Bell's Expedition Stout - Bell's Brewery, Inc.
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Ratings: 4,458 | Reviews: 1,875 | Display Reviews Only:
4.85/5 rDev +14.7%
This beer pours out like motor oil, dark and viscous, almost black. The head is a beautiful mocha color that dissipated to a thin ring around the top.
Smells like chocolate, slight alcohol present blended into the licorice. I also noted hints of citrus and a definite roasted-coffee scent. There are other fruity aromas present too, but I have trouble picking them out, raisins/plums perhaps? Also a definite molasses tone in the aroma. The chocolate and fruits come through more as the beer settles.
The taste is dominated by roasted malt and chocolate with hints of coffee or cocoa coming through. Towards the finish, a very slight hint of alcohol balanced by a fruity sweetness, figs and plums.
Very thick in the mouth, but not overly so. This is what my idea of a stout should be; thick and heavy, yet delicious and easy to sip. I would drink this all night. The alcohol definitely affects you so be aware if you're having a few. The alcohol is masked very well in the taste. This is one of my favorite stouts, by far.
03-20-2007 05:08:30 | More by dogger6253
4.93/5 rDev +16.5%
I had this both on tap at the brewery and in a bottle, but reviewed from the bottle purchased at the brewery. I can't believe this is an 11.5% stout. You simply cannot taste the alcohol content at all. It pours a deep dark black color with some hints of red to it. I didn't get too much of a head from either on tap or the bottle. The little there was was dark brown in color. The aromas were so complex. Chocolates and fruits and coffee or mocha roast with just a twinge of alcohol. The taste was similar. Started out with a little bitterness and then erupting into the complexity of the malts. This was the winner of I'm Bored Tonight Stout-Off, pitted against Deschutes Obsidian Stout and Rogue's Imperial Stout. It was a hard choice - they were all amazing, but I found the Bell's Expedition to be the most complex and and exceptional. Way to go Bell's. Another job very well done.
03-13-2007 22:56:10 | More by kdoc8
4.33/5 rDev +2.4%
12 oz bottle. From the code I see this was bottled Feb 2006. Let's see how this has evolved over 13 months. Over the last 3 days I've had Old Rasputin, Bourbon County, and now this. I can't very well drink all three of these monsters at once to do a proper comparison, but I'm curious to see how this stacks up anyway.
Pours nearly jet black, and thick, almost syrapy. After seeing no initial carbonation or head I expected I got another of the bottles I've been reading reviews about - "where is the carbonation?" - etc.
But no...as the pour finished it suddenly formed a huge dark brown frothy head. After a VERY impressive display of reverse cascading this would subside but a quarter inch of it would last to the bottom. Unexpectedly nice lacing too. For those that haven't gotten a head on their pour, let me say that it is beautiful. On appearance, this beer easily defeated the other big stouts I mentioned.
Nose is strong alcohol, with added dark roasted coffee and chocolate. A hint of char on this one. I didn't notice fruitiness at all at first, but as it warmed it was quite strong - raisin and plum especially. Not quite as complex as the Rasputin (or if so it was overshadowed by the alcohol) and not nearly as strong in the nose as the Bourbon County. Not the best, but quite good.
Well this beer hasn't lost it's edge after more than a year. I don't think I'd have liked this one that much fresh. Malty chocolate/sugary plum/coffee flavors. Strong alcohol which is heating up my throat. Some hits of carmelized sugar and char. Nice hoppy/coffee bitterness in the finish. Overall pretty boozy as one would expect from this ABV, but quite good. Not my favorite combination of flavors, but relatively complex, tasty, and warming. If I could, I'd rate this flavor as 4.25. I'll give it another shot one day at 4.5.
Nice full mouthfeel with some alcohol burn. Though not heavily carbonated, it is far from missing as many have experienced, and I give thanks for that. Truly a meal in a glass.
I can't conceive of drinking more than one of these. It is huge, relatively complex, with a bitter finish and very warming. Though I won't rate it as highly as the Rasputin or Bourbon County I had the last two days (at least on the BA scale) if I were looking to SIP one beer over the course of an evening in front of the fire, this might be my choice. At $2.33 a bottle, I'm glad I've got several more.
