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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.

4,335 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,335
Reviews: 1,868
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 367
Gots: 930 | FT: 77
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
Expedition Stout offers immensely complex flavors crafted specifically with vintage aging in mind, as its profile will continue to mature and develop over the years. A huge malt body is matched to a heady blend of chocolate, dark fruits, and other aromas. Intensely bitter in its early months, the flavors will slowly meld and grow in depth as the beer ages.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-10-2002)
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Ratings: 4,335 | Reviews: 1,868 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of techfed87


4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a strong, mocha colored head. Smells strongly of caramels and heavy malts. Head is very slow to dissipate.

First taste comes off almost salty for a second, quickly turning to a bitter, coffee-like taste and consistency. H'oh my, this beer is a thick one. In terms of flavor, it's much tightly packed together than many other Imp stouts out on the market. At the same time saying that, it's much easier to drink than many imperial stouts are. Carbonation on this batch is just right. It picks up where the natural bitterness ends off, giving it a real kick in flavor just as the after-taste is beginning to show its head.

Several minutes into drinking this one, and the head is still present. This puts it in a category of beer that you usually don't see.

At 10.5%, the beer is one of the stronger ones. However, it keeps itself within reason. A definite treat for a winter night. This is one of Bell's best brews hands down. Try it sometime!

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2010 03:14:47 | More by techfed87
Photo of ShadesOfGray


4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Ommegang tall snifter. Pours a dark, thick black with little initial head. As the pour taps off, the head grows big, light brown with great sticky frothy lacing.

Aroma is fairly light with lots of bitter notes. Roasted coffee...but a slight ash-tray smell...weird.

Very thick creamy taste. Pleasant flavor...bitter-sweet chocolates, dark roasted coffee. Great warming sensation down the throat. Wow, after smelling this beer, I espected a bad stout. Flavor is actually very good! Full body. Drinkability down due to thickness...but a must try!

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2010 02:33:29 | More by ShadesOfGray
Photo of ThatWineGuy

Ontario (Canada)

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

A half finger charcoal mocha head diminished and retreated revealing a tar black, oily brew with minor ribbon lace. The beer is perfectly opaque - a deep dark black hole to look at. Heady smell of burnt toast and dark chocolate, coffee beans, tree bark, smoke, very complex.

Make no mistake, this is a huge RIS and very strong and assertive. Black licorice dominates, charcoal, flashes of sour that initially made me pucker - must be the hop presence. Overpoweringly rich, boozy, like a high ABV barley wine made with anise. Very creamy in the mouth, dense, heavy with hops, dark toasted malt, burnt and smokey. This beer literally blew me away, savoured and sipped, it took on subtler aspects with air and warming but demanded respect. It took me a long time to finish it. Next time I find a bottle of this, it will stay considerably longer in my cellar.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2010 03:30:00 | More by ThatWineGuy
Photo of ImusBeer


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

Appearance was very black with a fine bubbled tan head. Good retention and heavy lacing.

Smelled of coffee and chocolate. Taste of chocolate coffee and vanilla.

Mouthfeel was thick rich and creamy . Warm buttery texture also a bit syrupy. A heavy beer but good, a nice beer for winter.

Serving type: on-tap

01-02-2010 21:39:29 | More by ImusBeer
Photo of Lunch


4.55/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 12oz. bottle purchased at Shangy's in Emmaus, PA into my Bell's tulip at the appropriate temperature (01/01/10).

A: Pours a deep oily jet black with a two finger cap of a cappuccino foam that dissolves slowly leaving some patchy lace.

S: Excellent bouquet of fresh espresso and dark chocolate along with a roasted malt. Some tones of milk chocolate and cocoa are present as well.

T: Beautiful flavor containing notes of fresh coffee, espresso, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, chocolate malt, and some bittering hops. The bitterness seems to linger on the tougne for some time and continues into the finish.

M: Thick and full-bodied with smooth and creamy carbonation. None of the 10.5% abv is present at all.

D: Incredibly drinkable as the flavors are well balanced and rich. The 10.5% abv. is hidden expertly never showing itself at in the slightest.

Overall this was a truly a wonderful Imperial Stout that certainly lives up to the hype. Another quality product from Bell's and certainly one that has to tried by all Imperial Stout fans. Highly Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2010 16:18:03 | More by Lunch
Photo of babaracas


4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque very dark brown with thin light brown head, fast fading, no lacing. Smell: roasty, dark brown sugar, a little wood smoke, dark fruit, touch of soy sauce. Taste: molasses, not quite burnt, dates, milk chocolate aftertaste, rich roasty coffee, leafy and spicy hop in the background, quite sweet. Mouthfeel: syrupy but low on carbonation. Expedition was enjoyable but not elite. The alcohol was well hidden, though this one had almost a year on it, bottled on Jan 28, 2009 (Bell's batch finder is awesome).

