1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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

3,466 Ratings
THE BROS
83
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,466
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: 3,466 | Reviews: 1,439 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of womencantsail
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for sending this one my way, Matt.

A: The beer is almost black in color and pours with about a finger of dark tan head.

S: Plenty of roasted malt and coffee notes to the nose followed up by dark chocolate and licorice. Actually, a lot of licorice. Molasses is present as well is a touch of soap.

T: The flavor is very similar to the nose, with a nice roasted character, though not overwhelming or charred in nature. Toffee and molasses flavors provide the bulk of the sweetness along with a bit of licorice.

M: Medium in body with a medium level of carbonation.

O: Really nice easy drinking stout. You could definitely have a couple of these.

womencantsail, Apr 02, 2011
Photo of mountsnow1010
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown with a brown head that lasts. Leaves nice lacing.
S - OK. Everyone says chocolate. I say: "oatmeal." Seriously, I get oatmeal primarily. Even better: weetabix. If you have smelt weetabix in milk, that is what this smells like.
T - Notes of chocolate, oats/raw wheat and a bit of a soapy taste (not unpleasant though). Some slightly odd aftertaste, though. In general, quite good.
MF - Pleasant. Medium body, and not over or under carbonated.
O - Very nice beer. Easy drinker with a bundle of flavor. I still don't get the chocolate that everyone else is talking about, or the brewer's licorice.

mountsnow1010, Apr 02, 2011
Photo of dogfishandi
4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle pulled from my fridge poured into a tulip. bottling code 10175 indicates it was bottled on 1/7/2011, almost 3 months old.

pours out beautifuly! opaque black body, big two fingers of fluffy tan colored head, great thick retention, lots of sticky lace. looks dark enough to pass for an imperial stout.

a nice dose of roasted malt is first noticable followed by a nice range of chocolate, coffee, and dark fruits. sweet smelling and also just a touch metallic.

a nice sweet roasted malt starts things off with some nice chocolate and coffee. dark fruits are noticable as well as maybe a hint of the brewers licorice. finishes with almost an herbal, earthy bitterness and maybe some bitterness from the roast throughout as well.

this is the ideal american stout, without adding anything to it they did everything just right for the style. IMO, not enough breweries make this simple, tasty, yet overlooked style. i could drink this anytime of year and i would definatly recommend it. a nice session beer.

dogfishandi, Apr 01, 2011
Photo of AndyAvalanche
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Duvel Tulip Style Glass. It comes out black in color with the slightest of slight lighter brown edges when held up to the light. There's a brown head that sticks around for quite awhile giving some pretty decent lacing.

Alright well the smell wasn't exactly what I expected. I took a whiff right when I opened popped the cap very quickly and got a whiff of smokey bacon??? It stayed like that until it warmed up a bit, I was surprised, I'd heard it was more of a sweeter styled stout. Eventually it gets that way, large doses of fudgie chocolate. I don't' really get any hints of licorice in the smell like the bottle indicates, but maybe some molasses and a little coffee. Obviously well malted, and there's a hint of nuttiness There are also some slight earthy hops that feigntly make themselves known as you pull your nose away.

Complex flavor profile, not as sweet as I expected, but tasty none the less. Starts with bitter chocolate, hints of dark coffee as well. I think I can taste some slight licorice here unlike the smell. Again well malted, no hop in the flavor. There's a smokiness again and might just be power of suggestion now, but there is some sweet bacon, like coated in brown sugar. Not as sweet as I expected, but good non the less.

The mouthfeel grew on me, at first I thought it was a little too light, but overall based on the rest of the profile, it works here. A little gritty, could be smoother and has a solid bitter finish. Very drinkable, especially the more you sip it.

Good stout, first stout I've had from Bell's looking forward to trying more.

AndyAvalanche, Apr 01, 2011
Photo of sweett3k
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bell's makes another great beer in this Kalamazoo Stout. One thing great about Bell's is that they are not a one trick pony but put time and effort into all their beers to be one of the best hand crafted breweries. This stout pours jet black into my pint glass with a little creamy head. Chocolate and sweet smell either hops or alcohol is very pleasant. Hoppy chocolate taste to a bitter hazelnut coffee flavor. You can feels the hops on tongue and is an easy drinker. Love this Michigan beer.

sweett3k, Mar 29, 2011
Photo of TheBear11D
4.4/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle

Pours jet black with a thick dark brown bubbly head that lingered for a bit and left evidence of it's presence in thick layers of lacing.

Has a chocolate nose with plenty more going on that is difficult to distinguish. The chocolate is almost like a baked brownie smell.
There is also some dark coffee thrown into the mix.

