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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.

4,334 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,334
Reviews: 1,868
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 367
Gots: 929 | 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: 4,334 | Reviews: 1,868 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of output01x


3.98/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle (Batch #9971) into a pint glass.

A vigorous pour yields a slow-forming 2-finger light mocha-colored head. The body is pitch black with no traces of color even when held to light. The sides of the glass get coated nicely with lacing throughout consumption.

Heavy malt aromas of dark chocolate and burnt coffee beans. The smell is creamy and rich, but not very sweet.

Just like the smell, dark chocolate and coffee are enveloped in a milky creaminess. A slight alcohol warmth creeps in at the end of each sip, but it is not as strong as the 10.5% ABV could be.

Thick and creamy, this beer coats your mouth and is only slightly sticky. A little stronger carbonation would have helped the drinkability, but it would not have improved it from being anything more than a sipper.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2011 17:07:43 | More by output01x
Photo of Fluke828


4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a cervoise-style glass
Batch # 9971
Bell's Batch Finder reveals this was bottled in September 2010.
Got this in a trade with tjohn2401 from his cellar to mine. Put in fridge last night.

A-> Poured cold and had to be aggressive to get barely a 3/4-finger head of mocha colored foam. Receeds rather quickly but leafves some nice lacing. Dark as night in color.

S-> Smells of coffee immediately and also get a bit of alcohol in the nose. Some burnt toffee, very dark chocolate, also getting quite a bit of smoke in the nose in the early going.

T-> Get hit with a big dose of bitterness up front initially, get some faint molasses (become more apparent once this brew warmed) Really getting a lot of bitter chocolate and coffee here. Got a healthy touch of alcohol at first, particularly when this beer was cold, but as it warmed it seemed to mellow out and get real smooth.

M-> Big, dare I say full bodied? Carbonation is present but probably lessened a bit after 6 months in the bottle but the bitterness hasn't lost a step at all and really gives the illusion that there is more carbonation than there likley actually is. Somewhat creamy as this warms up too.

O-> Overall, I really enjoyed this beer. Really curious what a year or more would do for this big delcious brew. Would also love to try with some coffee heath ice cream or something along those lines. Would seek this out again for sure.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2011 01:59:34 | More by Fluke828
Photo of mactrail


3.93/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Really big black ale.

Great big stout, a little touch of brown-amber in the glass. Huge malt. Very strong, alcohol flavors, like a brandy. Spicy and full of the spectrum of roasted malt. Butterscotch and cocoa. Nice nose full of burnt cereal and chocolate. Long burning aftertaste with coffee flavors.

Had a glass at Barley's in Greenville, SC.

Serving type: on-tap

04-15-2011 04:45:55 | More by mactrail
Photo of Brunite


4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: As black as nice. Opaque. A super dark tan head that settles but leaves some amazing lace and a dark tan cap throughout.

Smell: Wow. Molasses...dark chocolate...dark rum...coffee....some pine notes.

Taste: Matches the smell. The alcohol is apparent but the taste is dominated by chocolate & coffee notes. Also some toffee....licorice....dark fruits...complex. This is a fresh bottle and the bitterness is readily apparent. I will likely age a few. Lingering flavors of coffee bitterness and lactose sweetness. Nice.

Mouthfeel: This is the thickest and chewiest beer I've had. Yet....low carbonation leaves a very smooth sipper.

Overall: One of the best RIS I've had. This is complex but balanced. The alcohol is readily apparent but managed. Nice job here.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2011 02:51:38 | More by Brunite
Photo of robwestcott


3.9/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured cold and near pitch black to a portsmouth brewery balloon glass with a full finger, big bubbled and long lasting thick dark mocha head

aroma of dark chocolate, hints of coffee and dark fruit.

bitter bakers chocolate and dark fruit forward, licorice, coffee, toffees, and a little bit of tobacco and smoke.

medium bodied, medium carbonation, subtle bitter fading to sweet.

drinkable - probably a pint or two

overall - nice beer, big and toothy.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2011 01:44:40 | More by robwestcott
Photo of cindyjeffsmith


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: Gorgeous silky dark brown with a creamy tan head.
smell: Bittersweet chocolate, subtle coffee.
taste: Very smooth, light start, with a bitter spike in the finish that recedes before becoming too intrusive. I mean, it's damn good.
mouthfeel: Light and silky, medium carbonation.
overall: Really like this. got a 6 intending to age and i keep drinking.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2011 00:37:26 | More by cindyjeffsmith
Photo of BeerEngineer89

New York

4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pitch black. Rough pour yielded nearly no head unfortunately

S- Strong smell. Tons of chocolate and some roasted smell with something that is similar to a whiskey. Not amazing but intriguing.

