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.

3,621 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,621
Reviews: 1,449
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 10.55%
Wants: 157
Gots: 325 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Bell's Kalamazoo Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,621 | Reviews: 1,449 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jwinship83
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- comes out of the bottle a thick looking black body with a finger of coffee colored head.

S- roasted malts and chocolate up front, with a bit of chocolate at the end.

T- lots of roasted malt and dark chocolate. the finish is very bitter and full of coffee. cant taste the licorice the bottle says they brew with.

M- smooth, but a little thin for the style. a nice low level of carbonation comes with it.

D- not the most exciting version of this style, and something i wont buy again. i guess i expected more from bells.

Photo of cpmau11
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours out very dark. Taste a lot like an Imperial Stout. Smells like dark chocolate. Exceptional mouthfeel. Calm and yet so smooth. Robust flavor that doesnt overwhelm your taste buds yet rich in flavor. Very nice aftertaste as well. Not an overly impressive head but creamy in color. This is definitely one of my favorite beers.

Photo of beeragent
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass from a 12oz bottle.

A - The beer pours a deep dark brown almost black, forming a creamy 1 inch mocha head that fades to a 1/4 inch. Not much lacing is visible.

S - Roasted malts along with a noticeable cocoa bitterness throughout.

T - Creamy roasted malts coat the palate. Not much in the way of coffee flavor, but definitely a strong cocoa bitterness to the taste. Very hot chocolaty flavor.

M - Heavy bodied with a suprisingly very smooth and thick mouthfeel.

D - Oh how I wish we had this in Texas. Smooth thick delicious flavor!! Not as sweet as I would usually catagorize a sweet stout as. More like a heavy stout but with a smoother finish to the roasted malts. Highly recommended!!!

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

Opaque black with woody highlights. Pours with a finger coffee head that falls to a ring. No lacing.
Aroma is sweet and roasted, a little dark fruit and chocolate.
Taste continues, upping the sweetness. Chocolate is much more prominent. Very sweet, but there's a bitterness that keeps it from being overbearing. Nice bittersweet chocolate finish.
Full body, light carbonation that matches well.

A very tasty sweet stout. Thanks to Imstillthegman for the opportunity.

Photo of beerman207
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass at 45 degrees

Appearance: close to black. I cannot see any light through my glass. Nice lacing - not much head to speak of.

Smell: hops, brown sugar, and licorice

Taste: Bitter chocolate and a burnt caramel taste

Mouthfeel: Rich

Drinkability: Good - not sure that I could drink more than a few of these.

Photo of farrago
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thin dark brown head which settles around the glass edges quickly, vacating the center. Lacing not as pronounced as you might expect. Really, truly cannot get any blacker than this, not even a hint of color. Sweet nose of grapes, rum cake, licorice (duh), coffee rinds, wood smoke, dark chocolate powder, more creamy in texture than scents, granola and cereal, as it warms a little more mixed black fruit comes out. Full-bodied, dense attack requires you focus on the act of swallowing. More roast and toast here, charred black coffee, bittersweet dark chocolate and fried butter. This tends to rise up and plaster your mouth roof while the tongue undergoes a noticeable release of pressure. The carbonation does what it can given the compactness of the whole. Same interplay between green grape/apple (acidity?) and darker fruits. No citrus nor flowers. Licorice lower here, murmur. Suggestion of mineral water opens a space for grainy notes. Nothing leaps out at you, perhaps too tightly coiled to strike fully. Tires the palate out before the first glass done.

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

A: Near-opaque black with a few dark mahogany highlights. Coffee-colored head that sticks and leaves residue on the sides of the glass.

S: Roasted barley, coffee, and licorice.

T/M: Coffee, bitter (unrefined) chocolate, hints of dark fruit, roasted grain, and other flavors reminiscent of coffee with cream. Light carbonation accents the thick, creamy, smooth mouthfeel. This stuff pours like dirty motor oil.

D: I don't think it was designed as a session beer, but it is highly drinkable for a sweet stout.

Photo of colts9016
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thank to kels for the bottle.

Poured into a pint glass at 45 degrees

Appearance: A very dark oily brown almost black color. There is a light tan half finger head that has some retention to it. The clarity of the beer is opaque, except for the highlight on the bottom of the glass.

Nose: A rich roast malt with cream and anise. In the background of the beer there is a burnt sugar, citrus, molasses, and some floral esters.

Taste: A richly roasted malt with some anise as the main flavor. There are hints of cream, burnt sugar, coffee, chocolate, molasses, and some floral esters.

Overall: The mouth feel is medium full with some carbonation. The finish is medium to full and last for a few moments on the palate. This is a great full flavored beer that has a lot of wonderful characteristic in this stout. It is not overtly sweet, but well balance and very easy to drink. A very nice brew.

Photo of djeucalyptus
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a deep black with hints of dark brown under certain light. rich... looks thick. A stout two-finger cocoa-colored head has impressive retention and leaves behind some stunning lacing.

coffee, mocha, cocoa, roasted malt, charred coffee beans. Smells rich, decadent, and roasty. earthy and a bit of dark fruit. a hint of spice.

