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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.
very good

3,319 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,319
Reviews: 1,427
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.53%
Wants: 147
Gots: 247 | 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
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Ratings: 3,319 | Reviews: 1,427 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AgentMunky


4.08/5  rDev +2.3%

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

A: Dark, dense, midnight brown. No head, no tracing. Pours viscously. Looks like a stout should.

S: Roasted meats stand out from a generally malty aroma.

T: Excellent! Just a little bit sweet, with a roasted gentle bitterness rounding out the flavour...the smoky meats are just barely noticeable as a delicious plus to the taste. Aftertaste is bitter and reminiscent of coffee.

M: Carbonation is intially stimulating, but the general body of the beer is heavy and a little bit sticky, which I don't particulalry enjoy.

D: A delicious stout, an excellent representation of the style, and another success from Bell's. All the same, I wouldn't drink more than one every once in a while. Definitely one to pick up as a single, but I don't know if I'd grab a six-pack.

07-05-2010 03:06:50 | More by AgentMunky
Photo of DovaliHops


4/5  rDev +0.3%

Pours pitch black with a nice sized tan head that diminishes rather quickly. I smell some very sweet chocolate scents. Lots of chocolate. Some sweet malts and maybe just a tiny bit of hoppiness. This taste is definitely highly chocolatey tasting. Tons of sweet chocolate and vanilla dancing around on my palate. I also get maybe the slightest little bit of coffee in the aftertaste. This sure is delicious though. The mouthfeel on this is a bit light. It's not watered down or anything, but it could use maybe just a tad more body to it. The drinkability is very high due to how tasty and light the mouthfeel is.

07-04-2010 08:06:29 | More by DovaliHops
Photo of Walken


4.3/5  rDev +7.8%

Bell's: Kalamazoo Stout (Bottled 04/05/10) (Tasted 06/28/10)
12 oz. bottle, poured into a dimple mug.

Appearance: Black, with a half foamy, half bubbly mocha colored head that sits about three millimeters high after fading, leaving some big patches of lace.
Odor: Expressive nose, roast yells mocha, charred oak and molasses with bits of medium coffee in the background.
Consistency: Full end of medium body, evened and smoothed out by the surprisingly high carbonation, almost too snappy, but there's so much body to this beer that it is almost negligible.
Flavor: Everything from the nose is echoed in the flavor, though the coffee runs much more espresso-like. Faint anise/black licorice character adds to the bittersweet malt-iness. Light citric hop flavor pokes through, contributing another small charge of bitterness, these three elements combine balance this monster of a beer. Finish is long, tones of smoke as the flavors fade out. Roast lingers, almost like dark chocolate fudge and espresso on the palate.

This beer is amazing, everything that I want in a straight-up stout.

06-28-2010 19:18:56 | More by Walken
Photo of Florida9


3.45/5  rDev -13.5%

Batch 9163

A: Pours with a viscous glug resulting in a weak 1/4" of thin head that has little retention. No lacing. Beer itself is pitch black.

S: Muted. Maybe a faint raisin and sweet malt character, but it is almost imperceptible.

T: Weak flavor of mint and roasted malt, then a moderate char bitterness that turns a bit spicy then finishes with the long drawn out flavor of ash.

M: On the heavier side of medium with a surprisingly heavy carbonation. Tingly, yet also a chalky dryness.

D: A lighter stout. Not really sure where the licorice is coming in to play. Maybe its that tingly feeling. A decent beer, but not one I would seek out again.

06-25-2010 01:18:46 | More by Florida9
Photo of bigfnjoe


3.4/5  rDev -14.8%

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A- pours pitch black with a nice looking, 2 finger mocha colored head. Head is very puffy. Laces nicely

S- I'm getting a lot of licorice, with some coffee and chocolate mixed in there as well. The licorice is what really dominates though..I'm getting a little molasses in there too.

