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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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5,368 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,368
Reviews: 1,996
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.61%
Wants: 447
Gots: 1,330 | FT: 99
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: 5,368 | Reviews: 1,996
Photo of kreeper
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This brew has a very hoppy aroma and an extremely black, as in a black hole, body with no head whatsoever. It had a very strong coffee flavor. It almost burns as it goes down. Somewhat of a bitter initial taste that lingers well after is has gone down.

Serving type: bottle

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

Make sure to put on a clean pair of underwear before drinking this stout. It's definitely a big boy beer.
The aroma is very delighting and ever so present. Very dark, almost black with a brownish head. Upon drinking, it has a very big mouth feel and completely coats the mouth with a roasty malted flavorful explosion of stout-ness. Very nice stout but also on the pricey side.

Photo of mgoblue5743
3.96/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a very drinkable stout. Rivals Stone RIS in flavor, though it's a little thin for my liking.

This is an excellent beer. It is very powerful, you can taste the roasted, malty flavor and is one of the rare, high powered stouts that you can drink a few of without falling off your chair. I wish it came in a bomber.

Photo of bigdonniebrasco
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 edition:
vigorous pour produces HUGE mocha head pure black contents that brings on the burnt motor oil references.

Hoppy nose with lots of chocolate and roasty malts. A hint of almost mint/menthol. This may just be the hops though.

Matches up well with the nose. A bit more deep toasted malt and dark chocolate. Kiss of coffee bean. Really huge hop profile. Toasty finish.

Very smooth and lightly creamy. The body just feels spot on for what a RIS should have.

Great all around RIS. Bell's has to be one of my favorite breweries. Looking forward to aging a few of these to see how it develops.

* PS. LET THIS WARM or all you will get is bitterness!

Photo of JackieTH
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Black motor oil opaque and thick with a dark mocha head. Very inviting.

Smell: Dark chocolate, coffee and roasted malt.

Taste: Espresso and rich dark chocolate with a welcome bite of hop and the espresso bitterness coming through to balance. A hint of anise makes an appearance. A very foreboding brew and the pleasant warming of the 10.5% alcohol helps lighten the mood a bit.

Mouthfeel: Heavy, luxurious. Layered.

Drinkability: Challenging but delicious.

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

appearance: black beauty like coffee with great head but low head retention. some nice lacing from what it had though.

smell: deep dark malts, lots of chocolate flavor, loaded coffee,

taste: nice hop profile as i thought, lots of deep dark malt flavor. smooth easy drinking high abv impy stout. lots of bitterness from the hops on the back

mouthfeel: full bodied beauty, low carbonation

drinkability: not over rated. it's world class.

4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: oil black with a small head mocha head. Nice and sticky on the sides of the glass.

S: sweet nose, berries, dark fruits, bitter chocolate, raisins, toasty with a light burn of alc., some soy sauce, and maybe a little vanilla.

T: Yum. This is tasty. Full bodied flavorful and bold. All the sweetness up front. Chocolate in the middle and a nice smooth but slightly dry roasty malt finish. This beer sits on your pallet forever. Flavors compare closley to those that I smelled. Really great.

M: pretty solid chewy and oily feel. As it warms it feels a little flat, but still great. Im am enjoying this very much.

D: not bad for a high ABV brew. Its a sipper for sure, but it has decent drinkability for what it is.

Thoughts: I think the bros had a batch much different from this one. This is probably the 09 or 2010 batch and its a really nice beer. I think its a good example of the style.

Photo of FunkyMacGroovin
3.72/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Many thanks to Plenum for this one. 12 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. pour is a very deep shade of brown with a 1/2 finger coffee-colored head. Lots of lacing on the sides of the glass - this beer looks a bit like something you'd brew in a cauldron. Smells mainly of alcohol and molasses underpinned by hints of coffee and cacao - very nice.

Roasted malt is the primary flavor component on first sip - it's a little overpowering, and tastes somewhat over-roasted to the point of being burnt. Unfortunately this flavor gets more prominent as the beer warms. There's some alcoholic heat here too, but it's less than I expected, and I actually quite like it. Not as sweet as I expected either. The mouthfeel is very full-bodied, viscous, and a bit syrupy. There's moderate carbonation, and it helps keep my mouth feeling refreshed between sips.

A solid beer overall, but the burnt-grain taste definitely hurts this brew.

Photo of montecristo2
4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a small snifter.

Wow, oily black-very dark stuff indeed.

Smells of chocolate, coffee, and dark fruit-prunes maybe?

