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
93
outstanding

1,978 Reviews
THE BROS
98
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,978
Hads: 5,499
rAvg: 4.19
pDev: 11.46%
Wants: 465
Gots: 1,420 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Bell's Expedition Stout Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,978 | Hads: 5,499
Photo of freed
3.83/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Another batch imported by our man in the midwest; Bill. Thanks!

Yet another lovely label from Bell's, simple and elegant. I should have been wary when I popped the cap and there was no rush of gas. Pouring was enough confirmation though - there was no carbonation to the beer. The pouring was uneventful, despite the troubling black liquid. It sat dully in the glass, deeply brown with body. The very top, visible without any head, gave hints of amber around the edges. There's even some odd sediment that almost looks like it belongs in hot & sour soup.

The aroma is welcoming though - deep, filling, and robust with mocha goodness. The combination of malted barley and coffee hide the barely noticeable smell of alcohol.

The taste is also very robust - nearly syrupy without carbonation, but still good. There are very bitter chocolate flavors, dark espresso flavors, and a smooth maltiness all around.

The sensation is somewhat lacking without the balance of gasses, and the mouthfeel is somewhat alcoholic. Especially while brewing beer and having skipped breakfast and lunch.

This is a very tasty beer, but I feel it must be tried on cask, or tap. Preferably close to the source. I'll see what I can do. (1,225 characters)

Photo of beer2day
3.83/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours opaquely black with a thin 1/2 finger deep tan head. No observable carbonatio. Nice lacing.

Chocolate with notes of cinnamon dominate the nose. A slight sugariness is there as well. Alcohol comes in also.

Very nice hit on the tongue. Slightly thinner than expected, though. Lots of roasted malt here with bittersweet chocolate finish.

Not as good as I remember when living in Northern Indiana, but still a pretty good RIS. (432 characters)

Photo of SchmoTerp
3.83/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours and looks like a stout should with a dark tan head. Head took some time to dissapate. The mouthfeel are thick, robust, with some slight smokiness. The tastes are more subdued with balanced malts, there is a nice heaviness in the aftertaste. This beer was quite smooth and easy to drink - something I would definetely look forward to in the future. (353 characters)

Photo of hopflop
3.83/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a black like used motor oil. with a tan head that dissipates quickly.

The smell is not impressive mostly coffee with roasted malts with dried fruit and alcohol

The mouth full is creamy and rich. with a huge coffee presences and malts with a hint of chocolate and alcohol at the end

This is a very hefty big stout with a big ABV 10.5%. the drink ability is good, but can't have more then two in one sitting. Would definitely recommend trying. (494 characters)

Photo of TheBeerologist
3.83/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opened a bottle from batch 10068 - bottled 11/11/2010 and poured into a snifter.

Pours nice and thick, dark brown/black with a thin brown head. Looks like a great RIS.

This smells sweet and malty and strongly of raisins and tastes pretty much the same. Still a little hot after 15 months. The carbonation is nice, present but light, with a sticky sweetness.

Overall, I am underwhelmed at this point. It is a good solid RIS but I really prefer it fresh and cannot wait to get some from from a recent batch to review again. (524 characters)

Photo of inlimbo77
3.83/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at Capone's in Norristown, PA. No dates listed on bottle. Poured into New Belgium snifter glass.

A: Pours a DEEP, rich black color. No light gets through. Not much carbonation. Thin, rust colored head that fades quickly leaves a tiny line around the exterior of the glass. Good lacing. Tiny bubbles.

S: Roasty malts, coffee, chocolate, molasses, alcohol

T: I like the roasty malt flavor. I got that dark chocolate and caramels as well. Some mild hops too.

M: Coats the mouth nicely. Smooth with a nice bite at the end. Mild hop finish, surprisingly.

D: I enjoyed this brew. I would definitely have it again, but the ABV does get you. You can smell it and it is definitely there.

Overall, a solid brew from Bell's. I have had better RISs from other outfits, but this is a good one that I'd enjoy again down the road. (838 characters)

Photo of jkendrick
3.82/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours dark and viscous. A moderately aggressive pour yields a half inch brown head. There is no light shining through and little carbonation visible rising up in the glass. The head recedes relatively quickly, but leaves some foam stuck to the side of the glass. After a few sips, nice lacing is left in its wake.

