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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.

4,464 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,464
Reviews: 1,875
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 381
Gots: 948 | FT: 76
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)
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Ratings: 4,464 | Reviews: 1,875 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Nerudamann


3.48/5  rDev -17.7%

Poured from a bottle into a Pint glass.

Look - extremely dark black, with about a third of a finger's worth of foam that dissipates slowly.

Smell - typical stout smell, with a caramel or molasses hint.

Taste and Mouthfeel - strong taste, but not too strong..mostly in hop flavor but masked by molasses or coffee flavors. The texture is as intensely creamy as it appeared when I poured it.

Drinkability - a little bitter but not too bad for my taste. Somewhat complex, and tastes okay.

03-05-2011 03:22:30 | More by Nerudamann
Photo of SuperSpy


4.13/5  rDev -2.4%

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a pint glass. No freshness date but I don't think this beer needs one. Hell, it's probably too young to drink.

A - Black. Not a hint of light gets through. This is also thick. It looks like oil. It has a very thick head that's the color of chocolate milk and sticks to absolutely every edge of the glass. This Russian Imperial looks like it is out to wrestle a Siberian Bear (and with a 10.5% ABV it will probably knock it out).

S - There is a lot of sweet dark aromas in the smell of this beer. There is raisin, molasses, roasted barley, figs, dark cherries and vanilla. The aroma is like a toasted, rum soaked fruitcake. All of those aromas are there and more.

T/M - The first thing that is very apparent is that this beer is thick and creamy. This is a very heavy bodied beer. It just sort of floats on the tongue and lets you taste all of the sweet and roasted flavors. There is dark cherries, cocoa, roasted barley, bitter chocolate, molasses, currants, dried figs, plenty of warm alcohol, and lots of hoppy bitterness. Despite the strong hops the beer is still relatively sweet because of all the dark fruit and sugary flavors. The finish is a bit more bitter and dry than the beginning or middle but you don't care because you want to taste all of those sweet dark flavors that come with each sip. The only place I would knock the taste is in the hop flavor. There is just too much citrus. It has a very strong grapefruit character that I'm certain comes from a liberal use of American hops and it detracts from what is otherwise really great complex flavor.

D - This is the third or fourth time I've had this beer and I must admit that the first time I tried it I wasn't blown away. However, I have to say that each time I drink this I am more and more impressed. At the same time, this isn't my favorite RIS and I think it's because of the citrusy/grapefruity hop flavors. I will definitely recommend this beer, but only drink one because the 10.5% ABV packs a punch. And judging by the number of misspelled reviews of this beer I would say I'm not the only one that has felt its effects.

03-05-2011 01:39:36 | More by SuperSpy
Photo of theboozecruise


4.63/5  rDev +9.5%

A - dark like motor oil. Not much head but what little there was retained well.

S - chocolatey and rich. Caramel and toffee notes. Phenomenal.

T - rich as well and boozy. Caramel again, burnt chocolate notes and a little coffee bean bitterness at the end.

M - thick, creamy, boozy. Man, still really blown away.

D - the alcohol makes it tough to drink a lot but I'd still live another.

03-04-2011 23:28:28 | More by theboozecruise
Photo of tehchunk


3.95/5  rDev -6.6%

A - Poured straight into a Bell's tulip glass. A very welcoming two-finger, brown head that quickly subsides into a thin ring that sits on top of an opaque, black, delicious-looking beer. Definitely looks like a Russian Imperial Stout!

S - Dark chocolate comes through the strongest. Followed nicely by roasted notes of coffee, some hint of dried fruit, slightly nutty.

T - Roasted coffee, dark chocolate, raisins plus other sweet dried fruit. Coffee is predominant & makes up the (delightfully) lingering after-taste. Lots of bitterness which is to be expected for an RIS that should mellow out nicely with some age.

M - Thick. That can be the only word to describe this beer. Smooth, creamy; pretty much everything an RIS should be. Rests nicely on the tongue with a slight tingling sensation.

D - It's about as drinkable as any other RIS. It's a true sipper that gets nice with a little warmth. Not sure I could drink more than a bottle in one sitting. Glad I got two bottles in a trade so I can age the other.

