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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.

4,913 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,913
Reviews: 1,915
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.85%
Wants: 418
Gots: 1,100 | FT: 77
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: 4,913 | Reviews: 1,915 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bierman9
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Damn! Had you set a glass down of this in front of me I would have said that this was my homebrew Russian Imperial Stout. It was almost identical!!
Start with the pour. Came out like motor oil. Black, black, black....and with no head at all!! Exactly like my homebrew. I figure I did not let mine condition at room temp enough, and the cold cut-off any carbonation. Just like this bier. No carbonation, head, or lacing at all.
The nose was roasty, rich, and exhibited dark fruit notes. Mmmmm!!
The mouthfeel was nice!!!! Medium to full body, with a real smooth feel on the tongue. Again, NO carbonation whatsoever...
Flavor was rich, full-flavored....coffee, roasty....dark fruit flavors like figs, currants and raisins.... with a bit of a hoppy finish. Way good!!
Again, SOOO much like my homebrew. Does that mean my brew is real good, or is this bier lacking something...lol???

Still, enjoyed verrry much!! Thnx to jeffboo!! Prosit!!

overall: 4.3
appearance: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5


Bierman9, Mar 21, 2003
Photo of jsgpu90
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark, dark, dark chocolate color with a thin white head. I picked up a case (gotta love PA state laws where you have to buy a case) around Christmas. I just got to reviewing this and I love it. There is a sweet smoky malty taste to the beer and the carbonation was spot on. I am confused as to why some people had such a negative review of this beer because it had no off or cardboard tastes to it. There was an alcohol aftertaste and it was thicker than your average stout, but in my opinion that is the appeal of this beer. Hopefully your experience is more in line with mine than the other reviewers.

jsgpu90, Apr 13, 2008
Photo of macster
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Just a huge, classy, but muscular Imperial Stout. Pours inky black and as thick and viscous as year old motor oil. Develops a thin slick of a deep tan head. Luscious, rich aromas of roasted espresso beans, dark semi-sweet chocolate, molasses and a faint smokiness waft up from the snifter. The palate is near perfection; syrupy thick and oily with a restrained minimal level of carbonation. This is the mouthfeel all big Imperial style beers should attain. The first sip is a life changing experience. Intense flavors of melted dark chocolate and espresso are initially noted followed by a pleasing molasses/maple syrup/dark fruit sweetness. The finish shows off a subtle presence of the alcohol to warm things up with a late palate appearance of a hefty hop bitterness to cut down the sweetness of the immense malt profile. An amazing, close to perfection beer. One that shouldn’t be missed.

macster, Mar 09, 2006
Photo of DuffDadddy
4.45/5  rDev +5%

DuffDadddy, Sep 15, 2014
Photo of JMD
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pitch black with rocky dark tan head. Leaves heavy lacing down the glass.

S: Big toasted malt aroma. Some molasses, ripe dark fruit and tobacco.

T: Rich flavor with tons of toasted malt character. Molasses and bittersweet chocolate. Hints of fresh brewed coffee and tobacco. Finished with a light touch of hops. Alcohol is masked nicely.

M: Thick, creamy, and viscous. Full bodied and robust.

D: This is an outstanding stout. Rich and bold, yet highly drinkable. Very well crafted.

JMD, Jan 19, 2010
Photo of paulthebeerguru
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured into a snifter. It poured a deep, rich blackish brown, allowing no light to pass through it. Head is a deep brown/beige that starts from the pour and rises about 3/4 of an inch. very nice lacing.

S: Rich malts, chocolate, coffee, yeasts & toffee. Beautiful aroma with this beer.

T: Strong toffee off the bat, with a quick flavor of liquorice to take it away. Strong presence of alcohol in the taste, but good. Decent bitterness on the ending of this.

M: Definitely thick and syrupy...extremely complex on the palate.

