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Bell's Expedition Stout - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Bell's Expedition StoutBell's Expedition Stout

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

5,361 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,361
Reviews: 1,994
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.61%
Wants: 446
Gots: 1,326 | FT: 98
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-10-2002

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,361 | Reviews: 1,994
Photo of wvsabbath
4.27/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Black as oil, large thick chocolate colored 3 inch foamy head

Smell - Could smell malts, coffee, barley and alcohol as i was pouring it. After sniffing got some chocolate, nuts, some spices and smoke

Taste - Shocked at how smooth and mild this was, but as i swallowed, it got stronger and the warm sensation on tounge was nice. Rich coffee, carmael, barley and choclate, with some spices really make this tastey. I really enjoy the long lasting kick this beer has.

Mouthfeel - Starts out pretty mild, then it kicks in with warmth on tounge, and a bold thick covering of the palette. Its rich and sweeth, bold and strong, a real rollercoaster for mouth. Very stout and bold, forget about tasting anything else until you eat or drink some water.

Drinkabilty - Its so strong, and at 10.5%, no more then 1-2 and done. But, you will love each drink espcially as this beer warms up, it really comes alive. Fantasic, made my top 10 RIS list for sure.

Photo of Eldalonde
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours pitch black with a dark brown full head. The smell just fills the room once the cap has been cracked...phenomenal. Rich aromas of bourbon, tobacco, sweet and bitter dark chocolate, copious amounts of coffee. There is also a bit of a hoppy bite in the aroma. The flavor is just spot on. Rich oily mouthfeel gives flavors that are close to the nose. Bitter roasted coffee and dark chocolate are the most accessible flavors with those heavily roasted malts coming across with such brilliance. Tobacco and toffee combine with molasses to give an incredible complexity. This beer also has that 'raw' edge that I love in stouts so much. The finish is long, dry, and lingering. This beer provides everything I look for in a RIS and leaves nothing undone. This is just wonderful

Photo of BBP
4.65/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Pours a little less dark than the average RIS with a very good creamy full head, which holds decently, and superb lacing.

S- A very all around aroma. Hints of bitterness from the hops as well as coffee, chocolate, roasted malts, and dark malts.

T- Everything you'd expect from an RIS. Begins with a semi-sweet chocolate taste and works it's way towards the roasted malt and hop bitterness quickly. After they play their parts the chocolate really comes into play. The aftertaste is loaded with it. It does a great job at bringing all of the flavors up to the front and making them big. There's a little bit of alcohol noticed in this one, but it's easy to look by with all of the other good flavor.

M- Very nice and full. Creamy feel and just a little dry and sticky in the finish. I've heard chewy being used for a mouthfeel description several times, and I think that this is the first one that is getting there.

D- Too drinkable. I only bought one of these which makes me a little sad, as I really have to drink this slower than I want to. It's good for very easy drinking without being watered down or having weak flavor. The 10.5% is there and easy to notice, but not overbearing and it didn't take away from the experience at all for me. I'll get a 6pk of this next time for sure rather than the single.

Photo of afksports
4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a solid RIS! Thanks Emily for the bottle from Michigan, and thanks John for this in my Secret Santa box.

It pours rich and dark brown near black. Thick. There's nice carbonation that helps with lacing and actually stis on top which is nice for a Russian Imperial Stout. Smells a bit boozy, but the coffee and chocolate poke through. It tastes thick, rich, and sweet - like you want an RIS to. But it's well-composed and not overly watery or boozy. You only taste the good parts.

Drinking it is smooth through the palate from start to finish, and it's very easy to forget about the 10.5% alcohol by volume.

Now if only the Eagles would come back and beat the Giants in this game, life would be perfect (mostly).

Photo of dmfrench
4.56/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A huge, syrupy, fruity/chocolate/coffee milkshake

---

A: Absolute black with no highlights, even when held to a light. Crowned with a huge three finger khaki head that just stares at you, crawling all over the glass A beautiful cascade effect is the icing on the cake.

