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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.

2,015 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,015
Hads: 5,646
Avg: 4.21
pDev: 17.81%
Wants: 490
Gots: 1,508 | FT: 125
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: 2,015 | Hads: 5,646
Photo of tavernjef
5/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Color is a deep, deep, brownish-black with a deeper purple like tone in certain lighting and is absolutley thicker then all hell. Put it up to the light, nothing? I must have a brand new batch, cuz the super dark tan head grew fast up the edge of the glass. One of the darkest heads I've ever seen, very dark tan-chocolatey brown and it is nice and frothy with some bigger bubbles on the opposite side from which I poured it. Some large patches of tight tan lace cling forever. Eventually the head shrunk down leaving a nice settled coat of caramel colored head just on top. Overwhelming aroma of chocolate, molasses, corriander, and licorice, very warm and alcoholic in back on bigger whiffs. Has an extremely fresh quality, very lightly hinted dark roastyness and coffee. Taste is damn good, super smooth and silky, nicely coats and has a bit of sweet bitterness in the finish. Heavily roasted malt with some coffee and lots of dark chocolate in there. Some spices play underneath of nutmeg, white pepper, yeasty stuff, and corriander The feel is nera perfect for a Imp. stout, very smooth, rich, silky, bold, and heavy, hardly any carbonation really and has a nice little sweet twinge in the finish and leaves your tongue with a bit of bitterness on it. This an amazing brew and is very soothing to drink. That powerful 10% is hardly noticeable in the smell or taste, but its there. It sinks in about 3/4 of the way through. A great Imperial stout thats become one of my all time favs.

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Photo of corby112
5/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On-tap at the South Philly Taproom.

Perfection! Dark black pour with a coffee colored head. Very full aroma with hints of chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, caramel. This beer is so smooth that it become dangerous at 10.5 abv. The flavor is very complex with malty chocolate and coffee, dark berries, and many other things that are silly to even try to list. Simply amazing!

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Photo of benito
5/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Here is a wonderful beer.

Dark as midnight, oily and heavy with a dark tan head that dissipates quickly. The bouquet is a mix of currant, rum, and dark chocolate (pure cocoa). Yet, it is the complexity of the taste, the swirl of different spices and flavors--coconut, cinnamon, chocolate, vanilla, raisin, burnt wood, black pepper, and smoke--that makes me swoon.

The various layers of flavor weave in and out of a smooth, albeit heavy, texture that glides across the tongue, leaving a slightly bittersweet aftertaste. For something so heavy, so strong, and so complex, I moved through my first bottle of this with frightening speed and would have kept going if I had had more on hand.

This may be the RIS by which all others should be measured. Like so many of Bell's great beers, this offering is the classiest of acts, a tasty brew, faithful to style that begs to be tried and explored again and again.

Perhaps the expedition is as much a reference to what tasting this beer entails as anything else...

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Photo of ZAP
5/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The King of Imperial Stouts in my opinion....we did a blind taste test a few years back and everything else paled in comparision..this is thick...rich...and chewy....black in color with a tinge of ruby red...no light gets through....the nose is sweet dark fruits, burnt malts, dark cocoa, and alcohol...mouthfeel is not quite as overbearingly thick as I remember...don't get me wrong because it is thick, but it is surprisingly drinkable...taste mimicks the nose. The dark cocoa and burnt malts emerge at first but as it warms it I get more of the sweet dark fruits....finishes with a dry bite...outstanding beer..among the best I've tried...

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Photo of budgood1
5/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

expedition stout pours out an opaque pitch black, ruby hued, motor oil like colour. a rather impressive dark tan head dies down slowly to tight rings of lace. looks beautiful. the first aroma to hit the nostrils is all fusel driven hops, followed by sturdy doses of alcohol laced fruiten maltiness. upon tasting...my first impression is one of raw, varnish like alcohol...laquered fruitcake...wooden, oaky, smoken notes...black malted barely roasted on an open fire. all sorts of layered chocolate and caramel flavours...just delicious in it's evil decadence. "oh yeah....i think so!" very yeasty in the bell's sort of way (very fruity) but absolutely not sour or tart. brandy, red wine notes, and a bitter but tasty hop balance of some citric zest. silky smooth, rich, creamy mouthfeel. much too easy to drink for such a high ABV brew. finishes with a fire in my belly and a smile on my face. bell's brewing brilliance at it's finest. amazing!! this is almost perfect. a superb sipper for a northern minnesota winter. the quintessential fireside brew.

a massive thank you to feloniousmonk for sending out my first sample fall of '03.

the re-review is from batch 7251 bought fall of '06.

