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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.

4,114 Ratings
no score

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Ratings: 4114
Reviews: 1856
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)
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Ratings: 4,114 | Reviews: 1,856 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Beer-A-Lot


4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

This beer blows me away from the first sip. Huge chocolate and coffee tastes and smells. And even though the abv is high, it is very easy to drink and not really a sipper like you'd expect. Flavors balance well with the alcohol. Bells just knows how to make stouts, and this is no exception. Very worth seeking out.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2013 02:06:56 | More by Beer-A-Lot
Photo of serotoninronin


4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a a 12oz bottle into a regular ole pint glass.

A: Swirling black hole. Like right when you shut the lights off before your eyes can adjust. Startlingly dark. Nice toasted marshmallow head that doesn't hang around too long. The lacing is high and tight. Cirrus clouds up near the top of the glass.

S: Real sludgy italian espresso. The faintest wisp of chocolate. Stewed black tea and some cola tones. A semi-sweet vegetality, darker than any dark fruit. Beets, maybe.

T: Crushing dry bitterness with a boozy superstructure. Like black coffee liqueur. Sweeter than on the nose, shifting to black currants and acai. Lots of fennel and tarragon. The alcohol is there, but only to spice the tongue very slightly. Nicely put together.

M: A bit oily, which leads it to hang out in some weird places on the palate longer than it needs to, but lands properly for the most part. Dry and full.

O: Layered but invitingly drinkable. You feel warm after finishing but less so than you might expect for the ABV. Definitely would like to put a couple years on a few of these. Spot on for the style.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2013 21:50:27 | More by serotoninronin
Photo of Jacurdy60


4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a pitch black color with a lovely, toffee colored, thick head. Lots of lacing.

S-Huge roasted notes here. Lots of char and oaky notes as well. Very bold and not too boozy for a 10.5% brew.

T-Bold roasted notes come through most prominently. Fades into a bitter char flavor with a spiced boozy finish. Very in your face but I enjoy it.

MF-Creamy, rich, smooth. Body is thick and syrupy.

O-Just what an RIS should be. Very robust and rich.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2013 00:04:10 | More by Jacurdy60
Photo of Kadonny


4.23/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass. Bottle dating has this bottled in August of 2013 so it's fairly fresh.

A: A deep dark black color that allows no light to come through. A normal pour produces a 3 finger light brown and reddish head. Nice full glass lacing sticks.

S: Lots of stuff going on here. Dark chocolate, roasted coffee, espresso, tobacco, tar and some dark fruits. Wow.

T: Follow the nose on this one. Loads of dark chocolate, coffee grinds, huge roasted flavors, some tobacco and slight dark fruit flavors. Not much sweetness on this one and then the finish turns into a bitterness bomb. Alcohol is tasted at the end but is very well mixed with the other flavors. The beer is a bit edgy when young, so be ready for it. This is a fantastic and complex beer.

M: Full, coating, prickly, bitter and alcoholic. Nice.

O: This is a top shelf stout that will stand up with the best of them. It's fantastic fresh but quite extreme when young. I also know it ages with the best of them so don't be afraid to stash a few of these away. I bought an entire case and will be enjoying them over the next 2 years.

Awesome beer, not for the faint of heart, but if you like extreme beers, this one is it.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2013 13:55:00 | More by Kadonny
Photo of jhawth


3.99/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured into a wili becher. Pours an impenetrable black with a light brown, two-finger head of fine bubbles.

Aroma: Sweet, creamy, roasty malts dominate. Coffee, some bitter dark chocolate, but mostly excellent roastiness.

Taste: Sweet, creamy. slightly chocolatey malt notes move into roasty astringency and slight booziness.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, slightly viscous, light carbonation.

Overall: Killer RIS. Absolutely delicious.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2013 04:38:06 | More by jhawth
Photo of Alextricity


4.31/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 8/22/13 and poured into a shaker pint :| ... I wanted to age this one, but decided to drink it now, and then age any bottles that I get later. $2.99 single.

