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

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Bell's Expedition StoutBell's Expedition Stout

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5,071 Ratings
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Ratings: 5,071
Reviews: 1,934
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.85%
Wants: 426
Gots: 1,169 | 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: 5,071 | Reviews: 1,934 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of arkhamresident
2.55/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12 oz. from trade with Beavers poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - Dark brown almost black body with a one inch brown head, good retention and thick lacing.

S - Smells very sweet, almost like a heavily creamed and sweetened coffee with some booze thrown in.

T - Front is slight hop bite followed by overly sweetened and creamed coffee and chocolate with a bit too much roasty bitterness on the finish. No alcohol apparent.

M - Not thin but not full either. Complete lack of carbonation hurts quite a bit but slightly thick and smooth for the most.

D - I really can't see drinking more of one of these at a time.

Not bad but much too sweet for my tastes. The lack of carbonation also took me by surprise and made me feel this was more of a cold coffee drink than a beer. It's too bloody sweet in my opinion. Overall I'd not turn this down if offered but I can't say I would buy it if available.

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

Pours jet black with mocha colored head. Somewhat thin head however there is pretty good retention and heavy lacing. Smell is of toasted grain, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, and raisin. Taste is great. Heavy coffee flavors and an overall "burnt" taste to it. Dark chocolate and dark fruit as well, really dont detect too many hops. Mouthfeel is thick as hell. Thickest beer I've ever drank. Very low carbonation and a slick, oily feeling left behind. One thing to note is the alcohol is well hidden, could barely tell this was 10.5%. Overall a great beer, hard to drink in a session but enjoy one or two and sit back and relax.

Photo of johnnnniee
4.18/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a solid black that lets no light through. Tanish head that dissipates quickly, but leaves lots of marks down the surface of the glass. Aroma is wine like, with roasted malts, licorice, some chocolate and coffee too. Taste is sweet. I pick up some dried fruit, molasses, some roast and some faint hop or roast bitterness in the end. Mouthfeel is thick, and a bit sweet. Almost leaves my lips sticky like my kids with candy. Not your average Imp Stout, but I love this stuff. Bells continues to impress me!!

Photo of rodrot
4.63/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is by far one of the boldest Imperial stouts I've ever had. It poured totally black with a nice half inch tan head that hung around. Aroma was very roasty and coffeeish with lots of ripe fruit
and a hint of madeira in the nose. Taste was very complex with a medley of flavors coming through. Espresso, dark chocolate, licorice and port wine were just a few of the flavors in each taste. Alcohol was barely evident, making this stout highly drinkable. Mouthfeel was quite rich and full bodied. This is not a beer for folks who favor light or less assertive styles. Next year, I'm buying a case of this stuff.

Photo of Pencible
4.63/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Another outstanding stout from Bell's. This time an imperial, it poured opaque black with good brown head. It smelled like molasses and dark chocolate with some roasted coffee. It tasted strongly like very bitter/dark chocolate with a roasted flavor, mixed with natural/wood cask notes and a bit of alcohol taste. It was very thick but not too sticky, with a strong but mostly sweet aftertaste. Overall this was a very flavorful stout, but not too strong to drink more than one. Very enjoyable, reminiscent of the Old Rasputin with slightly different flavoring.

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

This is the ale I chose to celebrate my 500th review. I picked this up at Capone's in Norristown and cellared this for 6 months. Decanted at approx 45 degrees in a snifter and goblet for the sake of experiment.

A - Very, very very deep brown w/ medium brown head that appears like a sturdy tree trunk w/ rings after a swirl of the glass. The bead is ultra fine w/ a smooth cappuccino-like appearance on the foam.

M - Dry, luscious roasted malt w/ a toasted charred feel like the texture of over-roasted marshmallows. Intense spice and sweetness w/ moderately low carbonation and a decent amount of hop bitterness as the liquid is swallowed.

S - Supreme dark malt w/ heavy roast and fruit aromas. The sweet chewy malt has a creamy milky caramel aroma. There is subtle molasses and smokey wood notes w/ light spiced hop odors that round out the smell of this complex ale.

