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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.

4,462 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,462
Reviews: 1,875
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 381
Gots: 949 | 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: 4,462 | Reviews: 1,875 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of illidurit


4.4/5  rDev +4%

Pours pitch black into my snifter. Big mocha head leaves some scattered lacing and reduces to a thin cap.

Aroma is very strong, with boozy sweet chocolate and a hint of caramel. A fleeting note of red fruit as well.

Taste reminds me of Bourbon County Stout. Ludicrously rich chocolatiness with a coffee bean bitterness in the finish. A hint of estery alcohol is also present, but it's fruity enough so as to not be unpleasant.

Carbonation is modest, body is really really thick. Pretty damn smooth for a beer over 10%.

Drinkability is hampered by the syrupiness and hefty alcohol level but it's just so damn smooth and tasty! Great beer.

01-26-2008 03:03:34 | More by illidurit
Photo of BoitSansSoif


3.43/5  rDev -18.9%

A-Poured like smooth 10W-30 into a Bordeaux glass. This stuff devours light. Very thin head that drops to a fine cap.

S-Deeply toasted grain, malt, dried dates, toffee, coffee, alcohol, rich earthy tones.

T-Burnt malts and creamy toffee blend that carry over into more identifiable coffee, fig, and date flavors. The finish reveals the alcohol, and lingers with bitterness that momentarily saturates the taste buds on the back of the tongue. I don't know whether to attribute this uniquely to the well-done grains, or partially to hops as well.

M-Thick and syrupy, this stout coats the mouth and clings to the taste buds for dear life. The aftertaste is not unpleasant, but throughout the rest of the trial, the lack of more carbonation renders the body cloyingly sweet.

D-I'm only 2/3 done, and I'm starting to get full. Despite a couple shortcomings, I enjoyed seeking out this bold brew's veiled subtleties, but as a big Bell's fan since my irresponsible Bronco days, I'm left somewhat disappointed. Bell's has plenty of other varieties I would rather spend $ on.

01-25-2008 08:58:11 | More by BoitSansSoif
Photo of Homerbag


3.58/5  rDev -15.4%

Pours like used motor oil and looks about the same. Leaves a creamy caramel colored head that retains as a thin foam head.

Alcohol smell takes center stage followed by some biteresweet chocolate, coffee, and some dark fruit. Taste is sweet like dark fruit and chocolate, but leaves a very bitter after taste like a strong cup of espresso.

This feels good. Thick and creamy coating the tounge. This is the best feature of this beer.

This isn't bad. Isn't good. It will not be hard to finish, but not one I will look for again.

01-25-2008 01:25:17 | More by Homerbag
Photo of trentley87


3.3/5  rDev -22%

12 oz. bottle to pint glass.

A: Pours a obviously thick dark brown from the bottle. Barely a finger of deep brown head that quickly recedes. Leaves generous lacing all the way down.

S: Roasted coffee and sweetness backed by the slightest hint of bitterness. I expected some alcohol considering the high ABV but I can't detect any.

T: Dark roasted coffee flavors, maybe a hint of chocolate. Alcohol is present in the aftertaste at first but becomes more and more pronounced as this beer warms.

M: Very, very full bodied but slightly under-carbonated for my taste. Smooth, filling, but lacking in some respect I can't quite put my finger on.

D: The high ABV means one of these is about enough. This is a decent winter beer but it is a bit heavy to make it one of my go-to brews.

I'm just not seeing this one as A or A+ material...it seems this one is either really good or really bad. Maybe Bell's needs stay a little more consistent.

01-23-2008 23:34:54 | More by trentley87
Photo of DackAchan


4.7/5  rDev +11.1%

A- Pours pitch black with a one finger head of mahagony. Little bit of lacing.

S- Smells of chocolate, and raisins, dominated by roasted toffee and very woody.

T- Excellent taste. Rich complex flavors. Roasted toffee and smoked wood. Undertones of chocolate and raisins.

M- Heavy body, pretty smooth, slight alcohol bite to it at the end.

D- Good drinkability, little bit of bite adds to the experience. One I'll have to have again.

01-21-2008 04:05:37 | More by DackAchan
Photo of khiasmus

South Carolina

4.1/5  rDev -3.1%

Thanks to kkipple for the half bottle.

A- Black as used oil, a finger of tan head that lasts as a single layer forever.

S- Rich molasses, toffee, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, and a good hop balance.

T- Molasses again, tons of burnt grain and chocolate - the burnt grain lends a strong bitterness that lingers in the finish along with the sweet malt. Hop balance is there too, but there are more acrid, burnt notes than hoppy.

M- Chewy, silky, rich, heavy, medium-high carbonation, and a dry, almost puckering finish.

D- I'd have one once a week if I could.

