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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.

4,457 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,457
Reviews: 1,875
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 382
Gots: 947 | FT: 78
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: 4,457 | Reviews: 1,875 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of djmichaelk


3.53/5  rDev -16.5%

12oz bottle (courtesy of Bucwild, thanks Dave!) into a snifter.

A - Very black, with just a bit of maroon edging when held to the light. Only a rumor of head, with the slightest of rings around the glass. Wisps of what might be considered lacing remain on the glass. If it had legs it'd be great looking.

S - When freshly poured, it definitely reminds me of cheerios, along with some caramelized sugar. Some dark fruits -- figs and raisins -- linger in the background. And a hint of the alcohol to come.

T - Again with that bready, cheerio-ey, oat taste, which is very pleasant to me. Not much in the way of the sweetness that I got in the nose, but there is a lactic cherry flavor lurking somewhere in there (which doesn't bother me in the slightest). I usually expect coffee flavors in this style, but I'm not getting any of that here. The roastiness is very much in the back.

M - Thick and viscous, like motor oil. As it should be. The strong flavors stick around for a while after each sip. The high alcohol gives it a dryness that keeps it from being cloying.

D - Over 10% abv shows in this one. It doesn't burn, but it makes itself known early on. More than one of these and you're probably done for the afternoon (although it's morning for me -- hey, don't judge me!).

O - Nice one from Bell's. In my search for the perfect morning beer, this might not quite fit the bill, but it definitely makes an impression. I'd like to have this available to me regularly.

07-12-2010 13:35:34 | More by djmichaelk
Photo of DovaliHops


4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Pours Very thick black with a thick, frothy, espresso colored head that hangs around for a bit. I got about 2 inches of head pouring this thing aggressively. Very nice! The smell is very interesting. I'm getting a lot of chocolate and coffee...but the smell that stand out the most is BREAD. I'm getting a nose full of fresh baked bread when I smell this thing. More than any other bread-smelling beer I've tasted. The taste just blows me away. I don't get any bread in the taste. I get immediate bitterness, followed my such sweet chocolate it's insane. A lot of espresso/coffee in the aftertaste. This beer reminds me a lot of a cafe mocha. No matter how good this beer tastes, I still can't get over how much this smelled like fresh baked bread. The mouthfeel is wonderful. Very thick and full-bodies. Ohhhh...just burped and there's that bread taste. Very interesting. This beer is for sure a sipper. Wouldn't recommend having too much of this in one sitting. This beer sure is Amazing though!

07-11-2010 06:44:05 | More by DovaliHops
Photo of Shakesbeere


4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Pours like engine oil -- very deliciously dark appearance. Aroma is of alcohol and black licorice with a hint of soy. Very thick palate. Flavor is initially of smooth black licorice and sweet malt, then transforms into bitter hops and roasted molasses -- though not burnt. Some notes of earthy coffee and chocolate coruscate through to a dry, dark finish. Very thick, very viscous, very creamy, and very complex. A balanced taste between bitter hops and dark characters delivers a spectacular brew with a phenomenal finish. Spectacular! Think Dark City epiphany and dénouement. If "the limits of my language are the limits of my world", this must be near the limits of my beer.

07-10-2010 04:56:54 | More by Shakesbeere
Photo of homebrew311


4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Pulled this one out of the cellar, brewed in September of 2008, poured into Delirium snifter

A: pours like used motor oil, one of the thickest imperial stouts out there (behind Hunahpus/Mashal Zhukov), with a nice dark head, decent retention and lacing

S: huge notes of dark chocolate and oats up front, compared to the fresh version, this is much more mellow and chocolatey...personally I think this smells better now than before

T: deep rich roasted notes up front with tons of chocolate, a little licorice and molasses, some coffee, everything is big and bold but nicely in balance. The finish is long and leaves a hint of roastieness on the palate. Wow, 2 years have done wonders for this brew.

MF: thick, velvety viscous, low carbonation

D: I have always loved Expo, but have never tried it at this age. I must say that I am amazed by how much chocolate character comes through now. Delicious.

