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

Bell's Expedition StoutBell's Expedition Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,116 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4116
Reviews: 1856
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.11%

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: 4,116 | Reviews: 1,856 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Dotcubed


3.48/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A headless wonder. I've been fond of this beer for years but seem to have no review on BA for it.

A year old bottle from a six-pack that I've had in my closet since early this year(Jan Feb?) or maybe the end of last year.

Pours with out a head. There's a trace of foam but really what I'd expect from an older bottle. Paper thin lace.

Dark color, what a true stout looks like. Some slight sediment in the bottle.

Faint aromas. Molasses. Ru balls.

Medium-heavy body. Roasted flavors. Dark chocolate dryness.

Some fizz, carbon flavor.
Might let the other 5 sit a year. Not sure if I want another six pack just yet.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2009 04:54:15 | More by Dotcubed
Photo of ajaxivan


3.48/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my Victory tulip

A: Deep black with little brown head

S: Coffee, roasty malt, mollases, faint alcohol

T: Little carbonation is disappointing, chocolate,caramel, a little sweet but not too much

M: Medium bodied, pretty smooth

D: Not bad, not my favorite but good. I would revisit this again and im glad i tried it, i think Bells make great stuff and am usually immpressed, but i guess i am a little disappointed with the RIS.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2011 00:23:38 | More by ajaxivan
Photo of Nerudamann


3.48/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a Pint glass.

Look - extremely dark black, with about a third of a finger's worth of foam that dissipates slowly.

Smell - typical stout smell, with a caramel or molasses hint.

Taste and Mouthfeel - strong taste, but not too strong..mostly in hop flavor but masked by molasses or coffee flavors. The texture is as intensely creamy as it appeared when I poured it.

Drinkability - a little bitter but not too bad for my taste. Somewhat complex, and tastes okay.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2011 03:22:30 | More by Nerudamann
Photo of thecarster1


3.48/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

a- bottle poured into a nonic pint, dark, thick pour, two fingers head fade to even layer of lacing.

s- lots to the nose, raisins hit first - liquored soaked, dark chocolate and black coffee, alcohol here.

t- lots of roast and flavor here, some liquor soaked raisins, a smoky flavor, dark burnt chocolate, dark black coffee, some alcohol turnes to more alcohol as it warms.

m- huge, thick and creamy.

d- this is a sipper for a nice cold night, it wasn't as wonderful as i was expecting but certainly drinkable, and I won't have any trouble drinking the remaining single i have on hand - might throw in in the cellar for a year or so.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2011 01:12:55 | More by thecarster1
Photo of ptykozoon


3.48/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown, sticky layer remains on top with rampant lacing.

Bitter chocolate, alcohol, nuts, a touch of caramel.

Quite bitter, smoked flavors, coffee, black licorice.

Nice dense mouthfeel, dry yet sticks in the throat.

Good solid stout. This, in my opinion, is missing a certain something however. Vanilla? Cherry? Oak? Not sure but its a bit too bitter, dry and not particularly complex. Good though.

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2011 04:39:28 | More by ptykozoon
Photo of VncentLIFE

North Carolina

3.48/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 11-01-11, so yes still very fresh. Poured into a Bell's tulip for good measure.

Pours opaque black with a caramel head. Started very uncarbonated, but eventually exploded with a thick gigantic head.

Smells of roasted malts, but not too strong. hints of bitter baking chocolate and coffee are side by side with creamy smoothness.

The first thing I notice is an overwhelming bitterness. It feels just as bitter as a breakfast stout. A decent hop presence really just multiplies the bitterness from the roasted malts and other bitter flavors. As it warms, it gets even more bitter. There is a slight creaminess int he background.

The mouth is left feeling very bitter, not exactly my favorite stout, but its not the worst stout in the world.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2011 19:47:14 | More by VncentLIFE
Photo of LuckySevens82


3.45/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle.
I have to thank FeloniousMonk for letting me try this one.
Pours an oil black with a very similar viscosity. Almost no carbonation, a head was forced and disappeared very quickly.
Smell is coffee, chocolate, some alcohol. You can smell the sweetness right off the bat.
Taste is overwhelmingly sweet. While this beer is very smooth (which I like in an imperial stout) I think the complete lack of carbonation in the brew is a detriment. This brew has a huge chocolate taste.
This is like alcoholic chocolate syrup. It is way to thick and syrupy for my tastes. I can certainly understand why people like it.

