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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.

2,015 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,015
Hads: 5,647
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: 2,015 | Hads: 5,647
Photo of abankovich
2.79/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured with a pretty nice light brown head with the beer being extremely dark as it should be.

Smells very strong and sweet of molasses and maple syrup maybe some brown sugar as well. Some chocolate notes as well.

Very sweet on the initial sip, a lot of malt and syrupy flavors present. Almost a little too syrupy for me. I wish there was a little more bitterness throughout to balance it out. Chocolate and Java hints on the very back end as it washes down.

Mouthfeel is medium to thick and the drinkability isn't too high on this one for me due to the overwhelming sweetness for the style.

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Photo of johnwarne
3.7/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A beer haiku for you:

"A Russian delight;
Don't drink too late in the night
Big ole' heavy stout".

Quite a tasty treat: do not, however, drink this after consuming two others in an evening--it becomes overwhelming and frankly tough to finish [good as it is].


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Photo of MJSFS
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I bought two of these on 11/6/15. I opened one on the same day and poured into a snifter. Thick black color with no head but nice lacing. Smells of heavy roasted malt and coffee. The taste is very bitter just as Bell's stated it would be without aging. I enjoyed this "fresh" one, and I'm looking forward to revisiting my second one after its aged a bit.

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Photo of demitriustown
4.48/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

So lets get this baby started. I pop open the bottle, and the cap strikes the counter with a wonderful ting. Thick, way past 3,000 miles, motor oil black pour with a small brown head that disipates quickly. I can smell the thick malt aroma from across the room. Molasses, a floral hop texture, and a rich chocolate scent rounds out the aroma. The taste warms through and through with a thick malt note, big in your face hops, fresh Columbian coffee undertones, molasses, and slightly tasting of caramel. Palate is bitter and stinging from the big alcohol content. Only problem with this on is the overdone alcohol burn at the end. Excellent Imperial Stout. Buy, trade, but try not to steal to get this brew.

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Photo of Carloco
4.7/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A --> Beer poured darker than chocolate brown. Very caramel looking, with a very small head.

S --> Aroma is that of chocolate, syrupy, MAJOR coffee, vanilla?, and get almost a tad cinnamon

T --> Taste is coffee, chocolate vanilla, slightly bitter, very malty

M --> the mouthfeel is THICK with not much carbonation. Wonderful flavors, stay in your mouth for a while due to the thickness.

O --> Overall VERY complex beer. many different flavors and great aroma. I should have aged it a little because I hear it is even better, but regardless was awesome. Only criticism I have is that you definitely taste and smell the 10% alcohol.

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Photo of HopHunter19
4.78/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A - pitch black beer pours like oil, mocha head that sticks and leaves great lacing
S - chocolate, smoke, caramel, burnt marshallow, roasted malts
T - chocolate, dark malted milk ball, roasted malts, smoke, creamy/umami/wholesome, burnt marshmallow
M - perfect, heavy, like a beer chocolate milkshake but better, alc covered, aftertaste is roasty, chocolate, creamy
O - pretty damn near perfect

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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 jcnd9803
4.24/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a thick black color, with some slight amber hues. No head and little lacing in sight.

S: Some licorice and chocolate. Also some smoke it seems. Amazingly, I'm not picking up any alcohol, but I know it's there!

T: Ahh, there's the alcohol. A nice mix of roasted malt and chocolate.

M: Leaves a thick, creamy, sweet, feel on the palate. Also some tickle from the alcohol.

D: I think this is a great beer, fresh and aged. A perfect night cap Plus, given the price of most big stouts, this is a deal IMO.

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

12oz bottle I've been sitting on for some time. Bottled 11/01/11.

A - Pitch black with a nice dark mocha head. Big legs, minimal lacing.

S - Sweet and roasted malts with some awesome milk chocolate notes. Slight bit of smoke. Smells fantastic.

T - Very roasted malts up front with dark chocolate and smokey notes in the finish. Hops are still hanging around, and pleasantly cut through the sweet malts used.

M - Coats pretty nicely. Carbonation is still pretty up there, but works. Leaves a nice smoky chocolate flavor in the mouth.

O - Fantastic. If this was a limited release 22oz every year, people would go nuts over it. Good on Bell's for doing this in sixxers. Fantastic beer. I got this as an extra in a trade, but it will be the main-piece in a future trade. Fits somewhere between Rasputin and Founders Imperial Stout flavor-wise.

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Photo of ILMbrew
4/5  rDev -5%

2913 vintage. Ton of dark fruit coming through in both the nose and taste. Very mellow with little-to-no booziness. Rich and thick without much sweetness.

