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

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

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1,981 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,981
Hads: 5,516
rAvg: 4.19
pDev: 6.92%
Wants: 473
Gots: 1,441 | FT: 121
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
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Reviews: 1,981 | Hads: 5,516
Photo of zhanson88
4.02/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 8/28/12.

Appearance: Pours out pretty near pitch black and fairly viscous looking. About 1" of dark tan head forms, which has good retention and lacing. Good looking stout.

Smell: Bitter roasted malts and dark chocolate sweetness are the primary scents I get off of this beer. I might get a light hint of vanilla sweetness as well. Good; not overly complex, but good. A classic stout smell.

Taste: Roasted malts, sweet dark chocolate, hints of black licorice and vanilla. A bit more complex than the nose but about at the same overall quality.

Mouthfeel/Overall: Medium to full bodied with appropriate, low carbonation. Very good. Overall, a very solid stout. Nice flavors and good balance of bitter and sweet. (722 characters)

Photo of EvoRich
5/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Aged one year:

Look: DARK. Reddish brown head which fades to nearly nothing. No light is getting through this beer. It looks about as good as any beer I've ever seen. Served in a snifter.

Smell: Sweet fruits, chocolate, coffee, and malts.

Taste: Easily one of the best beers I've had. A LOT of dark chocolate and coffee mixed with sweet fruit flavors. A finish of coffee and malts.

Feel: Thick, full bodied, creamy. Like dessert.

Overall: This has to be one of my all time favorite beers I've ever had. Amazed by it's price and availability. (550 characters)

Photo of itsscience
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with 2 fingers of tan head which retains nicely. The nose is boozy with sweet and roasty malts, dark fruits, raisins, and some dark chocolate. It tastes sweet and chocolaty at the front of the tongue with a bite of bitterness coming later, bringing herbal hop, coffee, and roasted grain flavors. There's a bourbon barrel quality to it and it leaves an aftertaste of chocolate-covered raisins. It's full bodied, alcoholic, and skirts the edge of doing too much, but doesn't quite go over that edge. (509 characters)

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.67/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Growler filled at Nathaniel Square Corner Store in Rochester, NY.

Pours a deep dark black, with a sizable 2 inch head. Sticky spider-web like lacing.

Aromas include roasted malt, bitter dark chocolate, and a bit of something that smells like bourbon, even though it's not barrel aged.

Huge roasted malt taste here, lots of bitterness. Some chocolate covered espresso beans as well. There is a bit of an alcohol burn and sweetness, but it is integrated well and doesn't detract. Some mild tastes of earthy dark fruits. There is a richness and depth of flavor here that suggests extended barrel treatment, but it didn't get any. Awesome.

Full viscous and creamy mouthfeel. Low carbonation.

One of the best non-BA stouts I've ever had, this one is knock your socks off good. (777 characters)

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From the 12 ounce bottle into a snifter.

I like the way this beer pours, thick, creamy and viscous. For a moment I thought I was putting oil in my car. This beer is pitch-black with a finger-thick, dark khaki-colored head.

As soon as I popped the top off, I was getting a big whiff of booziness, almost bourbon-like. Once in the glass though, it's apparent this beer is just big and may not have gotten the bourbon-barrel treatment. There's a lot of dark chocolate on the nose, vanilla and caramel, sweet malt, and some oakiness.

There's plenty of flavor in this bad boy. Initially chocolatey, oaken and dry, the beer transitions to a sweet, creamy middle of vanilla before finishing with a baker's chocolate finish. The beer feels very big, but the heat is mostly buried, and in its place is a good viscosity, allowing this beer to go down pretty easily.

I like this beer for a lot of reasons, but I think the best thing about it is that a single 12 ounce bottle didn't cost more than $2.50. That's a steal for such a monster of a beer. I shoulda stocked up on about 15 more. (1,083 characters)

Photo of larryarms847
4.48/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black, oily and viscous with a thin khaki head of foam.

Rich roasted coffee, caramel, dark chocolate, and sweet toffee.

Tons of roasted malt approaching burnt notes, toffee, earthy bitterness, and chocolate.

Heavy bodied, light carbonation, roasty, bitter, dry finish.

