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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.

4,530 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,530
Reviews: 1,882
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 393
Gots: 969 | FT: 76
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: 4,530 | Reviews: 1,882 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jdubjacket
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black out of the bottle. The aroma immediately fills the air. It's VERY SWEET. The aroma is almost too sweet, which is the only drawback for this beer. Taste was very mellow and complex simultaneously. Roasted coffee and chocolate come out. A very sweet brew. Mouthfeel was smooth as silk. I don't know why the brothers hate this brew so much. I personally thought it was quite good.

jdubjacket, Apr 12, 2008
Photo of RomanW70
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours almost black with a thick tan head. Aroma of dark chocolate, roast, and caramel. Extremely smooth but complex at the same time. Initial taste of chocolate, caramel flows into a coffee bitterness with some warming alcohol at the finish. Very smooth to begin with, but becomes smoother with each taste. An excellent beer. I can't wait to taste this one aged.

RomanW70, Apr 12, 2008
Photo of Metalmonk
4.78/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a creamy head of tan froth that leaves big patches of lace over time. Color is dark as night in hell. A beauty of a thing.

Aroma is char, wet coffee grounds, dark baking chocolate, fast-food chocolate shake. Couldn't get my nose out of it. An excellent representation of the style.

Oh damn...that flavor. So insanely delicious...something to be enjoyed and savored...something to sink right into. Black cherry...chocolate fudge...old-fashioned drugstore malts...premium coffee...fudgy and coffee-bitter in the finish. Milky, creamy, gooey mouthfeel with barely any carbonation but just enough to keep it from plodding over the tongue.

One of the best beers out there, in any style. Who needs barrel-aging? Not Bell's Expedition Stout. This thing is just about perfect as is. A regular supply would make life that much sweeter. If you don't like them big, sweet, lovingly-brewed and freakin' delicious, then 1) this is not for you, and 2) what's your problem? Live a little.

Metalmonk, Apr 10, 2008
Photo of dnichols
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I poured a 12 ounce capped bottle into a pint glass.

A: It poured a thick black body with hints of reddish chocolate. The one finger head was a dark bakers chocolate with varied sided bubbles. The head did not linger long but it did leave a ring around the collar. There was a dense lacing that became spotty over time.

S: It had the full aroma of roasted malts, dark bakers chocolate and hints of coffee. There are ripe dark fruit flavors as well as charred brown sugar.

T: The chocolate flavors dominate. It has the taste of milk and bitter chocolates complemented by ripe dark fruits (figs, plums). As the beer rests on the tongue there is a bitter bite and some light coffee flavors.

M: It is creamy and full-bodied with a rich sweet front and biting bitter back. It finishes arm and clean with some minor sweet and sour aftertaste.

D: This is an enjoyable RIS with decent balance and excellent richness. It is too heavy and has too high an ABV to be a session brew but it is an excellent beer for a cold winter night.

dnichols, Apr 07, 2008
Photo of MiScusi
3.25/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle code of 7740 indicating a bottling date of Dec 19, 2006. Pours a really thick black color. Found the smell and flavor to be somewhat paralleled with the Kalamazoo stout, although kicked up a couple notches of course. More of a sour dark malty character to this, or what seems kinda like soy to me. I didn't like it all that much. The roastiness just wasn't that big.

MiScusi, Apr 06, 2008
Photo of nmyers
3.03/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured black with a very thin dark brown head on it with little retention and it looked really thick. It seemed to ooze out of the tap. The smell was good molasses, raisins and dates very sweet smelling. The smell was much better than the taste, it was slightly sweet in the beginning and finished very bitter. There was not much alcohol flavor for being 10.5%. It also had very little carbonation. Over it was ok because I am a fan of stouts.

nmyers, Apr 05, 2008
Photo of iuhophead87
2.75/5  rDev -35%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A- Dark black with almost no head! Looks almost like molasses or barbeque sauce.

S- It smells like molasses, raisons, and dates. Smells much sweeter than it tastes.

T- I had high expectations for this beer, but was greatly disappointed. There seemed to be almost no carbonation. It is more malty than sweet and where is the creaminess of a stout, it is not in this beer. Almost reminds me of cough syrup with a little hops added. Not a big fan of this beer, although I do like most beers brewed by "BELLS" .

MF- Thick and starts out sweet, then the flavor goes quickly as you choke down this raison juice.

