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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.

2,016 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,016
Hads: 5,648
Avg: 4.21
pDev: 17.81%
Wants: 490
Gots: 1,508 | 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: 2,016 | Hads: 5,648
Photo of scruffwhor
3.86/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this beer sit peacefully in the fridge for 6 months after purchasing.

Appearance- Pours a dark, spent motor oil color. This is a good thing. To quote the great Garrett Oliver on his opinion of this beer,
"...seems to absorb light, mopping it up like a black hole in space." I couldn't agree more. A film of foam is leftover after the pour and gradually thins to a ring around the beer.

Smell- Reminds me of 7-eleven coffee that has been sitting on the burner too long. With some smokey and burnt malts mixed with a little mocha.

Taste- When the beer is a bit chilled, the flavor of mocha and smoked malts ndominates with a little grassy hops jumping in. Once it warms to almost rom temperature, the flavors take on a slightly milky and dark roast 7-Eleven coffee taste.

Mouthfeel- Oily, heavy, syrupy, but not bad.

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Photo of macster
4.45/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Just a huge, classy, but muscular Imperial Stout. Pours inky black and as thick and viscous as year old motor oil. Develops a thin slick of a deep tan head. Luscious, rich aromas of roasted espresso beans, dark semi-sweet chocolate, molasses and a faint smokiness waft up from the snifter. The palate is near perfection; syrupy thick and oily with a restrained minimal level of carbonation. This is the mouthfeel all big Imperial style beers should attain. The first sip is a life changing experience. Intense flavors of melted dark chocolate and espresso are initially noted followed by a pleasing molasses/maple syrup/dark fruit sweetness. The finish shows off a subtle presence of the alcohol to warm things up with a late palate appearance of a hefty hop bitterness to cut down the sweetness of the immense malt profile. An amazing, close to perfection beer. One that shouldn’t be missed.

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Photo of virtualshock
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - The pour is dark and a little thick, not overly thick. It had a little carbonation with a half-finger very dark brown head.

S - The charred malt smell coincides with the smell of portobella mushrooms. As it warms a slight alcohol smell comes out. The smell is opposite of the taste.

T - The taste is very sweet with a burnt character. Then lots of hops kicks in at the end to balance out the sweetness of the dark malts. After it warmed I finally was able to grab a chocolate note at the end of the swallow.

M - The mouthfeel is kind of syrupy especially as the beer warms. It is nice.

D - This beer is quality. Do I want more than one at a sitting? No. For my first venture into imperial stouts, I am happy.

It was pretty cold out of the fridge but as it warmed it developed so much more.
Just to let other newbs know, let those beer warm a little. Most good beers don't need to be ice cold.

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Photo of weeare138
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a pitch black with a thick tan head that slowly fades into a small oily, tan film and thick tan collar. Lots of spotty lacing and webs left around the glass.
Smell is of intense roasty nuts, chocolate cake, caramel, molasses, espresso, along with minty and piney hops.
Taste is of rich, chocolate cake, laden with rum drenched espresso beans. Lots of hops in here.
Mouthfeel is thick,smooth, velvetty, richly of chocolate, bitter cocoa, a potent punch of hops and mild, mild carbonation that makes this almost like syrup.
ABV is present and I'm still on the fence with this. It started off great but ended up very syrupy with a mild soy sauce taste lingering. I guess I'll split the verdict and call it good.

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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 Derek
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black with a hint of mohogany. Pours with a nice tan head, and although there's hardly any retention, it does like to lace.

S: Plenty of piney hops and roasted/burnt (almost smokey) aroma.

T: Plenty of hop flavour (resiny pine) and bitterness. Plenty of DARK roasted/burnt malt (with a little caramel & molases). There's a little dark-fruit/wine-like quality. The flavour is predominantly bittersweet, with the balanced tipped to the bitter side. Personally, I think Russian Imperial stouts should have more fruity esters & tertiary alcohols.

M: Full body is syrupy, acidic and a little oily. Carbonation is on the lower side of moderate.

D: Very drinkable, especially considering the strength! Far more drinkable than some of the American Wanna-be Russian Imperial Stouts.

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Photo of quasimoto
3/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I lucked out, this one isnt oxidized, unlike the the Brothers had.

A - Dark opaque black and way syrupy. there is barely any head. But what there is it is dark tan. Not the greatest thing I'd like to see, but who cares.

S - Dark malts. Chocolate, some molasses, some smoke. It's pretty good but not really strong.

T - Threre is some gummy paper and some alcohol. These are encompassed by the afforementioned flavors of chocolate, coffee, molasses, and I guess there is cardboard in there. The after taste reminds me of cigarette butts.

M - Thick, and chewy. there is no carbination to speak of and there is some bitterness at the end.

