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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.

4,514 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,514
Reviews: 1,879
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 389
Gots: 962 | 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: 4,514 | Reviews: 1,879 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JasonA
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

Pours a deep black, no real carbonation

Raisin, alcohol, malt and more malt. Almost smells like pancake syrup.

Syrupy sweet in a good way. Caribian island dark rum, roasted malt. Coffee. There is a flavor, maybe an inhibitor along side of the alcohol. Almost a smell when I taste it. Sherry sweet, maybe port.

There is something in the taste of this in my mouth that is really neat. I want to say syrup. It is a bit thicker than I would like. Im surprised at how they were able to make it this thick.

Hard core. Reminds me a bit of Brooklyn BCS in the content, but more syrupy. I dont think I could drink many of them, but a single of this will slap you in the face ... one that I would enjoy. Though I think my tummy would not be happy. Thinking about it, a full growler of this would make me a weekend. Sign me up.

Maybe this bottle brew needs to sit a bit, maybe not. This is a very interesting beer. I think a little less syrup and more cream, this could be perfect as the flavor is top notch.

JasonA, Jul 27, 2008
Photo of MisterDeeds
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

Aged over a year in the wonderful cellar of RixBeer.

Pours a solid black with no light showing through. Very slight head, cocoa powder in color.

Smell is nice and roasted. Coffee with a raisin or plum-like fruitiness. Also picking up on that boozy brandy-like aroma that hints at the aging.

Taste has a few different kicks going on. It begins with a very subtle semi-sweet raisin taste, and is quickly overcome by the roasted coffee bitterness. Very unique from most aged beers I have had, in that the warm alcohol kick comes more towards the front than in the aftertaste.

Very little carbonation to it, which could be a good or bad thing, depending on who you ask. I happen to like it with this brew, because I think that too many bubbles would make the bitterness too overpowering.

The mouthfeel is thick almost milky, and the roasted coffee (almost burnt) seems to line your entire throat. (Again this could be good or bad, depending on your taste, but for me it is very strong.)

A very nice treat (thanks Rick!) and I would love to try one a year down the line to see what else goes on.

Is Bell's planning on coming to Massachusetts anytime soon?

MisterDeeds, May 25, 2009
Photo of dogfishandi
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

thanks again to mizzouguy fo thhuge box!

12oz bottle, just above fridge temp poured into a snifter. bottle code 10068, roughly 1 year old.

pours out completely opaque black with about 1 finger of some dark mocha colored head that slowly fades to a thin ring. not a whole lot of lace after the head dies down.

as soon as the bottle was cracked i got a big whiff of burnt roast and alcohol. as it opens up the aroma is mostly deeply charred roasted malt, a bit of hot alcohol, and some dark fruits. also somewhat noticable is a bit of cocoa and roasted coffee. maybe a bit of earthy, piney hops trying to show?

again with the deeply charred roast. some warming alcohol, but nothing too excesive. some dark fruits and cocoa at times. a bit of hops in there, hard to really tell with everything else going on.

smooth, sticky, full bodied mouthfeel. kind of light on the carbonation which always works well in a RIS.

a solid tasting RIS, very nice burnt roast character. there is something i cant quite put my finger on that seems like it doesnt really belong, whether it be hops or yeast. but this is still something i would come back to.

dogfishandi, Dec 08, 2011
Photo of mocktm
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

Beer #2 at World of Beer in Fort Myers, FL - 9/28/2011

Into a snifter, this appears thick and impenetrably black, used motor oil with a large cap of espresso colored head that quickly fades away with some light lacing.

Nose is dark roasted malts galore: dark chocolate, heavy coffee, and licorice with some earthiness in there as well. Abundance of sweetness with some underlying booze presence.

This is like drinking a spiked coffee chocolate milkshake, but I mean that in a good way. Malty and rich all the way with some woody/herbal undertones, this finishes with a mild alcohol burn in the back of the throat, evidence of its 10.5% ABV.