03-01-2011 02:47:29 | More by tehchunk
Photo of Thickfreakness

New York

4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

A- Poured into a Maudite Tulip glass... a thick brown three-finger head floats upon one of the darkest black beers I've ever seen. No light at all!!! Head lasts forever and leaves sticky tan goodness all over!

S- Dark Chocolate, black coffee, roasted nuts, sweet dried fruit, hints of smoke and charcol. Really heady... caramel sweetness.

T- Dark roasted coffee, dark chocolate, raisins, roasted pecans... sweet and syrupy, but with a nice dry hop bite! WOW!!!

M- So thick!!! Just sticks to every part of your mouth! Like drinking a chocolate shake!

D- One and done on this fantastic brew! I could have one everyday, but then move on to something a bit less thick and hearty! It's a sipper for sure... I am in love!!!

02-28-2011 22:35:32 | More by Thickfreakness
Photo of BretSikkink


4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

Dark and viscous pour that leaves about a millimeter of tight brown foam. Little retention, it falls to a thin ring quickly, but the lace on the glass is extensive.

Dark boost fruits on the nose, with a jolt of coffee and chocolate roasted notes. Rummy. Lots of character and power but a little hot.

Flavor follows suit. Molasses and chocolate and coffee grounds. The dark fruit component is very strong. Thick mouthfeel, quite viscous and slick. A little hard on the drinkability but a full bodied and fruity stout.

02-28-2011 03:59:54 | More by BretSikkink
Photo of cameraman


4.53/5  rDev +7.1%

Poured a black opaque color with a dark beige to toffee colored head, that is about a quarter inch high. The head then dissolves itself to a thin layer just on top off the blackness. Dark bread and dried fruit are there at first scent, then dark roasted grain and coffee hits the nose. Then a twang of alcohol comes forward, that all blends to a sweet molasses scent at the end. A sweet malty and sugary taste is at the front, then dark bread and burnt coffee flavors take over. It finishes with a strong piney and grassy bitterness that lingers long after each taste is gone. A medium-heavy feel rolls on to the palate and stays consistent, till it reaches the back of the palate, where it thins out slightly. A strong beer in this style, where other brewers dominate this with string and overwhelming flavors, Bell's works to keep this beer on the straight and narrow. Sit back, sip this one slowly and enjoy.

02-27-2011 03:23:05 | More by cameraman
Photo of ColdPoncho


4.4/5  rDev +4%

Batch 9971, packaged 9-13-2010

A - Dark as the blackest of nights, a thick and dense viscous looking body. Fairly dark brown head settles slowly into a ring.

S - Big chocolate, licorice, roasted malts, vanilla, sweet caramel. Nice complexity, and a good nose.

T - Holy cow. This is like a big smooth chocolate milkshake up front and is balanced marvelously with a dry hoppy and smoke finish. Roasted malts are what sticks around the longest.

M - Big and thick and smooth and creamy. It's almost as good as it gets.

D - Incredibly tasty, smooth, delightful.. But it's pretty big.

02-24-2011 22:33:39 | More by ColdPoncho
Photo of ffejherb


4.78/5  rDev +13%

On nitro-tap at Al's of Hampden on 2/17/11.

A - Poured a slick, black and oily liquid with almost a finger of dense tan foam on top that receded to a patchy film byt deposited ornate doily-like lace all around the glass.

S - Wonderful melange of molasses, chocolate, coffee, licorice, earthy hops, leather and sweet tobacco. Aroma is deep and complex.

S - Initial taste is intensely bitter and complex with rich chocolate notes, a subtle coffee presence and hints of tobacco and leather. Herbal, earthy hop notes mingle with bittersweet molasses in the backend until the expedition concludes with a bold roasted malt character and assertive bitterness in the finish.

M - Luxurious mouthfeel with a silky, smooth yet chewy texture and moderate alcohol tang. Plenty of bitterness on the palate, although the nitro pour really softens it up magnificantly.

D - Some stouts just aren't as good on nitro... and this ain't one of 'em! One of my favorite RISs just got even better! Delicious!

02-23-2011 19:03:08 | More by ffejherb
Photo of Janderson91


3.9/5  rDev -7.8%

Batch #10068. According to the Bell's Batch Finder, it was bottled on November 11, 2010. Enjoyed on February 22, 2011.

