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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.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

4,520 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,520
Reviews: 1,880
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 388
Gots: 965 | 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: 4,520 | Reviews: 1,880 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of brentk56
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dirty motor oil color with a huge tan head that sheets lacing

Smell: Roasted notes with dark fruit, coffee, dark chocolate and some hops in the back

Taste: Opens with rich chocolate flavors; after the swallow, the hops kick in for a second, followed by a myriad of dark fruit flavors; bitterness and coffee tones engulf the tongue through to a long lasting finish

Mouthfeel: Thick and syrupy with modest carbonation; a lot of warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: Marvelous flavor; just a bit too boozy; clearly improves with a few years of age though the hops do fade

brentk56, Apr 13, 2006
Photo of sacrelicio
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Legendary stout, my first taste of it. Beautiful appearance, total pitch midnight in a glass topped with creamy mocha head, rocky with lacing to boot. Smell is good, but doesn't leap out like expected. Still, nice sublime chocolate and coffee notes. Taste is intense. Very bitter, but rich with coffee, chocolate, wood, and spice. As it warms, green pepper and green olive notes reveal themselves. Mouthfeel is amazing, hefty yet with a lift that elevates this to the exceptional. Drinkable, not easygoing, but you would certainly like another.

sacrelicio, Nov 20, 2007
Photo of wordemupg
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into tulip sept18 2010, bottle 10 months old according to the bells batch finder

A pours pitch black right out of the bottle with a few little chunks at the bottom, and has a super dark thumbs worth of foam to go with it, falls to a thin film rather quickly but covers the side of my glass with lace

S molasses with some chocolate, prune, booze, and and a little cinnamon of all things

T not far from the smell but a little stronger with some added complexity from a little licorice and coffee, quite enjoyable beer and the booze is quite well concealed compared to the nose

M enters silky and ends thick and creamy, a little sticky on the lips and I'm thinking I'll still be tasting this beer tomorrow the flavors just linger in your mouth

D a little dangerous if you ask me, well rounded and quite easy to drink

a good paring for this chilly "summer" day in Calgary, a solid beer and would do quite well in a cellar but I only have one bottle and I need to thank MasterSki for sending it my way

wordemupg, Sep 18, 2010
Photo of alpinebryant
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally, a Bells beer I am really excited about after just the pour!

Poured a dark chocolate brown with a monstrous head, dark brown bubbles which hung out for a long time with long spiderlegs after settling.

Smell of dark roasty malt, with a lot of sweetness, raisins, rum, caramel

Taste hit it off the first sip. A deep dark sweet stout with great body, caramel, lots of chocolate, raisin, tons of plum flavor, and a finish that has that similar chalk/ dry finish - only in expedition stout, I dont mind it at all because of the lingering chocolate flavor. Some RIS have a finishing afterbite that tastes of charcoal, this one seems to be a lot lighter on that end. Nice body, not too thick, and in no ways near being watery.

Very drinkable, I wish I had the ability to get more of this in the New England area. a great RIS

alpinebryant, Dec 11, 2009
Photo of gford217
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Sean227 and mymrnngjckt poured into a snifter.

A: Pours pitch black with ruby tints around the rim. Even with a vigorous pour, the head is fairly small and dissipates almost immediately leaving very little lacing.

S: The smell has a quick hint of dark chocolate and espresso up front before giving way to a massive roasted malt and molasses sweetness with a noticeable alcohol burn in the nostrils. Hops are barely noticeable as far as I can tell.

T: There really is a lot going on with the taste. The initial taste of chocolate and coffee gives way to the aforementioned sweet molasses malt flavor followed by dark fruits in the form of raisins and plums. The finish has a slight hop bitterness and a definite alochol burn.

M: Mouthfeel is extremely smooth and creamy with very little carbonation. Very thick and decadent.

D: Drinkability is OK for the style though I couldn't see myself drinking more than one in a sitting. This is a very good RIS but probably not in the top few I have tasted.

gford217, Jul 11, 2008
Photo of xgrigorix
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Twelve ounce brown bottle - no dates, batch # only.

Pitch black. Thin brown coloured head. Thin, tiny patches of lace.

Nose is full of dates, chocolate, coffee, currants, & a wee bit of alcohol.

Nice. Well balanced blend of sweet malt, coffee & chocolate. Dark fruit flavours move in & out freely. Agressive hopping - grapefruit & pine. Off dry finish. Smooth, full bodied. Gentle carbonation. Well put together.

xgrigorix, Jan 06, 2006
Photo of biegaman
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Beyond just inky or oily, this is a total solar eclipse. It is utter darkness. Needless to say, no highlighting or transparency is afforded. The surface is, unlikely considering its strength, crusted in a spring mud-like substance. A beer that's simply black doesn't require much inspection, it can simply sit and be admired for what it is.

And it smells big enough to block out the sun as well! Tremendous (frankly intimating) notes of bitter espresso, port soaked berries, black licorice, charred oak barrel and artisan dark chocolate truffles resonate through the senses. With a long list like that you ask: is there any stone left unturned? Nope. It seems they've thought of everything.

