Bell's Expedition Stout - Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 4,478 | Reviews: 1,876 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Stevedore:
4.05/5 rDev -4.3%
12oz bottle dated 12/27/12 poured into a Bell's tulip and quaffed today, 3/9/13. Review is based primarily on today's bottle but also uses notes from previous bottles from the same vintage which were consumed fresh.
Aroma: I definitely get the dark fruits- raisins, figs, cherry. It's definitely sweet smelling with quite a bit of heat on the nose. Really good smelling imperial stout- the ones I've been drinking are usually roasty and/or hoppy. But this is straight up dark fruit. Really a nice change of pace. (4)
Colour: Pours a dark dark dark jet black, looks great. It comes out with an absolutely beautiful 1cm dark brown head that dissipates within 30 seconds into absolutely nothing, leaving a very thin brown collar over an abyss of black beverage. The lacing is absolutely thick, and swirling agitates the collar and makes it even thicker. You can't do any better than this brew for its appearance! (5)
Flavour: When I first drank it fresh back in December, it tasted rather medicinal with a straight-up overdone cherry tartness- not complex at all and rather hard to drink. I didn't like it at the time but I decided to give it 3 months to see how it changes over time. And it would appear that just a bit of age really develops this beer. The heat has been covered up by a more complex flavor combining hints of the underlying roasty malt character with the dominant dark fruit flavours as described in the nose- raisins, cherry, figs that contribute quite a bit to the aftertaste. It's not boozy at all and has developed nicely in such a short amount of time. (4)
Mouthfeel: On the lighter side of a thick body. Decent carbonation. Goes down smoothly leaving a nice balanced finish that is neither wet or dry. The aftertaste is probably dominantly tart cherry that goes to town on your taste buds for quite a while afterwards. Not the thickest imperial stout but it's a very smooth quaff. (4)
Overall: It makes sense that this beer develops with some age on it as it would seem that Bell's intended it that way. I'm happy that I hung onto the six-pack I bought last December. I'll probably try it at 3-6 month intervals to see how it develops from here on. It's a nice change from the usual roasty and hoppy imperial stouts (e.g. Founders Imperial Stout, Plead the 5th, etc.), as the dark fruits are the strongest contributor to the flavour. (4)
Re-reviewed 5/30/2014. 2013 vintage (7/19/2013) poured into a Bell's goblet. A bit over 10 months old now. Essentially, appearance is the same, and I do get a ton of dark chocolate bitterness with even more dark fruit and some vanilla essence in the nose. Flavour profile is similar, heavier on the dark fruits- dates, raisins- roast malts and dark chocolate mixed in with milk chocolate and caramel, with a bit of vanilla and molasses. Very complex, interesting and decadent beer that has a nice slick mouthfeel that isn't quite too thick or oily but just right. Overall, a great RIS that stacks up with the other Michigan RIS's- Founders RIS and DH Plead the 5th to name a few.
Based on this vintage, I would re-review to a 4.5/4.25/4.5/4/4.25 which comes out to a BA score of 4.35.
05-31-2014 02:13:56 | More by Stevedore
More User Reviews:
4.22/5 rDev -0.2%
I have been able to drink this a few times and really like it,poures a rich black color with small brownish colored head.Smell is sweet and earthy,the taste is a complex mix of earth,chocolate,and roasted malt.When it warms a little the alcoholic notes really come thru,very true to the style.A good high quality imperial stout from my favorite brewer.
04-20-2003 07:37:21 | More by oberon
4.85/5 rDev +14.7%
Appearance - Black in color with a slightly reddish hue and an awesome, dark tan head that showed great retention and laced the hell out of my glass. I can't say enough about how cool this looks at the pour.
Smell - Big, beautiful roasted malt notes along with some nice coffee and very dark fruiting, most notably figs and dates. There's also some brown sugar to this one along with a hop balance of some kind. This nose is very complex, and I'm sure that I'm missing a lot.
Taste - The bitter coffee comes out huge at the taste. All the other players from the aroma are here as well, but it's the coffee that takes things up a notch. There's also some malty cocoa to the flavor profile. This is not for the faint of heart.
Mouthfeel - Super creamy and milky smooth. This is a full-bodied stout if there ever was one. The bitter nature of this ale will give you the shakes.
Drinkability - I loved this stout, although it may be too bitter for some. I'll give Stone the edge simply because it has a bit more balance (with more big fruits) but this is certainly one of my Top Ten beers of all time.
