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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.

4,515 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,515
Reviews: 1,880
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 387
Gots: 962 | 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: 4,515 | Reviews: 1,880 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SouthSideSox24
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%

Poured a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. 2012 release of Expedition Stout.

A: Pours a deep black with 1/2 inch of mocha head. Head develops slowly after the pour, and takes time to begin dissipating. Not much lacing left as the beer is consumed.

S: Heavy roasted malt and coffee odor is apparent. Also, heavy boozy smell is evident.

T: First taste is malty and strong with coffee. As the beer travels, notes of sweetness and alcohol take over. Wonderfully flavorful.

M: Heavy, slight carbonation with the burn of alcohol.

O: A spectacular stout, with all elements being enjoyable.

SouthSideSox24, Jul 16, 2013
Photo of Rollzroyce21
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%

- Bottled 22-Oct-12
- 12 oz. bottle poured into stemless wine glass on 21-Mar-13 (aged 5 months)

Overall a solid RIS, but it's got some heat at the tail end that unbalances things so I'm expecting the aging to raise the bar on this one.

- Bottled 10105 (15-Apr-10) / Cellared 7-Apr-12
- 12 oz. bottle poured into Lost Abbey teku on 4-Nov-13 (aged 3 years 7 months)

One of the top 5 non-BA stouts I've ever had. Nice roast with toasted nuts and velvety dark chocolate. Love to get a 6-er sometime and start cellaring a bunch of these.

Rollzroyce21, Mar 22, 2013
Photo of blackcompg
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%

Enjoyed in a 5oz glass as part of a 6 beer flight at Bell's Brewery...

Appearance - Poured a deep dark opaque brown/black color, thin brown head which left some nice lacing.

Smell - Molasses, dark fruits and dark chocolate, with faint vanilla and cream.

Taste - Starts semi-sweet coffee n cream with some carmel which quickly lends to burnt toffee, dark fruit peels and licorice, drying to a nice roasty finish. Alcohol is well hidden, and adds warmth between sips. Very nice.

Mouthfeel - Medium to full mouthfeel, very substantial, heavy and mouthcoating, carb is somewhat low which gives a fuller mouthfeel but adds a nice crisp nuance to the drying finish.

Overall - Great depth and complexity here, wonderful balance, rich and silky smooth. Two thumbs way up, and a case in my trunk to bring home. Will age a least a 6xer of this.

blackcompg, Dec 10, 2011
Photo of pants678
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%

Black with a brown head, recedes quick.

Smells of roasted malt and alcohol. Could be stronger.

Chocolate's there, nuts are prominent, licorice. The alcohol's not masked but works in the beer's favor. Still wouldn't have figured 10%. Tiny note of coffee and tobacco but more so fruit, though, not Belgian or citric. I need some superlatives for this one.

Coplex profile but body's not all that heavy.

pants678, May 15, 2014
Photo of northernbrews
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%

12oz bottle purchased from Champane's in Warren MI.

Batch 7740...bottled on December 19, 2006...we'll see how this is this young.

Appearance: This looks absolutely beautiful in my Bell's tulip. I wish the glass was a little bigger. I guess I should have picked up the Expedition Stout snifter I saw on Bell's website a few years ago...This pours like some thick ass motor oil...a khaki two-finger head tops this beauty.This fads to about a half inch leaving a wonderful trail of lace.

Smell: This initially has some dark chocolate with dark fruit notes...followed by roasted malts and a nice hop bite...perhaps a little bit of orange, cherries and pine in the finish.

Taste: Starts off with the creamy head and some roasty malt...this also has a bit of dark chocolate and quite a bit of hops....the hops have some orange and pine notes with a slight alcohol tingle near the finish

Mouthfeel: Nice thick creamy mouthfeel. The hops, chocolate, and roasted malts hang on the roof and back of my mouth for the duration of the party...

Drinkability: This goes down smoothly for being 11.5% or so....I could sip on a few of these throughout the night...or just enjoy one as a nitecap...You will definitely feel pretty good after a few of these.

Overall: This is the best stout from the BEST stout brewery in the world IMO (the only one I've had that is better is the one-time Batch 7000). There might be a few stouts that are stonger and better, but for the price and quality, you can get a six-pack of this for the price of a 22oz bomber of something on par. Another world-class beer from the wonderful Bell's Brewery.

I'm glad I picked up a 12 pack of this, and I might have to pick another 12 pack of this to cellar. I can't wait to do a vertical with the few I have left that were bottled in April 2005. Pick this up if you see it....you will not be disappointed.

northernbrews, Feb 21, 2007
Photo of ngandhi
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%


Goes down exceptionally smooth for an 11.5% (11.5!) beer. I stress beer. Unlike some high abv Belgians that mimic wine or cider to compliment the fire, Expedition Stout brings a full-frontal exhibition of oily malts disrobing by the bedroom window and peeping-Tom hops hanging by the trellise.

