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Bell's Expedition Stout - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Bell's Expedition StoutBell's Expedition Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

5,368 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,368
Reviews: 1,996
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.61%
Wants: 447
Gots: 1,328 | FT: 99
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: 5,368 | Reviews: 1,996
Photo of Cwillia9
4.09/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 11/1/11 and poured into a tulip.

A: Insanely dark beer. No light, no color, just black. Kind of boring. It did pour with a nice light brown head.

S: Roasty, with a little bit of chocolate and coffee. Finding it hard to get my nose out of the glass.

T: The roasty malt comes out a lot. The chocolate and coffee is subtle but present.

M: it has a very soft feel but not thin or watered down, just soft and a little creamy.

O: I think this a solid RIS and I am looking forward to opening one every six months to see how this develops.

Photo of gtn80
4.09/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter.

Appearance has a distinct lack of carbonation. Small half finger head, mocha colored. Beer is jet black, no light getting through.

Aroma is rum raisin, roasted malts, chocolate, a bit of alcohol.

Taste is incredibly complex. Smooth combination of dark chocolate, booze. Not super roasty, bit astringent on the tongue in the finish.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy.

Drinkability is hurt by alcohol and flavor density, meant for a snifter, not a liter mug

Photo of madarab55
4.09/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Hardly any head to speak of, except for a cotton-ball sized bit in the middle of the glass with no lacing around the rim. Dark brown hues in the color, basically what I was expecting.

The smell has a very sweet, dried fruit smell. Not exactly raisin, maybe a bit of apricot? Not quite sure, but it does smell good.

My first sip I was blown away by this. It didn't smell anything like the way it tasted. The first surprise was how boozy this thing is. It tastes like it has been aged quite a while, but is a new batch. There is a delightful sweetness that lingers underneath the rum/bourbon taste about halfway through. The finish is an exceptional coffee taste that stays with you for quite some time.

In other words, it's not the best I've ever had but solid nonetheless. I'm looking forward to re-visiting the rest of the six pack I bought. Although it was a little on the pricy side.

Photo of confer
4.09/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours as black as motor oil with a half-finger tan head that never leaves.
The really isn't much aroma, which is a little surprising.
This bottle I had must have been a young one. It was very bitter and the start but ended with a deep coffee taste that hung around for a long time.
Thick and creamy which i did expect.
The other bottle is going into the basement for at least a year.

Photo of Domvan
4.09/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Hoppy90Man
4.09/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of JohnQVegas
4.09/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into red wine glass. Thanks again to Jeff (mnjeff) for the sample!

Pours impenetrable black, with almost no visible carbonation, just a thin soapy head.

Nose is roasty, with a big, hoppy acidity on top of everything. Lots of citrus, chocolate, coffee... really, really hoppy for an RIS.

Taste is excellent. Starts off with a big dose of bright, hoppy citrus acidity, bit of pine, borne on the back of a huge, chocolatey malt body with nice coffee bite. Significant resiny hop bitterness lingers on the palate, more of that big, bright citrusy acidity, this time with a stout, roasty counterpart. Reminiscent of Night Stalker, Smutty IS - well done. I can see why this is such a huge favorite to age.

Mouthfeel is great - so smooth and creamy, a light undercurrent of carbonation that lets the acidity from the hops do a lot of the work. Massive body is bigger than full.

Drinkability is mainly hurt by just how massively hoppy this beer is. Big, big bitterness works against that aspect. Still, a tasty treat.

Photo of brewskifan55
4.09/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Thanks, CorgiDad!

A: Black with shades of brown. No head, but a tan ring wraps around the glass. Light lacing.

S: Dark chocolate, light coffee, anise.

T: Rich and robust. Sinful. Chocolate cascades in with lighter coffee notes than I expected. Dark fruits (raisins, dates, plums). Cocoa.

M: Medium to heavy with medium carbonation. A dry finish.

