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 jdg204
4.83/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Us poor folks here in PA have finally started to progress from the Dark Ages with the selling of 6 pack's at Wegmans. Wegman's also deserves mucho credit for pulling in some great brands, especially the first Bell's siting in the area.

A: Black in color with a large, dark tan head that showed some retention and left a bit of lacing.

S: Great combination of sweet cream, roasted malts, light espresso, and hints of chocolate.

T: The big, roasted malt just hits the nail on the head and is balanced by not just milk, but real cream! Nice portion of hops provide a nice add-on. AMAZING BALANCE!

M: This is medium-bodied and really drinks smoothly. It has a fluffy mouthfeel that will satisfy.

D: Never had a memorable milk/ sweet stout before this one and then this came and broke the bank! Bell's has a huge winner here, this is an amazing brew which is amongst the elite I've had at this point. I've been wanting to try more Bell's and this has me officially hooked, I'm on the lookout for more of their luscious stouts now!

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

I poured a 12 ounce capped bottle into a chalice.

A: It poured a deep dark black body with a dark brown half finger head that fell fast and left a thin even curtain around the entire glass.

S: It was rich in chocolate and hints of coffee, dark fruit and spices.

T: It opened with a creamy milky chocolate flavor followed by the light and tangy bite of coffee. There are undertones of very ripe plums and black pepper.

M: It was full bodied with a thick coating presence in the mouth. It had very little carbonation and a sweet, wet finish with a bit of bitter aftertaste.

D: It was a nice and enjoyable mid-winter, late night sipper. Not a great session beer, unless the session is two bottles long. It's heavy and too rich for a long session.

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

Review from Beeradvocate Magazine March 07.

A bit of a cult classic for Stout lovers, the label states, "Stout Brewed with Brewers Licorice." Okay, it's got our interest.

Pours out a thick brown with a tight, tiny-bubbled head. Head retention is above average. Pretty much pitch black in color--there is no light shining through this liquid. Charred-wood aroma with faint smoke, a hint of licorice, mineral and a kiss of black currant in the back. Primo smoothness sets the full-bodied tone. Big on char and burnt flavors, with just enough astringency to play off the malt underneath, and not so much that it ruins the palate. The licorice adds a complex top layer unlike any other beer we've had. Hints of fruit, burnt toffee, baker's chocolate and dark roast coffee in the middle. Finishes bittersweet with a long, lingering char flavor that the palate just can't shake.

Yeah, we can see why this beer has cult status. This Stout is so robust, you can almost chew it. Big thumbs up for the subtle and artful addition of licorice. For a pairing, try some rosemary beer-braised lamb lollipops, or even an old-fashioned pot roast.

Photo of rtepiak
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

looks like a stout. dark. opaque. smaller head chocolate milk foam color. nice denisty. smell is chocolate, malt, molassas, and playdoe... what? i think i may have a bad bottle on my hands. had a yeast aspect but not bready... thicker. i wouldn't go for this one if you expect a sweet milk stout. its mild. in all aspects.

Photo of Clydesdale
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A: Not quite pitch black, but quite dark and dense, with a medium brown head with solid retention. Lots of sticky lace. Very attractive overall.

S: Burnt caramel, some coffee and dark chocolate. Maybe some hints of dark, sweet fruit.

T: Strong roasted/burnt flavor, mostly coffee-like. Sweet up front, but quickly fading to a bitter bite. Charcoal and earthy hops are prevalent. Quite an astringent nature at the finish.

M: Smooth and creamy, with lightish carbonation. Finish is very dry and biting.

D: Something just doesn't seem quite right here. Its burnt nature seems to throw everything off balance. The bottle says it's brewed with "brewers licorice"...I've never been a fan of licorice and this one seems overly astringent for the style. It's certainly interesting, but I can't say I'd have more than one.

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

A Pitch black, all around the edges. Pours a very foamy light brown/white three finger head that dissipates quickly. slight lacing.

