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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

4,523 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,523
Reviews: 1,880
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 389
Gots: 966 | FT: 77
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
Expedition Stout offers immensely complex flavors crafted specifically with vintage aging in mind, as its profile will continue to mature and develop over the years. A huge malt body is matched to a heady blend of chocolate, dark fruits, and other aromas. Intensely bitter in its early months, the flavors will slowly meld and grow in depth as the beer ages.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-10-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,523 | Reviews: 1,880 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nriech
4.83/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

nriech, Feb 26, 2007
Photo of BillyB
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

BillyB, Feb 25, 2007
Photo of phil7568
4.88/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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!

phil7568, Feb 24, 2007
Photo of KingG
4.58/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

KingG, Feb 23, 2007
Photo of jmalex
4.55/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

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!

jmalex, Feb 21, 2007
Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.8/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

sinstaineddemon, Feb 21, 2007
Photo of northernbrews
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

northernbrews, Feb 21, 2007
Photo of Braudog
4.88/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Draft at KClingers on the recommendation of one of the smartest but unknown beer drinkers I’ve 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)

Braudog, Feb 20, 2007
Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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.

FtownThrowDown, Feb 20, 2007
Photo of mmmbeer
4.88/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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...

mmmbeer, Feb 20, 2007
Photo of DGryger
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance:
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.

Smell:
Heavy scent of raisins and dried fruits with a malty cocoa scent. Smells sweet.

Taste:
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 won’t destroy your tongue. Although as the beer warms the alcohol starts to overpower the other tastes.

Mouthfeel:
Thick and syrupy with a very suitable amount of carbonation. This is a very creamy brew. I wouldn’t consider this a very dry beer, and that is refreshing. Alcohol warming in the finish at first and moves forward with increasing temperature.

Drinkability:
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.

DGryger, Feb 19, 2007
Photo of bort11
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

bort11, Feb 18, 2007
Photo of dedrinker
3.9/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

dedrinker, Feb 17, 2007
Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

ClockworkOrange, Feb 15, 2007
Photo of treedoctor5002
4.78/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

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.

treedoctor5002, Feb 14, 2007
Photo of Jessefive
3.9/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first Bells, and my first Imperial Stout. As I expected, the color was the darkest black. A creamy thick body. The flavor was dark chocolate with a soft fruity sweetness hidden in there. There was a little roasted malt flavor, but it wasn't nearly as prominent as I would have imagined. It had a bitter finish. As it warmed a bit, the bitterness of the alcohol and hops became more prominent. Overall, a very tasty and interesting beer.

Jessefive, Feb 13, 2007
Photo of Dubbercody
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 7205

Thick and dark and viscous in that freaking awesome imperial way. Good warming, a bit of a ABV burn that I would foresee mellowing out with a bit more age on it. I would love to try a few year old bottle of this.

I have to say I love this style of beer, gotta enjoy it when you can, cause I won't be cold forever...damn global warming.

Dubbercody, Feb 13, 2007
Photo of asabreed
3.9/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle into a Thomas Hardy's snifter.

Appearance: With the ABV and the style you know the darkness will be present, and surely it is. Wish there was more lacing and more retention, but still, this sucker lives up mostly to its wishes of pure oblivion.

Smell: I've been drinking this for a long time in the snifter, and I wanted to wait until it warmed to close to room temperature say some words. The initial aroma's all chalky burnt and roasted malts with some sourness, along with some bitter chocolate, and of course as I said previously, any malt character is heavily roasted and charcoaled to the ends of the earth. Still a good thing, but I think with the high ABV, that's the thing that's possibly bringing it to a lower level.

Taste: What's dominating here is the sourness, the burnt malt, the roasted chocolate, and the slight citrus from the hops. Lots of complexity without a lot of balance and depth, or at least as much as I had hoped for. Granted, this is still young, and yes, its tasty and warming, but I feel like the aging process may have to be a part of this brew for it to do good things in the future.

Mouthfeel: Thick yet almost powdery, which somehow works for this. More carbonation could make it worse, yet it could do some great things for it.

Drinkability: I'd liken this to Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout or possible Thirsty Dog's Siberian Night, but what's missing here is the visceral, creamy, heady, and ultimately thick and malty delicious nature of those brews. I was a bit taken aback with the hype of this brew, and now that makes sense, as I don't personally think the ratings are giving it the experience I'd hoped. Still, I enjoyed it, and I can certainly see years bringing good things to this. Not sure I'd spring for a sixer in its green nature, but the one bottle I purchased certainly was anything but a bad decision.

asabreed, Feb 12, 2007
Photo of russpowell
4.7/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Props to zrrbrrt for this one.

Pours a deep mahogany with a rocky 2 fingers deep dirt/mocha colored head. Great lacing ( small dark flecks are glued to the glass almost like tiny grains of glass or obsidian) & very good head retention

S: Rich chocolate, plums & toast

T: Huge roasted malt & bitter chocolate up front. Iron, burnt coffee dark choclate follow as this warms up. This made me think of a choclate malted milk with booze pulsing through its body. Finishes with a flourish of choclate, hint of booze, a kiss of iron & roasted grain bitterness.