O: Another winner from Bell's. A great sipper. Make sure to go on this Expedition.

Photo of Osiris9588
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Based on a 3oz from a tasting at Spagio Cellars in Columbus. The color is pure motor oil, with a weak chocolate milk head. The nose is comprised of sweet aromas--chocolate, molassass, licorice, and something alcoholic that resembles bug spray.

The state consists of chcolate, licorice, vanilla, cream sherry, coffee in the finish, and maybe just a whisper of hops.

The mouth is complex, sweet and creamy in the middle, and features a drier sherry finish--very lively on the palate, despite a lack of carbonation. Probably wouldn't want to drink a six pack in a sitting, but is an unique example of the style.

Photo of swamiswamu
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a huge beer, the sears tower of beer. It looks like spent motor oil with a brown head. The taste reminds me of the "hungry, hungry homer" Simpsons episode when Duff has a chemical to add to Duff's malty goodness. It was what an imperial should be, a much bigger version. I can't drink more than one because it is just that big.

Photo of psyco1
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This is strong beer.

It comes out of the bottle black and thick as I think beer can get. Not much of a head at all and while tilting the glass, it coats the side like bubbly paint.
Can you roast alcohol? That's what it smells like, roasted barley, chocolate, coffee and a heaping helping of alcohol.
The taste... a bit of alcohol, roasty and a bit of sweet then ending bitter. Not unpleasant, just more of everything that most stouts are known for.
It coats the mouth like it coats the inside of the glass, almost like oil.

I gave it a lower mark on drinkability because I'd only drink one or maybe two before moving on to something else a little less "stout".

Photo of RiverCityBeerGuy
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of StoutHunter
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

I picked up a bottle of Bell's Expedition Stout a couple weeks ago for $2.99 at The Lager Mill. I have tried this beer before once or twice at some beer festivals a couple years ago, so it's time to stop procrastinating, sit down, and give this beer a proper review, so lets see how it goes. Batch #10699 bottled on September 26th 2011. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label on this beer is pretty nice, it's simple yet good looking, classy looking. It poured a nice looking used motor oil black that let no light come through and it had a half a fingers worth of mocha colored head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and it left a little bit of spotty lacing.

S- The aroma is pretty roasty and robust. It starts off with loads of highly roasted dark malts that have a medium amount of sweetness to them and impart some black coffee aromas and a little bit of bitter dark chocolate and vanilla. I also picked up medium amount of alcohol and I couldn't smell any hops.

T- The taste starts off with loads of slightly charred roasted malts that impart lots of dark chocolate flavors along with a little bit of vanilla. In the middle I pick up medium amount of molasses like sweetness followed by some dark fruits and a little bit of caramel. There is a really slight bit of coffee in the flavor but it's not nearly as present as it was in the aroma. There is a little bit of warming alcohol on the finish, but it's not nearly as strong as I thought it was going to be, it's hidden well. It has a bitter chocolate aftertaste.

M- Rich, smooth, on the medium side of being full bodied, and it had a low amount of carbonation, I would have liked just a little more carbonation.

Overall I thought this was a really good RIS. This beer was all about the heavily roasted dark malts, just like it should be, and it provided a nice amount of complexity. After smelling this beer I thought it was going to have a half and half mixture of chocolate and coffee flavors but instead it was dominated by the chocolate letting the coffee take a back seat, I liked this and I found it to be a little different then most of the other RIS's I have tried that have a pretty heavy coffee presence in the taste. For being 10.5% I thought the alcohol was hidden pretty well, some people claim that this beer needs two to three years of aging to calm down the booziness, and while I have no doubt this beer gets better with age, it drinks pretty well fresh and I didn't find it close at all to being overly boozy, and that made for some descent drinkability, I don't know if I would grab another bottle but one goes down pretty smooth and without a problem. What I liked most about this beer was the flavor, it was pretty much what I look for in a good RIS, and the heavy chocolate presence was pretty nice. What I liked least about this beer was the carbonation, I would have liked it bumped up a couple notches. I will for sure be buying this beer again, it's a great local RIS, I haven't had an aged bottle of this beer before but I would definitely like to throw a couple bottles in the cellar to see how this beer develops over the years. If you love RIS's this is a must try. This is a very good RIS, I like it more then Old Rasputin. but it still doesn't knock off Founders Imperial Stout as my favorite RIS. Great job Bell's this is one hell of a beer from one hell of a brewing company, cheers. 2013 Update, I just had this years batch that was bottled in 7/26/13. It's good but it it's a little boozy fresh, I changed the scores accordingly.