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2004 01:03:21 | More by LuckySevens82
Photo of Lauthaha


3.45/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a beer mug.

Appearance: Opaque black with perhaps a tinge of brown to it. Outstanding burned-tan head, about one finger thick.

Smell: Exciting! Black licorice and/or sun-dried raisins up front. A little bit of a coffee edge follows, rounded out with a toasty alcohol vibe. Not a lot of hop action in the scent, let's see if that changes at all...

Taste: Ultra, ultra sweet. Not balanced out with bitterness. As much as I want to give this rave reviews, it's not a good example of my favorite style of beer. Minutes later, still tasting sugars within it. The coffee flavor is minimal, but the malt tone is HEAVY. No hops though, just as the nose determined.

Mouthfeel: It's like a beer Vesuvius in my mouth. You know the reaction that you get from mixing baking soda and vinegar? Same thing here. A small sip ballooned into a piledriver of foam in my mouth. The maltiness gets more handleable as the beer warms a bit. Set apart from the taste, the mouthfeel is decent.

Drinkability: Eh, it's not a BAD beer by any means. But it's a little heavy to call a "usual" and a little strong to drink more than two or three of at any given time. So-so drinkability.

Decent beer. Definitely a sipper. Worth a try, but barely.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2010 01:56:36 | More by Lauthaha
Photo of camp0474


3.45/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Review from 12/30/10

Disclaimer - I had this beer pretty fresh and after drinking it I think it should spend some time in the cellar.

A: Pours a thick viscous black with a dark tan head. Dies off quick.

S: Molasses, dark candied fruits - prunes and caramelized sugar. Faint boozy smell. Hints of roasted coffee.

T: Molasses and dark fruits, raisins, chocolate. Roasted almost smokey malts. Not as I sweet as I would have expected, compared to other RIS I have enjoyed. Slight sweetness is quickly overtaken by bitter and boozy. Ends quite bitter and boozy, almost bourbon.

M: Thick and viscous body. Very low carbonation, needs more to be enjoyable. Goes down slick.

D: Low carbonation, a little too bitter, and strong alcohol flavor. Good beer but not easy to drink.

Underimpressed. Maybe I will try aging one and revisiting this one.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2011 02:20:39 | More by camp0474
Photo of legalpete19340


3.45/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured thick and blackish brown. No head to speak of until I poured aggressively, then I got a solid finger of head that quickly dissipated into a small ring of bubbles. Seemed to coat the glass reasonably well.

S: I get a lot of alcohol off this guy. Some roasted malt and burnt brown sugar.

T: Molasses with plenty of burnt coffee and tons of alcohol coming through as scotch. A few notes of english toffee and a big malt background with dark chocolate. As it warms I swear I pick up some noticeable hop character. The alcohol burns and warms at the end.

M: Thick, heavy and velvety. Full and foamy.

O: Thick, sweet and very boozey. I found this beer interesting then hard to drink after just a few swigs. It seemed unbalanced in the way of too much booze and burnt.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2011 02:14:15 | More by legalpete19340
Photo of Billolick

New York

3.43/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle, with no freshness dating.
Think and goey, rich and chewy.
This is as dark, rich, flavorful and robust as any beer I've had. To my tastes its over the top and not all that pleasant, and I like stouts and rich, strong beer in general. HEAVY roasted, burnt, chocolate, coffee flavors. Mega sweet malt in the finish with a bit of bittering. Extreme after dinner beer. not for women and children or the feint of heart.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2004 05:43:44 | More by Billolick
Photo of pentathlete


3.43/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to babydoc who sent me this as part of BIF18. What a variety of big brews in that box. Gotta love BAs.

12 oz bottle pours an oil slick black into the imperial. Hard pour produced a small quickly dissipating dark beige head. Smell is burnt coffee, caramel, and raisins. Taste is where the wheels leave the tracks a bit. Starts creamy with sweet molasses and then the mishmash of hops and cough cyrup kicks in. Finish is somewhat thin, bitter without either a bite or pleasant hoppiness. Mouth is coated in Vicks (the cough syrup, not Ron Mexico.) Unless this matches your palate, this beer is not highly drinkable. Maybe I'll get an opportunity to have one that has aged a bit more to see if the flavors blend and mellow a bit.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2005 02:10:12 | More by pentathlete
Photo of BioBilly


3.43/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours dark, real dark, small carmel brown lacing on top. The smell is the best part of this beer. The taste was not what I was expecting, it was really bitter and you can taste the alohol through the other hidden flavors. Mouthfeel was terrific, I love the thinkness of this beer. I found that this beer did not have me wanting to conitnue to drink it, I drank and did not want another. This beer was not as good as I thought it was going be.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2007 03:39:04 | More by BioBilly
Photo of BoitSansSoif


3.43/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-Poured like smooth 10W-30 into a Bordeaux glass. This stuff devours light. Very thin head that drops to a fine cap.

