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

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

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

5,471 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,471
Reviews: 2,012
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 10.59%
Wants: 465
Gots: 1,402 | FT: 114
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: 5,471 | Reviews: 2,012
Photo of seh410
3.61/5  rDev -15.1%
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.

Photo of GR_Rick
3.5/5  rDev -17.6%
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.

Photo of ILMbrew
4/5  rDev -5.9%

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.

Photo of MrBen
3.85/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

Photo of GregoryVII
4.59/5  rDev +8%
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.

Photo of ajaxivan
3.45/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my Victory tulip

A: Deep black with little brown head

S: Coffee, roasty malt, mollases, faint alcohol

T: Little carbonation is disappointing, chocolate,caramel, a little sweet but not too much

M: Medium bodied, pretty smooth

D: Not bad, not my favorite but good. I would revisit this again and im glad i tried it, i think Bells make great stuff and am usually immpressed, but i guess i am a little disappointed with the RIS.

Photo of tim9887
3.66/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours very dark brown, with a very nice light brown 1" foam head

Aroma: Very sweet. Molasses & chocolate dominate along with the booziness that's pretty noticeable in the nose.

Taste: The molasses & chocolate from the nose are very present in the palate as well. Rich and roasty; heavy on the malts. Not a whole heck of a lot in the way of hop bitterness. Very sweet & boozy.

Mouthfeel: Not very carbonated. Rich, creamy, & smooth... like a chocolate milkshake in that respect. Moderate alcohol warmth felt in the palate.

Ok. I prefer a little more carbonation and more roastiness. This stout was very sweet... maybe a bit too sweet for me. I prefer a bit more hop bitterness in RIS's.

Photo of jmeyers78
4.13/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

Photo of trentley87
3.3/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle to pint glass.

A: Pours a obviously thick dark brown from the bottle. Barely a finger of deep brown head that quickly recedes. Leaves generous lacing all the way down.

S: Roasted coffee and sweetness backed by the slightest hint of bitterness. I expected some alcohol considering the high ABV but I can't detect any.

T: Dark roasted coffee flavors, maybe a hint of chocolate. Alcohol is present in the aftertaste at first but becomes more and more pronounced as this beer warms.

M: Very, very full bodied but slightly under-carbonated for my taste. Smooth, filling, but lacking in some respect I can't quite put my finger on.

D: The high ABV means one of these is about enough. This is a decent winter beer but it is a bit heavy to make it one of my go-to brews.

I'm just not seeing this one as A or A+ material...it seems this one is either really good or really bad. Maybe Bell's needs stay a little more consistent.

Photo of rwdkosak
3.64/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

An aggressive pour produced only a scant head that faded quickly, mocha colored over motor-oil darkness as expected. Nose was faint, doughy, some sweetness, dark chocolate, and smallest bit of smoke. Taste followed suit though a bit of bitterness and alcohol picked up in the middle but good flavor and certainly on par with the style. Overall mouthfeel was somewhat lacking without carbondation. This has a smoothness to it though would have expected a bit more 'pop' and that, along with a relatively high ABV rates it low on drinkability for me.

Photo of oceanman
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 8864 (bottled Dec '08), tasted Feb '10

No light gets through. Thin dark brown head.

Big aromas of chocolate, mint, leather.

Nice, full roasted quality on palate. Powerful flavors of chocolate/coffee on finish. Burns a bit on the way down.

Certainly hefty, but quite creamy and smooth.

No gimmicks to this beer, just a serious imperial stout.

Photo of loving44
4.48/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've been sitting on this one for months waiting for a good time to sample it... it's time!

Pours extremely thick and black... probably the thickest stout I have ever seen. I held my pint glass up to a very bright desk lamp and no light made it's way through at all! Very little head... even after a fairly aggressive pour only a thin caramel colored film of bubbles rose and they vanished quickly. Small whisps of carbonationation can be seen slowly sneaking through the think crude of a beer to the surface.

The nose is full of dark fruits, raisin, plum, fig... also I smell chocolate pudding, black cherry, butterscotch, deep roasted coffee, and slight alcohol. The alcohol is very slight... give no hint to the massiveness of this beer.