03-11-2007 15:01:47 | More by udubdawg
4.4/5 rDev +4%
12 oz. bottle, Batch # 7740, poured into a Stone IRS glass
A: Pours with a 1/2 inch head that falls down to a thin ring of tiny bubbles around the edge of the glass. Very black, pretty viscous.
S: Smells of roasted malt, dark chocolate, raisins, alcohol, and a licorice or molasses kind of smell that I find a few of Bell's high gravity beers.
T: Very rich, strong flavor. Dried fruit, dark chocolate up front with roasted malt, a hint of coffee and alcohol coming in through the finish. Nice level of sweetness. Very tasty!
M: Nice viscosity, coats your mouth. Very warming alcohol.
D: It's pretty drinkable for an Imperial Stout but you probably wouldn't (or at least shouldn't) want more than one of these.
Overall an outstanding beer and at $2.25 a bottle it's one that I can afford to stock my cellar with. Very big beer. Big flavor, big alcohol, big enjoyment!
03-11-2007 05:46:31 | More by ILhophead
4.53/5 rDev +7.1%
I've been sitting on this one for months waiting for a good time to sample it... it's time!
Pours extremely thick and black... probably the thickest stout I have ever seen. I held my pint glass up to a very bright desk lamp and no light made it's way through at all! Very little head... even after a fairly aggressive pour only a thin caramel colored film of bubbles rose and they vanished quickly. Small whisps of carbonationation can be seen slowly sneaking through the think crude of a beer to the surface.
The nose is full of dark fruits, raisin, plum, fig... also I smell chocolate pudding, black cherry, butterscotch, deep roasted coffee, and slight alcohol. The alcohol is very slight... give no hint to the massiveness of this beer.
Taste: coffee hits me right away with a deep roasted malt character that I don't think I've experienced in many stouts. A very "heavy" flavor if that makes any sense.... This is followed by rich chocolate, coco powder, ripe plum, very intence. As the beer warms more alcohol bitterness comes though.
Mouthfeel: This is like drinking tar.... the thickest beer I have ever had in my life. Carbonation is there but the massive body in this beer keeps it in check. It coats your mouth and stays there.... leaving a protective beer barrier that you will enjoy for hours!
Drinkability: I can't see how anyone could survive drinking more than one of these... two at most. The beer hides it's alcohol very well, but it will catch up with you for sure! If you can find this, pick it up. This is a must try for stout lovers!
03-10-2007 07:38:37 | More by loving44
4.13/5 rDev -2.4%
Poured a very thick black with no sign of carbonation in the pour. Suddenly a nice foamy and thick two finger head appeared out of no where threatening to spill over the glass. Smells of roasted malts and dark chocolate were very prominent with a slight hint of coffee and alcohol.
This stout smacks you heavily with alcohol in the after taste with a very dark chocolate and bitter hops flavor in the middle. Virtually no carbonation in the mouthfeel.
Leaves a very heavy taste and sometimes a lttle hard to swallow. Not really a beer I could see having a session with a six pack with. None the less a good beer to drink and savor for the extremely bold flavors. Any fan of stouts should give this a try at least once.
03-09-2007 08:33:05 | More by quikfish13
4.38/5 rDev +3.5%
Beer pours a deep black color with a decent sized brown head that quickly faded.
This smells a bit sweet, with some stewed fruit, dark chocolate, and a bit of alcohol.
Flavors are full and rich. There is a very malty coffee and chocolate backbone. It follows with some sweetness, and a touch of hoppy bitterness. The finish is crisp, and with a touch of alcohol.
Mouthfeel is quite good, very full, and well rounded.
Drinkability is good. This has a bit of a boozy feel to it, but it's not overwhelming at all. It works well as an after dinner sipper, and the high scores it has received are well earned.
Thank you MuenchenerKindl for sending this beer out west.
03-09-2007 03:23:46 | More by flexabull
4.22/5 rDev -0.2%
Opaque black, with a modest brown head. Towards the finish, edges appeared to be a clear, dark mahogany color.
Aroma was molasses, dark fruits (raisins & figs), and chocolate.