S-Deeply toasted grain, malt, dried dates, toffee, coffee, alcohol, rich earthy tones.

T-Burnt malts and creamy toffee blend that carry over into more identifiable coffee, fig, and date flavors. The finish reveals the alcohol, and lingers with bitterness that momentarily saturates the taste buds on the back of the tongue. I don't know whether to attribute this uniquely to the well-done grains, or partially to hops as well.

M-Thick and syrupy, this stout coats the mouth and clings to the taste buds for dear life. The aftertaste is not unpleasant, but throughout the rest of the trial, the lack of more carbonation renders the body cloyingly sweet.

D-I'm only 2/3 done, and I'm starting to get full. Despite a couple shortcomings, I enjoyed seeking out this bold brew's veiled subtleties, but as a big Bell's fan since my irresponsible Bronco days, I'm left somewhat disappointed. Bell's has plenty of other varieties I would rather spend $ on.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2008 08:58:11 | More by BoitSansSoif
Photo of tayner


3.43/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle, fairly fresh

poured black with a tan head, nice lacing

smelled of rich roasted malts, chocolate, alcohol, and slight earthy hops

Tasted of dark roasted malt, bitter chocolate, and bitter coffee. Slightly too burnt/bitter for my palate. Did not seem too well balanced for me. pretty hot too at 10.5%.

It was nice feeling, creamy, full mouthfeel.

It was too bitter and "over-roasted" for me. Not enough balance in flavors to be very drinkable. Needs cellar time, perhaps, to allow all the flavors to combine more.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2008 23:37:53 | More by tayner
Photo of beckje01


3.43/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Black look can't see through it. Thin tan head.

S- Nice malty nose, no hopes in there.

T- Bitter but not overwhelming a nice sweetness in the background and a touch of woodiness.

M- Nice activity with good thickness.

D- Ok not great, there are better RIS out there but if this is all you can get it will do.

Serving type: on-tap

11-10-2008 05:52:04 | More by beckje01
Photo of ibbjamin


3.43/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bought a four pack of 12 oz bottles from Discount Liquor in Milwaukee, WI. I am reviewing on the last beer I tried of the pack. 8311 printed on back side of beer label. Poured into a snifter.

Pours very thick. Leaves a dark tan quarter inch head after an aggressive pour that dissipates rather quickly and leaves no retention. Mild lacing. Black in color.

Strong alcohol noted, even hints of bourbon. Sweet, roasted and toasted malts. A pretty heavy nose. More vanilla than chocolate, but both noted.

Taste is very malty; a sweet and nice roast. Alcohol again, giving this somewhat of a medicinal flavor.

Mouth is very thick and creamy. Full body. Light carbonation.

A definite sipper.

Not my favorite high ABV RIS.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2008 02:54:14 | More by ibbjamin
Photo of Sean9689


3.43/5  rDev -18.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2009 03:47:04 | More by Sean9689
Photo of spartanfan


3.43/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 2.5

batch 9359 packaged 9/17/09

A: Pours an opaque black with a tight dark brown head which leaves much lacing on the walls of the glass as it fades to a thin layer.

S: Smells of rich roasted malts and coffee

T: Tastes slightly smoky off the bat. Lots of flavors going on here; chocolate, coffee, caramel. Also, piney hops are detectable in the swallow and leave a bitter aftertaste.

M: This might be the creamiest beer I have tasted yet, it almost feels as though I'm drinking cool whip. Leaves a sticky sweet coating in my mouth after each swallow. There is a slight warming character from the alcohol.

D: While I'm really digging this beer, it's just a little to thick and heavy for me to drink more than one in a sitting. It's definitely a sipper

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2009 22:45:24 | More by spartanfan
Photo of Lolli1315


3.43/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- A dark opaque black with a brown head. Head is generally small and the lacing could use a little work. Still looks pretty nice though.

