1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

4,457 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,457
Reviews: 1,875
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 382
Gots: 947 | FT: 78
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 4,457 | Reviews: 1,875 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BrewMaster
BrewMaster

California

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Appearance: Poured from a 12 oz bottle with no freshness markings on it. It pours an impervious black and brown color with no true head on it, just a ring of bubbles around the top.

Smell: Toffee, coffee, soy sauce, uncooked semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Taste: Very rich and roasty from the start with notes of chocolate, roasty coffee, caramel, and burnt oak. The beginning is very sweet and it yields to a bit of hop bitterness towards the middle and the end. As the beer warms there is a sour sweetness that develops. An alcohol warmth sits in the mouth and warms the whole body.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth in the mouth. The bold flavors are delivered well with the smooth texture.

11-21-2004 04:54:02 | More by BrewMaster
Photo of bahumutx
bahumutx

Michigan

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Served from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: Poured pitch black with a small brown head.

Smell: Coffee, roasted malt, chocolate, and a slight cherry.

Taste: Starts sweet and then moves to a roasted malt and coffee. There is also a hint of chocolate and a slight hint of hops. Sweet but not overpowering and the 11.5% ABV is hidden well.

Mouthfeel: Thick Mouthfeel with hardly any carbonation.

Drinkability: Due to the alcohol and richness of the beer I only could have 1 in a sitting.

A great example of the style. I will definitely be looking for this when the colder weather starts to come back.

03-27-2006 02:02:43 | More by bahumutx
Photo of rundocrun
rundocrun

Iowa

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

A - pours dark brown/black with a nonexistant head. This stuff is THICK it sticks to the side of the glass when you tilt it!

S - Figs, raisins, dark fruits, slight alcohol aroma.

T - Syrupy sweetness with figs and raisins up front. Heavy malts next. Bitterness hits the back of the palate toward the end. Definite booze detectable after the initial sweetness - not surprising since this stout sits at 10.5%

M - again, this stuff is definitely thick and syrupy, which is something you can expect from an imperial-style stout. Very light carbonation.

D - Being the lightweight that I am, one is definitely enough, but the overall character of this stout makes every sip a pleasure

12-03-2010 23:34:54 | More by rundocrun
Photo of Brad007
Brad007

Vermont

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Acquired in a trade with BrewedAwakening.

Pours a pitch black color with a thick brown head into my glass. Very good presentation for the style. Can't possibly get darker.

Coffee, cocoa and cream make themselves known in the aroma. Very nice way to start things off.

Roasted coffee explodes on the tongue, leading to a good hint of chocolate and cream as well (the latter being limited).

Visceral and slick on the palate. Lingering cocoa and coffee. Impressive as is.

Amazing example of the style that is very drinkable at 10.5%. I have to admit that I had never heard of this until now. Regardless, I will most likely seek it out again.

03-28-2011 07:16:02 | More by Brad007
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Appearance: Pours a dirty motor oil color with a huge tan head that sheets lacing

Smell: Roasted notes with dark fruit, coffee, dark chocolate and some hops in the back

Taste: Opens with rich chocolate flavors; after the swallow, the hops kick in for a second, followed by a myriad of dark fruit flavors; bitterness and coffee tones engulf the tongue through to a long lasting finish

Mouthfeel: Thick and syrupy with modest carbonation; a lot of warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: Marvelous flavor; just a bit too boozy; clearly improves with a few years of age though the hops do fade

04-13-2006 00:39:26 | More by brentk56
Photo of sacrelicio
sacrelicio

Minnesota

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Legendary stout, my first taste of it. Beautiful appearance, total pitch midnight in a glass topped with creamy mocha head, rocky with lacing to boot. Smell is good, but doesn't leap out like expected. Still, nice sublime chocolate and coffee notes. Taste is intense. Very bitter, but rich with coffee, chocolate, wood, and spice. As it warms, green pepper and green olive notes reveal themselves. Mouthfeel is amazing, hefty yet with a lift that elevates this to the exceptional. Drinkable, not easygoing, but you would certainly like another.

