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

3,388 Ratings
THE BROS
83
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,388
Reviews: 1,431
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.53%
Wants: 149
Gots: 263 | 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: 3,388 | Reviews: 1,431 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Lerxst
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%

12oz bottle poured into pint glass

A-Beautiful pitch black. Holding it up to a window on a sunny day and am seeing no light coming through. Nice two finger head that dissipated fairly quickly with decent lacing.

S-Chocolate is up front for me with some coffee notes, malts and caramel. Its a nice nose, but a little on the faint side, maybe its my sinuses.

T-I'm impressed. The chocolate/coffee of the nose is here and blend together nicely with the malts. A bit hoppy too, but not overly so. A nice palate of flavors.

M-A bit thinner/lighter than I had hoped, but still manages to coat the tongue as any respectable stout should. Nice oily finish and the carbonation level is darn near perfect.

D-Oh yeah. I could easily have several of these without batting an eye. A true session brew for me.

To be honest, I wasn't expecting a great deal from this beer, but it pleasantly surprised me. Its a darn good stout. I'll definitely buy this again.

Lerxst, May 30, 2009
Photo of prototypic
4.38/5  rDev +9.8%

Kalamazoo Stout pours about the darkest shade of brown that there is. It's nearly opaque and damn close to jet black. Faint garnet highlights exist at the outer edges of the glass. A very attractive mocha colored caps it off and reaches about two fingers in length. Retention was good, but lacing was a little on the light side.

The nose is very impressive. Roasted coffee is prominent on the first whiff. There's a bit of smoked aroma to it. Very nice touch. Roasted and chocolate malts are very prevalent. Chocolate malts are the stronger and give it a nice mix of bittersweet and sweet chocolate notes. The sweet factor seems relatively light for the style, but there's enough to pass the laugh test. A little yeast is noted on the tail. This is very deep, delicious smelling beer. It's been a while since I've had one of these. Too long.

Kalamazoo Stout is very tasty beer. It features an excellent mix of roasted and chocolate malts. The chocolate variety is stronger and gives it a very balanced bittersweet and sweet chocolaty flavor. It is on the lighter side of sweet for the style. But, I can't complain about it too much. There's an ample amount of good flavor here. Roasted coffee is very strong and seems to take over the flavor about midway through. I love coffee and really like the flavor, but it could stand to be toned down just a tad. It buries some of the other flavors I know are here...a little. A little yeast is noted. Alcohol is blended very well. Finishes with a strong coffee flavor and a little chocolate. As a coffee fan, I can't complain too much about the coffee intense flavor. I think it's a tad too strong, but it still has a fantastic flavor. I can't deny it.

The body is on the light side of medium and feels too thin. That doesn't seem to be out of line for the style (or my preference therefore). Nonetheless, I'd like more body, please. Drinkability is very good. I've always liked the flavor of this beer. I like it a lot actually.

Kalamazoo Stout's another fine beer from Bell's. It's a very, very good Milk Stout. Easily one of the better ones out there. Personally, I think the coffee flavor's a little too intense for the style, but it still produces a really fine tasting beer. I like coffee a lot so that doesn't offend me. It might be a little better if that aspect were more restrained and allowed more of the other flavors to shine a little. Slight complaint, but there it is. A little more body would add a smoother feel, as well. Who am I kidding? This is a damn fine beer and worth seeking out. Go find a few.

prototypic, May 27, 2009
Photo of taylorhamrick
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%

Pours out a dark, pretty much black color, with like a cm brown head. Kind of thick and dense, leaves just a little bit of lacing. It sort of fades, but does have pretty decent retention. There is an incredibly roast barley smell - tiny hints of chocolate and coffee. The roast character is very nice, much greater than the average sweet stout. Not a huge amount of sweetness, but there is kind of a creamy smell, with a bit of a lactic twang. Very nice. The taste is very nice too. A bit burnt, but overall exactly what it should be. There's a dark roasty center to it, like some kind of a combination of dark bitter chocolate, or coffee, but really, it can't be anything other than the roast barley and black malt. A tiny bit of sourness, some decent sweetness, with a tiny bit of estery, oily taste, but not overopowering. A nice bit of sweetness balances it out, and fills out the body. Leaving it nice and creamy. Pretty full and pelasant. I'd say this is a great example of the style. One of my favorites to date, particularly because of the extra roasty character. A nice straightforward stout. A good beer for any occasion.