Aroma: The aroma isn't as strong as many Imperial Stouts but what is there is malt. and some alcohol. I smell dark and sweet fruit. I don't smell coffee and chocolate as was expected. Maybe just a touch of molasses.

Mouthfeel: Not a ton of carbonation, but it is oily and full-bodied.

Taste: The taste is where the chocolate - dry, powdery cocoa to be exact - that was absent in the nose makes itself known. The fruit, so dominant in the aroma, is relegated to the back. The alcohol is definitely present, but for a 10% abv, it isn't bad. I think the alcohol could have been hidden a bit better. The molasses flavors are most dominant in the middle and there is bitterness in the finish. The alcohol is somewhat warming, but is mostly noticeable in the mouth.

Overall Impressions: This is good imperial stout. It has a very interesting difference from aroma to taste. While the aroma screams fruit and had me excited for something a bit different than the typical coffee/chocolate/molasses dominated impy stouts, ultimately it is the cocoa and molasses that rule the flavor. I'd definitely buy this one again and it's the best offering I've had from Bell's, but it has some flaws. (1,512 characters)

Photo of marksto
3.82/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled at the Indiana Microbrewers Festival. Bell's had this one opposite a keg of the bourbon barrel aged Double Cream/Expedition Stout. Perhaps it was because of that excellent beer that I thought this one wasn't as good as I'd hoped it would be..

Poured opaque with an off-white medium head with medium retention. Surprisingly light in the nose. Some coffee and roast with malt sweetness, but nose overall lighter than I thought it would be. Flavor exhibited a blend of roastiness, malt, with a hint of chocolate. Smooth, nice, but not as complex as many of the other R.I.S.'s that I've had before. (605 characters)

Photo of swid
3.82/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours very thick and syrupy...deep brown to black. Carbonation nearly nonexistant. A 2" brown head forms; fades after about 10 minutes or so.

Chocolate and caramel notes are prominent in an overall sweet, malty aroma. Along with the chocolate and caramel, a coffee flavor dominates this beer. A surprisingly light mouthfeel; slightly bitter on the palate, feels like a light syrup on the back of the mouth/throat, finishes fairly clean. The high ABV of this beer is masked very well, much more so than other strong beers I've had in the past.

Overall, a decent imperial stout, and a beer worth trying or breaking out every once in a while. However, I wouldn't go out of my way to track down another one.

Thanks to mdinges for the bottle! (746 characters)

Photo of alleykatking
3.81/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle. Quite surprised I haven't reviewed this beer on here!

A- Pours a nice black color. When held to the light you can see faint brown hues on the sides of the glass. Two finger mocha colored head stays for a good couple of minutes before dying down to whisps of foam on the top of the beer. Lacing was streaked on the sides of the glass.

S- Big roasted malts in the front of the aroma. Ground coffee smell was muted a little in the middle with some light chocolate notes and even lighter hints of prunes. Alcohol is present in this but it almost takes on a semi-sweet note to it. I picked up some brown sugar hanging around the alcohol. For a stout of this size though the overall aroma was muted.

T- This beer starts off with a nice roasted taste that lasts well into the middle of the beer. Light darker fruits in the middle that shine through in small doses. The ending on this one is a little more chocolate sweet than I remembered. Light roasted taste in the back end of this one as well.

M- Heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is good with the style. Left a oily slick roasted mess on the palate and into the aftertaste. Chewy is good feature with this beer. Sludge like...heh. Makes you want to take a sip right after you are done with the first one.

D- This is a good drinkable stout. The only reason I gave it a 3.5 was because I could not drink a sixer of this even if I tried. It was a very filling beer for me and after a couple I would need to switch to something lighter in feel. (1,515 characters)

Photo of everetends
3.81/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Redwood21 for this bottle. Poured into a pint tumbler.

A: Damn near perfect. Black and opaque. Poured a think, and oil like consistency. Had a head that I didn't think would form and left some nice sticky lacing.

S: Dark chocolate, deeply roasted malts, coffee and a touch of licorice.

T: The chocolate really shines here. Coffee bitterness and malts are also present. Has a heavy alcohol taste on the back end, a bit metallic also (even after it warmed).

M: Low carbonation, thick and chewy. Alcohol heat on the back of the throat and in the tummy. Dry finish.