Taste: coffee hits me right away with a deep roasted malt character that I don't think I've experienced in many stouts. A very "heavy" flavor if that makes any sense.... This is followed by rich chocolate, coco powder, ripe plum, very intence. As the beer warms more alcohol bitterness comes though.

Mouthfeel: This is like drinking tar.... the thickest beer I have ever had in my life. Carbonation is there but the massive body in this beer keeps it in check. It coats your mouth and stays there.... leaving a protective beer barrier that you will enjoy for hours!

Drinkability: I can't see how anyone could survive drinking more than one of these... two at most. The beer hides it's alcohol very well, but it will catch up with you for sure! If you can find this, pick it up. This is a must try for stout lovers!

Photo of Nowhereman529
4.31/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the pour that I would expect from a good stout, nice and black with very little head, a little ring of tan foam around the edge of the glass.

Smells pretty strongly of dark roasted malt and molasses, perhaps a little coffee in there as well, plus a hint of alcohol in the background. Smell isn't all that strong over all.

The flavor on this one is excellent with dark malt up front supported by a bit of chocolate and molasses with a little bit of a hoppy finish. It's well balanced with sweet up from and bitter at the end.

Mouth feel leaves a little bit to be desired, in that the carbonation is a little low. Not low enough to kill the beer by any means, but could be fluffed up just a little.

Overall an excellent beer, I would drink again and again. Definitely one of the top stouts on my list!

Photo of mizzouguy
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black with a small tan head that disappeared quickly leaving some good lacing. The smell is chocolate, dark fruit, coffee, some warm alcohol and it just screams, drink me. The taste is very sweet in the best way possible. It is sweet while still being so well balnced and drinkable. The beer is one of the thickest I've ever drank. Just coats your whole mouth with it's deliciousness. Overall, one of ypmy favorite beers.

Photo of kwalters
3.91/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

The grand daddy of the Bell's stout lineup finally makes an appearance in my glass.

My expectations were very high having read many good reviews and having enjoyed several other imperial stouts and Bell's stouts. Expedition pours as black as a new moon in a midnight sky. The head is small but tightly bubbled and beautiful. Surprisingly, the aroma from this brew is subdued. You can pick out roasty tones, but you'll have to work a bit.

The taste is not at all subdued. Roastiness and burnt wood abound. Bittersweet chocolate and hoppiness are easy to find and enjoy. But I kept wondering if something was missing. The best part of Expedition is the mouthfeel. Like so many of Bell's stouts, Expedition is very creamy and smooth.

If it weren't for the big price ($14.99/sixer) this big brew would be topnotch. But considering that I can get comparable Michigan imperial stouts from Arcadia and Founders for $5 less, Expedition will have a hard go of it trying to frequent my fridge.

Photo of granite
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A--- Poured a dark mahogany with a frothy little tan head.

S--- Esters, rich mocha and a heavy hand of roasted malt in the aroma.

T--- All chocolate malt and warming alcohol in the front. Fruity and vinous like in the middle. It finished with a nice astringent dryness provided by the roasted malt.

M--- Full bodied with a chewy mouth feel.

D--- This was a very well made American imperial stout. It had a very complex malt profile and a big mouth feel that I expect from this style. It has a little too much alcohol to session but it was the perfect winter dessert ale. It was delicious and I highly recommend it.

Photo of SmithwicksNut
3.9/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours thick with a brown head. A very dark Brown appearance, coffee dark.

S: Sweet chocolate with toasty malt aroma.

T: Same as Smell. Chocolate with toasted malts. In some aspects almost chocolate shake like.

M: Thick, very rich toasted malts sit on tongue alomost weighing it down.

O: A very big dark sweet ale almost milkshake like. I, personally, am not a fan of Imperial Stouts but I had to try this because I have heard so much about it. Its good.

Photo of Transatlantic
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - You crawl your way under a 1989 Dodge Shadow, use a torque wrench to break loose the screw. Out pours the liquid that has been lubing the engine parts for five years without a change. That is what you see when you pour Bell's Expedition Stout. Old old burnt motor oil, black as black can be. No light on this planet can pierce through this beer with it's one finger dark mocha chocolate head.