D- The taste + alcohol content make this beer almost undrinkable. However, If you are able to get one down the 10% ABV is a plus. There is no way I could drink more than one of these.

I'm a big fan of Bells, but could do without this concoction of hopped up prune juice.

iuhophead87, Apr 05, 2008
Photo of IPAcraig
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This Bell's stout was poured upon arriving home after what seemed like a successful interview with a solid firm. Cheers to a good outcome on both items.

It is off to a slow start. I dont know what it is about Bell's stouts (maybe the bottle conditioning), but they all lack in carbonation and head. What head that does appear is a wonderful, dark mocha brown atop the blackest of bodies.

The aroma is undeniably weak on this massive beverage. It comes with high credentials, but it is falling a bit short. Sweet cream is nearly the only aroma detectable ... okay, and some roasted coffee flavors.

Its not looking so good for this one, and them Bam! there is an explosion of flavor. This is a massively sweet chocoaltey brew. It is like chocolate syrup almost, in a good way.

The mouthfeel is syrup, with very low carbonation. I like the thick viscosity of this one, but a tinge more carbonation would have helped.

This is a big beer. It started slow, butted it pulled through in then end. Drizzled over vanilla ice cream is amazing,

IPAcraig, Apr 04, 2008
Photo of callmemickey
4.78/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown/black body with a thick brown head that lasts breifly before turning into a nice film... Significant lacing...

S: Rich roasted malts... caramel/chocolate/coffee/molases/wood/roasted grain.. nice bitterness from hops.

T: A bold, robust coffee-chocolate-caramel malt blast... a nice bitter hop finish is paired with a smooth vanilla oak (almost bourbon-like) finish.. alcohol is present in the taste.. Exceptional depth and complexity.

M: Smooth transitions with a sharp dry bitter finish...

O: on occasion this monster may suffer a bit from its own success... its bold and assertive and I can only drink it when I am really craving a stout. But when I do, there are few comparables out there.

callmemickey, Apr 01, 2008
Photo of arkhamresident
2.55/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12 oz. from trade with Beavers poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - Dark brown almost black body with a one inch brown head, good retention and thick lacing.

S - Smells very sweet, almost like a heavily creamed and sweetened coffee with some booze thrown in.

T - Front is slight hop bite followed by overly sweetened and creamed coffee and chocolate with a bit too much roasty bitterness on the finish. No alcohol apparent.

M - Not thin but not full either. Complete lack of carbonation hurts quite a bit but slightly thick and smooth for the most.

D - I really can't see drinking more of one of these at a time.

Not bad but much too sweet for my tastes. The lack of carbonation also took me by surprise and made me feel this was more of a cold coffee drink than a beer. It's too bloody sweet in my opinion. Overall I'd not turn this down if offered but I can't say I would buy it if available.

arkhamresident, Mar 31, 2008
Photo of bunnyhustle
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with mocha colored head. Somewhat thin head however there is pretty good retention and heavy lacing. Smell is of toasted grain, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, and raisin. Taste is great. Heavy coffee flavors and an overall "burnt" taste to it. Dark chocolate and dark fruit as well, really dont detect too many hops. Mouthfeel is thick as hell. Thickest beer I've ever drank. Very low carbonation and a slick, oily feeling left behind. One thing to note is the alcohol is well hidden, could barely tell this was 10.5%. Overall a great beer, hard to drink in a session but enjoy one or two and sit back and relax.

bunnyhustle, Mar 31, 2008
Photo of johnnnniee
4.18/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a solid black that lets no light through. Tanish head that dissipates quickly, but leaves lots of marks down the surface of the glass. Aroma is wine like, with roasted malts, licorice, some chocolate and coffee too. Taste is sweet. I pick up some dried fruit, molasses, some roast and some faint hop or roast bitterness in the end. Mouthfeel is thick, and a bit sweet. Almost leaves my lips sticky like my kids with candy. Not your average Imp Stout, but I love this stuff. Bells continues to impress me!!

johnnnniee, Mar 29, 2008
Photo of rodrot
4.63/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is by far one of the boldest Imperial stouts I've ever had. It poured totally black with a nice half inch tan head that hung around. Aroma was very roasty and coffeeish with lots of ripe fruit
and a hint of madeira in the nose. Taste was very complex with a medley of flavors coming through. Espresso, dark chocolate, licorice and port wine were just a few of the flavors in each taste. Alcohol was barely evident, making this stout highly drinkable. Mouthfeel was quite rich and full bodied. This is not a beer for folks who favor light or less assertive styles. Next year, I'm buying a case of this stuff.

