Dismiss Notice
Hello, is it beer you're looking for?

Learn more about beer. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for as low as 68% off the single issue price.

Subscribe now →

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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,987 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,987
Hads: 5,557
Avg: 4.21
pDev: 17.81%
Wants: 480
Gots: 1,453 | FT: 121
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: 1,987 | Hads: 5,557
Photo of AllFineThings
3.68/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pretty dark, and has a half inch head which settles down to a wisp which lingers throughout.

Smells like a dark heavy licorice and chocolate, nutty malt.

Is a medium to heavy mouthfeel.

Is a decent drinker and I could buy another single, but nothing mind blowing, just a decent stout from a good brewery.

 313 characters

Photo of vfgccp
3.68/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Black with mahogany highlights. Dark cocoa head pours 2 fingers high.

S - Raw malt, light bourbon, oak. Light cream. Mild cocoa.

T - Dark toast, burnt prunes. A lace of oak throughout the profile. Dark cocoa / coffee backend.

M - Smooth with a rolling char-bitterness. Medium/full body.

O - Very nice, particularly if you're a fan of dark-roast flavors.

 361 characters

Photo of sonicdescent
3.68/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes, original drink 1/10.

Pours a beautiful black with a thick and creamy two fingered head. Excellent retention and lacing throughout the drink.

Smell is strong chocolate and to a lesser extent roasted malt.

Taste is heavy licorice and roasted coffee way out front. Boozy.

Mouth is thick and low carbonation but has a chalky feeling. This gets better as the drink warms, and oh yeah, the drink will warm you.

I probably would pass on buying this again as it is somewhat difficult to put down due to the chalky and boozy feeling.

 550 characters

Photo of botham
3.68/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic. pours a thick opaque black with a slow forming two fingers of dark brown head that retains nicely. moderate lacings.

aroma is roasted, with malt notes of coffee, caramel, chocolate, and a burnt character that acts as the base. mild aromatic hops are present in the background. very rich in the nose, with a full profile.

taste is roasted up front, with the same malt notes as the aroma, and a very refined profile. less rich on the palate than the aroma would suggest, with just enough flavors coming through to sustain the thickness.

mouthfeel is beyond full bodied, with a thick and oily texture. finishes smooth with residual roasted malt and a bit of hops.

drinkability is decent. this is a huge brew. the thickness of the mouthfeel and the richness of the flavors present make this one a sipping beer, not shy about filling up the stomach. regardless, this is a good RIS. cheers!

 922 characters

Photo of Corndork2
3.68/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2x 12 oz bottle poured into snifter. One bottle poured and drank at a time. Both bottles finished within an hour.

A - Pitch black...Completely black... No other way to say it.

S: Mocha and coffee aromas, with the smell of alcohol pinching the sinuses.

T: Coffee, chocolate, heavy malts, and a strong taste of alcohol, which I think really clouds some of the depth. Heat sits right on the tip of the tongue, and in the back of the throat.

M - Thick and smooth.

D: The strong alcohol taste hits the drinkability for me. The tastes, smells, and feel is great, but the heat seems to muddy things up.

I bought a six pack of these bottles to try. After trying the first two I am definitely cellaring the other four. I'll try one three months from now and review again. I think a little more time will lessen the taste of alcohol, and really allow the other flavors to shine.

 876 characters

Photo of Scoobydank
3.68/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L:SLight chocolate milk head that disapears quickly. Black as night color with no light visible when looking through.
S:Burtn black coffee beans. I also pick up a little chocolate muffin?
T:Coffee lingers on the back for ever with a touch of hops. Super sweet through out. Like sweet sweet chocolate.
M:Warm fat bubbles.
D:The sweetness of this beer is a bit to much for me, could stand to be cellared for awhile. Was not bad, just had better.

 443 characters

Photo of fdrich29
3.67/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Feloniousmonk thank you for this brew.

Poured BLACK. Thick chocolate milk head that reduced to a quarter inch.

Smells like chocoate fudge and nuts.

Tastes like chocolate fudge and nuts.

Mouthfell is weird. Coats the roof of your mouth. Strange sensation.
It's like your drinking something that isn't supposed to be liquid.

Great smell and taste, but the mouthfeel is, well, odd. Worth a try, I'm on the fence with this one. Maybe another sample would help.

