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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

3,658 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,658
Reviews: 1,457
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 10.55%
Wants: 164
Gots: 349 | 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: 3,658 | Reviews: 1,457 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of letsgopens
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This decadent stout pours a dark near black opaque with a creamy dark tan head that holds well and leaves nice lace.

The aroma is sweet and malty, with milk chocolate and a nice roastiness. Pleasant and very appetizing.

Sweet milk chocolate initiates the flavor followed by some welcomed roasted malt. A hint of dark fruit and some more bitter cocoa are present in the finish. Short notes of leafy hops round everything out.

The mouthfeel is heavy and creamy with a bit of natural carbonation. Very smooth and dessert-like throughout.

Photo of soupyman10
4.45/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

UPDATE: 6/1/08 - 4.5/4/4/4.5/4 - Had it again in a mixed sixer. Again, quite delicious, although I lowered the scores a little bit as the complexity of the aromas and taste didn't quite blow me away this time. Roasted malt, coffee, chocolate. Feel is thick and creamy. Still, a delicious brew...Bell's certainly does their stouts well. With this one, the Java, Expedition, and Cherry for some variety, outstanding.

ORIGINAL: 4.5/4.5/5/4/5 - Pours the first totally black beer I've ever seen, with a solid finger of tan head on top that disappears fairly slowly. Nose is strong on molasses, dried fruit, caramel, and maybe some chocolate too. Feel is solid, although maybe a little thin for a stout. Taste is excellent as well. All over the place. Up front is some sweet chocolate. Crazy roasted malts, and then some nice and pointedly sweet flavors of raisins and brown sugar in the middle. Roasted malt shows up again, a little more often as the beer warms. Ends with a solid, slightly hoppy bitter aftertaste. Solid aftertaste though, which sticks around with a nice sweet/bitter mix. This one's outstanding as well. I'm really stunned by how consistently great Bell's offerings are. I'll be picking this one up again. Possibly topped only by the incredible Expedition Stout.

Photo of tpd975
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep black in color with a nice espresso head that fades to a nice ring atop the glass.

S: Nice malty brew. There are definite Coffee, Chocolate, and Caramel aromas here.

T: I like this one, not the best of the Bell's bunch but good nonetheless. Has a nice smokiness to it. I can taste hazelnuts, chocolate, dark roasted coffee, and charcoal.

M: It's an easy drinker. Medium in body, but goes down ever so smooth.

D: This beer is very sessionable for a stout. I could drink it morning, noon, or night.

Overall: Good brew. I like some of Bell's other stouts better, but this is the only one currently available in Florida. It's an easy drinking stout that I can get my hands on which scores it extra points. It is complex in taste and I love the added smoke in there. There is no easier drinking stout around. Bell's in my opinion is one of the top 5 brewers around and this is one of the reasons why. Please I am begging you bring your entire line to the sunshine state.

Photo of trentley87
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Nothing beats a nice dark stout for attractive appearance in my book. This one pours nearly pitch black with a thick, creamy tan head.

S: The aroma of the beer, while not overly complex, made me want to drink it...fast, unfortunately, so fast I forgot to take any notes...so it was pretty good. Lots of malts and sweet smells coming out of this one.

T: Hard to pick out individual flavors in this concoction, but whatever is going on is working for me. Coffee and cream with only a mild hint of the supposed licorice flavor (which was fine by me)...no real bitterness just a nice creamy sweet taste. Unbalanced? Maybe. Delicious? Definitely. Pleasant sweet finish lingers for a while.

M: Right on for the taste of this beer, smooth and creamy, carbonation is right on.

D: Purely subjective, its not for everyone, but I could drink this all night long.

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

Appearance: Pours a dark, opaque black body with a rich, creamy beige head.

Smell: A sweet, succoring aroma of milk chocolate, licorice, and an iced caramel macchiato.

Taste: Rich, roasty espresso and dark chocolate flavor smoothed out with a shot of cream. A noticeable, fruity twang and a hint of licorice keeps things interesting. The finish is strongly roasty, and sightly astringent.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: Quite nice! It should be on anyone's list of things to drink before they die.

