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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,488 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,488
Hads: 3,938
Avg: 4.03
pDev: 17.37%
Wants: 176
Gots: 492 | FT: 11
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: 1,488 | Hads: 3,938
Photo of orangesol
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Hunger N Thirst.

A - Pours pitch black with a dense one and a half finger tall tan head, slowly dissipating down to a thin film, leaving thick sheets of lace on the sides of the glass.

S - Smells of coffee grounds, chocolate malt, toffee, vanilla and some smokey malt.

T - Starts off with a mix of coffee and dark roasted chocolate malt quickly being joined by the vanilla, light smoke, vanilla and a touch of bitter earthy hops. Finish is roasty with a touch of sweetness, lingering long after the finish.

M - Heavy body with moderate carbonation. Smooth, roasty feel usually wears on the palate but this one isn't as bad.

O - A very nice stout. I love that it is only six percent, allowing you to really enjoy the beer without fear of it messing you up too bad.

 785 characters

Photo of jwc215
3.4/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours nearly black with a thin, tan head.

The smell is of licorice, slightly burnt coffee and toast with chocolate notes.

The taste is of licorice and plenty of it. Reminds me of licorice candy. Coffee and chocolate notes mix in. Earthy bitterness balances out the sweetness. There is a mix of burnt, though not really smoky, (coffee?, or just "burnt...") that gets in the way, as well as some chalk, which is a shame, as it otherwise would be very good. Finishes with a balanced, though slightly awkward, finish.

Something seems "off" and astingent. I do like it, especially the way the licorice plays in, but too chalky and burnt to really enjoy.

 657 characters

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

Thorpe gave me a holiday 5 pack of this beer, have to love the holiday 5 pack tradition. Thanks. Poured into a Bell's glass because I can.

Beer is dark black and completely opaque. I poured a little harder than I should be I coaxed a nice thick tan head out of the beer that slowly receded, leaving a little lacing on the walls of the glass. Carbonation is a mystery.

Aroma is nice though. It's a little sweet, some chocolate, some great mild roast, this smells really awesome.

Beer is medium in body and pretty creamy in the mouth with minimal carbonation on the palate. There is a nice chocolaty midpalate flavor, after the initial mild sweetness, the bitterness in this beer is practically perfect. A very good beer all around.

 733 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 11/21/2011

A: Pours an opaque jet black in color with some very faint hints of red when held up to the light. The beer has a half finger tall tan head that quickly reduces to a thick patch in the center with a slighter thinner ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate lacing is observed.

S: Aromas of burnt malts, licorice, light bittersweet chocolate, and just a little hint of coffee. There is some nice complexity to the aroma.

T: The taste pretty much follows the smell with perhaps a slightly more present bittersweet chocolate. The primary flavors are burnt/dark malts and licorice. There is a nice lasting bitterness but it is not agressive or intense.

M: On the fuller side of medium bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Creamy and smooth.

O: This is a pretty nice stout with lovely notes of licorice in it. There is an enjoyable flavor, aroma, and mouthfeel. Not exactly a sessionable beer but it is pretty easy to drink and you could probably enjoy a couple in an evening.

 1,015 characters

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

A: Pours an inky black with a one finger mocha colored head. Decent retention leaving a little bit of foam in the center and ring on the outer edge. Moderate lacing.

S: Not overly strong smelling. A sweet smelling beer, coffee, licorice, some brown sugar, and molasses. I get a little bit of butter as well.

T: The predominant flavors are coffee and mocha, but the coffee is more like coffee ice cream than hot coffee. There is a roasted malt flavor in the middle a little bit as well as hints of chocolate, molasses, and oatmeal.

M: Creamy and chewy. Medium to full bodied, nice carbonation that seems to fit well. Has a surprisingly dry finish.

O: Quite happy with this beer. Glad that the coffee doesn't overwhelm the beer since I am not a fan of coffee beers. Not my favorite stout, but I wouldn't turn it away.

 823 characters

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

Batch 8432. Packaged on April 11, 2008.

