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

4,462 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,462
Reviews: 1,875
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 381
Gots: 949 | 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: 4,462 | Reviews: 1,875 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of merman69
merman69

Arizona

2.93/5  rDev -30.7%

Poured very dark, with a nice thick brown head that stuck around for a while. Smelled great, with a nice roasted aroma. Notes of coffee and chocolate. However, was dissapointed once I took a sip.... it is SICKLY sweet! I almost couldn't drink it. The flavor was good, what I would expect from a nice dark stout like this, but the sweetness was too much and by far overpowered the experience. So sweet that I didn't even realize it was a 10% ABV selection until after I had a few sips.

I've heard good things from their other stout, but I don't think I'll be having this one again.

12-21-2013 01:43:14 | More by merman69
Photo of jeonseh
jeonseh

Indiana

2.95/5  rDev -30.3%

From this years batch of Expedition and poured into my brandy snifter

A - Deep and dark black with a reflective sheen to it. There are no traces of carbonation or anything moving within this brew. On top sits about 1/2 a thumb of a creamy, lighty carbonated head that seems to be composed of a bunch of little bubbles settling on top of one another.

S - smells like a mixture of things that seem to come at me at different times. At first impression, I thought it smelled mostly like chocolate malt and then after awhile, there also were hints of cherry coming up through the nose. Additionally, there seemed to be a bit of a deep, dark coffee roastiness as well. Nose is actually a bit muted on this one as the scent is there but just barely and not really overpowering at all.

T - initially, have to say this was a lot sweeter than I expected. The beer seems to come in and swirl caramel and toffee flavors in over your mouth as it reminded me a lot of sucking on a caramel. There is also a slight hoppiness that is mixed in and also a bit of a tartness that seems to go alongside the cherry flavors a bit and comes in between the sweeter flavors that come first and the darker roastier flavors. After these fade away, the impression is the taste of bitter coffee coming in as well that appears to counteract the sweeter flavors and prepares you for the warming alcohol feeling that this beer leaves you with. After drinking more and more of this, it seems that some of the sweeter flavors have faded and instead there seems to be an earthy, raw hops flavor that has come to dominate the beer and in away is a bit overpowering and unbalanced as it is the only real flavor tasted and destroys some of the sweeter notes that initally went so well with this brew. Moreover the longer I drink it and the warmer it gets, the more out of balance this beer seems to be as the greener, earthy hops seem to really dominate this brew and be the only thing I can taste.

MF - has a decent body which comes right in the middle of being too thick and thin but instead is just right. Also has a decent amount of carbonation for an RIS and this carbonation really seems to pop out when you first sip this beer as it was one of the first things I noticed. It seems to be what ushers in the sweeter caramel flavors that come to the tongue. There is also a slight tingly and bitter feeling left in the mouth after drinking this one that makes me have a desire to munch on something while drinking it.

D - overall a decent stout but just think that the raw hoppiness of it makes it a bit too out of balance to really appreciate its finer points. After awhile it seems to be all you can taste. have to say this is also a nice beer to drink on a cold winter's night for the simple fact that the alcohol in it really does warm up your whole body and yet it does not stand out in the flavor such that this beer is undrinkable or overly boozy. Would like to try one after it has aged some to see if the raw hoppiness fades away some and makes this even creamier and smoother.

02-27-2008 01:56:23 | More by jeonseh
Photo of Dodo2step
Dodo2step

Pennsylvania

2.95/5  rDev -30.3%

P- Grape and Gourmet in Va Beach.

A- Pours a thick viscous midnight black motor oil color. A light tan head come sand goes right after the last drop hits the top of the beer.

S- roasted caramel malt. a lil bit of oak wood as well. a burnt chocolate coffee hint as well.

T- a burnt toasted coffee flavor. The burnt flavor is more pronounced than the coffee itself. Burnt wood as well. Update: After 2/3 of the way through the carbonation of the beer is gassy. I constantly have to stop to let one out. Not appealing to m so i drop this rating.

M- thick and full of dark burnt flavor. Coats the mouth and hangs around. Very thick. Creamy and viscous.

