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

Not Rated.
Bell's Expedition StoutBell's Expedition Stout

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5,183 Ratings
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Ratings: 5,183
Reviews: 1,954
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.85%
Wants: 436
Gots: 1,227 | FT: 85
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-10-2002

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,183 | Reviews: 1,954 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RobinLee
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of RyanCFriedrich
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Bosoxbennie
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Homebrew35
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep drown creamy one finger sized head. Inky black body.

Smells of rich milk chocolate, espresso, light roast, sweet pleasant alcohol, vanilla and rum raisins.

Tastes like a big and rich dark chocolate beer. Espresso beans, coco, vanilla, rum, dark fruits and toffee.

Medium full, fairly dry finish considering the rich semi-sweet flavors. Low carbonation. Mid palate and somewhat in the finish I get a gritty sensation, maybe it's a roasty grain, it's a texture that's kind of off putting.

Overall this is an awesome beer. Everything is great about it, with the exception to the minor texture or feel I get mid palate. Alcohol is well hidden, big flavors, great price and very drinkable.
Batch dated sept 09
$3.30 a small bottle

Photo of Dryhopyourmom
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of larryarms847
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black, oily and viscous with a thin khaki head of foam.

Rich roasted coffee, caramel, dark chocolate, and sweet toffee.

Tons of roasted malt approaching burnt notes, toffee, earthy bitterness, and chocolate.

Heavy bodied, light carbonation, roasty, bitter, dry finish.

Overall, I love the HUGE roasted malt character and thick body, but the bitterness is left on the palate a little too long. Drank 1 year 3 months after bottled date (9/25/2013) and this could definitely use more time. Balanced out a tad after a year, but more time could certainly help.

Photo of hmvalp
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Durge
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another nice find at Stub & Herb's in Minneapolis, MN, which I was glad to have had prior to dipping into the even more prized "Black Note" version - this black beauty shows an opaque brown/black with a good head of brown foam and decent lacing. The nose picks up seaweed malt and decidedly herbal hops. Very nice and not over the top at all. The flavor jumps out a surprising licorice which now makes a lot of sense from the aroma but I missed it I guess. But this is a licorice malt flavor fest, intense yet mellow enough to neutralize the 10.5 ABV just enough for some drinkabiity. No session beer, but it's hard to slow down too much once you grab a hold of this taste wallop. There is that herbal hop idea that adds a real nice highlight to this full bodied, viscous feeling stout. Wow. I do enjoy this. Very little carbonation as you might expect from a cask but this holds together very well. I start to pick up some berry notes and definitely some coffee and marshmallow sweetness as my palate adjusts to the dominant licorice malt theme. Intense but not a "choker". Highly recommended for the curious and fun loving BA, but not your mother's stout.

Photo of mjw3180
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of Benesi88
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of APH
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of lokieman
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip...

A: Pours a viscous, black...motor oil in a glass. My bottle actually gave a little "glug, glug" as it poured. Very fine looking stout...

S: Burnt chocolate and caramel is the first thing I get. Also detecting a little alcohol astringency with a little vanilla sweetness rounding out the nose. Smells like a big ass bold RIS with sharp teeth. Ready to dive in head first....

T: Chocolate, tobacco, vanilla, fine Texas BBQ...this beer is deep. So complex with wave after wave of sweet then bitter...then a gust of alcohol followed by caramel sweetness. Very complex and intriguing.

M: As the pour suggests...very viscous and creamy. Clings to your tongue and your lips. The mouthfeel on this beer is exactly on par with the best RIS's out there. So chunky and enjoyable.

O: This is a huge beer. I told a friend the other day that this is Brooklyn Black Chocolate but more complex and bigger. It's a little hot fresh but I have a couple bottles I'm going to let hang out for a while. I think some age will pair wonderfully with this beer. Very grateful to have snagged a few bottles of this big, tasty RIS and I hope to come across more in the future.

Photo of MaxAdvo
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A - Pours a very dark, almost black, with deep, dark reddish hues. Almost no head, but don't let that fool you.

S - The smell is slightly off-putting of rubbery leather, but also with a dark, roasty, chocolately coffee.

T - Here's where she pulls on through! It's very robust, full of roasty, Brazilian-like coffee bean. Also a slight of dark fruits. Very similar to Oskar Blue's Ten Fidy.