Overall, I love the HUGE roasted malt character and thick body, but the bitterness is left on the palate a little too long. Drank 1 year 3 months after bottled date (9/25/2013) and this could definitely use more time. Balanced out a tad after a year, but more time could certainly help. (571 characters)

Photo of Franziskaner
3.96/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Darker than night with a wisp of quickly dissipating dark brown foam. The nose is an obscene amount of dark malt along with some roasted barley. The mouth is thick and sticky. The front of the palate is heavy with dark malt and roasted barley. The back of the palate is plums and fig mixed with dark malt. (305 characters)

Photo of hops202
4.13/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into a Stone Imperial Russian Stout Snifter. Bottled 8/22/13.

Very dark pour. Not too much carbonation present and seems like there is used motor oil in my snifter. Smell has Incredible amounts of roastiness, molasses, and some dark candied fruit and syrup. Maybe even some hickory smoke and burnt char. Taste is similar with some bitterness to add. I believe this is still "young", needs to age some, and plan to drink a 2012 side by side with a 2013 in the near future and re-review. Stay tuned!! (514 characters)

Photo of confer
4.09/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours as black as motor oil with a half-finger tan head that never leaves.
The really isn't much aroma, which is a little surprising.
This bottle I had must have been a young one. It was very bitter and the start but ended with a deep coffee taste that hung around for a long time.
Thick and creamy which i did expect.
The other bottle is going into the basement for at least a year. (383 characters)

Photo of drdiesel9483
4.34/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Drank this dark stout out of a sniffer. I was suprised with the thickness of the taste itself. Not to strong of an alcohol taste even though it 10+ abv. The beer has a dark chocolate smell with a hint of fruit. Pretty good beer. About what I expected after seeing over reviews. (277 characters)

Photo of Jmitchell3
4.51/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter from a 12oz bottle. Bottled 10/22/12.

A: Poured thick and black. Dark brown head. medium retention.
S: Thick roasty and chocolate notes, some hints of plum, even a slight pear.
T: Wow. Roasted chocolate, high bitterness for a stout. Slight sweetness on the tip, lingering bitter finish.
M: Thick feel in the mouth. Very full and luxurious.
O: Fantastic, it has aged very well. Better than fresh. (420 characters)

Photo of chinchill
4.14/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle date stamped with a fill date of 2 Oct. 2012. Served in a Belgian snifter.

Pours opaque and nearly black, but with red-brown highlights at the edges. Small dark tan head soon recedes.

Aroma: semi-sweet and appealing but relatively subtle.

Flavor: Rich and strong, with dark fruits, dark chocolate, dark roasted grains, and a hint of coffee. Approaches 4.5

Creamy smooth, excluding the impact of high ABV,

O: Excellent, but room for improvement as demonstrated by Bell's Black Note Stout. (507 characters)

Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.31/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on date 7/26/13

A - Pours a motor oil black with a one-finger tan head.

S - Dark roasted malts, dark chocolate, and a hint of dark fruit.

T - Starts off with sweet roasted malts. Dark chocolate, coffee, molasses, and a slight amount of dark fruits follow. Alcohol produces a nice warming.

M - Full bodied with medium carbonation. Sticky syrupy mouthfeel.

O - This a big bold RIS. Delicious. (403 characters)

Photo of ChrisL24481
4.26/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured a pitch dark black color with a thin brown ring of a head which quickly dissipated. Smell and taste was delicious. Consisted of dark chocolates; roasted malts; slight espresso; a touch of breadiness/nutiness. Full bodied beer. Sticky on the mouth and smooth across the tongue. No hint of alcohol on this 10.5% beast. Excellent, enjoyed thoroughly! (354 characters)

Photo of FLima
4.02/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pitch black not allowing any light to go through with a brown thin head.
Interesting aroma with notes of smoke, dark fruits and chocolate.
Bold fruity flavor with notes of Khalua liquor, dark fruits, resin, pine, dark chocolate brownies, light coffee, vanilla and charred wood. Dry aftertaste with strong roasted and smoky notes.
Full body with low carbonation. Alcohol of 10.5% abv is really not there.
Bold, malty and hoppy imperial Stout. A bit too sweet decreasing its potential drinkability. (496 characters)