11-20-2007 05:17:52 | More by sacrelicio
Photo of wordemupg
wordemupg

Alberta (Canada)

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

12oz bottle poured into tulip sept18 2010, bottle 10 months old according to the bells batch finder

A pours pitch black right out of the bottle with a few little chunks at the bottom, and has a super dark thumbs worth of foam to go with it, falls to a thin film rather quickly but covers the side of my glass with lace

S molasses with some chocolate, prune, booze, and and a little cinnamon of all things

T not far from the smell but a little stronger with some added complexity from a little licorice and coffee, quite enjoyable beer and the booze is quite well concealed compared to the nose

M enters silky and ends thick and creamy, a little sticky on the lips and I'm thinking I'll still be tasting this beer tomorrow the flavors just linger in your mouth

D a little dangerous if you ask me, well rounded and quite easy to drink

a good paring for this chilly "summer" day in Calgary, a solid beer and would do quite well in a cellar but I only have one bottle and I need to thank MasterSki for sending it my way

09-18-2010 20:45:19 | More by wordemupg
Photo of alpinebryant
alpinebryant

Connecticut

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Finally, a Bells beer I am really excited about after just the pour!

Poured a dark chocolate brown with a monstrous head, dark brown bubbles which hung out for a long time with long spiderlegs after settling.

Smell of dark roasty malt, with a lot of sweetness, raisins, rum, caramel

Taste hit it off the first sip. A deep dark sweet stout with great body, caramel, lots of chocolate, raisin, tons of plum flavor, and a finish that has that similar chalk/ dry finish - only in expedition stout, I dont mind it at all because of the lingering chocolate flavor. Some RIS have a finishing afterbite that tastes of charcoal, this one seems to be a lot lighter on that end. Nice body, not too thick, and in no ways near being watery.

Very drinkable, I wish I had the ability to get more of this in the New England area. a great RIS

12-11-2009 03:16:52 | More by alpinebryant
Photo of gford217
gford217

Georgia

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Bottle courtesy of Sean227 and mymrnngjckt poured into a snifter.

A: Pours pitch black with ruby tints around the rim. Even with a vigorous pour, the head is fairly small and dissipates almost immediately leaving very little lacing.

S: The smell has a quick hint of dark chocolate and espresso up front before giving way to a massive roasted malt and molasses sweetness with a noticeable alcohol burn in the nostrils. Hops are barely noticeable as far as I can tell.

T: There really is a lot going on with the taste. The initial taste of chocolate and coffee gives way to the aforementioned sweet molasses malt flavor followed by dark fruits in the form of raisins and plums. The finish has a slight hop bitterness and a definite alochol burn.

M: Mouthfeel is extremely smooth and creamy with very little carbonation. Very thick and decadent.

D: Drinkability is OK for the style though I couldn't see myself drinking more than one in a sitting. This is a very good RIS but probably not in the top few I have tasted.

07-11-2008 02:55:09 | More by gford217
Photo of xgrigorix
xgrigorix

Michigan

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Twelve ounce brown bottle - no dates, batch # only.

Pitch black. Thin brown coloured head. Thin, tiny patches of lace.

Nose is full of dates, chocolate, coffee, currants, & a wee bit of alcohol.

Nice. Well balanced blend of sweet malt, coffee & chocolate. Dark fruit flavours move in & out freely. Agressive hopping - grapefruit & pine. Off dry finish. Smooth, full bodied. Gentle carbonation. Well put together.

01-06-2006 02:45:32 | More by xgrigorix
Photo of biegaman
biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Beyond just inky or oily, this is a total solar eclipse. It is utter darkness. Needless to say, no highlighting or transparency is afforded. The surface is, unlikely considering its strength, crusted in a spring mud-like substance. A beer that's simply black doesn't require much inspection, it can simply sit and be admired for what it is.

And it smells big enough to block out the sun as well! Tremendous (frankly intimating) notes of bitter espresso, port soaked berries, black licorice, charred oak barrel and artisan dark chocolate truffles resonate through the senses. With a long list like that you ask: is there any stone left unturned? Nope. It seems they've thought of everything.

A rich and heavyset flavour profile offers decadent notes of dark chocolate and espresso. While still young, a backdrop of green, lightly zesty hops is easily discerned. These seem to grow a tad more piquant with warmth. Ironically, so too does the beer's sweetness which is now starting to resemble such flavours as double-double coffee and creme brulee.

