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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.

4,475 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,475
Reviews: 1,876
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 383
Gots: 951 | 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)
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Ratings: 4,475 | Reviews: 1,876 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MchugN


4.15/5  rDev -1.9%

Make sure to put on a clean pair of underwear before drinking this stout. It's definitely a big boy beer.
The aroma is very delighting and ever so present. Very dark, almost black with a brownish head. Upon drinking, it has a very big mouth feel and completely coats the mouth with a roasty malted flavorful explosion of stout-ness. Very nice stout but also on the pricey side.

10-15-2010 20:29:37 | More by MchugN
Photo of mikereaser


4.15/5  rDev -1.9%

Batch 8728

A - pours a dark black that let no light through with a 1/4 inch of tan foam that disappeared quickly and left only a layer of fine bubbles on the surface

S - roasted malts, coffee and cocoa

T - roasted malts, with cocoa & coffee flavors

M/D - really smooth, easy drinking for a 10.5%, I could get into alot of trouble. This is my favorite so far of this style.

02-03-2009 14:03:08 | More by mikereaser
Photo of Vancer


4.15/5  rDev -1.9%

Well, here we go: what a start – pours like used motor oil, black as nite, yum! Just a thin ring of tan lace around the edge of my paper cup. This brew has a viscosity level not normally seen!

TONS of chocolate malt, coffee, anise, plums, raisons – a fruit blender of aromas. Bold coffee, burnt charcoal/toast start in the quaff, but a bit too sugary sweet in the finish. Also pops with an alcohol medicine finish.

Dry, powdery and gritty brew, full bodied rich and thick. Just too darn syrupy for a real long drinker. It really needed more hops to balance this bad boy out.

11-21-2006 16:10:05 | More by Vancer
Photo of maek228


4.15/5  rDev -1.9%

Appearance: the first thing you notice about this stout is how it pours. its thick like oil or syrup. there is a noticeable lack of carbonation, but that is somehow sexy when you factor in the thick pour.

Smell: Rich smell....cooking chocolate, dark chocolate, expresso....extremely "stoutish"

Taste: Thick as a buh-dunk-ah-dunk. upfront is the bitter strength and taste expresso, with hints of chocolate and bitter burnt malts. dark fruits round this flavor out. the hops at the end of this beer are strong and they linger...the linger of the hops and expresso mesh so nice.

Mouthfeel: Uniquely thick

Drinkability: Something strong isnt very drinkable. Something that tastes special at first would get taxing after more than 2

09-30-2006 00:40:30 | More by maek228
Photo of kmpitz2


4.15/5  rDev -1.9%

This beer pours a jet black color with a quarter inch of brown head that falls to ring the beer. The nose is full of dark fruits, more like a belgian quad to me than an impy stout. The flavor is more roated than the nose would say. There is a bit of dark fruit but a ton of chocolate and big coffee on the finish. The beer is just as thick as could ever be. Maybe even more than the breakfast stout. Drinkability is nice. The thickness and the flavor keep it from being a 5 on drinkability, but this is a damn nice stout.

01-01-2005 06:45:01 | More by kmpitz2
Photo of gabemasiulis


4.15/5  rDev -1.9%

Poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.
A) Dark black coffee look, very opaque, with a medium brown head, peaking and good retention with a little lacing.
S) Heavy caramel smell, with dark almost unsweetend chocolate, and maybe a touch of coffee. Some underlying hops are present in the nose.
T) Starts high and lilting with an acidic bite, quickly settling into thick caramel maltiness, darck chocolate, a very toasted feel is present. Definitely some alcohol present in the taste.
M) Very thick heavy wet and lingering, kind of an oily feel, but still quite nice. It does not do a very good job of leaving the palate clean, but that is not the intention of this beer, it sticks with you, to enjoy it for some time.
D) A good sipper, but one is definitely enough.

06-02-2008 15:45:28 | More by gabemasiulis
Photo of malcontent


4.15/5  rDev -1.9%

The black body that doesn't allow an iota of light in is mounted by an unmovable flinger of khaki-colored head. Simply beautiful.

Layers of aromas stack up as following; chocolate, leather, smoke, cinnamon, and butter. Dark fruit surfaces upon further inspection. Nice.

Roasted malt jumps out right away accompanied by a bittersweet chocolate that never relents. Much less dark fruit here instead hints of juniper and earth are the supporting flavors. A strong coffee taste finishes as part of a dual bitterness along with a shocking (and welcome) hop kick. Falls a bit short of greatness due to the aforementioned hop character; the aggressive nature makes me think they went with Chinook or Challenger or another freakish varietal.

