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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.

1,496 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,496
Hads: 3,981
Avg: 4.03
pDev: 17.37%
Wants: 180
Gots: 517 | 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: 1,496 | Hads: 3,981
Photo of woosterbill
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, batch 10121 (winter '10/'11 I believe); since it's well beyond the intended drinking window, I've given it a score that won't affect its average rating. Consider the following notes more illustrative than evaluative.

A: Black body, brown highlights, and a full two fingers of frothy tan head. Great retention and lacing. Really excellent, particularly for being as old as it is.

S: Some unpleasant cardboard notes of oxidation, along with dark fruits, licorice, dark chocolate, and leather. Complex, but not all that enticing.

T: Follows the nose - old, musty, fruity, bittersweet, and roasty. There's a lot going on, but not all of it good.

M: Smooth and slick medium body with moderate carbonation. Just fine.

O: I drank this back-to-back with a similarly aged Double Cream Stout (I think they were both part of a mixed six-pack I put together a few years back and forgot about in the cellar), and I was a little surprised that the Double Cream held up far better. Neither was anywhere near as good as fresh, but the Kalamazoo really fell off.


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Photo of mvanaskie13
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a 6 oz tasting glass: head was tan, presenting 1/2 inch thick then dissipating to a ring, color is black, deep nice color.

Smell is very pleasant blend of roasted malts and subtle caramel with a touch of licorice; hops are grassy.

Taste is blend of roasted malts, cleaner pale malt, hint of licorice; similar to the aroma the hops are earthy, subtle grass and hint of pine.

Mouthfeel is a touch on the sweeter side than expected, somewhat lingering and near cloying flavor on the cheeks.

Overall, i like the balance and touch of licorice in this brew, mouthfeel is a touch cloying but does not distract from the overall beer.

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Photo of dave39
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Don't know why this beer is only rated at 89. I found it to be close to perfect, and I am not a stout guy.

Very subtle coffee, chocolate, and roasted notes hit the nostrils upon opening.

Very pleasant, very drinkable, and extremely well balanced.

A sessionable brew and every day drinkable. Great job, Bells.

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Photo of Phigg1102
4.19/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Deep black pour with a finger and a half of thick rocky tan foam. Burnt toast, chocolate, a touch of coffee in the nose. Heavy coffee in the taste along with a bit of anise and earthy hops. Finishes fairly bitter.

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Photo of JHubner73
4.09/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I love a good stout beer, and Bell's Kalamazoo Stout is a great one. I poured the chilled bottle into a beer mug that was in the freezer waiting for just the right brew. Perfect match for this stout. Not much of a head on this beer, but from my experience with stouts they're usually pretty minimal. The look as it pours from the bottle is a deep, dark color. Like coffee. Even the fragrance is that of a bold coffee brew. This made me extremely happy. I was worried when I read "licorice" on the label but I worried for nothing. There's a hint of black licorice in the aftertaste, but nothing too overpowering. It only adds to the overall aromatics and adds a dark sweetness. The beer rolls off the tongue nicely and as it goes down there's a nice dark finish. Overall mellow taste. Not overpowering or bitter.

Yesterday was a very brisk day for May, so I wanted a beer to match. Bell's Kalamazoo Stout didn't disappoint. A bold, fragrant heavy brew that matched the dark, overcast day. I highly recommend this beer to anyone who loves a classic, dark stout.

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Photo of BeerWithMike
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampling right now on 5/13/14. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees in my beer cooler and poured into a classic 'Hamm's" 10 ounce glass.

This "Stout brewed with Brewers Licorice" pours black with a very small tan. Lots of lacing after each sip that sticks to the sides of the glass. The aroma is of chocolate, coffee and licorice with roasted malt. Very nice smell of the mixed flavors! Lots going on with the taste as would be expected. Not overpowering though. Perfect amount of carbonation. Very pleasant overall and would rate this a good solid '8' if not a '8.5'.

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Photo of hopsputin
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

a: dark murky brown/black in color - kind of thin looking. fizzy beige 2 finger head that fades pretty quickly but holds solid around 1/2 finger

s: the smell is nice. rich toasted malts and chocolate. a hint of sweet toffee and brown sugar.

t: almost spot on to the nose. roasted malts right away, and they provide some bitterness that is then cut by that milk chocolate. a bit of dark fruit in here as well - fig and plum, then its back to the roasted malt and milk chocolate. a hint of herbal bitterness from the toasted malts rounds out the mouth

m: its a medium body with not much carbonation, but just enough carbonation to help the sweetnes cut the toasted notes

o: its pretty good. a nice balance of flavors that is really smooth in the mouth and makes for a nice drinker. body is just thin enough make it easy drinking a smooth sipper. really quite enjoyable!

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Photo of Radome
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle.

A - Color is an extremely dark brown, almost black. No light shows through it. The head is dark tan; it's thick, creamy and sticky. Huge sheets of lace. A great looking beer.

S - Classic porter aromas; roast coffee, light smoke, oak, chocolate. No defined hops aroma. The label mentions licorice, and I can sense it, but I'm not sure I'd recognize it without the hint. Very light yeast fruitiness in the finish.

