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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.

4,399 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,399
Reviews: 1,872
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 374
Gots: 940 | 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: 4,399 | Reviews: 1,872 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Higravity


4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Well I received 3 new bottles of this beer and after my last experience I am glad to have another try with this beauty. It is a dense black with a chocolate milk colored head that doesn't peter out for a while. Smell of roasted burnt malt, small hints of alcohol and hops. The taste is powerful dark roasted flavors slowly yeild to a bittering creamy swallow, alcohol is present but not overwhelming. I would have liked a little more hops to be present in here though. You could eat this beer with a spoon it has body for days and has a very creamy feel that coats your mouth. This is a great beer and well worth many more visits.

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2005 13:53:21 | More by Higravity
Photo of ski271


4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black with a reddish tinge and a brown, small, creamy head that quickly diminished to a full, thick film. Lots of thick sticky lacing.

Smell: Large, fabulous aroma of chocolate, coffee, malts, molasses and light buttery herbs.

Taste: Big, thick malts, bitter coffee, cheery, and soy sauce (I know, it sounds odd and the last time I tasted soy sauce in a beer it was a homebrew gone wrong, but it’s good in this flavor). The finish is sweet and very long in duration.

Mouthfeel: Full body, thick chewy texture, no carbonation.

Drinkability: My was this wonderful. One sip took me back to a ski vacation up in Maine for some reason. I love the nostalgia a good aroma can spark. This was a fabulous meaty stout that I’ll definitely be having again.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2005 21:19:56 | More by ski271
Photo of jobyone

North Carolina

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a freshly opened keg. The beer poured black with an incredibly creamy light brown head. The aroma had lots of burnt smells (coffee, chocolate) and was accompanied by a little bit of fruit sweetness. The flavor had lots of chocolate, coffe and some alcohol. The body was very full and the the aftertaste lingered with a pleasing bitterness.

Serving type: on-tap

01-17-2008 21:10:24 | More by jobyone
Photo of jdoolin


4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12oz bottle, poured into a brandy snifter

Appearance: Dead black, like old motor oil. A slight brown head formed and dissipated quickly, leaving a ring of brown lace the entire time.

Aroma: Heavenly aroma of roasted barley, molasses, hints of coffee and chocolate, and of course a bit of alcohol. This beer smelled so good, I couldn't keep my nose out of the snifter the entire time.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Thick, smooth and creamy, like velvet. Just enough carbonation to achieve this and maintain the ring of lace. Taste was an ode to roasted malt. All of the usual roasted malt flavors are here and are wonderfully exemplifed. Of course, the roasted barley itself, coffee (especially in the finish) and chocolate. No hop flavor. Bitterness seems to be achieved more by the roasted malt than the hops. The alcohol was present but subdued by the roasted malt flavors.

Notes: A superb imperial stout. I thought the alcohol would have more presence, but I was pleasantly surprised. The roasted malts are the center of this beer, and Kalamazoo has done a fantastic job exploiting them. A great after dinner sipping beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2006 03:34:25 | More by jdoolin
Photo of ChainGangGuy


4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a jet black body with a full, frothy tan-colored head.

Smell: Aroma of black malts, roasted coffee, dark chocolate syrup, scorched almonds, molasses, and herbal, piney hops.

Taste: Black roasted malts with flavors of coffee and exceedingly dark chocolate. Some burnt almonds and fire-blackened marshmallows. The hops are bold in their bitterness, but not overbearing, and provide a taste of dried herbs and pine. Finishes with a lingering bitterness and acidic char taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Mild carbonation. Chewy mouthfeel. Warming from the first sip.

Drinkability: A very fine stout both fresh and cellared. To wit, I had an '02 this past weekend that had morphed into a slightly roasty chocolate liqueur.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2008 04:19:34 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of KickInTheChalice


4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Batch 9435 (Nov. 11, 2009). Part of a side by side with Great Lakes Blackout Stout and Storm King.

