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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

4,519 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,519
Reviews: 1,880
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 388
Gots: 965 | 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
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Ratings: 4,519 | Reviews: 1,880 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.88/5  rDev -8.3%

Good.Bittersweet chocolate nice complement after food with strong taste. Loved the initial creamy head, just had to slurp some up. Beutiful chocolate brown with the head initial pour, then head tails off as expected. 11.5% was not detactable, thought it was 6 and change. Expresso soft drink.
Almost 6.5 years later, a two-yearold aged, good coffee and chocolate and so drinkable.

Sammy, Apr 23, 2004
Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

t0rin0, Nov 08, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.98/5  rDev -5.9%

Thanks to Kelly88 and Knownfactor for each sending me a bottle of this.

Pours a thick motor oil black with a huge 3 inch dark chocolate colored head that fades to a puffy island in the middle of the glass. Nice rings of lace around the glass on the drink down. Smells of dark chocolate, roasted malts, chocolate covered dark fruits, and whiffs of alcohol. Tastes of chocolate covered dark fruits (raisins), sweet chocolate caramel, and slight roasted coffee beans. This beer is super thick with low carbonation. It coats the mouth with each sip and is slightly cloying. There is a slight alcohol burn and cocoa powder bitterness on the palate with each sip. Overall, this is a good RIS but I was expecting something more from this one.

UCLABrewN84, Apr 26, 2011
Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -5.4%

djrn2, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of Thorpe429
4.63/5  rDev +9.5%

On tap in Bloomington, IN earlier this year. Served in a snifter.

A: Very, very dark with a massive brown head.

S: Quite good, but a little muted compared with the taste. Hops, chocolate, coffee, cherries, slightly-burnt espresso.

T: Same as the smell, and utterly fantastic. I taste the most from the espresso with a little bit of the cherry.

M: Very thick. Chewy and creamy.

D: Highly, highly drinkable. Grab two of these and sip 'em for the rest of the night.

Thorpe429, Apr 23, 2009
Photo of zestar
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

zestar, Mar 08, 2013
Photo of nmann08
3.98/5  rDev -5.9%

Poured from a 12oz bottle. Pours jet black. Very thick, light brown head, good carbonation and lacing.

Nose is heavy on roasted malt. Dark Chocolate. Smokey smell, wet burnt wood.

Taste is very bitter. Smoked meat, peat flavor. Heavy roasted malt, coffee.

Mouthfeel is full bodied. Creamy finish.

Overall, this is a great beer, but a bit too bitter for my taste.

nmann08, Jun 07, 2013
Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -5.4%

acurtis, Dec 15, 2011
Photo of metter98
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%

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).

metter98, Dec 11, 2012
Photo of brentk56
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Appearance: Pours a dirty motor oil color with a huge tan head that sheets lacing

Smell: Roasted notes with dark fruit, coffee, dark chocolate and some hops in the back

Taste: Opens with rich chocolate flavors; after the swallow, the hops kick in for a second, followed by a myriad of dark fruit flavors; bitterness and coffee tones engulf the tongue through to a long lasting finish

Mouthfeel: Thick and syrupy with modest carbonation; a lot of warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: Marvelous flavor; just a bit too boozy; clearly improves with a few years of age though the hops do fade

brentk56, Apr 13, 2006
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%

Midnight black with no highlights to speak of. The head is a massive milk chocolate brown monster, one of the darkest I've ever seen. The foam is melting slowly and is depositing thick, shredded sheets of lace on the glass.

The aroma doesn't exactly jump out of the glass, but it does become bolder with warming. Each sniff delivers chocolate, coffee and hops, in order from most prominent to least. The flavor is strong, rich and dark, with boatloads of roasted malt. Specifics include generous helpings of black licorice/anise, molasses and bitter espresso.

Expedition tastes rougher, more bitter and more alcoholic than Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout. It'd be a better beer if the alcohol were masked more completely and the edges were smoothed off a little. The mouthfeel is some kind of amazing. This brew is thick, chewy, ultra creamy smooth and goes down like heavy cream.

This is a Big Beer, one that should be sipped and savored. If you like your Imperial stouts with an unapologetically brash, bold, slightly raw taste, but with a refined, well-mannered mouthfeel, then you'll enjoy Expedition Stout immensely. I think I'll age the next bottle.

BuckeyeNation, Feb 05, 2004
Photo of Phyl21ca
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%

Bottle: Poured a thick black color stout with a small dark brown head with excellent retention. Aroma mainly dominated by roasted malt with some subtle coffee and chocolate notes. The roasted malt dominates taste at first and then chocolate and coffee are also easily identifiable. Creamy texture makes this even more enjoyable. It all ends with some well balance bitterness. Body is incredibly full and there is even quite a lot of sediment at the bottom of my glass. Alcohol is well hidden which I always appreciate. Very good stuff indeed.

Phyl21ca, Apr 22, 2005
Photo of BEERchitect
4.55/5  rDev +7.6%

Do large stouts get any more classy than this? Bell's makes it look easy as they layer the taste of roast, chocolate, alcohol, and fruit onto a succulent and savory base that seduces the palate at every turn.

The onyx-black ale arrives at the bar with a stern, disciplined, and masculine appearance. It's depth of clarity gives the beer a mirror-like sheen although it's black color makes it opaque. A mocha-stained head caps the beer with a blanket of foam that easily retains the session and laces the glass with confidence. Even a gentle swirl of the glass leaves brandy-like shiny legs clinging to the glass.