rodrot, Mar 27, 2008
Photo of Pencible
4.63/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Another outstanding stout from Bell's. This time an imperial, it poured opaque black with good brown head. It smelled like molasses and dark chocolate with some roasted coffee. It tasted strongly like very bitter/dark chocolate with a roasted flavor, mixed with natural/wood cask notes and a bit of alcohol taste. It was very thick but not too sticky, with a strong but mostly sweet aftertaste. Overall this was a very flavorful stout, but not too strong to drink more than one. Very enjoyable, reminiscent of the Old Rasputin with slightly different flavoring.

Pencible, Mar 27, 2008
Photo of Slatetank
4.55/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is the ale I chose to celebrate my 500th review. I picked this up at Capone's in Norristown and cellared this for 6 months. Decanted at approx 45 degrees in a snifter and goblet for the sake of experiment.

A - Very, very very deep brown w/ medium brown head that appears like a sturdy tree trunk w/ rings after a swirl of the glass. The bead is ultra fine w/ a smooth cappuccino-like appearance on the foam.

M - Dry, luscious roasted malt w/ a toasted charred feel like the texture of over-roasted marshmallows. Intense spice and sweetness w/ moderately low carbonation and a decent amount of hop bitterness as the liquid is swallowed.

S - Supreme dark malt w/ heavy roast and fruit aromas. The sweet chewy malt has a creamy milky caramel aroma. There is subtle molasses and smokey wood notes w/ light spiced hop odors that round out the smell of this complex ale.

T - Dark fruit and berry flavors w/ vanilla-like oaky and slightly smokey flavored sweet chocolate cookie-like malt. The hops are pungent w/ sweet leafy and piney flavors that have a sugar coated taste. The flavors of dark crystal malt w/ roasted grains tastes as fresh as fresh brewed wort. A nice brown sugar-like note w/ a nice accent of citrus coming from the hops works in a synergystic way. There are many flavor layers w/ a dominant dark chocolate flavor that surrounds the tongue and makes this stout seem like a hoppy version of liquid truffles w/ anise spice added for good measure.

D - One of the best American Imperial Stouts I have tasted in a bottle. Just about flawless w/ a balance of hops and so much malt flavor you can't go wrong here. Even the boozy taste is within optimal range for my taste (6 months cellared) I prefer the bottled version, but I will update this when I can w/ the draft version. I can honestly say this deserves all the accolades this big stout receives.

Slatetank, Mar 25, 2008
Photo of abankovich
2.75/5  rDev -35%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured with a pretty nice light brown head with the beer being extremely dark as it should be.

Smells very strong and sweet of molasses and maple syrup maybe some brown sugar as well. Some chocolate notes as well.

Very sweet on the initial sip, a lot of malt and syrupy flavors present. Almost a little too syrupy for me. I wish there was a little more bitterness throughout to balance it out. Chocolate and Java hints on the very back end as it washes down.

Mouthfeel is medium to thick and the drinkability isn't too high on this one for me due to the overwhelming sweetness for the style.

abankovich, Mar 23, 2008
Photo of enfield249
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a very thick dark black, with dark tan foam.

S - Very strong roast and coffee smells, with some strong malt back ground.

T - First I get a really strong malty sweetness, backed up by some amazing coffee and nutty roast. After a min or so there is a little hop bitterness

M - Full, full full. Sticks around on my tongue for a long while. Very mild carbonation

D - An awesome Russian Stout. Very good, and an best of style.

enfield249, Mar 18, 2008
Photo of JDV
3.9/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Gregis
Big oily black pour, big brown lasting head in a snifter. Smell is figgy, banana notes, lots of dark roastiness and dry dry chocolate. Taste is dry dark roasty malt on the bitter side with figgy character. Some molassesy sweetness perhaps. Some alcohol showing a bit too in the flavor. Slightly sweet, but more rich, heavy chalky and slightly bitter malt. Big heavy rich mouthfeel and light carbonation. Nice, big, big stout. Thanks Greg!

JDV, Mar 15, 2008
Photo of daaru
4.83/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

this is a monstrous stout. monstrously good, that is--almost selling me on the $12.99/6 pk price. almost. pours dark, dark, dark, with a thin amber head. wonderful fruity nose, and once it gets on the palate it just keeps going and going and going. plum, chocolate, leather, blackberries. wonderful mouthfeel, and at 10.5% alcohol, dangerously drinkable. get some tonight.

daaru, Mar 13, 2008
Photo of westweasel
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Sam Adams tasting glass. The aroma contains raisins, dates, dark chocolate, and a bit of coffee.

