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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.

4,534 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,534
Reviews: 1,882
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 393
Gots: 972 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,534 | Reviews: 1,882 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dc55110
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to wkcyr4 for including this awesome extra!

2008 Vintage

Like pulling the drain plug on an oil pan, after 10k miles, slow, dark and thick! Half a pinky finger of head, as it dissipates the last bit holds on for dear life (10+ minutes), very nice lacing even after that.

The aroma is molasses and malt with a hint of biter chocolate?!?

Black strap molasses, prune, raisin with a nice malt heft to it.

It hides the 10.5% well, although it has a nice warming effect going down. It imparts a nice coating on your mouth that lasts well beyond the last sip.

Very much a sipper, but since it takes a while to enjoy one of these, having two of these would make for a nice leisurely drinking evening.

dc55110, Feb 07, 2011
Photo of jpmclaug
2.7/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from the bottle into a snifter

A - Black body with a small circle of dark brown head.

S - Dark malts and roast, a big boozy presence lingers in the back as well.

T - dark chocolate, kind of a burnt grain taste that makes it fairly bitter. Boozy as well but in a grainy alcohol kind of way.

M - heavy body, not much carbonation

D - Not what I remember this one tasting like. Kind of a bitter burnt flavor takes this one down a notch with me.

jpmclaug, Feb 06, 2011
Photo of comfortablynumb1
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Ballast Point pint glass...

A - Pours black with a one finger brown head. Head retention is decent and there is lacing to be had, but it is nothing extraordinary considering the style...

S - Chocolate, coffee, licorice and molasses. Also get a good dose of roasted malts in the scent...

T - Dark roasted malts, chocolate, caramel, molasses, and a good dose of coffee. Ends on a smokey note with a little bit of heat. Surprised so many people are saying this one has alot of heat. Don't get that much myself. Aged this one a few months, but I feel like the abv is pretty well hidden...

M - Nice and viscous. Carbonation is on the moderate side...

D - For the price this is a solid RIS. Definitely something i'm looking foward to aging for a year or two...


comfortablynumb1, Feb 06, 2011
Photo of sweett3k
3.28/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thick Thick beer. My daughter asked me for a sip of my rootbeer float because of the thick creamy head it had.Then she smelt it and asked me if it was a chocolate and raisin milk shake. It has a nice thick coats your tongue feel with a choclate and rasin taste so my sweet pea nailed it. I am a hops man so I say it is O.K. I'll drink one of these at a time when I am in the mood for a thick stout. I just enjoy all the best beers in the world that South West Michigan brews and brings to my table. Now I need a Hopslam!

sweett3k, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.75/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Black and non-see thru. 1/2 finger head and light, spotty, lacing.

Smells nice. An alcoholic version of raisiny dark burnt malts.

Tastes pretty good. A variety of dark fruits, plus molasses and brown sugar, booze, and lovely roasted, almost burnt malts.

Thick and rich mouthfeel. Pretty smooth for the style. Pleasant.

Drinks average. A nice beer but not especially high on my list of have again beers.

AlCaponeJunior, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of cosmicevan
3.98/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

got this one (from my wants) as extras on a few trades, so thanks 321jeff & gnemesis for your generosity! let me preface this by saying i'm a huge fan of both bell's beers (so far) and russian imperial stouts...so needless to say, i'm pretty pumped for the taste.

A - Poured from 12oz bottle into darkness snifter. Sludgey black with a head that built from the beer as it was pouring, I'm a big fan of beers that pour this way...just looks bada$$ in my opinion. As the head dissipated it left milkshake like cling on the glass. Pretty nice.

S - Roasted creamy milk hershey bar malts. Touch of camp fire in the background...kind of like a smoked milk stout.

T - Again roasty smokey malts...the nose is way more milk chocolate whereas the flavor is dominated by roastiness. the sweet milk flavor is in the background.

M - Rich, thick, creamy and full. Heavy like a gourmet coffee like dessert drink. Leaves a bit of a dry bitter tingle.

D - Another fine offering from Bells. I am pretty glad that I have another to drink...but I think I'll save it for another time. This is a good beer, but in the world of RIS, there are some mind boggling beers for fans of the style. Definitely worth checking out, but a bit too dry and bitter for me. The nose was the clear highlight.

cosmicevan, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of TheSarge
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours well with a pitch black body, that shows off ruby red hues on the edge of my pint glass, and has a massive three finger thick head that somewhat looks like a chocolate milkshake... Very good retention by the way.

Big roasty malts give off a dark chocolate aroma with some coffee.

Taste wise the chocolate dominates the flavor totally upfront. In the end a darkly roasted coffee flavor devours the chocolaty flavor.

