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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.

4,663 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,663
Reviews: 1,894
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 10.87%
Wants: 402
Gots: 1,016 | FT: 77
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: 4,663 | Reviews: 1,894 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of wo87810
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Looks great, nice carbonation. Aroma is of alcohol, toasty malts.

Mouthfeel is awesome, coats your mouth like a thin creamy syrup.

Taste is great too, very complex with chocolate, caramel, alcohol, and hints of fruity aspects.

Overall this is a great stout, and not as expensive as some of the other RIS of its caliber.

wo87810, Jul 19, 2011
Photo of timc100
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

6 month old bottle

A: Pours close-to-oil black - thick, opaque. Really nice lightly burnt mocha head, very creamy - good lacing and retention.

A: Really hoppy and roasty, can definitely tell it's fresh. Grapefruit citrus and some pine, heavily roasted coffee and bitter chocolate.

T: Follows the nose well, but is more rich and intense. Big espresso and bitter dark chocolate notes, the hops are not as present and enhance the bitter stout characteristics. Very creamy and smooth. Almost an ash flavor on top of the roasted coffee. Fantastic tasting beer, can definitely imagine it settling and balancing with age.

P: Full and creamy. Very soft carbonation, syrupy smooth.

O: A fantastic fresh impy stout, can imagine it getting much better. Awesome beer

timc100, Mar 19, 2013
Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to xmarcnolanx for this trade.

Pours jet black with a thin brown head. The nose is of chocolate cake and java beans. Incredibly tasty with lots of dark malt. Coffee bean and dark chocolate come to mind. Big big flavor with great hop bitterness at the end. Mouthfeel is chewy and creamy as hell and rides slick down the throat. Hop and coffee bean flavors dominate the finish and there is a strong alcohol presence in the aftertaste. Very warming and quite drinkable for 10%. This is a great offering from Bells. i would love some of their double cream. This expedition will have a nice home in my cellar for a few years.

AKBelgianBeast, Jan 05, 2008
Photo of Roguer
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a big, 3 finger dark brown and creamy head from a strong pour. Brew is a solid nut-black with a hint of brown. Head retention is very good, and lacing is wide and bubbly.

Smells like chocolate booze! Very strong aroma with big notes of cocoa and alcohol; some slightly sweet dark fruit (but not the overripe sourness of some stouts); slightly earthy bitterness; and a creamy and sugary finish.

Flavor is an excellent mix of roasted barley and chocolate (dark cacao, not added chocolate like a dessert stout), dancing and playing on their journey across your palate. The rest of the nose is present as well - cream, a hint of booziness (especially on the finish), and earthy hops, with a slightly grassy finish - but this is a showcase of malts.

Thick and sticky mouthfeel, full (but not chewy), with a long, bitter, clingy finish.

The beer is a little hot (alcohol; not peppers), but other than that, this is a fantastic, traditional RIS. The hype is warranted.

Roguer, Aug 03, 2014
Photo of bashiba
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours completely black with a a thin dark tan head.

Smells of Burnt Coffee, Dark Chocolate, and heavy toffee flavors.

Taste is great, dark expresso flavor with heavy amounts of chocolate with a sweet toffee maltyness breaking through and finishing with a suprisingly strong amount of hops that really balance this beer out very well.

Mouthfeel is a thick motor oil like consistancy, seems to run down your throat with the speed of lava, I had to stop and chew a couple times. Plus the ABV lends to a nice fuzzy tongue tingling. Fantastic.

Drinkability is very good for a beer on this scale of big and bold. Highly recommended.

bashiba, Nov 03, 2004
Photo of marcobrau
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled February 7, 2008.

Pours pitch black with light carbonation. What foam there is settles quickly and after while this looks like espresso in my snifter. Intense aroma of cocoa and burnt grains. Taste is aggressive; dark molasses mixes with bitter hops and cocoa. Gets a touch before an intensely bitter finish. Feels thick. Awesome stuff. this world needs more Imperial Stouts and fewer Imperial IPAs. That said, this needs needs to sit for at LEAST a year. Don't attempt to drink this stuff fresh, it'll scar your tastebuds.

marcobrau, Nov 03, 2010
Photo of Minotaur
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Spinnerstown Hotel for a Bell's event. The pint glass delivered to the table is a deep black-brown with no light coming through. The head is bright tan, about half a finger, and retains longer than expected for many stouts. There is moderate carbonation initially then it slows to a thick stillness.

The aroma is malty, roasted, chocolate and spicy with a little bit of yeast esters. Good...representative, but doesn't really illustrate the intensity of flavor.

