Dismiss Notice

Site Performance Updates: We're aware of the nightly site outage, and working on resolving the issue.

Follow our progress ...

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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
94
outstanding
2,083 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
2,083
Ratings:
5,951
Avg:
4.21
pDev:
10.45%
 
 
Wants:
516
Gots:
1,694
For Trade:
130
Bell's Expedition StoutBell's Expedition Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-10-2002

User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,083 | Ratings: 5,951
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.63/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep black motor oil, moccha tan head leaves speckled lacing. Aroma: Anise, chocolate, plums, and a whole load of underlying hop tones, cascade I think. Taste: Really poetic blend of fllavor here crashing waves of syrupy sweet alcoholic tinged fruit blended with bittering hops and harsh dark roasts what a treat this is definitely alot going on in there. Really potent, the alcohol doesn't burn though it doesn't overdo anything just adds another depth level there. Mouthfeel: Like drinking a protein shake thick and full bodied as all hell, this beer as great streaks of syrupy goodness going on. Drinkability: Complex, enticing, and oh so enjoyable to indulge and challenge the senses, however it's not the type of beer to drink a sixer it's that once in awhile when I get a craving for a big brew that knocks my senses renderless.

 846 characters

Photo of Flashsp2
4.63/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bell's Expedition Stout into snifter (roughly 1yr old)

Pours from the bottle a deep brown, but in the glass it sits a depth of black that can only be described as moonless midnight. On top of this sits a medium tan head that looks more reminiscent of a whole wheat pancake, dense with tiny bubbles. Spots of lace stick after a few drink. The head leaves lots of bubbles and patching on top, never letting the surface break through.

Nose is powerful and balanced. Lots of roasted black malt, dark roasted coffee, earth, dark cocoa, booze, raw/oily hops. Doesn't jump from the glass, but sits and lets you enjoy it fully. I sniffed this for a good 5 minutes before pulling back a drink.

The palette isn't as roasty and raw as the nose leads on. Lots of roasted malt, espresso, dark cooking cocoa powder, high cocoa chocolate, hop biting bitterness that is subdued and balanced. This is not a cloyingly sweet imperial stout, it is balanced and rich. The hops are surprisingly oily and flavorful at this age, I want to hold one for another year or two and see what it's like. Right not the espresso/chocolate/hop dance is beautiful. Such an immensely long finish.

The mouthfeel is heavy, thick, lightly carbonated with an oily finish. It moves around in the mouth and penetrates every taste bud with a velvet vengeance.

Now this is a proper drinking imperial stout. Big and bold, in your face attitude with a graceful refinement. I could easily kill half a sixer of these, but that would be some bad juju. This is so much better than many of the other in the style, I think this is my new favorite imperial (non-adjust/barrel aged) stout, right up there with Nogne O and Old Rasputin.

 1,687 characters

Photo of blackie
4.63/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Probably my introduction to the Midwestern beer world, or maybe it was Two Hearted. In any case, a review is long overdue.

a: Pours a nice brick-mocha head with decent retention. The beer is a deep brown in color, essentially black.

s: Rich roasted malt aromas coupled with earthy, pine hops. A touch of creamy bittersweet chocolate and espresso. Welcome ethanol note. Very rich.

m: Carbonation on the low side, and very smooth. The body is very full, and everything balances out very well. Creamy. Can't ask for much more here.

t: Roasted malt backbone with a big dose of piney Centennial hop flavor...perhaps killing some complexity. A range of creamy roasts makes up the bulk of the flavor, with a touch of smoke coming through. Moderate bitterness in the long espresso finish. A great RIS, but this fresh the depth is lost to the astringent roast and fresh hop combination.

