1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

4,484 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,484
Reviews: 1,876
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 385
Gots: 950 | FT: 77
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 4,484 | Reviews: 1,876 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BogleHill
BogleHill

Massachusetts

2.28/5  rDev -46.1%

Bottled dated 10-2009. Pours out jet black like used motor oil. Sweet roasty and malty aroma with a presence of alcohol. Good tan head and carbonation. Very heavy mouthfeel. Quite roasty, almost smoky. The sweetness overpowers this one for me though, perhaps the alcohol too. This seems like a well made brew, but sadly, I found myself unable to finish it. Imperials are just not my thing-that I am sure of. -But I am up for trying anything, once. My thanks to awesome trader Birchstick for giving me the opportunity to try this highly rated stout.

09-11-2010 13:48:44 | More by BogleHill
Photo of FleeVT
FleeVT

Florida

2.3/5  rDev -45.6%

12oz. brown bottle with no dates into a snifter.

A: This pours an extremely thick black brew with almost no carbonation. I thought it might be flat until I checked some other reviews. Got a brief thin dark tan head by snifting.

S: Espresso, alcohol, and sweetness in the form of molasses. Slight hop bitterness on the nose as well.

T/M: Thick and again, no carbonation. There is a bite in this that comes from the alcohol and something else. Extremely astringent. Extremely hard on the palate, not balanced and not a good complexity. Lots of smokiness and burnt coffee beans.

D: No thank you. Not your typical from Bell's. Avoid

05-08-2008 01:41:33 | More by FleeVT
Photo of nickg902
nickg902

Pennsylvania

2.35/5  rDev -44.4%

This beer really disappointed me. It poured pitch black and thick, looks like motor oil, very little mocha colored head. Aroma is overpowering with alcohol...extremely distracting. Possibly a little chocolate comes through but all I can smell is that alcohol. Taste is of carmel, burnt chocolate and coffee, but again, the alcohol taste is hugely overpowering. Mouthfeel is creamy and a little oily and the drinkability is definitely low. Don't get fooled by the high rating, this is hardly in the top 20 stouts in my book, unless you happen to like the taste of alcohol overpowering everything. Unfinishable, never will buy again.

05-23-2006 02:07:38 | More by nickg902
Photo of timtheenchanta
timtheenchanta

South Carolina

2.38/5  rDev -43.7%

Good look. Completely pitch black with thin dark tan head. Slight retention with some thin lacing down the glass.

Sweet malt tries to squeeze through the alcohol but is unsuccessful. When I noticed this beer was 11.5, I was taken back but it really ruins the nose of this beer.

The taste is a tad bit maltier but once again completely spoiled by the alcohol. There are some dark fruits (raisins, plums) trying to poke through following and it finishes with a black coffee taste which is very dry after swallowing .

This brew is very thick. Bulky chewy feel.

Glad I could try this one but I'm not going to try it again without at least 18 months on it.

Many thanks go to CRJMellor for a chance to try this well regarded beer.

05-22-2006 02:31:58 | More by timtheenchanta
Photo of Scooter77
Scooter77

Ohio

2.38/5  rDev -43.7%

The first thing that came to my mind when I poured this one was…STP motor oil. Pours a thick, deep black color with no head what-so-ever and virtually no carbonation. Aromas of coffee, chocolate and molasses emerge from the glass. The initial taste seems to complement the aromas, but with a strong taste of alcohol that was extremely overpowering, almost medicinal. Maybe my taste buds haven’t progressed enough for this one. I just couldn’t see myself drinking this on a regular basis. By having such high ratings, I guess I just expected more out of this one.

03-18-2003 05:01:16 | More by Scooter77
Photo of bbothen
bbothen

California

2.42/5  rDev -42.8%

2007 vintage.

A - Deep dark black with a pretty chocolate brown frothy head. Nice looking sticky lace on glass.

S - Sour milk. Chocolate. Smells like a chocolate milkshake that was left out for several days. Then had port poured into it.

T - Soured chocolate milk. Burnt coffee. Warming alcohol presence.

