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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

3,665 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,665
Reviews: 1,458
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 10.55%
Wants: 165
Gots: 352 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-11-2001

Stout brewed with Brewer's Licorice.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,665 | Reviews: 1,458 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nc41
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

i venture to a decent Stout now and then, and this one I really like. Black as night, nice creamy think head, nose does remind one of licorice. it's nice to have a Stout not heavy on the coffee , chocolate flavor. The licorice is faintly there, toasty, surprising bit of hops for a stout which nicely licks off the whole package. Worth a buy anytime. if your into Guinness or English Stouts give this one a try, the flavor comparison is insane head to head.

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

Brought back from my trip to Indy. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. The back label has a bottling code that you can type into the website and get the bottling date (Aug 18, 08 for this one so 5 months old). It was dark black in color. Some mahogany highlights when against a bright light. Some carbonation and good sliding lacing. It had about a finger of dark brown head that faded to a good collar with some foam floaters in center.

The aroma was coffee, roasted and chocolate malts and smoke. Really good aroma to this one. My allergies are messing with me this week but this one was powerful enough to punch through that. The taste was really good as well. Starts out smooth with a good stout base and then ends on a bitter uptick. Sorta charred flavor that stays till the next drink. For me, it was a tad too bitter and lingered just a bit long to be outstanding but still a damn fine beer. Mouthfeel was solid, creamy and good carbonation.

Overall, another excellent offering from Bell's. Only wish we could get this here in the Great Beer Desert of Texas (St Arnolds being the Oasis). Highly recommend. For me, too bitter to want to make a session beer (if available) but this would be a player in the change-up rotation.

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

12oz bottle poured into a goblet.

A - Rich, seal brown body crowned with a half inch of creamy, light brown head.

S - Roasted grain, chocolate, a little coffee and cream, faint metallic twang.

T - The palate mostly follows from the nose, but without any metallic taste. A little of the licorice mentioned on the label sneaks through the coffee and chocolate. Subtle bitterness balances the malt and builds on the palate in the long, delicious finish.

M - Round and smooth. I'd say the body is in the middle of the spectrum for the style; pretty good for a stout with only 6% alcohol.

D - Very good. Rather complex without being a very big beer. Seems to be a theme for this beer -- quite impressive for its size.

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

Pours black. Put right up to an incandescent bulb, not a shred of light makes it through. Only a slight hint of brown highlight at the corner of my pint glass reveals anything but black. Dark khaki creamy head.

Suprising that Larry Bell didn't use any chocolate in here. Dark roasted barley form the base of the aroma with loads of cocoa on top. A touch of smokiness.

Heavily roasted flavors. Bittersweet chocolate is there but not like the aroma suggested. Hints of coffee. Slight bitter edge. Finish is right between sweet and dry. Just a slight touch of citric hops that are only detectable after you swallow all that roasted goodness. Very robust. Creamy mouthfeel. Chewy as hell.

Nothing crazy but a killer example of a robust American Stout (I don't agree with the Milk/Sweet stout classification at all).

Photo of hosehead83
4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured onto 20oz. pint glass
1 inch thick oatmeal-like head
Aroma of coffee and slight smokiness
Full-bodied, flavor of roast coffee, bitter chocolate and burnt toast- lingering coffee bitterness that rounds out nicely-
A very drinkable, delicious stout- at 6.0 abv go for two (or three)

Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up in Ohio on my way back from my HoF's run. I've had enough stouts over the years but after the Cherry Stout that I had last night, I was a bit let down by what Bell's had to offer. Thankfully, this put to rest any doubts that I had about dark beers from Michigan. I wouldn't consider this a milk or a sweet stout in the true sense of the style, since there's not a lot of lactose and sugar to be had here but nevertheless, this is a smooth stout that went down wonderfully!

This had a great pour to it - rich head, a nice roasted aroma, and even some lacing thrown in for good measure. All of this is tied together by the creaminess of the beer - it looks smooth, tastes smooth and darnit, it goes down pretty smooth considering the bitter chocolate that comes out in the aftertaste. There's some coffee, toffee, and choclate here, but not the strong alcohol that would accompany an imperial stout with those notes. The only way I can see this being a milk stout is the viccosity of the beer itself - strong, smooth, and creamy.

Never once did it cross my mind that this might be strong enough as the 6.50% ABV would indicate. The deep brown hue with the traces of crimson at the edges indicates that this has a softer tone to it than other beers in it's style, and if you can handle a strong chocolate aftertaste that subtly lingers, this is worth going out of the way to find. If root beer could be made for adults, it would probably resemble this...

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

Nice dark pour and a decent sized head (finger or two) pretty good retention.

Pretty bold, smells of chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts just what I had expected.

Doesn't taste as strong as it smells but matches the scent very well. Nice roasted malt flavor with a little bit of hops. Bittersweet taste from the chocolate but overall more on the bitter side from the coffee flavor.

Great thickness and mellow-moderate carbonation which is just the way I enjoy my stouts. A very good drink overall and can't wait to buy again along with other Bell's brews.

Photo of gford217
4.55/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of masonjer poured into a Bells snifter.

