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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.

5,047 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 5,047
Reviews: 1,928
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.85%
Wants: 426
Gots: 1,147 | 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: 5,047 | Reviews: 1,928 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SIRIUS2
3.98/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

A: Pours thick and black, viscous, remind me of motor oil. I was a little surprised at the head that developed on this, it just kept rising to more than an inch of light brown creamy foam. Lacing was good - all the way down the glass.

S: Aromas were a bit complex with a mix of coffee, prunes, and something on the order of brown sugar. There is also a faint whiff of alcohol but no discernible hops.

T&M: Heavy and full on the tongue, thick & chewy. Lots of coffee and thick sweet malts. It's hard to tell where the bittering is coming from - the bittering of the dark roast or something else. There are other flavorful hints in here too, like raisins, candy sugar, something like black licorice, and several layers of other malts. The carbonation is very fine and rather minimal, but it is there and seems to be well matched to the brew. The finish on this is long, as you might expect, with sweet malts that fade quickly to a long linger of bitter coffee tones.

D: Smooth and creamy texture is an interesting contrast to the aggressive coffee bittering, sort of a hard & soft complex. The ABV makes this a stiff drink, but it's enjoyable just the same.

Photo of SchmoTerp
3.8/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours and looks like a stout should with a dark tan head. Head took some time to dissapate. The mouthfeel are thick, robust, with some slight smokiness. The tastes are more subdued with balanced malts, there is a nice heaviness in the aftertaste. This beer was quite smooth and easy to drink - something I would definetely look forward to in the future.

Photo of paco1029384756
4.55/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pour is pitch black with thin tan lacing. Scent of molasses, honey, oak, brown sugar, chocolate, some alcohol, and raisins. Taste of molasses, chocolate, roasted coffee beans with a hint of blackberry and raisin. Mouthfeel is very smooth with a faint clinging tartness.

This is an expertly crafted beer with a great balance and an excellent flavor. Very drinkable, but this is a great sipper.

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

Pours pitch black, murky thick off-brown white head. Aroma of coffee, chocolate, malt and vanilla. Flavor is a incredibly well balanced dark chocolate, roasted barley and hop bitterness followed by a thick satisfying reminder of dark rum, thick chocolate sauce and caramelised figs.

I'm starting to wonder if imperial stouts are hard to brew wrong, all the one's i've had these last couple of months have been exeptional.... maybe I'm just enjoying this style more than I did before.

Photo of tiger88
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

thanks to schmoterp

Pours midnight black into the glass with only the slightest of dark brown hints. The equally dark brown head lays down very quickly leaving patchy lace around the glass. It did not smell as strong as I was expecting but it was a pleasant, subtle chocolate and sweet alcohol aroma. The taste is great, bitter chocolate and sweet malt at the same time. A dull bitter aftertaste hangs out on the back of the tongue begging for another sip. Mouthfeel is full and bursting with flavor. I get coffee, chocolate, rye bread even. Anything dark I can think of is contained in this beer. I love it and can't wait to drink the other 4 I have.

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

Big thanks to Tilley4 for this brew.

A-Poured into oversized wineglass. Midnight black pour with no light getting through-no red around the edges. Virtually no head.
S-Sweet and malty, Roasted coffee, A little bit of a smoked aroma
T-Coffee up front with vanilla and malt sweetness finishing the end and a smokiness to the whole taste. Unsweetened dark chocolate came through on the end as it warmed. Did not detect alot of fruit flavors. Alcohol barely noticeable. There was a slight vegetable taste throughout.
M-Very creamy and caoted the mouth. This bottle had a slight fizzing effect when I drank which was surprising.
D-I could sip on this one for quite a while, but the high alcohol content would really catch up with me.

Photo of beavers
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Syrupy and gooey blackness poured into a SA pint. A huge two fingers of dark brown foam that look more like the head of a rich Italian espresso. Outstanding retention and gorgeous lacing down the sides. Smells of rich espresso, vanilla bean, molasses, chocolate malt, alcohol is in the very back. There's a little smokiness going on here too. Immensely thick, creamy, and viscous mouthfeel. Sweet vanilla and brown sugar notes hit the tongue first before being consumed by huge flavorful and bitter coffee, cigar tobacco, oak, with a long and lingering (bittering) charred finish that stays in your cheeks. This is a clear definition of bittersweet. An alcoholic finish that is noticeable but not undesirable. This is an intense RIS and one of my favorites for sure. Will review more later with a little time on it to see how the intense bitterness and alcohol evolve. A brilliantly balanced beer nonetheless.

Photo of btuthill
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Violent pour from 12 oz bottle produces ~2 inches of medium density brown foam. smells like a stout, simply. previous bottles poured more gently held too much carbonation and interfered with the enjoyable taste of this beer. the heavier pour allows the sweet chocolate and dark fruit tastes to swirl. the 10.5% alcohol is barely noticeable. this is very nearly a 5 in taste, but that number is saved for a rare few. the mouthfeel is smooth and well palatable. my 'drinkability' is based pretty highly on taste, so i could see myself enjoying a couple of these.

a nice part of the bell's repertoire. i would gladly have another.

