Bell's Expedition Stout - Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 4,474 | Reviews: 1,875 | Display Reviews Only:
3.78/5 rDev -10.6%
Batch 8944 (vintage 2008?).
12oz bottle pours thick oily black, but very little dark tan head.
Caramel and chocolate in aroma, some hints of pitted fruit (cherries, prune).
Rich, sweet up front, a bit boozy, then a long drawn out chocolate finish. Quite bitter, but balanced.
Pretty well carbonated, quite thick and oily and the alcohol and carb leave a bit of stinging on the tongue. Much better with some warming.
This is a pretty complex imperial stout and its hotness implies that it could benefit from some age to let some of those flavore meld and the heat mellow. Still something I would seek out again.
08-12-2010 03:58:46 | More by ChrisPro
3.68/5 rDev -13%
A: black, black, black; surprisingly, not much head; lacing after the drink was spotty
S: sweet molasses, very strong aroma
T: leathery stout with heavy streaks of molasses
M: silky and smooth; what a pleasant feeling
D: the dominating taste of molasses and the high ABV make a quick return trip not likely
08-11-2010 13:13:13 | More by Arithmeticus
3.75/5 rDev -11.3%
A_Jet black with a dark brown head that dissipates into a thick ring. Little lacing. Looks slick and oily.
S_Very roasty. Burnt wood. Anise, dark fruits,and black liquorice.
T_Heavy roast. Burnt,earthy,woody flavor. Bitter chocolate and anise. Very Very bold.
M_Thick ,chewy,slick and very viscous.
D_This could substitute a full meal.
08-10-2010 21:21:39 | More by nickadams2
4.18/5 rDev -1.2%
Reviewed from notes, bottle was about 8 months old.
A- Black. Dark tan creamy head builds to a moderate size and has decent retention. A very nice ring and a good cloud remain and leave a coat of lace.
S- Lots of roast malt up front. Some dark fruit/raisins, coffee, cocoa in the background. Alcohol makes it through once in a while.
T- A good aggressive blend of roast malt, alcohol and dark fruit. Nice straight up RIS. Very roasty, almost to the charcoal like level. A fair level of sweets.
MF- A low carbonation level in a moderately thick, oily body. Could be heavier and creamier. Well hidden ABV.
DB- Good price for a big RIS. The roast malt and dark fruit work well for an up front big stout flavor. Becomes a bit syrupy as the temperature rises.
08-09-2010 23:02:33 | More by cbutova
4.48/5 rDev +5.9%
Another nice find at Stub & Herb's in Minneapolis, MN, which I was glad to have had prior to dipping into the even more prized "Black Note" version - this black beauty shows an opaque brown/black with a good head of brown foam and decent lacing. The nose picks up seaweed malt and decidedly herbal hops. Very nice and not over the top at all. The flavor jumps out a surprising licorice which now makes a lot of sense from the aroma but I missed it I guess. But this is a licorice malt flavor fest, intense yet mellow enough to neutralize the 10.5 ABV just enough for some drinkabiity. No session beer, but it's hard to slow down too much once you grab a hold of this taste wallop. There is that herbal hop idea that adds a real nice highlight to this full bodied, viscous feeling stout. Wow. I do enjoy this. Very little carbonation as you might expect from a cask but this holds together very well. I start to pick up some berry notes and definitely some coffee and marshmallow sweetness as my palate adjusts to the dominant licorice malt theme. Intense but not a "choker". Highly recommended for the curious and fun loving BA, but not your mother's stout.
08-07-2010 19:03:19 | More by Durge
3.9/5 rDev -7.8%
A- Poured into the glass with a substantial medium-brown foamy head, which left little traces of lacing, over a completely opaque jet-black body. The head is reasonably retained. No visible carbonation; although any carbonation present could be easily hidden by the opacity of the brew.
S- The aroma is comprised of stewed and roasted malts; very malt-forward... with a light & zesty hop aroma, reminiscent of citrus zest. No esters- simple and elegant.
T- An exceptionally bold flavor. The roasted malt peeks though- intensely roasty- and then the hops kick-in with a piney intense bitterness that lingers on the tongue substantially after each sip. There's also a little bit of booziness that hits you partway through as well. While it's bold and dynamic, it's almost overboard...
