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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,012 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,012
Hads: 5,641
Avg: 4.21
pDev: 17.81%
Wants: 490
Gots: 1,506 | FT: 125
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Bell's Expedition Stout Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,012 | Hads: 5,641
Photo of genuinedisciple
4.94/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Let me start by saying that Expedition and I have a history, a semi-short, but budding history. Expedition Stout was one of the first stouts I ever had. I liked it then, and absolutely love it now. The other day I happened upon a couple sixers of 2008 expedition, dusty bottles and all. Let me confirm for everyone that this beer gets much better with age.

A - very dark, would like to see a bit more lacing, but I'll get over it, because...

S - The smell is fantastic. At first sniff you get struck by coffee, but then you quickly smell chocolate as well...personally, I think you can smell some type of fruit as well, but it is hidden. I encourage people to take multiple sniffs before and during the consumption...use a snifter.

T - Well, it really depends on if you are drinking an aged or non-aged bottle. The non-aged has more harsh flavors with the coffee and chocolate really standing out. However, you can sense that this is a complex beer, but it's difficult to hit all the flavors. The aged bottles are much more mellow. The coffee flavor is not as potent and you can really taste the other flavors that are present.

O - if you couldn't tell...I give it a 5. I'd probably give the regular expedition an A-, but age it a couple years and it's a solid A+ in my opinion...but you know, "that's just like my opinion man"

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Photo of waughbrew
4.94/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thick black with a slow-to-rise, not-too-tall, very dark, not-long-lasting-but-laces-some head. Smells like a salted chocolate bagel - very doughy like that. Tastes like deep cocoa fudge with mellow raspberry. Oily and strong herbage. Very nice, though I could like a little more bite. The alcohol is at a perfect level. Thick feel, but not slick and not fluffy: quite amazing really. Finish is balanced and lovely, and welcomes another sip. This is godly.

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Photo of kdoc8
4.92/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had this both on tap at the brewery and in a bottle, but reviewed from the bottle purchased at the brewery. I can't believe this is an 11.5% stout. You simply cannot taste the alcohol content at all. It pours a deep dark black color with some hints of red to it. I didn't get too much of a head from either on tap or the bottle. The little there was was dark brown in color. The aromas were so complex. Chocolates and fruits and coffee or mocha roast with just a twinge of alcohol. The taste was similar. Started out with a little bitterness and then erupting into the complexity of the malts. This was the winner of I'm Bored Tonight Stout-Off, pitted against Deschutes Obsidian Stout and Rogue's Imperial Stout. It was a hard choice - they were all amazing, but I found the Bell's Expedition to be the most complex and and exceptional. Way to go Bell's. Another job very well done.

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Photo of xhuskr
4.92/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

share a bottle with friends today. Pulled a bottle out I had put away quite some time ago. Turns out...a LOONNGG time...it was a '07 Batch 8145

A...dark and glorious
S...licorice, cocoa, vanilla?
T...same as above, but a hint of bourbon?
M..smooth as silk
O...best beer I"ve had in awhile...wish I had more...

I stopped at that for the day...hard to get better.

I've been thinking of drinking more of what I've saved..great enjoyment and makes room for new beers in the rotation

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Ahhh...another Russian Imperial Stout that I have been longing after....pours from the bottle amazingly thick and syrupy, like I just let the old oil flow while I was doing an oil change on my car. A nice creamy dark tan head develops and then slowly fades to a ring with spotty lacing on the glass. I think this brew actually absorbs light. Awesome. First smell brings intensly rich, dark chocolate, molasses, roasted/toasted malts, hints of coffee with a heaping helping of dark fruits..a bit vinous. Fucking decadent...a punch in the nose...the aromas coming off this brew are big and in your face....killer.

First sip brings a tidal wave of roasted, slightly burnt maltiness upfront along with a nice helping of chocolate, dark molasses, and dark, vinous fruits. I'm getting some good pine hoppy bitterness on the way down along with hints of coffee. Incredibly well put together and a joy to drink. Alcohol is nearly non existant in the taste. Simply an amazing imperial stout.