Appearance: I poured aggressively thinking this wouldn't give me much of a head, boy was I wrong. I got about 90% of the beer poured and the glass was full, almost half with foam. Gorgeous beer, and one of the best RIS's I've seen. As you'd expect, the beer's an abyss. The mocha (almost orange) three finger or more of head dies down to about half of one. Lacing is phenomenal.

Smell: Quite good, but just not quite what I was hoping for. Has a very nice aroma to it, but it's not as pungent as I was hoping for. Maybe it's the thick head I have on top that's blocking out some of the notes. Roasted coffee, deep, dark chocolate, a hint of smoke/ash, and a bit of soy sauce. As Expedition Stout warms, nondescript dark fruits come out to play.

Taste/feel: First off, the feel. It is every bit of what an RIS lover would hope for. Super thick and creamy, with a subtle carbonation. The taste is fabulous, though, like the smell, not killing me with gigantic bold flavors, and the bitterness isn't nearly as harsh as I was lead to believe. Like the smell, roast, coffee, chocolate... there's also a pretty big ash sort of flavor on the finish. There is an alcohol warmth (surprised, surprise!), but there doesn't really seem to be an alcohol flavor... maybe slightly.

Overall, I actually want more out of this. It has a big body. It has a really bold "feel" to it, but the flavor isn't reeking of coffee or chocolate like I thought it might. Still, I'm ecstatic that I enjoy RIS's as much as I do now. I'm really enjoying this beer... I couldn't ask for more from the appearance and mouthfeel, as they are truly flawless.

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2013 16:35:39 | More by Alextricity
Photo of SportsandJorts


3.63/5  rDev -14.2%
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

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2013 00:15:29 | More by SportsandJorts
Photo of CaptFrothy


2.91/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

9/26/11 date on the bottle, so this is better than 2 years old, cellared.

Looks the park, dark and menacing with not much beyond a thin white ring of head.

Smells decent, but I can smell the alcohol, that's not a good thing for me.

Taste is burnt coffee, bitter chocolatey with some alchohol on the back end.

Overall, I'm disappinted, this has been conditioning in the basement for over 2 years, mouthfeel has no silk at all, somewhat prickly, the bitter chocolate/coffee taste with alcohol isn't working - ten tidy, old raspution lost abbey serpent stout, BCBS all vastly superior tasting imho.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2013 01:27:04 | More by CaptFrothy
Photo of deadonhisfeet


4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2012 batch reviewed in 2013. Poured from a bottle into a Founders snifter. Very black, thick, viscous pour but the carbonation is extremely low. A rough pour produces a very thin head. The nose is really nice. Lots of char notes, dark fruit, and espresso. The rich dark chocolate notes I sometimes find are not here. Perhaps more time in the cellar is needed.

The beer has a full body, a somewhat oily feel, and a big roasty flavor. Some creamy malt up front is punctuated by intensely bitter roast and coffee notes, dark fruit, and burnt, crusty chocolate cake soaked in rum. The bitter roastiness lingers a long time in the mouth. It's pleasant, but a little one-dimensional. I don't detect any rich complementary flavors to go along with it.

Bought this 6-pack last year and this is the first bottle I've touched. You can spare me the ``drink one fresh'' speech. I've had this beer fresh many times, I was never impressed, and I don't think the brewer intends for you to drink it that way anyhow. Since its reputation as a good cellar beer is undeniable, I plan to re-review it at 12-month intervals. This one is about 14 months old and, while good, still has lots of room for improvement. At present, it can't hold a candle next to my favorite RISs. I look forward to someday trying one of these that's 4-5 years old. Consider this review a work in progress.

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2013 23:48:54 | More by deadonhisfeet
Photo of wpqx


4.76/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Not going to lie I thought the beer menu said "Black Note Stout" but that aside this is a fantastic beverage.

Ordered it in bottle (2012) and this beer had a ridiculous amount of head for an imperial stout, smelled like cherries and chocolate.

Very smooth and not at all boozy which could be expected in a double digit ABV beer.