07-08-2010 01:39:38 | More by homebrew311
Photo of TMoney2591


3.73/5  rDev -11.8%

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Apparently I did have one of these guys hangin' around in my fridge after all. Go figure. Let's review it, shall we? It pours an opaque black-brown topped by a short finger of tan foam that fades fairly quickly. The nose comprises plenty o' roasted malts, dark wheat, chocolate syrup, nutmeg, and a surprising dose of rye bread. A general sweetness pervades. The taste darkens the proceedings, roasting some of the sweet notes and replacing the rye bread with a leather-like character. Some light prune notes gurgle up from th bottom, but don't pool all that much. Something's missing here, but I can't quite put my finger on it. The body is fairly hefty, with a heavy light carbonation and a borderline chewy feel. Overall, a solid RIS, but I've had better, even among regularly available offerings. Something's just off a little, you know what I mean?

07-06-2010 10:35:09 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of drabmuh


4.03/5  rDev -4.7%

Gift from Huhzubendah, thanks Matt. Beer is black and forms a minimal head with some lacing on the glass. Carbonation is low.

Aroma is strong, very strong, a little boozy. Almost liquor like in aroma. Very strong. Pretty sweet. Its a little bit of a turnoff.

Very full bodied stout, finishes brighter than it starts. Pretty roasty, kind of bourbony in the mouthfeel and forward flavors. Its a big big beer. I didn't realize the ABV on this until I started writing this review foolishly. I will pay for my ignorance for sure. Its pretty drinkable especially if I'm grading on a curve. I had the 2005 recently, also a gift from Huhzubendah and it had began to turn. Strong plum flavors and other characteristic oxidized notes in the palate. A good beer but i think the shelf life is around 3 - 4 years max. I enjoyed it.

07-06-2010 04:54:55 | More by drabmuh
Photo of Spica66


4.28/5  rDev +1.2%

12oz bottle - Batch #9384 - Bottled 10/15/09, shared with a friend in 7 oz glasses.

A: Very thick pour. Nearly black in the glass. Dark amber head that dissipates leaving nice lacing. Very nice beer in the glass.

S: Sweet smelling molasses and sorghum. Just a hint of hops in the nose.

T: Sweet like a molasses cookie. Very slight hint of hops on the finish.

M: Full body, thick, creamy. Very, very nice.

D: This is very nice for the style, but I always end with it, because one is really enough.

I have yet to find another RIS with the molasses cookie taste that Expedition Stout has. It always reminds me of home...

06-28-2010 14:31:11 | More by Spica66
Photo of seh410


3.6/5  rDev -14.9%

Thanks to Randy (randjuke) for these awesome beer!

Appearance: One fingers worth of thick, bubbly mocha/caramel colored head that does not dissipate quickly. The actual beer is black as night - there is absolutely no light coming through. This beer is pretty, no one around it.

Aroma: Coffee is right up front, followed by toasted malts, dark chocolate and a definitely perceivable alcohol note

Taste/Mouthfeel: Lots of coffee, maybe some dried fruits and toasted malts on the back side. You can taste the liquor for sure - this is definitely not a low ABV beer and you can taste it right up front. The mouthfeel is chewy and thick - very full in the mouth, which I like in a stout.

Drinkability: This one is definitely a sipper. It's nice and rich and tasty, but there's no way you could - or should - put down more than 1 or 2 12oz bottles of this baby. That said, I think it is nice and balanced and I'd be willing to drink it again. I'd like to see what it tastes like aged, or on tap.

06-22-2010 21:21:46 | More by seh410
Photo of hawks10


4.1/5  rDev -3.1%

12oz bottle - Batch #8729 - Bottled September 17th, 2008, poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint...

Pours thick and nearly black. A very thin and slow rising, creamy, dark tan head forms and dissipates fairly quickly...

Pretty sweet in the nose, chocolaty...bits of ripe dark fruit with molasses and licorice, complex, a bit sweet, but nice...The 2 years of cellaring seems to have improved the nose, much more sweet, subtle and smooth than a fresher Vintage I had a few weeks back...no trace of roast or bitterness/hops in the nose...