Photo of Murchmac
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 1/08 thanks to Flandersned for letting me try this gem.

Dark dark look with some nice looking legs to it.

Heat, barleywine kinda smell to it, dark fruits, figs, carmalized dark fruits,

Sweet balanced taste, some chocolate, some toasty roastyness and cocoa. Excellent.

Good beer with some age on it, probably really good fresh too.

Photo of mjc410
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First bottle from my very own case...

The pour into my venerable La Moneuse tulip at first made me fear that there would be head head whatsoever, but out of nowhere bubbles appeared in the incredibly viscous ink. The bubbles themselves are incredibly thick-walled and oily looking. I had a Yeti the other day, and this appears even more massive, although the head is a good deal lighter, only a medium light brown, with large bubbles and thick lacing. It hangs around for quite a while, too. And what can be said about the body except BLACK? No light, no hope. None.

Smell is incredibly toasty and espresso-like. Definitely smells like expensive brownies, and fudge. Smells bitter, too. I like.

Good gracious, what is this taste? I'm at a loss for words - this is unique! Alcohol, definitely, and wood, for sure. Caramel leads the flavors. I'm picking up on some chocolate notes, and a coffee finish. I was hoping for more chocolate coffee flavors, though. Does become a bit cloying, as well.

Too heavy? Maybe...this certainly is the thickest beer I've ever had. No carbonation, either. Still, it is fitting. Although this beer certainly would be a good candidate for a nip bottle...

I will reach for another, and I do like this a lot, but I wished for a bit more. Not the best RIS I've had, but still nice. I think it'll age well...I certainly have enough to find out!

Photo of aracauna
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Imperial Stout Blind Tasting notes (11-16-02): Another no-header. Pitch black. Nice rich aroma, chocolate fruitiness, coffee. The flavor is bitter, nice roasty. Creamy mouthfeel. Smooth.

It didn't matter how hard I poured the beer, there was no head gonna form. This is an intensely black beer that sucks the light from the surrounding aread giving it a sort of dark halo. Light can't even pass through the edges. When you pour, you immediately pick up chocolately, coffeeish aromas before you even lean in for a sniff. Upon closer inspection a bit of caramel can be picked up. The flavor is very similiar to the smell except that it explodes on your tongue and can be overwhelming at first. Huge. It leaves the same aftertaste as dark coffee with cream. The mouthfeel is very creamy and chewy. It's a very rich, dessert-like beer.

Photo of samie85
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours a rich motor oil black with a finger and a half of dark brow head.

S-Very dark and milk chocolate and roasted notes with some vanilla.

T-Dark chocolate and roasted coffee with some vanilla, alcohol notes with a bit of bitterness on the end.

M-Medium approaching full-bodied with light carbonation and a slick, dry feel.

D-For a relatively high ABV stout this one is pretty drinkable with only a mild alcohol presence.

Photo of Mauerhan
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

my bottle was labeled 4/08.

ink black pour. even poured aggressively and it produced no head. the slight ring of lacing that i get is dedicated, its like its on a mission to cling to the sides of my glass.

smells of coffee, booze, maybe a tiny whisp of chocolate. but not much.

taste is big on the coffee flavor. nice and smooth with a great bitter bite at the end. i also get big malts, and a nice warmth off the alcohol. great thing is you dont taste the booze in this one.

mouth feel is good. practically no carbonation on this. but that might just be the fact that i had a bottle from last years batch. i would love to try a fresh bottle.

overall this is a solid beer. nice and thick. good flavors , nice follow through. definitely worth a try.

