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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

5,402 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,402
Reviews: 2,002
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.61%
Wants: 451
Gots: 1,365 | FT: 108
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-10-2002

Expedition Stout offers immensely complex flavors crafted specifically with vintage aging in mind, as its profile will continue to mature and develop over the years. A huge malt body is matched to a heady blend of chocolate, dark fruits, and other aromas. Intensely bitter in its early months, the flavors will slowly meld and grow in depth as the beer ages.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,402 | Reviews: 2,002
Photo of K-Dog
4.58/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 12-27-12. Still smells fantastic evening after 2 and half years of age. At first taste it's very bitter chocolate, as it warmed flavors really mellowed nicely. This beer is at its best as it warms. Damn good. Glad I got to more bottles to age. Will drink again at 3 years and 4 years.

Photo of Mooslerfitness
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Smell of chocolate black coffee licorice
Taste same best sipping at room temp very soild will age and try again

Photo of MissFargo
4.53/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bells always delivers, but this one is truly impressive.

Photo of hoagzzz
3.84/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Not a stout guy by nature.. I'm working on it. But this was a little rougher for me than founders imperial.

Photo of ARoman
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

*transferred from old notes - 12/22/2013*
12oz bottle poured into a brandy snifter.The aroma is initially a tart cherry and cherry pie aroma with some burnt toast, dark chocolate, and oak with late caramel. Beautifully opaque, brown-black, with rich, dark brown head that fades fast, but a very thin layer is present throughout drink with a dense, soap-bubble medium thin ring and a few specks of lace. The taste is heavily sweet with a medium heavy, chocolate coffee bitter, and a touch of umami to it. It’s a viscous, chewy mouth feel with light carbonation. The body is full with notes of chocolate, tart cherries, coffee, and a nice, smooth alcohol warmth to the finish. As it warms up more caramel notes come through with a burnt quality to the finish. The aftertaste is that of dark chocolate and cherries with a bit of a smokiness.

Photo of kitch
4.16/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A friend helped me bring back two 12oz bottles of this to Hong Kong for me from the US. They were packaged on 9 October 2014, so around 6 months now.

A: Poured pitch black into a snifter with a one finger brown head that dissipates in less than a minute leaving some spotty lacing.
S: Strong chocolate smells first followed by sherry, malt and pine. The alcohol also does come through at times.
T: Begins sweet with chocolate and malt, then turns bitter dark chocolate, pine, herbal-ey lasting finish. Like the nose, the alcohol is there but leaves a warm feeling.
M: Full bodied, light to medium carbonation, warm, sticky.
O: I only got 2 bottles of this… and this was the second bottle. As per the description on the bottle and brewery website, I wish I had more so that I could age it and compare the differences it would make. Having said that, 6 months in, and this was nice.

Photo of ManBearPat
4.92/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This is easily one of my favorite RISs I have tried.

Photo of Steffano
3.31/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Bottle date 8/22/13. After pour there is very little head, pretty dark color. Smell is coffee dominant. Good mouthfeel. Taste is primarily molasses and licorice, not as coffee forward as I expected, with a little bit of alcohol heat. While letting it warm up reduces some of its harsher characteristics, have to say i'm disappointed in this one given its reputation. I would put stone ris, narwhal, and old rasputin far ahead of this one overall.

Photo of timontheroad
4.51/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Dark black color, with about a quarter inch head, even after an agressive pour. Aroma was very much dark cohocolate, light coffee and some dark fruit notes. The flavor had lots of dark fruity flavors, lighter chocolate than the smell, coffee, molasses, some roasty malt flavors and just a tinge of alcohol. Mouthfeel was pretty thick and chewy, just as a good RIS should be. Overall, this is an outstanding RIS, one of the best non-Barrel Aged stouts out there. Superb!

Photo of Chris_the_Tartar
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Looks bitch black, one finger of mocha head. Smells strongly of chocolate and malts. Taste is malts, chocolate, bourbon, wood, ethanol, toffee. Alcohol flavor shines through a little more strongly than I was anticipating but it was awesome. Also a little sweeter than I was expecting. Feel is thick but not not as robust as some other high ABV stouts, complimented the taste perfectly. Overall an awesome beer, really blew me off my feet. Need to acquire more ASAP.

Photo of TempeBeerMan
4.14/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a beer snifter.

A - Pours jet black with a one-finger dark brown head. One of the darkest heads I can remember. Specks and spots of lacing.

S - Moderate strength aroma of dark fruits, charcoal, and pine. Aroma is much milder and less "roasty" than I would have anticipated.

T - Interesting balance between sweet start and bitter finish; espresso, smoke, wood, bitter roast, bakers chocolate, prune, date, and fig. Herbal and piney hops and anise become prevalent in the long, finish. Yes, you can taste the hops in this stout. Has a woody, barrel aged quality to it.

M - Medium bodied with higher end of medium carbonation. Excellent creamy/silky feel. Warming alcohol.

O - Quite excellent, and probably best compared to Old Rasputin (another stout with hop character) At times I found myself wanting more sweetness, and at times more roast; a stout that walks such a fine line between the two is fairly unique indeed. I'd be very curious to see what a year or two of aging might do to this, and with 12oz bottles available, why not?

Photo of jasonpeckins32
4.66/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This is one of the biggest, baddest beers I've had the pleasure of trying. Pitch black in color, topped with dark brown foam, considerably darker than other russian imperial stouts I've experienced.

A serioulsy complex flavor profile leaves my brain turning and turning and turning. I hope to purchase a few 6 packs of this to age for the next couple years.

Photo of Dnayew
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Solid RIS by Bell's. Nothing too crazy, but definitely worth a try. Right on the outside of my top 10.