Very small head upon the pour, which dissipates very quickly to a light lacing on the sides of the glass.

Sweet on the front, with a dark chocolate/coffee raisiny flavored finish. This is a good one from Bell's, but one that I will only have once in a while and one at a sitting. Not a beer I want to drink all night, but definitely a beer I want to savor and slowly enjoy. A good cold weather beer, but even though yesterday was the last day of summer, who cares? This stuff tastes great any time of the year!


Photo of irishgurl4
3.65/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Birthday Beer #2! Thanks to Beau (sefus12) for this next beer, Bells Expedition Stout! From batch 9459 poured into a Ballast Point shaker pint glass.

A: Pours black with a one finger chocolate head that quickly dissipates to a thin layer on top.

S: Smell is a light nose of chocolate with a huge roastiness with hints of alcohol lingering in the background.

T: Begins with a mild sweetness that makes a quick stop at chocolate before moving right into the bitter roastiness. Whoa, just saw the abv on this baby, 10.5%! It's like Ninja abv, you don't know it's there till your passed out on the floor. :P

M: Has kind of a thicker mouthfeel with a decent level of carbonation to lift the rich flavors of this beer off the palate. Bitter roast lingers for quite awhile and leaves just a little bit of a coated feeling towards the back of the tongue.

D: Another sippy beer best suited for cool nights. Warning, beware the Ninja abv!

I'd have to say that Bells Expedition Stout gets a tasty noms. :)

Photo of kbutler1
4.31/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle with no batch number but I am pretty sure I got this a year or 2 ago. Pours a dep dark brown/black color with a farily thick 1 finger head. Aromas of some sweet malts with dark fruit, coffee, and bittersweet chocolate. The taste is extremely layered with a nice thick and creamy heavy mouthfeel. Sweet dark chocolate up front followed by roast coffee and leather. Big and chewy.

Photo of wordemupg
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into tulip sept18 2010, bottle 10 months old according to the bells batch finder

A pours pitch black right out of the bottle with a few little chunks at the bottom, and has a super dark thumbs worth of foam to go with it, falls to a thin film rather quickly but covers the side of my glass with lace

S molasses with some chocolate, prune, booze, and and a little cinnamon of all things

T not far from the smell but a little stronger with some added complexity from a little licorice and coffee, quite enjoyable beer and the booze is quite well concealed compared to the nose

M enters silky and ends thick and creamy, a little sticky on the lips and I'm thinking I'll still be tasting this beer tomorrow the flavors just linger in your mouth

D a little dangerous if you ask me, well rounded and quite easy to drink

a good paring for this chilly "summer" day in Calgary, a solid beer and would do quite well in a cellar but I only have one bottle and I need to thank MasterSki for sending it my way

Photo of HESSLER500
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a luscious black on the side of the glass, not much carbonation, kind of a thick pour. Does lace slightly so you know your in for much more then a hamms light. This is one stout that I truly love due to its dark chocolate tones infused with a ever so slight alcohol vapor that can be felt on the way down. Not much of a hoppy brew which is a bonus. Brewed with a bit of thickness so that the flavors linger towards the back of the mouth. Overall, this is an excellent stout and will continue to buy it when available.

Photo of davesway10
3.35/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I've drank several of these just trying to develop an honest feel for this beer. It's a beautiful black color with an exceptional deep tan head, and thats where it ends for me. I don't get the chocolates and the coffee flavors others have written of, what i get is molasses and smoke and the smoke doesn't do it for me. Its not that the beer is bad, its just not me.

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

One of the best RIS I've everhad next to a 2008 darklord. I enjoyed this beer I'm my delirium sniffter. Pours out dark and has an awsome smell. Dark tan head and left a little lacing. Has a nice mouth feel and let's u know their is a 10.5 abv. Then chocalte,coffee, and tasty malts cover your pallet along with a creamy head (if swurled before consumed) I love that is availible in a 6pack so I can enjoy almost one a day!

Photo of bobhits
4.27/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

3 year old bottle served in a stone Russian imperial stout glass

Pitch black, 3 finger head. Pitch black with a milk chocolate colored head. Lots of lacing unlike just about anything I've seen with any kind of age on it. Impressive is an understatement. Sediment showing in the lacing gives it a truly exceptional touch.

Subtle vanillas and chocolate malt in the nose.

Overly creamed coffee mixed with very sweet and bitter chocolate. I recall not being blown away with this fresh. Age or my maturity...who knows but this is good stuff and I wish I had a few more bottles this old to keep watching this aging process.