Mouthfeel is big, thick and creamy. Give this to people who say Guinness is a meal in a glass and watch them shit their pants in astonishment. As for me....this is how I like my Russian Imperial Stout...huge. Obviously...this is not a session brew by any means..but it is an incredibly tasty treat that no one should miss out on. Cheers to Bell's for producing one of the best brews I've had the chance to sample!!

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Photo of MJR
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Blacker than any other stout I've ever encountered...no light gets through at all. A massive head forms as the bottle is poured and stays a good size the whole time.

Smell: All kinds of aromas here: roasted grain, burnt malt, chocolate, molasses, and a bit of licorice. I could be happy just smelling this beer...well, almost.

Taste: The flavor is just as complex as the smell. There is just so much flavor in here, novices are warned to stay away! There's a 'huge' malt flavor that is balanced quite well with a 'massive' hop bitterness. Starts with a hop tingle on the lips, moves to the malt flavors, then the hop bitterness comes in as you swallow. Amazing.

Mouthfeel: Huge, thick, oily...enough said.

Drinkability: Good for a 10%abv brew that makes 10W30 motor oil seem like water. I can't imagine ever drinking more than, say, 2 of these in one night, but this kind of beer you pull out for special occasions or when the mood strikes you.

My absolute favorite of the style. The shear breadth of this brew is incredible and something every beer lover should try at least once.

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Photo of trep
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing this live from my computer desk.

Pours from the 12 oz'r as viscous and black as motor oil. 1" chocolate colored head that fades into a thin layer of brown bubbles. Oh, if only all beers looked this mouth-watering.

Smells like chocolate chip cookies dipped in alcohol. A warm cookiedough smell to it with subtle hints of dark, rich fruits.

The first sip coats your mouth with melted dark german chocolate as a plethora of flavors make themselves known. Chocolate chip cookie taste as stated before, plenty of alcohol but isn't over-bearing. Has a rich winey taste of a red wine with some prune and dark cherries to round it out. Finishes very smoothly for a stout with this kind of power. Wow.

What a great beer. I would've given it solid 5's except for the drinkability gets a little rough as it warms. The alcohol becomes more present however, still not overpowering. A perfect example of an Imperial Stout.

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Photo of karst
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The vintage port of American stout. Suited for November storms on Lake Michigan when your shipload of Edmund Fitzgerald goes down and trips across Indianna only to find Dark Lord missing.

I stare at an empty pint glass with lace on the far side and a gelatinous mucus on the near side and a bottom covering of crankcase drippings. This "sleeper" is packaged with little fanfare (no red wax or other B.S.) I pull one of the 6 bottles that were refrigeratered at Brown Derby # 24 AKA "Party Central" and pour its coal lumpy contents out of its 12 oz bottle.

A vigorous pour yields an excellent Stout head of one finger that is foamy and chocolate brown. Aromas of bittersweet chocolate dark roasted coffee and nearly burnt molasses arise as the head slowly becomes a covering of thinner frouth. Flaovrs abound and offer up more bittersweet choc. coffee molasses along with burnt wood and roasted malt and dark fruits. Knowing I will adjust to its huge flavors, I settle in to enjoy a super heavy weight body with a true chewy Mouthfeel. The drying bitterness of the finish and all those dark roasted flavors clinging as an aftertaste are outstanding.

Viscosity finally drops back into the liquid state as the CO2 drops with about a third of the pour remaining. Thick, gellatious material stays near the bottom.

Best stop here - what ever happen to this year's Dark Lord?

Who cares take the Expedition!

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Photo of Realale
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This example was cellared for about two and a half years.

Absolutely opaque black color. Can't see any light through it even when held up to a 225 watt light bulb.

Head was a little less than in the past, but a persisitent espresso-crema-like cap of foam is there and remains throughout the pint.

The nose is roasty coffee and chocolate with incredible sweet fruity notes of dates and dried cherries. There is no hop aroma, but a definite bitter note exists in the nose.

Amazingly thick and rich on the palate, but a very fine beaded carbonation keeps it from being too much. There is a ton of malt character, but its not sweet, and its well-balanced by a coffee-like bitterness. In fact, the lingering impression is one of bitterness, but the good kind that just keeps making you reach for another sip.

