Bell's Expedition Stout - Bell's Brewery, Inc.
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Ratings: 4,455 | Reviews: 1,875 | Display Reviews Only:
4.33/5 rDev +2.4%
I have been drinking Expedition for over a year. It is time to tell others how nice this beer is ! (BTW- Stouts are my favorite, Imperial, Double, Oatmeal, etc)
Pours deep mahogony black with rich garnet highlights at the edge, develops a creamy tan head, fine bubbles that takes several minutes to fade to an edge ring.
Smell is big toasty caramel malt over a hop backbone with a faint smell of alcohol.
Taste is rich, chocolate, coffee, toasted grains and caramel, followed by a well balanced big hop bitterness and then a slpash of alcohol.
Full rich mouthfeel that finished with a subtle alcohol bite (I find this a good characteristic), viscous and substantial.
Drinkable - Imperial Stouts are an acquired taste. This is a very fine example of one. I drink about 1 per month.
11-17-2005 12:38:08 | More by HopHeadKen
4.38/5 rDev +3.5%
Pitch black body. A one finger dark chocolate head that reduced really quickly. Good looking brew.
Overall sweet aroma. Lots of sweet dark fruits including raisins and currants. Some light chocolate comes through as well. Flavor is loaded with dark toasted malts followed by a sweet caramel body. The alcohol presents an overall sweetness adding possibly a touch of vanilla. Alcohol isn't really overwhelming, definately blended with the flavor in a tasty fashion.
Mouthfeel is oily and creamy on the tongue. Coats well and lingers for quite a while. Dangerously drinkable. Probably one of the most drinkable brews I"ve had with this much alcohol.
Overall a nicely crafted brew. Definately a sipper.
Thanks to feloniousmonk for the opportunity...
11-16-2005 04:10:41 | More by blitz134
4.9/5 rDev +15.8%
This brew pours a motor oil black color. The head is brown with a with crown. The aroma is of chocolate, cream, crackers, butter, with Bell's house aroma peaking slightly though. The taste is chocolate, and club crackers, with some really nice bitterness in the finish. The bitterness slowly fades during the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is perfect for an imperial stout; full bodied with just enough carbonation to make things interesting. Overall, this is the best impy I have had to date.
11-16-2005 01:22:04 | More by KarlHungus
4.6/5 rDev +8.7%
This beer poured into my chalice a clear, almost opaque brown-black with a thin layer of head that disappeared immediately.
The aroma was stangely faint... slightly sweet, some alcohol, no roasted character at all. And I served it at a little above cellar temperature.
This did NOT carry through to the flavor. It was not sweet at all... I got MASSIVE roasted barley, which faded to a coffee aftertaste. DAMN this was powerful. But 11.5%? Where? Sure as hell didn't taste like it. Very deceptive.
Mouthfeel was wonderful... thick, chewy, and it coated the tongue.
Drinkability... very good, but the flavor was so strong and powerful that I couldn't give it a perfect rating. I could only have one of these and I would have my fill. I would gladly go back to it, however.
11-13-2005 03:41:40 | More by connecticutpoet
4.68/5 rDev +10.6%
Yes. This is a good beer. Solid, heavy, thick, powerful. Quite possibly the ultimate winter brew. Poured out to a pitch black color with a motor oil level of thickness. Very high viscosity. Lower carbonation, but a nice dense brown head arose from the beer totaling about 3/4 of an inch, and remained consistant. Aromas of chocolatey malts, roasted coffee, earth and soft wood notes. Very appealing. Taste was direct and filling. Flavors of dark turkish coffee, cocoa, heavily roasted malts, dark chocolate and burnt molassas. Amazing, and worthy of the exceptional designation. Mouthfeel was thick and chewy, while still having a smooth and creamy element to it. Very hearty. A good level of drinkability, this brew's 11.5% ABV is hardly detectable, which could mean trouble for those with a six pack on hand and a low level of moderation ability. An amazing brew, and worth the price. The best Russian Imperial Stout I have ever had. Highly recommended.
