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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.

5,043 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 5,043
Reviews: 1,928
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.85%
Wants: 427
Gots: 1,143 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,043 | Reviews: 1,928 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of pburland23
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage, Batch #9512 cellared for the last twelve months. Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a snifter.

Pours a deep, dark nearly opaque black with a surprising amount of tan head (about 3/4 of a finger). When I drank a bottle last year, there was no head at all.

Smell is a little too prickly sweet for me... raisin, sweet maltiness, a touch of caramel.

Taste is great. Rich, smooth, toasty maltiness, a hint of sweetness balanced out by a little bitterness and a touch of dark coffee. Well rounded and very complex.

Mouthfeel is thick and very chewy. It's a big, bold beer and a great after dinner sipper. One of the best RIS I have encountered.

Photo of StLThrash
3.88/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into my Schlafly snifter.

A - Pours a very deep, dark brown / black. No light through this one. Very small tan head that disappeared quickly. No lacing.

S - Complex blend of dark chocolate, smoke, roasted coffee, black licorice, and a bit boozy.

T - Dark chocolate & coffee bitterness with rich malts and lots of alcohol. The alcohol comes through on this stout more than I would've liked, but still wasn't overwhelming.

M - Medium-bodied thickness and nice malt character. Again, the alcohol shines through.

D - Couldn't drink too many of these. Very strong stout that seemed to get better as it sat. Definitely let this one warm up a bit. Much nicer flavor character after it sat awhile in my snifter.

Overall - pretty good stout. Very strong alcohol taste though. Nice after dinner beer.

Photo of Nikkibrews13
1.83/5  rDev -56.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

A: Bell's stout pours a deep black/ brown with a roasty brown head that leaves minimal lacing

S: The aroma gives off lots of sweet scents. licorice is present, as well as the alcohol.

T: This stout has roasted qualities that are quickly overcome by a acidic bitter flavor... and not a good one either. it honestly leaves a bad taste in my mouth... literally.

M: Thin coating mouthfeel.

D: Terrible. I think im gonna put this one to rest.

Overall i think that the apperance and aroma over the expedition was very misleading when the flavor comes into play. I dont know if this bottle was old but its no bueno in my book... thus far.

Photo of Rizalini
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Recieved this bottle in a trade from StlThrash, and shared with Nikkibrews13! Thanks for the brew!

A - Pours jet black with a nice 1 finger brown foamy head. Slight lacing, not too much tho.

S - Nice roasty, almost nutty aroma. Slightly boozy.

T - Dark and milk chocolate, roasty malts, with hints of hazelnut.

M - Medium-heavy mouthfeel, with great carbonation.

D - Very good drinkability, too bad Bell's dosen't distrubute to Las Vegas...

Photo of imagineiii
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured into a duvel tulip. love the color of the head, its darker than most BEERS. reminiscent of ten fidy in that way. dissipates a little quicker than i would like.

nose is what i will remember about this beer. all the usual stuff from an imp stout (rum raisin, seriously dark chocolate, coffee) however, it separates itself with one characteristic; smokeyness. almost campfire smokey, wet-campfire smokey. good stuff.

very well balanced on the palate for such a big beer. dark chocolate, roasted coffee, burning wood, restrained sweetness, hop character, all in check.

slightly astringent, prehaps from a rather forward hop profile. alcohol shows a bit too much. very creamy, love the body. would love to try this one with some age on it.

for me this stout is right up there with ten fidy, my current favorite readily available stout. based on the burnt flavors, and dark chocolate, this beer really appeals to my tastes.

Photo of dciBA
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to a non BA buddy for sending me a growler of this.

Pours jet black through and through. No light penetrates this brew anywhere, awesome. Some foamy brown head forms and lingers on the edge of the glass for a while. Quite a bit of soapy tan head.

Smell is wafting up out of my snifter. Feel like I can smell it from 3 feet away. My DFH snifter really seems to bring out aroma very well and this beer is no exception. Lots of chocolate, both milk and dark with some coffee roastiness underneath. This aroma is perfectly suited for my tastes, eerr nose.

Flavor is quite similar to aroma. The chocolate in the nose is toned down in the taste and really blends with the other flavors. The flavor isn't terribly complex, keeping the score down there, but this is a very enjoyable stout. The chocolate comes in initially, followed by the coffee, which has taken on more of a roasted barley flavor, then some bitter hops on the back of the tongue.

Mouthfeel is very thick and viscous. Tons of body and quite slick in the mouth without being overly sweet on the finish. Perfect mouthfeel for style. Flavor lingers forever on the palate making this a perfect sipping beer on a cold winter day. This brew is fairly warm as it goes down which is not surprising considering the 10.5% ABV. Drinkability is good for style, not great. Overall a very well done RIS. I'd rate it almost perfect if it wasn't for the lack of complexity in the flavor. Very glad I got a chance to try this one.

Photo of thecarster1
3.48/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

a- bottle poured into a nonic pint, dark, thick pour, two fingers head fade to even layer of lacing.

s- lots to the nose, raisins hit first - liquored soaked, dark chocolate and black coffee, alcohol here.

t- lots of roast and flavor here, some liquor soaked raisins, a smoky flavor, dark burnt chocolate, dark black coffee, some alcohol turnes to more alcohol as it warms.

m- huge, thick and creamy.

d- this is a sipper for a nice cold night, it wasn't as wonderful as i was expecting but certainly drinkable, and I won't have any trouble drinking the remaining single i have on hand - might throw in in the cellar for a year or so.

Photo of Nerudamann
3.48/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a Pint glass.

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

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

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

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

Photo of SuperSpy
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of theboozecruise
4.63/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of tehchunk
3.95/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of Thickfreakness
4.75/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of BretSikkink
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

Photo of cameraman
4.53/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

Photo of ColdPoncho
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 9971, packaged 9-13-2010

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of ffejherb
4.78/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of Janderson91
3.9/5  rDev -8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of camp0474
3.45/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Review from 12/30/10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of Franz4
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch #10068

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of joshrosborne
4.72/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of gregshead
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

M: A little carbonation but extremely smooth feel.

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

Photo of BigTomZ
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of mpcrump
3.15/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

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

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

T: Very heavy and bitter. Malts and coffee.

M: Thick with little carbonation.

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

Photo of WeissbrauMeister
4.18/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a 20oz. snifter.

A- Black. With a brownish head.

S- Dark. Licorice. Alcohol.

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

M- Right on par.

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

Photo of treehouse
3.9/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

deeep dark

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

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

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

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

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
95 out of 100 based on 5,043 ratings.