MF: Rich & chewy, makes me thik Christmas pudding! Very low carbonation.

The chewyness kind of detracts form the drinkability, but a lovely fireside sipper that demands respect & adoration. A great Russian IMP stout

russpowell, Feb 09, 2007
Photo of beermanbrian
4.55/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oil black in color with a a thin tan head that foams up to only 1/4 inch with a heavy pour. The head is the foamy fine bubbled consistancy and has a slightly reddish tint to it. Smell hits you with a huge wash of flavors. Dark fruits are the most prominant followed by coffee, chocolate and the other typical stout flavors. Also, as it warms you get a real wiff of the high ABV. The taste is just as enjoyable as the smell. I think beer might have the most prominant dark fruit flavors of any stout i've ever tasted. Finishes with some nice bitterness and some alchohol burn. Overall a wonderful beer. Hurt a little on drinkability due to the high ABV. I couldn't see having more than 2 in a night and really 1 is just about perfect.

beermanbrian, Feb 09, 2007
Photo of oakbluff
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I thought this beverage would be appropriate considering it is -35 degrees celsius out tonight.

Pours out like ten month old motor oil from my car. I had to run upstairs to get the knife and fork for this baby. Wow that is a thick stout. Hops are quite pronounced even though there is obviously an avalanche of malt here. Chocolate, plum, raisins, hops are main tastes. As thick as it is at the beginning, it actually finishes lightly and dry. carbonation is medium to low, but is at an appropriate level for this style.

A slow sipper for sure, but a perfect match for a soul sucking cold ass night. I'm looking forward to aging a couple of these to see how it/if it mellows out.

oakbluff, Feb 04, 2007
Photo of Atlas1
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a generic pint glass. This beer is deep pitch black. I hold it up to the light and nothing gets through. A seriously dark stout. Very nice. Pours a fat, heavy two-finger head which is a burnt orange color. It is thick and sticky, and cakes along the side of the glass as the beer recedes, leaving a very nice lace. It's strange, but I just don't get much out of the aroma here. I would have expected more, but the aroma is thin, with some slight coffee notes and hints of hoppiness. But otherwise, there's just not much in the way of aroma here. However, what it lacks in smell is made up for in flavor. This beer is delicious. Creamy, dark chocolate sweetnees mixed with a bitter coffee taste. It is nutty as well. Finishes with a noticeable amount of heat; you can really taste the alcohol in the aftertaste. Still, it's not a huge distraction, but it's just too hard to hide all of that 11.5% ABV. A wonderful winter brew, this stout will definitely keep you warm on a cold February night.

Atlas1, Feb 03, 2007
Photo of oelergud
4.53/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Completely opaque black body with a silken brown head. Great lace and good retention.
Strong sweet malts, roasted burnt expresso beans. Vanilla and powerful nutskin bitterness.
Taste has all the elements of the smell but expands into a rough smoked hop experience mingled with bitter roasted chocolate beans and expresso. Almond bitter aftertaste and smoke undulating along hoppy notes.
Full thick body, lots of residual sugars and decent coating.
Very high drinkability but watch the abv, it'll kick your ass.

-Oelergud

oelergud, Feb 03, 2007
Photo of dfried
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black as night, thick and oily, dark tan head like creme brule almost. The aroma was of rich molasses, black licorice, chocolate and coco powder, and some tropical fruity notes. Some alcohol lingered but I wont knock you off your seat. A lot of coco powder in the taste as well, fruity flavors, pears, a lot of black cherry. Quite sweet and tart. Some black licorice and coffee in the background. Very rich and creamy mouthfeel, silky.

Verdict: one of the better RISs out there in my opinion. The flavors come together very well, and while it is a sipping beer, it is easy to get lost, look down, and see that it is gone and want another.

dfried, Feb 02, 2007
Photo of crwills
4.53/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The highlight of a pre-Christmas trade with CBA out in Alberta; thanks Chris, this was awesome!

Poured an opaque, jet black into my Sinha glass. A slightly pinkish, relatively small chocolate-milk head fades fast but leaves a ton of brown lacing.

Aroma is very dark and planty. Licorice and anise, damp roots, milk chocolate, and good Caribbean rum. Just fantastic.

Taste was very bitter (moreso than I expected). Damp earth and plants right up front, which evolved into dry coffee or espresso and cocoa beans in the middle. Some warming alcohol and toffee as well. Finish is oaky vanilla, with a little bit of those grapefruit/pine citrus hops coming through in the aftertaste. Complex as hell, all the way through.

Mouthfeel is extremely smooth and milk- or cream-like, with almost no carbonation. Only dropped marks for drinkability due to the ABV and the fact that I couldn't finish more than one.

One of my top beers of all time.

crwills, Feb 01, 2007
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,523 ratings.