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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

3,733 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,733
Reviews: 1,468
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 10.55%
Wants: 170
Gots: 395 | FT: 8
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-11-2001

Stout brewed with Brewer's Licorice.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,733 | Reviews: 1,468
Photo of alpinebryant
3.32/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown, black when seen from the side in a brandy snifter. Tiny tan bubbles around the edges of the glass.

Smells mostly of dark malt, a bit of licorice, no sweet aroma as many stouts have from unfermented sugars. Almost a dry cloying aroma.

Tasted primarily of dark black patent malt - a charred mess of a beer IMO, a dry-very carbonated mouthfeel and a finish that definitely has a licorice presence. Kalamazoo also seems to have the chalky finish I noticed with most of Bell's darker/ heavier beers. This is not a bad stout, but I would seek the Expedition stout long before settling with this one.

Serving type: bottle

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

Thanks Andrea for this bottle!

Well, I've had this beer on my Want list for a long time. Why I never pursued getting a bottle is beyond me.

Poured with an inch head and quite a bit of lacing.

Taste is good - not much to it - but good. At 6% I could see downing a few of these and getting myself right.

I like it - but there are other Bells brews that I like more.

Next review!

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

This is one beastly stout! Gorgeous black color in the glass with dark brown head that almost overflowed my glass. Head retention is good with nice lace. Nose has some pleasant freshly ground coffee aromas and a trace of fruit in the distant background. Big dessert flavors are noted on the palate, perhaps like one of those double chocolate chip cookies. Hops balance out nicely, and finish is long with a lot of roasty flavors.

Photo of teamizm
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks charliehelms for the bottle!

Pours a dark black with one finger head that recedes quickly

Smells like burnt chocolate, coffee

Great tasting stout. Coffee like flavor with bits of coffee grounds. Nice, mellow bitter finish in the back of the mouth.

Has the mouthfeel of a porter - less creamy and a bit more carbonated.

Very drinkable beer with tons of flavor. Could throw back a few of these easily.

Wrote this from my phone, hopefully not a ton of tpyos....=)

Photo of drumrboy22
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz. bottle into a Lost Abbey chalice. Beer was very dark brown, almost black in color, with a one-finger, light brown head. Moderate carbonation and lacing.

Aroma was licorice, espresso, vanilla and chocolate.

Taste was coffee, chocolate, vanilla and licorice. Very tasty brew.

Smooth mouthfeel, followed by a long, bitter finish. Easy drinking.

Photo of bonk0076
3.96/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black in color with a boisterous brown head that leaves a decent lacing behind. Aroma consists of bubblegum, licorice, with hints of toffee, coffee, and roasted malt. Taste is bitterness of roasted malt and coffee up front, with sweetness of black licorice in the finish. A bit watery finish as well though.

Photo of beergod1
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark, almost opaque color with a thin tawny head. Aromas of burnt coffee and faint hints of chocolate. Some fruity and hoppy notes as well in the nose. Medium bodied and smooth. The taste is consistent with the aromas. Nice coffee bitterness. Chocolate and caramel and toffee even a little vanilla bean. Very easy drinking stout. Not at all heavy. Makes you want more than one. A very, very competent offering by a premier brewery.

Photo of pzrhsau
4.17/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Robust dark brown color with a sizeable head
Smell: Nice full malt scent and also finishes with a slight malt aroma.
Taste: A very complex array of malt flavor. It almost tastes like a very hearty bread. Also has a slight hint of a coffee flavor.
Drinkability and mouthfeel: Very drinkable for a stout. This one has a lower alcohol content and manages to be crisp and clean. Very flavorful and fun to enjoy.

Photo of chickenflea
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Licorice and chocolate in the aroma. My friend picked up some definite soy sauce notes also. Taste is roasty malt and licorice up front. Clean finish with some lingering coffee notes. Medium body. Clean finish. Unusally high drinkability for a stout while maintaining big tasted. Another winner by Bell's.

Photo of mbudner
3.73/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle, batch 9210, poured into pint glass.

A- Solid black, but lets light through as poured becoming a medium brown (presumably not that thick). Frothy, 3-finger mocha-colored head that dissipated in 3-4 minutes.

S- Roasted malts, chocolate, slight amount of booze (a little surprising for such a low abv stout.)

T- Extremely bitter chocolate, slightly metallic aftertaste. Tastes very burnt, a sort of charred wood flavor (coincidentally leaving an ashy/chalky feeling in my mouth.)

M- Thicker than expected with a healthy dose of carbonation. Leaves the palate very dry and even a little chalky.

D- Drinkability is not bad, but not great, either. The burnt (and somewhat bitter) flavor makes it hard to drink quickly. The slowest-drinking low abv American stout I've experienced. I normally don't mind bitterness in a stout, but there's nothing really balancing this out.