 474 characters

Photo of smcolw
3.67/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours like motor oil: thick liquid with no initial head. After the bottle is emptied, a quarter inch head shows up. This settles to a single bubble layer, but leaves a decent blanket of lace on the glass.

Not like a typical stout (much less a RIS): No coffee or dark chocolate smells. This comes across as a creamy brown ale to the nose. Not bad, just not what I expected.

Potent alcohol bite with a chewy, patent malt bitterness. The flavor is closest to espresso. There's a decent dollop of hop bitterness in the swallow. The brew is very thick, like half and half cream. This is enhanced by a lower level of carbonation. I think this would go very nicely with a tart dessert.

 680 characters

Photo of bjohnson
3.67/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: As I'm pouring this, I'm wondering if it's engine oil or a beer. Very thick jet black color with no head. No head=no carbonation....hmmm. Is it flat? It's got the color of a RIS, but I'm a bit curious.
S: Caramel, chocolate, coffee, dark fruit notes hit the palate all at once. Hard to decipher what is what in there. It's like getting lost in a black hole. Smells spicy and and a bit sweet for an RIS. High abv is definately noticeable.
T/M: Prickly on the lips even before I swallow some. Chocolate, coffee, caramel, and dark fruit flavors blend in and out with each peaking through here and there. After it initially goes down, theres an over eager sweet spicyness that floods the senses. Big long coffee aftertaste with a slight bitterness. Smooth, creamy, and velvety in the mouth. Coats the mouth, but doesn't hold like oil. Washes away pretty fast leaving you with a dry aftertaste. Huge body and very very complex. No carbonation on this guy makes me wonder if I'm drinking oil or a beer.
D: Abv is very noticeable. This could be a very drinkable RIS if it just calms a bit more--Possibly I cracked it too soon? Luckily I have another in the fridge. Pretty decent tasting RIS from Bell's, but I'm not sure about it. There was just something amiss. Everyone seemed to like it, but I'll swim against the current on this one.

 1,338 characters

Photo of bkilpatr
3.67/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass on 02/25/08. Had this bottle in my fridge for a couple months.

Pours thick and black, dark black. Maybe a little too thick. About a finger and a half of chocolatey colored head. The head quickly disappeared after a couple minutes. Smells roasty and lots of chocolate and coffee. Very nice smell.

Taste is of dark chocolate and coffee. Sweet at first then a bitter aftertaste. The alcohol taste (10%) creeps in there. This one's definitely a sipper. It's a very thick beer. The carbonation is low and it leaves a sticky coating around the mouth.

Drinkability I think is lower on this one. It is very tasty, but the thickness and stickiness make it harder to drink.

I'd like to try and find a couple more of these, age them for awhile and see if that improves the drinkability.

 823 characters

Photo of nickss
3.67/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass.

The darkest beer I've ever seen? Quite possibly. Absolutely pitch black with a smallish chocolate colored head. Aside from its intense darkness, nothing to write home about.

Delicious aroma... wine and vinous berries... molasses and even a touch of peppermint,,, quite interesting. Strong toffee notes are intermingled with some coffee as well... fantastic and complex aroma.... so much going on here.

Bam! Bitterness hits the tongue like a freight train.... strong coffee flavours with a huge alcohol kick. Certainly not as balanced as the aroma would have suggested... this one is way too hot and could use a year or more in the cellar. As it warms, it rounds out a bit more... some of the berries come through the bitterness. Still... I'll be aging the rest of these for another time.

The mouthfeel would also be aided by some aging. The carbonation is a bit too active in my opinion, making the beer seem a bit thin (which it most certainly is NOT).

Big time sipper... it's going to take me well over an hour to drain through this one. Will that change as the beer ages? Stay tuned....

 1,130 characters

Photo of tim9887
3.66/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours very dark brown, with a very nice light brown 1" foam head

Aroma: Very sweet. Molasses & chocolate dominate along with the booziness that's pretty noticeable in the nose.

Taste: The molasses & chocolate from the nose are very present in the palate as well. Rich and roasty; heavy on the malts. Not a whole heck of a lot in the way of hop bitterness. Very sweet & boozy.

Mouthfeel: Not very carbonated. Rich, creamy, & smooth... like a chocolate milkshake in that respect. Moderate alcohol warmth felt in the palate.

