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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.

4,473 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,473
Reviews: 1,875
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 383
Gots: 951 | 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)
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Ratings: 4,473 | Reviews: 1,875 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AmitC

New York

4.4/5  rDev +4%

Bottle dates 10/22/2012.

A heavy Russian Imperial from Bell's. Had heard good praises on BA.

Pours very thick dark brown. Dark black inside the glass. Head is overwhelming about three fingers thick. Tan shining brown colored. Excellent lacing. Very sticky. Head persists really well. Low to moderate bubbles. Opaque.

Aroma: Hops enter first. Some burnt up roasted malts and alcohol. A very upfront hoppy smell that thins out slowly with time. Overall a comparatively mild smell.

Taste: Front is hop forward, slightly bitter. Some mild chocolate, caramel and malts. Alcohol is felt really well. Punching. Bitter dry finish.

Mouth feel: Full bodied yet feels good smooth may be due to excessive alcohol. Astringency is huge, mostly due to hops, burnt up malts and alcohol. I like that this brew puts hops and alcohol right upfront, unabashedly. Thickness is huge. Low to moderate carbonation.

Overall: Very exciting offering from Bell's. Better than there Kalamazoo and Cream Stouts. Solid stout. A slow drinking beer as is expected. This one is a palate wrecking brew. Will do some serious damage for a stout.

Style Rate: 4.5
Personal Rate: 4.5

12-16-2012 17:36:54 | More by AmitC
Photo of writerLJBerg


4.39/5  rDev +3.8%

2010 bottle from Pawel. Batch 10105. Thanks!

A; Black and lightless as a brick. Very dark mocha head that settles in at about an inch. Looks like motor oil.

N: Roasted malt, green hops, dark chocolate, dark cherry, prune. Has a pronounced dark fruit sweetness, particularly that of raisins. Lots of raisins. Truly a smell of dried grapes.

T: Deep rushes of dark chocolate. Leather and bark. Cedar, tobacco, raisins. Smoke and roast. Hops lend an earthy backbone with some leafy hints. Coffee overtones. Superb, and reminiscent of HotD Adam of all things.

M: Thick, coating, yet somehow, supremely drinkable.

O: This is just sublime. Really wise to store it for the extended aging and very much worthy of the high score. Might be my favorite non-BA stout.

03-04-2013 00:05:48 | More by writerLJBerg
Photo of skybluewater


4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Pours a coal-black color. Smells of coffee beans and maybe a bit of chocolate, as well as some prune. Taste is actually very good. Bitter like espresso, with some chocolate and some fruitiness (rather like chocolate-covered cherries). Mouthfeel is milkshake thick, with almost no alcohol burn.

To be honest, I haven't liked any of the previous Bell's beers I've tried. They just seemed....off to me. As such, I was very reluctant to drop even $2.50 on this bottle. But, with the bitter cold upon us, I was in the mood for an impy, and I had (obviously) never tried this one. I'm glad I did. This is a very good brew. While I like Storm King, Old Raspy, and Yeti a bit more, I'm glad to know that there's one more great imperial available to me!

01-17-2005 07:24:04 | More by skybluewater
Photo of blitz134


4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Pitch black body. A one finger dark chocolate head that reduced really quickly. Good looking brew.

Overall sweet aroma. Lots of sweet dark fruits including raisins and currants. Some light chocolate comes through as well. Flavor is loaded with dark toasted malts followed by a sweet caramel body. The alcohol presents an overall sweetness adding possibly a touch of vanilla. Alcohol isn't really overwhelming, definately blended with the flavor in a tasty fashion.

Mouthfeel is oily and creamy on the tongue. Coats well and lingers for quite a while. Dangerously drinkable. Probably one of the most drinkable brews I"ve had with this much alcohol.

Overall a nicely crafted brew. Definately a sipper.

Thanks to feloniousmonk for the opportunity...

11-16-2005 04:10:41 | More by blitz134
Photo of ADR


4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Crikey, this poured out like dirty oil out of a crankcase! Black as night, dark yellow skim on top. Coffee and lemon aromas, very rich and inviting. Thick, thick, thick mouthfeel... Molasses, some coffee, and a dense and vaguely cherry flavor. Java at the back of the throat. Sharper and a little richer than Storm King, if a tad less flavorful and without the fruitiness. In some ways, a highly unique beer among beers. Bitter as all get out. Skoal on this one. It can come off as unidimensional, and that is something that can annoy me about some Imperial Stouts overall...

