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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: 354 | 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 eagles22
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: really really dark brown almost black...nice tannish white head ...stays for about 3 to 4 minutes with the lacing is also good

Smell: of sweet roasted malts..hint of honey also dark chocolate and milk chocolate and bit of alcohol

Taste: wow very nice taste...at first i get hit with a really sweet taste of chocolate and caramel and than ends with a nice coffee taste that ends in a nice bit which i love

Mouthfeel: chewy thick...leaves you wanting more and more the taste really grows on you very nice beer

Drinkability: i love this beer...i could easily drink a 6er..

must try beer

Photo of avalon07
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a black color and a thick consistency. There was a half inch of long-lasting head and some good lacing.

S: Smelled mainly of coffee and malt more than anything else.

T: A decently done taste with coffee, roasted malt and a slight pinch of hops along with them.

M: A fairly high-carbonated beer with a dry finish. Full-bodied.

D: This is a drinkable beer that goes down easy. It's well made and has solid attributes.

Photo of kimcgolf
4.19/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Jet black pour from the bottle with a medium-thick off-white head that lingers thru mid-glass and leaves good lacing. Aroma is a pleasant mixture of caramel and chocolate malt, with a whiff of coffee. Mouthfeel is full and tingly sweet, and the taste is a carbon copy of the nose, all rounding to a nice long, somewhat warming finish.

I had read a lot of good things about this beer, and was not the least bit disappointed. Good job Bells!!!

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.66/5  rDev -8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 5/16/08. Bottle. Pours black with a beautiful dark brown head that left nice lacing on the glass. Aroma and flavor strongly of coffee, some roast, and chocolate. The palate was a little thin despite the big flavors in the beer. Some sweet richness in the finish, but not enough. The palate gets weaker as you continue to drink. This is just a weaker version of Expedition. It is good, but I am shocked that it is the #3 stout, as I would rate many other stouts over it.
8/5/7/3/14 (3.7/5)

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

Now listineing to: Jimi Hendrix - Stone Free

A- Deep dark brown...borders on pure black, with a surprisingly lighter tan head
S- mild aromas of coffee and candy sweetness
T- Awesome taste! Feels like heaven. All the best of this type of stout minus any of the potential overwhelming characteristics.
M- Again, this was perfect! I had had a meal of gamey venison, but followed it up with a bottle of this and it cleared everything away.
D- At 6%, this is one of the more perfect stouts that I have had. I normally go much higher; for imperials, but this had everything in it that I could ever ask for!

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

Enjoyed by a fire in a 12 oz. Bottle from Bon Vivant in Smithfield, VA. I poured it into a nice tall water glass.

A: Dark brown-black with hazel hilights. ~3/4" tan head which dissipates to a frothy film in 1-1.5 minutes. Some retention. Lovely to behold.

S: Roasty toasty malts with some astringency. A hint of that licorice they keep talking about, too. Smells so inviting! Some chocolate?

T: Almost as good as the smell. And almost the same. The toasty sweetness is under a bit of water but there nonetheless. Some choco-licorice to be had too. A smooth, smooth finish keeps you sipping.

M: Creamy and thick. A joy!

D: Yes.


Photo of corby112
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving type: bottle.

Pours a dark brown/black with a thin coffee colored head. Aroma of roasted malts, chocolate and licorice. Roasted malt flavor with taste of chocolate, coffee, licorice, and dark fruit. Nice bitter dry finish with strong chocolate, roasted coffee and icorice aftertaste.

Photo of hooligan
3.33/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Tan label with a curmudgeonly looking gentleman on the front.

Beer pours dark black with some red in the light, 1-finger head colored like dark coffee with cream which dissipates quickly to a soapy film.

Smell is clean with licorice, coffee, slight pepper, and a very faint subdued sweetness, cherry-like.

Big roasted kick upfront, scorched coffee and walnuts. Balanced bitterness with no outstanding floral notes of hops. A potent licorice flavor finishes the beer along with the ever-present coffee notes. Small notes of alcohol phenols keep hinting up but aren't overpowering.

Mouthfeel is ok, slightly fizzy almost like a porter, although I look for a bit more "chunk in the trunk" with stouts, I would like to see a bit more viscosity in this beer.

Pretty good, although after trying other Bell beers I was expecting something a bit more...

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

I'm re-reviewing this beer because my original review was laaame.

Pours black with a very thin dark tan head. Nose is a good bit of roasted and molasses tones. Flavor brings the same with an almost oat bitter tone that mixes in. Very hearty and robust. Nearly a meal in itself. Smooth liquid feel. Low carbonation. A nice winter time beer. It's 30-something outside and this is precisely what I should be drinking.

