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Bell's Expedition Stout - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Bell's Expedition StoutBell's Expedition Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,012 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,012
Hads: 5,641
Avg: 4.21
pDev: 17.81%
Wants: 490
Gots: 1,506 | FT: 125
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-10-2002

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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Bell's Expedition Stout Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,012 | Hads: 5,641
Photo of Vixie
3.76/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pitch black. Held up to the light, and the light has no chance. Forms a little of a tan head that is leaving some nice lacing behind.

Not as strong a smell as I expected from the looks of it. Mainly smokey with hints of chocolate and coffee.

Coffee, chocolate, smoke, vanilla. Can't really taste the alcohol at all, and finishes with a bitter coffee aftertaste.

Feel is nice, smooth and full.

This was what a RIS is all about. While not the best example of the style I have had, this is a really good one. Big, in your face, no doubt this is a serious beer. It isn't the best example of the style I have tried, but easily one of the better ones. Worth seeking this one out.

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Photo of dfillius
3.76/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Aggressive pour yields 3/4 fingers of mocha colored head with good retention. Opaque black liquid. Perfect for the style. The label doesn't call to me though.
S: Licorice, black patent malt, port, dark fruit, slight vanilla. Strong esters stand out, which is a negative.
T: Sweet and malty up front with a roasty follow and bitter finish. Quite hoppy actually. Alcohol pervades throughout, which is okay, but not great.
M: Sweet and warm with a dry finish. Breathy alcohol finish. Nice that it's not hot.
D: A good RIS though not my favorite as it is a bit harsh overall for me. I would not buy again or order another.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
3.76/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

thanks orbitalr0x for the chance to try this brew

first off, let me talk about the label. perfect. very pleasingly simple in a way that i can appreciate as an (ex) graphic artist. speaks volumes without saying a word. bell's has the brewing expertise to feel confident with simplicity, and i can't blame them.

this beer is dark, boy.. dark lord dark. oily. not much head, once settled absolutely none. smell is rather abrasive.. raisiny liquor with thrice-roasted malt and cough-syrup sweetness. the 11+% on this beer makes no attempt to hide itself. if chocolate exists here, it is in a boiled-and-reduced hershey's syrup kind of way.. and if coffee exists here, it's in a grounds-left-in-the-machine-for-two-days sort of style. taste is milder than i would expect with such a big nose.. smooth with a hint of cream and surprisingly hoppy in the finish. everything else is malt and dark, dark chocolate. not too deep, but burnt and layered. can't do any more than sip this puppy, and foamy burps tasting like nestle's barleywine emerge from my pie hole.

a daunting beer, a valiant effort. for the style, not my favorite.. nevertheless i am in awe of this magnificent creation. few people get the RIS right, and bell's does so with NO FRILLS.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.76/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - this is one of those impenetrably black stouts, with a dark brown moderately thick head, of course too dark to observe any carbonation amounts

S - nice, a rather complex aroma, sweet toffee and vanilla aromas with a strong alcohol component and a deep dark chocolate backbone

T - whoa, a rich coffee bean flavor came outta nowhere, some chcolate persists, as does the alcohol, and there is also a rich hoppy backbone, a nice complex stout

M&D - sweet smooth mouthcoat, with a highish warming ABV, easily drinkable, sweet and strong all at once, while maintaining its palatability, a great stout from a great brewery, keep up the good brewing Bells, wish i could get some out east more often

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Photo of TCHopCraver
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours black with just a hint of brown into a standard pint glass. One finger head is dark brown and disappears rather quickly. I cannot see through its defenses.

S: Lots of dark chocolate with touches of anise and toasted malts. Some dark cherry and fig scents are also present.

T: Has a very smoky taste upfront that marries with the sweet chocolate/fruit flavors decently. Over the duration of the sip, the smokiness wins out over the sweetness, leaving a slightly unbalanced taste. The finish has a pretty acidic coffee flavor. The taste kind of reminds me of a s'more with a marshmallow that was held over the campfire a bit too long.

M: It has a pretty big feel, which I appreciate. It doesn't quite coat my palate in waves like other beers of the style I have had, though.