High roast, light smoke, and cocoa-rich chocolates overwhelm the nose with a backing of rum and bourbon booze that reveal notes of toffee and molasses. Underlying fruit aromas of red grape, cherry, and blackberry seem to carry a charred character and create a mouthwatering effect heading into the first sip.

Notions of chocolate wrapped espresso beans come to mind as the sweeter malts coat the front of the tongue and palate with its malty richness. Slightly scorched molasses allows for a rich and savory taste to rise at middle palate. This is the point where espresso roast, bittersweet chocolate, and charred dark fruit weave together for a complex but pleasantly rounded taste. Bold however, the taste is further complemented by piney and citrusy hops that assist the roast bitterness to finish. Cherry flavored alcohols and walnut oils all integrate into taste and continue the varying tastes that unveil themselves as the beer warms.

And with its marshmallowy texture, the enormous malt complexes provide a nearly chewy body to start. This silky and succulent texture keeps the beer's flavor squarely focused on the taste buds. But a patient transition to semi-dry maltiness is rewarded in finish as the beer's alcohols act like port wine and fine cognac to signal closure. It's extended roasty bitterness melds seamlessly with the next sip.

Bell's Expedition is a world-class stout, by which all others could be measured. I'm not sure if it is perfect at any one attribute, but it's near that on all. Plus there's several complexities that go above and beyond what the style prescribes. It pairs well with rich foods like honey-dripped dates, smoky bacon, and well aged gruyere.

BEERchitect, Aug 04, 2005
Photo of mikesgroove
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%

A - Poured a thick dark, black as night with a nice 1" cream colored tan head with a real nice retention. Very havy brown lace all through the glass. This one looks like it will hurt ya.

S - Heavy, thick sweet caramel and sugar smell, lots of hints of chocolate and and just very sweet overall. Did I mention it was a thick smell?

M & T - First impression was very creamy and not overly carbonated, lotd of lactose sugar flavors, and lots of chocolate malts. A hint at a smokey profile as it warmed up a bit, but just a really thick and extremely enjoyable heavy stout. I mean this realy tasted awesome. Could have used a bit more in the carbonation, but really just very nice.

D - Overall I give this an awesome, very thick and heavy, not even close to being sessionable in any way. I really great RIS and would love to try some more.

mikesgroove, May 24, 2007
Photo of Texasfan549
5/5  rDev +18.2%

Texasfan549, Nov 30, 2011
Photo of kjkinsey
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

kjkinsey, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of womencantsail
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%

Bottle from Batch 7740 (Dec. 2006!) thanks to Derek.

A: The pour is viscous and lightly carbonated with a thin layer of mocha colored head.

S: Even after a little more than 4 years, this beer is still a little bit boozy. Alcohol notes come through immediately with lots of dark fruits and licorice. Dark chocolate and burnt sugar fill in the back end along with a strong roast.

T: Surprisingly bitter with lots of roast and coffee notes, particularly on the back end. Dark chocolate, licorice, burnt sugar, and dark fruits make up the bulk of the flavor profile. The booze is a bit more subdued than I was expecting.

M: The body is medium to full with a low but ample carbonation.

D: I think one bottle is enough, but this is a fine beer indeed. One that can certainly hold up to (and in some cases, benefit from) again.

womencantsail, Jan 25, 2011
Photo of ygtbsm94
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

ygtbsm94, Dec 27, 2011
Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev -5.4%

GRG1313, Dec 18, 2011
Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -5.4%

spycow, Jan 10, 2013
Photo of kylehay2004
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

kylehay2004, Dec 28, 2013
Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev -5.4%

jaydoc, Oct 26, 2013
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Appearance: Pours a jet black body with a full, frothy tan-colored head.

Smell: Aroma of black malts, roasted coffee, dark chocolate syrup, scorched almonds, molasses, and herbal, piney hops.

Taste: Black roasted malts with flavors of coffee and exceedingly dark chocolate. Some burnt almonds and fire-blackened marshmallows. The hops are bold in their bitterness, but not overbearing, and provide a taste of dried herbs and pine. Finishes with a lingering bitterness and acidic char taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Mild carbonation. Chewy mouthfeel. Warming from the first sip.

Drinkability: A very fine stout both fresh and cellared. To wit, I had an '02 this past weekend that had morphed into a slightly roasty chocolate liqueur.

ChainGangGuy, Feb 13, 2008
Photo of Knapp85
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%

This beer pours out As black as most typical stouts do. The head is brown and pretty thick looking. The smell of the beer has some licorice and lots of roasted malts and a few light aromas of dark fruit. The taste of the beer is deeply roasted, with some burnt flavors in there. Light herbal notes and some dark chocolate in the mix. The mouthfeel is on the thicker side which is pretty nice. Overall I think it's a good brew it's not great but it's worth trying.

Knapp85, Jun 17, 2011
Photo of oberon
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

I have been able to drink this a few times and really like it,poures a rich black color with small brownish colored head.Smell is sweet and earthy,the taste is a complex mix of earth,chocolate,and roasted malt.When it warms a little the alcoholic notes really come thru,very true to the style.A good high quality imperial stout from my favorite brewer.

oberon, Apr 20, 2003
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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,519 ratings.