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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

3,708 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,708
Reviews: 1,463
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 10.55%
Wants: 169
Gots: 379 | 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: 3,708 | Reviews: 1,463 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of pasdachuri
3.81/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle with no freshness date.

Almost coffee black appearance with a dark tan head about 1 1/2 fingers thick.

Not a very strong aroma which is surprising. A faint coffee with a little roasted grain.

Very malty taste. Coffee and chocolate upfront which fades to roasty hop bitterness. Very nicely done.

Thinner mouth feel than expected from an American Stout but I like it. Makes for about as sessional (yet decent) a stout as you are going to find.

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

12 ounce bottle poured into the Founders traditional pint glass. Pretty plain label covers the beer which set me back $1.84 at the local beer store.

The stout pours a jet black with a tan bubbly head that is about 2 fingers thick. Not much lacing lines the glass. Ah how I love the smell of a good stout. Big malty smell hits you up front with a sweet nutty finish. Taste is a little different than I am guessing it is the licorice that is giving the strange sweet quaff, but I can't quite pinpoint what is going on with this thing. Very good tasting none the less. Mouthfeel is nice and crisp. Drinkability is of course high, I don't think there is a Bell's brew that I couldn't handle a whole nights worth of drinking. Overall a great American stout from the brewers at Bell's.

Photo of erz316
4.45/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 floz bottle with 9210 on the back, poured into old speckled hen glass.

A - huh, that head kind ninjas up on you; the foam is about four fingers high. big crackly foam on top with big holes. the foam is a light brown or light choco milk colour. the body is black, but it lets in light at the bottom of the glass, highlighting the copper and ruby tinges of the body. lacing is quite abundant, and the head retention is very good.

S - very big roasted malt body, quit yeasty too. the yeast is a bit nutty, is you ask me. if anything this smells a bit like a guinness, the malt profile seems to be almost the same to be.

T - yet another knock out brew from bell's! this beer is so incredibly roasted and deep in flavour. the initial taste is the big roasted malts, though not as dark as some others, the roastedness makes up for any lost depth or intensity of flavour. continuing on, there is a great coffee like flavour, which brings a distinctive nuttiness with it. the yeast is also noticeable here. the finish is basically a continuation of these flavours. the aftertaste is a bitter hoppiness with the roasted malts offering up a subtle sweetness. a real knock out beer, good price and an even better taste.

MF&D - I'm a bit divided on whether or not to give the body a 4 or 4.5, I think it is a bit too light, but the carbonation does a great job of thickening out the overall feeling. the body is a very light medium, but the carbonation is quite full. either way, the drinkability is extraordinary, as the beer is incredibly delicious.

Photo of bmoney
3.7/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz bottled into pint glass.

A- Very dark almost pitch black. Head of about an inch that settles quickly to no more than a centimeter and thin to a thin film as you drink.

S- Very roasty aroma. Dark chocolate and hints of coffee are also there, like the coffee that has been sitting on the burner all day. My favorite!

T- Bittersweet, a little burnt. Also some dark fruits and licorice linger balancing things out a bit. The taste stays in the mouth for a long time.

M- Smooth to swallow but leaves the mouth tingling.

D- All around a very respectable stout. I wouldn't refuse another but I can think of some other beers I'd rather have.

Photo of devilben02
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, dark brown with a thin tan head that quickly dissipates. The aroma provides a hint of coffee, and the flavor is reminiscent of black coffee with a bit of fruity malt sweetness to balance. Heavily roasted malts are one thing, but the flavor of this one makes me think they went one step further and burnt some of the malt. Again, however, the malt sweetness brings some balance to this dark bitterness. This combination provides a nice crisp mouthfeel without giving up the distinctive flavor profile that makes this stout as easy-drinking as many of the year-round offerings from Bell's.

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

Jet black with a light brown head and deep dark mahogany highlights against the light. Roasted malt and chocolate on the nose. The roasted flavors are awesome, strong but nicely integrated. Great balance between the roasted, coffee bitterness and the devil's food cake, fudge/chocolate flavors. One of the most drinkable stouts I think I've ever had.

Photo of BierFan
4.04/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass. Batch number of 9210.

Appearance: Thin brown head slowly rises and than slowly settles to a ring around the glass. Very black body.

Smell: Dark currants, a little smoke, licorice in the background. Notes of dark chocolate. Quite a bit going on in this beer's aroma.

Taste: Dark chocolate, little bit of juicy dark fruit flavor. Finishes with a real nice bitterness and a little smokiness in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Rich with velvety smoothness followed by some prickly carbonation. Mouthfeel is seldom seen as crucial, but this beer has a great mouthfeel and I view it as a big part of the experience.

Damn fine stout.

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

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

Appearance & Smell- Poored fairly thick and left a thin, dense, dark brown head which unfortunately dissipated kind of quick. Basically no transparency whatsoever through the brew. Pretty pleasant smell a bit of licorice, and maybe some feint chocolate mixed in there someplace.

