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

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

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5,183 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 5,183
Reviews: 1,954
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.85%
Wants: 435
Gots: 1,227 | FT: 85
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: 5,183 | Reviews: 1,954 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MattGrimley
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of sgoodship
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Picked up a 6 in St. Joe's while camping in Michigan. I'd been wanting to try it for quite some time.

A: Dark brown almost black. Looks thick and viscousy on the pour. Has some brown/red in it and shows mahogany highlights against the light. The head is a golden copper brown - almost metallic looking. It took a pretty aggressive pour to coax it into providing a finger head. The head dissipated almost immediately. As the drink was sipped, it provided some spotty lacing and left oily brown coffee residue on the glass that slowly slid back to join the liquid.

S: Nice bold smell. Bitter cocoa, coffee. A hint of booze and bready maltiness.

T: The dark chocolate and coffee milk shake is what hit me first. The burn from booze comes in and there is a distinct strong burnt bitterness in the finish and aftertaste. The aftertaste becomes dry and the bite becomes an almost metallic coffee. A touch much at times but it is certainly makes you want to go in for more.

M: Full bodied and velvety smooth. There is enough carb there to liven this thick brew up a bit.

D: Love this RIS. It's pretty smooth. Booze sneaks in here and there but overall it is pretty well hidden. The pronounced bitterness was a touch much for my personal tastes at times but it didn't stop me from pounding this back quicker than I intended to. Another great Bells beer and I'm sad it can't be found in Chicago.

Photo of marvin213
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I think this beer looks purty darned good. WAY black like a big-time stout should be. A thin layer of dark foam tops her off. As I look at this here stout sitting in my Smoke on the Water (Greenville, SC) pint glass, I must say it appears mouth-watering appealing to me.

The smell, quite frankly, is good. I don't know what exactly it is that gives Russian Imperials their distinctive smell (I know, I'm sure it's explained on BA somewhere), but this one's got it. And I like it. Nothing else though--no chocolate, no coffee, etc. It's a good-smellin' Russian Imperial Stout.

Interestingly, I seem to taste some coffee. The taste is suprisingly light, which is good, I suppose, for a 10.5% RIS. Is there a such thing as a Stout Light? I like it, but it lacks character. Unless, as I discover with each sip, it is that it's a Stout Light (w/ a big ABV). Yep, that's my conclusion: this beverage is a basic RIS with the maximum amount of water allowed by the style. That would explain why it travels so well and ages so gracefully. It's like a Bud Russian Imperial Stout Light. I think that's purty cool, but it helps with drinkability more than taste.

The mouthfeel is good, but light. How is this signature Bell's Stout so like water to me? I'm simply not that tough. The more I analyze this beer, the more I'm convinced that it is indeed a Stout Light. The mouthfeel is a malty good with a surprisingly watery residue. Since I enjoy it, it's good.

Drinkability is better than good. If I were to enjoy a Russian Imperial Stout while throwing frisbee on a sandy Hawaiian beach, this'd be the one. I marvel at the 10.5%. As I try to make sense of the discrepancy b/w BA and the bros on this one, I figure that the Expedition is quaffable enough for us Plebians to appreciate it, but not quite distinctive and unique enough for the bros (i.e. Patricians) to outright endorse it with an "A" or a "B".

Photo of Osiris9588
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
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 kmbeer
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of swamiswamu
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
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 quikfish13
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a very thick black with no sign of carbonation in the pour. Suddenly a nice foamy and thick two finger head appeared out of no where threatening to spill over the glass. Smells of roasted malts and dark chocolate were very prominent with a slight hint of coffee and alcohol.

This stout smacks you heavily with alcohol in the after taste with a very dark chocolate and bitter hops flavor in the middle. Virtually no carbonation in the mouthfeel.

Leaves a very heavy taste and sometimes a lttle hard to swallow. Not really a beer I could see having a session with a six pack with. None the less a good beer to drink and savor for the extremely bold flavors. Any fan of stouts should give this a try at least once.

