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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.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

4,523 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,523
Reviews: 1,880
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 391
Gots: 967 | 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: 4,523 | Reviews: 1,880 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of drgonzo3705
5/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Vintage 2006 bottle. Batch #7205 (Jan 12, 2006)

A: Very beautiful dark black with some slight mocha around the edge.

S: Buttery Milk Chocolate. Bit of raisin and a soft touch of vanilla.

T: Like a roasted Hershey bar. A bit smokey tasting that remains on your tongue.

M: Thick and full bodied. slightly creamy with little signs of carbonation.

D: The ABV will catch up with you after a while but until it does I'm going to drink the shit out of this stout!

This being a vintage review I will say I have had fresh Expedition Stout. Definitely worth holding on to and cellaring for a few years. Like a nice Port wine or a sherry. I split this bottle with a friend and I just want to slowly sip on this alll night long.

drgonzo3705, Jan 12, 2009
Photo of sonicdescent
3.68/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes, original drink 1/10.

Pours a beautiful black with a thick and creamy two fingered head. Excellent retention and lacing throughout the drink.

Smell is strong chocolate and to a lesser extent roasted malt.

Taste is heavy licorice and roasted coffee way out front. Boozy.

Mouth is thick and low carbonation but has a chalky feeling. This gets better as the drink warms, and oh yeah, the drink will warm you.

I probably would pass on buying this again as it is somewhat difficult to put down due to the chalky and boozy feeling.

sonicdescent, Jan 12, 2009
Photo of SLeffler27
4.18/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The Otter Creek Pint Glass turns to a rich, dark, black with no visible light passing under a velvety, dense, dark, mocha head. If only the head were a little taller, this would be outstanding.

Strong, sweet molasses greets the nose from the pour and is joined by toasted wheat bread, espresso and some spruce. Raisins, vanilla, and perhaps a touch of smoke fill out the profile.

An impressive combination of bitter chocolate and black coffee is immediately followed by a punch of alcohol. Sweet cereals in the middle lead to a seemingly endless bitter finish. Yum.

A full-bodied, just shy of syrupy, elixir with biting carbonation and strong alcohol awaits all.

One must select this for the proper occasion and make an appointment for exploration. I am presently reading "Beer Philosophy" while sipping and may invite a cigar to elevate the experience. This would also be a fine companion with vanilla ice cream.

date consumed: 7 Dec 2008

SLeffler27, Jan 11, 2009
Photo of Trappistfan1
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Very dark. Had a hard time coaxing a head (as some others have noted) from the bottle into a pint glass.

S - Malt, chocolate, coffee. Rich and full.

T - All of the above flavors were present, as well as a little alcohol warmth in the finish, but not overwhelming for as high as its content is. Pleasant.

M - Generally smooth and almost creamy, though sadly absent from my sample was much carbonation, which I think would have improved mouthfeel.

D - I am generally pleased with this beer. It is something I will go back to from time to time, and piqued my interest in other RIS's. Overall, another fine brew from Bell's.

Trappistfan1, Jan 11, 2009
Photo of erosier
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A Big thanks to Scoobydank for this one.

L: Pours a deep dark black color with a short and medium bodied tan colored head that laces the glass a tiny bit as it fades fast.
S: Smells of sweet and burnt malts, chocolate, caramel, and a tiny bit of hops at the end.
T: Tastes of sweet malts, then vinous fruit, then some chocolate, hints of caramel, then a nice burnt flavor at the end of the taste, with hints of alcohol at the end as well.
M: Very heavy, warming, burnt, nice amount of carbonation.
D: Pretty drinkable, though a bit burnt and alcoholic. Decent beer.

erosier, Jan 10, 2009
Photo of WakeandBake
4.63/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ultra black color pour with a thin tan head that falls to a thin rim and hangs out till the end.Aroma of coffee,chocolate,caramel,dark roasted malt and some anise just to name a few that I could pick out.Flavor is DARK roast coffee,chocolate,some dark fruit like rasins and plums,and bitter hops. Very thick ,full body you can chew this stuff. A thing of beauty !

WakeandBake, Jan 10, 2009
Photo of CrellMoset
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bell's Expedition Stout, on tap at Flying Saucer, Charlotte, NC. Served in a traditional American pint glass.

Appearance: Huge finger-plus of deep chocolately, cocoa head with absolutely great sticking power. It sits atop a thick, black sea of bottomless gook - though it doesn't look as unpleasant as that might read. Some sticky, thick lacing, sheetlike, fluffy in places looks really nice - definitely an attractive beer.