Simply stated, a triumph of the brewer's art. IMHO this is even better than a bottle sampled from this six pack about five months ago - the fruity complexity was much greater here. Still one bottle left, and can't wait for a cold night in front of the fireplace to try it!

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Photo of david131
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

One amazing beer. This bottle was two years old and I decided to open it for my birthday.

A- Absolutely pitch black with only the slightest hints of light making it through the edges. The head that forms is brown and very thick looking. It settles down to some beautiful caramel swirls and a ring around the top. It doesn't get any better than this.

S- Extremely complex with lots of chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, some vanilla, cherries, and a good amount of sweetness. It has a wonderful aged quality to it. Delicious.

T- Very complex with a lot of the same features as the aroma. Very smooth and the alcohol is incredibly well hidden. This beer gets way better with some age on it.

M- Silky smooth and very full-bodied. You cannot ask for anything better.

D- Dangerously drinkable. This beer is incredible with some time to mellow and blend. This is how American style Russian Imperial Stouts should be.

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Photo of beveragecaptain
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle. Expedition Stout chugs out of the bottle into my glass, a thick black color with a small brown head. Winey grape aroma, but that is just the start. Lots of chocolate, roasted coffee, and hops. The hop aroma is very much present, but not overwhelming as it is in other stouts such as Bell's batch 7000. The flavor is silky smooth chocolate, coffee, and hops. Sweet at first, but not cloying. Some cherry flavor. The finish is very bitter. Mouthfeel is full. Just enough carbonation. Drinkability is outstanding. How can this be 11.5%? This is one of the two or three best stouts I've ever had, and possibly the best.

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Photo of mjohn27603
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From 12 oz bottle no best before date. Pours black as asphalt, very opaque. As Spinal Tap might say, "None blacker." Head developed very big oozing over the edge of the glass and unfortuantely wasting some. Aroma is of figs, roasted malt, raisins, and licorice. Taste has lots 'o stuff going on. The beer is sweet, roasty, and bitter all at the same time. A warming alcohol presence is felt. I'm getting a flavor almost like raspberry with chocolate. The only reason it doesn't give 5's all around is I couldn't imagine having more than one so drinkability is less than perfect.

By the way, if you are looking for a special treat I recently attended a beer class at Henry Ford Museum where the dessert course was an Expedition Stout Float. They added a scoop of vanilla ice cream to Expedition Stout and it was truly a great ending to a meal. I know it is hard to sacrifice one for an experiment but if so inclined give it a try.

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Photo of kbub6f
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Side-by-side tasting with North Coast Old Rasputin (because I drink a lot of Raspy and it always makes me happy).

I didn't have the carbonation problem some have mentioned. The head was small, but it didn't take any extra coaxing to get one. Dark brown and a little noisy, too. There is a strong roasty edge to the nose. It's almost nutty. There's also chocolate and maybe a little smoke. The beer starts strong, thick and chocolatey. It's very buttery (like a dollop of butter melted into it). The middle is thick, thick, malty, choco, sweet, buttery. A strong alcohol finish seems almost toxic.

So how does it compare to my standard Rasputin? It's thicker, maltier and more buttery. Much less hoppy and bitter. Stronger than Raspy, quite a bit more intense. Very rich. So they're different, but each one impresses me as I switch between them. I'm going to ding Expedition on drinkability because for me the richness gets almost cloying (I said "almost"). But for that, it would beat Rasputin, I think.

Thanks Al. I think I owe you.

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Photo of Bonhoeffer
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

One of the best beers i've ever had. All that's good about the style, with boat loads of chocolate character. The smell was unbelievable. Just had to sit and take it in for a while.

Flavor was intense and fantastic. Complex. Perfectly balanced. Thick. Just enough sweetness. Just enough hops. I don't even know where it all comes from. As a homebrewer i can't imagine how i'd even begin to try to create something like this.

Lost just a touch on drinkability because it's so overwhelming. But in a good way.

Must have more.

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Photo of stuckonhops
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I had heard about this beer and was told i should try it and also was recommended by many people. I decided to see if it would live up to expectations. Which it did and also surpassed mine so so much.