Comments - A big thumbs up to francisweizen for sending me this awesome offering from Bell's. This is an experience that I'll never forget - and one I hope to repeat : )
Update - I got an '04 bottle of this from my brother-in-law in Madison, WI, and cellared it for four years. For some reason I was in a giddy mood tonight and decided to pop it open.
Oh, Lordy, is this a good beer. First let me say that this has not changed nearly as much as I thought it would after four years of cellaring. It hasn't sweetened up like I thought it would and could probably stomach another four years. Having said that, this is one of the most flavorful beers on the planet and is probably STILL too bitter for most even after four years in the cellar. Damn the torpedoes though I am enjoying the hell outta this one.
01-21-2004 02:50:49 | More by RoyalT
3.53/5 rDev -16.5%
Thanks to Golden2wenty1 for the sample.
Dark, near opaque brown with a Crayola brown skim on top. Crude like. Well hopped and burning aroma of vanilla, coffee, plum, and booze. Tastes and feels like bitter and acidic coffee sludge with a hint of chocolate and a shot of gasoline thrown in for good measure. Dark fruits are also present. Very assertive, butt kicking beer. A bit much to drink more than a few ounces of. Long term aging would do this beer well.
07-27-2006 17:26:44 | More by DaPeculierDane
4.34/5 rDev +2.6%
Pours a squid-ink shade of black, letting no light through this one at all, super dark tan head, excellent staying power with thick bouts of lacing left along the edges of the glass. Aroma is full of rich, bittersweet dark chocolate, highly roasted malts and grains, sweet black licorice, and a touch of deep fruit sweetness and ashy hop bitterness. The presence of this beer is very powerful from the aroma alone. Some alcohol detectable, but not too heavily; just enough to provide a nice warming sensation on the tip of the nose.
One sip of this and you know you're in for a treat. Thick, sweet licorice up front, along with sweetness in the form of over-ripe dates and figs. Roasted cocoa beans, bitter espresso and thick coffee, dark chocolate and cocoa beans, bitter, creamy, and milky. An ashy, leafy hop profile asserts itself just in time to balance the extreme sweetness and put everything into perspective. Fading out, the beer leaves a nice combo of sweet and bitter behind on the palate with cocoa, roasted malt, and ashy hops. Alcohol warms and make itself known, but never burns or scares you away - it just adds another element. Super thick, motor oil body with a low-medium amount of carbonation.
This beer is extreme - it's heavy, thick, powerful, and jam packed full of flavor. I believe it's slightly underrated, but I may be biased since it's readily available in my area when in season. Take this one slow, it's a doozy, but it's damn good.
EDIT: 2006 vintage, enjoyed 3/21/2013. Thanks to Chris from bringing this one from this cellar. Bell's wasn't kidding when they said this one would hold up. No head, still silky smooth. Flavors are all there; dark coffee, bitter cocoa, sweet licorice. Mellow booziness with a light oxidation - understandable given the age. Fantastic. Seven years old and still holding up like a fuckin' champ.
12-31-2012 22:42:51 | More by tectactoe
3.75/5 rDev -11.3%
A: Pours black with just a hint of brown into a standard pint glass. One finger head is dark brown and disappears rather quickly. I cannot see through its defenses.
S: Lots of dark chocolate with touches of anise and toasted malts. Some dark cherry and fig scents are also present.
T: Has a very smoky taste upfront that marries with the sweet chocolate/fruit flavors decently. Over the duration of the sip, the smokiness wins out over the sweetness, leaving a slightly unbalanced taste. The finish has a pretty acidic coffee flavor. The taste kind of reminds me of a s'more with a marshmallow that was held over the campfire a bit too long.
M: It has a pretty big feel, which I appreciate. It doesn't quite coat my palate in waves like other beers of the style I have had, though.
D: The high a.b.v. and competition between the sweetness and acidity in the taste make this beer lack in the drinkability category a little for me.
I think this is definitely a beer that could improve with some age on it and I will probably update my review when I've had a bottle with a year or more in the cellar.
03-07-2010 04:43:08 | More by TCHopCraver
4.03/5 rDev -4.7%
bottle poured into a pint glass. carried back from Ohio by my bud, cheers Croix!
A: black as tar with a really dark chocolate head. one of the darkest heads Ive seen in recent memory. nice light stick.
S: sweet and roasty malt, some vanilla and bourbon-esque notes. smells a tad stale. hints of cinammon and even cherries. booze.
T: huge creamy wave immediately followed by some roasted bitterness. a little chocolate is overtaken by lots of stale coffee which is then itself replaced by a grounds bitterness. toffee, some of that elusive aromatic cherry. a earthy woodyness persists on the finish which is mostly dry with just a touch of residual sweetness.