Taste echoes the aroma, although more roasted notes than sweet caramel chocolate. rich roasted malt, coffee and bittersweet cocoa. A decent, albeit unexpected, bitterness pops up in the middle. a bit of smoke, some earthy bitterness, and a bit of earthy spice - maybe the licorice? A lingering roasted bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with smooth carbonation. A nice bitterness plays well with the slightly sweet creaminess. A touch less chewy than the aroma and flavors led me to expect. Nothing flooring, but pretty solid all around.

drinkable? most definitely. I could go through a few of these in a sitting... an excellent stout. Really struck me more of a strong stout than a sweet stout... more roasty and bitter notes than creamy sweetness. which is alright... it's still delicious, just not as expected. definitely worth the time to give it a shot.

Photo of number1bum
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours nearly pitch black and pretty dense looking for a beer that's relatively low ABV, with a very creamy, thick two inches of dark tan head that spills a bit over the sides of the glass. Leaves a ton of stick and keeps a pretty full, solid lace.

Smells very similar to the double cream stout, with some milk chocolate, roasted malt and a hint of grain. Like the cream stout it's also just a bit on the weak side, but nice.

I'm actually liking this better than the cream stout, which it seems to be very similar to. There is some milky chocolate flavor, a bit of roasted malt and coffee. It doesn't have the slightly harsh husky grain flavor I found in the double cream stout, and it's more balanced it seems to me. And, obviously, it doesn't have quite as much lactose flavor and it's not as super-creamy. There is some hop bitterness in the finish, along with some lingering roasted flavor. This really is quite bold and very well balanced.

This is medium bodied and quite creamy, very smooth and balanced. Not quite as full in the mouth as the double cream stout but it's pretty close in terms of smoothness and creaminess.

This is a very good, very drinkable stout, and a full notch better than the double cream stout. I'm not sure what the differences are in the recipes but it doesn't seem quite as simple as 'start with Kalamazoo and add more cream,' which is too bad, because that would make the double cream stout a better beer. This is a very good one. Great stuff that I'd be glad to have in my fridge at all times.

Photo of biker30x
3.58/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

bottle poured into a tulip. very dark with a dense tan head that subsided quickly. smelled of bitter coffee and slightly burnt toast. surprisingly thin on the tongue and very carbonated for a stout. flavors of espresso and molasses strike first with a lasting feel of burnt caramel and over-boiled coffee (but in a good way). expected this to be an intense and robust stout, but was surprised to find it thinner and softer than I thought. well balanced but lacking some of the backing sweetness of a milk stout and somewhat dominated by the carbonation. the flavors blend well and offer a pleasing experience.

Photo of optiontwo
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz. poured into snifter

Appearance: Bordering black with a one inch espresso colored head that slowly dissipates.

Smell: Plenty of coffee with bittersweet chocolate, earthy hops, and brown sugar.

Taste: Bitter coffee and chocolate are balanced quite well followed by dark fruits such as fig, raisin, and cherry. Very slight citrus hop finish which makes it obvious that this is expedition's little brother (in a sense.)

Mouthfeel: Perfect for a milk stout.

Drinkability: Very high, this stout satisfies and isn't too cloying.

Overall: This has got to be one of my favorite straight up stouts, it's just as flavorful as a lot of RIS's without all the alcohol.

Photo of WJVII
3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass this brew has a wonderful oil black color with a thick chocolate milk head. The head is short lived, but leaves a nice cap on the brew with sticky lacing on the glass. The smell is solid with strong tones of coffee, chocolate, roasted malts, but the burnt smell is a little overpowering. The taste is great. The chocolate rolls on your tongue and leads to a balanced coffee finish. This is a full bodied brew with a perfect amount of carbonation that makes the taste pop in your mouth. Extremely well put together brew.

Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours very dark brown almost black. Not a whole lot going on in the nose. Very dark malt, molasses and bitter chocolate in the taste. Seems to be a bit reserved, the younger brother of the Expedition. A little thin, but smooth in taste. Decent beer, but there is not much that can hang with the Expo. I'll stick with it.

Photo of akokandy
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- 12oz brown bottle poured into an imperial pint glass. The beer is black and is topped by a massive 2-finger foamy brown head with good retention. Leaves a fair amount of lacing. Very attractive.

S. Malty sweetness, some caramel notes, and the smell of roast barley. Sweetness almost overwhelms the other aromas.

T- Lots and lots of malt and lactose sweetness. Some caramel and coffee notes. You can taste a twinge of the licorice used to brew this beer, but it's mostly in the finish and aftertaste, which suits me just fine. A roasted flavor is lingering in the background throughout the whole sequence of tastes.

M- The beer is a little thinner than I would prefer, and has low carbonation (which is fine).

D- Great taste combined with reasonable abv would make this a decent session beer. It would be a great one, but there's a little too much sweetness for this to be a classic, "getting drunk with the boys on Saturday night" beer.

Photo of Atricapilla
4.4/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my pint glass. Very dark, coffee colored with a substantially sized, creamy, off white head. Smells of coffee, toffee and malt. Very roasted...Tastes like roasted malts with a very slight sweetness. Exceptionally smooth and well blended. Easy on the palate.