A rich and heavyset flavour profile offers decadent notes of dark chocolate and espresso. While still young, a backdrop of green, lightly zesty hops is easily discerned. These seem to grow a tad more piquant with warmth. Ironically, so too does the beer's sweetness which is now starting to resemble such flavours as double-double coffee and creme brulee.

At only 6 months of age this has plenty of potential yet to blend and develop flavours. From experience I know it will. The beer won't only sustain a little time on the cellar shelf, it'll most likely benefit from it, too. The alcohol's a bit forward (not that there's anything necessarily wrong with that) and the flavours could stand to meld a little more.

I don't care if it takes an expedition to find this beer, it's worth searching out! Bell's Brewing should be conferred the highest possible accolade of beer for their lineup of stouts, of which the Expedition is arguably the most impressive. This Michigan brewery allows you to have your cake and (literally) drink it too!

biegaman, Apr 08, 2009
Photo of msubulldog25
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to melbatoast93 for this 12 oz. bottle, poured to a Millevertus sampling glass. From Batch 7251.

A: Viscous and deep dark brown, a shade shy of black. Traces of auburn around the edges. Not much head, just a few wisps of mocha-colored film with random splotches of lace.

S: Dark fruit, charred malt, heavy on the molasses with vanilla. A cocoa chocolate covered coffee bean at the core. Sugary caramel is a surprise from the depths of this darkness.

T: Dark bittersweet chocolate, syrupy molasses, ripe raisins and ground coffee. Oak-y vanilla with some warm alcoholic flair in the finish. Flavors intensify as the beer warms...a rich & decadent treat.

M: Thick oily mouthfeel, full of flavor that clings to all surfaces in the mouth. Bitter coffee finish that lingers for several minutes. Creamy texture and remarkable smoothness.

D: A satisfyingly rich pour. Well-balanced between its sweetness and bitterness, this is one I would gladly enjoy again and again. An excellent sipping beer that I heartily recommend.

msubulldog25, Jan 16, 2007
Photo of BeerImmediately
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured an opaque black, with a brown "head" (film), and sediment noticeable on bottom.

Smelled like burnt cherry wood - COMPLEX, with sweet chocolate, espresso, and other things I'm having trouble describing.

Dark chocolate reduction sauce, and just a touch of bitter hops.

Rich and velvetty mouthfeel. In moderation, this one is quite drinkable.

BeerImmediately, Nov 13, 2008
Photo of rowingbrewer
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a dark brown to black color with a 1/2 mocha colored head. the smell is roasty and chocolatey, with a nice sweetness. the taste is pretty much spot on with the smell, the chocolate flavors are a little more pronounced the roastiness is subdued and finishes sweet. the mouthfeel is full with good carbonation. overall this is a great beer.

rowingbrewer, Dec 21, 2011
Photo of Gueuzedude
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled February 2004
Pours a deep black color with a creamy brown head. Thick aromas of chocolate, coffee, burnt caramel, an aroma I usually associate with Lactose stouts, and alcohol all waft form my glass. What a thick viscous brew, it is quite creamy on my tongue. The thickness and body of this brew helps to balance the roast character, so that it is not overwhelming. It is like a rich, creamy, chocolate covered espresso bean, but accentuated a bit more towards the creamy dark chocolate. This beer has a burnt/ roast astringent finish, which, helps to balance the rich malty sweet flavors that are up front. There is not much in the way of hops, but they would seem out of place in this brew. The alcohol is well hidden in the taste, and is only really noticeable in the aroma. Wow, what a wonderful, smooth, sipping beer.

Gueuzedude, Mar 02, 2004
Photo of perrymarcus
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle served in a snifter.
thanks to abanton for the opportunity.

pours a deep chestnut / mahogany, sits a jet black tone... yields a 1/2" mocha head that lapses fairly quickly into a collar around the glass; some lacing evident.

nose offers a nice potpourri of a lot of the usual suspects: roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee, with secondary notes of vanilla and some dark fruit elements.

more of the same carry pull through in the flavor. lots of roastiness, chocolate and coffee with distinct cherry / fig notes, vanilla and a touch of molasses. some booze, notably in the finish. chewy, full bodied mouthfeel with medium carbonation.

overall an excellent RIS, packed with flavor and very tasty.

perrymarcus, Feb 12, 2012
Photo of LI_PO12
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into tulip (bottle on 8/28/2012) wanted to give it longer but I have another bottle for that

Appearance- Jet black, about half finger of tan head that fades quick

Aroma- Wow, roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, dark fruits, plums, raisons, very deep complex aroma on this, there also some alcohol coming through

Flavor- a lot going on, strong coffee, roasted malt, chocolate, its pretty bitter, thick but not syrupy, dark fruit, maybe a slight piney hop, alcohol warmth but I wouldn't guess 10.50

Mouthfeel- full, medium carb, slight alcohol warmth

Overall- I had this maybe three months old, its was very good then, its even better now, a top RIS for me, I have one more bottle that i'll try to keep for a while, will def try to get more for aging

LI_PO12, Jun 05, 2013
Photo of HimerMan
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle served in an AleSmith pint glass (just got them in).

