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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.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

2,048 Reviews
THE BROS
98
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,048
Hads: 5,798
Avg: 4.21
pDev: 17.81%
Wants: 506
Gots: 1,592 | FT: 126
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States | website

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: 2,048 | Hads: 5,798
Photo of inlimbo77
3.83/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at Capone's in Norristown, PA. No dates listed on bottle. Poured into New Belgium snifter glass.

A: Pours a DEEP, rich black color. No light gets through. Not much carbonation. Thin, rust colored head that fades quickly leaves a tiny line around the exterior of the glass. Good lacing. Tiny bubbles.

S: Roasty malts, coffee, chocolate, molasses, alcohol

T: I like the roasty malt flavor. I got that dark chocolate and caramels as well. Some mild hops too.

M: Coats the mouth nicely. Smooth with a nice bite at the end. Mild hop finish, surprisingly.

D: I enjoyed this brew. I would definitely have it again, but the ABV does get you. You can smell it and it is definitely there.

Overall, a solid brew from Bell's. I have had better RISs from other outfits, but this is a good one that I'd enjoy again down the road.

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Photo of jkendrick
3.82/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours dark and viscous. A moderately aggressive pour yields a half inch brown head. There is no light shining through and little carbonation visible rising up in the glass. The head recedes relatively quickly, but leaves some foam stuck to the side of the glass. After a few sips, nice lacing is left in its wake.

Aroma: The aroma isn't as strong as many Imperial Stouts but what is there is malt. and some alcohol. I smell dark and sweet fruit. I don't smell coffee and chocolate as was expected. Maybe just a touch of molasses.

Mouthfeel: Not a ton of carbonation, but it is oily and full-bodied.

Taste: The taste is where the chocolate - dry, powdery cocoa to be exact - that was absent in the nose makes itself known. The fruit, so dominant in the aroma, is relegated to the back. The alcohol is definitely present, but for a 10% abv, it isn't bad. I think the alcohol could have been hidden a bit better. The molasses flavors are most dominant in the middle and there is bitterness in the finish. The alcohol is somewhat warming, but is mostly noticeable in the mouth.

Overall Impressions: This is good imperial stout. It has a very interesting difference from aroma to taste. While the aroma screams fruit and had me excited for something a bit different than the typical coffee/chocolate/molasses dominated impy stouts, ultimately it is the cocoa and molasses that rule the flavor. I'd definitely buy this one again and it's the best offering I've had from Bell's, but it has some flaws.

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Photo of marksto
3.82/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled at the Indiana Microbrewers Festival. Bell's had this one opposite a keg of the bourbon barrel aged Double Cream/Expedition Stout. Perhaps it was because of that excellent beer that I thought this one wasn't as good as I'd hoped it would be..

Poured opaque with an off-white medium head with medium retention. Surprisingly light in the nose. Some coffee and roast with malt sweetness, but nose overall lighter than I thought it would be. Flavor exhibited a blend of roastiness, malt, with a hint of chocolate. Smooth, nice, but not as complex as many of the other R.I.S.'s that I've had before.

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Photo of swid
3.82/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours very thick and syrupy...deep brown to black. Carbonation nearly nonexistant. A 2" brown head forms; fades after about 10 minutes or so.

Chocolate and caramel notes are prominent in an overall sweet, malty aroma. Along with the chocolate and caramel, a coffee flavor dominates this beer. A surprisingly light mouthfeel; slightly bitter on the palate, feels like a light syrup on the back of the mouth/throat, finishes fairly clean. The high ABV of this beer is masked very well, much more so than other strong beers I've had in the past.

Overall, a decent imperial stout, and a beer worth trying or breaking out every once in a while. However, I wouldn't go out of my way to track down another one.

Thanks to mdinges for the bottle!

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Photo of alleykatking
3.81/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle. Quite surprised I haven't reviewed this beer on here!

A- Pours a nice black color. When held to the light you can see faint brown hues on the sides of the glass. Two finger mocha colored head stays for a good couple of minutes before dying down to whisps of foam on the top of the beer. Lacing was streaked on the sides of the glass.

S- Big roasted malts in the front of the aroma. Ground coffee smell was muted a little in the middle with some light chocolate notes and even lighter hints of prunes. Alcohol is present in this but it almost takes on a semi-sweet note to it. I picked up some brown sugar hanging around the alcohol. For a stout of this size though the overall aroma was muted.