S Tons of chocolate, coffee roasts, and some caramel. Great malts coming through here, smells like mocha from starbucks. Some oats come through as well. Pretty sweet all the way through.

T Very smooth and creamy onset, with all of the above flavors mentioned in the smell apparent in the taste. Finishes well with a bitter coffee roast taste

M Smooth all the way through out, a little too carbonated in the middle

A great coffee stout, Bell's really does some great stuff and I'm usually very impressed with their offerings, this is definitely one of their finest

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

Pours a dense, deep brown color with a big, dark and frothy head. Smells of big roasted malts, very chocolaty.

The flavor is hugely malty and chocolaty, but there is a cool sort of pleasant smoky, tobacco aftertaste, with a hoppy character throughout the entire taste.

Mouthfeel is perfect - dense like watered down chocolate syrup. Very smooth - tastes like it's a draught beer.

An absolutely brilliant beer from Bell's, the best I've had of theirs and one of the best sweet stouts I've had the pleasure of drinking- a solid straightforward, no bullshit beer!

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

Poured a pitch black with a fleeting dark brown head.

Light malt and coffee fragrance.

Deep, rich coffee and malt flavor. The coffee kind of takes command and leaves a slight acidic coffee aftertaste.

Very rich and creamy, low carbonation. Has no problem in coating the palate.

A very enjoyable stout with great flavor and balance. Would highly recommend and look forward to another.

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

A - Pitch black. Huge, solid brown foam with fantastic lace.

S - Roasted grain and related dark, toasty aromas. Coffee.

T- Big astringent toastiness with a leafy backdrop. Very bitter. Not tasting any licorice - I guess it's been obliterated by other flavours. Quite dry, and acidic up front with a bit of an apple presence.

M - Medium mouthfeel with a moderate carbonation. Dry.

D - Easy drinking, tasty stout.

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

Grabbed this one the last time I was in Pittsburgh and decided to pour it on the first snowfall of the year into my pint glass...

A: Pours an extremely dark brown (no this one is not black like most) with nice ruby hues around the edges when held to light. Creates a massive two finger head that clouds above the dark liquid and the head doesn't fade.

S: The smell is straight Folger's coffee in the glass. Bitter coffee, bitter roast, some sweet molasses perhaps and fresh green hops.

T: I was not expecting this, so this blew me away. The taste was not sweet like I was expecting, nor light. It has great flavors of coffee, and bitter coffee at that. Very creamy and smooth bitter coffee that leads into a nice dark roast. Some bitter hops are present as well. Great taste

Overall, this is a spectacular showing by Bell's. Not sweet like a milk stout, but a nice, big bold stout that deserves another go.

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

A- Pours a huge thick tan/brown head over a black body. Talk about retention.... wow. As the head finally recedes, I get some slight lacing.

S- Big toasty malts, coffee,some dark fruits and hints of anise.

T- Starts out very dark and toasty with big suggestions of coffee and slight hint of anise. The finish is dry with some residual dark dry chocolate.

M- Silky smooth. Great feel.

D- This was a very nice stout. It's dark and toasty and the anise note is very well balanced. Perfect for MN winter!

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

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into my shaker glass a deep dark brown color with a healthy three fingers of fluffy ecru colored head. Smells of milk chocolate, roasted grains, coffee, and anise seed. Tastes like a mocha coffee with a shot of black sambuca added to it (minus the alcohol burn). Rather complex with a bitter finish. Medium in both body and carbonation. A nice bitter stout that I like to revisit from time to time.

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

12 oz. bottle picked up from the absurdly good Lone Hill Liquor in Glendora, CA. Enjoyed in a nonic pint glass. The label indicates this is batch number 8652. I've been waiting to try this one all week.

