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

Not Rated.
Bell's Kalamazoo StoutBell's Kalamazoo Stout

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1,485 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,485
Hads: 3,910
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 9.38%
Wants: 176
Gots: 477 | 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: 1,485 | Hads: 3,910
Photo of rangerred
4.13/5  rDev +2%
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. (697 characters)

Photo of sully11277
4.38/5  rDev +8.1%
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. (391 characters)

Photo of AUGRAD06
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
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!!!! (446 characters)

Photo of Emnmarko
4.34/5  rDev +7.2%
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. (262 characters)

Photo of cottonkoozie
4.05/5  rDev 0%
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. (775 characters)

Photo of WanderingFool
3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
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. (540 characters)

Photo of tbeckett
4.19/5  rDev +3.5%
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. (614 characters)

Photo of ONUMello
3.91/5  rDev -3.5%
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 (399 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.84/5  rDev -5.2%
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. (880 characters)

Photo of Cyrion
4.11/5  rDev +1.5%
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. (916 characters)

Photo of SportsandJorts
3.84/5  rDev -5.2%
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. (420 characters)

Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.83/5  rDev -5.4%
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. (796 characters)

Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%
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. (526 characters)

Photo of BeerYoss
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%
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 (264 characters)

Photo of tmm313
3.4/5  rDev -16%
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. (421 characters)

Photo of mmva321
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
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. (639 characters)

Photo of kemoarps
3.97/5  rDev -2%
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. (2,016 characters)

Photo of biegaman
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Kalamazoo Stout has a java-like appearance which implies not only opacity but also a bubbly brown froth; it might look more appropriate in a tiny espresso cup than it does in my pint glass. Still, what sparse foam it manages seems intent on exploring the full space of the glass.

The fact that the beer is brewed with licorice is apparent in the aroma; it follows then, however, that this recipe must also use coffee, fireplace ashes, burnt toast crusts, and may or may not have been partly aged in oak barrels. It gives one a lot to smell.

Kalamazoo drinks like a mini Russian Imperial Stout. A number of steps lower on the richness scale, it nevertheless offers flavours of molasses, dark fruit, French roast coffee, dark chocolate truffles and, of course, hints of black licorice. Let's call it a RIS junior.

The mouthfeel has a splintery dryness almost akin to the kind you'd experience in a barrel-aged offering. Much of this, mind you, can be attributed to a considerably generous hop bill, one that's spicy florals go largely unnoticed thanks to the towering presence of roasted grain.

Owing to brands like Kalamazoo as well as Expedition, Double Cream, Cherry and Java, Bell's became an elder statesman for American craft-brewed stouts even before it could legitimately be considered an elder. Like so many others, this beer was one of my first forays into stouts not named Guinness or Murphy's and I still enjoy it now as much as I did then. (1,456 characters)

Photo of Hammer35
3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pitch black that no light can penetrate. Very nice caramel colored head with decent head retention.

Smell: Pungent black licorice with hints of roasted coffee that grow as the beer warms.

Taste: A surprisingly up front flavor of roasted coffee, considering the aroma leaned much more heavily toward black licorice. The licorice does show up though and is well balanced for a malty, roasted profile with a slightly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Well carbonated, which is a must for me as I don't like flat or nitro stouts. A little lighter than I expected, but not thin.

Overall: An excellent stout, and that's coming from an IPA lover who only recently developed a taste for stouts. Not a huge fan of black licorice so the aroma wasn't my favorite, but the roasted coffee flavors more than make up for it. Another hit for Bells. (844 characters)

Photo of yuenglingfan101
4.94/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I cant believe I hadn't rated this beer. Nice and dark for a good stout. In fact i like putting this stout in my chili along with the Bells Porter for flavoring purposes. small to medium head. smooth tasting all the way down and really cant ask much more from this stout. Bell's always has fine products this one is no exception. (329 characters)

Photo of CowsandBeer
3.87/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle purchased from the Madison Ave Hyvee in Council Bluffs, IA. Bottled on 05/03/2012. Not sure why I held onto this one for so long but I'm still optimistic. 12 oz brown bottle poured into a Tallgrass Brewing Cervoise glass at refrigerator temperature.

