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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,017 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,017
Hads: 5,653
Avg: 4.21
pDev: 17.81%
Wants: 490
Gots: 1,510 | FT: 125
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-10-2002

Expedition Stout offers immensely complex flavors crafted specifically with vintage aging in mind, as its profile will continue to mature and develop over the years. A huge malt body is matched to a heady blend of chocolate, dark fruits, and other aromas. Intensely bitter in its early months, the flavors will slowly meld and grow in depth as the beer ages.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Bell's Expedition Stout Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,017 | Hads: 5,653
Photo of Soilworker
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured from a 12oz bottle, fresh no aging, into a standard stout/pint glass. Bottle has a batch number on it...this is batch number: 9554.

A: Pitch black with zero light shining through even with a strong flashlight put up to the glass. Nice caramel colored head that is slow to dissipate and the bubbles are very fine. The liquid seems to almost stain the glass.

S: Dominated by an intense and strong blast of fig, plum, and raisin. Bittersweet chocolate, dark roasted malts, and perhaps a hint of roasted coffee provided the backboard for the dark fruit character. There are also small hints of alcohol and vanilla that hit the nose from time to time. Very rich, savory, and bold.

T: Starts off with pretty much an explosion of burnt and roasted malts. I was expecting a start with some wateriness to it but that is definitely not the case. After the blast of malt this settles down to a pleasant bittersweet chocolate flavor with vanilla and espresso notes playing along with it. Somewhat sweet at the beginning. This then fades towards the end to a flavor characterized by burnt coffee and roasted malts and some oaky wood notes that seem to be somewhat charred. The finish holds on the burnt and roasted malt character and there is plenty of bitterness here which seem to be primarily hoppy in nature but have an interesting bitter burnt malt aspect. As you drink it, especially when you start there is a lovely warming feeling in both your mouth but primary in the throat all the way down the stomach. A very impressive taste profile!!!

M: Amazing!!! As you swirl it through your mouth it is smooth and creamy and very bold with a little bit a zing on the tongue from the carbonation. As oily and creamy as the beer is at first, the finish definitely feels dry.

D: Did I mention this was a bold beer? The flavor profile is huge and definitely takes the right palate to enjoy this one. I would love to drink this all night and I would, but this is a beer for sipping if I ever tasted one. The ABV is pretty aggressive but not terribly noticeable during the taste but I'm sure if you managed to get a few of these down it would start to catch up to you.

Overall I loved this beer. I especially liked the rich, bold taste and creamy mouthfeel. This was my first Expedition ever and I can definitely see how aging this one would be a smart move since this would most likely tone down the bitterness a bit. I definitely plan on buying a second or third six pack just for aging past 2yrs. If you like stouts, you must try this beer.

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Photo of FreshHawk
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Dark black color with an average sized, creamy, smooth, cafe colored head. Nice retention leaving a beautiful ring of lace.

S - Dark and milk chocolate are abound in the aroma. Cream with touches of coffee. Hints of dark fruit toward the end.

T - Similar to the nose. Loads of chocolate (sweet and dark) along with a fair amount of cream and caramel. Some espresso but not much. Touches of date and fig. A faint whisper of alcohol shows up on the finish.

M - Full body and creamy. Average to low carbonation. Very smooth and velvety.

D - Wonderful beer to sip on. Alcohol is mellow and the flavors meld together well. Not complex but bold.

Notes: The batch was in the 8,000s (from 2009) and it was consumed 06/13/11. Much better with a couple of years on it. Alcohol and the harsh flavors have mellowed and made this a perfect beer to sit back and sip on. I'll have to get some to cellar now.

A - Deep dark black with a large creamy, frothy, thick, meringue-like, dark tan head. Really good retention that settles into a nice thick, creamy lace.

S - Good amount of chocolate and some black coffee. Roasted malt is very prominent. Some dark fruit tartness and hints of licorice and soy aroma. Some caramel as well. Tartness is fairly strong (for the style).

T - Rich and fairly complex flavors. Dark chocolate and roasted malt are the strongest flavors. Has some burnt sugar and coffee flavors as well. Some dark fruit, although none really stand out much. Also a bit of anise and soy. The tartness in the aroma is also there and mixes along with some roasted bitterness. Alcohol heat is also present. Usually the tartness is toward the beginning of the taste with more of the chocolate and burnt flavors and alcohol mid to finish of the sip. Hints of citrus hops in there.

