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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

5,060 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 5,060
Reviews: 1,932
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.85%
Wants: 424
Gots: 1,154 | FT: 78
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
Expedition Stout offers immensely complex flavors crafted specifically with vintage aging in mind, as its profile will continue to mature and develop over the years. A huge malt body is matched to a heady blend of chocolate, dark fruits, and other aromas. Intensely bitter in its early months, the flavors will slowly meld and grow in depth as the beer ages.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-10-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,060 | Reviews: 1,932 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of pburland23
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage, Batch #9512 cellared for the last twelve months. Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a snifter.

Pours a deep, dark nearly opaque black with a surprising amount of tan head (about 3/4 of a finger). When I drank a bottle last year, there was no head at all.

Smell is a little too prickly sweet for me... raisin, sweet maltiness, a touch of caramel.

Taste is great. Rich, smooth, toasty maltiness, a hint of sweetness balanced out by a little bitterness and a touch of dark coffee. Well rounded and very complex.

Mouthfeel is thick and very chewy. It's a big, bold beer and a great after dinner sipper. One of the best RIS I have encountered.

Photo of beerguy101
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Midnight black oil. No head. Aroma is roasted malts, chocolate, coffee and cherries. YEOW, JIP JANG JOWIE!! This is a Big full-bodied Imperial Stout. Pours and looks like engine oil. Malts are very pronounced. Roasted malts, chocolate and coffee are the predominate flavors, but there are also hints of cherries, vanilla, raisins, and plums. Some smokiness as well. Hops are bitter and piney. Full, nearly oily body. Definitely a beer to take your time with and enjoy. Very smooth. Slight alcohol bite at 10%. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean. Aftertaste is slightly bitter.

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

2007 version poured into snifter

Pours a thick black sludge that drips out of the bottle. A nice foamy chocolate milk covered head rests on top of this one and leaves lacing all along the side of the glass and a thin layer rests on top. Smell is of chocolate cookie dough and it warms your nostrils as if they had just been taken out of the oven. The rich doughy sweetness is followed by a bitter coffee scent. Taste is bittering coffee, and a smokey aftertaste. Mouthfeeling is a little oily with a good amount of warming alcohol presence. Delicious beer.

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

Thanks to Jager68 for this thick wonderful beer. Consumed 7/31/10

Pours an opaque black topped by a brownish beige one finger head that slowly relaxes to a nice topper. Lots of resin and lace on the glass.

Smell is not that strong for a big beer, full of a variety of sweet maltiness, roasted, caramel, molasses, chocolate, rounded off by hints of tart yeast and a slight bitter edge.

Taste is like the nose, not super complex, but the flavors are extremely clean and bright. Alcohol is there but just a background warmth to it. The chocolate isn't as bitter as in some stouts, and the roasted notes aren't over the top char. The bitter in the finish is just right to balance the sweet.

Very thick, very viscous, perhaps a bit too much carb., and perhaps a finish needing a bit more more complexity. Very silky.

Due to the silky nature, and simple deliciousness this baby goes down very easily.

Impression: One of a crop of truly exceptional American RIS that I hope to try again.

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle, batch 8183

A: Pours a thick black under a small, brown head. You know you are getting a big beer here. Ok retention, no lace.

S: Get some chocolate, roasted malt and slight fruitiness on first sniff. A cream-like sweetness underneath, hints of alcohol.

T: Woah. Was not prepared for the intense flavor profile that first hit me. Vanilla and a sweet cream up front that just explodes into a chocolate and huge roasted bitterness on the back of the tongue that will not go away. Was not expecting this level of bitterness. Even some grassy hop hints and some dark fruits thrown in as well. There is a huge spicy hotness as well, but doesn't have the characteristics of alcohol.

M/D: Carbonation is high, too high, but does lend in small part a creamy texture. Body is extremely full, a little slick, sticks to the lips a little, no hints of the alcohol, nice. Drinkability is lowered due to 10.50% and just how aggresive this beer is. A sipper for sure. Can't wait to sample some of this batch a few years from now.