Creamy and rich without ever feeling sticky or oily. Carbonation is certainly there preventing the listlessness the style sometimes suffers from.

It's obviously a dastardly strong beer but the alcohol is scarcely detectable. I have had a few substandard bottles of this in years past. However, it appears as though Bells' has worked out the kinks with Expedition and they now have a beverage firing on all cylinders.

Thanks to kryptic for the trade.

11-26-2007 05:23:33 | More by malcontent
Photo of Agold


4.15/5  rDev -1.9%

Expedition has a nice high dark brown head which recedes and leaves some nice lacing. Good rich roasty aroma with a hint of chocolate and a bit of fruityness. The fruityness is not the most appealing, but not a big detractor. Taste is big and roasty as well with a bit of chocolate flavor. The fruity character receded leaving a nice smooth rich beer. Mouthfeel was good and creamy and smooth, and not too heavy.

05-02-2011 06:06:21 | More by Agold
Photo of CHSLBrew


4.15/5  rDev -1.9%

Poured into a snifter.

A-Deep brown head, small but substantial and dense, but it receded quickly. The beer is black, and it looked akin to diesel fuel as it flowed out of the bottle. Opaque and dark as a moonless sky.

S-The snifter overflowed with roasted malts, alongside chocolate and dark dried fruits.

T-Heavy roasted malts with a huge chocolate flavor. Hop bitterness is moderate with some dcefinite hop character. Alcohol is present, but quite smooth. Finished is roasty, choco-coffee and lip-smacking.

M-Full, full body. As I said earier, akin to diesel. Chewey to the fullest extent. Alcohol is evident and the warming property is big, with a slight boozy feel in my mouth.

D-GOOD BEER! I really enjoy this brew. It's exceedingly easy to drink, while its flavor profile demands the drinker's respect. Approach with caution: you will fall for this beer. Good thing it comes in six-packs.

02-04-2009 18:37:06 | More by CHSLBrew
Photo of BrewCrew2010


4.15/5  rDev -1.9%

A: This beer pours like black oil and there are some weird chunks in the bottom of the glass which I'm not sure what it is. A brown, creamy head, about 2 fingers thick, is mostly lasting with a lot of sticky lace left on the glass.

S: A strong aroma of roasted malts, dark chocolate, coffee, and licorice are evident in this beer. There are some notes of booze and brown sugar, maybe dark fruits, but one thing for sure, not a lot of hops.

T: A very rich roasted malt flavor with notes of bitter coffee and dark chocolate. A somewhat complex taste with hints of some booze. Also, a long lasting and bitterness aftertaste that is on the pleasant side of things. Exactly how I imagine a stout to taste.

M: A silky, full bodied beer with very little carbonation. A dry after taste, but on the good spectrum.

D: Would love to drink this in the summer. Maybe 3 or 4 at a time.

08-20-2010 00:15:52 | More by BrewCrew2010
Photo of optiontwo


4.15/5  rDev -1.9%

12oz. poured into snifter

Appearance: Pours black with a mahogany head that disappeared quickly.

Smell: Dark fruits, tart cherry, rich dark chocolate, oak, brown sugar, and alcohol.

Taste: Like a dark chocolate covered cherry right away with subtle coffee bean and more bitter than you would expect, due to the assertive hopping I assume. Hops don't make much of a flavor appearance but when they do peek through it's more orange than anything. There's also and iron-y flavor that hits at the end, not bad, just interesting.

Mouthfeel: Thick, viscous, appropriate carbonation, very smooth.

Drinkability: Be careful with this one. I've been known to want one after I'm done with the first but your entering tipsy town.

Overall: This remains one of my favorite imperial stouts and is a must try. So go get it!

02-05-2009 18:57:23 | More by optiontwo
Photo of thecheapies


4.15/5  rDev -1.9%

Bell's Expedition Stout. Battle of the Vintages. 2011 vs. 2012.