Taste was mainly sweet, and followed aroma. Chocolate, dark fruits. After a bit, coffee and roast came into play, more at the finish. A bit of bitterness at the end, not much, though. Alcohol was present and strong enough to be noticed. Finally, at about room temperature, a soy sauce like flavor came into play.
A very thick body, chewy and viscous. My idea of a stout. Creamy, based on (my guess) very well integrated carbonation. Smooth and dry. Alcohol warming in play at first sip.
Wow, thickest beer I've ever had, I believe. A sipper for sure, and what a way to spend a winter evening.
03-05-2007 15:02:12 | More by
4.55/5 rDev +7.6%
Presented in a tulip glass, this looks amazing.
Black with one finger mocha head that coated the interior of the glass.
Aroma of coffee and chocolate.
Taste is extremely full and busy. Chocolate, coffee after, great hop balance. Too many flavors for me to distinguish, but this is the best tasting stout I have ever had.
Full bodied for sure, but not dense. The flavors are not weighed down by their collective substance, but are on full display to be enjoyed.
Delicious and smooth, but huge flavors and high abv limit its drinkability.
If a better RIS exists, I haven't had it. This beer is top shelf.
03-01-2007 00:29:40 | More by Daehpoh
4.7/5 rDev +11.1%
Served from a 12oz bottle into a Chimay goblet at cellar temp.
A: Beautiful jet black with a 2 finger brown (yes, this is one dark head too!) head that cascades upon pour (like Guiness from the tap, except that you'll truly look forward to tasting what shows up). Not quite as thick as motor oil, but not all that far off (and I just changed the oil on my car today, so you can trust my comparison!). Head lasts nicely, especially considering the alcohol level.
S: Good roasted coffee, dark chocolate, some more roastiness, and some more chocolate!
T: Amazing. Tons of bitter chocolate and espresso. This is truly one of those beers that will keep you warm on a cold night. Get some fig and prune flavor in there too, with maybe a bit of black licorice. Alcohol is there, but not overpowering - just a nice warming at the end. This is on the extreme end of imperial stouts flavorwise - you better like the roasted, bitter chocolate and coffee flavors - not for the faint of heart indeed! Needless to say, that makes this one of my favorite beers. So, you ask, what can you really call this beer? And I shall answer. It is one delicious, luxuriant journey to chocolate spiked espresso heaven!
M: Exceptionally rich and full mouthfeel. I guess it could get a bit intense after a few, but the mouthfeel is quite enjoyable.
D: All I can say is this: The amazing flavors far outweigh the heaviness of this beer. And considering this is 11.5%, it's pretty drinkable.
Delightful! Exceptionally well crafted, worthy of all the praise it receives. This beer took a special trip to Lone Hill to get, and was worth every penny (well, if I could get this for just pennies...wait, that would prevent me from ever being productive again...).
In a word, extremely highly recommended. Stone makes one amazing RIS, but in my mind, the title (for now) must go to Bell's. Go. Buy. Drink.
02-28-2007 07:47:24 | More by rallison
4.83/5 rDev +14.2%
Appearance: Thick, completely black, little bit of med brown head. If there were any bubbles there, they were eaten by the thickness of this brew.
Smell: Dark fruits, heavily roasted malts, a bit of hops and vanilla. Alcohol is present in the smell along with some sweetness. Very nice.
Taste: Shamalamadingdong, this is truly an awesome beer! Dark semi-sweet chocolate mixed with rasins and hop then meld with hops and a nice warming of the palate from the alcohol. Coffee seems to linger later as the warming continues. Almost like one of those fancy coffee cordials, but without all the sugar. Not quite like and RIS I have had before.
Mouthfeel: Very sticky. I could see this being very harsh to the light beer drinkers. Unless you like your beer to hang out and have a party in your mouth for a while, steer away from this one. I liked it though!
Drinkability: Only one for a night is all I need. Maybe one a week would be about right. Any more and you might ruin your pallate. Very assaulting but in a good way. Will keep me coming back for more.
02-26-2007 19:45:06 | More by nriech
4.22/5 rDev -0.2%
Excellent Russian Imperial Stout, although I wouldn't try to drink too many in one sitting!
