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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

4,555 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,555
Reviews: 1,884
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 397
Gots: 978 | FT: 75
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: 4,555 | Reviews: 1,884 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bubba83
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Bubba83, Aug 19, 2008
Photo of wnh
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Fantastic.

wnh, Dec 17, 2009
Photo of PDXHops
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

PDXHops, Nov 07, 2010
Photo of flexabull
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

flexabull, Mar 09, 2007
Photo of jmdrpi
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

jmdrpi, Oct 31, 2011
Photo of SethB2
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass. Beer pours heavy. Bell's Expedition is the very definition of the motor oil comparison. Pours black with a deep brown head and a very nice amount of lacing. Smells good as well. Roasted, nutty malts covering a slight alcohol smell. Taste is very good. Chocolaty malts and a sweet bite going down. Very nice. Mouthfeel is as chewy as they come, but also like silk. Drinkablility is only hampered by the high alcohol content.

Very nice beer.

SethB2, May 04, 2006
Photo of arkurzynski
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours opaque black and thick. Heavy pour results in no head at first, but then comes exploding out of solution in a deep orange yellow color. Aroma is toffee, caramel, molasses, vanilla, a hint of cinnamon, mild coffee. Flavor is very robust. A little sweeter than I expected. Well-rounded thick palate. Mild lacing. The real deal.

arkurzynski, Mar 15, 2011
Photo of khumbard
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled in 2008.

Pours thick and dark. Small tan head that falls pretty quickly. Nose is full of roasted malts, chocolate, dark fruit, and a little coffee. Taste follows suit. Roasty and delicious. Finishes with a slight bitterness, similar to a really dark chocolate. Very good. Little to no alcohol noticeable. I love Expedition with over a year on it. Fresh is good, but a little too hot. Buy some, and put it down for a year and it will hold up against some of the more highly regarded big boy stouts.

khumbard, Mar 09, 2010
Photo of TwelveOunces
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 Oz bottle poured into a snifter

Dated 8/28/12 so only a month and a half olf

A- Pours motor oil black with a one finger brown head, some alcohol legs and surprising head retention.

S- Roasted chocolate is the strongest smell in this beer. Smells well hoppend and quite bitter. A really smooth smelling beer.

T- Roasted malts up front, there is dark roasted notes that linger like char and some lighter notes that are reminiscent to caramel and toffee. The chocolate in this beer is quite prevalent and really rounds out the beer as a whole. It's a bitter stout but not as bitter as a Yeti or other hop forward stouts. There is a slight fruitiness from the hops but I think that will fade fast with age. A smooth and well rounded array of flavors.

M- This is obviously a big beer and it drinks like a big beer. Very syrupy and high in alcohol feel. It is however a smooth and well rounded Stout.

O- This is a fantastic stout, Its on par with Stone IRS and Old Rasputin. I cant wait to see how the rest of mine fare with a little bit of age.

TwelveOunces, Oct 13, 2012
Photo of homebrew311
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pulled this one out of the cellar, brewed in September of 2008, poured into Delirium snifter

A: pours like used motor oil, one of the thickest imperial stouts out there (behind Hunahpus/Mashal Zhukov), with a nice dark head, decent retention and lacing

S: huge notes of dark chocolate and oats up front, compared to the fresh version, this is much more mellow and chocolatey...personally I think this smells better now than before

T: deep rich roasted notes up front with tons of chocolate, a little licorice and molasses, some coffee, everything is big and bold but nicely in balance. The finish is long and leaves a hint of roastieness on the palate. Wow, 2 years have done wonders for this brew.

MF: thick, velvety viscous, low carbonation

D: I have always loved Expo, but have never tried it at this age. I must say that I am amazed by how much chocolate character comes through now. Delicious.

homebrew311, Jul 08, 2010
Photo of BrewMaster
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured from a 12 oz bottle with no freshness markings on it. It pours an impervious black and brown color with no true head on it, just a ring of bubbles around the top.

Smell: Toffee, coffee, soy sauce, uncooked semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Taste: Very rich and roasty from the start with notes of chocolate, roasty coffee, caramel, and burnt oak. The beginning is very sweet and it yields to a bit of hop bitterness towards the middle and the end. As the beer warms there is a sour sweetness that develops. An alcohol warmth sits in the mouth and warms the whole body.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth in the mouth. The bold flavors are delivered well with the smooth texture.

BrewMaster, Nov 21, 2004
Photo of bahumutx
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: Poured pitch black with a small brown head.

Smell: Coffee, roasted malt, chocolate, and a slight cherry.

Taste: Starts sweet and then moves to a roasted malt and coffee. There is also a hint of chocolate and a slight hint of hops. Sweet but not overpowering and the 11.5% ABV is hidden well.

Mouthfeel: Thick Mouthfeel with hardly any carbonation.

Drinkability: Due to the alcohol and richness of the beer I only could have 1 in a sitting.

A great example of the style. I will definitely be looking for this when the colder weather starts to come back.

bahumutx, Mar 27, 2006
Photo of rundocrun
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - pours dark brown/black with a nonexistant head. This stuff is THICK it sticks to the side of the glass when you tilt it!

S - Figs, raisins, dark fruits, slight alcohol aroma.

T - Syrupy sweetness with figs and raisins up front. Heavy malts next. Bitterness hits the back of the palate toward the end. Definite booze detectable after the initial sweetness - not surprising since this stout sits at 10.5%

M - again, this stuff is definitely thick and syrupy, which is something you can expect from an imperial-style stout. Very light carbonation.

D - Being the lightweight that I am, one is definitely enough, but the overall character of this stout makes every sip a pleasure

rundocrun, Dec 03, 2010
Photo of Brad007
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired in a trade with BrewedAwakening.

Pours a pitch black color with a thick brown head into my glass. Very good presentation for the style. Can't possibly get darker.

Coffee, cocoa and cream make themselves known in the aroma. Very nice way to start things off.

Roasted coffee explodes on the tongue, leading to a good hint of chocolate and cream as well (the latter being limited).

Visceral and slick on the palate. Lingering cocoa and coffee. Impressive as is.

Amazing example of the style that is very drinkable at 10.5%. I have to admit that I had never heard of this until now. Regardless, I will most likely seek it out again.

Brad007, Mar 28, 2011
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
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,555 ratings.