This beer was absolutely perfect going down, even better than Black Note in terms of drinkability. Apparently my bar has Bell's Cherry Stout waiting to be tapped so I'm very curious to try that.

Overall, I'd order this again without batting an eyelash. Very drinkable and smooth with a tasty vanilla/cherry taste to it. Went well with my cheese curds.

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2013 06:22:26 | More by wpqx
Photo of dar482

New York

4.01/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours in a thick oily black with a small mocha head.

The aroma has chocolate, roasted malt, a bit of spiciness, a dark fruit.

The flavor follows with a big chocolate flavor, roasty malt, and a bit of chocolate and a good amount of sweetness along with dark fruits. There's a good amount of alcohol with a decent mouthfeel, although it could be richer and creamier.

This beer was slightly disappointing, but still a very well made.

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2013 03:08:27 | More by dar482
Photo of jimmah120


4.09/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

12oz fresh bottle

Look is dark. Black with slight cola edges. Oats, coffee, Molasses, smoke round out the scent. Rich and full feeling, its chocolate and roast to the max here, with some dark fruit and English style hops in the background.

Tasty shii

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2013 23:42:15 | More by jimmah120
Photo of Duane_Opfer


4.24/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottled poured into a Spiegelau glass. Packaged on 8/22. Consumed on 10/24.

A - Brown approaching black with a cinnamon colored head. Less delicate pour yielded a 1 finger head which fades quickly. Carbonation appeared light. No lasting lacing.

S - Rather fragrant. Licorice, vanilla, roasted coffee, dark chocolate, and alcohol notes. Somewhat boozy.

T - Licorice, vanilla, roasted coffee, dark chocolate, caramel and almond extract. Slight dark fruit, perhaps, raisin. ABV not completely hidden, but does not taste 10.5%.

M - Higher carbonation initially than comparable stouts and lighter bodied. Carbonation wears off somewhat quickl. Generally sticky in corners of mouth, like most stouts.

O - Good, but not great. Although a wide spectrum of flavors , flavors are less intense. Licorice was an interesting addition though. Mouthfeel compared less favorable... less creamy, lighter bodied than comparable stouts. Worth a try, but better options available.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2013 02:12:45 | More by Duane_Opfer
Photo of PieOhMy


4.21/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into tulip.

A Pours thick and oily. Pitch black with a thin light brown head.

S First scent is a zesty and boozy grape smell. This is followed by cocoa and raisins and prune. Rich aroma.

T Follows the smell quite directly. Chocolate. Dark fruit. Raisin. There is some coffee bean in the flavor that is not too potent in the smell. Big warm and boozy in the end.

M Thick and rich. Foamy. Full like a big stout like this should be.

O Very tasty. It's got all the flavors that make an Imperial Stout great and none of these overpower the other. Smell is great. I like that the coffee seems to be toned down some as sometimes it's easy to go overboard with that.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2013 01:21:04 | More by PieOhMy
Photo of kagent777


4.29/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle purchased in Florida in October of 2010. Batch 9971. Bottled on September 13, 2010 according to bell's website. This beer is over 3 years old and has been in a "cellar" since purchase. Under my stairs until lat night. I poured this one into my beer goblet.

Appearance: Pitch black beer pours as thick as the thickest Imperial stouts I have seen. A vigorous pour yielded a thin dark tan head that did not stick around. Looks like an Imperial stout.

Smell: Dark fruit and roast mingle with coffee, cocoa and some vanilla. Dark and rich.

Taste: Impressive bitter dark chocolate. This could have easily rested another 3 years. The finish is incredibly long. Alcohol is apparent along with coffee and cocoa. Fruits remind me of dark cherries and plums and are also a bit vinous. A complex very tasty beer.

Mouthfeel: The body is giant and the carbonation on the low side, right where an Imperial Stout should be. Huge flavors easily coat the mouth.