M - Thick & chewy.

D - I barely got through one bottle.

I finished the bottle and will be looking to trade my others.

This has all the exact opposite flavors of what my brain tells me is tasty. Hey, looks like lots of people like it. I sure didn't.

05-24-2008 21:41:07 | More by bbothen
Photo of tegelaar
tegelaar

Massachusetts

2.42/5  rDev -42.8%

Pours thick like an oil slick with a small amount of head that took a bit to appear. Clear film of lacing sticks to the glass for just a moment while you drink. Smells of earthy fruit and dirt. Also some badly burned meat. Uh oh at this point I know I am in trouble. The taste also does nothing for me. Like drinking oven cleaner. I can respect that it is very rich and flavorful but can't finish this beast. Drinkability is poor due the taste and extreme alcohol content.

01-21-2010 23:29:18 | More by tegelaar
Photo of Hellabeerguzzler
Hellabeerguzzler

Pennsylvania

2.48/5  rDev -41.4%

I love a good stout. But a stout has to be drinkable. This stout was overly sweet, sickeningly sweet, with little or hardly any carbonation. When poured a small head can be seen and the booze in this pitch black mixture strips the lacing from side of the glass. Smell is a bit overcooked with hints of dark chocolate, some fruits, and some spices but mostly booze. I've had similar and even higher %ABV brews that hid the booze much better than this one. Bells, I love your line, and a few of your beers may be my absolute favorites....

This stout is not one of them.

02-08-2011 19:43:25 | More by Hellabeerguzzler
Photo of DoctorDog
DoctorDog

Ohio

2.48/5  rDev -41.4%

A- Deep brown/black, opaque in appearance. Aggressive pour yields just barely 1/2 finger of brown head, which fades as quickly as it formed, leaving a thin ring and an oil slick looking surface. Milky chunks/streaks of yeasty sediment pooling at the bottom as I let it warm. Random globs of lacing.

S- The alcohol odor dominates the nose, and is making it difficult for me to adequately ascertain any other odors to any level of specificity or enjoyability.

T- Harsh alcohol bite greets my tongue from the first drop to hit my tongue. Some indiscernible burned tastes. The flavors just aren't blending satisfactorily at all here, and are being dominated by the booziness and astringency.

M- Creamy and oily, but no carbonation whatsoever. Somewhat off-putting.

D- Clearly nothing more than a very slow, somewhat labored "one glass slow-sipper" of a beer IMO.

Future outlook: I suppose I'll sock a few of these away in the basement, cross my fingers, and hope for a better day with this beer in the distant future.

12-04-2008 04:15:32 | More by DoctorDog
Photo of Doppelbockulus
Doppelbockulus

Florida

2.5/5  rDev -40.9%

01-27-2012 06:37:29 | More by Doppelbockulus
Photo of ShanePB
ShanePB

Pennsylvania

2.5/5  rDev -40.9%

11-21-2013 14:53:13 | More by ShanePB
Photo of ChainChompsky
ChainChompsky

Illinois

2.5/5  rDev -40.9%

01-15-2014 05:31:56 | More by ChainChompsky
Photo of charlzm
charlzm

California

2.5/5  rDev -40.9%

UPDATE - consumed 04/07/08. Bottle code is 8311: Bells web site says it was bottled on 02/07/08.

Pours virtually black. Thick like motor oil. A one finger dark tan head forms and fades soon into sticky foam on the sides of the glass.

Aroma has a bit of soy sauce to it and a medicinal character.

Texture is thick, baby, thick, like chocolate milk that's heavy on the syrup. Needs more carbonation to break through that mouth-coating stickiness.

Flavor is raw: bitter chocolate syrup with undertones of cherry cough drops, charcoal and soy sauce. Alcohol burns as the beer slides down, leaving behind a disagreeable bitterness. Coats the mouth like cough syrup.

Can you tell I'm not a fan of this one? And read my review below to see my views on an aged bottle...