Phenols come out on the tongue. Smoke finish. Warmth, not like alcohol, but as a mother's breast to her newborn child. Makes me long for autumn. And my mommy.

Absolutely intoxicating.

Relax, relax.

ngandhi, Aug 28, 2003
Photo of mickstepp
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%

Wow! Makes me want to live in Kalamazoo. I've never even been to Kalamazoo. Nice black color, thin toffee head. Smells like burnt toast. Tastes like a fine Italian espresso. Creamy, soft finish. Nicely dry. Good at all temperatures. My first was too cold. Subsequent tastings were closer to room temperature where the beer filled out a little. This is one of the best Stouts that I have ever tasted. Very impressive.

mickstepp, Jan 31, 2003
Photo of cetherid
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%

poured into a tulip


Beer pours a nice dark brown to black color, with no light coming through at all. pretty much your typical RIS. A nice thick light brown head (a little over a fingers worth).


Big dark roasted malts in this. Aromas of bittersweet cocoa, roasted coffee as well as molasses and dark fruits. Some subtle alcohol, which was expected but not too strong.


Taste just as big as the aroma. Chocolate covered dark fruits, sweet caramel/molasses and roasted coffee are the dominant flavors. A pretty decent hop profile gives it a nice little bitterness that works well with all the dark malts. Booziness is definitely more prevalent in the taste compared to the aroma, but nothing overwhelming. A pretty solid tasting beer that only gets better with a little age.


full bodied with great carbonation. A very creamy consistency that goes down silky smooth, leaving you with just a touch of alcohol warmth.


A pretty solid RIS. I consider this a bigger and more flavorful Old Raspy. This beer is available at pretty much any store in the area that carries craft beer. True it's around 17-18 bucks a sixer, but definitely worth it if you're craving a big Russian Imperial. One of Bell's top beers IMO. I'd put this ahead of Founder Imperial.

cetherid, Apr 20, 2011
Photo of auroracrisis
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%

12oz into a Maudite snifter, batch #8864 bottled on 12/8/08. So about 2 years and 8 months old.

The blackest of blacks. This one is seriously like crude oil. Two finger mocha head that dissipates into a collar of foam around the edges of the glass. Bubbles that vary in size floating around the top of the beer. Some legs as the beer rests back in the glass after sipping.

Bakers chocolate up front with anise woven in. A cup of strong espresso up next. Also a bit of very rich fudge and chocolate cake. Then a touch of bourbon like booze. Strange, this isn't barrel aged but it's definitely there.

The brew floods your mouth with chocolate like flavors at first. 80% cocoa bars, fudge brownie batter, and rich chocolate cake. Next we have espresso, then a touch of licorice and earthyness. Rounded out with a hint of whiskey. Time has done wonders here. Every flavor is very well integrated and none of them stand out more than another.

On the palate, it is divine. Silky smooth, oily, and full bodied. Almost no carbonation what so ever and a touch of drying. Fantastic.

Big cocoa and earth aromas accompany a touch of whiskey, with an outstanding melded together complex flavor that follows the subtle nose. A stout that I highly recommend to anyone. Especially aged. Forget all the brewery only releases and just stock up on this stuff.

auroracrisis, Aug 19, 2011
Photo of jeffboo
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%

Wow, this beer jumps out of the glass at you but fits more towards a barleywine style beer.It looks like a cup of thick cold coffee from yesterdays pot. The beer is pitch-black the alcohol knocks any head out of this pour. The legs are outstanding.It really has a nice chewiness about its body. The aroma is very complex, lots of layers of vanilla, fresh roasted coffee, candied fruits,wood and tobacco. The flavors follow the aroma pretty closely with a long roasted malt finish. Rich, definitely rich is the one word that comes back with every sip. The flavors are very concentrated with just enough hop bitterness to balance. The finish is,overall,rather dry with alcoholic warming to go along with a little residual sweetness. A nice warmer for this time of year.

jeffboo, Feb 10, 2003
Photo of AudioGilz
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%

Pours super thick with an old motor oil color and consistency. Not much head to speak of, just a lace.

Appearance: Pitch, dark, opaque, black.

Smell: All I can think right away is potent, in the best way.
Chocolate, coffee, molasses.

Taste: Burnt malt, coffee and chocolate, then substantial hop bitterness, and a warming feeling. High ABV isn’t that evident other than the warming feeling which is very enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy, milky smooth.

Drinkability: Slow…drink it slow and savor it.

Notes: I’d say Expedition has Storm King beat when it comes to smoothness. I recommend this stout for anyone who enjoys a very smooth and warm mouthfeel instead of a more bitter and carbonated stout.

AudioGilz, Jan 24, 2003
Photo of Halcyondays
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%

12 oz. bottle, Batch 8864 (12-4-08),

A: Pours black, even when held up to the light, moderate brown head.

S: Oil, woody notes, licorice, black coffee.

T: Rich coffee and licorice right of the bat reminds me of the Abyss. Definite notes of pine and hoppy aftertaste. Hints of cherry, orange.

