Bell's Kalamazoo Stout - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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Bell's Kalamazoo StoutBell's Kalamazoo Stout

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very good

3,627 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,627
Reviews: 1,450
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 10.55%
Wants: 158
Gots: 328 | 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:
Stout brewed with Brewer's Licorice.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-11-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,627 | Reviews: 1,450 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of drpimento
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours pitch black with lots of lace and a head that lasts all the way down. Very roasty, malty, dark fruit, coffee, cocoa aroma. Flavor is the same but much more intense. Carbonation is spot on. Finish is actually better than the taste. Gets rid of the dark fruit thing. Not into that so much. Solid stout character.

Photo of AltBock
3.4/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle with a label that's different from the one picture to the right on BA. Mine has a very crude drawing of an old grizzled man that resembles an old Truman Capote or our 34th President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower. He has this look on his face that just screams "get off my lawn you little SOB" and "why did you put me in a nursing home?" The blue diamond backdrop really brings out his facial expressions. Below the old man is where Bell's says that this "stout is brewed with brewers licorice." The back label has a little blurb about the beer, Government warning, and a batch number that you need to enter into Bell's website to see when it was packaged. Mine was batch #7694. That means that mine was packaged on October 12, 2006. I served it in an official Bell's Brewery American pint glass. I knew that would come in handy one of these days.

Poured a black licorice black with some light penetrating the beer at the bottom and at the top. It just had a thin and tan colored head of foam that just dissipated away in a matter of only a few seconds. There wasn't much of it to dissipate away anyway. When it dissipated away, it left behind a small trace of mocha rings and tan colored lace around the glass. The aroma was just a little bit this and a little bit of that. It just had a little bit of roasted malt, caramel, chocolate, molasses, and a little bit of herbal hops to finish off the aroma. The taste was a little different. It had a dominate element and that was the dry roasted malts. After that came the baker's chocolate, dab of sweet molasses, a touch of roasted coffee beans, and the slightest hint of dry roasted herbal hops at the end. It's a smooth medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation and with a simple aftertaste of just dry roasted malts and nothing else. Overall it's just an above average decent offering from Bell's. I kinda expected more from a beer with a grizzled Dwight D. Eisenhower on the label.

Photo of weasbri
4.68/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on St. Patrick's Day as my Guinness alternative. Not really a fair comparison though. I'm also not 100% convinced of the milk/sweet stout label either, but what do I know?
Midnight black color, the head has strong retention and laces the glass nicely. Nice roasty aroma, a tinge of something else chocolatey.
Full-bodied flavor, full of caramelly roast character, mixed with some bitterness, a bit hoppy and a bit coffee. Just a smidge of licorice flavor too. This is an interesting beer, as I found that the flavors would alternate while in my mouth, so there would be a bit of sweet roastiness, some bitterness, more sweet, then more bitter.
Solid stout, one I'll seek out again.

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

Presentation: 12 oz bottle, batch 7767

Appearance: A thick ink black that pours a nice brownish (almost red) head that leaves a light lace all the way down the glass.

Smell: Roasted espresso and caramel. Toasted almonds.

Taste: Does not taste as thick as it looks. Heavy roasted malts and dark chocolate. Nice hop backbone, balanced very nicely, almost hidden. Slightly sweet, but not overbearing.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and very smooth, creamy. Easy on the palate.

Drinkability: This is very a very smooth stout; the alcohol presence can sneak up on you.

Overall: This is not an overpowering stout. Extremely well-crafted and balanced. The espresso flavor lasts for a while and is quite mellow. A very laid back stout with a lasting flavor.

Photo of dogger6253
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very opaque; dark, dark brown with a decent-sized, tan head that settled down after a minute or so, but retained a ring throughout; decent lacing as well.

Scents are chocolate and roasted malts with hints of coffee. Smells very robust and earthy with a slight touch of hops.

This beer tastes wonderful; chocolate, dates, figs, coffee, licorice are what definitely come to mind right away. Toward the finish, more of the earthy flavors smelled as well as the smoky, roasted malt. There's a slightly bitter aftertaste, but overall tastes pretty sweet, similar to chocolate milk in a way. No alcohol tasted.