I'm going to have to declare this one as not a favorite based on these two samples, but I'm willing to try it again after it ages a while (but less than the bottle below).
___

2004 bottle, consumed 12/17/07.

So dark brown it's almost black. No head on pour, but it spontaneously erupts a few seconds later, dying quickly. Coats the sides of the glass when swirled. Aroma is a little musty, salty. Velvety smooth mouthfeel. Red wine flavors, saltiness (like soy sauce) bitter finish. No carbonation a major bummer; this bottle must have passed its prime. Too bad, as it's supposed to be so good.

A - 3.5, S - 2.0, T - 3.5, M - 4.0, D - 2.5

03-01-2008 03:49:15 | More by charlzm
Photo of jheiss
jheiss

Indiana

2.5/5  rDev -40.9%

12-18-2011 20:09:39 | More by jheiss
Photo of ant880
ant880

New York

2.5/5  rDev -40.9%

01-12-2012 21:23:59 | More by ant880
Photo of TypsiYpsi
TypsiYpsi

Michigan

2.5/5  rDev -40.9%

01-09-2013 00:09:54 | More by TypsiYpsi
Photo of imduffman
imduffman

Ohio

2.5/5  rDev -40.9%

12-17-2012 19:19:44 | More by imduffman
Photo of SpeedwayJim
SpeedwayJim

New York

2.53/5  rDev -40.2%

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Brooklyn Brewery snifter.

A: Pours a vigorous 1 finger chocolate, medium fine head with moderate retention. Brew is opaque black with thin webby lacing that doesn't cling.

S: The color green and unripened come to mind throughout the nose. Also chocolate, hops, mellow coffee, and nutty caramel. Very grassy and too unripened.

T: Very grassy and green again throughout. Like unripened coffee beans. Also chocolate, bitter coffee, toffee, caramel, brown sugar, unripened green figs, pine, and hoppy in the finish with a punch of alcohol. Not what I expect from a RIS. Not malty and why do I taste unripened green anything?!?

M: Medium to full bodied, oily, finishes a bit dry but its clean. Rather carbonated and that really prevents the flavors from melding here. Coffee beans linger a bit in the finish.

D: Not the best interpretation of the RIS style. Its not malty enough and the carbonation in the mouth takes away from the whole picture that the different flavors try to paint. It also makes this brew less robust. Heard a lot of hype, but this one isn't for me.

11-09-2009 04:23:38 | More by SpeedwayJim
Photo of esv
esv

Virginia

2.53/5  rDev -40.2%

12z 10.5% abv

Brown-chocolate, milkshake head. Thick head. The beer is thick to the eye when poured. The beer is black.

I smell salty, smoked ham. It smells Malty Sweet. Hops have a real presence in the nose, which seems out of style. And now I'm sure I've got a pig in my nose.

It's a bitter-bulldozer that ploughs over the tongue but the wake is more like that of a loaded down barge. Sweet medicinal flavors dominate the finish.

Mouthfeel. Thick, heavy and smooth. Like the mother of all imperial oatmeals, hyped up on nitro.

While I can drink it, I also have a high, distorting threshold for imperial stouts.

Sometimes a severe beating can be less painful than a couple of light jabs. Adrenaline kicks in at higher levels and masks the really brutal stuff. I think my tongue went into survival mode.

I'm not even sure the masochist in me will reach for this again but the sadist may certainly help it into a house guest's glass.

03-07-2008 03:31:58 | More by esv
Photo of mobyfann
mobyfann

Ohio

2.55/5  rDev -39.7%

Paid $2.99 for a 12oz. single

The appearence is a thick black bace with a thin if any brown head that doesn't last and the lacing is hard to find. The aroma is pretty good of roasted chocolate and coffee.

The taste was mixed personality, the thickness of the beer I didn't like, so I lowered mouthfeel down, the taste is a bit too strong, as not well defined, I really didn't find anything to special in this department. It's kind of drinkable but I didn't enjoy finishing my glass...