Pours dark, dark brown, almost black with very little light showing through even the edges. The head is two fingers and tan and lingers as a cap for a while leaving some sporadic lacing.

Wow, does this smell great - big roasted malt backbone with hints of coffee and dark, sweet chocolate. It all melds together so well as a single wonderful aroma.

The taste didn't quite live up to the aroma, with the sweet chocolate and dark roasted malts still dominating. The main reason it falls slightly short is the bitterness of the coffee which is a little overpowering in the finish.

The mouthfeel is as good as I have ever experienced for a stout of this style. It's so decadent and smooth with a perfect amount of carbonation that accentuates the taste. Beautiful feel on the palate.

Bells knows how to knock their stouts out of the park and this is no exception. This is a fantastic stout and one of the best of its style. Highly recommended.

Photo of Dalem
3.7/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very dark in color. Almost black but not quite. You can't see through it-that's for sure. Half inch caramel colored head that melts away quickly leaving a cloudy cap a spotty lacing. Chocolaty malts and licorice are the prominent scents.
The flavor is slightly sweet and kinda milky when it first hits the tongue. It's followed a roasted malt warmness and a slight bit off coffee bitters. It then finishes with a complete turn around with the same characteristics that were found in the front. It's light carbonation and little less than medium body make it an easy drinker.

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

I really enjoyed this beer. Very full flavoried. Nice body. It basically was the reason I started drinking more stouts.

I enjoyed the nice dark flavor. I also like the old school no frills label, which I think microbrewery's sometimes go too far on (many purchase a beer based on the graphics on the label, see anyone who like's Saranac beers)

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

12 oz bottle, batch 8696

A - Dark black in color. Very opaque. Head formation is very light. Head is caramel colored, eventually falling back to a very thin head.

S - Sweet and chocolate notes lead the way. Some roasted notes backing it up. Some phenolic tones combined with the cocoa flavors make this very appealing.

T - Starts off a very muted profile of chocolate. Adds some bitterness and a grainy mid-stream. Finishes with the acidic and sour notes. Aftertaste returns to some of those chocolate notes.

M - Medium body - not as thick as other stouts. Leaves a syrup finish on the tongue. Carbonation bite is light.

D - Very easy to drink - flavors are balanced. ABV is solid but manageable.

Despite all the quality attributes of this beer, I do find it to not be particularly distinguished against the competition.

Photo of schellsbeer
4.04/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First off...Does not Cellar very good. I tried and yeah...Drink this one fresh if you can.


Classic Stout beer that is not a Milk Stout. Regular stout. Anyway, black as night. Pitch black. Thick! Great look and feel to this one. Not much on the smell but who cares....we are talking taste here and nothing else. Period!!!!

Silky smooth, creamy, easy to drink, an overall wonderful stout.

I could try and tell you all about the flavor with fancy words but that wouldn't do this stout justice. This stout is a man's stout, not a fluffy girly stout.

Buy it....drink it....love it...Period.

Exceptional and won't ruin the checkbook. What more could a guy ask for?!?!?!? This beer is just like a good dog...always there, never fussy, will be the same today and tomorrow, no frills, and will stand by you through thick and thin. What more could you want?!

Photo of jar2574
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Jet black, absolutely no light gets through. Laces coat nicely on the way down. Purplish-tan head, about a half-inch thick. Smells like roasted nuts and sweet sugars.

Mellow roasted flavors, licorice, milky consistency. Goes down fairly easily, but quite filling. Nice.

Photo of DoubleJ
3.7/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle from Lone Hill Liquor, on to the beer:

Lighter colored tan head on top this jet fuel black liquid. Head retention is fair. Aroma...faint coffee grounds, milk-like sweetness, a pinch of cocao. As for flavor, this is very coffee-like. Roasted ground coffee. But there's a little more carbonation than I like here. Anyway, very roasted flavor. A slight sweetness akin to creamer keeps this beer in balance. If you like your stouts robust and roasty, this is one to grab.

Photo of sonicdescent
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served on tap at smokin joes in Pittsburgh.

Appearance is a beauty. Thick, creamy head that dissapears after a few minutes leaving a thick lace. The beer pours very dark and gives the impression of thickness.

Smell is typical for this style, cream/milk with hints of caramel and other sweet scents.

Taste is damn good, delivering what I want in a sweet stout with major blasts of cream.

Mouthfeel is good with a medium to thick body that coats the mouth as it goes down.

Drinkability is a high point, this goes down easy and Would make a good session stout. Would have again.

Photo of Soneast
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black color with a 2 finger, light-brown colored head, that recedes pretty quickly to a thin creamy layer, that leaves a fair amount of lace.

The aroma has a nice roasted malt scent (and some caramel as well) on the front with a hint of creamy coffee and a smooth milk-chocolate throughout.

The flavor of this beer is just a real nice well rounded milk chocolate flavor on the initial impression followed pretty quickly by a deep roasted malt on the backbone, finished out rather well with just a hint of bitter coffee. I also pick up a chocolate-toffee type flavor, something like a Heath bar. Leaves a nice chocolate ice cream taste on the palate. Quite tasty.