T- Very similar to the smell. Intriguing yet not anything I would want in an air freshener.

M-Very full and not too wet. Swishing around gives the consistency of a milkshake. Delicious.

D-For 10.5% I could drink this all night.

O- I would definitely buy this again. Not an exception life experience, but i could see this being on tap at my home bar.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2011 00:38:05 | More by BeerEngineer89
Photo of GarrettMD

New York

4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - So black no light escapes the void that is this beer. Half a finger dark tan head. No real lacing, but a good amount of alcohol lacing.

S - Deep dark chocolate with underlying alcohol wafts. Some hints of dark fruits, plums maybe.

T - Bitter chocolate and black patent malts dominate this flavor. Those dark fruits make a slight appearance, but really aren't there that much. Alcohol notes are slight.

M - Extremely thick and chewy. Sticky sweet and coats your mouth. Finish is bitter chocolate with a very sticky feel.

D - Amazing drinkability. Wouldn't believe this was nearly 11% if I hadn't already had it. Just as thick as I would want an imperial stout to be. One of the better stouts I've had recently.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2011 00:28:18 | More by GarrettMD
Photo of lurpy1


3.78/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Back home, we have access to some Bell's beer, but first time crossing paths with this one.

Drunk straight from the bottle in my hotel room in East Lansing Michigan, because drinking beer out of a coffee cup or slurpee cup just isn't right. However, stouts are like babies, they are all beautiful unless something goes wrong, so Expedition gets the benefit of the doubt on appearance. Bottle or no, the aroma isf reakin' spectacular. Deep hints of bourbon, malt, alcohol. I want to snort this beer. Despite an excellent, syrupy mouthfeel, there's something vaguely medicinal about Expedition in the mouth, so while the taste isn't bad, it isn't spectacular. Yes, I would absolutely do this beer again, but as far as stouts go it isn't quite up there with, say, Yeti or Surly Darkness.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2011 14:13:33 | More by lurpy1
Photo of StlHopHead77


4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a sinister,opaque black with a 1/2 inch of lasting,mocha head that dwindled slowly leaving a nice film of lacing.

S-Rich,dark roast coffee,dark toast and bittersweet

T-Refined coffee,scalded milk,lightly charred malts
and creamy chocolate.

M-Creamy,full bodied and smooth.No hint of ABV at all.Really nicely done.

O-A readily available and high quality stout.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2011 13:27:24 | More by StlHopHead77
Photo of beerpirates


4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into my lost abbey stemware glass

Pours pitch black with a small, dark chocolate head .
Aroma is amazing and strong. Smells like roasted nuts, caramel, coffee, and a little bit of bourbon.
The taste is powerful, sweet, and well supported by the thickness of the brew. It's a mix of bittersweet chocolate, caramel, some oak, a nice hint of sourness from the malt, and some alcohol. Finishes thick and a little bitter--coats the mouth so you must drink more. Not quite as overpowering as Bourbon County Stout, making it a little easier to keep drinking.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2011 18:53:46 | More by beerpirates
Photo of azdback


4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 10105. Poured into a large tulip glass. Dark as sin. Absolutely no light through this or any highlights to speak of. The head is maybe a finger and a half, dark coco colored and frothy like something you would get at Starbucks. The lace doesn't seem to want to stick around.

First smell is alcohol and coffee, with the alcohol on top. There is also dark roasted malts and molasses black strap, and a lot of dark chocolate. Very nice!!

The taste is as awesome as the smell. It isn't as much chocolate or coffee, as the smell, but more tart of a currant.. At least at first. As I swallow the rich flavors of the roasted malts come out. Dark coffee and dark chocolate. The alcohol shows it's face at the end, and then some more tartness.

The mouth is a bit above what I expected. I know this beer is seasonal and quite expensive, but I didn't expect the mouth of a top notch wax topped RIS. I would give this a higher score but the tart dryness kept it from being perfect.

Overall I was really surprised by this one. I tried a bottle of this last year but don't remember it being this good. I will cellar the last two from my six pack and see how good it is next year and the next.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2011 06:10:34 | More by azdback
Photo of AgentZero


3.2/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Black beer that browns on the edges with a couple fingers of mocha-colored head.

S - Sweet, and slightly hot, typical RIS with chocolate and coffee notes, bit of roasted malt, caramel, and molasses.

T - Sweet, molasses and chocolate are definitely there, and it drinks a little bit boozy as well. Some roast, but it is a bit heavy on the molasses and taste a little burnt as well. It's okay, but nothing special.