taylorhamrick, May 27, 2009
Photo of Cyberkedi
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%

Comes out of the bottle a deep, opaque sable with a thick beige head. Aroma is strong and oily, mainly of burnt coffee. Mouth-filling flavor is strongly smoky with a coffee undertone and hints of molasses. There is just a hint of sweetness and just a hint of hop bitterness. Texture is thick and smooth with a tingly edge, and it leaves a coffee-ish aftertaste.

Cyberkedi, May 26, 2009
Photo of robbyc1
4.03/5  rDev +1%

This bottle was made in July 2008, looks like it held up well.
Pours a root beer black, impressionable, with dense coffee mocha color head, small goes away fast.

The nose is subdued, slightly astringent. Chocolate, tiny bit of coffee, and maybe I can tell the licorice is here. Has a chalky bitter chocolate feel and finishes very dry. Not really milk/sweet stout, this is a classic dry American Stout.

Smooth and heavy as it should be.

Drinkability is high based on the flavor and the relatively low ABV. A classic and it seems to keep well.

robbyc1, May 24, 2009
Photo of PEBKAC
4.47/5  rDev +12%

Batch 8861

I've received this a few times over in trades but never really sat down with one.

Poured into a Sly Fox shaker/paperweight. It glugs the consistency of cola, but it's as dark in the glass as a bucket of molasses. A faltering, dark sand head pushes up mellow scents of condensed milk, almond liquor, & light smoke.

Good bitter roast, great beaded carbonation. A bit burnt toast, Lactose is lighthearted, but gives it just enough to turn the bitterness away. A shaving of bark & dark chocolate. Slight hint of coffee & grain on the finish. Maybe a little oxidation, but that's probably my fault.

It trades off a little body for drinkability, but that's just nitpicking. It's obviously a great beer.

PEBKAC, May 21, 2009
Photo of drizzam
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%

Appearance - Poured from the bottle into a pint glass...pitch black with a fluffy tan head that retains marvellously. Leaves a beautiful lacing down the inside of the glass.

Smell - Smells malty with a hint of chocolate and caramel.

Taste - The roasted malts play well with the undertone of bitter chocolate and coffee beans. There is a bit of a hoppy profile toward the end, but not real pronounced. One word....Yummy!

Mouthfeel & Drinkability - Creamy and full-bodied...borders on chewy. This is a rather robust beer...and a fine example of what I would expect from a milk stout. Very nice!!

drizzam, May 21, 2009
Photo of Buschyfor3
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Sam Adam's perfect pint glass. This is the 3rd time I've had this beer, the first time at the suggestion of another BA (Joshrocks86) while enjoying a meal at Old Chicago Pizza Pub in Louisville. Finally getting around to reviewing this stout now that I have a 6 pack at my disposal.

A: Pours a deep, rich brown body that looks velvety as it sloshes into the glass. Pour produces a one finger thick, creamy khaki head that quickly disappears into a thin ring of lacing.

S: The first thing I pick out is the blending of melted milk chocolate and coffee beans - like chocolate-dipped coffee beans. There also seems to be hints of vanilla and possibly oak. Overall, the nose seems to be dominated by sweeter chocolate and vanilla scents and the roasted coffee aroma lurks quietly below.