T- VERY bitter due to the licorice as I mentioned. Hints of coffee with a tad bit of chocolate in there. But I'm mostly getting the licorice

M- its actually kind of watery, which surprised me a little bit. Decent carbonation. A little bit of thickness in there too...overall disappointing feel

D- not a huge fan. The feel throws me off a lot, and the licorice is a flavor I'm not used to dominating a stout like this. Don't think I'd get again

06-20-2010 16:29:53 | More by bigfnjoe
Photo of Nerudamann


3.85/5  rDev -3.5%

Look - dark brown/black. Completely non-translucent. Maybe half a finger's worth of foam.

Smell - you can definitely smell the licorice, but also maybe blueberry and/or coffee.

Taste - I'm not at all a fan of licorice, but this works for me. The typical stout taste seems to balance out the licorice taste. Has a coffee-like aftertaste, but I'm not sure it's actually any type of coffee that I'm tasting, perhaps still just the licorice.

Mouthfeel - medium, but slightly more toward heavy. Definitely not a heavy stout, but still a stout.

Drinkability - Not bad at all, but as I would always personally do, I wouldn't drink this with food, at least not with anything very heavy or filling. I think you would do just fine drinking one or two of these by themselves.

06-16-2010 05:48:14 | More by Nerudamann
Photo of Spica66


4.2/5  rDev +5.3%

A: Deep-brown, almost black. 1/2 finger, caramel-colored head, holds for a little while, no lacing.

S: Powerful nose of coffee and black malt. I almost gave this a "5"!

T: Very black and burned and really nicely balanced!

M: Very smooth, no alcohol burn. Very nice.

D: Are you kidding me!! I could drink these all night. And, for the price, I just might do that very soon!

06-07-2010 15:28:06 | More by Spica66
Photo of Gorgoroth


4.83/5  rDev +21.1%

Presentation: Standard brown bottle typical of Bell's with fairly minimalistic but professional artwork. Rather unsuspecting-looking for the powerful brew contained within.

Appearance: Pours into an oversize snifter with a deep brown/black color, little-to-no carbonation and half-a-fingerwidth of creamy, caramel and creme colored head.

Smell: Potent shock of coffee, roasted malt, and dark chocolate. I'd almost expect an aroma like this to come from an imperial stout rather than a regular one, but it is a pleasant surprise.

Taste: Follows the smell closely with strong currents of coffee, roasted malt, and dark chocolate, supported by notes of dried fruit such as black cherry and apricot, licorice, molasses, brown sugar, and burnt toast.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy with a very full, chewy body, as expected of a good stout. Fairly flat with a bitter finish and slight alcohol warmth.

Drinkability/Final Thoughts: Very smooth and drinkable; quite complex for a standard stout yet very inviting. Bell's puts out many solid beers, and this is no exception. This is a very potent drink which almost comes off as an imperial or experimental stout, though it is technically a standard American stout. It is quite cheap and widely available in my area, which results in a great deal because the brew itself is superb.

06-06-2010 00:11:24 | More by Gorgoroth
Photo of jonziefle

North Carolina

2.98/5  rDev -25.3%

Appearance: Poured a deep, opaque black. Two finger dark khaki head, with excellent retention. Moderate lacing.

Smell: Smokey burnt malts, chocolate and coffee. Syruppy sweetness.

Taste: Very smokey malts, with plenty of bitterness (not the bad kind). Burnt chocolate is a very strong flavor. The sweetness is light and comes on too late to balance out the burnt character. A slight buttery taste as well. Dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied, with a nice bitter bite to start. Smooth, but not overly so.

Drinkability: An overly burnt tasting stout, that doesn't have much else in it to balance it out.

Buy Again? No.

06-01-2010 03:09:35 | More by jonziefle
Photo of ZorPrime

Quebec (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev -1%

Brought back some from my last trip to Kalamazoo. The only good thing that happened down there was to bring some good beers :)

This one pours very dark black and the head is brown and made up of big bubbles. The aroma presents some notes of roasted malts but nothing else. On the taste, it is still roasted malts and the bitterness at the end is similar to an espresso coffee. Creamy in the mouth. This is a good stout. Nothing complex but it delivers to bring some good feelings in the mouth. A nice one to have and could be very sessionnable.