Pours opaque with absolutely no light coming through. Dark tan head quickly fades.
Aromas of roasted malt, coffee, alcohol, chocolate, dried dark fruits like plums, raisins, even some prunes. Also caught some fig and date notes.
Tastes are the same as aromas with a big whiskey-ish alcohol taste and chocolate, coffee and dark fruit character.
Creamy and full bodied with a strong alcohol warmth.
An excellent example of the style.
02-25-2007 06:12:16 | More by BillyB
4.88/5 rDev +15.4%
Grabbed the last two bottles of this at Roof Bros. in Paducha, KY a week ago. I meant to hold on to them for a while but I couldn't resist. I've wanted to try this beer forever.
The beer pours jet black with an inch head which quickly becomes about 1/8". As noted by other reviews the aroma is dominated by dark fruit and chocolate, very enticing.
Awesome flavor. This brew has everything from sweet chocolate to roasted coffee and everything in between with only a hint of alcohol. It's so rich and smooth.
I figured this could not live up to expectations and was actually expecting a letdown. That didn't happen. I can't say anything negative about this awesome RIS. I wish I had more!
02-24-2007 01:55:45 | More by phil7568
4.58/5 rDev +8.3%
Received in a trade early last year.
Served at cellar temp.
Poured into a Rogue pint glass.
Appearance is good. Opaque with no light going through, not even through the edges. Mocha colored head is sturdy off the initial pour then quickly thins out.
Smell is exceptional. Lots of roasted malts and dark coffee. Little bit of hops are detected. Intense nose.
Taste is very good. Dark chocolate, fresh fig, Turkish coffee, dried dates and a little bit of alcohol. Extremely intense flavor. One of the better tasting RIS i've had.
Mouthfeel is very good. Carbonation is medium to slightly low. Creamy, smooth texture.
Drinkability is very good. Quite easy to quaff considering the alcohol. I could drink another after this one.
Overall: Love this stuff. An exceptional RIS that ranks up there with the greats.
02-23-2007 05:07:39 | More by KingG
4.55/5 rDev +7.6%
Part 2 of 2 of Bell's stout tasting session for me tonight. While the first was a sweet stout (Kalamazoo), this one is quite the change up. Either way though, tonight is a good beer night for me.
APPEARANCE: Pours a thick, chunky, motor oil black with a small but sturdy latte brown head. It falls to a hearty collar with a thin layer of bubbles.
SMELL: A fantastic balance of roasted malts, dark fruits, floral hops, and even a hint of winter spice. This is really, really nice. The various aromas work so well in balance with each other. The smells are strong and let you know you're about to drink one hell of a beer, but they don't overwhelm to the point of being offensive. Simply wonderful.
TASTE: Good lord, this one packs a punch. This beer comes out with fists a-flying, and the intensity of this is something to behold. It starts out with a full malt flavor (chocolate, roasty) and hits your taste buds with a hop bitterness to match. Flavors of sweet licorice and then coffee start to come on. The finish is bitter and roasted with strong indications of black malt and burnt coffee. Every imaginable RIS flavor can be found in this beer, and with great balance. Alcohol is detectable, but certainly not 11.5% worth.
MOUTHFEEL: This is the other striking thing about the initial taste. The thickness of this beer just assaults your mouth, forcing you to savor every last drop. Full-bodied would be a gross understatement. Now that's what I'm looking for in a RIS!
DRINKABILITY: Sadly, this beer is so hard hitting that it'll take some time to get through. And it's got to be one and done... at least for me. But that doesn't mean my one is a chore. Far from it. I will enjoy and savor this one for as long as I need to.
Bell's continues to impress. This is exactly what I think of when I want a heavy hitting Russian Imperial Stout. It simply has it all. It may suffer from being so hard hitting, but that just means I'm getting my money's worth. Thank you Bell's for giving us such a fantastic beer!