A - Pours an opaque black with a nice 1.5 finger head. Surprising for the high alcohol content in this one. Head is light brown and sticks around for most of the tasting leaving great lacing. Excellent looking beer.

S - Dark chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, licorice and alcohol. Pretty good aroma, just a little boozy.

T - Expedition is one of the most bitter stouts I think I've had. Begins with some roasted malt and dark chocolate. Then I get some coffee and more dark chocolate and alcohol. The finish is VERY bitter roasted flavor, hop flavor and quite boozy. Quite good now but I imagine that in a year or two, this will be excellent.

M/D - Full bodied and it really suits this one. The thickness and alcohol presence lower the drinkability but it's welcome.

Another very good beer from Bell's, I have yet to be underwhelmed with any of their offerings. Can't wait to see what this one turns into in about a year.

02-23-2011 01:49:04 | More by Janderson91
Photo of camp0474


3.45/5  rDev -18.4%

Review from 12/30/10

Disclaimer - I had this beer pretty fresh and after drinking it I think it should spend some time in the cellar.

A: Pours a thick viscous black with a dark tan head. Dies off quick.

S: Molasses, dark candied fruits - prunes and caramelized sugar. Faint boozy smell. Hints of roasted coffee.

T: Molasses and dark fruits, raisins, chocolate. Roasted almost smokey malts. Not as I sweet as I would have expected, compared to other RIS I have enjoyed. Slight sweetness is quickly overtaken by bitter and boozy. Ends quite bitter and boozy, almost bourbon.

M: Thick and viscous body. Very low carbonation, needs more to be enjoyable. Goes down slick.

D: Low carbonation, a little too bitter, and strong alcohol flavor. Good beer but not easy to drink.

Underimpressed. Maybe I will try aging one and revisiting this one.

02-22-2011 02:20:39 | More by camp0474
Photo of Franz4


4.45/5  rDev +5.2%

Batch #10068

A-Opaque, 3 finger dark tan foamy head that settles gradually, leaves some thick lace as well, very nice.

S-nicely balanced between chocolate, coffee, and just a touch of abv burn to the nose, very toasty, it has exceeded my expectations in this area.

T-burnt chocolate and coffee flavors sweet on the front of the mouth and slightly bitter/acidic on the back, just a little alcohol burn down the back of the throat

M- wow, silky smooth and creamy. The carbonation is different, but I think it fits this beer very well.

D- I'm going to end up draining this glass a lot more quickly than I was planning. While I probably won't have multiple of these in an evening, this is a very drinkable beer, it's gone down smoothly and it's been fantastic.

02-22-2011 00:26:55 | More by Franz4
Photo of joshrosborne


4.72/5  rDev +11.6%

This has to be one of the best Stout's I've ever tried. Almost like a dessert in a glass. Good stuff.

A: Pours dark as night with a tan milky head that, after dissipating, leaves a nice tan film over the beer. Same colored lacing on the glass.

S: You get a ton of roasted malt from this. I can't smell the espresso, but the chocolate is evident. You can smell the alcohol a bit, too.

T: Almost tastes like a boozy chocolate milk at first. Finishes with a little bitterness from the roasted malts that were in the smell. A little bit of burn from the ABV.

M: Very creamy and smooth. There is a bit of carbonation, but it does nothing but enhance and deliver the creaminess.

D: You don't want to drink this quickly not just b/c of the high ABV, but b/c it tastes so damn good. I couldn't believe this was 10.5%. You can taste the booze, but I had no idea it was that high. This could be a dangerous one.

02-22-2011 00:09:05 | More by joshrosborne
Photo of gregshead


4.3/5  rDev +1.7%

Another one of the bottles received in my trade with four kicks. Enjoyed this on 2/14/11. Reviewed from notes:

A: A very nice black with a nice half finger of khaki colored head that dissipates quickly.

S: dark and I do mean daaarrrrkk roasted grains with hints of espresso and dark chocolate.

T: Starts out with nice sweet dark chocolate taste. Finishes with a very dry roasted taste. A little dryer than I prefer in this style. However, the quality is very high in this beer.