11-06-2005 03:55:44 | More by Frozensoul327
4.3/5 rDev +1.7%
7/27/06 update: Re-reviewed for the context of Imperial/Russion Stout Session...9th in line for myself, expatsteve, DaPeculierDane, and Golden2wenty1. Overall analysis remains similar. My notes revealed a 4.5, 4.5, 4, 4, 3.5 scoring.
12oz single, from the cellar fridge, batch 6672, 04 edition
appearance: black as night, a foamy deep brown head begins to form, but is a bit smaller than usual, some minimal ruby tinting...pours like motor oil, as has often been said
smell: big and bold, very deep roast, dark bittersweet chocolate, raisin, black coffee, some hints of underlying hops
taste: This is a big stout. Very rich with quite evident alcohol. The flavors are so dark and rich...the dark chocolate flavors are dominant, very sweet, dark caramel, toasted malts, espresso
mouthfeel: creamy and rich, bittersweet
drinkability: tasty but a beast, more than 1 is tough
I heart you expedition
10-26-2005 02:34:30 | More by dirtylou
3.38/5 rDev -20.1%
Pours black molasses color with a head that is the color of chocolate brownies. I am immediately amazed and slightly worried by the smell--this thing is probably going to taste too boozy and vinous for me but maybe not...
Taste is of dark malts, caramel, licorice with some cherries and other fruits, nuts--almonds, raisins, etc. I can tell this will improve as it warms. It finishes fairly clean but does have a little bourbon-esque burn in the throat after. It is also a bit too flat in mouthfeel. I've had better imperial stouts. Maybe I need to try it again in January when the weather is much colder.
10-18-2005 21:27:48 | More by rousee
3.7/5 rDev -12.5%
The beer is deep black with a moderate brown head. The head has receded to a brown, bubbly film on the top of the beer. There seems to be little to no lacing on the glass as the beer is consumed.
Sticking my nose into the glass, I detect a bit of chocolate and a lot of alcohol.
The beer tastes pretty good: coffee, a hint of chocolate, and a malty sweetness. It also has quite a bit of alcoholic spiciness, which doesn't bother me since when I'm not drinking beer, I enjoy Scotch neat. I could see the alcoholic nature of this beer being off putting to many people, though.
The mouthfeel is good--low carbonation and a nice, thick body.
The drinkability of this beer pretty good for an imperial stout, though the high abv would make me hesitate before opening another one of these bad boys.
10-16-2005 02:06:04 | More by maggotbrain
4.38/5 rDev +3.5%
Appearance: Black with a reddish tinge and a brown, small, creamy head that quickly diminished to a full, thick film. Lots of thick sticky lacing.
Smell: Large, fabulous aroma of chocolate, coffee, malts, molasses and light buttery herbs.
Taste: Big, thick malts, bitter coffee, cheery, and soy sauce (I know, it sounds odd and the last time I tasted soy sauce in a beer it was a homebrew gone wrong, but its good in this flavor). The finish is sweet and very long in duration.
Mouthfeel: Full body, thick chewy texture, no carbonation.
Drinkability: My was this wonderful. One sip took me back to a ski vacation up in Maine for some reason. I love the nostalgia a good aroma can spark. This was a fabulous meaty stout that Ill definitely be having again.
10-13-2005 21:19:56 | More by ski271
4.9/5 rDev +15.8%
Nice looking in the glass, though rather short head. What head there is, tends to be sort of a dark coofee-with-cream colour, and is gone in modest stretch. Holdng this one up to the light, I'm seeing nothing. VERY dark...OK, wait...there's a little ruby fringe...Nothing like a really black beer. :)
It smells like the first beer I ever made....very heavy and thick dark molasses aroma, with a hoppy nose under. There's even a *slight* hint of cedar in there.. It's very nice.
Wow....sweet and smoky all at the same time. Nice pungency on this. There's definitely a boatload of roasted malt there...and the alcohol is not overly apparent, but is there, particulary on the end and the aftertaste. There's a great chocolatey quality right in the middle. The hops are there, but aren't overbearing or distracting.
This one isn't too thick or 'gritty' as sme stouts have been. It's definitley 40-weight, but is very smooth. You don't feel you need a hammer and chisel to serve this one.