S: Dark fruit, molasses, cinnamon, cocoa, coffee, a bit of burnt malt, and perhaps a hit of piney hops, in that order. A good nose, but not overly potent.

T: Huge, sweet roasted chocolate body greets you up front, with dark fruit in the middle, ending on burnt cocoa and a slight embittering hops. The finish is so long that drinking one of these usually takes me the better part of two hours.

M: Perfection... can be chewed if desired. Creamy as can be.

D: Outstanding for such a huge beer.

Photo of TheQuietMan22
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Straight pour into a becker glass. I do not think I have ever seen a beer look so sexy on its way out of the bottle. The color is a completely opaque black; no light passed through when I held it to my lamp. Three fingers of a thick, chocolate-tan head developed and dissipated slowly to leave trails along the glass, a spotted lacing, and a ring around the edge.

Smell: My first whiff was a mélange of roasted coffee, chocolate, and caramel; dark fruit (mostly plum, cherry, and raisins); molasses; black licorice; and brown sugar. Tinged with a spiced rum-like edge and slight hint of Belgian yeast (really?), the general aroma reminds me of dubbel.

Taste: The mouthfeel is incredibly thick and creamy, which perfectly exemplifies the flavor experience that follows. Though subtle, the complexity is there: roasted coffee, chocolate, and a little caramel; brown sugar; molasses; the dark fruit plum, cherry, and raisin from the smell; and the spiced rum-like tingle of alcohol. Though it sounds crazy, I seriously think I taste a little bready, Belgian yeast. The roasted coffee leaves a nice, bitter aftertaste, which sometimes pushed my bitterness threshold as the pint warmed.

Photo of kk73
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into my glass. Batch #9512.

A - Pours out midnight black with a slightly reddish tinge around the edge of the glass. A dark mocha one finger head that doesnt hang around leaves some lacing.

S - A big roasty and smokey profile with touches of molasses and some brown sugar.

T - Rich dark chocolate and roasted malt. Slight coffee like bitterness on the finish. Very little alcohol detection.

M - Full bodied, rich, thick, and chewy. Light carbonation which to me is perfect for an imperial stout.

D - A nice Russian Imperial Stout. Really drinkable as I do not detect as much alcohol as others do in the reviews Ive read. Although that being said one maybe two of these and thats it. Its so rich, thick, and chewy which makes it a nice slow sipper.

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

First had: on tap at Eulogy, Philly, PA

A: Dark brown and opaque, with a healthy head. Served in a tulip glass.

S: Roasty and chocolaty, some subtle spicy notes.

T: Smooth and chocolaty, some coffee, wonderful malts, moderate alcohol.

M: VERY smooth, creamy, thick body, minimal carbonation.

D: Highly drinkable, and good to the very last drop.

Photo of Blanco
2.76/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

black with a darker head than most stouts big lacing from the head with a slight film on the side of the glass reminiscent of wine lacing. big dark fruit and alcohol in the nose right up front. sweetness as well. wow, the flavor is strong and out of control. first strong bitterness and then roasted coffee, which was not present in the smell. definitely makes you pull back and sip on her and unfortunately it's not as good as I expected. Though it has some potential, seems a little too fresh for me.

Photo of portia99
4.17/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle (batch 10068) received as a great extra in my latest trade with jpmclaug. Thanks - this one is long overdue...poured into a Bruery tulip.

A - Pours thick and oily/syrupy looking coming out of the bottle. Pitch black without a hint of light allowed to pass thru it, even when held up to a light. A low dark mocha colored head fades quickly and leaves only a thin collar and a vague attempt at lacing on the glass.

S - Dark and roasty in the nose. Heavily scented with licorice that blends into coffee, bakers chocolate and a hint of burnt malt. Faint touches of caramel and vanilla round things out nicely.