T- This beer starts off with a nice roasted taste that lasts well into the middle of the beer. Light darker fruits in the middle that shine through in small doses. The ending on this one is a little more chocolate sweet than I remembered. Light roasted taste in the back end of this one as well.

M- Heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is good with the style. Left a oily slick roasted mess on the palate and into the aftertaste. Chewy is good feature with this beer. Sludge like...heh. Makes you want to take a sip right after you are done with the first one.

D- This is a good drinkable stout. The only reason I gave it a 3.5 was because I could not drink a sixer of this even if I tried. It was a very filling beer for me and after a couple I would need to switch to something lighter in feel.

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Photo of everetends
3.81/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Redwood21 for this bottle. Poured into a pint tumbler.

A: Damn near perfect. Black and opaque. Poured a think, and oil like consistency. Had a head that I didn't think would form and left some nice sticky lacing.

S: Dark chocolate, deeply roasted malts, coffee and a touch of licorice.

T: The chocolate really shines here. Coffee bitterness and malts are also present. Has a heavy alcohol taste on the back end, a bit metallic also (even after it warmed).

M: Low carbonation, thick and chewy. Alcohol heat on the back of the throat and in the tummy. Dry finish.

D: This is an RIS that lets you know the alcohol is there. Not bad, but definitely a sipper and really no need to hit more than one. Very nice brew.

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Photo of rastaman
3.8/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Extremely black and thick. Very heavy on the tongue, huge fat roasted malt flavours blend with raisins and spicy (hops are even a bit citric)hops, big and ugly (but ugly in kind of a good way), huge bitterness. Vinous. Not elegant at all, but nicely mean and ugly. Its great to try some US imperial stouts, and this one was another gift from Feloniousmonk.

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Photo of BeerAmbassador
3.8/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Motor oil black, small head that leaves a bit on the glass as it dissipates. Coffee, roasted grains and dark, dried fruit (prunes?) on the nose. All of the above plus a bit of licorice on the nose. Stong bitterness from both hops and roasted malt. Sweetness that borders on cloying for me, but not quite too much. Very long finish, and low, but creamy, nicely integrated carbonation.

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Photo of tone77
3.8/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1 inch head. Smell is of chocolate, coffee, a bit of sweetness. Taste is the same, chocolate, some hops, a bit of coffee, alcohol is well hidden. Feels full bodied in the mouth and overall is a solid beer.

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Photo of schusterbauer
3.8/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

a -- "none more black." but really, absolutely black, limp dark brown head doesn't last long.

s -- alcohol, charcoal, roasted/burnt malts, chocolate, soy sauce, more alcohol

t -- there's so much going on in this beer that you can find something new with every sip: heavy on the charcoal/smoked/roasted flavors, chocolate ice cream, raisins, licorice, soy sauce, lemon peel(?); flavor coats your mouth and lasts for a long time after each sip

m -- THICK. melted milkshake thick.

d -- i don't think that drinkability is really the word. the beer seems to dare you to sip more, in all of its ruggedness; sometimes the challenge is a pleasure, sometimes it's a chore.

---

I had previously given this beer across the board 5s, based on a previous sample -- a bottle that was about 18 months old. The above is based on a fresh sample. While I'm sure that the aged sample didn't deserve anywhere near the perfect 5, it was notably better, and I'll be curious to review again, with another aged sample.

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Photo of ChrisPro
3.8/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 8944 (vintage 2008?).

12oz bottle pours thick oily black, but very little dark tan head.

Caramel and chocolate in aroma, some hints of pitted fruit (cherries, prune).

Rich, sweet up front, a bit boozy, then a long drawn out chocolate finish. Quite bitter, but balanced.

Pretty well carbonated, quite thick and oily and the alcohol and carb leave a bit of stinging on the tongue. Much better with some warming.

This is a pretty complex imperial stout and its hotness implies that it could benefit from some age to let some of those flavore meld and the heat mellow. Still something I would seek out again.

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Photo of expatsteve
3.8/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for sharing this one, Golden2wenty1.

Appearance: Black, with a 1/2 inch cappucino head. Nice thick lacing on the beer and the glass. Medium viscosity.

Aroma: Plum, cane sugar, chocolate and a booze/hops edge.

