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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.

1,494 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,494
Hads: 3,978
Avg: 4.03
pDev: 17.37%
Wants: 180
Gots: 516 | 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: 1,494 | Hads: 3,978
Photo of brutusmuktuk
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Dark brown ale with a slight tan head. Has a roasty aroma and a slight roasty flavor with a hint of coffee in the finish. The beer is smooth and has a nice full body feel. Nicely balanced. This is a beer that is just a pure joy to drink on any occasion.

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Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I'm so glad bells is in NYC now- I've been dying out here I'm the beer boonies.

Looks very dark with a slight tan head of one finger, good retention and nice lacing. Could be more but very nice looking.

Smells pretty normal but very good- nice full roasted malt notes and a hint of anise.

Tastes great- full flavored roasted malt body, a nice little licorice note and finishes slightly sweet. Excellent.

Nice mouthfeel- medium full bodied, moderate carbonation. I like this beer. You will too.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.11/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Beautiful black with a creamy brown head.

S: Nose is medium roast coffee milk chocolate deliciousness.

T: Milk chocolate, almost a bit earthy, with some nice mild, medium roast coffee. Akin to the nose. Delicious.

M: Medium bodied, not smooth.

O: This is a nice, mild, not so in-your-face, but definitely flavorful stout. I generally prefer milk chocolate flavor to dark chocolate flavor, which is what you'll find in this beer.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.16/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: darker brown (high portion of roasted barley?), spongy foam.... super dark liquid.... no lace, steady but weak collar

S: roasted barley (mild char) with a clean herbal (dried leaves or wood) bent.... very light licorice and even lighter chocolate in the background.... warmer: dried flowers and licorice.... fairly potent smell altogether

T: smooth, slightly sweet, cookie malt flavor.... very mellow roastiness, slow-emerging, bitterness (neutral hop flavor) that lasts long past the finish.... mild, residual bitter chocolate syrup... not much discernible licorice flavor - it's there in the finish, but not in a candy-like way

M: mostly silky and an expanding sensation through the palate (effect from alcohol?)... bit of an after-spritz on the finish.... smooth, satisfying, and fulfilling

O: overall, bittersweet with a tiny hint of licorice in the aftertaste.... not terribly hoppy, if at all.... darn good stout - I would certainly try this again

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Photo of stinkydaddy
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

a - roasty chocolate, picking up dark fruit as it warms, a very small bit of floral could be hops

a - pours a medium tan head with tight creamy bubbles. Opaque. Light does not even show through the edges. Head dissipates to thin and laces nicely.

f - as it smells. dark malt. chocolate. roasty. hops are earthy and provide balance but this is all about the malt. a bit of yeast but this is a 8 month old bottle.

M - Creamy and thick. Oily. Exactly what you want from a stout. Low carb adds to body.

O - A very nice stout highlighted by an amazing body

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Photo of Badger6
4.01/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Very dark body, with a thick, brown head. Minimal lacing.

S: Distinct roasted malts. Hints of anise (licorice) and chocolate. Stings the nostrils....in a good way, a formidable scent. But, seriously, this is a distinctly bold aroma, but one that begs to tasted.

T: Malts immediately, a mellow yet well defined taste of roasted and charred malts. But very smooth. Some chocolatey sweetness, but not overpowering or out of balance to the roasted flavors. Some bitterness starts to show at the end, and lingers into the aftertaste. Licorice appears then disappears in the end as well.

M: Very robust body, but so smooth that it drinks easily and is very satisfying. The carbonation is not powerful, giving this beer a creamy feel.

O: This is a really smooth example of a strong American stout, why can't imperials be this good? If you've never had it, try it, if you have had it, why aren't you drinking it now?

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Photo of ChrisL24481
4.11/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Pours a dark, dark brown with a half inch, soft/creamy light brown head. Some lacing is retained and a dense ring is left around the rum. A little bit of carbonation can be seen with the a few lingering bubbles at the top.

Aroma - An excellent aroma emanates from the nose. Roasted coffee, chocolate, and slight bit of caramel blend together for a nice, nice smell on this stout.

Taste - The taste is similar to the smell. You have roasted coffee and chocolate at the forefront with a blend of caramel sweetness and a touch of nuttiness as well.

Mouthfeel - This is a medium to full bodied stout with a smooth and creamy feel on the tongue. A bit of bitterness comes forward at the end and the beer leaves a sticky feel around the mouth/lips as well.

Overall - A simple, well-crafted stout by an excellent brewery. It is flavorful and full bodied, and meets all the criteria you would like for in a regular stout.

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Photo of cambabeer
3.89/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Seems to be pitch black, but close examination shows its just a little off, some brown hues in there, but thick and completely opaque. Nice light brown head that lingers and a lace that clings to the glass nicely. Nice smoky sweet aroma that is balanced by some maltiness and clean bitterness in the nose. The taste follows the aroma, very coffee bitter like with some dark chocolate and burnt wood flavors. Some deep fruit notes like raisins or plums, but only slight. There is a little hop bitterness that hangs out on your mouth with the burnt flavors to make a very pleasant aftertaste. Not groundbreaking, in my opinion, but a solid stout.