T - Very bitter with a good dose of heavily kilned malt. They is a heavy char that lingers throughout the beer - burnt toast, charcoal, espresso beans and some accompanying acidity. The licorice in the aroma makes an equally strong showing in the flavor too. Dark fruits - prunes and a bit of raisin-like flavors creep into the mix. I really don't get much for hops - I think the scorched malt contributes plenty of bitterness and overwhelms whatever hops are here. Alcohol is practically non-existant in the flavor which is pretty impressive being a 10.5% beer.

M - A strong point for this beer. Body is full with a thick and viscous but oily slick feel. Carbonation is on the lower side giving barely a tingle, but works really well with the big body. Incredibly smooth...very nice.

D - Incredibly smooth...the intensely burnt character is a bit on the intense side and limits the drinkability a bit. Perhaps it just serves to slow me down a little bit in emptying this glass, which is probably a good thing considering the strength of this beer. I'd definitely be up for another one right now if it was available.

Photo of bonkers
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a SA perfect pint glass. Jet black pour, slight white head, minimal lacing. The aroma has a ton of molases, dark fruit, and alchohol. It taste like it smells, sweet molases, and dates. It does have a lingering alcohol burn, along with a sweet finish. Definitely a full bodied sipper. It has a nice creamy mouth feel, the carbonation is fair. A very good RIS.

Photo of CBlack85
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Duckworths in Charlotte. Served in a small chalice

The beer pours black as midnight, with no highlights at all. There is about one and a half fingers worth of dense dark tan head that slowly recedes leaving behind spotty lacing.

The aroma is big and roasty with lots of chocolate and coffee, and to a lesser degree dark fruits and even a bit of citrusy hops. The alcohol is present in the nose, but not as much as you would think at 10.5% ABV.

The flavor is much bigger than the aroma would lead you to believe. Loaded with caramel and chocolate, and accented by roasty grains and coffee, this beer screams desert. The dark fruitiness is just barely noticable. The hops are noticable, but not enough to get in the way of the sweet, desert like qualities of the beer. Full bodied and creamy with a very restrained carbonation. Finishes sweet with just a slight alcohol burn. Remarkably drinkable for the style and ABV.

Just an amazing beer, I will definately be picking some up to cellar, I am interested to see how this beer tastes with a couple of years on it.

Photo of winegourmet76
4.65/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Great beer karma to Nick who bestowed this to me. Three years old. I have heard great things and love the style, was elated to try this one.

Appearance: black as night, aggressive pour, brown head, good lacing

Nose: remarkable, and I have had some amazing wines in my time, but this is irresistible to a great nose. Dark rich chocolate, like 80% cacao, followed by rich, rum and brandy macerated raisins. Very few beers warrant savoring the nose for so long as this one. So rich, so indulgent, can the flavor measure up?

Taste: brandy, chocolate-covered raisins, smoke, this one is definitely in its prime. Mostly I get the rich brandy/rum flavors, which is a nice change from the usual roasted coffee IRS flavors. Only the Bell's Batch 7000 that I was fortunate enough to try bests this one in complexity.

Mouthfeel: A little thin, expected it to be more creamy.

This is a beer that ranks in my top five, hands down. So rich, so complex, I wish I had some to share with my friends. This beer is exactly why I love this style so much.

Photo of BeerDawgs
3.61/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

A - A dark, chocolatey dark stout. Average head. Low carbonation.

S - Many spices prevalent. There are a lot of moving parts here

T - Smooth for a strong stout, but at the end there are multiple flavors popping up. Fruits, chocolate, malts, spices, etc. Too many to be able to pick out individual items.

M - An explosion of flavours. Low carbonation.

D - I rank it low in drinkability because the high alcohol content is not masked at all. It is too overwhelming. You are done after 1, even though the taste is excellent.

Photo of madarab55
4.09/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Hardly any head to speak of, except for a cotton-ball sized bit in the middle of the glass with no lacing around the rim. Dark brown hues in the color, basically what I was expecting.