D: The high a.b.v. and competition between the sweetness and acidity in the taste make this beer lack in the drinkability category a little for me.

I think this is definitely a beer that could improve with some age on it and I will probably update my review when I've had a bottle with a year or more in the cellar.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled on date of 10/22/12

Appearance - Pours midnight black with a dark mocha colored finger width head. Good retention, resulting in a layer of thin microbubbles across the surface. Lacing is solid to spotty, with good stick.

Smell - Strong cocoa aroma and an anise undertone. Mild earthiness. A faint soapy aroma.

Taste - Follows the nose. Chocolate layers and a mild coffee roast, resulting in a strong mocha flavor upfront. Fair anise in undertone. Earth and leafy character that, to me, comes across as acrid and a touch soapy near the finish.

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied, but with a light and lively carbonation, giving this beer a more feathery feel than what actually is. Smooth, easy finish.

Overall - Reminds me a bit of the Victory Storm King... a beer I found too soapy on the back end to find enjoyable. While not nearly as soapy, the Expedition Stout does have a touch of that character that I can't look past. This is a good beer, but there are plenty of imperial stouts I'd rather have. It's certainly nothing I'll go out of my way for again. To each their own! Maybe this would be better with a year or two of aging on it, but I'll probably never know.

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Photo of patre_tim
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Black with perhaps a dark brown hint only when held to the light, two fingers of dark brown head with a rusty tinge.

S: Malt bread, molasses, coffee, chocolate, malt beverages, sweet floral notes, meaty summer sausage umami scent, rubber tire in the sun.

T: Thick malty, rubber tire in the sun, tar, a hint of meaty umami, a fair amount of sweetness, light burnt toast quality on the tongue in the aftertaste.

M: Thick oily body that does not stick to the tongue and is not cloigny, light fine bubbled carbonation.

O: This one was produced on August 29th 2013, drank in Pensacola July 26th, 2014. I got this in Asheville at World Market about a month ago in a sixer. This is the second one I’ve had, and I’m wanting to age the others.

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Photo of bigfnjoe
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Batch 9971.

A- pours jet black with a one finger brown head. Would like to have seen more of a head with how vigorous this pour was...I've heard things about the carbonation of this, and now I'm a little worried.

S- roasted malts, licorice, brown sugar...odd that I'm getting no coffee or chocolate out of this. It is what it is...a departure from the normal stouty aroma. Interesting

T- very bitter chocolate and coffee, with a slightly sweet finish...the booziness is coming through a little bit as well. Really strong flavors...might need some time to mellow out a little

M- really, really chewy. Super thick. About what you'd expect from a RIS

D- I've got a couple of bottles aging, I wonder what that would to do the flavors in this one...I think I'd like it a little better with the age on it

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Apparently I did have one of these guys hangin' around in my fridge after all. Go figure. Let's review it, shall we? It pours an opaque black-brown topped by a short finger of tan foam that fades fairly quickly. The nose comprises plenty o' roasted malts, dark wheat, chocolate syrup, nutmeg, and a surprising dose of rye bread. A general sweetness pervades. The taste darkens the proceedings, roasting some of the sweet notes and replacing the rye bread with a leather-like character. Some light prune notes gurgle up from th bottom, but don't pool all that much. Something's missing here, but I can't quite put my finger on it. The body is fairly hefty, with a heavy light carbonation and a borderline chewy feel. Overall, a solid RIS, but I've had better, even among regularly available offerings. Something's just off a little, you know what I mean?

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Photo of OakedCanuck
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into cervoise

A - Nice deep black with a mocha brown head. Minor head retention and some lacing

S - Nice dark chocolate and roast coffee, vanilla and nuttiness

T - Much the same as the nose but with a slightly astringent underlying flavour. Some dark fruits of raisins and plums.

M - Heavy, slight astringent, somewhat creamy

O - A decent beer that was heavy in the mouth but not a true sipper. A very good RIS for being a shelf beer. Would have again.

