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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.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

5,202 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 5,202
Reviews: 1,958
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.85%
Wants: 436
Gots: 1,232 | 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: 5,202 | Reviews: 1,958 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of xav33
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bells Expedition Stout
12 oz bottle
Moderate pour in a snifter
Batch 7251, packaged 02/06, ventured into 07/07

Poured black with a medium mostly lasting brown head with fair lacing.

Smelt of strong dark chocolate and mocha without even putting my nose up to it. Upon closer inspection,strong dark chocolate, dried plums, mocha, burnt grain, sherry.

Taste was upfront rich sweet dark chocolate, strong bitter burnt grain, moderate sherry and vinous bitterness, moderate fruity esters, like dried plums or figs, followed by a harsh bitter burnt grain and yeast, and sherry with moderate chocolate sweetness on a long lingering bitter burnt finish.

Palate was full bodied, creamy, silky and viscous, softly but slightly stinging carbonation, strongly astringent and moderately alcoholic.

Overall, a good strong Imperial stout. Not my favorite, but I will see how aging affects it. Lots of alcohol warmth and strong bitter flavors. Hell of a punch on the palate. Very good over all, although a bit over the top, still after one year.

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 Golden2wenty1
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Been sitting on a few bottles left over from a six pack for a few months. Broke them out for the Madison Big Stout Session, already known as one of the most epic tastings ever to be attempted.

Pour: crude oil thick and black, glug, glug, glugs into a taster under soapy capuccino head with a bit of chunky lacing.

Nose: espresso, vanilla cream, gasoline booze/hops, oatmeal malt, dark fruit and oatmeal malt.

Taste: appleskin tart, espresso bitterness, creamy vanilla sweet, unleaded booze-spicy, chocolate booze, black cherry and currant booze and a bit of nuttiness in the finish.

Feel: chocolate syrup thick, oily slick, uber-fine carbonation.

Drinkability/Overall: J.H.C., this is a potent beast of a beer - kudos for that - but a bit of a chore to drink, even 6 ounces worth. Yeesh. I'm spent, but must trudge on...

Photo of socon67
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

At Hackney's in Chicago

A - Black pour with a mocha colored foam. Settles quickly and has an inky look to it. Looks ominous and so inviting.

S - Smells of cocoa powder, and currants. Also has a lingering scent of molasses that reminded me of a cruise to Barbados.

T - Sweet and heavy on the malt. Strong flavors of chocolate and brown sugar.

M - Syrupy thick, but maybe a bit to slick. Makes for a stout that is nice but not sessionable, and more for the feel and chalkiness than the ABV.

O - Enjoyable stout that is great to sip after a good meal. A good showing by Bells

Photo of cjgator3
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A- The pour is a thick dark black color reminiscent of motor oil that produces a tan head. There is no light coming through this puppy.

S- The aroma is dark roasted malt, chocolate and alcohol soaked fruits.

T- The taste is dark and roasty and warming from the alcohol with a bitter finish from the hops.

M- The mouthfeel is very thick and chewy with little carbonation. This is one of the thickest beers that I have tried.

D- The high ABV hinders the drinkability of this brew but it is not meant to drink a sixer of these in one sitting. It is a very nice brew to sip on a chilly night.

This is another great stout from Bell's, I look forward to trying this every winter.

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 ramay729
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

3 month old bottle poured into snifter, bought an extra bottle to cellar until next year

A: Nice tan head that dissipates quickly, lacing on side of glass, deep black color with brown tinges on side of glass

S: Strong aroma of roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, and caramel. Extremely strong smell and one of the best smelling beers I've experienced

T: Almost sweet taste, without a nice amount of bitterness for the style, deep roasted malt with espresso undertones, dark fruit notes expressed as well

M: Extremely creamy mouthfeel without a lot of carbonation, really enjoyable texture with a thick mouthfeel

O: One of the better Imperial Stouts that I have had, but not the best, looking forward to aging a bottle!

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 twiggamortis420
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Motor oil viscosity pouring out of the bottle! Brown head dissipates quickly to a nice collar.

Smells like chocolate malts, raspberries, blackberries, red apples and a bit of grassy hops. Quite complex.