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Photo of Bighuge
5/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer pours like motor oil. It is midnight black in appearance. Beautiful. With a creamy brown head that has some retention. On the nose, I get deep roasted malt, burnt tones, anise and licorice. Smells great. The sensory overload on the buds with the first taste is incredible. Coffee, cocoa, burnt malt, licorice, dark fruits, bittersweet chocolate and a HUGE bitterness that I love. One thing that I do not note is a significant alcohol taste. (Surprising being that it is 10%.) Saying that this beer has a full body is like saying that Claudia Schiffer is good looking. Both are understatements. This is a brew to behold.

This is the first brew I've rated 5's across the board. (I've reconsidered my stance of not giving all 5's after seeing somebody's opinion that all 5's mean exceptional in every category, but not necessarily the Perfect Beer, which I believe may be impossible to find.)

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Photo of vette2006c5r
5/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a dark black color, with a creamybrown head. The smell is very malty. The taste is massivly heavy, lots of choclate and coffeflavors, an intense malt flavor. The flavor is going to linger and the alchool blends nicley. Overall may very well be the best stout i ever had, fantastic.

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Photo of AdamB84
5/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I tried this beer from my boss who had a few bottles. One of the best stouts ever tasted. Such good aroma and mouthfeel. Pretty much no head, just like motor oil and just how I like it. Rich, Coffe, and chocaltes. Definently top 5 on my favorite beers.--

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Photo of Crosling
5/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My first Bell's beer.

Black as black gets. The head is well developed, a light chocolate brown, dense, creamy and sticky.

Deeply roasted malts, chocolate, anise, dark fruits, coffee beans, charcoal and cream all add to a splendid nose.

The texture is so smooth and so creamy. It just glides across the palate. Pecan, roasted malt, chocolate and coffee beans compete with vanilla, nutmeg and sharp fruits. The bitterness is well perceived. A delicious malt experience but it has a few issues. The lack of carbonation does not effect the flavor but it does effect the way I perceive the flavor. This could be so much better. That being said, the 11.5% tastes more like 7. Very drinkable for the style. A very solid imperial stout. Rereview. After several dozen bottling and batches, this is my favorite beer ever.

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Photo of AlexJ
5/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This 1 year+ old bottle pours viscously pitch black with incredibly thick, syruppy legs and a small, but tight dark brown head comprised of tiny bubbles. Head has some stick and leaves crusty lace streamers on my goblet.

Aroma is massive and powerful, reaching me from afar with it's song of huge malt complexity, bittersweet chocolate, sweetened espresso, charred and roasted malt, ripe plum, raisins, berries, and vanilla oak. One of those beers you could just smell forever.

Flavor explodes on my palate with tons of malt goodness, thick and viscous. Bittersweet Belgian chocolate, freshly ground Colombian coffee beans, toasted black bread drizzled with molasses, sweet dark fruit, prunes, raisins, melted brown sugar and more. There are hints of charred wood smoke and a perfect hop finish that is green and piney. As it warms, some sweetness emerges, but not cloying or obtrusive. Very complex and delicious, not a trace of the 11.5 % abv. A true masterpiece in the world of beer.

Body is just huge, with a very creamy, smooth mouthfeel and a texture like liquified silk. Feels glorious on my palate, so creamy and rich. One bottle is not enough, I NEED more! Probably the best Imperial Stout I've ever had, magnificent.

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Photo of HopsHops
5/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5




F@ckin Expidition STOUT YES!!!! IN YOUR FACE!!!