Taste: Booze over chocolate and molasses. Cream, toffee, raisin developments, along with a sharp boozy bite. Plum sweetness and a few espresso bursts, but definitely the most spicy stout I've ever had.

Mouthfeel: Thick and spicy, with a lot of hops and booze character. Low carbonation focuses attention squarely on the more aggressive characteristics of the beer.

Drinkability: While the flavor is balanced and fairly impressive, the bite in this beer is definitely a challenge. Enjoyable and distinct, but not most drinkable big stout I've had. Will probably please hopheads and strong beer fans who appreciate aggressive flavors.

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Photo of MasonBeerMan
3.8/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

App-Looks like motor oil, little to no head, small light tan ring hung around during entire drink

Smell-roasted malt, dark ripe fruit, molasses, alcohol. some slight hops

Taste- Strong coffee, roastiness, alcohol, bittersweet, molasses

Mouth- almost flat, very little carbonation, full body with some alcohol warming

Drink-good winter warmering beer, thick, very different experience than with other imperial stouts, good on occasion, but a bit pricey

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Photo of gyllstromk
3.8/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with thin dark head. Nose is roasted malts and hops. Flavor is a kiss of sweetness with a grassy hop flavor, with a full body and sticky sweet finish with a strong lingering bitterness. The detractors are that the hops are a bit overemphasized for my taste, it's a bit close to motor oil in consistency, and a bit overpriced. Still, a tasty treat.

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Photo of bassmantin
3.8/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to iconoklaztor for letting me sample this one. This one is aged about 4-6 months. I had one fresh, and it was a bit too harsh.

Pours a very dark brown/black into a snifter with a thick clumpy tan head. Smell is very sweet and intense. Strong alcohol aroma.

Taste is extremely sweet. Too sweet for me. The flavors are very complex and indulgent, but it leaves a sticky taste in my mouth. The aging has helped quite a bit, though. I would be interested to see what another six months would do to this one.

Overall: Malt-heads will love it. An excellent beer, but a little too sweet for me.

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Photo of Cyrion
3.79/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a nonic pint three months after bottling.

Appearance: Looks like used motor oil, thick, dark and viscous. Dark tan head with tiered lacing on sides.

Smell: Sweet cocoa and some dark fruit. Nice.

Taste: Very chocoately starting out. Tends to overwhelm other flavors. Some chocolate-covered cherries, as well as some smoky wood taste. Some coffee flavor begins to appear in time, but is not prominent. A bit of alcohol heat begins to make its presence known, but the chocolate and other flavors try to hide this, and do pretty well.

Mouthfeel: Very, very thick and heavy. More than just chewy.

Overall: A good chocolatey stout, but a lot of the flavors are buried under the chocolate, and this hides the complexity. Gooey goodness, but this beer retains a good deal of its mystery.

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Photo of far333
3.78/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours out dark as motor oil, with a thick dark brown head topped with lumps like oatmeal. The aroma comes right up to my nose - hops followed by raisin and burnt malt with distinct sweet chocolate hints. Taste is pungent. Flavor is bitter cofee and dark chocolate, with a strong alcohol finish and tingle. Chocolate and raisin lingers, as does a sting in the top of the palate, behind the nose. Mouthfeel feels a little thin for this one, and the drinkability is low due to the incredibly strong flavor. I find myself sipping this one to let the flavors come out as small amounts roll around the mouth. Excellent beer that makes its presence known.

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Photo of apbarwood
3.78/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm drinking this one hot off the presses, just a couple weeks after it arrived on the shelves. It looks black, or at the very least a dark brown-black. Not much head to speak of and just the faintest amount of caramel-colored lace. The aroma isn't exactly weak but it's not strong. I'm definitely picking up some roasted malt and a bit of dark fruit, maybe raisins. There's also a bit of alcohol in the bouquet that carries over in the flavor and while it's not really unpleasant, it doesn't seem to add anything. I hope and assume that will mellow with age. The flavor leads with some bittersweet chocolate and a trace of a sweeter caramel. It's followed quickly and overpowered by a strong, bitter, roasted malt and coffee flavor. The raisin-ish dark fruit flavor is still around and comes through a bit more as the beer warms up and seems more noticeable on the finish. There's definitely a nice complexity to this beer that seems to attach itself to every part of my palate and it has nice mouth-coating and warming qualities. When fresh, it definitely seems to show it's youth and is quite aggressive and biting but I can definitely see this beers potential to age nicely. I'd let this one sit for six months or so at least to let it mellow out a bit and allow some of it's more subtle qualities to step forward.