M: A little carbonation but extremely smooth feel.

D: It's definitely easy to sip/drink just like most of Bell's I've had so far. I tasted/drank in a lot of high quality in this one.

02-21-2011 06:46:13 | More by gregshead
Photo of chcfan


4.33/5  rDev +2.4%

Bottle into snifter. Batch 10105

Beautiful brown head on top of a black as night liquid.

Expedition is one of the more complex stouts out there. There's so much going on in the aroma and taste. You get coffee, roast, dark fruit, chocolate...

This is the most recent batch, yet there's almost no heat at all. It is SO drinkable now. I plan to age one at least a year, but I have a feeling that I will enjoy this fresh one more. Time will tell.

02-21-2011 01:01:17 | More by chcfan
Photo of BigTomZ


4.28/5  rDev +1.2%

A: Pours an oily black with just a bit of head and no real notable lacing.

S: Smells of chocolate, light roasted malts, and coffee.

T: Taste follows the nose. Nice chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, hop bitterness. High ABV is fairly well hidden.

M: Thick and lightly carbonated but goes down pretty well for a thick brew.

D: Drinkability is fairly high for the style. I could drink a few of these before the ABV catches up.

02-20-2011 10:08:17 | More by BigTomZ
Photo of mpcrump


3.15/5  rDev -25.5%

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

A: Very dark pour. Black with a brown head.

S: Roasted malt, coffee, and a hint of chocolate.

T: Very heavy and bitter. Malts and coffee.

M: Thick with little carbonation.

D: Uh-huh. This must be an acquired taste.

02-20-2011 06:10:48 | More by mpcrump
Photo of WeissbrauMeister


4.18/5  rDev -1.2%

Poured into a 20oz. snifter.

A- Black. With a brownish head.

S- Dark. Licorice. Alcohol.

T- It starts sweet with tones of toffee and alcohol and finishes with a strong alcohol and and hoppy taste.

M- Right on par.

D- I could drink a few of these (limited to 3).

02-19-2011 05:54:25 | More by WeissbrauMeister
Photo of treehouse


3.9/5  rDev -7.8%

packaged nov 11, 2010....10.5%..

deeep dark

nose ...tart...roasted malt....cacao...tiny bit of heavy cream....and roasted coffee beans...

mouth....creamy and chocolatey and a decent amount of alcohol taste...hoppy too..but decently balanced....relatively dry..i mean..the cacao and alcohol makes it taste less voluptuous...

a bitter chocolate finish...long one...

some nice bright tang in my mouth....an alive feeling beer!

02-18-2011 09:44:28 | More by treehouse
Photo of Brez07


3.88/5  rDev -8.3%

Received this in the Black Booty Vol 4 BIF from normyk. Batch 8944 (hand labeled 1/28/09). 12oz, poured into a snifer

A: Pours thick, jet black with a slight amount of head. After the pour, I only get a thin ring of head. No lacing

S: Rich, dark chocolate mixed with an underlying hint of smokiness and cocoa nibs. Biscuit and toasted cracker. Minor notes of dark fruit. Some roasted malt, almost nut-like. Upon swirling the glass, I am hit with a big whiff of charcoal, but this only lasts a few seconds

T: Starts with lots of roasted malt flavor along with some smokiness. Some dark chocolate comes through in the middle, but is overtaken with smoked malt. The is a brief period of sweetness, similar to chocolate covered dark fruit. The warmer, the better with this beer as smoke fades to a tolerable amount

M: Full bodied, thick and smooth. Smoked malt aftertaste with a dry finish

D: Relatively easy to drink at 10.5%, but the alcohol is still fairly present even 2 years after bottling. At times the smokiness was too much but once it faded a little, the beer was quite enjoyable

02-16-2011 23:44:44 | More by Brez07
Photo of DannyDan


4.13/5  rDev -2.4%

A. Pours a thick black oily body with a tan head. Not much in carbonation, not much in lacing and little retention. Did get a good size head by giving it an aggressive pour.
S. Chocolate, coffee, molasses, licorice is the most notable smells in this brew.
T. Bitter chocolate, and coffee up front followed by some licorice and sweet molasses in the middle and finishes off with some caramel and some alcohol.
M. This is a nice smooth and creamy feel that leaves a little stickiness on the lips and leaves the mouth dry.
D. For being a strong full bodied beer it goes down nicely. This is one that I'll gladly buy again. Not perfect, but still good.

