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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.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

1,981 Reviews
THE BROS
98
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,981
Hads: 5,516
rAvg: 4.19
pDev: 6.92%
Wants: 474
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 neenerzig
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer is a very dark brown/black color that lets in no light whatsoever. has a fairly good foamy, tan head. Pretty decent lacing as well. Aromas of roasted malt and coffee with maybe a hint of caramel or chocolate are present. Bitter flavors of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, and malt are prsent upfront followed by a sort of slight sweetness that I can only describe as tasting like a steak with A1 sauce on it. Very interesting taste indeed as I have never had a beer that tasted quite like this before. I certainly enjoyed it. Has a thick, creamy, and crisp mouthfeel with light to moderate carbonation. It becomes more and more drinkable as it warms. This is an ass kicking beer!

Eric (696 characters)

Photo of rayjay
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 6811, which I believe dates it to 4/05, according to the interweb. Via trade with northernbrews.

Rich, thick, black, viscous sludge.

Rich 99% cacoa dark chocolate, licorice liqour, and heavily carmelized maple syrup. Soft, settled, and thick from sitting in the bottle; lacks much carbonation, but it's got plently of spunk with the rich flavor notes. Maybe the thickest beer I've had yet, behind Sam Adams Tripel Bock. Highly recommended for big beer fans. (471 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brownish-black, not quite opaque. Two fingers of tan latte foam rise and settle. Above the rim, the surface could pass for a chocolate chip cookie.

Aroma of roasted malt, vague sweetness, with a possible lactic note. Not especially bold, but complimentary to the huge flavor.

Rich taste, notes of smoky malt, bitter chocolate, and creamy coffee. Residual hop bitterness. Very powerful and bold flavors, the alcohol isn't overwhelming, but it packs a punch.

Mouthfeel is intensely smooth and velvety, creamy and luscious. Lactic milk sugar contributes a boatload of palate-smudging heft.

Although it's not one for sessioning, it has a sublime quality that makes you savor every sip. Every so often I crave an Expedition, so it has a year-round place in the cellar. (782 characters)

Photo of Risser09
4.6/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. Bottle

Appearance: Dark black liquid pours thick and viscous. Looks like a thick espresso. Head is about 1 finger thick and subsides quickly. Brown head.

Smell: Burnt barley and coffee. I would say that there is some smoke in there somewhere.

Taste: Wow. Did I just take a huge bite of dark chocolate? This beer is thick enough to be chewed indeed. Burnt flavors of dark chocolate, barley malt, and espresso. Molasses sweetness hits in the midtones. Coffee-like finish that is dry. I don't sense the 11.5% alcohol at all. Very well masked.

Mouthfeel: Thick, viscous and delicious. Easy to swallow as there is not very much carbonation.

Drinkability: This beer would be best consumed as a dessert in itself. It has the body to fill your stomach and complete a meal. At 11.5% alcohol it will bring on a buzz even after a meal. This is definitely not a session beer. Enjoy it slowly and thoroughly. (918 characters)

Photo of beveritt
4.6/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a snifter. The label is the standard Bell's style, with a compass rose. The batch number (7251) indicates that this was bottled on February 25. 2006. Gotta love that batch lookup on Bell's website.

Appearance: Pours a thick, viscous black, with almost no head. A millimeter thick layer of dark brown foam that quickly settles into just a few bubbles. The beer is completely opaque.

Smell: Alcohol sweetness backs a roasted barley aroma with strong hints of licorice and raisins.

Taste: Thick and caramelly sweet, alcohol is present, but blends well. Mouthfilling flavors of fum-raisin cake and malty sweetness. Slightly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Low level of carbonation, incredible body.

Drinkability: A great nightcap drink, but certainly not a session beer. Spend the time to enjoy this one.

Update: Sampled a bottle from this six pack last night, 12/28/08. This makes it two years in the cellar and 3 months shy of 3 years since production. Sampled against a fresh bottle. The aging helped to mixed some of the incongruous flavors together, and made an all out great beer. This is going to become a cellar staple for me. (1,182 characters)

Photo of MDekker
4.67/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've long avoided this brew, due to its price only, but I finally succumbed and bought one...and I'm glad I did.