T: A wave of chocolate attacks the palate on the first sip - a smooth blend of milk chocolate and semi-sweet cocoa. Once the sweetness begins to reside, there is a quick transition into the hop profile - slightly bitter with just the smallest tinge of citric, rind-like flavors that almost instantly disappears under the next wave of flavor: fresh coffee. A huge, roasted coffee flavor dominates the palate mid sip - the coffee that was lurking in the nose has broken through the sweetness to remind you of its presence. The finish smoothes out this roasted coffee flavor and also introduces some sweet biscuit flavors and residual chocolate notes.

M: Low carbonation translates into a somewhat creamy mouthfeel, although the body is not overly thick.

D: 6.5% ABV means there is a little punch to this beer, but it is all but hidden, making this beer quite easy to enjoy.

Another solid stout from Bell's. While the Kalamazoo Stout is definitely more complex in its tastes than other similarly situated stouts (while I realize its no longer in the same stylistic category, Ithink Young's Double Chocolate is fairly comparable with its roasted coffee/milk chocolate flavor profile), it doesn't have that same mouthfeel and overall experience for me. Nonetheless, I would heartily recommend the Kalamazoo Stout to any stout fans, and I look forward to drinking this beer again.

Buschyfor3, May 19, 2009
Photo of tigg924
4.53/5  rDev +13.5%

Appearance: dark brown, high carbonation, nice lacing, one inch head

Smell: chocolate, molasses, and sweet malt

Taste: cream, dark chocolate, slight burnt malt, molasses

Mouthfeel: sweet, smooth, medium body, low carbonation, slick

Drinkability: One of the top two in the style I have tried so far. Definately worthy of my 200th review on this site. A great beer by one of my favorite breweries, you barely notice the high abv...Really tasty stout

tigg924, May 16, 2009
Photo of timmay41
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%

A: Pours an inky black color with dark tan head. Decent retention and lacing.

S: Big, sweet, inviting lactose & roasted aromas. Coffee, milk chocolate, toffee, a little espresso. Wonderful overall, esp. if you're a coffee drinker.

T&M: Some milky sweetness on the front end, with a hoppy bitterness, dry roasted malt/bark bite on the back. Excellent complexity. Medium mouthfeel, substantial carbonation. Leaves a great coating.

D: I'd love another. This is an excellent representative of the sweet stout style.

timmay41, May 14, 2009
Photo of Vonerichs
3.95/5  rDev -1%

Extremely dark brown, borderline black, with no light passing through. The head is thin and cinnamon colored with excellent retention.

The smell is heavy with roasted tones, wood, and coffee.

The roasted, burnt flavor overwhelms all the other flavors which include black licorice (as advertised on the bottle,) and light coffee, and sweet chocolate.

Outstanding mouthfeel, very thick and creamy with light carbonation, just like it should be. There is a bittersweet finish.

Tasty, but very filling. Great dessert beer.

Vonerichs, May 13, 2009
Photo of PirateUlf73
3.68/5  rDev -7.8%

Poured into a mug.

A: Black, on the order of motor oil in color, with a pleasant coffee-tan head.

S: Substantial, yet not overpowering roasted barley and chocolate character up front. Coffee aromas creep in toward the middle, with a sort of milky backdrop. Mouth-watering.

T: Good roasted flavor to start. Chocolate and coffee notes are a tad muted. Also present is an interesting twangy "bite" on the front of my tongue. I want to say that it is a bit resin-like, but I lack an accurate descriptor. Still, pretty decent flavors.

M: I would call this a step away from full-bodied, because it is just light enough to avoid being cumbersome. It has a nice semi-oily coating character. A pleasant roasty aftertaste rounds it all out.

D: Excellent. More of a session stout than its ABV suggests.

All in all, a very nice (albeit sweeter) stout from Bell's. Everything melds quite well and its construction is nearly flawless. This is not one I would seek out all the time, but as the occasional session stout, hell, I'm game!

PirateUlf73, May 12, 2009
Photo of dmfrench
4.55/5  rDev +14%

Near flawless Milk Stout.
---

A: Black as night, even up to a light. Tight and persistent two finger khaki head lingers as it crawls down the glass.