Photo of xgrafcorex
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

mmm very good stuff! i didn't notice on the bottle it said that it's "..brewed with brewers licorice" i'm not a big licorice fan, luckily it is more of a background flavor in this beer. this is my first beer from bell's brewing co. and i had heard good things about them. i was at my parents and happened to find some over on that coast so i quickly added this to the variety 6 pack i was building. glad i did too...the only disappointing thing is that i still can't get any here, so i'll have to go over there again to get more or try their other beers.

the smell is very nice. roasted malts, coffee, unsweetened chocolate, and a hint of licorice at the tail end.

the taste is much of the same, roasted malts and coffee being the dominant flavors. i don't really notice the licorice as much at all. which means to me, it's just the right amount. enough to add to the flavor, but not enough for me to refer to this as "the licorice stout." fairly heavily bodied, though surprisingly easy to drink. theres a somewhat bitter aftertaste too it. not a bad thing really, just makes me want to drink more. i'll have to slow down though...this is the only one i bought.

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

An excellent representation of the style. Pours a nice oft beige head and leaves tons of lacing down the glass. Tastes better as it warms. Lots of chocolate with some nice hoppy dryness towards the back of the tongue. Nice smelling brew. Possible coffee and milk shine through. A great interpretation of a milk/sweet stout, and very comparable to St. Pete's cream stout.

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

12oz bottle sent to me by demcorhip! Poured into a pint glass.

Pours as black as Satan's soul, lands with a 3/4 inch head, leaves lots of lace. Medium carbonation from what I can tell. Aromas of roasted malt, very heady. Some milk chocolate and spicy black pepper notes as well. Clean and delicious smell, very enjoyable.

Taste is very heavily of roasted malt, the brewers licorice adds a lovely subtle dimension, especially in the finish. Dark chocolate, coffee, black pepper and a light buttery sweetness to finish. Very well executed. Mpouthfeel is not overcarbonated with a full body and a bit of dryness after a thick, bitter finish. This is a stupidly drinkable stout, Not overly complex to me, but that's what I like about it. It's not muddled, it's well made and super sessionable. What more can you ask for?

Photo of markaberrant
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - black with a thick, dark tan head. Nice lacing.

S - milk chocolate, roast malt and a touch of sweetness. Nothing too exciting, but decent.

T - Short burst of sweetness is quickly overcome by a smooth roast malt. Then some dark fruit and licorice jumps in before it all wraps up in solid bitterness. Hazelnut shows up in the long aftertaste.

M - Has a nice weight to it and is velvety smooth. Dry finish cleans the palette.

D - Goes down quite easy, I could definitely have a couple in a row.

An oustanding stout with a complex flavour profile. Very enjoyable!

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

Thanks to bozebus17 for this one.

12 oz. bottle poured into a nonic, batch 7715.

Poured a complete opaque black with a two finger dark tan head that dies down to a nice lacing. Stickiness is very good, holds on all the way through. Smell is of a toffee like malt with a toasted nut aroma. Very mild hop odor as well that tickles the nose. Taste is so sweet and creamy with hints of milk chocolate and dark fruits. Aftertaste is a hint of a smokey nut character with peppery spices that tingle as well. Mouthfeel is full bodied with a mild but suitable carbonation. So smooth, drinkability is there for sure with this style. Glad I picked up another one in a trade. Bell's continues to amaze me.

Photo of JohnW
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured very dark & impenetrable in a pint glass, with fair head which stayed well. Aroma is very much dark chocolate and burnt grains, even a hint of smokeyness in there. Taste reflects the impression from the aroma, dark burnt chocolate, slight smokeyness, bitter finish - but more from the roasted grains than from hops. Texture is medium heavy, and powerful taste makes this a satisfying beer to sample, but never a session beer! Unfortunately the beer was served far too cold in my opinion, which may have muted any sweetness and hidden any other flavours, killing any subtlety I might have missed. Worth trying, though not an 'easy to drink' beer, and surely should not be served ice cold, for its a "winter warmer" type beer!

John W (written and tasted while in Tampa FL June 2007)
B'ham UK

Photo of Reed415
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a black color with a tan cream head

S - Roasted Chocolate malt in the nose

T - The taste is mostly dark chocolate malt and some mild hops

M - Full Bodied with mild Carbonation, Very Creamy

D - It very high because it is creamy, but not acidic like some other stouts

Photo of Grundle20
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer is viscous and black, even when held to light it isn't suggesting anything else. There is kind of a pitiful tawny head to the beer but it displays poor retention and lacing.