At only 6 months of age this has plenty of potential yet to blend and develop flavours. From experience I know it will. The beer won't only sustain a little time on the cellar shelf, it'll most likely benefit from it, too. The alcohol's a bit forward (not that there's anything necessarily wrong with that) and the flavours could stand to meld a little more.

I don't care if it takes an expedition to find this beer, it's worth searching out! Bell's Brewing should be conferred the highest possible accolade of beer for their lineup of stouts, of which the Expedition is arguably the most impressive. This Michigan brewery allows you to have your cake and (literally) drink it too!

04-08-2009 03:31:07 | More by biegaman
Photo of msubulldog25
msubulldog25

Oregon

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Thanks to melbatoast93 for this 12 oz. bottle, poured to a Millevertus sampling glass. From Batch 7251.

A: Viscous and deep dark brown, a shade shy of black. Traces of auburn around the edges. Not much head, just a few wisps of mocha-colored film with random splotches of lace.

S: Dark fruit, charred malt, heavy on the molasses with vanilla. A cocoa chocolate covered coffee bean at the core. Sugary caramel is a surprise from the depths of this darkness.

T: Dark bittersweet chocolate, syrupy molasses, ripe raisins and ground coffee. Oak-y vanilla with some warm alcoholic flair in the finish. Flavors intensify as the beer warms...a rich & decadent treat.

M: Thick oily mouthfeel, full of flavor that clings to all surfaces in the mouth. Bitter coffee finish that lingers for several minutes. Creamy texture and remarkable smoothness.

D: A satisfyingly rich pour. Well-balanced between its sweetness and bitterness, this is one I would gladly enjoy again and again. An excellent sipping beer that I heartily recommend.

01-16-2007 05:14:12 | More by msubulldog25
Photo of BeerImmediately
BeerImmediately

Pennsylvania

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Poured an opaque black, with a brown "head" (film), and sediment noticeable on bottom.

Smelled like burnt cherry wood - COMPLEX, with sweet chocolate, espresso, and other things I'm having trouble describing.

Dark chocolate reduction sauce, and just a touch of bitter hops.

Rich and velvetty mouthfeel. In moderation, this one is quite drinkable.

11-13-2008 02:20:41 | More by BeerImmediately
Photo of rowingbrewer
rowingbrewer

Massachusetts

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

This beer pours a dark brown to black color with a 1/2 mocha colored head. the smell is roasty and chocolatey, with a nice sweetness. the taste is pretty much spot on with the smell, the chocolate flavors are a little more pronounced the roastiness is subdued and finishes sweet. the mouthfeel is full with good carbonation. overall this is a great beer.

12-21-2011 13:41:00 | More by rowingbrewer
Photo of Gueuzedude
Gueuzedude

Arizona

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Sampled February 2004
Pours a deep black color with a creamy brown head. Thick aromas of chocolate, coffee, burnt caramel, an aroma I usually associate with Lactose stouts, and alcohol all waft form my glass. What a thick viscous brew, it is quite creamy on my tongue. The thickness and body of this brew helps to balance the roast character, so that it is not overwhelming. It is like a rich, creamy, chocolate covered espresso bean, but accentuated a bit more towards the creamy dark chocolate. This beer has a burnt/ roast astringent finish, which, helps to balance the rich malty sweet flavors that are up front. There is not much in the way of hops, but they would seem out of place in this brew. The alcohol is well hidden in the taste, and is only really noticeable in the aroma. Wow, what a wonderful, smooth, sipping beer.

03-02-2004 19:26:38 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of perrymarcus
perrymarcus

Massachusetts

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

12oz bottle served in a snifter.
thanks to abanton for the opportunity.

pours a deep chestnut / mahogany, sits a jet black tone... yields a 1/2" mocha head that lapses fairly quickly into a collar around the glass; some lacing evident.

nose offers a nice potpourri of a lot of the usual suspects: roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee, with secondary notes of vanilla and some dark fruit elements.

more of the same carry pull through in the flavor. lots of roastiness, chocolate and coffee with distinct cherry / fig notes, vanilla and a touch of molasses. some booze, notably in the finish. chewy, full bodied mouthfeel with medium carbonation.

overall an excellent RIS, packed with flavor and very tasty.

