreshmanPour77
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 7-2-11
Reviewed cold from a bottle to a glass

A – Poured a finger of foam, dark brew. Can’t tell if there is much carbonation. Decent lacing ring

S – Dark roasted malts, licorice and chocolate. No real hop aroma to speak of

T/M – Medium bodied brew. Malty with a mix of licorice and chocolate. Slight piney back bone at the end but almost couldn’t pick it out

D – Another good brew from Bell’s. Pretty enjoyable. I would get this brew again and recommend it

FreshmanPour77, Aug 17, 2011
Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a coffee brown-black with red shining through at the edges. Very healthy and dense khaki head, which started at over an inch and settled at about a quarter inch. Good cling and resilience on the head. There are prominent smoky and molasses notes in the nose, along with a nice toasted malt backbone. Less pronounced dark chocolate in there, as well. Just slight sourness is perceptible in the bouquet. The taste has toasted malts right up front, with very significant smokiness. Molasses--smooth and somewhat bittersweet--flavor follows, with just a touch of alcohol flavor coming through. The smokiness and a bit of bitterness lingers at the back. The feel is medium-bodied and quite effervescent. It's a bit grainy toward the back, but rather clean and smooth overall.

I suppose I was expecting more pronounced licorice or molasses flavor given the description of this one, but I think Bell's did a nice job in producing a stout that's well-balanced and engaging. I can come back to this one again and again.

DabblinWiscCraft, Aug 15, 2011
Photo of soulfly1492
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black. Can see a bit of red when held up to a bright light. Thick, dark brown head. Intense lacing. Nice retention.

Aroma: Chocolate, toffee, coffee, nutty, slight bitterness which may be associated with the toffee.

Taste: Chocolate followed by coffee. The finish is wonderfully roasty.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied. Watery texture. Minimal carbonation. A bit warming, which was unexpected.

Overall: Very drinkable. On the sweet side for the style, barely any bitter.

soulfly1492, Aug 14, 2011
Photo of doughanson78
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks to GCurlow for this one. Batch #9921

A: Very dark pour. Pitch black in glass. One finger head with retention that leaves a lot to be desired being only 6% ABV. Lots of carbonation bubbles on the side of the glass. Just alright lacing too.

S: Pretty big nose on this. Lots of dark fruits. Cherries, figs, raisins. A nice touch of anise. Light sweet chocolate. A very mild roasted coffee.

T: Taste in inline with the nose. Sweet upfront. Then all the fruits, chocolate, and light coffee. With lots of anise and a big roasty/burnt flavor coming in the finish. A very slight metallic note in the aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied, a tad light. Pretty creamy. A tad much on the carbonation.

O: Pretty good stout. More complex than some of the other non-Imperial stouts I've had. Maybe went a tad overboard but big kudos for doing something slightly different.

doughanson78, Aug 14, 2011
Photo of Jimmys
3.55/5  rDev -11%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: completely opaque black. small tan head has decent retention, but i was hoping for more of a plume of foam.

S: a definitive licorice note can be sensed among the sweet chocolate and a more mild roasted coffee. a slightly smokey charcoal quality. cant find any hop aroma in here.

T: very sweet chocolate. mild coffee flavor, similar to the nose, works its way into the palate. finish turns to a bittersweet chocolate flavor. interesting that the licorice doesnt seem to work its way into the palate.

M: moderate, creamy carbonation on a medium body.

D: i do like the licorice, it gives the beers aroma something unique when compared to other american stouts. however, i found the palate, mouthfeel, etc to be sort of american stout redundant. not a bad brew, but not as blown away as the masses.

Jimmys, Aug 12, 2011
Photo of kbnooshay
4.72/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a black as he'll color with no head. Smells like a rich milk chocolate and roast roast roastiness. Tastes the same with rich chocolate flavor and coffee hints. Feel is super smooth and moderate to thick with the slightest carbonation. Creaminess and roastiness. Come on bells. Just fucking distribute to western ny already.

kbnooshay, Aug 07, 2011
Photo of musicforairports
3.68/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle bottled three months ago into a Bell's tulip.