M- A full chewy body, with texture presumed to be from unattenuated sugar. Very soft carbonation and a moderate astringency. Just a touch of heat from the EtOH. Stellar mouthfeel.
D- Drinkability is hindered by the high alcohol content, and further inhibited by the over-the-top roasty and hop flavors. One 12oz. bottle is enough for me in one sitting...
08-07-2010 16:06:48 | More by jgasparine
3.93/5 rDev -7.1%
Thanks to cbutova for sharing this. Batch 9512, which according to Bell's website, means this is from 12/18/09.
Pours black with a pretty excellent brown head. Retains pretty well and leaves nice lacing, stains the glass.
Smell is roasted malt, licorice, booze.
Taste is a solid, no frills imperial stout. Mostly just roasted malt, booze, and dark burnt coffee. A little bit of smoke and anise. Gets more boozy as it goes on but not really a bother. Very dense in the same way as Stone IRS, though not nearly as complex.
Mouthfeel is oily and a little hot, low carbonation. Pretty much an imperial stout in the rawest form, which I like, it is a tad harsh but good. I bet this would be nice to age.
** more notes - 1/5/14** - Great beer to revisit. Opened a bottle I bought in Philly or NY a while back, the batch # is 10105, I believe this to be from 2010 sometime. Huge+robust but smoothed out with maybe some slight oxidation. Roasty dark chocolate licorice all the way. Less alcohol than I remember. Definitely a nice winter sippin' beer, I will definitely get more of this when in their distribution range again.
08-07-2010 06:38:19 | More by Chico1985
3.73/5 rDev -11.8%
Many thanks to Mike (busternuggz) for this!
Poured into a Stone IRS tulip.
100% opaque. Big chocolate mousse colored head; 2.5 fingers. The lacing coats the glass as it fades.
The smell is sweet; cocoa, burnt molasses, roasted malts. Theres a faint, but easily noticeable on a big sniff, presence of coffee/espresso. Bitterness seems to be from roasted coffee alone from what I can tell.
Noticeably bitter and faintly tart/sour at first...boozy. Reminds me of a milder Mephistopheles stout...only drinkable! Midway through, a nice coffee taste shown through. It's fairly roasted and/or burnt in the malt department.
This is very thick, rich, and on the chewy side. Very fine RIS stats.
Very tasty, but noticeably boozy. 1 satisfies just fine.
08-07-2010 03:10:22 | More by EgadBananas
4.08/5 rDev -3.5%
A: Pitch black with a big, beige, head and lots of lacing.
S: Roasted malts, Chocolate, Cookies, Molasses.
T: Espresso, Chocolate, Roasted malts, Dark sugar.
M: Thick and very heavy. Massive chocolate/espresso up front and ends with a lingering bitterness.
I dig this. Not as complex as some other stouts but thick and kickass like a stout should be.
08-06-2010 22:10:44 | More by baggio
4.3/5 rDev +1.7%
A: Motor oil with a coffee colored huge frothy head.
S: Boozy, molasses, sweet chocolate. On the second sniff, huge booze!
T: No hiding the booze. Very sweet and dark up front. Nice hop bitterness in the finish for balance. Aftertaste has some definite coffee and nut tones. Nice brew.
M: Nice and thick, as expected. Some added carbonation would help the booziness in the smooth department.
O: Good stout, would be huge on a cold PA winter day. I can imagine you'd be pretty smashed up pretty quick drinking these things.
08-03-2010 02:57:54 | More by bundy462
4.13/5 rDev -2.4%
Thanks to Jager68 for this thick wonderful beer. Consumed 7/31/10
Pours an opaque black topped by a brownish beige one finger head that slowly relaxes to a nice topper. Lots of resin and lace on the glass.
Smell is not that strong for a big beer, full of a variety of sweet maltiness, roasted, caramel, molasses, chocolate, rounded off by hints of tart yeast and a slight bitter edge.
Taste is like the nose, not super complex, but the flavors are extremely clean and bright. Alcohol is there but just a background warmth to it. The chocolate isn't as bitter as in some stouts, and the roasted notes aren't over the top char. The bitter in the finish is just right to balance the sweet.
