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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.

4,529 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,529
Reviews: 1,882
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 392
Gots: 969 | 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: 4,529 | Reviews: 1,882 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of illidurit
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black into my snifter. Big mocha head leaves some scattered lacing and reduces to a thin cap.

Aroma is very strong, with boozy sweet chocolate and a hint of caramel. A fleeting note of red fruit as well.

Taste reminds me of Bourbon County Stout. Ludicrously rich chocolatiness with a coffee bean bitterness in the finish. A hint of estery alcohol is also present, but it's fruity enough so as to not be unpleasant.

Carbonation is modest, body is really really thick. Pretty damn smooth for a beer over 10%.

Drinkability is hampered by the syrupiness and hefty alcohol level but it's just so damn smooth and tasty! Great beer.

illidurit, Jan 26, 2008
Photo of JoeMayo
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours VERY thick and pitch-black with almost no head

S- There's an overall "darkness" to the smell of this beer. The aromas that really come through are dark fruits and molasses

T- Again, very dark, but very complex. Chocolate, roasted malts, french-roasted coffee, molasses, and stone fruits all blend in a thick black sea of flavor.

M- I really like it even though there's minimal carbonation. It's so thick, it's almost like drinking syrup, but not in an unpleasant way.

D- Absolutely must be sipped upon

JoeMayo, Jul 31, 2008
Photo of dfried
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black as night, thick and oily, dark tan head like creme brule almost. The aroma was of rich molasses, black licorice, chocolate and coco powder, and some tropical fruity notes. Some alcohol lingered but I wont knock you off your seat. A lot of coco powder in the taste as well, fruity flavors, pears, a lot of black cherry. Quite sweet and tart. Some black licorice and coffee in the background. Very rich and creamy mouthfeel, silky.

Verdict: one of the better RISs out there in my opinion. The flavors come together very well, and while it is a sipping beer, it is easy to get lost, look down, and see that it is gone and want another.

dfried, Feb 02, 2007
Photo of Jacurdy60
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a pitch black color with a lovely, toffee colored, thick head. Lots of lacing.

S-Huge roasted notes here. Lots of char and oaky notes as well. Very bold and not too boozy for a 10.5% brew.

T-Bold roasted notes come through most prominently. Fades into a bitter char flavor with a spiced boozy finish. Very in your face but I enjoy it.

MF-Creamy, rich, smooth. Body is thick and syrupy.

O-Just what an RIS should be. Very robust and rich.

Jacurdy60, Nov 15, 2013
Photo of Jables
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours oily black, black, midnight black. Head is dark tan and only an eighth of an inch thick.

Smells nutty, chocolately, sugary, and loads of it.

Definitely has nutty roasted malt flavors but also has strong sweet dark chocolate flavors present thoughout as well as some coffee.

Mouth feel is chewy, smooth, slick, chewy, outstanding.

ABV is somewhat masked at first but becomes more and more apparent as it goes down. That hurts the drinkability as does the sheer magnitude of this beer makes it too much to do a lot of.

Jables, Jan 04, 2004
Photo of ColdPoncho
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 9971, packaged 9-13-2010

A - Dark as the blackest of nights, a thick and dense viscous looking body. Fairly dark brown head settles slowly into a ring.

S - Big chocolate, licorice, roasted malts, vanilla, sweet caramel. Nice complexity, and a good nose.

T - Holy cow. This is like a big smooth chocolate milkshake up front and is balanced marvelously with a dry hoppy and smoke finish. Roasted malts are what sticks around the longest.

M - Big and thick and smooth and creamy. It's almost as good as it gets.

D - Incredibly tasty, smooth, delightful.. But it's pretty big.

ColdPoncho, Feb 24, 2011
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, received in a trade with tavernjef, served in a snifter.

A - black as the night with a light brown head that thinned to a layer, leaving spots of lacing behind.

S - molases, black licorice, espresso and bittersweet chocolate aromas fill the nose.

T - all of the aromas I listed are blended into the taste with a slightly bitter bite on the finish. The alcohol warms, but is not tasted.