Photo of midaszero
3.16/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Batch 8432

A - Opaque brown with one finger of coffee head and good lacing

S - Raw chocolate and licorice kind of faint

T - Faint chocolate and licorice taste with a little bit of sweetness

M - Light medium body with medium high carbonation

D - good to session but not something to really seek out

Photo of b3barron
4.19/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Purchased for the first time in Illinois since I moved from Kalamazoo in January. Probably haven't had this in over a year. Poured into a Bell's pint glass.

A - An aggressive pour yields a bubbly, foamy inch and a half of mocha-colored head with good retention.

S - Smell is of sweet milk chocolate. I pick up a little roasted aroma if I really inhale.

T - Definitely get more roasted malt in the taste along with cocoa powder up front. A little dark chocolate comes though with some hop bitterness and leaves a fairly dry finish. Very well balanced.

M - Medium to full-bodied with a moderate level of carbonation which does a nice job of delivering the robust flavors.

D - Drinkability is outstanding. I generally won't consume more than one or at the most two stouts in a session but this is an exception.

Great beer for the colder months and a fine offering from Bell's regular lineup. Very highly recommended.

Photo of CrellMoset
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle (adorned with a rather unattractive gentleman) from Wine Warehouse, Charlottesville, VA. Poured into an Allagash flute.

Appearance: Pours a thick, murky brown, black maybe, sticky-looking. A mildly aggressive pour yields a two-finger chocolate head with above-average retention and great, huge swaths of sticky lacing. Great start.

Aroma: Milky cocoa and anise are dominant, as are hints of charred earth, coffee, and a truly, purely leafy hop presence. A nice balance, and an interesting, somewhat inviting one.

Taste: Dirty as hell. This beer is as close to eating scorched earth as I've ever come, and that's not necessarily a bad thing ... it's sort of like taking coffee with one cream, one cup of dirt. Plus one cup of tasty? Dark, burnt toast. Either way, not bad, though a little offputting at first - takes a while to get used to it. Which is not to say it takes significant alcohol consumption to get used to it, 'cause if there's alcohol in this sticky, sweet concoction, I'm not noticing it.

Mouthfeel: Medium-to-high carbonation, slightly smooth and even, creamy and milky.

Drinkability: Surprisingly good, given the concoction of flavors here. Alcohol's well-hidden and reasonably low, though perhaps on the high-end for the style ... but what it really comes down to are the flavors and aromas here. And though they're bizarre, they're strangely not as offputting as they should be. Anise, cocoa, heavily-roasted coffee, all wrapped up in a dirt bow - sounds weird, but give it a shot.

Photo of jeremyd365
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I can't believe I hadn't had this before! It pours a thick, oily blackness with a light chocolate brown head. The smell is chocolatey but the taste is a great roasted coffee-ness. It's a nice heavy body and the coffee flavors are apparent as soon as it touches the tongue. It's incredibly flavorful and if you like this style of stout then you can't go wrong with this one. It remains drinkable despite it's thickness. I'll definitely be buying this again and often!

Photo of Buebie
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle with no freshness date, but a bottling code of 8364.

Poured black into a snifter, black with no color hues when held to light.
2 finger brown creamy head. Receeds into a thin layer of retention. Very thin and spotty lace.
When poured, textures appeard inky.

Aroma on this is definatly a black licorice molasses aroma, as indicated in the brewers notes as an addition of brewers licorice.
Nice robust semi sweet chocolate aroma. grainy sweet malty aroma, a touch of oatmeal at the nose.
The chocolate at the nose is just head spinning.

Fairly smooth, without that inky texture I thought it might have. Still thick, but not as thick as I had hped in the mouthfeel department.
Bittersweet bakers chocolate flavors, mixed with a chocolate grain flavor. Dark roasted coffee flavors.
Burnt caramel, oak smokieness. This is one bitter, sensational brew.

I was hoping for somthing a bit more thick and creamy, as the nose and flavors may have hinted towards. Still a terrific beer. I'd give it an A+ if it were more thick and creamy.

Photo of hopdog
4.36/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle.

Poured a dark black color with an averaged sized brown head. Aromas of chocolate, coffee and roasted malts. Tastes of roastiness, chocolate, and coffee I loved the chocolate presence in this one. Nice bitterness in the finish.

Notes from 7/18/05

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

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a clear pint glass. No freshness date.