01-20-2008 02:32:53 | More by khiasmus
Photo of paulthebeerguru


4.45/5  rDev +5.2%

A: Poured into a snifter. It poured a deep, rich blackish brown, allowing no light to pass through it. Head is a deep brown/beige that starts from the pour and rises about 3/4 of an inch. very nice lacing.

S: Rich malts, chocolate, coffee, yeasts & toffee. Beautiful aroma with this beer.

T: Strong toffee off the bat, with a quick flavor of liquorice to take it away. Strong presence of alcohol in the taste, but good. Decent bitterness on the ending of this.

M: Definitely thick and syrupy...extremely complex on the palate.

D: delicious, strong and reasonably priced...what else could you ask for. Get it if you can.

01-18-2008 05:47:02 | More by paulthebeerguru
Photo of jobyone

North Carolina

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

From a freshly opened keg. The beer poured black with an incredibly creamy light brown head. The aroma had lots of burnt smells (coffee, chocolate) and was accompanied by a little bit of fruit sweetness. The flavor had lots of chocolate, coffe and some alcohol. The body was very full and the the aftertaste lingered with a pleasing bitterness.

01-17-2008 21:10:24 | More by jobyone
Photo of Talisker


2.75/5  rDev -35%

I had been looking forward to trying Bell's Expedition Stout - one of my favorite styles made by one of my favorite stout brewers. No freshness date on the bottle - what's up with that, Bell's? - but this one was cellared for at least 6 months after I got it.

And while Expedition Stout has some worthy attributes, ultimately this is for me more a miss than any sort of hit.

Pours into my snifter a thick, dark brown. Not quite one finger of dark brown head. Very nice aroma, toffee, lots of roast, some chocolate. But it's all downhill from there - taste is unintegrated, hot, liquorice-y to the point of cinnamon candies. The sweetness doesn't balance that heat, and the heavy alcohol exacerbates the problem. Very prominent, causes a certain burn on the tongue and the back of the throat.

I would gladly try this once more on tap - I love most everything else I've tried from Bell's, so I owe Expedition at least that - but I won't be picking up any bottles again.

01-17-2008 05:11:28 | More by Talisker
Photo of Proteus93


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%

I was quite surprised to see the brothers review this one very unfavourably, especially in what appeared to be two individual tastings. This would be the first case where I would disagree on a specific brew.

A: I thought this was beautiful. It poured a deep, chestnut brown, sitting black as night in the glass. Head appears the very end - short, but a gorgeous tawny.

S: Rich, creamy caramel... light anise notes, yeasts & toffee. Quite a nice aroma, all in all.

T: Anise, roasted malts, a lingering touch of alcohol. Toffee opens, though it is overpowered by the licorice flavours quite quickly. A bit of bitterness on the finish, along with the alcohol previously noted.

M: A little syrupy, perhaps... a bit sugary or grainy. Wraps around the tongue and sticks a little on the way down.

D & Notes: I feel this is a reasonably example of a stout. A decent balance topped with flavour. A rather nice body, something I would feel would be nice cellared for a special occasion - but there seems to be some dispute to that, so that might not be the best idea out there.

01-17-2008 01:44:14 | More by Proteus93
Photo of CDBeerDisappear


4.85/5  rDev +14.7%

Pours black, almost completely opaque, with a tan foamy head and great retention. The draft is very similar to the bottled, so, if you can only get the bottled, don't feel like you are missing anything. Aroma of sweet dark fruit, prunes raisins, currants and chocolate – smells delicious. Plus, the taste delivers what the aroma promises. Sweet but not too sweet, mouthfeel is full and rich, carbonation is rather light. Great drinkability. How could anyone not like this beer?

I think Jason and Todd got an out of date sample of this beer because it really is great. Bell's is a great brewery (you know that) and this is a great beer.

01-15-2008 23:42:22 | More by CDBeerDisappear
Photo of Mudpuppet


3.8/5  rDev -10.2%

A- Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Riedel sniffer. Pours a pitch black with a light tan thin head.

S- Nice nose very fruity. Plums, currants and cherries.

T- Starts off with a very fruity flavor that turns into coffee and chocolate on the aftertaste. A huge amount of flavor from this brew.

M- Low carbonation. Too low maybe.

D- This is a good drinker. Deep and bold beer with lots of malts and fruity notes. This is a much better beer on tap than in a bottle. A decent beer overall though

01-15-2008 01:43:36 | More by Mudpuppet
Photo of yourefragile

District of Columbia

2.73/5  rDev -35.5%

12 oz bottle

I had been looking forward to trying this one for a long time and unfortunately the beer was not able to live up to my expectations or appearance. I'm hoping I had a bad bottle and will try this again in the future and hope for better....

