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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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5,295 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 5,295
Reviews: 1,979
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.61%
Wants: 448
Gots: 1,291 | FT: 93
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: 5,295 | Reviews: 1,979 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ThePeskyDingo
3.72/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours an opaque black color with small a dark brown head.

Smells like dark chocolate and coffee beans

Tastes like chocolate and coffee, just like the smell. The alcohol is very apparent in this beer.

Kind of an oily smooth feel, very low carbonation, the flavors linger in my mouth for a while after swallowed.

Drinkability - A very heavy beer, personally I could only drink one or so in a sitting. I enjoyed it in small sips best.

Photo of crayphish
2.72/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I waited a fairly long time to get my hands on an Expedition. Expectations were huge. The stout pours a fairly thin black, carbonation barren liquid. The lack of any sort of head and carbonation really hurts this brew. Hard to get a handle on the smell. I get some roasted elements, along with a vegetable oil bleh. Not appealing. The taste is weak chocolate, roasted barley, and the vegetable unpleasantness again. I'm hoping that this batch might have gotten funked. Hopslam is an amazing imperial style brew, I can't see Bell's missing this badly. This beer was hard to finish. Hopefully one of the last 3 in the sixer changes my opinion.

Photo of skrib09
4.02/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured out an oil black with a standard brown head. huge head formed. lots of carbination in this bottle.

smells roasted, burnt caramel, maybe a hint of sweetness.

taste is smooth yet roasted, charcoal yet caramel...

i get a nice smoothness that i enjoy once i past the head. the head is near rocky on my tongue but the liquid is great.

good drinkability here.

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

Pours thick, almost syrupy-like to the edge of the glass. It leaves a mild head somewhat coppery in color. This stout is dark like night, like a bottle of espresso.

The smell has a mild roastiness and hints of licorice.

First taste is nice, smooth but strong. The spiciness remains present. It almost creates a tingle on the tip of my tongue. Not your typical stout, there is more present here. A thick, rich flavor.

It is heavy and as noted above, rich. Full of underlying flavors. Mild coffee perhaps, with a bit of roasted essence.

A really good representation of a stout. Bought a single bottle at Capone's in Norritown. No place else in the NJ/Eastern PA area have I ever seen this available.

Photo of Aenema
3.97/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up in DC earlier this month.
Appearance - Pours jet black with a thin cap of brown foam.
Smell - Aromas of roasted malt, cocoa and bourbon fill the nose.
Taste - Roasted, chocolaty malts transition to a nuttiness before finishing with a bitter hoppy note reminiscent of black coffee.
The alcohol is a bit too noticeable at the moment.
Mouthfeel - Silky smooth with light carbonation that works very well.
Drinkability - A very rich brew that is difficult to drink more than one of at a time.
Overall - A very tasty stout, though one that I am looking forward to aging both to allow flavors to emerge/meld and so the alcohol recedes.

Photo of jamesdantes13
3.74/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours pitch black with almost no head...even with a hard pour. Bottled Dec. '08 and seems to have been stored properly.

Smells predominately of coffee and dark chocolate with hints of caramel, toffee, and fruit. Bit of hops in the background.

Rich coffee, dark chocolate, and caramel on the palette. Fruit and hop bitterness follow and finishes slightly astringent from the alcohol. Alcohol is a bit more overpowering than I would have liked. Leaves a nice mocha aftertaste.

Overall, a pretty good RIS but not the best example of this style.

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

This beer is black. There's no highlights or anything. It has a nice, rich bitter chocolate aroma blended with coffee.

The most notable flavors are dark chocolates and dark fruits. Rich coffee, a little sweet caramel and toffee, and a unique nuttiness make this a great tasting brew.

Maybe mine was a bit flat, but the mouthfeel is the only thing holding this back. It was more oily than creamy, but still above average, and leaves a nice coat of flavor behind.

Definitely a sipper brew. But watch out, the 10.5% ABV creeps in unnoticed.

Photo of Jimbo87
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

One of the darkest heads I've seen on a beer, it's a reddish coffee color, but of course pale compared to the completely opaque beer. When pooring it, I could see some reddish hues in the beer as it ran down the side of the glass.