T - Dark fruit and berry flavors w/ vanilla-like oaky and slightly smokey flavored sweet chocolate cookie-like malt. The hops are pungent w/ sweet leafy and piney flavors that have a sugar coated taste. The flavors of dark crystal malt w/ roasted grains tastes as fresh as fresh brewed wort. A nice brown sugar-like note w/ a nice accent of citrus coming from the hops works in a synergystic way. There are many flavor layers w/ a dominant dark chocolate flavor that surrounds the tongue and makes this stout seem like a hoppy version of liquid truffles w/ anise spice added for good measure.

D - One of the best American Imperial Stouts I have tasted in a bottle. Just about flawless w/ a balance of hops and so much malt flavor you can't go wrong here. Even the boozy taste is within optimal range for my taste (6 months cellared) I prefer the bottled version, but I will update this when I can w/ the draft version. I can honestly say this deserves all the accolades this big stout receives.

Photo of abankovich
2.75/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured with a pretty nice light brown head with the beer being extremely dark as it should be.

Smells very strong and sweet of molasses and maple syrup maybe some brown sugar as well. Some chocolate notes as well.

Very sweet on the initial sip, a lot of malt and syrupy flavors present. Almost a little too syrupy for me. I wish there was a little more bitterness throughout to balance it out. Chocolate and Java hints on the very back end as it washes down.

Mouthfeel is medium to thick and the drinkability isn't too high on this one for me due to the overwhelming sweetness for the style.

Photo of enfield249
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a very thick dark black, with dark tan foam.

S - Very strong roast and coffee smells, with some strong malt back ground.

T - First I get a really strong malty sweetness, backed up by some amazing coffee and nutty roast. After a min or so there is a little hop bitterness

M - Full, full full. Sticks around on my tongue for a long while. Very mild carbonation

D - An awesome Russian Stout. Very good, and an best of style.

Photo of JDV
3.9/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Gregis
Big oily black pour, big brown lasting head in a snifter. Smell is figgy, banana notes, lots of dark roastiness and dry dry chocolate. Taste is dry dark roasty malt on the bitter side with figgy character. Some molassesy sweetness perhaps. Some alcohol showing a bit too in the flavor. Slightly sweet, but more rich, heavy chalky and slightly bitter malt. Big heavy rich mouthfeel and light carbonation. Nice, big, big stout. Thanks Greg!

Photo of daaru
4.83/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

this is a monstrous stout. monstrously good, that is--almost selling me on the $12.99/6 pk price. almost. pours dark, dark, dark, with a thin amber head. wonderful fruity nose, and once it gets on the palate it just keeps going and going and going. plum, chocolate, leather, blackberries. wonderful mouthfeel, and at 10.5% alcohol, dangerously drinkable. get some tonight.

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

Poured from a bottle into a Sam Adams tasting glass. The aroma contains raisins, dates, dark chocolate, and a bit of coffee.

The appearance is very dark brown/black and opaque, with a thin tan head. The taste is raisins, chocolate, figs, a little coffee, and notable carbonic bite that accentuates the bitterness in the finish.

The mouthfeel is fairly full-bodied. The drinkability is high for a Russian Imperial Stout.

Photo of maximum12
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a nip of this at the Happy Gnome Bell's night as part of a flight & knew I wanted to sit down & have a serious conversation with it, soon.

After looking in several dark corners for this bad-boy, I located it at the Big Top in the Midway, St. Paul. Why were you hiding, little buddy?

Pours with a thin brown foam, which my wife immediately commented on ("why isn't it white? That's weird!"). I think it looked very cool. Smells good to my weak nose.

Taste is borderline fantastic. A hint of coffee, which is all I like, & lacking the heaviness of a less-excellent stout that fills you up after a few sips. Very drinkable - I might even be able to down more than one per hour, which isn't the normal relationship I have with stouts.

Great beer. I'm going to try to convince my wife to hold off on trying stouts until the six-pack has been relegated to a fond memory.

Photo of NoLiberty
3.95/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

App: Pours into a tulip glass thick, brown, and with a caramel colored 2-finger thick head. Dark, brooding and caramel, chocolate color. Thick and big with nice head retention that settles into a low but persistent lacing.

Aroma: Slightly sweet roasted bitterness, big chocolate nose, with underlying alcohol aroma. Toffee plus coffee sweetness. Good roasted nuttiness all the way through with almost barleywine-like characteristics.

Taste: Big flavor up front; sweet and chocolatey, followed in the middle by alcohol, then finishes roasty sweet and bitter. Too much alcohol but really nice big full flavors alongside it. A slight hop bite at the finish.