Pours a soft black with a half-inch of mocha head. Not much of the foam wants to stick to the glass. Very gluggy out of the bottle, like spent oil. 4.0

Smells like bitter mocha, unsweetened chocolate, giant roast, pine hops, earthy aromas, espresso, and dried red raspberry. Punchy nose with an enormous malt bill. You don't need to point your nose too close to get that delectable stout essence. 4.5

Heavily-charred with dusty mocha powder, burnt notes, alcohol, blackberry, caramelized sugars, pine from the hops, licorice root, and hefty bitterness. Just a beast of a stout, flavors fitting for the coldest and darkest nights. The booze makes it near-spicy deep into the finish with hot breaths from the strength making your mid-section warm and wooly. Quite yummy fresh. I'm excited for the year-old. 4.0

Full body with some gumminess and smacking-lip stick. Big and warm without being hot and undesirable. Carbonation is a staunch-medium. 4.5

Overall - 4.0


Poured a less uniform black with some browning hue taper along the edges as the liquid filled the glass. Head formed at a similar height as the fresh vintage, but looked a half-shade darker brown. Leaves the glass almost entirely clean, but a firm ring remains. 4.0

Syrupy chocolate nose punctuates a melty-rich malt nose. Sweet coffee-and-cream notes swell in and out around the fudgy dark chocolate and booze. Peatier and sweeter dark malts offer more raisin and prune and dark caramel. Truly, Expedition Stout has decomposed beautifully. 4.5

Chocolate-y and syrupy with milk caramel and loud fermentables. The roast is much softer and the beer is sweeter and less bitter. Less coffee, more decadent. Dark and milk chocolate, CowTails caramel creme, roasted grain, raisin, alcohol, fruit rot, soft pungent cheese, rotted berries, torched sugar, and light minty pine. 4.0

Thick body with a medium-to-light carbonation and warmly-reminding strength. Smooth and coercing. 4.0

Overall - 4.0

11-30-2012 04:50:04 | More by thecheapies
Photo of Ego

New Jersey

4.15/5  rDev -1.9%

muchos gracias to my main pimp biggie E-pseja for this little treat smuggled on over from the midwest during his latest sojourn to see the family (aka an excuse to by beer and go to 3floyds...).

an expeditiously designed bottle to be sure but alas this beer will only have one more expedition, right into my eager mouth and stomach. parting is such sweet sorrow but a beer left unopened is pure tragedy (this means you dan, you better start drinking some of your damn beers already!) ahem, where was I?
this is bee-atch #7251 (2/25/6)
wow, what a 'fro' on this beer (and I left my hair pick at the office...)! deep chocolate head of about 1/4 a finger, the head dissapates rather quickly into an Oring and this thing stares at you... like one big, bad ass black eye... this has the legs you would expect from someting packing 11 in the ABV pants. the color? tar? oil? asphalt at midnight during the 6 months in alaska where there is no sun... yeah, something like that. a good looking RIS, I'm psyched.

chocolate rum raisins soaked in alcohol, coffee notes with a deep cocoa mystique drawing you in like the pizza guy in porno movies, this is deep and dark like nel carter's... never mind, it's deep and dark with hints of dark fruits but the domination is laid down by the cocoa powder mixed in with the alcohol. perhaps to some the alcohol might be a detriment but I think it works here, kind of like goose island's bourbon county stout, granted it is not as boozy as that one in the nose imo.

taste et al...
thick and oily on the mouth, it leaves behind a slick syrup snail trail across the toungue, this is a touch hot alcohol wise, it is a hint out of balance in that regard and takes some acclimation to move past that detriment and enjoy the darker riches offerred here on this journey through 12 ounces. when held in the mouth there is an absolutely lovely smoke flavor (well, burnt really, as in burnt beyond recognition, you know like a great white concert). Once you get over the alcohol this is one to savor (a definite sipper... of course). The flavors are assertive as they are in the nose. The mouthfeel is nearly perfect for me, nice and thick, total viscosity (like velvet soaked in rum). The more I sip this the more I like it, definitely give it a go at cellar temp.

I would probably have this on hand if it were local/available. Definitely needs to mellow out a bit in the cellar but alas I was awarded only one bottle. I would love to age this for a couple of years and lay it up against Stone/Raspy/Rogue etc. I think it can hang with those boys. thanks again eric, next time you are in illinois I have a request...

10-05-2006 02:37:29 | More by Ego
Photo of greenmonstah

New Hampshire

4.15/5  rDev -1.9%

12 oz bottle into pint glass. Bottled December 10 2010

A - Pours a deep black with half a finger of intense brown head with minuscule bubbles. Good retention for the ABV. excellent lacing.

S - Bitter chocolate, roasted malt and caramel. Very clean backround. Dark malt and some sweetness. Dark fruits come to light as it warms.

T - Robust is definitely a fitting word. Lots of intense malt flavor going on. Sweet caramel/toffee and a good roasted characteristic. A bit of a dark fruity sweetness is also present. Some hints of booze, but overall it is well hidden. Not much in the way of hop that I can pick out. Finish is bitter and almost sour.