Photo of dancinwillie
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Long been one of my favorite beers, time to finally review it.

Pours dark black, with a mocha head that rests atop. Mostly tight head, with about 20 or so large bubbles poking up slowly, here and there. Some decent lacing remains in the space the head previously occupied.

Roasted coffee-like aroma, mixed with a bitter, yet sweet sugary smell.

When I think of milk stout, or cream stout, or sweet stout, this is the beer I think of. Roasty. Sweet, lactose sweet. Full bodied and rich, coffee flavor, a wee little bit of sourness. This beer is just flat out a treat. Decent hop bitterness, with a restrained hop flavor. Alcohol is not that evident flavor-wise, but a discreet warming is present in my chest.

Mouthfeel is rich, full and creamy.

The archetype of the style. This is the Anchor Porter, the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, the best representation of the style. That being said, I'll always be on the lookout for one that's better, and rest assured, it will happen. Even Jordan retired, and brewers will always get better. But now, this is the top dog. Cheers!

Photo of thain709
3.3/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pitch black...a good size tan head that slowly fades into a nice cap...good lacing

S - You can smell those roasted malts

T - A deep...almost too deep...roasted malt flavor that lingers throughout your palate...a great coffee-like aftertaste...but nothing really special

M - A little thinner than I expected...smooth

D - This didn't knock my socks off...but it was nice to sit back at sip on

Photo of mikereaser
3.43/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 8306

A - Pours a perfectly black color that let no light through with a 1/4 inch of foam that quickly dissipated into a fine layer of small bubbles

S - roasted malt, cocoa and coffee

T - roasted malt, cocoa and coffee and a hit of a hop finish

M/D - a nice light bodied stout that has a very smooth nice taste and is easy drinking.

Photo of Tone
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black. 1/4 inch head with slight retention and lsight lacing. Smells of a dark rich malt and sweetness. Fits the style of a Milk/Sweet Stout. Mouth feel is sharp and slighty thick. There's a high carbonation level and an associated bitterness. Tastes very rich, of a strong malt, some roasted malt as well, and there's a slight hop bitterness. Overall, a very good rich stout - definitely couldn't drink more than a couple of these.

Photo of Amsterdam
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle with a brief fizzle of a head and almost no lacking. The color and consistency when held up to the light is eerily similar to flat coke.

The smell is of unfiltered tap water, but this may be the result of the licorice.

Intensely dark herbal flavor that fills the mouth, rolls around, and goes easily down, leaving a bitter licorice aftertaste. Sharp flavors.

The beer is very interesting and a wonderful drinker to have with food, but there is a lack of complexity--every taste until the last two or three are almost exactly the same, which could be a good case for balance.

Overall I liked this as a good stout to have on hand when a nice food beer is needed.

Photo of droomyster
4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Kalamazoo Stout pours jet black iwth a big, fluffy, brown head with good retention. Smells are good but nothing extraordinary: all of the dark chocolate and roastiness expected of a craft stout. Sipping --- wow. Before I even say a word about the taste let me just say that the body of this beer hits me just right. Its substantial fullness is is keenly felt initially before the carbonation lightens it up and lets the numerous flavors come out to express themselves. The roasty and dark chocolate bittersweetness come through clearly but don't shock the senses; rather, they are quite well balanced. The finish is a long and gratifying tug-of-war between the burnt malts and smoky bitterness that I find endlessly gratifying. A very nice stout that I intend to have year after year.

Photo of mooseisloose
4.65/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Completing my Bell's Beer Slam of tonight with this stout brewed with brewer's licorice. Smell is chocolate, both milk and semi-sweet and cinnamon, some coffee, cookies and cream ice cream, wow. Pours to a jet black with a creamy tan head. Taste is roasted malts, sugars, chocolate milk and some coffee hints. Only slightly bitter at the end but overall sweet. This style is really starting to grow on me and this brew is definitely in the upper echelons of this style. Complex and delicious. A typical offering of Bell's in that it has a spectrum of flavors throughout. The mouthfeel is heavy but smooth. A little sweet to be a sessioner but these would be great rotated in with a hoppy brew.

Photo of CMW
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Pours midnight black with no light geting through. Small 1/4 inch tan head forms and retention is minimal.

S - Roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee

T - Same as the nose, coffee, roasted malt and some sweetness. Slight bit of hops in the finish adds a little bitterness.

M - Not as creamy as I would have expected. Carbonation seems high.

D - Easy to drink, could knock out a few of these.

Photo of hughesm4
3.35/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had pouring a bottle into a pint glass.

A- Poured Midnight Black, not impressed with the head. There was very little and it faded quickly.

S- Very good smell, almost identical to that of a pot of coffee.

T- Nothing special about the taste. It went down very smooth but no distinct flavors until the drink was swallowed

M- Very delicious the taste of coffee lingered in the mouth for a good 30 seconds before fading

D- Average, a pretty good brew, but nothing I would go out of my way to have.

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
90 out of 100 based on 3,621 ratings.