1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

5,303 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 5,303
Reviews: 1,979
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.61%
Wants: 446
Gots: 1,290 | FT: 93
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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 5,303 | Reviews: 1,979 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kmbeer
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of RickS95
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours an extremely black beer with only some lighter brown tints when held up to light. The light doesn't come through, but the faint brown only shows then. The head is gorgeous, a mocha colored pillow of bubbles. Retains very well and leaves an attractive film of lace.

The smell isn't as aggressive as I'd like, but it's all malt. No evidence of hops, just malt. A bit of chocolate and smoke.

This bottle has only beer around for five months, so the flavors haven't yet melded together. It's abundantly malty, with a nice kick of alcohol from mid-sip throughout the finish. I've got a four pack and I'm having two tonight, so I expect when I have the next two bottles this score will go up. Currently, there's little complexity as it goes simply from malty to boozy.

Smooth is the word of the day. It's exceptionally smooth and creamy. An initial blast of sweetness precedes the heat from the alcohol, as well as the bitterness from the alcohol and the chocolate. The finish is both warm and dry, and lingering. Full bodied creaminess. It's so soft for such a strong beer.

While a bit bitter and relatively high in ABV, it's quite easy to drink. As it warms more and more sweetness comes out, making it even more drinkable. I've never seen this in town before so I'm really excited to know I can age a couple more bottles for the future.

Photo of jegross2
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing the Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Score: 91

Fresh 2011 bottle served in a snifter glass.

Appearance: Dark brown, opaque body -- light does not cut through the beer at all. Pours a finger and a half of mocha-colored head that sticks around a while. 4/5

Smell: Rich, malty milk chocolate, some roasted coffee tones and a faint booziness aroma. The milk chocolate aroma is absolutely divine. 4.5/5

Taste: Smooth roasted chocolate, brown sugar and lots of hops Some dark fruit too. Finishes with a light note of bitter coffee in addition to the above mentioned flavors. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, viscous beer with minimal carbonation. The finish is savory. 4/5

Overall: A very affordable, solid Russian Imperial Stout that is widely available and easy to find when in season. The aroma of the beer is absolutely wonderful, though the flavor lacks some of the creamy milk chocolate characters that were present in the aroma and is a bit hop-heavy out of the gate. The flavor of the beer is nothing innovative, and very "average" and straight-forward for the style, but pretty delicious nonetheless. Another reliable beer from Bells that is quite drinkable.

Recommendation: A very good starter Russian Imperial Stout for casual beer drinkers. Beer geeks are implored to try this one as well.

Pairings: Steak.

Cost: $15.99 for a six pack.

Photo of lou91
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this stout straight and high into the center of my Delirium Noel glass to try and get a head but to no avail. It poured still and looked like soy sauce – black and opaque. The nose was like a stout perfume with scents of roasting coffee, sugar and alcohol. The taste is intense with chocolate, coffee and buttered rum. Rich, thick and delicious. Try it with a piece of good chocolate and experience bliss. My only qualm would be the need to vintage date the bottle to see if time helps. Didn’t see any sediment so maybe this is not bottle conditioned.

Photo of BayouBengal1537
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
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 tkrane
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of cvaypai
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
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
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
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 gatorlove
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of MikeRoper1989
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this one on tap a month or two ago and decided to grab a bottle from work tonight to try it again.

Appearance - It is very dark. Black. I poured this into a tulip and hardly got a head on it, but what was there stuck around.

Smell - A nice sweet malty smell. I was getting some coffee and chocolate in the smell.

Taste - Very similar to the smell. A very heavy and malty beer with some coffee taste up front and chocolate coming after. The 10.5% ABV is hidden.

Mouthfeel - Kinda syrupy. The taste is sticking around on my lips and leaves a coating in my mouth. Not a bad thing though.

Overall - I enjoyed this beer more when I had it on tap a month or two back, but it is still great and one that I recommend for anyone looking for a nice stout for dessert.

Photo of StlHopHead77
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a sinister,opaque black with a 1/2 inch of lasting,mocha head that dwindled slowly leaving a nice film of lacing.

S-Rich,dark roast coffee,dark toast and bittersweet

T-Refined coffee,scalded milk,lightly charred malts
and creamy chocolate.

M-Creamy,full bodied and smooth.No hint of ABV at all.Really nicely done.

O-A readily available and high quality stout.

Photo of Tone
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, jet black. 1/4 inch head of a dark tan color. Great retention and Good lacing. Smells strongly of sweet malt, slight hops, alcohol, and some roasted malts. Fits the style of a Russian Imperial Stout. Thick and smooth mouth feel. Low carbonation level present, and a noticeable bitterness and dryness left on the palate. Tastes of strong malt, roasted malt, slight hop kick noticeable, some chocolate, and an overall sweetness. Strong body along with a slight alcohol flavor. Overall, a good complex beer full of different malt flavors.