Baked brown bread with raisins is what I'm calling the smell of this beer. There's a good rich and warm bouquet to the beer with stabs of figgy sweetness at the back. Smooth and very on point for a stout.

Taste and Mouthfeel:
Up front there is some creamy bittersweet chocolate notes with a parallel of cranberry and unsweetened raisins. About mid drink everything washes out chalky and flat with an even bitterness. The finish is surprisngly clean for a stout with only a hint of powdery sweetness in to the aftertaste.

This is a damn tasty stout but it's still a stout and I have zero intentions of drinking this beer en mass until at least October. The finish is nice though.

Bottom Line:
I would say this is a pretty damn solid beer. It seems that everybody, including myself, is trying to reinvent the stout and this beer right here is just clean, simple, and delicious.

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

I was fairly pleased with this stout. It is oddly smokey, which I was not expecting, but lacked the awesome amount of dry "burned pizza crust" roastiness I've come to expect from truly top-drawer stouts. I was a bit intrigued by the remark on the bottle about the inclusion of "brewer's liquorice" I learned about from the label. This beer reminded me a great deal of Alaskan Brewing's smoked porter; it is good and recommended.

Appearance is an inky black with a decent head that seems to materialize once the beer's been in your glass for 10 seconds already. Aroma is very chocolately, but this didn't show up much in the flavor. The flavor was distinctly smoky, which I was a bit intrigued by. Mouthfeel was smooth and good. Definitely recommended.

Photo of srrn
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours adeep almost black with dark tan head. Some lacing.
Not much going on in the nose, malt and a bit of coffee.
This beer does taste pretty good, the roasted coffee and chocolate you'd expect and nothing offensive. The mouthfeel is a bit thing for me. This does have a bit more bite than most milk stouts and I like the aftertaste a lot, nice and bitter with a slight sweetness. This is where the licorice seems to come through, or is that suggestion?
I like other stouts better but this is good enough for me to enjoy and try their other offerings.

Photo of greenbeaner
3.2/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle, no freshness date, very dark brown, almost pitch plack. Huuuge dark frothy head, 3 or 4 fingers, but it fades to 1 finger pretty quick... leaves behind a chunky foam around the glass. This head is pretty ridiculous.

Fairly weak on the nose, there are hints of roasted espresso and malt, and some yeast as well. A bit of hop.

Taste is smooth and malt and cream up front. Strong flavor of bold coffee and vanilla and just a hint of liquorice. There is quite a large hoppy bite near the finish. Flavors are a bit unbalanced however, and it leaves you feeling like something is missing.

Medium bodied, slippery cream in the mouth. Leaves your mouth feeling slick and wet.

It's not that I didn't enjoy this beer, it was tasty and satisfying...but, overall it's quite a bit unbalanced in my opinion, and feels like there are some flavors that could be there but aren't being let shine through due to the imbalances. I kept noticing myself thinking I was about to taste something that never actually came. Still though, not too bad overall... would I buy it again? Probably not.

Photo of afinepilsner
4.4/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz brown bottle

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout was opaque black in color with a tan head. The head had good retention and left a sheet of lace behind. The smell was nice with coffee and chocolate aromas. The taste was roasted grain, dark malts, and chocolate with a nice balancing bitterness and long finish. It was full bodied and creamy with just the right amount of carbonation. Drinkability was very good. This is definately one of the better stouts out there and is worth seeking out.

Photo of HoustonTX
4.53/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First Bell's beer I've tried, and an excellent style as well.

Pours deep brown, with a thin off-white head.

Aroma has a laid back flavors of licorice, coffee creamer, and chocolate malt. Crisp and perfect for the style.

First sip brings about a very pleasant roastiness, that is not overly done. Almost a sweet roastiness, balanced and no where near cloying, a definitive and rare characteristic for this style. Roasted carmalized malt with coffee grind rounds envelop the edges of the brew providing solid mouthfeel and drinkability. Inviting you for another sip, or maybe several... A nice oily hop build balances the beer and provides an ample amount of bitterness.

A unique and superbly crafted Milk stout. My favorite to date, highly recommended.

Photo of Boppar
3.43/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

It pours jet black with a fluffy, two-finger tan head.

Smell is of roasted malts, mild alcohol spice. I may have even imagined some faint hints of the licorice that is supposedly in here.