d: easy enough for the style

batch 8295

bottle dated 9.25.13 consumed 12.06.13 - 5/6 on this rootsy Bell's night - perhaps my first realization of what an ris or double stout could be, lovely black in color with a rich mocha head, the nose swims with rich, impressive dark chocolate played off blackstrap molasses, coffee cream, tobacco fruit leather, the trademark soy sauce, and a touch of pine hops, full and smooth in body with a low, creamy carbonation, the flavor follows with dark chocolate, molasses, charred sugar, tobacco, dark fruits, and a nice little pine hop flavor and bitterness...incredible and tough to beat in the ris world, no hype, no frills

previous scores 4.5, 4.5, 4, 5, 4

 1,583 characters

Photo of JayQue
4.63/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

What a great beer!!!! Pours a dense black with no lighting getting through. The head is big and dark tan. Leaves sheets of lacing on the glass.

Good smell kind of a combination of bitter chocolate and port wine (smells better than it sounds).

Taste is fantastic. Semi sweet chocolate, little hint of alcohol and roasted malt follow up.

Mouthfeel is best part. This is the most incredibly smooth, creamy and rich stout I have had. The combination of taste and mouthfeel are exceptional.

Drinkability is very good. At 10.5 abv, I'm sure blithering idiocy awaits after a few. Would be worth it!!!

 598 characters

Photo of toppoop
4.63/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A - aggressive pour yielded a solid inch thick head which reduced down to bit lingering on the top. A little bit of lacing too.
S - booze and chocolate hit the noise with a bit of dark wine and wood.
T - half a year has done this great. The booze is a lot smoother now and chocolate notes dominate up front with a touch of vanilla. The bit of booze hits at the end with nice dark fruit.
M - great mouth feel here. The beer completely coats the mouth with a nice touch of carbonation.
O - one of my favorites. Never fails. Tremendous stout.

 539 characters

Photo of Frozensoul327
4.63/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Yes. This is a good beer. Solid, heavy, thick, powerful. Quite possibly the ultimate winter brew. Poured out to a pitch black color with a motor oil level of thickness. Very high viscosity. Lower carbonation, but a nice dense brown head arose from the beer totaling about 3/4 of an inch, and remained consistant. Aromas of chocolatey malts, roasted coffee, earth and soft wood notes. Very appealing. Taste was direct and filling. Flavors of dark turkish coffee, cocoa, heavily roasted malts, dark chocolate and burnt molassas. Amazing, and worthy of the exceptional designation. Mouthfeel was thick and chewy, while still having a smooth and creamy element to it. Very hearty. A good level of drinkability, this brew's 11.5% ABV is hardly detectable, which could mean trouble for those with a six pack on hand and a low level of moderation ability. An amazing brew, and worth the price. The best Russian Imperial Stout I have ever had. Highly recommended.

 955 characters

Photo of The_Snow_Bird
4.63/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Has a perfect dark look like used motor oil. Has a medium frothy dark caramel colored head. Has a strong roasted malt smell. Tastes like how it smells along with hints of chocolate.

 181 characters

Photo of hopflyer
4.63/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 8/22/14

Pours pitch black with dark tan head that dissipates quickly but maintains a thin ring around the glass.

Nose is chocolate, coffee bean, and toffee. Some charted wood and a touch of licorice.

Taste is full flavor of rich dark chocolate and mild coffee. Very roasty and rich. Awesome! Charred wood notes come thru and are prominent and some bitterness rounds out this big stout. Almost no booziness detected but just a slight burn hits nicely.

full body and silky smooth. This is what a stout should be. Low to medium carbonation. The mouthfeel fits the taste profile well. long finish and flavors hang around a while.

This is definitely the best stout and best bells brew I've ever had. full of flavor and perfect texture. Bonus for being available in 6pk format. Perfect stout while watching the first snowfall of the year tonight.

 866 characters

Photo of MuddyFeet
4.63/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I am completely fascinated with the beer. Thank you so much to CRJMellor for this bottle.