Pours a thick brown/tan head. This beer is pretty much as black as the night sky (but really just a extremely dark brown). I was in awe when I first saw this beer come out of the bottle. The head stayed up almost the entire time, while the lacing was dominate. That's right dominate.

The smell is of roasted/chocolate malts, while the beer is amazingly balance between the hops and the malts. The presence of both were well represented. I could again taste the same roasted/chocolate malts and the hop flavor was grassy.

This is such an amazing beer and I would recommend this to anybody! I am so impressed with Bells on this one!

 676 characters

Photo of ShanePB
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle shared with some friends. Poured into three miniature 5 ounce snifter glasses.

A: Deep dark brown borderline black body with a creamy and frothy tan head. A few swirls in the glass and it looked as if it was on nitro. Very minor lace with a thin creamy retention cap. Nice looking regular stout, especially the head color which you don't always see.

S: Dark malts come through big, slightly roasted with a bitter caramel note. Faint coffee and anise is there, just enough to provide some complexity without dominating. A distant grassy element is in the background. Complex enough without going over the top.

T: High percentage dark chocolate, mildly roasted coffee beans, vanilla and lactose. Back of the palate has the anise but it's extremely faint, and personally I don't think enough comes through to warrant it being plastered on the label. Rich, robust and flavorful; nicely done.

M: Creamy and silky, a bit on the higher end of carbonation but I haven't come to expect an extremely chewy body on a regular stout. Pretty nice with a clean finish.

This was certainly a surprise as I tend to dislike anything brewed with anise/licorice. The good part is that it's not overpowering by any means, and really works as an addition to the base flavors. Again, put it on the label? I don't think so, unless you just want to say you're doing something different.

 1,381 characters

Photo of WesWes
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep dark black color with a thick frothy brown head that fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich dark malt scent that is dominated with chocolate and roasted barley. It is sweet to the nose and seems a bit creamy. The taste is good. It has a dry black malt flavor with some chocolate hints and a semi-sweet finish. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a fine stout. It has great aroma and flavor a good sessions ale.

 486 characters

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

The beer is a deep, dark brown with a half inch of beige head. The aroma offers molasses, dark roast, black coffee. Malty with dark roasted coffee. Rich and slightly sweet, finishing bitter. Molasses with a touch of dark chocolate. Medium bodied with moderately low carbonation. Another solid offering from Bell's.

 314 characters

Photo of tdm168
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with 1/4" of cappuccino head that has good retention. The nose has notes of roasted malts, coffee, and a hint of chocolate. The taste is smooth, rich roasted malts, mellow coffee, and faint chocolate in the finish. There are some faint hops in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, smooth, and well carbonated.

This is a solid stout. It's fairly simple and to the point, but the simplicity works here. I've had this one several times and will probably have it again.

 499 characters

Photo of Mora2000
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to barzigkin for sharing this bottle.

Pours black with a tan head. The aroma is awesome, with coffee, roasted malts and some cream. The flavor is bitter coffee, roasted malts, cream and some chocolate. The aftertaste is cream. Thick mouthfeel and low carbonation.

 271 characters

Photo of GClarkage
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

04/18/05- Received as a gift from BA member Spinlock.

Presentation- 12oz bottle with no dates. Poured into my Reaper pint glass.

Appearance- Fairly black in color with a nice 1/2 inch head and average lacing.

Smell- Nice and sweet with a bit of roasted scent.

Taste- Yummy sweetness with a nice chocolate kick. Maybe a tiny bit of coffee and nicely rounded malt texture.

Mouthfeel- Mouthcoating chocolate as it warms. Lower carbonation.

Drinkability- One of the best stouts I have had. Creeping fairly close to Stone IRS. Wish I had easy access to these. I've been damn lucky with stouts and porters as of recent.

 631 characters

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

A fresh bottle (Batch 10232) came to me recently from local trader tone77, plus like cagocubs, I have an aged bottle (Batch 6666 (whoa!) that just turned up in my infamous cellar. This is as good a day as any to try them.

From the bottle: "Here's where we tell you about this full-bodied stout's delicious roast flavor. But really, you've already got the bottle in your hand so why not find out for yourself?"

