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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

5,354 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,354
Reviews: 1,993
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.61%
Wants: 447
Gots: 1,325 | FT: 97
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: 5,354 | Reviews: 1,993
Photo of cvaypai
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into snifter.

Appearance- Deep dark midnight black, cannot see through at all, even when held up to light. 1 finger dark tan creamy head that stays.

Smell- Smells of chocolate, dark roasted malts, toffee, caramel, very nice nose to it. I really like the smell of this beer. Surprisingly no alcohol detected in the nose.

Taste- Deep dark roasted taste with a bit of sweetness and then bitter. Chocolate up front is very subtle but delicious. Pretty well balanced beer, surprised for a beer of its stature.

Mouthfeel- Not impressed with its mouthfeel, stings my mouth for some reason and just seems a bit off. Though it is fairly smooth.

Drinkability- This is not a beer you should enjoy on the first day that hits the 90's of the year. Though I couldn't wait to taste it. One of these only, but enjoyable while drinking, I am in the air, not outside.

Good stuff, I would like to age one and see it progress.

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

Pours an opaque dark brown to black with huge head for an imperial stout that's cinnamon in color and frothy. There's a nice lacing left behind.

Chocolate and roated malt are the most dominant smells and both are strong. There's a little coffee in the finish. I'm also picking up a slight maple syrup in there.

Flat out delicious. Chocolate and dark roast coffee are the nose, and then a dark fruit taste that resembles black cherries. The finish has a slightly bitter aftertaste and black licorice. A very complex stout.

Mouthfeel is creamy with light carbonation. The alcohol is hid very well. It does show up, but barely. Dry finish.

I found myself drinking this one rather quickly and had a few in a sitting. For an imperial, this has got to be one of the easiest to drink that I've had.

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

I've had this one on tap in the past and bottles numerous times, but this review is of a bottle. This brew was bottled back in early Dec of 2008.

It pours a luxurious dark color with medium fluffy head. The aroma is very inviting with chocolate and rich, dark malts. The taste is excellent, even though I must admit I'm not always the biggest fan of imperial stouts. To be honest, I often prefer a flavored (coffee or sometimes chocolate) stout to a "regular" version. Whatever the case, Bell's Expedition is an excellent brew! This beer has quite a kick, but it's so darn drinkable at the same time.This is the kind of imperial stout that makes me ask, "Why don't I drink imperial stouts more often?"

Photo of nicnut45
3.93/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours out like used motor oil leaving a tan halo around the sides. Nice coating of lacing as I drink. The smell of soy sauce first greets the nose with hints of chocolate followed by vanilla,port, and other dark fruits I don't know about. I let this warm up quite a bit so the flavors can develop. Dark fruits, espresso, bourbon, soy sauce, chocolate, and burnt flavors all in one sip. There is another round of flavors after you swallow. I get tastes of tobacco, vanilla, and other flavors my limited palate can't describe. There is a kind of unpleasent bitterness/booziness that I am sure would mellow out with age. This beer sits on the tounge thick and chewy. You would be a fool to drink several of these in a row. And a rich fool at that. Best to let it age. I wouldn't mind enjoying one of these once in a while.

Photo of belgbeerdrinker
3.85/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: black thick brew, light head forms ring, ring of lace around top
s: roasted, caramel sweetness, heavy alcohol smell
t: sweet chocolate flavors abound, roasted coffee, with nice vanilla and warming alcohol finish that eventually turns bitter
m: almost syrup-like with a decent carbonated finish
d: overall a nice brew with plenty going on

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

Here it is, the finale of the long and commemerative Third Unorganized Invitational. I'm going big and strong on this one, and I'm hoping to end this on a good note. On to the beer:

Pours a small, mocha-tanned head on top with the usual pitch black body associated with the style. The aroma is good. Some cocoa, licorice, a side of fruit, and a faint fume of cardboard.

At first taste, this is an easy going imperial stout. A little roasty with some hops (piney)burst on to the scene as it enters your mouth. Baker's chocolate appears, and then it morphs into chocolate brownie liquid. Faint smokiness and molasses. Where's the booze? Bitter astringent coffee lingers on in the aftertaste. Full bodied with a tick of carbonation, it soaks and coats the tongue.

This will conclude the Third Unorganized Invitational, and now in the usual fashion, it is time to announce the winner of it all, and it is:

Girardin (black label) Gueuze!

What to way to celebrate my graduation from college, with eight big beer for eight straight nights, but in the end, the sour holds the power to winning. Girardin joins Anchor Steam and Hacker Weiss as the winners of the Unorganized Invitaitonal series. I won't be in school to have another end of the year celebration with beer, but I will continue to carry on the tradtion. Check back around this time next year for the Fourth edition. Good night everyone!

