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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

4,663 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,663
Reviews: 1,894
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 10.87%
Wants: 402
Gots: 1,016 | 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: 4,663 | Reviews: 1,894 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tempest
3.6/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It’s big and pretty good, but my bottle need more time. There’s too much alcohol flavor and the chocolate and coffee taste feel like they’re only just budding. There’s a nice addition of hops flavor under the malt, but the alcohol that follows leaves a bad feel.

tempest, May 25, 2007
Photo of barleywinefiend
4.7/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow. This is how a RIS should taste! Thanks Drunkmonk!
Where do I begin? Perhaps the best RIS I have had. Poured a deep thick black with a nice deep brown head. Carbonation was good. Nose is sticky, sweet with cocoa, espresso, roasted malts. Taste is very smooth. Lots of cocoa, coffee, roasted malts and maybe even some vanilla. Mouthfeel was great. Drinkability was awesome. So good and the 10.5 ABV was well disguised. Awesome brew.

barleywinefiend, Jan 30, 2009
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.55/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've reviewed this before from the bottle, but I was interested to see how this beer was on cask. To be honest, I was a little dubious about a beer this big, and with these flavors being able to make the transition nicely, but I was certainly wrong- it was very good indeed. I had this at the Atlanta Cask Ale Festival, and we're not talking a skimpy pour, but a good 1/2 nonic at least. Poured black, and quite bubbly, with good carbonation and quite a decent head, even with no sparkler and gravity poured. Nice aromas of espresso and licorice. Oh my, this tastes good! Beautiful and well integrated notes of espresso, licorice, chocolate, and roasted grains with a firm creaminess underpinning these flavors. The cask lends this beer a wonderful silkiness that puts it over the top. Very nice indeed!

Georgiabeer, Aug 21, 2011
Photo of duceswild
4/5  rDev -5.4%

duceswild, Sep 22, 2013
Photo of akorsak
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A snifter glass served at Capone's during both Founders/Bell's nights.

A: The stout is pitch black, no other words adequately describe the dark depths of this stout. Unfortunately there was no head atop this black beauty, besmirching the nice appearance.

S: The nose is roasted malts, dark thick grains that have bready and vinous characteristics. Some sweeter grains punch up the strong burnt aromas.

T: The taste is right in line with the big aromas from the nose. There is a thick roasted burnt malt flavor, bitter and strong that remains throughout the drink. That burnt flavor is nicely matched up against a graham sweetness. The alcohol underlying this beer is huge, completely unable to hide itself even amongst the abundance of flavor here. The finish is burnt and bitter, leaving a long full taste in the mouth.

M: The stout is huge, easily overwhelming the tastebuds with dark roasted flavors and big alcohol. This is not a stout for the faint of heart.

D: A snifter is great, more than one and you'll be seein' double. This is a complex beer that is best enjoyed slowly with good company.

akorsak, Aug 31, 2007
Photo of mothman
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 8726

Poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark brown head that leaves an incredible lacing. Color is dark dark brown, almost black.

Smell is a toasted malted chocolate. Very 'toasty' that is. Taste is quite similar very very chocolaty. It also tastes like something was burnt. Some dark fruit notes in there. Maybe some coffee as well.

Mouthfeel is very smooth, just a little crisp. After it lingers around enough, the 10.5% abv shows. Full bodied with a nice amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is a great RIS. Not too expensive for a 6er and at 10.5% you really can't go wrong. I will be getting this every year. If you see this at the stores, do yourself a favor and buy some!

mothman, Nov 22, 2008
Photo of ejimhof
4/5  rDev -5.4%

ejimhof, Aug 23, 2014
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

( Served in an American pint glass)

A-This beer pours a thick black molasses with a dark tan cocoa head and no sign of light or bubbles in the body.

S- This beer as complex dark roasted malt aromas with some dark coffee and dark cocoa powder with faint smokiness. There is a nice barley-wine aroma under the dark roasted flavors.