M - thick and rich, very nice.

D - a most enjoyable sipper.

Final Note: not for the novice stout drinker!
thanks again, tavernjef.

JoeyBeerBelly, Nov 28, 2007
Photo of Donnie2112
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

it's black, light doesn't make it through there is no head there was a little bit of carbonation going up the side of the glass, doesn't look bad, but also nothing special

smells slightly nutty, a bit of vanilla, some chocolate

lots of roasty bitterness, a bit of chocolate and some dark coffee flavors as well, vanilla a bit of dark chocolate there is also a bit of black pepper and a bit of whisky like flavors coming from the alcohol

I found none of the problems with the mouthfeel that other reviewers did, I found it delightfully warm with the right ammount of carbonation and a nice heavy body. Seems about right for an imperial stout to me.

This is a nice beer, I might just have to pick up a sixer the next time I see this stuff. If they made this in uber limited quantities, people might just pilgramage for it.

Donnie2112, Oct 26, 2008
Photo of Kphelps1986
4.4/5  rDev +4%

Kphelps1986, Aug 20, 2014
Photo of ABOWMan
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

One has to work to get a good head out of this beer, but that is the oly negative comment I have to make about this exceptional beer.

The meager head was reddish in color and the stout poured with the consistency of SAE 30 only darker. The ale was opague in appearance and had the color of dark mahogany.

The aroma was of roasted dried fruit, cherries, plums and maple and was pleasantly smokey. The flavors exploded in your mouth. Dried cherries, maple syrup, caramel, roasted nuts and a backgroung note of alcohol. A combination that I never tired of during my tasting.

The mouthfeel of this stout was viscous as one might expect from a beer of this color, flavor intensity and ABV. It was pleasant to sip and a pleasure to drink. Keep up the good work Bell's!

ABOWMan, Feb 05, 2009
Photo of MbpBugeye
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- I poured this glass kinda rough because the glasses I have had in the past didnt achieve much head at all. This pour yielded a nice big mocha colored fluffy head that throws all sorts of lacing. The beer is a the typical solid black.

S- Roasted malts, jerky, charcoal, vanilla and chocolate chip cookies. Smells really good. There is a big of hops hiding under it all, but this is dominantly a sweet and roasty smelling beer.

T- Chocolate, charcoal and jerky, some whiskey like alcohol. A very rich bittersweet dark chocolate finish. The flavors are sharp and powerful. I be some age would make this a truly stellar beer.

M- Barely any carbonation. Very full bodied beer with a creamy smooth texture.

D- Pretty warm and high in alcohol. This is one rich beer. Sip on this one.

This is beer #5 from the blind beers BIF. Sent to me by MMAJYK Reviewed totally blind.

#5, quite obviously an imperial stout. Marc has me going from dark to light to dark to light. This seems well thought out.

Pours very thick with a head that struggles to survive. The foam is a deep red and the beer is crazy opaque.

Smells very vinous and malty. Oak, vanilla, port wine, berries, deeply roasted malt, milk, charcoal, caramel. The smells just go on and on. This is one complex beast. In many way it shares smells with this year's Dark Lord.

Very sweet and vinous, just like the nose leads on. Lots of licorice all over. A milky creaminess, dark berries, charcoal and more. This beer is huge, Id say the ABV is damn near double digits. It is nice but overall I think its way too sweet. Licorice and port wine are very strong.

Very full body. Chewy and smooth. Low carbonation. Slightly sticky, mostly in the throat.

The guy who sent it to me says he thinks its an 06 but there is no batch #. Either way this was phenomenal. It ages very very well. Thanks Marc!

MbpBugeye, Feb 13, 2010
Photo of RedwoodGeorge
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The pour was much more exciting that I first thought - this comes out a thick, chunky, heavy black liquid that kind of "plops" into the glass with no release of carbonation at all. "Oh great," I thought, "a heavy, flat stout - yippee..." I finished the pour with a flourish but still no more than a few bubbles. I turned my back to toss the bottle in the recycling bin and by the time I turned back around - beercano! A huge head of mocha foam had risen up, out and over the pint glass leaving a small black puddle on the countertop. Even in a very thin layer in the puddle it was completely opaque. The remaining three finger head stuck around for a long time and left a surprising amount of lacing on the glass.

