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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

4,527 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,527
Reviews: 1,881
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 393
Gots: 970 | FT: 76
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:
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 added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-10-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,527 | Reviews: 1,881 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by cameraman:
Photo of cameraman
4.53/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a black opaque color with a dark beige to toffee colored head, that is about a quarter inch high. The head then dissolves itself to a thin layer just on top off the blackness. Dark bread and dried fruit are there at first scent, then dark roasted grain and coffee hits the nose. Then a twang of alcohol comes forward, that all blends to a sweet molasses scent at the end. A sweet malty and sugary taste is at the front, then dark bread and burnt coffee flavors take over. It finishes with a strong piney and grassy bitterness that lingers long after each taste is gone. A medium-heavy feel rolls on to the palate and stays consistent, till it reaches the back of the palate, where it thins out slightly. A strong beer in this style, where other brewers dominate this with string and overwhelming flavors, Bell's works to keep this beer on the straight and narrow. Sit back, sip this one slowly and enjoy.

cameraman, Feb 27, 2011
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

oberon, Apr 20, 2003
Photo of RoyalT
4.85/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

RoyalT, Jan 21, 2004
Photo of aszatk01
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

aszatk01, Nov 24, 2013
Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.53/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

DaPeculierDane, Jul 27, 2006
Photo of DanGeo
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

DanGeo, Apr 16, 2013
Photo of tectactoe
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

tectactoe, Dec 31, 2012
Photo of TCHopCraver
3.75/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 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.

TCHopCraver, Mar 07, 2010
Photo of OhioBobcat
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

OhioBobcat, Aug 05, 2013
Photo of MadScientist
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

MadScientist, Mar 27, 2013
Photo of jono0101
5/5  rDev +18.2%

jono0101, Dec 24, 2013
Photo of kaimcm
4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

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.

kaimcm, Jul 28, 2006
Photo of hopsleeroy
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

hopsleeroy, Apr 29, 2008
Photo of Spaten454
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

Spaten454, Jun 14, 2014
Photo of weatherdog
3.7/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass

Batch 9435

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.

weatherdog, Jan 21, 2010
Photo of Stevejc52
4.63/5  rDev +9.5%

Stevejc52, Aug 14, 2014
Photo of GameOfBeers
4.72/5  rDev +11.6%

GameOfBeers, Aug 18, 2014
Photo of ricksrealm
4/5  rDev -5.4%

ricksrealm, Jan 18, 2012
Photo of delaced21
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

delaced21, Mar 05, 2014
Photo of sgoodship
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 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.

sgoodship, Aug 07, 2009
Photo of SkiBum22
3.25/5  rDev -23.2%

SkiBum22, Feb 13, 2014
Photo of SIRIUS2
3.98/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

SIRIUS2, May 06, 2008
Photo of BubalooBrewMaster
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

BubalooBrewMaster, Apr 23, 2014
Photo of bdkucharski
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

bdkucharski, Apr 28, 2012
Photo of Ben7773
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Ben7773, Feb 09, 2014
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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,527 ratings.