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

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

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very good

3,630 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,630
Reviews: 1,450
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 10.55%
Wants: 158
Gots: 329 | FT: 9
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: 3,630 | Reviews: 1,450 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of gabedivision
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

Photo of GoalieRon33
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Photo of Jesstyr
3.9/5  rDev -2%
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.

Photo of BBP
4.38/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

Photo of tgorgz
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
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.


Photo of ItsTheLimit
3.43/5  rDev -13.8%
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.

Photo of Franz4
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

Photo of Janderson91
3.98/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of vissai
3.9/5  rDev -2%
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.

Photo of jsanford
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
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!

Photo of TheSupremeAJ
4.63/5  rDev +16.3%
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.

Photo of Geuzedad
3.9/5  rDev -2%
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.

Photo of Dave128
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
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..

Photo of RickS95
4.22/5  rDev +6%
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.

Photo of theboozecruise
2.95/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - dark with a really small head. Not black but a dark brown.

S - kinda weak really. I'm not picking up much licorice. It's a standard stout aroma really.

T - Theres a little licorice here but nothing overwhelming. Just a middle of the road stout.

M - just average here. Nothing too exciting but nothing taking away from my enjoyment.

D - I've had better stouts. From Bell's. It's just decent to me.

Photo of kenpo23
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Took one sip of this and said 'ooh, thats good' and then i got distracted and came back to it 10 minutes later. glad i did as i got alot more flavor from it after letting it warm up some.

A: nice roasted brown color but not quite black. decent lacing.

S: smells really nicely of cocoa/coffee with a little hidden licorice smell mixed in there. i almost wouldn't have noticed the licorice if i had had other brews first.

T: tastes pretty good...i was pretty surprised that i found myself liking it as much as i did. it just has that nice stout taste (stout lovers will understand what i'm talking about!). very very nice malty taste with just the right amount of roastiness.

M: medium body, could have been a tad thicker for my tastes but very smooth.

D: i could kill a few of these fairly quick due to the smooth goodness of them. i would absolutely drink this again.

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

reviewed from notes:

appearance: very dark brown almost black with 2 finger mocha head.

smell: caramel, malts,

taste: caramel, hints of chocolate, bitter finish,

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, smooth,

drinkability: Do to the smooth texture it's an easy drinker.



Photo of AwYeh
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, poured into tulip pint. Batch 10162 (bottled 12/27/10).

A: Pours a dark, dark, opaque brown. One finger of creamy suede head which dissipates fairly quickly, leaving spotty lacing.

S: Dark roasted malts kick things off; so dark I almost think I'm picking up smoky or woody notes. Bittersweet cocoa really comes out with swirling, as do hints of espresso and licorice.

T: Very rich and robust; roasted malts are immediately very noticeable and help communicate the beer's quite bitter dark chocolate flavor. Cocoa shows up once again on the finish, along with a quite pronounced (presumably hop) bitterness. Great example of a bitter stout taste.

M: Medium-bodied with quite lively carbonation, maybe a bit more than I would have liked. Smooth, with a lightly sticky finish.

D: I really enjoyed this glass and will certainly be picking this up again; glad I gave it a second chance after picking it up initially and being disappointed (maybe I was expecting something much more similar to an imperial stout- this is a totally different, but equally enjoyable style).

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

A - Pours a dark brown, no light getting through this one. Creamy, 1 finger, mocha head that leaves some lacing.

S - Almost a chocolate mocha smell, bits of cocoa with just a bit of roasted coffee in the background. Perhaps a hint of that licorice

T - Drinks a very bitter chocolate, as if it's baker's chocolate. Very pleasant roasted taste at first that--at the end--sort of feels a bit iron-y. The taste is pretty good, just an odd finish.

M - A bit thinner than I was expecting, taste is a bit sticky in the mouth. Not wholly unpleasant, just not what I was expecting in a stout.