Overall: One of the more complex Impy stouts I have tasted. Quite bitter and therefore might not be approachable by new craft beer drinkers.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2013 23:52:33 | More by kagent777
Photo of BeerNutz324


4.51/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a chalice

Ap- pours a dark, motor oil like color with a beautiful cinnamon colored head. Head is about 1/2 inch and has good retention

Ar- tons of roasted malt, dark fruit, chocolate, alcohol

T- roasty malts, bitter chocolate, cream, dark fruit, molasses

M- creamy, good carbonation, thick bodied and the alcohol warms on the hold

O- an awesome stout, I love this one and the availability kicks ass. The price isn't too bad at $15.99 a sixer either.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2013 03:15:52 | More by BeerNutz324
Photo of Bosoxfan20


4.55/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A- Pitch black that is near opaque with a wispy mocha head that quickly fades. Fair lacing. The dense, murky, viscous look to this one reminds me of scary night waters.

S- An intense RIS aroma of coffee, vanilla, specialty chocolates, dark cherries that can be detected from a few feet away. Blends well with the intense notes of esters and bourbon booze. This aroma is pure magic.

T- Flavor that certainly has some "wow" qualities. Just as the label indicates with the big hop bitterness. Milky chocolate picked up even more on the tongue than on the nose. Roasted goodness along with damn near overwhelming complexity. Welcoming blend of sweet and acidic sour.

M- Just like all the other characteristics of this beer, the feel is spot on for the style. Full chewy body, viscous and sheet like velvet. Creamy as can be. Alcohol is present and well received as the warmth invigorates the throat.

O- An absolutely impressive stout. Should age like a fine wine. Cellar will welcome a few for the next year or two...if i can hold out that long. I needed a second glass to verify how good this beer was...any yep, my original thoughts were confirmed. Well done Bells!

$16.99 for a 6pk

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2013 04:11:41 | More by Bosoxfan20
Photo of BradtheGreat7


4.23/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Another review taken Winter 2012 though I've had this one many times before.

12 oz brown Bell's style bottle with simple yet very neat artwork. Not much to it, but this is a label that shows what Bell's is all about. One of my favorites from them. Poured into a Bell's pint glass.

A - black in color with dark brown edges. Very RIS like, duh! A dark tan head rests on top and is actually fairly nice In size. This stout pours and looks ridiculously thick and massive. It's an excellent take on the RIS style.

S - chocolate and dark chocolate malts with an abundance of roasted goodness. Black coffee bean creeps up but is fairly minimal to the malt character. Dark fruit and the slightest whiff of licorice were detected down deep. With some smoke in the back end of the nose.

T - bitter chocolate and dark ripe fruit make a real bittersweet start to the taste. Layers upon layers of dark chocolate and roasted malt swing massive right and left hooks into my palate only to take a short break with a small hint of coffee bean and smoke. A massive bittersweet finish.

M - big bodied and thick. We all love thick. It bombs the mouth with loads of stout goodness. This is a big stout. It drinks and tastes like a big stout. It's not something meant to down easily one after another. This as good as it gets in the world of overly huge imperial stouts. This will make a man of you.

O - when you pair Bell's Brewery and the RIS style you get Expedition Stout and boy am I glad those 2 hooked up. This is one of the best year in and year out imperial stouts you'll find. It's something I enjoy every winter and something I look forward to aging. Oh yea, I forgot about that.. Expedition Stout does well setting in a cool dark place for any period of time. But that's another review for another day. If you like big roasted bittersweet stouts get your hands on some Expedition. Highly under appreciated in today's craft beer scene. An all time favorite of mine.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2013 14:38:27 | More by BradtheGreat7
Photo of MDDMD


4.21/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A-dark brown black with a smallish tan head and minimal lacing

T-chocolate, coffee, dark roasted malt, molasses

T-dark chocolate, molasses, dark roasted malt, coffee, earthy, mild bitter finish

F-medium body with mild carbonation, smooth

O-great balance in this RIS, enjoyable to sip this

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2013 02:24:27 | More by MDDMD
Photo of Andonato