A-- EXTREMELY dark. Not a speckle of light passes through. The head has to be formed manualy during the pour. Be careful though, on my first pour i tried to induce head and it grew VERY slow but made almost my whole pint glass foamy.(rookie mistake i guess). The head is a definet cocoa color, looks like cocoa foam to say the least.

S-- smells of roasted malts and coffee. also hints of chocolate and maybe fig? definetly an alcohol smell but not at all overwhelming as in some ALES.

T-- WOW WOW WOW. as i said it is amazing. first sip you taste alcohol with roasted malts and a semi-sweet cocoa finish. as you go on the alcohol COMPLETELY diminishes fairly quickly. After that it becomes a battle between the fig and chocolate with hops setting in. I have been so amazed with the way all the flavors play against each other in such harmony its ridiculus.

M-- very thick and coats the mouth and tounge with so many flavors i think you bite lemon and this beer would still shine through. very nice.

D-- another one to be careful with. after the first one you may be inclined to keep going. but trust me, pace yourself more than a nascar driver this one will take you for a ride...

One of the best beers i have ever had. At least in the stout category. I highly recommend this one to anyone. I dont care if they only like BMC or not. This one can turn heads 360degrees

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Dark as sin, and pours out a nearly violent, volcanic rich cocoa-colored head. Aroma is simply incredible: maple syrup, anise, dates, dark rum, dark chocolate, and it doesn't end either, it spins on and on! THICK texture! It's a liquid candy bar, sweet, full, chewy, but no Butterfingers here, this is heavy, substantial stuff! Full body, persistent finish: this ripple of flavor will not let go! It's tenacious, is what it is! This is Kalamazoo's Imperial Stout and it's way over the top, outdoing most, if not all the ISs I've ever had. One of the thickest and chewiest Imperials in memory!

10-26-03 ...I'm sipping from a bottle of a newer batch, though proper aged, some 9 1/2 months from my first reviewing, and can only agree with myself..the HUGE flavor, the enormous feeling on the palate, the never-ending finish...I would be amazed to find a better Imperial Stouts, but this is still the King...

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Photo of dpgoblejr
4.89/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Black in color, fluffy khaki head, streaks of lacing, and brewed on 9/2/15. Two and a half months young and the bitterness is there but nothing that detracts at all. Aroma of dark cocoa and dark fruits but not much else. Huge flavors of chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, and a marshmallow sweetness. Quite thick and coats well. Smooth, yet vicious, and the abv is well masked. A truly spectacular RIS! Probably one of the best I've indulged upon.

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Photo of UncleFlip
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Nice looking in the glass, though rather short head. What head there is, tends to be sort of a dark coofee-with-cream colour, and is gone in modest stretch. Holdng this one up to the light, I'm seeing nothing. VERY dark...OK, wait...there's a little ruby fringe...Nothing like a really black beer. :)

It smells like the first beer I ever made....very heavy and thick dark molasses aroma, with a hoppy nose under. There's even a *slight* hint of cedar in there.. It's very nice.

Wow....sweet and smoky all at the same time. Nice pungency on this. There's definitely a boatload of roasted malt there...and the alcohol is not overly apparent, but is there, particulary on the end and the aftertaste. There's a great chocolatey quality right in the middle. The hops are there, but aren't overbearing or distracting.

This one isn't too thick or 'gritty' as sme stouts have been. It's definitley 40-weight, but is very smooth. You don't feel you need a hammer and chisel to serve this one.

Yowsa. Shake your groove thing. Get down, and then get back up again. This one could be my standard session stout, if i could get it around here. VERY drinkable, and could keep me happy all night long. Pardon the crudeness, but keep me in a supply of this, and I'm your bitch.