Photo of angelmonster
3.87/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received this in a BIF, bottle is from Sept. 08

Pours a 2 finger milk chocolate head. Body is very dark brown, almost black. Head retention and lacing are above average

Smell is big on roasted and chocolate malt. Also there is a bit of coffee, sweet nuttiness, and slight alcohol

Taste is bitter sweet and more hoppy than the smell leads it to be. Alcohol leaves a hot warming sensation down the throat. The malts are very roasted, almost burnt like overly done caramelized sugar. There is an after taste of coffee

Mouth feel is nice and thick, carbonation is slightly high for a RIS. Wish there was more creaminess to the head, it's slightly there but nothing impressive.

Drink ability was above average. Being 11 percent, the alcohol was definitely apparent and inhibited it from being more than a sipping type beer. Over all , this is a good RIS, but just doesnt have the same qualities as the really great stouts like Ten Fidy and Stone IRS

Photo of wheatyweiss
3.46/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a nonic pint. Edit to add batch numner says it was bottled in September 2008, so 9 months, not much age.

Pours a deep cola black with a three finger head that recedes to a half inch cap of chocolate cream mousse.

Aroma is of chocolate and cream. Husk and mealy sweet grain come through on the nose. There is a sweetness that comes through almost dextrose like int he nose.

Flavor is deep roasted grain followed by phenolic alcohol. Day old coffee and dark rum and raisins. There is a phenolic alcohol character that can't be placed, but it dominates. Creaminess in the finish and dryness from the roast is mixed with a huge hit of booze.

Mouthfeel is creamy and full. Very nice carbonation with ample soft edged bubbles. Consistency is thick and viscous.

I think this is too extreme for me, but it is to style. Although well within the style guidelines this beer just doesn't make me want to go back for more. The alcohol and super strong flavors are cloying to the palate.

Photo of MisterDeeds
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Aged over a year in the wonderful cellar of RixBeer.

Pours a solid black with no light showing through. Very slight head, cocoa powder in color.

Smell is nice and roasted. Coffee with a raisin or plum-like fruitiness. Also picking up on that boozy brandy-like aroma that hints at the aging.

Taste has a few different kicks going on. It begins with a very subtle semi-sweet raisin taste, and is quickly overcome by the roasted coffee bitterness. Very unique from most aged beers I have had, in that the warm alcohol kick comes more towards the front than in the aftertaste.

Very little carbonation to it, which could be a good or bad thing, depending on who you ask. I happen to like it with this brew, because I think that too many bubbles would make the bitterness too overpowering.

The mouthfeel is thick almost milky, and the roasted coffee (almost burnt) seems to line your entire throat. (Again this could be good or bad, depending on your taste, but for me it is very strong.)

A very nice treat (thanks Rick!) and I would love to try one a year down the line to see what else goes on.

Is Bell's planning on coming to Massachusetts anytime soon?

Photo of bwd110
2.99/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle poured into Stone RIS Tulip.

A: Traditional motor oil black, very viscous looking. Really cool dark brown head, darker than most. This goes away quickly leaving a very thin sheet of lace.

S: Alcohol fumes abound. This one could do better with a toned down abv. If the nose is a clear indicator, this is gonna be one raw IRS, and probably not one of my favorites.

Also getting dark chocolate and espresso notes, and a sharp molasses sweetness underneath the alcohol phenols - sort of unpleasant.

T: Boozy. The alcohol hits hard and fast, with an almost bourbon twang to it. Black licorice and anise dominate any coffee or chocolate notes. I think I need to cellar my remaining stash to smooth this one out around the edges.

M: Thick and chewy. Fairly creamy and would be quite smooth without the alcohol burn on the way down. Overall, very good fit for the style.

D: Slow sipper, need to move on after one.

Overall, this is a decent IRS, but does not live up to the hype. I'd easily place Stone's RIS and Old Rasputin above this one. Heck, give me a Kalamazoo or Double Cream/Expedition Blend over this one. Too rough around the edges for my tastes/abv needs to be better masked, a boozy mess IMHO.

Photo of HeyItsChili
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a growler of this brew at Charleston Beer Exchange's Bell's kickoff.

A - Poured from a growler into a pint glass. Pours black with a medium dark brown head.

S - Fairly mild, bitter dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee.

T - Flavor is akin to the aroma, with a bit more cocoa in the flavor than comes through in the smell. There's a faint hint of raisins, and a nice warm alcohol finish.

M - Thick, viscous, but smooth, nice fizzy carbonation.

Photo of Sean9689
3.45/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into 6oz goblet.

A - Pours black with very little tan-colored head. No lacing whatsoever. Looking at it now, all I see is total darkness in my glass. Don't know if I'm good with this or not.