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2010 23:39:48 | More by babaracas
Photo of Mora2000


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

Picked up in a trade from Exiled.

2007 vintage. Pours pitch black with basically no head. What little head is present is is a brown color. Aroma is strong coffee with some roasted malt and dark fruit. the flavor is heavy on the roasted malt with some smokiness. Some dark fruit and bitter chocolate as well. There is also a slight soy sauce character to the beer. The alcohol has a nice alcohol warming affect. Very thick body and low carbonation. Slightly creamy mouthfeel. This one might have improved with more carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2010 18:25:48 | More by Mora2000
Photo of notlob


3.38/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Aroma: Deep licorice, plums, and fruity-sweet alcohol.

Appearance: Pours jet-black with dark tan head that dissipates quickly.

Flavor: Very roasty with a slight alcohol burn. Some dark fruit character and I think I get some roasty-dark-chocolate notes in the finish. Good balance between the residual sweetness and bitter roasted malt, but just not the right balance for me.

Mouthfeel: Medium-low carbonation. Somewhat of a mouth-coating oil-slick.

Overall impression: Better around 55-60F than right out of the fridge. Slight alcohol warmth. Definitely a sipper.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2009 21:24:45 | More by notlob
Photo of ktrillionaire


3.65/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer was properly cellared over two years.

A – Amazing. Viscous, onyx with a tan-garnet head, very sticky.

S – Boozy and dark-bready with a sprucey hop. Less roasty than I would expect, more salty and malty. Small bitter chocolate and black licorice.

T – Shockingly, vividly flavorful. Smoky and slightly estery and tanned leather with a bitter piney hop. So complex and potent, as compared to a year ago. Still not astounding.

M – Extremely thick and, dare I say, slimy.

D – Not so much. It took a 50 degree-weather day in Florida to get me crackn this one, aka once in a blue moon.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2009 09:30:15 | More by ktrillionaire
Photo of Pedro07


4.88/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Great beer and the first one of the winter for me.

A- Awsome dark richness. Thick old motor oil in my glass. A dark brown creamy head rises to a 3/4 inch height and slooowly falls. Good lacing down the glass.

S- Again, awsome richness. This is a favorite for me. All the molasses, cocoa and roasted goodness one can expect from an RIS.

T- Where do I begin? How can I do it jutice? Roasted malts galore, coffee, espresso, black barley, bourbon-soaked raisins, and on and on. Wonderfully balanced.

M- Velvety, smooth, and exquisitely mouth-coating. Dessert in a glass.

D- Wonderful sipper on a cold winters night. Bell's got this one right.

Not my all-time, but close!

Bro's, you guys got a bad one. Give it another try, you'll love it!

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2009 03:39:10 | More by Pedro07
Photo of tim9887


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

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours very dark brown, with a very nice light brown 1" foam head

Aroma: Very sweet. Molasses & chocolate dominate along with the booziness that's pretty noticeable in the nose.

Taste: The molasses & chocolate from the nose are very present in the palate as well. Rich and roasty; heavy on the malts. Not a whole heck of a lot in the way of hop bitterness. Very sweet & boozy.

Mouthfeel: Not very carbonated. Rich, creamy, & smooth... like a chocolate milkshake in that respect. Moderate alcohol warmth felt in the palate.

Ok. I prefer a little more carbonation and more roastiness. This stout was very sweet... maybe a bit too sweet for me. I prefer a bit more hop bitterness in RIS's.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2009 22:15:59 | More by tim9887
Photo of champ103


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

A: Pours an opaque, viscous, ink black. A small tan head of less then a finger forms, but sticks around as a cap. Not much lace.
S: The aroma is of roasted malt. Milk chocolate and some liquorish. Smoke, dry wood/oak aromas as well. A huge nose.
T: Roasted malt and chocolate again. The malt seems sticky and chewy. Sweet toffee and some liquorish. A little one dimensional, but good.
M/D: A full and thick body that is low on the carbonation. Creamy and velvety smooth. This is a good beer to sip on, but one is more than enough for a night.

This is a good RIS. One of the thickest I can remember trying. Something I would recommend for the stout lover.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2009 23:50:25 | More by champ103
Photo of divecj5

South Carolina

4.85/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a nice molten black with a minimal amount of tan head. Very little lacing as a result. Great aroma with great roasted and smokey tones. Incredibly smooth on the palate. Complex character that has hints of chocolate, very little bitterness, and doesn't leave your mouth feeling dry as saw dust like a lot of other heavy, imperial stouts. Definitely a beer to sit back and savor.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2009 15:02:20 | More by divecj5
Photo of Kegatron


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

On tap @ the Capital Ale House (Richmond, VA) on 12/13/09. Served in a cervoise.