Black for sure. Head is brown. Lacing minimal, though. But this looks like a very serious beer.

Aroma is full of a burnt characteristic, but smooth and not bitter. Also some licorice.

Taste is robust and smooth. Thick chocolate and charred malty flavors with a lot of licorice on the end. ABV undetectable, but it seems robust enough that it should be higher, if that makes sense. This licorice--or what I think is the brewer's licorice mentioned on the label--gets a bit metallic and becomes a bit much.

Creamy, chewy mouthfeel.

This is really a pretty unique stout, but the licorice flavors, while interesting, don't really do it for me. But I love the smoothness Bell's gives to their stouts, and this I can drink this one easily. I liked the Oatmeal Stout at the Eccentric Cafe much more than this, though.

musicforairports, Aug 04, 2011
Photo of Goblinmunkey7
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep deep brown, almost black. Head is the color of coffee with a touch of cream. A little creamy, but quickly dissipates to a thin ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Loads of roasted malts with a touch of toasted malt thrown in for good measure. Extra crusty bread that's cooked a little too long. Touches of black licorice and cocoa linger on the edges of the malts. Almost reminds me of popcorn. Clean and a little husky. Cereal grains?

Taste: Roasted malts and more roasted malts. Cocoa sneaks around after the beer has warmed a bit and the licorice is faint, but assertive. Almost no hop presence, maybe a touch of something citrus in the back. Edge of toasted malts bring a deep rich crust flavor. A touch earthy as well. Air popped popcorn.

Mouthfeel: Rough around the edges like it should be. The body straddles the edge of almost thin, but doesn't quite tip that way. A touch dry. Delightful.

Overall: Another solid beer from Bell's. Decidedly drinkable with a wealth of flavor and aroma to keep things interesting. Everyone who can get his all the time, I'm jealous.

Goblinmunkey7, Jul 31, 2011
Photo of chinchill
3.81/5  rDev -4.5%
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.}

chinchill, Jul 29, 2011
Photo of JayQue
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This American Stout at 6% abv rivals most Double /Imperial Stouts in richness and some in taste. Fully worthy of its place in the Beers of Fame. I have a fresh bottle (Batch 10328).

Pours a dense dark brown color with no light coming through. Dark tan head...big to start with and slowly fading to a covering of the glass. Good bands of lacing. Nice looking beer.

Smell is primarily roasted malts with some chocolate and coffee. Taste is heavy on roasted malts. The coffee and chocolate are more subtle but there, as is a hint of licorice.

Mouthfeel is surprising. This beer is as rich and filling as a Double Stout at 10-12% abv. but without the paralyzing kick. Overall this is a good solid stout that will please the RIS/Imperial Stout lovers with the flavor and mouthfeel as well as the "pint man" that could quaff a few.

JayQue, Jul 26, 2011
Photo of GPHarris
3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a - poured a three-fingers thick tan head into a pint glass that left nice sheeting but not much lace. the body was dark black.
s - bitter chocolate with some hops.
t - roast, chocolatey with a nice hop balance.
m - medium thickness but a little on the thin side.
o - nice semi-sessionable and accessable stout.

GPHarris, Jul 25, 2011
Photo of woodychandler
4.4/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A fresh bottle (Batch 10232) came to me recently from local trader tone77, plus like cagocubs, I have an aged bottle (Batch 6666 (whoa!) that just turned up in my infamous cellar. This is as good a day as any to try them.

From the bottle: "Here's where we tell you about this full-bodied stout's delicious roast flavor. But really, you've already got the bottle in your hand so why not find out for yourself?"

Batch 10232

I went with such an aggressive pour that it initially looked like a chocolate milk shake in my glass until a cascading action took hold and the foam began to subside into beer. Thank goodness for surface tension or it might have overflowed my glass! As it was, I ended up with a dense foamy finger of deep-tan head with excellent retention in this heat. Color was an obsidian black, allowing zero light penetration, even at the edges. This was a black hole of a beer. Nose smelled roasty with notes of dark chocolate and charcoal. Mouthfeel was medium, approaching creaminess, with flavors of dark chocolate, smoke, charcoal and black licorice on the tongue. As the lacing began to appear, it was thick and sticky, looking as though it would need to be chiseled out later. Finish was very dry with the smoky charcoal flavor dominating and lingering. Phew! Give me this over a milk/sweet stout any day.