Photo of DannyDan
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
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 jmeyers78
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Glassware: Russian river snifter

A - Dark, dark, dark. No light gets through this glass. No head to speak of.

S - lots of chocolate and vanilla. Very faint hops. Slight malt and
Coffee in the background.

M - not as full as I would like. Slightly acidic and thin. The Bros nailed it....creamy but no carbonation.

O - not a great brew but a solid one. My only complaints are the lack of carbonation and the acidic mouth feel.

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

I purchased this in the summer of 2005. It was too much for me during the warmer months at the time. Thanks to BA, I learned a bit about being able to let beers sit for awhile. Otherwise this beer might not have been truly appreciated.

This pours like motor oil with a nice tan head about an inch or so thick. The head disappeared within minutes, leaving a thin ring around the glass that left some lacing with each sip. Burnt, roasted, and alcohol aromas hit the nose equally. Espresso-like flavor balanced with a touch of alcohol that warms the soul on a chilly evening. Despite the strength of this stout, it handles very smoothly. Excellent.

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

Expedition was a beer that I would have fairly regularly and enjoy before really getting into craft beer and one that I have not been able to try in the last three years due to my move out West. Since my palate has changed since then, I decided to fork out the money and have some Expedition shipped out.

I got my bottles yesterday and immediately cracked one open. The FexEx shipping on a crisp fall day provided the beer with a perfect temperature in which to enjoy. Poured into a pint glass, Expedition looked just how I remembered, black, with a quickly dissipating caramel colored head.

The taste was fantastic. Big malt taste and what reminds me of baker's chocolate hit me the most. The syrupy texture and low carbonation of this beer, in my opinion, lends itself to the taste as opposed to hampering it. When I got to the bottom of the glass I found myself full and delighted.

While I do not believe this to be the most accurate representation of an RIS, I do believe it to be one of the most creative ones. I am glad I have 5 more waiting for me.

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

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a pint glass. No freshness date but I don't think this beer needs one. Hell, it's probably too young to drink.

A - Black. Not a hint of light gets through. This is also thick. It looks like oil. It has a very thick head that's the color of chocolate milk and sticks to absolutely every edge of the glass. This Russian Imperial looks like it is out to wrestle a Siberian Bear (and with a 10.5% ABV it will probably knock it out).

S - There is a lot of sweet dark aromas in the smell of this beer. There is raisin, molasses, roasted barley, figs, dark cherries and vanilla. The aroma is like a toasted, rum soaked fruitcake. All of those aromas are there and more.

T/M - The first thing that is very apparent is that this beer is thick and creamy. This is a very heavy bodied beer. It just sort of floats on the tongue and lets you taste all of the sweet and roasted flavors. There is dark cherries, cocoa, roasted barley, bitter chocolate, molasses, currants, dried figs, plenty of warm alcohol, and lots of hoppy bitterness. Despite the strong hops the beer is still relatively sweet because of all the dark fruit and sugary flavors. The finish is a bit more bitter and dry than the beginning or middle but you don't care because you want to taste all of those sweet dark flavors that come with each sip. The only place I would knock the taste is in the hop flavor. There is just too much citrus. It has a very strong grapefruit character that I'm certain comes from a liberal use of American hops and it detracts from what is otherwise really great complex flavor.

D - This is the third or fourth time I've had this beer and I must admit that the first time I tried it I wasn't blown away. However, I have to say that each time I drink this I am more and more impressed. At the same time, this isn't my favorite RIS and I think it's because of the citrusy/grapefruity hop flavors. I will definitely recommend this beer, but only drink one because the 10.5% ABV packs a punch. And judging by the number of misspelled reviews of this beer I would say I'm not the only one that has felt its effects.