S - As an RIS should be, it's loaded with the smell of dark dark bitter chocolate with a hint of roasted coffee. Dark dark malty goodness.

T - The first initial kick you get is just how sweet this beer is. Mixed with that taste of dark bitter chocolate, this is almost like drinking chocolate syrup...only appetizing.

M - The mouthfeel is as you'd guess judging by the way it pours. Full solid bodied beer, leaving no part of the mouth uncoated. This beer keeps it's flavor lingering around for a long while.

O - You can NOT give this beer a bad review. For it's style, it's a winner. Great appearance, great flavor, great thickness. The only thing it's missing is something new....but it's still great!

Photo of Elendinn
4.37/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a half-pint pilsner glass.  Thanks hellomisterp!

A - pitch black with a very miniscule amount of caramely, milk chocolate head. No lacing.

S - lots of dark chocolate up front, a bit of coffee, with some hoppy bitterness and bourbon in the backend.

T - chocolate, coffee, alcohol, bruleed sugar, spice, a bit of char-- finishes with a hoppy dryness and a lingering coffee flavor.

M - pretty carbonated, full-bodied, not syrupy -- not quite as smooth as I'd like.

D - a little too dry in the finish to be easily drinkable, but still very good. One bottle's plenty as the alcohol is rather noticeable. Pairs extremely well with pumpkin pie creme brulee. Could've used another year or two of age on it.

Photo of Beerhere_NWI
4.71/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Underrated RIS. Complex as they come. So much better with age it's ridiculous!

Photo of montecristo2
4.23/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a small snifter.

Wow, oily black-very dark stuff indeed.

Smells of chocolate, coffee, and dark fruit-prunes maybe?

Very small head upon the pour, which dissipates very quickly to a light lacing on the sides of the glass.

Sweet on the front, with a dark chocolate/coffee raisiny flavored finish. This is a good one from Bell's, but one that I will only have once in a while and one at a sitting. Not a beer I want to drink all night, but definitely a beer I want to savor and slowly enjoy. A good cold weather beer, but even though yesterday was the last day of summer, who cares? This stuff tastes great any time of the year!

Cheers!

Photo of EHopkinsi
4.37/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

Photo of Starchild
4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I poured the beer into my Rapscallion and got a huge fluffy head that took some time to settle...just like HOTD Adam. Wow. Mostly malt in the nose with some hints of alcohol, cocoa, and prunes. After my first taste, all I can think is chewy. The weight of this beer makes me feel like I'm drinking brownie mix. As the beer warms alcohol makes its apearance, along with figs, burnt malt, semi-sweet chocolate, and piney hops. As the beer warms it goes from being sweet to sour and then maybe even to malty (feels like a jam band song). Anyway, quite an interesting RIS and well worth the price.

Gripe: Not knowing the age of this beer blows.

Photo of k75
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Damn - just incredible

this stout pours inky black hole black with a big tawny brown head

nose is of complex chocolates and licorice mixed with black strap molasses

taste is big and rich - dark chocolates, black licorice, molasses

the ABV is hidden very well ( at first anyway ) nightcap luxury stout !

finish is long and satisfying - all things dark and luscious

a true masterwork of brewing.

k75

Photo of cassanoj
2.77/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a stange glass. Thick, black and syrupy. Brownish head, but not much of it.

Smells like chocolate and licorice. Other flavors - molasses, coffee, nice roasted maltiness. Some dark fruits - plums, raisins.

Tastes like... beef. Not a fan. I like how thick it is, it's a nice sipper. Kind of weird that there's virtually no carbonation. I can't get over that beef taste. Behind the beef lies some sweet chocolate, dried fruit, caramel, malty.

The mouthfeel is okay. I like the thickness but I wish it was balanced out with some nice carbonation. Not a very complex beer, or if it is, I think it's rather unbalanced on the thick, chocolate side.

Overall, I think I would have liked this beer more if it didn't feel like I just hunt it down and shot it. I definitely understand the name though. It is what it tries to be and I can certainly appreciate that. Just... not my cup o' tea.

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
95 out of 100 based on 5,471 ratings.