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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.

5,194 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 5,194
Reviews: 1,956
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.85%
Wants: 436
Gots: 1,227 | FT: 85
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,194 | Reviews: 1,956 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of misternebbie
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of Methical
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of ahbithwabm
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of starshockey9
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of tom10101
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of NvMyBeer
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of Kelton
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of Mongrel
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 10/22/12.

A - Pours thick but smooth. Basically black with a nice dark khaki head that hangs around for a few minutes.

S - Smell just oozes syrupy, chocolate sweetness as soon as it hits the glass, with a touch of licorice.

T - Smooth and luxurious, with a perfect balance of sweetness and roastiness. There's dark chocolate, espresso, dark fruit and again that subtle hint of black licorice to keep things interesting. The flavors are so well melded. It's also got some over the top X factor, like umami but not really, that really sets this beer apart. Absolutely stunning with two years on it. Almost no suggestion of the big booze.

M - thick, but silky smooth. Fills your mouth to the extent that you can almost feel the bitter-sweet effervescence in your sinuses. Big sweet center that dries out nicely on the finish, leaving some lingering roastiness.

Photo of Plonk
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 edition 12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A - Moderately vigorous pour produces a huge mocha-colored, dense, sponge-like 3" head that recedes to a broken 1/8" head that remains to end leaving heavy lace. Midnight black color in the glass with no light shining through. Noticed during pouring, the stream coming from the bottle has dark crimson highlights.

S - Aroma seems a bit muted a first but after warming I get roasted malts, toffee, some baking spices and hops.

T - Hoochie momma, whadda mouthful of beer! Sweet caramel, toffee, roasted malt bitterness, l-o-n-g espresso, hops, finish, and bit of alcohol glow. Wow!

M - Big, big mouth filling dextrin, velvety smooth with hardly any carbonation bite.

D - Very drinkable, and @ +10% ABV dangerously so.

Overall impression - a big, very complex outstanding imperial stout.

Photo of OGShotzy
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of faernt
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I looked at my reviews and, diggy doo, I haven't reviewed one of my stalwarts. It pours with a pleasant head and a little bit of white on top of the cappucino. I have no idea how they do this but I'm thrilled when it happens.
It's very dark brown in this glass. I don't get much smell, (escuze me!) The taste is what I want in an Imperial. The mouthfeel is seriously thick and chocolatey. This beer is drinkable. I keep it around all year.


Each year I put back a bottle or two of Expedition Stout. Initially, I wrote the year date on the crown cap and thanks now to the Bell's site I can look for bottling dates for the batches. Tonight, as I was reading posts on the site I read one about oldest beers. I have a bottle of 1999 Expedition in the cellar and now it's open and in a chalice beside me. It poured still as expected. The aroma is chocolate and port. The taste is raisins and port with a nutty bitterness like English walnuts. The flavors are beguilingly blended. The hops are subdued into the blend. This is a silky delight. I urge any fan of this beer to go for the long aging. It's beyond any old beer I've had.

Photo of snarygare
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of RobinLee
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of draheim
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle (code 10068) poured into a snifter. Just pulled another one of these out of the cellar, sent by BucketBoy in December 2010. Thanks again!

Pours an opaque pitch black with a mocha head that dissipates immediately, leaving a thin layer of foam on the surface. Leaves oily legs on the glass.

Aroma is intensely dark, bitter roasted malt, rich chocolate, and booze. This isn't barrel-aged, but it almost smells like it is.

Taste is bitter, oily, rich, and boozy. A nice balance of some very intense elements but like a dark chocolate torte, I wouldn't want this in large quantities. 12oz is perfect.

Smooth, slick mouthfeel with a semi-dry finish.

Overall this is a solid representation of a classic Russian Imperial Stout. A straightforward, no-nonsense, very enjoyable example of the style. Probably my favorite non-barrel-aged imperial stout.

Photo of RyanCFriedrich
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of SheepNutz
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had the Expedition Stout in a 12oz. bottle poured into a tulip-style glass. It poured a deep black with only about half a finger (if that) of reddish-tan head, which dies to almost nothing quickly. There is only a trace amount of lace left on the glass. The smell is invigorating, roasted coffee with a hint of sweetness, maybe caramel or chocolate. All of these smells are brought forth in the taste. Very heavy coffee taste with a great punch of hops. The taste really wakes you up. The mouthfeel is very strong and smooth. The drinkability is a little low due to the 10% abv. A very tasty brew though!

Photo of cbill
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

picked this up after work, but didn't see the 15 dollar price tag till i was at the counter so i went ahead and bought it. poured a deep, deep black color, no light penetration, and also no head. no head at all, but still a nice looking beer. smelled like chocolate and coffee and then tasted about the same. huge flavor that sat in my mouth for 5 or 10 seconds after each drink. however, i don't think i could drink more than one of these in a sitting due to the heaviness of the flavor. very good beer, but i don't know that it was worth 15 dollars a sixer. this was my first imperial stout so i don't know if that is the normal price.