D: This is an RIS that lets you know the alcohol is there. Not bad, but definitely a sipper and really no need to hit more than one. Very nice brew. (725 characters)

Photo of rastaman
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Extremely black and thick. Very heavy on the tongue, huge fat roasted malt flavours blend with raisins and spicy (hops are even a bit citric)hops, big and ugly (but ugly in kind of a good way), huge bitterness. Vinous. Not elegant at all, but nicely mean and ugly. Its great to try some US imperial stouts, and this one was another gift from Feloniousmonk. (356 characters)

Photo of BeerAmbassador
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Motor oil black, small head that leaves a bit on the glass as it dissipates. Coffee, roasted grains and dark, dried fruit (prunes?) on the nose. All of the above plus a bit of licorice on the nose. Stong bitterness from both hops and roasted malt. Sweetness that borders on cloying for me, but not quite too much. Very long finish, and low, but creamy, nicely integrated carbonation. (383 characters)

Photo of tone77
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1 inch head. Smell is of chocolate, coffee, a bit of sweetness. Taste is the same, chocolate, some hops, a bit of coffee, alcohol is well hidden. Feels full bodied in the mouth and overall is a solid beer. (265 characters)

Photo of schusterbauer
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

a -- "none more black." but really, absolutely black, limp dark brown head doesn't last long.

s -- alcohol, charcoal, roasted/burnt malts, chocolate, soy sauce, more alcohol

t -- there's so much going on in this beer that you can find something new with every sip: heavy on the charcoal/smoked/roasted flavors, chocolate ice cream, raisins, licorice, soy sauce, lemon peel(?); flavor coats your mouth and lasts for a long time after each sip

m -- THICK. melted milkshake thick.

d -- i don't think that drinkability is really the word. the beer seems to dare you to sip more, in all of its ruggedness; sometimes the challenge is a pleasure, sometimes it's a chore.

---

I had previously given this beer across the board 5s, based on a previous sample -- a bottle that was about 18 months old. The above is based on a fresh sample. While I'm sure that the aged sample didn't deserve anywhere near the perfect 5, it was notably better, and I'll be curious to review again, with another aged sample. (1,012 characters)

Photo of ChrisPro
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 8944 (vintage 2008?).

12oz bottle pours thick oily black, but very little dark tan head.

Caramel and chocolate in aroma, some hints of pitted fruit (cherries, prune).

Rich, sweet up front, a bit boozy, then a long drawn out chocolate finish. Quite bitter, but balanced.

Pretty well carbonated, quite thick and oily and the alcohol and carb leave a bit of stinging on the tongue. Much better with some warming.

This is a pretty complex imperial stout and its hotness implies that it could benefit from some age to let some of those flavore meld and the heat mellow. Still something I would seek out again. (619 characters)

Photo of expatsteve
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for sharing this one, Golden2wenty1.

Appearance: Black, with a 1/2 inch cappucino head. Nice thick lacing on the beer and the glass. Medium viscosity.

Aroma: Plum, cane sugar, chocolate and a booze/hops edge.

Taste: Booze over chocolate and molasses. Cream, toffee, raisin developments, along with a sharp boozy bite. Plum sweetness and a few espresso bursts, but definitely the most spicy stout I've ever had.

Mouthfeel: Thick and spicy, with a lot of hops and booze character. Low carbonation focuses attention squarely on the more aggressive characteristics of the beer.

Drinkability: While the flavor is balanced and fairly impressive, the bite in this beer is definitely a challenge. Enjoyable and distinct, but not most drinkable big stout I've had. Will probably please hopheads and strong beer fans who appreciate aggressive flavors. (863 characters)

Photo of MasonBeerMan
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

App-Looks like motor oil, little to no head, small light tan ring hung around during entire drink

Smell-roasted malt, dark ripe fruit, molasses, alcohol. some slight hops

Taste- Strong coffee, roastiness, alcohol, bittersweet, molasses

Mouth- almost flat, very little carbonation, full body with some alcohol warming

Drink-good winter warmering beer, thick, very different experience than with other imperial stouts, good on occasion, but a bit pricey (455 characters)

Photo of gyllstromk
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with thin dark head. Nose is roasted malts and hops. Flavor is a kiss of sweetness with a grassy hop flavor, with a full body and sticky sweet finish with a strong lingering bitterness. The detractors are that the hops are a bit overemphasized for my taste, it's a bit close to motor oil in consistency, and a bit overpriced. Still, a tasty treat. (363 characters)

Photo of bassmantin
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to iconoklaztor for letting me sample this one. This one is aged about 4-6 months. I had one fresh, and it was a bit too harsh.