Appearance: This pours a thick mahogany color all the way through, with a surprisingly ruby and brown head that is creamy and huge. Solid retention, and lace splatters all over the glass.

Smell: Actually sort of a subdued aroma. Raisins, espresso, roasted malt, cocoa, and a bit of spicy hops.

Taste: The taste flows so well together it confounds me. It starts with light chocolate and espresso flavors, which slowly build over the sip, but they encounter anise, sweet molasses, and roasted malt, before finally encountering some spicy and lightly earthy hops. The ABV sneaks through toward the end, impressive consider it is 10.5%. The finish has more espresso and a bit of molasses. The lingering aftertaste is a coffee bitterness.

Mouthfeel: There is a syrupy quality to this, but damn is it silky smooth. I cannot remember ever having a beer with this kind of silky feel. Syrupy, chewy, and very full bodied.

Drinkability: With how insanely silky smooth this stout is, the taste could be bottle sludge and I would love it. Ok, maybe that's a little bit much, but the taste is damn solid. This beer definitely deserves its accolades.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2011 07:08:51 | More by KickInTheChalice
Photo of ChadQuest


4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

i love how this beer looks, it looks like i'm pouring gelatinated squid ink into my glass! thick and syrupy. i know the whole argument some people make about low-none head being very unattractive, but this beer makes me want to grab a spoon or just take big bites, it looks warm and inviting right now.

Somewhat muted nose comprised of light roasts, sweet malts, hint of licorice, and oaky vanilla.

BAM! this hits the palette strong. All of the notes composed in the Nose are here and in much stronger force, but a nice alcohol comes in and warms you up in a way that makes you want to sip all night long. All the flavors are melded wonderfully, ive had other batches that were either brand new fresh or not as refined as this one, but this bottle really surprised me even tough i've had this beer dozens of times.

mouthfeel is, as you guessed from the appearance, just as thick as you could hope for. Inky & Creamy. Also, the low-moderate carbination is a positive for me personally. I don't need bubbles in my bourbon, and i don't in my Stouts either.

I've drank a few of these before, and about 2.5 is the safe limit, for me. You will never need to drink that many, the beer satisfies in it's own short time.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2010 03:44:47 | More by ChadQuest
Photo of itsscience


4.36/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with 2 fingers of tan head which retains nicely. The nose is boozy with sweet and roasty malts, dark fruits, raisins, and some dark chocolate. It tastes sweet and chocolaty at the front of the tongue with a bite of bitterness coming later, bringing herbal hop, coffee, and roasted grain flavors. There's a bourbon barrel quality to it and it leaves an aftertaste of chocolate-covered raisins. It's full bodied, alcoholic, and skirts the edge of doing too much, but doesn't quite go over that edge.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2014 03:49:16 | More by itsscience
Photo of GoldHorde


4.36/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bell's Imperial Russian Stout: Expedition Stout

Another excellent stout! Mouth feel is correct - just a bit on the thinner side of cream (hinting towards a Porter style) but that just adds to the deep flavor gamut's mystery. A gargle of it just makes you want to get a V8 of huskies together for a 3,000 kilometer mush! The flavor is complex; coffee first, chocolate, smoke & caramel with a very faint echo of bourbon.

A = pours opaque black with a mocha tan head with open lacing
S = feigns at Porter style with a wet smoke (rain on burned wood after a fire)
T = again, feigns at Porter style but delivers the deeper, more complex character of the Stout
M = thinner than cream, but within Russian Stout style.
O = A great beer!

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2013 04:44:10 | More by GoldHorde
Photo of kingjames1

South Carolina

4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black, with an enticing, creamy tan head. Looks great! Smells like a wonderful stout - roasted coffee, chocolate, and a touch of alcohol. Tastes great - again, dark chocolate, espresso, licorice and a healthy portion of citrusy hops, giving the sweet and creamy aspect a balancing tartness and nice finish. This is fantastic. One of the best stouts i've had in a while. The mouthfeel is thick, but with a good amount of carbonation. Very drinkable, for such a heavy duty stout.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2007 02:51:01 | More by kingjames1
Photo of dc55110


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to wkcyr4 for including this awesome extra!