Poured an incredibly deep brown in color. Slight head that was slightly tinted brown. Not much lace, but what the lace that was tere was in the form of a spotty and stringy hybrid. Nose was a very, very dark chocolate and almost as if I stuck my head into a fireplace where the flu was a bit dirty.

Wow! What can I say about the flavor. Knocked me over and left me sippign this beer as if it were the nectar of life. It was full of coffee. but not a dark or even mild roast. It was more of a flavored coffee. Little bits of mocha and hazelnut coffee. Not so much as choclate as flavored coffee. Mouthfeel is full bodied and rich. Very smotth drinking--even for such a high ABV. So tough to put the glass down.

 805 characters

Photo of rivertrance420
4.63/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I get this for $15.99 a sixer when I go out to Indiana. Very delicious Russian Imperial style stout. Very thick in consistency and very sweet. Definitely a good "dessert beer" with a nice abv of 10.5%. Sweet chocolate invades your mouth at first sip, followed by a long lingering chocolate/cocoa taste thats a tad bit bitter. Defintely one of my favorite stouts. Hope the brothers on beer advocate try it again. Sounds like they got a bad batch. I love this beer.

 463 characters

Photo of MIbeer27
4.63/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, dated 09/02/2015.

Bottle into snifter with dark as sin, pitch black hue. Thin espresso colored head that quickly fades.

Aroma has so much going on. I get chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, wood, leather, cherry, and booze. Wow.

Taste matches up. Boozy, chocolate covered dark fruit with some leather and wood. The intensity builds as it moves through the mouth, finishing with a huge, stinging bitterness.

Motor level oil thickness on this one with light carbonation. Not quite the fullest I've ever experience, but in the top three without a doubt.

Expedition Stout belongs on the Russian Imperial Stout version of Mount Rushmore. The only issue I have at this stage is the massive bitterness on the finish. This is one of the few beers I think would benefit from some mellowing, so to the cellar the rest of the six pack will go!

 851 characters

Photo of ltltony
4.63/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Almost a year old now, and it's mellowed out nicely. Drank at 55 degrees.

A - Pours pitch black with about a one finger creamy white head.

S - Boozey with a strong mocha and dark fruit smell. Reminds me of chocolate covered raisins.

T - Roasted chocolate and coffee. Slight sweetness with a bit of alcohol. Still a bit of bitterness, but mellowed very well.

M - Nice mild carbonation, and a slight creaminess. Coats the mouth nicely.

O/D - A fantastic RIS that gets better and better with age.

 501 characters

Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.63/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours like motor oil with a very dark brown 1/2 inch head. Not much lace. Smells of rich dark malt, bitter dark chocolate, coffee with a touch of cream.

Tastess is rich and bitter dark malt. Bitter dark chocolate. Decadent roasted malt. Coffee. Bitter coffee finish. Big thick beer, bitter aftertaste that lingers long. This stuff is yummy. I love a good imperial stout and this one is a great one. Superb.

 409 characters

Photo of anjah
4.64/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I got this aged three years from peabody's personal favorites collection. Nice, sweet smell and very dark color but not much head. Pretty strong but goes down smooth and rich with notes of chocolate/cocoa. Only complaint is that the after taste is a bit bitter.

 261 characters

Photo of TequilaSauer
4.64/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 2007. Aged 2 years.

Pours thinner than expected but with very light head that quickly dissipates.

Smells of chocolate liquer, alcohol, dark fruits (fig) and maybe brandy. The nose reminded me a lot of Old Rasputin.

The taste is out of this world. Attacks HUGE with equal parts of extreme bitterness and heavy dark chocolate. Very balanced, VERY balanced, much more than the unaged Expedition. Finishes with more bitterness and a woody flavor.

Very thick mouthfeel, like molasses, but very smooth with little carbonation.

The aging did this beer a lot of justice. Expedition is a phenomenal stout, but the aging adds a lot more to the balance and attack. It's not a beer of which you could probably enjoy more than one at a time and I still don't think it stacks up with some of the other heavy hitters in that style, but it's got it where it counts.

