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

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Bell's Expedition StoutBell's Expedition Stout

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

1,979 Reviews
THE BROS
98
world-class

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Reviews: 1,979
Hads: 5,500
rAvg: 4.19
pDev: 11.46%
Wants: 465
Gots: 1,424 | FT: 113
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,979 | Hads: 5,500
Photo of ProfessionalJ
4.7/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Wish this one was year round, like to drink it as a dessert after a few ipas. knocked Old Rasputin to my second favorite imperial stout. Wish i had the willpower to age a few! (175 characters)

Photo of woemad
4.27/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle courtesy of LehighAce06 as part of his battery of (mostly) Michigan beers that he sent me as part of NBS BIF # 2. Another Bell’s beer that I had wanted for a long time! According to the label, this was bottled August 22, 2014. Hmm. Pre-aged for your pleasure…

Poured into a Jones Radiator mug, this is a very dark brown, with a big, foam head that is colored somewhere between tan and mocha. Said head left lots of lace on the sides of the glass, and fell rather quickly – not a surprise given the potency of this brew.

Big nose of molasses, coffee and booze, but the coffee isn’t nearly as pronounced as other reviewers indicate – maybe because mine has been sitting for nearly a year, it’s mellowed a bit. Still, the other aspects of the nose give it a suitably unsubtle but tasty aroma – like all good Imperial Stouts!

The flavor does more to convince me this is mellower than it would be when fresh. The mollassly-brown sugar thing leads the flavor charge, backed up by booze, dark chocolate and coffee (in pretty much that order). In the background there’s some figgy-pruny things happening as well, along with notes of pipe tobacco (Referencing a forum rant someone made - Yeah, I’ve smoked a pipe, mentioning that in flavor terms isn’t being pretentious, it’s coming from my own experience). There’s a mild, hoppy zap at the swallow, but it’s nearly buried in sweet and bitter malt flavors that give off a kind of coffee ice cream aftertaste.

Full bodied, with spot-on carbonation and a creamy, coating mouthfeel.

I really, really like this beer. It’s ridiculously drinkable for a 10+% stout, without seeming like a dumbed down version of the style. In a weird reversal of how things usually go, I find myself wishing I had a fresh, harsher version so I could compare it to this slightly-aged version. I may have to trade for this again (or pick up a few bottles if I ever get back to Michigan), so I’ll be leaving it on my “wants” until further notice. (2,011 characters)

Photo of mzingie
4.37/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottle was packaged 6 and a half months before consumption, Average head for the style, dark as night and pours like motor oil. Smells of coffee chocolate and roasted malt. Tastes of chocolate, licorice strong bitterness (which I expect would mellow out very nicely as the beer ages longer), alcohol present but not overpowering the other flavors, extremely smooth outbreak, rolls down your throat. I will definitely go get another one of these to age longer. (459 characters)

Photo of CraigP83
4.58/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Very good stout. Pours black with thick mocha head. Nose is subdued roasted malts. Loads of chocolate flavor with coffee up front. It is a bit "hot". Mouthful starts thin and thickens after a moment. Very chocolate milk like (224 characters)

Photo of SD-Alefan
4.44/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep, viscous black with a dark tan head.
The aroma is loaded with dark chocolate and dark roast coffee.
Taste begins with bitter chocolate and is followed by dark fruit. This beer runs deep and wide. A bit of cherry and caramel as it warms.
Mouthfeel is thick and oily.
An outstanding imperial stout. (309 characters)

Photo of stevoj
4.28/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

One heck of a brew, slick and oily, black with fast disappearing beige head. Robust but mild aroma leads into sharp, crisp and deep smoky taste. Mouth feel is slick and slippery, lingering coffee bitterness/ Well worth its high ratings. (236 characters)

Photo of moonboogie_n8
4.56/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

awesome Imp stout!
thick dark deep brown color with chocolate tan head that's barely there (good!)
creamy mouthfeel, FULL body, low carb.
warming alc on the finish that feels great.
roasty, toasty, and with complex changes in flavor as it warms.
wait at least 6 months from bottling to try this. best after a year. keep some saved for a two year open, and you won't be disappointed.
very highly recommended indeed. (414 characters)

Photo of LancetherealLeader
4.27/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is a really nice stout. I tried this fresh several months back, but let this sit for a while before rating it. It was a bit harsh fresh, but has mellowed out nicely since then. (183 characters)

Photo of K-Dog
4.58/5  rDev +9.3%
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. (295 characters)

Photo of ARoman
4.13/5  rDev -1.4%
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. (840 characters)

Photo of kitch
4.16/5  rDev -0.7%
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. (883 characters)

Photo of Steffano
3.31/5  rDev -21%
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. (446 characters)

Photo of timontheroad
4.51/5  rDev +7.6%
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! (469 characters)

Photo of Chris_the_Tartar
5/5  rDev +19.3%
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. (465 characters)

Photo of TempeBeerMan
4.14/5  rDev -1.2%
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? (1,066 characters)

Photo of jasonpeckins32
4.66/5  rDev +11.2%
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. (362 characters)

Photo of mchegash
3.85/5  rDev -8.1%
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. (1,322 characters)

Photo of geodonnokepyo
4.39/5  rDev +4.8%
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. (594 characters)

Photo of BuccoFan
4.43/5  rDev +5.7%
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. (462 characters)

Photo of acostuhhh
4.72/5  rDev +12.6%
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. (200 characters)

Photo of 94Sip
4.68/5  rDev +11.7%
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. (1,103 characters)

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.41/5  rDev +5.3%
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 (902 characters)

Photo of Cpmitchno1
3.14/5  rDev -25.1%
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. (202 characters)

Photo of PostRockandCats
4.46/5  rDev +6.4%
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. (465 characters)

Photo of SLOTHLIFE
4.19/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Best part about this beer is the mouth feel. So creamy and chewy. This beer is like a jacuzzi filled with frothy cappuccino and you dunk your head under and My Bloody Valentine is flowing out of underwater speakers like milk, sending warm fuzzy vibrations deep into your brain. (279 characters)

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
93 out of 100 based on 1,979 ratings.