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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.

5,280 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 5,280
Reviews: 1,978
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.61%
Wants: 448
Gots: 1,288 | FT: 93
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,280 | Reviews: 1,978 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Beerandboards
4.65/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle, batch 9971, bottled September 13, 2010. So, clocking in at about 2.5 years old

A - pitch black, pour produces about 1.5 inches of toffee colored foam. Dissipates pretty quickly, leaves a fair amount of lacing on the sides.

S - wow. Molasses, vanilla, coffee, milk chocolate. One of the best smelling stouts I've had. Beats out a lot of the BA stouts. Killer.

T - doesn't let me down after the nose. Molasses again, big time. Vanilla. Milk chocolate. There is just the right amount of bitter chocolate at the end. TASTY.

M - creamy, thicker side of medium feel, lower carbonation. Really nice.

O - I have to say, I'm surprised at how good this is. I've never had it fresh, but I can't imagine that this hasn't gotten better with age. I've got another 2010 that I'll sit on for just a bit longer just to see what happens. Bells killed this one.

Photo of retry4z
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of kguard
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of kidzord
4.17/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of seedyone
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

02/11/14 On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. A fine, fine brew. First nostril full is of a mild coffee. On the tongue it has a very pleasant bitterness from coffee & a mild chocolate. Steady, steady stuff. Sessionable plus.

Photo of SlightlyGrey
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of tvghost
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of Golden2wenty1
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Been sitting on a few bottles left over from a six pack for a few months. Broke them out for the Madison Big Stout Session, already known as one of the most epic tastings ever to be attempted.

Pour: crude oil thick and black, glug, glug, glugs into a taster under soapy capuccino head with a bit of chunky lacing.

Nose: espresso, vanilla cream, gasoline booze/hops, oatmeal malt, dark fruit and oatmeal malt.

Taste: appleskin tart, espresso bitterness, creamy vanilla sweet, unleaded booze-spicy, chocolate booze, black cherry and currant booze and a bit of nuttiness in the finish.

Feel: chocolate syrup thick, oily slick, uber-fine carbonation.

Drinkability/Overall: J.H.C., this is a potent beast of a beer - kudos for that - but a bit of a chore to drink, even 6 ounces worth. Yeesh. I'm spent, but must trudge on...

Photo of NWer
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice pour into a brandy snifter.
Black. Leaves a small layer of brown foam that dissipates quickly. Just lays there inviting expectation of things to come.
The lack of carbonation doesn't bother me a bit. Smooth, alcoholic, molasis, chocolate. Sweet on the back side. A sipper.
Nice mouthfeel. The perfect way to relax when quality trumps quantity.

Photo of EricCioe
4.67/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 10105, 10 December 2010, just under six months old.

This pours pitch black with no highlights, floating a big two finger dark tan head on top that leaves great, chunky lace on the way down. A really pretty brew. On the nose there is a really high level dark chocolate and espresso, with a deep, pungent pine combining with a massive presence of roast malt underneath. In the mouth the pieces of the nose come through: bitter chocolate, nicely bitter coffee, bitter hops, and bitter roasted malt. It's not overwhelmingly bitter, just very pleasantly so. There is a dash of heat to go with the hugely rich taste. The body is huge, gigantic, full, with a huge finish that has slightly charred malt and espresso bitterness hanging out forever.

Overall, this beer is amazing. I was expecting to like it but not this much. This is right up, and probably just a cut above, the two other great MI RIS, Dark Horse Plead the 5th and FIS. This is an absolutely amazing brew and proof that there are great, great stouts sitting on shelves.

EDIT - Had a mini two year vertical last night, 20 January 2012. We had bottles from late 2010, same batch as the original review, and late 2011. After a year, this is a totally different beer. The nose is unreal as it develops this wonderful molasses note that is buried in the fresher ones. One of the true outstanding Russian imperials I've ever had. Being able to buy six of these at will is one of the biggest beer-related things I miss about living in the Midwest.

Fresh, this beer is pretty hot. After a year, it's totally transformed. I've never had a beer change more in a year than this one.

Photo of Envelopes
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of EricTKole
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of frank4sail
3.01/5  rDev -29%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Not much of any action at all on the pour. I poured agressively and got just a little hint of a light brown head. Nice dark opeque thick look but no real carbonation. Big sweet coffee, plum, raisen smell with some bitter chocolate as well. Big strong abv , black coffee, and bitter burnt caramel. The mouth is thick and flat.. I am shocked after seeing the reviews here.. but for me it is a flat, overly intense beer that really lacks balence.Dissapointing for me... Not drinkable enough to have another.