Creamy, soft, touch of bubbles, just right for this style.

This beer couldn't have alcohol in it...I can't taste it what so ever. I could sip on this all day and night. Wonderful stuff!

Photo of BogleHill
2.26/5  rDev -46.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottled dated 10-2009. Pours out jet black like used motor oil. Sweet roasty and malty aroma with a presence of alcohol. Good tan head and carbonation. Very heavy mouthfeel. Quite roasty, almost smoky. The sweetness overpowers this one for me though, perhaps the alcohol too. This seems like a well made brew, but sadly, I found myself unable to finish it. Imperials are just not my thing-that I am sure of. -But I am up for trying anything, once. My thanks to awesome trader Birchstick for giving me the opportunity to try this highly rated stout.

Photo of tewaris
4.26/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Note: Taste score raised to 4 and drinkability to 4.5 after a different sampling of a 13 months old bottle that was noticeably smoother. Also, a tart dry fruit character (prunes, cherry) was noted in this tasting.


Bell's Expedition Stout
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Russian Imperial Stout
10.5% ABV
1.11 OG
12 oz bottle, bottled December 18, 2009, poured into a Bell's tulip.

Appearance 5/5
Pours black and opaque with a big, dark brown head that takes its own sweet time to build up. The head recedes to a thin collar eventually and leaves an excellent lacing. On a first glance, it's impossible to comment on clarity but after the head has receded, clear dark brown edges can be seen. Inviting!

Aroma 4/5
This is the smell of a big badass stout. Hard to describe fully because there are a lot of things going on here. Reeks of molasses and malts initially. Then chocolate, and possibly, coffee and vanilla. Booze, especially when it gets warm.

Taste 3.5/5
Big, dark malts surrounded by hoppy bitterness that stays until the long finish. There's booze in finish, noticeable even 9 months after bottling. Then plenty of rich aftertaste which is so roasty, that it seems burnt at times. Everything about this beer is big, but too rough and oddly bitter.

Mouthfeel 5/5
Silky, but not cloying over one bottle, which is the ideal amount to drink for this beer. Low carbonation, which is perfect for this beast. Body is big, as expected.

Drinkability 4/5
I have had the cask conditioned version too, and that was one of the best beer experiences I have had. Noticeably better on cask. Still, the drinkability is alright. However, this beer seems very rough which affects the score.

Photo of ChadQuest
4.36/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

i love how this beer looks, it looks like i'm pouring gelatinated squid ink into my glass! thick and syrupy. i know the whole argument some people make about low-none head being very unattractive, but this beer makes me want to grab a spoon or just take big bites, it looks warm and inviting right now.

Somewhat muted nose comprised of light roasts, sweet malts, hint of licorice, and oaky vanilla.

BAM! this hits the palette strong. All of the notes composed in the Nose are here and in much stronger force, but a nice alcohol comes in and warms you up in a way that makes you want to sip all night long. All the flavors are melded wonderfully, ive had other batches that were either brand new fresh or not as refined as this one, but this bottle really surprised me even tough i've had this beer dozens of times.

mouthfeel is, as you guessed from the appearance, just as thick as you could hope for. Inky & Creamy. Also, the low-moderate carbination is a positive for me personally. I don't need bubbles in my bourbon, and i don't in my Stouts either.

I've drank a few of these before, and about 2.5 is the safe limit, for me. You will never need to drink that many, the beer satisfies in it's own short time.

Photo of korguy123
4.57/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12oz poured into snifter.
Special thanks to TheSevenDuffs for sending this gem my way.
Batch code 9512 (December 2009)

Quick background story first while it warms a bit. I've been a member here since 2008 but never really participated in reviewing or forums. I used the site to check reviews and ratings of the beers around me only. Last year my brother and his fiancee drove to Iowa to spend time with their friends. There first stop was Kalamazoo... Never heard of Bell's before and off they went. Two weeks later I here of Bell's (specifically Expedition stout and Hopslam) and am floored remembering that my brother drove through there not even a week prior... been trying to hunt them down ever since, and here we are now, a year later and finally sucess. Thanks Marcus!

A- Thick black syrupy pour producing a dense two finger dark khaki head. Quickly recedes to a faint ring. Lacing is wonderful.

S- Dark chocolate, blackstrap molasses, medium roast coffee, cream, brown sugar, vanilla, faint earth and wood, slight bourbon.

T- Bitter coffee, molasses, vanilla, smoke taste reminds me of cedar grilling on the bbq. Slight cherry taste. Alcohol is nowhere to be found in the taste.