S: Dry cocoa and coffee. Salt and a hint of alcohol.

T: Oh dear God. Instantly my favorite Milk Stout, over Special Double Cream, Young's, everything. Oh, right, specifics: What can I say? Just a perfect balance of bittersweet cocoa and hop dryness.

M: Just about perfect. Errs very very slightly on the thin side.

D: Very drinkable for such a serious beer. Could drink 3-4, but wouldn't out of respect.

dmfrench, Apr 28, 2009
Photo of TLove
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%

From notes:

The perfect breakfast stout.

Appears murky brown/black with a full body and slight head.

Smells of buttery cream, espresso, and dark chocolate.

Underlying taste is milky and chocolatey, with a bit of peppery flavor and sweet honey.

Strong on the palate. But very agreeable and even a bit sweet. Honey and fig on the back end. Beer rolls well along the tongue.

Finishes very well. Smooth and mealy, with a bit of brown sugar.

TLove, Apr 27, 2009
Photo of hardy008
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%

Appearance - Pours a dark black color which shows a little bit of ruby when held to the light. Poured a Foamy tan 3 finger head with nice retention that left a beautiful lace.

Smell - Gives the aromas of malt and dark chocolate.

Taste- Malt and dark bitter chocolate. A little bitter coffee taste is also present. Not as sweet as I thought it might be.

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, dry, and creamy.

Drinkability - A nice drinkable beer. I would drink this again.

hardy008, Apr 26, 2009
Photo of Thorpe429
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%

G: Poured into a pint glass.

A: Very dark with a pretty good head.

S: Some lactose sweetness along with some dark malts, fruit, and maybe a tad bit of caramel.

T: Much like the smell, with some hops and a wee bit of coffee.

M: Fairly thick, but not overly so.

D: Fairly drinkable. A less-intense stout experience.

Thorpe429, Apr 23, 2009
Photo of bsp77
4.53/5  rDev +13.5%

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Black, completely opaque, thin head that dissipates. Would have scored higher if better head retention.

Smell: Roasted malts, chocolate and licorice.

Taste: More bitter than I would expect from a Sweet Stout, and only slightly sweet. Bitterness seems to come from both hops and heavily roasted malts. Coffee, chocolate and licorice flavors.

Feel: Full-bodied, exceedingly smooth, relatively low carbonation.

Drinkability: Between the smoothness and fantastic taste, this is one of the most drinkable stouts.

Not sure if this is an English Sweet Stout or an American Stout. Doesn't matter, as either way, this is the best non-Imperial Stout I have ever had.

bsp77, Apr 17, 2009
Photo of webmanspidey
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%

Poured into a snifter... dark black with a fizzy purplish/pink head. Smell is semisweet malty chocolate.

The taste is similar to raisinets, the chocolate covered raisin candy. First taste is fairly sweet, and finishes with bitter roasted malt flavors. The bottle claims it is brewed with licorice, but I can only pick up slight traces of this.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy.

This is very light in strength and very drinkable.

This isn't really exceptional, but it is a solid lighter stout that is pretty sessionable.

webmanspidey, Apr 15, 2009
Photo of LauraAlberts
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%

Appearance: Poured into pint glass ink black, solid black. Tan head - very little head. Mild lacing.

Smell: Brown Sugar, Dark Truffle, Milk Chocolate

Taste: For a milk stout, this beer is exceptional. Bells has covered all the bases with this one. Dark Cherry, French roast, Vanilla bean, Dark Chocolate, Earthy, Malty, nut.

Mouthfeel: Dry, tannic, warm.

Drinkability: I turn to milk stouts as a snack, something to enjoy after dinner and could get around to two or three in a row if I'm in the mood. This beer is pleasant, great drinkability, sipper and savor or session if you can. I would recommend this for the man looking to get his woman a stout or a man looking to enjoy a few on a cool night. Love this beer.