Opaque, inky black in the glass, except at the edges, where there are attractive dark red-brown highlights. The head is a mass of thick, rich, dark caramel tan foam, made of tiny bubbles interspersed here and there with larger ones. Very attractive. Eventually it settles into a thin disk with a heavier collar. The foam leaves good lacing on the walls of the glass, and the beer looks slightly viscous.

Rich and roasty dark malts, with plenty of chocolate milk in the background. Reminds me of a chocolate Hobnob, really. There is also a mild nutty component like brazil nuts and pine nuts. Other notes include dark earth, a touch of campfire smoke, and a faint tartness that grows as the beer warms. I really don't get much of the brewer's licorice that the label says this is brewed with.

Starts off creamy and chocolatey, like a cooled-down cup of hot chocolate made with heavy milk. Roasty and bitter coffee flavors follow. In the complex middle, the milk chocolate gives way to dark dried fruits (raisins and figs), salted caramel, and the zesty licorice note I couldn't find in the aroma. Ends with dark chocolate and more coffee with a lingering herbal bitterness. A delicious light, piney smokiness comes through in the aftertaste.

Full-bodied, palate-coating, velvety, slightly sticky, and infused with a perfect level of carbonation. The carbonation and the lingering bitterness rejuvenate the palate and leave you ready for the next sip. Alcohol provides a little soothing warmth.

This is a gratifyingly rich and satisfying beer. It has as much flavor as some smaller imperial stouts, but with less alcohol and heaviness. An excellent beer to take you from fall into winter. I would love to try this one on tap. Or better yet, on cask.

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

Poured into a mug from a 12 oz bottle.

a- Beautiful two-finger tan head that retains nicely. Little hills at the top of the glass. Inky black typical of the style but not completely opaque as ruby red notes can be seen throughout the glass.

s- Sweet and roasty, though the alcohol smell is coming through a bit more than I'd expect here. Definitely cream and chocolate.
Pleasant and layered, making me want to have a taste.

t- Up-front sweetness and roasted coffee and chocolate. The cream here is wonderful, too. Hop bitterness is surprising and welcome along with the alcohol. Finishes a dry dark chocolate, lactose and nuts.

m- Medium bodied and biting carbonation. In a weird and not at all bad way it feels like cola, though chewier and less a little less biting.

d- I'd take several of these. 6.0% as marked on the bottle is I think right where this should be.

I've tried a lot of beers in this style and it's a little hard to choose a lot of the time. This one has its own unique character and it's a little more iced coffee than the dark hot mochas of other milk stouts. Enjoyable and worth a reccommendation.

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

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout pours a creamy dark as night black, with a fluffy tan head. It smells of burnt grains and roasted coffee, with sweetness that I can't pinpoint. It tastes much like it smells which is great; it's smooth and creamy with a mild crispness in the back of the mouth. Like all stouts it's pretty filling and a bit thick. All in all, another great beer from bells.

Photo of TonyT
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into imperial pint glass.

Thick, two finger, off white/brownish head. Lacing remains as the level decreases. Thin head also remains. Roasted malts peak through the smell. Solid taste, malty and earthy with the hints of licorice in the aftertaste. Silky throughout with a mellow dryness at the end, with a slight cola taste. The mellow cola carbonation gives it a crisp mouthfeel.

This beer is very well balanced and allows you to partake in a couple. Not heavy but has enough meat in its body. It's almost as if you want another one, just to experience it all again.

Photo of MMAJYK
3.6/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Black in color and very inky. Head is slow to rise to the top, but is light brown and very spotty. It is actually going away quite fast, too.

S- Coffee, cream, chocolate, maybe some light toffee and vanilla. Digging deeper you will find a light roast and/or campfire aroma.

T- Roasted malt, black patent malt, coffee malt, and vanilla creamer. Midstream, you can actually feel a little bit of the bittering hop blend with some malt astrigency.

M- Somewhat milky with low carbonation.

D- I am not too crazy about it. Just a decent milk stout to me; definitely not standoutish but glad I could try it.