05-30-2010 23:40:21 | More by ZorPrime
Photo of wchesak

South Carolina

3.9/5  rDev -2.3%

Poured into Spiegelau tulip glass

A - black, tan head almost 2 fingers worth, not much lacing

S - unsweetened cocoa, slight caramel, toffee, no hops

T - roasty malt, some sweet caramel and chocolate in the middle, dry slightly hoppy aftertaste

M - light side of heavy, slick, smooth finish

D - bell's certain has no problem with brewing stouts, very enjoyable, nothing out of the ordinary but its nice to see the basics being done properly

05-30-2010 01:40:50 | More by wchesak
Photo of Keffa


4.03/5  rDev +1%

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Unibroue tulip.

Batch 9668 for reference.

Pours dark as night, cola like, with a tan 2 inch head that settles into a 1/4 inch ring that leaves sticky lacing after each drink. Very good looking beer.

Smells of deep toasted/roasted malt, licorice, and a faint floral hop. When I say faint, I mean it to every sense of the word. Also get a little bit of a peanut smell on the back end.

First taste is deep roast/toasted malt with a slight caramel sweetness followed by the roasted almost smoked flavor taking over the beer. Hops aren't really perceptible to me, but the roast is so deep that it almost gives it a burnt bitterness which sort of resembles hops. Reminds me of GLBC Edmund Fitgerald.

Creamy, smooth, with a faint oily/slick feel.

Easy to drink, especially if stouts are your thing. If you are a porter fan but don't like stouts, this is your beer. I will be buying this one again. Great job to Larry and his employees. Another reason I love Bell's.

05-29-2010 03:10:14 | More by Keffa
Photo of bpbieste


3.9/5  rDev -2.3%

Appearance: Thick head, that hangs around, like a rootbeer float head. Dark, but can see light around the edges.

Smell: Unique scent, unlike any I experienced before with a stout. I can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe a slight, very slight black licorice.

Taste: Decent. Deceptively different than you would assume with the aroma.

Mouthfeel: Like a cool syrup in your mouth.

Drinkability: Great finish. But then again, Kalamazoo always brings a smile to my face.

05-26-2010 23:43:08 | More by bpbieste
Photo of Phelps


3.85/5  rDev -3.5%

Picked up in the bottle at Yucca Tap Room. The barkeep let me pour my own beer -- a rarity!

What I got was a viscous, inky black fluid surging from the bottle. A pretty aggressive pour begets a tiny head the color of brown sugar, quickly gone.

Smell is subtle, but nice. Malty, with notes of milk chocolate, licorice and molasses.

Taste reminds of sweet dark chocolate and bitter espresso with the slightest hint of tangy dark plums and prunes. Some citrusy hops round out the palate. Very sweet, very nice.

Carbonation peppers the tongue while the treacly liquid slides about in the smoothest and most enjoyable manner. Medium-full body is pretty much perfect.

Despite the somewhat creepy-looking guy on its label, this beer utterly enjoyable and a great milk stout. I'll surely visit Kalamazoo again.

05-25-2010 06:09:32 | More by Phelps
Photo of Soilworker


3.9/5  rDev -2.3%

Presentation: Poured from a 12oz pry-top bottle into a Trappist goblet.

A: Pitch black with a creamy, one finger, tan head. Has decent head retention and there is a persistent film of head across it.

S: Mild roasted malt and burnt wood aromas dominate this one with pleasant hints of vanilla, coffee, and some subtle licorice. The vanilla coffee flavor really help this one to shine! I really loved the smell on this one.

T: Roasted malts and burnt wood flavor hit your tongue gently at the start and then gradually become more pronounced. Towards the finish some burnt coffee flavors and hints of vanilla start to play a part. I don't really get much licorice here in this one, it seems to be adding a subtle role in the overall character of the beer...then again this is just what I interpret. Finish has a slightly harsh bitterness and primarily characterized by burnt flavors and some trailing licorice flavors.