Has the bitter coffee flavor up front that mixes nicely with the chocolate sweetness that oddly still resembles brownies somewhat...although I think it tastes a little like overcooked brownies.

Thick body and very smooth. You almost have to chew this beer and it is wonderful.

Quite enjoyable. Another great brew from Bell's, which I love is in my hometown!

TheBear11D, Mar 26, 2011
Photo of bobhits
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark, huge head, lacing like few stouts, and well darn good start.

Chocolate, coffee, some piny hops, a touch buttery, but not overly aromatic. Rather light in the aromas.

Extremely roasted and toasted chocolate, bread, hints of coffee. There's a watered down and creamy hop impact in there as well. Really like the wet hops finishing this beer. A good bit of lactose that reminds me of a milk stout.

I love stouts that aren't high alcohol this but pack a plethora of flavor. Makes for solid beer to sip on, drink, or just enjoy. Certainly not a winter beer, but still this works extremely well.

Overall not a great beer, but a very good one. I have to say I love expedition aged, but fresh this just does it for me.

bobhits, Mar 24, 2011
Photo of BelgiumBill
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the 12 oz bottle into a Sam Adams glass a nice dark black with a deep brown rim. A 1 inch creamy fluffy brown head lasted a few minutes. On the nose there was the advertised licorice and sweet and roasty nuances typical of the style.

Hoppy licorice dominate the flavor profile, with some smoke, coffee adding to the complexity. Nice lacing on the way down. A good mouthfeel, if not a bit more bitter than your average stout.

I'd buy again.

BelgiumBill, Mar 23, 2011
Photo of scottfrie
3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into Duvel Green tulip.

A: Pours black with a thick light brownish-tan head that slowly faded into a thin film that left a network of sticky lacing down the glass.
S: Big notes of licorice with hints of chocolate and smoke.
T: Follows the nose with a mixture of chocolate malt, licorice, campfire, dark chocolate and a touch of caramel. I get maybe a hint of spice as well, but I'm not sure which one. There is just hint of coffee to the finish, and the aftertaste is slightly bitter.
M: Full bodied with a thick chewy mouthfeel. Carbonation is a bit tingly and distracting though, but it doesn't take much away from the beers drinkability.
D: A very solid stout and one that I could see myself enjoying regularly if it were available to me. Lots of different flavors going on but overall it's not very potent. Easy to drink.

scottfrie, Mar 23, 2011
Photo of rundocrun
3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Opaque black with just a slight hint of deep brownish amber around the edges of the glass when held up to the light. A huge tan head very slowly gives way to fluffy billows sitting on top of the beer with lots of lacing on the sides of the glass.

S - slight roastiness wafts up along with a toasty nutty aroma. I almost wish there was a little chocolate character here but I don't detect any.

T - Again, a coffee-like roastiness from the dark malts/roast barley up front. Subtle malty sweetness washes from the front of the tongue all the way back with only a slight hint of the acrid burnt flavor at the very end (a trait I prefer in a stout when it's well balanced).

M - Just what I expected from seeing how much of that foam clung to the side of the glass. Big and chewy with a dry finish leaving you craving the next sip.

rundocrun, Mar 22, 2011
Photo of madvermin
3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jesse13713 for this beer, it's just one of many Midwest locals he hooked me up with in a trade.

Pours black and opaque, with a one-finger light tan head that dissipates averagely and leaves some spotty lace. Bubbling is coarse in the middle and fine on the edges. Maybe some brown tinges at the sides of the glass, but I think my eyes are playing tricks on me.

Smell is weak roasted grain with a bit of toffee and char mixed in. Has a slightly baked feel to it that I got from Bell's Cherry Stout last night.

Taste has a nice buttery feel to it to go with the baked malts from the nose. More charred and slightly fruity as well, almost like the cherry stout without the juice - this would be the licorice doing work. Taste could be stronger, but I like the soft balance this one offers. Slightly bitter hop + malt coffee finish is slight but keeps the beer interesting.

Mouthfeel is buttery, creamy and thick, and it works well for this beer. Drinkability is quite good due to the lack of any overpowering flavors, and the buttery character in the middle makes me want to keep drinking this. Finish is just bitter enough to get the palate ready for the next sip as well. This is a really good regular stout, and it's nice to have one of these while everyone chases big huge enormous stouts all the time (myself included).

madvermin, Mar 19, 2011
Photo of gabedivision
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle to a pint glass.

A- Pours a pretty dark brown/black with a nice fluffy beige head about 2 fingers worth.

S- Smokey sweet malts, light chocolate. Faint bittering hops.

T- Bitter sweet chocolate, toffee, light coffee and the licorice its brewed with seems to stick out like a sore thumb, mixed with a toasty nutty woody finish.