Feels very full in body, a bit powdery, and very warming in the end.

Overall a great stout and makes for a great desert beer pairs with Black Forest Cherry Cake I'd say.

TheSarge, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of beerhan
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle about 3 months old maybe? into a snifter. Nice half inch cocoa head with a jet black opaque body. Medium carbonation.

Smells very much like molasses, dark chocolate and a hint of caramel.

Taste is very much of molasses. Lots of toffee, some coffee and chocolate. Very roasty.

Mouthfeel is quite nice. Thick and chewy and very flavorful.

One of these is enough for me in a night. I have had several but the abv does show after the second one. It is hidden but you will feel it kind of quickly. I often forget how good this beer is. It only gets smoother with age. Fresh it is a bit hot but with some time on it, it will taste phenomenal. One of the best stouts out there.

beerhan, Feb 04, 2011
Photo of ajaxivan
3.48/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my Victory tulip

A: Deep black with little brown head

S: Coffee, roasty malt, mollases, faint alcohol

T: Little carbonation is disappointing, chocolate,caramel, a little sweet but not too much

M: Medium bodied, pretty smooth

D: Not bad, not my favorite but good. I would revisit this again and im glad i tried it, i think Bells make great stuff and am usually immpressed, but i guess i am a little disappointed with the RIS.

ajaxivan, Feb 04, 2011
Photo of inlimbo77
3.85/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at Capone's in Norristown, PA. No dates listed on bottle. Poured into New Belgium snifter glass.

A: Pours a DEEP, rich black color. No light gets through. Not much carbonation. Thin, rust colored head that fades quickly leaves a tiny line around the exterior of the glass. Good lacing. Tiny bubbles.

S: Roasty malts, coffee, chocolate, molasses, alcohol

T: I like the roasty malt flavor. I got that dark chocolate and caramels as well. Some mild hops too.

M: Coats the mouth nicely. Smooth with a nice bite at the end. Mild hop finish, surprisingly.

D: I enjoyed this brew. I would definitely have it again, but the ABV does get you. You can smell it and it is definitely there.

Overall, a solid brew from Bell's. I have had better RISs from other outfits, but this is a good one that I'd enjoy again down the road.

inlimbo77, Feb 03, 2011
Photo of ryan1788a5
3.63/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a New Belgium globe.

A: Pitch black with a very thick brown head. Cascading bubbles effect. Great retention. Thick, sticky rings of lacing glue themselves to the glass.

S: Dark chocolate, lots of creamy vanilla, mild coffee. Light herbal hops. Tight berry and plum darkfruit scents are buried beneath all of this.

T: Bold flavors of vanilla extract and soy sauce strike first, then transition into earthy, spicy tastes reminiscent of black licorice. Semi-sweet chocolate chips provide a respite from some of these harsher flavors. Herbal hops add flavor and balance. Brief flashes of blackberry and plum darkfruit create some depth. Finishes with coffee and lots of lingering smoke.

M: Thick, smooth, and mouth coating. Low carbonation. Alcohol is delightfully warming, but not at all boozy.

D: Decent. A sipper to be sure, but some of the flavors here clash a bit and hinder drinkability.

Notes: Not bad, but some of the flavors clash or seem harsh. Time in the cellar would probably work wonders and smooth out this brew.

ryan1788a5, Feb 02, 2011
Photo of aasher
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This beer pours an oily, viscous, syrupy, midnight black with a one finger beautiful dark khaki, soapy looking, head. It smells of rich, dark roasted malts with some bitter chocolate present. I love the flavors the Expedition presents. It's chocolatey, rich, has a good amount of coffee, and has this smokiness that reminds me of smoked wood chips. As far as mouthfeel is concerned, this is about as smooth as you could want for the style. It is very, very smooth and full in body. This is one of Bell's best brews hands down. The sweetness can be a little much the more you drink it but it is definitely a great RIS.

aasher, Feb 02, 2011
Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.68/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bell's Expedition Stout

Poured into a tulip glass from a 12oz bottle.

