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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

3,701 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,701
Reviews: 1,462
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 10.55%
Wants: 170
Gots: 375 | 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: 3,701 | Reviews: 1,462 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Amsterdam
3.82/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle with a brief fizzle of a head and almost no lacking. The color and consistency when held up to the light is eerily similar to flat coke.

The smell is of unfiltered tap water, but this may be the result of the licorice.

Intensely dark herbal flavor that fills the mouth, rolls around, and goes easily down, leaving a bitter licorice aftertaste. Sharp flavors.

The beer is very interesting and a wonderful drinker to have with food, but there is a lack of complexity--every taste until the last two or three are almost exactly the same, which could be a good case for balance.

Overall I liked this as a good stout to have on hand when a nice food beer is needed.

Photo of droomyster
4.16/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Kalamazoo Stout pours jet black iwth a big, fluffy, brown head with good retention. Smells are good but nothing extraordinary: all of the dark chocolate and roastiness expected of a craft stout. Sipping --- wow. Before I even say a word about the taste let me just say that the body of this beer hits me just right. Its substantial fullness is is keenly felt initially before the carbonation lightens it up and lets the numerous flavors come out to express themselves. The roasty and dark chocolate bittersweetness come through clearly but don't shock the senses; rather, they are quite well balanced. The finish is a long and gratifying tug-of-war between the burnt malts and smoky bitterness that I find endlessly gratifying. A very nice stout that I intend to have year after year.

Photo of mooseisloose
4.64/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Completing my Bell's Beer Slam of tonight with this stout brewed with brewer's licorice. Smell is chocolate, both milk and semi-sweet and cinnamon, some coffee, cookies and cream ice cream, wow. Pours to a jet black with a creamy tan head. Taste is roasted malts, sugars, chocolate milk and some coffee hints. Only slightly bitter at the end but overall sweet. This style is really starting to grow on me and this brew is definitely in the upper echelons of this style. Complex and delicious. A typical offering of Bell's in that it has a spectrum of flavors throughout. The mouthfeel is heavy but smooth. A little sweet to be a sessioner but these would be great rotated in with a hoppy brew.

Photo of CMW
4.02/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Pours midnight black with no light geting through. Small 1/4 inch tan head forms and retention is minimal.

S - Roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee

T - Same as the nose, coffee, roasted malt and some sweetness. Slight bit of hops in the finish adds a little bitterness.

M - Not as creamy as I would have expected. Carbonation seems high.

D - Easy to drink, could knock out a few of these.

Photo of hughesm4
3.4/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had pouring a bottle into a pint glass.

A- Poured Midnight Black, not impressed with the head. There was very little and it faded quickly.

S- Very good smell, almost identical to that of a pot of coffee.

T- Nothing special about the taste. It went down very smooth but no distinct flavors until the drink was swallowed

M- Very delicious the taste of coffee lingered in the mouth for a good 30 seconds before fading

D- Average, a pretty good brew, but nothing I would go out of my way to have.

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

Poured into a pint glass.

A-Dark brown to black beer, opaque. An attractive brown, frothy head topped this black beer. Head retention was strong, remaining at least minimally through the duration of this beer.

S-Roasted malt and a hint of licorice, with a chocolate malt sustaining under it all.

T-A lot of chocolate with a roasty malt character. A slight licorice on the tail-end of the flavor, with a full roasty malt and a residual sweetness in the finish. Hop bitterness is not porminent.

M-Medium-high carbonation, far from overpowering, coupled with a proper, medium body.

D-Very easy to drink with a nice and unusual complexity. Enjoyable for sure.

Photo of supercolter
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I must say that I really enjoyed this offering. Had it at the Melting Pot in Minneapolis. There isn't much of a head but a nice deep black color. Smell and taste are very similar. Nice chocolate nose and taste. A bit of dry malt on the back end. Mouthfeel is a bit weak for the way that I like my stouts. Drinkability is great for the style.

Photo of william5586
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark black with a tan head.

S- roasted malts and a bit of a sweet smell

T & M - Roasted/Burnt flavors dominate and are backed by some sweetness. Chocolate. There is also a hint of something else there that im going to assume is the licorice. Leaves me with a very coarse aftertaste. This was full bodied and smooth but i felt that there was a bit to much carbonation.

D- very good stout that you can have a few of due to the moderate ABV

Photo of Finn
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep black that I can't see tyhrough. A creamy brown, modest head sits on top, and leaves some nice lacing. Aroma is earthy, chocolaty, grainy, with a hint of licorice, and milk. The flavor begins with sweet dark malt and fruit, but is quickly cut by an acrid, slightly smokey and roasty bitterness. A nice lingering roasted barley flavor sticks on the palate. Mouthfeel is creamy and thick, with a nice mild tingle from the carbonation, reminding you that it's there, though not in a dominant fashion. Drinkability: Very nice stout with a LOT of different flavors going on. One of the more interesting/complex non-imperial stouts I've tried. Kind of like Shakespeare Stout, but a bit more ballsy and earthy. That being said, the drinkability is good, but I wouldn't opt for this as a session beer by any means (though I'm not in a big stout mood these days). It's a well balanced, interesting, flavorful and bold stout.

Photo of Onenote81
3.54/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Kiefdog for this extra brew in a recent trade!

Pours a deep oil-like black with a large foamy tan head on top. Retention is perfect, leaving with it beautiful lacing rings. Smells average for a stout. Some chocolate, roasted malts, slight coffee scent to it.

This tastes pretty good for a sweet stout. Again, the tastes mirror the scents pretty well as I'm tasting dark chocolate, coffee, nuts, and some wine-like flavor. Mouthfeel is a little weak. Slightly watery. It looks thick, but goes down a little thin. All in all, not bad. Give it a try.

Photo of DRjester
4.63/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I'll say up front that normally I prefer a drier stout to the "Sweet Stout" style, but this beer is transcendent; it is at the same time both an excellent example of its style, and a fantastic stout to please a wider palate.

I had it as a 12oz bottle poured into a glass handled mug.

Appearance: The stout poured out of the bottle smoothly, like molasses, and settled into an inky near-blackness with nearly 2 fingers of thick, rocky head the color of good cappucino. No light could penetrate the brew, and the head settled slowly and left nice lacing on the glass. Overall, it looked exquisite.

Smell: The first scent of this brew is a shot of espresso-like dark coffee, followed by a rounded roastiness. Further investigation reveals bittersweet chocolate, hints of sweet dark fruit, and just a touch of earthy hop bitterness.

Taste: The taste follows well after the nose, with flavors of coffee, dark roasted malts, and chocolate predominating. The genius of this beer for me is that while it clearly has the milky sweetness that is the hallmark of the style, it is not so pronounced as to be overwhelming (as in Mackeson's XXX, for example), and the finish has just enough hop bitterness to balance out the profile.

Mouthfeel: Another strong point for the stout, it goes down smooth and creamy, almost luxuriously, but with just a hint of dryness to keep it from tasting syrupy.

Drinkability: I was actually astonished with how quickly I downed the first half-pint, and had to pace myself a bit on the second half. A bit of warming does this beer a good turn, and with it's good but not overly high abv, I can see this being a fantastic session beer.

All in all, the finest Milk Stout I've ever had.

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.

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
89 out of 100 based on 3,701 ratings.