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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.

1,987 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,987
Hads: 5,548
Avg: 4.21
pDev: 17.81%
Wants: 479
Gots: 1,449 | 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: 1,987 | Hads: 5,548
Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.77/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The beer poured pitch black with slight ruby highlights. The head was brown and rose huge as the beer was poured and fell slowly to lace the glass.

The aroma was chocolate, coffee and caramel with a huge dark fruit aroma in tow.

The flavor was excellent with well bittered chocolate and coffee flavors and dark fruits with hints of alcohol. Very complex and interesting.

The finish was dry with chocolate and coffee and alcohol warming. The body was full and the mouthfeel was well rounded and smooth.

12 ounce bottle smuggled past the NC 6% limit by AKSmokedPorter. The label on the bottle is upside down...

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Photo of mobyfann
2.59/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Paid $2.99 for a 12oz. single

The appearence is a thick black bace with a thin if any brown head that doesn't last and the lacing is hard to find. The aroma is pretty good of roasted chocolate and coffee.

The taste was mixed personality, the thickness of the beer I didn't like, so I lowered mouthfeel down, the taste is a bit too strong, as not well defined, I really didn't find anything to special in this department. It's kind of drinkable but I didn't enjoy finishing my glass...

Final Thought: Extremely high expectations down the drain, almost literally, I don't know if this is common in high alcholic stouts, or if I had a bad bottle or what, I can't believe this is a Kalamazoo BC product... love their porter and double cream stout, but this was below par...

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Photo of psyco1
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This is strong beer.

It comes out of the bottle black and thick as I think beer can get. Not much of a head at all and while tilting the glass, it coats the side like bubbly paint.
Can you roast alcohol? That's what it smells like, roasted barley, chocolate, coffee and a heaping helping of alcohol.
The taste... a bit of alcohol, roasty and a bit of sweet then ending bitter. Not unpleasant, just more of everything that most stouts are known for.
It coats the mouth like it coats the inside of the glass, almost like oil.

I gave it a lower mark on drinkability because I'd only drink one or maybe two before moving on to something else a little less "stout".

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Photo of shapudding
4.63/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured an amazingly dark chocolate brown, almost blackish.... Great thick and creamy head reduced down to about one finger of luscious caramelly beige lovleyness. This is a beauty to look at, perfection marred by the tons of large pieces of sediment throughout. Scents of chocolate, toffee, sassafrass...roasted yumminess.... So great and creamy, wonderful mouthfeel. Tastes so dark and yummy... Chocolate, very dark black coffee, burnt toast, grapefruit. Light carbination. Very good and one I could sit back and handle a damn few in a sitting. Good amount of thickness to it, but not so it is too heavy. Very great stout. Love this one!

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Photo of ppoitras
4.53/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

BELL'S Imperial Stoudt pours out as a typical all black non see-thru pour with a dark tan clingy head that slides down the glass.

Black cherry and toasted wheat bread scents with a malty nosed essence.

Taste of a super roasted capucino flavor. Dark caramel leads to a carbonationless thick almost cocoa milkshake style bodied creamy.

Aftertaste: Dark ice cream like body. Burnt waffles.

Last swigs: Rather surreptitious looking plain bottle 'wolf in a sheeps clothing' style label. 12 fl oz 355 mL dark brown glass bottle. Quote: an incredible balance of strength and beauty, …”
Here goes: Part of a 6 style x 4 each case for $58 smackers + 6% PA tax thanks to Beeryard in Wayne, PA.

Beer is good.Happy strong beering.

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Photo of DPMomutant
4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The body is the expected pitch black. The head is very brown and much larger than I expected. I did not need to pour nearly this hard but I was not expecting as much head. Obviously, this bottle has not suffered the flatness problems as some batches apparently did. This head is lasting absolutely forever, no matter, a beer of this style needs to warm a bit anyway. Massive lacing.

The smell is mostly very strong fruit, like raisins but bolder. I'm catching a hint of brown sugar. Reminds me some of wine or sherry, but not much alcohol in the smell as I would expect of a big beer like this.

The taste does not come out quite as sweet as the smell. There is some coffee taste here and the wine-like alcohol comes out as well, but is not overpowering.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth, I'm imagining what it will be like if I let the rest of the bottles sit until the dead of winter.