D- this is a beer that is very good to drink but you cant put too many of these down. I struggles with it at first but it did get easier. If you dont like burnt caramel or roasted coffee this isnt a beer for you. This beer is very had for meto put down...too much burnt coffee caramel flavor. IT reminds me of eating the coffee out of the filter.

05-25-2008 21:39:53 | More by Dodo2step
Photo of frank4sail
frank4sail

New Jersey

2.98/5  rDev -29.6%

Not much of any action at all on the pour. I poured agressively and got just a little hint of a light brown head. Nice dark opeque thick look but no real carbonation. Big sweet coffee, plum, raisen smell with some bitter chocolate as well. Big strong abv , black coffee, and bitter burnt caramel. The mouth is thick and flat.. I am shocked after seeing the reviews here.. but for me it is a flat, overly intense beer that really lacks balence.Dissapointing for me... Not drinkable enough to have another.

11-29-2003 02:58:42 | More by frank4sail
Photo of Stoneman78
Stoneman78

California

2.98/5  rDev -29.6%

Received in trade from MuenchenerKindl

Appearance is clear brown-to-black hue, huge thick brown head of creamy condensed foam dissipates to a moderate thickness, moderate lacing on the glass

Smell is toasted malts and alcohol mostly, tones of bitter chocolate and coffee, some toffee and earthy green tones

Taste is bizarre, so much so that I wonder if this may be a bad batch, mostly burnt bitter coffee malts and a strange load of dark fruits and grassy earthy hops, some sour buttermilk sensation creeps through, the finish is bitterly acidic with slight alcohol warming

Mouthfeel is medium-to-full bodied, creamy smooth texture borders on watery, low carbonation

Drinkability is poor, i have heard a lot of good things about this beer and would love to give it another shot, perhaps on draft, just in case this was a bad bottle. if this taste is indeed representative, there is just too much sourness and bitter burnt malts to warrant a return visit

01-31-2008 05:28:17 | More by Stoneman78
Photo of bwd110
bwd110

Pennsylvania

2.98/5  rDev -29.6%

12 oz bottle poured into Stone RIS Tulip.

A: Traditional motor oil black, very viscous looking. Really cool dark brown head, darker than most. This goes away quickly leaving a very thin sheet of lace.

S: Alcohol fumes abound. This one could do better with a toned down abv. If the nose is a clear indicator, this is gonna be one raw IRS, and probably not one of my favorites.

Also getting dark chocolate and espresso notes, and a sharp molasses sweetness underneath the alcohol phenols - sort of unpleasant.

T: Boozy. The alcohol hits hard and fast, with an almost bourbon twang to it. Black licorice and anise dominate any coffee or chocolate notes. I think I need to cellar my remaining stash to smooth this one out around the edges.

M: Thick and chewy. Fairly creamy and would be quite smooth without the alcohol burn on the way down. Overall, very good fit for the style.

D: Slow sipper, need to move on after one.

Overall, this is a decent IRS, but does not live up to the hype. I'd easily place Stone's RIS and Old Rasputin above this one. Heck, give me a Kalamazoo or Double Cream/Expedition Blend over this one. Too rough around the edges for my tastes/abv needs to be better masked, a boozy mess IMHO.

05-19-2009 00:33:37 | More by bwd110
Photo of mashedpotatoes
mashedpotatoes

Ohio

2.98/5  rDev -29.6%

Pours pitch black, very thick and viscosey. Head is minimal. Smell is strong alcoholic, cough syrupy. Taste is bittersweet molasses. Aftertaste lingers a bit too long, especially with the excessive astringent taste this beer permits. The feel is round, sticky but invasive to the palate, I feel like it's setting up unwanted camp on my tastebuds. Drinkability is low, although the ABV is high the balance of off flavors and peculiar aftertaste leaves me longing for something different. Suggestion: Try all Bell's as a single first. I've found severe inconsistency in this brand.

This one was not bad but also not good.