Appereance: Pours a finger of dark brown head. Very tight and creamy looking. Retained a thick cap of head while I drank it. Black body.

Smell: Timid, roasted chocolate malts. Some coffee. Bit of molasses. Smells like a dark chocolate pudding. I think the aging has dulled the nose somewhat.

Taste: Black licorice, roasted choco malt, some coffee and cream. Bitter finish (though in a stout/positive way). No booze. Incredibly smooth. The flavors don't "pop out" as much as when this is fresh.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation and a silky mouthfeel. A bit thinner than I expected though I bet the age hasn't helped it.

Overall: A smooth, easy drinking stout. I'm surprised it held up as well as it did. Definitely better fresh though. (995 characters)

Photo of mattbk
4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Jet black, creamy looking head, nice retention, nice lacing, looks fairly thick, great start.
S: Significant roast character, a bit burnt, dark chocolate, cocoa. Not much sweetness, but inviting.
T: Very up front roast, again a bit burnt, but finishes nice and rich. Still some dark chocolate there, the aroma very much reveals the flavor. Some roast bitterness, very mild hop bitterness, minimal to no hop flavor that I can discern. I could see the licoroce peeking through a bit. Wish this was just a bit sweeter, otherwise an excellent stout.
M: Excellent, medium-full, creamy, low carbonation.
O: A great (non-imperial) stout. Nearly perfect. I will likely drink several of these this winter. (701 characters)

Photo of USAF77
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This is a really good stout. I kept my stout for the last glass of the night and I have no regrets buying this one. It pours nicely, like any stout, its in the hurry to get into the glass. I get the grain along with the coffee in the aroma. No problems there. Malty too, when you go back for a second smell

Its a smooth stout, but its character is never at risk. like any stout one just closes their eyes after a sip and lets the flavor course thru them in waves. This stout delivers. Im getting rich waves of roasted coffee and grain.

As a good stout should the after taste is a large part of the experience. It only gets better and the glass begs to be savored in small sips.

Its very dark and syrupy to look at. Unimpressive head which doesnt last. But who cares? This stout is a feast for the other senses and I really, really, like it. (844 characters)

Photo of Chiefy770
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A foamy light brown head sat on top of a very dark brown, nearly black body. It looked like it had the consistency of syrup when I poured it into the glass. It was not really that thick but this was definitely a heavy body. The body left a thin coat of sticky lacing.

The nose is dominated by sweet toasty grains.

The toasted malts really stand out in the taste. There are some notes of heavily toasted, almost burnt grains that make for a bittersweet but pleasant taste. Subtle notes chocolate, mocha, and caramel are matched with a decent amount of hops to create a nice level of complexity. I would say this one is just a tad heavy on the hops for my liking. I should also note that the label claims this is brewed with liquorice. I absolutely hate liquorice flavored foods and drinks so I was a bit hesitant... you barely taste the liquorice. It seems the liquorice acts as salt and enhances the flavors of the malts and hops; it is really working for them.

Overall: Not bad at all. I think this is a great take on the American Stout style. Bells adds their own unique notes to make this stout stand out from others.

Bottom Line: Recommended. (1,199 characters)

Photo of CloudStrife
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Packaged 10/08/13.

A: Pours a deep ruby brown appearing black in the glass with a tannish brown dense head. Leaves some real nice lacing on the sides of the glass.

S: Coffee is the first thing I notice in this one, great roasty malt aroma as well. Hints of smooth chocolate, a touch of hops.

T: Very nicely crafted stout, really hits on point with the roasty characteristics. Coffee and chocolate are in there to add complimenting flavors. Some sweet milk stout notes as well. Brewers licorice is more noticeable as it warms.

M: Smooth and creamy mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Finish is just a touch stickiness.

Overall one real nice stout, dead on to the american stout style. One you can enjoy throughout the night. (765 characters)

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
91 out of 100 based on 1,485 ratings.