A - Pours a nice pitch-black oily beer with some slight brown edges. No light can pass through. Dark tan head is present that is about 1 inch tall with very densely packed bubbles. (5.0)

S - Delicious roasted notes come up front. Dark malts and some great sweet and slightly bitter chocolate. The chocolate plays so well with the roasted notes that it almost smells of mocha. Yum. Nice coffee notes finish of the beer aroma. There is some slight caramel and some nice brown sugar notes as well (5.0)

T & M - Taste starts off with delicious dark roasted malt notes. Mixed coffee notes with some slight sweet milk chocolate and good bitter dark chocolate notes. Flavor for this beer is full and complex. Near perfection. The back end of the beer includes some slight boozy burn with some sweet notes that try to slightly balance those burnt roasted malt notes. There is a nice delicious bitter finish from the hops. Mouthfeel is full and rich and the beer is not too watery or to thick. Just right. (4.5) (4.5)

D - This beer is delicious and I am mad that I've passed it over time and time again. It is a good reliable stout that is as accessible as Old Rasputin. Very delicious and not too boozy. Watch for the hidden 10.5%. (4.0)

JoEBoBpr, Feb 02, 2011
Photo of gtn80
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter.

Appearance has a distinct lack of carbonation. Small half finger head, mocha colored. Beer is jet black, no light getting through.

Aroma is rum raisin, roasted malts, chocolate, a bit of alcohol.

Taste is incredibly complex. Smooth combination of dark chocolate, booze. Not super roasty, bit astringent on the tongue in the finish.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy.

Drinkability is hurt by alcohol and flavor density, meant for a snifter, not a liter mug

gtn80, Feb 02, 2011
Photo of TCgoalie
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a half finger mocha head. A residual foam remains across the beer adding nice affect. Lacing is decent, but I bet it is amazing on tap.

The smell is great featuring coffee, dark chocolate, dark fruits, bourbon, and a wonderful smoky essence. The smell is a meal in itself and is very good.

The taste is on par with the smell in that it is intriguing and dark. The smokiness is a welcome addition and really sets expedition stout apart from other RIS's. Coffee, chocolate, bourbon, and smoke combine to exhibit the majority of the taste. Very nice.

The feel in the mouth is full with a soft effect. There is not much carbonation, so I believe this helps with the smooth texture.

I think the Bros. are a little off with the grade on this one. An excellent RIS.

TCgoalie, Jan 30, 2011
Photo of JayS2629
3.35/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Pitch black with creamy tan head, great retention and creamy rings of lace.

S- Chocolate, hints of coffee and licorice. Toffee undernotes. Hint of vanilla. Booze.

T- Toffee undertones, caramel notes, dark chocolate, hints of bold roasted coffee and a touch of licorice. Hints of vanilla. Hops on the finish is very bitter. Mecicinal aspirin taste in the back of throat. Booze is present as well.

M- Rich and creamy, thick, bitter finish

D- Complex flavors get destroyed with bitter medicinal finish. Booze burn isn't well hidden either.

JayS2629, Jan 30, 2011
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle (Batch 9971) - into Bruges tulip: from notes.
A: The appearance is a motor oil black body, with moderate viscosity on the pour. No light making its way through the glass. The two finger, fluffy texture. The vibrant tan sticks to the glass and becomes very sticky.

S: Nice balanced medium to high intensity, the caramelized candy note is found and a smooth toffee off.

T/M: An explosion of sweet malts and a good amount of bitterness on the beer as a whole. Rich body, notes of toffee and candy, with a nice roasted finish. Good full mouthfeel with a nice glossy off.

D: Rich flavors and a well rounded stout, that comes in a six pack, yes. . super drinkable. This stout takes the cake over the rest of Bell's additions.

GDBEERMAN, Jan 27, 2011
Photo of PhageLab
3.28/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter.

A - Opaque brownish-black colour, almost no head at all, small ring of froth, some spotted lace.

S - Fresh raisins, sweet molasses.

T - Extremely rich, almost to the point of cloying. Rather boozy as well, 10.5% is quite obvious here. Some nice roasted flavors are present, but they are masked by the overbearing sweetness.

M - Full bodied, low carbonation, dry finish, about what I expected.

D - Nice characteristics, but far too sweet for my tongue. Not a bad brew, but not one I'd wish to revisit.

PhageLab, Jan 27, 2011
Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Batch 9435 (Nov. 11, 2009). Part of a side by side with Great Lakes Blackout Stout and Storm King.

Appearance: This pours a thick mahogany color all the way through, with a surprisingly ruby and brown head that is creamy and huge. Solid retention, and lace splatters all over the glass.

Smell: Actually sort of a subdued aroma. Raisins, espresso, roasted malt, cocoa, and a bit of spicy hops.

Taste: The taste flows so well together it confounds me. It starts with light chocolate and espresso flavors, which slowly build over the sip, but they encounter anise, sweet molasses, and roasted malt, before finally encountering some spicy and lightly earthy hops. The ABV sneaks through toward the end, impressive consider it is 10.5%. The finish has more espresso and a bit of molasses. The lingering aftertaste is a coffee bitterness.