M - Don't be fooled with having almost no head because you feel the carbonation. It's not overpowering, and has a very creamy fill. Very pleasant with lingering notes of dark coffee and chocolate

O - A very great imperial stout! I really enjoyed this, and will definitely purchase again.

Photo of fields336
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, 9/26/11
SN Snifter

A: carbonation is good, about 1 finger of dark brown chocolate foamy head, bubbles form on the top. brew is completely opaque. a chocolatey ring hangs around the side of the glass.

S: chocolate, fruits, some sweet malt, caramel, soy sauce, dark malts, roasted, some alcohol present

T: tons of chocolate, dark fruits, roasted coffee, soy sauce, this beer just coats your mouth and won't let go, tons of bitterness, both roasty and hoppy hang onto your palate

M: heavy bodied beer, coats the entire mouth and it sticks around. carbonation is decent, but not expecting too much from a super thick heavy stout.

O: this is an amazing beer, the nose on it is so complex and amazing, the taste delivers in every aspect that is possible, and overall it is one of the best RIS. LET THIS WARM UP

Photo of Chris24tian
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of StaveHooks
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle served in a snifter

A - Creamy black liquid with a thick and frothy chocolate milk cap that holds up throughout the entire session. Speckled lacing left on the glass.

S - Chocolate malts, roasted malts, chocolate bread, muddled fruit, sweet cream, chocolate lined alcohol.

T - Creamy milk chocolate upfront, sweet and decadent, heavily roasted malts and strong bitterness come in quickly and overtake the creamy sweetness. The middle provides anise, smoked molasses, and a strong bitterness that runs throughout the drink. The finish brings intense roasted malts, bittering chocolate, notions of fruit, hints of grass and winds up for a smooth and roasted chocolate finish.

M - Incredibly viscous, thick and full bodied. Moderate micro carbonation, dry roasted finish. One of the best mouthfeels I've come across.

There's something to be said about being complex in a simple way. This beer is simple but it brings outstanding precision and subtle complexities, with a strong bitterness to round out the sweetness. Very focused flavors that bring maximum flavor with a stellar body that is as creamy as they come. My favorite Bells by far!

Photo of kevinsterne
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of ohmybock
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this one on tap in the past and bottles numerous times, but this review is of a bottle. This brew was bottled back in early Dec of 2008.

It pours a luxurious dark color with medium fluffy head. The aroma is very inviting with chocolate and rich, dark malts. The taste is excellent, even though I must admit I'm not always the biggest fan of imperial stouts. To be honest, I often prefer a flavored (coffee or sometimes chocolate) stout to a "regular" version. Whatever the case, Bell's Expedition is an excellent brew! This beer has quite a kick, but it's so darn drinkable at the same time.This is the kind of imperial stout that makes me ask, "Why don't I drink imperial stouts more often?"

Photo of Morphoenix
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into my trusty Delirium Tremens snifter, explodes with a reverse-cascading, creamy mocha-colored head that settles down just before eclipsing the rim of the glass. The head very slowly fades to a 1 cm cap atop this impenetrably black brew, leaving beautiful, copious lacing everywhere. Perfection in appearance. Notes of bittersweet chocolate and roasty coffee in the nose. Taste follows smell, with the chocolate and coffee flavors mingling; a nice hint of hops is detectable on the finish as well. Mouthfeel was very nice, with a thick richness characteristic of the style. It didn't have the viscosity of Dark Lord, but then, exceedingly few do. Drinkability was exceptional; I found myself finishing the glass rather quickly and wanting more. Had to wake up early the next morning, so I refrained. At 10.5%, I can see how this one could get dangerous, as the flavor does not make the ABV apparent at all. A wonderful beer, and definitely one of my favorite stouts thus far.

Photo of nickd717
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this bottle of oily goodness after Thanksgiving dinner 2008 and it was still awesome, although the BudMillerCoors-guzzling family members were not ready for it. Never had a Bells beer until then, and let me tell you, this made sure that it wouldn't be the last time I had one.

A - Black and viscous with a small tan head and decent lacing.

S - Coffee, chocolate, roast, and dark fruits.

T - Very intense and somewhat sweet with roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, black cherries, anise, and vanilla. Complex and very tasty.

M - Thick and oily. Carbonation is a little low, but not terribly so.

D - Medium and not bad for the style. Good in small servings. At least this comes in 12oz bottles so you'll never feel like you have to finish a whole bomber of this stuff.