Batch 10232

I went with such an aggressive pour that it initially looked like a chocolate milk shake in my glass until a cascading action took hold and the foam began to subside into beer. Thank goodness for surface tension or it might have overflowed my glass! As it was, I ended up with a dense foamy finger of deep-tan head with excellent retention in this heat. Color was an obsidian black, allowing zero light penetration, even at the edges. This was a black hole of a beer. Nose smelled roasty with notes of dark chocolate and charcoal. Mouthfeel was medium, approaching creaminess, with flavors of dark chocolate, smoke, charcoal and black licorice on the tongue. As the lacing began to appear, it was thick and sticky, looking as though it would need to be chiseled out later. Finish was very dry with the smoky charcoal flavor dominating and lingering. Phew! Give me this over a milk/sweet stout any day.

Batch 6666

Jeez, Louise, it looked like spent motor oil coming out of the bottle and into my glass! I briefly had a finger of deep-tan head before it disappeared. Color was solid black with zero light penetration. Nose was very smoky and charcoal-ish underlain by a dark chocolate scent. Mouthfeel was fairly full and the roasted bitterness had really come to the forefront with coffee initially and chocolate following. Finish was more like chocolate fudge than anything, rendering it a dessert beer. It held up extremely well.

 1,857 characters

Photo of billab914
3.61/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Stone RIS glass. Poured black with a big bubbly mocha colored head. The head settled down eventually to a thin covering but it left some very good lacing on the glass.

The aroma has the strong presence of the brewers licorice with some sweetness and a little roastedness to it. The licorice is also very present in the taste and has an almost caramel like taste to it. It also has some roasted grains with notes of bitter coffee and chocolate coming through. The bitterness helps balance out the caramely sweetness of the licorice.

The mouthfeel is on the thicker side with below average carbonation. Drinkability is good, I've never been a big fan of licorice but it wasn't too overpowering in the beer.

 741 characters

Photo of smakawhat
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Big three to four finger light cocoa brown head with good retention, nice cap on this. Body is dark walnut brown with just a hint of red. A little soapy but manages a nice ice cream chunk while drinking.

Smell is a good mix of first chocolate then roast coffee. Good and simple, real solid. Chewy grain texture.

Taste is slight prickly licorice, and milk chocolate ovaltine finish. Just right on the wetness scale it seems, so easy drinking.

Overall solid good light stout, very nice and enjoyable easy drinking, good flavor and feel.

 587 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A thick creamy brown head tops this deep brown almost black beer. Thick aromas of coffee, burnt malt, alcohol, and chocolate waft from my glass. Aaah, a thick creamy body that is quite satisfying and hits the spot after the weak porter that I just had. Finishes with an astringent roast malt character. The beer is so creamy that it balances the roast character, in the front and middle of this beer, quite well. Perhaps a hint of diacetyl, but it is barely perceptible. Not really sweet, despite the ample body. After a bit of time I can detect some buttery diacetyl in the aroma, perhaps a bit distracting, but not all that bad.

This beer would be something else if the diacetyl was cleaned up a bit. Having said that, if you don't mind a bit of diacetyl, this would be a really good beer for you.

 803 characters

Photo of Billolick
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ouncer with different art work then shown on this site, no freshness into be had. This one pours stout black, dark tan head, well knot, retentive and then leaves plenty of slippery and then sticky lace. Roasty/malty nose. Yummy, easy drinking stout, with notes of sweetened coffee, molasses, dark toast. Sweet and roasty, silky as it rides over the tongue and swirls in the mouth. Top notch in all ways, more fine suds from Bells

 432 characters

Photo of DoubleJ
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle from Lone Hill Liquor, on to the beer:

Lighter colored tan head on top this jet fuel black liquid. Head retention is fair. Aroma...faint coffee grounds, milk-like sweetness, a pinch of cocao. As for flavor, this is very coffee-like. Roasted ground coffee. But there's a little more carbonation than I like here. Anyway, very roasted flavor. A slight sweetness akin to creamer keeps this beer in balance. If you like your stouts robust and roasty, this is one to grab.

 484 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the House of Brews. Served in a snifter.

