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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.

2,017 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,017
Hads: 5,653
Avg: 4.21
pDev: 17.81%
Wants: 490
Gots: 1,510 | 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: 2,017 | Hads: 5,653
Photo of deford
4/5  rDev -5%

Poured from a 12oz. bottle dated 8/12/14 into a Saints & Sinners Snifter.

A- Pitch freaking black! Half inch orange head that disappears pretty quickly.

S- A musty, syrupy coffee...maybe a hint of orange...no heat.

T- A bit different. Burnt espresso and prunes? Hard to tell, there's a lot going on here...nicely done too. The alcohol is hidden completely.

M- Really nice a bubbly when you give it a swirl...otherwise pretty standard for the style...almost flat.

O- A quality stout worth giving a go...

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Photo of polloenfuego
4.24/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours an almost black with a very attractive 1 inch head of rootbeer foam that lasts for minutes before breaking. Excellent lacing. The smell is roasts, a bit of leather, vanilla and some caramel. The taste is very much roast up front, with some vanilla coming in and a touch of leather present as well. There is a sweetness up front followed by a bitter from the roast and the hops, though they are not a large part of the taste profile. The feel is full and a bit creamy with a moderate amount of carbonation. All in all a hell of a beer. One of my annual go to beers. There are always a few sitting in the cellar, and I hope there is always room for more.

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Photo of orangemoustache
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

Thick and black, like the bottom poor from a french press. A firm foamy khaki cap sits atop for a couple moments before slowly dissipating to a paper thin cover that remains for the duration. The nose is sweet and brings soft notes of caramel and toffee and sweet dark fruits. WOW, this is a delicious RIS! Dark chocolate, heavy roasted malts and sweet dark sugars. The alcohol is almost unnoticeable on the tongue . The mouth-feel is luxurious. Oily, thick and creamy! Slightly dry on the finish. I could drink three in a row or sip on one for a couple hours. This one is amazing and I'm already looking forward to another!

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Photo of keithmurray
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%

2012 Vintage - bottled on 10/22/2012

Appearance - Dark Brown/mahogany body with tan head

Smell - Dark chocolate, Roasted Malts, molasses, black licorice

Taste - molasses, chocolate fudge, roasted malts, dark chocolate, black licorice

Mouthfeel - Full, viscous, syrupy mouthfeel, medium carbonation, sweetness upfront, roasty feel in the back end.

Overall - Very good RIS. recommended

Price Point - $3.25/12 oz single

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Photo of Brackh
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

Pours black as night with a nice awesome head that goes quickly. Smell is very subtle. Taste punches you in the mouth. Delicious and smooth. Thick, thick, thick. Bitter but not too much. Malt and chocolate. Seriously this beer is awesome. I am drinking from a growler. I have a few bottles in the cellar from last year and this year. I can't wait to see what a few years does to this beer.

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Photo of EHopkinsi
4.37/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a pint glass and consumed 19 November 2014.

Date stamp on label reads 135292 PKGD 10/23/14 C. So I'm guessing this stuff is just under a month old.

Look- Pours like a dirty oil spill. The two finger thick head is solid, and has the color of some overpriced candybar frappawhappachinomucca concoction at a coffee shop. Head slowly settles down to a 1/4" layer of creamy goodness that lasts the duration. Pretty good lacing.

Smell- Malt, chocolate, alcohol. The latter is pretty noticeable, maybe just a little too much so, but not bad. It's just letting you know it's a RIS.

Taste- Yum! Tasty, malty-chocolate notes; more than just a little coffee. That's on the front. It finishes with hops that, while they take back seat to the malt, they aren't exactly shy. At the beginning of the glass the alcohol floats in with, but over top of, the hops. Not excessive or huge, but still pretty dang big, too. By the middle of the glass its rambunctiousness has faded and it is more of a suggestion than a presence in the finish.

Feel- Interesting. A little thin for my preferences in a RIS. That said, it does have a creamy, sticky-lip inducing goodness to it, though. Can't ding it too much.

Overall- One really good stout! I wish the feel was thicker, but the other criticisms almost feel like nit-picking. Getcha some and enjoy it. I will definitely have it again.

Edit- After reading other reviews, I think "molasses" is a note I should add in. Being a noob I didn't know I knew it was there until reading other reviews.

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Photo of UrbanCaveman
4.17/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, poured into a snifter at room temperature.