4.89/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I Had this beer shipped to me after spending about 9 months at my parents house in Michigan. Forgot I had left it there but they included it in with a beer order I had placed on a website, but being in Texas, could not get shipped directly. It was, to date, the best pure Russian Imperial Stout I have ever tasted. The absolutely creamy mouthfeel with just the right amount of carbonation coupled with the perfect balance of bitter chocolate, coffee, brown sugar, and a touch of vanilla, and the fact that the 10.5% alcohol was completely hidden was just awesome. I remember tasting it 9 or so months ago and loving it then, but this I think is aged to perfection. Have on bottle left and will probably drink it very soon too.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2013 01:29:30 | More by Andonato
Photo of dorianmarley


4.14/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance is an intense black, like it came from an oil well. The head is light brown that hangs around with a light film. Terrific lacing.

Nose is a densely sweet malt, with raspberry dark chocolate. Toffee and brown sugar. Light alcohol smell too.

Taste is simultaneously very sweet and bitter. Chocolate, roasted cashews, vanilla, and caramel are all there, but not overwhelming. The flavors are dry and balanced.

Mouthfeel is full-bodied while not overly thick. Carbonation is low, and the high alcohol brings a tingle at the finish.

Overall, this is a hardy but drinkable stout that would pair greatly with a robust meal or a cold evening.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2013 23:56:32 | More by dorianmarley
Photo of StaveHooks


4.48/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle served in a snifter

A - Creamy black liquid with a thick and frothy chocolate milk cap that holds up throughout the entire session. Speckled lacing left on the glass.

S - Chocolate malts, roasted malts, chocolate bread, muddled fruit, sweet cream, chocolate lined alcohol.

T - Creamy milk chocolate upfront, sweet and decadent, heavily roasted malts and strong bitterness come in quickly and overtake the creamy sweetness. The middle provides anise, smoked molasses, and a strong bitterness that runs throughout the drink. The finish brings intense roasted malts, bittering chocolate, notions of fruit, hints of grass and winds up for a smooth and roasted chocolate finish.

M - Incredibly viscous, thick and full bodied. Moderate micro carbonation, dry roasted finish. One of the best mouthfeels I've come across.

There's something to be said about being complex in a simple way. This beer is simple but it brings outstanding precision and subtle complexities, with a strong bitterness to round out the sweetness. Very focused flavors that bring maximum flavor with a stellar body that is as creamy as they come. My favorite Bells by far!

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2013 00:43:00 | More by StaveHooks
Photo of JohnG190

New York

4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours inky black with a thin mocha head. Good lacing. Aroma of chocolate, burnt coffee and a whiff of smoke. Bitter on the palate, lots of dark fruit, bitter chocolate and nice hop character. Thick, rich mouthfeel with little carbonation. Overall, a great example of Russian Imperial Stout. Well crafted.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2013 22:33:00 | More by JohnG190
Photo of tillmac62

South Carolina

4.21/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 7/26/13. Pours black as a starless night with a lasting head. Subdued nose of roast. Nice creamy mouthfeel, light carbonation and with the 10.5% alcohol content well covered by the malty sweetness, hops and roast. A strong, but pleasant, aftertaste of roast and malt sweetness with that alcohol "burn". For such a "big" stout, this is exceptionally well balanced. One of the best stouts I have ever tried and this one struck me as smoother than their Kalamazoo variant. Smooth finish with the chocolate malt asserting itself.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2013 20:15:27 | More by tillmac62
Photo of facundoCNB

New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A dark brown almost black pour with 2 fingers of dark brown head, slow dissipation, good amount of lacing left behind.

Smoky overall aroma, dark roasted grains, coffee, dark chocolate, licorice.

Very tasty profile, right up my alley with charred oak, dark roasted flavors.. Black coffee, ashtray dirt. Lovely.

Creamy mouthfeel.. Medium to full body with low carbonation. Drinks fairly easy for the higher abv.

An excellent stout - very easy to drink, very tasty and dark. Must try if you're into dark roasted flavors.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2013 19:47:11 | More by facundoCNB
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,114 ratings.