Aroma: Char and heavy black roasts with flourishes of French roast and cocoa dominate. This one's nearly pushed to the edge, heavy and thick, with a few wooden, green earthy notes peeking their head through the black clouds every once in a while.

Taste: Very nice. Heavily, deeply roasted astringencies, but also plenty of sweet cocoa, toast, some light bittering hops and grassy, hay-like notes. As the haze clears, one can detect a few faint but increasingly noticeably dark fruit notes, the obligatory raisin and fig. A very complex and well-rounded beer.

Mouthfeel: Fluffy, even, and milky, this one is of a perfect thickness and body, cut by a perfect amount of effervescence. Simply velvet.

Drinkability: Better than out of the bottle, in my opinion. The flavors just really came through on this one, and I'm beginning to appreciate this beer much more than I previously did. Sure the alcohol's way up there, but it's well-hidden and really takes a backseat to the great array of flavors and aromas here. Recommended, as always.

CrellMoset, Jan 09, 2009
Photo of htomsirveaux
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 12 oz bottle, poured into a snifter. Undated bottle purchased ~April 2008 (maybe bottled Jan 2008 per Roadhouse's review 7 Jan 2009?), sampled 7 Jan 2009. Refrigerated until now.

Poured entire bottle into 0.4 L snifter. Dark sediment covers the bottom of the bottle. Small very dark brown head. Pitch black in color. Aroma is of dark chocolate, coffe, raisins, rum, earthy, alcohol. Very thick body, coats the glass and tongue. Tastes of dark bittersweet chocolate, espresso, raisins, roasty malt. Alcohol is present throughout but never hot, would not guess it was over 10%, easy to drink. Lots of sediment in the glass. This is one of the better imperial stouts I've had. Would definitely seek out again.

htomsirveaux, Jan 08, 2009
Photo of brubrew2001
5/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was shocked by the Brothers review. This is one of my favorite Imperial stouts as well as one of my favorite beers. The taste is intense with a great alcohol warmth and bitterness at the end. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. This is a big beer. A cold night, a fire place and an Expedition served not too cold is a true delight.

brubrew2001, Jan 07, 2009
Photo of roadhouse
5/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a snifter. This is a re-review. My last tasting was 6/18/08. There is no batch number on the bottle but at it's youngest it must only be 6-7 months or so, my last tasting was bottled 2/8/08.
Edit: I contacted Bell's and it was probably batch 8270 bottled 1/3/08 when their ink system failed.

Pours an opague charcoal black with very dark tan one inch tall head. There was a big pop when I opened it, these reviews about it having no carbonation must have gotten bad bottles. The head sinks down to a skim and leaves a small amount of lacing on the glass.

Aroma of molasses, rum, chocolate, raisins, vanilla, a very faint smokiness, coffee in the back, and some alcohol. When I last reviewed this the alcohol smell was very prominent and almost overbearing, but it seems to have faded away.

The taste starts out very sweet, but not cloying, kind of like brown sugar and molasses. After the initial burst of sweetness I am tasting rum-soaked candied fruits and chocolate covered raisins. On the finish we finanlly get some bitterness in the form of roasted coffee beans and as it lingers on I am getting some piney hops, but overall the sweet flavors keep them under control and the aftertaste ends up more like coffee.

This is a very thick beer, almost the consistency of maple syrup. It goes down oh so smooth and creamy, some might say velvety. Flavors just glide through the mouth.

An exquisite beer. I never really found any flavor trying to dominate here; they all blended together quite nicely. For the alcohol content it goes down really smooth. Very drinkable for what it is, definitely a sipper though. Some aging really seems to help this one out. I'm heading to the liquor store right now to get the other 5 bottles that were left so I can cellar them, that is if I can control myself from drinking them.

1/06/09 Tasting:
The aroma and taste are very similar only blended together better than before. This is basically the perfect RIS and I see no way that it can possibly be topped. If I wouldn't die from it I could drink a keg of this. Age this one for a year and you will taste heaven.

roadhouse, Jan 07, 2009
Photo of mataelbata
3.9/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow! i must admit that i was shocked to see that "the bros" rated this a C. I love it! I just came in from a cold MN night and had one waiting for me at about 50 degrees. It poured with a nice head, and seemed to retain one to my satisfaction for a RIS. The taste warmed me up on this cold evening and exceeded my expectationso on the palate. Good job Bells !

mataelbata, Jan 07, 2009
Photo of Birchgrove77
3.68/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 Expedition Stout purchased from Binny's.

Appearance - Soot black. No light penetrates the depths of this beer. An amazing two-inch cocoa brown head coaxed from a vigorous pour. Fantastic lacing as the glass emptied.