A: Ok, lots good so far, pours a very thick, sludgy black and from hard pour has a nice sized tan head that has nice retention and leaves incredible lacing. Looks like a great RIS.
S: Not as strong as expected or mentioned in other reviews, but it has a sweet, rich aroma with chocolate, molasses, roasted flavors, etc.
T: Sweeter than expected, alcohol is well hidden, but something just seems...off. Everything just seems flat, overly sweet and not balancing bitterness. I mean, the flavors are there from the aroma and tastes like it should be a good RIS, but I don't know, I don't feel like thinking any harder about this.
M: Thick, creamy, flat, no carbonation, just....not good. Too sweet, no bitterness or hops detectable...
D: Ok, I'm being redundant, I only bump up the drinkability for the 10.5% alcohol being well hidden, otherwise it was very difficult for me to finish this bottle as I just didn't enjoy and would rather just have Kalamazoo, Double Cream, Java or basically any of their other stouts (for much cheaper). I'll update this review in future when I try again.

01-14-2008 03:00:17 | More by yourefragile
Photo of david131


4.9/5  rDev +15.8%

One amazing beer. This bottle was two years old and I decided to open it for my birthday.

A- Absolutely pitch black with only the slightest hints of light making it through the edges. The head that forms is brown and very thick looking. It settles down to some beautiful caramel swirls and a ring around the top. It doesn't get any better than this.

S- Extremely complex with lots of chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, some vanilla, cherries, and a good amount of sweetness. It has a wonderful aged quality to it. Delicious.

T- Very complex with a lot of the same features as the aroma. Very smooth and the alcohol is incredibly well hidden. This beer gets way better with some age on it.

M- Silky smooth and very full-bodied. You cannot ask for anything better.

D- Dangerously drinkable. This beer is incredible with some time to mellow and blend. This is how American style Russian Imperial Stouts should be.

01-14-2008 02:22:31 | More by david131
Photo of tgbljb


3.05/5  rDev -27.9%

Poured a very deep broen color witn minute tannish coating.
Smell is very significant for alcohol, with some bittersweet chcolate in the background.
Taste is too sweet and syrupy. The alcohol is definitely present, with an almost syrupy sweetness. There are some hops present but they are too astringent.
Left a not pleasant taste in the mouth.
Just drinkable at best. Not worth the money.

01-14-2008 00:42:20 | More by tgbljb
Photo of morimech


3.3/5  rDev -22%

Poured into a chalice. It has a very deep, dark black color with a large chocolate milk colored head. Good head retention with plenty of lacing. A thick cap lingers long after the pour.

The smell is a bit lacking. Dark fruit and roasted malt dominate with alcohol barely coming through. Smells more sweet than bitter.

The malt and alcohol dominate the taste. It is not well balanced. A little of the flavor complexity that other reviewers noticed is there but very faint in my sample. It finishes bitter with the alcohol combining making it difficult to finish. The body is thick and creamy but maybe has a bit too much carbonation. This beer seems a bit "raw" and would benefit from some aging. I will stow a few bottles away to sample years from now.

01-14-2008 00:24:59 | More by morimech
Photo of deltatauhobbit


4.15/5  rDev -1.9%

Thanks to tpd975 for the chance to try.

Wow, this beer pours out wicked black with lots of thick brown head, as well as, lots of lacing.

This is a strong smelling beer, roasted malt and coffee, other hints of chocolate, caramel and possibly some molasses, a rather bitter aroma overall though.

Taste is initially sweet from the roasted malt and ends with a strong bitter aftertaste, most likely from the coffee character. The roasted elements really take hold of your mouth with this one. Expedition is fairly smooth and creamy, not too much carbonation though, and this beer is quite sticky, it just coats my mouth. Can make out some of the alcohol though and I can feel the warming sensation in my stomach.

A rather excellent brew although the sweetness makes it difficult to enjoy more than one at a time, but it certainly is a treat. Might be good to cellar one for 5 years and see if it mellows out.

01-12-2008 20:37:27 | More by deltatauhobbit
Photo of adams82


4.33/5  rDev +2.4%

Pours black, opaque, with a big dark brown head.

Smells of dried fruit, intensely roasty, deep black coffee/espresso, slightly sweet. Tastes slightly sweet, bitter sweet chocolate, heavy caramel flavours, finishes with a nice hoppy bite. Very intense flavours, deep dark and roasty, balanced with a nice hop finish.

Full bodied, creamy and smooth... Excellent.

01-12-2008 04:06:43 | More by adams82
Photo of elmore


4.43/5  rDev +4.7%

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter. Thick, viscous, and pitch black. Thick, fluffy, brown-tan two finger head with excellent retention. Thick sticky lace coats the sides as you drink. This is a serious beer. Beautiful!!!