Obviously as big as this is, more than 12oz of this in a session where you've already had a couple, you don't want more than one. That one, though, I have little problem finishing.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Well, it's cooled off out here in SoCal so I decided to finally pop the cap off my Bell's Expedition Stout, graciously sent my way by CRJMellor.
Poured into my handy-dandy tasting glass, the first thing I noticed was the 1" tall, firm, resilient mocha-colored head that slowly settled down to a ring, leaving blotchy lace behind. Then I noticed the complete absence of light penetrating the brew. Just an inky blackness. No ruby highlights, no maroon or brown edging. Just a uniform deep-in-a-mine black.
The nose was rich and inviting, loaded with a hearty roasted malt aroma, a bit of a prune note, sherry, port wine, and coffee. Some cocoa aroma, too. The taste had a potent vinous flavor, a la port wine. Lots of roasted dark malts and baker's chocolate. Some mild dark fruit sweetness and molasses mid-palate before a counterpointing herbal hops bitterness struck in the finish. The feel was full, viscous, and dry with a real tight zippy carbonation lending a creaminess that was quite pleasant.
Overall, I really enjoyed this imperial stout, actually one of the best I've tried so far. Interesting that the reviews (and consistancy) are all over the map for this brew. Guess I'll just sit back, enjoy what's left in my glass and count my blessings. Mmm...Expedition Stout..

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Photo of HappyHourHero
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark coco colored head fades slowly leaving a scattered coat of lace. Deep black colored beer, the kind that sucks all the light out of the room.
Raisins, brandy, a bit of spice (fig), and pretzels? Nice aroma.
Fairly thick body, smooth mouthfeel almost feels like microscopic carbonation.
Flavors of roasted malt, coco, red wine until a bitter bite, kind of coffee-ish, kicks in half way and holds solid throught the finish.
Let it warm up a little and the bitter finish fades and the subtle flavors come out.

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Photo of Skidz
4.33/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours out the darkest brown imaginable and appears silky smooth out of the bottle. Sits completely black, and totally opaque in the glass with thick brown head on top.

Smells sweet, with caramel, chocolate, roasted grains and a light hint of dark fruits.

Tastes of bitter-sweet chocolate, heavy on the roastedness, alcohol becomes present in the full bitter finish. Great taste all around the board.

This beer is as smooth and silky as I could ever imagine a beer to be. Big, thick body really compliments this. Great for social occasions and is best made a treat, not for a six pack night.

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

Pours thick and black, with a thin brown head composed of many very fine bubbles. Smells strongly of roasted chocolate and coffee malts. The taste, like the aroma, is of roasted chocolate and coffee malts. Some hop bitterness comes through nicely in the finish. This beer has a thick, oily mouthfeel, and goes down quite smooth although it does feel a bit heavy. Overall a good beer, although I must admit that I was a bit disappointed by it--I've been wanting to try it for some time and so may mentally have built it up beyond what it could live up to.

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Photo of 99bottles
4.22/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Apperance: Pours an ultra dark brown-black with a poofy dark tan head of about an 1.5". Looks quite thick. Nasty lace sticks as the beer is drank.

Smell: I can stand 5 feet away and smell rich black roasted malts and twinges of imperial bitterness. I'm salivating. Rich chocolate smell also. Very Storm Kingesque with regard to smell.

Taste: Uh oh. I might just go back to the store and clean them out of the rest of these. This is better than good. Immense hop profile gives this the perfect imperial stout aftertaste and such a good signature. There is an obvious roasted barley body, good presence of chocolate, some light butterscotch, lots of molasses, coffee. Very classic flavor, quite aged Rogue Imperial Stoutesque.

Mouthfeel: Super heavy, slick and smooth. Paints a coating on your tongue, and it's a nice memory of the beer. Very sludgy and super low carbonation begins to become really bothersome towards the finish.

Drinkability: Well, this is where it gets kind of odd. This beer goes down really slowly. It's sort of tough to have more than one, and even that has to go slow. I feel like its almost too heavy, doesn't dance on the tongue as much as it ought. It initally doesn't seem like 11.5%, but it does feel heavy and slow due to a lack in carbonation, even for an imperial stout. Still excellent though, just a bit off.

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Photo of murphyl
4.12/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured thickly, about the consistency of Kahlua coming out of the bottle, pitch black, absolutely opaque (no joke - I put my emergency see-it-a-mile-away LED flashlight against the glass and saw nothing out the other side). Piles of toffee-colored head left copious lace on the glass.

Smell: Hmm, that's interesting. Alcohol is definitely right up front, along with chocolate, raisins and dried cherries (appropriate for Michigan, but in a stout...?). This certainly piques my interest.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Reminiscent of Kalamazoo Stout, only heavier and thicker, almost like a barley wine in terms of mouthfeel. Chocolate and rum flavors, plus a hefty hit of alcohol up front, fading a long, long roasted finish, with the dried cherries making an encore appearance.

Drinkability: I wouldn't advise you drink more than two of these a night, as the 11.5% ABV will sock your brain and your tastebuds into next week. As a nightcap, a special occasion beer or the end of a session, however, you could do far, far worse.