Yowsa. Shake your groove thing. Get down, and then get back up again. This one could be my standard session stout, if i could get it around here. VERY drinkable, and could keep me happy all night long. Pardon the crudeness, but keep me in a supply of this, and I'm your bitch.
09-28-2005 04:35:34 | More by UncleFlip
4.72/5 rDev +11.6%
Got this beer in a trade that resulted in a *lot* of wonderful already-cellared beers, and I suspect this one was cellared for a while as well, as the carbonation was almost non-existant, and the hops had faded back to a nice compliment to the main tastes.
Appearance - If I saw the oil in my car this color, I'd assume the car was toast. In a beer though, it's glorious. It's a rare treat to see such a dark beer, especially one so viscous. The beer in the glass literally folded around the beer pouring from the bottle. Almost no head, just a thin layer of very dark brown foam that subsided to a ring quickly, but then stuck around forever. Inky black. No light gets through, not even at the edges. This brew sucks ambient light in, darkening a room as soon as the cap is popped. With a better head, this would be the ideal appearance. I suspect this has been aged however, hindering that, so I'm only knocking off a half.
Smell - Thick, thick smell, if that makes any sense. Very faint. Biscuits, cherries and coffee.
When cold, it's an extremely smooth, slightly sweet syrup that rolls along the tongue. Chewy, smooth, and with a nice tingle of carbonation at the end. Like a black coffee with a maraschino cherry bobbing in it. Delicious. It's hard to wait for this to warm up.
Now that it's warm, a strong dough-like flavor is coming through, with some cinnamon and brown sugar. Amazingly thick and big in feel and flavor. Almost too much for my tastebuds to take, with all this biscuit, cherry, raisin, cinnamon and coffee goodness. Definitely heartburn material.
This is probably on of the best examples of a RIS I've had to date. If only we had stouts like this in my state, I'd never have to trade to find them. A huge thanks goes out to beerhandy for figuring this to be a good brew for my tastes.
09-26-2005 06:26:03 | More by waldowin
3.3/5 rDev -22%
Like old used motor oil. I would not be in the least bit surprised if you were actually able to use this as lubricant for an internal combustion motor. Of course I'm not testing this on my VW. Beautifully cascading head cascade FOREVER! Finally settles to three fingers of barely moving thick creamy brown foam. It looks like it will aslt forever, to the point of needing scooped off so I can drink this already! (not likely) Oh well, this will give the brew time to warm I guess, as I'm sure it needs to be warmer than my fridge! You could give the earth a solar eclips if you could put this beer inbetween you and the sun.
Ok I'm back, I let the head die a while while I took care of other business. 8" away from this beast I can smell toasty biscuity malt. As I get closer the toasty quickly changes to extremely dark roasted bitter malt.
Now take this taste rating with a grain of salt, as I'm not a huge stout fan, I'm just starting to like them. Well this beast is the extreme stout and should probably have not been one of my first stout experiments since gaining a taste for them. This thing is way bitter with dark roasted malt. Did they intentionally burn the malt? Quickly coffee bitterness steps in to stomp on my tastebuds to make room for the extremely sweet syrupy malt. Next up is the resinous, oily, sappy hops. Not like it needs to be more bitter. Bitter malt and slightly hoppy aftertaste.
It feels like motor oil in the mouth to, maybe 5W-20 as it's not as thick as 10W-30 (yes I do know what 10W-30 feels like in my mouth. Don't ask.)
Respectable, but way too big for me. Not drinkable in the least bit for me. I'll try thi again in a year. We'll see what I think then!
09-18-2005 17:25:07 | More by sopor
4.53/5 rDev +7.1%
Absolute pitch black with a very thin dark brown head that disappears almost completely. Smells of reduced dark berries and coffee. Starts out very thick and sweet across the palate, then fades into amazing dark fruity cherry roastiness mingled with hefty hop bitterness, some yeasty spicyness and caramel shows up, and then disappears into a long roasty finish burnt coffee becoming and hops becoming prominent. Incredibly full in the mouth and without a shred of obtrusive alcohol, this is beautiful. Though I'd prefer it to be a little less sweet. Tremendous nonetheless.
