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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.

5,203 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 5,203
Reviews: 1,958
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.85%
Wants: 436
Gots: 1,235 | FT: 85
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: 5,203 | Reviews: 1,958 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of ChicagoShoop
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of spacemonkeysoda
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of andrewjraab
3.89/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - BLACK velvet, and syrupy. This is dark as night and has a nice brown head that quickly settles but maintains a small ring throughout.

S - Coffee, caramel, vanilla. Deep multi-faceted smells with this brew. Highly complex and the more it warms the smell even changes a bit. Some faint toasted malts.

T - Again highly complex and robust. This is a heavy beer that is definitely a sipper. This is like setting out on a journey to eat a slice of bacon, but ending up having a whole pig end up on your lap. Semi sweet chocolate notes, caramel, finishes extremely dry and bitter. Something a little off with the finish and has a weird yeast flavor that is just a little off balance.

O - This is solid, but not as much as it was hyped. I'd love to try to cellar one and try it in a few years. This is most definitely worth a try.

Re-Review with just over 14 months of age on it: 3/1/14

A - Still dark as night with the mocha head.

S - Pulling the same smells previously described. The only difference is that more of a deep fruity smell is coming forward.

T - This is more drinkable with a year of age - smooth as hell. Robust flavors remain and I'm not detecting anything off with the finish. Balances really nice.

O - I'm glad I set aside a sixes to age - I think this may be one that only gets better. I'll keep setting aside a few of these each year to sit on.

Photo of DukeX13
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of Keith_R
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of RelentlessLefty
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of Mojo333
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of mecmd
4.75/5  rDev +12%

Photo of Ptomaine
4.75/5  rDev +12%

Photo of Hanzo
3.5/5  rDev -17.5%

Photo of stpaulsipper07
4.75/5  rDev +12%

Photo of Grfilwett
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of JRBecks
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of aboucher0319
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of Dana718
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of WoodburyMN
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of kojevergas
3.1/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

It's my birthday! Best before date 10/02/17. 10.50% ABV confirmed. 355ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a New Blegium goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are through the roof given this beer's reputation. Acquired for $7.99 at a local beer store.

Served straight from the refrigerator but allowed to warm considerably over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

As I poured, I noticed it wasn't generating a head, so I really amped up the vigor.

A: Pours a quarter finger beautiful rich tan colour head of decent cream, good thickness, and awful retention - which is fairly excusable given the ABV, but I've seen other beers handle more than this without issue. Colour is a solid black. Not quite jet black, but dark as hell. Nontransparent and opaque, as it should be. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Coffee, chocolate, dark malts, cream, chocolate malt, caramel, roast, a bit of alcohol, and even a hint of toffee. Well balanced but not clearly focused. I'm getting excited for it. A mild strength aroma. Doesn't beat you over the head like many beers in the style.

T: Coffee, roast, intriguing chocolate, espresso, background floral hops, cacao, malty sweetness, hints of smoke, caramel, raisin, and a bit of dark fruit (maybe plum). Malty sweetness increases as it warms. No note seems particularly dominant, which is actually sort of a problem here. Without focus, it becomes messier. That's not to say it's imbalanced; the balance is only slightly off in that the flavours are too sweet. I imagine this would fade with time. I get molasses and licorice when I look for them. The flavour doesn't blow me away like I expected. It's actually somewhat disappointing. I don't get any yeast, but a bit of alcohol on the finish. There's a medicinal chocolate-covered raspberry note buried in the finish as well. It's certainly got body. I get more and more licorice as it warms. I despise licorice. Also, more raisin comes through along with the dark fruit - the best aspect of this beer. It's like the bastard child of a quad and an imperial stout, but far less enjoyable than that sounds.

The booze really warms the stomach - a bit too much.

Mf: Far too sticky for the style. Also chewy like licorice. Too smooth and wet. Outright wrong for the style; it should be coarse, dry and creamy. I'm unimpressed. This needs some work. It does have *some* dryness from the roast, but nowhere near enough. Undercarbonated.

Dr: Drinkable for the high ABV, but underwhelming within the style. I like the experimentation, but there are far better imperial stouts at this price point. I honestly wouldn't get this again unless it was aged or on draught. They need to tone down the sweetness and fix the mouthfeel. It does hide its ABV well in the taste, but not so much in terms of heat. I look forward to trying more Bell's, but this was a huge disappointment.


Photo of Converge
4.85/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

355ml bottle poured into a 16oz tulip. 2012 Bottle.

A - Pours a viscous black oil with a dense brown head on top; dark as hell. Despite the hard pour, the head remained small. Eventually it settles down to a thin skiff leaving slight bits of sticky lace. Looks like a fine stout, with excellent label design to boot.

S - Roasted malt, anise, cocoa, earthy hops and booze. A coffee presence looms in the background, with lots of roasty qualities upfront. There's a big resinous character here that I love. Definitely a greater focus on more abrasive aromas rather than residual boozy sweetness, which to me is ideal for the style. Smells awesome.

T - Absolutely delicious. Everything a big stout should be. Massive base of roasty malt fills the palate immediately, slowly giving way to subtle notes of anise, cocoa, and earthy wood. Finishes with a mixture resinous hops, boozy sweetness, and an assertive blast of espresso. As it warms slight bits of sweetness begin to poke through. Caramelized sugar, bourbon vanilla, dark fruits, and smoky flavors make their way across the palate. Finishes a touch warm, but I don't mind. This is a profile the matches up against the finest stouts I've tried.

M - Remarkably dense and viscous, incredibly creamy and smooth, with an understated carbonation of fine bubbles that lends itself to preserving the creamy texture of the brew. Sticky on the lips, with a mild alcoholic tinge to the finish. Awesome mouthfeel, that compliments the profile beautifully.

D - Certainly one of the finest beers I've ever tried. The profile is a perfect meld of roasty, hoppy and sweet. Insanely drinkable at nearly 11.00% ABV. Absolutely world class beer overall. If it were readily available to me I would have a cellar full of it.

Photo of jriggins6
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of chippo33
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of Falcone
3.5/5  rDev -17.5%

Photo of FEUO
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of yamar68
3.78/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ominous black coffee body topped with a thick pillow of dense medium brown head that slowly fades to a solid cap, laces nicely.

Molasses, dark chocolate, raisin, boozy maple syrup qualities, hot cocoa... evolving with warmth.

Bitter coffee and chocolate, boozy figs or dates, the bitterness fades from sweet earthiness to alcohol, great flavors but a poor finish I think.

I'm excited to have a sixer of these to age, tons of flavor but just a tad hot if you ask me.

Photo of JJWIGHT
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 5,203 ratings.