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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.

4,455 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,455
Reviews: 1,875
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 382
Gots: 947 | FT: 78
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)
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Ratings: 4,455 | Reviews: 1,875 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BitteBier


4.43/5  rDev +4.7%

This stout means business. Pours black and opaque with a cakey, bronze head that remains intact and laces nicely. Smell is striking, melding alcohol dryness, roasted notes, and the standard choco-coffee mix one expects from a stout. Taste smoothes out after a few drinks, especially after the optimum temperature is reached. Taste mimics the smell--rather smooth with a dry bite that piques your interest. Mouthfeel is pleasant; despite a somewhat sticky feel, the taste lingers, rather than the texture. Its strong smell and taste weaken its drinkability a bit, but this beer is worth having even just one.

03-12-2004 01:38:53 | More by BitteBier
Photo of smurphy77


4.43/5  rDev +4.7%

This beer poured from bottle an espresso color with a large foamy tan head. Aromas of brazilian chocolate, espresso and earthy undertones. Bold flavors of coffee and dark, rich chocolate. Lots of alcohol on the finish but it was balanced by the chocolate and coffee flavors. Very drinkable for the high alcohol content. One of the finer examples of this style.

11-26-2007 03:21:46 | More by smurphy77
Photo of GPHarris


4.43/5  rDev +4.7%

a - poured a three fingers thick dark brown head into a pint glass. the head clings to the glass as it dissipates. the body is black as night and leaves a thick ring of lace throughout. this is an amazing looking brew.
s - light hints of chocolate and coffee. it is the definition of light done right. there's just enough to awaken the senses but not so much that it is overwhelmingly strong.
t - chocolate, oats, malt and cherry, a very complex beer.
m - medium body, smooth and it really coats the tongue.
d - gives a nice warming sensation and the alcohol begins to mellow towards the finish. this beer will be spectacular after one year plus of cellaring.

01-24-2007 20:57:14 | More by GPHarris
Photo of reebtaerG


4.41/5  rDev +4.3%

Pour from bottle to tulip glass
A-pours dark black with a tan head that dissipate
S-rich aromas rich roast malt, dark fruit, coffee, chocolate and hops
T-very similar to the smell, but taste caramel now
M-full bodied, sticky and thick. Can't taste the alcohol
O-great imperial stout very smooth smell, taste and palate. Great beer even thou I don't drink coffee

11-30-2013 04:16:21 | More by reebtaerG
Photo of Jayman931


4.4/5  rDev +4%

12 oz bottle served in a snifter

Very dark....don't think you can get much darker...Mocha head that gets lighter in color near the top and middle. Good Head retention. Don't drink it cold....let it get in the 60s.

Very Pleasant smell....nice roasted malt character

I really like this beer....unsure how anyone rated it poorly....great mouthfeel extremely well balanced....very small bitter finish...you would never guess it was 10.5%

I'll buy a 6 pack at least once a winter. Quality beer

01-07-2013 05:07:42 | More by Jayman931
Photo of tastybeer

North Carolina

4.4/5  rDev +4%

Looks like deep brown-black oil topped by a tight medium sized frothy head. Head is a dark cocoa brown color and bits of straggly but dense lace appear, disappear and reappear in new locations as the beer moves in my glass. Head fades to a thin but even layer resembling the top surface of a hot cocoa. Smells full of densely gritty-deep rich coffee, raisins, semi tart berries, chocolate cream, evergreens, molasses, thick chewy malts, butterscotch, and flowery ethanol. Good. Taste begins with a smooth wave of malt and chocolate and piles of soft sweet fruit and flowers. Then it erupts with a surge of biittersweet coffee/chocolate and tingly 10.5% abv. Flavors are long an extended. They flow into a smooth coating mouthfeel. Drinkable and yummy.

Hooooray russian imperial stout!