Photo of gtn80
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
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 HardTarget
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle Inspection: Nothing useful

Aroma: Burnt raisins with a light hop finish. Deep roasted barley is obvious, smells a bit oxidized which is a bit odd. Potent alcoholic fumes as well.

Appearance: Black as Dick Cheney's soul. Holds a thin cover of dark tan lacing that laces in a half curtain with thin tidemarks.

Flavor: An American Stout to be sure, the citric and pine hop flavors come through pretty well. For as heavy as the mouthfeel is, it is remarkably balanced and almost mellow in flavor. A fair amount of creamed coffee, roasted barley, and hop finish. A pretty simple profile with a chicory deep roast aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Tons of chew in a frothy melted milkshake texture. Carbonation is pretty low and the finish is surprisingly dry. A bit oily.

Overall Impression: Clean, simple, tasty. Heavy body, full but not over the top taste, definitely worth some praise. A must try for stout lovers.

Photo of madarab55
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
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 Jimbo87
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

One of the darkest heads I've seen on a beer, it's a reddish coffee color, but of course pale compared to the completely opaque beer. When pooring it, I could see some reddish hues in the beer as it ran down the side of the glass.

Smell is chocolate, alcohol, grain. nice.

taste: chocolate, alcohol, spicy, roasted barley, and a taste I find in all russian imperial stouts that I can't identify. I don't know if it's a fruit taste or what. I like this taste more than the taste of Old Rasputin.

Mf: very unusual. Very low carbonation gives this a heavy, thick, oily feel.

D: I had to drink this pretty slowly, and I wouldn't want to drink any more, at least not until the next day. I liked this more than Old Rasputin. I feel like some people might dislike the low carbonation. But if you can buy just one bottle of this, try it.

Photo of mdfb79
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a dark black that lets no light through. Two inches of dark tan head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of roasted malts, toasted malts, dark fruit, and chocolate. A little bit of burnt malts as well. Getting some sweetness to the smell as it warms up, which is quite enjoyable.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, burnt and toasted malts, bready malts, licorice, dark fruits, and alcohol.

m - Full body and moderate carbonation. A sipper for sure.

d - A pretty nice RIS. Lots of roasted malts in the smell and taste. Have it many times and will have it again. Would recommend.

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

Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Pours a dark, oil like black. No light shining through this beer. One finger head, decent looking carbonation.

S - licorice, dark fruits, dark chocolate, a little bitterness

T - Roasty, heavy coffee and chocolate flavors, a little long-lasting bitterness afterwords. Good RIS, but lacks a bit of complexity.

M - A little thin, with a little bit of burn. Not as complex and viscosity i was hoping for.

D - Pretty drinkable, but burns a bit.

Photo of UrbanCaveman
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, poured into a snifter at room temperature.

A: Pours almost exactly like Old Engine Oil, a thick, viscous black. Almost no head formed with my pour, with what did appear a deep tan. It quickly receded to a ring and patchy cap. No light gets through this beer. None. Not a speck of it, anywhere, along any edge.

S: The smell is roasted chocolate malt, with notes that remind me of a bourbon barrel, oak and booze. There's definitely some dark fruits playing around in the background as well, like midgits running along the hills the FSM made with His Noodly Appendages.

T: A rush of darkly-roasted, burnt-black bitter chocolate malt opens the taste,which quickly transforms into a swirl of flavors. Seared molasses, espresso, cherries, prunes, and figs all dance about the mouth, atop a stage of dark earth bitterness with some pine needles mixed in. There's some alcohol burn involved as well, particularly on the back and finish.

M: Oily, thick, chewy, and sticky, this is what a good RIS should drink like.

O: This is a darned good RIS. Being a malthead, I'd have loved to see a little less showcasing of the earthy-pine hop flavors, which are noticeable and sort of horn in on the malt profile. This beer also did not hide its ABV at all to me, though the bottle was only three months old - perhaps the burn fades with more age.