Photo of whynot44
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful black beer with a slight burgundy cast with a nice dark tan head that lingers and laces all the way down.

The aroma is complex - roasted malt, espresso, plums, raisins, hints of chocolate and smoke.

The taste is much like the aroma, a fantastic balance of sweet and bitter. Thick malty flavor, some fruity sweetness with dark roast coffee, some dark chocolate and a touch of burnt toast.

Full bodied, rich and velvety smooth with a dry but still smooth finish. There is a definite alcohol presence but not obtrusive, just warming.

Altogether, an outstanding Imperial Stout.

Photo of Homebrew35
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep drown creamy one finger sized head. Inky black body.

Smells of rich milk chocolate, espresso, light roast, sweet pleasant alcohol, vanilla and rum raisins.

Tastes like a big and rich dark chocolate beer. Espresso beans, coco, vanilla, rum, dark fruits and toffee.

Medium full, fairly dry finish considering the rich semi-sweet flavors. Low carbonation. Mid palate and somewhat in the finish I get a gritty sensation, maybe it's a roasty grain, it's a texture that's kind of off putting.

Overall this is an awesome beer. Everything is great about it, with the exception to the minor texture or feel I get mid palate. Alcohol is well hidden, big flavors, great price and very drinkable.
Batch dated sept 09
$3.30 a small bottle

4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle (Batch 9971) - into Bruges tulip: from notes.
A: The appearance is a motor oil black body, with moderate viscosity on the pour. No light making its way through the glass. The two finger, fluffy texture. The vibrant tan sticks to the glass and becomes very sticky.

S: Nice balanced medium to high intensity, the caramelized candy note is found and a smooth toffee off.

T/M: An explosion of sweet malts and a good amount of bitterness on the beer as a whole. Rich body, notes of toffee and candy, with a nice roasted finish. Good full mouthfeel with a nice glossy off.

D: Rich flavors and a well rounded stout, that comes in a six pack, yes. . super drinkable. This stout takes the cake over the rest of Bell's additions.

Photo of loving44
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've been sitting on this one for months waiting for a good time to sample it... it's time!

Pours extremely thick and black... probably the thickest stout I have ever seen. I held my pint glass up to a very bright desk lamp and no light made it's way through at all! Very little head... even after a fairly aggressive pour only a thin caramel colored film of bubbles rose and they vanished quickly. Small whisps of carbonationation can be seen slowly sneaking through the think crude of a beer to the surface.

The nose is full of dark fruits, raisin, plum, fig... also I smell chocolate pudding, black cherry, butterscotch, deep roasted coffee, and slight alcohol. The alcohol is very slight... give no hint to the massiveness of this beer.

Taste: coffee hits me right away with a deep roasted malt character that I don't think I've experienced in many stouts. A very "heavy" flavor if that makes any sense.... This is followed by rich chocolate, coco powder, ripe plum, very intence. As the beer warms more alcohol bitterness comes though.

Mouthfeel: This is like drinking tar.... the thickest beer I have ever had in my life. Carbonation is there but the massive body in this beer keeps it in check. It coats your mouth and stays there.... leaving a protective beer barrier that you will enjoy for hours!

Drinkability: I can't see how anyone could survive drinking more than one of these... two at most. The beer hides it's alcohol very well, but it will catch up with you for sure! If you can find this, pick it up. This is a must try for stout lovers!

Photo of Jwburns75
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 9/18/14, poured from 12oz bottle into snifter. Huge chocolate and dark fruit taste, very nice sweetness, laces well. Alcohol is well hidden by all the flavor. What a magnificent RIS this is.

Photo of Dryhopyourmom
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of larryarms847
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black, oily and viscous with a thin khaki head of foam.

Rich roasted coffee, caramel, dark chocolate, and sweet toffee.

Tons of roasted malt approaching burnt notes, toffee, earthy bitterness, and chocolate.

Heavy bodied, light carbonation, roasty, bitter, dry finish.

Overall, I love the HUGE roasted malt character and thick body, but the bitterness is left on the palate a little too long. Drank 1 year 3 months after bottled date (9/25/2013) and this could definitely use more time. Balanced out a tad after a year, but more time could certainly help.

Photo of fourstringer
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Brewer's Art goblet. Moderately aggressive hand. Packaged 8/22/13 according to the label.

A: Very dark brown - essentially black. Scant coat of rich brown head that quickly dissipates within 30 seconds. Light lacing.

S: Roasted malt with cacao-forward scents. Lesser coffee, dark fruit. Light pepper. Hint of piney hops. Booze. Molasses. Oh boy.

T: Sweet roasted malt notes turn into a firm hop bitterness that yields to great dark chocolate & coffee flavors. Semi-dry finish. Moderate alcohol, consistent with 10.5%, but I don't mind at all. Some oaky, bourbon notes. Toffee. Tasty.

M: Low to moderate carbonation with a full body. Silky smooth and palate coating. Top notch feel.

O: Delicious. Well balanced with solid, but complementary hopping. Excellent chocolate notes in particular. Great American imperial stout.


Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 5,194 ratings.