Photo of botham
3.7/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic. pours a thick opaque black with a slow forming two fingers of dark brown head that retains nicely. moderate lacings.

aroma is roasted, with malt notes of coffee, caramel, chocolate, and a burnt character that acts as the base. mild aromatic hops are present in the background. very rich in the nose, with a full profile.

taste is roasted up front, with the same malt notes as the aroma, and a very refined profile. less rich on the palate than the aroma would suggest, with just enough flavors coming through to sustain the thickness.

mouthfeel is beyond full bodied, with a thick and oily texture. finishes smooth with residual roasted malt and a bit of hops.

drinkability is decent. this is a huge brew. the thickness of the mouthfeel and the richness of the flavors present make this one a sipping beer, not shy about filling up the stomach. regardless, this is a good RIS. cheers!

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

This was back in color with a brown head of fine bubbles. There were scents of molasses, chocolate, roasted coffee, dark fruit and a slight spicyness toward the end. In the mouth this was concentrated with lots of midpalate power and shows off mainly coffe & chocolate flavors with a hint of the alcohol. Very well balanced with the hops just poking out at the end. I look forward to trying this repeatedly as it ages.

Photo of nickfl
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Small, brownish-orange head that dissipates quickly. Virtually opaque black body with just a hint of ruby showing through.

S - Roasty malt aroma with subtle notes of both chocolate and coffee. A velvety hop note lurks in the background as a nice complimnet to the roasted malt.

T - Sweet and malty up front with some deep, dark chocolate flavors. Hop flavor kicks in early with a resiny, velvety smooth note and a round bitterness that compliments rather than cuts the sweetness. The finish is strongly bitter with competing bitter components from the malt and the hops and lingering notes of coffee, tobacco, and smoke.

M - Very thick, oily body with low carbonation and a sweet, slightly alcoholic finish.

D - Reasonably drinkable considering how huge this beer is. The flavors are profoundly dark and quite complex, and the only flaw I can find is the mildly hot alcohol in the finish.

Photo of DHGranstrand
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Special thanks to lightindarkness for the tasty brew!

Pours black with nice creamy brown head.

Smells of molasses and malt.

Tastes of molasses, strong espresso, malt & licorice followed by alcohol.

Great mouthfeel as the velvety liquid coats the tongue.

This is very strong so one or two will do.

Excellent brew! Not really well balanced but very tasty. Strong stout flavors that are not overpowered by the alcohol.

Photo of Rootdog316
4.53/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful dark brown/black with a reddish dark brown head. Aroma is somewhat sweet with roasted barley, dark fruits, molasses, choolate. Warming. Sweet, hoppy and full bodied. This beer is very well balanced. No one flavor dominates, they all compliment each other. Definately the most balanced stout that I have had thus far.

Photo of Avryle
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours about as dark as a beer can be. You can see how thick the body is. Smallish mocha-colored head disipates to a ring around the glass

S- Molassas, roasted malts and dark chocolate with a spiciness & booze in the background. Different but sexy.

T- Nothing like the smell but, wow. Intense coffee in the finishing fumes. I know that's starting backwards but that's what hit first. Rich roasted malts & chocolate malts make up the body with a background of coffee beans & molassas. Finishes up with coffee and a slightly too bitter hop intensity.

M- Thick & chewy like a tootsie roll.

D- Brilliant drinkability from something so intense in flavors & mouthfeel. Splitting a 12 oz bottle is enough for a lengthy sitting.

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

Thanks to goryshkewych for this beer.

A: Super deep black with a finger of tan head. Some lacing.

S: Smell is a little off for me on this one. Little musty and almost a spicy cinnamon smell. Definitely different.

T: Everything you want in a RIS. Bitter roast. Chocolate. Roasted coffee beans. Then a sweet rush then a chocolate covered coffee bean finish. Little boozy at the end but I love it.

M: Thick. Really dense stout. Creamy as well.

D: For the ABV doesn't get much more drinkable than this. Too bad RIS season is coming to an end. I feel dirty wearing shorts while drinking this. Would definitely seek out again.

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

Pours thick and black like the night. Head leaves some lacing.

Smells nice and roasty.

Taste is powerful and delicious. Roasted malts, coffee and a long dark chocolate bitter hop aftertaste.

Perfect smooth silky mouthfeel.

A heavy dessert-like beer. Very nicely done.

Photo of jsgpu90
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark, dark, dark chocolate color with a thin white head. I picked up a case (gotta love PA state laws where you have to buy a case) around Christmas. I just got to reviewing this and I love it. There is a sweet smoky malty taste to the beer and the carbonation was spot on. I am confused as to why some people had such a negative review of this beer because it had no off or cardboard tastes to it. There was an alcohol aftertaste and it was thicker than your average stout, but in my opinion that is the appeal of this beer. Hopefully your experience is more in line with mine than the other reviewers.

