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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

3,700 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,700
Reviews: 1,462
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 10.55%
Wants: 169
Gots: 374 | 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: 3,700 | Reviews: 1,462 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
89 out of 100 based on 3,700 ratings.