M - Full thick feel with a good amount of carbonation. Very thick and creamy feel.

D - A little much to want to drink a lot or to have it on a regular basis. Very much a sipper, with the alcohol heat and slight tartness and bitterness making it a bit less drinkable. Wasn't quite as balanced as I would have liked.

Notes: Batch 9554, consumed 08/28/10. Decent stout, but not my favorite. Seemed just a little off balanced. Not bad overall and I would drink it again, but for the price there are others that are better. The score is for the cellared 3 year offering not this one that was consumed fairly fresh. For fresh I gave:
A 4.5
S 4
T 4
M 4.5
D 3.5

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Photo of mdwalsh
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Had this at Indulge first, never really wanted to until then, I've been dieing to get this. Batch no. 8944

A: Blackity black black black. Poured like motor oil with legs. This thing almost got up and crawled away. There's not real head, and no active carb, and thus no lacing. Holding this up to the SUN and I'm not getting any light. I just wish it had a bit more head.

S: Dark sweet fruit and mildly roasted malt. Burnt sugar and caramel is great. It isn't a too strong of a scent, but it's there. Not overly complex nor simple, just right. No hops, of course.

T: The burnt sugar really takes over and the fruit takes a backseat. The caramel-toffee chocolate -I almost say fudge, is great. There isn't coffee, which is awesome. Usually, I don't like RIS right right off the bat. This one, I would.

M: Like drinking chocolate syrup. That's about it. Flat and smooth.

D: One is fine, wouldn't want too many more than that and it wouldn't be great in all situations.

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Photo of beerdedking
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%

Bottled 9/25/13 poured obsidian into snifter with a thick cinnamon head. Just beautiful to behold.
Scents of raspberry truffle and plum brandy. The complexity has really come through after a year of sitting.
The dark fruits have melded perfectly to the dark chocolate and roasted barley. Still a touch of alcohol on the finish
which I prefer. A beer of this nature should have a bit of heat. What an experience. Just think, there are more
of these just sitting there at my bottle shop. Not for long....

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Photo of jaxon53
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Aquired this brew from brandoman63, in the brews-n-tunes summer '07 tour. About a year and a half aged. Served at cellar temperature, in a snifter, from a twelve ounce bottle. Poured a serious inky jet black color, that no light could pass through. About a half inch of somewhat thin, dark brown head formed. Head quickly dispersed into a thin ring atop the beer. Left little lace behind. Strong chocolate, bitter coffee, some almost oaky notes, followed by a ton of alcohol. Also noted were caramel, toffee, and some nice roasted aromas. The smell was almost mouth watering. Tons of flavor. More strong coffee, dark chocolate, molasses, roasted malts. All of this finished with a hot alcohol burn in the back of the throat. The alcohol seems much more pronounced than I can remember. Very little carbonation was noticed. Mouthfeel was thick, full, syrupy and chewey. Awesome. Drinkability was great for such a high octane tasting brew. Pretty smooth and enjoyable.

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Photo of Beerandboards
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle, batch 9971, bottled September 13, 2010. So, clocking in at about 2.5 years old

A - pitch black, pour produces about 1.5 inches of toffee colored foam. Dissipates pretty quickly, leaves a fair amount of lacing on the sides.

S - wow. Molasses, vanilla, coffee, milk chocolate. One of the best smelling stouts I've had. Beats out a lot of the BA stouts. Killer.

T - doesn't let me down after the nose. Molasses again, big time. Vanilla. Milk chocolate. There is just the right amount of bitter chocolate at the end. TASTY.

M - creamy, thicker side of medium feel, lower carbonation. Really nice.

O - I have to say, I'm surprised at how good this is. I've never had it fresh, but I can't imagine that this hasn't gotten better with age. I've got another 2010 that I'll sit on for just a bit longer just to see what happens. Bells killed this one.

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Photo of BBP
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Pours a little less dark than the average RIS with a very good creamy full head, which holds decently, and superb lacing.

S- A very all around aroma. Hints of bitterness from the hops as well as coffee, chocolate, roasted malts, and dark malts.

T- Everything you'd expect from an RIS. Begins with a semi-sweet chocolate taste and works it's way towards the roasted malt and hop bitterness quickly. After they play their parts the chocolate really comes into play. The aftertaste is loaded with it. It does a great job at bringing all of the flavors up to the front and making them big. There's a little bit of alcohol noticed in this one, but it's easy to look by with all of the other good flavor.