Awesome pour - (poured side by side with Victory Storm King aged from Nov 04 2004), black like tar with a nice dark ruby hue in the light. Head was strong dark-brown.

Taste - near exceptional, this comes in at a dark chocolate taste with a nice, and appropiate, alcohol finish (not harsh though). Wonderful head and retention, aroma is excellent and no hops flavor at all.

This is hard to drink more than one of, and it would be hard giving this anything higher than 4.25 in the drinkability category - though, in no way is this hard to drink if you are trying it. Same for mouthfeel - this is not for the faint of stout. Imperial Stout fans - this is a must.

I am drinking this on the colder side, note why the hops are low, and am enjoying it more this way than at warmer temperatures.

Buy this beer, it is absolutely worth it, I am going to age some for 6-9 months to see if some of the alcohol gets masked.

Wonderful. Cheers!

HimerMan, Jun 25, 2006
Photo of Gyle41386
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Randomly decided to grab a bottle of Expedition Stout from the cellar...probably because I wanted to make brownies with it. Regardless, this bottle is from batch 8728 (Sept. 08) and has been poured into a snifter.

This beer is black. Like, Kueth Duany black. Or Charlie Murphy Darkness black...you get the point. So black, you think it could possibly be a really dark blue. About a finger of rich, chocolate mousse foam absolutely will not go away, and the walls of the glass are completely coated. Hard to imagine a better-looking stout.

Big, rich chocolate nose. Dark and milk chocolates, with plenty of roasted barley. It's got a great balance between bitter/sweet chocolate and bitter, smoky, coffee-like roast. I can't decide if I'm actually smelling licorice, or if I've just associated it with this beer via Kalamazoo Stout. The nose is big, it's robust, it's not really alcoholic at all (BIG bonus, can't wait to see what more time does)...It's definitely mellowed down and has become a bit sweeter, and more subtle/complex.

Bell's Expedition Stout is pretty much everything I want my imperial stouts to taste like. Big chocolate sweetness, balancing roast and bitter hops in the finish...just a HUGE flavor.

The only thing bigger than the flavor is the texture. This beer may have the absolute best texture of any beer I've had. Deliciously rich and very, very chewy. And, again, after a little over a year and a half, the alcohol isn't nearly at noticeable as, say, Stone IRS. Perfect carbonation. Never-ending finish. Unbeatable.

I thought Expedition Stout was actually pretty drinkable fresh. With 21 months on it, it's hard to keep it in the glass. Really, really tasty stuff. Can't wait to put some more years on my remaining bottles.

Gyle41386, Mar 24, 2009
Photo of eduardolinhalis
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

330ml bottle served in a snifter glass.

A: Pours a deep brown to black color forming a medium and nice thin bubbled beige head. Medium to low retention and only few spotty lacings left on the glass. A thin layer persists for quite a long time

S: Strong roasted malts and coffee aroma. Licorice and very earthy yeasts. Strong notes of wood too. Very earthy and boozy in the end

T: Strong roasted malts, mainly. Strong notes of coffee, brown bread, licorice, oak, earthy yeasts. Upfront taste is slightly sweet and molasses but, in overall, it's very bitter and roasted. Intense. And really bitter as an American Imperial Stout should be

M: Heavy, thick, creamy and molasses body. Medium to low carbonation. Intense roasted and bitter aftertaste

O: Great drinkability. An American RIS classic

eduardolinhalis, Jul 03, 2013
Photo of brantadid
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured black into a snifter. 1/4 inch brown head formed. Not much head retention but good lacing.

Smelled very dry. Roasted malt and burnt coffee aromas were present. Some hints of fruit that smelled almost like strawberries. Some hoppiness was also present.

Nice sweetness on the front palate. The sweetness was followed by bitter, dark chocolate notes. The same strawberry fruit flavors came through in the taste. Nice, mellow hoppiness on the back palate. Very long finish. The flavors just went on and on.

Low carbonation and insanely rich and creamy mouthfeel. Some alcohol came through in the tasting but not the nose. Very drinkable beer that reminds me of Storm King...or maybe it is the other way around. I don't know which was brewed first.

I really hope I can get my hands on more of this.

brantadid, Dec 08, 2007
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.

Higravity, May 09, 2005
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.

ski271, Oct 13, 2005
Photo of jobyone
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.

jobyone, Jan 17, 2008
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.

jdoolin, Aug 30, 2006
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.

ChainGangGuy, Feb 13, 2008
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.

KickInTheChalice, Jan 26, 2011
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.

ChadQuest, Sep 07, 2010
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.

itsscience, Apr 14, 2014
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,520 ratings.