Monumentally thick and viscous, chewy and complex, this is a mother-load of a stout. Although most would consider this a sipper, its surprisingly smooth and slick, and thus quite easy to drink.

Some stouts get talked up a lot, and thus leave some others behind, but for my money, this is a phenomenal effin' beer that is as good, if not better than most of those aboard the hype train. Throw in that it's still available in six packs for a reasonable price, plus ages incredibly well - I just have to ask you, how can you go wrong?

mocktm, Sep 30, 2011
Photo of turamarth
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

Poured into a new belguim goblet.

Appearance: Poured a Cm thick tan head. Dissipated quickly. Body is pitch black.

Nose: Chocolate milk. Lots of chocolate milk. Malts, malts, malts! Has almost all chocolate malts in the nose. A little spice as it warms.

Taste: Again, very very chocolaty. There is a nice spiciness on the back of the tongue. Some nice toasty notes. Maybe the tiniest hint of booze. Some dark berry note too.

Mouth: Feels silky smooth, despite the thickness. Also, leaves the mouth pretty thick.

Drink: Pretty drinkable, sweet and tasty. The higher abv is hidden quite well in my opinion.

turamarth, Feb 07, 2009
Photo of zjungleist
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

Batch #6811. Pours pretty much pitch black with a small tan head. I can tell just by looking how thick this stuff is. Actually, at first, there was no head, and slowly one bubbled up from the inky depths. The smell is great, with boatloads of bakers chocolate and a nice sharp, green hop smell. The taste is not perfect though, it was really really sweet. It started with pretty much perfect hops, and then immediately became very sweet. I would say the sweetness overpowered what would be the peak flavors, but then mellowed with some great chocolate and cream flavors and a lingering coffee aftertaste. But seriously, this stuff is sweet. Maybe with a little bit of age that would mellow. I'll probably cellar the bulk of what I have. I wish there were dates instead of batch numbers, but I'll wing it. The mouthfeel was pretty thick, and though there was a bit of carbonation that could be summonsed with a good swirl, it was a bit off balance in the respect. So.. flavor and mouthfeel are both a bit off balance, yet it was quite enjoyable and complex.

zjungleist, Jan 23, 2006
Photo of BillyB
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

Excellent Russian Imperial Stout, although I wouldn't try to drink too many in one sitting!

Pours opaque with absolutely no light coming through. Dark tan head quickly fades.

Aromas of roasted malt, coffee, alcohol, chocolate, dried dark fruits like plums, raisins, even some prunes. Also caught some fig and date notes.

Tastes are the same as aromas with a big whiskey-ish alcohol taste and chocolate, coffee and dark fruit character.

Creamy and full bodied with a strong alcohol warmth.

An excellent example of the style.

BillyB, Feb 25, 2007
Photo of 33nickadams
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

This is my 50th review, and I have decided to review one of my all-time favorites. This one was bottled on September 13, 2010.

None-more black black with about a tan finger that dissolves rather quickly. Smell has a touch of alcohol, molasses and black licorice. For being over a year old, it is still has a very bold taste. Coffee, chocolate and molasses still are noticeable. This could age much longer and still have some very distinguished notes. Heavy mouthfeel, creamy as well. For being over a year old, I would have liked some of the flavors to be more subdued. I will review the same batch a year from now. Still, its one of my favorites. Here's to the next 50 reviews!

33nickadams, Nov 13, 2011
Photo of HURTemHIZZY
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

Pours a near black color with a modest, very dark tan head that dissipates fairly quickly but maintains a small ring and leaves some decent lacing. Smells and tastes of coffee, toffee, and caramel. nice creamy mouthfeel and a very smooth beer. Alcohol is slightly noticeable but is not overdone at all.

HURTemHIZZY, Feb 15, 2010
Photo of JohnGalt1
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

12oz that SAS gave me a while back.. shared with Brenda.. but most went into the New Belgium snifter.. This bottle has been sitting in the cellar for close to a year.. tonight is the night.. Thanks Steven.