The smell has a very sweet, dried fruit smell. Not exactly raisin, maybe a bit of apricot? Not quite sure, but it does smell good.

My first sip I was blown away by this. It didn't smell anything like the way it tasted. The first surprise was how boozy this thing is. It tastes like it has been aged quite a while, but is a new batch. There is a delightful sweetness that lingers underneath the rum/bourbon taste about halfway through. The finish is an exceptional coffee taste that stays with you for quite some time.

In other words, it's not the best I've ever had but solid nonetheless. I'm looking forward to re-visiting the rest of the six pack I bought. Although it was a little on the pricy side.

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

on tap @ itap soulard

poured into a snifter

pour was deep black chocolate with a deep cocoa colored head that filled the snifter. tons of lacing left behind, nice retention

lots of rich chocolate, dark fruit, light coffee, and a light roasted flavor.

lots of roasted coffee and malt with a very rich sweet chocolate flavor that held through out the middle. a nice mix of sweet dark fruit beneath the roasted flavor. a defining citrus hop flavor through out and in the finish. mostly grapefruit and orange.

a bit harsh but smooth also. carbonation had some bite. very little noticeable heat.

this was delicious. as far as fresh, its far better on tap. bottles need age, tap does not.

Photo of rundocrun
4.37/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - pours dark brown/black with a nonexistant head. This stuff is THICK it sticks to the side of the glass when you tilt it!

S - Figs, raisins, dark fruits, slight alcohol aroma.

T - Syrupy sweetness with figs and raisins up front. Heavy malts next. Bitterness hits the back of the palate toward the end. Definite booze detectable after the initial sweetness - not surprising since this stout sits at 10.5%

M - again, this stuff is definitely thick and syrupy, which is something you can expect from an imperial-style stout. Very light carbonation.

D - Being the lightweight that I am, one is definitely enough, but the overall character of this stout makes every sip a pleasure

Photo of Duhast500
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #9971

Poured from the 12oz. bottle into a Playboy pint glass.

The color is a dark black with a thin brownish head ans some slight lacing left on the glass.

The smell is raisin with a bit of a rum flavored nose. Some boozy flavor is slipping out in the aroma and gives off a bit of a dry fruit flavor.

The taste is a bit rum raisin, is warm with a heavy alcohol flavor and taste slightly like a bananas foster. Some caramel flavor mixed with a toffee like crunchy flavor.

The feel of this beer is big, with a high ABV giving this beer a punch that was unexpected, this beer has you on the ropes. A really fascinating stout.

Photo of BuckeyeOne
3.96/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 9435, aged at Zipp's, not my home.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a standard pint glass an impenetrable black with a solid mocha head that left a thick, hearty lacing down the glass.

I must say that all I could pick up from the nose was molasses and licorice. For a RIS, I really was expecting some chocolate and coffee, but I got neither of these from the nose.

The flavor followed the nose almost exactly, but there was a hint of chocolate in the end that was lacking in the nose. Also picked up some hop bitterness at the end.

Yummy, creamy smooth feel. Not a ton of carbonation, but wasn't expecting this in a RIS. Hit the spot.

I was disappointed. I've not had this beer before and thought one that was aged a year (or more) might be better. I'll try this fresh and see if I like it better.

Photo of bigfnjoe
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Batch 9971.

A- pours jet black with a one finger brown head. Would like to have seen more of a head with how vigorous this pour was...I've heard things about the carbonation of this, and now I'm a little worried.

S- roasted malts, licorice, brown sugar...odd that I'm getting no coffee or chocolate out of this. It is what it is...a departure from the normal stouty aroma. Interesting

T- very bitter chocolate and coffee, with a slightly sweet finish...the booziness is coming through a little bit as well. Really strong flavors...might need some time to mellow out a little

M- really, really chewy. Super thick. About what you'd expect from a RIS

D- I've got a couple of bottles aging, I wonder what that would to do the flavors in this one...I think I'd like it a little better with the age on it

Photo of nhindian
3.86/5  rDev -9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a tulip.