2008 Vintage

Like pulling the drain plug on an oil pan, after 10k miles, slow, dark and thick! Half a pinky finger of head, as it dissipates the last bit holds on for dear life (10+ minutes), very nice lacing even after that.

The aroma is molasses and malt with a hint of biter chocolate?!?

Black strap molasses, prune, raisin with a nice malt heft to it.

It hides the 10.5% well, although it has a nice warming effect going down. It imparts a nice coating on your mouth that lasts well beyond the last sip.

Very much a sipper, but since it takes a while to enjoy one of these, having two of these would make for a nice leisurely drinking evening.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2011 04:54:39 | More by dc55110
Photo of Mavajo


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a total jet black. Head is a surprisingly dark brown - one of the darker brown heads I've encountered, especially the crown. Decent head retention - even after sitting for 15+ minutes, there's still an all-enveloping film over the top with a generous dark brown crown. Thin, stringy pretty lacing...a bit more would probably notch a perfect 5.

Nose is extremely rich - roasty, chocolatey, surprising notes of hops. Taste is similarly bold and impressive. The roasted malts hit first with chocolate, coffee and hops. Dark-chocolate bitter aftertaste. Notes of prune start to develop in both the nose and taste as it warms. The alcohol is a bit more noticeable than I would like, but it's not a significant problem. Very full bodied - chewy and creamy with medium carbonation.

Really enjoyed this. Top-notch - bold, rich and impressive stout. There's no subtlety here.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2009 23:07:52 | More by Mavajo
Photo of Kegatron


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On tap @ the Capital Ale House (Richmond, VA) on 12/13/09. Served in a cervoise.

Pours a deep flat black in the glass, with a finger of smooth looking dark & burnt mocha head. Retains with some huge frothy bunching around the edges, that leaves a huge cascade of drenching foam in its wake. The aroma is very floral and hoppy up front, with thickish sweet notes of chocolate and toffee mixing in with sharp coffee and roasted bitterness. Alcohol gives this some heft and punch in the nose.

The taste is even more sweetness, milk chocolate and toffee, with some extra sticky notes of brown sugar and molasses. Even a bit of dark fruit towards the back of the profile. Hops, coffee, and roast surround this, with a deeply burnt and bitter feel that really sticks hard in the finish. The mouthfeel is as full as can be, with a massively creamy feel up front that coats the back of the palate. Thick, sweet, and gooey, this is the rare feel here that's up there some of the best Imperial Stouts. There is some warmth on the tale end of the swallow but the alcohol is so entrenched in the rich flavors, it's not really detectable at all.

Man, I had forgot how hoppy this is fresh and it's no wonder that this is a great candidate for aging. The flavors are just so robust on this and the feel is one of my favorites on a Stout. Probably my favorite go-to Imperial Stout, this always puts a smile on my face.

Serving type: on-tap

12-21-2009 18:05:28 | More by Kegatron
Photo of Vonerichs


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque dark brown to black with huge head for an imperial stout that's cinnamon in color and frothy. There's a nice lacing left behind.

Chocolate and roated malt are the most dominant smells and both are strong. There's a little coffee in the finish. I'm also picking up a slight maple syrup in there.

Flat out delicious. Chocolate and dark roast coffee are the nose, and then a dark fruit taste that resembles black cherries. The finish has a slightly bitter aftertaste and black licorice. A very complex stout.

Mouthfeel is creamy with light carbonation. The alcohol is hid very well. It does show up, but barely. Dry finish.

I found myself drinking this one rather quickly and had a few in a sitting. For an imperial, this has got to be one of the easiest to drink that I've had.