Photo of wspscott
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle in Duvel tulip (batch 8728 bottled 9/16/2008)
(no change to the numbers)

A: Motor oil color and viscosity with a thin 1/2 finger dark tan/caramel colored head that drops very fast leaving no lace.
S: Lots of roasted malts along with some bitter dark chocolate, a little bit of dried dark fruit and a hint of hops. As it warms, there is a small bit of smoke and ash.
T: Black patent and roasted malt combined with what appears to be chocolate malt lead to a burnt sugar flavor. Hints of dark caramel and dried fruits along with a definite hops presence in the background. A spot of alcohol heat as well. This ends up being more "charred" than I remember, but I still love it.
M: Oily, astrigent, very low carbonation, makes for a creamy, rich mouthfeel.
D: A definite sipping beer, very good for desert. I don't want to drink one of these often, but I am always happy when I do. This is an excellent example of the style

12oz bottle in Sam Adam's glass (thanks SA) reviewed 9/28/07
bottle # 7817 (bottled 2/1/07)

A: Pours a completely black color, no light comes though. Not much of a head, what there is looks like caramel, very dark brown.
S: As it is poured, a wave of sweetness hits the nose. Smells like dried fruit, maybe cherries.
T: Bitter sweetness, like dried cherries dipped in a very dark chocolate. There is a hint of alcohol warmth in the back, just the right amount.
M: Does not come across as thick or cloying. It is clearly a big beer but it goes down very smoothly
D: WOW, this is a great dessert beer. Just the right amount of alcohol heat combined with a nicely balanced sweet/bitter. Makes me think of a great chocolate cheesecake dusted with cocoa powder. I could drink a 6 pack of these if it was not for the alcohol. Highly recommended.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured a thick dark, black as night with a nice 1" cream colored tan head with a real nice retention. Very havy brown lace all through the glass. This one looks like it will hurt ya.

S - Heavy, thick sweet caramel and sugar smell, lots of hints of chocolate and and just very sweet overall. Did I mention it was a thick smell?

M & T - First impression was very creamy and not overly carbonated, lotd of lactose sugar flavors, and lots of chocolate malts. A hint at a smokey profile as it warmed up a bit, but just a really thick and extremely enjoyable heavy stout. I mean this realy tasted awesome. Could have used a bit more in the carbonation, but really just very nice.

D - Overall I give this an awesome, very thick and heavy, not even close to being sessionable in any way. I really great RIS and would love to try some more.

Photo of Bierguy5
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On cask at Boston's here in good old Dayton, OH. Pitch black in color, with no highlights at all. An incredible, huge frothy tan head that never goes away. Incredible retention, and great patches of lace.

Nose full of roasty malts, tobacco, chocolate and some darker fruits. Floral and citrusy hops in the background. Not as pronounced nose as the bottle or draft version.

Great roasty, chocolate flavors, and dark fruity flavors at the end. The fruits seem to have a slight sourness to them. A good amount of floral bitterness that helps to round all of it out. Very nice.

Full body, nice soft, gentle carbonation, and a creamy mouthfeel. Overall, a fantasic beer, made very interesting in cask form.

Photo of bloberglawp
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black, murky thick off-brown white head. Aroma of coffee, chocolate, malt and vanilla. Flavor is a incredibly well balanced dark chocolate, roasted barley and hop bitterness followed by a thick satisfying reminder of dark rum, thick chocolate sauce and caramelised figs.

I'm starting to wonder if imperial stouts are hard to brew wrong, all the one's i've had these last couple of months have been exeptional.... maybe I'm just enjoying this style more than I did before.

Photo of Tyrawlings
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 Edition: 12oz. Bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Brew pours like black sludge. Very little if any cinnamon brown head. Virtually no lacing.

S: Smells of roasted coffee. Dark chocolate. Sweet molasses and earth. Oak barrel and alcohol.

T: Rich roasted coffee is followed by dark bitter cocoa. Dark fruit and sweet molasses meld together well with burnt malts. The beer finishes a smooth bourbon oak barrel flavor and warming alcohol with vanilla undertones.

M: Extremely thick. Creamy and chewy. No carbination and very dry due to the alcohol bite.

D: A magical elixir! The perfect brew to warm the soul on the most bitter cold winter evenings. A special treat that is to be sipped and savored over time. I highly recommend aging this beer for at least one year before trying. Must try!

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 5,183 ratings.