Feels creamy in the mouth, not extremely heavy, but definitely a little dry. All-in-all, one of damn fine beer, not the best, but something I wouldn't hesitate to buy again. In fact, I may pick up a couple more just to share them with friends. A very unique and wonderful experience.

Photo of happygnome
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: pours a dark brown almost black little tan head that disapears fast little lacing
s: roated and sweet malts i can smell them both,
t: deffinate a lightly roasted malt flavor with a little extra sweetness
m: a medium to heavy bodied beer very nice very smooth very good

overall this is one of the better beers ive had, a deffinate favorite

Photo of khiasmus
4.43/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A- Almost opaque in blackness, with ruby highlights when held to the light, and a creamy light tan head.

S- Sweet, cream, strong malt, slightly burnt, light hops in the back.

T- Dark-roasted malts, sweet cream, coffee, chocolate, slightly bitter finish.

M- Perfect to style. creamy, thick, low carbonation, smooth.

D- Very drinkable for a sweet stout. So well balanced, and dry in the finish... leaves you wanting more.

Photo of jeffmonarch
4.72/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz. bottle in a pint glass

A - Beautiful, nice dark brown with a hint of red, nice caramel brown head.

S - Good, chocolate, earthy

T - Chocolate, a hint of coffee. It has a nice smoky flavor to it.

M - Creamy smooth, flavors change as it moves through the mouth and leaves with a smoky after taste.

D - This is one of my favorite stouts. I could drink these all day.

Photo of udubdawg
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle.
Hope this compares well to the Mackeson XXX I had last night.

Dark brown pour, with a tan head. Nice retention, and sticky lacing over a good portion of the glass. Nose doesn't impress me as much as the Mackeson, but is quite good. Coffee and chocolate as expected. A little less of a lactic quality. Noticeable hop notes for the style.

Very tasty beer. Might be a little more complex and a little less sweet than the Mackeson. Me likey. Nice roastiness, but no smoke noted. Some bitter that does not overwhelm the overall sweetness or detract from the high drinkability

Mouthfeel is a bit creamier (and in my opinion, better) than the Mackeson. Both are superbly drinkable and extremely tasty. Well done.

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

12 oz. Bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Soft black in color. Fluffy tan head pours two fingers thick and stays for most of the sample. Nice sticky lacing clings to the glass.

S: Roasted coffee. Chocolate. Toffee. Dark Fruit. Earth.

T: Delicate roasted coffee melds well with the taste of milk chocolate. A soft hop bitter bite is taken over by the sweetness of molasses and a roasted caramel malt wave. Sugared dark fruits are followed by a faint earth and smoke finish.

M: Silky smooth and creamy. Full body. Minimal carbonation. Slightly astringent and dry.

D: This stout performed the balancing of sweetness and roasted bitterness quite well. Extremely drinkable and enjoyable.

Photo of MmmIPA
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge brown head with a black body and some very nice lacing on the glass.The taste is roasted malts and some faint chocolate.Its very smooth since its a milk stout and very easy going down.Carbonation is very easy also and its sorda between thick and thin side.I cant smell any of the smells in it.I may enjoy this more as I drink it, I think the hype hasnt set in that Im drinking a Bell's Kalamazoo stout, all in all its a damn good stout.

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

Pours a large, tan head and leaves quite a bit of lacing as it dissapates. The color is basically black. The smell is of chocolate, coffee and figs. Tastes of dark roated malt and coffee with a slight bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium. Another very drinkable, quality beer from Bell's.

Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.13/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dispensed from 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Huge, mocha head forms and stays around for a long time, leaving copious amounts of lace down the side of the glass. Pitch black, opaque colored beer.

Aroma is burnt grains, mustiness, and mettalic aromas close to battery acid. Not a lot of chocolate or coffee or anything else I usually find in stouts. Just smells like beer.

Bitter burnt grains with some minimal chocolate and coffee flavors. Mostly bready with a hint of smoke.

Not really a sweet or milk stout if you ask me. Certainly isnt sweet. Bitter flavors abound and the finish is bitter, borderline astringent. Drinkabilty is lower due to the bitterness of the beer overall and its astringency. Medium mouthfeel. Very Average Stout.

