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

Bell's Expedition StoutBell's Expedition Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

4,126 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4126
Reviews: 1857
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.11%


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: 4,126 | Reviews: 1,857 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of ATLbeerDog
ATLbeerDog

Georgia

3.15/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2007 Version

Poured from a 12oz bottle, Pitch Black with ¼ inch dark tan/light brown head. Smell of carmel/toffee malts, coffee with hops in the background. Totally black with no light able to show thru. Heavy, heavy lacing. Strong coffee taste of espresso along with a lot of hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is creamy.

Not my favorite of this style. The hop bitterness does not balance well with the rich malts and coffee. It's a clash, like an unhappy marriage. Why can't they get along? This beer is also not as complex as others in this style.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2008 22:45:38 | More by ATLbeerDog
Photo of mpcrump
mpcrump

Indiana

3.15/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

A: Very dark pour. Black with a brown head.

S: Roasted malt, coffee, and a hint of chocolate.

T: Very heavy and bitter. Malts and coffee.

M: Thick with little carbonation.

D: Uh-huh. This must be an acquired taste.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2011 06:10:48 | More by mpcrump
Photo of Mebuzzard
Mebuzzard

Colorado

3.15/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Knownfactor for this bottle, and two more.

Pours black, perhaps some brown edging, but overall this thing is dark. That's the good part. No head at all. I could be persuaded to say it has a collar...

Aroma is boozy up front. This takes away from the nice prune and black plum, dark chocolate and molasses aromas. Too bad.

Again, booze really hinders the flavors. I know they are there. The cocoa is thinned out and the dark, soft fruits are too soaked. It has some sharp agents, too. Anise and quick roasted malt give it a bit of a kick. This one *needs* age on it. Ok with me.

Overall a nice beer. Too boozy right now to warrant higher ratings, but it has great potential.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2011 07:14:04 | More by Mebuzzard
Photo of iabeerbaron
iabeerbaron

Iowa

3.15/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked this beer up at Dirty Johns in Iowa City, IA. Beer pours a dark black color with a thick dark brown head. Smell is of roasted malts and caramel. Flavor of chocolate, malts, coffee, and carmel. Very intense flavor and very intense beer. Not sure if I was ready for this one yet.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2012 19:30:01 | More by iabeerbaron
Photo of theghost3
theghost3

Louisiana

3.13/5  rDev -26%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours an extreme dark brown, almost black. No head to speak of, just a light brown ring that disappears quickly. No lacing.

The smell is rather sweet from lots of chocolate along with some dark fruits (cherry, plums) & molasses. The taste is nothing like the smell--bitter citrus-like hop flavor with burnt coffee & some booziness. The lack of sweetness is a negative. Mouthfeel is kind of carbonated at first, but then ends up flat at the end; weird.

This should probably be aged to cut down on the bitter flavor. Not the most drinkable at this moment. An RIS should have some trace of sweetness. My concern is that if the carbonation goes away this quickly, it will be nonexistent with age.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2009 03:34:37 | More by theghost3
Photo of stegmakk
stegmakk

New York

3.1/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Well...I don't believe the hype...
As I opened it up and poured into my glass, I had to take a sniff to make sure I wasn't pouring old oil into my glass...
Dark almost black, thick, no carb
Aroma sweet raisin molasses
Taste too sweet, and not complex at all...I thought there might be a chocolate flavor there somewhere but the sweet molasses over took everything...not wretched but not great...
I loved the thick mouthfeel on this one, and for drinkability, I couldn't drink more than 1 at a time...

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2003 18:55:26 | More by stegmakk
Photo of flaminghomer
flaminghomer

Indiana

3.1/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

first, let me say that my rating on this beer will not give it justice. if i was able to rate euphoric qualities, it would get a 5. is this absinthe? is the blue gone gray in the town with the giraffe, kill the stars! hmmm... must be absinthe, i'm losing my mind!

when i poured this beer, took a look, took a sniff, and took a drink; i came to one conclusion-too much of everything. except carbonation! show me the ghost that stole this beers bubbles and i'll cut him! (sorry thats the beer talking)

i was not impressed by the first one i drank. i saved the other five for my day off. after getting over that first impression and knowing what to expect, i very much enjoyed my session with this beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2003 07:11:08 | More by flaminghomer
Photo of winomark
winomark

Missouri

3.1/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Jet black, like any good stout, but NO carbonation; not a single bubble.

Aroma: Tones of licorice, chocolate and coffee dominate. Alcohol also present.

Taste: Coffee, anise, and roasted malt help tame the noticable alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Without any carbonation, it is quite sweet and sticky. Somewhat unpleasant.

