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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.

1,484 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,484
Hads: 3,907
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 9.38%
Wants: 176
Gots: 476 | FT: 10
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Bell's Kalamazoo Stout Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,484 | Hads: 3,907
Photo of cdkrenz
3.59/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle cellared for two years at 42.5 degrees F.

A - Black as night with only wisps of head.

S - Roasted malts with a hinting of coffee.

T - Deep roastiness in the malts with a slight smokey taste and a tiny bit of nut. There is a small something in the flavor here that may not fit.

M - Medium to thick body with only a slight coarse feel.

~ I'm not sure the cellar did much if anything for this brew. That being said, I wouldn't shy away from it either. (461 characters)

Photo of RedwoodGeorge
3.59/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pour was pretty uninspired - nice deep amber/black in color but no real carbonation to speak of. Even with a moderately aggressive pour I got no head at all and little lacing on the glass.

Smell was quite promising - lots and lots of caramel malt notes, those sugars were well browned here. Mild fruit notes, mainly raisin and cherry.

Taste was good but far from exceptional. Dark malt notes predominate with very little burnt roasted flavors (a good thing). Strong caramel notes, very sweet flavors and a strong fruit component. A number of times I commented "this is quite pruney" while enjoying the glass.

With the low carbonation the mouthfeel was a bit lacking. This was a medium to heavy bodied brew (as per the style) which left an oily residue after each sip. The only saving grace was the mild hopping which gave a slight bitter finish to each sip to keep the taste from being overly cloying.

All in all an okay stout but not quite what I had expected. While it had some sweet components and a moderately smooth body I was surprised to read this is a milk stout. A drinkable stout but not what I would have called 'outstanding' (1,148 characters)

Photo of tjthresh
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle enjoyed at Waldo Pizza in KC,MO. Espresso, dark chocolate, and some hop aroma. Pitch black with a brown head. Some lace. Looks pretty think. Very sweet. Reminds me of like chewing on a coffee bean. Bitter enough to balance sweetness. Quite full bodied an silky smooth. (281 characters)

Photo of soper2000
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Notes from my Bell's tasting:
Pours a jet black with almost no head at all. The aroma is a little different, i smell some butter and i'm not sure what else to be exact. It wasn't an awful aroma, just not the best either. Taste is full of roasted malts and yeast. Not very well balanced if you asked me. Mouthfeel is really nice as this is a nice, thick, creamy stout. This isn't my favorite stout by any means, but I wonder if i just got an off bottle. (453 characters)

Photo of nortmand
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Blackish red pour, half a finger of tannish head.

Chocolate, rich roasts, dark, ripe fruits. Very balanced aroma.

A bit of residual balancing sweetness, midtongue dark, not burnt malts. By the end of the toungue, there is some acrid burnt flavor.

Medium to full bodied, could throw back a couple. Not bad, not groundbreaking, but pretty good on tap. (352 characters)

Photo of gillagorilla
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Burley Oak snifter (bottled on 3/11/13)

A: Pitch black with a slightly mocha-colored head that is minimal and with almost no lacing.

S: Sweet, roasted malts and an interesting licorice-type flavor.

T: Dry, just like their Porter I just had. Mainly roasty flavors with a bit of day old filtered black coffee in their for some bitterness.

M: Very smooth with just a small steady stream of bubbles that provide a bit of texture.

O: Their Porter and Stout aren't making me too excited for their much lauded Expedition Stout. Too dry and without prominent flavors for me. (599 characters)

Photo of n2185
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours black and I managed to get about 3 fingers of chocolate-colored head on it. The head eventually faded into a solid layer, leaving behind a good amount of lacing.

S: Lots of roasted malt, some bitter dark chocolate and burnt aromas. There's some smoke in there as well.

T: Roasted malt up front with some slightly sweet chocolate flavors that follow. The finish has some bitter coffee flavors.

M: Medium body with medium carbonation. There's a nice thick, creamy feel to it despite the carbonation though.

D: Goes down pretty smoothly with the creamy body.

Overall, a pretty decent stout. Nice and creamy, though the burnt coffee aftertaste is a bit unappealing. (675 characters)

Photo of lurpy1
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Brownish black pour, good head. Pretty beer. Smell is somewhat smoky but stops short of bacon beer. Nice sense of roasted malts and a little bit of nut.

Taste is less than overpowering, smoke fades, overall becomes more roasty and grainy.

Mouthfeel did not work for me. This beer had the right level of viscousity and thickness, but it came with an unpleasant grittiness and a permeating chalky sensation.

Overall, a slightly above-average stout. Not at all bad, but right after this I had a Founders Breakfast Stout, and I was blown away by how much better Founders Breakfast Stout is.

Not sure what to make of Bell's stout offerings - one of the hallmarks of a great brewery is a superlative stout, and having had Expedition, Kalamazoo, and Java, all come well short of that distinction. Yet everything else I've had from Bell's is invariably great. I guess stouts just aren't their sweet spot. (900 characters)

Photo of Cresant
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this 12 oz. brown bottle into a nonic. No date but coded: 8886. The body was very dark, opaque brown. The head was dark tan and faded to nothing.