Photo of phishgator
4.63/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Large creamy, thick, tan head that stays forever. The color is opaque and murky. The aroma is a nice roasted chocolate with a licorice twist. The taste follows suit. Big creamy, choclate, roasted highlights, slight astrigent bite once the beer is in your mouth (hop bitterness), and that licorice flavor pulls through. The body is medium and oooh so creamy smooth. A great brew that I can enjoy a couple in a sitting. Maybe my favorite stout.

Photo of OStrungT
4.43/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours an iny black color letting no light shine through. It comes equipt with a thin brown head. The head fades a little too fast, leaving a decent lacing.

This beer has a roasted barley aroma. It smells malty sweet with hints of caramel. It has an ever so slight chocolate aroma. Some dark fruit is also present in the aroma. Mostly figs and raisins.

This beer tastes exactly like it smells. A nice robust roasted malt flavor. It has a nice sweet flavor also. Some caramel maltyness. A little bittersweet chocolate mix in also. Figs make a slight appearence in the flavor as well.

This beer goes down very smooth. It leaves a sweet and roasted malt aftertaste. Low carbonation. It is a little thinner than I would expect.

I think this beer would make a good session beer. It is mild enough to not become overbearing. Also, it is not too high in alcohol, so putting down a few is possible.

Overall: Thanks go out to HimerMan for this fine brew. You truely are great for hooking me up with a fine Bell's stash. Great beer.

Photo of GbVDave
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a 20oz imperial pint.

A: Pitch black body. No light getting through. Vigorous pour reveals a huge and creamy 3 1/2 finger head that's a lovely shade of medium brown.

S: Nice roasty nose. Roasted caramel malt, bitter chocolate, and a hint of sweet dark fruit.

T: Big roasted flavors dominate here. Roasted malt, roasted chocolate, and a hint of espresso roast coffee. Rounding out the flavors are a nice slightly sweet fruitiness, some bitter hops, and maybe a spicy pinch of licorice.

M: Very nice mixture of bitter spiciness and that great milk stout creaminess. Very pleasing mouthfeel.

D: A fine, fine stout. Excellent mixture of bitter/roasted and creamy where one aspect doesn't steamroll right over the other. Excellent balance!

Photo of Byeast
3.73/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: poured opaque , pitch black , with a solid and creamy , lasting half inch of tan foam atop.

Smell: rich deep roasted and creamed coffee , chocolate ,dairy scent , faint licorice.

Taste: Lots of sweet and very roasty dark malt , some burnt caramel notes , chocolate on the bitter side, a bit of the licorice , some coffee, earthy yeast, and a biting bitterness near the end sweeps away the sweet.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied and a bit creamy.

Drinkability: A fine stout , fine stout indeed. Some interesting complexity , nice roast and body and a pleasant kick. I would have to say i like the nose on the beer a bit better than the taste. The bite at the end was just a little strong for my liking in a Sweet Stout.

Photo of mikesgroove
3.73/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Finally able to taste a Bell's stout, picked this one up at Brawley's on my last trip. Poured a thick deep dark black with a big creamy brown head. Faded from the initial 2+ inches to a 1/2 inch lace that stayed till the bottom of the glass. Very nice light brown coating left down the sides. Smell was very sweet, first hints were of coffee, and licorice, followed by sugary sweetness, and rootbeer. As it warmed hints of rootbeer or cream soda were apparent, and suprisingly pleasent. Smells were not too strong, a little more pronounced and it would have been perfect. Taste was very rich and creamy, with a soda like consistency due to the light feel and high carbonation. Predominant taste was coffee and caramel, again with hints of some kind of sweet cola taste. Only complaint on this was it came off a bit thin. Other than that this was a fine brew, just a bit thin, but a good session beer.

Photo of david131
4.55/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- The beer pours a beautiful pure black and forms a great brown head. The head settles down to a sheet that covers the top of the liquid. Hardly any light can get through the liquid.

S- Coffee, chocolate, caramel. Not a very powerful smell.

T- Awesome. A very powerful chocolate and coffee presence. A very good balance between the sweetness and the bitterness.

M- This is a pleasure to drink. It is so smooth and the carbonation is perfect.