Ok. I prefer a little more carbonation and more roastiness. This stout was very sweet... maybe a bit too sweet for me. I prefer a bit more hop bitterness in RIS's.

 743 characters

Photo of chanokokoro
3.66/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter

A: Dark tan two finger head, oily black beneath.

S: Smells of roasted malt, raisins, chocolate, and anise.

T: Slight chocolate roasted malt finishing in a pleasant burnt light caramel sweetness accented by the heat from the abundant alcohol.

M: Viscous and very creamy especially for an RIS. Appropriate level of carbonation.

O: A solid offering. I wish the flavors were just a bit more bold and robust.

 445 characters

Photo of BeerInReview
3.66/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It's a typical dark black stout color, but I manage to get some decent head, two fingers worth. The dark tan head gradually dissipated into a collar around the beer and provided nice lacing. I could smell a lot of malt and a twinge of alcohol.
The taste was sweet at first but quickly transitioned to heavy roasted malt. The finish left my mouth dry with chocolate notes. The beer was thin, but full bodied with an appropriate amount of carbonation.
The 10.5% ABV is making my mouth very dry and I don't think I could drink another. One is enough. Overall, the beer was good, as I would not turn this one down if offered, but I've had better stouts.

 651 characters

Photo of GoodKnight1220
3.66/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Poured from a bottle to a glass.

Very deep red, looked black, great 3 finger head, with lacing throughout.

Smelled like alcohol and heavy sweet malt.

Lots of chocolate and malt right up front, ends to a smooth sweet alcohol.

Heavy, syrupy, but surprisingly smooth.

Could drink one or two.

 295 characters

Photo of Arithmeticus
3.66/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

A: black, black, black; surprisingly, not much head; lacing after the drink was spotty
S: sweet molasses, very strong aroma
T: leathery stout with heavy streaks of molasses
M: silky and smooth; what a pleasant feeling
D: the dominating taste of molasses and the high ABV make a quick return trip not likely

 306 characters

Photo of MrKennedy
3.65/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle thanks to mulder1010 for sharing this! My portion poured into a Tripel Karmeliet tulip style glass.

Pours a thick, sludgy black colour, no light penetration and the mocha/tan coloured head of foam hangs around for most of the part. Turns into craters at times and otherwise has a nice retention.

So much going on with the smell, coffee, tobacco and plenty of malt with some chocolate too.

Taste is so much more muted, very restrained by comparison, some chocolate coming through, some coffee too but not a whole lot more, not anywhere near what you'd imagine.

Mouthfeel is big, thick, sludgy at times. You know this is a 10.5% ABV Imperial Stout.

Overall a touch disappointing, maybe i'd built this up too much in my mind. Still a good beer, but failing to deliver the taste that was expected.

 811 characters

Photo of irishgurl4
3.65/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Birthday Beer #2! Thanks to Beau (sefus12) for this next beer, Bells Expedition Stout! From batch 9459 poured into a Ballast Point shaker pint glass.

A: Pours black with a one finger chocolate head that quickly dissipates to a thin layer on top.

S: Smell is a light nose of chocolate with a huge roastiness with hints of alcohol lingering in the background.

T: Begins with a mild sweetness that makes a quick stop at chocolate before moving right into the bitter roastiness. Whoa, just saw the abv on this baby, 10.5%! It's like Ninja abv, you don't know it's there till your passed out on the floor. :P

M: Has kind of a thicker mouthfeel with a decent level of carbonation to lift the rich flavors of this beer off the palate. Bitter roast lingers for quite awhile and leaves just a little bit of a coated feeling towards the back of the tongue.

D: Another sippy beer best suited for cool nights. Warning, beware the Ninja abv!

I'd have to say that Bells Expedition Stout gets a tasty noms. :)

 1,000 characters

Photo of moulefrite
3.65/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours thick and black and just verges on motor oil. A deep brownish head appears and vanishes quickly leaving a simple ring-little if any lace. The absolute focus here is thickness and richness. The aromatics are strongly chocolate with a mellow hop bitter as well as definate coffee nuances. The mouthfeel is thick and gooey-very viscous and reminds me of a really rich chocolate malted in which the ice cream has melted and what is left is that syrupy mass of ultra rich, ice creamy turned liquid goodness. The flavors are over the top-again, much like an ultra premium chocolate ice cream than a beer. Try with a turtle sundae, or as an alternative lubricant for your engine of choice.