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Photo of LuckySevens82
3.45/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle.
I have to thank FeloniousMonk for letting me try this one.
Pours an oil black with a very similar viscosity. Almost no carbonation, a head was forced and disappeared very quickly.
Smell is coffee, chocolate, some alcohol. You can smell the sweetness right off the bat.
Taste is overwhelmingly sweet. While this beer is very smooth (which I like in an imperial stout) I think the complete lack of carbonation in the brew is a detriment. This brew has a huge chocolate taste.
This is like alcoholic chocolate syrup. It is way to thick and syrupy for my tastes. I can certainly understand why people like it.

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Photo of Crosling
5/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My first Bell's beer.

Black as black gets. The head is well developed, a light chocolate brown, dense, creamy and sticky.

Deeply roasted malts, chocolate, anise, dark fruits, coffee beans, charcoal and cream all add to a splendid nose.

The texture is so smooth and so creamy. It just glides across the palate. Pecan, roasted malt, chocolate and coffee beans compete with vanilla, nutmeg and sharp fruits. The bitterness is well perceived. A delicious malt experience but it has a few issues. The lack of carbonation does not effect the flavor but it does effect the way I perceive the flavor. This could be so much better. That being said, the 11.5% tastes more like 7. Very drinkable for the style. A very solid imperial stout. Rereview. After several dozen bottling and batches, this is my favorite beer ever.

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Photo of Sammy
3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good.Bittersweet chocolate nice complement after food with strong taste. Loved the initial creamy head, just had to slurp some up. Beutiful chocolate brown with the head initial pour, then head tails off as expected. 11.5% was not detactable, thought it was 6 and change. Expresso soft drink.
Almost 6.5 years later, a two-yearold aged, good coffee and chocolate and so drinkable.

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Photo of drewbage
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Striaght up from a 12oz brown bottle imported from Kalamazoo.

And I tell you now.. I've got a beer in Kalamazoo, a real pipper roo.

Pours deep dank dark black brown into my imperial mug with a low brown head that only rises up on a vigorous pour. But once it's there, it holds like a Irishman to a blade of glass.

Aroma is deep raisin and tobacco. molasses gingerbread and brown sugar.

Beer starts deep and rich with coffee and toffee. Surprisingly little roast for a beer this dark and toasted, In the middle of the brew I get a bunch of bready biscuit and chewing tobacco.

The finish veers to port and chcocolate and a ton of malty goodness.

Is this good beer? Nope. Is it a great beer? Yup. It's a deep dessert beer that's a good finish to the evening.

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Photo of freed
3.83/5  rDev -9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Another batch imported by our man in the midwest; Bill. Thanks!

Yet another lovely label from Bell's, simple and elegant. I should have been wary when I popped the cap and there was no rush of gas. Pouring was enough confirmation though - there was no carbonation to the beer. The pouring was uneventful, despite the troubling black liquid. It sat dully in the glass, deeply brown with body. The very top, visible without any head, gave hints of amber around the edges. There's even some odd sediment that almost looks like it belongs in hot & sour soup.

The aroma is welcoming though - deep, filling, and robust with mocha goodness. The combination of malted barley and coffee hide the barely noticeable smell of alcohol.

The taste is also very robust - nearly syrupy without carbonation, but still good. There are very bitter chocolate flavors, dark espresso flavors, and a smooth maltiness all around.

The sensation is somewhat lacking without the balance of gasses, and the mouthfeel is somewhat alcoholic. Especially while brewing beer and having skipped breakfast and lunch.

This is a very tasty beer, but I feel it must be tried on cask, or tap. Preferably close to the source. I'll see what I can do.

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Photo of cerevisiaephilus
4.7/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Good lord. I'm sad I hadn't rediscovered Imperial stouts sooner. This one is fantastic. Really nice pillowy head that rises when summoned, but otherwise doesn't. I like having this control.

Big nose. Fruity and chocolaty...very rich. Definately some hops in there too. Also get some nice wine maybe port notes too. Just a little 'sour' like that is quite nice.

Big flavor. Very rich. Very very nice. Like a big hunk of dark dank chocolate cake that makes ethanol run through your nose after you eat a bite...nice. Get a touch of wineyness too...just right for such a big beer. This is hoppy but just enough (which is still a ton!) to balance this beer out.

A very nice mouthfeel. Not as nice as Rogue's Imperial, just a touch on the thick side here, but still really nice...and I suppose it wouldn't be nearly as rich without it.

Actually quite drinkable. Not too bitter to wear your palette out, and just enough roasted toasty to dry out the sweetness.

A beautiful beer to say the least.