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2009 02:20:49 | More by Vonerichs
Photo of bum732


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black as all black, nice creamy tan head leaving amazing lacing. Smells of anise, roasted coffee, dark fruits, touch of metal, molasses, chocolate. Tastes of sweet roasty malt followed by a low bitterness of coffee. Hints of dark fruits and sweetness of chocolate. Finishes nice and roasty, very roasty with just a touch of chocolate sweetness. Nice creamy mouthfeel, no alcohol present, which is hard to believe. Carbonation just right.

Just an amazing beer, so well balanced for a RIS. Tons of complexity, dark fruits, coffee roastiness and chocolate sweetness. I love the roastiness in this beer, it keeps the dark fruitiness and alcohol in check. Unbelievable.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2009 04:26:18 | More by bum732
Photo of emerge077


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brownish-black, not quite opaque. Two fingers of tan latte foam rise and settle. Above the rim, the surface could pass for a chocolate chip cookie.

Aroma of roasted malt, vague sweetness, with a possible lactic note. Not especially bold, but complimentary to the huge flavor.

Rich taste, notes of smoky malt, bitter chocolate, and creamy coffee. Residual hop bitterness. Very powerful and bold flavors, the alcohol isn't overwhelming, but it packs a punch.

Mouthfeel is intensely smooth and velvety, creamy and luscious. Lactic milk sugar contributes a boatload of palate-smudging heft.

Although it's not one for sessioning, it has a sublime quality that makes you savor every sip. Every so often I crave an Expedition, so it has a year-round place in the cellar.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2006 01:05:56 | More by emerge077
Photo of cgmees


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Second Bell's I have tried. 12 oz. pour from bottle. Black, deep rich black. Thick dark brown foamy head that lingers for a short time before ending up in a thin skin of bubbles. Nice chocolate with roasted coffee notes. Slightly sweet, with a lingering taste without over powering me. Fairly high abv but really doesn't taste it. Like it but can rarely find it in Dallas.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2010 00:03:27 | More by cgmees
Photo of jmarsh123


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a minimal tan head. Slight ring of lacing.

Smells of bold roasted malts, some bitterness, baker's chocolate and coffee.

Big boozy flavors. Bitter roasted malts along with some serious sweetness along with dark fruits, figs and chocolate. Big and juicy up front, but still finishes somewhat dry.

Thick and luscious mouthfeel. A tad sweet, but it works with the thickness of the mouthfeel.

Very good easier to get stout and I love my big beers in smaller format. Always a go to every year.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2012 21:59:23 | More by jmarsh123
Photo of cindyjeffsmith


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: Gorgeous silky dark brown with a creamy tan head.
smell: Bittersweet chocolate, subtle coffee.
taste: Very smooth, light start, with a bitter spike in the finish that recedes before becoming too intrusive. I mean, it's damn good.
mouthfeel: Light and silky, medium carbonation.
overall: Really like this. got a 6 intending to age and i keep drinking.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2011 00:37:26 | More by cindyjeffsmith
Photo of Proteus93


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was quite surprised to see the brothers review this one very unfavourably, especially in what appeared to be two individual tastings. This would be the first case where I would disagree on a specific brew.

A: I thought this was beautiful. It poured a deep, chestnut brown, sitting black as night in the glass. Head appears the very end - short, but a gorgeous tawny.

S: Rich, creamy caramel... light anise notes, yeasts & toffee. Quite a nice aroma, all in all.

T: Anise, roasted malts, a lingering touch of alcohol. Toffee opens, though it is overpowered by the licorice flavours quite quickly. A bit of bitterness on the finish, along with the alcohol previously noted.

M: A little syrupy, perhaps... a bit sugary or grainy. Wraps around the tongue and sticks a little on the way down.

D & Notes: I feel this is a reasonably example of a stout. A decent balance topped with flavour. A rather nice body, something I would feel would be nice cellared for a special occasion - but there seems to be some dispute to that, so that might not be the best idea out there.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2008 01:44:14 | More by Proteus93
Photo of GbVDave


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a 20oz imperial pint.