Smell - Seems almost to have a dark chocolate cake smell interspersed with a slight coffee aroma. Maybe a slight raisiny aroma as the beer warms.

Taste - If you could melt a good dark chocolate into a nicely brewed cup of coffee and top up with a nice bourbon you'd have this pint of Expedition. Definitely, an alcohol burn on the back of the throat. As it warmed more of a vanilla character came through that was nice, and reinforced the alcohol warmth as having a bourbon characteristic. As I finished the glass the alcohol warmth and bitterness almost took on a cough syrup undertone.

Mouthfeel - Flavors stay on the tounge and mouth for a while. Definitely has some viscosity to it, but was what I thought it would have.

Overall - This beer surpasses my expectations based on other's reviews. This beer goes great with a couple of Oreos.

Have the rest of the six pack cellared as I think this is a once a year type of beer. A great offering by Bells, but not something that I would want often.

Birchgrove77, Jan 04, 2009
Photo of argock
4.58/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a clear pint glass. No freshness date.

A: The darkest black stout that I have ever seen with a baking German chocolate cake 1-finger head that lasts for over 10 minutes as I allow the beer to warm some more. The top of the glass is draped with lace. A beauty.

S: This beer smells like a brewery with dark but sweet malt delivering the majority of the aroma. There are some chocolate, espresso, raisin, and dark rum notes there, but the malty smell hangs heavy and is atypical for the style.

T: The flavor, however, is a brilliant combination of hefty maltiness and complex components such as coffee, bitter chocolate, dark fruits like raisin, date, and plum, with leafy, aggressive hopping. There are a lot of extra milky sugars in this brew, but they are welcome and enhance rather than detract from this brew.

M: The mouthfeel is as full as you can get with beer at least a half-inch thick with each chewy swallow. The aftertaste has more fruity, chocolate, coffee, and bitter hops tones than the flavor belies.

D: This is an exceptional beer with incredible fullness in body, aroma, and flavor. I will be seeking out more RIS style brews in the near future to see if any can match Expedition Stout.

12/5/09: Cellared for 6 months, this brew has gotten smoother and less boozy with plenty of strong bitter chocolate and coffee flavors. The sweetness has faded a bit. This is a formdiable brew that will grow some more in the cellar.

10/20/10: Sampled a nearly 1-year old bottle tonight -- still a little boozy and could use more time. Flavors are not very sweet and mostly bitter chocolate, coffee, and molasses.

argock, Jan 03, 2009
Photo of PerzentRizen
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I found this beer on one of my yearly runs to Cincy. This is the third time I've had it and it was great all three times.

I poured this one into a Duvel glass which is the glass I typically taste new beers or review them. All I have to say is wow this beer is amazing.

From the first pour all I have to say is "motor oil". It's not quite as thick as Ten Fidy but it's close. The head is fairly impressive even at the 45 degrees I ended up opening this at. I figured it would warm over the hour I spend drinking it on this nice brisk Mississippi winter's day. The head is dark tan and full of soft small bubbles that quickly reduce to a thin lacing that will completely fade to nothing.

The taste is of burnt flavors, toffee, dried fruit, raisins, and hard hitting hops. I love the flavors here. This is much better than Old Rasputin but very very similar.

The mouthfeel is big and biscuity. The smoothness of the swallow is shocked by the finish which is quite bitter (which will mellow with 1-3 years of aging I expect).

Overall I would rate this beer a solid find. Enjoy this one at the end of a evening or big meal. Very tasty!

PerzentRizen, Jan 02, 2009
Photo of BrewerB
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark black color, thick with legs, dark tan head was thin but didn't hold together.

S - Charcoal, dark roast, burnt, alcohol, spice. Complex with many nuances.

T - Dark chocolates, high level of bitterness, roasty, spicy. Dry finish left hints of chocolate and espresso coffee.

M - Medium-full bodied, moderate carbonation. Smooth.

D - An imperial stout I could actually drink more than one of. It was my original favorite RIS and I still enjoy cracking open a bottle any time I get the chance. Excellent.

BrewerB, Jan 01, 2009
Photo of SerieDNo3
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Pours a silky jet black. A hard pour yielded less than one finger of dark tan head that quickly receded to a ring of tan foam on the edge of the glass. This is a very thick beer; light does not go through.

S: A lot of alcohol on the nose, with some roasty smells. But mostly alcohol.

T: Heavy espresso flavors accompanied by a surprisingly smooth alcohol burn that's pleasantly warming.

M: Chewy and thick. Looks like motor oil, and has a slightly lighter texture. Relatively low carbonation.