M - Slightly overcarbed, but full bodied.

O - It's not a bad beer, but I've had a lot better and wouldn't really seek this out.

Serving type: on-tap

04-03-2011 05:10:07 | More by AgentZero
Photo of larryi86


4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thank you buffs9 for this one
12 oz bottle batch 9971 poured into a snifter

A- Black with a small dark tan head.

S- Roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, some dark fruits.

T- Sweet chocolate up front, some bitter hops and coffee in the finish. Finish is a little hot.

S- Smooth, creamy, medium body.

O- A nice Imperial Stout that I am glad I got to try. The finish is a little hot, but besides that this is a good Stout that I would have again.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2011 04:14:50 | More by larryi86
Photo of COBeerBuff


4.18/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The 2008 vintage 12 oz. bottle was received via trade from lackenhauser in Black Booty '11.

Appearance: The vigorous pour into a Spiegelau tulip glass yields two fingers worth of mocha colored head. I'm amazed at the amount considering this beer is almost 3 years old. The retention is amazing, and the look of the head on top of the opaque black liquid looks awesome!

Smell: Vanilla, cocoa, toffee, and buttermilk all highlight a very powerful nose on this heady brew. There are also some hints of spiced malts as well, but the predominant flavors are all sweet caramel and sugar goodness. This smells decadent! The bourbon wood and vanilla flavors create such a fervent combination that this might be the best nose I've smelled on a bourbon-bal aged stout ever.

Taste: This beer is a malt bomb to be sure. The initial sip yields a ton of toasted and roasted grains and barley. The burnt taste carries through to the aftertaste, for sure. The sweetness that was present in the nose isn't quite as prevalent in the palate, but there is a bit of carmelly sweetness and a bit of vanilla goodness, but it's a lot more muted than I expected.

Mouthfeel: For a 3 year old beer, this is a lot heavier than I expected. The flavors feel a lot more put together, but the overall mouthfeel is quite heavy. This is a sipper, through and through.

Drinkability: If I could get another bottle or two of this beer, I would totally would. I've passed on this beer locally so to get a 3 year old bottle in trade as an extra is wickedly awesome. Thanks lackenhauser for the experience. The alcohol is definitely present in the nose, but the finish is definitely smoother than expected.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2011 04:01:52 | More by COBeerBuff
Photo of legalpete19340


3.45/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured thick and blackish brown. No head to speak of until I poured aggressively, then I got a solid finger of head that quickly dissipated into a small ring of bubbles. Seemed to coat the glass reasonably well.

S: I get a lot of alcohol off this guy. Some roasted malt and burnt brown sugar.

T: Molasses with plenty of burnt coffee and tons of alcohol coming through as scotch. A few notes of english toffee and a big malt background with dark chocolate. As it warms I swear I pick up some noticeable hop character. The alcohol burns and warms at the end.

M: Thick, heavy and velvety. Full and foamy.

O: Thick, sweet and very boozey. I found this beer interesting then hard to drink after just a few swigs. It seemed unbalanced in the way of too much booze and burnt.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2011 02:14:15 | More by legalpete19340
Photo of vfgccp

New York

3.65/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Black with mahogany highlights. Dark cocoa head pours 2 fingers high.

S - Raw malt, light bourbon, oak. Light cream. Mild cocoa.

T - Dark toast, burnt prunes. A lace of oak throughout the profile. Dark cocoa / coffee backend.

M - Smooth with a rolling char-bitterness. Medium/full body.

O - Very nice, particularly if you're a fan of dark-roast flavors.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2011 21:40:38 | More by vfgccp
Photo of gopens44


4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

OK, I have no idea how long this bottle had been at my house. It went from cellar to fridge about 2 months ago (planned on drinking it, but forgot to...) and I reckon I bought it 3 - 4 months ago. I even forgot to check the date. I'd assume this was a 2010 release though. Sorry for sketchy vintage notes!

A - Poured all sorts of black. I didn't see much head happening so I began pouring this with some vigor. Still didn't see much. I turned away for a moment while it was settling only to return to a dark brown head explosion flowing out of the snifter onto my counter top. So let's just say it eventually developed a monster foam head....

S - I let this warm up pretty well in order to get some decent aroma. What I found was a pretty run of the mill RIS signature, holding coffee and chocolate

T - This is where I was blown away. Deep, rich bitter chocolate flavor with coffee in there as well. Very well masked alcohol (couldn't detect any at all in the taste actually). I can compare the depth of flavor to the depth of color in barrel dyed leather. No matter how far you try and sift through this to find a point where the flavor drops off, it simply doesn't happen. At no point throughout this wonderful thing did it ever waiver from the richness that I initially tasted, and in fact, it just grew more tasty throughout.