02-21-2007 05:01:02 | More by jmalex
3.8/5 rDev -10.2%
A - this is one of those impenetrably black stouts, with a dark brown moderately thick head, of course too dark to observe any carbonation amounts
S - nice, a rather complex aroma, sweet toffee and vanilla aromas with a strong alcohol component and a deep dark chocolate backbone
T - whoa, a rich coffee bean flavor came outta nowhere, some chcolate persists, as does the alcohol, and there is also a rich hoppy backbone, a nice complex stout
M&D - sweet smooth mouthcoat, with a highish warming ABV, easily drinkable, sweet and strong all at once, while maintaining its palatability, a great stout from a great brewery, keep up the good brewing Bells, wish i could get some out east more often
02-21-2007 03:51:38 | More by sinstaineddemon
4.43/5 rDev +4.7%
12oz bottle purchased from Champane's in Warren MI.
Batch 7740...bottled on December 19, 2006...we'll see how this is this young.
Appearance: This looks absolutely beautiful in my Bell's tulip. I wish the glass was a little bigger. I guess I should have picked up the Expedition Stout snifter I saw on Bell's website a few years ago...This pours like some thick ass motor oil...a khaki two-finger head tops this beauty.This fads to about a half inch leaving a wonderful trail of lace.
Smell: This initially has some dark chocolate with dark fruit notes...followed by roasted malts and a nice hop bite...perhaps a little bit of orange, cherries and pine in the finish.
Taste: Starts off with the creamy head and some roasty malt...this also has a bit of dark chocolate and quite a bit of hops....the hops have some orange and pine notes with a slight alcohol tingle near the finish
Mouthfeel: Nice thick creamy mouthfeel. The hops, chocolate, and roasted malts hang on the roof and back of my mouth for the duration of the party...
Drinkability: This goes down smoothly for being 11.5% or so....I could sip on a few of these throughout the night...or just enjoy one as a nitecap...You will definitely feel pretty good after a few of these.
Overall: This is the best stout from the BEST stout brewery in the world IMO (the only one I've had that is better is the one-time Batch 7000). There might be a few stouts that are stonger and better, but for the price and quality, you can get a six-pack of this for the price of a 22oz bomber of something on par. Another world-class beer from the wonderful Bell's Brewery.
I'm glad I picked up a 12 pack of this, and I might have to pick another 12 pack of this to cellar. I can't wait to do a vertical with the few I have left that were bottled in April 2005. Pick this up if you see it....you will not be disappointed.
02-21-2007 02:01:55 | More by northernbrews
4.88/5 rDev +15.4%
Draft at KClingers on the recommendation of one of the smartest but unknown beer drinkers Ive ever met. It poured midnight black with a sticky light tan head. At first, I sense medicinal properties -- licorice, cough medicine (but in a good way), roasted malt and dark cherries. This is an exceptional dark beer! (#2718, 2/18/2007)
02-20-2007 22:12:28 | More by Braudog
4.15/5 rDev -1.9%
Many thanks to Peanut at the Dilly Deli for hooking me up with this great, rare treat!
The weather is breaking, my favorite beer on cask, how can it get any better.
Pours black with a mocha head that is about an inch and a half and never goes away. There is plenty of lacing "caked" to the side of the glass. This is what a beer should look like.
The smell is not up to par with the bottled version. Hard to pick out a lot of anything in the nose besides loads of roasted malt.
Taste is the most surprising of all. This is hot! The alcohol is so present in this beer that I was taken back by it. An immediate warming sensation engulfs my mouth/nose. Lots of roasted malt and cocoa are present in the taste. But for the most part the taste is dominated by this hot, alcohol taste. It lacks the complexity of the bottled version.
Mouthfeel is incredible. It's an alcoholic chocolate malt. Thick, creamy, smooth. The mouthfeel adds to the drinkability. It makes it very easy to get through. A little too easy.
Expedition never ceases to please. A truly world class beer and one of my favorites.