Huge thanks to deejaydan for this.
09-17-2005 00:34:48 | More by numenor1
4.83/5 rDev +14.2%
presentation: 12oz. bottle with a simple cream colored label with blue borders. the bell's logo heads the top of the label. below the logo is an illustration of a styalized map symbol. on the back of the bottle is bell's interpretation of their ris.
appearance: pours a jet black with a very dark brown 1 inch head into a snifter glass. nice rolling head to start that quickly dropped to a thin patchy cap after a couple of minutes. excellent lacing down the glass.
smell: rediculously strong sweet chocolate aroma. there is also molasses, currants, espresso and plums. one of the most aromatic brews i've ever experienced.
taste: chocolate mocha espresso. burnt mollasses and dark fruit. plums, prunes, raisins and currants. extremely flavorful malts. very dessert-like and warming, right down to the ever-so light hop bitter finish. aftertaste is bitter-sweet dark chocolate and burnt malts.
mouthfeel: so thick, creamy and chewey. heavy body. beautifully smooth. i love it. carbonation is a tad light. only thing keeping it from getting a 5.
drinkability: man, the drinkability is good considering. 11% abv, and super thick. but the flavors and aromas tempt you during every pause between sips. very intoxicating, however.
overall: the best beer i've had to date. near perfect on almost every cylinder. i love north coast's old rasputin, and stone's ris, but this beer has just a couple more qualities that i enjoy. i can't imagine this getting much better, but i'm laying down a couple just to see. highly recommended. i have received this from patyoda and skyhand, so a huge thanks goes out to both.
09-11-2005 05:15:12 | More by Px2GrafX
4.18/5 rDev -1.2%
Pours dead black with a one finger brown head. Aroma is sweet, with coffee, molasses, and brown sugar, along with alcohol notes. Flavor starts sweet with vanilla and coffee, which quickly gives over to a grassy, hoppy finish. For an 11%+ ABV brew, I think the alcohol is well masked - it's detectable, but not overly so. Hardly any carbonation in the body - smooth, slippery mouthfeel.
09-09-2005 03:58:23 | More by BlastTyrant
2.88/5 rDev -31.9%
My wife said motor oil as I poured a bottle into our newest pilsner. Her father, an avowed Busch Light drinker, calls all the craft beers we drink motor oil. At last, though, the name is accurate.
Its dark. REAL dark. A searchlight wouldnt cut through it. The text printed on the back of the pilsner is completely illegible.
The smell is mostly coffee, layered with alcohol. I dont detect much chocolate from the odor, or its overcome by the alcohol smell.
My wife tried a sip after saying she wouldnt like it. She did like it, it turned out, but she added that she couldnt drink much more. She also said it needed to warm up.
Its a RIS so its a big beer and goes down very warm. Im guessing its last years stock since we bought a single bottle just last week. Virtually no head save a few stings of bubbles clinging to the glass. Bitter, coffee tasting with touches of raisin and very light hints of chocolate. Unlike some other Russian Stouts Ive had, the prevailing taste seems to be the alcohol itself. It tends to crowd out the other tastes, leaving the usual complexities of a stout left to muddle around with one another until none of them come to the fore.
They were speaking of this beer in hushed tones at the Dayton Alefest last week but I wonder if thats for the $14.99 sticker shock than the actual taste. Its not bad at all. But for Bells and for fifteen bucks I expected better.
09-02-2005 01:30:14 | More by Oktoberfest
4/5 rDev -5.4%
Completely opaque blackness with an incedibly small brown head and little lacing. Par for the course, so far as micro stouts are concerned.
Smells like a mix between soy sauce and worcestershire. Meaty with nodes of cheese and roated malt. This beer is going to be a meal.
Tastes like a good smoked porter, only without the smoke and with a tart alchol zip. Meat and potatoes upfron, salt and bread in the back. Yummy.
08-26-2005 01:15:05 | More by mynie
4.53/5 rDev +7.1%
Poured an opaque black color with no head at all, and no lacing to boot. Had an aroma of chocolate, NUTS, and slightly roasted malts. This brew tasted like chocolate covered nuts, Very sweet, with a slight tinge of alcohol. It had a creamy, oily mouthfeel. The biggest of the night!