T- This beer has very complex flavor complexity with roasted and burnt malt with some caramel and dark toasted grains aswell. Notes of cocoa or bitter chocolate and some dried fruit like dates or prunes in the background. This beer finishes with a nice semi-sweet finish and some alcohol warmth to smooth out the sweetness.

M- Full mouthfeel with nice faint alcohol warmth.

D- This is truly the black barleywine that make up a RIS. Very nice complexity and good bold flavors. Great to drink now and I bet it would stand up great to age.

rhoadsrage, Jul 30, 2005
Photo of DoubleJ
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Here it is, the finale of the long and commemerative Third Unorganized Invitational. I'm going big and strong on this one, and I'm hoping to end this on a good note. On to the beer:

Pours a small, mocha-tanned head on top with the usual pitch black body associated with the style. The aroma is good. Some cocoa, licorice, a side of fruit, and a faint fume of cardboard.

At first taste, this is an easy going imperial stout. A little roasty with some hops (piney)burst on to the scene as it enters your mouth. Baker's chocolate appears, and then it morphs into chocolate brownie liquid. Faint smokiness and molasses. Where's the booze? Bitter astringent coffee lingers on in the aftertaste. Full bodied with a tick of carbonation, it soaks and coats the tongue.

This will conclude the Third Unorganized Invitational, and now in the usual fashion, it is time to announce the winner of it all, and it is:

Girardin (black label) Gueuze!

What to way to celebrate my graduation from college, with eight big beer for eight straight nights, but in the end, the sour holds the power to winning. Girardin joins Anchor Steam and Hacker Weiss as the winners of the Unorganized Invitaitonal series. I won't be in school to have another end of the year celebration with beer, but I will continue to carry on the tradtion. Check back around this time next year for the Fourth edition. Good night everyone!

DoubleJ, Jun 09, 2009
Photo of superspak
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled 11/11/2010. Pours very dense pitch black color with a nice 1-2 finger dense brown head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Some nice soapy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of huge very dark chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, caramel, biscuit, toast, char, molasses, vanilla, toffee, earth, wood, and light herbal hops. Fantastic aromas with great complexity, balance, and strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, roasted malt, char, coffee, molasses, caramel, toast, tobacco, biscuit, earth, pine, citrus, and light herbal hops. Decent amount of roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, caramel, toast, molasses, citrus, and herbal on the finish for a while. Fantastic roasted flavor balance and complexity. Medium carbonation and very full bodied; with a very nice creamy, slick, thick, and lightly chalky mouthfeel. Alcohol is very well hidden with almost no warming noticed at all after the finish. Very smooth to sip on. Overall this is a fantastic Russian imperial stout. Huge complexity and big robust roasted flavors; and very smooth to sip on. Extremely impressive.

superspak, Jul 16, 2012
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

32 oz. swing top growler.

Fabulous appearance. Deep, jet black with a thick, beige head that leaves a generous amount of lacing cascading down the sides of the snifter. Grandiose aroma of molasses, malt, charred roast, dark fruits. Dark fruits really emerge as the beer warms. Lots of charred, roasted malt as well. Full bodied, though not viscous or syrupy. A really solid beer, though there are several other imperial stouts I prefer to this.

Huhzubendah, Nov 12, 2011
Photo of BARFLYB
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a small snifter. This bottle has to be at least two years old right now, I could not hold out anymore. I found this to be to sweet fresh.

Bell's Expedition is a dark pitch black oily looking beer. It looks mean and tough coming out of the bottle with a gooey togetherness. Thick with staining power, don't spill this. A gorgeous dark mocha colored head rose up about an inch or more with a thickness and milkshake look on top, creamy, lasting. Coats of dirty lace on the way down.

Expe has mellowed nice in just two years time. The nose discovered Chocolate cake with enough roasted malt scent to stop a horse. Caramel and slight toffee With the roast comes some smoke and molasses. Really not getting any coffee from this, perhaps that's the 1st thing to go with time, the hops are next with minimal screen time. Just a hint of dark fruit with some figs among others. This smells great.