Drinkability: Dissapointing. I hope this was a bad bottle, because I just spent $14.50 on a 6-pack.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2003 15:49:35 | More by winomark
Photo of readbaron
readbaron

Illinois

3.1/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Inky black with very little carbonation

Smell's good - molassesy with some dark fruit, caramel, maybe a hint of coffee.

Taste is bitter - more hops than I expected. Can also taste molasses, alcohol, coffee and a hint of chocolate. Rougher than I expected - it would probably be better with age to mellow it out a bit. Definite bitter aftertaste.

M - thick, but missing carbonation gives it a flat feel

D - again, lack of carbonation and bitter taste made it hard to finish the bottle

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2010 00:23:01 | More by readbaron
Photo of dstc
dstc

Florida

3.08/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours dark like a stout with a brown head. Not much head though, a little flat. Does leave thin lace behind. Strong roasted malt smell and a bit metallically. Nice strong flavor with bitter aftertaste. Good, but nothing special. Somewhat thick, low carbonation mouthfeel. Average stout. I was dying to try this after seeing some reviews and had a friend bring me a six pack from Michigan since I couldn't find it here in Florida. Was also excited when I poured the first glass (I love seeing a brown head, not white, on a stout) but was disappointed in the taste. Again, it's not bad, just average.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2007 17:54:56 | More by dstc
Photo of PeterLemonjello
PeterLemonjello

Alabama

3.08/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Nice think black color with a small head of foam that fades quickly. Not a lot of lacing. Lots of yeast sediment in the bottom of the pour.

S - Roasted malts and chocolate at first sniff. As beer warms starts to smell like playdough, very odd.

T - Dark malts, slight rum flavor, chocolate, not a lot of dark fruit flavors. A sharp bitterness on the finish from the amount of yeast in the pour.

M - Nice thick/slick mouthfeel. Not too carbonated (how I like my big stouts).

D - Given the sharp bitterness, this one is not real pleasant to drink. Certainly not meant to be a sessionable beer, but the sharp bitter flavor really takes away from the overall experience and is hard for the beer to show any complexity with such a dominating force to compete with.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2009 04:27:20 | More by PeterLemonjello
Photo of 1Adam12
1Adam12

Indiana

3.08/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours black, hard pour gave it a nice 2 inch head. Smells of malt and alcohol. This seems like it's going to be hot. And it is. Tastes of a bit of malt, but it is an alcohol bomb. I want more depth! Very creamy mouthfeel, but the insane amount of alcohol on the tongue diminishes how creamy it really is. Overall....eh. Average at best.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2011 17:11:40 | More by 1Adam12
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas

Texas

3.08/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

It's my birthday! Best before date 10/02/17. 10.50% ABV confirmed. 355ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a New Blegium goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are through the roof given this beer's reputation. Acquired for $7.99 at a local beer store.

Served straight from the refrigerator but allowed to warm considerably over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

As I poured, I noticed it wasn't generating a head, so I really amped up the vigor.

A: Pours a quarter finger beautiful rich tan colour head of decent cream, good thickness, and awful retention - which is fairly excusable given the ABV, but I've seen other beers handle more than this without issue. Colour is a solid black. Not quite jet black, but dark as hell. Nontransparent and opaque, as it should be. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Coffee, chocolate, dark malts, cream, chocolate malt, caramel, roast, a bit of alcohol, and even a hint of toffee. Well balanced but not clearly focused. I'm getting excited for it. A mild strength aroma. Doesn't beat you over the head like many beers in the style.

T: Coffee, roast, intriguing chocolate, espresso, background floral hops, cacao, malty sweetness, hints of smoke, caramel, raisin, and a bit of dark fruit (maybe plum). Malty sweetness increases as it warms. No note seems particularly dominant, which is actually sort of a problem here. Without focus, it becomes messier. That's not to say it's imbalanced; the balance is only slightly off in that the flavours are too sweet. I imagine this would fade with time. I get molasses and licorice when I look for them. The flavour doesn't blow me away like I expected. It's actually somewhat disappointing. I don't get any yeast, but a bit of alcohol on the finish. There's a medicinal chocolate-covered raspberry note buried in the finish as well. It's certainly got body. I get more and more licorice as it warms. I despise licorice. Also, more raisin comes through along with the dark fruit - the best aspect of this beer. It's like the bastard child of a quad and an imperial stout, but far less enjoyable than that sounds.

The booze really warms the stomach - a bit too much.

Mf: Far too sticky for the style. Also chewy like licorice. Too smooth and wet. Outright wrong for the style; it should be coarse, dry and creamy. I'm unimpressed. This needs some work. It does have *some* dryness from the roast, but nowhere near enough. Undercarbonated.