It pours out black as night, with a little bit of creamy brown head. It dissipates rather quickly but reappears a bit after every swig. The aroma is rich, filled with caramel, chocolate, roasted coffee, doughy yeast, and a little alcohol. Really interesting. The flavor follows a similar line - starting with the chocolatey roasted malts and finishing nicely with a dark bitter taste. A hearty one, this is. In the mouth it's great, too - creamy, with smooth carbonation. Finally, the richness and the alcohol might stop one from downing multiple mugs of this, but overall it's a great brew. (707 characters)

Photo of vwcraig
4.15/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured black into a goblet. Camel colored head. Pruney and chocolatey smell that really sticks in the nose. Very appetizing smells. Caramelly, roasted malts jump out. Initial tastes were of hot cocoa and even a dark fruitiness switching into a bitter hop profile and some burnt malt flavors. Bitterness is felt throughout the mouth even on the roof. Heavy and slick mouthfeel barely any carbonation. Leaves a thick ring of lacing behind and clings to the glass. Booze level becomes more revealed as it warms up. Excellent for the last stout of the night. (554 characters)

Photo of SacoDeToro
4.15/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured blacker and thicker than Saudi Arabian crude with a small brown head. This may be the most viscous beer I've poured.

The aroma was of rich roasted malts, chocolate, some hops, and herbal notes.

The flavor of the beer was richly roasty without being harsh or ashen. The malts cascaded through a variety of flavors. There were notes of dried fruits, herbs, and licorice. The hops were well balanced and weren't too powerful.

The mouthfeel was thick and creamy. The carbonation was spot on. The drinkability was good. (530 characters)

Photo of BMoney575
4.72/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled on 12-11-06
Batch: 7251
Bottled: 2-25-06

Looked fantastic pouring out of the bottle, thick and pitch black, with a good amount of carbonation to create a one-inch head that went away decently quickly.

The smell hits you as soon as the cap comes off. Dark fruits, raisin, plum, are very apparent, a malty sweetness and a good amount of smokiness make it even better.

Taste is unbelievable. Same fruit flavor up front, with the sweet malt balanced by a perfect amount of hoppiness. The finish is smoky and stays around for awhile. No noticeable alcohol taste, which shows how very balanced this beer is.

The mouthfeel is great, thick and creamy.

Drinkability is very good, it would not be hard to finish two or three of these.

Overall my favorite example of an RIS, and maybe one of the best beers I've ever had. (840 characters)

Photo of plaid75
3.7/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured an oily black hue with a one finger dark tan creamy head. There was decent retention and good sticky lacing.

The smell featured a rich coffee and caramel aroma with hints of dried fruit.

The taste consisted of nice caramel and chocolate malts with elements of raisin and coffee. There was a significant warming alcoholand a bit of an uncomfortable sweetness.

The mouthfeel was full and chewy.

Overall a tasty RIS. Big flavors and big ABV. (457 characters)

Photo of tjthresh
4.78/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Friggin’ outstanding in almost everyway. Mocha, molasses, burnt sugar, with a touch of alcohol in the nose. Loads of bitter chocolate, a certain grittyness to it. Very mouth filling. Long finish. Onyx black. I sure would like to see some sort of head on this bear though. Tastes great, and fills me up just fine (312 characters)

Photo of Melchizedek
4.52/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Oh goodness. Black, black, black - pours like motor oil, builds a solid brown head, and sucks light out of its surroundings.

Aroma is BOLD, full of powdered chocolate, a touch of hop, alcohol, caramel, spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove maybe?), dark fruit, bread... in the mouth, rich, full, creamy, with intense roasted, toasted grains pushing aggressively to the fore. Survive the onslaught and you can start to catch the flavors of the aroma, especially the caramel/chocolate, while alcohol makes itself known and warms things up. A bit of sweetness moderates the bitter and almost harsh flavor profile (alcohol helps with this). Some nutty and maybe yeasty notes round out the finish.

I can't say much bad about this beer, except that you don't want to try to taste anything afterwards. I'm in love. I wish I could get this locally - I'd certainly try cellaring it if I had the means, as I think the mellowing effects of a bit of aging would enhance the subtler notes that are for now a bit hard to pick out from the flavor onslaught. (1,041 characters)

Photo of EvilKeith
4.52/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Expedition Stout poured thick and utterly black in color. Light does not pass through this one. It may actually bend light like a black hole, for all I know. The head was creamy and camel in color. The glass was coated with a heavy sheet of thick and sticky lace. It was a real treat for the eyes.
The bouquet was incredible! There was everything you could ask from a Russian Imperial Stout. There was rich dark chocolate notes, dark roasted coffee beans, hints of prune, a deeply roasted character with subtle traces of hardwood smoke and a light grassiness from the hops.
The taste was pretty much dead on with the scent with the dark chocolate coming across more as bitter sweet cocoa. The hops added a pleasant light bitterness and exquisite balancing. The alcohol makes it self known, spicy and a warming on the swallow.
The body was full with a fine tight carbonation and the mouthfeel was Oh So creamy!