05-26-2002 11:05:47 | More by ADR
Photo of stereosforgeeks


4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Appearance - A wonderful thick black body and creamy dark tan head. Minimal Lacing.

Smell: Some roasted chocolate malts provide the major notes, but coffee, mild dark fruits, sour apple, and piney hops are there as well.

Taste: The roasted chocolate malts drive the flavor here. The coffee and plums intermingle nicely. The sour apples provide a nice mild tartness. The finish is a nice dry hop bitter.

Mouthfeel - Thick and chewy with minimal carbonation.

Drinkability - Do yourself a favor and buy this.

03-24-2007 16:17:31 | More by stereosforgeeks
Photo of RomanW70

Rhode Island

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

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.

04-12-2008 10:50:39 | More by RomanW70
Photo of ElGordo


4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Thought I'd break this out for review #500. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Consistency while pouring goes from a thick stout consistency to motor oil to chocoloate pudding by the end of the bottle. Body is pitch black and very thick, topped by a huge, sturdy, creamy brown head that likely could support the weight of the bottle cap.
Huge aroma of roasted dark and chocolate malts is evident as soon as the cap is popped and just continues to build. A whiff or two of sweet molasses and funky, salty peat are mixed in with the malt.
Palate is huge - rich, roasted, chocolatey malt, with notes of molasses, chestnut, and maple. I think I noted some scotch whisky in there, too, but that may have just been the high alcohol level coming through. Beautifully creamy body is like a beer milkshake. The creaminess strangely subsides to become more like a dry stout right before the swallow, then reappears in the throat.
Contrary to what others have said, I think this is remarkably drinkable for how big a beer it is. Sure, I wouldn't want more than one bottle, but that's not the point. I savor every drop of the 12 oz bottle and end up very satisfied. An all-around amazing beer.

10-05-2006 05:46:07 | More by ElGordo
Photo of slimstout


4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Appearance: Black and very thick -- reminds me of syrup. Almost no head.

Smell: I can smell the alcohol (10.5% abv). It also smells malty.

Taste: Rich and malty. The alcohol taste is largely masked by its richness, I would have expected to taste the alcohol more. Chocolate (but not so much as to be a chocolate stout), vanilla. It has loads of malty sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Very, very little carbonation. It seems thick and smooth. Slight alcohol burn.

Drinkability: It's definitely a sipper. If you're a something of a lightweight (like me), you'll definitely notice the alcohol in your system through the second half of the beer even when sipping it slowly and drinking water and eating.

This beer brought a big smile to my face as I poured it, watching its thick viscous blackness, and seeing the last bits of it drizzling like a syrup over the thin head that slowly developed. Its flavors are complex but not overwhelmingly so. I think it's taken me over an hour to drink but I've enjoyed every sip.

04-06-2010 02:38:21 | More by slimstout
Photo of Rutager

British Columbia (Canada)

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Waxed bottle, batch 9435, bottled November 11, 2009. Thanks Hooliganlife!

Appearance. Pours a deep brown, close to black with a skim of brown, bubbly head.

Smell. Fruity booze, dark cherry, almond and bitter chocolate, roasty malts.

Taste. Molasses and roasty malts, some licorice and baker's semi sweet chocolate and a little pear. Smooth and tasty.

Mouthfee. Medium-full body with low+, fine carbonation. Very nice.

Overall. A fine RIS. Very drinkable, smooth and full of flavour.

04-07-2012 18:34:28 | More by Rutager


4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

I have had this brew many times but never did a BA style review for it, so I thought about time.

Batch #7817

Pours to a darkly gorgeous motor oil black body. Head is just about the darkest I have encountered and that is saying alot. Rich chocolate brown bubbles make a foam brick like top that sits at about three fingers. Great carbonation for a beer nearly 2 years aged.

Nose is deeply malty with coco, coffee, a hint of port and smokey malt that shows great promise.

My how mellow while still being a monster of a stout I think to myself with first sip. Dark rich fruits are accompanied by burnt malt. Bakers chocolate and and a nice cordial alchol bite are there also. I am surprised at how well the hops have stayed prevalent in this beer after all this time. Dare I say this beer tastes so much like Darkness now.