5... all around....dark chocolate love...sweet dark blackness

in your FAce!!! LOL this is how it is f@ck the rest i hope this review doesnt get revoked because it is truely passionate...

as far as drinkability i can obviously drink alot of it F@ck it...lol this is some awesome imperial stout...ffsITS STRONG u are missing out if u ignore the fuckin price....i was blind but now i see...Again, in your face...this one is unbelievable i will be buying it if itys in the store again...icant wait

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Photo of alexgash
5/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

100th review time. I've been hanging onto this one for awhile. I drank it's five carton mates last winter, and it was all I could do to not touch this one. This bottle was from the 2001 batch. This beer/batch is also now the number one beer on my short, but growing list. This is also my first (and last?) all "5s" beer. It pours as black as any beer or used motor oil I've ever seen. The head, which is on the smaller side, is a dark brown (probably the darkest head I have seen). Beautiful. The nose is insanely complex: chocolate, rum, raisins, plums, alcohol, oak, soy sauce, ???. I'm getting dizzy. Taste is ahhh. Big, rich dark fruity malts start off, then chocolate caramel takes over, then smoky oakiness, and then, finally, roasted bitterness. Alcohol is there, but it doesn' feel like 11.5%. Mouthfeel is thick, chewy, yet beautifully smooth. I could drink this until detox.

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Photo of brubrew2001
5/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was shocked by the Brothers review. This is one of my favorite Imperial stouts as well as one of my favorite beers. The taste is intense with a great alcohol warmth and bitterness at the end. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. This is a big beer. A cold night, a fire place and an Expedition served not too cold is a true delight.

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Photo of masonjer
5/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Expedition stout! I have had this beer out of the bottle, on tap, on handpull, fresh, slightly aged, 10 years old and enjoyed it each time. This might be my favorite beer of all time. Pours pitch black, huge aroma of roast and bitter hops, chocolate and even a touch of bitter licorice. Taste is much the same, fills the mouth and coats the tongue. A great sipper that is complex and full of flavor. Good stuff.

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Photo of santoslhalper
4.97/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearence: Pours a midnight black with a dark, chocolaty head. Leaves decent lacing. A near-perfect looking stout.

Smell: Smells of roasted nuts and chocolate with a little bit of hops shining through. Stout heaven. The sniff of all sniffs.

Taste and Mouthfeel: This tastes like a steak!! Its a steak in a bottle! Fabulously complex and perfectly balanced. There's no alcohol there what-so-ever. A huge, grand tasting beer that has to be sipped to be understood. Rich, malty goodness with a great amount of hops finishing off this well-rounded beer. I can't say enough, the best tasting stout I've had to date. Feels nice and chewy in the mouth with a rich, creamy texture that just doesn't quit.

Drinkability and Overall: I didn't think my long-time favorite Storm King could be topped, but goddammit this did it. Bell's totally suprised me with this. If this were more readily available this might be one of the few beers I drink. This is my new desert island beer. As close to perfection in a stout as you can get. Unbelievable.

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Photo of dotsonjamesg
4.97/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Special thanks to jcdgoad for recommending this brew to me....

I purchased this brew from liquorama.net. Not that bad of a price either but shipping costs made it a little pricey, but hopefully worth it. I would really like to point out that Russian Imperial Stout is my favorite style, so you can imagine that I tend to have somewhat of a bias concerning them. In my defense, I would like to let those who read this know that I also grade them very harsh. If this one is truly as good as I have heard, it must be truly impressive; though I have noticed the wide-array views so I am very skeptical and curious.

Served in a chilled 14oz snifter

Appearance: Whoa...probably one of the thickest, darkest ales I have ever poured. The brew had a thin, ½ finger head that quickly dissipated. I have heard some complaints stating the brew is over-carbonated. Since my head was so weak, maybe my pour wasn't aggressive enough. Still looks good to me.

Smell: Probably one of the most aromatic stouts I have ever experienced. I poured the brew and set it aside, as not to be hindered by the heat of my "super-laptop." The brew is sitting about 18 inches away from my nose and I can still smell it...not very common, even with the most aggressive of stouts. The nose is full of chocolate, fig, currants, dark roasted malts, a tinge of hops, and alcohol.

