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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.

4,373 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,373
Reviews: 1,871
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 372
Gots: 934 | 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: 4,373 | Reviews: 1,871 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jmarsh123


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a minimal tan head. Slight ring of lacing.

Smells of bold roasted malts, some bitterness, baker's chocolate and coffee.

Big boozy flavors. Bitter roasted malts along with some serious sweetness along with dark fruits, figs and chocolate. Big and juicy up front, but still finishes somewhat dry.

Thick and luscious mouthfeel. A tad sweet, but it works with the thickness of the mouthfeel.

Very good easier to get stout and I love my big beers in smaller format. Always a go to every year.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2012 21:59:23 | More by jmarsh123
Photo of cindyjeffsmith


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: Gorgeous silky dark brown with a creamy tan head.
smell: Bittersweet chocolate, subtle coffee.
taste: Very smooth, light start, with a bitter spike in the finish that recedes before becoming too intrusive. I mean, it's damn good.
mouthfeel: Light and silky, medium carbonation.
overall: Really like this. got a 6 intending to age and i keep drinking.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2011 00:37:26 | More by cindyjeffsmith
Photo of Proteus93


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was quite surprised to see the brothers review this one very unfavourably, especially in what appeared to be two individual tastings. This would be the first case where I would disagree on a specific brew.

A: I thought this was beautiful. It poured a deep, chestnut brown, sitting black as night in the glass. Head appears the very end - short, but a gorgeous tawny.

S: Rich, creamy caramel... light anise notes, yeasts & toffee. Quite a nice aroma, all in all.

T: Anise, roasted malts, a lingering touch of alcohol. Toffee opens, though it is overpowered by the licorice flavours quite quickly. A bit of bitterness on the finish, along with the alcohol previously noted.

M: A little syrupy, perhaps... a bit sugary or grainy. Wraps around the tongue and sticks a little on the way down.

D & Notes: I feel this is a reasonably example of a stout. A decent balance topped with flavour. A rather nice body, something I would feel would be nice cellared for a special occasion - but there seems to be some dispute to that, so that might not be the best idea out there.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2008 01:44:14 | More by Proteus93
Photo of GbVDave


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a 20oz imperial pint.

A:Pure pitch black with a cocoa colored two finger head. Lots of sticky lace all about the glass.

S: Big aromas of bready malt, coffee, bitter dark chocolate, and hops.

T: Right off the bat I'm struck with a big biscuity-bready maltiness that's mingling with spicy hops and alccohol. There's a dark sweet fruit undercurrent and a spicy sweetness that I compare to maple candies.

M: At once creamy and also spicy/prickly. Sweet and bitter.

D: A wonderful stout that's so complex, that anymore than one and you're just asking for friggin' trouble. Wow!

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2007 01:32:52 | More by GbVDave
Photo of brewemstrong


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pretty much black but with just a hint of brown. 1 finger dark mocha head that settles slowly. Good lace

S: Sweet molasses and alcohol dominate, but at 10.5% I was expecting it. Also present are vanilla, espresso and spicy, dark fruit.

T: Very sweet plum, date and/or apricot flavor up front. Heavy coffee ground and espresso middle with an alcoholic, slightly minty finish. Every other sip I sense almond.

M: There's almost a viscosity to this beer but that doesn't make it difficult to drink. It's fairly carbonated and creamy with only a fair stickiness at the end.

O: My first Bell's and it didn't dissapoint. Looking forward to another selection with as much flavor

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2011 23:36:42 | More by brewemstrong
Photo of BB1313


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. This is probably the best looking stout I've come across! Viscous black w/ big fluffy brown head and nice lacing. Lots of roasted chocolate, vanilla, not picking up any coffee. The taste is hardcore! Tastes very burnt and hot. Still tastes good, but the flavors need time to mellow. Pretty hoppy for a stout as well. Mouthfeel is very rich and creamy, thick and chewy; full-bodied. The drinkability is its' downfall. High abv, plus the chewiness and bold flavors make this a sipper for sure. Balance isn't Expedition's strong suit.

No doubt this is one of the better Imperial Stouts out there. I've always enjoyed it, it's a fun beer to drink.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2011 20:01:37 | More by BB1313
Photo of dciBA


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to a non BA buddy for sending me a growler of this.

Pours jet black through and through. No light penetrates this brew anywhere, awesome. Some foamy brown head forms and lingers on the edge of the glass for a while. Quite a bit of soapy tan head.