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Photo of yamar68
3.78/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ominous black coffee body topped with a thick pillow of dense medium brown head that slowly fades to a solid cap, laces nicely.

Molasses, dark chocolate, raisin, boozy maple syrup qualities, hot cocoa... evolving with warmth.

Bitter coffee and chocolate, boozy figs or dates, the bitterness fades from sweet earthiness to alcohol, great flavors but a poor finish I think.

I'm excited to have a sixer of these to age, tons of flavor but just a tad hot if you ask me.

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Photo of fropones
3.78/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours a nice dark reddish brown, nearly black, with a 2.5 finger black cherry mocha head.

S - Chocolate, toffee, coffee, roasted malt.

T - More of that roasted malt, followed out by some toffee and chocolate. Hints of hops in the back, but this bottle has 6-9 months on it. Fairly astringent.

M - Nice carb, rich and creamy. Kind of chewy.

D - Not the best to drink on a hot summer day like today, but that was my choice. Alcohol not very well hidden and the astringency of the roasted malt is sort of bothering me more and more.

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Photo of waldoiverson
3.78/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle to us pint

A: motor oil black and creamy but small mahogany head

S: slightly tart and lactic with creamy softness

T: Smooth, cherry, and toasted caramel, a nice hit of alcohol

M: smooth and minimal dryness caused by alcohol

D: one per session please, it's best to let it warm over an hour and get all the flavor changes

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Photo of Mudpuppet
3.78/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Riedel sniffer. Pours a pitch black with a light tan thin head.

S- Nice nose very fruity. Plums, currants and cherries.

T- Starts off with a very fruity flavor that turns into coffee and chocolate on the aftertaste. A huge amount of flavor from this brew.

M- Low carbonation. Too low maybe.

D- This is a good drinker. Deep and bold beer with lots of malts and fruity notes. This is a much better beer on tap than in a bottle. A decent beer overall though

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Photo of kkipple
3.78/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

** 2007 vintage, drunk early 08.

A. What's left to say? Uber-dark, thick brew with a small lingering dark red-brown head, some lacing. Thick and absolutely opaque.

S. Heavy malt, heaps of molasses, cocoa and coffee. Dark bread and burnt sugar, deadening alcohol, a single bitter, angry hop note and a touch of red grape. Very hefty, this one. Could be more complex.

T. Very dense roasted grain in this one, pure darkness! Big big roasty flavor with the usual coffee and dark chocolate, pretty aggressive alcohol, molasses and brown sugar. Viscous and oily, dense and slick. Hints of vanilla and charcoal. Sort of like a mini World Wide Stout. It's all very intense, but wears on you after a while and I must confess, couldn't sustain my interest for the duration.

M. Extremely slick, low carbonation, warming. Massive roast-coffee / malt aftertaste.

D. No. This is pretty solid, but too thick and intense for more than a single bottle. Even then I'd recommend 6 ounces as an optimal pour. This is good, not great, but IS better as it ages. Try if you can.

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Photo of jtd1969
3.78/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark Brownish black with brownish head. Lots of lacing

S - Sweet vinegar,sugary malt

T - Roasty,sweet yet bitter tartiness. Unique in stout department.chocolate, some dark fruit

M - full bodied, rather boozy, medium carbonation

O - Imperial Stout no doubt, just not what I tend to lean toward. I recommend trying it as it may be to your liking. To me it is a decent stout, but not great...

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Photo of beertunes
3.78/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received in a recent trade, but I've forgotten with who, apologies and thanks! Bottle with code # 9554. Poured into 10oz glass. Poured solidly black with just under an inch of light brown head that had decent retention and lacing.

The aroma full and rich, lots of roasted and toasted scents. The flavors were also well executed examples of the style. In addition to the roasted flavors there was a nice little hop tang at the end.

The body was typically full, rich and tongue coating. Drinkability will vary depending on your personal taste for the style, 1 of these at a time is usually enough for me, YMMV.

Overall, a very good example of the style and better than some much more highly hyped versions. Worth trying when you see it.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 2,048 ratings.