There is a bit of age that shows in the mouthfeel with some raw rustic bitter tones and dirty minerals. All of this is overshadowed by the abrubt bitter feel.

Still a very nicely drinkable cold night sipper. This is about as black as a beer gets.

11-19-2008 03:57:37 | More by SPLITGRIN
Photo of barefootbrewer


4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

This beer poured a thick oily black with a brown head – some lacing that fades quickly. The smell is sweet, malty and roasted with a hint of licorice. The taste is roasted and malty with chocolate, spice, coffee and fruit flavors present. The mouthfeel is chewy and there is a warming effect from the alcohol which is perfect for this beer. This is a big beer with robust flavors. It definitely hits the spot on this cold winter night.

01-26-2008 04:57:51 | More by barefootbrewer
Photo of Rastacouere

Quebec (Canada)

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Pitch black motor-oil when pouring, a mirror to any trace of light adventurous enough to try to get through. Superb chocolate brown 1-inch head, long-lasting and displaying awesome lacing, foamy, sticky like it came nitro-pushed. Very rich malt aroma, satisfyingly bittersweet with tons of molasses, dark belgian chocolate over home-made cookies, dark european bread, torrefied coffee with two creams. Subtle fruitiness (plums, blackberries), just as subtle complementing hops as I love them, piney and obvious hints of smoke. Very complex, but still not overly envelopping in the aroma department. In mouth though, this is a very intense experience, contemplative flavour development with the typical Bell’s milky aspect although there’s almost no sweetness here. Just great smoked chocolate. Multi-dimensional spicy hoppy aftertaste, piney, bitter and very long. Carbonation was much more generous than I was lead to believe from other reviews, it’s just perfect here and I think I’d have enjoyed it less or found it a bit less lively if it hadn’t been for a little tongue-cleaning carbonation to entertain such a thick body. Holy Crap, totally dominant monument that I never expected to enjoy all that much and I’ll admit liking some sweetness in my beers and not being a fan of hopfests. Once again, Raindog is the gentleman to be thanked and re-thanked.

09-27-2004 15:19:28 | More by Rastacouere
Photo of ne0m00re


4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

10/13/10- Had a 12 oz bottle of this (Batch 9971).
A: Jet black with a nice caramel one-finger slow head that dies to a collar.
S: Caramel mocha, oatmeal barrel, whiskey alcohol.
T: Caramel, roast, chocolate, banana, raspberries, lingering burnt character.
M: Thicker, but nicely frothy.
D: Really good. I'd have a pint or two.

I'd recommend it.

11-08-2010 20:54:43 | More by ne0m00re
Photo of drtth


4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Lighly chilled and poured into a Duvel glass for tasting. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically. Bottle has no batch code but given when and where I purchased it the bottle age should be between 13 and 18 months.

Appearance: Black (a black hole?) with a thick dark brownish head which may be the darkest head I've ever seen. The head dissipates very slowly with solid lacing. Eventually there is a thin surface cover with a ring of foam around the edges of the liquid.

Smell: Dark chocolate, molasses, coffee, and with very faint hops at this age (maybe I'm even imagining them).

Taste: The flavor is much more powerful than you'd expect from the aroma. There is an intial sweetness layered over strong roasted malt bitterness with tastes of espresso and dark molasses and a touch of caramel. The bitterness at the end has the character of both burnt malt and a residue of the hops. What I don't find is any strong alcohol taste.

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel is thick and creamy with a long slow bitter finish.

Drinkability: This is a beer to sip and enjoy but its hard to imagine drinking more than one in an evening. Indeed one may be more than enough.

03-09-2009 01:30:45 | More by drtth
Photo of jbone78


4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

I love this one. I am not a fan of super bitter Imperials and this beer is not all bitter.

A- Pours thick black into my small snifter with a dark mocha head. The small amount of head leaves in a short time, but who cares?
S- You can smell the dryness. Toasted malts, light coffee and not a lot of alcohol. At 10.5%, you can not smell it.
T- As I mentioned, the bitterness is countered well with the sweet sugars and coffee/caramel malts? Not over the top with the black malts either. I like.
M- Smooth. Not super malty or hoppy in my opinion. The key word for me would be balanced.
D- Because of the price, I can only buy small amounts of this one.