D - Very, very drinkable. The thinness of the beer goes down very smooth and it carries the ABV well

Photo of ProudBeerSnob
3.45/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into pint glass. Very dark, jet black body topped by a thin tan colored head that dissipates rather quickly.

Very dry nose. Can really smell the licorice here. Very interesting.

Taste in line with the nose, with the licorice even more asseritve upfront in the palate. Roastewd malt to finish.

A daring beer, complex but a bit too much. not a chore to finish, but kinda close.

Photo of jessycho
3.6/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Daaarrk Daark Brown. Great caramel tone head on top. Held it up to a light, could not easily see through it until I had the glass against my face. Looks like a great cup of black joe.

Smell - The more you're able to swirl it, you'll notice more and more of a chocolatey smell. It starts with a true cocoa smell, and then as you continue to swirl it, the head will grow darker and more of a dark to milk chocolate.

Taste - You can taste that great stout taste. A nice dark cocoa taste and as promised, that licorice is definitely there.

Mouthfeel - Pretty good feel. I like the high carbonation on my tongue, but I wish it'd have more of a bubble going down. Not terribly dense. Much smoother and lighter some oatmeal stouts I've had.

Drinkability - Very drinkable beer. Especially if you like black coffee or licorice. Not my drink of choice, but definitely a great beer.

Photo of Urbancaver
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours very very dark. A reddish tint around the edges. A small amount of brown head that sticks around for a bit. Smells roasty and chocolatey. Lots of bitterness on the nose from the dark chocolate. Tastes sweet and malty. Lots of roasted flavours and a tough of licorice backing it all up. Coffee and licorice blend well. Thick solid mouthfeel. Well carbonated. Fairly drinkable but its a pretty low abv

Photo of websherpa
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Thanks ChadQuest for the extra.

It's really important to let this beer warm up. I had a few sips while it was cold out of the fridge and it tasted almost 1 dimensional and limp. As the beer warmed it really came to life. Take it out and let it sit for 15-20 before you even crack it.

Appearance: A great looking beer. Dark but not quite pitch black. Some dark raisin colors around the edge. Beautiful 1/2 finger mocha head with average retention. Better than average lacing.

Smell: Dark roast coffee beans and bakers chocolate. This smells rich. The hops are definitely hinting at a bitterness.

Taste: This almost tastes like an IPA up front. There is a malty sweetness to it, it's actually quite hoppy and somewhat bitter. As it finishes however the richness of the chocolate and coffee beans pull through. Quite an interesting beer. They mention licorice on the bottle but I don't really taste too much.

Mouthfeel: The viscosity is just about right, but I think this is over carbonated for my taste.

Drinkability: Well crafted and complex without being huge and in your face. What a delicious beer. I think you can sip this for an evening, and I think you put 3-4 back in an evening as well. It's actually pretty versitle thanks to a wonderful taste profile combined with a reasonable ABV.

Photo of cetherid
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured into a tulip


Your typical stout. A deep dark brown color that looks black once in the glass. About 3 fingers worth of dense light brown head.


I'm getting some nice roasted malts...almost coffee-like. Perhaps a little smokiness in there. As it warms up I get a little more bitter chocolate aroma as well. Pretty good beer.


just like aroma. Light notes of bitter chocolate, coffee, perhaps a little licorice. Was hoping for a little more on the taste but I've should've expected it from a "single" stout with only 6 ABV. A small touch of bitterness in this beer as well which goes well.


almost medium bodied. A little watery for my taste. Carbonation a little low but nothing terrible. A slight dry finish as well.


Overall a pretty good beer. I'd go for an expedition stout over this every time, but this is a little cheaper and easier to find.

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

Pours solid black with khaki head that fades quickly and leaves just a little lacing.

In the smell I get roasted coffee and pine. There is a very fresh earthiness to it.

The taste is roasted coffee, a little burnt chocolate, and a smoky flavor on the back.

The mouthfeel is a little bit chewy.

Overall its not a bad beer.

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
89 out of 100 based on 3,630 ratings.