Upon taking a sip the flavor is a veritable explosion of deep, dark tastes that also make their way to the nose. There is licorice, chocolate - sweet and bitter, hops, toasted bread, cinnamon, vanilla, and a heady coffee and roast taste. As you drink through the melange becomes more complex and richer. Sweet tastes come through more strongly and any bitterness recedes. The blasts of cinnamon and spice are truly impressive. Through out the glass the alcohol becomes apparent and the beer almost takes on a bitter chocolate liquor quality.

The mouthfeel is satisfying and smooth, and lighter than the flavor density; it is good - but I'd almost like something a little thicker in the mouth to match up to the cake-like quality of the taste.

This beer is very drinkable despite the high alcohol and intensity of the dark flavors. A definite winner on a cold winter night, especially on tap.

Minotaur, Jan 16, 2010
Photo of BeerSox
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz bottle into nonic

Generally I drink Imperial Stouts out of snifters, but I think this one is okay to enjoy out of a pint glass.

Pours deep black, not a trace of red edges. The head is brown (actually brown), about one finger head, and lasts forever. The lacing hold well too, generally a solid wall down the glass.

Deep roasted flavors with some bitter chocolate. Some hopiness is detectable, mostly as a citrus like flavor, although it's masked well by the bitterness of the malts. The alcohol is hidden well, considering it's amount. Full bodied with a good amount of carbonation. The finish is 95% barly, 5% bitter hops.

This is one exceptional stout. One reason to keep it out of the nonic is so you don't drink it too fast. Recommended.

BeerSox, Nov 12, 2007
Photo of ncbrewerbun
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

From a brown 12 oz. bottle.

This is approaching extreme beer status. The appearance is black -- an opaque black, jet black with a thin tan head.

Complex aroma -- the malt, yes...dark fruits, molasses, chocolate. An all around imperial aroma.

A big hit of malt, but balanced. The alcohol is subdued. And one thing that set this apart from some of the other stouts we were tasting as the same time was this beer's relative smoothness. It is not harsh and overly bitter.

Chewy. You know you are drinking a big beer.

You have to appreciate this beer like you would a work of art. It's complex, flavorful and an enjoyable experience! Happy Holidays. Have another!

ncbrewerbun, Dec 19, 2005
Photo of angrybabboon
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for hooking me up

Review adapted from notes taken 8/9/11

Appearance: Pours a jet black color, great looking tan head - leaves behind a ton of lacing - looks viscous and intimidating, just as an RIS should

Smell: Rich and burnt - severely burnt, charred malts - roasted malts, but with some lighter malts underneath that impart some sweetness - some dark fruits, some dark coffee, and some dark chocolate - some creaminess, some herbal aromas (hops?)

Taste: Burnt, burnt, burnt - yeah, it fits the style - burnt chocolate malts, char, some smoke - some roasted, dry malts, too - some alcohol - a nice amount of bitterness, from both the burnt malts and the leafy hops - dark fruits - burnt coffee shows up at the back of the mouth, adds a nice touch - fresh, this is good but very wild (taste=4), but I sense that with some aging, it will become liquid magic (taste=5), so I'm putting in a 4.5 for now (may revise later)

Mouthfeel: On the lighter side of heavy - thick, chewy, semi-syrupy, could use some more carbonation, but it doesn't need it

Overall: Such a good example of an IRS

This is quite extreme, yet not at the same time. It's intense, but the flavors that are intense seem like they would mellow over a year or two of aging. This is yet another winner from Bell's. If I could get this in my area, I'd probably buy a case and age it all.

angrybabboon, Jan 12, 2012
Photo of CBlack85
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Duckworths in Charlotte. Served in a small chalice

The beer pours black as midnight, with no highlights at all. There is about one and a half fingers worth of dense dark tan head that slowly recedes leaving behind spotty lacing.

The aroma is big and roasty with lots of chocolate and coffee, and to a lesser degree dark fruits and even a bit of citrusy hops. The alcohol is present in the nose, but not as much as you would think at 10.5% ABV.

The flavor is much bigger than the aroma would lead you to believe. Loaded with caramel and chocolate, and accented by roasty grains and coffee, this beer screams desert. The dark fruitiness is just barely noticable. The hops are noticable, but not enough to get in the way of the sweet, desert like qualities of the beer. Full bodied and creamy with a very restrained carbonation. Finishes sweet with just a slight alcohol burn. Remarkably drinkable for the style and ABV.

Just an amazing beer, I will definately be picking some up to cellar, I am interested to see how this beer tastes with a couple of years on it.