02-16-2011 01:46:51 | More by DannyDan
Photo of adam42381


4.05/5  rDev -4.3%

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a Cigar City snifter. Bottled on September 13, 2010 per batch number 9971 printed on label.

Appearance: Pours a thick motor oil black with a 1/2 finger mocha brown head which dissipates quickly.

Smell: Chocolate, molasses, alcohol and a hops.

Taste: Molasses and dark chocolate up front followed by roasted malt and coffee in the middle before ending with a burst of bitter hops at the finish. The alcohol is obviously there, but it never overpowers the flavor. Aftertaste is a mix of burnt toast and hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and with a decent amount of carbonation. This is a thick beer that still goes down smoothly.

Drinkability: High drinkability. This isn't a beer to be rushed by any means. Drink it slowly and savor the flavors because you're probably going to be done after one.

Overall: Very good beer overall. One of the better Russian Imperial Stouts that is widely available. Another fine offering from Bell's.

02-14-2011 20:23:22 | More by adam42381
Photo of jayhawk73


4.28/5  rDev +1.2%

Pours a midnight black with a thin chocolate head that disappears fairly quickly. No light coming from this big beer. The smell is not as strong as the taste, but you get chocolate, coffee and a little hops which increase as this one warms up. The taste is great- chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, hops all make their appearance known. Definite alcohol burn on the aftertaste, but it's a 10.5% beer, so I don't hold that against it. Still, I've had beers in this style w/ this ABV that hide their alcohol a little better. Really get a bitter coffee in the aftertaste as well. The mouthfeel is smooth, but there's an edge to it as well.. Drinkibility is good, might be a little better if the alcohol was better masked. All in all though, this is a great beer. I keep thinking I'll age some, but they never make it very long in my fridge.... Cheers!

02-14-2011 20:05:28 | More by jayhawk73
Photo of sisuspeed

New Hampshire

3.68/5  rDev -13%

Bottled September 21st, 2009

Poured into a Cigar City snifter. Nice dark tan head on this one that fades to a thin film over a midnight black body.

The nose is filled with anise, coffee, chocolate and a bit of alcohol, though not too hot. The anise is the most dominant note, followed by roasty malts and dark chocolate. Quite sweet.

Thick, sweet, chocolate followed by some oak notes (more like lightly charred barrel), even though I'm pretty sure this beer never sees a barrel or oak chips. Anise notes are still present, but lighter than the nose. Sweet upfront, and then roasty, slightly charred, bitter dark malts on the finish. A decent RIS, but it seems a bit discombobulated at this age. I think I prefer it fresh compared to this roughly 1.5 year old bottle.

Mouthfeel is thick, slick and well carbonated for the style. Still has some heat at this age. The finish/aftertaste is just a bit too char-like for me, which knocks down the mouthfeel a notch.

Drinkability is above average. I'm enjoying the glass in front of me, but there are better RIS's out there. I would probably pick up a pack of Old Rasputin over this any day. However, I've heard from some people that this turns into a gem with some decent age on it, so I'll probably save my other 2009 bottle for another 3-5 years. Worth checking out, but I think Bell's can do better.

02-12-2011 00:31:12 | More by sisuspeed
Photo of FosterJM


3.68/5  rDev -13%

243rd review on BA
bottle to snifter
No bottle code- Emailed bells said only issue was batch 9424 bottled on 10/29/2009

2009 Vintage

App- A very dark brown pour almost black with a dark tan almost brown head. Quickly receding to a ring of bubbles.

Smell- A lot of booze on this even with a year on it. Big RIS scents fill the nose. Chocolate, coffee, malt.

Taste- A bit stout with some less than balanced flavors that somehow still manage to taste great. The malt is a bit too strong with a underdevloped roast. A bit of a nutty aftertaste.

Mouth- A light/medium body with a low carb slick oily feel to it.

Drink- I was expecting a bit more but still pretty good. I give it high marks.

02-11-2011 03:33:08 | More by FosterJM
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,464 ratings.