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Photo of abents
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a thick oily black that looks delicious. Thick brown head that laces beautifuly. Smells of roasted malts and chocolate hint of alcohol. Tastes of coffee with a bigger malt taste that follows. Very noticible alcohol, but not overpowering the taste is smoothed out and feels very creamy. Some bitterness but very sudden. Mouthfeel is a full bodied with that interesting creamy texture. Low carbonation and alcohol warming. A very drinkable brew to say the least. A great stout from Bell's well done.

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Photo of Billolick
3.43/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle, with no freshness dating.
Think and goey, rich and chewy.
This is as dark, rich, flavorful and robust as any beer I've had. To my tastes its over the top and not all that pleasant, and I like stouts and rich, strong beer in general. HEAVY roasted, burnt, chocolate, coffee flavors. Mega sweet malt in the finish with a bit of bittering. Extreme after dinner beer. not for women and children or the feint of heart.

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Photo of pezoids
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No bottling date. Now this is a seriously dark beer. The creamy head was actually a shade of orange, rather than tan. Midnight black in color, like liquid coal and completely opaque. The aroma yields rich and roasted grains, dark chocolates, vanilla extract and gives a slight hint of the alcohol in this beer. Smells rich and complex. Wonderful flavors in this one – Dry roasted coffee, dry spices, alcohol among other thing. Actually, there’s no mistaking the alcohol in this beer. It isn’t shy. This has a dry and woody roasted bitterness that is very intense, and is very prominent in the finish. It actually coats the tongue. There’s a medium to full body of malt somewhere in here. I must say that I enjoyed this strong dark beer and can appreciate the craft here, but it is for the initiated only, and not for the faint of heart. Very powerful and intense, but mellows a bit as it warms. Way to go!

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Photo of BeerResearcher
4.54/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz brown bottle. No freshness date.
It pours a very dark espresso color with a small but lasting mocha head and some stringy-type lace.
The aroma of fresh coffee and then dark cocoa rise up. A smell of fresh baked bread and dark rum are also pretty noticeable. A nice floral hop nose manages to work its way into the scene.
The luxuriously oily malt body offers up a potent extra dark bitter chocolate flavor. Sweet roasted malt, cookie dough and buttered biscuits come to mind. The tastes of rum-soaked prunes and licorice are also in the mix.
The big fresh hop cluster taste releases piney esters, along with tangy citrus bitterness and orange peel zestiness.
I splashed a little on my keyboard tray setting it down. When I touched it with fingers, I noticed just how thick and oily this brew is.
A big thanks to Feloniousmonk for the chance to try this wonderful brew!

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Photo of Foxman
4.6/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It pours an inky black, as dark as the darkest night, impassable to light. One finger of frothy cocoa colored head swells promptly, then settles slowly to patches of foam. Sticky fingers of lacing gild the inside of the glass.

The aroma brings earthy tones of dark roasted malt, bitter and burnt, but full of espresso and chocolate notes. A milder caramel undercurrent duels with a sherry character in the olfactory underworld, and gives way to a hoppy resonance. The alcohol throughout is present but fairly mild.

First sip delivers a dense, syrupy malt sweetness, roasted and leathery, which is allied with chocolate covered espresso beans and a mellow biscuit grain presence. A vinous character plies its trade in the middle in unison with the warming, vaporous strains of alcohol. A black cherry sweetness caresses the sides of the tongue briefly. The finish is a lingering bitterness of artfully burnt grain and distantly floral hops. This is one delightfully complex blend of bitter and sweet.

Heavy bodied, pouring like ebony oil, it slides about the mouth like chilled molasses, leaving traces of nectar everywhere. A dry glow at the finish caps a textural massage of the palate.

It captures light and transforms it splendidly into a smooth and distinguished elixir. Everything about it takes the extra steps to excel, delivering more than you expected, no matter what you expected. The balance is fun but seriously grounded in the down-to-earth components. The high ABV is very apparent, but everything about this makes you want to ignore its strident warnings and have yet another, and I think it's worth whatever risk you may run. Any expedition you need to undertake to procure this fine stout is one you should make gladly, and soon.

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Photo of jwilli7122
3.42/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

I finally located this one, and am quite eager to try it out...

pours an opaque black with a purple tinge. absolutely zero head - I poured it hard and I can literally count the bubbles. there is a somewhat frightening looking smoke-colored film covering about 1/3 of the surface.

smell is wicked plum and alchohol, smells more like a barley wine than a stout.

taste: wow. unlike anything i have ever had. i shouldn't, but i'll try -black licorice, chocolate syrup and...some sort of coffee-type flavor that i have never experienced...with alchohol, dark fruit and black malt in the back.

mouthfeel is syrupy-thick with almost no carbonation, and it's right.
absolutely the most aggressive, indefinable beer i have ever had.

note: after reading other reviews - and seeing that this beer is supposed to have a head and big hops - i wonder if my bottle was abnormal.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 1,987 ratings.