Very thick, very viscous, perhaps a bit too much carb., and perhaps a finish needing a bit more more complexity. Very silky.
Due to the silky nature, and simple deliciousness this baby goes down very easily.
Impression: One of a crop of truly exceptional American RIS that I hope to try again.
08-01-2010 12:32:50 | More by cavedave
3.8/5 rDev -10.2%
I poured into my glass to maybe a half inch of brown head. This beer is dark to say the least. The is no light coming through this beast. The aroma is chocolate, molasses, and some alcohol. The taste is black coffee and I get a fairly strong alcohol presence. That's about it. The mouthfeel is thick and creamy. I like that. I think this beer is a little hot yet. I am going to sit on my remaining bottles for at least a year and give this review an update. If the alcohol mellows out this could be a great beer.
The alcohol has faded. I get some dark chocolate on the nose and in taste. I get some almost anise taste. Very thick and tons of flavor. Not sure if I like the flavor now.
07-31-2010 00:05:59 | More by buschbeer
4.05/5 rDev -4.3%
First time I pour this beer. I can't believe how dark it is. I put it by the light and still couldn't see the shine threw the glass.
Aroma is very dark hint of chocolate type. The taste is very malting and rich. This was a pleasant tasting stout. And will drink it again.
07-30-2010 04:15:30 | More by SamuelJackson45
4.25/5 rDev +0.5%
The last of my blind beer series. Thank you so much Prufrock... you've been the best! This was the icing on the cake. Twelve ounce bottle poured into a brandy snifter for immediate enjoyment.
What a fighter! I poured 3/4 of it into the glass like I normally do and NO carbonation appeared. Literally it was a placid lake of ebony swirling about in its vesicle. I had to swirl the contents of the bottle and viciously splash it down into the center to create a chaos of head. Unfortunately the color of raw, fresh clay bubbles disappeared to a speckle of itself ( is it raw umber? Is that the color I've heard before? ).
The carbonation is non-existent, but that is not to say there isn't a skin of promise. . There are no bubbles to be found. The liquid itself is black like many I've had this week. I may sound like a broken record but it is motor oil again. It is darkness.. midnight in the cornfields with storm clouds blocking out anything that could even be remotely mistaken as illumination.
Sweet momma. Oh my goodness with whip cream on top. Do I dare say I detect the overwhelming deliciousness that is bourbon? I can't help myself but keep taking deep breaths over and over again. There also is the faintness of raisins and bitter chocolate ( of course, that means a dark chocolate ;) ).
Layered gently behind all of these scrumptious aromas is the tell tale signs of alcohol. This medicinal spear is wrapped with comforting flavors. I always think of ethanol as an awful smell... something to be abhorred and hidden deep within the dank confines of your brew. It is this beer that helps me realize once again how it can be properly used.
I hope I do it honor with my description. The very moments it hits my taste buds I find myself remarkable confused. It is quickly salty while being sweet at the same time. I find myself thinking of childhood candies and random Chinese restaurants performing the same feats. It is by all means welcome from me. That sugary nature reminds me deeply of bourbon barrel aged beers to a T. It is almost like a freshly barrel aged ( <12 month aging ) bourbon stout. The strong sweetness hides many flavors that further sipping slowly unravel.
There is a smokiness that hits milliseconds after the sweetness arrives but lingers momentarily. It can't hold its composition into the finish and finds itself dwindling away as the coolness dissipates from the tip of my tongue. That same smokiness is playing buddy system with the alcohol trident. I can feel it limping along causing pin pricks of recognition as it too flutters away into my gullet.
All of this was beheld upon quick cursory sips and dissection. If I take things further, swish it around my mouth and allow it to linger and roam as it pleases I am slapped with milk chocolate. It isn't just bitter chocolate, but creamy and smooth melted Hershey's. Whats that you say? You want the bitterness that is possible with some chocolate? Look no further! The finish of this beer screams prickly dark chocolate tree( I wish such a thing existed...). I rub the roof of my mouth with my tongue and lap up any residual flavors I can find. Shockingly, it is a raisin, chocolate amalgam of yum. Tasty!