Big amounts of roasted malt on the palate with some smoke and sweetness. The chocolate is huge and rich, bittersweet. There is some coffee espresso with some warming. Taste with figs and molasses and just a bit of wood. Some alcohol in the back but hidden over two years. In the after, I get some soy sauce which is more noticeable cold. When fresh, this was a bit to sweet and off putting, that's not the case now, great integration.

A big bold thick feel on this one, somewhat robust, creamy and large. The feel is almost bordering on syrupy, but it goes down like a charm, what's going on here? Just a bit of alcohol after all is said and done and a touch of heat, not hot at all. Hidden very well but not 100%. The hops are not completely faded as there is some bitter sense hanging around. Sweet but subdued.

Drinkability takes a slight hit due to a high ABV, but I wont dock points for that, this is a Russian after all. Whatever I did not like about this when young (alot) is completely opposite now. I would not do more than one of these a night though and won't drink it in a bottle younger than two years. You need to take your time with this to see what it holds.

BARFLYB, Nov 10, 2009
Photo of Zorro
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12 Oz bottle sampled through the efforts of dirtylou and The No BS BIF.

Pours an opaque black colored beer that passes no light. A small but extremely dark brown head forms and then disappears. Not a bad stab at trying to create a beer with a black head.

Smell is Sharp sweet and very much like Kahlua. Strong coffee and chocolate aromas. Fruity and wine like scents are also in this one, mostly figs and dates with a slight amount of banana in the very fringe of it. Brown sugar and burnt sugar aromas and a little pineapple upside down cake.

Taste is thick and sharply bitter and charred in the first sip, long lasting charcoal flavor. A thick bitter beer that is very much a concentrated stout, almost like a beer mix that you just add carbonated water. After you get past the charred shock of the first taste there is a lot of chocolate flavor here and it is fairly sweet. There is some fruitiness here but it is pretty much hidden by the charred flavor.

Mouthfeel is syrup thick.

This is a beer a lot like Turkish coffee, it is OK in small amounts but you tire of it quickly. This would be a great beer for a 4 oz shot but a glassful gets tiring quickly. I have had better.

Zorro, May 27, 2006
Photo of afsdan
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

afsdan, Mar 22, 2014
Photo of Stinkypuss
3.58/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bell's Expedition Stout
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
ABV: 10.50 %

LOOK: Pours a dark brown, almost black, with a solid inch of brown foam. Mostly clear with no sediment.

SMELL: Roasted malt with a good amount of burnt aromas, pumpernickel bread, and alcohol.

TASTE: In the flavor there is more of the roasted flavor, a bit of a yeasty twang, bread, spiked coffee, and definitely some clean and assertive alcohol flavor. Bitterness has died down to a suggestion and works with the alcohol bite. Faint chocolate, coffee, but mostly just roasted flavor with a kick of booze.

FEEL: Full bodied, smooth, medium carbonation. Has a bit of alcohol and burnt flavor lingering into the finish.

OVERALL: A pretty standard Imperial Stout, big in its ways, but certainly enjoyable. Can be aged for extended periods of time, but the alcohol will always be there, as it is a big part of the flavor.

Stinkypuss, Aug 18, 2012
Photo of Gonzoillini
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

Gonzoillini, Jan 13, 2013
Photo of Mebuzzard
3.15/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Knownfactor for this bottle, and two more.

Pours black, perhaps some brown edging, but overall this thing is dark. That's the good part. No head at all. I could be persuaded to say it has a collar...

Aroma is boozy up front. This takes away from the nice prune and black plum, dark chocolate and molasses aromas. Too bad.

Again, booze really hinders the flavors. I know they are there. The cocoa is thinned out and the dark, soft fruits are too soaked. It has some sharp agents, too. Anise and quick roasted malt give it a bit of a kick. This one *needs* age on it. Ok with me.

Overall a nice beer. Too boozy right now to warrant higher ratings, but it has great potential.