Smell is chocolate, alcohol, grain. nice.

taste: chocolate, alcohol, spicy, roasted barley, and a taste I find in all russian imperial stouts that I can't identify. I don't know if it's a fruit taste or what. I like this taste more than the taste of Old Rasputin.

Mf: very unusual. Very low carbonation gives this a heavy, thick, oily feel.

D: I had to drink this pretty slowly, and I wouldn't want to drink any more, at least not until the next day. I liked this more than Old Rasputin. I feel like some people might dislike the low carbonation. But if you can buy just one bottle of this, try it.

Photo of damienblack
3.33/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

At first appears lowly carbonated, minimal head that takes a minute to billow up just a bit, like one finger or less, thin and dissipate, doesn't leave much in the way of bubbles or lacing on the side. Smells like chalky cocoa powder, and a blast of yeast. Not a great start on the first 2 senses.

Impressions: Reminds me a lot of Yeti in that it's a hop forward Impy Stout. Also in that way, most of the flavor comes from the harsh roast malt. Not much impressions of coffee or chocolate flavors at all. Slightly grassy, very hoppy in finish. Almost lingers like an IPA on the palate. Not much depth of flavor for me, unfortunately. I can see where the bros comment on a lack of creaminess, this feels pretty flat and dead to me. Dead hops linger on the palate, there is no refreshment, no cleansing to it. This may be the least enjoyable Impy stout I've had thus far. While it's not terrible, there are many others I've enjoyed more.

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

App-Looks like motor oil, little to no head, small light tan ring hung around during entire drink

Smell-roasted malt, dark ripe fruit, molasses, alcohol. some slight hops

Taste- Strong coffee, roastiness, alcohol, bittersweet, molasses

Mouth- almost flat, very little carbonation, full body with some alcohol warming

Drink-good winter warmering beer, thick, very different experience than with other imperial stouts, good on occasion, but a bit pricey

Photo of sweetbrew82
3.97/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. into a snifter/ no freshness date

P: Syrupy black from the bottle, pitch black with streams of pecan brown light trickling in through the edges. Even with a vigorous pour, there was barely even a thin sheet of chocolatey brown foam that was gone immediately, dissipating into an island on top.

A: Smells of roasted malts, chocolate, subtle citric hops, and alcohol.

T: Opens big with deep, roasted malts with chocolate/fudge, molasses, and citrusy hops that lay low. It also seem to get more nutty in the middle with some black licorice flavor, too. Black coffee comes out on the back-end to provide some bitterness. The alcohol pokes its head a little too far out of the water for me, but it's not overwhelming. It does show some warmth, though.

M & D: The mouthfeel of Expedition Stout is good. It's full-bodied, syrupy, thick, and chewy. But, it's just falls short of reaching the upper eschalon of RIS body's.

Notes: While Bell's has produced a pretty solid RIS here, it's just not up to snuff with the elites in such a top-heavy category. Still a really good beer, and if I could buy a sixer for a decent price it would be in my rotation. Just wish Bell's would expand their distribution west!

Photo of coldmeat23
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees
BATCH #8864 (December 4, 2008)

Pours a deep, dense, black color. No light penetration, at all. Almost two fingers of rich mocha colored foam form on top. Retention is decent, which is not unexpected. Lacing is in thick strands.

Mild notes of dark chocolate and coffee, mix with a large presence of (very) dark roasted malts. A touch of molasses. Sweet notes of brown sugar, with hints of vanilla and caramel. Definite hints of a bourbon-like quality. Light presence of dark fruits.

Huge dark roasted malt profile. Nice amount of smokiness. Loads of chocolate flavor. Sweetness of brown sugar. Light hint of dark coffee. Slight hints of bourbon and hazelnuts. It has a mild bitter kick, right at the end, which helps balance this one out. The aftertaste is delicious.

Silky smooth and creamy. Light level of carbonation, which is perfect for this one. Only the slightest amount of sharpness and bite.

Quite easy for me to drink, but this is the style that I search out. As a sipper, this one is excellent. Be careful of the high ABV, though.