Pours a deep flat black in the glass, with a finger of smooth looking dark & burnt mocha head. Retains with some huge frothy bunching around the edges, that leaves a huge cascade of drenching foam in its wake. The aroma is very floral and hoppy up front, with thickish sweet notes of chocolate and toffee mixing in with sharp coffee and roasted bitterness. Alcohol gives this some heft and punch in the nose.

The taste is even more sweetness, milk chocolate and toffee, with some extra sticky notes of brown sugar and molasses. Even a bit of dark fruit towards the back of the profile. Hops, coffee, and roast surround this, with a deeply burnt and bitter feel that really sticks hard in the finish. The mouthfeel is as full as can be, with a massively creamy feel up front that coats the back of the palate. Thick, sweet, and gooey, this is the rare feel here that's up there some of the best Imperial Stouts. There is some warmth on the tale end of the swallow but the alcohol is so entrenched in the rich flavors, it's not really detectable at all.

Man, I had forgot how hoppy this is fresh and it's no wonder that this is a great candidate for aging. The flavors are just so robust on this and the feel is one of my favorites on a Stout. Probably my favorite go-to Imperial Stout, this always puts a smile on my face.

Serving type: on-tap

12-21-2009 18:05:28 | More by Kegatron
Photo of nhopkin


4.88/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured like crude oil into my oversize wine goblet. Small, brownish tan head arose atop the sea of viscous blackness below...

Smell: raisin, booze, charcoal, a decadent melange of aromas waft from this brew

Taste: Starts with a rich, malty, almost fruity sweetness with lots of dark fruit and chocolate, followed by a dry roasted flavor with hints of coffee. Wait long enough and a little lingering bitterness from the hops comes in. A little detectable booziness, but it hides it's strength remarkably well. mmm. Everything and more I'd expect from a giant of a stout.

Mouthfeel: smooth and scrumptious. Like drinking a milkshake...with a lot of booze

Overall: a superlative brew. A phenom. Wicked. Words don't do it justice. And I'm not even that "in" to Russian Imperials.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2009 04:10:38 | More by nhopkin
Photo of inhoc00


3.63/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Living in Chicago for almost 6 years now and this is my first bells expedition...

a- as expected, black with almost no head. in the light gives off a purple hue near the top.

s- light chocolate, bit of roasted malts. nothing over the top.

t- similar to the smell with a bit of sherry and a lot of booze. the booze then becomes an after taste that sits on the roof of your mouth. not sure if these are better with a couple years on them but perhaps.

m- has a bit of carbonation to it. not as smooth/creamy as I thought it might be.

d- the past two weeks i've had a ten fidy, founder imperial stout and a young gi bcs. this has the least drinkability. it just really boozy now and doesn't seem to hide it the way the other imp stouts do.
in the constant michigan battle of bells vs. founders in the category of imperial stouts, i must give it to founders.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2009 01:48:40 | More by inhoc00
Photo of wnh


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

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a thick, ruby-tinted black, opaque, with a dense and frothy medium tan head.

Aromas of earthy dark chocolate, smoke, and roasted grain leap from the glass. The smoke, which hints at peppery country ham, really sets this beer apart. Then comes a (dried) leafy hoppiness in the background to add further complexity. A strong base of sweet caramel ties everything together.

Loads of chocolate on the palate, with sweet and bitter notes pulsating back and forth. There's an unexpectedly strong resinous hop character underneath, providing contrast but contributing to the whole. Very smooth, especially for an imperial stout. This beer lacks any roasty bite found in many similar beers, and is really quite light on the roast on the whole.

Thick and rich and dense, but not unnecessarily chewy. Low level of carbonation, which works with this beer. Finishes bitter--a combination of hops and roast (about the only place the roast shows itself, really)--but fades as the beer lingers on the palate.


Serving type: bottle

12-17-2009 17:41:14 | More by wnh
Photo of billab914


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

Down to my last one out of the 12 I bought so I figured I better review this one before I'm out. Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Stone RIS glass.

Pours nearly black with a half inch tan head that settled to a thin covering that sticks to the sides. Nice lacing on the glass as well.

Aroma has coffee and bitter chocolate with some slightly sweet roastyness to it.

Taste has some dark chocolate, coffee and roastedness followed by a nice long bitterness that lingers in the mouth.

Mouthfeel is heavy bodied and slightly slick and carbonation is moderate.

Drinkability is good for a RIS, I really enjoyed these and will be buying them every winter for sure.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2009 23:03:12 | More by billab914
Photo of PeterLemonjello


3.08/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Nice think black color with a small head of foam that fades quickly. Not a lot of lacing. Lots of yeast sediment in the bottom of the pour.

S - Roasted malts and chocolate at first sniff. As beer warms starts to smell like playdough, very odd.