Smell is wafting up out of my snifter. Feel like I can smell it from 3 feet away. My DFH snifter really seems to bring out aroma very well and this beer is no exception. Lots of chocolate, both milk and dark with some coffee roastiness underneath. This aroma is perfectly suited for my tastes, eerr nose.

Flavor is quite similar to aroma. The chocolate in the nose is toned down in the taste and really blends with the other flavors. The flavor isn't terribly complex, keeping the score down there, but this is a very enjoyable stout. The chocolate comes in initially, followed by the coffee, which has taken on more of a roasted barley flavor, then some bitter hops on the back of the tongue.

Mouthfeel is very thick and viscous. Tons of body and quite slick in the mouth without being overly sweet on the finish. Perfect mouthfeel for style. Flavor lingers forever on the palate making this a perfect sipping beer on a cold winter day. This brew is fairly warm as it goes down which is not surprising considering the 10.5% ABV. Drinkability is good for style, not great. Overall a very well done RIS. I'd rate it almost perfect if it wasn't for the lack of complexity in the flavor. Very glad I got a chance to try this one.

Serving type: growler

03-06-2011 20:40:19 | More by dciBA
Photo of drdiesel9483


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Drank this dark stout out of a sniffer. I was suprised with the thickness of the taste itself. Not to strong of an alcohol taste even though it 10+ abv. The beer has a dark chocolate smell with a hint of fruit. Pretty good beer. About what I expected after seeing over reviews.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2014 22:09:16 | More by drdiesel9483
Photo of ghostwalker


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle serving.

Body is black hole, bottom of a well, midnight in a coal mine black. One finger of dark brown head. Beautiful!

Nose is rich and boozy.

Flavor is deep, dark, roasted malt. Dark fruits are present, prunes, plums, currants. Not much coffee or chocolate. More of a extra roasted, almost burned maltiness. Piney hops also are present in strength. Overall, this kind of reminds me of Great Divide's Yeti. Boozy, I can taste the alcohol, and there is a definite warming effect.

Mouthfeel is thick, chewy and oily. You really know you are drinking an RIS with this bad boy. Top marks!

Drinkability is OK. It's really good, but also really strong and intense. One will do me for now.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2006 00:28:51 | More by ghostwalker
Photo of bunnyhustle


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with mocha colored head. Somewhat thin head however there is pretty good retention and heavy lacing. Smell is of toasted grain, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, and raisin. Taste is great. Heavy coffee flavors and an overall "burnt" taste to it. Dark chocolate and dark fruit as well, really dont detect too many hops. Mouthfeel is thick as hell. Thickest beer I've ever drank. Very low carbonation and a slick, oily feeling left behind. One thing to note is the alcohol is well hidden, could barely tell this was 10.5%. Overall a great beer, hard to drink in a session but enjoy one or two and sit back and relax.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2008 04:34:56 | More by bunnyhustle
Photo of Monkeyknife


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle a very deep red brown with two fingers of red-tinted brown head.

Aroma of sweet roasted malts, dark ripe fruit, coffee, dark chocolate, some earthiness, and some booze.

Taste was much like the aroma. Sweet roasted malts, dark chocolate, espresso, dark ripe fruits, vanilla, raisins, and of course, the alcohol. It's mighty hard to hide 10.5%. Very well-balanced.

Thick and bold, a warm tingle from the alcohol, and lightly carbonated.

The perfect beer for the first light snow of the year here in St. Louis. Drink it slow and enjoy. I need to buy one to age for a while. I think it would be worth the wait.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2008 00:29:52 | More by Monkeyknife
Photo of Spider889


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Bodega. Probably the best offering there in recent memory.

This beer has about the best head retention I've seen outside of a Guinness Draught. Arrived with a solid 1 1/2 finger of head that receded to a 1/2 finger and remained that way the duration of the entire glass. When I finished my last sip, there was still a dollop of foam at the bottom of my glass. Left an extremely thick blanketing of lace wrapped around all sides of my glass. Black and heavy looking, the foam is the color of a dark coffee meringue, and has about the same consistency.

The smell didn't come through as much as the flavor and appearance did, but there's plenty of roasted malt aroma and faint hop bitterness in the nose.

This is a heavy and complex beer! You begin with loads of typical imperial stout flavors - roasted barley and bitter coffee. This leads into a creamy sweetness, reminiscent of their Double Cream Stout. This is followed by a nice spiciness lent by the hops, and it finishes very dry and bitter with earthy notes outlasting all else.

One of the chewiest beers I can remember, this is dry and sticky on the palate. A little hot but perfectly manageable. If the abv were any lower the ingredients would simply call the beer a pussy until it manned up and became stronger anyway. Drinkability is good, and is bumped up a notch because I will order this beer anytime it is available. Possibly my favorite Bell's offering at this point!