Smells of burnt malt, espresso, dark chocolate, some dark fruits. I detect some vague citrusy smell, which may be related to hops.

Taste is similar to the smell, very complex. Nice hoppy bite in the aftertaste, which I like, but often is overpowered by malts in most RIS's. A little smokiness in the after taste that I didn't really detect in the nose.

Chewy, creamy, big mouthfeel. High carbonation for the style, but pleasant. Has a big enough body and malt prescence to mask the 10.5%. The alcohol does produce a nice warming effect in the throat and chest.

Wow!!! Excellent RIS, one of the best I have had so far. Very complex. There is so much going on with this one. I'll definetly have to try this again to fully appreciate it.

01-08-2008 04:26:09 | More by elmore
Photo of NCSUdo


4.13/5  rDev -2.4%

Poured from a 12 oz bottle, batch 8183

A: Pours a thick black under a small, brown head. You know you are getting a big beer here. Ok retention, no lace.

S: Get some chocolate, roasted malt and slight fruitiness on first sniff. A cream-like sweetness underneath, hints of alcohol.

T: Woah. Was not prepared for the intense flavor profile that first hit me. Vanilla and a sweet cream up front that just explodes into a chocolate and huge roasted bitterness on the back of the tongue that will not go away. Was not expecting this level of bitterness. Even some grassy hop hints and some dark fruits thrown in as well. There is a huge spicy hotness as well, but doesn't have the characteristics of alcohol.

M/D: Carbonation is high, too high, but does lend in small part a creamy texture. Body is extremely full, a little slick, sticks to the lips a little, no hints of the alcohol, nice. Drinkability is lowered due to 10.50% and just how aggresive this beer is. A sipper for sure. Can't wait to sample some of this batch a few years from now.

01-08-2008 02:06:14 | More by NCSUdo
Photo of Scoobydank


3.68/5  rDev -13%

L:SLight chocolate milk head that disapears quickly. Black as night color with no light visible when looking through.
S:Burtn black coffee beans. I also pick up a little chocolate muffin?
T:Coffee lingers on the back for ever with a touch of hops. Super sweet through out. Like sweet sweet chocolate.
M:Warm fat bubbles.
D:The sweetness of this beer is a bit to much for me, could stand to be cellared for awhile. Was not bad, just had better.

01-07-2008 20:15:24 | More by Scoobydank
Photo of jasonjlewis


4.18/5  rDev -1.2%

Thanks to MuenchnerKindl for the sample.

Pours a nice big head with great retention. Nice dark brown color.

Smell is of mint and chocolate and caramel with some coffee beans. Raisiny smell comes out as the beer warms.

Toffee sweetness upfront. Taste is sweet with chocolate malts. Roasted malts are not dominant at all. It finished wit a nice dry hop bitterness. Mint comes through as an undertone and coffee flavor helps to add a bit of complexity. Not boozy at all for a 10.5% abv beer.

Smooth and creamy mouthfeel adds to the enjoyability of this beer.

A very easy RIS to drink. I wish there was a little bit more complexity to it, but it is still very nice.

Very easy to drink. Not a lot of complexity for the style, but not hard to drink at all.

01-07-2008 09:59:19 | More by jasonjlewis
Photo of OWSLEY069


4.4/5  rDev +4%

Pours jet black, with a tan/ light brown head. In the aroma, a roasty malt and grapefruity hops. In the taste, hoppy, coffee, and a sweet roasty malt. A small bitter, big body mouthfeel and a sweet roasty malt and a small grapefruity hop aftertaste. Big malt, nice hops, hides alcohol and quite easy to drink.

01-06-2008 16:48:44 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of Overlord


4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Thanks to Grynder33 for the generosity.

Gorgeous looking black pour with a dark brown half an inch head. Carbonation and head died down fairly quickly. Nice chewy mouthfeel.

Taste is rich and flavorful. Chocolate, coffee (more dark roasted than espresso; I approve) and dark rum (people keep saying molasses, but it tastes more like flavorful, sweet dark rum to me ... I think there may be a hole in my palate).

To be honest, not the most drinkable stout, but oz. for oz. one of my favorites.

01-05-2008 09:35:03 | More by Overlord
Photo of timbro81


4.85/5  rDev +14.7%

Pours out like used motor oil. <goosebumps> Massive fluffy dark tan head that clinges to the glass as it travels down the glass. Smells of deep dark chocolate followed by a good does of bitter hops for balance. Feels super silky in the mouth, like a melted chocolate bar, wow! Starts out chocolatey that turns into deep roasted malt flavors which then magically transition to a nice hop bitterness. A slight smokiness to it mixed in there too. Aftertaste is slightly boozey. I want to drink this beer till my ears bleed.

01-05-2008 06:26:53 | More by timbro81
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,462 ratings.