Thick and smooth, creamy, tons of sweet chocolate and molasses, a bit roasted and a slight hint of bitter hops (that I did not notice in the nose) add some balance. Even after two years, this brew still packs a punch, strong...alcohol is very noticeable but not overwhelming, blends well with the full flavor and makes this an enjoyable sipper...

Full bodied, thick and chewy...very creamy but well carbonated, a bit too carbonated for the style, but still a good drink overall...

Age has really mellowed this brew in a very good way, but it is still strong and packs a punch of flavor and alcohol...definitely easier and more enjoyable to drink now than it was/is fresh...

06-19-2010 01:09:19 | More by hawks10
Photo of jamiesessions

South Carolina

3.7/5  rDev -12.5%

Dark black colour swirls into my snifter and leaves little, if any room for light. A dark-khaki head appears and leaves some, but not a whole lot of lacing. Smells strongly of coffee, with chocolate also there in the mix. Taste is much like the smell, but I am slightly put off by the intenseness of the alcohol. The high abv is nice sometimes, but it seems to interfere with my enjoyment of the beer. Coffee taste is nice, but it's a bit off here, less of a good coffee, and more of an old stale coffee taste, with a bit of chocolate background. It's very chewy, and most certainly a sipper. I'm glad I purchased this, but it's certainly not something i'll be purchasing agian

06-08-2010 04:55:26 | More by jamiesessions
Photo of sweemzander


4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Batch 8728(9-16-08).

(A)- Pours thick and pitch black. Produced a tan head that dissipated to a light layer of film after a few minutes.

(S)- A rich & deep roasted profile. Bits of brown sugar and a coffee/molasses character.

(T)- Pretty much just like the smell. A great roasted profile with cocoa, molasses, raisin, and a touch of coffee ground bitterness.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Rich & malty, but not overly sweet. Still has a good bitterness to it from the roasted profile, but toned down at this point. The age has really smoothed out its edges.

(D)- Truthfully, I am not a big fan of this fresh, but with about a year and a half on this, it is quite tasty. Buy a case of this and drink over the next 4-5 years. A great RIS when aged properly. Even after having this numerous times now, I am convinced this is perhaps the most rewarding stout to age.

06-05-2010 14:04:36 | More by sweemzander
Photo of dbossman


4.03/5  rDev -4.7%

A: Thick and black with a dark brown, bubbly head that has good retention; it has a similar appearance to a dark-chocolate mousse.

S: Coffee, chocolate and dark roasted malts hit you up front; rich with a subtle alcohol burning through the malty goodness; slightly sweet brown sugar/ caramel at the back of the aromas

T: Dark chocolate and coffee bitterness up front; delicious roasted malt presence; alcohol is prevalent making this a sipper; a nice brown sugary sweetness balances out the bitterness

F: Thick with a slightly syrupy viscosity; good even mouth coat eventually--after the beer slowly works its way around

D: Great beer that is wonderful to sip on for any occasion; however, the strength of the roasted malts and the alcohol presence makes this a tad bit difficult to handle for too long. Great beer--just approach slowly and with caution

06-03-2010 20:41:25 | More by dbossman
Photo of DarrinRasberry


4.18/5  rDev -1.2%

Bottle served in a Guinness mug.

A: Thick, oily black body produces an almond-colored head that stays around forever and leaves traces all down the glass. Looking into it taking my first sip gives an exciting feel, like drinking good, creamy hot chocolate in the winter.

S: Dark chocolate, nuts, malts, and alcohol dominate.

T: Very, very rich taste hits with heavy malts and finishes with dry, bitter dark chocolate, with the alcohol almost hitting *too* hard. This is a delicious, remarkable beer.

M: As thick as some milkshakes, this beer will coat your mouth like a candy bar. Just enough carbonation. Quite possibly the best mouthfeel I've ever experienced in any beer.

D: The alcohol wears a bit as time goes on; I can only imagine myself drinking one.

06-03-2010 00:06:14 | More by DarrinRasberry
Photo of haddon


4.33/5  rDev +2.4%

found this beauty on tap at The Lodge in Hilton Head.

pours a dark chocolate with a mocha head that dissipates fairly quickly.

aroma is not as strong as expected but some notes do show up as it warms: espresso, chocolate, coffee & hops

super rich & sweet flavors! dark chocolate, black cherry, toffee & caramel. alcohol warms as it goes down.

full body that is very rich and creamy. not much carbonation detected but fairly par for the class

because it is so rich and sweet, don't know if I would order a whole pint again... but couldn't think of a better after dinner drink to finish off a great evening!