D: I can't say I could do more than one of these in a sitting, but it's pretty drinkable for a 10.5% RIS. It's a pretty smooth beer, but the alcohol and texture prevent drinking too much of it.

SerieDNo3, Jan 01, 2009
Photo of SmithwicksNut
3.9/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours thick with a brown head. A very dark Brown appearance, coffee dark.

S: Sweet chocolate with toasty malt aroma.

T: Same as Smell. Chocolate with toasted malts. In some aspects almost chocolate shake like.

M: Thick, very rich toasted malts sit on tongue alomost weighing it down.

O: A very big dark sweet ale almost milkshake like. I, personally, am not a fan of Imperial Stouts but I had to try this because I have heard so much about it. Its good.

SmithwicksNut, Dec 31, 2008
Photo of drxandy
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12oz to standard pint, pours a jet black with a creamy brown that retains excellently eventually fading, looks awesome

smells of raisins, creaminess, chocolate, roastiness, mmm

taste is bitter roasty dark malt, creaminess, sweet hot alcohol, thick body, chocolate, raisins, plums, figs, hops play in the background, molasses, vanilla, coffee, wow

mouthfeel is thin from alcohol solventness but thick from everything else, roasty, bitter, enjoyable, mmm great flavors

drxandy, Dec 31, 2008
Photo of biggmike
3.88/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown bordering on black color with tan head that lasted a while and left nice lacing. Aroma was of chocolate, dark fruit, molasses, and coffee. Flavor is very similar with a bit of alcohol present in the taste. Good mouthfeel. Overall a good beer that I think might benefit from some aging.

biggmike, Dec 29, 2008
Photo of sprucetip
3.98/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had fun in my review session with mom a couple years ago, but deep into it we got to this beer, and I have to update the scoring. What I scored, largely based on mom not being into the intense roasty bitterness, though we'd been on a mostly impy stout/porter binge, just isn't fair to such an impressive ale.
The original is still below, and it may be good for a laugh, if I remember right.

pours thick black, creamy mocha head with good retention and thick lacing. Very attractive.

Smells pretty boozy, as this is a pretty fresh sample. But this succumbs to smoky, roasty, coffee and molasses influences.

Malty sweet, roasty flavor and bitterness, black licorice/molasses, and booze which is none too bashful. The roasty bitterness does linger, as I recall, and is a little bit harsh. But still, this is pretty smooth and complex while fresh, and bound to improve with age.

Well carbonated, a bit of a hot alcohol bite penetrates an otherwise velvety rich, full body. The bitter aftertaste is, as mentioned, a bit distracting. I should put some away and see what happens to it.

This is one aggressive, bold, and crass, but classy Imperial
Stout. It deserves to at least be compared to the elite the elite of the style, if it isn't one of them. I'm looking forward to see how it might smooth and mellow with some time.

***

First review, winter 2008 with Mom starts here;
bottle into snifters. Share with my mom. From notes.

Mom is an aspiring beer geek who has been drinking craft beers mainly over the last 15 years, after a lifetime of macro lagers. She mainly drinks whatever decent porter is on sale, but likes stouts, and when introduced to some Belgians recently, seems to like them as well. She's not a hophead and doesn't like bitterness generally. She doesn't experiment much when I'm not around, but she is open to it. When asked what she thinks about various ales, she often pulls common descriptors off the top of her head. I think she is a bit of a natural, and could make a great reviewer.

Dark black, moderate mocha head, some retention, thin spotty lacing. Mom wanted to give it a 5, but I decided on 4.5

Big molasses, sweet, malty, smoky, woody, has legs. Mom:"Chocolaty, woodsy. sorgham." "I do appreciate the smell. It smells good. I really like the smell."

Tastes of molasses, coffee, bitter, hint of sweetness, and sharp bitterness that lingers well past the finish (and past the next beer). Kind of harsh and way out of balance on the bitter side. Mom:"That's bad." "I would never order or drink another one of these." "Nasty."

Storng bitter tang from front to middle. Low carbonation. Feels thin despite its huge size. Sharp bitter finish and aftertaste. Mom:"I don't like it."

A sipper at best. I like sharp roasty stouts, but this is too much for me. The bitterness on the tongue lasted way past the next beer! Way out of balance on the roasty bitter side. I appreciate the boldness, but mom didn't. From memory, I thought I liked this one and will definitely have it again. Mom won't. Mom:"Not a drain pour, but I wouldn't get it again." "almost like syrup." Mom on aftertaste 30 minutes after it was gone and we were on another beer "like if I had a tablespoon of pure molasses. I can't get it out of my mouth."

sprucetip, Dec 29, 2008
Photo of BarkingLeopard
1.98/5  rDev -53.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Paid $2.49 for a 12oz bottle from Total Wine & More.