T - Graham cracker malt, roasted coffee, chocolate milk. No licorice flavor I can detect. Medium hops bitterness on the tongue, but no distinct hops flavor. No overt yeast character.

M - Medium to heavy body. Low carbonation. Low alcohol presence. Fairly dry finish.

O - A very enjoyable and moderately complex porter.

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Photo of Jackson2014
4.02/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Very tasty, light stout.

Pours with solid plus head and is very dark. Basically black.

Smells like a very chocolaty coffee.

Taste is mostly chocolate and coffee with some caramel.

overall there isn't a whole lot of upfront taste. But then it comes fairly heavy, not overwhelming. This is a really tasty stout but if I had one complaint it would be that the aftertaste builds towards bitterness.

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Photo of PaulyB83
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 08/13/14

A- Pretty black. Good medium brown one finger head.

S- Dark chocolate, coffee, slight amount of dark fruit, slight sweetness and bit of vanilla.

T- Similar to aroma. Dark chocolate, coffee, nice smooth roasted acidity, light sweetness.

M- On the fuller side of medium, nice silkiness.

O- This is a very nice lower abv stout. Really reminds me of Founders Porter in pretty much every way. There are some nice qualities that you usually find in a bigger imperial beer.

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Photo of Boggdogg
3.67/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - pours a very dark mahogany color. Like the blackest red I have ever seen. Has a nice thick light brown head that leaves outstanding lacing all around the glass.

S - I smell roasted malts with molasses which I guess is the brewers licorice and not really molasses but I'm not sure. Semele good.

T- very complex with coffee bean, cocoa, roasted malt, tiny a bit of sweetness ending with bitter hops. It's a bitter stout which I prefer more balance of sweet and bitter.

M- full bodied which I like but it's a little too dry and bitterness lingers.

O- well brewed, amazing appearance but too one sided on bitterness and dry mouth.

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Photo of lochef81
4.24/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Let me start by saying that this is my go to stout so I maybe a little bit partial in my judgment of this offering. It pours a very near black mahogany with a small tan head that leaves a great film and lacing. The nose is a robust blend of coffee, chocolate, black licorice, and dried fruit. Mouthfeel is rich and smooth yet still quite light for a stout. Definitely very easy to drink. The flavor is as deep and complex as the nose with the addition of a wonderful tobacco note and a chewy bitter finish that lasts long after last sip is taken. Sure I'd love to drink Founders Breakfast Stout, KBS, Big Bad Baptist, or Black Note every day but it's not available everyday, nor could I afford it. So I settle for this delicious and much more accessible stout. Pick up a six and enjoy.

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Photo of lundqu23
3.61/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

Very full bodied with complex tastes. Dark chocolate and coffee flavors with almost a hint of licorice. Balances the significant hop presence against the roast malt body. When poured, offers a big head of dark beige and very dark brown in color. Caramel and vanilla undertones as well. Solid beer.

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Photo of Antikythera
3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

a: very dark almost purply stout, with a caramel-brown head.

s: rich and with unexpected layers of... something. Really complex. Almost chocolatey.

t: I was hoping to be able to taste a little bit of licorice or something different. As it stands it just tastes like a really excellent stout. Little bit tart on the finish.

m: solid and chewy.

o: slightly disappointed in the lack of a really distinct flavour, but this is going up on the list of all-around favourite stouts.

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Photo of da_beers
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Gainesville House of Beers - on-tap

A - black as night. Thin tan head. Looks beautiful, the way I like my home brewed stouts to look.

S - nice roasty/smokiness. Caramel malts evident. Some cocoa in there too.

T - starts out with this nice roasted maltiness. Has chocolate coming out next with some coffee as well. Not as impressive I guess as I had thought.

M - full body but not as oil thick as other stouts. Drinkable and not too heavy.

O - I like it, not even close to some of Bell's other stuff (can you compare anything to Black Note).

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Photo of MIchelle
3.39/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This is a good stout. I'm very fond of this brewery. It's a nice deep dark color, can't see thru it. A thin brown head, kind of classic of a stout. The smell is pleasant and very bold. Tastes of rich dark malts, has a heavy coffee malt flavor for me. It's surprisingly dry which really is a nice addition for the mouth feel and drinkability of this beer. It's the first i've had that i'm aware of brewed with brewers licorice. I can't taste it and I do enjoy licorice so I guess i'm slightly disappointed I couldn't pick it apart in that regard from any other dark stout. I picked it out thinking it would be a bit more unique. But if you're a dark beer fan chances are good you will like this beer. You can never go wrong with Bell's.

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

Poured from the bottle into a cheater pint

A: Dark. Still. Thin and waif-like off-white head disappears to a 1 mm ring. Opaque and deep ruby at the edges.

S: Strong roasted malts with a touch of caramel, salt and campfire. That brewer's licorice does not overpower but it peeks around the edge and says "hi". hops are mild and secondary as is the yeast, but there is some musty grapefruit as it warms.

