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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.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

5,309 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,309
Reviews: 1,980
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.61%
Wants: 446
Gots: 1,296 | FT: 95
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: 5,309 | Reviews: 1,980 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of trumick
4.07/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black very little light penetrates if at all. There is very little head that hangs around for a bit with nice lacing all around.

Smell is of sweet molasses, burnt coffee, dark fruits and chocolate.

Taste is right on with the nose burnt coffee, sweet dark malts chocolate and hops. It finishes dry and with a nice burnt coffee dark bitter chocolate that goes on froever. There is an alcohol taste. I can tell it is there, almost overwhelming, it's also warming.

Mouthfeel is smooth and full bodied, robust with just the right amount of carbination, I would even call it creamy.

Drinkability would be great but for the abv. The abv. is too noticeable. It stands out and that puts it lower on the drinkability scale.

Photo of chrismattlin
4.07/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of AdamMY
4.07/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The color is nice and dark, and poured a half centemeter of dirty head which has been fading very slowly.

Smells a bit hoppy, and bitter like a really strong coffee, and bitter chocolate.

The taste is strong, lots of roasted malt. The taste is borderline burnt but oh so strong, and there are actually slight hints of a grapefruit note hidden in there.

The finish is great, lots of caramelized sugars, but again borderline burnt.

But the mouth feel is impeccable, so smooth and creamy.

The drink ability is way to good for a beer with this High of an ABV. Perhaps I need to have more Russian Imperial Stouts.

Photo of gskitt
4.07/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this beer in monks in Philly. Poured what looked to be black in the dim lighting. No head, I mean none. Roasted malt, vanilla were the dominating scents. Taste was toasty malts, some vanilla sweetness, had some char on the finish. Mouthfeel was a bit lacking, no carbonation, it needs a bit. Overall, a very nice stout.

Photo of OlieIPA
4.07/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Black, small and tan head, and poured really thick.

S: A lot of coffee and aging qualities.

T: Alchohol is definitely easy to spot out...not overwhelming though. Coffee, maybe some chocolate, and aging qualities once again.

M: I love the mouthfeel on this beer. Perfect!!! Full-body, easy and even carbonation, and last on the palate.

D: Good. Some alcohol is present in taste...but not too much.

Overall: Great beer!!!

Photo of Gobzilla
4.07/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: poured a dark as night black with a super thin brown head and left hardly any lacing sticking to the glass.

S: I definitely was greeted by roasted chocolate malts, some oat grains, slight smokey, booze, and some cookie notes as well; very nice nose.

T/M: there was actually some hop bitterness on the backend but upfront the chocolate roasted malts were dominate alongside toffee, slight licorice, coffee, and a touch of bourbon. The brew was full inbody with a low amount of carbonation which had a roasty, sweet, slight astringent, boozy, hoppy bitter, and silky finish.

D: it drank pretty good considering the ABV but I'm not much of a hoppy RIS type of dude I would much rather stick to the ones that aren't as bitter on the finish. Even though it had a quality I didn't like it was still damn tasty.

Photo of DannyDan
4.07/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A. Pours a thick black oily body with a tan head. Not much in carbonation, not much in lacing and little retention. Did get a good size head by giving it an aggressive pour.
S. Chocolate, coffee, molasses, licorice is the most notable smells in this brew.
T. Bitter chocolate, and coffee up front followed by some licorice and sweet molasses in the middle and finishes off with some caramel and some alcohol.
M. This is a nice smooth and creamy feel that leaves a little stickiness on the lips and leaves the mouth dry.
D. For being a strong full bodied beer it goes down nicely. This is one that I'll gladly buy again. Not perfect, but still good.

Photo of Patrick999
4.07/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I choose my snifter for this one. The contents poured as viscous black oil, as any self-respecting imperial stout should. Small cap of espresso crema.

Not lacking in the aroma department, but really, what imperial stout is? Big hit of vanilla and even a little whiskey, though there's no wood aging here. Nilla wafers. I'm not really getting much of the chocolate and coffee I usually get from big-assed stouts, which is OK as this is definitely a nice aroma. There's banana, rum, and almond in there too.

It didn't necessarily smell like it, but this is indeed quite bitter and roasty. Charred malts bring the bitter first, then the substantial citric hop brings it home and keeps it there. Not much alcohol heat noted at all, but then again, I have no idea how old this bottle is - for all I know, it could be two years old. I was going to say that this isn't sweet, and I was going to say that this beer would be better if there was a little more sweetness balancing all the bitter roastiness, but there *is* definitely a creeping sweetness here that helps balance the beer out considerably. Again, beyond the hop bitterness I get much more vanilla and whiskey than I do chocolate and coffee.