Photo of brystmar
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been wanting to try this for awhile; thanks to funkyaudio for the bottles!

A: Black pour, active java-colored head springs to life before receding. Beady lace.

S: Rich mocha with an emphasis on the coffee. Roasted malts and chocolate compliment the coffee well. Could enjoy this aroma all night!

T: Chocolate, espresso, molasses, and roasted malts blend together magnificently. Sweetness in the middle, but finishes with bitter coffee and some boozy warmth. Rich & decadent overall; would pair perfectly with a chocolate cake a la mode.

M/D: Creamy and smooth texture makes this brew quite drinkable. Wish they sold this in NYC :(

Had high hopes for this one, and Expedition Stout lived up to them. One of the best shelf RISes.

Photo of br3wmeister
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- One inch medium brown head that looks almost like oatmeal. Tiny frothy bubbles with some lumpy texture. Good head retention with some lacing. This beer is jet black, it does not let any light through.

S- I really enjoyed the smell of this beer, it really has a lot going on. Lots of coffee dark chocolate and even some burnt toast. On the sweeter side some caramel, dark fruits and molasses. There were also some hints of ginger bread, alcohol.

T- Complex layers of sweet and roasty bitterness. Sweet caramel and molasses hits the tongue first then some dark chocolate, roasted barley and hints of dark fruit, maybe cherries. Some alcohol warmth in the end.

M- Thick. This is a full bodied beer that takes control of your mouth. Not much carbonation but some hoppy bite helps to balance things out.

Overall- This is a pretty big beer, 12 ounces of this RIS is all you really need. Small bottle.. big beer.

Photo of stencom1
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of Phelps
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 9512, which means it was bottled in December 2009. An 8-month-aged stout? Don't mind if I do!

Looks: Stygian. The liquid creeps from the bottle an inky, syrupy, dense, all-encompassing black. Absolutely ZERO light penetration. The head is such a late arrival I'd almost given up hope of it even showing up to this party, but when it comes, it does so in full form: nearly 1.5 fingers of thick, sticky mahogany. While it leaves rather quickly, it doesn't go quietly; great expanses of unbroken lace grip the sides of the glass.

Smells: like all the best parts of roasted malt. Espresso, dark chocolate, molasses, tree bark, steak, a tinge of vanilla and charred oak. If I didn't know any better, I'd say this was wood-aged.

Tastes: charred. These malt must have been roasted to within an inch of their lives, as the flavor of twice-burnt toast overloads the palate. While the liquid sits in the mouth, the beer's raw and woodsy -- I get a lot of pine, oak and fruity dates. After the swallow, waves of flavors shift and transition like the hues of the Wizard of Oz's horse of a different color. First there's vanilla, then brown sugar, then port, then peanut skins, then plums, then rum, and a satisfying finish of bitter espresso and charcoal rounds it all out. Each sip evokes a different experience.

Feels: treacly. Full-bodied and nearly syrupy, with a perfectly subtle carbonation. The alcohol is warming but not distracting -- impressive when you're wrangling in nearly 11 percent.

Drinks: below the radar. If Expedition Stout was a limited release, I can almost guarantee it would be a far more popular beer. As it is, it's one of the better RISes out there, and easily accessible -- an dangerous combination.

Photo of MattGrimley
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of ypsifly
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle with no dates.

Yep, pours like you read about: used motor oil at about 160F. I should know, I changed the oil on my truck this morning. I have the used oil in a pan out in the garage. I'm really tempted to go outside and compare the two in a goblet. Small tan head that disappeared quickly, this was after a rather forced pour.

Smells of alcohol, bread, almonds, cocoa, and a hint of hop. There's some roasted aroma, but its rather slight for the style.

Tastes of mollases, roasted malts, chocolate, and a nice mix of alcohol and hops in the finish. The alcohol comes on with a nice warming affect. The full mouthfeel is what one would expect for the style. Feels like a meal in a bottle, without any carbonation.

This beer suffers only in its drinkability. The high abv alone makes it too much for a session beer. I have a few more bottles cellaring and am anticipating this one after a couple years. Once the alc mellows this will be one kick ass impy.

Photo of swedishmailman
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of murphyl
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured thickly, about the consistency of Kahlua coming out of the bottle, pitch black, absolutely opaque (no joke - I put my emergency see-it-a-mile-away LED flashlight against the glass and saw nothing out the other side). Piles of toffee-colored head left copious lace on the glass.