4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: oil black with a small head mocha head. Nice and sticky on the sides of the glass.

S: sweet nose, berries, dark fruits, bitter chocolate, raisins, toasty with a light burn of alc., some soy sauce, and maybe a little vanilla.

T: Yum. This is tasty. Full bodied flavorful and bold. All the sweetness up front. Chocolate in the middle and a nice smooth but slightly dry roasty malt finish. This beer sits on your pallet forever. Flavors compare closley to those that I smelled. Really great.

M: pretty solid chewy and oily feel. As it warms it feels a little flat, but still great. Im am enjoying this very much.

D: not bad for a high ABV brew. Its a sipper for sure, but it has decent drinkability for what it is.

Thoughts: I think the bros had a batch much different from this one. This is probably the 09 or 2010 batch and its a really nice beer. I think its a good example of the style.

Photo of 57md
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Appearance is a deep, dark brown with more than a finger of fluffy tan head. The head seems to linger forever and leaves thin lace rings on the glass. The nose is surprisingly muted for a beer as big as this one – a whiff of alcohol is the most noticeable thing.

This offering is certainly rich and creamy, but the roast profile is just not quiet up to other top shelf RISs. The best part of the drinking experience is the finish when the coffee notes come on relatively strong.

This is a bit of a mixed bag, but certainly a tasty RIS.

Update on 11/21/2014:
Sampled a 15 month old bottle from the 2013 vintage today.

It was definitely superior. The nose was more potent and the flavors were deeper and better defined – except, as expected, the coffee notes were non-existent. I edited my rating for this offering upward as a result of this sample.

Next up: I want to try a 2 year old + sample of this fine RIS.

Photo of BPMeyer27
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%

Photo of scifan
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours very thick like used motor oil. Very black no light could possible penetrate this beer. A very aggressive pour only revealed a slight dark brown head.
Smells very sweet upfront, sherry or port, dark fruits, this stuff even smells thick. I am getting some of typical stout aromas in the background some chocolate and coffee aromas are there just not in the forefront.
Taste really good. Lots of complex malty goodness. Very sweet, syrupy. then there is some nice dark chocolate flavors, followed by a some coffee bitterness to balance it out.
This beer is very viscous almost chewy, but it's also very delicious. But I probably couldn't have more than one of these at a time.

Photo of ahking
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was very impressed by the flavor and complexity of this brew. Kalamazoo/Bell's has so many stouts out there right now that I usually just throw up my hands and pick something else. But I ordered this in a bar in Detroit and was glad I did. High alcohol is evident at first sip and this can be a good thing after a snow storm. Pour thick as motor oil. Hints of coffee and chocolate in the nose. Flavor is rich with molasses and brown sugar goodness. Low on carbonation, but this is to be expected for this style. Highly recommeded.

Photo of BlackTuesday
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of majorbase2
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very very dark brown with a small lighter brown head. Okay retention, with some light lacing.

Aroma of alcohol, dark chocolate, and coffee. Roasted malts and molasses, as well. A little bit of nuttiness. Surprising amount of sweetness.

Roasted malts up front (that really stay on the tongue). More nuts, a little bit more than in the aroma. Good deal of alcohol warmth. Coffee. Not as much chocolate present. Just the slightest hint of dark fruits. Not quite as strong of a taste as I was hoping for, honestly.

Mouthfeel is sensational. Heavy bodied. Smooth and creamy. Very little carbonation. Very easy to drink.

Overall: Doesn't quite match the hype. Still a very good beer. Not quite as heavy as I expected it to be. Surprisingly easy to drink. A very solid Stout.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 5,368 ratings.