D: delicious, strong and reasonably priced...what else could you ask for. Get it if you can.

paulthebeerguru, Jan 18, 2008
Photo of mjl21
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired bottles via trade from both rallison and alleykatking...not sure who gave me this specific bottle, so thanks to both Ryan and Josh. 12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter. This is part of batch 7251 and was packaged on 2/25/06. No abv info is given.

A-Pours black with a very dark brown 3/4 finger head that dissolves quickly into a small dark ring that hovers for the duration that it is in the glass. A lone island of foam also sticks around.

S-When I first cracked this open, it smells exactly like a chocolate malt that I would get at an old fashioned soda stand. Once it is in the snifter, it smells like a big imperial stout. Vanilla notes and alcohol are noticeable and as it warms, roasted malt and smoky notes are quite evident.

T-Sweet chocolate malt hits the tongue first and the initial sweetness stays for awhile. Alcohol is picked up as it goes down and it gives this beer a nice warming feel. I found the level to be perfect and did not find it to be abrasive. The roasted malt flavor is generally not super dry on the tongue and it gives off great notes of coffee.

M-Not as heavy as expected. I would put it in the medium spectrum. It is very smooth and does not have very much carbonation.

D-What a great nightcap. After 3 years this one is a great sipper that I would love to have more access to in California.

This was a great beer. Curious to see how a fresh version would compare to this one. Also would like to try the BA version.

mjl21, Apr 29, 2009
Photo of drxandy
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12oz to standard pint, pours a jet black with a creamy brown that retains excellently eventually fading, looks awesome

smells of raisins, creaminess, chocolate, roastiness, mmm

taste is bitter roasty dark malt, creaminess, sweet hot alcohol, thick body, chocolate, raisins, plums, figs, hops play in the background, molasses, vanilla, coffee, wow

mouthfeel is thin from alcohol solventness but thick from everything else, roasty, bitter, enjoyable, mmm great flavors

drxandy, Dec 31, 2008
Photo of hosehead83
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz. bottle into a wine goblet.
Inky-black in color, with a short, thick head of tan foam.
Aroma-Roasted malt, dark chocolate
Taste-Dark roasted coffee, baker's chocolate, charred steak, nice hop bite. Big, bold character, complex and flavorful. Have one now and cellar one for later. Top-notch Russian Imperial.

hosehead83, Nov 08, 2010
Photo of younger35
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Received in a trade from tpd975. Have wanted to try this brew for quite some time and can’t wait to take a sip. Drank from my Bear Republic Red Rocket Ale pint glass.

Appearance- Pours the blackest of blacks. This is by far the murkiest, dirtiest, oiliest, grimiest beer I’ve ever seen and it’s beautiful. Thin dark brown head that slowly recedes leaving a soft cap and fluffy collar. Fantastic lacing is randomly left around the side of the glass.
Smell- Rich chocolate and sweet molasses seem to jump out of the glass into my nostrils. Dark ripe cherries and hints of citrus are surprisingly prevalent and stronger than any other IRS that I’ve smelled. Roasted coffee, caramel and toffee help bring all the scents together allowing some alcohol to show. Incredible!
Taste- Extremely in your face, brash flavors that scream at my taste buds. Starts with a roasted toffee sweetness that tickles the tongue and quickly gives way to dark roast coffee. Nice bitter fruity kick reminiscent of raspberries shocks the palate back to its senses. Finishes with a slight alcohol kick that leaves an espresso like aftertaste that doesn’t seem to ever leave. So amazingly good but honestly was somehow expecting more after the nose. Amazing how big everything is in this brew.
Mouthfeel- So thick and rich it seems to coat your entire mouth in an oily, viscous substance. Velvety smooth with tiny carbonation that fits perfectly.
Drinkability- This is definitely a beer that should be sipped and slowly enjoyed. It’s so complex and flavorful that I’m almost at a loss for words. Wish I had more access to beers from Bells but so far the two that I’ve had (Two Hearted) are tremendous. I enjoyed this beer thoroughly and can’t thank tpd975 enough. Terrific beer!

younger35, Sep 11, 2007
Photo of WMEugene
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark black color with a thick tan head that dissipates to a think layer. Good lacing.