Got 1/8th inch of head that quickly dissipated. No lacing, and about as dark as you can get.

Smells DARK, as in dark coffee and chocolate, but not "dark" in the sense of good and rich. Smells slightly sweet...

Taste is very syrupy, dark, and sharp; very much not for me, one of the more disagreeable tasting beers I've had in a while. Similarly, this stuff is thicker than I was expecting (though it isn't too too thick). It really sticks to your tongue, and with its taste that's not a good thing at all in my book.

I have very low drinkability with this. It's very slightly warming as it goes down, and its taste is so sharp that it's definitely not something you'd want to drink one than one of... or in my case more than one sip of... I'm sure that this is good beer to some, but it was a struggle to make myself finish this beer; definitely not for me.

BarkingLeopard, Dec 29, 2008
Photo of MmmIPA
3.95/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this beer on tap before but never got a chance to review it.

Very black body with a stunning brown head.Spotty lacing on the glass.

Notes of chocolate and soy sauce? whats up with that.

Taste is Booooze and all booze,its very hot.Malty with some chocolate and nice hoppiness at the end of the sip.

Mouthful is good but the booze takes away from the score.I would love to age this.I need another bootle soon.

Good beer but its very hot at its freshness.Will buy sgain though.

MmmIPA, Dec 26, 2008
Photo of jjanega08
3.88/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A= pours a thick black with a light brown head that sticks nicely to the glass
S=malty plums, figs, carmel and some spicy hops
T= chocolaty and coffee, plums follow and a slight booze touch going down
M= sticky with average carbonation. Heavy feeling
D= average. Gets a little too sticky and boozy. As the beer warms the alcohol is more prevelant.

jjanega08, Dec 25, 2008
Photo of Reaper16
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

served on-tap (!) into a globe glass at Flying Saucer

Looked like an RIS, basically. Rich blackness with a creamy, tan/leather head. Lacing was superb all throughout the drink.

Lots of chocolate in the nose, with pleasant characteristics of nuts (almonds, maybe). Sweet, luxurious malt aromas provide an awful lot of enticement. I think, not quite dark fruits, but maybe berries of some kind? Either way, its intriguing.

This is a terrific tasting beer. Loads of creamy chocolate, roasted-to-burnt malts, a touch of hops somewhere in the middle, and a nutty, clean finish. The alcohol asserts itself, making this beer pretty hot and warming. This is like a delicious glass of chocolate milk, only with booze.

Expedition Stout is thick like a milkshake, but remains drinkable throughout. If you can handle the hot alcohol characteristics, you could be in danger put a few down too fast. Splendid.

I'm ecstatic that I had the chance to try Expedition Stout on-tap, though I can only wonder how an aged/cellared bottle might do to the alcohol taste. I suspect that this is too young to be at its optimum tasting age. Regardless, this was a decadent treat and an awesome stout that I would absolutely love to drink again.

Reaper16, Dec 23, 2008
Photo of SilentSabre
3.68/5  rDev -13%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

I have wanted to try this for *ages*. With the temperature around 24F tonight, I figured this would be an ideal time to crack it open. Poured absolutely black as ink with a medium brown foamy head. I could just look at the behaviour of the liquid as it poured into my goblet and tell it was going to be thick as hell in the mouth. Perfect. This was a terrific looking stout; enough to justify me handing out a 5.0. Smell was full of burnt coffee notes with a healthy dose of chocolate and caramel, and toffee, as suspected. Good, for sure, but no higher than a 4.0. Taste let me down a bit. Sort of a, "...hm...that's it, eh?" The flavour profiles one would expect were all there, but I just felt this lacked the deep complexity I was anticipating, and honestly, it wasn't as sweet as the aroma alluded to. Also, I feel that there is no question that this is 10% abv+. The first breath you take after having swallowed has a bit of heat on it. Mouthfeel is right where I was hoping it would be. Thick, chewy, heavy as hell. Great. Drinkability on this one is average at best, I felt. I think this is another classic case of generating hype over a beer and just *knowing* that's it's gowing to be the greatest beer you've sampled in many years, and then the moment arrives, and all you've done is set yourself up for disappointment. A good stout, overall, though. Just not the "be-all end-all" I was thinking it would be. Oh well..
*Note* I don't know how to read their coding system, but my bottle had "8 3 1 1 " ink jetted on the back label.

SilentSabre, Dec 23, 2008
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,523 ratings.