Batch 6666

Jeez, Louise, it looked like spent motor oil coming out of the bottle and into my glass! I briefly had a finger of deep-tan head before it disappeared. Color was solid black with zero light penetration. Nose was very smoky and charcoal-ish underlain by a dark chocolate scent. Mouthfeel was fairly full and the roasted bitterness had really come to the forefront with coffee initially and chocolate following. Finish was more like chocolate fudge than anything, rendering it a dessert beer. It held up extremely well.

woodychandler, Jul 22, 2011
Photo of Chriscrundwell12
3.35/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter

A- Pours a ½ finger mocha head dissipates quickly to thin ring around the glass, dark black color, opaque, splotchy lacing.
S- Unappealing Metallic smell, slight coffee aroma, slight roastiness as well.
T- Some bitterness, roasted malts, coffee, slight chocolate, taste very similar to the aroma not the best tasting beer.
M- Medium mouth feel, moderate carbonation, crisp finish.
O- This is an interesting beer, not the best from bells, definitely would not buy again.

Chriscrundwell12, Jul 22, 2011
Photo of MDDMD
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-dark chocolate brown with a tan creamy head

S=toasty caramel malty aroma, sweet overtones

T-chocolate creamy malty flavor with hints of caramel and coffee and touch of bitterness

M-suprisingly medium-bodied, creamy and smooth

O-a solid stout with nice flavor and balance

MDDMD, Jul 22, 2011
Photo of Knapp85
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a deep black color, the head was thick and tan colored. The smell of the beer is roasted and has a light chocolate aroma in there too. The taste of the beer had heavy roasted malts, and hints of chocolate too. The mouthfeel of the beer wasn't as thick as I was hoping for. Overall this beer isn't too bad. I would gladly drink it again, I just feel there are better stouts out there.

Knapp85, Jul 20, 2011
Photo of IronLover
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled from a bottle with no freshness date. Totally black in color. Poured with a rich beige foam that slowly reduced to a nice cap that leaves a few sticky lacings on the glass. Roasted and chocolate malt aromas. Smells creamy too. Thick and resinous feel in the beginning, and creamy smooth toward the finish with rich carbonation. Dark roasted and chocolate flavor up front with dark malt flavors transitioning to a lightly burnt malt flavor into the middle. Hop bitterness then comes alive with pleasant herbal pine character that intensifies from the middle to the end. Dark maltiness also carries through to the end along with hints of black coffee and a dry finish. Leaves you with a light herbal pine bitterness that lingers for a while.

IronLover, Jul 19, 2011
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 Klym
2.98/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to SPDKilz for hooking Cavery up with this! Also, thanks to Cavery for sharing. Poured into a Stone nonic.

A: Black, slightly tanned and very spongy head with spider lacing. Looks good for a single stout.

S: Chocolate with a pretty defined lactose character, brown sugar, dark fruits, a little roast and some caramel. Lots of sweet things swimming around but more of a lactose air than an overly sweet one.

T: How bizarre. No lactose and not a great deal of sweetness in the taste. Hits with a little chocolate, brown sugar, and dark fruits then the taste almost completely goes empty besides some linger, and then a bitter coffee/dark chocolate/char taste kicks in and finishes it out. Very subdued flavors that die off very quickly.

M: Plenty of carbonation in this which is nice. I can't criticize the mouthfeel too much but it's awkward that it's probably more of a centerpiece to this beer than the flavors, as the mouthfeel lasts longer and provides more of an attention-grabbing sensual experience. Hard to have an amazing mouthfeel when there's not too much flavor to accompany it.

O: Glad I tried this and very happy to try some bells things, but this was pretty mediocre. Volume definitely needs to be turned up on the flavors and their development. If the same flavors were amped, this would be an easy B or B+. As it is, hard to really recommend this beer unless you like your stouts unusually light and fleeting.

Klym, Jul 16, 2011
Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
89 out of 100 based on 3,476 ratings.