S - Roasted malts, cocoa. Something herb or spices in the nose. Very nice. A bit of alcohol as well.

T - Thick dark roasted malts, cacao and coffee notes. Faint hops and herbs/spices. A bit of alcohol as well.

M - Full bodied. Awesome drinkability. Great carbonation levels. Nice aftertaste.

O - Bells Expedition Stout is a fantastic Russian Imperial Stout. Another well done beer by Bells...well worth the time, expense and effort!

WMEugene, Jan 13, 2012
Photo of ummswimmin
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this into a goblet to savor this evening. We don't get Bell's in New Jersey, and I was glad to emigrate a bottle of Expedition into the state. I have been cellaring a bottle for about a year now.

I used a goblet because I was all out of snifters. The stout was as dark as midnight and about a half a finger of foam. Expedition smells amazing. You get coffee, tobacco, and a little like bourbon.

I enjoyed sipping this fine stout. The texture is perfect and the flavor is extremely well balanced. The coffee/espresso flavor is sublime.

Yet another amazing Bell's brew. I really wish I get could get beers like Expedition and Two Hearted here.

ummswimmin, Jan 07, 2012
Photo of BamaBeerBuff
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This was bottled in February 2008.

A: It's a deep jet black with a really creamy chocolate colored head. The head looks like melted down milk chocolate and recedes slowly, leaving some nice sheets and lattices of lace as it goes. More lacing than one might expect for a beer with such a high ABV--I'm pleased. You really can kick the head back up nicely with a good swirl, too. The delicate, fine carbonation is visible in the head development.

S: Smell isn't as intense and robust as I would expect, but it's still really complex. Loads of cocoa and bittersweet chocolate, buttery rum aroma, some bitter, pungent espresso aromas. Upon each return to the glass my nose seems to find something new. Dark fruits now begin to make their entrance almost 10 minutes after the initial pour. The complexity is pleasing, but it's just not robust or chocolaty enough for me to bump it up.

T&M: The mouthfeel on this is absolutely perfect. Unreal silkiness and smoothness. It's got JUST enough carbonation to get by, and that's the brilliance of it. This is a huge beer that demands all your attention. Tons of flavors--sweet fudge (interplay of chocolate with a buttery/caramel flavor), figs/raisins, tempered with some bitter espresso and a kiss of earthy hops. The finish is long, but not abrasively bitter or roasty. No one flavor dominates, but the totality of the experience is overbearing.

D: So big it's not that easy to drink. Can't hamper it THAT much though, because its to style. I'm laying down a couple of bottles of this to see how it ages. I would only hope that some of the more intricate fruit and chocolate flavors continue to emerge at the expense of the hops (not a big fan of psycho-hopped RIS's). Anyway, get yourself a bottle and sip it on down--this one's a great.

BamaBeerBuff, Oct 21, 2008
Photo of toolbrew
4.44/5  rDev +4.7%

toolbrew, Nov 07, 2014
Photo of OrangeMen
4.44/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 8/22/14
Consumed 11/2/14

Appearance- Pours pitch black, opaque. Almost no head present, slight razor thin. Agitated beer and out pops a beautiful mocha/cinnamon colored head. Frothy and thick, dissipates back down.
Smell- Big dark chocolate notes, roasted malts as well. Some nice sweeter caramel aromas come through, dark fruits as well w/ maybe a tinge of alcohol.
Taste- Bitter roasted/charred malt, accompanied by nice dark chocolate notes, lingering coffee. Nice craminess throughout, caramel, almost mocha type flavors, pick up some dark fruits as well.
Mouthfeel- Excellent thick/full mouthfeel. Super creamy and super silky. Feel really enhances and accentuates the wonderful flavors. Moderate amount of carbonation.
Overall- Wonderfully balanced flavors, intense bitterness is finely offset by creamy taste and feel. The aroma and mouthfeel are perfectly wrapped into the overall enjoyment of this beer. Everything great about this particular style of beer seems to be present and celebrated in this beer.