Final Thought: Extremely high expectations down the drain, almost literally, I don't know if this is common in high alcholic stouts, or if I had a bad bottle or what, I can't believe this is a Kalamazoo BC product... love their porter and double cream stout, but this was below par...

06-21-2004 02:44:32 | More by mobyfann
Photo of arkhamresident
arkhamresident

Georgia

2.55/5  rDev -39.7%

12 oz. from trade with Beavers poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - Dark brown almost black body with a one inch brown head, good retention and thick lacing.

S - Smells very sweet, almost like a heavily creamed and sweetened coffee with some booze thrown in.

T - Front is slight hop bite followed by overly sweetened and creamed coffee and chocolate with a bit too much roasty bitterness on the finish. No alcohol apparent.

M - Not thin but not full either. Complete lack of carbonation hurts quite a bit but slightly thick and smooth for the most.

D - I really can't see drinking more of one of these at a time.

Not bad but much too sweet for my tastes. The lack of carbonation also took me by surprise and made me feel this was more of a cold coffee drink than a beer. It's too bloody sweet in my opinion. Overall I'd not turn this down if offered but I can't say I would buy it if available.

03-31-2008 10:21:05 | More by arkhamresident
Photo of SaCkErZ9
SaCkErZ9

Florida

2.55/5  rDev -39.7%

Batch #8311

Dispensed from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Pitch black with a cocoa colored head. Tons of lacing. Two finger sized heat.

Aroma was a bit weird. Smelled like beef jerky and soy sauce. Also some licorice and some peat smoke.

Tasted like beef jerky too. I like beef jerky, and I like beer, but not beef jerky beer.

Medium bodied and overall a bit weird. Maybe this one needs to mellow or something because right now, it isnt very enjoyable.

11-13-2008 01:13:12 | More by SaCkErZ9
Photo of Tbn2
Tbn2

New York

2.58/5  rDev -39%

Poured from bottle to pint glass

A-Mineshaft black. Thick brown/dark tan head forms and laces all the way down.

S-Interesting. Alcohol hits you for sure. Toasted caramels, coffee, and a few other things I can't detect. A little confusing to be honest.

T/M-A little disappointing....There is a lot going on here, but I feel like everything is fighting to be number one. Alcohol warms and a roasted caramel taste is there. Really is just like the smell, lots of flavors fighting to be number one. I do like the body of this beer. It weighs heavily on my tongue and I feel like the carbonation is right on.

Overall this beer isn't bad. I had hoped for more, it surely came up short, but it's not that bad. I read the Bros reviews and I am surprised they rated it so low, but that is the beauty of this site.

As I finished this off, I had to come back and change my rating. I am now tasting what the Bros tasted. Most beers get a little better as you drink them down and this one didn't. The alcohol became too overpowering and the oxidation the Bros talked about really started to show up. I can't say I would recommend this one.

Drink em' if ya got em'...

06-05-2008 01:32:10 | More by Tbn2
Photo of SAxDRC5
SAxDRC5

Michigan

2.63/5  rDev -37.8%

A: Dark black with a very small brown head. pretty much what I'd expect for the style

S: sweet milk chocolate, a bit of coffee, some burnt charcoal.

T: starts with sweet chocolate and some dark fruits, raisins perhaps. ends with darker bitter chocolate and some alcohol. I'm not too impressed, it is a bit boring for a RIS.

M: thick and creamy. very low carbonation. alcohol more present than I would expect.

O: pretty average imperial stout. I probably won't buy it again, but wouldn't turn it down if given to me.

04-30-2011 02:10:10 | More by SAxDRC5
Photo of BearsOnAcid
BearsOnAcid

Massachusetts

2.63/5  rDev -37.8%

2008 vintage batch #8311

Poured out dark with a khaki head. Moderate carbonation for a stout. The aroma was eerily similar to Dark Lord. Dark, thick and chewy malt. Very sweet and syrupy.

Taste was like the smell. I was putt off by how sweet it was. Mouthfeel was waxy and thick. I just didn't think it was a very good beer.

03-24-2010 19:26:41 | More by BearsOnAcid
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,484 ratings.