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

Poured blacker and thicker than Saudi Arabian crude with a small brown head. This may be the most viscous beer I've poured.

The aroma was of rich roasted malts, chocolate, some hops, and herbal notes.

The flavor of the beer was richly roasty without being harsh or ashen. The malts cascaded through a variety of flavors. There were notes of dried fruits, herbs, and licorice. The hops were well balanced and weren't too powerful.

The mouthfeel was thick and creamy. The carbonation was spot on. The drinkability was good.

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

poured from a bottle, batch 9554, into snifter. had this one cellared for 15 months.

A: almost pitch black. quarter inch thich tan head. sticky lacing. great looking beer.

S: smells sweet. toffee, raisins, figs, cocoa.

T: more bitter than i expected. roasty, chocolate.

M: most impressive characteristic of the beer for me. extremely viscous. sticky.

O: taste did not live up to some of the very upper echelon imperial stouts i have had, but it's still a very solid beer. enjoyed very much.

Photo of BMMillsy
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark with a late-forming small mocha head. Smells very sweet like tootsie rolls with some licorice and a hint of vanilla. Very sweet but with a nice bitter finish that keeps it from being cloying. Brown sugar and vanilla up front with a burst of chocolate as it goes down. Good carbonation. Lingering cocoa. Solid stout on national stout day.

Photo of abecall98
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this in a trade from Dukedevil0. Good guy.

A - this beer is dark like oil. light 1/4 in head.

S - For sum reason, this has been the first Imperial Stout I have consumed that has a high hop aroma.

T - Malty, roasty, hoppy, chocolate, and a hoppy finish. After the finish, I have a nice slight alcoholic flavor in my mouth.

M - Smooth, creamy, and a very well carbonated. Not overly carbonated, for the style, I believe it is perfect.

D - this beer is drinkable. This does not have a nasty aftertaste, and every drink makes you look forward to the next.

Overall, this is a great beer. I have another 4 beers, for aging, and look forward to them.

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

Poured from 12 oz bottle into CBS snifter. Served at cellar temperature.

A) This is jet black and pours out like motor oil as expected. Nearly 2 fingers of milk chocolate head, with decent retention. This had good lacing and legs.

S) Dark malt + roast. This has some espresso bean, and a hint of dark fruit sweetness. There is a little booze, but at 10.5 % what do you expect.

T) Near the nose... Good amount of roast. A little dark chocolate, and dark fruit, mainly raisins. This definitely has some hops on the backend. Finishes up with roast, hops and alcohol warmth.

M) Close to full bodied... Hell, I'll just get off the fence and call it full bodied. The carbonation was light. This was very smooth and creamy from a feel standpoint, however, my score came down a notch due to an aftertaste that I found a bit to bitter and boozy.

O) This is a highly enjoyable sipper. I'm really interested to try this with some age on it. Definitely a RIS that is worth a try. Glad to recommend.

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

A seriously dark beer with a thin brown head. The flavor is a muscular mix of dense roasty elements, bitter chocolate, a welcome sweetness, and a formidable measure of alcohol. The smell touches upon mocha at first, then dry roasted goodness, alcohol, and coffee. CO2 is minimal, lace is absent.

An ambitious recipe with plenty of kick. Special thanks to cmaruschak.

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

This thing is uber dark brown with a dark tan head. There is absolutely no light getting through this one. Just pouring this gives a sense of its thickness. Alcohol is immediately apparent in the nose. It's also got some fig, prune, dates, and cherry rounding things out with vanilla and coffee. Dark fruits at first, which I really like. The finish is strong with espresso and leaves a taste somewhat akin to burnt toast. I also get bitter chocolate in the taste that was missing in the smell. Sure, the alcohol is present, but not as noticeable as in the scent. I love the rich, silky smooth feel. The level of carbonation matches up quite well.

Photo of JohnQVegas
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
95 out of 100 based on 5,060 ratings.