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Photo of jayb
4.42/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This syrup poured out as black as night into the glass. when pouring it almost looked like oil, as far as its thickness. started with no head but as i finished pouring a nice chocolate milk colored, 2 fingered head appeared....then settled to a film. lacing was ...decent. a very lovely beer to behold while the head remained. smell was of sweet chocolate, burnt malts, and what my sister described as "soy sauce".
Taste: gee whiz. what a powerful brew. Most probably wouldnt think so as much as i, but from this was probably the strongest brew ive had in my limited experience. Taste was of chocolate, coffee, and a very roasty, burnt taste that lingered in the mouth. with such a sweet nose on this, the bitterness is a suprise, and a welcome one. Hint of candy flavoring, toffee and butterscotch? weird for me, id never expect that in a beer. wow, that burnt taste, as well as the bitterness keeps kicking me in the teeth! Toasty, just like my stomach. definite warming effect in my gut. Alcohol level is high but isnt a prevailent characteristic. mouthfeel is FULL and lovely, thickest ive had (I imagine not the thickest there is though) For my first imperial stout experience im a overcome with joy... and the roasted bitterness. Delightful. drinklability is low just for the fact that i could in no way drink more than two of these in an evening. Mighty tasty! Again i say, gee whiz, what a powerful brew.

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Photo of Reed415
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a black color with almost no head

S - Dominated by dark caramel chocolate malt, some hops are lingering in there

T - Chocolate, Coffee, Roasted Malt, with a small amounts of hops

M - Full Bodied, Moderate Carbonation, Significant alcohol warmth, Somewhat sticky

D - Very malty Stout, but very good

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Photo of Telix
4.48/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I was lucky enough to have this served from a cask at Slows BBQ in Detroit, MI.

A: The pour is a tarry jet black, with a nice 1/2" puffy, bubbly head. There is a bit of cool looking lacing around the head, but not much in the remainder. It's perfectly attractive, but most stouts aren't anything unique.

S: The aroma is mild, with a bit of roasted nuts and booze. I wish it were bigger, to be honest.

T: Extremely complex and inviting you to drink more. A super creamy maltiness forms the backbone, as bright sharp citrus notes shine through and give it an awesome acidity and tongue bite, aided by a controlled booziness. Some roasted coffee notes are in the background. I realized that THIS is what a coffee stout should be, really, not those beers that taste like cold coffee in a bottle, but this complex beverage with hints of tropical fruit, roasted malts, honey and caramel sweetness.... truly epic goodness.

M: Creamy, thick, somehow avoiding syrupyness even though it lacked much carbonation in the cask. So smooth, I almost think it has to have some oats. Great.

D: I could sit and sip this all day. It's such a smooth, creamy, complex ale, truly exceptional. The booziness and ABV might get to you after a bit, but it's not meant to be a session beer.

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Photo of SAxDRC5
2.65/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Dark black with a very small brown head. pretty much what I'd expect for the style

S: sweet milk chocolate, a bit of coffee, some burnt charcoal.

T: starts with sweet chocolate and some dark fruits, raisins perhaps. ends with darker bitter chocolate and some alcohol. I'm not too impressed, it is a bit boring for a RIS.

M: thick and creamy. very low carbonation. alcohol more present than I would expect.

O: pretty average imperial stout. I probably won't buy it again, but wouldn't turn it down if given to me.

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Photo of mjsheehan08
3.85/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Bell's expedition stout

Turns my snifter into a black-hole. Head is dense with a mocha tan one finger head that clings to the glass for safety. Lace paints the side of the glass, and it doesn't look like it's going anywhere anytime soon. 

Nose is really fragrant. Rum, raisin, figs and other dark fruits start out the nose, and then some booze kicks in. There's also a sugarery sweetness that comes through from the malt, and I'm expecting a great malty brew. 

Alot if dark fruit in the front, but the kind of dark fruit that is wrapped up in a big ball of molasses. Really a great blend of malts here. As it continues on, a shot of expresso comes through and lingers with you after you set your glass down. As I am about halfway through the 12 oz bottle, a little heat builds up at the top of my mouth and throat from the alcohol. 

Feel is eh. For as full flavored as this beer is, I was expecting a little more body in it. It was kind of thin with little to no carbonation. 

I can feel the booze after 1, but I could probably drink 2 of these. 

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

Wow! Makes me want to live in Kalamazoo. I've never even been to Kalamazoo. Nice black color, thin toffee head. Smells like burnt toast. Tastes like a fine Italian espresso. Creamy, soft finish. Nicely dry. Good at all temperatures. My first was too cold. Subsequent tastings were closer to room temperature where the beer filled out a little. This is one of the best Stouts that I have ever tasted. Very impressive.