Smell was roasted grain. Chocolate. Not too much aroma was evident.

Taste was Hersey's syrup. Cocoa powder bitterness. Anise. Much lighter sweetness than usually found in a stout. I certainly like that.

Mouthfeel was rich and silky. Moderate fine carbonation. (416 characters)

Photo of h00dak
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is not a bad stout but it is not a great stout. It wears the disguise of a stout but it doesn't quite deliver. It has the roasted taste but not the full body or thick mouthfeel.

I would recommend this stout to anyone who wants to try a stout but isn't quite sure. A beginner stout if you will. (299 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

G: Poured into a pint glass.

A: Very dark with a pretty good head.

S: Some lactose sweetness along with some dark malts, fruit, and maybe a tad bit of caramel.

T: Much like the smell, with some hops and a wee bit of coffee.

M: Fairly thick, but not overly so.

D: Fairly drinkable. A less-intense stout experience. (319 characters)

Photo of KeefD
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 8364, is a Bell's Kalamazoo Stout. Your Bell's Kalamazoo Stout was packaged on March 7, 2008

Tried this year old bottle on March 12th, 2009. It's surprisingly aged pretty well. No signs of oxidation, still much to the smell, taste is even dryer than I remember. I'm not sure if this really is sweet stout, but the age wouldn't let me know otherwise. Pretty decent drinking stout, but the rating won't change.


Review from 6-18-08

Poured thickly from a bottle into an imperial pint. Darkest brown you can imagine, bordering on black, with an inch of chocolate milk colored foam, leaving moderate lacing.. Not getting much from the smell, just some graininess and roasted malts. Taste is slightly bitter and dry, with hints of burnt caramel, roasted coffee beans and bitter baker's chocolate. Very thick and full-bodied and light on the carbonation. As somewhat average representation of the style. I prefer their Special Double cream stout myself. (959 characters)

Photo of climax
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a goblet, it ends up black. The head is modest, retention is held to some patches of tan bubbles and a ring around the edge.

The licorice is slightly evident in the aroma, evident enough that I could have picked up on it not seeing the label first. However, it definitely gives up center stage to a massive coffee character.

Only fleeting dashes of sweetness challenge the coffee flavor. This is definitely a beer for those who fancy a cup of joe. As it warms, and my taste-buds grow immune to the roasted bitterness, the coffee flavor almost morphs into sweet coffee jelly beans. Fruity hop aromas begin to emerge as well, revealing a more complex flavor than I gave it credit for minutes ago.

The body isn't overly robust, albeit extremely easy to drink. The carbonation is gentle, and the fluffy mouthfeel has a slippery character to it. It finishes pretty dry, aiding to it's effortless quaffability. (922 characters)

Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer poured midnight black, with a generous dark tan fluffy head. Head lingered a while leaving a nice lacing on the glass.

Aroma is pretty much nondescript. Some notes of dark malt and coffee, and perhaps some sweet chocolate.

Taste is about the same, with a bitter hop/roast coffee finish.

Mouthfeel is lighter than I expected. This is a drinkable stout which probably would not fill you up as quickly as others. (429 characters)

Photo of FosterJM
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

894th Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter
12 oz

2011 Bottle

App- A very deep rich brown with garnet edges. A nice fizzy 1-1/2 finger fast receding khaki colored head. Very little in way of cling or lace.

Smell- Roast, Soy, Chocolate, Nuts. A lot crammed into a little bottle and a bit boozy.

Taste- A nice bit of that licorice flavor with a little burnt malt and some dark chocolate. A little grainular but still pretty tasty.

Mouth- A bubbly spritzy medium body with a paired fizzy carbonation level.

Drink- I like the use of the licorice in this bottle the format works well as I don't think I could do a whole bomber or 750 of this stout. (642 characters)

Photo of HoppyInfidel
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black, with about a quarter-inch tan head that settles fairly quickly, though some lacing remains. Aroma and taste are pleasant enough, with roasted flavors and hints of the brewers' licorice coming through in the taste. Finishes with a slight bite. (255 characters)

Photo of westweasel
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12-oz. bottle. A very dark brown, with a 1/4 inch tan head.
The aroma was dominated by roasted grains. I can also smell chocoalte, coffee, and a sweeter-licorice scent.

The mouthfeel is medium-full, with a lightly dry finish. The flavor is heavy with sweet roasted flavors and coffee, with a slight hop bitterness. It seems like more of the bitterness is from the burnt, roasted flavors then from hops.

The beer is very enjoyable, but I think I would tire from the roasted bitterness after a couple of these. It's a nice example of a sweet stout. (568 characters)

Photo of nrbw23
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a nice black color with a tan head leaving a nice layered lacing.

S- Very sweet, roasted malts, chocolate and a hint of coffee and nuts.