T: Follows nose perfectly. I am getting a blast of chocolate and roasted malt with smoothness. It is the sharpness on the initial uptake that surprises me the most. Very dry on initial quaff at the tip of the tongue and malty on swallow. Nice.

M: Creamy and medium-full bodied. It's strange. You get this musty pineapple/dark rum/whipped cream fleeting hint on outbreath. Malt takes over after swallow and this sensation.

O: pretty damn good overall with something interesting at every phase of the experience. Definitely opens into a different place upon warmed state.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Impressive two inch head from the bottle. Dark tan-colored with lots of sticky bubbles. The beer looks almost black. Really like the way she laces.

Dark roast, salty caramel, licorice, office coffee, and mineral earthiness. Sturdy stout nose with character. A little tangy on top of the big-time kilning.

Roastiness, weak coffee, licorice, char, mineral notes, and slight oxidized caramel. Astringent finish with a light juniper berry note. Earthy, but gritty. These are always hit-or-miss for me.

Meaty feel with good body. Carbonation is right on-point.

I will give it credit for the better drafts and bottles I've had before.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: black ale body with a few fingers of dark ice cream float head; great persistence, nice cap lasted throughout, lace and messy motes left behind

S: dark malt and roasty aromas, hints of sweetness and smoke

T: licorice came through on the very first sip; cocoa-esque malt flavors, some soy and some cola - very interesting and complex/compelling

M: smooth, medium body, not very coating, no palpable carbonation; super-drinkable; some bittersweet aftertaste that'll leave ya wanting another

O: whatta class act Bell's has proven to be - this is a quality stout that'll satisfy most fans of the style, dark ales, porters, and the like - licorice is showcased quite nicely - I suppose if you dislike licorice, this beer may not strike you the way it struck me.

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Photo of StuyBeerGuy
3.13/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

The beer pours with an enticing dark color and a thin purple head that fizzes off quickly

This beer has a soft aroma of fermented soy sauce and licorice.

The flavor underwhelms after a season of stouts to celebrate Saint Patrick's and the mouthfeel lingers, a characteristic of beer that I normally enjoy but in this case was unfortunate.

I will try some more of Bell's Brewery's offerings since I have heard positive comments about the beers but do not believe I will return to their stout.

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Photo of Duff27
3.82/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- Inch tall mocha head on a dark brown body. Excellent head retnetion and splotchy lacing. Appearance is very inviting.

S- Whiffs of cocoa and hints of cola in the nose.

T- Chocolate is a lot more prominent in the taste compared to the aroma, especially as it warms. Slight coffee note. Drinks it's 6%abv.

M- Medium mouthfeel, medium carbonation.

D/O- A very balanced, drinkable stout. The chocolate/coffee combo grows on you with every sip.

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Photo of SLeffler27
3.93/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours dark, chocolate brown, but is black in a Dogfish Head snifter. A modest, creamy dark chestnut head quickly departs, leaving behind a fine coating of lace.

Deep roasted malt with chocolate and coffee beans. Some lactose and brown sugar comes out with warming. Perhaps some plum pudding can be detected.

The flavor is strong roasted coffee, with high cocoa and bitter chocolate. Nuts come out in a lingering finish and the roasted bitterness gives way to a light sweetness late in the sip.

A medium body and slick texture. Fine, ample carbonation and quite dry.

This is a fine dark beer. However, it lacks the mystery and intrigue I was seeking on a dark and dreary Halloween night.

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Photo of dank203
3.81/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

good balance between coffee bitterness and sweet chocoaltiness. when you're a jersey kid in a PA bottle shop, you get whatever bell's has. I only got two actually, two hearted and this one and this one's a pass, can't say i'm blown away by it. looking forward to 2 hearted

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Photo of Hopswagger
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

P: Pitch black abyss that shows no signs of light. Capped with a bubbly dark chocolate milk froth. Thick sticky lacing.

S: Chocolate syrup, biscotti, praline, brown sugar, prunes, melted chocolate ice cream, cinnamon and roasted dark grains.

T/M: Bitter dark chocolate, with hints of black licorice swimming around. Ground spices, tree bark, earthiness that reminds me of moss, cracked black pepper, spicy sting of what seems like chilies hits the tongue toward the end of the swallow. Finishes with an effervescent tingle and lasting medicinal notes. Alcohol is very subtle and is heard to seek out.

O: A smooth easy drinking stout that has sweetness and lots of earthy bitter notes to round out the taste. I was worried at first because I'm not a fan of licorice forward beers but it works well with this beer and compliments nicely. A great stout to stock up on.

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Photo of FLima
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Deepest black color with a dark caramel head with low retention.
Nice aroma of high quality coffee and chocolate with some licorice.
Intense flavor of roasted coffee followed by equally intense dark chocolate, with notes of earthy and citrusy hops, pepper, licorice and lactic acid.
Quite dry aftertaste with residual notes that keep mutating.
Full body with low carbonation.
Perfectly crafted Stout, likely more hoppy than it feels, but it is completely balanced by its bold malt profile.

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Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
90 out of 100 based on 1,496 ratings.