Mouthfeel is uber thick and creamy. Would have liked to have aged this a while, but phuket...didnt feel like packing it in my luggage. Tastes like alcohol, dark berries, raisins, hay and espresso. This is a big beer and it lets you know it. The high hop content would allow for some good aging and let all the flavors melt together. I could see this being an A+ with a year or so under it's belt.

Photo of cwguy5
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on-tap at Duckworth's in Charlotte, NC in a 8.5oz chalice.

- poured pitch black with tan thin, tan head; not much retension but pretty heavy lacing

- aromas of chocolate, leather, roasted malt, some booze, and faint cherry or some other dark fruit maybe

- smooth taste throughout with some mild dark chocolate, leather, stone?/mineral?, and some distant dark fruit flavors

- thick and fairly viscous body with med/low carbonation of fine, foamy bubbles; some alcohol is in there for sure, but never overpowering; fades to semi-dark semi-bitter linger

- this was a fairly easy down for a single glass but im not sure i would want to drink this all night, but that is also just my preference in beer. very tasty, if a bit unwieldy. will drink again. not sure if i can differentiate between good stouts and the great stouts yet at my level but i would say pretty good.

Photo of ssimpson89
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

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 Barnoloid
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

Pours an extremely inky black with a medium brown head.

Smells sweet like brownies and cherries.

Flavor is quite strong. Licorice, cherry, liquor, sherry, prunes, dates, cream, and a hint of chocolate. Breathing out trhough the nose, , you can feel a slight alcoholic burn. There is some chocolate bitterness, also.

Mouthful is certainly thick and syrupy. Oily and slick.

Drinkability could be a pain for some. High alcoholic content, sweetness, and thickness.

I really enjoyed this beer. A little sweet for me, but very enjoyable. I'm quite surprised by some of the reviews stating this beer's high ABV being a turnoff, yet enjoying certain Quads that I found higher in alcoholic flavor. I'm guessing that what the real deal here is that they enjoyed the flavor of those beers more, and I enjoy this beer's combination of flavors instead. What gets you through a big beer? For me, it was this beer's fun flavors.

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

Poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.
A) Dark black coffee look, very opaque, with a medium brown head, peaking and good retention with a little lacing.
S) Heavy caramel smell, with dark almost unsweetend chocolate, and maybe a touch of coffee. Some underlying hops are present in the nose.
T) Starts high and lilting with an acidic bite, quickly settling into thick caramel maltiness, darck chocolate, a very toasted feel is present. Definitely some alcohol present in the taste.
M) Very thick heavy wet and lingering, kind of an oily feel, but still quite nice. It does not do a very good job of leaving the palate clean, but that is not the intention of this beer, it sticks with you, to enjoy it for some time.
D) A good sipper, but one is definitely enough.

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 leroybrown10
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle dated 9/18/14 poured into a snifter.

Pours a thick inky black. Head bubbles up slowly but keeps rising and rising till there is a solid finger and a half. Head is a rich khaki color and leaves plenty of lacing as it dissipates.

Aroma is heady and strong. Intense bitter coffee, dark chocolate, roasted malt, and earthy hops clash and blend together.

Heavy malt on the tongue. Coffee notes go beyond roasted into the bitter/burnt range. Rich dark chocolate as well as some smoke and peat. Hops are strong and lingering on the end with some earthy/loamy notes.

Thick mouth feel with an acridness that is mildly unpleasant.

Overall, a very good beer that could be better if some of the flavors were less intense. The coffee notes in particular could use toned down and made less bitter. While this bottle had 3.5 months already, I could see an extended cellaring improving this a good deal.

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 hops202
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into a Stone Imperial Russian Stout Snifter. Bottled 8/22/13.

Very dark pour. Not too much carbonation present and seems like there is used motor oil in my snifter. Smell has Incredible amounts of roastiness, molasses, and some dark candied fruit and syrup. Maybe even some hickory smoke and burnt char. Taste is similar with some bitterness to add. I believe this is still "young", needs to age some, and plan to drink a 2012 side by side with a 2013 in the near future and re-review. Stay tuned!!

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 5,202 ratings.