I had to steal this last bit... my tasting partner has put it perfectly. This beer is the trail mix of beers. Salty, sweet, nutty, and above all unique.
This creamy beer harbors absolutely little in the world of carbonation. However, it reminds me of chocolate milk shakes without the thickness. It has that smooth nature with big flavors constantly erupting. It never had any lacing to really speak of and this still shocks me. It lingers long after on all my oral surfaces to an extreme point. This beer is the thickest of the six beers to date, and yet I still consider it liquid feathers. I find myself desiring some carbonation here, but that is the only fault I can find.
I'm steaming... the alcohol in this beverage is a skyscraper compared to yesterdays. I got a quarter of the way through it, and my extremities were feeling a bit damp with sweat. I truly enjoy a monster of a beer like the next person, but I'm beginning to think that this may be a problem. Great flavors, amazing body, and top notch nose are only as good as long as they all last.
As soon as that carbonation is mostly gone, all three of these aspects begin to falter and fall down upon one another. Thank goodness I had only a quarter of the beer left ( too much time writing, not enough drinking! ), but I noticed that the alcohol becomes the dominant player above anything else in both flavor and nose. There needs to be more carbonation in this beverage to prolong its life. If I had just gulped down the last bit I would have been more impressed than I am right now. Don't get me wrong, still impressed, but the amazement is beginning to dwindle.
I would drink this beer again in a heartbeat ( and only one for an evening ).
07-29-2010 01:50:15 | More by Khazadum
3.95/5 rDev -6.6%
08 vintage on tap at via marconi's piazza pub.
A- deep dark brown almost completely black in color. No head to be seen.
S- port soaked plums and bakers chocolate, molasses. Hints of wood and booze.
T- huge dark roasted malts and burnt brown sugar. 92 percent dark chocolate and brownie batter. Port soaked dark fruits and berries. Tons of dark roasted coffee and some burt wood.
M- full bodied but by not means to thick with a lite carb. Slick and syrupy on the palate. Heat on the finish big time. And this has two years on it.
D- I like a big boozy stout upon occasion but just that, this is not an every day brew.
07-26-2010 00:58:45 | More by oglmcdgl
3.58/5 rDev -15.4%
Pours pitch black with one of the darker brown heads I have seen. The finger head quickly fades do to the high ABV. Carbonation seems a little on the high side of the style.
On the aroma I get a ton of roasted malts along with dark fruits and molasses. Some alcohol present as well. On the palate I get a ton of chocolate - something I didn't get from the aroma. Up front some of the dark fruits are present before the chocolate takes over leaving a lingering somewhat sweet finish
07-25-2010 03:23:38 | More by ryno09
4.33/5 rDev +2.4%
Poured from a 1+ year old cellar temperature bottle into a Delerium Tremens snifter. It is an opaque, dark brown liquid with a small head of tan foam and bubbles. I can see bubbles popping on top of the foam. There is no light penetration. Swirling the beer produces a bit of a film and a very good foam coating. The head has now settles to just a skim of foam. It's a pretty beer, but I've seen better looking RISes. I can smell roasted malts, alcohol, caramel and some chocolate. Even with all of these candy scents, it doesn't smell overly sweet. This is a tasty stout. Creamy milk chocolate and a few dark roasted malts greet my tongue as soon as I sip. Some bitterness moves in aa I swallow. It's akin to dark chocolate, but not quite the same. Prehaps the year of aging has made the bitterness harder to identify? Also present in the finish and moreso in the aftertaste is a bit of alcohol burn. It is hot, but not exclusively in an alcoholic sense; it's also ever so slightly peppery. The alcohol flavors aren't too strong, but are certainly present. I imagine that the year of age has mellowed this flavor out as well. After swallowing, I can run my tongue over my mouth and pick up more chocolate and alcohol flavors. The Expedition leaves behind a persistent coat. It has lower levels of carbonation and is full-bodied. For a 10%+ ABV stout, this beer is pretty drinkable. I wouldn't have more than one bottle of this, but each swallow goes down very well. If you can get your hands on some of this, I would highly recommend putting a few bottles in your cellar for a year or more.
07-22-2010 00:30:32 | More by ToasterChef
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,474 ratings.