Smell: Hmm, that's interesting. Alcohol is definitely right up front, along with chocolate, raisins and dried cherries (appropriate for Michigan, but in a stout...?). This certainly piques my interest.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Reminiscent of Kalamazoo Stout, only heavier and thicker, almost like a barley wine in terms of mouthfeel. Chocolate and rum flavors, plus a hefty hit of alcohol up front, fading a long, long roasted finish, with the dried cherries making an encore appearance.

Drinkability: I wouldn't advise you drink more than two of these a night, as the 11.5% ABV will sock your brain and your tastebuds into next week. As a nightcap, a special occasion beer or the end of a session, however, you could do far, far worse.

Photo of eclipse54
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12 ounce bottle from inlimbo77 (thanks!). "10105" is printed on the label, translating to a bottled on date of December 10, 2010. Poured into a DFH signature glass...

It pours a solid black with about a centimeter of brown, bubbly head. It dissipates rather quickly, leaving a ring around the edges a patch of bubbles in the center. Small, wet patches of bubbles are left clinging to the walls of the glass. Smells of dark fruits, some hops, chocolate, vanilla, and a bit of caramel. There's certainly a lot here, at it seems quite balanced in the nose. It tastes of chocolate, some fruity hops as well as some darker fruits (plum, date), and a bit of vanilla in the beginning. Towards the end, some roasted malt, more chocolate, and caramel come through. Mouth is rich, thick, and a bit dry on the finish. Overall, a very good stout that I’d love to have again.

Photo of nandemo1
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a pitch black with a thin tan head, and that required some aggressive pouring. Leaves a lot of tan lacing.

Smell is sweet raisin and chocolate. Taste is similar but includes coffee and molassas. Definitely some bitterness in there, balancing the sweetness, at first but then it lingers long afterwards. I'm not getting any alcohol, but this bottle is 11 months old.

Feel is pretty smooth, but sticky. Full bodied.

This is a good beer, but not an everyday go-to for me. It's bitter aftertaste is just a little abrasive for the style, I think.

Photo of hawks10
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle - Batch #8729 - Bottled September 17th, 2008, poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint...

Pours thick and nearly black. A very thin and slow rising, creamy, dark tan head forms and dissipates fairly quickly...

Pretty sweet in the nose, chocolaty...bits of ripe dark fruit with molasses and licorice, complex, a bit sweet, but nice...The 2 years of cellaring seems to have improved the nose, much more sweet, subtle and smooth than a fresher Vintage I had a few weeks back...no trace of roast or bitterness/hops in the nose...

Thick and smooth, creamy, tons of sweet chocolate and molasses, a bit roasted and a slight hint of bitter hops (that I did not notice in the nose) add some balance. Even after two years, this brew still packs a punch, strong...alcohol is very noticeable but not overwhelming, blends well with the full flavor and makes this an enjoyable sipper...

Full bodied, thick and chewy...very creamy but well carbonated, a bit too carbonated for the style, but still a good drink overall...

Age has really mellowed this brew in a very good way, but it is still strong and packs a punch of flavor and alcohol...definitely easier and more enjoyable to drink now than it was/is fresh...

Photo of Wadsey
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Expedition Stout, batch 8728, which was bottled on September 16, 2008

Served in DFH signature glass

A: Pours black with mocha-colored head that briefly emerges from murky depths and then retreats back, leaving oily legs on glass. 

S: An abundance of crystal and roasted malts express themselves in caramel, figs, raisins and dark chocolate. Additional aromas include cocoa nibs, raisins and earth. 

T: Quite sweet up front, but not unpleasantly so. This merges with  aforementioned characteristics seamlessly. Medium-high bitterness quashes sweetness, clearing way for roasty, herbal and somewhat dry finish. Alcohol is a little detectable. 

M: Very big body and light carbonation. Chewy and warming.  A little powdery, which is odd, considering oily appearance. 

O: I might prefer Expedition Stout at two years, but the contents of this bottle pleased my palate. Two knocks on this beer: booze seems amplified and the finish borders on harsh. 

Photo of MsRif
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I believe I have had this on-tap as well as bottled. Poured a dark brown, almost black color with a nice beige head. Beautiful looking brew. Lacing was pretty decent even though the head slowly dissipated. Aroma was that of chocolate, roasted malts and spices. Very rich. Taste was similar to the aroma...chocolate, a bit of coffee, roasted malts...the alcohol is hidden VERY well.

Very creamy, full-bodied brew that goes down smooth. Light carbonation. Dangerously drinkable...try to remember that this is a high octane beer!

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 5,303 ratings.