 859 characters

Photo of WrathsU
4.64/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - deep black pour like staring into a polished onyx gem.

S - Caramelized sugars up front. Roasted coffee tones and chocolate throughout.

T - So good. Tastes like bittersweet chocolate, fresh ground coffee, and caramel.

M - Smooth, very smooth for its abv. Perfectly carbonated.

D - I could drink this forever, one of the best stouts I've ever had.

 353 characters

Photo of theboozecruise
4.64/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - dark like motor oil. Not much head but what little there was retained well.

S - chocolatey and rich. Caramel and toffee notes. Phenomenal.

T - rich as well and boozy. Caramel again, burnt chocolate notes and a little coffee bean bitterness at the end.

M - thick, creamy, boozy. Man, still really blown away.

D - the alcohol makes it tough to drink a lot but I'd still live another.

 393 characters

Photo of markskar
4.64/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

There isn't much of a head to this brew, but it pours pitch black--no light escapes. It'd be nice if it were a bit more carbonated, both visually and in the nose, but it's quite fine the way it is.

The aroma is dark roasted coffee, with a dark, dried fruit aroma (I always found the "dark fruit" descriptor to be vague--but I'm thinking of how raisins would smell if they smelled the way the taste). Nice chocolate notes in the nose too.

Flavor is much the same as the aroma--coffee, chocolate, and dark fruits. I am absolutely floored by the flavor. I would rate the taste up there with any world class RIS I've ever had.

Mouthfeel is mostly smooth and creamy, but just a bit sticky. The mild stickiness allows the wonderful flavors to linger on the tongue though--in a very pleasant way.

Extremely drinkable for a brew over 10% abv. Goes down nice and easy, with a flavor that just begs for more. Like a delicious chocolate desert, you know you probably shouldn't...but what the hell...

 992 characters

Photo of BuckeyeBeers
4.64/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Tried a 5 year bottle while at dark lord day this past spring and never had a chance to score it. The difference the 5 years had on this beer is astonishing. The flavors all melt together and you are left with a mellowed out version that is much more forward with chocolate notes. If you pick up a 6 pack I highly recommend drinking one initial bottle and then pull one bottle per year for the next 5 years so you can experience the transformation.

 451 characters

Photo of GilGarp
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 13415 bottled 8/22/14.

Served slightly chilled into a goblet. Expedition Stout is a deep dark brown, almost black, color with thin tan head that settles fairly fast.

Aroma is full of dark roasted malts, cocoa, and coffee. There is also some dark fruits and black cherries.

Flavor is bold and intense. There are all the classic stout flavors of dark chocolate, dark roasted malts, and coffee. Also, more subtle notes of cherries.

Mouthfeel is wonderfully full bodied and perfectly carbonated.

Overall a classic verision of the style and perfectly executed. Really nice after a year of aging in the cellar.

 615 characters

Photo of benmiliron
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This is Bell's best offering without question. An opaque black with a brown head that vanishes immediately after the pour. It's everything you want in an imperial: espresso, dark caramel, toffee flavors with that overwhelming hop bitterness behind everything and the dominating malt sweetness... unnnnhhh! Damn it, I need a towel. Or maybe another expedition?

 359 characters

Photo of PeatReek
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Reviewing a bottle from batch ___, packaged in April 2005. Sweet. Pours deep, opaque black as always, oily thick with a thin rim of deep brown head. Smell is dried-fruity, like raisins and figs and a leathery savoriness. Distinct aroma of home-baked bread crust... hm. The first thing to strike me on taking a sip is how incredibly THICK this beer is. It's like drinking syrup, but not cloyingly sweet. An interesting effect. The sip starts with the same prune / raisin elements as in the nose, followed by a round, Port-style alcohol warmth. Finishes with a prominent sweetness, well balanced by the mellow carbonation. Aftertaste is a profoundly dry, dark chocolate flavor with a roasty-charcoal aspect.