Taste: Much like its intense nose, the brew is rich with dark roasted malts, chocolate syrup, and alcohol. Starts with a smooth and intense chocolate flavor and moves in to brutal bitter, dark roasted coffee-like flavor. The bitterness is harsh and lasts for quite some time. I can see why some people have given this brew some varying reviews. It stays true to its legacy in being a Russian Stout, but it might be a little too bitter. Russian Stouts should be strong, and extremely sugary. This brew is absent of the EXTREME levels of caramelized sugars, commonly found in many Russian Stouts. The enormous, backed-up bitterness may be too intense for most people.

Mouthfeel: Thick, velvety, and very smooth. Carbonation was also pretty nice and matched well.

Drinkability: It is a definite sipper. If you can stand the extreme bitterness, it is heavenly, but you have to possess the ability to drink some of the heaviest of ales ever brewed; and this most certainly qualifies. This brew is extreme, and that's being nice. Don't let the simplistic label or bad reviews fool you...this epic-brew is anything but simplistic. Its character is tremendous and unfathomable by most, and enjoyed by even fewer.

Excuses for the bad reviews? Russian Stouts are definately an aquired taste. This one is pretty intense and not as balanced as others and will probably drive away most people who aren't use to the extreme levels of burnt-bitterness, flavor of alcohol, and syrup-like viscosity.

I would recommend this only to a seasoned Russian Imperial Stout drinker. I would also recommend a very nice cigar with this lovely brew, it would match perfectly.

Enjoy this as much as I did.



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Photo of hopdog
4.97/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle and tap multiple times and more to come!

Poured a dark black with an averaged sized brown head. Aromas and tastes of mocha chocolates, roasted malts, and light bitter coffee. This is one good tasting beer. Alcohol content well hidden. Smooth and easy to drink.

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Photo of chargerfanjess
4.97/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is an incredible beer....great smell of coffee toffee and burnt sugar, mouthfeel was not to thick but thick enough to be considered big, definately not syruppy. The taste is phenominal with great toasted notes and coffee overtones Very very drinakble at a slow pace...carefull do not get too loaded!

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Photo of cretemixer
4.97/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours thick, not really black, more of a garnet so deep it seems black. Not much head to speak of, even after a vigorous pour. Chocolate fudge & coffee aromas are so strong that I can actually taste them before I take my first sip. It almost smells like malted chocolate chip pancakes with an alcohol based currant syrup. The first sip coats my mouth and oozes down my throat warming everything as it goes down. A "belly warmer" as Gusler calls it. Bitter chocolate like fine Dutch cocoa is at the forefront, currants and port wine follow behind. The carbonation is not apparent unless you just let a swallow sit in your mouth for a while. Wow this beer has some weight to it! There's a burnt toast aftertaste that comes through at the finish and lingers for a good long while. A little more head and it would have been 5's accross the board for me.

A powerhouse of a brew that will cellar well. Another great Bells product. Their best so far IMHO.

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Photo of jtw5877
4.97/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

An excellent beer, pours a deep dark black thick motor oil color. Little head, but on a beer like this that is not a problem. Smells like coffee, toffee, chocolate, and caramel. A rich roasted malt experience. This beer lives up to the hype, and exceeds it.

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Photo of cokes
4.95/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I am stunned by this amazing concoction. A masterpiece through and through. It is easly the best imperial I have tried. As good, if not better than the much heralded Storm King.

Expedition pours pitch black...light enters but cannot escape. A wispy tan head appears, but the beer itself is hardly carbonated. Makes the mouth feel wonderfully slippery.

Smell is of dark fruit, charcoal, sharp hops and alcohol. Taste contains all of these plus expresso, chocolate, molasses, caramel, and faint vanilla bean. Starts with some burnt sweetness, the comes the onslaught of the hops (cascades?). Even the huge hop profile is quickly buried beneath the avalanche of massive roasted flavors. Alcohol is not too evident (especially for 10%ABV) but provides a delighful warming sensation.