Mebuzzard, Mar 30, 2011
Photo of Wasatch
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to BuckEyeNation for this awesome brew.

Batch 7205

Pours a thick black color, nice carbonation, nice fizzy tan head that quickly leaves, and in return a few islands appear. The second I opened the bottle the roasted malts, coffee/toffee, and alcohol hit me in the face, I knew I was into something special. The taste is very malty, coffee/toffee flavor, the alcohol is hidden pretty well though. Only really shows on the way down, warming the body. Medium body, creamy/chewing, well rounded. Very drinkable, a very very nice RIS, way to go Bell's.

Wasatch, Jan 10, 2007
Photo of BillRoth
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

BillRoth, Dec 16, 2013
Photo of mdaschaf
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 9554, bottled Jan/2010.

A: Poured into my DFH signature glass. Pours a an oily black, completely opaque. A one finger mocha colored head formed upon pouring and reduced to a ring of foam around the top. Very little lacing.

S: Dark fruits, licorice, chocolate and some coffee. There is a little bit of roasted malt and the slightest hint of alcohol.

T: Coffee and roasted malts are the dominant flavors with some chocolate, licorice, and a little bit of molasses.

M: Medium to full bodied. Smooth and creamy, with a slickness. Nice carbonation, more than expected, but not in a bad way.

O: Quite nice. Form reading other reviews, I think that some of the coffee flavor subsided a little bit. No sign that the beer is 10.5%, even though its fuller body makes drinking more than 1-2 difficult.

mdaschaf, May 15, 2011
Photo of ppoitras
4.53/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle obtained via trade with CRJMellor. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, WOW, some almost nitro action from a CO2 bottle beer, weird, but cool. Formed a thick, frothy 2" chocolate-hued head above a dark, dark brown/black brew. Head lasts more or less forever, and laces like you wouldn't believe. Aroma is is of heavy grains and malts, but not the bitterness that is usually associated with such a constructed brew. Heavy malts dominate the flavor, but their bitter ness seems to hide behind their sweetness, and make for an easy drinking brew, considering the heaviness and alcohol strength that is hiding somewhere in there... Mouthfeel is excellent, and drinkability is dangerously high for such a brew. An amazing phenom of brewing construction, this one is.

ppoitras, Jun 08, 2004
Photo of smakawhat
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass. Nice to see how this out of the bottle for a change. Packaged September 26th 2011 off we go.

Out of the bottle this pours supper dark and motor oil thick with an incredibly dark DARK brown chocolate head, creamy tiny bubbles and big lacing edges around the glass. Body color is a classic walnut black/brown.

Nose is very fruity, banana, barleywine sense, and mild malts. Interesting very creamy smelling, not so much roasty or malty, quite nice though.

Taste is a great mix of milk chocolate, and very hop bitter finish. Slightly prickly but mostly velvety chocolate texture in the mid palate, and finishing with a very noticeable grapefruit hop bitter. Hop character seems to take over the remaining drink, but still give a basic impression of a dark malty stout.

Overall pretty tasty, but was quite surprised by this hop bitter presence.

smakawhat, Nov 10, 2011
Photo of brandoman63
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

brandoman63, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of DrBier
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

DrBier, Jul 14, 2014
Photo of John_M
3.83/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Was very pleasantly surprised to see this on tap at Capone's the other night.

This has to be one of the oddest looking stouts I've ever seen. The beer looks more like a cup of dark hot chocoate then beer, with a hazy chocolate appearance, good lacing and decent head retention. On the nose one gets some more chocolate (quite a bit of it in fact), with a hint of vanilla, coffee and cherry. The flavors are replicated on the palate, especially in terms of the chocolate. However, there's also almost what I would call an underlying grittiness to this beer, which while fine for the most part, hurts the finish a bit I think. There is considerable bitterness in the finish, and at least for me, that coupled with the sweet chocolate and high abv. makes this a difficult beer to drink.

This is absolutely a solid beer, but is just not my cup of tea.

John_M, Sep 23, 2007
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,663 ratings.