S - Coffee, dark chocolate, some nice bitterness. As I take a few more whiffs, it's really hard to get a good sense on the nose, don't know what, but I can't get a whole lot from this one.

T - Alcohol, dark chocolate, roasted coffee beans, bitterness all melded pretty well together. Maybe a little too much alcohol burn on this right away, but I'm digging the other flavors afterwards. Pretty dry finish, bitter aftertaste with some chocolate notes. Too much booze for me, needs some cellar time to chill out.

M - Just about right for me with enough fizzy carbonation to satisfy. I would say medium bodied, but a very "light" medium. Def better then the Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout I just had.

D - I like this one, but if I had to choose a regularly available RIS, I'd take an Old Rasputin RIS any day of the week. Will drink again.

Photo of Martin2D
4.42/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pitch black with a tan head that fades without lacing

S - Roasted malts and licorice like liquor

T - Extremely roasty and creamy. Hints of warm alcohol on the finish.

M - Medium in carbonation and full in body. Mouthfeel is extremely thick and creamy

D - Very drinkable RIS. Not much alcohol presence, just a little warmth. Very balanced with just the right flavors going on. Simple and refined.

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

A: Thick, like molassis, pours a very dark black, with a nice chocolate tan head.

S: Chocolate, hops, cream and espresso.

T: Thick and creamy.. Starts out sweet like Dark chocolate, but finishes bitter. An aftertaste of coffee and chocolate..

M: Smooth creamy, thick, chewable...

D: Don't know if I could do more than one in a sitting, but a very good beer, and one I will go back to a lot. Has a big taste without the big price tag. This would be great to cook with too... mmmm.. Stout bacon burgers.

Photo of BigMike
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with a thick two finger head that looks chocolaty brown.

Smell: roasted chocolate and coffee

Taste: This is a freakin tasty stout! Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. Coffee and roasted malts also but dominated my chocolate. Smokey and woody also.

Mouthfeel: Smooth mouthfeel. 10.5%abv is pretty much hidden. Carbonation is medium and finishes nicely.

Drinkablilty: This is a verugood stout by Bell's. One of the best i've had.

I would definitely drink this again.

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

A- Opaque black. Small milk chocolate head. Laces moderately.

S- Coffee, chocolate, slight phenolic/alcoholic nature. Some oaky, nutty notes in there too. I'm getting a hint of sweetness too... can't really pick it out but maybe raisin? Pleasant.

T- This is a good stout. Wood, smoke, espresso. Slight bitterness from hops, a little alcohol bite. Aftertaste is great- dark and roasty.

M- Smooth, oily, creamy. Little or no carbonation. I like it for the style, but personally I would prefer a little more carbonation.

D- Tough ABV, but definitely a good sipper. Another good brew from Bells.

Photo of Halcyondays
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle, Batch 8864 (12-4-08),

A: Pours black, even when held up to the light, moderate brown head.

S: Oil, woody notes, licorice, black coffee.

T: Rich coffee and licorice right of the bat reminds me of the Abyss. Definite notes of pine and hoppy aftertaste. Hints of cherry, orange.

M: Perfect to style. Silky smooth, mouth-coating, thick, robust, rich and warming from the ethanol.

D: A great RIS here, just wish I could get it more living in CA. Probably one of the easiest drinking big beers I've had.

Photo of abecall98
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this in a trade from Dukedevil0. Good guy.

A - this beer is dark like oil. light 1/4 in head.

S - For sum reason, this has been the first Imperial Stout I have consumed that has a high hop aroma.

T - Malty, roasty, hoppy, chocolate, and a hoppy finish. After the finish, I have a nice slight alcoholic flavor in my mouth.

M - Smooth, creamy, and a very well carbonated. Not overly carbonated, for the style, I believe it is perfect.

D - this beer is drinkable. This does not have a nasty aftertaste, and every drink makes you look forward to the next.

Overall, this is a great beer. I have another 4 beers, for aging, and look forward to them.

Photo of BZero007
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured in to a Guinness glass.
Beer pours extremely dark, looks like oil and chocolate mix.
Poured and formed a perfect head that was a chocolate brown color to it. The perfect head gave a great aroma of dark chocolate, roasted malts, and dark fruits. The head dissipated after a few minutes and left a wonderful chocolate lace on the glass. Taste was wonderfully complex, as a mix of roasted malts and chocolate powered forward with a support of dark fruits and the slightest hint of coffee. Carbonation was a medium intensity which helped the flavors shine in this particular beer. The flavors and carbonation levels seemed to feed of each other and every sip I felt one was stronger then the other. I really enjoyed this Stout as it was not overwhelming on any front, and forced my self to purchase a six pack to last til this winter. Mouth feel was fine as the carbonation and alcohol was not overwhelming at all. Drink ability is good as I could probably drink three in a session and be good, but you will feel the alcohol creep up on you fast.