M- Creamy and chewy. Sticky sweet on the lips after each sip. Very little carbonation (I know this was a point deduction for the Bro's but I kinda like it in this case, there is so much going on flavor wise that I didn't realize it until my third or fourth sip.

D- It's quite cold today so I decided itm was going to be a stout and barleywine day. So far this is keeping me quite warm. Come winter i could see this being a staple. The alcohol is mute in taste, and the complexity is wonderful definitely would have a hard time stopping at one or two (unless I can't make it to the fridge anymore)

Photo of ralree
4.51/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Really dark rich brown with a dark brown head. One of the darkest stouts I've ever seen. Pours very smoothly like a syrup. Great retention and decent lacing.

S: Smokey coffee, some chocolate, backed by a nice amount of hoppiness. Very clean.

T: Pretty smokey malt, rather sugary, lots of chocolate flavor now, and the coffee is rather strong as well. Hops are fantastic - very bittersweet and fresh. Flavors continue into the aftertaste nicely. A very good example of the style!

M: Extremely thick, oily, very chewy, heavy-bodied. Astringence is good - not too much, but enough to make you pucker a little. Carbonation is good.

D: Goes down great, especially for such a strongly alcoholic and strongly flavored beer. Well-done!

Photo of goldbot
3.96/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 11/19/2009. Reviewed on 8/18/2010.

Pours pitch black with thin, brown head. The foam fades quickly, leaving bits of lace on the surface of the beer.

Roasty, malty aroma. Hints of chocolate and coffee, but malt, bread, and roasted flavors really dominate. Lacks depth in a way compared to many of its peers.

Sweet milk chocolate flavor followed by a smooth malt and sweet caramel. Fresh roasted coffee beans linger on the palate and provide a nice bitterness.

Full bodied, on the sweet side which works well with the strong malt and coffee flavors. Reminiscent of a mocha dessert drink.

Photo of harpus
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: pours like used motor oil, one of the thickest imperial stouts out there (behind Hunahpus/Mashal Zhukov), with a nice dark head, decent retention and lacing

S: huge notes of dark chocolate and oats up front, compared to the fresh version, this is much more mellow and chocolatey...personally I think this smells better now than before

T: deep rich roasted notes up front with tons of chocolate, a little licorice and molasses, some coffee, everything is big and bold but nicely in balance. The finish is long and leaves a hint of roastieness on the palate. Wow, 2 years have done wonders for this brew.

MF: thick, velvety viscous, low carbonation

D: I have always loved Expo, but have never tried it at this age. I must say that I am amazed by how much chocolate character comes through now. Delicious.

I have tried this beer three times. The second time was in a stout tasting and this was pick #1 out of 13 different stout.

Photo of ZOXXO
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle poured into Kapok Tree Inn tulip glass

A - Deep dark black colored with a light chocolate colored blanketing head. A tight tiny bubbled lacing

S - Chocolate coffee and to a lesser degree hops.

T - Dark chocolate, coffee, hints of dark fruit and roasted malt with a latent alcohol warming and piney hops flavor

M - Big bodied thick molten flow engulfs the palate.

D - A great first or last brew but I don't consider it a session brew, as to be expected for an Impy Stout.

Overall, I found this an enjoyable brew but could do with a little less pronounced alcohol flavor.

Photo of axeman9182
3.21/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle (cheers to IdrinkGas), warmed slightly from fridge temperature and poured into my Chimay goblet.

The beer pours absolute black, with a two finger dark coffee head. It quickly dissipates halfway and just sits at a finger in height for a long time. A little bit more lacing would have garnered Expedition Stout a five. The smell is of dark chocolate (good) and some black licorice (not as much). As long as the flavor pulls more from the former than the latter I think I'll still dig it. Well, I got my wish, but this beer is *very* rough around the edges. The dark chocolate overpowers the licorice, after an opening dollop of caramel, but there's a harsh graininess and a bitterness that I want to say comes from hops, but there's no accompanying hop flavor. I was ready to score the flavor lower, but it did smooth out some as the beer hit room temperatureIt's a shame too, because the mouthfeel on this beer is great, a chewy and luxurious body and carbonation that's just a tiny bit too high for my taste. The poor taste really hurts drinkability, but the beer gets some credit for effectively masking any alcohol. I'd never had Bell's beer that was less than top notch until Expedition Stout, but I'm glad I got to try and I'd like to try this beer with a few years on it to see if it smooths out.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 5,368 ratings.