06-02-2010 00:35:01 | More by haddon
Photo of GregoryVII


4.58/5  rDev +8.3%

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Dark as night...I've wanted to use that line before, but it fits here, with a medium sized head that starts dark atop the beer and fades to caramel the closer it gets to the rim. The mouth feel is slick, smooth and oh so full. Malt dominates the aroma: roasted malt, dark chocolate, raisin, vanilla and sweet alcohol are all present. There are enough hops in the taste to balance, but they aren't a true player in the beer beyond grounding its more eccentric tendencies. Candied plum, chocolate, vanilla, bitter toast and a bit of rum round out the flavor notes for me. This is Bell's best beer for my money and a contender for any consideration given to Imperial Stouts.

06-01-2010 18:44:51 | More by GregoryVII
Photo of ZorPrime

Quebec (Canada)

4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

Brought back this gem from my last trip to Kalamazoo.

Very dark black color, its like a black hole. Suck all the light around you! Nice head, brown and creamy. Intense aroma. Licorice and molasses. Very nice aroma that suggest the beer will be complex, full bodied and full of taste. I only miss some hops notes to be perfect. On the taste, it is crazy. I get some many things here its awesome. Intense taste. First its molasses and then it switch to chocolate with coffee. Then, the bitterness comes and lingers in the mouth for a good time. Very good if not exceptional! Each sip is a discovery for me.

Creamy in the mouth and full bodied. Warm. This is truly a sipper and a dessert beer.

05-31-2010 00:33:18 | More by ZorPrime
Photo of Murchmac


4.1/5  rDev -3.1%

Bottled in 1/08 thanks to Flandersned for letting me try this gem.

Dark dark look with some nice looking legs to it.

Heat, barleywine kinda smell to it, dark fruits, figs, carmalized dark fruits,

Sweet balanced taste, some chocolate, some toasty roastyness and cocoa. Excellent.

Good beer with some age on it, probably really good fresh too.

05-30-2010 21:01:17 | More by Murchmac
Photo of WeedKing4

Ontario (Canada)

4.15/5  rDev -1.9%

Bottle pours a dark black with a little bit of foam in the glass. Tastes of roasted dark chocolate and coffee with some dark fruits lingering in the background. For this being 10.5%, it goes down very damn smooth. This didn't blow me away, but it was pretty solid overall. I'm aging two more bottles until next winter. So i'm curious to how that tastes.

05-29-2010 20:03:36 | More by WeedKing4
Photo of emmasdad


3.75/5  rDev -11.3%

Pours a deep, dark foreboding black color, impenetrable to the light, with an inch or so of dark brown foam on top. Tons of floaties in this one, quickly settle into a layer of sediment on the bottom. Aromas of rum soaked fruitcake, fig, prunes, plums and dark chocolate. Silky smooth on the palate, with more dark fruit, bitter coffee and cocoa powder. Some alcohol late.

05-26-2010 04:15:58 | More by emmasdad
Photo of aepb1


3.68/5  rDev -13%

A- Opaque black with a brown head

S- Chocolate and coffee! Very full and maybe some molasses in the end a bit

T- Chocolate and coffee show up in spades here too! A bit of hoppiness in the end

M- Creamyy and full, just something in the end that I hang up on... a bit of an alcohol feel

D- Very full! Can't have more than one with the acohol taste too... I can revisit it in another sitting though so it's got a decent drinkability

05-26-2010 03:29:59 | More by aepb1
Photo of NewGeneric


4.68/5  rDev +10.6%

Thanks to paulieatworld for hooking it up.
Poured into my Delirium tremens tulip.

A: Pours an all-around opaque black with just the tiniest sliver of brown on the bottom edge. A full 2 fingers of foam dissipates quite slowly leaving tons of beautifully patterned lacing all over the glass. A semi-large mound of head lingers on top. Looks incredible.