OrangeMen, Nov 02, 2014
Photo of M_C_Hampton
4.44/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: poured from a 12 oz bottle (dated 12/27/12) into a pint glass, very dark brown almost black with a short dark tan head that dissipates leaving little lacing, clear

S: coffee, chocolate, dark coco, molasses, cane sugar, sweet, espresso

T: sweet, chocolate, coffee, espresso, dark roasted malt, heavy on the malt flavor, raisins, brown sugar

M: thick and oily, alcohol present but not overpowering, little carbonation

O: an excellent RIS, flavor maintains some bitterness through the sweet with a nice dose of hops and chocolate malts

M_C_Hampton, May 17, 2014
Photo of cradke
4.44/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours very viscous with limited carbonation. Super duper jet black. Nice lacing. Not enough of a head to rank much higher.

Smell: Very forward roasty malts. A little sweet. Alcohol presence is strong. Feels very full and stout.

Taste: Very roasty grain. HUGE malt notes. Coffee is there. The alcohol is very forward and is brought out a little by the sweetness. Very big flavor profile.

Mouthfeel: Substantial presence but a little lack of carbonation at first. Spreads nicely across the palate and the carbonation grows. Very enjoyable

Overall: I think this beer is better than the some of it's parts. It's a very big, and bold beer with a huge flavor profile. For being a fresh vintage, i would have liked some more carbonation and a little less sweetness. Overall though, a great beer.

cradke, Feb 15, 2013
Photo of Tridement
4.44/5  rDev +4.7%

Tridement, Nov 02, 2014
Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Single bottle from Knightly Spirits in Orlando. Poured into a Bell's branded nonic class I picked up at Knightly on the cheap.

Simply put, this brew looks amazing. To borrow from the great film"This is Spinal Tap", how much more black could this beer be? The answer is none. None more black. The pour yielded a full inch of deep mocha foam that would not quit, and left behind a mighty series of lacing rings in its wake. It earned the 5 simply because I can't find any fault here.

Nose is also pretty damned rockin', though not this brew's greatest attribute. Roasted grain, coffee, chocolate and cream - a bit of dark fruit as well. Not as potent as I've run into, but still pretty great.

Man this is one tasty stout - wish I had brought back more. Methinks a summer sojourn to Buffalo or somesuch is in order to get a few extra bottles, because as far as stouts go, this is one of the greats. Rich coffee, caramel, a nice finish of wood and toasted grain, dark fruit and a nice creaminess. Lots to think about, lots to enjoy.

The feel is just superb - silky, creamy, coats the tongue like a champ. Carbonation is mild and compliments the brew nicely.

I was excited to try some Bell's brews, and Knightly had a great selection, but I was underwhelmed/normal whelmed by the previous offerings (Pale Ale, Best Brown, respectively). But this brew really impressed me. There isn't a specific extra detail they added to the brew (anise, barrel-aging, coffee, etc), so it might not be the most unique, but it is superbly crafted and highly enjoyable. Well done to Bell's!

JohnnyBarman, Apr 27, 2012
Photo of jackndan
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bell’s Expedition Stout: In a twelve ounce brown bottle. This beer has a small label around the neck, so I believe it to be a recent vintage.

An extremely vigorous pour spills up a large (two inch) head. The head is deeply packed with tiny bubbles and pours a creamy brown color. The last few drips of the brew slowly work their way through the dense head. The color of the beer is almost pure black, and even when held up to the strongest light, does not let any light through.

The aroma is very nice, as it poured out of the bottle, I could smell the coffee/chocolate malts. Giving this brew a nice swirl emits the same aroma, very nice and rich with just a bit of alcohol.