A: Pours almost exactly like Old Engine Oil, a thick, viscous black. Almost no head formed with my pour, with what did appear a deep tan. It quickly receded to a ring and patchy cap. No light gets through this beer. None. Not a speck of it, anywhere, along any edge.

S: The smell is roasted chocolate malt, with notes that remind me of a bourbon barrel, oak and booze. There's definitely some dark fruits playing around in the background as well, like midgits running along the hills the FSM made with His Noodly Appendages.

T: A rush of darkly-roasted, burnt-black bitter chocolate malt opens the taste,which quickly transforms into a swirl of flavors. Seared molasses, espresso, cherries, prunes, and figs all dance about the mouth, atop a stage of dark earth bitterness with some pine needles mixed in. There's some alcohol burn involved as well, particularly on the back and finish.

M: Oily, thick, chewy, and sticky, this is what a good RIS should drink like.

O: This is a darned good RIS. Being a malthead, I'd have loved to see a little less showcasing of the earthy-pine hop flavors, which are noticeable and sort of horn in on the malt profile. This beer also did not hide its ABV at all to me, though the bottle was only three months old - perhaps the burn fades with more age.

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

A: motor oil-black ale underneath a tower of mocha head that left some vague lace behind

S: bittersweet chocolate and espresso with vanilla and molasses weaving throughout

T: deep roasted dark malts conjure impressions of sweet espresso and molasses, suffused with melted bittersweet chocolate and vanilla extract; decadent and rich-tasting

M: dense and smooth, tingle of heat, modest carbonation on the feel, touch of sticky sweetness on the close

O: a superior stout, Russian Imperial-style - something you must try when you get a chance.

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Photo of ttroha
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Bottle from Maltitude. Pours black with a brown head. Aroma of chocolate, roasted malt, and dark fruit. Taste of chocolate, vanilla and molasses, along with chocolate and coffee. Excellent imperial

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Photo of Catracho5
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

12 ounce bottle poured into a Belgian style tulip glass

Appearance: Pitch black with a nice tan head that dissipates fairly quick. Lots of tiny bubbles in the head. Nice lacing, looks great, sloshes around in the glass.

Aroma: Very nice aroma, big chocolate licorice roasted malts on the nose, I am not getting any alcohol.

Taste: Taste is just like the aroma, big chocolate roast malts, some bitterness in the middle, not getting a big alcohol presence, really smooth for a such a big ABV beer.

Mouthfeel: Viscous, very thick, lots of carbonation, tiny bubbles, great mouthfeel.

Overall: This is an excellent imperial stout, from the imperial stouts I have had, I would judge that this is one of the smoothest. The beer's flavors blend really well, nice thickness, high drinkability, just outstanding, glad to have this in CA. This is a must try.

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Photo of Kendo
4.58/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from the bottle (package date: 8/22/14; consumed on 11/13/14 - as we get the first modest snow flurries of the year, leading me to think "Stout season!") into a Speiglelau tulip. It's thick on the pour, and black in the glass with a half-finger brown head on top. Very nice collar of lace on top, with slow-fading legs of lace after each sip refracting the light like the prism on Dark Side of the Moon.

S: Big stout nose. Dark fruits, molasses, chocolate and roasty malt.

T: Big stout flavors too. Chocolate-covered raisins, molasses, black cherry, roasted malt, charcoal and smoke all play nicely together, with a bit of cocoa powder and piney hops at the finish. Booze makes its presence known at the end of the sip, though after a few sips I've gotten used to it and barely notice anything more than the warming in the belly. And the buzz on the brain.

M: Thick in heft, modest carbonation at best leaves it slightly syrupy - but that's fine with me for a big stout like this.

O: Awesome stuff. I will likely drink this sipper far too fast.

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Photo of hopflyer
4.63/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 8/22/14

Pours pitch black with dark tan head that dissipates quickly but maintains a thin ring around the glass.

Nose is chocolate, coffee bean, and toffee. Some charted wood and a touch of licorice.

Taste is full flavor of rich dark chocolate and mild coffee. Very roasty and rich. Awesome! Charred wood notes come thru and are prominent and some bitterness rounds out this big stout. Almost no booziness detected but just a slight burn hits nicely.

full body and silky smooth. This is what a stout should be. Low to medium carbonation. The mouthfeel fits the taste profile well. long finish and flavors hang around a while.

This is definitely the best stout and best bells brew I've ever had. full of flavor and perfect texture. Bonus for being available in 6pk format. Perfect stout while watching the first snowfall of the year tonight.