Feel is soft and fluffy, just what I want out of an imperial stout. Please don't kick my ass with big bubbles in a 10.5% dark-as-night beer. Thankfully, this doesn't. Softness is almost as if it was poured from nitro-tap or cask.

As you would expect, this is a sipper. It could be easily shared with 2-3 as a dessert beer. This isn't, to me, overtly chocolate-y for an imperial stout...I could see this contrasting really, really well with a quality chocolate dessert. One bottle is a bit much, however, at least for me.

Photo of barczar
4.07/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black with a dense, frothy quarter inch cocoa head that slowly dissipates, leaving minimal lacing.

Cocoa, hints of plastic, sorghum, roast malt, figs, and dark berries are fairly subtle in the aroma by the time I get to the fourth in the flight.

Dark cherries and roast malt dominate the initial sip, finishing fairly bitter with coffee grounds and a bit of acridness. Molasses sweetness, dark chocolate, and nutty, toasted malt add complexity at the base. Plums, figs, and soft raisins emerge later, along with booze.

Body is thick, creamy, and smooth, with low carbonation and significant alcohol warmth.

Dark fruit, chocolate, coffee, and roast malt are well represented, but drier and more bitter at the finish than I prefer. Think majority of the bitterness is hop derived. Fairly complex. The nutty malt saves it for me. Wish the aroma were more pronounced and the finish were less bitter.

Photo of Florida9
4.07/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Black in color, but not overly viscous. Pours with a light brown crema-like head .

S: Sweet chocolate, raisins, plums. Complex of dark fruit aromas.

T: Bittersweet chocolate and a little coffee. Long dry cocoa finish. Alcohol is perceptible.

M: Thick, but not overly thick. Carbonation is on the lighter side, but is appropriate. Leaves a powdery or dry sawdust feeling in the mouth.

D: A very good, quite complex beer. Excellent sipper and another very good beer from Bell's.

Photo of Fux
4.07/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Opaque black. Even the (very small) foam is dark, very dark brown. The head leaves a thin layer that persists for a good while.

S: Quite surprised by the hoppy character of this beer ! Behind that: chocolate malts, roasted cocoa, caramel malts, liquorice, dark fruits (raisins, dark grapes), relatively faint coffee smell and strong alcohol.

T: Coffee, molasses, nuts and roasted chocolate. Finishes with a nice bitterness which counterbalances the overall sweetness.

M: Thick, creamy, almost sticky. Low carbonation. A bit too heavy for me.

O: A very good one for the style, but definitely not appropriate for a beginner ! I would have preferred something lighter !

Photo of EnthusedAboutBeer
4.07/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Photo of kpantz
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Executive Summary: A heavyweight in the world of Imperial Stouts. I can see the reason for its reputation. Slightly more boozy on the palate than others I've had. In all, a fantastic stout.

Appearance: Pours like syrup into my tulip glass. Pitch black with a dark tan head. Gorgeous lacing.

Smell: Roasted malts and a woody aroma with distinct molasses and coffee essence.

Taste: Alcohol more present than expected here. Woodiness is here, too, as is a smoky element I didn't detect in the nose. Definite molasses presence with accents of dark chocolate. Pronounced hop bitterness on the way down, too, like a swift kick in the ass (like you need it with this sucker).

Mouthfeel: Creamy and thick. Light carbonation. Slightly sticky. Just awesome.

Drinkability: It's pretty hefty. A sipper. A damn tasty sipper, but a sipper. Wouldn't have more than one at a time.

Photo of nataku00
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a shaker pint. Pitch black in the glass and fully opague. Nice finger of mocha color frothy head with very tiny bubbles, but it dissipates fairly quickly to a small collar around the edges. A little bit of lacing on the glass but it slides down from all the alcohol feet.

Nose is semi sweet chocolate, roasted malts, a bit of light coffee, slight sourness, and burnt caramel. Sourness became more apparent as the beer warmed to room temperature, but it wasn't too off putting.

Tastes follows the nose closely, chocolate and roasted malts bittering initially, smooth sweet chocolate ending with a mix of lactic sour and burnt caramel. Nice creamy mouthfeel from the full bodied beer lightened slightly by the ample small bubble carbonation. Alcohol warmth on the back of the throat, but it sips nicely on a cool day.