Photo of Mavajo
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours jet black with a head coming in at just under two fingers thick. Retains briefly and then fades into a thick crown with a thin film. Surprisingly minimal lacing.

Nose is roasty chocolate and coffee. Taste is the same. An initial smooth and enjoyable taste yields to a moderate bitterness lingering in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is smooth and full bodied with generous carbonation.

Essentially an average looking stout that's enjoyable in every way, but wasn't quite as exceptional as I hoped.

Photo of Freethyhops
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

batch 9295. served into a Free the Hops tulip

A- pours jet black. completely opaque, even when held up to light. a finger of light brown head reduces to a film around the outside of the glass.

S- some nice roasted espresso like notes on the nose. a slight burnt bread character to it as well. not a lot of depth though.

T- chocolate leading the way more than coffee on the taste. some healthy hop bitterness adds to the roasted/bitter coffee flavors towards the end. some breadiness in the malt profile as well. a very solid offering, but missing a standout flavor to make it one of the best.

M/D- possibly a little on the thin side here. a nice subtle carbonation fits in quite well. the mouthfeel brings out some of the coffee characters, so it does work for this beer but I could use a little more viscosity. it's quite easy drinking for a stout. no extreme flavors slowing you down.

Photo of strictly4DK
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into my Spinnerstown Hotel flute glass.

A - Pours black with ruby hues. 1 finger tan head recedes to a collar. Little lacing.

S - Upfront very roasty and notes of weak coffee. Slight hop presence, earthy. Certain whiffs give a sweetness that I just can't put my finger on.

T - Strong roasted malts, very nutty like a chestnut possibly. The next layer of flavor is bittersweet chocolate and faint coffee. Finishes with an earthy hop balance and roasted malts which purvey the entire sip. As the beer warms, the advertised licorice becomes noticeable. Sweet licorice upfront and black licorice lingers on the palate. Faint fruity dryness almost like a port.

M - Solid carbonation. Creamy and slightly chewy. Bitter malt and hops linger.

D - This beer is so complex it makes many an RIS seem simple. No element of this beer is even slightly offensive to the senses. This will be a staple in my fridge.

Photo of feelmefoam
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12-oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a deep black color with dark brown edges and a finger of foamy tan head that dissipated after a few minutes. A little lacing clings to the glass as I drink.

This smells amazing. A nice scent of gooey chocolate cake greets your nose at the first whiff, laced with some nice roasted coffee accents, then a bit of black licorice is barely detectable at the end of the inhale.

Some nice chocolate fudge flavor at first, covered up immediately by some burnt coffee and roasted malt flavor. The licorice advertised on the bottle doesn't make itself too apparent to me, but I still think it's in there somewhere. A very tasty, complex beer that starts a war of sweet and bitter tastes in your mouth.

A nice mouthfeel, not too thick with a moderate amount of carbonation allows this to be a pretty creamy beer.

In all, a very tasty stout that doesn't sacrifice flavor for drinkability. I like this a lot and will probably purchase again.

Photo of PhxHorn
3.57/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This one pours a dark dark brown, but with not much head. I dumped it pretty hard towards the end and got maybe 1/8". Smells of coffee and chocolate, and tastes the same with some licorice thrown in. A nice blend of flavor, but not very intense. Mouthfeel is a bit thin for a stout, and this one is almost bordering on a porter aside from appearance.

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

Poured from a seidel

Appearance: Motor oil black. Not THE blackest I've seen but damn close. Nice light brown head which leaves thick lacing on the sides. Completely opaque when held up to the light (except for on the edges)

Smell: Sweet and strongly coffeelike. Reminds me of chocolate covered coffee beans. Still a sweetness in the background

Taste: Very bitter with strong roasted and coffee flavours. Chocolate is underrepresented. This tastes more like roasted coffee than an actual beer. Bitter almost to an excess. The flavour onslaught doesnt stop once you've actually swallowed it, your mouth retains the taste well after its gone

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth, but leaves an extremely strong taste in your mouth. No alcohol warmth noticable.

Drinkability: Very good, and not too bad in terms of alcohol. I could have a few of these, but after a while, I think i would get sick of how ridiculously strong and coffeelike this is.

Photo of BeerInReview
4.57/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - No light can escape black. 1 finger dark tan head when poured. This dissipated into a thin brown, with a tinge of red, ring of foam. Very little lacing left behind.

S - Roasted malt aroma.

T - My taste buds initially taste sweet malty goodness followed by a hint of chocolate and then a robust roasted malt flavor. The roasted malt taste lingers just long enough on the tongue to make you want to drink more.