The aroma was very nice - lots of heavy fruit notes with a dark sweet malt and cocoa scents mixed in.

The taste was just short of perfect. (My stout loving girlfriend may not rate beer here on BA but one sip and she declared "This is the best beer I've ever tasted!") There are very strong notes of fig and raisin on top of a rather sweet caramel and treacle base. Echoes of dark chocolate and coffee serve to finish each sip. No hint of alcohol at all - though some of the sweetness may have been due to the high ABV. Good balance to the flavors - they're all strong but none of them is overpowering.

Mouthfeel is rather impressive as well. This is a seriously heavy bodied brew with a viscosity close to maple syrup but it didn't leave a sweet or sticky residue on the palate (quite a trick) There was still enough fine bodied carbonation left to give the beer a creamy consistency similar to hot cocoa. Just a small amount of roasted grain bittering at the end but it's enough to provide a good finish.

Wow - what a beer! I can't imagine how they could have improved it. (Well, okay, if they had tossed it in an oak barrel for a few months it could have been even more awesome but that's about it) This brew was just shy of perfect in nearly every category.

RedwoodGeorge, May 20, 2006
Photo of DrJones
4.4/5  rDev +4%

DrJones, Sep 11, 2014
Photo of ILhophead
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, Batch # 7740, poured into a Stone IRS glass

A: Pours with a 1/2 inch head that falls down to a thin ring of tiny bubbles around the edge of the glass. Very black, pretty viscous.

S: Smells of roasted malt, dark chocolate, raisins, alcohol, and a licorice or molasses kind of smell that I find a few of Bell's high gravity beers.

T: Very rich, strong flavor. Dried fruit, dark chocolate up front with roasted malt, a hint of coffee and alcohol coming in through the finish. Nice level of sweetness. Very tasty!

M: Nice viscosity, coats your mouth. Very warming alcohol.

D: It's pretty drinkable for an Imperial Stout but you probably wouldn't (or at least shouldn't) want more than one of these.

Overall an outstanding beer and at $2.25 a bottle it's one that I can afford to stock my cellar with. Very big beer. Big flavor, big alcohol, big enjoyment!

ILhophead, Mar 11, 2007
Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a snifter

A: Pours pitch black with two fingers of the thickest tan head I've ever seen.

S: Roasted malts are most prominent in the aroma, but I get a nice amount of dark fruits just behind them - lots of prunes and raisins. I also get a good amount of malted milk balls and a bit of milk chocolate.

T: Roasted malts pair with a balanced milk and dark chocolate as well as some caramel sweetness. Everything is so well balanced together - the bitterness from the roasted malts and dark chocolate pair very well with the caramel and milk chocolate sweetness. Dark fruits add some complexity in the background.

M: Medium to thick body with very creamy carbonation.

O: So complex, so well balanced. This is a great Russian Imperial Stout. I get all the flavors I want melded together into one of the best stouts I've ever had.

coreyfmcdonald, Nov 09, 2012
Photo of coldmeat23
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees
BATCH #8864 (December 4, 2008)

Pours a deep, dense, black color. No light penetration, at all. Almost two fingers of rich mocha colored foam form on top. Retention is decent, which is not unexpected. Lacing is in thick strands.

Mild notes of dark chocolate and coffee, mix with a large presence of (very) dark roasted malts. A touch of molasses. Sweet notes of brown sugar, with hints of vanilla and caramel. Definite hints of a bourbon-like quality. Light presence of dark fruits.

Huge dark roasted malt profile. Nice amount of smokiness. Loads of chocolate flavor. Sweetness of brown sugar. Light hint of dark coffee. Slight hints of bourbon and hazelnuts. It has a mild bitter kick, right at the end, which helps balance this one out. The aftertaste is delicious.

Silky smooth and creamy. Light level of carbonation, which is perfect for this one. Only the slightest amount of sharpness and bite.