Very well integrated right now, but I can't wait to see how this matures. Kepping my hands off the rest will truly test my will-power.

Update 3.22.03:
(2yr old bottle.) Holy shit.

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Photo of hopslamds
4.95/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a pitch black, thick, with a small tan head. Aroma of roasted malt, dark chocolate, and a suttle hops. Fresh is a bit hot, which tends to mellow over time and become dangerously smooth. Definitely a wonderful beer that is readily available (when in season) and well priced. Buy and age this beer every year. This truly gets better every year.

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Photo of ManekiNeko
4.95/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle served lightly chilled in a Trois Pistoles goblet.

Appearance: Inky black with no highlights whatsoever. Wow, über-dark. Topped with a fantabulously gorgeous and healthy mahogany brown head. It eventually settles down to a film and a ring, but only after a good long while. Extraordinary lacing, just plain extraordinary.

Smell: Dark roasted coffee, high quality cocoa, light prunes, mild smoke, and slight biscuit aromas. Damn, that's dark and complex. I spent a good few minutes just sniffing this incredible elixir of the gods.

Taste: Intense and bittersweet coffee flavor with hints of smoke. Notes of prunes and raisins. Aftertastes of pepper and piney hops that last forever. Just friggin' incredible.

Mouthfeel: Thick, robust body. I've often pondered comparing the body of a beer to a woman's body, but have quavered for consideration of those possessing homozygous sex chromomes. Now, I shall throw caution to the wind and just say it: if this beer were a woman, she'd have the body of a 50's starlet like Jane Mansfield of Marilyn Monroe. Va-va-voom!

Drinkability: Well, I sadly only have one bottle, and this is it. *sniff* >.< *weep* I love this. Trades will be made, oh, yess.. yes they will. Worthy of it's placement in the top 50. Curse you Bell's for making such tasty stouts of all stripes!!!

Mad crazy props to feloniousmonk for making this possible. My second child shall be named after you, even if it's a girl.

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Photo of metallistout
4.95/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one damn fine beer!

This thing pours black like Florida Swamp water! The head is so foamy it looks like a giant marshmellow on top.

Smell rich in coffee and chocolate.

Tastes of coffee and chocolate malts with a dry hop finish.

Probably one of the best Imperial Stouts I have had. I love that I can buy this in a sixer.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.94/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to ncvbc for this brew!

12 oz.>postel chalice glass

This one pours out slow and thick, black as a moonless night night with a healthy, one-finger deep head at first then it slowly settles to 1/4" deep ULTRA tight, compact, smooth and perfectly even dark-mocha brown head that is retained throughout the duration. Very impressive look, the lacing left behind is intricate patterns and very sticky. It doesn't get any heavier looking than this.

The nose is sweet, smokey molasses, Guatamalan coffee and cream, peanutbutter, and a high alcohol heat, but it's not overpowering. Big Wow aroma.

I'm stunned, my mind is blown, my tastebuds have been nuked, it has a deer-in-headlights effect on my brain. The malt is Soooo huge it's unreal. World class Malt complexity which includes: A very sweet, dark chocolate covered caramel, brown sugar and a big roasty coffee edge, but the thick, sticky sweetness is what's amazing here. The hops are big too, which is needed to form some kind of balance beyone the roastiness and sweetness...it's easily achieved here with an agressive earthy and bitter hop, not as hoppy as the Smuttynose RIS or some West-coast style RIS's but it's pretty big. The bitter, earthy hops blend well with the high heat of the alcohol which just adds further depth and balance. As the brew warms up even more I can taste wild blackberries and an almost zesty edge to the hops. The complexity has never been better...This stuff is extreme in all ways, pushing the envelope...totally beyond the pale.

The feel is as heavy, full and thick as you could want, the carbonation is low, but not void of feel, which is fine with me. I love my RIS's to be as heavy and thick as possible, this one is just that. My lips got sticky really fast, due to it's massively sweet malt.

This is really everything I could ask for from this style. totally rightous stuff...a true sipper, enjoy slowly. Have stout, will travel!!

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 2,015 ratings.