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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.

2,014 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,014
Hads: 5,643
Avg: 4.21
pDev: 17.81%
Wants: 490
Gots: 1,507 | 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: 2,014 | Hads: 5,643
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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Photo of jasonpeckins32
4.66/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This is one of the biggest, baddest beers I've had the pleasure of trying. Pitch black in color, topped with dark brown foam, considerably darker than other russian imperial stouts I've experienced.

A serioulsy complex flavor profile leaves my brain turning and turning and turning. I hope to purchase a few 6 packs of this to age for the next couple years.

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Photo of Jwburns75
4.67/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottled 9/18/14, poured from 12oz bottle into snifter. Huge chocolate and dark fruit taste, very nice sweetness, laces well. Alcohol is well hidden by all the flavor. What a magnificent RIS this is.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.67/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Growler filled at Nathaniel Square Corner Store in Rochester, NY.

Pours a deep dark black, with a sizable 2 inch head. Sticky spider-web like lacing.

Aromas include roasted malt, bitter dark chocolate, and a bit of something that smells like bourbon, even though it's not barrel aged.

Huge roasted malt taste here, lots of bitterness. Some chocolate covered espresso beans as well. There is a bit of an alcohol burn and sweetness, but it is integrated well and doesn't detract. Some mild tastes of earthy dark fruits. There is a richness and depth of flavor here that suggests extended barrel treatment, but it didn't get any. Awesome.

Full viscous and creamy mouthfeel. Low carbonation.

One of the best non-BA stouts I've ever had, this one is knock your socks off good.

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Photo of Dantes
4.67/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tenzing pointed to the peak and remarked on the lack of snow for so late in the season. The night had been pitch black, with the weight and substance of melted dark-chocolate; despite the thinness of the air and the lack of clouds.

As I stuck my nose out of the tent, I smelled the smoky aromas released by the cooking fire, and I could detect the beckoning smell of sweet, strong coffee wafting across the South Col campsite. I picked up a cup and filled it with the unctuous fluid and took a sip. I could tell Sambhu had added some cocoa in addition to the sweetened condensed milk enhancing the body. The strong brew opened my eyes. Sonam proffered a pull-top can, which I popped open, discovering a compote of stewed fruit. The treacly syrup covered lovely raisins, prunes, apricots, and bananas; balancing the coffee’s astringency. A nice start. I would need the energy for the rest of the day. Climbing the mountain no longer seemed as daunting as it had yesterday.

Package: 12oz. brown bottle, no ABV or date information listed. Simple but elegant white label depicting compass-points.

Cost: Trade with Sidabeef7 who noted it as $14.99 a 6-pack

Presentation: Imperial Pint glass at 50º

Appearance: A super-viscous pour, resulting in only a brief head. Darkest brown.

Smell: Rich and subtle. Sweet roasted malt, coffee, caramel, toffee and dark fruits. Some Madeira-like alcohol notes.

Taste: Surprising. In a role reversal, this was sweeter than the Double Cream Stout, almost like a super-ABV Mackesons or a World Wide Stout, although the alcohol is well-masked. This exhibited a decidedly sweet character, more than any other Imperial I’ve tried. Well-balanced, with flavors of coffee, roasted malt, stewed fruits, a distinct nuttiness and enough edge to be interesting. Hops present, but not assertively at the forefront. None of the sourness some have described as common to Bell’s stouts. Extremely long, dark finish.

Mouthfeel: Sweetly viscous. A full-bodied, warming stout that is very satisfying. The light carbonation lasted throughout the beer.

Drinkability: What to say? Not something you’ll have many of in one sitting, but disappears from the glass all too quickly.

Bottom Line: Storm King, although different, doesn’t even compare. I only wish the carbonation were a bit stronger. Now that this is meant to be available in PA, I will be buying this by the case. Make plans for your own Expedition to the Heart of Darkness. Don’t walk, run.

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Photo of EricCioe
4.67/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 10105, 10 December 2010, just under six months old.

This pours pitch black with no highlights, floating a big two finger dark tan head on top that leaves great, chunky lace on the way down. A really pretty brew. On the nose there is a really high level dark chocolate and espresso, with a deep, pungent pine combining with a massive presence of roast malt underneath. In the mouth the pieces of the nose come through: bitter chocolate, nicely bitter coffee, bitter hops, and bitter roasted malt. It's not overwhelmingly bitter, just very pleasantly so. There is a dash of heat to go with the hugely rich taste. The body is huge, gigantic, full, with a huge finish that has slightly charred malt and espresso bitterness hanging out forever.