M- Medium bodied, super sweet, creamy, lots of flavor bursts at different times on different sips.

O- Overall, this a a decent stout. It has all the makings of being really explosive, you can taste it on your tongue that it wants to be better than it is. The sweetness hits a little too strong on the tongue at first, and controls the feel of the beer from there, very sweet.

gabedivision, Mar 19, 2011
Photo of GoalieRon33
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pretty beer to pour. Resembles Coca Cola both in body appearance and head appearance. Head dissipates quickly, which was a bit upsetting.

Good hop aroma. Very smooth, somewhat burnt. Underwhelming, but in a good way.

Starts out like a guinness, but is much more complex. Burnt, slightly Chocolatey, but muted. Hoppy finish. Gloriously complex.

Nice body. Not too watery. Slightly syrup-like at colder temperatures.

Great brew overall. Fun to drink, easy to appreciate. Would definitely rec. to anyone.

GoalieRon33, Mar 18, 2011
Photo of Jesstyr
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Grabbed this one at Pete's Apizza in DC, a great spot for pizza and a legit craft beer list. Served in a pint glass.

Pours dark black with a good finger's worth of tan head. Nose is heavy on the burnt malt, but lacks any tremendous diversity.

Flavor is heavy on the smoke, malt and a bit of hops to add some balance. It lacks any overwhelming "flavor" per say, but its a good heavy balance. Body is big, and its a smooth beer going down, particularly with a reasonable ABV.

Jesstyr, Mar 12, 2011
Photo of BBP
4.38/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a little dark for a 6% and has a decent head which becomes a thin film that remains for the duration of the drink. Good carbonation as well and nice albeit slight lacing.

S- Chocolate, coffee, and bitterness came through from the beginning. There's loads and loads of dark malts that are balanced fairly well by the hop load.

T- While I usually find lighter stouts to be a little lacking in one flavor or another, this actually has a lot of everything. It's full of chocolate and coffee and has a ton of roastiness to it. There's more bitterness to it than in most stouts of it's caliber as well. If they took the recipe from this and made it an imperial stout, it would be up there as one of my favorite stouts. I love the flavor, but it could use just a few more units of intensity. The after-taste actually seemed just as powerful as the initial taste. With a stroke more flavor I'd give this a 5. Superbly balanced, but just a tad light. More like imp stouts flavor wise, but a bit weak in comparison.

M- Medium full and creamy. Carbonation is spot on. Leaves a slightly sticky finish.

D- A solid beer, especially for the ABV. It's a good near sessionable beer and I plan to get this again. Also, it's one of the best regular stouts in regards to character. Most stouts seem lacking in one way or another, but this one has all you could ask of a 6% stout.

BBP, Mar 11, 2011
Photo of tgorgz
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: From the bottle into a snifter. Espresso black, with a nice-looking crema on top. Only about a one-finger head, but nice lacing.

S: First a good deal of roasted malt, followed by a hefty amount of chocolate. Definitely quite appetizing.

T: As for taste, perhaps I'm just being a snob, but I found the chocolate a little overpowering to the rest of the flavours in the beer. Normally, I'm a huge fan of chocolate, but I think this had a little too much and made it more of a "chocolate porter" than a stout. I'd suggest either scaling back a wee it on the chocolate to balance a little better.

M: Nice, thick and creamy. Exactly what I was expecting.

D: Very, very smooth, with almost no alcohol taste. I'm digging it. It took me about halfway through (I'm drinking as I review) to really enjoy the smoothness.

Cheers!

tgorgz, Mar 11, 2011
Photo of ItsTheLimit
3.43/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a cool bottle into an Old Rasputin glass.

A.) This beer is pitch black and looks thick and super-heavy. Gorgeous tan head of about 2.5 fingers, really tight with great retention. Looks the way a serious stout should look.

B.) Mostly roasted malt, some bitter chocolate and something almost nutty in the nose. Maybe some sweetness mixed in from dry fruit or something of the like. Pretty standard stuff here.

T.) Mostly earthy-bitterness with a long dry finish. Lots of smoke and roasted flavors as well. As it warms it gets a little more complex and I can find some chocolate and carmel notes.

M.) Actually, I find this to be a tiny bit light, especially after it came out of the bottle looking more like motor-oil than beer. I think this is almost closer to a porter in body, than a true stout.

D.) Due to it's lighter body and only 6.0% abv, this is something you could have a few of and still keep your wits about you. This would be a great cold-weather beer. Unfortunately, I could never find Bell's beer when I lived in Syracuse, and I don't have too much time to drink big winter beers in the Florida heat.

ItsTheLimit, Mar 10, 2011
Photo of Franz4
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle batch #9984 poured into a perfect pint glass

A- pours dark, good 3 finger tan head that held about a 1/4 inch over the top of the glass, very nice. Head is foamy with some larger bubbles at the top. Leaves stringy ribbons of lace throughout.

