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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

3,706 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,706
Reviews: 1,462
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 10.55%
Wants: 170
Gots: 379 | 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: 3,706 | Reviews: 1,462 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dfillius
4.38/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed in a pint glass. Didn't realize it was a milk stout until just now.

A: Aggressive pour yields 1.25 fingers of pillowy brown head with good retention. Opaque black liquid. Ideal, inviting.
S: Sweet caramel, roasted chocolate, vanilla, alcohol.
T: Chocolate, some bitter heat, maybe from the licorice. Not strong licorice, but I can kind of taste it (the power of suggestion?) I'm glad they wrote that it was in here. Alcohol gives heat too. The licorice is blended in very well. So well I could barely taste it. When I did taste it though, it was a 5.0 swallow for sure.
M: Smooth with a roast bitterness sneaking in later. Some heat.
D: Very good. Another quality offering from Bell's

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

Poured from a bottle into a snifter. It pours a very deep brown that is opaque and basically black when held to the light. A 1 inch mocha-colored head from that reduces fairly quickly to a lacing around the edges.

The aroma is a nice combination and milk chocolate and dark chocolate, as well as coffee lurking quite strongly. The licorice mentioned on the label is light but present.

The taste is quite good and complex. There is again the milk and dark chocolates, as well as some roasted coffee notes. There is also a nice hoppy bitterness at the finish. As with the aroma, some licorice is minimally noticeable.

The is a full bodied stout. The bitterness that lingers on the tongue mixed with the initial sweet notes is quite good. The carbonation seems close to on target. It is quite smooth and not overly creamy.

Overall, this is another great beer from Bell's. It is quite drinkable because the flavor does not thrash the palate and the ABV does not send you to the moon. If you haven't had it, it is definitely worth trying and likely enjoying.

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

A - Pitch black brew with a three finger dark brown head that sticks around for days. A good amount of lace sticks to the glass, and even after a few minutes the head looks good enough to scoop up and eat with a spoon.

S - Double chocolate chip cookies with a hint of peanut butter, but no overly sweet. I smell espresso, cracked wheat, fresh black bread with sesame seeds. I'm also getting sunflower seed shells, deeply roasted (almost burnt) nuts, and a hint of licorice. I cheated and read the label before nosing this one, so would I have guessed licorice blindly? Probably not, but once aware I can definitely pick it up in the nose. It's one of those "duh" moments that after reading it, it's quite obvious... just totally unexpected in a stout. This one Smells Good!

T - Dark chocolate and licorice initially, this gets more roasty and dark with each second it's in the mouth. Licorice/anise is definitely a major player, but not in an over-the-top "look at me I'm a licorice stout!" sort of way... the licorice falls into place with the other nice flavors in a very demogratic and co-dominate manner.

M - Full bodied, creamy, yet somewhat sour and very acidic. This is an interesting juxtaposition that I'm not that I like. This seems slightly overcarbonated IMO, but that does, along with the acidity, keep it lively and drinkable.

D - This is a top level stout. Not the best by any means, but it's right up there in the big leagues. Dig the licorice. I've always been a big fan of black licorice.

Photo of beveritt
4.41/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a standard pint glass. Batch #8874, brewed Dec 4, 2008. Label depicts a rough sketch of a rough looking old guy.

Appearance: Pours with 1 1/2 fingers of medium tan head. This settles slowly to a quarter inch coating, leaving behind nice lacing. The beer itself is black and opaque. Lots of sediment remains in the bottle.

Smell: Dark roasted barley with an ever so slight lactose sweetness in the finish.

Taste: Lactose sweetness is more prevalent in the taste than the aroma. Barley roastiness takes a back seat to the sweetness, but is still very noticeable. Slight acrid bite int he finish, maybe the brewer's licorice mentioned on the label?

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is a little on the low side, as would be expected from this style. Body is great, nice and creamy.

Drinkability: Another solid beer form Bell's. Not as sweet as some milk/sweet stouts, but maybe a little more complex.

Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a thick, almost pitch-black body with brisk carbonation that led to a two-finger tan head that died at a medium pace and left some spider lacing. A pleasant, thick malt smell of roasted, maybe toasted, maltsoats, something akin to bread and coffee malts and a little bit of chocolate and caramel. A medium-to-full bodied beer that mixes being extremely smooth and creamy with a burnt dryness. Goes down smooth, almost slick at times and has the drying sensation that a quality stout possesses. Taste is comprised of bread malt, some roasted/toasted and coffee malt notes (possible toffee), some chocolate and caramel, maybe molasses, there seems to be hints of heavy fruits in there. My pallete is all over the place trying to pick up the bits and pieces of everything in there. Even has a slight alkie kick on the backend to boost it up and some spices. A mildly warming, complex sipper that is great to relax w/ anytime, especially as a nightcap.