02-12-2012 04:31:59 | More by perrymarcus
Photo of LI_PO12
LI_PO12

Pennsylvania

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Bottle into tulip (bottle on 8/28/2012) wanted to give it longer but I have another bottle for that

Appearance- Jet black, about half finger of tan head that fades quick

Aroma- Wow, roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, dark fruits, plums, raisons, very deep complex aroma on this, there also some alcohol coming through

Flavor- a lot going on, strong coffee, roasted malt, chocolate, its pretty bitter, thick but not syrupy, dark fruit, maybe a slight piney hop, alcohol warmth but I wouldn't guess 10.50

Mouthfeel- full, medium carb, slight alcohol warmth

Overall- I had this maybe three months old, its was very good then, its even better now, a top RIS for me, I have one more bottle that i'll try to keep for a while, will def try to get more for aging

06-05-2013 02:03:42 | More by LI_PO12
Photo of HimerMan
HimerMan

New Jersey

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

12 oz bottle served in an AleSmith pint glass (just got them in).

Awesome pour - (poured side by side with Victory Storm King aged from Nov 04 2004), black like tar with a nice dark ruby hue in the light. Head was strong dark-brown.

Taste - near exceptional, this comes in at a dark chocolate taste with a nice, and appropiate, alcohol finish (not harsh though). Wonderful head and retention, aroma is excellent and no hops flavor at all.

This is hard to drink more than one of, and it would be hard giving this anything higher than 4.25 in the drinkability category - though, in no way is this hard to drink if you are trying it. Same for mouthfeel - this is not for the faint of stout. Imperial Stout fans - this is a must.

I am drinking this on the colder side, note why the hops are low, and am enjoying it more this way than at warmer temperatures.

Buy this beer, it is absolutely worth it, I am going to age some for 6-9 months to see if some of the alcohol gets masked.

Wonderful. Cheers!

06-25-2006 00:15:29 | More by HimerMan
Photo of Gyle41386
Gyle41386

South Carolina

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Randomly decided to grab a bottle of Expedition Stout from the cellar...probably because I wanted to make brownies with it. Regardless, this bottle is from batch 8728 (Sept. 08) and has been poured into a snifter.

This beer is black. Like, Kueth Duany black. Or Charlie Murphy Darkness black...you get the point. So black, you think it could possibly be a really dark blue. About a finger of rich, chocolate mousse foam absolutely will not go away, and the walls of the glass are completely coated. Hard to imagine a better-looking stout.

Big, rich chocolate nose. Dark and milk chocolates, with plenty of roasted barley. It's got a great balance between bitter/sweet chocolate and bitter, smoky, coffee-like roast. I can't decide if I'm actually smelling licorice, or if I've just associated it with this beer via Kalamazoo Stout. The nose is big, it's robust, it's not really alcoholic at all (BIG bonus, can't wait to see what more time does)...It's definitely mellowed down and has become a bit sweeter, and more subtle/complex.

Bell's Expedition Stout is pretty much everything I want my imperial stouts to taste like. Big chocolate sweetness, balancing roast and bitter hops in the finish...just a HUGE flavor.

The only thing bigger than the flavor is the texture. This beer may have the absolute best texture of any beer I've had. Deliciously rich and very, very chewy. And, again, after a little over a year and a half, the alcohol isn't nearly at noticeable as, say, Stone IRS. Perfect carbonation. Never-ending finish. Unbeatable.

I thought Expedition Stout was actually pretty drinkable fresh. With 21 months on it, it's hard to keep it in the glass. Really, really tasty stuff. Can't wait to put some more years on my remaining bottles.

03-24-2009 05:34:07 | More by Gyle41386
Photo of eduardolinhalis
eduardolinhalis

Switzerland

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

330ml bottle served in a snifter glass.