Mouth: Full, thick and chewy. Smooth and full mouthfeel. Good carbonation to balance the size. Surprisingly effervescent.

Drink: Nice, buy the alcohol impedes on any real continuous drinking, but for a sipping stout, it's drinkable.

Photo of esv
2.53/5  rDev -40.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12z 10.5% abv

Brown-chocolate, milkshake head. Thick head. The beer is thick to the eye when poured. The beer is black.

I smell salty, smoked ham. It smells Malty Sweet. Hops have a real presence in the nose, which seems out of style. And now I'm sure I've got a pig in my nose.

It's a bitter-bulldozer that ploughs over the tongue but the wake is more like that of a loaded down barge. Sweet medicinal flavors dominate the finish.

Mouthfeel. Thick, heavy and smooth. Like the mother of all imperial oatmeals, hyped up on nitro.

While I can drink it, I also have a high, distorting threshold for imperial stouts.

Sometimes a severe beating can be less painful than a couple of light jabs. Adrenaline kicks in at higher levels and masks the really brutal stuff. I think my tongue went into survival mode.

I'm not even sure the masochist in me will reach for this again but the sadist may certainly help it into a house guest's glass.

Photo of Drew966
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bell's Expedition Stout pours an opaque dark brown with a very minimal tan head from a brown twelve ounce bottle. The aroma smells like malted milk balls to me. The body is thick and smooth. The flavor is quite intense, this is definitely a sipper, coffee and bitter chocolate and a few other things that I can't really put my finger on. The alcohol is always present too, but never really seems to overpower things. Excellent beer.

Photo of bassmantin
3.8/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to iconoklaztor for letting me sample this one. This one is aged about 4-6 months. I had one fresh, and it was a bit too harsh.

Pours a very dark brown/black into a snifter with a thick clumpy tan head. Smell is very sweet and intense. Strong alcohol aroma.

Taste is extremely sweet. Too sweet for me. The flavors are very complex and indulgent, but it leaves a sticky taste in my mouth. The aging has helped quite a bit, though. I would be interested to see what another six months would do to this one.

Overall: Malt-heads will love it. An excellent beer, but a little too sweet for me.

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

Pours a very nice rich black with a tan, 1 finger head. The smell is sweet and flavorful. The taste is very sweet too but a nice coffee finish. I enjoy this beer. The taste sticks around for quite a while. The mouthfeel is has a little bit and maybe a hint of alcohol. A nice beer indeed.

Overall, this is a nice beer. The taste nice be a little sweet but it has a nice coffee finish to kill any sweetness left over at that point.

Photo of BeerFanDan17
4.53/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I have been searching for this beer for quite a while now and was pleased that the newly opened Oldsmar Tap House near Tampa had a few cases.
The stout poured nice into a pint glass with less head than I had expected from my experience with other Bell's stouts. The nose was rich with sweet and roasted flavors. The texture was thicker than I had expected but the flavors were well-balanced with roasted coffee, chocolate, toffee, and even a hint of hazelnut. This is undoubtebly one of the best stouts available.

Photo of NCBeernut
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Black as oil, with a big, dark brown, creamy look head with nice retention and tons of lacing.

S: Dark chocolate, lots of citrus hops, maybe a little oaky vanilla

T&M: I've held onto this for just a few months with good results. Very smooth, creamy, velvety mouthfeel. Decadent. Dark roasted malts, chocolate, a touch of coffee. The citric hops are there but just a little more subdued that the nose suggested, still plentiful though. This is delicious. Hard to really describe in words.

D: Not real sure if you would want more than one of these at a time. Its a beer to savor - a sipper for sure. I would definitely suggest just holding it in the cellar for a few months. I improves considerably.

Photo of bobbyc881
3.38/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a nice black, thin tan head with bits of it hanging around the sides of the glass - more oily looking than lace, though. Aroma is of dark chocolates, black coffee and red wine.

Taste/mouthfeel begins creamy and chocolaty, slick mouthfeel through the middle, and finishes slightly bittersweet. Slight sourness in the background. Alcohol not masked too well -- which could possibly be fixed with a year or two in my beer closet. As others have said, a bit more carbonation would certainly improve this brew.

Overall, a mediocre imperial stout.