Photo of soulfly967
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured nearly black with a thin brown head that quickly disappears into a thin ring of bubbles around the outside edge. The smell was of chocolate, fresh brewed coffee, and dark, nearly burnt, malt notes. The taste was very similar to the smell. Coffee was a dominant flavor to me, along with hints of chocolate and a touch of spice. The alcohol is very well hidden in this brew. The mouthfeel was thick and silky, with very little bitterness from the hops and alcohol. This was a very solid RIS. It was very drinkable and I will be looking to get some more of this one in the very near future! Yet another winner from Bells!

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

In a tulip:

Relatively thin head dissipates quickly, but great brown color with dark ruby hues. Light lacing. Smells great with molasses, taffy, vanilla, and tons of bourbon. Obviously hot. Taste is so perfectly rounded. Awesome. Malty and bitter... Perfect. Best
aftertaste I've had in a long time. Warm, but not hot. Thickness almost perfect, creamy, excellent carb. Absolutely drinkable, with the exception of hotness.

Overall: Fantastic RIS. Wish Bell's was available in MA so I could enjoy it more often.

Photo of Andrewtherooster
3.98/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark black, thick as oil, with a good, one inch tan head.

Smelled mostly of bourbon, with a hint of cocoa and roasted malts.

Taste delivers exquisitely. I can taste chocolate up front, settling into bourbon, coffee, and a nice toasty finish. Mouthfeel is chewy, not terribly carbonated, but smooth and pleasant as it should be.

This is one great brew that I will drink again. It was absolutely delicious, and I didn't have any problems with carbonation like some other reviewers mentioned. One solid stout that will definitely make it on my list to try again.

Photo of alovesupreme
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours as a pitch black monster with a good dark read and fair retention. Light can be seen penetrating the corners of the glass to reveal a scarlet hue.
Lots of aroma, Mocha, bourbon and molasses.
Roasted flavor is very prominent, revealing baking chocolate and coffee, with some vanilla bourbon and raisons in the finish.
Nice mouthfeel, not overly carbonated with a good viscosity.
A great beer that I wish I had access to. If this were the case I would certainly have a good amount around the house.

Photo of gonzo46and2
2.24/5  rDev -47.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a very dark black as to be expected. Very dark head formed.

Smell wasn't all that bad. Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Licorice, Spice, etc.

Taste was a stinging burnt grain with heavy alchohol fumes. Not pleasant.

Carbonation was too low.

Just not a very good RIS in my opinion. I wonder if I got a bad bottle. I will try this stout again. Just not any time soon.

Photo of cnjohn19
3.51/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Now, granted I do not know much about russian imperial stouts beyond the high alcohol range, but overall i was just a tad let down by this one...poured dark brown, almost black with a nonexistent head...almost looked flat...the alcohol characteristics dominated the smell with a faint hint of dark, bold chocolate...did enjoy the taste, which left a nice coffee aftertaste...very smooth, bold...strong roasted flavor...

not sure i would rush out to buy this one again...would be interested to find it on tap to compare...could imagine this stout being more enjoyable out of the tap....

Photo of Reagan1984
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to gregc for providing this in a trade.

Well, it certainly acts like an Imp Stout out of the bottle. 2-3 finger head, cocoa in color with incredible retention... black motor oil. Sometimes, I think I need another way to describe this, then I realize I don't... That's what it is. Looks a bit like a milkshake.
I think the entire inside of the glass is covered in thick lacing.

Aroma was a bit more muted than I had anticipated. Light cocoa.

My god is this smooth and lovely. Where to begin? Is this a chocolate milkshake or a great beer? Is there an intersection between the two? OK, I can't pretend not to know the rating of this beer which is why I traded for it. I also saw that "the bros" rated this a "C" I know sometimes I'm in a bad beer mood. I'm going to have to say that Jason must have been in that same type of mood that day. Just my opinion.
Roasted, chocolate... Roasted chocolate. Slightly nutty. Some spices Love it.

Man, this is creamy and smooth.. Big and thick mouth feel...

I could drink this all day long if not for the ABV. Just wonderful. I actually like this more than I thought I might.

Just a wonderful Imp Stout

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

A - Typical stout dark brown with a light brown, thick head.

S - It smells quite sweet to me, like malt sweetness. It has background notes of roasted flavors. Quite a complex aroma but very nice...cant' really compare it to anything else.