A: Pours a deep brown to black color forming a medium and nice thin bubbled beige head. Medium to low retention and only few spotty lacings left on the glass. A thin layer persists for quite a long time

S: Strong roasted malts and coffee aroma. Licorice and very earthy yeasts. Strong notes of wood too. Very earthy and boozy in the end

T: Strong roasted malts, mainly. Strong notes of coffee, brown bread, licorice, oak, earthy yeasts. Upfront taste is slightly sweet and molasses but, in overall, it's very bitter and roasted. Intense. And really bitter as an American Imperial Stout should be

M: Heavy, thick, creamy and molasses body. Medium to low carbonation. Intense roasted and bitter aftertaste

O: Great drinkability. An American RIS classic

07-03-2013 20:26:31 | More by eduardolinhalis
Photo of brantadid
brantadid

New Jersey

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Poured black into a snifter. 1/4 inch brown head formed. Not much head retention but good lacing.

Smelled very dry. Roasted malt and burnt coffee aromas were present. Some hints of fruit that smelled almost like strawberries. Some hoppiness was also present.

Nice sweetness on the front palate. The sweetness was followed by bitter, dark chocolate notes. The same strawberry fruit flavors came through in the taste. Nice, mellow hoppiness on the back palate. Very long finish. The flavors just went on and on.

Low carbonation and insanely rich and creamy mouthfeel. Some alcohol came through in the tasting but not the nose. Very drinkable beer that reminds me of Storm King...or maybe it is the other way around. I don't know which was brewed first.

I really hope I can get my hands on more of this.

12-08-2007 17:43:08 | More by brantadid
Photo of Higravity
Higravity

Michigan

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Well I received 3 new bottles of this beer and after my last experience I am glad to have another try with this beauty. It is a dense black with a chocolate milk colored head that doesn't peter out for a while. Smell of roasted burnt malt, small hints of alcohol and hops. The taste is powerful dark roasted flavors slowly yeild to a bittering creamy swallow, alcohol is present but not overwhelming. I would have liked a little more hops to be present in here though. You could eat this beer with a spoon it has body for days and has a very creamy feel that coats your mouth. This is a great beer and well worth many more visits.

05-09-2005 13:53:21 | More by Higravity
Photo of ski271
ski271

Pennsylvania

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Appearance: Black with a reddish tinge and a brown, small, creamy head that quickly diminished to a full, thick film. Lots of thick sticky lacing.

Smell: Large, fabulous aroma of chocolate, coffee, malts, molasses and light buttery herbs.

Taste: Big, thick malts, bitter coffee, cheery, and soy sauce (I know, it sounds odd and the last time I tasted soy sauce in a beer it was a homebrew gone wrong, but it’s good in this flavor). The finish is sweet and very long in duration.

Mouthfeel: Full body, thick chewy texture, no carbonation.

Drinkability: My was this wonderful. One sip took me back to a ski vacation up in Maine for some reason. I love the nostalgia a good aroma can spark. This was a fabulous meaty stout that I’ll definitely be having again.

10-13-2005 21:19:56 | More by ski271
Photo of jobyone
jobyone

North Carolina

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

From a freshly opened keg. The beer poured black with an incredibly creamy light brown head. The aroma had lots of burnt smells (coffee, chocolate) and was accompanied by a little bit of fruit sweetness. The flavor had lots of chocolate, coffe and some alcohol. The body was very full and the the aftertaste lingered with a pleasing bitterness.

01-17-2008 21:10:24 | More by jobyone
Photo of jdoolin
jdoolin

Ohio

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Presentation: 12oz bottle, poured into a brandy snifter

Appearance: Dead black, like old motor oil. A slight brown head formed and dissipated quickly, leaving a ring of brown lace the entire time.

Aroma: Heavenly aroma of roasted barley, molasses, hints of coffee and chocolate, and of course a bit of alcohol. This beer smelled so good, I couldn't keep my nose out of the snifter the entire time.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Thick, smooth and creamy, like velvet. Just enough carbonation to achieve this and maintain the ring of lace. Taste was an ode to roasted malt. All of the usual roasted malt flavors are here and are wonderfully exemplifed. Of course, the roasted barley itself, coffee (especially in the finish) and chocolate. No hop flavor. Bitterness seems to be achieved more by the roasted malt than the hops. The alcohol was present but subdued by the roasted malt flavors.

Notes: A superb imperial stout. I thought the alcohol would have more presence, but I was pleasantly surprised. The roasted malts are the center of this beer, and Kalamazoo has done a fantastic job exploiting them. A great after dinner sipping beer.

08-30-2006 03:34:25 | More by jdoolin
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,457 ratings.