Photo of peabody
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured roughly into a pint glass and the suds seemed to take a long time to develop. Dark brown suds with a little lacing.No light can penetrate this concoction.
Raisin and plum and cherry are the first thing I smell.Sugar and malt are the second thing.
First taste is quite bitter but the chocolate and coffee are strong here.
No alcohol present even though it is a high abv. Grapes and raisins
and dark malt with a touch of hops.
Mouthfeel is very clean and the dark tastes stay in the mouth for a while. The alcohol is only present at the very end of the taste.
I like this beer. Too bad I can't get it all the time.

Photo of dismal
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the bottle to a pint glass. Pours pitch black whit a one finger dark tan head that pretty quickly reduces to almost nothing. The head that is left leaves almost nothing as lacing down the glass. The smell is typical of the style, coffee and chocolate mainly stand out. There is also the typical roasted smell found in stouts. As far as taste goes it starts off kind of boozey with chocolate following shortly after. The chocolate stands out more right after the booze and especially when it warms up. There is some coffee in the taste that is in there but it's not jumping out or anything. Mouthfeel is typical of the style, kind of thick but not to thick to become chewy and not to thin just right in there to be perfect. Drinkability wise this one is right in there. Once this warms up a bit it's very very good. I could easily do a few of these in a sitting (which I have). Overall a very good RIS. The alcohol may be more apparent than other RIS' but this one is still very solid. At the bar I tired this at I will be getting it as long as they have it in and I will be picking up some when I can find it in a store. A good RIS and worth trying if you have the chance.

Photo of scottr4073
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of rfgetz
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark as night black, very minimal khaki colored head, but leaves some light lacing. Smell is of rum, molasses, raisin, hints of chocolate and coffee. Taste is dark malt forward with dark chocolate and coffee taking center stage. Backed up by lighter notes of molasses, rasisin, plum. Faint earthy and smoky qualities. Full bodied, dry, earthy, slightly chalky. Good RIS, true to style, big bold flavors and nice balance with a well hidden ABV (in the taste anyway). Only downer was the overly alcohol scent.

Photo of JamesShoemaker
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into my snifter. Thanks to kylelenk for two bottles of this brew. I had regular access to this when I lived in Michigan; glad to have another shot at it.

A - black as soot, not a lot of carbonation even with the forced pour. The foam is a nice light brown, lacing up the sides.

S - a little too much cleaning product here. There's something empty about the smell, even when I really stick my nose in there and sniff. Toasty. My girlfriend says "liquor, bourbony," but I don't get it.

T - probably the roastiest, toastiest stout I've ever had. Super burnt tasting malts. I may not want to drink more than one in a sitting, but it's unique enough to earn a 4.5.

M - good, it's ridiculously smooth. I read Jason's review of this before I read mine and couldn't believe he didn't find this smooth. Very little carbonation, hardly any syrup, smooth.

O - I like this beer a lot. It's like the stout version of Two Hearted, the other tried and true offering by Bells.

Photo of jlindros
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've been waiting to try this one for a long time. Thanks to paco1029384756 and Noslenwerd for providing this beast to me.

A: Pours a dark semi thick rich pitch black color with a dark almost black head, which rises about a finger of thick creamy goodness.

N: Nose is loaded with chocolate! Bakers and milk chocolate dominate. Also adds some roast and a little coffee on the nose. Some sweet caramel, and a slight bright fruit. A slight boozy aroma also comes out.

T: Taste starts with tons of dark chocolate and bakers chocolate. Very earthy bitter stout flavor! Some creamy darkness. More roast and spicy dark malt flavor. Lots of malt to go with that. A little coffee with the roasted flavor. Some dark fruit. It's very heavy, thick, rich, spicy, earthy, bitter, roasted, chocolate, and perhaps too much of all. Some boozy warmth adds to the spicy dark flavor.

M: Super thick and heavy, rich, and more carbonation than I expected for the style.

F: Finishes pretty dry and super bitter still. Lots of earthy dark stout like char and scorched malts. The dark flavors just feel like they are pulling the water and nutrients out of my mouth. The thick syrupy barely liquid seems to stick to everything as well and coats the mouth, leaving the flavors for a while. More chocolate, roast, coffee, bitter earthy stout, and the lingering boozy flavors just go for a while. Considering how thick it is, with the boozy quality, and so bitter and dry its difficult to drink. Glad it isn't a bomber! Still a great beer though.

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

had this on draft at the Oasis Brew pub in rockford. This beer is reivewed from notes taken on 1/27/12.

Appearance: black bodied beer with a dark brown head almost 2 fingers of head that lingers for a while and falls down to a ring around side of the glass. Lots of lacing on the side of glass.

Smell: heavy roast and lots of malt. smells good!