M: incredible. like a malted milkshake. big, thick, creamy, just awesome.
D: huge body, 11.5%, and not available in Mass! but all things considered this goes down pretty well on this painfully humid night. one a night for sure though, quite filling.
07-28-2006 05:41:37 | More by kaimcm
4.2/5 rDev -0.7%
Big thanks to Tilley4 for this brew.
A-Poured into oversized wineglass. Midnight black pour with no light getting through-no red around the edges. Virtually no head.
S-Sweet and malty, Roasted coffee, A little bit of a smoked aroma
T-Coffee up front with vanilla and malt sweetness finishing the end and a smokiness to the whole taste. Unsweetened dark chocolate came through on the end as it warmed. Did not detect alot of fruit flavors. Alcohol barely noticeable. There was a slight vegetable taste throughout.
M-Very creamy and caoted the mouth. This bottle had a slight fizzing effect when I drank which was surprising.
D-I could sip on this one for quite a while, but the high alcohol content would really catch up with me.
04-29-2008 13:50:09 | More by hopsleeroy
3.7/5 rDev -12.5%
12oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass
It pours a almost black with ruby highlights. The head is deep cherry wood color that is very apealing. I've had a few different stouts from Bell's and they seems the head color seems to be distinctly darker than other breweries. It's kind of nice to see a deep carmel red color as opposed to the normal tan. there is minimal lacing as I am finishing the drink.
The smell is pretty off-putting. There is a strong medicinal smell like isopropyl alcohol; not pleasant at all. Behind those off smells are the usual roasty coffee type but I can not get past the medicinal character.
The taste thankfully redeems itself with a rich deep roastiness cholocalte with a large helping of residual sweetness. The sweetness is heavy but not cloying as to hamper drinkability. The roasty notes last through out the sip and linger a little bit. just a hint of alcohol hotness on the end but that is to be expected.
I think it is a little to carbonated for me. I prefer my bigger stouts that have a lot of sweetness to be on the low side of carbonation. Drinkability is above average for the style for me. I'm not sipping this as i normally do with big stouts but drinking it rather quickly.
01-21-2010 21:41:03 | More by weatherdog
4.13/5 rDev -2.4%
Picked up a 6 in St. Joe's while camping in Michigan. I'd been wanting to try it for quite some time.
A: Dark brown almost black. Looks thick and viscousy on the pour. Has some brown/red in it and shows mahogany highlights against the light. The head is a golden copper brown - almost metallic looking. It took a pretty aggressive pour to coax it into providing a finger head. The head dissipated almost immediately. As the drink was sipped, it provided some spotty lacing and left oily brown coffee residue on the glass that slowly slid back to join the liquid.
S: Nice bold smell. Bitter cocoa, coffee. A hint of booze and bready maltiness.
T: The dark chocolate and coffee milk shake is what hit me first. The burn from booze comes in and there is a distinct strong burnt bitterness in the finish and aftertaste. The aftertaste becomes dry and the bite becomes an almost metallic coffee. A touch much at times but it is certainly makes you want to go in for more.
M: Full bodied and velvety smooth. There is enough carb there to liven this thick brew up a bit.
D: Love this RIS. It's pretty smooth. Booze sneaks in here and there but overall it is pretty well hidden. The pronounced bitterness was a touch much for my personal tastes at times but it didn't stop me from pounding this back quicker than I intended to. Another great Bells beer and I'm sad it can't be found in Chicago.
08-07-2009 22:15:50 | More by sgoodship
3.98/5 rDev -5.9%
Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.
A: Pours thick and black, viscous, remind me of motor oil. I was a little surprised at the head that developed on this, it just kept rising to more than an inch of light brown creamy foam. Lacing was good - all the way down the glass.
S: Aromas were a bit complex with a mix of coffee, prunes, and something on the order of brown sugar. There is also a faint whiff of alcohol but no discernible hops.
T&M: Heavy and full on the tongue, thick & chewy. Lots of coffee and thick sweet malts. It's hard to tell where the bittering is coming from - the bittering of the dark roast or something else. There are other flavorful hints in here too, like raisins, candy sugar, something like black licorice, and several layers of other malts. The carbonation is very fine and rather minimal, but it is there and seems to be well matched to the brew. The finish on this is long, as you might expect, with sweet malts that fade quickly to a long linger of bitter coffee tones.
D: Smooth and creamy texture is an interesting contrast to the aggressive coffee bittering, sort of a hard & soft complex. The ABV makes this a stiff drink, but it's enjoyable just the same.
05-06-2008 01:16:12 | More by SIRIUS2
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,478 ratings.