A: Black with leather-brown at the edges and completely opaque. Dense and tall 2-finger cinnamon mocha colored head that pits like the top of a flourless chocolate torte. Several rings of honeycombing lace are left behind.

S: Sumptuous mocha and chocolate overtones are backed by generously toasted dark malt aromas with some char

T: The char is a little more evident than I would imagine in most sweet stouts, but there is plenty of fudgy, coffee tinged flavor with a nice light hops contribution as well. There is also a bit of medicinal, molasses taste which is not offputting and rounds out this complex brew.

M: Very creamy and smooth with a light-to-medium-for-a-stout body that I like and is typical of the sweet stout category. Aftertaste is long and favors roasted dark malts.

D: The slightly lighter body and complex flavor profile add to the drinkability of this very good sweet stout. Another winner from the Bell's lineup.

Photo of sweetbrew82
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass on 11/12/08:

P: Vigorously poured into the glass, it produces a beautiful chestnut brown colored 2 -3 inch foam head that is pretty thick and foamy. It quickly dissipates, but does leave a nice floating cap atop this jet black beauty. The edge of the glass is the only place that light manages to barely creep into this one. Just the way I like 'em!

A: One big whiff will bombard your olfactory receptors will the smell of wood, bittersweet chocolate, a touch of caramel, and of course, a hint of licorice. I also picked up the faint smell of smoke and (whiskey?) Smells delicious!

T: This stout starts sweet as soon as it hits the palate, with coffee, chocolate, toffee and a dash of licorice playing the starring roles. Midway through, the hops come join the party and bring their bitter friends with them. No worries though, the sweet and the bitter manage to socialize and intermingle nicely with each other. The earthy hops tingle the back of the tongue upon swallow, while a slight whiskey flavored alcoholic taste warms the esophagus on the way down. The interesting, and subtle, complexity of licorice adds a nice little twist to the whole experience. The finish doesn't let you forget it anytime soon, as it lingers for quite a while. It finishes dry, while leaving a slight oil slick on the tongue that just begs you to take another drink.

M: The mouthfeel to this stout is just outstanding. It's full-bodied and incredibly silky smooth. This is how a stout should feel.

D: Drinkability is pretty darn good in my book. But I don't know if this would qualify as a "session beer" in someone else's book. It may be too big, bold, and complex for some folks to sip on all night long. Personally, I wish I had a couple more of these bad boys to savor tonight.

Notes: I don't know if this one really qualifies as a sweet stout, but nonetheless, it is one full-bodied, smooth-operator that is quite the tasty brew. I really liked the interesting twist of licorice that this one brings to the table, unusual but pleasant. Overall, it's a very good stout that I will definitely have again in the near future.

Photo of ffejherb
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle into shaker pint glass on 11/11/08.

A - Black with burgundy highlights around the edges and one-finger medium tan head that receded to a quarter inch of retention and left a bit of spotty lacing.

S - Nutty malt with hints of chocolate and licorice. Dark fruit aspect with slight sweetness and a bit of sourness as well. Earthy, dirty hops reminiscent of dried leaves and tree bark.

T - This is a fairly robust stout with plenty of nutty malt flavor and a mild sourness with dark fruit accents. Coffee and chocolate notes mingle with a slight smoky character in the middle. A roasted malt character emerges in the finish with some leafy, earthy hops in the backend.

M - Medium body with smooth, oily texture and very soft carbonation. Finish is quite bitter for a stout and also has a mild sour twang. Body is perhaps a tad thin overall.

D - Pretty good stout, and a complex one at that. There are certainly lots of flavors and aromas to unearth from this brew. I've been on a stout kick lately, so it was nice to try this one after having it sit in the fridge for about six months.

Photo of bamadog
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Nice and dark, a fairly decent head of about one finger that really disappeared quickly. I would say quicker than normal with most stouts. But this one is a little different in other areas as well.

Smell: A little roasty, with a sweet candy type smell that's pretty powerful. The bottle says it's brewed with brewers licorice, so I wonder if that is it.

Taste: Excellent. A little roasty, but not overpowering, and bittersweet and a bite of alcohol in the back.

Mouthfeel: Lighter in the mouth than most stouts. Almost reminds me of some heavier porters that I've had. Smooth and creamy.

Drinkability: I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. It's a litlte more pricey than I prefer (although still very reasonable compared to a lot of other beers out there), and the taste and feel of it is a nice change-up. I rated it a little higher than I thought I would, but it's got a lot going for it.

Photo of jdg204
4.82/5  rDev +21.1%
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
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
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
3.76/5  rDev -5.5%
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
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
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
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
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

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