D- This goes down like water. Very refreshing- for a stout.

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

Part 1 of 2 of a Bell's Stout tasting session (Expedition coming later). Bell's has impressed me with everything I've tried of theirs so far. Hopefully that trend continues tonight.

APPEARANCE: Pours a very dark brown and sits completely opaque in the glass. A modestly-sized cocoa colored head quickly recedes to a thin collar and splotchy patches of head.

SMELL: Somewhat subdued. Chocolate and coffee aromas are very up front with licorice, alcohol, and a malty roastiness lurking behind.

TASTE: The first taste is very roasty with coffee and black malt bitterness. This eventually gives way to some very sweet flavors - licorice and some vague fruity esters. These are short-lived, however, as the finish is clean and leaves just a faint bitterness in the mouth. The flavor is good, though not pronounced.

MOUTHFEEL: Now this is interesting. The body is medium at best, but it's silky smooth. I like this a lot. Carbonation level is spot on perfect.

DRINKABILITY: A huge plus for this beer. My glass is nearly empty, yet I'm not even finished my review. It goes down incredibly easy and would make a fantastic session beer.

Bell's does it again. This beer is a wonderful rendition of the style and shoots Bell's further up the charts of my favorite breweries. I'll be looking forward to changing it up and having Expedition Stout later tonight.

Photo of schoolboy
4.83/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am sure lots of great things have been said about this wonderful brew. I just need to go on record (for myself, if for no other reason) as saying this is one of the best stouts.

I drank it blind. And after read the label and went, oh yeah. That was licorice in there. Nice job.

Photo of Schwarzbart
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black with a small brown head.
Smell: This sounds weird, but I smell olives. After examining with my nose more I notice plenty of chocolate and caramel malts with just a slight hop. Still after my nose adjusted there was still a slight olive twang.
Taste: A robust roasted malt flavor. Some licorice and some hoppiness.
Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied.
Drinkability: Good stuff.

Photo of RedHaze
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From notes 12Dec2006. Batch 7571.

Pours a very dark black, with very little hints of light creeping through the edges. The head is about one finger at the peak, and fades slowly to a soapy cap and ring. There's a nice webbing of lace.

Smell; lots of roasted malt aromas, with chocolate, coffee and molasses. The coffee gets a bit stronger as this warms, and a bit of currants make an appearance as well. At first I wasn't sure I likes the aroma, but as the beer warms, this one just gets better.

Taste; this actually starts out a bit sweet, despite all of the roasted malt aromas. But then the slightly bitter chocolate and coffee come to balance out then sweetness with a little bit of bitterness. Once again, very nice.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability; Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, and a bit on the creamy side, with a very smooth and natural feeling carbonation. With the big roasted coffee flavors, this one id very drinkable for me, as I love coffee.

I purchased this bottle while in Michigan, but I can now get this in Council Bluffs, Iowa. As with most of the Bell's beers I've had so far, this is one damn fine brew.

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

Just had this on tap tonight at Flying Saucer and reviewed from notes. Poured a very opaque black with a thin darkish head that was mostly diminishing and left almost no lacing. Aroma was good and strong, abundant chocolate and black malt. This beer had a rich complex flavor; chocolate, molasses and just a hint of black licorice. There were subtle hops present as well, but you could tell they knew there job was just to balance. The beer had a decent carbonation and the alcohol was well hidden. Overall, this is a great stout, very enjoyable!

Photo of BaronVonHawkeye
4.68/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: This beer looks like a stout. Period. Absolutely gorgeous. The head is a little thin, but it leaves beautiful light brown lace rings.

Smell: Smooth smell of chocolate and coffee mix very well. A little strong on the singular smells, there is no true depth to the nose.

Taste: My first Kalamazoo Stout was from the tap in a small bar near Grand Rapids and it was delicious. This bottle (batch 7715) lives up to my memory. The flavors just explode in your mouth, great coffee and roasted flavors.

Mouthfeel: While a little light for a stout, this is certainly not weak or sharp.

Drinkability: If it wasn't for the fact that it is above 6.0% ABV, I could drink this all day. A great beer after 18 holes or after a hard day at the office.

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
89 out of 100 based on 3,627 ratings.