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

Batch 8145 - Packaged on 9/14/2007
Enjoyed on 2/29/2008

Pours like heavy whipping cream only it's black as night. The thick, creamy, dark brown head slowly settles into a dense film. An appealing start.

The aroma was a little softer than I thought it would be. Notes of roasted malt, and chocolate cappuccino are underpinned by a light molasses sweetness. Occasionally I pick up a faint fruitiness but I can't nail it down.

The flavor starts out with a sweet mix of caramel and toffee that fades into a mild dark chocolate with a roasty and slightly bitter finish. The thickness of this brew coupled with a moderate carbonation allows the chocolaty bitterness to really linger around. Alcohol is not noticed at all in the mouth, but at 10.5% it does slowly warm you up.

Overall, a really tasty stout. It could use a little more carbonation which should help the aroma pop a little more. I like how the alcohol is very subdued and the overall balance of sweet and bitter is spot on.

Photo of IBUnit63
4.53/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into Hess truck glass at parents' house...

WOW. Pours jet black like old motor oil. Brutally viscous with an almost jelly-like milk chocolate-colored head with strength. Blown away - can't get better than this.

Don't know how they did this but it smells like BBQ in the smoker and cinnamon toast all at once. Sweet, roasted malt is still not unbalanced at all.

Deep, thick roasted, smoky, charred malt combines with sweet brown sugar to generate one of the best beer tastes I've ever experienced. Still blown away - amazing.

So, so warm on the mouth - a tinge of carbonation keeps it from getting heavy.

I could drink more of this than I probably should - it's heavy, but quite drinkable. Again, one of the best beers in any style if not the best I've ever had. Awesome.

Photo of charlzm
2.5/5  rDev -41%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

UPDATE - consumed 04/07/08. Bottle code is 8311: Bells web site says it was bottled on 02/07/08.

Pours virtually black. Thick like motor oil. A one finger dark tan head forms and fades soon into sticky foam on the sides of the glass.

Aroma has a bit of soy sauce to it and a medicinal character.

Texture is thick, baby, thick, like chocolate milk that's heavy on the syrup. Needs more carbonation to break through that mouth-coating stickiness.

Flavor is raw: bitter chocolate syrup with undertones of cherry cough drops, charcoal and soy sauce. Alcohol burns as the beer slides down, leaving behind a disagreeable bitterness. Coats the mouth like cough syrup.

Can you tell I'm not a fan of this one? And read my review below to see my views on an aged bottle...

I'm going to have to declare this one as not a favorite based on these two samples, but I'm willing to try it again after it ages a while (but less than the bottle below).

2004 bottle, consumed 12/17/07.

So dark brown it's almost black. No head on pour, but it spontaneously erupts a few seconds later, dying quickly. Coats the sides of the glass when swirled. Aroma is a little musty, salty. Velvety smooth mouthfeel. Red wine flavors, saltiness (like soy sauce) bitter finish. No carbonation a major bummer; this bottle must have passed its prime. Too bad, as it's supposed to be so good.

A - 3.5, S - 2.0, T - 3.5, M - 4.0, D - 2.5

Photo of pwoods
4.55/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. brown bottle, purchased Party Source, poured into a tulip. 8145.

A: Poured solid black with good viscosity to it. 2-3 fingers of deep mocha head forms and fills the rest of the tulip. Great retention and lacing.

S: Deep roasted malts and plenty of lightly bitter coffee. A nice molasses sweetness covers everything. A hint of creamy melted milk chocolate in the back.

T/M: A nice hop bite. Just a touch of citrus but a pleasant bitterness that melds nicely with the strong espresso. Sweetness is a little further back, caused from the strong burnt malts, but levels things out a bit. Alcohol is present and will occasionally add a small sting past it's usual warmness. Body is very full and carbonation adds just enough to make it smooth and creamy.

D: Great brew but this is should definitely be used as a night cap.

Photo of SierraGS
3.23/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is a polarizing beverage. It pours beautiful, dark and syrupy - sort of like motor oil or molasses - and the alcohol aroma that came from the pour convinced me to stick to a small glass. The head was thin, but lacing remained from rim to bottom of my small snifter glass.

Roasted malt dominates, caving to flavors of espresso, chocolate, carmel and tobacco. The burn of alcohol is ever-present. This is a hot beverage, which keeps pulling me back for more.

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 5,071 ratings.