Photo of CRJMellor
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours syrupy black with some nice carbonation producing 1/4 inch dark tan head, that is clinging to the glass as I drink it. Aroma was slightly chocolate with a little smoke or peat, also a little bit medicinal and maybe a raisin hint. Slight hop aroma deep in the background. Mouthfeel is not as strong as the look would indicate, smooth, rich and syrupy. Taste is overpoweringly coffee, roasted caramel and highly alcoholic on the back end. (Glad my bed is only one story away). Definitely a winter beer for a cold Michigan night. Malt profile really comes to life as the beer warms in the glass. Almost has a Doppelbock malt finish to it. I feel lucky to be living so near to greatness ! Excellent beer.

Photo of peabody
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
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 metter98
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a finger high dark tan head that has excellent retention properties and hardly died down and left lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: There are moderate aromas of roasted malts in the nose along wit some hints of licorice.
T: The taste is similar to the smell, although the licorice becomes more prominent as the beer warms up and lingers through the finish. A light to moderate of bitterness is present.
M: It feels a little more than medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonated. All of the roasted malts make the finish feel dry.
O: This beer is quite drinkable considering the strength because the alcohol is well hidden from the taste (provided you can get past the roastiness).

Photo of minterro
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Not much notes, drank at Crunchys

Very full bodied very sooth and velvety. Jet black colored beer not much head to it, just spots of lacing that fall quick.

Bready and smokey malts in the taste.

Nutty in the aftertaste, alcohol has a great presence.

Big time smokiness. Warming but not too hot at least it was well masked.

4, 4.5, 4, 4.5, 4.5


Bottle tasting 03/12/14

Bought on my trip to Michigan over winter break. Bottling date 07/26/13 so we are looking at about 7.5 months aging. Poured into a snifter.

A&S: initially the aroma is a strong charred smokiness and dark chocolate. The body looks on lighter side when poured. Very minimal latte colored head even when poured viciously. Black, but not pitch black colored beer.

T&M: Upfront I'm mostly getting chocolate. About midway through it starts getting smokey. Very smokey (almost ashtray like, a bit too much) in the finish. I getting a tad bit of nuttiness in the finish like a previously noted. Alcohol isn't hidden but not unpleasantly apparent. More warming than I expected at just above 10%. Body is medium, while carbonation is low.

Overall: Great brew. With my limited beer aging space, I don't think I will be aging this one again until I get some more space, but nevertheless a good beer to age for a bit. Surprisingly a kinda straight foreword brew. A little too smokey for me, but if you are into that taste this beer would be a good one to check out.

3.75, 4.25, 4, 4, 4.25

Photo of dismal
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
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 BayouBengal1537
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark black color with no head at all, rather disappointing. Smells of dark chocolate, sweet molasses, roasted malts very pronounced. Taste has rich chocolate notes, sweet roasted malts, slight bitterness from the hops, followed by dark fruit sweetness. Mouthfeel is heavy, chewy, creamy, pretty amazing. Full bodied but little carbonation. Overall, a very complex brew, nice and tastey, would like to have tried this aged a little bit longer, but a pretty damn good beer.

Photo of Roke87
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Duvel tulip at cellar temperature.
Bell’s Batch Number: 9971 Bottled on: Sept.13/2010

Appearance- Pours a pitch black colour like dirty old motor oil with a two finger of nice fluffy brown mocha coloured head that resides at an average pace to a thick ring around the glass leaving lots of sticky lacing throughout till finish.

Smell- Is very similar on the nose to a Founders imp stout, except I smell a hint of hops thrown in there. Lots of roasted malts, a mild coffee smell, with a sweet caramel/toffee nose with a hint of chocolate in there, I could definitely get a hint of alcohol out of this one.

Taste- Comes through just like the smell, although I didn’t get too much hops in the taste as I could smell. Lots of roasted malt flavours and dark fruity flavours as well that are almost sweet on the palate, not too much caramel/toffee on the taste either but it does finish with a bitter coffee flavour balanced again by the roasted malts. Also finishes with a little bit of an alcohol taste but not overly intense.

Mouthfeel- I would say this is a full bodied imperial stout that finishes smooth a creamy, They do a very good job of hiding the high ABV but it does comes through a bit in the finish. Not overly carbonated but not many stouts are anyways so I would say it’s just right in those terms.