08-23-2005 23:55:20 | More by egajdzis
5/5 rDev +18.2%
I tried this beer from my boss who had a few bottles. One of the best stouts ever tasted. Such good aroma and mouthfeel. Pretty much no head, just like motor oil and just how I like it. Rich, Coffe, and chocaltes. Definently top 5 on my favorite beers.--
08-21-2005 21:32:38 | More by AdamB84
4.33/5 rDev +2.4%
We happened to be in Kalamazoo for a few days, and Bell's was recommended, so we tracked down the brew-pup and brewery-store - WHAT A HASSLE! After an hour of driving in circles, stopping and asking people on the streets (EVERYONE seemed to know where it was but were useless in giving helpful directions), we finally succeeded. There wasn't enough time to stay for the pub, but we hit the store and bought a few cases-- including a case of Expedition Stout.
We'd been told that "it's supposed to be the best stout ever made," by our referrer. Well, it's a lot like Guinness, in my own personal experience and of others as well-- but better, that's our consensus.
The clerk at the store said that the Expedition Stout is 12%, versus their Kalamazoo Stout at 6% or so.
Most of the Bell's that we tried are far too hop-ish for any of us-- except the Expedition Stout. Drink some and enjoy.
11 months later update-- I found a neglected bottle buried in the refrigerator. I poured it-- and it was like thin chocolate-syrup coming out of the bottle. The taste was okay for a while, although a lot more liquor-tasting than when it was fresher. The mug sat for a while and when I went to take another sip, it was like paint-thinner with plenty of paint-residue mixed through it. If this were the first try of this stout, I'd rate it far lower-- but given the circumstances, I simply thought I'd add my 11-month followup on what happens with this, after some aging.
08-20-2005 03:05:12 | More by therica
3.78/5 rDev -10.6%
thanks orbitalr0x for the chance to try this brew
first off, let me talk about the label. perfect. very pleasingly simple in a way that i can appreciate as an (ex) graphic artist. speaks volumes without saying a word. bell's has the brewing expertise to feel confident with simplicity, and i can't blame them.
this beer is dark, boy.. dark lord dark. oily. not much head, once settled absolutely none. smell is rather abrasive.. raisiny liquor with thrice-roasted malt and cough-syrup sweetness. the 11+% on this beer makes no attempt to hide itself. if chocolate exists here, it is in a boiled-and-reduced hershey's syrup kind of way.. and if coffee exists here, it's in a grounds-left-in-the-machine-for-two-days sort of style. taste is milder than i would expect with such a big nose.. smooth with a hint of cream and surprisingly hoppy in the finish. everything else is malt and dark, dark chocolate. not too deep, but burnt and layered. can't do any more than sip this puppy, and foamy burps tasting like nestle's barleywine emerge from my pie hole.
a daunting beer, a valiant effort. for the style, not my favorite.. nevertheless i am in awe of this magnificent creation. few people get the RIS right, and bell's does so with NO FRILLS.
08-19-2005 14:15:21 | More by goodbyeohio
4.88/5 rDev +15.4%
I got this as a single from Union Jack's on the Manatawny. No date on the label, but it won't matter with this.
This looks like used motor oil when you pour it. Black and thick and opaque. A one finger head of brown foam forms on top, eventually dropping to a ring and a few islands. Lacing throughout.
This just smells so fantastic. Deep, dark chocolate, mocha coffee, dried prunes and dates, very fruity and aromatic. Herbal/grassy hops, and just a hint of alcohol. Wonderful!
OMG, my mouth is so full of flavors...Super rich mocha, ultra dark chocolate cake, like a coffee milkshake. The huge malt presence is expertly balanced by a perfect amount of bittering. Chocolate covered dates, molasses, with a touch of alcohol at the end. Hard to believe this is 11.5%. Roasted barley flavor is cleverly muted by everything else. WOW! Aftertaste is a very long warm molasses flavor.