CBlack85, Dec 07, 2010
Photo of titosupertramp
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours very thick and dark. Almost black with only a sliver of brown when a tilted glass is held to light. The carbonation is a bit disappointing as, even with an aggressive pour, it produces hardly any head. Quickly retreats into the beer leaving behind no film to speak of except around the edges of the glass.

S: Not overpowering, but complex and interesting. Bitter chocolate, molasses, roasted malt, carmel, coffee/espresso, dark fruit, what seems like citrus hops in the background. Has an estery quality to it as well. Very nice.

T: Everything mentioned in the nose comes through in the taste. A little surprised how evident the hops are in the taste...just an observation, not a complaint by any means.

M: Thick and chewy, but creamy at the same time if that makes sense. Leaves a coated mouth with terrific aftertastes.

O: Alcohol, for me, was not present in nose or taste which makes this dangerously drinkable...not that you would want to gulp this down anyway. Expedition is one to sit back, take your time with and enjoy its complexity.

titosupertramp, Mar 26, 2011
Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love Bell’s batch number search engine; from those four little numbers on the back of my label, I was able to learn that this beer was packaged on January 27th, 2010. Good stuff. Now I’m even more excited; I love a stout with some age on it. Cheers!

Brewed over a year-and-a-half before the date of this tasting (“Packaged on January 27th, 2010”).

A: Thick and black, this beer pours an oily crude. The head is sexy, a dark brown micro-bubbled foam that takes some work to create. It’s a thick looking drink, though it doesn't leave any lacing. I’m not seeing any light through this one at all, even at the bottom of the glass.

S: WOW! What a nose! Coffee and hop bitters are still so big after 18+ months of aging; leafy pine and creamy mocha, mostly. The malts are just incredible. Semi-sweet chocolate, vanilla cream, dark fruit syrup – they’re all bold and savory. The alcohol kick on the back end is noticeable without being overbearing; just right. The flavor and balance of this nose could certainly even Founders KBS and Goose Island BCBS a run for their money...

T: Mmmm, very strong. The first thing you notice is the impressive smoothness of the malt flavors, with big chocolate, vanilla, and caramel. Woody, boozy effects transition to this palate’s surprisingly big bitters. The burst of sharp hop resins are so tart that it takes me aback; this must be an absolute monster when it’s fresh. That dry, stinging aftertaste settles in for a long while, giving this stout an unexpectedly intense finish. I love the way this beer comes across – sweet and bitter in a smooth, sexy shell.

M: This is so important when it comes to a well-rounded stout, and these guys nail it. It’s superbly creamy, which adds a certain warmth to the already huge booze buzz that this 10.5% beer produces.

O: Damn. Good. Beer. Nothing more you can really say. This one’s a beer-ager’s dream, with enough malt complexity and hop resins to keep it interesting for up to a decade in the cellar, I’m sure. As a self-described hophead, this is one of the rare stouts that totally succeeds in capturing the essence of those bitter green flowers. I’ll be working through a six-pack as a vertical in the next few years, I’m sure.

BarryMFBurton, Aug 18, 2011
Photo of zdk9
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours like motor oil into my glass. A shimmer of dark cocoa colored foam rests atop the black as night beer. Lacing is slight speckles, not too strong.

S- Bourbon smells are the first to hit my nose, perhaps reminiscent of sweet oak. Then some dark, going on blackened, roastiness, like freshly ground coffee.

T- Bourbon, mixes with sweet dark fruit- prunes and dates. After this blast comes an intense roastiness, mostly coffee, not too sweet or chocolaty. Powerful taste, as expected.

M- Thick as hell! Awsome. My only complaint is the alcohol is not amazingly hidden, but with a 10.5%, it's hard to complain too much about that.

D- Delicious, if the smell was stronger, and the taste just a tad more complex this would be a perfect 10 (or 5) in my book.

zdk9, Dec 13, 2007
Photo of Nesued
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, aged for about 7 months.

Appearance - Dark pour, huge head (at least four-finger) pour formed, big frothy deep tan head I might add, with great lacing holding on to the glass as the head slowly retracts to a rough "lunar landscape". No way to see through this offering so I'll take it for granted that due to the ample head there's ample good carbonation.

Smell - Dense chocolate and sweet malt nose. Nice body of caramel and a roasty, almost refreshing sweetness. Not getting much hop aroma a good bit of anise as well. Nice.

Taste - Roasty malts come shining through in the opening a very present middle-game lead by some great chocolate and sweet notes. The end-game gives a pronounced hop bite that is my only down-tick. I would have thought that having a few months under it's belt would mellow out by now. Good that I have several more in the cellar. The ABV is exceedingly well hidden, amazing.