Pours a very dark brown/black into a snifter with a thick clumpy tan head. Smell is very sweet and intense. Strong alcohol aroma.

Taste is extremely sweet. Too sweet for me. The flavors are very complex and indulgent, but it leaves a sticky taste in my mouth. The aging has helped quite a bit, though. I would be interested to see what another six months would do to this one.

Overall: Malt-heads will love it. An excellent beer, but a little too sweet for me. (598 characters)

Photo of Cyrion
3.79/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a nonic pint three months after bottling.

Appearance: Looks like used motor oil, thick, dark and viscous. Dark tan head with tiered lacing on sides.

Smell: Sweet cocoa and some dark fruit. Nice.

Taste: Very chocoately starting out. Tends to overwhelm other flavors. Some chocolate-covered cherries, as well as some smoky wood taste. Some coffee flavor begins to appear in time, but is not prominent. A bit of alcohol heat begins to make its presence known, but the chocolate and other flavors try to hide this, and do pretty well.

Mouthfeel: Very, very thick and heavy. More than just chewy.

Overall: A good chocolatey stout, but a lot of the flavors are buried under the chocolate, and this hides the complexity. Gooey goodness, but this beer retains a good deal of its mystery. (796 characters)

Photo of far333
3.78/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours out dark as motor oil, with a thick dark brown head topped with lumps like oatmeal. The aroma comes right up to my nose - hops followed by raisin and burnt malt with distinct sweet chocolate hints. Taste is pungent. Flavor is bitter cofee and dark chocolate, with a strong alcohol finish and tingle. Chocolate and raisin lingers, as does a sting in the top of the palate, behind the nose. Mouthfeel feels a little thin for this one, and the drinkability is low due to the incredibly strong flavor. I find myself sipping this one to let the flavors come out as small amounts roll around the mouth. Excellent beer that makes its presence known. (648 characters)

Photo of apbarwood
3.78/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm drinking this one hot off the presses, just a couple weeks after it arrived on the shelves. It looks black, or at the very least a dark brown-black. Not much head to speak of and just the faintest amount of caramel-colored lace. The aroma isn't exactly weak but it's not strong. I'm definitely picking up some roasted malt and a bit of dark fruit, maybe raisins. There's also a bit of alcohol in the bouquet that carries over in the flavor and while it's not really unpleasant, it doesn't seem to add anything. I hope and assume that will mellow with age. The flavor leads with some bittersweet chocolate and a trace of a sweeter caramel. It's followed quickly and overpowered by a strong, bitter, roasted malt and coffee flavor. The raisin-ish dark fruit flavor is still around and comes through a bit more as the beer warms up and seems more noticeable on the finish. There's definitely a nice complexity to this beer that seems to attach itself to every part of my palate and it has nice mouth-coating and warming qualities. When fresh, it definitely seems to show it's youth and is quite aggressive and biting but I can definitely see this beers potential to age nicely. I'd let this one sit for six months or so at least to let it mellow out a bit and allow some of it's more subtle qualities to step forward. (1,318 characters)

Photo of yamar68
3.78/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ominous black coffee body topped with a thick pillow of dense medium brown head that slowly fades to a solid cap, laces nicely.

Molasses, dark chocolate, raisin, boozy maple syrup qualities, hot cocoa... evolving with warmth.

Bitter coffee and chocolate, boozy figs or dates, the bitterness fades from sweet earthiness to alcohol, great flavors but a poor finish I think.

I'm excited to have a sixer of these to age, tons of flavor but just a tad hot if you ask me. (468 characters)

Photo of fropones
3.78/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours a nice dark reddish brown, nearly black, with a 2.5 finger black cherry mocha head.

S - Chocolate, toffee, coffee, roasted malt.

T - More of that roasted malt, followed out by some toffee and chocolate. Hints of hops in the back, but this bottle has 6-9 months on it. Fairly astringent.

M - Nice carb, rich and creamy. Kind of chewy.

D - Not the best to drink on a hot summer day like today, but that was my choice. Alcohol not very well hidden and the astringency of the roasted malt is sort of bothering me more and more. (537 characters)

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
93 out of 100 based on 1,978 ratings.