The initial sip is surprisingly sweet. Well balanced bittering hop action kicks in mid-palate. Unfortunately, the dry finish segues into the faint metallic aftertaste that seems to be Bell's calling card for their darker beers, although it is not nearly as pronounced as in the Double Cream Stout. The licorice is nowhere to be found.

The mouthfeel is nice and thick, the way a stout should be (yet few are). There is a rich creamy texture that works well with the initial sweetness.

The drinkability is hindered by the metallic aftertaste.

Photo of Absumaster
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A deep black beer with a thin off-white head has a viscous pour.

Smell is subdued but has burned and roasted with light coffee notes. Some faint hoppy, earthy smells.

Taste is burned with coffee and dark chocolate and a strong maltbitter. There is also a good hopbitterness, which, together with the roasted side, are the 2 key players in this beer. The burned notes could have been a little more pronounced or sharper. Body is slightly sweet and medium. Drinkability is good

Photo of macpapi
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout pours a dark black color. It has a thin, tannish head. This is a very, very dark, syruppy-looking beer--even for a stout. There is also decent lacing.

Smell seems somewhat muted. There is some malt, toffee and caramel along with other sweetness. Not terribly strong or complex aroma.

Taste is full and rich. There is a strong malt presence along with some bitterness. Also notable elements of candy on the tongue. Roasted coffee pull is also there. Complex and impressive.

Mouthfeel is full and bitter. Moderate carbonation is notable. A very good presence on the pallette.

This is a very impressive American Stout. It is flavorful and potent. A sipper at the start, but good for more than one.

Photo of tapman
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First in a line of a tour of Bell's brews that I picked up last time I was in Ann Arbor at the Kroger.

This interesting stout pours a black inkyness with a coffee colored head that gets up to 2 fingers with a good pour. The head dissipates quite quickly, but a 2 milimeter head sticks around for the rest of the drink.

The smell is of espresso malts mixed with licorice liquer. These combined aromas sting the back of the nostrils upon inhalation.

The malts taste roasty as hell, supported by the sweet licorice back. The bottle says bakers licorice so I guess that must be different than regular licorice? If I was blindfolded I would believe that this was a spiked starbucks darkroast.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy with complex roasted malts that once again sting the back of the throat, like with the nose.

As far as drinkability is concerned it is pretty thick, but for a stout-lovin guy that's all right. Its very, very sweet. Maybe I wouldn't have too many of these if I was out with other option, but two of these makes me smile pretty good.

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

12oz serving...Sunday comics...what's different about the picture on my bottle? My guess is that Mr. Bell Kalamazoo shaved his beard, got a haircut and is now sporting eyeglasses.

Pours an opaque brown color with a full finger foamy tan head that resists fading. A good amount of lacing observed.

The smell is pretty subtle, but my guess is that it's 'true to style'. Primarily light roast malt and a bit of dark fruit.

The mouth feel is very nice. Smooth and creamy. A little sweet with a good balanced hop signature that really adds to the complexity. I'd go higher than 4.5 but i hesitate to give it 'exceptional'...how about exceptional minus.

Drinkability - The 6.5% ABV is well hidden beneath the rest of what's going on with this one. I could 'nurse' a couple more watching the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Many thanks to drunkmonk... Go Sabres!

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

This is what was offered to me when I asked for something locally made, while visiting Detroit - good choice.
12 ounce long neck bottle, but with a different label than shown above. The beer has a very dark color, basically black, with just a hint of light able to shine through when held to the light. It has a thick brown head, great stability with sheets of lace. An excellent looking brew. Beer was served cold, so had to let it warm up a bit so all of the aromas and flavors came through. Roasted malts aroma with some fruitiness, coffee and cocoa. Tastes slightly bitter, roasted coffee, dark chocolate, all the flavors you want in a sweet stout. Balanced by some sweetness in the end. Full bodied, creamy smooth, with just enough alcohol warmth. Very enjoyable, solid beer, worthy of its praise.

Photo of brdc
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pitch black brew with a tan head that shows little retention.
A somewhat unidimensional smell of roasted malts, pleasant but relatively faint compared to the best offerings of the style, and relatively flat and nondescript - I cannot really identify different things in the middle of those roasted malts.
It has a medium body, and a sweetish beginning that eventually gets dry/bitter, even unpleasantly bitter at times, without very discreet or noticeable flavors.
Average beer, I am definitely unimpressed, their Expedition Stout is infinitely better.

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
89 out of 100 based on 3,658 ratings.