02-20-2007 13:59:26 | More by FtownThrowDown
4.88/5 rDev +15.4%
12 oz. bottle, batch 7740 - packaged 12/19/06. This fresh, young, yet immense imperial stout pours into my chalice a viscous inky black, and is topped with a thin, dark cappucino head that reduces to a collar. After an hour there is no head, but swirling the beer seems to revive it some. The bouquet is strong and aromatic, yet soft, consisting of roasted, coffee, and chocolate malts, licorice, raisins, plums?, green hops, and hints of red and green apples. Although the aroma is big, it still doesn't prepare you for the amount of flavor and body that this beer throws at you. It tastes of strong, black coffee, bitter charred/roasted malts, tobacco, anise, dark chocolate, leather, green/piney hops, port wine, green apple?, caramel?, and just a touch of alcohol - massive and incredibly tasty. The body is full, coating, drying, and silky smooth, with low/medium carbonation, and a long, roasted/coffee finish. This is an awesome, huge stout that demands respect; consuming it is a truly memorable beer experience that just makes you crave more. I can only imagine how it would improve with age. Mmmm...
02-20-2007 00:28:51 | More by mmmbeer
4.13/5 rDev -2.4%
Black. Opaque black. Seriously, I poured this into a pint glass, held it up to the light and there was not light transmittance through the body. Very impressive. Poured with about a 0.75 viscous coffee/caramel colored head. Would have liked to see more lacing and retention.
Heavy scent of raisins and dried fruits with a malty cocoa scent. Smells sweet.
Bittersweet chocolate and toffee with dried fruit hints, mostly raisin with a little bit of prune. No hop taste detected, but plenty of malt at first but a bit of hoppy bitterness become noticeable as the beer warms.. The perceived imbalance is acceptable because at least malts wont destroy your tongue. Although as the beer warms the alcohol starts to overpower the other tastes.
Thick and syrupy with a very suitable amount of carbonation. This is a very creamy brew. I wouldnt consider this a very dry beer, and that is refreshing. Alcohol warming in the finish at first and moves forward with increasing temperature.
For the style I would consider it very drinkable given its sweet smoothness and overall tastiness. However halfway through a bottle the alcohol will start to catch up with you. A little too much alcohol in the beer and I think I could only drink one of these at a time. This is a great beer for a nightcap thought.
02-19-2007 05:42:37 | More by DGryger
4.35/5 rDev +2.8%
12 oz bottle poured into an Imperial pint glass. Mild tan head that recedes to a thin ring. Color is pure black, no light can penetrate the glass.
Smell is a roasted espresso. Very bold, I can smell it without putting my nose in the glass. Taste follows smell. Very bold espresso flavor. Mouthfeel is full bodied, with a little more carbonation than what I would expect.
Very good RIS, and I would love to have more
02-18-2007 01:18:11 | More by bort11
3.9/5 rDev -7.8%
Mmm. Used motor oil. Chocolate with booze filling. Brazil nuts dusted in cocoa powder. Monstrous, full bodied, lingering, viscous. If your stomach experiences high viscosity break-down, then a bottle of this ought to lube your chassis. If you don't try it fresh enough (as I did my first time) it might just seem dense, heavy, oily - a lot of malty heft without much complexity or depth, but this time around I got in peak condidtion and the layers revealed themselves.
02-17-2007 18:17:29 | More by dedrinker
4.25/5 rDev +0.5%
Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a shaker glass. Appears an opaque black with two fingers of dark tan creamy head. Smells of dark chocolate and coffee. Tastes of fresh roasted espresso beans, and sharp hops. Very rich and full bodied. The hop bite lingers in the finish. Alcohol is well hidden. Delicious and satisfying. Highly recommended. Cheers.
02-15-2007 04:32:16 | More by ClockworkOrange
4.78/5 rDev +13%
First of all this is by far the thickest and darkest beer I've ever had.
Pours more like a quart of used motor oil than a beer and has a thin dark tan head to it.
At first it's like drinking liquid dark chocolate. I detected some maple, molasses, rum raison and coffee flavors. Finish is full of roasted malt flavors. I could only sip this beer at first but as it warmed up it got smoother and smoother. Kind of odd in a way. You really have to let this one warm up to get the full effect. Slightly high on the alcohol level so I had to mark it down just a notch for drinkability. Not for the faint of heart! The most complex stout I've ever tried. If your buddy says he's a beer guy, test him with this one.
02-14-2007 01:03:39 | More by treedoctor5002
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,458 ratings.