Taste: same as nose. Lots of big roast notes and moderate bitterness; tastes very similiar to coffee. Also in the mix is tobacco, tar, molasses and dark chocolates. The beer has a mild sweetness to it. The beer finishes moderately bitter and the flavors all just linger for what seems to be forever.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied beer with low carbonation. Its thick and chewy. It drinkable considering the big heavy flavors that are present in the beer.

Overall: This RIS by Bells is a Beast! Its a beer that would be more enjoyable for someone with a well tested palate. Not a beer for someone new to this style.

---

3/25/2012

serving: bottle

poured into snifter.

Vintage 2007(September 17th) batch number 8145

Appearance: black bodied beer with one finger of dark brown head. head drops to a ring and thick lacing on the glass. This beer still looks good after many years of age! 4.0

Smell: The nose is really subtle at this point. roasty malts and dark fruits. maybe a hint of sherry from oxidation. 4.0

Taste: This beer is now sweeter and less roasty. It still has got decent roasty notes and some smoke, but it got some serious milk chocolate notes. Little bit of raisins, fudge, molasses, and brown sugar. There is a hint of sweet cherries and bitter black licorice in the aftertaste; its aged fantastically. Still got lots of depth and compexity. 4.5

Mouthfeel: full bodied beer with low carbonation. The carbonation is still holding up well and the beer has become quite silky smooth. There is not any sharpness to this beer at all. Really nice and mellow stout after some time on it! Wow. 5.0

Overall: This beer does improves with aged without a doubt! I was skeptical, but now that I have tried some vintage Expedition stout, I think that its the only way that I want to drink it! Put some away and see for yourself...if you have the patience to wait 4 years and 7 months! This beer just made be a believer of aging big stouts! 4.5

---

4/21/12

serving: bottle

bottle into snifter.

Vintage 2008(September 16th). Batch number 8728!

Appearance: Black bodied beer with one full finger of dark brown head. Head drops to a moderately thick cap with a few large bubbles. This beer looks very similiar to the 2007 vintage! 4.0

Smell: Huge dark fruits especially raisins. The beer is more smokey than roasty, but it got both going on in the nose. Some sweetness imparted from the malts. Black licorice is in there too. The nose is quite robust at this time! 4.5

Taste: Nice balance of smokey, roasty, and sweet. Dark fruits is the big player right now. Raisins, figs, and plums. A little chocolately sweetness with moderate black licorice notes. The beer finishes with moderate bitterness that overpowers the black licorice. 4.25

Mouthfeel: full bodied beer with low carbonation. The carbonation is still holding up well; the beer is silky smooth and mellow. There is not any heat from the alcohol. 4.75

Overall: Bells must brew Expedition Stout specifically for aging. My opinion after drinking/reviewing 3 seperate vintages of expedition stout... age or forget about this beer for a least 3 years; its really better with age than it is fresh. The beer really comes into its own with lots of time! 4.5

Photo of HeyItsChili
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a growler of this brew at Charleston Beer Exchange's Bell's kickoff.

A - Poured from a growler into a pint glass. Pours black with a medium dark brown head.

S - Fairly mild, bitter dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee.

T - Flavor is akin to the aroma, with a bit more cocoa in the flavor than comes through in the smell. There's a faint hint of raisins, and a nice warm alcohol finish.

M - Thick, viscous, but smooth, nice fizzy carbonation.

Photo of Davepoolesque
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of womencantsail
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Batch 7740 (Dec. 2006!) thanks to Derek.

A: The pour is viscous and lightly carbonated with a thin layer of mocha colored head.

S: Even after a little more than 4 years, this beer is still a little bit boozy. Alcohol notes come through immediately with lots of dark fruits and licorice. Dark chocolate and burnt sugar fill in the back end along with a strong roast.

T: Surprisingly bitter with lots of roast and coffee notes, particularly on the back end. Dark chocolate, licorice, burnt sugar, and dark fruits make up the bulk of the flavor profile. The booze is a bit more subdued than I was expecting.

M: The body is medium to full with a low but ample carbonation.

D: I think one bottle is enough, but this is a fine beer indeed. One that can certainly hold up to (and in some cases, benefit from) again.

Photo of CuriousMonk
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into dimple glass. Was pleasantly surprised with this one! Pours a deep, oily opaque, still black. No signs of carbonation, thin tan head. Aroma is fairly complex, black pepper corn, smoke, roasted malts, coffee, licorice, chocolate and caramel. Flavor is sweet and sugary, molasses, caramelized sugar, toast, coffee grounds, dark chocolate and wood. Very thick on the tongue, heavy in the mouth, a bit of fire from the alcohol and some lasting coffee bitterness at the end which was welcoming for me.

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 5,309 ratings.