M: Creamy with moderately low carbonation. Overall its pretty full-bodied but still has some 'wateriness' to it, especially at the beginning.

D: Goes down fairly smooth but still has a somewhat harsh bitter finish that knocks the drinkability down a little.

Notes: I loved the smell of this one and the taste was quite inviting. The only thing I wasn't terribly fond of was the harsh bitterness I detected towards the end that made it somewhat off-putting. I would definitely buy this one again, especially considering the reasonable price.

05-25-2010 01:20:25 | More by Soilworker
Photo of BedetheVenerable


3.35/5  rDev -16%

Presentation: 12oz brown pop top

Appearance: Black beer with brown edges and a sandy cap with decent retention and some thick lace

Smell: Rich, milk stout-like aromas...not much in the way of hops at all, some mild roast, coffee with cream, etc

Taste: LOTS of chocolate, light fruity alcohol, mild roast, hints of dark herbs, and a pretty big kick of bitterness. I'm not sure if this is from the hops or the brewer's licorice. What's brewer's licorice like, anyway?

Mouthfeel: Medium/full

Drinkability: Medium

Conclusion: Bell's has some great beers...this one just doesn't come together for me. I can't really pinpoint it.

05-24-2010 00:37:11 | More by BedetheVenerable
Photo of rfgetz

New Jersey

4.15/5  rDev +4%

Pours a thick and dark brown color, nice plume of brown head, leaving little lacing behing. Smell is of charred wood, earth, hints of bitter coffee and cocoa. Despite the aggressive scents, the taste is a smooth blend of the char, smoke, earth, coffee and chocolate note... hints of licorice and molasses in the background, the subduedness is almost porter like but and interesting finnishing taste is present, almost bolder than the first sip. Medium to Full bodied, chewy and grainy. A very nice unique stout.

05-17-2010 14:41:10 | More by rfgetz
Photo of aepb1


4.88/5  rDev +22.3%

A- Opaque deep dark brown with a creamy light brown head and light lacing

S- Rich coffee, chocolate and a hint of caramel as well

T- Coffee and roasty malts, chocolaty and creamy

M- Nice balance between carbonation and creaminess. Very full-bodied as a stout should be!

D- Excellent American stout and one of my favorite beers. If I were closer to home (Michigan) and this were more readily available, I'd drink this more often!

05-15-2010 17:47:32 | More by aepb1
Photo of Contagion


4.13/5  rDev +3.5%

There is a dark ebony color to it in the glass. Light doesn't pass through at all. A thick viscous foam head forms when poured. The head fades slowly as the beer is drunk. Along the sides of the glass is a light lacing.

The beer starts with a rich coffee smell. Roasted chocolate malts are quick to follow along with a hint of caramel. The scent is strong, but not over powering. It's the smell that makes the drinker eager with anticipation to take the first sip. The flavor is a delicious combination of coffee and chocolate malts. The roasted malts present a combination of sweet and bitterness on the tongue. There is a slight bitter burnt taste. If one savors the flavor you can pick up the faint hints of sweet licorice. Not enough to overwhelm the taste, but just a touch to enhance to flavor.
This is a medium to full bodied beer. There is a creaminess to it that coats the mouth and helps hold the flavor in.

This is by far one of the best American Stouts that I've had the pleasure of drinking. This is a great beer to sit down with friends and enjoy with friends. I've had some really good stouts, but this is by far going to be one of my favorites.

05-14-2010 02:11:36 | More by Contagion
Photo of urwithdave


4.15/5  rDev +4%

Poured into my cigar city snifter.

A- pours very dark black. Some light passes through the edges when held up to the light. 2 finger dark tan head that dissipates to a thin ring. Some decent lacing left behind.

A- roasted malts, dark chocolate, coffee, and some licorice.

T- same as the nose with the chocolate being most prominent. The licorice isn't as strong as I expected but I don't miss it either. The coffee and coco blends nicely with the other flavors. Nicely balanced.

M- nice and creamy. Not to chewy. nice level of carbonation. With a very nice finish.