07-26-2009 21:04:13 | More by jbone78
Photo of sukwonee


4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Batch #9459 - 2009/2010 vintage according to the website. Thank you hansgruber for throwing this bottle as an extra among other extras (this was a want of mine).

A: Black/dark brown, very thin mocah head, some lacing.

S: Coffee, Chocolate, molasses, caramel, some bourbon aroma(??), hops

T: Quite hoppy. Chocolate, coffee, brown sugar, vanilla... quite roasty and sweet. I am not sure why but I actually taste some bourbon. Maybe they poured some bourbon into this. Finishes bitter with hops.

M: Smooooth, thick, syrupy. Slight alcohol burn.

O: Very very solid stout. Wish it was a tad bit less hoppy, but I really enjoyed this one.

07-22-2012 01:04:49 | More by sukwonee
Photo of zac16125

South Carolina

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass
Number on bottle: 8944, which didn’t mean much to me until I saw it was the exact same number as the last review on here, so apparently this is a 09 batch. I got this as a stand alone from a private liquor store where it was the only one, and the label does look quite worn.

A: Pours an opaque jet black. Poured very aggressively, it gives 1.5 fingers width of light caramel colored head, which appears dense, but dissipates relatively fast to leave a non-uniform film for about half the drink, then absolutely none for the remainder. Leaves effectively no lacing.

S: A nice, strong roasted malt aroma dominates, accompanied by some burnt malts, a smoky character, and some subtle bold-roast coffee aromas. Alcohol is noticeable. Pleasant aroma, but nothing particularly complex.

T: Lots of roasted and burnt malts, accompanied by hints of chocolate, bold-roast coffee, and an oaky character. There is an appreciable sweetness throughout, coming from dark fruits (maybe fig) with hints of bing cherries, plus a subtle hop bitterness on the back-end. It does a great job of balancing sweetness, burnt roasted malts, and bitterness all while making the alcohol presence known, but kept in check. Great flavor to this beer.

M/D: Smooth, creamy, an almost oily mouth feel. I’m not sure what all this talk from others about the no carbonation is all about, my bottle had plenty of carbonation, in fact, just the right amount. Incredibly easy to drink, and does a great job of masking the 10+%ABV.

O: This beer may have restored my faith in the RIS style. I went away from the style for a while, but recently decided to come back, and in the last couple of weeks have tried a handful of RIS’s, some of which are very highly ranked on this website. I was uniformly disappointed with them all, as they were mostly ruined by a dominating alcohol presence that killed the drink. Not this one. Expedition Stout maintains a great, well balanced flavor, good mouth feel and great drinkability. Cheers to Bell’s who never seems to let me down.

06-28-2011 01:55:24 | More by zac16125
Photo of mtstatebeer

West Virginia

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

12 oz. bottle. Pours a nice black color with a creamy brown head, good lacing. Aroma is mainly chocolate, a little coffee, and some spicy hop notes. Flavor is chocolate and ends somewhat bitter. Hides the alcohol and warms very, very well. Great beer!

09-03-2008 00:27:03 | More by mtstatebeer
Photo of Gaisgeil


4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Ever wonder what motor oil tastes like? Me either, but that's what this looks like coming from the bottle. Incredibly thick and dark dark black in color with a dark brown head to compliment.

Nose is really expansive, chocolate, coffee, heaps of roast, molasses, grain, a bit of vanilla? The taste is very powerful, the roast flavors are really very prominent, with the coffee and molasses not far behind. The mouthfeel is so very thick and chewy that the taste lingers for quite a while, almost syrup like, I love it!

This is one heavy-duty no playing around sort of stout. It's definatly not for the meek.

02-23-2005 12:19:40 | More by Gaisgeil
Photo of Bubba83


4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

A special thanks goes out to my pal Kegatron for the trade.

How is this beer only #100?

Poured at 45 degrees into a tulip glass. It looked like there wouldn't be much head so I poured vigorously, turns out it is a late riser, cascading almost like a beer on nitro. This only added to the effect. It's midnight black and viscous looking with DARK mocha head. Tiny bubbles too, just the way I wanted it to look, perfect. Great lacing all the way through as well.

Aroma is of roasted chocolate figs, with a background of alcohol and roasty malts. Slight coffee hints but mostly a beautiful chocolate.