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Photo of ZOXXO
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle poured into Kapok Tree Inn tulip glass

A - Deep dark black colored with a light chocolate colored blanketing head. A tight tiny bubbled lacing

S - Chocolate coffee and to a lesser degree hops.

T - Dark chocolate, coffee, hints of dark fruit and roasted malt with a latent alcohol warming and piney hops flavor

M - Big bodied thick molten flow engulfs the palate.

D - A great first or last brew but I don't consider it a session brew, as to be expected for an Impy Stout.

Overall, I found this an enjoyable brew but could do with a little less pronounced alcohol flavor.

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Photo of kiddynamite920
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours pitch black with very, very minimal head. Seems very low on carbonation. Smell is strong of soy sauce and coffee, I don't remember smelling the soy so strong last time I had this beer. Has a raisin type smell on the end. Taste is not very reminiscent of the aroma of the beer. Very roasty and toasty. I get a coffee grind and dry cocoa taste. A large bitter hop profile as well. The beer fills the mouth and sticks around, with a nice syrupy finish. Not too drinkable IMO, halfway between a sipper and a standard Imp stout.

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Photo of mjw1200
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a really good beer but not great. From everything I had read before I tried it I expected it to be in Old Rasputin, Plead the 5th, and Speedway Stouts class, but it was a clear step down for me. It was a good beer, its not one I will pass on, but if its sitting next to some of those other RIS’s I am going with those which I liked better.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.74/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Black and non-see thru. 1/2 finger head and light, spotty, lacing.

Smells nice. An alcoholic version of raisiny dark burnt malts.

Tastes pretty good. A variety of dark fruits, plus molasses and brown sugar, booze, and lovely roasted, almost burnt malts.

Thick and rich mouthfeel. Pretty smooth for the style. Pleasant.

Drinks average. A nice beer but not especially high on my list of have again beers.

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Photo of jamesdantes13
3.74/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours pitch black with almost no head...even with a hard pour. Bottled Dec. '08 and seems to have been stored properly.

Smells predominately of coffee and dark chocolate with hints of caramel, toffee, and fruit. Bit of hops in the background.

Rich coffee, dark chocolate, and caramel on the palette. Fruit and hop bitterness follow and finishes slightly astringent from the alcohol. Alcohol is a bit more overpowering than I would have liked. Leaves a nice mocha aftertaste.

Overall, a pretty good RIS but not the best example of this style.

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Photo of Evocatus
3.74/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours either a really dark brown or just plain black with a brown head that dissolves rather quickly. Aroma has scents of roasted nuts, sweet malts, and some cocoa. Taste follows the aroma, only the 10.5% really kicks in, maybe to the extent of overpowering everything else. It was really thick and lowly carbonated, almost drinking like a thin syrup. Because of the relative strength and thickness, I could probably only have one of these at a time, but a good strong beer overall.

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Photo of kenpo23
3.74/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: wow, what a great dark pour this was. great head to go with it and i was mightily impressed with the way it looked.

S: honestly...i smelled it and thought 'eh'. the toasted malt smell just left a bit to be desired. coulda been better.

T: a tad on the sweet side but its got a malt and chocolate taste that stand out no matter what. the roastiness that hits you last...i wished it was through the whole thing not just and end note.

M: very thick very creamy. crazy dry at the end.

D: i could drink these down and not even realize i'd had so many. i would indeed search this brew out.

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Photo of nickadams2
3.73/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A_Jet black with a dark brown head that dissipates into a thick ring. Little lacing. Looks slick and oily.

S_Very roasty. Burnt wood. Anise, dark fruits,and black liquorice.

T_Heavy roast. Burnt,earthy,woody flavor. Bitter chocolate and anise. Very Very bold.

M_Thick ,chewy,slick and very viscous.

D_This could substitute a full meal.