D- really nice. I drank the whole six pack.

05-13-2010 01:30:36 | More by urwithdave
Photo of AJacob81


4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Served from a hand-pulled cask at Clark St. Ale House in Chicago into a nonic pint.

A - Dark brown, full head that recedes ever so slowly. The foam in the head is incredible.

S - Milk chocolate, rich roasted malt, some coffee bitterness.

T - Mellow, with mocha and dark fruits ascendant. Cream flavor underneath greatly enhances.

M - Milky smooth, not as full-bodied as heavier stouts, but low carbonation balances well.

D - Easily, even eminently drinkable. Hit the spot wonderfully after a long day at work.

05-13-2010 00:04:58 | More by AJacob81
Photo of TheHoppiest


3.4/5  rDev -14.8%

Gave an aggressive pour from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours an inky black with a thick tan head that pillows down, leaving sticky lacing along the sides.

Smells of bitter coffee, very slight cocoa, and malt. Overall, though, rather mild in smell.

Malty in taste, followed by bitter. Not as thick a mouthfeel as you might expect from a stout this dark. The aftertaste leaves hints of coffee wafting in your mouth.

While this is a decent stout, there are many better ones out there, even by Bell's, such as their Java Stout or Expedition Stout.

05-12-2010 01:31:48 | More by TheHoppiest
Photo of dbossman


4.08/5  rDev +2.3%

A: Black with a brown foamy head--chocolate mousse looking; nice even lacing

S: Dark roasted malts; anise is very apparent but subtle chocolate and vanilla seem to be peaking through as well

T: Roasted malts and bitter anise dominate; the flavors are dry but they seem to sit on the back of the tongue--not too complicated but still interesting

F: This beer really sits on the back of the tongue and the roof of the mouth, which keeps the flavors for a long time

D: A very good stout; the licorice flavor could wear on you after a while but it holds up fairly well

05-09-2010 21:32:12 | More by dbossman
Photo of cbutova


4.13/5  rDev +3.5%

A- Pours out pitch black with a semi-dark tan head that has good retention. The head looks like a pillow, nice and creamy but with some big bubbles around the sides where the beer touches the glass. Lacing starts about half way down the glass and is thick and fine.

S- One of the most fragrant ales I have ever had. I cannot smell most beers from 2-3 feet away but this one is very strong! A few main things come to mind and make for one of the better smelling beers I have experienced. These elements are roasted malts, licorice, coffee and cocoa. What a great balance of these things indeed. Caramel malt as well.

T- A pretty standard stout with the addition of some licorice. The roasted malt, cocoa and coffee notes are there. Some licorice and a good amount of dark fruit come in to the mix as well making for a pretty interesting ale. I pick up some caramel malts to finish off a good stout flavor.

MF- Mediumly thick body with low to moderate carbonation. The body is slightly creamy but more oily than anything, no watery feeling here. Alcohol does not make its presence in this stout and a coat of roast malt, licorice and dark fruit stays on the palate.

DB- A fairly standard six pack price and a good stout flavor with a nice addition of licorice. It is nice to have variations on a pretty beaten down style and licorice certainly does the job. I am glad I picked up a lot of Bell's when I was in PA and hope to go back and try some more soon.

05-08-2010 05:50:40 | More by cbutova
Photo of Beerandraiderfan


4.26/5  rDev +6.8%

Perfect, black, not oily or superthick (not that there's anything wrong with that). Very rich aroma, chococoffee even more than usual. The standard.

Exactly as expected taste wise after the aroma smell, just a straightforward big but not imperial stout with all the right touches on the hop and malt spectrum. Mouthfeel takes on a slight licorice dimension, which is not my thing, but strangely enough, opened my palate up a little to it (maybe I'll try batch 9000 again?). Very drinkable, very enjoyable.

I think if this beer weren't so easy to get, it would be rated higher. Scarcity makes demand I guess. These are the days of limited release. . .

05-06-2010 23:11:34 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
89 out of 100 based on 3,319 ratings.