Taste & Mouthfeel-Really smooth taste for a stout. Definitely taste the licorice I mentioned in the smell, also some dark fruit and hopiness which lingers afterwards. Mouthfeel was good, not too thick at all. Went down nice and slippery and the hoppy finish kind of acted as a nice counterpart and kept it interesting throughout.

Drinkability-Could easily sit down and drink a few of these anytime. Really enjoyed the brew, a greatly balanced unique stout in my opinion.

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

Obsidian color with tree bark colored head, abundant aromas. Dark bakers chocolate everywhere, something alot like raisinettes too. Mildly roasted, a bit milky flavor. Licorice is hardly noticeable. Some minerality in there too. Very rich. Mouthfeel is very chewy. A moderate ABV makes it much easier to order a second.

Photo of Ryan011235
3.61/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter on 8/31/09

A - Transparent ruby brown on the pour, settling to near black. Billowy dark tan head riddled with pores. Good retention & impressive lacing.

S - The aroma strikes me as weak, but that may well be on account of the solid head retention. Regardless, roasted coffee is in no short supply.

T - Potent roasted coffee rests immediately on the tongue & is rounded out by a spicy, yet delicate, hop character. There is an underlying burnt taste. Hints of molasses & something tart.

M - Full-bodied with interesting carbonation interplay. This beer is fairly gritty & in no real hurry to leave - lingering mild bitterness & coffee dregs.

D - It's easily drinkable & I would like to see how it fares on tap. Other than that, I am in no hurry to drink it again. There are several other stouts I would turn to before this; several other Bell's offerings, too.

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

Consumed 9/6/09- from notes.

Brown 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A- Oily black with about a finger and a half mocha head that hung around for a good bit. Good lacing.

S- Smoked licorice with chocolate hints.

T- Licorice, dark chocolate, some dark fruits and a smoky tone layed on top of everything. Very well balanced.

M- Medium bodied, creamy and smooth.

D- This is one sessionable stout! I love black licorice so this was a real treat for me. Definitely will always have a spot for one in the fridge!

Photo of ImusBeer
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another I had on the first real College Football weekend.

I went to this brewery back during the time I lived in Michigan. It was called the Kalamazoo Brewery then and not Bells I think I had a bottle of this, not really sure. I got the bottle and poured it straight down the middle of the room temperature glass and beheld a glass full of black liquid with a tan head about 1-2 fingers tall. The aroma was very smokey with hints of chocolate. Tasting it revealed nothing more, still a lot of smokeyness and some roasted malt and a bit of coffee. The mouthfee was a little heavy but not too much considering you couldn't even see through the glass holding it up to a light.

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

Presentation: Poured into a tulip glass from a brown bottle with no freshness date, lot #9210

A: Dark brown, almost black. Thick tan head with moderate lacing.

S: Smoky scent with mild licorice in the background.

T&M: Very smooth with medium body and light, almost fluffy carbonation. Burnt flavors, with malt underneath. Some licorice adds a complex flavor. Finishes with a mild bittersweet chocolate flavor.

I'm not big on stouts or licorice, but this is very good.

Photo of vishneda
4.53/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle poured into a glass mug.

Love: Beautiful looking stout with seriously dark color. Solidly opaque. Strong chocolate colored head of foam on top. Rich and hearty beer with a slightly creamy feel. Great espresso-roast style aftertaste.

Like: Nice malted aroma with some yeast profile and a light floral pattern. Light anise notes in the flavor are great coupled with the roasted dark chocolate and fruit hints.

Needs Improvement: Not much to improve on this one, but I think I'd like it with a little sweeter profile. Lacing and as stronger aroma would make this amazing.

(From tasting notes dated 23 Aug 2009)

Photo of bret27
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of BeerlovinGrl

Appearance: Very black w/thick brown head. Appears to be saying, "come get some dessert"

Smell: Roasty malt, licorice, oakey/woodiness

Taste: thick full mouthfeel. Along w/good full malty chocolate stoutness, licorice and coffee come through. Oakiness as well. Roasty and smoky aftertones finish off nice.

Overall: A nice variation on the magic of Bells A+ stout recipe.

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

Appearance: Murky dark brown with red corners. A nice 1 finger mocha crown that shows a bit of retention and some lacing. Attractive.

Smell: Nice dose of coffee and dark roasted malt.

Taste: Creamy and milky up front opening to a strong coffee flavor and smooth finish.

Mouthfeel: A touch thin but I've had this bottle for about a year now and have never tried it fresh so can't say if its always like this or not.

Drinkability: Fairly easy to drink.

Photo of sweemzander
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Batch 9023 printed on the back.

(A)- Pours fairly thick and opaque black to dark brown. 3+ finger of light brown foam formed and slowly dissipated down to a frothy layer. Some light lacing present.

(S)- Rich roasted coffee malts with hints of bready raisin and carmelized brown sugar.

(T)- Tons of roasted black coffee. Just like drinking a strong cup o' joe, only with plenty of barley.

(M)- Thick, with almost bitter roasted malts. Mouthcoating with solid carbonation.

(D)- A good stout with very potent roasted components. Great for a fall/winter night beside the fireplace, or for an early morning pick-me-up. Rather simple and straightforward, but rewarding nonetheless.