Overall, this beer is amazing. I was expecting to like it but not this much. This is right up, and probably just a cut above, the two other great MI RIS, Dark Horse Plead the 5th and FIS. This is an absolutely amazing brew and proof that there are great, great stouts sitting on shelves.

EDIT - Had a mini two year vertical last night, 20 January 2012. We had bottles from late 2010, same batch as the original review, and late 2011. After a year, this is a totally different beer. The nose is unreal as it develops this wonderful molasses note that is buried in the fresher ones. One of the true outstanding Russian imperials I've ever had. Being able to buy six of these at will is one of the biggest beer-related things I miss about living in the Midwest.

Fresh, this beer is pretty hot. After a year, it's totally transformed. I've never had a beer change more in a year than this one.

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Photo of RyanLigeia
4.67/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2012 Vintage poured into a Trophy Brewing tulip.

Appearance: Pitch black, completely opaque even when held to a light. Tan head that didn't disappear quite as quickly as I expected it to at 10.5%, but when it did it left behind some excellent lacing and a solid thin layer of foam behind.

Smell: Very pungent, which I was hoping for. Both sweet and roasty at the same time. Right up front I get a sweet caramel/ milk chocolate maltiness with some deep roasted expresso notes as well. Hints of dark fruits underneath (very slight.. raison/fig) with a touch of wood. Also, Idk how it works so well with the other scents (but it does) I am definitely getting some hops in the nose as well. Not so much a stinging citrus scent but more of a smooth, juicy, mango sort of hop presence underneath it all. Definitely complex but not in a bad way what-so-ever.

Taste: Bitter roastiness definitely takes the stage right up front (dark bitter chocolate/expresso). Alcohol is prevalent but melds decently with the sweetness that comes through midway (sllight vanilla/caramel flavors). Way underneath Im still getting some of those dark fruits but not nearly as much as in the nose. The hops break through a bit in the finish as well.

Mouthfeel: Super thick and rich with a nice warming sensation on the way down. Cant believe the alcohol doesnt bight harder at 10.5%. The mouthfeel fits the flavor profile perfectly and is exactly what I hope for every time I drink this style.

Overall: This is an excellent, EXCELLENT beer. Would definitely recommend picking one up if you have the chance and have never tried it. Actually not just one... but a few. As much as I enjoyed this with 8 1/2 months on it I think any little qualm I may have had with it would be worked out with a bit more aging. I would absolutely LOVE to experience a vertical of this beer one day.

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Photo of pheurton
4.67/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

re-rate 01/16/04. 2003 edition with label on the neck. pours an inky black with a giant cascading milk chocolatey brown head...that's more like it. roasted vinous aromas with hints of dark fruit (plums) with a mellow chocolate undertone. *huge* imperial flavors going on here....deep, 3-dimensional vinous notes, roasted barley, juicy dark fruits. tasting some subtle earthy and salty flavors. carbonation is slightly too prickly, and the body is just a little bit thin. finish is super long, with notes of chocolate, toffe, and earthy hoppiness lending a very pleasant bitterness to balance things out. i'm glad i found one of the 2003 bottles, this is what imperial stouts are all about! i wish they had recalled the flat '02 edition, b/c it is unfairly representing this great brew. as with some other bell's products, great when it's "on". numerical score represents the 2003 edition.

2002 edition. pours thick and black with the most *MINIMAL* head one might imagine. inverting the bottle and letting it splash into the tulip glass violently still produces nothing more than a few bubbles. great burnt chocolate roasty imperial aroma. wonderful roasted, thick, oily dark choclatey, coffe-ish flavors, except, where's the carbonation? slides down the throat too easily. can't escape the feeling like i'm drinking something flat. the flavors are there, just not held together in any coherent way. it's a damn shame. if you can get past the lack of carbonation and put yourself in the frame of mind that this is what the beer is meant to be, it becomes more enjoyable. i must admit though, i'm dissapointed. orignial overall rating of 2.45

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Photo of MDekker
4.67/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've long avoided this brew, due to its price only, but I finally succumbed and bought one...and I'm glad I did.

It pours out black as night, with a little bit of creamy brown head. It dissipates rather quickly but reappears a bit after every swig. The aroma is rich, filled with caramel, chocolate, roasted coffee, doughy yeast, and a little alcohol. Really interesting. The flavor follows a similar line - starting with the chocolatey roasted malts and finishing nicely with a dark bitter taste. A hearty one, this is. In the mouth it's great, too - creamy, with smooth carbonation. Finally, the richness and the alcohol might stop one from downing multiple mugs of this, but overall it's a great brew.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 2,014 ratings.