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

A- Pours pitch black and relatively thick with a dark brown cascading head that quickly recedes to almost nothing.

S- Initially, it smells good with a heavy roasted barley smell and hints of burned sugar. After smelling again, I found it difficult to ignore the metallic smell coming off as well.

T- The licorice was masked by the dark malts of the beer. There was a pleasant creamy flavor that I really liked, although there was also a slightly burnt bitterness.

M- More texture than I remembered. Creamy and smooth with just the right level of carbonation.

D- Not too heavy and not too carbonated. Overall, a good beer, but I think I enjoyed it better fresh.

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

Appearance: As is typical with stouts, Bell's Kalamazoo stout pours the color of black coffee. It doesn't have much of a head from the initial pour, but the lacing is rather impressive. A good swift swirl of the glass will help pull out about a finger of stunning light brown frothy head that (again) disappears quickly. (4)

Smell: This beer smells very good. I've poured this one a bit cold, but right out of the glass I get an explosion of roasted espresso. This is followed quickly by caramel and bittersweet chocolate aromas. There is also a nice bit of rich tobacco and floral components that gives this beer quite a bit of depth.

Taste: Kalamazoo tastes identical to the way it smells, which is a very good thing. There is lots of soft bitterness right away that helps carry the strong espresso and chocolate components down your throat. The tobacco from the nose comes across on the tongue, too, which is a very nice touch. For a 6% ABV beer, this thing is packed to the teeth with deep, dark roasty flavors.

Mouthfeel: Although there is a ton of roasted flavors in the mouth, the beer feels a lot lighter than you'd expect. The bitterness is only faintly detected by the palate, and there is not a lot of heaviness that coats the mouth. I would even say this is one of the lighter stouts I've had; which is good considering how drinkable this is.

Overall: Bell's Brewery continues to amaze me. I've yet to drink one of their beers that isn't extremely inspired and worthy of my hard earned cash. The Kalamazoo stout, along with the heavier Expedition stout, is a very solid stout. Where the Expedition stout is meant to be more of a sipper, the Kalamazoo is something that can be enjoyed at a bit quicker pace. With such a low ABV, this is one that can be ready to go with only about 30 minutes in the fridge.

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

Appearance- Opaque black, with finger of tan head, good sticky lacing.

Smell- Rich chocolate, sweet toffee or molasses, ethanol is evident, light hop tanginess in background.

Taste- Rich sweetness, roasty malt and dry fruitiness, raisiny, hop-bitterness. Fairly complex, but well balanced.

Mouthfeel- Medium-heavy body with good carbonation.

Drinkability- For a stout, this is one I couldn't have more than a couple of.

Photo of dasenebler
4.51/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opaque black, but not too viscous. Modest tan head dissipates quickly, some lacing. Has a huge earthy and pungently roasty aroma-- coffee and raw, bittersweet chocolate.

Strongly flavored, but pretty smooth. More tangy than sweet. Tons of roast, chocolate, and coffee, probably the most I've tasted in a non-RIS stout. Smokiness that reminds me of a rauchbier, but only vaguely. Slightly bitter and very roasty aftertaste. Smooth, but the carbonation is almost sharp, and, when combined with the strong flavors, almost makes the beer a little harsh. Nevertheless, this is an incredibly flavorful stout and you'd think it would be heavier based on that. Absolutely delicious and very drinkable at around 6% abv.

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

Thanks to JoBoTo for slipping one of these in the great care package he sent me. Now for the review..

Never a huge drinker of stouts.. because I have always been a drinker of "more than one beer". To me a stout is almost something to have one of for lunch or breakfast. I could sit and drink 6 Hopslams after dinner and still be able to speak with clarity.

- Great dark rich color... couldn't see through it in my tumbler if I tried. Thin licorice head with drifting lacing. Looks like Coke with Hersheys syrup.

- Smell is great with a roasted bitter dark coffee and chocolate flare.. not Folgers... but a 6th Ave. Bistro. Warm and nostril flaring goodness with sweet cane sugar.

- What can I say... it tastes as good as it smells.. nice clear water, cold filtered dark coffee or iced.. bittered but balanced with sweetness..

- Not too dry but i'm sure it would be a bit tart for some... but for a stout, it is what it is and should be. Very drinkable as well... it's like Guinness but a bit more refined. A very pleasant stout. Would be a great stout with seafood.

Photo of jwinship83
3.7/5  rDev -7%
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
4.45/5  rDev +11.8%
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
4.11/5  rDev +3.3%
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
3.57/5  rDev -10.3%
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
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
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
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
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
3.6/5  rDev -9.5%
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
4.3/5  rDev +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
3.96/5  rDev -0.5%
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
3.6/5  rDev -9.5%
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
4.11/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
89 out of 100 based on 3,706 ratings.