Quite easy for me to drink, but this is the style that I search out. As a sipper, this one is excellent. Be careful of the high ABV, though.

coldmeat23, Feb 23, 2009
Photo of Reagan1984
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to gregc for providing this in a trade.

Well, it certainly acts like an Imp Stout out of the bottle. 2-3 finger head, cocoa in color with incredible retention... black motor oil. Sometimes, I think I need another way to describe this, then I realize I don't... That's what it is. Looks a bit like a milkshake.
I think the entire inside of the glass is covered in thick lacing.

Aroma was a bit more muted than I had anticipated. Light cocoa.

My god is this smooth and lovely. Where to begin? Is this a chocolate milkshake or a great beer? Is there an intersection between the two? OK, I can't pretend not to know the rating of this beer which is why I traded for it. I also saw that "the bros" rated this a "C" I know sometimes I'm in a bad beer mood. I'm going to have to say that Jason must have been in that same type of mood that day. Just my opinion.
Roasted, chocolate... Roasted chocolate. Slightly nutty. Some spices Love it.

Man, this is creamy and smooth.. Big and thick mouth feel...

I could drink this all day long if not for the ABV. Just wonderful. I actually like this more than I thought I might.

Just a wonderful Imp Stout

Reagan1984, Feb 08, 2009
Photo of danieelol
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

With great thanks to joecast.

Black as night, slightly tanned head.

Honey-stout nose.

Great roast character. Strongly hoppy too. Bit of sweet malt coming through.

Can definitely see how this could be considered a benchmark of the Imperial Stout style.

Mouthfeel is thick like chocolate jelly.

Just a very solid archetypal imperial stout.

danieelol, Jan 10, 2013
Photo of AmitC
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle dates 10/22/2012.

A heavy Russian Imperial from Bell's. Had heard good praises on BA.

Pours very thick dark brown. Dark black inside the glass. Head is overwhelming about three fingers thick. Tan shining brown colored. Excellent lacing. Very sticky. Head persists really well. Low to moderate bubbles. Opaque.

Aroma: Hops enter first. Some burnt up roasted malts and alcohol. A very upfront hoppy smell that thins out slowly with time. Overall a comparatively mild smell.

Taste: Front is hop forward, slightly bitter. Some mild chocolate, caramel and malts. Alcohol is felt really well. Punching. Bitter dry finish.

Mouth feel: Full bodied yet feels good smooth may be due to excessive alcohol. Astringency is huge, mostly due to hops, burnt up malts and alcohol. I like that this brew puts hops and alcohol right upfront, unabashedly. Thickness is huge. Low to moderate carbonation.

Overall: Very exciting offering from Bell's. Better than there Kalamazoo and Cream Stouts. Solid stout. A slow drinking beer as is expected. This one is a palate wrecking brew. Will do some serious damage for a stout.

Style Rate: 4.5
Personal Rate: 4.5

AmitC, Dec 16, 2012
Photo of Buschyfor3
4.39/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz single into a Hoegaarden pint glass.

A: Pours a thick, viscous deep brown that sloshes into the bottom of the glass; this beer looks like motor oil. This stout is absolutely opaque when held up to the light; no lighter hues around the edges of the glass, just a deep, rich brown. A thin, creamy tan head forms on top but is quickly pulled back down into the beer.

S: Roasted coffee, burnt toast, dark chocolate, caramel, dark fruits (cherries, dates).

T: First note is bold, roasted coffee/espresso followed by mellowing melted chocolate and dark fruit, like chocolate dipped cherries; malty sweetness upfront lingers through the body; finishes dry, like roasted oats or burnt toast.

M: Thick and chewy with little carbonation; this beer has a creamy consistency on the palate that is quite pleasing.