M - Very viscous, almost chewy. Silky and creamy. There was certainly some alcohol warmth in the back of the throat as well. Full bodied with very little carbonation on the tongue. Mildly bitter aftertaste.

O - To say I was "wowed" by this is a gross understatement. I'm sad that I hadn't discovered this sooner, but now I know!

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2011 12:25:19 | More by gopens44
Photo of NODAK


4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Aroma Has definite notes of molasses, alcohol, and raisins on it, but the dark fruits dominate, though.

Pours black as midnight with a negligible head to it. Basically a black, syrupy pour.

Mouthfeel is as thick as any I have ever had. Ridiculously viscous. Carbonation is pretty low. Body of the beer has a high degree of molasses like sweetness with a definite, strong dark fruit component to it and perhaps a hint of anise. Finishes with some booziness and some roasted malt with an espresso character showing up at the end and lingering a while. Hops do not exist as far as I can tell.

Very drinkable RIS here, even if it may not be my absolute favorite. I do like how this one is all malt, and they do a decent job of masking the alcohol considering the ABV.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2011 03:57:02 | More by NODAK
Photo of mavbrew


3.93/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep dark brown color with minimal head, even with a strong pour, color is dark tan. The little bit of head fades very quickly and leaves no lacing whatsoever.

S: The smell is very sweet, mainly dark fruits and a bit of a boozy scent to it as well.

T: The taste is much like the smell, very sweet with some dark fruits up front followed by a molasses flavor, a good amount of boozy flavor and slight roasted malts (very slight). The finish has some smokey characteristics and is boozy.

M: Full bodied with no carbonation. Creamy, sweet and boozy feel.

D: Overall, this is a good beer. It's tough to be a great beer with some many outstanding RIS's but this is a good example.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2011 00:34:07 | More by mavbrew
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2011 07:14:04 | More by Mebuzzard
Photo of Auracom


3.75/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2-3 oz. from the 12 oz. bottle on March 24th, 2011 in my mini snifter - one of 10 beers in my stout tasting; from notes.

A - Not quite a complete black color, really no head/retention from this sample.

S - Underlying toffee and caramel malts, slight mocha, raisins, and some alcohol.

T - Raisins and other dark fruits dominate front and middle of tongue. Bitterness from coffee and chocolate/dark chocolate in back.

M - A lot of carbonation in this one... far more than I was anticipating and more than is generally necessary for the style. Medium-heavy body, no chewyness.

D - More alcohol detection in this one than I'd like. It's not very focused and doesn't find a real balance in the taste. The core dark fruit flavors just don't work very well. Combined with an average nose, and it's an okay example from Bell's.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2011 00:30:52 | More by Auracom
Photo of BeerBuckeye


4.53/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark viscous black almost sludgey (in a good way), with a good, mocha colored 3 finger head. Great looking stout.

S - Smells of roasted malt, coffee and mocha, chocolate, and dark fruits. A lot of great smells mixing together here, makes a good bittersweet combination.

T - Heavy on the chocolate up front that fades into a bitter roasted coffee. Sweetness is muted, but a great taste if you like heavy coffee stouts.

M - Coats the entire mouth before leaving a faint dryness. Hides the 10.5% ABV very well, to make a very, very drinkable, high ABV beer.

Overall - I loved this beer. Being a fan of coffee stouts, I couldn't get enough of this. An absolutely delicious beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2011 00:08:12 | More by BeerBuckeye
Photo of Brad007


4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired in a trade with BrewedAwakening.

Pours a pitch black color with a thick brown head into my glass. Very good presentation for the style. Can't possibly get darker.

Coffee, cocoa and cream make themselves known in the aroma. Very nice way to start things off.

Roasted coffee explodes on the tongue, leading to a good hint of chocolate and cream as well (the latter being limited).

Visceral and slick on the palate. Lingering cocoa and coffee. Impressive as is.

Amazing example of the style that is very drinkable at 10.5%. I have to admit that I had never heard of this until now. Regardless, I will most likely seek it out again.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2011 07:16:02 | More by Brad007
Photo of vette2006c5r

South Dakota

5/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a dark black color, with a creamybrown head. The smell is very malty. The taste is massivly heavy, lots of choclate and coffeflavors, an intense malt flavor. The flavor is going to linger and the alchool blends nicley. Overall may very well be the best stout i ever had, fantastic.

Serving type: on-tap

03-27-2011 23:35:11 | More by vette2006c5r
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,334 ratings.