D - It is a little heavy , not a session beer. If it wasnt for the aftertaste of the cigarettes it would be ok.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.8/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Original review 5/27/03
Raising the bar (imo) on what a perfect representation of the style ought to be. In all fairness, I almost need to go back through my reviews and adjust any other stout ratings using this beer as the standard. Whew, what a sampling this turned out to be.

Pours a brownish-black with a mocha-brown head, very sticky creamy lace that ain't goin' nowhere! The aroma nearly qualifies as tasting it, it's that intense. Sweet espresso, heavily roasted malts, you can smell that much without trying. The look and smell absolutely give away what you're about to experience, no punches pulled.

The taste is Jurassic, nothing less. Huge, bold, dark roasted malts and espresso, coated with a sweet syrupiness. The taste kind of evolves into a bitter chocolate and charcoal finish completely off the scale.

The beer coats the mouth and is in no hurry to clear out. You can just sit and savor for a minute between each sip. High alcohol, for sure, but you won't need many of these to make it through the night.

I split one of these 3 ways, if I have one just to myself it will take an hour or more, there's just so much flavor, you dare not rush it and short circuit any taste along the way. Thank you, Kalamazoo!

Aged another 2 1/2 years to see what happens...

Appearance - pours an inky black with a trace of coca cola brown/red at the bottom edge of the glass. Very thick dark mocha bubbles form up a half-finger or so cap, receding to a thin but solid cover. Hasn't lost a step. 5.0

Aroma - the sweet roastiness, the syrupy coffee and espresso and bitter chocolate, what a great aroma. 5.0

Taste - heavy, charred malts, sweetness and bitter espresso bean. A touch of soy somewhere from mid-palate to swallow, followed by much charcoal and some late hop bitterness. The end tries to regain a little of the sweetness but the bolder side has stepped it up through the rest period and doesn't allow it to develop. Some fleeting bittersweet chocolate as the flavors dissipate, which takes a bit. Very late warming alcohol, often only felt down in the belly. Perhaps experience has tempered my palate or my tastes aren't quite as impressed or maybe the beer's best has waned, I don't know. It's not as memorable but for the smoky, burnt stout lovers out there, give this a shot after two to three years. 4.0

Mouthfeel - incredibly thick, the carbonation has held up well. It's still huge. 5.0

Drinkability - at this point, this is a tasty beer but not one I'd age again. 4.0

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Photo of plaztikjezuz
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours a thick jet black with a tan head that dropped in to a slight lace around the rim.
the aroma is roasty, coffee, malt blend.
the flavor is malty, spicy, coffee, hopsack, alcohol, mocha, but it lingers on the tongue, just wounderful.
mouthfeel is very full this beer pours like motor oil
best enjoyed fireside on a cold night

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Photo of beveragecaptain
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle. Expedition Stout chugs out of the bottle into my glass, a thick black color with a small brown head. Winey grape aroma, but that is just the start. Lots of chocolate, roasted coffee, and hops. The hop aroma is very much present, but not overwhelming as it is in other stouts such as Bell's batch 7000. The flavor is silky smooth chocolate, coffee, and hops. Sweet at first, but not cloying. Some cherry flavor. The finish is very bitter. Mouthfeel is full. Just enough carbonation. Drinkability is outstanding. How can this be 11.5%? This is one of the two or three best stouts I've ever had, and possibly the best.

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Photo of Bonhoeffer
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

One of the best beers i've ever had. All that's good about the style, with boat loads of chocolate character. The smell was unbelievable. Just had to sit and take it in for a while.

Flavor was intense and fantastic. Complex. Perfectly balanced. Thick. Just enough sweetness. Just enough hops. I don't even know where it all comes from. As a homebrewer i can't imagine how i'd even begin to try to create something like this.

Lost just a touch on drinkability because it's so overwhelming. But in a good way.

Must have more.

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Photo of aforbes10
4.26/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Pours like one heavy son of a bitch beer. Looks like black syrup. builds a small fleeting head and the beer literally clings to the pint glass. What's the smell resemble? hmmmm. prunes, lots of fresh melted chocolate. something mildly unsettling in the odor too some weird sourness. Taste is chocolately and bitter with a roasted malt finish. bitterness subsides after a couple of swigs. hoppy flavor should decrease with age. Thick and syrupy to drink. alcohol hits the tongue right away. perfect for the style. belly warming and heavy. i'd have another, but the big chunks at the bottom just didn't do it for me and kept me from wanting another. ill cellar some and see what happens with time.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.62/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a mysterious midnight black that looks like a void in space itself. The head was a dark copper and tan that started quite small, but then fell to a thin ring, leaving no head what so ever.

Smells of syrupy chocolate and an awesome, dare I say wholesome, roasted barley. There are also swirling bits of dark fruits and a subtle nip of fruity hops. This one just makes me feel good smelling it. Five stars! …er, points.