T- Malty, with the same roasted, coffee, chocolate, and nutty flavors from the aroma. Very malty on the palate, with little to no hop presence.

M- Full bodied, smooth on the palate, low carbonation level, dry finish.

D- Easy to drink, just don't think I could drink a lot of these. (431 characters)

Photo of backfat
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to my buddy natedog for this bottle. Bottle number 9801.

Pours a fizzy black with brown highlights. An impressive rocky khaki head dances on top. sticky lace.

smells of roasted chocolate, sugary candies, toasted malt, and a touch of anise. maybe a bit of dark fruit in there as well.

The taste is smoky. cream, fudge, and some soft bitterness on the back of the tongue.

A nice milky viscosity with appropriate carbonation.

This has always been a beer I have avoided because I really don't like anise. I think time may have faded it a bit to a "not that bad" beer. (575 characters)

Photo of zhanson88
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours out nearly pitch black with 1" of tan head. Okay retention and decent lacing. Head reduces to a very light cap and ring.

Smell: Smells of bitter baker's chocolate, coffee, and lighter amounts of licorice. Not much of a hop profile.

Taste: Palate follows the nose. Quite a bit of bitterness comes out from the dark chocolate and coffee character, and the bitterness pairs interestingly with the licorice.

Mouthfeel/Overall: Light-medium in body with a moderate amount of carbonation. Drinks fairly smoothly. Overall a pretty decent stout, but not outstanding. Like a lot of stouts out there, doesn't do much to really differentiate itself and grab my attention. (682 characters)

Photo of jera1350
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Jet black with a thin mocha head. Decent lacing.

Roasty with moderate sweetness in the form of molasses.

Lots and lots of deep roasted malt, bordering on smoked. Some smoke notes perhaps. A touch of sweetness with some coffee grounds on the back end.

Nice feel from the carbonation. Smooth and medium bodied.

A decent brew. Very roasty and a bit one dimensional. There is too much out there that I enjoy more for me to go back to this one again. (449 characters)

Photo of PhxHorn
3.57/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This one pours a dark dark brown, but with not much head. I dumped it pretty hard towards the end and got maybe 1/8". Smells of coffee and chocolate, and tastes the same with some licorice thrown in. A nice blend of flavor, but not very intense. Mouthfeel is a bit thin for a stout, and this one is almost bordering on a porter aside from appearance. (350 characters)

Photo of farrago
3.57/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thin dark brown head which settles around the glass edges quickly, vacating the center. Lacing not as pronounced as you might expect. Really, truly cannot get any blacker than this, not even a hint of color. Sweet nose of grapes, rum cake, licorice (duh), coffee rinds, wood smoke, dark chocolate powder, more creamy in texture than scents, granola and cereal, as it warms a little more mixed black fruit comes out. Full-bodied, dense attack requires you focus on the act of swallowing. More roast and toast here, charred black coffee, bittersweet dark chocolate and fried butter. This tends to rise up and plaster your mouth roof while the tongue undergoes a noticeable release of pressure. The carbonation does what it can given the compactness of the whole. Same interplay between green grape/apple (acidity?) and darker fruits. No citrus nor flowers. Licorice lower here, murmur. Suggestion of mineral water opens a space for grainy notes. Nothing leaps out at you, perhaps too tightly coiled to strike fully. Tires the palate out before the first glass done. (1,063 characters)

Photo of NYCWheatFanSC
3.57/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours deep black, but fades to a dark brown around the edges when held to light. Small light mocha head that recedes quickly to leave a nice collar with a dusting of microbubbles. Leaves a good amount of lace.

S - Sweet vanilla, roasted malts.

T - Burnt molasses is the most prominent flavor, with a hint of smokiness right alongside it. Milk, toasted coffee. A bit acred, almost charred to the point of being an ashbomb. The licorice is barely noticeable.

M - Almost a bit oily on the tongue, leaving a strange coating (dare I say a film) on the mouth.

D - Overall not that complex. Not one I would seek out again. (626 characters)

Photo of withliterature
3.56/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: pours a very dark brown that lets through not a single gleam of light; a small, medium brown head that reduces to a very thin layer of bubbles and steady lacing down the glass

S: coffee, soy sauce (this is all I know to call that savory scent that I get from some stouts and porters), and maybe some bitter chocolate; a very bitter scent--I'm excited!

T: molasses taste right off the bat, yet with no sweetness; malty and rich; coffee-like bitterness with a bitter aftertaste

F: fairly thick; a little bit sticky so that it does coat the mouth and leave that bitterness; moderate carbonation

D: the bitter aftertaste might be the only thing to diminish drinkability; you probably wouldn't drink this with food due to that; the stickiness and bitterness will leave you wanting water; however I could definitely drink two of these before moving on to a less dense and strong-tasting brew

I liked this quite a bit overall. I am a fan of bitter stouts, though. (964 characters)

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
91 out of 100 based on 1,484 ratings.