Wow. Just... wow. A tremendously complex, deeply delicious beer. Makes Wordwide Stout taste like a pile of puke! Though to be fair, I don't think I've ever aged a bottle of World Wide Stout for 18 months.

 914 characters

Photo of jim102864
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured thick with nary a head into my nonic. Interesting cherry hue to its mahoganey color.  10.5 abv. Nice. Wow...a lovely and up front nose. Butter, vanilla, maybe cherries and raisens. Wow again. Soy sauce, chocolate, slight alcohol bite in the finish. Spectacularly complex taste and full body. Heavy and special. A special St Patricks day treat but equally enjoyable with a fire in the hearth and after a fine meal.

 421 characters

Photo of Patric65
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into an Abita Pint glass. My bottle was brewed in September 2015.

Pours with a very thin head, very little lacing to speak of. Nice deep black color. A very nice looking beer in the glass.

It has a rich, sweet smokey smell with a hint of pepper.

The primary flavors are very well balanced between the malt and the chocolate, with the chocolate winning out by a hair. This beer presents both sweet and bitter tastes with the slightly dominant sweet being offset by a light peppery finish. The alcohol in this beer is almost completely hidden.

Very smooth, rich mouth feel. This beer is, to me, the perfect pairing of taste and texture. Every sip pleases on multiple levels.

The overall drinking experience associated with this beer is excellent. A beer you can sit and savor, take your time with and enjoy slowly and steadily. Definitely among the best in its class. I will definitely be putting some of these up for a year or two to bottle age. If you find yourself with the opportunity to try this beer, I strongly suggest you do.

 1,055 characters

Photo of Soilworker
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured from a 12oz bottle, fresh no aging, into a standard stout/pint glass. Bottle has a batch number on it...this is batch number: 9554.

A: Pitch black with zero light shining through even with a strong flashlight put up to the glass. Nice caramel colored head that is slow to dissipate and the bubbles are very fine. The liquid seems to almost stain the glass.

S: Dominated by an intense and strong blast of fig, plum, and raisin. Bittersweet chocolate, dark roasted malts, and perhaps a hint of roasted coffee provided the backboard for the dark fruit character. There are also small hints of alcohol and vanilla that hit the nose from time to time. Very rich, savory, and bold.

T: Starts off with pretty much an explosion of burnt and roasted malts. I was expecting a start with some wateriness to it but that is definitely not the case. After the blast of malt this settles down to a pleasant bittersweet chocolate flavor with vanilla and espresso notes playing along with it. Somewhat sweet at the beginning. This then fades towards the end to a flavor characterized by burnt coffee and roasted malts and some oaky wood notes that seem to be somewhat charred. The finish holds on the burnt and roasted malt character and there is plenty of bitterness here which seem to be primarily hoppy in nature but have an interesting bitter burnt malt aspect. As you drink it, especially when you start there is a lovely warming feeling in both your mouth but primary in the throat all the way down the stomach. A very impressive taste profile!!!

M: Amazing!!! As you swirl it through your mouth it is smooth and creamy and very bold with a little bit a zing on the tongue from the carbonation. As oily and creamy as the beer is at first, the finish definitely feels dry.

D: Did I mention this was a bold beer? The flavor profile is huge and definitely takes the right palate to enjoy this one. I would love to drink this all night and I would, but this is a beer for sipping if I ever tasted one. The ABV is pretty aggressive but not terribly noticeable during the taste but I'm sure if you managed to get a few of these down it would start to catch up to you.

Overall I loved this beer. I especially liked the rich, bold taste and creamy mouthfeel. This was my first Expedition ever and I can definitely see how aging this one would be a smart move since this would most likely tone down the bitterness a bit. I definitely plan on buying a second or third six pack just for aging past 2yrs. If you like stouts, you must try this beer.

 2,552 characters

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 2,083 ratings.