02-13-2008 03:27:35 | More by tastybeer
Photo of bditty187


4.4/5  rDev +4%

Black, opaque, no head (maybe a couple dozen stray bubbles), no lace. Deep, rich burnt/roasted malt nose… trace hints of chocolate, alcohol… pleasant, far from overpowering yet it is still very inviting. Amazing depth on the palate, so many flavors tickle the tastebuds. Roasted malt, chocolate, alcohol, prunes, coffee, some almost hidden sweetness… the bitterness is well conceived by the hops. The aftertaste is tremendous (!) with warm alcohol, molasses and coffee-like bitterness. Awesome. Very low carbonation, full-bodied, slick, smooth, chewy mouthfeel. The abv hits the brain head-on yet is pretty hidden in the taste. This beer would work well as a nightcap or dessert. A ‘must try’… highly recommended!

Thank you, feloniousmonk for this awesome beer!

05-07-2003 19:45:53 | More by bditty187
Photo of revbdub5446


4.4/5  rDev +4%

vintage 02-03

As a longtime skulker I felt it was finally time for my first review...

No batch number, hence, pre-batch 6000....(bottle dating says 02-03)
Poured into Bell's tulip, opened with a Bell's opener, while wearing my Bell's shirt...last part was made up...

Pours nice with quite a bit of carbonation, even a nice little roar at the end...1/4" caramel head on top. Opaque black...no amber,no translucence.

Smells, like a stout alright...Distinctive Bell's malt and hop aroma...mapley, plummy, coffeeeey....big booze upfront...

first taste brought the fruit and roasted coffee...the burn of the booze followed...Bitterness still here at the midpoint of the glass....no hop character...no shit....

mouth feels pretty sticky and coated...don't say it...

Overall, I love this beer, always a staple, and I'm glad I hung on to it for as long as I did! cheers!


09-10-2011 01:16:42 | More by revbdub5446
Photo of elricorico

Alberta (Canada)

4.4/5  rDev +4%

Very deep brown, near black and opaque. Only a thin ring of tan head.

Smells of rich coffee and chocolate liquer. Very sweet and roasty impression.

Brown sugar sweetness throughout. Coffee rich through the front half and roasted bitterness in the finish. Well balanced. Alcohol warms but isn't overwhelming. Very nice.

Thick, almost syrupy, and carbonation just barely cuts through. Works well for the style.

This was very nice, one of my favorites of the style so far. Thanks orrshow for splitting the bottle.

09-05-2007 10:53:05 | More by elricorico
Photo of Bung


4.4/5  rDev +4%

Flying Saucer Charlotte. All black pour with 1 finger brown head. More booze and bourbon in the aroma than I ever remember this having. Heavy roast, molasses as well. This is BIG this year, either that or it's just so long since I've had it on draft. Full body, thick oily mouthfeel. I could swear this was barrel aged. A large amount of oaky toffee accents the heavy roast malts chocolates and espresso. Mild hops in the bite at the finish. Not nearly as much dark fruits as I've noticed in the past and much more of this barrel like qualities. Excellent, big sipper.

10-23-2009 17:17:12 | More by Bung
Photo of traviserickson


4.4/5  rDev +4%

A- Black as hell. Milk-chocolate colored foam with thick lacing

S- Sharp and sweet, not overwhelming

T- Coffee on top of dark malt. Back of the mouth bitterness.

M- Thick, almost too syrupy and quite heavy.

D- I'd have another, but not much more than that in an evening.

12-01-2009 03:05:45 | More by traviserickson
Photo of Rhettroactive

District of Columbia

4.4/5  rDev +4%

From 12oz bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 11/15/11
*From notes

-- Vintage 2010 --

A: Dark, brooding black. A generous pour yields a killer 2.25 finger cascading mocha head. The retention is top notch, as is the lacing which rims the glass.

S: Dried and candied dark fruits with just a touch of smoke.

T: Really a massive dose of char up front. Yeah, this is aging beautifully. Though it's rather roasty, there's still a solid hop kick on the mid, even after it's been in the cellar for a year. Black coffee runs from the mid to finish, and it lingers for some time.