S- subtle chocolate and a mild dark fruit scent.

T- Dark chocolate flavor with a little bite to it. Slightly acidic. Dark fruit flavor is present in the finish. Some coffee present as well.

M- very dry, moderate carbonation, aftertaste lingers a bit long for my taste.

D- This is a pretty approachable stout, in a world filled in RIS this provides a nice lower ABV alternative.

Franz4, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of Janderson91
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch #10175, bottled on 01/07/11. Enjoyed on 03/08/11.

A - Pours pitch black opaque with a good looking one finger tan head. Leaves a nice wall of lacing down the sides of the glass. Good looking beer.

S - Smell is largely roasted malts, some dark chocolate, licorice, and a hint of coffee.

T - A pretty bitter stout. Roasted malt flavor throughout. Some dark chocolate up front, then some dark chocolate and licorice and a nice bitter coffee finish.

M/D - Mouthfeel is good for a stout, medium bodied, maybe a little overcarbonated but nothing too bad. Very drinkable, pretty clean finish.

Another excellent offering from Bell's, I've enjoyed everything I've had from them and this one was no different.

Janderson91, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of vissai
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of a 12oz bottle in tulip glass.
A: little half inch head, looks very full bodied and rich. Very very black in color
S: Not too much popping out besides traditional stout traits. A little coffee and licorice in the back.
T: For its class it is a solid stout. A little charred wood and burnt chocolate. The licorice comes in on the finish. Leaving the mouth with a cooling afterburn. Very enjoyable.
M: good to slightly overcarbonated mouthfeel. But the carbonation helps all the flavors shine a little more. as it warmed the carbonation settled and I reall enjoyed it.
D: I have been too busy with BA stouts so this one went down very easily.

vissai, Mar 08, 2011
Photo of jsanford
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a Pint Glass. Batch 9984.

A - Pours inky black with a thick, creamy khaki-colored head. Wonderful retention, leaves some craggy lacing as it recedes.
S - Somewhat subdued nose of dark roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, and just a hint of licorice.
T - More dark roasty flavors of malt and chocolate, but the coffee really stands out the most. Almost has a coffee-and-cream thing going on. Very nice.
M - Smooth, with a medium body and moderate carbonation.
D - Nice and drinkable, at at 6% ABV I could have a couple of these in a sitting. Solid everyday Stout!

jsanford, Mar 08, 2011
Photo of TheSupremeAJ
4.63/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Great head and dark body. Creamy roasty head. Excellent lacing,

S- Nice roasty malts with an approachable profile. Balanced.

T- Well balanced! The licorice, dark chocolate, and vanilla flavors melf perfectly.

M- Perfect carbonation and luxorious rich cocoa mouthfeel.

D- Very nice. This could be my new favorite stout.

This seems very comparable to the SN stout actually... however less hopped. This is a good go to beer.

TheSupremeAJ, Mar 08, 2011
Photo of Geuzedad
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

Geuzedad, Mar 07, 2011
Photo of Dave128
3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Very disappointing on the head compared to other stouts. I would expect an everlasting head with the thickness this beer looked like it had on the pour. Almost no head retention in my glass. Not even a disc a minute after the pour. Color is nice though. You can barely pick up some ruby highlights around the edges if you hold it up to the light.

S - Nothing really special in the nose for me. Smells roasty and chocolaty, but also has somewhat of a metallic astringent smell.

T - Tastes wonderful. The roasted dark malt comes in fantastic with the flavor and the finish isn't tooo tooo bittersweet. Picking up a little dried fruit typa flavors in the middle.

M - Perfect for a stout. Thick and syrupy coats the mouth ridiculously well with the flavors present.

D - Pretty good stout. Certainly not the best I've had but a fair offering from Bell's.

I was also unable to locate a bottle dating so I have no idea if this is fresh or not..

Dave128, Mar 06, 2011
Photo of RickS95
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black. It's completely devoid of any other color, nothing even around the edges. Comes with a finger of loose brown bubbles that lack retention.

Packs a lot of flavor. Coffee, licorice, smokey roasty toast, plums. A very inviting scent that begs you to take a sip.

The flavor is slightly disappointing based on what your nose tells you, but it's still good. Your palate picks up the sweet fruits and smoke.

There's a creamy feeling you'd expect from a stout. It starts off slightly sweet before tapering off into a touch of bitterness in the swallow.

Very drinkable. The beer goes down very easy. With moderate alcohol, you can enjoy these all night long.

RickS95, Mar 06, 2011
Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
89 out of 100 based on 3,466 ratings.