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Photo of jamiesessions
3.73/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark black colour swirls into my snifter and leaves little, if any room for light. A dark-khaki head appears and leaves some, but not a whole lot of lacing. Smells strongly of coffee, with chocolate also there in the mix. Taste is much like the smell, but I am slightly put off by the intenseness of the alcohol. The high abv is nice sometimes, but it seems to interfere with my enjoyment of the beer. Coffee taste is nice, but it's a bit off here, less of a good coffee, and more of an old stale coffee taste, with a bit of chocolate background. It's very chewy, and most certainly a sipper. I'm glad I purchased this, but it's certainly not something i'll be purchasing agian

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Photo of aepb1
3.73/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Opaque black with a brown head

S- Chocolate and coffee! Very full and maybe some molasses in the end a bit

T- Chocolate and coffee show up in spades here too! A bit of hoppiness in the end

M- Creamyy and full, just something in the end that I hang up on... a bit of an alcohol feel

D- Very full! Can't have more than one with the acohol taste too... I can revisit it in another sitting though so it's got a decent drinkability

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Photo of gtermi
3.73/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Beer pours a nice dark body with a thin brown head that quickly fades.

S: The beer is very boozy and has a syrupy sweet smell. There is a little bit of chocolate, but other than that I am not getting too much more.

T: This beer is very sweet at first with a strong syrupy chocolate flavor. There is also a bit of roasted malt and strong booze.

M: The beer is very smooth and has only a tiny bit of crispness on the tip of the tongue. It also has a terrific full body.

O: This is a 2011 Bottle and it really has turned into a very boozy and syrupy beer. It has a nice flavor, but not as great as I was hoping.

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Photo of carln26
3.73/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

From a bottle (thanks Zac!). It poured a deep black color with virtually no head, and a thin brown lace. Deep roasted malt smell with a backing of caramel and chocolate. The taste is a rosy malt explosion.
More chocolate, and a mild alcohol bite. More caramel and a mild hop backing on the finish. That velvet mouth feel I now expect with Bell's. Reasonable drinkability (especially considering the alcohol content).

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Photo of daliandragon
3.73/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

With the temperature dropping the way it has, the first RIS of the season seemed to be in order. Expedition pours a pure jet black with a tight bubbled, chocolate milk colored head and features a thick malted nose with tones of coffee and dark fruit and a wicked alcohol lace on the side.

This is stunningly thick and powerful. The taste and texture remind me of molasses. Plum and fig notes are present but are almost swept away by an enormous swath of alcohol which rules the taste and finish. The texture is remarkably smooth considering the extreme bulk this one is carrying.

This is a terrific and well crafted brew but a little too muscular for me most of the time. I can see having one as a nightcap on a cold winters night but otherwise drinkability isn't real high.

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Photo of jdg204
3.73/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The good folks at Abe's Cold Beer in Bethlehem, Pa have provided me with some long sought after brews these best few weeks. Bell's Expedition Stout was next on this list.

A: Pours a thick, pitch black color with a nice mocha colored head that stuck around for the ride.

S: There's a lot going on here with strong roasted coffee, chocolate, and boozy aromas.

T: Once again a lot going on here (too much to be honest). Rich, rich roasted flavors of coffee and chocolate which then has a big, robust boozy compliment. Then an extremely raw hoppy undertone showed up to just add to the overwhelming flavor blend. This was an odd brew where instead of one of the flavors being out of control, they were all WAY TOO BIG resulting in an over the top taste. Just too much...

M: Thick texture with good carbonation.

D: This brew wasn't bad, but it didn't really work for me and was well below expectations. Expedition Stout seemed to suffer from the curse of too much, where all the flavors where just way over the top and resulted in an overwhelming brew. A decent sipping brew but I've had a lot better RIS's and this is not one I'll be looking for again. Not recommended.

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Photo of Onibubba
3.73/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Aggressive pour release a thick jet black liquid with a big, beautiful and creamy dark chocolate head. It really does look quite nice. Smell is coffe and alcohol, airline glue and milk chocolate. Astringent. The chocolate and roastiness combats the alcohol as well as couold be expected, but there is no hiding it. Almost no "soy sauce" taste that I associate with most RISs until it warms up a bit. Mouthfeel is nice and thick. The carbonation is all in the head. Well, I'm glad this came in a 12 oz. A 750 would be way too much. This is a heavy beer - a real sipper. The tastes and alcohol are both way aggressive. A bit much for me I'm afraid.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 2,012 ratings.