M: Just over the top. It's silky, creamy and velvety. It feels like a penthouse suite in mouth.

O: Bell's Expedition Stout is easily one of my favorite non-BA RIS's. It's big, bold and brash, yet deceivingly elegant and easy to drink. This has aging potential unlike many others. Though a bit pricey, it's worth every cent you'll pay.

A hearty recommendation.

12-15-2011 00:46:07 | More by Rhettroactive
Photo of Arenbeer


4.4/5  rDev +4%

12oz bottle into a goblet glass.

Batch 9971 Bottled September 13th, 2010

A- Pours a thick solid black with 1 finger off light brown head that sticks ends up a nice rim around the edge of the glass with different sized bubbles. Not much lacing but some nice legs

S- Dark roasted malts with a good amount of dark chocolate, raisins, and slight coffee.

T- Tons of sweet yet bitter dark chocolate up front with a nice roasted flavor from the malts and strong black coffee in the finish.

M- Medium to full body that's super creamy with moderate carbonation and a nice slightly dry bitter finish.


12-01-2011 01:30:21 | More by Arenbeer
Photo of SadMachine

New Jersey

4.4/5  rDev +4%

'09 bottle acquired in an IP trade w/ Ahappyhiker2, thanks man!

A- Poured into Stone IRS snifter. Pours pitch black, viscous, and with a thick light-brown head that has incredible retention (especially w/ the age), and leaves generous lacing.

S- Surprising start to the nose as it is reminiscent of a bourbon barrel aged stout with lots of booze and a bit of vanilla. Dark bitter chocolate, Belgian candi-sugar, molasses, brown sugar, and dark alcohol soaked fruits are also perceived.

T- There are huge chocolate flavors right off the bat, both dark/bitter and sweet/milk. There is a healthy dose of roasted malt/coffee in the mix, particularly in the finish. There is also a distinct vinous flavor in the finish.

M- The mouthfeel is thick, viscous, and creamy with nearly no perceivable carbonation. It is less boozy than expected from the nose, which is a positive.

O- I have not had this fresh, but this is drinking fantastic with ~3.5 years on it! I would have been happier if some more of the complexity in the nose came through in the flavor, but it still tastes superb!

05-01-2013 04:20:00 | More by SadMachine
Photo of OWSLEY069


4.4/5  rDev +4%

Pours jet black, with a tan/ light brown head. In the aroma, a roasty malt and grapefruity hops. In the taste, hoppy, coffee, and a sweet roasty malt. A small bitter, big body mouthfeel and a sweet roasty malt and a small grapefruity hop aftertaste. Big malt, nice hops, hides alcohol and quite easy to drink.

01-06-2008 16:48:44 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of Brunite


4.4/5  rDev +4%

Appearance: As black as nice. Opaque. A super dark tan head that settles but leaves some amazing lace and a dark tan cap throughout.

Smell: Wow. Molasses...dark chocolate...dark rum...coffee....some pine notes.

Taste: Matches the smell. The alcohol is apparent but the taste is dominated by chocolate & coffee notes. Also some toffee....licorice....dark fruits...complex. This is a fresh bottle and the bitterness is readily apparent. I will likely age a few. Lingering flavors of coffee bitterness and lactose sweetness. Nice.

Mouthfeel: This is the thickest and chewiest beer I've had. Yet....low carbonation leaves a very smooth sipper.

Overall: One of the best RIS I've had. This is complex but balanced. The alcohol is readily apparent but managed. Nice job here.

04-14-2011 02:51:38 | More by Brunite
Photo of avalon07

South Carolina

4.4/5  rDev +4%

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a black color and a thick consistency. There was a half inch of creamy, tan-colored, fairly long-lasting head. Very good lacing.

S: A very understated aroma of coffee, malt, and chocolate.