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

Poured to a good two inch head. Head was light brown in color. Stout was black in appearance. Head hung around awhile and had some good lacing that left rings with every swallow. Smelled a slight sweet cream, coffee, and malt. Had a strong burnt coffee taste with again a slight cream. Had a slight burnt coffee bitter aftertaste that seemed to linger in your mouth. Felt good in the mouth. I thought the carbonation was right. Almost felt a little thicker. I would enjoy these on a cool October day like this one, but it wouldnt be my brew of choice on a hot summer day. Ill buy again and perhaps this fall once again.

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

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours dark brown/black with a full tan head with excellent retention, almost like a nitro beer, good lacing as well.

S: Smell has distinct notes of chocolate and coffee, a little bit of cream.

S: Stronger bitterness than I expected in a sweet stout, burnt malt and coffee form the main flavour. The beer ends with a long finish and aftertaste of dark cocoa.

M: Medium-bodied, mild carbonation, oily and slick, I thought it could use a bit more body, but still good overall.

D: A nice drinkable stout from Bell's. With it not being distributed here I don't think I'll have it for a while, but I'll definitely revisit it if given the chance.

Photo of t0rin0
3.63/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Very dark, brown foam, no light gets through. Decent retention with alright lacing.

Smell is of alcohol and roast. Mildly complex but not much there.

Flavor is heavy on the roast. Theres a dry bitterness and a nutty aftertaste. The only sweetness that comes through is at the end of the aftertaste.

Body is medium/heavy and oily. More suited to a double stout but where does it say that milk stouts can't be thick? Definitely drinkable if you like roast and coffee flavors, I don't however.

Photo of paco1029384756
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark brown with a small tan head and good lacing.

Scent of chocolate, roasted malts, raisins, anise and a hint of coffee. A nice robust aroma, very inviting.

Taste of chocolate, anise and coffee initially with some alcohol. Finishes with roasted malts and raisins.

Mouthfeel is light and biting, I would prefer it to be smoother.

A good session stout, but it's not my first choice.

Photo of peck95
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

very dark typical stout, the large head from a moderate pour is refusing to dissipate
don't get much from the aroma a nice choc malt smell but very little hop aroma
taste is very different a nice rich chocolaty taste and a bitter hop background
mouth very smooth well rounded brew
drink is very good wish it was a little higher abv for its desert style taste

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

poured into a guiness pint. black color with a small amount of head. what little there is a milk chocolate brown/ cream color. nice lacing that slowly falls.

smell is rich. i get some sweet/sour notes. followed closely by an assault of roasted malt.

taste is very nice. smooth sweet flavor hits you at first. i do get a very similar flavor to great lakes edmund fitzgerald. i get a nice amount of malt. slightly creamy.

mouth feel definitely gets better as it warms. i am not a fan of this beer right out of the fridge. very satisfying as it reaches 55.

all in all a good beer. i would grab it again. i would really like to try it off cask

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

The nose on the beer has a sweetness that comes through with a great hint of roastiness. The beer is super black with a nice tan head, about a centimeter in height with good retention. Looks beautiful. Not much carbonation though. The flavour of this beer is pretty roasty and not very sweet; I don't think this is a sweet stout, but the flavours are quite strong. They have a good mixture of roasted barley with chocolate. The bitterness comes from the roasted malts, and the hops are far in the background. The beer is pretty creamy with a bite from carbonation. The beer is drinkable.

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

12oz. brown bottle.

A: Dark brown with a tan head.

S: Aromas of roasted malts with a bitter character.

T & M: The smooth, creamy mouth feel leads to tastes of burnt malts that predominate over any underlying sweetness from this "Milk/Sweet Stout". I could sense this is a well made Stout, but I found the flavor to be no more than ordinary. Perhaps I was expecting more from the folks at Bell's, but for me this one lacked either a sweetness, or on the opposite end, a coffee flavor to bring it out.

D: Not bad, but just not great.

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