Dr: Drinkable for the high ABV, but underwhelming within the style. I like the experimentation, but there are far better imperial stouts at this price point. I honestly wouldn't get this again unless it was aged or on draught. They need to tone down the sweetness and fix the mouthfeel. It does hide its ABV well in the taste, but not so much in terms of heat. I look forward to trying more Bell's, but this was a huge disappointment.

C+

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2012 02:28:15 | More by kojevergas
Photo of Brent
Brent

Kentucky

3.05/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured a stygian black - no light could escape the gravitational pull of this beer black-hole. A tannish head quickly fizzed about, and then departed, thereafter the beer seemed quite lightly carbonated. Aroma was sweet and creamy, boasting of highly roasted malts. Dark roasted malt flavors packed the liquid, like strong brewed coffee, without the coffee flavor. Mouthfeel was rather disconcertingly thin, which seemed out of place against the onslaught of roasted malt. Hops in the finish vied with a rather harsh alcohol flavor for control of the finishing note, with the alcohol winning out after a hard-fought battle. Overall, the flavor profile seemed out of whack for the style - a great deal of effort had gone into crafting the beer, but the final product is one which failed to win me over.

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2003 07:30:32 | More by Brent
Photo of DuqTroops
DuqTroops

Texas

3.05/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance - very very dark in color with a tannish head atop the body.

Smell - lots of great aromas from this. chocolate / coffee

Taste - overwhelming taste of alcohol. too much for this lightweight. the smell is a lot better than the taste.

Mouthfeel - too much alcohol in the taste and could not handle this.

Drinkability - i couldn't handle one beer, let alone two.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2006 19:18:03 | More by DuqTroops
Photo of tgbljb
tgbljb

Pennsylvania

3.05/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a very deep broen color witn minute tannish coating.
Smell is very significant for alcohol, with some bittersweet chcolate in the background.
Taste is too sweet and syrupy. The alcohol is definitely present, with an almost syrupy sweetness. There are some hops present but they are too astringent.
Left a not pleasant taste in the mouth.
Just drinkable at best. Not worth the money.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2008 00:42:20 | More by tgbljb
Photo of largadeer
largadeer

California

3.05/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance - Black in color, viscous and oily. An inch of dark brown head rises and falls over the course of a few minutes.

Smell - Sweet and roasty with a hint of alcohol. Molasses and dark chocolate are very pronounced, with undertones of licorice and vanilla.

Taste - Bold and bitter. Moderate sweetness; flavors of molasses and dark chocolate are met with an almost burnt bitterness. The finish is long and coating, leaving a bittersweet aftertaste. Well crafted, but too intense, acrid and sweet. If that's your thing, you'll probably love this.

Mouthfeel - Incredibly rich and creamy; easily one of the most full-bodied brews I've had. Medium to low carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2008 22:56:32 | More by largadeer
Photo of GJ40
GJ40

North Carolina

3.05/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Sampled from a 12oz bottle in a pint glass.

A - A deep, dark black beer with no light able to fight through it. A thick, creamy tan head.

S - Strong roasted aroma with chocolate and coffee notes.

T - Sweet, malty and syrupy. This one really caught me by surprise. I guess I've been focusing on hops and IPAs too much these days. I just couldn't enjoy this but I attribute that more to the style than the beer.

M - Very thick and chewy. A bit like cough syrup. Good moderate carbonation with lots of tiny bubbles.

D - I found this way too rich and malty to enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2008 10:22:22 | More by GJ40
Photo of walkinginplace
walkinginplace

North Carolina

3.05/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

Being a fan of Bell's Brewery and having read all the hype on Beer Advocate for Bell's Expedition Stout I expected to really enjoy this one but I can't say that I did.

A: Thick and as dark as I have seen, strong head, seriously pitch black though

S: Strong coffee and dark chocolate smell, pretty much what you would expect

T: Syrupy would be the first word I would use. This tasted very thick like chocolate syrup (more so than I would have liked or expected). Heavy dark chocolate taste but not as heavy on the coffee taste as one might think. Not terrible but definitely not as good as I had expected.

F: Creamy and syrupy would sum this up nicely. Thick to say the least.

Overall: Not a fan. Taste was OK and the smell was excellent but the mouthfeel is simply too thick to enjoy much. My least favorite Bell's brew thus far.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2013 20:52:39 | More by walkinginplace
Photo of nmyers
nmyers

Michigan

3.03/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured black with a very thin dark brown head on it with little retention and it looked really thick. It seemed to ooze out of the tap. The smell was good molasses, raisins and dates very sweet smelling. The smell was much better than the taste, it was slightly sweet in the beginning and finished very bitter. There was not much alcohol flavor for being 10.5%. It also had very little carbonation. Over it was ok because I am a fan of stouts.