Tastes exceptionally sweet, but the sweetness is clearly natural and wholesome. This emanates from the smooth dry roasted barley that isn’t too charred (espresso), nor underdone (barley wine), but just right. Bell’s hit that right on the nose. There’s also some port like qualities with some cherries and a definite brandy, presumably where the alcohol is hiding out of sight.

The mouth feel is thick as hell and sticky with a light easy going carbonation that only adds to the over all thickness.

I really like the quality of this beer and the perfect roast of the malt, but the sweetness, although right on, is a little distracting.

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Photo of artusory
5/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours motor oil black with small, tan head. Aroma is roasted and burnt malts, coffee and sweet chocolates. Flavor is enormous. Chocolate, coffee, citrus hops and burnt molases. Very bitter. Very dry. Flavor opens up and mellows as it warms. Coats the mouth for a finish that lasts for weeks. Texture is very smooth and creamy.

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Photo of AlexJ
5/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This 1 year+ old bottle pours viscously pitch black with incredibly thick, syruppy legs and a small, but tight dark brown head comprised of tiny bubbles. Head has some stick and leaves crusty lace streamers on my goblet.

Aroma is massive and powerful, reaching me from afar with it's song of huge malt complexity, bittersweet chocolate, sweetened espresso, charred and roasted malt, ripe plum, raisins, berries, and vanilla oak. One of those beers you could just smell forever.

Flavor explodes on my palate with tons of malt goodness, thick and viscous. Bittersweet Belgian chocolate, freshly ground Colombian coffee beans, toasted black bread drizzled with molasses, sweet dark fruit, prunes, raisins, melted brown sugar and more. There are hints of charred wood smoke and a perfect hop finish that is green and piney. As it warms, some sweetness emerges, but not cloying or obtrusive. Very complex and delicious, not a trace of the 11.5 % abv. A true masterpiece in the world of beer.

Body is just huge, with a very creamy, smooth mouthfeel and a texture like liquified silk. Feels glorious on my palate, so creamy and rich. One bottle is not enough, I NEED more! Probably the best Imperial Stout I've ever had, magnificent.

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Photo of danielocean03
4.6/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased single 12oz bottle, Batch 6672, from Crown Liquors in Fishers, IN. Poured a thick, deep murky black, reminiscent of used motor oil, absolutely opaque, can see no light through my pint glass even at the edges, black as night. Very thin dark tan head gave way to a tan hued light sticky lacing. Smells primarily of dark chocolate/espresso and a warm sweetness from the alcohol. Taste is rich and complex, characterized mostly of chocolatly malts, coffee, undertones of roasted grain and alcohol, starts sweetly and then finishes off with a slightly bitter bite from the coffee/hop profiles. Hard to believe this brew is packing 11.5% abv somewhere, covers up nicely. Mouthfeel is light carbonation, smooth and creamy, thicker bodied. Drinkability suffers only on the strength of this exceptionally smooth stout. Hats off to another fine product by Bell's.

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Photo of BigDaddyWil
3.77/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a snifter glass.
No batch date on bottle.
Purchased a single at Cloverleaf for $2.70.

Slick, dark black, oily liquid pours from the bottle. A minimal tan colored head forms and then quickly disappears. No lacing, low carbonation, but an oily coating clings to my glass. Lots of dark fruit smells, raisins and prunes. Hints of burnt coffee and chocolate and roasted malts. Taste mimics the smell, but heavy on the burnt coffee and chocolate then fades with some hop bitterness. Slight alcohol burn in the belly. Lots of aftertaste. Creamy, smooth, medium bodied feel. Hard to drink more than one, especially with an abv of 11.5%. If your a fan of Russian Imperial Stouts its a must try. I have one in the cellar to try at a later date.

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Photo of zjungleist
4.27/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #6811. Pours pretty much pitch black with a small tan head. I can tell just by looking how thick this stuff is. Actually, at first, there was no head, and slowly one bubbled up from the inky depths. The smell is great, with boatloads of bakers chocolate and a nice sharp, green hop smell. The taste is not perfect though, it was really really sweet. It started with pretty much perfect hops, and then immediately became very sweet. I would say the sweetness overpowered what would be the peak flavors, but then mellowed with some great chocolate and cream flavors and a lingering coffee aftertaste. But seriously, this stuff is sweet. Maybe with a little bit of age that would mellow. I'll probably cellar the bulk of what I have. I wish there were dates instead of batch numbers, but I'll wing it. The mouthfeel was pretty thick, and though there was a bit of carbonation that could be summonsed with a good swirl, it was a bit off balance in the respect. So.. flavor and mouthfeel are both a bit off balance, yet it was quite enjoyable and complex.