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Photo of Highlander15401
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

2pppurchased in Kalamazoo, MI around early May 2003. Very little carbonation with lively nose of dark fruits, toffee. Good mouthfeel & light spice, licorice on the finish. Smooth & satisfying!

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Photo of Shroud0fdoom
4.37/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. Bottle. (2013 vintage) courtesy of northstar23 Thank You!

It's me again, drinking another beer that MD never sees. Unless you're In DC or around VA. Enough of the regional B.S., time for the brew. This brew pours fantastic I might say. Solid black body that lets no light shine through. On top is a Mocha colored head. World class example of an Imperial Stout, IMO.

The aroma should tell me what I am getting into. First whiff I pick up is roasted malts with hints of oxidation (for the better). Brings on a fruity/port aroma that sings to the nostrils. Leaves the backend with cocoa and coffee roast. No booze detected. Very nice!

Now it all depends on the flavor...so tongue what's this tastes like? Like the nose describes plus more richer! Nice fruity characteristics that has been rolled up in English toffee. The malts are roasted and semi-sweet with cocoa. The finish is sweet and dry with slight bitter detection on the sides of the palate. The aftertaste is the pure winner. It's like the sweet/toasted flavor that a great quality Whiskey would provide. The body is both medium built and very smooth. World Class!

Overall: This brew is Amazing. Nothing offensive about it. It comes in like a storm and leaves you satisfied. This perhaps is my favorite offering from Bell's to date. I say that because I've had a few, yet this one leaves me in awe. I'm not going to blab too much about this brew. I will give you this, this brew is Shroud Approved, aka Recommended!

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Photo of blbarnett3
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Poured into an oversized tulip, extremely dark with a one-finger light brown head that subsided fairly quickly. The aroma was dark chocolate and dark fruit, along with herbal hops. The flavor is dark and faintly roasty, with chocolate hints and dark fruits, mainly dried cherry and plum, complemented by assertive herbal, almost medicinal hops. I can see how this would be viewed as a challenging stout, but being a fan of hoppy beer, this was close to just right as far as I was concerned.

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Photo of ChazLow
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

When I first smelled this the immediate scent I got was Chocolate and a hint of oak. It is definitely a sipping beer but for a beer with a higher alcohol content it is very smooth and very easy to drink. As for the taste it is great. I got hints of chocolate and caramel along with some oak and even a little bourbon.
Great beer definitely worth buying and you will not regret it.

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Photo of IKody
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

Bottle 8-22-14 Consumed 11-3-14
Look- poured like used motor oil in color.
Agitate- Head has a mocha/caramel appearance.
Smell- Roasted malt with dark chocolate, followed up with a hint of alcohol.
Taste- Bitter on the front. Middle of the mouth you get a roasted coffee and malts taste that's real thick. Finish is dry and bitter. I never get that strong alcohol taste which tells me this beer hides it really well considering it's 10.5% by Vol.

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Photo of OrangeMen
4.42/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 8/22/14
Consumed 11/2/14

Appearance- Pours pitch black, opaque. Almost no head present, slight razor thin. Agitated beer and out pops a beautiful mocha/cinnamon colored head. Frothy and thick, dissipates back down.
Smell- Big dark chocolate notes, roasted malts as well. Some nice sweeter caramel aromas come through, dark fruits as well w/ maybe a tinge of alcohol.
Taste- Bitter roasted/charred malt, accompanied by nice dark chocolate notes, lingering coffee. Nice craminess throughout, caramel, almost mocha type flavors, pick up some dark fruits as well.
Mouthfeel- Excellent thick/full mouthfeel. Super creamy and super silky. Feel really enhances and accentuates the wonderful flavors. Moderate amount of carbonation.
Overall- Wonderfully balanced flavors, intense bitterness is finely offset by creamy taste and feel. The aroma and mouthfeel are perfectly wrapped into the overall enjoyment of this beer. Everything great about this particular style of beer seems to be present and celebrated in this beer.

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Photo of kidrogers
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Not usually a fan of imperials, the alcohol burn is never a friend of mine. But this one was different, it was more flavor than booze. One of the few rips that I would order while out! Loved it

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Photo of Jeffwildcat
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Picked this up for $10 for a six. The date shows Aug 2013, which I just realized. Since the abv is over 10 it probably just got better. Creamy with hints of coffee and chocolate. Would have to put this in the same league as bcbs, but may have to do a side by side comparison.