Serving type: on-tap

04-05-2008 19:20:12 | More by nmyers
Photo of quasimoto
quasimoto

Ohio

3/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I lucked out, this one isnt oxidized, unlike the the Brothers had.

A - Dark opaque black and way syrupy. there is barely any head. But what there is it is dark tan. Not the greatest thing I'd like to see, but who cares.

S - Dark malts. Chocolate, some molasses, some smoke. It's pretty good but not really strong.

T - Threre is some gummy paper and some alcohol. These are encompassed by the afforementioned flavors of chocolate, coffee, molasses, and I guess there is cardboard in there. The after taste reminds me of cigarette butts.

M - Thick, and chewy. there is no carbination to speak of and there is some bitterness at the end.

D - It is a little heavy , not a session beer. If it wasnt for the aftertaste of the cigarettes it would be ok.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2006 01:34:29 | More by quasimoto
Photo of joepais
joepais

Maine

3/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to MuenchenerKindl for this one too

Bottle poured into a sniffer produced fingers worth of coco colored head that turned quickly to a skin coat of lace .it sat on top of a jet black body

Aromas of vinous fruit, fist time I really can say that but pretty mild aromas after that some toasted malts

Flavors here roasted malts and chocolate some raisins with a heavy bitter finish

Thick and creamy finishes with oily coating on the tongue

I don't know I think I had this bottle to early will have to revisit this one was bottled Nov 07 I've being drinking a lot of stouts lately and this is not one of the tops but not on the bottom either

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2008 21:20:24 | More by joepais
Photo of LCB_Hostage
LCB_Hostage

Pennsylvania

2.99/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Came across this on the beer menu at a restaurant last night and was excited to give it a try. Bell's distribution around us is spotty at best, but I did see a couple Six-packs of this in a bottle shop recently and almost picked one up. The $20 price tag was a bit high for the moment, though so I held off. Now very glad that I did.

Served on tap into a tulip

A: Deep, dark black. Little to no head by the time it arrived at the table. No lacing to speak of.

S: Less than I would have expected. Alcohol was very present as was roasted grains and some sweet fruit. A bit of chocolate lingered, too.

T: Again, not quite what I was anticipating. Almost cloyingly sweet and relatively smooth upfront with some alcohol warming on the way down, but not that much given the 10%+ ABV. I guess I'd say this was very well balanced, because no individual flavor stood out (unless you consider sugary sweetness a flavor). It did leave a trace of rather unpleasant bitterness on the back of the tongue -- not in a hoppy way, but more in a "something burnt" way.

M: The only word I could think of as I was drinking this was "oily." I expected a syrupy character from a RIS, but this just coated everything and wouldn't come off.

O: I guess I'm just not in Bell's target audience. This is the second highly acclaimed Bell's beer (the other being 2-hearted) that seem seriously over-hyped to me. This wasn't a bad beer by any circumstances, but neither was it something that lived up to its reputation or pricetag. I know that "balance" is supposed to be a sign of superior brewing skill, but to me, if NOTHING stands out about a beer, it's balanced to the point of being boring. And I would have to say that for me, Expedition Stout was an $8 glass of Meh. Oh well, different brews for different crews.

Serving type: on-tap

03-28-2013 15:32:53 | More by LCB_Hostage
Photo of frank4sail
frank4sail

New Jersey

2.98/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Not much of any action at all on the pour. I poured agressively and got just a little hint of a light brown head. Nice dark opeque thick look but no real carbonation. Big sweet coffee, plum, raisen smell with some bitter chocolate as well. Big strong abv , black coffee, and bitter burnt caramel. The mouth is thick and flat.. I am shocked after seeing the reviews here.. but for me it is a flat, overly intense beer that really lacks balence.Dissapointing for me... Not drinkable enough to have another.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2003 02:58:42 | More by frank4sail
Photo of Stoneman78
Stoneman78

California

2.98/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Received in trade from MuenchenerKindl

Appearance is clear brown-to-black hue, huge thick brown head of creamy condensed foam dissipates to a moderate thickness, moderate lacing on the glass

Smell is toasted malts and alcohol mostly, tones of bitter chocolate and coffee, some toffee and earthy green tones

Taste is bizarre, so much so that I wonder if this may be a bad batch, mostly burnt bitter coffee malts and a strange load of dark fruits and grassy earthy hops, some sour buttermilk sensation creeps through, the finish is bitterly acidic with slight alcohol warming

Mouthfeel is medium-to-full bodied, creamy smooth texture borders on watery, low carbonation

Drinkability is poor, i have heard a lot of good things about this beer and would love to give it another shot, perhaps on draft, just in case this was a bad bottle. if this taste is indeed representative, there is just too much sourness and bitter burnt malts to warrant a return visit

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2008 05:28:17 | More by Stoneman78
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,126 ratings.