Photo of changeup45
4.03/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally decided to give this one a try. Bells brewery really knows how to get it done. The pour here is heavy and thick, pitch black color and topped with a thick tan head. The head does settle down to a thin layer. The aroma is chocolate with molasses, some coffee, roasted malts and a faint alcoholic presence. The flavor starts creamy and nice and smooth with chocolate, roasted malts and molasses. It finishes quite bitter and dry, that of fresh black coffee. A light bitterness settles on the palate. The beer is quite complex, high in alcohol, but not hard to drink, even if you are not a big stout fan such as myself. Definitely a sipper and something that could be a terrific after dinner drink.

Photo of CDCNAM
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of Jd2391
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of jcdiflorio
3.99/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This beer was cellared for 3 yrs. When I first drank this beer,it seemed like it needed to age. Every couple mounths I drank one, thet got better and better and better.

I poured this beer into a large tulip glass,it was black,opaque,there was a mocha ring around the glass.The head didn't even cover the top of the beer.
The aroma was sweet,molassas, raisney,chocolatety,diacetyl,very complex.
The taste was of smoke,bitter chockolate,dates,raisney,very fruity,bitternote tones.A very complex taste,also.
the mouthfeel was medium to thick,chewey,felt velvety on the tounge.The warming effect of the alcohol in the mouth at the finish.
A dessert beer,can only be sipped.A port-like beer with lots of aromas and exploisons of flavor in the mouth. A very interesting beer that seems to better with age.

Photo of beachbum1975
4.46/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

So here I am, ready to engage in my latest expedition - what's more fitting then an Expedition Stout! I had my 3rd child yesterday (10/9/08) and I can't stop reviewing beer because of a new baby! ;) After sneaking in a beer from the newest batch, I'm sitting in the recovery room of the hospital typing up this review...

Today I bought a six-pack of the uber-fresh 2008 edition - Batch # 8728.

A: A dead ringer for its' style, this one pours like black, thick motor oil into my fine Styrofoam cup (Sorry, no fancy beer glasses at the hospital). A large, creamy, dark mocha head sits during the entire session- amazing... Lacing runs all the way up the walls.

S: I whiffed a big pounding of freshly roasted coffee trailed by some heavily roasted malts and floral hops.

T/M: WOW! This one is thick, complex and full flavored. My mouth exploded with a wave of dry and complex flavors each sip. Starts with a bitter smashing of thick, oily heavily roasted malts, black expresso shots, molasses and booze. The middleis chocked with more dry flavors including oats and burnt brown sugar. Finishes with a cherry like flavor and unsweetened dark chocolate. Very bitter overall, possibly due to the hops being blended in there so quietly. Age will certainly do this beer well, as it seemed very sharp and bitey at times - but great today, nonetheless.

This is a serious beer. I'd give it a 9.5 out of 10 on the imaginary flavor scale.

This one's for you, Zachary!

Photo of Pellinore1
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of RichD
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of IronTom
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of Greggy
4.31/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a large fluffy dark tan head with great lacing. The head has excellent retention. The body is pitch-black. Lacing is pretty large on this brew.

S- Deep dark roasted chocolate, anise, dark fruits, raisin, plum, deep caramel and toffee.

T- Starts out with a nice large balanced roasted chocoalte and dark fruits with loads of caramel, while transitioning into a drier finish with loads of extra dry bakers chocolate and hints of coffee.

M- Low carbonation, velvety smooth.

D- I was a bit anxious about having this young as I thought it would be too boozy, however, I found this to be very smooth. I look forward to seeing how these age.. if I can keep from drinking them all!

Photo of huysmans
3.5/5  rDev -17.5%

Photo of jpro
4.6/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle (12-27-12) poured into a tulip glass...

A: Pours super viscous; black; mocha, one-finger head; no head retention; no lace; looks like a big, powerful, imperial stout.

S: Thick layers of malt aroma; dark chocolate; rich caramel; fudge; coffee.

T: Sweet malt / molasses; roasty charred malt; a hodgepodge of chocolate; coffee; finishes with a touch of smoke; hop bitterness is impressive.

M: Full bodied; low-moderate carbonation; sticky on the palate and sweet; creamy and viscous.

O: Wow. One of the best Russian imperial stouts around! Have a couple more that I'll let age for awhile.

*from notes 11.05.13

Photo of loganburgh
4.39/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 5,280 ratings.