M- Very nice and full. Creamy feel and just a little dry and sticky in the finish. I've heard chewy being used for a mouthfeel description several times, and I think that this is the first one that is getting there.

D- Too drinkable. I only bought one of these which makes me a little sad, as I really have to drink this slower than I want to. It's good for very easy drinking without being watered down or having weak flavor. The 10.5% is there and easy to notice, but not overbearing and it didn't take away from the experience at all for me. I'll get a 6pk of this next time for sure rather than the single.

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Photo of mweso2000
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours black with a tan head that quickly goes down. There is not much head to speak of. Aroma is malty with hints of chocolate, toffee and caramel. The alcohol slightly stings my nose. Paired with Thanksgiving dessert of apple pie and pumpkin pie. Tastes go well together. Slightly bitter with a taste of bittersweet dark chocolate. Coffee tones work into the mouth. I expected this to be a little tougher to drink with a 10% abv, but the alcohol is not overwhelming and drinks quite easily. Probably not a beer I would have more than two of though.

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Photo of sholland119
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours and opaque jet black with a thin brown head. Beautiful.

S-Rich roasted coffee, bittersweet chocolate, rasted malts.

T-A vanilla and caramel sweetness in the front with roasted coffee and some hops in the finish. An outstanding complexity and balance throughout.

M-Thick and rather oily on the tongue.

D-I could drink these all night if I am not driving. What an awesome beer!

A great stout from Bell's, quite underrated in my opinion. Had this one for the first time in a few months as we did a side by side with Peche Mortel, KBS and regular Founders BS. Expedition can stand up to all of them and is, to me, far superior to the Peche.


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Photo of JohnnyDuvel
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Initially, a shock to the palate! I couldn't believe how strong tasting this beer is. Pours like 10W 30, little head, no lace. Super malty and super hoppy at the same time. It got tastier as I went, and left me feeling no pain. Quite bitter, with some chocolate sweetness. I'm glad I got to try this (thanks, Monk). This is one of those beers that I wish I always had around, for when the mood strikes me. In the same category as Speedway and Stone in that regard. An excellent and powerful stout.

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Photo of CampusCrew
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

appearance: black beauty like coffee with great head but low head retention. some nice lacing from what it had though.

smell: deep dark malts, lots of chocolate flavor, loaded coffee,

taste: nice hop profile as i thought, lots of deep dark malt flavor. smooth easy drinking high abv impy stout. lots of bitterness from the hops on the back

mouthfeel: full bodied beauty, low carbonation

drinkability: not over rated. it's world class.

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bell's Expedition Stout

Poured into a tulip glass from a 12oz bottle.

A - Pours a nice pitch-black oily beer with some slight brown edges. No light can pass through. Dark tan head is present that is about 1 inch tall with very densely packed bubbles. (5.0)

S - Delicious roasted notes come up front. Dark malts and some great sweet and slightly bitter chocolate. The chocolate plays so well with the roasted notes that it almost smells of mocha. Yum. Nice coffee notes finish of the beer aroma. There is some slight caramel and some nice brown sugar notes as well (5.0)

T & M - Taste starts off with delicious dark roasted malt notes. Mixed coffee notes with some slight sweet milk chocolate and good bitter dark chocolate notes. Flavor for this beer is full and complex. Near perfection. The back end of the beer includes some slight boozy burn with some sweet notes that try to slightly balance those burnt roasted malt notes. There is a nice delicious bitter finish from the hops. Mouthfeel is full and rich and the beer is not too watery or to thick. Just right. (4.5) (4.5)

D - This beer is delicious and I am mad that I've passed it over time and time again. It is a good reliable stout that is as accessible as Old Rasputin. Very delicious and not too boozy. Watch for the hidden 10.5%. (4.0)

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Photo of drrone
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A- Black as night with minimal dark brown head. Hardly any lacing.

S - Beautiful roast nose, with notes of chocolate, coffee and just a hint of fruit. You can smell the alcohol as well, but nicely so.

T - Very nice maltly, chocolately, espressoy dance of favors in my mouth.

M - Thick and rich, but easy to drink. Leaves a nice feel afterwards.

O - Very pleased with this stout. It is everything I was hoping it would be. I am looking forward to ageing a few of these to enjoy in the future.