11-21-2008 04:13:01 | More by mashedpotatoes
Photo of LCB_Hostage
LCB_Hostage

Pennsylvania

2.99/5  rDev -29.3%

Came across this on the beer menu at a restaurant last night and was excited to give it a try. Bell's distribution around us is spotty at best, but I did see a couple Six-packs of this in a bottle shop recently and almost picked one up. The $20 price tag was a bit high for the moment, though so I held off. Now very glad that I did.

Served on tap into a tulip

A: Deep, dark black. Little to no head by the time it arrived at the table. No lacing to speak of.

S: Less than I would have expected. Alcohol was very present as was roasted grains and some sweet fruit. A bit of chocolate lingered, too.

T: Again, not quite what I was anticipating. Almost cloyingly sweet and relatively smooth upfront with some alcohol warming on the way down, but not that much given the 10%+ ABV. I guess I'd say this was very well balanced, because no individual flavor stood out (unless you consider sugary sweetness a flavor). It did leave a trace of rather unpleasant bitterness on the back of the tongue -- not in a hoppy way, but more in a "something burnt" way.

M: The only word I could think of as I was drinking this was "oily." I expected a syrupy character from a RIS, but this just coated everything and wouldn't come off.

O: I guess I'm just not in Bell's target audience. This is the second highly acclaimed Bell's beer (the other being 2-hearted) that seem seriously over-hyped to me. This wasn't a bad beer by any circumstances, but neither was it something that lived up to its reputation or pricetag. I know that "balance" is supposed to be a sign of superior brewing skill, but to me, if NOTHING stands out about a beer, it's balanced to the point of being boring. And I would have to say that for me, Expedition Stout was an $8 glass of Meh. Oh well, different brews for different crews.

03-28-2013 15:32:53 | More by LCB_Hostage
Photo of whitekiboko
whitekiboko

South Carolina

3/5  rDev -29.1%

02-03-2012 18:35:41 | More by whitekiboko
Photo of mtparty37
mtparty37

Illinois

3/5  rDev -29.1%

01-25-2012 19:33:53 | More by mtparty37
Photo of fiedler84
fiedler84

Pennsylvania

3/5  rDev -29.1%

01-11-2012 01:10:53 | More by fiedler84
Photo of ohiobeer29
ohiobeer29

Ohio

3/5  rDev -29.1%

06-21-2013 05:17:16 | More by ohiobeer29
Photo of timjim1327
timjim1327

New Jersey

3/5  rDev -29.1%

11-17-2013 14:58:08 | More by timjim1327
Photo of Beestin
Beestin

Iowa

3/5  rDev -29.1%

04-13-2014 18:50:52 | More by Beestin
Photo of user785335
user785335

Florida

3/5  rDev -29.1%

03-24-2013 16:22:20 | More by user785335
Photo of JohnQVD
JohnQVD

New York

3/5  rDev -29.1%

06-02-2012 15:06:47 | More by JohnQVD
Photo of hopsandstouts
hopsandstouts

Virginia

3/5  rDev -29.1%

01-22-2012 12:11:57 | More by hopsandstouts
Photo of JohneHoodlum
JohneHoodlum

Pennsylvania

3/5  rDev -29.1%

12-06-2011 23:56:56 | More by JohneHoodlum
Photo of ZPB
ZPB

Michigan

3/5  rDev -29.1%

01-04-2012 12:14:06 | More by ZPB
Photo of marcb105
marcb105

Michigan

3/5  rDev -29.1%

10-05-2013 03:26:21 | More by marcb105
Photo of Geekly
Geekly

Ohio

3/5  rDev -29.1%

07-15-2014 00:14:38 | More by Geekly
Photo of Redglimmer
Redglimmer


3/5  rDev -29.1%

03-04-2012 02:40:40 | More by Redglimmer
Photo of WckdVbz
WckdVbz

South Carolina

3/5  rDev -29.1%

08-12-2014 00:53:00 | More by WckdVbz
Photo of gomejar
gomejar

Alabama

3/5  rDev -29.1%

02-05-2012 15:47:30 | More by gomejar
Photo of Seantmiller
Seantmiller

Ontario (Canada)

3/5  rDev -29.1%

03-19-2014 02:04:47 | More by Seantmiller
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,462 ratings.