S- Strong smell of alcohol comes through at first, followed by roasted malts and almost a burnt smell. Roasted coffee is specific and works well with the roasted malts. Faint hints of chocolate also are apparent as well.

T- This is one of the strongest tasting stouts that I have tasted, if not the strongest tasting stout. Alcohol is very prevalent in the taste (about as much as it was during the smell) and creates an interesting taste. The roasted malts are strong, almost overwhelming. At the end of the taste, there is a large bitter chocolate after taste. Interesting stout, but I think some things need toned down a little bit.

M- Chewy mouthfeel, nice and thick. The most concerning aspect here is the lack of carbonation.

D- The strong tastes in this beer would leave me with the wanting to have another stout rather than grabbing another one of these. No problem finishing this though.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2009 00:42:09 | More by Lolli1315
Photo of ksimons

New York

3.43/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-dark dark brown, almost black with almost no head

S-bitter, roasted malts and coffee

T-starts out sweet, mid taste is a rich roasted malt flavor, and ends very bitter

M-leaves a burnt taste that is sort of unpleasant, medium body, very smooth, no carbonation

D-the burnt taste makes it hard to drink, not my favorite RIS though always glad to try a new take on one

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2010 23:59:07 | More by ksimons
Photo of amphion1065


3.43/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle into tulip. Batch 10105.

Pour is as close to black as could be. Glugs out of the bottle - it just looks viscous. Dark brown one-finger head that doesn't hang around for long. Minor lacing.

A classic RIS aroma. A lot of dark fruits, I can pick up plums and prunes in abundance. Some molasses, chocolate notes. There's a pronounced roast quality as well. I can detect just a hint of booze in the nose.

It's not hot at all, but man is this unbelievably bitter. Reminiscent of 90% cocoa combined with an astringent hop bite. There's an acrid, roast, burnt taste that reminds me of very dark coffee or, maybe more accurately, coffee grounds. There are some underlying flavors at work here: some chocolate, deep dark fruits. That said, the over-the-top bitterness drowns out many of the subtler qualities of the taste.

Mouthfeel is well done: it's thick, with medium carbonation. Given how big it is, it goes down pretty easily.

This is atypical of many stouts of similar ABV in that, although it really needs some more time to tone down, the alcohol bite is not overpowering. Rather, there are a ton of huge flavors that just need to coalesce and settle. I could see this drinking very well in a few months - or years - and would love to try an older bottle, but from my sample I can't deem this better than a slightly above-average RIS.

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2011 02:12:37 | More by amphion1065
Photo of MNJR


3.43/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours like used motor oil and looks like used motor oil. No head. Syrupy mouthfeel. Flavor is good. Very sweet, brown sugar. I also get leathery prune, burnt raisins and coffee. Thick, heavy, low on carbonation, but with a nice bitter sharpness to the taste. Good beer, but for this style Old Rasputin is much better. I am a Bell's fan overall, but here they need to figure out a way to add some lighter dimension to this brew and cut down on the thickness.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2011 02:38:11 | More by MNJR
Photo of bosco7


3.4/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pitch black and sludgy as it pours from the unassuming 12 oz. bottle. A massive milky brown settles on top of the inky liquid. Very intimidating.

Liquorice, chocolate, coffee, cinnamon in the back, and a little

Starts sweet and boozy with lots of liquorice and dark chocolate flavors. Some harsh acrid flavors. Burnt toast and coffee.

Buttery mouthfeel. A combination of harsh flavors, big ABV, and sugary sweetness make this a challenge to put down.

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2007 03:41:18 | More by bosco7
Photo of marcpal

New Jersey

3.4/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle in a dogfish goblet. (Edited after finish 2nd bottle)

A: Dark and roasted coffee lacing with a pitch dark chocolate brown color to match the head. Lacing is like cake.

S: Smells like a roll of fudge and chocolate charleston chew.

T: Intense chocolate and coffee with some serious warming alcohol with the backing of this one. Truly intense and chewy. The sweet chocolate is increasing throughout this beer.
During the second beer, couldnt get past the taste of licorice that was embetted in my tastebuds.
M: Full bodied mouthfeel to put it mildly. Truly unique mouthfeel that is coating and full of complex texture.

D: Could only have one of these at a time but enjoyable nonetheless. Having several could be dangerous.

Definitely worth the try. Let down more as I drank more to be honest with this one.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2007 00:42:27 | More by marcpal
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,116 ratings.