Overall- To be honest I kind of expected more from this one; it is very similar to a number of other imperial stouts and not as good as a few others although it does come through in many respects. The Smells are well balanced which translates to an equally balanced, smooth, and almost easy drinking taste. I would say this is Bell’s flagship beer but you could pick up a number of other Bell’s offerings and be just as satisfied but none the less a very solid offering. For the high price point I think I’ll just pick up the similar stouts and pass on this one in the future.

Photo of cvaypai
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into snifter.

Appearance- Deep dark midnight black, cannot see through at all, even when held up to light. 1 finger dark tan creamy head that stays.

Smell- Smells of chocolate, dark roasted malts, toffee, caramel, very nice nose to it. I really like the smell of this beer. Surprisingly no alcohol detected in the nose.

Taste- Deep dark roasted taste with a bit of sweetness and then bitter. Chocolate up front is very subtle but delicious. Pretty well balanced beer, surprised for a beer of its stature.

Mouthfeel- Not impressed with its mouthfeel, stings my mouth for some reason and just seems a bit off. Though it is fairly smooth.

Drinkability- This is not a beer you should enjoy on the first day that hits the 90's of the year. Though I couldn't wait to taste it. One of these only, but enjoyable while drinking, I am in the air, not outside.

Good stuff, I would like to age one and see it progress.

Photo of TomTown
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. Bottle dated 10/22/12.

Pours pitch black with a 1/2 inch light brown head.

Smells of milk chocolate and coffee. More assertive roast than recent stouts I've had.

Strong bitterness for a stout. Definitely within acceptable range, but the IBU's and roast level work well together to add a strong edge to the sweetness present in a beer of this size.

Mouthfeel is pretty full but the bitterness cuts that a little earlier than other interpretations.

Overall a very tasty beer and I'm glad I had one relatively fresh. I'll try again in a year to see how some of the roast and bitterness has mellowed.

Photo of Cummins9110
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into glass

A - darker than the pit of a black hole, little to no head

S - Smells of toffee and slight dark fruits

T - taste of chocolate/coffee and dark fruits/maybe slight cherry notes endes with high IBU and slight alcohol burn at the end

M - full full bodied and very thick, I'm almost eating the beer (exagerated)

Overall its a good beer and its my first RIS but in reality it doesn't fully live up to the hype

Photo of rfgetz
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
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
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
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 vwcraig
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured black into a goblet. Camel colored head. Pruney and chocolatey smell that really sticks in the nose. Very appetizing smells. Caramelly, roasted malts jump out. Initial tastes were of hot cocoa and even a dark fruitiness switching into a bitter hop profile and some burnt malt flavors. Bitterness is felt throughout the mouth even on the roof. Heavy and slick mouthfeel barely any carbonation. Leaves a thick ring of lacing behind and clings to the glass. Booze level becomes more revealed as it warms up. Excellent for the last stout of the night.

Photo of HeyItsChili
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
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 movingtrain
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a Piraat glass.

Nice and dark with a fine, two finger head cascading down the sides of the glass. The head is slowly diminishing, but still sticking around pretty well...and clinging to the sides of the glass.

Smells of vanilla, chocolate, dates, dark-roasted coffee (on the sweeter side), licorice (anise), cake batter. The alcohol is fairly present in the nose, but seems to be mixing well with the other flavors coming out here. It smells like a big stout...

Taste is bitter-sweet, with serious chocolate and coffee notes. Roasted malts, roasting coffee...tastes like a super sweet espresso. The alcohol really comes through here as it goes down...but it really isn't overpowering. Not sure I could handle another one of these right away, but it is drinkable.

Overall, this seems like a typical imperial stout style...and I think it's a pretty good representation of the style. Not too outlandish, but not bad by any means. It's just good. Check it out.

Photo of IrishRedRock
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thick, viscous and black with a large tan head that quickly drops down to a thin lace. Had to force the head with a very hard pour. Rich chocolatey nose with the pungent cascades shining through. The alcohol is very very well hidden in both aroma and flavor. Wouldnt have guessed nearly 12% by volume. Nice burnt flavor with a good smacking of hops and roasty malts, but not as aggressive as some of its American Imperial counterparts. Mouthfeel is rich and smooth...quite seductive. Jack up the complexity and this one is a classic; nonetheless, Bell's has done an excellent job with this offering.

Photo of scifan
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 5,183 ratings.