I do not often give out 5’s in my reviews. The bouquet left me little choice, the smell was truly exceptional.
If the alcohol had been a touch less overt my numbers for taste and drinkability would have been a little higher.

A year or two of cellaring might make this my first 5 across the board. I will have to revisit this one and re-review in a year. I hope I can wait that long. (1,310 characters)

Photo of IntriqKen
4.68/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Feloniousmonk said, "this pours dark as sin".
Yep...the poet writes and the blind man sees.
Pours motor oil black but not as thick with a tan half finger that melts to a ring of sticky lacing.
Aromas are coffee, dark chocolate and a hint of dark raisins.
Taste is far more complex.
Dark fruits...mostly dark raisins and prunes,....coffee...not quite espresso but very, very dark and rich...bittersweet chocolate...a touch of vanilla....then you swallow and it's all alcohol warmth without the nasty taste going down. Aftertaste is chocolate covered raisins with a touch of bitter hops drying your mouth.
Someone PLEASE get the brothers another bottle or two to taste and hopefully enjoy this time.
This is wonderful and I can only think they had bad bottles.
Pity. (772 characters)

Photo of JohnnyM2002
4.26/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled from a 12 oz bottle, poured into a snifter at exactly 52 degrees.

A - Beautiful milk chocolate head sits atop a black-licorice body. Extremely thick pour that led to the creamy head almost escaping my snifter. Wonderful colors.

S - Sweet and fruity dark chocolate wallops the nose. A side of smoke on the side...

T - A lot of flavors working very well together. Immediately, the smoked aspect comes out in the taste as it blends very well with burnt chocolate and toffee. At first, the alcohol didn't really make itself known, but it could only hide for so long. Joining the alcohol sensation is a combination of dry and sweet fruits.

M - Very thick, but goes down very easily. The complex flavors make for a little tough finish - by that I mean you don't really know what to think. I smelled one thing, tasted another at first, then got a completely different flavor on the way down. This isn't a bad thing though - the beer is very well put together by all means.

D - I'm very glad I was finally able to get my hands on a few of these, but I can honestly say it was worth the wait. Instantly became one of my favorites from Bell's. How do they keep producing top-quality stouts? Keep them coming! (1,221 characters)

Photo of Vancer
4.19/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Well, here we go: what a start – pours like used motor oil, black as nite, yum! Just a thin ring of tan lace around the edge of my paper cup. This brew has a viscosity level not normally seen!

TONS of chocolate malt, coffee, anise, plums, raisons – a fruit blender of aromas. Bold coffee, burnt charcoal/toast start in the quaff, but a bit too sugary sweet in the finish. Also pops with an alcohol medicine finish.

Dry, powdery and gritty brew, full bodied rich and thick. Just too darn syrupy for a real long drinker. It really needed more hops to balance this bad boy out. (582 characters)

Photo of doppelmeup
3.96/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Many thanks to shbobdb for this fine brew.

Pours like thick motor oil into a wine glass. (That's all I have, as I'm reviewing this from a hotel room). Daark cocoa head slowly builds, but doesn't remain for long. Black as night. One of the darkest beers I've ever seen. Winey legs slowly slide down the glass, with specks of foam dotting the outside of the glass.

Not a real strong smelling RIS. Definite roasted malts, slightly sweet. Slightly musty. Maybe some chicory?

Taste is strong on dark roasted coffee. Quite a bit of hop bitterness, and the alcohol is quite well hidden. Roasted malts prevail.

Definite bitter aftertaste, which sticks around just long enough to make sure know you've had really big beer. Chewy mouthfeel, with a surprisingly clean finish.

Overall, this is a really big, really solid RIS. It would be hard to drink more than one at a time, but IMO this rivals, if not surpasses, Stone RIS and the other big stouts for the top of the list. (978 characters)

Photo of schusterbauer
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

a -- "none more black." but really, absolutely black, limp dark brown head doesn't last long.

s -- alcohol, charcoal, roasted/burnt malts, chocolate, soy sauce, more alcohol

t -- there's so much going on in this beer that you can find something new with every sip: heavy on the charcoal/smoked/roasted flavors, chocolate ice cream, raisins, licorice, soy sauce, lemon peel(?); flavor coats your mouth and lasts for a long time after each sip

m -- THICK. melted milkshake thick.

d -- i don't think that drinkability is really the word. the beer seems to dare you to sip more, in all of its ruggedness; sometimes the challenge is a pleasure, sometimes it's a chore.

---

I had previously given this beer across the board 5s, based on a previous sample -- a bottle that was about 18 months old. The above is based on a fresh sample. While I'm sure that the aged sample didn't deserve anywhere near the perfect 5, it was notably better, and I'll be curious to review again, with another aged sample. (1,012 characters)

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

HOLY SHIT!!!