 688 characters

Photo of inhoc00
3.65/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Living in Chicago for almost 6 years now and this is my first bells expedition...

a- as expected, black with almost no head. in the light gives off a purple hue near the top.

s- light chocolate, bit of roasted malts. nothing over the top.

t- similar to the smell with a bit of sherry and a lot of booze. the booze then becomes an after taste that sits on the roof of your mouth. not sure if these are better with a couple years on them but perhaps.

m- has a bit of carbonation to it. not as smooth/creamy as I thought it might be.

d- the past two weeks i've had a ten fidy, founder imperial stout and a young gi bcs. this has the least drinkability. it just really boozy now and doesn't seem to hide it the way the other imp stouts do.
in the constant michigan battle of bells vs. founders in the category of imperial stouts, i must give it to founders.

 860 characters

Photo of natelocc787
3.65/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very surprised to see so many top reviewers rank this beer a 4.6 and above. Unlike others I got a nice towering dark brown head, minimal lace and aroma is burnt chocolate, roasted grains and bitter coffee. Like others I found a slight fruitiness in the taste which added a very mild tartness to the middle. Nothing special in any category, more dark chocolate flavors and roasted barley notes in the taste, mild graham cracker crust and the head did have some gold dust particles that sparkled like glitter when held to the light. Good beer but much better RIS's more readily available.

 586 characters

Photo of ryan1788a5
3.65/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a New Belgium globe.

A: Pitch black with a very thick brown head. Cascading bubbles effect. Great retention. Thick, sticky rings of lacing glue themselves to the glass.

S: Dark chocolate, lots of creamy vanilla, mild coffee. Light herbal hops. Tight berry and plum darkfruit scents are buried beneath all of this.

T: Bold flavors of vanilla extract and soy sauce strike first, then transition into earthy, spicy tastes reminiscent of black licorice. Semi-sweet chocolate chips provide a respite from some of these harsher flavors. Herbal hops add flavor and balance. Brief flashes of blackberry and plum darkfruit create some depth. Finishes with coffee and lots of lingering smoke.

M: Thick, smooth, and mouth coating. Low carbonation. Alcohol is delightfully warming, but not at all boozy.

D: Decent. A sipper to be sure, but some of the flavors here clash a bit and hinder drinkability.

Notes: Not bad, but some of the flavors clash or seem harsh. Time in the cellar would probably work wonders and smooth out this brew.

 1,054 characters

Photo of bs870621345
3.65/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 bottle

Pours black with a small mocha head and very little lacing.

Smells like roasted coffee, dark chocolate, toffee, strong bitterness, and a hint of alcohol.

Taste opens up with a slight sweetness, moving into bitter coffee and chocolate flavors. There is a long, lasting bitterness that lingers for a long time. Went very well with a nice, sweet, blueberry pie.

Mouthfeel is a tinge thin, but good carbonation.

Overall, this needs some time to smooth out. It's harsh in most aspects.

 497 characters

Photo of SportsandJorts
3.64/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: a motor oil black with some brown on the edges. Opaque. A tan head that fades slowly and leaves a nice lacing

Smell: bitter chocolate, roasted malts, some cocoa. Slight sweetness that is ver subtle compared to the bitterness in this bad boy.

Taste: chocolate, some sweet some bitter. Cocoa. Roasted malts. Bittering hops aparent throughout. Alcohol in the backend

Mouthfeel: heavy. Bitter lingers a bit. Hot alcohol kick

Overall: good. Not my favorite. Will keep you warm on a cold one. I think I will through one in the cellar to see how I like the age on this one

 582 characters

Photo of ktrillionaire
3.64/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer was properly cellared over two years.

A – Amazing. Viscous, onyx with a tan-garnet head, very sticky.

S – Boozy and dark-bready with a sprucey hop. Less roasty than I would expect, more salty and malty. Small bitter chocolate and black licorice.

T – Shockingly, vividly flavorful. Smoky and slightly estery and tanned leather with a bitter piney hop. So complex and potent, as compared to a year ago. Still not astounding.

M – Extremely thick and, dare I say, slimy.

D – Not so much. It took a 50 degree-weather day in Florida to get me crackn this one, aka once in a blue moon.

 603 characters

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 1,987 ratings.