Mouthfeel - A creamy smoothness is the best way to describe this offering. Little carbonation is present, but no matter. There are good legs here, able to hold it's own based upon the grain bill.

Drinkability - I was suprised by this one. Wasn't expecting an exceptional stout but this is very, very close one of the best in class.

Nesued, Feb 23, 2010
Photo of rayjay
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 6811, which I believe dates it to 4/05, according to the interweb. Via trade with northernbrews.

Rich, thick, black, viscous sludge.

Rich 99% cacoa dark chocolate, licorice liqour, and heavily carmelized maple syrup. Soft, settled, and thick from sitting in the bottle; lacks much carbonation, but it's got plently of spunk with the rich flavor notes. Maybe the thickest beer I've had yet, behind Sam Adams Tripel Bock. Highly recommended for big beer fans.

rayjay, Dec 29, 2006
Photo of beavers
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Syrupy and gooey blackness poured into a SA pint. A huge two fingers of dark brown foam that look more like the head of a rich Italian espresso. Outstanding retention and gorgeous lacing down the sides. Smells of rich espresso, vanilla bean, molasses, chocolate malt, alcohol is in the very back. There's a little smokiness going on here too. Immensely thick, creamy, and viscous mouthfeel. Sweet vanilla and brown sugar notes hit the tongue first before being consumed by huge flavorful and bitter coffee, cigar tobacco, oak, with a long and lingering (bittering) charred finish that stays in your cheeks. This is a clear definition of bittersweet. An alcoholic finish that is noticeable but not undesirable. This is an intense RIS and one of my favorites for sure. Will review more later with a little time on it to see how the intense bitterness and alcohol evolve. A brilliantly balanced beer nonetheless.

beavers, Apr 29, 2008
Photo of Plenum
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bell's just makes good beer. Their Expedition Stout is an excellent example of the style. Probably the best stout for the money...eventually they're going to figure out that the public will pay more than $2/bottle for this exceptional brew...but for now...hat's off to them.

Color was very dark. 10+% came through on this one. Not by much, but you could tell this was not a small beer.

Taste was excellent. Not too thick. Little bit of lacing on the glass.

This is a go-to-brew for those of you seeking an everyday stout.

Plenum, Aug 10, 2009
Photo of notchucknorris
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2008 Bottle

A: Pours like motor oil. Black and thick and lovely. Slight reddish mocha colored head rises right after the pour, but leaves nothing after about a minute.

S: Pretty nice. Caramelized pears, big roasted malt, coffee, chocolate with a bit of leather and smoke as it warms.

T: Big malt sweetness upfront with chocolate cake, molasses, cocoa powder and a touch of raisin in the mix. Finish is espresso, and dark coffee grounds. Nice bitterness and slight acidity on the finish. Mouthfeel is huge and syrupy. I love it. One of the best I've ever had.

notchucknorris, May 24, 2011
Photo of jdubjacket
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black out of the bottle. The aroma immediately fills the air. It's VERY SWEET. The aroma is almost too sweet, which is the only drawback for this beer. Taste was very mellow and complex simultaneously. Roasted coffee and chocolate come out. A very sweet brew. Mouthfeel was smooth as silk. I don't know why the brothers hate this brew so much. I personally thought it was quite good.

jdubjacket, Apr 12, 2008
Photo of Pintofbrown
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- On-tap at the Sanctuary. The opaque dark brown body of the RIS family is here. There is at least two fingers of milk chocolate head. Yeah, it looks nice.

Smell- There is a really nice candied cherry and raisin sweetness on the nose. It also has that caramel malt hint that I'm sure will come off as "roasted" when I take a sip. This also brings to mind just general dark fruit sweetness. I'm not sure how the boozy aspect of this nose will come off in the drink, but it is appropriate for the style.

Taste- Great boozy bourbon Batman! Just a silly amount of booze in the drink, even more heat than Old Raspy. Thankfully it doesn't bury the molasses, cherry, raisin, and dark fruit that churns over the tongue. You have to wait until the finish, but boy, the roasted coffee comes on strong in the finish and lingers, along with the heat!

Mouth feel- This could be chewier, and I'm not sure I dig the carbonation or not. I mean, you could call it appropriate, and it certainly doesn't take away from the full body and pretty smooth finish. It's not as dry as such a boozy RIS usually is.

Overall- I dropped an F bomb in my notes to describe how much I thought of the "awesomeness" of this stout. So yeah, I guess I really liked it. Just age the crap out of this thing and I have no doubt it could rival the whales at the top of the RIS list. A must try stout, from a must have brewery.