Appearance - Black. Small khaki head. Thin collar and a few stray streaks of lacing.

Smell - Roasty malt. Kinda ashy and burnt. Coffee.

Taste - A little more sweet than the nose suggested. Coffee malt. Roastiness builds into the finish. Very burnt and acrid in the back, but it's not excessive. Some sweetness lingers too.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Very drinkable. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Very roasty. Intense and flavorful.

 486 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
3.86/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours dark brown/black with a full tan head with excellent retention, almost like a nitro beer, good lacing as well.

S: Smell has distinct notes of chocolate and coffee, a little bit of cream.

S: Stronger bitterness than I expected in a sweet stout, burnt malt and coffee form the main flavour. The beer ends with a long finish and aftertaste of dark cocoa.

M: Medium-bodied, mild carbonation, oily and slick, I thought it could use a bit more body, but still good overall.

D: A nice drinkable stout from Bell's. With it not being distributed here I don't think I'll have it for a while, but I'll definitely revisit it if given the chance.

 662 characters

Photo of yourefragile
4.01/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Dark brown, nearly pitch black opaque liquid with a thick tan head that has nice retention and clumpy streaks of lacing.
S: Not quite as strong as expected, faint malty, fudge-like chocolate, nutty aroma. Slight hop bitterness as well.
T: Full bodied, very thick and creamy but not as cloying or lactose-y as some other milk stouts. Body has a slightly stronger nutty chocolate taste than expected and lots of rich, roasted malts. Aftertaste is more chocolate than milk. Throughout there is a subtle hop bitterness providing nice balance. One of my favorite easy drinking stouts, not just for milk stouts.

 650 characters

Photo of tempest
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I've had this on tap and from the bottle and there's little to no difference. This beer was pitch black with a nice tan head. It smelled heavily of roasted malts with a bit of chocolate in the back ground. Taste is similar with a very dry, bitter bite to it. Appears to have a very clean yeast strain and the malts almost taste like you're chewing on the grains. I found it nice and interesting at first, but the dryness got to me after a couple bottles.

 454 characters

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.31/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bells : Kalamazoo Stout

Appearance: Dark brown, pretty much black colored beer. Opaque but no sediment. Brown head forms and leaves some lace on the glass. Looks like a stout for sure.

Smell: Chocolate, charcoal, roasted malt, tobacco, and molasses. Appealing to the nose, this beer is on par with other good examples of the style with a strong aroma.

Taste: Big flavor of chocolate and black patent roasted malts. Chocolatey, hint if vanilla, molasses, iced coffee. Somewhat sweet flavor upfront but there are layers. Really nice flavors in this stout. Richly malty, but with enough sustaining bitterness to balance.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied ale that is as tasters say, chewy. This stout leaves quite a roasted malt impression on the palate. Well carbonated, fairly smooth and even between sweet, smokey and roasted.

Overall: One of the best American Stouts out there, period. This is definitely under rated, if given the time and opportunity I can drink these all day. Kalamazoo Stout can hold up well to an oily cigar.

 1,024 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received in a trade with Jay23 thanks for the chance to try this.

Pours a solid black with a tan head that dissipates quickly and leaves minimal lacing around the glass. Smells of roasted malts some dried fruit and a sweet milk stout smell. Taste is sweet lactose some more of the dried fruit and a touch of hops in the background. Has a creamy mouthfeel, but is a little thin. Great sweet stout, not over the top with sweetness like so many of this style tend to be.

 468 characters

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.53/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours extremely dark, pretty much black. Nice thick head with great lacing.

Smells roasty with a nice astringency. Unsweetened licorice is there as well as some lactic sweetness as well.

Taste is magnificent, although a little dry for the style. Creamy and quite dry. Nice bitterness and beautiful balance between astringency, roastiness and sweetness. Fantastic. The licorice is noticeable and contributes a lot of body and bitterness, but not sweetness.

Very nice mouthfeel- quite creamy and dry, and good body.

Very drinkable. Has enough interestinf flavors to keep you going, but its dry enough to not at all be cloying.

 636 characters

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
90 out of 100 based on 1,488 ratings.