A:Pure pitch black with a cocoa colored two finger head. Lots of sticky lace all about the glass.

S: Big aromas of bready malt, coffee, bitter dark chocolate, and hops.

T: Right off the bat I'm struck with a big biscuity-bready maltiness that's mingling with spicy hops and alccohol. There's a dark sweet fruit undercurrent and a spicy sweetness that I compare to maple candies.

M: At once creamy and also spicy/prickly. Sweet and bitter.

D: A wonderful stout that's so complex, that anymore than one and you're just asking for friggin' trouble. Wow!

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2007 01:32:52 | More by GbVDave
Photo of brewemstrong


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pretty much black but with just a hint of brown. 1 finger dark mocha head that settles slowly. Good lace

S: Sweet molasses and alcohol dominate, but at 10.5% I was expecting it. Also present are vanilla, espresso and spicy, dark fruit.

T: Very sweet plum, date and/or apricot flavor up front. Heavy coffee ground and espresso middle with an alcoholic, slightly minty finish. Every other sip I sense almond.

M: There's almost a viscosity to this beer but that doesn't make it difficult to drink. It's fairly carbonated and creamy with only a fair stickiness at the end.

O: My first Bell's and it didn't dissapoint. Looking forward to another selection with as much flavor

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2011 23:36:42 | More by brewemstrong
Photo of BB1313


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. This is probably the best looking stout I've come across! Viscous black w/ big fluffy brown head and nice lacing. Lots of roasted chocolate, vanilla, not picking up any coffee. The taste is hardcore! Tastes very burnt and hot. Still tastes good, but the flavors need time to mellow. Pretty hoppy for a stout as well. Mouthfeel is very rich and creamy, thick and chewy; full-bodied. The drinkability is its' downfall. High abv, plus the chewiness and bold flavors make this a sipper for sure. Balance isn't Expedition's strong suit.

No doubt this is one of the better Imperial Stouts out there. I've always enjoyed it, it's a fun beer to drink.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2011 20:01:37 | More by BB1313
Photo of dciBA


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to a non BA buddy for sending me a growler of this.

Pours jet black through and through. No light penetrates this brew anywhere, awesome. Some foamy brown head forms and lingers on the edge of the glass for a while. Quite a bit of soapy tan head.

Smell is wafting up out of my snifter. Feel like I can smell it from 3 feet away. My DFH snifter really seems to bring out aroma very well and this beer is no exception. Lots of chocolate, both milk and dark with some coffee roastiness underneath. This aroma is perfectly suited for my tastes, eerr nose.

Flavor is quite similar to aroma. The chocolate in the nose is toned down in the taste and really blends with the other flavors. The flavor isn't terribly complex, keeping the score down there, but this is a very enjoyable stout. The chocolate comes in initially, followed by the coffee, which has taken on more of a roasted barley flavor, then some bitter hops on the back of the tongue.

Mouthfeel is very thick and viscous. Tons of body and quite slick in the mouth without being overly sweet on the finish. Perfect mouthfeel for style. Flavor lingers forever on the palate making this a perfect sipping beer on a cold winter day. This brew is fairly warm as it goes down which is not surprising considering the 10.5% ABV. Drinkability is good for style, not great. Overall a very well done RIS. I'd rate it almost perfect if it wasn't for the lack of complexity in the flavor. Very glad I got a chance to try this one.

Serving type: growler

03-06-2011 20:40:19 | More by dciBA
Photo of drdiesel9483


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Drank this dark stout out of a sniffer. I was suprised with the thickness of the taste itself. Not to strong of an alcohol taste even though it 10+ abv. The beer has a dark chocolate smell with a hint of fruit. Pretty good beer. About what I expected after seeing over reviews.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2014 22:09:16 | More by drdiesel9483
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,399 ratings.