T - Very complex, difficult taste to me. The sweetness from the malt is present initially but the aftertaste is all chocolate, hazelnut, and slight espresso. Very nice transition with a hop bite right at the end as well.

M/D - Very thick and velvety on the palate. Doesn't have a lot of carbonation, which is typical of stouts. Drinkability is limited to the heaviness of this beer but overall very nice.

After many recommendations I gave in and bought a bottle. I have to admit it has a very interesting/enjoyable taste. I particularly like the blend of sweetness, bitterness, and roasted flavors rolled all in one.

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

Poured into a new belguim goblet.

Appearance: Poured a Cm thick tan head. Dissipated quickly. Body is pitch black.

Nose: Chocolate milk. Lots of chocolate milk. Malts, malts, malts! Has almost all chocolate malts in the nose. A little spice as it warms.

Taste: Again, very very chocolaty. There is a nice spiciness on the back of the tongue. Some nice toasty notes. Maybe the tiniest hint of booze. Some dark berry note too.

Mouth: Feels silky smooth, despite the thickness. Also, leaves the mouth pretty thick.

Drink: Pretty drinkable, sweet and tasty. The higher abv is hidden quite well in my opinion.

Photo of StrangeBrewer76
4.05/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass at colder than ideal temp in the low 40s. It just looks thick, viscus. The bubbles were slow to rise but formed a nice light brown creamy-looking head that faded relatively quickly to a thin skin and very solid lacing.

I smell bittersweet chocolate, coffee, alcohol and burnt caramel or chocolate malt which is remarkably similar to the taste. The alcohol seems to become more pronounced as it warms which could be good if that's what you're in to.

It has a body like syrup or 2-cycle oil with a bite of bitter. It's like what people who have never tried Guinness think it probably tastes like.

It drinks like a meal and at 10.5% that meal ought to be dinner.

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

One has to work to get a good head out of this beer, but that is the oly negative comment I have to make about this exceptional beer.

The meager head was reddish in color and the stout poured with the consistency of SAE 30 only darker. The ale was opague in appearance and had the color of dark mahogany.

The aroma was of roasted dried fruit, cherries, plums and maple and was pleasantly smokey. The flavors exploded in your mouth. Dried cherries, maple syrup, caramel, roasted nuts and a backgroung note of alcohol. A combination that I never tired of during my tasting.

The mouthfeel of this stout was viscous as one might expect from a beer of this color, flavor intensity and ABV. It was pleasant to sip and a pleasure to drink. Keep up the good work Bell's!

Photo of optiontwo
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz. poured into snifter

Appearance: Pours black with a mahogany head that disappeared quickly.

Smell: Dark fruits, tart cherry, rich dark chocolate, oak, brown sugar, and alcohol.

Taste: Like a dark chocolate covered cherry right away with subtle coffee bean and more bitter than you would expect, due to the assertive hopping I assume. Hops don't make much of a flavor appearance but when they do peek through it's more orange than anything. There's also and iron-y flavor that hits at the end, not bad, just interesting.

Mouthfeel: Thick, viscous, appropriate carbonation, very smooth.

Drinkability: Be careful with this one. I've been known to want one after I'm done with the first but your entering tipsy town.

Overall: This remains one of my favorite imperial stouts and is a must try. So go get it!

Photo of CHSLBrew
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter.

A-Deep brown head, small but substantial and dense, but it receded quickly. The beer is black, and it looked akin to diesel fuel as it flowed out of the bottle. Opaque and dark as a moonless sky.

S-The snifter overflowed with roasted malts, alongside chocolate and dark dried fruits.

T-Heavy roasted malts with a huge chocolate flavor. Hop bitterness is moderate with some dcefinite hop character. Alcohol is present, but quite smooth. Finished is roasty, choco-coffee and lip-smacking.

M-Full, full body. As I said earier, akin to diesel. Chewey to the fullest extent. Alcohol is evident and the warming property is big, with a slight boozy feel in my mouth.

D-GOOD BEER! I really enjoy this brew. It's exceedingly easy to drink, while its flavor profile demands the drinker's respect. Approach with caution: you will fall for this beer. Good thing it comes in six-packs.

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 5,295 ratings.