M - Full body with a surprising amount of carbonation and a very dry finish. Thick and sticky. Smooths out considerably as it warms. Drink it at 50-55 degrees.

O - It's not world class, but it is damn drinkable. Very tasty and pleasant, and the feel is intense. Very very full bodied, almost chewy. Michigan-area residents, color me jealous. To have access to this and FBS (nor to mention all the other great area beers) is like a dream come true. I've been on a bit of a tear lately with Saisons, Hefes, and other lighter beers, so this RIS hit me like a ton of bricks, and I loved every minute of it.

03-27-2011 22:42:57 | More by greenmonstah
Photo of JizackFH

New York

4.15/5  rDev -1.9%

A - This one pours black with a thin brown head. There is no light able to pass through its body. The head left a bit of lacing as it fell.

S - It smells of roasted malts. There are also notes of coffee, chocolate, licorice, dark fruits, brown sugar, and a touch of alcohol. Smells great.

T - The chocolate and roasted malts come out first. Then, the flavors of molasses, licorice, dark fruits, and coffee come into play. There is also some hop and alcohol presence at the finish, which also has a bitterness to it.

M - This has a full body and low carbonation. It goes down nice and smooth, and also has a silky quality to it. There is also a warming sensation at the end of each drink.

D - I would say this is a pretty drinkable beer considering the ABV. It goes down nice and easy. This is a perfect beer for the colder months. This is a great RIS and I would recommend it to anyone. Great job Bells. Cheers.

11-17-2010 05:56:31 | More by JizackFH
Photo of ONUMello


4.16/5  rDev -1.7%

12oz bottle, bottled 7/26/13, poured into a pint glass
A: Pitch black with a one-finger mocha-colored head
S: Chocolate, molasses, burnt malt and a bit of hops bitterness
T: Matches the nose, adding in alcohol. The chocolate/molasses are up front, then the burnt malt/hop bitterness, then the alcohol & a lengthy burnt/bitter (in a good way) finish. Big beer, big flavor
M: Full-bodied, bitter but a bit boozy as well
O: Love the flavors, I just wish the alcohol were a bit lower or better hidden

12-30-2013 22:39:48 | More by ONUMello
Photo of Teleweizen2

New Jersey

4.16/5  rDev -1.7%

A - pours a completely opaque and mirror-like black. A fingers worth of bubbly deep tan foam with some decent retention. Leaves spotty lacing with each sip.

S - the aroma is deep and complex. Silky notes of chocolate syrup, mocha, and cocoa nibs. Decent amount of roast quality coming through in the form of city roast coffee and hints of charcoal. All wrapped around a piney and woody hop profile.

T - notes of bakers chocolate and mocha on the front palate. Notes of toasty grains and espresso beans. The leafy bitterness of hops come through in the middle as well as notes of sticky pine needles and suggestions of oaky wood which linger long after the finish.

M - super silky texture. Full bodied. Medium carbonation.

O - very nice imperial stout. Has the consistency of hot chocolate. Glad to have finally tired this one.

05-08-2013 02:32:59 | More by Teleweizen2
Photo of Stigs


4.18/5  rDev -1.2%

12oz bottle - batch 9359, served in a DFH signature glass

A - pours a nice healthy inch of loose but bubbly dark khaki foam, already lacing like crazy the little amount it has fell. the beer is black as night, no light gets through here.

S - huge nose of roasted malt right off the bat, joined in by some very dark and over-ripened fruit, charred toast, hints of coffee, bakers chocolate, earthy hops, bourbon, and of course, booze.

T - sweet start, roasted malts and nuts, big alcohol kick livens things up, chocolate, coffee, minerals. finishes with more alcohol burn, burnt toast, healthy hop bite.

M - outstanding - insanely thick body, unbelievably creamy. carbonation is tight and lively, but not distracting...more of a vehicle to break up some monotony.

D - this was one of the first "big" RIS i can remember having, and loving it at the time. still holds its own against all the special one-off bourbon barreled whatevers. a damn fine RIS, easily attainable, and good for the price point. definitely need to stock up on these and see how it ages. Bell's impresses yet again.

02-19-2010 04:46:59 | More by Stigs
Photo of tdm168

North Carolina

4.18/5  rDev -1.2%

A - black and as thick as oil with a thick, short cap of brown head that sits atop this brew forever

S - licorice, dark fruit, coffee, roasted malts

T - big roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, faint dark fruit, very bitter

M - full bodied, warm, smooth, perfectly carbonated and oily

This is a really solid beer. The bitterness is a bit intense and detracts from the rest of the flavors. The overall flavor profile is impressive. Rich, chocolate, roasty, bitter coffee, underlying dark fruit -- really enjoyable. I would have this again for sure.