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Photo of unclederby
4.85/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch 6811

So i'm gonna go ahead and say it now, this is absolutely one of the best beers i've ever tasted.

The pour was an opaque pitch black topped by a smallish mocha-colred head which dissapated quickly. Impossible by sight to guess if there is any carbonation activity.

Smell is sweet, dominated by smoke and chocolate, wheat toast and with the faintest hint of hops.

And the taste! Rich with flavours of milk chocolate, roasted malts, hazelnuts, coffee and the slightest hint of hop bitterness on the finish. How the hell did i get all of this? I would never know this is 11.5 ABV.

What superb flavors!

I'm drinking too fast...

Mouthfeel to me is perfect for a double stout, thick and chewy, smooth and creamy... just a bit slick and oily. Who needs carbonation?

Drinkability? Give me another... but just one more. Not because it's harsh on the palate but just the opposite; it's delicious and very rich and quite filling.

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Photo of RedHaze
4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

For some reason there's no batch #, but I know it was bottled in 2004.

Pours absulutely pitch black with a very thin dark brown head, that quickly fades to a very thin ring that leaves only bits of lacing.

Smell; at first there was a little bit of a soy sauce aroma going on, but that disappeared after I let it sit for a few minutes. I smell dark roasted choclate malts, slight coffee presence and some anise.

Taste; wow, those roasted choclate malts really hit right up front, with a little bit of the cooffee blanded in. There's a slight bitterness for the hops, but those are somewhat subdued due to some age. I get a little bit of a vinous and molasses flavors as this warms, with a little bit of an alcohol bite. Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, but smooth for the the style. I don't think I would be able to drink more than one of these in a night without drooling all over myself..

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Photo of ghostwalker
4.33/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle serving.

Body is black hole, bottom of a well, midnight in a coal mine black. One finger of dark brown head. Beautiful!

Nose is rich and boozy.

Flavor is deep, dark, roasted malt. Dark fruits are present, prunes, plums, currants. Not much coffee or chocolate. More of a extra roasted, almost burned maltiness. Piney hops also are present in strength. Overall, this kind of reminds me of Great Divide's Yeti. Boozy, I can taste the alcohol, and there is a definite warming effect.

Mouthfeel is thick, chewy and oily. You really know you are drinking an RIS with this bad boy. Top marks!

Drinkability is OK. It's really good, but also really strong and intense. One will do me for now.

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Photo of bruachan
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

i didn't know motor oil was so delicious. huge mouthfeel that contains toffee and chocolate, velvety all the while. bitterness stems an otherwise very sweet finish. and there's a cola character there at the end too, along with a very slight aged flavor. esters are not pronounced, but detectable

bitter chocolate and licorice aroma. i might be getting a touch of hop

compared to the speedway stout i tried last night this is fairly tame, but balance can be a virtue amongst the imperials as well

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Photo of xgrigorix
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Twelve ounce brown bottle - no dates, batch # only.

Pitch black. Thin brown coloured head. Thin, tiny patches of lace.

Nose is full of dates, chocolate, coffee, currants, & a wee bit of alcohol.

Nice. Well balanced blend of sweet malt, coffee & chocolate. Dark fruit flavours move in & out freely. Agressive hopping - grapefruit & pine. Off dry finish. Smooth, full bodied. Gentle carbonation. Well put together.

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Photo of kohoutek
4.77/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark as the darkest night with a nice brown head. The foam quickly dissipates into an oil drop experiment of xylem cells and migrating plasmodium.

The beer smells of dark fruits, plums, slivovicz, cherry pits and currants. A good swirling reveals smoky roasts with layers of complexity, herbal hops, fruity acidity and chocolatey/espresso warmth. This beer is heavily ester laden. These aromas are beautifully integrated into this complex, rich beer.

The flavors are winey/vinous and maltiliciously acidic, all wrapped in a roasty, fruity, chocolately/caramel blanket.

The mouthfeel is rich, medium-thick. It is enhanced by the lively acidity, hop bitterness and low carbonation.

I have enjoyed up to four expeditions in a row (lots of time in between) and they are very drinkable.

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Photo of ToggleEyes
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It poured out thick and black and settled with a tiny head that disappeared fast. The color is quite black, but around the top it looks like the brown is sepparating from the black. The smell is intoxicationg with coffee, dark chocolate, mollases, malt, small bits of alcohol, toffee and raisin maybe? There is a lot going on with this one if you take the time to really "waft it in". The taste is awsome. Creamy and smooth, sweet and not overly bitter. This is great in a stout this way you can bare to let it sit in your mouth for a while and find all the flavors. Has a great aftertaste that has some burn and punch to it. I think I have found my measuring stick when it comes to Imperial Stouts.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 2,016 ratings.