Photo of jdubjacket
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black out of the bottle. The aroma immediately fills the air. It's VERY SWEET. The aroma is almost too sweet, which is the only drawback for this beer. Taste was very mellow and complex simultaneously. Roasted coffee and chocolate come out. A very sweet brew. Mouthfeel was smooth as silk. I don't know why the brothers hate this brew so much. I personally thought it was quite good.

Photo of RomanW70
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours almost black with a thick tan head. Aroma of dark chocolate, roast, and caramel. Extremely smooth but complex at the same time. Initial taste of chocolate, caramel flows into a coffee bitterness with some warming alcohol at the finish. Very smooth to begin with, but becomes smoother with each taste. An excellent beer. I can't wait to taste this one aged.

Photo of Metalmonk
4.78/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a creamy head of tan froth that leaves big patches of lace over time. Color is dark as night in hell. A beauty of a thing.

Aroma is char, wet coffee grounds, dark baking chocolate, fast-food chocolate shake. Couldn't get my nose out of it. An excellent representation of the style.

Oh damn...that flavor. So insanely delicious...something to be enjoyed and savored...something to sink right into. Black cherry...chocolate fudge...old-fashioned drugstore malts...premium coffee...fudgy and coffee-bitter in the finish. Milky, creamy, gooey mouthfeel with barely any carbonation but just enough to keep it from plodding over the tongue.

One of the best beers out there, in any style. Who needs barrel-aging? Not Bell's Expedition Stout. This thing is just about perfect as is. A regular supply would make life that much sweeter. If you don't like them big, sweet, lovingly-brewed and freakin' delicious, then 1) this is not for you, and 2) what's your problem? Live a little.

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

I poured a 12 ounce capped bottle into a pint glass.

A: It poured a thick black body with hints of reddish chocolate. The one finger head was a dark bakers chocolate with varied sided bubbles. The head did not linger long but it did leave a ring around the collar. There was a dense lacing that became spotty over time.

S: It had the full aroma of roasted malts, dark bakers chocolate and hints of coffee. There are ripe dark fruit flavors as well as charred brown sugar.

T: The chocolate flavors dominate. It has the taste of milk and bitter chocolates complemented by ripe dark fruits (figs, plums). As the beer rests on the tongue there is a bitter bite and some light coffee flavors.

M: It is creamy and full-bodied with a rich sweet front and biting bitter back. It finishes arm and clean with some minor sweet and sour aftertaste.

D: This is an enjoyable RIS with decent balance and excellent richness. It is too heavy and has too high an ABV to be a session brew but it is an excellent beer for a cold winter night.

Photo of MiScusi
3.25/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle code of 7740 indicating a bottling date of Dec 19, 2006. Pours a really thick black color. Found the smell and flavor to be somewhat paralleled with the Kalamazoo stout, although kicked up a couple notches of course. More of a sour dark malty character to this, or what seems kinda like soy to me. I didn't like it all that much. The roastiness just wasn't that big.

Photo of nmyers
3.03/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured black with a very thin dark brown head on it with little retention and it looked really thick. It seemed to ooze out of the tap. The smell was good molasses, raisins and dates very sweet smelling. The smell was much better than the taste, it was slightly sweet in the beginning and finished very bitter. There was not much alcohol flavor for being 10.5%. It also had very little carbonation. Over it was ok because I am a fan of stouts.

Photo of iuhophead87
2.75/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A- Dark black with almost no head! Looks almost like molasses or barbeque sauce.

S- It smells like molasses, raisons, and dates. Smells much sweeter than it tastes.

T- I had high expectations for this beer, but was greatly disappointed. There seemed to be almost no carbonation. It is more malty than sweet and where is the creaminess of a stout, it is not in this beer. Almost reminds me of cough syrup with a little hops added. Not a big fan of this beer, although I do like most beers brewed by "BELLS" .

MF- Thick and starts out sweet, then the flavor goes quickly as you choke down this raison juice.

D- The taste + alcohol content make this beer almost undrinkable. However, If you are able to get one down the 10% ABV is a plus. There is no way I could drink more than one of these.

I'm a big fan of Bells, but could do without this concoction of hopped up prune juice.

Photo of IPAcraig
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This Bell's stout was poured upon arriving home after what seemed like a successful interview with a solid firm. Cheers to a good outcome on both items.

It is off to a slow start. I dont know what it is about Bell's stouts (maybe the bottle conditioning), but they all lack in carbonation and head. What head that does appear is a wonderful, dark mocha brown atop the blackest of bodies.

The aroma is undeniably weak on this massive beverage. It comes with high credentials, but it is falling a bit short. Sweet cream is nearly the only aroma detectable ... okay, and some roasted coffee flavors.

Its not looking so good for this one, and them Bam! there is an explosion of flavor. This is a massively sweet chocoaltey brew. It is like chocolate syrup almost, in a good way.

The mouthfeel is syrup, with very low carbonation. I like the thick viscosity of this one, but a tinge more carbonation would have helped.

This is a big beer. It started slow, butted it pulled through in then end. Drizzled over vanilla ice cream is amazing,

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
95 out of 100 based on 5,047 ratings.