Photo of LauraAlberts
3.58/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Black Motor Oil with Tan Head

Smell: Smells sweeter than it is - orangy Butterscotch

Taste: Ricola, Butterscotch, Toast & Dark Chocolate

Mouthfeel: Full Bodied stout beer

Drinkability: Definitely a sipper. I was kind of unimpressed with this stout. There is a bunch of hype going on about it because we're finally getting it here in Charleston. Enjoyable.

Photo of rwdkosak
3.64/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

An aggressive pour produced only a scant head that faded quickly, mocha colored over motor-oil darkness as expected. Nose was faint, doughy, some sweetness, dark chocolate, and smallest bit of smoke. Taste followed suit though a bit of bitterness and alcohol picked up in the middle but good flavor and certainly on par with the style. Overall mouthfeel was somewhat lacking without carbondation. This has a smoothness to it though would have expected a bit more 'pop' and that, along with a relatively high ABV rates it low on drinkability for me.

Photo of pmcadamis
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pitch black, very little head, and a small amount of lace. This looks evil, thick , viscous, and vile. As an RIS should. Oh yeah. This still-life in black has me anticipating what's to come.

S - Black licorice (a trace of Kalamazoo stout perhaps?), coffee with French vanilla cream, and a hint of black gooey candy. I can't think of what it's called, but there is a gelatinous black candy that is sort of like black licorice, only more gooey. Damn. Anyhow, this smells like that.

T - Again, coffee with vanilla creamer. Black licorice, sunflower seeds, and top shelf maple syrup... sans the maple if that makes any sense (molasses?)

M - Thick, creamy, solid, and smooth. This has only a touch of alcohol warmth despite the elevated ABV. The finish is surprisingly smooth and not as bitter as most RIS's or even regular stouts for that matter. Its almost as if this is an Imperial Oatmeal Stout (IOS?).

D - A damn fine brew! I tend to like milk stouts and oatmeal stouts for their smoothness and lack of sharp bitterness that can often be found in "regular" stouts, since although I am a caffeine addict, I am a person who puts tons of creamer and Splenda in my coffee. This is a top-tier selection in a style filled with top -tier selections. Good stuff!

Photo of mjl21
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired bottles via trade from both rallison and alleykatking...not sure who gave me this specific bottle, so thanks to both Ryan and Josh. 12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter. This is part of batch 7251 and was packaged on 2/25/06. No abv info is given.

A-Pours black with a very dark brown 3/4 finger head that dissolves quickly into a small dark ring that hovers for the duration that it is in the glass. A lone island of foam also sticks around.

S-When I first cracked this open, it smells exactly like a chocolate malt that I would get at an old fashioned soda stand. Once it is in the snifter, it smells like a big imperial stout. Vanilla notes and alcohol are noticeable and as it warms, roasted malt and smoky notes are quite evident.

T-Sweet chocolate malt hits the tongue first and the initial sweetness stays for awhile. Alcohol is picked up as it goes down and it gives this beer a nice warming feel. I found the level to be perfect and did not find it to be abrasive. The roasted malt flavor is generally not super dry on the tongue and it gives off great notes of coffee.

M-Not as heavy as expected. I would put it in the medium spectrum. It is very smooth and does not have very much carbonation.

D-What a great nightcap. After 3 years this one is a great sipper that I would love to have more access to in California.

This was a great beer. Curious to see how a fresh version would compare to this one. Also would like to try the BA version.

Photo of beer2day
3.83/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours opaquely black with a thin 1/2 finger deep tan head. No observable carbonatio. Nice lacing.

Chocolate with notes of cinnamon dominate the nose. A slight sugariness is there as well. Alcohol comes in also.

Very nice hit on the tongue. Slightly thinner than expected, though. Lots of roasted malt here with bittersweet chocolate finish.

Not as good as I remember when living in Northern Indiana, but still a pretty good RIS.

Photo of twelvsies
3.83/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Got this as part of a "beer stimulus" package from jfunkk79. Haven't had this beer in years... yum. Real black and dense looking, with a healthy brown head. This beer has a very full roasted malt aroma. Deep and a bit smoky. Carries over to the taste as well. Deeply roasty, nice and bitter, a touch of burnt char and leather. Big flavors. This is definitely a sipper. Maybe a little bit hot, but plenty of character to cover it up. Thick, viscous mouthfeel. Would love to age this so it's a bit softer, but as is it's a totally worth stout.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 5,354 ratings.