Batch 9971, bottled on September 13, 2010.

A - Pours a viscous, black motor oil black that culminates in a visually impressive, 3-fingered, dark mocha head. Retention is fantastic, and if it weren't for how slowly this beer drinks, it would last for more than half of the life of the beer. Body is pitch black, with only the slightest bit of chocolate highlights appearing at the bottom of the snifter, where it's at its thinnest. Lots of beautiful lacing as it drinks.

S - The nose is very sweet, full of malts and chocolate goodness. Also some appearances of thick molasses, raisins, and licorice. Throughout the whole nose there is a lot of alcohol presence. Overall a thick and heavy smell that is a bit intimidating.

T - First impression and all I can think of is that this is thick, chewy, and comes with wave after wave of flavor. The malts have a sweet, burnt flavor that contributes a nice, robust coffee flavor. Next comes some bittersweet chocolate and the dark fruits. These fruits help give a nice sugar characteristics that complements the high alcohol heat that this beer currently exhibits. A nice touch of hops at the end to complement the alcohol.

M - Mouthfeel is thick thick thick. And syrupy. Even after a few minutes between sips, all of the flavors still dance on the palate and there's a noticeable coating on the mouth. A long lasting bitterness in the finish resembling that of bittersweet baker's chocolate.

D - Drinkability is moderate. Even though this beer screams complexity, it's just a bit too much in terms of mouthfeel and alcohol. Being a little over 2 months old, it's still a bit hot for a RIS, so I can only assume the heat will dissipate after a few more months.

Overall, this beer seems like a more robust, thicker, more alcoholic version of Storm King, which lasts with me throughout the experience. I'm hoping some of the bitterness will round out more as it ages.

Photo of jrsully77
4.52/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This didn't strike me as better than other RIS

Dark richness, coffee, chocolate

Excellent, the perfect blend for an imperial stout. The heavy ABV is masked completely. Heavy coffee and roasted malts. I picked up milk and dark chocolate.

Thick and satisfying

For a RIS this might be the smoothest I have ever had.

Photo of mweso2000
4.65/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours black with a tan head that quickly goes down. There is not much head to speak of. Aroma is malty with hints of chocolate, toffee and caramel. The alcohol slightly stings my nose. Paired with Thanksgiving dessert of apple pie and pumpkin pie. Tastes go well together. Slightly bitter with a taste of bittersweet dark chocolate. Coffee tones work into the mouth. I expected this to be a little tougher to drink with a 10% abv, but the alcohol is not overwhelming and drinks quite easily. Probably not a beer I would have more than two of though.

Photo of chalsk
4.6/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark black color with a caramel colored head. Has an aroma of toffee, caramel, and hints of dark fruit. Yeah, this is a good stout. You have the sweet hitting the front of the tongue, the bitters on the back with hints of smoke. You can also taste sweet caramel and some coffee/toffee flavor. Ultra complex, but everything is work so well. A rich beer. Love it.

Photo of liamt07
4.68/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle courtesy of TMoney2591, via the Support Your Team BIF. Thanks for this one, dude. Batch 9435, 341ml bottle into a snifter. Almost a year on this one at this point.

Pours a heavy and thick black with a short milk chocolate brown head, both thick and creamy. Tons of beautiful lace. So much in the nose in terms of dark fruits (figs, plums), licorice, molasses and a touch of milk chocolate. Molasses and dark fruits lead the charge on the tongue, and flows effortlessly into some bitter dark chocolate and dry coffee beans. Finishes slightly dry as a result, full and syrupy with a ton of body. Excellent mouthfeel and outstanding drinkability for the alcohol content. One of the best I've had, easily.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 5,361 ratings.