1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

5,370 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,370
Reviews: 1,996
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.61%
Wants: 447
Gots: 1,332 | FT: 99
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
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 5,370 | Reviews: 1,996
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.

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

The smell of this beer is roasty with a light barbeque flavor. The pour is very dark like motor oil. As the beer settles in the pint glass, the look is very thick with a flat head. The taste is definitely stouty with a strong alcohol feel on the backend. A good stout that is worth another try.

Photo of colts9016
3.4/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got is from mday, thank you.

Poured into a pint glass at 51 degrees.

Appearance: A deep dark black color with a solid one finger head. The head is a dark tan color, that is foamy and creamy. The clarity of the beer is opaque. There is lacing on the glass.

Nose: A nice roasted barley, with chocolate, toffee, fruity esters, espresso, and molasses. A very rich alcohol aroma and a hint of phenols. There is some caramel, burnt character, anise, and a port like aroma hidden in the background.

Nose: A nice roasted malt with espresso, molasses, dark chocolate, toffee, and caramel. There are some of the burnt character, anise, raisins, and fruity esters.

Overall: The mouth feel is creamy and carbonated. The body of the beer is thick and the finish linger for a few moments. I do have a few issues with this beer. The beer to me is a bit sweet. I feel that there is really no bitterness that makes a great RIS. Don't get me wrong it is an okay beer, but nonetheless it is not a great RIS. After a 5 minutes the beer went flat.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.58/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap in Bloomington, IN earlier this year. Served in a snifter.

A: Very, very dark with a massive brown head.

S: Quite good, but a little muted compared with the taste. Hops, chocolate, coffee, cherries, slightly-burnt espresso.

T: Same as the smell, and utterly fantastic. I taste the most from the espresso with a little bit of the cherry.

M: Very thick. Chewy and creamy.

D: Highly, highly drinkable. Grab two of these and sip 'em for the rest of the night.

Photo of jfunkk79
4.05/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on my most recent visit home to Ohio. Pours a deep black with fine bubbles that retreat, no lacing.
Aroma of chocolate, slightly boozy sweet, not necessarily in a bad way.

Nice creamy mouthfeel, malty sweetness and a nice hop tart in the back of the mouth. Bit of a heavy finish but I'm not minding too much. This would probably age well. Highly Recommended.

Photo of Buschyfor3
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz single into a Hoegaarden pint glass.

A: Pours a thick, viscous deep brown that sloshes into the bottom of the glass; this beer looks like motor oil. This stout is absolutely opaque when held up to the light; no lighter hues around the edges of the glass, just a deep, rich brown. A thin, creamy tan head forms on top but is quickly pulled back down into the beer.

S: Roasted coffee, burnt toast, dark chocolate, caramel, dark fruits (cherries, dates).

T: First note is bold, roasted coffee/espresso followed by mellowing melted chocolate and dark fruit, like chocolate dipped cherries; malty sweetness upfront lingers through the body; finishes dry, like roasted oats or burnt toast.

M: Thick and chewy with little carbonation; this beer has a creamy consistency on the palate that is quite pleasing.

D: Decent for a high ABV stout (10.5%). The alcohol is hidden fairly well at the start, but it does begin to assert itself with a peppery flash and a noticeable warming sensation once you delve deeper into the bottle. A sipper, but I imagine that some cellaring would really round off the alcohol and push some of the complexities to the next level. Still, what Bell's has created is a pleasant RIS. A bevy of roasted flavors blend into a creamy, delicious body that IMO lives up to the hype. My friend's told me to check this stout out, and after having a good first impression with Bell's via their Kalamazoo Stout, I must say I am quite pleased with their bigger, badder Expedition Stout. The cost is a bit steep ($15.50 for a 6er) but a local place sells single bottles for $2.50 a pop, so I may very well purchase a couple more bottles just to see how this beer ages.

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

Appearance: Very thick on the pour and very viscous - like motor oil, probably the thickest I've seen since I first poured a FBS; A good size two finger head is present at first and it's dark tan, possibly the darkest tan I've seen; solid retention as it's just about done fading into a pretty thick and chewy looking skim on the sruface; a thick spongey looking lacing is coating the glass where the head once was.

Smell: Alcohol is actually the first scent I picked up on and with an ABV of 10.5%, I guess I shouldn't be too surprised. Behind that is dark, very roasty and burnt coffee-esque malts.

Taste: Again like the smell, the first thing that I pick up on is the alcohol, but it's not especially overpowering, just the most present flavor; behind that is a slightly subdued burnt roast; I would almost swear there is a very faint hint of some kind of a dark fruit, but if it is, it is buried very well amidst the strong roastiness.

Mouthfeel: Almost a little gritty, there's definitely some sediment floating in the darkness that is this beer; the alchol causes some burn in the mouth and definitely in the chest as it goes down and adds a slightly drying affect to the mouthfeel, but beyond that it's got a decent coating that again feels a little gritty.

Drinkability: It's a very good beer, but definitely sits heavy like most RISs are apt to do, so I don't feel like I would want to sit through too many of these because I would start to feel like a bit of a load.

Photo of TequilaSauer
4.64/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 2007. Aged 2 years.

Pours thinner than expected but with very light head that quickly dissipates.

Smells of chocolate liquer, alcohol, dark fruits (fig) and maybe brandy. The nose reminded me a lot of Old Rasputin.

The taste is out of this world. Attacks HUGE with equal parts of extreme bitterness and heavy dark chocolate. Very balanced, VERY balanced, much more than the unaged Expedition. Finishes with more bitterness and a woody flavor.

Very thick mouthfeel, like molasses, but very smooth with little carbonation.

The aging did this beer a lot of justice. Expedition is a phenomenal stout, but the aging adds a lot more to the balance and attack. It's not a beer of which you could probably enjoy more than one at a time and I still don't think it stacks up with some of the other heavy hitters in that style, but it's got it where it counts.

Photo of bfields4
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a Dark chocolate black with a foamy mocha head. So dark I can see my reflection in it.

Lots of sweet dark fruit smells. Sweet malty backing. Coffee and chocolate become more present, but the biggest factor is still with the dark fruit.

Velvety chocolate flavor. Not what I expected from the nose. Very nice hints of caramel. Big taste on this one. Seems to be almost the reverse of the nose with dark fruits becoming more present with time.

So creamy wow, one of the creamiest beers I've ever had. Very low carbonation.

The dark fruit nose's juxtaposition to the velvety chocolate mouthfeel really complement each other nicely.

Photo of FarmHouseJam
3.99/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very black, think tan brown head, great lacing on the glass. Chocolate comes out, abv, and carbonation in the glass is very detectable.

For its ABV its pretty balanced, a year in the cellar would really help. Very complex beer. Very ready to age for sure!

On tap it was a bit less aggressive carbonation wise.

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 5,370 ratings.