Be well

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Photo of jreitman
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Now I finally know what all the fuss was about (all thanks to cokes). Poured a jet black with a rich cocoa colored head. Rich smell of coffee and cocoa. Many other smells were in there but my stuffy nose could not quite identify them. Flavor is full of chocolate and coffee with a very nice sweetness. Bitterness was high but kept in check by the malts. Mouthfeel was thick and mouth-coating. Finished dry and quite bitter as the hops really show themselves. On my list of top 5 Stouts. Easily competes with Storm King and Pike XXXXX.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This brew pours a motor oil black color. The head is brown with a with crown. The aroma is of chocolate, cream, crackers, butter, with Bell's house aroma peaking slightly though. The taste is chocolate, and club crackers, with some really nice bitterness in the finish. The bitterness slowly fades during the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is perfect for an imperial stout; full bodied with just enough carbonation to make things interesting. Overall, this is the best impy I have had to date.

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Photo of Damian
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Drank from a 12 fl oz/355 ml bottle
Batch 8728
Served in a snifter
Acquired in a trade with Popkas

The beer poured an oily, viscous, absolute pitch black with a creamy, near one-finger head of reddish-tinged, saddle brown froth. Rather quickly, the head faded to a thin yet clingy ring. Spotty drops of lacing trickled down the glass with each sip.

The aroma was huge. Quite sweet overall. Milk chocolate and brown sugar notes were instantly detectable. Roasted malts came through strong. Slight char. Woody and a bit boozy with port-like accents.

The flavor profile was spectacular, and similar to the aroma in many ways. Lots of sweet malts and brown sugar up front. Roasty. Woody and slightly oaky. Coffee and maple syrup were quite noticeable in the center. The coffee flavor could be likened to that of coffee ice cream. Both milk and dark chocolate notes were apparent as well. Espresso came through strong on the finish, along with a touch of char and a pinch of piney hops. A bit smoky. Some bourbon notes appeared as well. The hops definitely showed their head more in the lingering aftertaste. Overall, an incredibly well balanced brew.

The mouthfeel was uber thick, viscous and oily. Super rich and creamy. Chewy. The residual sugars in the liquid left a sticky coating on my lips.

This beer was remarkably drinkable for a 10.5% ABV Russian imperial stout. While the flavor profile was so intense, it was also super mellow, smooth and well rounded. Perhaps the year of aging helped in this regard.

Bell's Expedition Stout is a world-class beer that unfortunately does not garner the attention on BA that it deserves. If you have not yet had the opportunity to try this, definitely seek it out.

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Photo of GuinnessSmurf
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm pretty sure that a beer doesn't get any darker than this. This beer looks so good that I fear it - (fear that a 6pk was not enough). A low ring of thick condensed head circles the glass.

The smell is has cocoa malts, alcohol, and scotch.

The taste is amazing - very full bodied. The pallette is massaged with coffee, butter, dark bitter chocolate, toffee and a dark alcohol flavor. Yum.

Drinking this beer is like pounding a pint of super rich icecream. You know that you shouldn't but there is no way you are going to stop short of finishing it.

Every sip was as good as it gets.

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Photo of Shultzerdugen
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12 oz. brown bottle.

Pours inky black/brown capped by a large tan head with dark brown threads though it. As the beer went down in the glass it left small globules of chunky goodness.

Aroma is dark chocolate, espresso, molasses, vanilla, and a hint of raisins.

The body is full to the extreme, but still creamy from carbonation and the ample head. Roasted malts come right out front, followed by a juicy center, finished with coffee and dark chocolate notes carried through from the nose and a molasses sweetness . Alcohol is superbly hidden.

I savored a six pack I bought in March for nine months, and the beer seemed to hold its character brilliantly. So damned good.

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Photo of rye726
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12oz '07 poured into a goblet at 50F.

Certainly a beautifull beer. The color is a dark black with brown hues. A nice espresso head settles to a very thin cover.

The nose is of choclate, dark fruits, coffee, oats, molasses and roasty malts.

Quite tasty, a wonderful mixture of choclate, coffee, toffee, molasses and sweet malts.

It has a full body and texture that silks over the tounge. Very drinkable for a big RIS and one of the best around.

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Photo of Dansting
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle. Poured a brownish-black color with a medium brown head. Nice lacing. Aroma is a nice roasted malt with a pleasant chocolate hint to it. Mouthfeel is about perfect. Flavor is rich with a chocolate and roasted malt taste. Aftertaste has a hint of coffee to it. A very special brew.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 2,012 ratings.