This beer has a nice creamy texture with a fairly mild amount of carbonation which really lends itself to the creaminess throughout. A really good offering from Bell's as far as I'm concerned.

Photo of gonzo46and2
4.55/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep inky dark black that allows only the slightest bit of light through. A dark tan head crowns this king nicely and laces all over the glass due to it's sugary sweetness.

Aroma is licorice, nuts, roasted coffee and other toasty flavors.

Taste is sweet and malty. Very drinkable and delicious. The beer is so mild on the palate, it's like drinking unfrozen chocolate ice cream. Soo yummy!

I'd put this stout in my top five for any variety. (RIS, Dry Irish, Milk Stout, Oatmeal, etc)

Photo of donkeyrunner
4.48/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Again, why can't I get Bell's in MA? I call shenanigans.

Kalamazoo pours black with a thick hot chocolate colored head. Lotsa lace.

Smells like pumpernickel bread and charcoal. Some vanilla.

Relaxing, super smooth stout. Licorice, charcoal, and dark, roasted malt all complement eachother and glide across the pallette. Creamy mouthfeel.

This is a sexy stout.

Photo of praufs01
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Black color with a creamy tan head that leaves a respectable amount of lacing.

Aroma - Smokey wood notes with some wisps of bourbon and black cherry.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied dry stout with light small bubble carbonation.

Taste - Woody and smoky with lots of bourbon flavor and a bitter chocolate finish.

Overall - Very nice satisfying stout.

Photo of SerieDNo3
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint glass

A: Pours a thick black; light did not go through, and it looked a bit like oil coming out of the bottle. A slightly hard pour yielded a satisfying tan head of about a finger and a half's length. The head retreated after the first couple sips. Minimal lacing down the glass.

S: Has a nice nose on it; smells a bit of bitter chocolate and milk.

T: Dark chocolate, milky, roasted flavors. Slightly bitter, but mostly very creamy.

M: Little carbonation, but still not syrupy or chewy. Feels substantial without blowing out my taste buds.

D: Very drinkable. This reminds me of why I used to drink a lot of stouts.

Photo of WakeandBake
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Notes Aug 23, 2008
Pours BLACK like oil with a medium tan head. Aroma of roast malt,coco,and coffee. This brew has a very smooth creamy falvor with notes of licorice, raisin, smoke, vanilla, coffee,and so on,and so on. I could find no fault with this stout, other than I believe it made me slightly flatulent,good stuff buddy. Thank you to the hard working crew at Bells. Very Drinkable

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

Poured jet black into a pint glass. Half inch retaining tan head with ample lacing.

Smell is chocolate, a hint of smoked peat and toasted bread.

The taste is dark chocolate and burnt toast. As it warms I can identify some caramelized sugar notes but that is quickly taken over by the roastyness and coffee flavors. Quite good.

Full mouthfeel and a moderate drikability.

I would pair this beer with a grilled steak, meatloaf or if money is tight; a slim jim and a bag of BBQ chips. For desert some chocolate cheese cake or the classic King Dong.

Michigan... Great state, great people, great beer! Come visit...Enjoy and get your beer on!

Photo of adamette
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle which looks just like the one pictured above into my clean, clear Samuel Smith pint glass. Bought this at World Market in Mentor, Ohio a few days ago.

A Great looking stout with a thick, creamy dark brown head over an absolutely jet black body which allows no light in. The head is much more generous than, for instance, the Expedition or the Cherry Stout from Bell's.

S I had read that that was "brewer's licorice" used in the brewing process but to be honest I did not smell any of that. The smell, however, is of an excellent stout that I am getting used to from Bell's. Really a nice smell even if the licorice was not smelled by me.

T Great, deep coffee and dark chocolate tastes. Again, I do not taste any licorice per se but the taste is a solid stout. If any licorice maybe there is a silouhette of it in the taste.

M Wet but full. Grainy, gritty but that quickly dissipates and the finish is thinner than some stouts that I have had. There is certainly, however, more carbonation here than in Expedition or Cherry Stout from Bell's.

D Fine for a stout. A little bit above average.

Notes: Again, another good stout from Bell's but I really did not detect any licorice. I have read in other's reviews (after publishing mine for the first time) that the licorice is sublte. Subtle would be the minimum word that I would use to describe it. If anything there is a shade of it in the taste spectrum. For a more classic stout look for Bell's Expedition.

Photo of Bung
4.16/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I love the Bells dark offerings, they generally add more hop character than most. This works out really well in their stout offerings. I lived in Kalamazoo, so maybe I'm partial. Nice black pour with a dark tan head. Standard stout flavors intense as with any Bells. I will say, as I've seen in reviews for this, that most Bells beers are not all that well balanced. The special double cream stout is slightly better, I'd rate this one 2nd in their stable.

Photo of DrDogbeer
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle to a Sam perfect pint. Pours a slick black with a thin tan head. Smells of dark chocolate, light alcohol, some dark sugar. Taste is of very bitter chocolate with a coffee like finish. I get the slightest bit of black licorice on the sides of my tongue as the aftertaste. Very different, bitter type milk stout. Tends to take on a medicinal aroma as it warms as well. Good, original beer.

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
89 out of 100 based on 3,665 ratings.