Bell's Expedition Stout - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Bell's Expedition StoutBell's Expedition Stout

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5,071 Ratings
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Ratings: 5,071
Reviews: 1,934
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.85%
Wants: 427
Gots: 1,168 | 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: 5,071 | Reviews: 1,934 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mmmbeerNY
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of WuBByG999
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of qcghost
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of CharlesRiver
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My expectations for this beer are sky high. I have heard so many great things about it. Not what I expected at all. When I popped the top of the bottle, it didn't make a noise.

Pours black as night with no head or bubbles or anything to make note of. The smell is very sweet, chocolate, coffee and a bit earthy. The taste is even more sweet. Coffee, chocholate, earthy, bark all leads to a nice bitter finish. Reminds me a bit of Le Coq (Sp?), but much easier on the wallet.

Overall I like it. Not what I expected but very good.

Photo of freed
3.83/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Another batch imported by our man in the midwest; Bill. Thanks!

Yet another lovely label from Bell's, simple and elegant. I should have been wary when I popped the cap and there was no rush of gas. Pouring was enough confirmation though - there was no carbonation to the beer. The pouring was uneventful, despite the troubling black liquid. It sat dully in the glass, deeply brown with body. The very top, visible without any head, gave hints of amber around the edges. There's even some odd sediment that almost looks like it belongs in hot & sour soup.

The aroma is welcoming though - deep, filling, and robust with mocha goodness. The combination of malted barley and coffee hide the barely noticeable smell of alcohol.

The taste is also very robust - nearly syrupy without carbonation, but still good. There are very bitter chocolate flavors, dark espresso flavors, and a smooth maltiness all around.

The sensation is somewhat lacking without the balance of gasses, and the mouthfeel is somewhat alcoholic. Especially while brewing beer and having skipped breakfast and lunch.

This is a very tasty beer, but I feel it must be tried on cask, or tap. Preferably close to the source. I'll see what I can do.

Photo of DoctorDog
2.48/5  rDev -41.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

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.

Photo of crwills
4.53/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The highlight of a pre-Christmas trade with CBA out in Alberta; thanks Chris, this was awesome!

Poured an opaque, jet black into my Sinha glass. A slightly pinkish, relatively small chocolate-milk head fades fast but leaves a ton of brown lacing.

Aroma is very dark and planty. Licorice and anise, damp roots, milk chocolate, and good Caribbean rum. Just fantastic.

Taste was very bitter (moreso than I expected). Damp earth and plants right up front, which evolved into dry coffee or espresso and cocoa beans in the middle. Some warming alcohol and toffee as well. Finish is oaky vanilla, with a little bit of those grapefruit/pine citrus hops coming through in the aftertaste. Complex as hell, all the way through.

Mouthfeel is extremely smooth and milk- or cream-like, with almost no carbonation. Only dropped marks for drinkability due to the ABV and the fact that I couldn't finish more than one.

One of my top beers of all time.

Photo of mjl21
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired bottles via trade from both rallison and alleykatking...not sure who gave me this specific bottle, so thanks to both Ryan and Josh. 12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter. This is part of batch 7251 and was packaged on 2/25/06. No abv info is given.

A-Pours black with a very dark brown 3/4 finger head that dissolves quickly into a small dark ring that hovers for the duration that it is in the glass. A lone island of foam also sticks around.

S-When I first cracked this open, it smells exactly like a chocolate malt that I would get at an old fashioned soda stand. Once it is in the snifter, it smells like a big imperial stout. Vanilla notes and alcohol are noticeable and as it warms, roasted malt and smoky notes are quite evident.

T-Sweet chocolate malt hits the tongue first and the initial sweetness stays for awhile. Alcohol is picked up as it goes down and it gives this beer a nice warming feel. I found the level to be perfect and did not find it to be abrasive. The roasted malt flavor is generally not super dry on the tongue and it gives off great notes of coffee.

M-Not as heavy as expected. I would put it in the medium spectrum. It is very smooth and does not have very much carbonation.

D-What a great nightcap. After 3 years this one is a great sipper that I would love to have more access to in California.

This was a great beer. Curious to see how a fresh version would compare to this one. Also would like to try the BA version.

Photo of BodiesLexus
4.75/5  rDev +12%

Photo of IronTom
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of stoutman
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

There's no shining a light through this one. Sweet aromas from a pitch black oily stout. Bubbles collect around the rim and an oily haze dances around on top. Alcohol is present in the breath as you breathe in your first sip, followed by a thick, heavy sweet rush. Sweet and sticky on my teeth, malty and thick on my tongue, bitter and alcoholic down my throat.

Photo of homebrewhawk
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. brown bottle. Batch 8145. Bottle conditioned.
Served in a brandy snifter. Pours an opaque black with a slight tan head. Roasted malt aroma with a slight whiff of alcohol. Very fully bodied. Rich mouthfeel. Lots of roasted barley flavor with a fair amount of hop bitterness. Super long dry finish with lots of coffee flavors.

A classic version of the style. This one was fresh, save some for the cellar.

Photo of biggmike
3.88/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown bordering on black color with tan head that lasted a while and left nice lacing. Aroma was of chocolate, dark fruit, molasses, and coffee. Flavor is very similar with a bit of alcohol present in the taste. Good mouthfeel. Overall a good beer that I think might benefit from some aging.