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Photo of BeerHonky
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I purchased a case about a year ago from the Beer Yard in Wayne, PA. I realized right away that this is a beer that you have to let age. I drank a few fresh, but the flavors were all competing and too strong. After a year of aging, I have to say this beer is unbelievbale. It pours thick and black and totally opaque. Two finger's worth of super thick, fluffy tan colored head. The beer smells of dark roasty malt, lots and lots of roasty flavors appear to be on the way. There is also some hints of figs and raisins soaked in alcohol. The aroma leaves to mystery as to how this tastes. There are good hints of chocolate and coffee amongst all the roasty malt and dark fruit flavors. The mouthfeel on the aged beer is significantly different than when fresh. Its much creamier and smoother now. My only problem with this beer is that its a tad sticky, sweet. But thats something that is part of this style of beer. The drinkability is a tad difficult because its sweet and high in alcohol. This is just a great beer.

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Photo of Westsidebuddha
3.85/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The smell of this beer is roasty with a light barbeque flavor. The pour is very dark like motor oil. As the beer settles in the pint glass, the look is very thick with a flat head. The taste is definitely stouty with a strong alcohol feel on the backend. A good stout that is worth another try.

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Photo of watsonmd
4.84/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: black, thick, dark brown tight bubbled head.

S: toffe, coffee, oak, stone fruit

T: upfront roasty malt, coffee and chocolate, with a "cough syrupy" after taste on the first sip, but not so much after that. Perhaps the ABV?

M: Thick, syrupy, smooth and creamy.

O: Excellent. Not a Black Note, but still an excellent Bell's!

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Photo of jmeyers78
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Glassware: Russian river snifter

A - Dark, dark, dark. No light gets through this glass. No head to speak of.

S - lots of chocolate and vanilla. Very faint hops. Slight malt and
Coffee in the background.

M - not as full as I would like. Slightly acidic and thin. The Bros nailed it....creamy but no carbonation.

O - not a great brew but a solid one. My only complaints are the lack of carbonation and the acidic mouth feel.

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Photo of seh410
3.61/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Randy (randjuke) for these awesome beer!

Appearance: One fingers worth of thick, bubbly mocha/caramel colored head that does not dissipate quickly. The actual beer is black as night - there is absolutely no light coming through. This beer is pretty, no one around it.

Aroma: Coffee is right up front, followed by toasted malts, dark chocolate and a definitely perceivable alcohol note

Taste/Mouthfeel: Lots of coffee, maybe some dried fruits and toasted malts on the back side. You can taste the liquor for sure - this is definitely not a low ABV beer and you can taste it right up front. The mouthfeel is chewy and thick - very full in the mouth, which I like in a stout.

Drinkability: This one is definitely a sipper. It's nice and rich and tasty, but there's no way you could - or should - put down more than 1 or 2 12oz bottles of this baby. That said, I think it is nice and balanced and I'd be willing to drink it again. I'd like to see what it tastes like aged, or on tap.

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Photo of GR_Rick
3.5/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice looking, thick, creamy stout with a khaki-ish head.

S: Smelled nice, strong, and complex. Roasty malts with a bit of alcohol and sweetness.

T: Nice initially, with the roast and a bit of sweetness. Ended a little harsh (alcohol or bitter, I couldn't exactly tell) for me.

M: Nice thick mouth feel and minimal carbonation, in line with the style.

O: Decent beer, but not as good as I had expected given the hype. It was a little too big and harsh for my liking (and I normally like big stouts). I've got a bottle sitting in the basement I'm going to age for a year or two and try it again to see if it mellows, as I've heard some age does wonders for this beer.

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Photo of silverblaze540
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

A - Motor oil black and completely opaque with almost no head. What little head there is is tan in color.

S - Dark fruits. Prunes and cherries. Malty and sour.

T - Intensely complex taste. Strong fruity sweetness, malty, and a light bitter aftertaste.

M - Very thick and smooth. Strong burn from the alcohol.

O - Very strong flavors. Very sweet with not a lot of bitter. Almost a dessert by itself. Very interesting beer.

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Photo of MrBen
3.85/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A good beer, but not great enough to be a regular buy for me. The pour is lovely, scent is tasty, color is great, and so on. Bell's quality, upfront as always. Taste was good overall, but too hop-forward for my liking. Raw alcohol was fairly prominent throughout. I'll stick with Kalamazoo Stout and Java Stout.

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Photo of GregoryVII
4.59/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Dark as night...I've wanted to use that line before, but it fits here, with a medium sized head that starts dark atop the beer and fades to caramel the closer it gets to the rim. The mouth feel is slick, smooth and oh so full. Malt dominates the aroma: roasted malt, dark chocolate, raisin, vanilla and sweet alcohol are all present. There are enough hops in the taste to balance, but they aren't a true player in the beer beyond grounding its more eccentric tendencies. Candied plum, chocolate, vanilla, bitter toast and a bit of rum round out the flavor notes for me. This is Bell's best beer for my money and a contender for any consideration given to Imperial Stouts.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 2,015 ratings.