Edit 11/25/2013: Had 2010 vintage bottle. Notes: Nose not nearly as boozy and dark fruits take center stage: fig, some black cherries, brown sugar as well. The palate has much more dark chocolate now that rides forever and ever, long after the swallow, still getting the fig and dark cherry flavors, only much stronger. Again, the booze has backed off considerably. Mouth feel is all liquid velvet, rich. Amazing with three years of age, and honestly, could be laid down for another three years. Wow. Score Edit: A-4.5 S-5 T-4.75 MF- 4.5 O-4.75

Pintofbrown, Oct 30, 2011
Photo of crewfan16
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured straight down into a stella artois glass from a 12 oz bottle.

a-beer is jet black with no light coming through. thin 1/4" head rose up with a brown, sort of chocolate milk colored head. looks frothy as it recedes.

s-dark chocolate, roasted malts and some booze. i smell something sort of creamy as well

t-again with the dark chocolate and deep roasted malts. nice creamy taste. nice bourbon boozy flavor as well, but not quite overpowering.

m-very little to no carbonation, but IMO it doesnt detract. Its got a nice heavy syrupy feel, like I could almost chew on it. Just how I like my RIS. The booze is detectable, but will easily sneak up on you.

overall, I'm a big fan of this beer. I like a huge stout that I want to chew on as it goes down. The lack of carbonation to me isnt a big factor, as this style shouldnt be too carbonated. Nice balance of lots of flavors. Im gonna throw two out of this sixer in the cellar and see how they come out.

crewfan16, Jun 04, 2011
Photo of ejquin
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Ridiculously black with dark brown head. Smelled wonderfully of coffee, chocolate and malt. Mouthfeel was extremely smooth, very thick and oily. Perfect mouthfeel for an Imperial Stout. Tasted of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, and had a hop bitterness on the aftertaste. Very slight alcohol perception, much less than the 11% abv. Delicious. Due to the smoothness and lack of alcohol sting drinkibility is great for an 11% IRS.

Overall in my top 3 Stouts of all time.

ejquin, May 01, 2005
Photo of DevilsCups
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle I've been sitting on for some time. Bottled 11/01/11.

A - Pitch black with a nice dark mocha head. Big legs, minimal lacing.

S - Sweet and roasted malts with some awesome milk chocolate notes. Slight bit of smoke. Smells fantastic.

T - Very roasted malts up front with dark chocolate and smokey notes in the finish. Hops are still hanging around, and pleasantly cut through the sweet malts used.

M - Coats pretty nicely. Carbonation is still pretty up there, but works. Leaves a nice smoky chocolate flavor in the mouth.

O - Fantastic. If this was a limited release 22oz every year, people would go nuts over it. Good on Bell's for doing this in sixxers. Fantastic beer. I got this as an extra in a trade, but it will be the main-piece in a future trade. Fits somewhere between Rasputin and Founders Imperial Stout flavor-wise.

DevilsCups, Dec 12, 2012
Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Note:I had a friend lug a six pack of this back from Michigan (where it was in a cooler), to Portland... the bottle I review below has been sitting in my closet since April 2002.
Poured out of the bottle into a Duvel tulip with little fanfare. Poured like a dark chocolate syrup, a dark burnt brown. Appearance score would have been better if there was evidence of carbonation. In the glass it was black, with some dark burnt red- brown peaking out at the edges of the glass. Wafting some distance away from the glass were powerful aromas of decadently dark chocolate, dry cocoa, and alcohol with some ester notes attached to it. I love it! It entered my mouth in what seemed like a dormant state, shunning my taste buds for a few moments. Then blam!! Ultra-dark smokey chocolate bitterness exploded on my palate, and my lips assumed the conformation of a blissful smile. Exceptional...a riot in my mouth. This flavor lingers on long after a sip is taken. After recovering from the shock I sought out other flavors. I found alcohol, raisins or prunes, hearty grainy malts, and maybe some cough syrup. I had a hard time distinguishing the bitter chocolate from bitter hops, maybe it comes from both the hops and the roasty malts? Mouthfeel was pure velvet, full and smooth. Notable was the complete lack of carbonation. I have heard that older bottlings are nearly flat (which I think this is because of the lack of a band on the neck or upper part of main label). Or it could be the travel mishandling on the way to my glass? I imagine that carbonation would improve the flavor and mouthfeel significantly. When I acquire a more carbonated bottle of Expedition a re-review may yield higher marks for taste and mouthfeel. It isn't extremely drinkable (though good), due to its power and explosiveness. This is the nature of a stout of this caliber. This is one to experience!

HiroProtagonist, Jan 02, 2004
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,663 ratings.