Outstanding first impression on taste. Deep, dark chocolate, starts sweet and rich, ends bitter and roasty. Expected a bigger alcohol presence in the flavor but it's barely lurking in the background behind tons of layers of rich decadent chocolate. Some people may say, isn't it a little one dimensional because of all the chocolate? No... Because there is tons of different chocolate varieties here.

Mouthfeel is very thick and chewy, without really any pop on the tongue from the bubbles. I expected about as much from a strong imperial stout like this, but it could be a little more lively. Still, feels really smooth and oily, soothes the mouth.

Drinkability is hard to gauge. A plus is that the alcohol level isn't too apparent. Also, it's quite delicious and you want to go back for more. It's a bit too rich to easily quaff though, a definite sipper as you experience how the temperature changes effect the beer.

Terrific, well done Bell's.

08-19-2008 06:50:42 | More by Bubba83
Photo of wnh


4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a thick, ruby-tinted black, opaque, with a dense and frothy medium tan head.

Aromas of earthy dark chocolate, smoke, and roasted grain leap from the glass. The smoke, which hints at peppery country ham, really sets this beer apart. Then comes a (dried) leafy hoppiness in the background to add further complexity. A strong base of sweet caramel ties everything together.

Loads of chocolate on the palate, with sweet and bitter notes pulsating back and forth. There's an unexpectedly strong resinous hop character underneath, providing contrast but contributing to the whole. Very smooth, especially for an imperial stout. This beer lacks any roasty bite found in many similar beers, and is really quite light on the roast on the whole.

Thick and rich and dense, but not unnecessarily chewy. Low level of carbonation, which works with this beer. Finishes bitter--a combination of hops and roast (about the only place the roast shows itself, really)--but fades as the beer lingers on the palate.


12-17-2009 17:41:14 | More by wnh
Photo of PDXHops

South Carolina

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

On tap in a shaker pint, an unfortunate vessel for such a great beer (should have gone with the 10 oz pour so I could get it in a tulip). A modest but dense tan head sits atop the oily body. Good retention and lacing.

The crappy glass victimizes the nose as well, blunting a pleasing blend of roast, chocolate and tangy fruit. A bit of booze in the background.

Great tasting beer with a helluva lot of well-integrated flavors. Even better than the bottled version. Chocolate chips, cocoa powder, big roasted and burnt malts, tangy dark fruits. Hints of tobacoo and molasses. Pleasing notes of blackberry liqueur. Pleasantly warming booziness. There's nothing at all subtle about it- the flavors are practically explosive- yet there are no overpowering flavors. Excellent mouthfeel as well; fluffy and filling, yet creamy.

Overall impression: If, like me, you are surprised to find this on tap, don't hesitate to take advantage of your good fortune.

11-07-2010 16:54:31 | More by PDXHops
Photo of flexabull


4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

Beer pours a deep black color with a decent sized brown head that quickly faded.

This smells a bit sweet, with some stewed fruit, dark chocolate, and a bit of alcohol.

Flavors are full and rich. There is a very malty coffee and chocolate backbone. It follows with some sweetness, and a touch of hoppy bitterness. The finish is crisp, and with a touch of alcohol.

Mouthfeel is quite good, very full, and well rounded.

Drinkability is good. This has a bit of a boozy feel to it, but it's not overwhelming at all. It works well as an after dinner sipper, and the high scores it has received are well earned.

Thank you MuenchenerKindl for sending this beer out west.

03-09-2007 03:23:46 | More by flexabull
Photo of jmdrpi


4.38/5  rDev +3.5%

12 oz bottle, batch 10105 from last winter.

appears black, with thin layer of khaki colored head. strong roasted aroma, with earthy hops in there. taste has the typical chocolate/coffee notes typical of the style, but also has fairly significant pronounced hop flavor. medium to thick body, medium carbonation. pretty smooth.

overall, a great RIS that is a good value compared to most of the limited release bombers from other breweries.

score is the fresh review

***1 year***
still has some earthy hop aromas. taste is dominated by coffeeish flavors, lingering roasty aftertaste. smoother carbonation than fresh

***2 year ***
hop aromas are very faded. flavors in taste are more blended. better tasting. silky smooth body. better than 1 year. flavors are more mellow, but blended together better.

10-31-2011 03:24:34 | More by jmdrpi
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,473 ratings.