Photo of Jay_Ulreich
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the best stout on the planet, IMO. I dont understand how 10 Fidy and Dark Lord are so high up on the top 250 and this isnt even on it! Should be the other way around, IMO!!! I love this beer. Its hands down my favorite Stout.
A- When you pour it, the head is alive. Theres no nitro in this beer, but its the only stout thats ever come close to the "aliveness" that Guinness has. The heads got that brown and almost deep red color to it. Very sticky, very long lasting. Wonderful lacing. PITCH black. You have to turn on an extra light in whatever room it is in because it makes it darker. You can see how well crafted it is.
S- Heres where it really catches my attention.(not that it didnt already have it!) The alcohol is VERY well hidden- a sign of great craftsmanship. I could say things like dark fruit and complex, but I dont dig words like that to describe beer. Its got huge malt character. Chocolate, maybe a little coffee. Definite roastiness.(Is that even a word? It should be) I believe I can smell the yeast, and it is good. Another great thing about it is the hop spice I get, you can almost smell the bitterness. If that makes sense. Balance. Harmony. Beauty. These are words that float through my mind as I smell this.
T- Where to begin... There is a lot happening. If I try, I can taste the alcohol, but its not a distinct flavor, like other certain high ABV stouts Ive had recently(10Fidy). Theres gotta be a ton of hops in this thing because my tongue is dancing. Bitter and floral hops are running around. Theres alot of depth to this beer, deep malt, huge roasted flavor. Not smoke, roast. Dark chocolate, coffee- just a touch. Theres that yeast again, I think... With so much happening, its like each flavor is begging to be noticed. I want to say I taste raisins or figs or something, but at the same time I want to stay far away from words like that. Its something else. It has some kind of woody appearance, like it was in an oak barrel, not a bourbon barrel, just a regular old wooden barrel. I pick that up in the aftertaste. I just love it. Its the epitome of an Imperial Stout. Or at least, IMO, its everything one should be. Its really just excellent.
M- This is a thick stout. Oil comes to mind, but just as Im pouring it, not when actually drinking it. It is so smooth, and just the perfect amount of chewy. Makes me wonder if oatmeal is used to give it that mouth feel. Once again, this is exactly what I look for in an Imperial Stout. Bells really nailed it with this one. This beer will probably always be in my top 5. I love it so much that I really would be sad if I ever found something better, but as that is damn near impossible, Ill be just fine.
Overall, rarely will I give a beer anywhere near a 4.5, because I dont feel most meet those expectations. I dont believe there IS a perfect 5/5. If there was, then you could stop drinking anything else and stop reviewing. Its all about the chase, man. While I think the price could come down about a buck or 2, this is one of the only 6 packs that I feel is actually worth 16-17 bucks. It probly costs alot more for the amount of grains that go into making this big, big brew. The quality is worth the extra dollar. Thank you Bells! (3,227 characters)

Photo of PsilohsaiBiN
4.05/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 8/22/13.

Appearance: Pours jet black, as expected with a small khaki head that collars quickly.

Smell: Cocoa, graham cracker, roasted malt, dark fruit and some booze heat. Kind of reminds me of Marshal Zhukov's aroma, in that the aroma is nice, but not overwhelming.

Taste: Begins with rich dark chocolate paired with an element of soft cocoa. Middle of the mouth is hop bitterness with nice roast. Finishes pretty bitter with detectable but not by any means overwhelming heat.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, velvety, silky. Very full feel, though not in the realm of Hunahpu viscosity.

Overall: I can see the influence this has on Black Note and am glad I finally got to try it. Can definitely see this getting amazing with age as the bitterness subsides, but it's still not bad at all in its current state. (815 characters)

Photo of Suds
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark, almost black, this stout is a creamy and thick liquid. It has a brown head, a solid complexion, and a dense, black color. The smell is of grain, burnt sugar, and alcohol. It has a lot of character...warmth, bitterness, and velvety heft. The beer is very full flavored, intense....some malt. Balanced...neither sweet nor dry. Full body. Lengthy and smooth finish. (368 characters)

Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.02/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled in October 2012.

A - Beautiful black, completely opaque with a small, tan head, which fades quickly but maintains mild lacing.

S - Dark fruit and malt and roast, with a strong booze note.

T - Bitterness is the spine, but it is paired with a sweet undercurrent, made up of raisin and plum, chocolate and malts. The addition of a strong liquor element makes this much like biting into a liquor-filled chocolate. But as the sweetness fades, the bitterness remains. It is not a hop bitterness, but more a roasted malt bitterness, of burnt toast and the charred edge of a beef roast.

M - This is complex. Very mild carbonation, but still some acidity. Some warmth from the alcohol, but surprisingly minimal, given the ABV. The beer coats, but not aggressively so.