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Photo of atsprings
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009 vintage on cask at The Busy Bee served in a standard pint glass a deep opaque black with a thin light tan head that diminishes to a ring and leaves slight lacing on the glass. Aroma is a nice amount of roasted malts, fresh ground coffee and baker's cocoa. The taste is loads of smooth roasted malts, bitter cocoa, molasses, espresso, dried fruits and a hint of oak, incredibly complex! The beer is unbelievably smooth and easy drinking for its strength. I really have to say, this is possibly the best cask beer I've ever had, I certainly want more!

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Photo of BradenMK
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%

Age. This. Beer. It's begging for it. Sometimes overly harsh with the hop profile when fresh, once this hits the two year mark (and literally, for years and years after), this beer is a magical creature complete with fairy wings and unicorn horns. Always a hop bomb, the roasted, chocolate notes just get deeper and more nuanced and more smooth with time. A superb stout that any fans of the style will already know is delicious.

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Photo of downeyj4
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is probably one of my favorite imperial stouts. It really has everything that you would want in an imperial stout, but isn't thick like oil sludge. All of the flavors balance out well. It has a great amount of roastiness and bitterness, but still finishes nicely. It surprised me when I found out the ABV, or else I would've had a few more pints.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow. This is how a RIS should taste! Thanks Drunkmonk!
Where do I begin? Perhaps the best RIS I have had. Poured a deep thick black with a nice deep brown head. Carbonation was good. Nose is sticky, sweet with cocoa, espresso, roasted malts. Taste is very smooth. Lots of cocoa, coffee, roasted malts and maybe even some vanilla. Mouthfeel was great. Drinkability was awesome. So good and the 10.5 ABV was well disguised. Awesome brew.

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Photo of winegourmet76
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Great beer karma to Nick who bestowed this to me. Three years old. I have heard great things and love the style, was elated to try this one.

Appearance: black as night, aggressive pour, brown head, good lacing

Nose: remarkable, and I have had some amazing wines in my time, but this is irresistible to a great nose. Dark rich chocolate, like 80% cacao, followed by rich, rum and brandy macerated raisins. Very few beers warrant savoring the nose for so long as this one. So rich, so indulgent, can the flavor measure up?

Taste: brandy, chocolate-covered raisins, smoke, this one is definitely in its prime. Mostly I get the rich brandy/rum flavors, which is a nice change from the usual roasted coffee IRS flavors. Only the Bell's Batch 7000 that I was fortunate enough to try bests this one in complexity.

Mouthfeel: A little thin, expected it to be more creamy.

This is a beer that ranks in my top five, hands down. So rich, so complex, I wish I had some to share with my friends. This beer is exactly why I love this style so much.

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Photo of TheBungyo
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Props to Faro for trading this to me.

This is darker than a pit! Very little head, but what there is looks like the froth on top of a chocolate shake. Nose is full of cocoa and espresso ... maybe a little molasses and chocolate syrup as well.

Bruce Campbell might say the taste is groovey! Very big on chocolate, like dark fudge flavored with espresso. There's also some nice hop bitterness going on.

Whoa, talk about slick mouthfeel. Carbonation is low and and makes quite a minimal appearance. This is thick, rich and creamy ... I LOVE it!

If I could buy this again and again I definitely would. This is extremely delicious. I hope every stout lover out there gets a chance to try this.

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Photo of Dogbrick
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Beers like this remind me why Imperial Stouts are currently my favorite kind of beer. Probably the blackest beer I have poured, dark as orc blood! Minimal head really didn't surprise me because this beer did not seem like the kind to screw around with such things. It wants you to get right to the Evil. Aroma is a dark and foreboding roasty smell with some black coffee and dark chocolate. The aroma really did not prepare me for how strong this beer is. Somehow the smell does not warn you of the sinister alcohol content that waits to pounce on you the second you take your first sip. Flavors of alcohol, coffee, roasted malt and burnt wood. A truly baleful beer, this is definitely the Lord of Imperial Stouts, and will make a lesse beer cry like 7 year-old girl with a skinned knee.

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Photo of joeseppy
4.66/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Typical stout appearance. Nice fluffy mocha head. Btl 10/2012

Initial pour has cola aroma and as it warms, turns into a milky sweet coffee with roasty malts.

Chocolate upfront with a hoppy alcohol back. Coffee through the nose lingers. Milk chocolate, smoky malts, raisin, brown sugar and alcohol heat. Some bitter black licorice. Do get a molasses presence.