Serving type: on-tap

11-17-2010 05:58:45 | More by Spider889
Photo of brealbg


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very good stout with lots of flavors and a fairly high hop content for a stout.

*head- large, creamy, medium brown, good lacing, dissipates slowly.
*light carbonation
*almost black in color

*chocolate, coffee, molasses, roasted, yeast, black licorice, smoke, vanilla.

*caramel, chocolate, coffee, nutty, roasted, yeast, alcohol, black licorice, oak, red wine, smoke, vanilla

*initial- medium sweetness, light acidity, high bitterness, very light sourness, medium saltiness, and very light tartness
*finish- acidity and saltiness reduce to very light, all others same as initial. Long finish length, creamy mouthfeel, hits the middle of the tongue. Good body lacing.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2011 11:58:29 | More by brealbg
Photo of Strix


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours thick and black like the night. Head leaves some lacing.

Smells nice and roasty.

Taste is powerful and delicious. Roasted malts, coffee and a long dark chocolate bitter hop aftertaste.

Perfect smooth silky mouthfeel.

A heavy dessert-like beer. Very nicely done.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2008 01:53:18 | More by Strix
Photo of bort11


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into an Imperial pint glass. Mild tan head that recedes to a thin ring. Color is pure black, no light can penetrate the glass.
Smell is a roasted espresso. Very bold, I can smell it without putting my nose in the glass. Taste follows smell. Very bold espresso flavor. Mouthfeel is full bodied, with a little more carbonation than what I would expect.
Very good RIS, and I would love to have more

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2007 01:18:11 | More by bort11
Photo of kmeves


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice aroma of chocolate malt and coffee. Color is almost black with a nice amber brown head. A flavor explosion of sweet malt, chocolate, caramel, vanilla, coffee, balanced nicely with a good deal of bitterness. Heavy mouthfeel and strong although the alcohol is masked well.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2008 13:48:05 | More by kmeves
Photo of beeragent


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass from a 12oz bottle.

A - Pours a thick motor oil black, forming a good 1 inch mocha head. Thick rings of lace stick to the glass and dont move.

S - The aroma is all roasted malts on this one. Maybe a hint of bitter cocoa, but mainly the roasted malts. No alcohol is present on the nose.

T - Thick and smooth roasted malts coat the palate. A light coffee cocoa flavor then dominates the finish, with a hint of raisins. Not as complex as other RIS's but still very tasty. The taste still coats the mouth long after the swallow. Again, the alcohol is very well hidden.

M - Heavy bodied with a smooth and thick mouthfeel. Low carbonation.

D - Great flavor in this beer. I think its the appearance and mouthfeel that really make this beer stand out from the rest. Good thick taste just like an RIS should be along with the heavy body. Thick rings of lace cling to the glass the entire time. Overall just a great looking and tasting RIS!!

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2010 00:42:13 | More by beeragent
Photo of Elendinn


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a half-pint pilsner glass.  Thanks hellomisterp!

A - pitch black with a very miniscule amount of caramely, milk chocolate head. No lacing.

S - lots of dark chocolate up front, a bit of coffee, with some hoppy bitterness and bourbon in the backend.

T - chocolate, coffee, alcohol, bruleed sugar, spice, a bit of char-- finishes with a hoppy dryness and a lingering coffee flavor.

M - pretty carbonated, full-bodied, not syrupy -- not quite as smooth as I'd like.

D - a little too dry in the finish to be easily drinkable, but still very good. One bottle's plenty as the alcohol is rather noticeable. Pairs extremely well with pumpkin pie creme brulee. Could've used another year or two of age on it.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2011 02:00:06 | More by Elendinn
Photo of FickleBeast

New Jersey

4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a thick, viscous, motor oil black. A vigorous pour manages to coax out a full finger of tan foam. It leaves sheets of lace as it recedes, this beer has some serious viscosity to it.

Aroma is rich - dominant is a sweet milk chocolate aroma, with some coffee

First flavor is a hot alcohol burn, subsiding quickly into a dark fruity flavor, then finishing with coffee and lingering bitterness. Flavors are intense and there is a lot going on with this beer. The flavors blend together as the beer warms, overall this is pretty damn tasty.

As stated before, this beer is very thick. The carbonation has a hard time poking through. Drinkability is high considering the ABV

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2010 04:23:14 | More by FickleBeast
Photo of drumminbrewer


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes from a recent cabin trip - cracked open a 2010 from my cellar.