LauraAlberts, Apr 12, 2009
Photo of jkendrick
4.03/5  rDev +1%

A: Dark black with almost no head on an aggressive pour. What little head was there faded quickly

S: Aroma is dark roasted malt with sweet cream and vanilla.

MF: Medium-bodied with prickly carbonation leaving a dry cocoa like chalkiness.

T: I don't taste much licorice despite the label. This one is big on the roasted malt, but comes across more bitter than the sweet aroma would lead you to believe. The finish is a bit like an iced coffee.

Overall: These days its getting hard to find good stouts with bold flavors that come in at a relatively low abv (to my tastes at least). This is one is pretty good, But I wouldn't put it up with the likes of Obsidian, for example. It is a bit on the thin side and over-carbonated. The aroma is terrific, but the body and taste don't live up to that promise.

jkendrick, Apr 10, 2009
Photo of JonMich13
3.78/5  rDev -5.3%

A = Common stout appearance. Jet black with a finger caramel head. Some lacing.

S = Interesting to say the least. Licorice, roasted malts, chocolate, and something like a Christmas fruit cake.

T = A nice taste but I don't quite care for the licorice tones. But I'm not a fan of it to begin with. Roasted malts and coffee is there. Some hop bitters also present late as well.

M = Nice mouthfeel. Full bodied and creamy smooth. Pretty good carbonation as well.

D = This is a fairly easy drinker for a stout. I don't quite buy into the taste, but it goes down easy anyway.

JonMich13, Apr 08, 2009
Photo of projectflam86
4/5  rDev +0.3%

A- Pours motor oil jet black with a thin velvety tan head that leaves some lacing but fades to a small ring.

S- Strong roasted coffee malt nose with subtle bitter chocolate scents.

T- Lots of roasted coffee flavor. Strong malt and chocolate tastes in the finish.

M- Smooth and a bit dry. Medium bodied with ok carbonation.

D- Overall a pretty good brew that had a deep roasted flavor.

projectflam86, Apr 07, 2009
Photo of Riverwarrior
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%

S = Chocolate and roasted coffee beans.

T = Roasted chocolate malts upfront with hints of molasses in the middle. There is a hop bitterness that shows up near the finish, but is not overpowering and brings a balance to the flavor. The finish is long lasting and features a mocha roasted coffee flavor.

MF = Medium body with moderate carbonation. Creamy texture and smooth going down. Easy to drink.

Overall, this is a solid stout with bold flavor that hinges on being sessionable. Highly recommend.

Riverwarrior, Apr 04, 2009
Photo of alcstradamus
4.43/5  rDev +11%

I'm not going to do a formal review of this beer because to be perfectly honest it doesn't warrant one. This is the perfect session stout IMO and judging it based on petty things such as appearance and mouthfeel is worthless. That stuff has its place, and this is not it.

Buy this beer if you want something good to drink. Nothing else needs to be said.

alcstradamus, Apr 02, 2009
Photo of barnzy78
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%

12oz. Pours pitch black with zero transparency. Nice tan head that coats the glass and leaves some sticky lacing. Aromas are of roasted malts, molasses, and licorice (now I don't know if my mind was swayed by reading that it has brewer's licorice, but I am pretty sure I could smell some). Mouth-feel is medium and silky smooth on the palate. Flavors are also of bold roasted malts, molasses, and espresso with notes of brown sugar, cocoa, and black licorice. Nice balanced finish - dry with a slight sweetness. This has always been a favorite of mine. Fantastic through and through - I wouldn't change anything about this brew.

It's funny how reviews and tastes can change over time:
12/19/2012
Pours black with a huge rocky tan head that holds great ret & leaves an explosion of lacing. Aromas are chocolate, roasty, espresso creamy, rich, dark bitter bakers chocolate, roasted barley, french roast coffee, ashy. Mouth-feel is velvety smooth, creamy, full body. Overall, great to go back to this and reaffirm its awesomeness.

barnzy78, Apr 01, 2009
Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
89 out of 100 based on 3,388 ratings.