Mouthfeel of smoky malt, creamy pureed dark fruit and a burnt dry hop bitterness. Crisp carbonation.

One of the most complex of stouts. Craftsfully mastered. Age will gracefully transcend this to another level of greatness year after year. Will patiently age the rest of my stash. Yum-Yum.

*on tap November 2013
Freakin' Phenom---detect low alcohol levels. Damn near putting these down one after another. Bumping my score up a bit.

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Photo of russpowell
4.66/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Props to zrrbrrt for this one.

Pours a deep mahogany with a rocky 2 fingers deep dirt/mocha colored head. Great lacing ( small dark flecks are glued to the glass almost like tiny grains of glass or obsidian) & very good head retention

S: Rich chocolate, plums & toast

T: Huge roasted malt & bitter chocolate up front. Iron, burnt coffee dark choclate follow as this warms up. This made me think of a choclate malted milk with booze pulsing through its body. Finishes with a flourish of choclate, hint of booze, a kiss of iron & roasted grain bitterness.

MF: Rich & chewy, makes me thik Christmas pudding! Very low carbonation.

The chewyness kind of detracts form the drinkability, but a lovely fireside sipper that demands respect & adoration. A great Russian IMP stout

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Photo of rallison
4.66/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 12oz bottle into a Chimay goblet at cellar temp.

A: Beautiful jet black with a 2 finger brown (yes, this is one dark head too!) head that cascades upon pour (like Guiness from the tap, except that you'll truly look forward to tasting what shows up). Not quite as thick as motor oil, but not all that far off (and I just changed the oil on my car today, so you can trust my comparison!). Head lasts nicely, especially considering the alcohol level.

S: Good roasted coffee, dark chocolate, some more roastiness, and some more chocolate!

T: Amazing. Tons of bitter chocolate and espresso. This is truly one of those beers that will keep you warm on a cold night. Get some fig and prune flavor in there too, with maybe a bit of black licorice. Alcohol is there, but not overpowering - just a nice warming at the end. This is on the extreme end of imperial stouts flavorwise - you better like the roasted, bitter chocolate and coffee flavors - not for the faint of heart indeed! Needless to say, that makes this one of my favorite beers. So, you ask, what can you really call this beer? And I shall answer. It is one delicious, luxuriant journey to chocolate spiked espresso heaven!

M: Exceptionally rich and full mouthfeel. I guess it could get a bit intense after a few, but the mouthfeel is quite enjoyable.

D: All I can say is this: The amazing flavors far outweigh the heaviness of this beer. And considering this is 11.5%, it's pretty drinkable.

Delightful! Exceptionally well crafted, worthy of all the praise it receives. This beer took a special trip to Lone Hill to get, and was worth every penny (well, if I could get this for just pennies...wait, that would prevent me from ever being productive again...).

In a word, extremely highly recommended. Stone makes one amazing RIS, but in my mind, the title (for now) must go to Bell's. Go. Buy. Drink.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.66/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served in a pint glass at Mellow Mushroom in Charlottesville. From notes. Reviewed 9 July 2011.

A: Obscenely beautiful head. Very creamy, dense, and dark brown. Fades slowly. Great, comprehensive lacing. Black as emptiness and utterly impenetrable by light.

S: Sweet alcohol. Some fruit. Some coffee. Some vanilla. Deep, strong, and impressive. Boozy.

T: Pretty much one of the best beers I've ever tasted. Immensely dense and chock full of flavour. Fruit, roasted malts, meat, soaring alcohol. Smack-worthy and utterly magnificent!

M: Round, smooth, sweet, slinky, drinkable, and excellent.

O: Go as far as it takes to find this beer. You couldn't ask for a better imperial stout. Utterly marvellous.

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Photo of Boto
4.66/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle: This one pours an inky, very dark brown color. There was almost no head on the pour, but a moderate tan one came up through the darkness to the surface. It subsides quickly. The nose is fairly potent. Chocolate and a roastiness are the most noticeable. Some coffee and alcohol come through also. A bit of a sweetness to it also. The mouthfeel is a bit thick and silky: definitely a full bodied beer. The taste seems to be more complex than the aroma. The chocolate is there, but not as strong as I thought it would be. Hints of dark fruits, roastiness are in the taste profile also. Almost no sweetness, and a touch of bitterness in the aftertaste. This is an extremely good beer.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 2,017 ratings.