T: Tasted of espresso, roasted malt, and a hint of chocolate. It's a big, bold flavor - very robust, as a Russian Imperial Stout should be.

M: A very well-carbonated beer with a dry finish. Full-bodied, but not obnoxiously so.

D: This is a very drinkable beer, well made and easy to drink.

02-06-2010 14:38:16 | More by avalon07
Photo of HopSavant


4.4/5  rDev +4%

07-10-2014 20:58:58 | More by HopSavant
Photo of bfields4


4.4/5  rDev +4%

Pours a Dark chocolate black with a foamy mocha head. So dark I can see my reflection in it.

Lots of sweet dark fruit smells. Sweet malty backing. Coffee and chocolate become more present, but the biggest factor is still with the dark fruit.

Velvety chocolate flavor. Not what I expected from the nose. Very nice hints of caramel. Big taste on this one. Seems to be almost the reverse of the nose with dark fruits becoming more present with time.

So creamy wow, one of the creamiest beers I've ever had. Very low carbonation.

The dark fruit nose's juxtaposition to the velvety chocolate mouthfeel really complement each other nicely.

04-09-2009 02:55:54 | More by bfields4
Photo of RedHaze


4.4/5  rDev +4%

For some reason there's no batch #, but I know it was bottled in 2004.

Pours absulutely pitch black with a very thin dark brown head, that quickly fades to a very thin ring that leaves only bits of lacing.

Smell; at first there was a little bit of a soy sauce aroma going on, but that disappeared after I let it sit for a few minutes. I smell dark roasted choclate malts, slight coffee presence and some anise.

Taste; wow, those roasted choclate malts really hit right up front, with a little bit of the cooffee blanded in. There's a slight bitterness for the hops, but those are somewhat subdued due to some age. I get a little bit of a vinous and molasses flavors as this warms, with a little bit of an alcohol bite. Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, but smooth for the the style. I don't think I would be able to drink more than one of these in a night without drooling all over myself..

01-16-2006 02:04:49 | More by RedHaze
Photo of TheLongBeachBum


4.4/5  rDev +4%

Presentation: 12 fluid ounce, long neck, simple label with the word Bell’s, beneath which there is a strange compass like drawing on the front, with the words Expediton Stout below. 2002 offering.

Appearance: Holy Shit! - that reminds me I need to change the oil in my Car. Jet black viscous pour, I’ve seen lighter colored heavy fractions from the bottom of a tar filled Refinery Distillation column. The massive head is a dark brown, expansive & well aerated at first, after which, it settles to an incredibly smooth offering with shallow ravines & some pock-marks give a lunar landscape look about this Stout. The head eventually breaks, but not after it leaves an amazing lace. Solid inherent carbonation.

Nose: Roasted malts, coffee beans, dark chocolate & some fruit aspects, I actually got a light whiff of fresh Strawberries at first, but mixed with the dark chocolate - I can see why people get Cherries.

Taste: Starts & finishes with a long, deep, massive bitter-roast missives, which makes it a delight to re-taste after each swallow. After a while, I get a cherry fruitiness in the beginning as well as a Cocoa powder dryness in the middle, the ending has some Vanilla aspects. It takes a while & quite a bit of concentration to work this one out.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, but the bitter, roasted flavors coat the mouth like synthetic lubricating oil. It takes a few swallows before the bitter-roast flavors are eroded by the mere act of salivation. Mmmm, nice! Solid.

Drinkability: I simply do not believe that this is 11.5%, is it? – Nah, never! - it can’t be! - can it? Wow, if it is, it hides the alcohol so incredibly well. I will be honest to admit that if I sampled this blind, others could easily fool me into telling me it is between 6-8%, such is the balance. Bloody Hell, my Glass is empty!

Overall: Excellent ! I am so glad I got a good sample of this Expedition Stout from Bell’s, now I know why people are so pissed when they get less than par samples of this quite stupendous Stout – it would be a huge disappointment & a let-down for me also after tasting a good one.