M: Perfect to style. Silky smooth, mouth-coating, thick, robust, rich and warming from the ethanol.

D: A great RIS here, just wish I could get it more living in CA. Probably one of the easiest drinking big beers I've had.

Halcyondays, May 06, 2009
Photo of jera1350
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%

Pretty fresh 2009 edition:

Pours a thick pure black with thin layer of tan suds.

Quite hoppy nose with lots of chocolate and roasty malts. A hint of almost mint/menthol. This may just be the hops though.

Matches up well with the nose. A bit more deep toasted malt and dark chocolate. Kiss of coffee bean. Pretty big grassy hop profile that I'm digging. Toasty finish.

Very smooth and lightly creamy. The body just feels a bit short of what a RIS should have.

Well, that not so huge body allows the drinkability to run very high. Great all around RIS. Bell's has to be one of my favorite breweries. Looking forward to aging a few of these to see how it develops.

jera1350, Jan 09, 2010
Photo of rhinos00
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a snifter.

A- A very nice dark brown. Fingers worth of tan, cocoa colored head formed and reduced to a ring as the beer was consumed.

S- Pleasant smell of chocolate, cocoa and alcohol. Straight forward and simple, but very well executed.

T- Follows the nose. Very surprised as to how the chocolate flavor was able to hold up. Mixed with cocoa and malts, this was definitely a tasty treat.

M- Thick and viscous. Had a smooth quality with little carbonation.

D- Highly drinkable. Barely even noticed the alcohol because it tasted so damn good.

Overall, this was a huge surprise. This is definitely my favorite RIS besides some of the big limited release beers. Bell's definitely brought their "A" game with this one.

rhinos00, Dec 08, 2008
Photo of inebrius
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%

Christ it was dark. Dark and damp, but I had to move on. I started by probing the darkness and cutting a swath through the dense roasted barley jungle. Juicy currants bathed my sides and cacao beans landed on my back. Vines of hop wrapped around me in bitter spite but I kept on, through the clouded mire of malt, I kept on. I kept on and a sense of elation had begun to wash over me. It wrapped me up in its warm and furry embrace and I was happy now. It was right and good now. It was Expedition Stout.

Cheers to Deuce for the sample!

inebrius, Jul 12, 2002
Photo of sleazo
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%

A_As I initially poured this, there appeared to be no head coming through. Seeing this I gave the beer a hard pour midway through. This produced a huge cocoa coloured head that overflowed my imperial sized mug. The retention is outstanding as the head just sort of sits there. As it does subside through drinking it leves a foam clinging to the sides of the glass akin to drinking a chocolate milkshake. The liquid itself is jet black.

S_Sweet roasted malt intermingles with coffee, licorice, and a bit of alcohol. Intense.

T_Intensely sweet at first with the licorice and coffee coming through the forefront. The middle leaves a bit of alcohol astringency on the palatte in a warming sort of way. The finish comes back with a slightly more restrained sweetness. As this subsides the aftertaste is a deep roasted grain flavour, almost bordering on burnt.

M_Viscous but not overly so. The rich head adds to the experience and the carbonation is medium for the style.

D_I have had this on tap before as a clandestine offering in a NYC beer bar but was slightly buzzed when it happened. This bottled version is simply outstanding. Warming and perfect for a cool fall evening.

sleazo, Sep 26, 2008
Photo of AdmiralDiaz
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%

A: Pours almost jet black with a large brown head holding good retention and minimal lacing.

S: Strong roasted malts with lots of alcohol, chocolate and a decent amount of hops.

T: Very similar the the scent. Strong chocolate and roasted malts with a very good hop balance adding just the right amount of bitterness all with an alcohol overtone. Very big and very good.

M: Very heavy with little carbonation and extremely silky. I've heard many complaints about the carbonation level, but it's just where I like it for a big stout like this one. It's also fairly drinkable for the style and how big it is. Could easily do a couple bottles.

AdmiralDiaz, Mar 15, 2009
Photo of tlazaroff
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%

A: Midnight black and thick like motor oil with a head that looks like chocolate foam. Alcohol legs are shown on lacing, which seems to be little, but is expected to not be very good.

S: Roast and espresso are the main notes, with a tad of dark fruit coming through on the end.

T: Chocolate and espresso up front and it stays with you the role experience. Added in the mid palate is a small dose of dark cherry-like fruit and finishes boozy.

M: Cloyingly sticky sweet and low carbonation.. incredibly full bodied.

D: Sipper, for sure. You want to spend some time with this beer to fully enjoy it.

tlazaroff, Nov 19, 2011
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.

BitteBier, Mar 12, 2004
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.

smurphy77, Nov 26, 2007
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.

GPHarris, Jan 24, 2007
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

reebtaerG, Nov 30, 2013
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

Jayman931, Jan 07, 2013
Photo of tastybeer
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!

tastybeer, Feb 13, 2008
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!

bditty187, May 07, 2003
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,515 ratings.