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Photo of rangerred
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours pitch black with a very dark tan one finger head. Great head retention and lacing.

The smell, apart from a slight metallic note, is awesome. Tons of toast and roasted malt with a good shot of coffee. There is some fruitiness going on too.

The flavor is a lot more bold than the aroma. Dark roast coffee and dark fruit along with some burnt caramel. Dark chocolate accompanies a high bitterness with a bit of cream to finish is off. Moderate mouthfeel with a fairly dry finish.

Overall, a really good, if not excellent, stout. While the aroma is lacking a bit it is full of flavor and stops short of being over the top remaining quite drinkable. Very nice.

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Photo of sully11277
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my snifter

A- Dark as night with a very light caramel head on it.

S- You get a lot of roast, coca, caramel, sweet, and coffee

T- It is sweet those coca and caramel taste hit you first then you get the roast/coffee towards the end of it.

M- Very smooth, malty, and sweet

O- It's a great stout with a lot of flavors going on that work well together. It's a great winter beer.

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Photo of AUGRAD06
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

So I picked up the Bell's Kalamazoo Stout without really checking it out. I figured, "It's cold outside, a Stout sounds good." It wasn't till I got home that I realized it was brewed with licorice. I've been a huge licorice fan since my childhood. It poured dark and silky into my glass. A nice coffee scent with just a hint of licorice. The taste was the same with very light carbonation. A great stout. I will definitely get this beer again!!!!

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Photo of Emnmarko
4.34/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A- Dark as midnight, deep, robs light. Caramel/dark tan head

S-Coffee, caramel, chocolate

T-Creamy coffee mocha and caramel. Mild hop flavor, less licorice. Nutty.

M- Smooth, creamy, malty. Nice for a winter day.

O- 4.25 Very nice beer. Smooth and delicious.

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Photo of cottonkoozie
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Pours almost black. Dark brown 1 finger head with decent retention but I would have liked a little more. Moderate lacing.

S - Roasted caramel malts jumped out at me first. Some chocolate malts underneath. A hint of boozy smell, not much but more than I expected from a 6% abv. Not a lot of smell really, but whats there is good.

T - Much more complex than the smell. Still a lot of the caramel malts and the chocolate undertones, but the roasting really brought them out. Nice malt complexity, and a perfect amount of hop balance for a stout. Very good.

M - Great for the style. Very full, but not too heavy.

Overall this is a very good stout. Nicely balanced and good for a session beer. I've seen this one on draft before and will probably try it on draft as well.

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Photo of WanderingFool
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Kalamazoo stout pours black into the glass with a small light tan head on top. The foam fades away quickly leaving a few spots of lace on the glass.

The aroma is rich with roasted malt, plus a little chocolate and dark fruit.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is smooth and a little oily. The flavor has roasted malt, chocolate, and nuts. A bit astringent. It finishes a little tart with a taste of plum. Once gone the roast malt and chocolate lingers on the palate.

A pretty good stout. Middle of the road for the stouts I've enjoyed.

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Photo of tbeckett
4.19/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

My Girlfriend brought this back from Florida for me. Bottled July 30. From notes.

A - Poured black with one finger of beige head that went fast. Mild carbonation. No lace and no retention.

S - Lot's of roast. Some iced coffee and a fair bit of chocolate.

T - Cola. Huge roast, chocolate, coffee, leather, some wood, milk chocolate, licorice. Nice stout flavour with chocolate really pushing to the forefront, but maintaining lot's of complexity.

M - Nice carbonation, medium body, roasty bitterness.

O/D - A pleasant stout. Great drinkability. Complex for its strength and hits all the requisite notes for me.

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Photo of ONUMello
3.91/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a growler into a pint glass
A: Pitch black with a two-finger mocha head that slowly settles
S: Tons of chocolate up front, roasted malts and a bit earthy
T: Cocoa, a bit of the licorice mentioned, some dark malts, but overall not quite as complex as I'd hoped
M: Medium-bodied, a pleasant bitterness though the finish is very short
O: A solid stout overall just not my favorite out there

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.84/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

one of the great stouts of the Midwest, this is a real winner. shiny black, dense to light, and sporting a lovely just off white head over an inch tall, full of air, and leaving plenty of lace. big bitter roast barley aromatics with just enough hops. smoke, wet earth, and acidic coffee all contribute to the nose and taste of this beer as well, but what I love about it is its straightforward nature, no frills, just good roasty stout. its really clean for the style, finishing quickly and not drinking too heavy at all. kind of an all year stout rather than just a short day cold weather beer. its not overly creamy in feel either, with a slick sort of coating mouthfeel, thin enough to drink several off, but big enough to satiate me after that many. sweet in the middle comes out of nowhere, but the bitter finish triumphs. one of bells less exotic but most trustworthy beers.

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Photo of Cyrion
4.11/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a nonic pint, and consumed in celebration of something or other.

Appearance: Completely black, and has a short, tan 1" head that vanishes quickly.

Aroma: Chocolate, malt, and a decent amount of brown sugar. No discernible coffee aroma.