I CHANGE MY MIND...

BELL'S IS THE SHIT!

F@ckin Expidition STOUT YES!!!! IN YOUR FACE!!!

5... all around....dark chocolate love...sweet dark blackness

in your FAce!!! LOL this is how it is f@ck the rest i hope this review doesnt get revoked because it is truely passionate...

as far as drinkability i can obviously drink alot of it F@ck it...lol this is some awesome imperial stout...ffsITS STRONG u are missing out if u ignore the fuckin price....i was blind but now i see...Again, in your face...this one is unbelievable i will be buying it if itys in the store again...icant wait (612 characters)

Photo of k75
5/5  rDev +19.3%
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 (419 characters)

Photo of Matthew
4.53/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, 2006 vintage.
Pours an incredibly viscous dirty motor oil black that seems to slowly slide down the side of my glass. Very dark dirt colored airy and bubbly head that settles to only leave a slight ring around the outer edges of the top of the beer. When I give the beer a swirl the beer coats my glass with a dirty/yellowy coating that slowly seeps back down into the rest of the beer.
Bitter sweet chocolate is the first aroma I notice, warm and sticky dark chocolate brownies, rich espresso, slight hint of grassy hops right before the boozy alcohol reaches my nostrils.
Big bitter warming hop/alcohol bite at first, followed by dark roasted coffee, that slowly fades as I swallow to leave me with sweet chocolate and brown sugar. The hoppiness that is percievable in a beer this big and this rich is surprising. The alcohol is certainly there but blends nicely with the sweetness that is present.
The mouthfeel on this beer is incredibly rich, thick, and slick on the palate. Minimal carbonation, just leaves a silky smoothness that is packed with rich flavors as it goes down.
This is a great sipping beer, really packs a punch of flavor (and alcohol) but is pretty drinkable. (1,203 characters)

Photo of terrabyte
4.13/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an extremely inky black with a medium brown head.

Smells sweet like brownies and cherries.

Flavor is quite strong. Licorice, cherry, liquor, sherry, prunes, dates, cream, and a hint of chocolate. Breathing out trhough the nose, , you can feel a slight alcoholic burn. There is some chocolate bitterness, also.

Mouthful is certainly thick and syrupy. Oily and slick.

Drinkability could be a pain for some. High alcoholic content, sweetness, and thickness.

I really enjoyed this beer. A little sweet for me, but very enjoyable. I'm quite surprised by some of the reviews stating this beer's high ABV being a turnoff, yet enjoying certain Quads that I found higher in alcoholic flavor. I'm guessing that what the real deal here is that they enjoyed the flavor of those beers more, and I enjoy this beer's combination of flavors instead. What gets you through a big beer? For me, it was this beer's fun flavors. (928 characters)

Photo of jhammerly
4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I purchased this in the summer of 2005. It was too much for me during the warmer months at the time. Thanks to BA, I learned a bit about being able to let beers sit for awhile. Otherwise this beer might not have been truly appreciated.

This pours like motor oil with a nice tan head about an inch or so thick. The head disappeared within minutes, leaving a thin ring around the glass that left some lacing with each sip. Burnt, roasted, and alcohol aromas hit the nose equally. Espresso-like flavor balanced with a touch of alcohol that warms the soul on a chilly evening. Despite the strength of this stout, it handles very smoothly. Excellent. (649 characters)

Photo of cafemondegar
4.82/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a take it or leave it beer. You can either love it or hate it. That is because is a strong, in your face, it-is-what-it-is beer. Poured with minimal rich caramel head, not too high. Has the sweet smell of burnt caramel. It tastes delicious with a hint of sweetness and has a thick, dry mouthfeel that lasts a while. It is rather expensive, but I don't regret having spent the money. Although American style IPAs are my usual choices, I can see my wife & me spending quite a few evenings with this Russian Imperial Stout this winter. (540 characters)

Photo of scott
4.78/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz vintage 2005
I originally had this a year ago from a different package and thought it was much too big, even though I liked it. At the time, I had enough beers in me that I didn't respect it.
Silky black motor oil, without an aggresive head.I let it sit and witnessed a very lovely tannish three finger head grow like a chia-pet.
Monster burnt chocolate espresso flavor that goes lovely with my braised chicken dinner. The smell is inviting, and the taste completely delivers. Alcohol is masked nicely, but I'm warmed on the first snow of the season quite pleasantly.
I appreciate the silky smooth deliverance of a uniquely bold drink that finishes almost dry. Good job on this one.
Buy this knowing you own one of the best stouts available, and it keeps on giving. (776 characters)

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