Mouthfeel is unbelieveably rich, creamy and smooth. This must age for a long time. Big sweetness, but not even slightly cloying. Lips stick together from sugars. Nice little tug at the back of your throat from bitterness. Finish is long, dark, and sweet.
I don't remember having an RIS this good. This has to be one of the best out there. At 11.5%, however, this wil knock your dick in the dirt real quick, like.
08-17-2005 20:38:09 | More by jakester
3.6/5 rDev -14.9%
Reviewing Bell's Java Stout and Expedition Stout together, brother vs. brother. May the manliest man win.
Expedition pours a deep, dark, inscrutable black, impenetrable as a nun, with almsot no head. I think Bell's has solved the oil crisis.
Smells sweet, like vanilla and prunes. There may be some coffee there, but next to the Java Stout, who could ever tell?
Tastes sweet and syrupy, anise and prunes and some nice bitterness at the end. It's good, but I just prefer the Java Stout and its intense coffee flavor to the sweet/sour dark fruit characteristics of this Russian imperial stout. Does have a nice mouthfeel, chewy and juicy.
The Expedition Stout is good, but is Stephen Baldwin to the Java Stout's Alec.
08-12-2005 06:05:37 | More by battlekow
4.28/5 rDev +1.2%
Appearance - Dark, almost black body with very large and thick dark tan or cappucino colored head. The head reminds me of what you get when you wash oily hands with pumice soap at a garage. A nice lacing was left all the way down the glass after the drink was consumed.
Smell - Burnt coffee and bitter chocolate mix with a light smell of alcohol, hinting at the treat to come.
Taste - Slightly sweet beginning with roasted malts and grains predominating, followed by hops, burnt coffee and alcohol flavor at the end
Mouthfeel - Thick, much the same as it's appearance. Slight tingling and bitterness from the hops.
Drinkability - I wouldn't go to the bar and drink a few of these in a row, but these would be perfect for the occasional treat to a truly world class brew or with steaks on the grill.
08-05-2005 08:59:03 | More by rxmaster
4.55/5 rDev +7.6%
Do large stouts get any more classy than this? Bell's makes it look easy as they layer the taste of roast, chocolate, alcohol, and fruit onto a succulent and savory base that seduces the palate at every turn.
The onyx-black ale arrives at the bar with a stern, disciplined, and masculine appearance. It's depth of clarity gives the beer a mirror-like sheen although it's black color makes it opaque. A mocha-stained head caps the beer with a blanket of foam that easily retains the session and laces the glass with confidence. Even a gentle swirl of the glass leaves brandy-like shiny legs clinging to the glass.
High roast, light smoke, and cocoa-rich chocolates overwhelm the nose with a backing of rum and bourbon booze that reveal notes of toffee and molasses. Underlying fruit aromas of red grape, cherry, and blackberry seem to carry a charred character and create a mouthwatering effect heading into the first sip.
Notions of chocolate wrapped espresso beans come to mind as the sweeter malts coat the front of the tongue and palate with its malty richness. Slightly scorched molasses allows for a rich and savory taste to rise at middle palate. This is the point where espresso roast, bittersweet chocolate, and charred dark fruit weave together for a complex but pleasantly rounded taste. Bold however, the taste is further complemented by piney and citrusy hops that assist the roast bitterness to finish. Cherry flavored alcohols and walnut oils all integrate into taste and continue the varying tastes that unveil themselves as the beer warms.
And with its marshmallowy texture, the enormous malt complexes provide a nearly chewy body to start. This silky and succulent texture keeps the beer's flavor squarely focused on the taste buds. But a patient transition to semi-dry maltiness is rewarded in finish as the beer's alcohols act like port wine and fine cognac to signal closure. It's extended roasty bitterness melds seamlessly with the next sip.
Bell's Expedition is a world-class stout, by which all others could be measured. I'm not sure if it is perfect at any one attribute, but it's near that on all. Plus there's several complexities that go above and beyond what the style prescribes. It pairs well with rich foods like honey-dripped dates, smoky bacon, and well aged gruyere.
08-04-2005 16:59:11 | More by BEERchitect
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,455 ratings.