Photo of mchegash
3.85/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - 4.25/5
Pours a beautifully perfect golden-chocolate colored head. The head dissipates in a minute or so, but the color was awesome while it lasted. The beer itself is pitch black. This beer looks dark, mysterious, and awesome.

Smell - 3.5/5
The smell surprised me. It is very floral and sweet, while still having some tiny hints of chocolate. The smell is also fairly alcholic (unsuprising, at 10.5%). The smell reminds me of a Belgian Tripel. Overall, I don't really think I'm a fan of the smell. It's not a bad smell, but it's not what I want a stout to smell like.

Taste - 3.75/5
Sweet, vanilla, bourbon, slightly roasty. Smoky. Still has that "floral" quality, but now in the taste I think it might be better described as caramalized sugar + fruitiness. As I said above, this taste/smell reminds me of a beer I had recently, the New Holland Black Tulip (a Belgian Tripel). The taste is slightly alcoholic as well.

Mouthfeel - 4.5/5
Medium bodied and silky smooth, it glides across your tongue. Definitely creamy, but still the carbonation adds a nice kick. There is a small to medium amount of medium to high intensity carbonation. I love the feel of this beer in my mouth

Overall - 4/5
This is definitely a unique stout, just not quite sure if the flavors are exactly what I'm desiring from a stout.

Photo of ShawnL
3.84/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The high alcohol content of 10.5% took away some of the flavor and tended to dominate the taste.

Photo of geodonnokepyo
4.39/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look - Darkest beer I've ever seen. It's like purple-black with a brown, frothy head. retention is okay. Good lacing.

Smell - Dark hooalate dominates with some hints of cherry and vanilla maybe. some hoppy notes too.

Taste - slightly sweet. Roasty, toasty, chocolaty malt flavor is prominent. woody. Balanced with a good amount of hop bitterness too.

Feel - There is a tiny little bite, possibly from the hops. not very carbonated. slightly chewy. ABV is barely, if at all, detectable.

Overall - Very impressed with the complexity of the flavor. Overall this is a very finely crafted beer.

Photo of BuccoFan
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a rich, hearty brew. Some can tolerate RISs that are thin in body. I can't. For the similar-minded, you'll love the body of the Expedition. Taste is just as strong, a mix of roast and chocolatey black licorice. It's the sweetness factor that is basically the only thing that distinguishes the Expedition from the Ten Fidy (Expedition weighs in at 10.5 as well). This is a huge beer--I think it's Bells' best offering. Shame it can't be available year-round.

Photo of Austin32
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love this beer drinking it fresh but I found one in my cellar that was just over a year old....wow...flavor profile smooths our considerably.

Photo of acostuhhh
4.72/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opened a 2011 and it smelled amazing, and tasted almost as good as it smelled. This beer ages really well. Dangerously well, as you can no longer taste the big boozy flavor thats there when its fresh.

Photo of 94Sip
4.68/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is a BIG stout (as expected). The bottle said it was brewed Oct 2014 and I had it March '15, poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

The label said this stout was meant to be aged and I would highly agree with that sentiment. There is a significant booze presence and the flavors were overall "tight". It reminded me of the Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, in that I think that beer is amazing after sitting in the cellar for a year or two. This beer will probably be incredible with a little age on it.

It is not too hoppy like some of the west coast stouts, but does have just the right amount of bitter to it. The booze hit me initially with each sip, then followed with some of the dark fruits/prunes/raisins. Then the finish gives you some good chocolate/toffee flavors which is my definition of a perfect stout.

With a little age I expect the booze to subside and those middle flavors to come forward and the chocolate/toffee to stay with it and be perhaps a bit more pronounced.

Overall, just a really great imperial stout and ranks up there with the others that I really like.

Photo of ESimmons
2.14/5  rDev -49.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

Just not a fan of Imperial type stouts.

Photo of boyeryan
4.52/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is heavier, but tasty stout. Has almost a barrel aged flavor.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.41/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

From BeerAdvocate Magazine #74 (Mar 2013):

Why Expedition Stout isn’t ranked in our Top Beers or talked about at the same level as overly hyped Imperial Stouts is beyond us. Nothing short of amazing here, and a truly rich experience. Bell’s touts that its shelf life is “unlimited,” which explains why the brewery sent us 2011 samples for review. From what we heard, a bit of age does this beer right, but of course do what suits you. This could also answer our question, but who cares. This is one badass beer.

STYLE: Russian Imperial Stout
ABV: 10.5%
AVAILABILITY: Seasonal

LOOK: Black liquid, dense brown head

SMELL: Roasty, prunes, faint sherry, dark chocolate, juicy, charred raisins, boozy

TASTE: Intense roasted graininess, creamy, full bodied, warming alcohol, very smooth, slight oxidation, sherry, baker’s chocolate, bitter, black berries, raisins, molasses, bittersweet finish

Photo of Cpmitchno1
3.14/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Taste the alcohol too much for my taste. I had one fresh and had one after a year and a half of cellaring, both were too hot for me. I also didn't care for what I consider a string black licorice taste.

Photo of PostRockandCats
4.46/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L; Dark. Like, absorbs surrounding light, dark. No head or lace. Dark tan foam at the edges.

A; Smells like chocolate and coffee, as one would expect. However there's a surprising fruitiness to it that's oddly fitting and welcoming.

T; Berry notes to start with followed by dark chocolate and cacao nibs. Ends with a very dark, smokiness that seems to settle in your soul.

F; heavy enough to know it's a stout. Peferct.

O; I was not emotionally ready for this.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 5,402 ratings.