S: Smells of luscious dark chocolate and perfectly roasted coffee beans. Traces of vanilla and molasses tease my olfactory senses as I continue to inhale the wonderful bounty of smooth satisfaction awaiting me.

T: Again, luscious dark chocolate and perfectly roasted coffee beans splatter all over my tongue and then melt into huge molasses and mild vanilla flavors. Missing just a little something to give it that 5, but still...wow.

M: Perfect. Well carbonated, but not overly so, and creamy and delightful and smooth and...and...and...oh...oh...oh...

D: I've had this before and don't remember it being this good. Well done Bell's! I will have to get some more and age at least one to see if it could possibly get better than it already is. Magnifico!!!

05-25-2010 05:12:22 | More by NewGeneric
Photo of fropones


3.78/5  rDev -10.6%

A - Pours a nice dark reddish brown, nearly black, with a 2.5 finger black cherry mocha head.

S - Chocolate, toffee, coffee, roasted malt.

T - More of that roasted malt, followed out by some toffee and chocolate. Hints of hops in the back, but this bottle has 6-9 months on it. Fairly astringent.

M - Nice carb, rich and creamy. Kind of chewy.

D - Not the best to drink on a hot summer day like today, but that was my choice. Alcohol not very well hidden and the astringency of the roasted malt is sort of bothering me more and more.

05-25-2010 02:18:58 | More by fropones
Photo of bevdaddy


4.1/5  rDev -3.1%

Poured in to a TK Tulip from batch 9512. picked up on a recent trip to Philly.

A - Pours out nice and black. In contrast to other reviews, I got a good almost two finger head on this beer which was a nice brown cocoa color.

S - Big whiff of roasted malts. Im getting equal parts chocolate and coffee. there may be a bit of caramel in there too. and i'm also getting some alcohol.

T - the first thing that comes to mind is the balance. all the bigger flavors (coffee, chocolate, some sweetness, roasted malt in general) are all even. nothing stands out too much. and i mean that in a good way. not detecting the hops until i concentrate - so a bit less than other reviews. definite "hotness" present but in a comforting way (less alcohol than i expected after smelling it).

M - medium to low carbonation. but not an issue. feels full and creamy - i really like the mouthfeel on this beer for this style.

D - i like the beer alot, but don't see myself having more than one. for the 10.5 ABV, they did a great job on smoothness, but it is a very rich beer.

05-22-2010 00:45:33 | More by bevdaddy
Photo of alkemy


4.13/5  rDev -2.4%

This thing is uber dark brown with a dark tan head. There is absolutely no light getting through this one. Just pouring this gives a sense of its thickness. Alcohol is immediately apparent in the nose. It's also got some fig, prune, dates, and cherry rounding things out with vanilla and coffee. Dark fruits at first, which I really like. The finish is strong with espresso and leaves a taste somewhat akin to burnt toast. I also get bitter chocolate in the taste that was missing in the smell. Sure, the alcohol is present, but not as noticeable as in the scent. I love the rich, silky smooth feel. The level of carbonation matches up quite well.

05-20-2010 23:47:16 | More by alkemy
Photo of TheSevenDuffs

Ontario (Canada)

4.3/5  rDev +1.7%

Poured in to Duvel snifter. Batch # 9512.

A - Poured a thick silky black colour with a finger of dark chocolate-brown head. Appears to be very lightly carbonated.

S - Dark roasted malts - dark chocolate with some coffee. Some dark fruit and hops are present in the background. Seems to be a slight alcohol nose in the background as well, but that may be the hops.

T - Dark roasted malts with some dark fruit and sweet molasses. Not an overwhelming coffee or chocolate taste but but both are present in a more subdued fashion. Bitter hops are present as well that become more and more prominent as I continue to drink the beer. There is also a nice licorice taste in the background. A little bit hot.

M - Thick & silky. A perfect mouth feel for an imperial stout. Moderate carbonation.

D - A very nice RIS. Somewhat hot, but otherwise near perfect for a RIS. I am very interested to see how the other 5 of these age...

05-19-2010 01:01:54 | More by TheSevenDuffs
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,457 ratings.