O - I like certain aspects quite well. The beer holds its ABV well, and with 1-1/2 years, it is not a big, hot mess that it could have been. This is a sipper, and not on drinker. I like my stouts with strong coffee notes, and that is not the game here. Nevertheless, the balance achieved as this ages is a impressive. (1,089 characters)

Photo of Louski
5/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Not sure I've had a more perfect Russian imperial stout. Pours a deep black with barely a finger of dark tan head- excellent lacing though. Very complex in taste. Obvious I chocolate malts, backed by coffee notes and nutty, smokey goodness. Coats the mouth just right with a slightly boozy finish that just lets you know it's there. I'm in love. (345 characters)

Photo of rudzud
4.51/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Received this a long while batch, bottle date of 8/29/12

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a nice pitch black hue with a good quarter inch mocha head that fades to leave light wisps and a nice halo. Good legs on it too.

S - Aromas of char, nutty roasted notes, faint alcohol, flashes of dark fruit. Very, very faint hops. Awesome dark chocolate. Almost brownie like!

T - Taste is sweeter malts, chocolate, rich roast, light char. Flashes of occasional pine, alcohol is nearly nonexistant. Faint, faint bitterness. The roast malts and rich rich chocolate are really just awesome here. Not quite brownie batter, but awfully close. The nuttiness is really fun here.

M - Mouthfeel is great, just great. Maybe a hair less carbonation on the finish would make this a 5. Creamy, rich velvet, hardly any alcohol.

O - Overall, this was a very, very good beer. Glad I waited as long as I did to crack one of these, age has really mellowed out all that bitterness. Stuff is drinking so so good. (986 characters)

Photo of zookerman182
4.17/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance is pitch black with a half finger tan head,
Aroma is roasted malts, coffee, molasses.
Flavor is the same. Tons of roasty flavor. Malty and warming.
Lots of hops coming through even after a year of age in this.
Mouthfeel a year ago was slightly more thin.
Mouthfeel is full and thick now with pretty creamy with a tingling carbonated finish.
Overall it's a solid sipper n a cold night. (395 characters)

Photo of fourstringer
4.48/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Brewer's Art goblet. Moderately aggressive hand. Packaged 8/22/13 according to the label.

A: Very dark brown - essentially black. Scant coat of rich brown head that quickly dissipates within 30 seconds. Light lacing.

S: Roasted malt with cacao-forward scents. Lesser coffee, dark fruit. Light pepper. Hint of piney hops. Booze. Molasses. Oh boy.

T: Sweet roasted malt notes turn into a firm hop bitterness that yields to great dark chocolate & coffee flavors. Semi-dry finish. Moderate alcohol, consistent with 10.5%, but I don't mind at all. Some oaky, bourbon notes. Toffee. Tasty.

M: Low to moderate carbonation with a full body. Silky smooth and palate coating. Top notch feel.

O: Delicious. Well balanced with solid, but complementary hopping. Excellent chocolate notes in particular. Great American imperial stout.

Prost! (871 characters)

Photo of Flopjack
4.46/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into snifter

Appearance - Pure black, nice caramel and cream colored head about 2 fingers settles down nicely but remains.

Smell - Roasted malts, molasses, bread, alcohol is warming but not to intense. Thick smell.

Taste - Starts out with a roasted rich dark chocolate, molasses, and rich dark coffee both bitter and slightly sweet. Middle gives a bread and alcohol flavor with a slight warming sensation. Ends just a bit dry leaving smoked and roasted after taste.

Mouthfeel - Medium carbonation, full bodied, coats palate with a thick syrup like feel.

Overall - Great stout. Not only does this beer give a nice blanket when it's cold out, but you can put this one away for awhile. Buy a 6 pk drink one and put the rest in your cellar. Open one every 6 months (at least) and see how it changes! (807 characters)

Photo of rickcrip76
4.04/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ended a night out with this at Brickstore Pub in Decatur, GA. Ordered the 2009 vintage.

A - on target with my expectations: jet black, viscous, and a finger of brown head

S - all the usual suspects of roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate. What really caught me off guard upon sniffing this beer was the very distinct and prominent presence of spearmint; not the usual odor I come across.

T - Follows the nose, roasty, chocolate, burnt coffee bitterness on the back end... the spearmint did not carry over too much in the taste. A big bold beer. I thought the ABV was hidden well.

M - Thick, rich, and full bodied. Carbonation was present but not overly so.

O - Great beer. I was surprised that when I read other reviews there was no other mention of the mint in the nose. I don't know if it was a product of the cellaring process or if my nose and palate are that bad.... but it was there. I would drink it again, but I don't think I'd have more than one at any given time - it was a good beer to close out an evening. (1,035 characters)

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
93 out of 100 based on 1,981 ratings.