11-15-2012 01:25:18 | More by tdm168
Photo of bluemoonswoon


4.18/5  rDev -1.2%

12oz bottle poured into an imperial pint glass.

A: Pours a bloody black, that is to say, black with dark, almost rusty highlights. The beer supports a thick and creamy one and a half inch head that cascades wonderfully until reaching its final height.

S: Big powerful hits of roasted barly, chocolate and big earthy hops. There is also a slight milkiness in here as well which adds some interesting character to this beer.

T/MF: Quite hot, bits of bourbon and vanilla but then quickly moves into sweet, dark chocolate with touches of coffee bean. This beer is super sticky, not quite like Dark Lord, which left a sticky beer film on the glass, but still pretty oily nonetheless. I think the carbonation level is right where it needs to be for a beer this full in body and leaves the pallate rather clean compared to some other impy stouts out there. I think though this beer is just the slightest bit too fresh and would probably benifit from some aging to coax out even more character from this massive beer.

D: A big, hot, heavy drinking experience. This beer is a great sipper but still remains quite quaffable (in my opinion, i like my beers a bit hot), but again, this beer may be a bit too hot for its own good and risks overshadowing more subtle flavors that might be lurking beneath the surface.

10-22-2008 04:09:42 | More by bluemoonswoon
Photo of daythree16


4.18/5  rDev -1.2%

Pours jet black with a thin brown head into a snifter.

Smells strongly of chocolate with a bit of licorice and coffee in the mix. Kind of reminds me of a moccaccino. Taste is similar to the smell. Licorice and coffee up front with a bitter chocolate finish and a noticeable alcohol burn. A bit of molasses tends to creep in as it warms.

The consistency is almost like a milkshake. Smooth and creamy with a moderate amount of carbonation. High alcohol hinders the drinkability a bit, but the flavors are on point.

08-10-2008 21:38:48 | More by daythree16
Photo of kreeper


4.18/5  rDev -1.2%

This brew has a very hoppy aroma and an extremely black, as in a black hole, body with no head whatsoever. It had a very strong coffee flavor. It almost burns as it goes down. Somewhat of a bitter initial taste that lingers well after is has gone down.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2010 02:30:55 | More by kreeper
Photo of jasonjlewis


4.18/5  rDev -1.2%

Thanks to MuenchnerKindl for the sample.

Pours a nice big head with great retention. Nice dark brown color.

Smell is of mint and chocolate and caramel with some coffee beans. Raisiny smell comes out as the beer warms.

Toffee sweetness upfront. Taste is sweet with chocolate malts. Roasted malts are not dominant at all. It finished wit a nice dry hop bitterness. Mint comes through as an undertone and coffee flavor helps to add a bit of complexity. Not boozy at all for a 10.5% abv beer.

Smooth and creamy mouthfeel adds to the enjoyability of this beer.

A very easy RIS to drink. I wish there was a little bit more complexity to it, but it is still very nice.

Very easy to drink. Not a lot of complexity for the style, but not hard to drink at all.

01-07-2008 09:59:19 | More by jasonjlewis
Photo of cbutova


4.18/5  rDev -1.2%

Reviewed from notes, bottle was about 8 months old.

A- Black. Dark tan creamy head builds to a moderate size and has decent retention. A very nice ring and a good cloud remain and leave a coat of lace.

S- Lots of roast malt up front. Some dark fruit/raisins, coffee, cocoa in the background. Alcohol makes it through once in a while.

T- A good aggressive blend of roast malt, alcohol and dark fruit. Nice straight up RIS. Very roasty, almost to the charcoal like level. A fair level of sweets.

MF- A low carbonation level in a moderately thick, oily body. Could be heavier and creamier. Well hidden ABV.

DB- Good price for a big RIS. The roast malt and dark fruit work well for an up front big stout flavor. Becomes a bit syrupy as the temperature rises.

08-09-2010 23:02:33 | More by cbutova
Photo of WeissbrauMeister


4.18/5  rDev -1.2%

Poured into a 20oz. snifter.

A- Black. With a brownish head.

S- Dark. Licorice. Alcohol.

T- It starts sweet with tones of toffee and alcohol and finishes with a strong alcohol and and hoppy taste.

M- Right on par.

D- I could drink a few of these (limited to 3).

02-19-2011 05:54:25 | More by WeissbrauMeister
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,475 ratings.