The appearance is very dark brown/black and opaque, with a thin tan head. The taste is raisins, chocolate, figs, a little coffee, and notable carbonic bite that accentuates the bitterness in the finish.

The mouthfeel is fairly full-bodied. The drinkability is high for a Russian Imperial Stout.

westweasel, Mar 13, 2008
Photo of maximum12
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a nip of this at the Happy Gnome Bell's night as part of a flight & knew I wanted to sit down & have a serious conversation with it, soon.

After looking in several dark corners for this bad-boy, I located it at the Big Top in the Midway, St. Paul. Why were you hiding, little buddy?

Pours with a thin brown foam, which my wife immediately commented on ("why isn't it white? That's weird!"). I think it looked very cool. Smells good to my weak nose.

Taste is borderline fantastic. A hint of coffee, which is all I like, & lacking the heaviness of a less-excellent stout that fills you up after a few sips. Very drinkable - I might even be able to down more than one per hour, which isn't the normal relationship I have with stouts.

Great beer. I'm going to try to convince my wife to hold off on trying stouts until the six-pack has been relegated to a fond memory.

maximum12, Mar 13, 2008
Photo of NoLiberty
3.95/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

App: Pours into a tulip glass thick, brown, and with a caramel colored 2-finger thick head. Dark, brooding and caramel, chocolate color. Thick and big with nice head retention that settles into a low but persistent lacing.

Aroma: Slightly sweet roasted bitterness, big chocolate nose, with underlying alcohol aroma. Toffee plus coffee sweetness. Good roasted nuttiness all the way through with almost barleywine-like characteristics.

Taste: Big flavor up front; sweet and chocolatey, followed in the middle by alcohol, then finishes roasty sweet and bitter. Too much alcohol but really nice big full flavors alongside it. A slight hop bite at the finish.

Mouth: Full, thick and chewy. Smooth and full mouthfeel. Good carbonation to balance the size. Surprisingly effervescent.

Drink: Nice, buy the alcohol impedes on any real continuous drinking, but for a sipping stout, it's drinkable.

NoLiberty, Mar 10, 2008
Photo of esv
2.53/5  rDev -40.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12z 10.5% abv

Brown-chocolate, milkshake head. Thick head. The beer is thick to the eye when poured. The beer is black.

I smell salty, smoked ham. It smells Malty Sweet. Hops have a real presence in the nose, which seems out of style. And now I'm sure I've got a pig in my nose.

It's a bitter-bulldozer that ploughs over the tongue but the wake is more like that of a loaded down barge. Sweet medicinal flavors dominate the finish.

Mouthfeel. Thick, heavy and smooth. Like the mother of all imperial oatmeals, hyped up on nitro.

While I can drink it, I also have a high, distorting threshold for imperial stouts.

Sometimes a severe beating can be less painful than a couple of light jabs. Adrenaline kicks in at higher levels and masks the really brutal stuff. I think my tongue went into survival mode.

I'm not even sure the masochist in me will reach for this again but the sadist may certainly help it into a house guest's glass.

esv, Mar 07, 2008
Photo of Drew966
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bell's Expedition Stout pours an opaque dark brown with a very minimal tan head from a brown twelve ounce bottle. The aroma smells like malted milk balls to me. The body is thick and smooth. The flavor is quite intense, this is definitely a sipper, coffee and bitter chocolate and a few other things that I can't really put my finger on. The alcohol is always present too, but never really seems to overpower things. Excellent beer.

Drew966, Mar 07, 2008
Photo of bassmantin
3.8/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to iconoklaztor for letting me sample this one. This one is aged about 4-6 months. I had one fresh, and it was a bit too harsh.

Pours a very dark brown/black into a snifter with a thick clumpy tan head. Smell is very sweet and intense. Strong alcohol aroma.

Taste is extremely sweet. Too sweet for me. The flavors are very complex and indulgent, but it leaves a sticky taste in my mouth. The aging has helped quite a bit, though. I would be interested to see what another six months would do to this one.

Overall: Malt-heads will love it. An excellent beer, but a little too sweet for me.

bassmantin, Mar 06, 2008
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,530 ratings.