Taste: A combination of bitter dark chocolate and malted milk. They don't blend together- I can taste both on my tongue at the same time, each one on its own, complementing but not mingling with the other. This is weird, but a good weird. The dark chocolate has an unusual flavor to it. I'm guessing that's the licorice influence, but since I have no idea what brewers licorice is, I'm going to drink some more of it.

Mouthfeel: Thick and clingy. Coats the mouth like an appropriate stout.

Overall: This stout is low alcohol (6.0%) but it's a formidable beer on taste alone. The absence of coffee and the presence of dark chocolate, makes this a memorable beer.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
3.84/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: dark brown almost black. opaque. a small amount of tannish foam. leaves a lacing behind.

Smell: sweet chocolate. bitter and roasty malts. good but simple

Taste: opens up with some sweet chocolate. moves towards a roasty malts. a bitterness hits at the end.

Mouthfeel: fairly light and drinkable and some lingering bitterness

Overall: a nice lighter stout. not super unique or complex but very well done.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a six pack in November of 2013 in Tucson, Arizona and brought back to New Mexico.

Poured into a snifter.

It's a good-looking beer. Jet black and smooth flowing out of the bottle, the beer forms a two finger head, khaki-brown in color and light and fluffy. After the head dissipates, there's lacing on all sides of the glass and a film of head above the liquid.

A roasted, coffee-like aroma meets my nose. There's chocolate and slight hints of booze.

Bitter chocolate stands out on the taste and baker's chocolate lingers on my tongue long after each sip. There are hints of vanilla and toffee and some malt in there too.

The beer is not as creamy and smooth as I'd hope for, but it's enjoyable. A beer I wouldn't mind drinking regularly, although I think my local stout beats it.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased from Nathaniel Square Corner Store. I don't really like licorice, and I didn't realize until after this was heavily brewed with it.

Pours a dark black, with a creamy mocha-colored head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells of anise, licorice, chocolate, and some smoke.

The taste is similar. Very, very roasty, with lots of licorice, and a little bit chocolate. Slightly ashy and smoky, as well, this provides a little bit of bitterness.

Medium bodied, very creamy mouthfeel. Low carbonation.

Not my thing.

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Photo of BeerYoss
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

two finger large bubbled head dissipates quickly to a thin film. decent lacing.

you can smell the alcohol but there is some great earthy chocolatey goodness in there too.

dark chocolate

there's a lightness to the mouthfeel that is at odds with the overall taste

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Photo of tmm313
3.4/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Kalamazoo poured a gorgeous, creamy, 2 finger head with great lacing. But other than that, I felt the other factors being reviewed were too subdued for my taste. There were dark fruits, a little coffee, chocolate, and licorice in both the aroma and taste. All were on the lighter side except dark fruity sweetness and a sourness on the back end I didn't particularly care for. Mouthfeel was light with little carbonation.

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Photo of mmva321
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter.

A: A very full, opaque stout body looms huge. A monochromatic blob with very very little khaki head that leaves quickly and leaves a thin lacing on top but very little on the glass.

S: A bit too faint, but it is still a beautifully rich and full aroma that is woodsy and roasted. Sweet, malty and full of cocoa.

T: Taste of dark, bitter chocolate. Sweet and roasted and very satisfactory.

M: A rich and full feel that leaves and dry and linger taste in your mouth. A perfect enhancement of the flavor.

O: An excellent American stout that balances its intended flavors very well without overpowering your senses.

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Photo of kemoarps
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This was on sale at the beer store. Bonus. On the other hand, they now recognize me when I walk in. Awesome? Or problem? I'm going with the former.

Pours a sharp obsidian with a round creme head. Decent little swirls left hanging around, but the sides appear as empty as my enthusiasm for this test tomorrow morning.
Initially the aroma was as absent as any lacing. I don't know why. As I continue down into the glass, however a sweet, lazy wafting becomes apparent. Still fairly faint, but it's the sweetness of molasses and a note of creamy sweet espresso. I don't get the licorice that everyone's talking about, and I doubt it would fade in 4 months, but I could be wrong. It's happened once before.

After minimal aroma initially, I was a little concerned that the flavours would be underrepresented as well. Thank goodness my fears were unfounded. This is a smoothe rewarding stout, that starts off sweet before getting a rush of bitter in the middle and finishing with the components blending together in a truly lush manner. That initial sweet is again the creamy sweetness of sweet cream and molasses, while what I'm calling bitter is really that deep black of molasses, and finally the licorice is coming through for me. Lends an almost roasty/coating character to it. You know, like it do. The finish is smoothe and enjoyable, as the licorice kind of draws the beer up from the back of the tongue. You know what that means, right? No? Well, whatever, no one cares anyway.

This is a beer by which I've long been intrigued. It just keeps being superceded by other opportunities. I found a single on sale at the store today and decided to pull the trigger. I'm extremely glad I did. I would consider this in the upper tier of every-day stouts that I've had. It's got a good reputation, and it's one that is well earned. Bell's continues to impress me, and having only recently (a couple of months ago) moved to within their distro, I look forward to the continuing education in their zymurgical endeavours.

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Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
90 out of 100 based on 1,494 ratings.