Photo of s1ckboy
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of snansel
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of griffeyb
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of twelvsies
3.83/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Got this as part of a "beer stimulus" package from jfunkk79. Haven't had this beer in years... yum. Real black and dense looking, with a healthy brown head. This beer has a very full roasted malt aroma. Deep and a bit smoky. Carries over to the taste as well. Deeply roasty, nice and bitter, a touch of burnt char and leather. Big flavors. This is definitely a sipper. Maybe a little bit hot, but plenty of character to cover it up. Thick, viscous mouthfeel. Would love to age this so it's a bit softer, but as is it's a totally worth stout.

Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Opaque black. Small milk chocolate head. Laces moderately.

S- Coffee, chocolate, slight phenolic/alcoholic nature. Some oaky, nutty notes in there too. I'm getting a hint of sweetness too... can't really pick it out but maybe raisin? Pleasant.

T- This is a good stout. Wood, smoke, espresso. Slight bitterness from hops, a little alcohol bite. Aftertaste is great- dark and roasty.

M- Smooth, oily, creamy. Little or no carbonation. I like it for the style, but personally I would prefer a little more carbonation.

D- Tough ABV, but definitely a good sipper. Another good brew from Bells.

Photo of jewellrunner
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of climax
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Had it at the Flying saucer, early December. When the waitress brought the black beast down, and the head was incredible. The fluffiest pillow of dark tan would not sink until I started mucking it up. It notched with every sip, perfect start.

The aroma was as astringent and hoppy as it was sweet. Pure chocolate, coffee, and leafy hop flavors hit the nostrils relatively gently for the style.

Alcoholic phenols are definitely evident in the mouth especially as it warms. It's got commanding bitterness from extremely roasty burnt espresso flavors and intense hop additions. Fleeting dashes of sweet chocolate and caramel lighten things up briefly.

This is among the thickest, chewiest, densest body I have experienced. It's almost like melted marshmallows in the mouth. It finishes brutally dry which makes it easy to keep sipping, emphasis on sipping. Substitute it for a meal.

It's definitely kicks you in the taste buds fresh from the tap.
I would like to try one that has been aged for a while to see how it mellows out. That my make this one a little bit less hot to handle.

Photo of damienblack
3.3/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

At first appears lowly carbonated, minimal head that takes a minute to billow up just a bit, like one finger or less, thin and dissipate, doesn't leave much in the way of bubbles or lacing on the side. Smells like chalky cocoa powder, and a blast of yeast. Not a great start on the first 2 senses.

Impressions: Reminds me a lot of Yeti in that it's a hop forward Impy Stout. Also in that way, most of the flavor comes from the harsh roast malt. Not much impressions of coffee or chocolate flavors at all. Slightly grassy, very hoppy in finish. Almost lingers like an IPA on the palate. Not much depth of flavor for me, unfortunately. I can see where the bros comment on a lack of creaminess, this feels pretty flat and dead to me. Dead hops linger on the palate, there is no refreshment, no cleansing to it. This may be the least enjoyable Impy stout I've had thus far. While it's not terrible, there are many others I've enjoyed more.

Photo of sisuspeed
3.68/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled September 21st, 2009

Poured into a Cigar City snifter. Nice dark tan head on this one that fades to a thin film over a midnight black body.

The nose is filled with anise, coffee, chocolate and a bit of alcohol, though not too hot. The anise is the most dominant note, followed by roasty malts and dark chocolate. Quite sweet.

Thick, sweet, chocolate followed by some oak notes (more like lightly charred barrel), even though I'm pretty sure this beer never sees a barrel or oak chips. Anise notes are still present, but lighter than the nose. Sweet upfront, and then roasty, slightly charred, bitter dark malts on the finish. A decent RIS, but it seems a bit discombobulated at this age. I think I prefer it fresh compared to this roughly 1.5 year old bottle.

Mouthfeel is thick, slick and well carbonated for the style. Still has some heat at this age. The finish/aftertaste is just a bit too char-like for me, which knocks down the mouthfeel a notch.

Drinkability is above average. I'm enjoying the glass in front of me, but there are better RIS's out there. I would probably pick up a pack of Old Rasputin over this any day. However, I've heard from some people that this turns into a gem with some decent age on it, so I'll probably save my other 2009 bottle for another 3-5 years. Worth checking out, but I think Bell's can do better.

Photo of MCain04
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

4 month old bottle poured into a 13 oz snifter.

Appearance: Dark brown, almost black. Pours out a 1-2 finger dark tan head. Decent retention and lacing.

Smell: Roasted dark malts with some booze. This promises to be warming and filling.

Taste: Extremely roasty up front, with chocolate, a little bitter coffee. Pretty hoppy... not sure how I feel about the citrus, tart, acidic, sour notes. Pretty dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-high carbonation. Smooth, full body. Decently chewy. Was honestly expecting it to be boozier, this one is pretty drinkable.

Overall: A decent stout. I have another one of these with a year on it, and will put down one of this year's for a little while to see how 1, 2, 3 yrs taste with this. For $3, this tastes pretty good. For the same price though, get a founders imperial stout, you'll be happier.

Photo of wellsnb
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of waltonc
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Can't remember when the last time I had one of these was. It's been so long that I forgot what a mealstout this is.

A: Sludgy black body with dark tan head. Not a ton of bubbles upon pouring, but lacing sticks around. This doesn't lack for carbonation.

S: Coffee, dark roasted malt, and some dark fruit in here.

T: See above under smell. Hops are quite pronounced as well. Not sure the IBUs are on this, but I'm guessing fairly high. Some alcoholic heat. And that dark fruit twang. This reminds me of Surly Darkness, except not as cloyingly sweet.

M: Thick chocolate shake. Carbonation is medium.

D: Can't drink too much of this stuff, but it pairs very well with cold nights.

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 5,071 ratings.