D: Decent for a high ABV stout (10.5%). The alcohol is hidden fairly well at the start, but it does begin to assert itself with a peppery flash and a noticeable warming sensation once you delve deeper into the bottle. A sipper, but I imagine that some cellaring would really round off the alcohol and push some of the complexities to the next level. Still, what Bell's has created is a pleasant RIS. A bevy of roasted flavors blend into a creamy, delicious body that IMO lives up to the hype. My friend's told me to check this stout out, and after having a good first impression with Bell's via their Kalamazoo Stout, I must say I am quite pleased with their bigger, badder Expedition Stout. The cost is a bit steep ($15.50 for a 6er) but a local place sells single bottles for $2.50 a pop, so I may very well purchase a couple more bottles just to see how this beer ages.

Buschyfor3, Apr 16, 2009
Photo of Sarlacc83
4.39/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle from Pawel. Batch 10105. Thanks!

A; Black and lightless as a brick. Very dark mocha head that settles in at about an inch. Looks like motor oil.

N: Roasted malt, green hops, dark chocolate, dark cherry, prune. Has a pronounced dark fruit sweetness, particularly that of raisins. Lots of raisins. Truly a smell of dried grapes.

T: Deep rushes of dark chocolate. Leather and bark. Cedar, tobacco, raisins. Smoke and roast. Hops lend an earthy backbone with some leafy hints. Coffee overtones. Superb, and reminiscent of HotD Adam of all things.

M: Thick, coating, yet somehow, supremely drinkable.

O: This is just sublime. Really wise to store it for the extended aging and very much worthy of the high score. Might be my favorite non-BA stout.

Sarlacc83, Mar 04, 2013
Photo of skybluewater
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a coal-black color. Smells of coffee beans and maybe a bit of chocolate, as well as some prune. Taste is actually very good. Bitter like espresso, with some chocolate and some fruitiness (rather like chocolate-covered cherries). Mouthfeel is milkshake thick, with almost no alcohol burn.

To be honest, I haven't liked any of the previous Bell's beers I've tried. They just seemed....off to me. As such, I was very reluctant to drop even $2.50 on this bottle. But, with the bitter cold upon us, I was in the mood for an impy, and I had (obviously) never tried this one. I'm glad I did. This is a very good brew. While I like Storm King, Old Raspy, and Yeti a bit more, I'm glad to know that there's one more great imperial available to me!

skybluewater, Jan 17, 2005
Photo of blitz134
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black body. A one finger dark chocolate head that reduced really quickly. Good looking brew.

Overall sweet aroma. Lots of sweet dark fruits including raisins and currants. Some light chocolate comes through as well. Flavor is loaded with dark toasted malts followed by a sweet caramel body. The alcohol presents an overall sweetness adding possibly a touch of vanilla. Alcohol isn't really overwhelming, definately blended with the flavor in a tasty fashion.

Mouthfeel is oily and creamy on the tongue. Coats well and lingers for quite a while. Dangerously drinkable. Probably one of the most drinkable brews I"ve had with this much alcohol.

Overall a nicely crafted brew. Definately a sipper.

Thanks to feloniousmonk for the opportunity...

blitz134, Nov 16, 2005
Photo of ADR
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Crikey, this poured out like dirty oil out of a crankcase! Black as night, dark yellow skim on top. Coffee and lemon aromas, very rich and inviting. Thick, thick, thick mouthfeel... Molasses, some coffee, and a dense and vaguely cherry flavor. Java at the back of the throat. Sharper and a little richer than Storm King, if a tad less flavorful and without the fruitiness. In some ways, a highly unique beer among beers. Bitter as all get out. Skoal on this one. It can come off as unidimensional, and that is something that can annoy me about some Imperial Stouts overall...

ADR, May 26, 2002
Photo of stereosforgeeks
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - A wonderful thick black body and creamy dark tan head. Minimal Lacing.

Smell: Some roasted chocolate malts provide the major notes, but coffee, mild dark fruits, sour apple, and piney hops are there as well.

Taste: The roasted chocolate malts drive the flavor here. The coffee and plums intermingle nicely. The sour apples provide a nice mild tartness. The finish is a nice dry hop bitter.

Mouthfeel - Thick and chewy with minimal carbonation.

Drinkability - Do yourself a favor and buy this.

stereosforgeeks, Mar 24, 2007
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,529 ratings.