T - Dark malts, slight rum flavor, chocolate, not a lot of dark fruit flavors. A sharp bitterness on the finish from the amount of yeast in the pour.

M - Nice thick/slick mouthfeel. Not too carbonated (how I like my big stouts).

D - Given the sharp bitterness, this one is not real pleasant to drink. Certainly not meant to be a sessionable beer, but the sharp bitter flavor really takes away from the overall experience and is hard for the beer to show any complexity with such a dominating force to compete with.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2009 04:27:20 | More by PeterLemonjello
Photo of cassanoj


2.68/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a stange glass. Thick, black and syrupy. Brownish head, but not much of it.

Smells like chocolate and licorice. Other flavors - molasses, coffee, nice roasted maltiness. Some dark fruits - plums, raisins.

Tastes like... beef. Not a fan. I like how thick it is, it's a nice sipper. Kind of weird that there's virtually no carbonation. I can't get over that beef taste. Behind the beef lies some sweet chocolate, dried fruit, caramel, malty.

The mouthfeel is okay. I like the thickness but I wish it was balanced out with some nice carbonation. Not a very complex beer, or if it is, I think it's rather unbalanced on the thick, chocolate side.

Overall, I think I would have liked this beer more if it didn't feel like I just hunt it down and shot it. I definitely understand the name though. It is what it tries to be and I can certainly appreciate that. Just... not my cup o' tea.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2009 03:35:36 | More by cassanoj
Photo of rfgetz

New Jersey

4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark as night black, very minimal khaki colored head, but leaves some light lacing. Smell is of rum, molasses, raisin, hints of chocolate and coffee. Taste is dark malt forward with dark chocolate and coffee taking center stage. Backed up by lighter notes of molasses, rasisin, plum. Faint earthy and smoky qualities. Full bodied, dry, earthy, slightly chalky. Good RIS, true to style, big bold flavors and nice balance with a well hidden ABV (in the taste anyway). Only downer was the overly alcohol scent.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2009 14:23:56 | More by rfgetz
Photo of gyllstromk


3.78/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with thin dark head. Nose is roasted malts and hops. Flavor is a kiss of sweetness with a grassy hop flavor, with a full body and sticky sweet finish with a strong lingering bitterness. The detractors are that the hops are a bit overemphasized for my taste, it's a bit close to motor oil in consistency, and a bit overpriced. Still, a tasty treat.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2009 20:16:42 | More by gyllstromk
Photo of alpinebryant


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

Finally, a Bells beer I am really excited about after just the pour!

Poured a dark chocolate brown with a monstrous head, dark brown bubbles which hung out for a long time with long spiderlegs after settling.

Smell of dark roasty malt, with a lot of sweetness, raisins, rum, caramel

Taste hit it off the first sip. A deep dark sweet stout with great body, caramel, lots of chocolate, raisin, tons of plum flavor, and a finish that has that similar chalk/ dry finish - only in expedition stout, I dont mind it at all because of the lingering chocolate flavor. Some RIS have a finishing afterbite that tastes of charcoal, this one seems to be a lot lighter on that end. Nice body, not too thick, and in no ways near being watery.

Very drinkable, I wish I had the ability to get more of this in the New England area. a great RIS

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2009 03:16:52 | More by alpinebryant
Photo of Plonk


4.55/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 edition 12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A - Moderately vigorous pour produces a huge mocha-colored, dense, sponge-like 3" head that recedes to a broken 1/8" head that remains to end leaving heavy lace. Midnight black color in the glass with no light shining through. Noticed during pouring, the stream coming from the bottle has dark crimson highlights.

S - Aroma seems a bit muted a first but after warming I get roasted malts, toffee, some baking spices and hops.

T - Hoochie momma, whadda mouthful of beer! Sweet caramel, toffee, roasted malt bitterness, l-o-n-g espresso, hops, finish, and bit of alcohol glow. Wow!

M - Big, big mouth filling dextrin, velvety smooth with hardly any carbonation bite.

D - Very drinkable, and @ +10% ABV dangerously so.

Overall impression - a big, very complex outstanding imperial stout.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2009 02:16:17 | More by Plonk
Photo of cope0021


4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow. This is an awesome beer.

Pours a deep, dark black with a tan head. Head starts out about an inch thick and quickly thins out, but sligh tan heads remains the entire time.

Smells slightly sweet with a pleasant aroma.

First taste is heaven. Great balance of alcohol heat and darker grains (bitter coffee and chocolate notes). Mouthfeel is just right; not too thick, not too thin.

Alcohol creeps up on you towards the end of the glass. The alcohol is not overpoweing in the flavor, but by the end of the glass you can feel it.

Great beer. Highly reccomend.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2009 23:28:29 | More by cope0021
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,335 ratings.