Mouthfeel: There is a syrupy quality to this, but damn is it silky smooth. I cannot remember ever having a beer with this kind of silky feel. Syrupy, chewy, and very full bodied.

Drinkability: With how insanely silky smooth this stout is, the taste could be bottle sludge and I would love it. Ok, maybe that's a little bit much, but the taste is damn solid. This beer definitely deserves its accolades.

KickInTheChalice, Jan 26, 2011
Photo of womencantsail
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Batch 7740 (Dec. 2006!) thanks to Derek.

A: The pour is viscous and lightly carbonated with a thin layer of mocha colored head.

S: Even after a little more than 4 years, this beer is still a little bit boozy. Alcohol notes come through immediately with lots of dark fruits and licorice. Dark chocolate and burnt sugar fill in the back end along with a strong roast.

T: Surprisingly bitter with lots of roast and coffee notes, particularly on the back end. Dark chocolate, licorice, burnt sugar, and dark fruits make up the bulk of the flavor profile. The booze is a bit more subdued than I was expecting.

M: The body is medium to full with a low but ample carbonation.

D: I think one bottle is enough, but this is a fine beer indeed. One that can certainly hold up to (and in some cases, benefit from) again.

womencantsail, Jan 25, 2011
Photo of MamaMeier
3.98/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Very dark and thick - looks good - anxious to try! Caramel color.

S - sort of a bitter smell, caramel smell.

T - Surprisingly sweet taste - a little bitter, sweet but bitter finish.

M - Not too much for carbonation - makes it smooth, but a little bit lacking in flavor.

D - Goes down smooth, but the lack of carbonation makes it a bit too bitter.

MamaMeier, Jan 22, 2011
Photo of birderbeerer
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black but smoothly (not syrupy). Thin tan (almost brown) head. Given the minimal head, it laces pretty well.

Aroma is big malt sweetness with roast notes. Molasses, oats, chocolate, and the alcohol. Sweet and rich scents.

Taste is a balance of big roast and big sweet flavors. Carbonation rests well on the rich body of the beer. Dry flavor, oaty and a dry, coffee and licorice finish. Roast enhances as it warms. Rich and complex sweetness to offset it, though.

Easy to drink and so rich that it completely hides its high abv. Drinks slowly from the richness, not from heaviness or alcohol.

birderbeerer, Jan 21, 2011
Photo of chilly460
3.38/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Pours black with ruby tint, with a very thick mocha head, great lacing.

S - Not too much here for me, actually picked up hop aroma, maybe some biscuit malts.

T - Good burn from the alcohol but not overpowering, get roasted malts and plenty of hops profile. Didn't get much in the way of dark fruits or chocolate as I expected. Overwhelming taste after initial alcohol burn is espresso.

M - Above average, thick as I'd expect for the style, very nice.

D - Fine for the style, the booze hits a little harder then I'd prefer with a definite bite in every sip.

chilly460, Jan 20, 2011
Photo of Corndork2
3.68/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2x 12 oz bottle poured into snifter. One bottle poured and drank at a time. Both bottles finished within an hour.

A - Pitch black...Completely black... No other way to say it.

S: Mocha and coffee aromas, with the smell of alcohol pinching the sinuses.

T: Coffee, chocolate, heavy malts, and a strong taste of alcohol, which I think really clouds some of the depth. Heat sits right on the tip of the tongue, and in the back of the throat.

M - Thick and smooth.

D: The strong alcohol taste hits the drinkability for me. The tastes, smells, and feel is great, but the heat seems to muddy things up.

I bought a six pack of these bottles to try. After trying the first two I am definitely cellaring the other four. I'll try one three months from now and review again. I think a little more time will lessen the taste of alcohol, and really allow the other flavors to shine.

Corndork2, Jan 17, 2011
Photo of airheadmtrcycle
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful pour in a Sierra Nevada pint glass. Thick, brown head that recedes and leaves thick lacing. This stout is black as coal and kept an espresso-like crema on top throughout the duration.

Aromas of roasted malts and espresso. Not as overpowering as I would have expected. The taste more than makes up for it. The first thing I pick up on is a bitterness followed by rich coffee then sweet chocolate. The alcohol is not discernible in the aroma, but comes through in a delicious way by balancing the sweetness on the palate. It's a perfect combination between bitter and sweetness, with the bitterness winning the battle. I can feel my ears and belly warming. This is a sipping beer that coats the mouth with creamy goodness and moderate carbonation that tickles the tongue. Very drinkable for a Russian imperial stout.

I really like this beer. Surely one of the best stouts I've ever had.

airheadmtrcycle, Jan 16, 2011
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,534 ratings.