Thanks to BigHuge, you came up trumps yet again!!

09-03-2003 04:09:36 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of zachary80


4.4/5  rDev +4%

I prefer this with some age which smooths it out even more, but will review it fresh. Packaged 11/1/11. Batch 10759

Super thick body on the pour. Small creamy, cardboard-colored head, last for a bit then mostly fades away. Perfect lacing.

Smell is predominantly sweet, roasty, and some coffee-like bitterness.

Flavor is big up front, again very roasty, lingering chocolate.

Mouthfeel is thick, perfect for this beer. Creamy.

Bell's Expedition Stout is easily one of the best beers I've ever had. (please don't) Make this a limited release and its rating would skyrocket. Also, someone needs to send a bottle to the Bros for re-review.

11-30-2011 00:41:52 | More by zachary80
Photo of jslot38


4.4/5  rDev +4%

Well, I got home at 10:30pm after a 3 hour exam and decided to have a beer, even though its getting late and I am exhausted from a long day of work, school, tests and rugby practice. So I figure I'll grab a nice relaxing Bell's Brown ale. Maybe that mental exhaustion was too much, as I uncorked my only bottle of Expedition Stout. Apparently this was that special occasion I was waiting for...

Note: The guy at the store said this was last year's batch... no real way to tell. 12oz bottle to pint glass.

Appearance: A beauty, A dark mocha tan sits perched atop a black body. The head rises up as the beer cascades a bit, and then settles to a finger. Will be interesting to see where this goes at almost 11%ABV. Update: down to a nice covering, with some good sticky lacing.

Smell: Chocolate, burnt, smokey undertones. Toffee and some mocha beans. Fantastic.

Taste: Both myself and Peter noticed how strong it is right off the bat. And as that first sip sinks in I can already feel it warming my stomach. Clearly not for the faint of heart. Initial sweetness gives way to a burnt undercurrent with notes of coffee beans and chocolate. Gone is the toffee and smoked flavours, but present is a bit of an exepected hop twang. If this is last years, and this has mellowed out... one can only imagine what it tastes fresh.

Mouthfeel: The flavours just linger and linger. The carbonation level is great. Perfect for a stout, in no way overwhelming, yet there.

Drinkability: Certainly not the beer I was looking for at this time of night, or on a Wednesday, but alas... It is a sipping beer.

Final thoughts: The addition of Bell's to the Mid-Atlantic market has brought many treats over the last year. And while I do like the two hearted IPA, I can't say enough about their stouts. Kalamazoo stout is great, double cream stout is great, and this one, oh this one is right up there.

10-18-2007 03:17:52 | More by jslot38
Photo of hwwty4


4.4/5  rDev +4%

Poured a 12 oz bottle into my normal tasting Chalice. Appearance is black. It barely let any light through. It had a large, thick 2 inch head, that left no lacing down the sides of the glass. Smell is of molasses, baker’s chocolate and espresso. Taste is mostly the same, but with hints of raisins. This stout is balanced better then any stout I've had to this point in by beer journey. Mouthfeel is full bodied and creamy. I think I could drink a keg of this if my liver (and rest of my body) could handle it

12-01-2007 05:21:12 | More by hwwty4
Photo of Optifron


4.4/5  rDev +4%

Appearance: Pours jet black with brown, thick, creamy head. Leaves moderate lacing.

Aroma: Chocolate, a touch of hops, smooth French roast coffee

Taste: Dark chocolate, but without the intense bitter. Smoother espresso beans. A nicely balanced sweetness, almost like a touch of lactose.

Mouthfeel: Fantastic. Was the first thing that really stood out when it hit my mouth. Incredibly smooth, creamy but not heavy

Overall: Really impressive. I like smoother stouts, and this really fits the bill. Impressively drinkable for 10.5%. Will definitely be picking up more of this.

12-15-2012 02:46:15 | More by Optifron
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,455 ratings.