M - Medium bodied and low carbonation. It's very smooth.

D - An overall satisfying taste and a very easy drinking beer.

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

Black licorice in color nice one inch of head. Nice tan color on the head, with great lace.

mmm...Nice chocolate licorice smell.

Chocolate smoothness with the licorice on the back end. Hints of coffee as well dark roasted malty backbone. Nice

Medium body very smooth and easy to drink. Wish I bought more than one.

Photo of heissebier
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in sidel poured from a bottle with a very creepy guy in front of a blue diamond.

Appearance- Completely opaque with a beautiful, sticky brown head. The head dissipates slowly, clinging to the side of the sidel.

Smell- Mmmm... Complex and roasty. A bold, robust smell that you can almost taste. I can smell the "brewers licorice" mixed with hints of chocolate, coffee.

Taste- Follows the smell very much. A little on the sweet side, might have something to do with that brewer's licorice. The taste is dominated by a darkly roasted but not too roasted malt flavor with notes of coffee and maybe a bit of cacco. Nice bittersweet finish.

Mouthfeel- Feels thick without too much carbonation. Smooth and feels good going down.

Drinkability- Excellent, especially considering this is a stout. Not a session beer, but I'd drink two.

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

pours a licorice black color with a 1" head like all bells brews have.. it had a black cherry ring with some nice lacing,,smell was chocolate,molasses fig and plum the taste was a bittersweet chocolate with an over roasted coffee taste followed by some currant fruits and malts..overall a good stout allthough a little to bitter and not well balanced..not my favorite but worthy..bells is no longer a go to brew for all styles 4 me their quality in small batch brewery charm has taken a hit in their hopes to expand to quickly to many areas to fast and in turn has hurt them imo

Photo of Thur123
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ok so, the color of this brew is an almost opaque deer black, with just a tinge of red on the edges. The head was slight and a brownish red color that look nice. The smell is deep and sweet roasted malts. The smell isn't huge but it's rich. There is chocolate and liquorish, with a whiff of caramel as well.

Glug glug glug

Slight hop bitterness in front fades into a roasted coffee rich flavor with anise showing up to on the back end. The mouth feel of this is great, really full and creamy without being to cloying. The aftertaste shows mostly the roast flavor and just a bit of the hops as well, giving this beer a spicy kind of aspect to it. Overall this is a really solid stout, and at 10.99 a sixer and only 6%, I'm only a little bummed.

Photo of Hibernator
4.38/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout
12 oz brown bottle
Bottle #8861
Served in a 20 oz tulip glass

Pours a jet black, completely opaque. Awesome head on top leaving complex trails of sticky lacings. The head is khaki colored.

Pleasant nose with whiffs of roasted malts, dark chocolate and some dairy notes.

Dark roasted malt backbone with espresso and chocolate flavors. A super intense and flavorful stout. Very well crafted with a juicy Hershey chocolate syrup sweetness. Dark fudge with nut flavors too. A snappy hop bite finishes the beer.

This is one of hell of beer. My first offering from Bell's and I'm impressed. A wonderful American stout.

Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Have actually had 2 experiences with the Kalamazoo. The first time I had it, in a bar...out of the bottle into a pilsner. If was very good and refreshing. I loved everything about it. The licorice worried me a little at first. I soon realized that the licorice was more of an aftertaste that sits on your tongue long after you drink it.
This convinced me to pick up a case. This time around, I wasn't as impressed. Still good, just not as good as the first. Only thing to compare that may be the reason, it was better ice cold. The colder the better. The second time I had it there was more of a bitterness to the licorice than recalled. Overall though, definately a worthy stout...enjoy it!

Photo of ckeegan04
4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pitch black even when held up to light. Thin brown foamy cap quickly fades to a thin ring oif foam. Very little lacing left behind on the glass.

S - Big roasted malt aroma, verging on burnt. A very light acrid burnt aroma comes through as the beer warms. Very straight forward stout aroma.

T - Sweet maltiness initially with hints of bittersweet chocolate. Remains sweet throughout with a very faint hopping.

M/D - Medium bodied and a very easy drinking beer. The plain old American Stout is often neglected, but this is an excellent one.

Photo of jt31914
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from 12 oz. bottle

A: Dark black with 1/2 fingers worth of head; licorice in color.

S: Smells strongly of char and coffee flavors; the licorice is also noticeable in the aroma.

T: Amazing taste; coffee taste on the palate with the brewer's licorice hitting on the finish; a charred bitter flavor that is wonderful.

M: A little overcarbonated and strong in the mouth, but still good.

D: Drinkable for a stout.

Great roasted flavor and char taste in this stout.

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Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
89 out of 100 based on 3,733 ratings.