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

Pours very dark brown/ black with a nice dark tan head that was very short lived with some nice lacing.

A slight coffee aroma with hints of a very roasted grain.

The taste was dominated by a very strong coffee with some chocolate and little black licorice.

Was not a heavy stout, medium body, not much carbonation and very silky smooth.

This was a nice medium stout, the strong coffee taste made it very drinkable for me.

Photo of kegger22
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with a small head that quickly reduces to a collar. Aroma was light coffee. The taste surprised me. IMO, Bell's forte is the IPA types and their dark beers are not up to that level. However, the Kalamazoo stout is an exception. Very nice flavor of coffee and a little licorice. Far better than their porter or that horrible expedition stout (absurdly strong coffee taste). The mouth feel was a little light for a stout, not bad. Drinkability was quite reasonable for a stout, the 6.0 ABV helps.

Photo of pmccallum86
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark brown/black with a chocalatey colored head. Almost appears to be a RIS.

Roasted malt smell with chocolate and licorice coming through on the forefront.

Taste is great for an American stout, I am impressed. Roasted flavor with chocolate and maybe some caramel/toffee also coming through.

Good mouthfeel, viscousy in a great way. Low carbonation with a thick lingering chocolate taste.

This is a very drinkable stout, and at only 6% ABV I'm sure I could easily consume a sixer to myself on a cold winter's night. Yummy!

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

This beer pours a deep dark opaque black with a thin dark brown head to it that recedes very quickly, not much lacing to speak of. Nose is of strong coffee with toasted and roasted malts in the background. Taste starts with some burnt malts, moving in to toasted malts in the middle, finishes with a strong bitter coffee finish. There is a bit of cream that mingles in this beer to give a touch of sweetness. Medium body, low carbonation, creamy feel to this beer. This is by and far one of the best stouts that I have had recently, and is one to sit with for a long time.

Photo of Cresant
3.58/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this 12 oz. brown bottle into a nonic. No date but coded: 8886. The body was very dark, opaque brown. The head was dark tan and faded to nothing.

Smell was roasted grain. Chocolate. Not too much aroma was evident.

Taste was Hersey's syrup. Cocoa powder bitterness. Anise. Much lighter sweetness than usually found in a stout. I certainly like that.

Mouthfeel was rich and silky. Moderate fine carbonation.

Photo of jbhuxley
3.31/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours very dark brown with a small tan head that quickly turns into a faint ring around the edge of the glass. I can pick up very little smell from this brew. A faint coffee smell is about all I'm getting.

The taste is mostly roasted coffee, but the liquorice peaks through. There is a bit of fruity taste. The whole thing is bitter and quite dry.

Mouthfeel is a bit thinner than I would have expected. It is somewhat watery, with light carbonation.

I really can't put my finger on what I think about this beer. Stouts are not my favorite style, but the taste is interesting. Even on a stout kick, this wouldn't be the first one I'd reach for.

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

A-Black...ruby highlights...big frothy light brown head...I gave it a bad pour as the wife was talking to me about something and I poured and I lost concentration...you'd think after more than a thousand reviews I'd be able to pour and talk at the same time but I guess not...or perhaps this is a little charged up...probably a little of both.

S-Nice java on top...then some sweeter cocoa...maybe a little vanilla..

T-Nice blend of espresso, and cocoa and to a lesser a little lactose/cream

M-medium bodied...a little burnt coffee/dark cocoa on the long finish adds some bitterness..

D-Nice stout I would love to drink again. I am going to pair this with a Cu-Avana Intenso cigar and I am betting it will be a nice pairing..

Photo of Mistofminn
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Pours jet deep deep brown, almost motor oil black. Nice one finger brown head, darker than some Imperial Stouts I've had. Light carbonation can barely keep up with the receding head, which eventually shrinks to small splotches here and there. Some lacing, but nothing too impressive. The best aspect of the presentation is the way that the black ooze coats the glass and leaves is slimey brown trail.

I absolutely hate black licorice. It is to me, the most unbearable thing on this planet. When I was 5, my Great-Grandmother used to force feed black licorice candies to me and since then I have never been able to handle anything that even resembles licorice.

That being said, I can smell some licorice in this one, and I'll be damned, it goes well with the rest of the brew. Very light chocolate and coffee aromas mix with sweet and burnt malts. There is a nice roasted character. For some god forsaken reason, the licorice is appealing to me in this brew. I promise you I still hate licorice, but this works. I think the licorice actually makes this what it is, and without it, it would just be an average stout.

The taste is very malty, and very good. Roasted malts, black licorice, mild bakers chocolate, mild coffee, and some sort of dried dark fruit, possibly raisons or dates. Again, the usually unbearable licorice (for me) works well with the other flavours, and actually is an integral part to why I like the beer. Good stuff.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy, but it has a surprising carbonation bite. There is even a slight acidity that I wasn't expecting. Drinkability is high. I could (and will) slam these back all night. This is going to be one of my go to stouts. Reasonably priced too.

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
89 out of 100 based on 3,708 ratings.