The taste is fantastic. Extremely malty, very nice dark chocolate flavors, with a hint of dried fruits, raisins, and a tiny bit of freshly mown hay. As the beer moves over the palate, the coffee espresso flavors assert themselves. Leaves a malty aftertaste, almost like melted dark chocolate. There is a definite warming from the alcohol towards the end as well. This beer is not a smooth stout, its got more than a little bite to it as well.

Extremely tasty, and highly recommended.

jackndan, Feb 19, 2004
Photo of Kolsch
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle at Headkeepers, Greensburg PA.

Appearance: Dark to mostly pitch black. Nice head that retained throughout drink. Impressive for a RIS.

Smell: Unbelievable dark, bitter chocolate and cocoa.

Taste: Same as the smell. Extremely bitter chocolate that made you want to have another sip. Also detect some very slight raison and fig. Not as sweet as the smell would indicate. Alcohol does not appear until beer warms up. Even then it is not "HOT" but there to remind this is 10.5%.

Overall: an excellent RIS and one that I am glad was only 12oz. A bomber would have been too much.

Kolsch, Aug 23, 2009
Photo of mscudder
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a pint. Dated 8/28/12.

A - Pours a viscous black. A deep black with with a nice 2-finger dark-chocolate head. Creamy head lasts for ages, forcing me to slurp up some. Lacing is excellent.

S - Sweet chocolate, warm coffee, dark malts and a touch of licorice. Not the boldest, but certainly nice on the nose.

T - Big, bold complexity here! A great portion of dark chocolate intertwines with roasted coffee. Hops are definitely here, contributing a good deal of bitterness. I like the contrast, although I feel I would have preferred more sweetness and a bit more subdued hop profile.

M - Medium plus body with light carbonation. Creamy/chewy mouthfeel.

O - This beer is pretty damn awesome. The ABV is large and has a very, very small presence in the taste of this brew. I had this a few years back and wow did I hate it. My palette simply could not appreciate all the greatness going on in one bottle. I am greatly interested in aging one of these and seeing if it grows into something I would further love.

mscudder, Oct 30, 2012
Photo of bluejacket74
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass, the beer pours very, very dark brown with a thick brown head. Head retention and lacing are both excellent. It smells like chocolate, molasses, coffee, dark fruit and a bit of alcohol. It tastes mostly bitter with a bit of sweetness, like coffee, plums and/or figs, semi-sweet chocolate and roasted malt. The alcohol warming in the taste is noticeable, but it's not too much. Mouthfeel is full, smooth and creamy. The drinkability is good, but I don't think I'd want any more than 2 at a time. I think it's a good choice as a nightcap. IMO, it's a very good beer. Another winner from Bell's!

bluejacket74, Jan 15, 2007
Photo of Phyl21ca
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a thick black color stout with a small dark brown head with excellent retention. Aroma mainly dominated by roasted malt with some subtle coffee and chocolate notes. The roasted malt dominates taste at first and then chocolate and coffee are also easily identifiable. Creamy texture makes this even more enjoyable. It all ends with some well balance bitterness. Body is incredibly full and there is even quite a lot of sediment at the bottom of my glass. Alcohol is well hidden which I always appreciate. Very good stuff indeed.

Phyl21ca, Apr 22, 2005
Photo of Trappistfan1
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Very dark. Had a hard time coaxing a head (as some others have noted) from the bottle into a pint glass.

S - Malt, chocolate, coffee. Rich and full.

T - All of the above flavors were present, as well as a little alcohol warmth in the finish, but not overwhelming for as high as its content is. Pleasant.

M - Generally smooth and almost creamy, though sadly absent from my sample was much carbonation, which I think would have improved mouthfeel.

D - I am generally pleased with this beer. It is something I will go back to from time to time, and piqued my interest in other RIS's. Overall, another fine brew from Bell's.

Trappistfan1, Jan 11, 2009
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
95 out of 100 based on 4,913 ratings.