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Photo of delta490
4.27/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep inky black. Absolutely no light gets through this. The head is pretty thick, initially a deep brown settling into a thin light tan disc. Light soapy lacing. The aroma is pleasant, deep roasted malt tones and alcohol's sweet astringency. The taste has a pleasant rich maltiness and the alcohol from the aroma fades into the background. There's a just enough hops to balance the huge roasted malts. The body has a nice heft to it and a silky feel. There is a tingling left on the tongue from the big ABV.

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Photo of dmgeng
4.77/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Highly recommended and is not as pricey per bottle as many other imperial stouts; excited to try this.

A - Deep dark black. It pours very thick with dark brown head and good lacing. Poured so thick cold that there wasn't any carbonation coming out of solution until I swirled the beer in the glass as I poured

S - First tones that I notice were the dark fruits and then plenty of roasted, chocolate, caramel, toffee, and sweet malts. No discernible hops but there is so much complexity that I just want to keep smelling it forever. Has some burnt chocolate cake that is awesome.

T - The first sip you are overwhelmed with the typical imperial stout flavors with roast, malt, caramel, cocoa, and there is a distinct fruit character in the middle of the taste. Not as much alcohol flavor as I had expected but with so much flavor and thickness I didn't even notice the burn. There is a strong roasted bitterness that helps balance the sweetness from the malt and raisins in the fore tongue.

M - HUGE mouth-feel with light carbonation. Very thick and heavy not allowing your mouth to escape the amazing envelopment of the Expedition. Though it is so thick it seems to go down very smooth and not be cloying or wrecking on the palate other than the coat of malty goodness.

Overall, this is a tremendous beer. So much flavor packed into every sip. This RIS is very tasty and though I've had some beers of this style that I liked more, it doesn't diminish the fact that this beer could contend with the best of them. I know that there are some people out there that would have a hard time dealing with the thickness of this stout and the punch but I love it. I strongly recommend this RIS especially since it is easier to get and cheaper than some other amazing Imperials out there. I still prefer Ten Fidy simply because of the even more rich and malty profile with slightly less of the dark fruits but since it's cheaper I might have to get this instead from now on.

Glass- Snifter

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.86/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Type: 12-oz. bottle
Glass: Firestone pint glass
From: Barons Market in Alpine, Calif.
Price: $1.79
Purchased: Oct. 22, 2014
Consumed: Oct. 29, 2014
Misc.: Packaged on Aug. 22, 2014 with unlimited shelf life

Poured blackish, even dark purple, color with 1-to-2 fingers of frothy, khaki tan head. Went from a pour to calm and serene in about 12 seconds. Surprisingly very light spots of foamy lacing on the sides of the glass. Also below average retention on the top all the way down. (Sight - 3.75)

Smelled booziness up front, initially reminding me of a mudslide - vodka, coffee liquor and Irish cream liquor. Also the usual suspects - caramel, toffee, milk chocolate, roasty malts, nutty malts and cocoa powder. A tad like a chocolate milkshake, too. Not too bad on the nose. (Smell - 4.00)

Taste was about what I expected, albeit a bit rougher and earthier. Got boozy coffee liquor and Irish cream liquor up front. Also toffee, caramel, chocolate milk, bitter roasty malts, roasty nuts, earthy chocolate syrup and crayon. (Taste - 3.75)

Full body. Sticky-to-slick texture. Average carbonation. Long, warming finish. (Feel - 4.25)

A pretty good RIS. I’m usually a sucker for these types of beers, but I don’t think this was great. Just pretty good. (Overall - 3.75)

3.86 | 87 | B+

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Photo of johng
5/5  rDev +18.8%

Just had it for the first tap on tap, bought a growler in North Bellmore, L.I. Even better than the couple of times I drank it from bottles in Kentucky. Incredible mouthfeel. Totally smooth. Hints of chocolate, molasses and a slight taste of coffee. Beautiful jet black color with a great creamy head. A top-three stout for sure. Must get another growler soon.

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Photo of pkalix
4.54/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

beautiful chocolate milk appearance and head..... love the roasted aroma: chocolate and barley! taste is thick and bitter, as I've heard from others. still very young, only two months away from bottling, lots of bitterness with the cocoa, chocolate and roastiness. thick coating of micro-bubbles down the side with each drink. nice coating on the tongue with a residual sweetness and bitterness. gave two away, got three more to let sit. i'm betting this will mellow nicely with some time.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 2,017 ratings.