Served in my Duvel glass. Pours a viscous, rich black body...absolutely no light penetration. Large, frothy, creamy head about 1.5 inches tall that slowly dissipates - large amount of lacing left on brim.

Massive nose. Strong notes of espresso in particular. Licorice, anise, charcoal and a bit of earth.

First sip...lord, this beer ages phenomenally. SO creamy...like a dark chocolate milkshake. Raw sugar, lactose, all the above flavors mentioned in the nose (classic to an RIS), and molasses.

Long, strangely "woody" finish for an un-oaked beer. Sits mid palate, not on tip or back of tongue...smack dab in the middle.

My favorite beer from Bell's was always Batch 9000 - and I should say I never particularly cared for Expedition fresh, always found it to be a bit astringent. With only a year of age on it this beer has just about dethroned it Batch 9K. Absolutely fantastic...highly recommend setting aside a few bottles for years to come.

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2011 21:19:56 | More by drumminbrewer
Photo of becktone


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Eye: Black in appearance, like used motor oil, HAHAHA (laugh of a madman) looks great! Head is light brown in color and very creamy. Reminds me of chocolate french silk pie, chocolate mousse, or Chocolate Redi-Whip. This looks truly amazing.

Nose: Nice aroma on this brew. Huge malt aroma. Lots of chocolate aroma, roasted/burnt malt aromas. Aroma could be a bit more potent all in all.

Tongue: Lots of great dark flavors here. Chocolate in the foreground with roasted/burnt malt flavors make up the primary profile of this brew. Alcohol is also detectable and warms the stomach. Hops are there in just enough of a presence to balance the brew. Hop flavor is also notable, not in the foreground but detectable nonetheless-floral.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability: Great feel in the mouth. Very full bodied and creamy, perfect pairing for dessert, or drink this as a dessert. Also as mentioned before warms a bit as it goes down. They don't get better than this, feels perfect in the mouth. This beer is one I could drink all night, it is that good. This is one brew I'll always come back to, and I'll also be sure to recommend it to those I know who are stout lovers.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2007 01:09:26 | More by becktone
Photo of GimpyCane


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This Russian Imperial Stout rules. On a night when I had several stouts to compare to Bell's Expedition Stout came on top. Poured a thick black motor oil w/ a 1 2/2 inch mocha brown head. The sight made me think I was going to drinking a cuban expresso. The aroma was amazing and well balanced, sweet molasses, strong coffee and a vicious alcohol scent. The scent of alcohol doesn't disappoint as it also lingers in your mouth forever w/ a thick full body syrupy feeling. At 11.5% ABV, this brew doesn't play around and it's great for sipping.

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2006 02:33:09 | More by GimpyCane
Photo of taylorhamrick

South Carolina

4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a pitch black color with a massive foamy brown head. Very beautiful. Some decent retention and lacing. Looks like a beer you want to drink. The smell is the least exiting aspect. Really I only get a smell of alcohol and carbonation. You might be able to detect some sweetness and roasted coffee type smells if you try hard. The taste is really great though. There's a caramel sweetness, almost like cola, but its backed with a deep roasted flavor. There is a sort of barbequed soy sauce taste which is a bit harsh but nice and interesting. The taste is accompanied with a nice pleasant burn. The mouthfeel is amazing. There's a wonderful creaminess and a ton of complexity. The carbonation is not overly done, which makes the alcohol burn not too harsh. And I found it to be a great drinker. You want to reach back into it and taste more. Recommended to anyone interested in stouts.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2009 23:18:21 | More by taylorhamrick
Photo of mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 8726

Poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark brown head that leaves an incredible lacing. Color is dark dark brown, almost black.

Smell is a toasted malted chocolate. Very 'toasty' that is. Taste is quite similar very very chocolaty. It also tastes like something was burnt. Some dark fruit notes in there. Maybe some coffee as well.

Mouthfeel is very smooth, just a little crisp. After it lingers around enough, the 10.5% abv shows. Full bodied with a nice amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is a great RIS. Not too expensive for a 6er and at 10.5% you really can't go wrong. I will be getting this every year. If you see this at the stores, do yourself a favor and buy some!

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2008 01:49:38 | More by mothman
Photo of nrbw23


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a dark brown or black color with a nice tan head. Head has good retention and leaves some nice lacing.

S- Roasted malts, coffee, chocolate and alcohol.

T- Pretty rich overall, follows the nose really well.

M- Full body and low carbonation.

D- Very easy to drink and maybe a little dangerous.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2008 21:11:42 | More by nrbw23
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,373 ratings.