Easy 1" dark brown head.. great lace and a beautiful cap.. the brew is black.. obviously.

milk chocolate and dark fruity esters dominate the nose.. there may be some hops left.. but mostly cocoa and prune and dried cherries.. are still around.. waaay more complex than my feeble senses can put on paper.

The flavor has a little bit of unexpected char.. very rich RIS characteristics.. roasty and a bunch of deep brownie chocolate.. but the burnt flavors are there and may be a bit too much.. the hoppy bitterness combined with the burnt grains make for a great brew. but it still needs some more time to meld.. rich yet sorta unbalanced.. smooth and rough.. coffee... and a bit of cream.. the mouthfeel is expected for a brew of this caliber.. great and filling.. the carbonation may be a touch high.

Thanks Steven.. I've been waiting to enjoy this one for way to long.. I've had the Expedition a couple of times before, but never took the time to really sit back and savor...

JohnGalt1, Jan 16, 2009
Photo of SHODriver
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

A: Pours a deep black with a dark tan head. Very little in the way of a head and this beer is quite viscous judging by the pour. Daddy likes.
S: A touch of alcohol, a touch of chocolate, some roast malts, a little sweetness with a hint of vanilla. Things are looking good, very good
T: A little bland at the front but it builds slowly with some nice coffee and chocolate flavors. Plenty of roast malt flavor to go around with a lingering slightly aftertaste. It takes awhile for this beer to gain flavor but when it does it's great.
M: A touch watery with light carbonation and although a touch watery at the front it finishes slightly chewy.
D: This is a sipper and due to being a stout it isn't exactly sessionable but finishing off this bottle won't be a problem

O: A solid offering from the folks at Bell's. If it had a bit more flavor at the front end it would be a home run.

SHODriver, Feb 11, 2011
Photo of jcnd9803
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

A: Pours a thick black color, with some slight amber hues. No head and little lacing in sight.

S: Some licorice and chocolate. Also some smoke it seems. Amazingly, I'm not picking up any alcohol, but I know it's there!

T: Ahh, there's the alcohol. A nice mix of roasted malt and chocolate.

M: Leaves a thick, creamy, sweet, feel on the palate. Also some tickle from the alcohol.

D: I think this is a great beer, fresh and aged. A perfect night cap Plus, given the price of most big stouts, this is a deal IMO.

jcnd9803, Feb 26, 2010
Photo of ribsfate
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

Had this as my fifth overall selection from Bell's. Not in the same sitting. :)

Poured into a pint glass from bottle bought at Thirsty's Quik Six in York, PA. About 20 mins at room temp.

Pours very dark black, somewhat thick with a nice two finger, foamy, dark caramel colored head. (poured a little fast and sipped the head; instant chocolate blast) Head laced the glass until it was rinsed out. Very pretty beer.

Nose is roasty malts and chocolate with a hint of hops on the back end. Tiny amount of alcohol scent for the strength.

Taste is a bit like the head but much more subdued chocolate notes, leading into bunches of smokey, roasted barley, bitter coffee, just a touch of hop bitters. Very nicely balanced flavors which sorta play back and forth as you drink.

A very smooth (imho) feel from start to finish. Not as thick or heavy as i was expecting but not in the least disappointing. Doesn't leave a residual flavor for very long.

I enjoyed this brew very much and am currently in the search for one or two more singles, warm, to store and try at a later date.

ribsfate, May 08, 2011
Photo of jiggahertz
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

A: 12oz bottle poured into a snifter after having this for ~8 months in the cellar. Deep dark chocolate brown with a sudsy dark cappucino single finger head. Lacing is faint.

S: Roasted malts, chocolate and coffee have a nice fragrance.

T: Really a lot going on here. Alcohol up front and everything else that was present in the nose. Quite a bite of chocolate, hops are almost non-existent. Finish is dry and long, slightly on the bitter side.

M: Finish stays around for quite a while, almost too long, really coats the mouth.

D: Was impressed by the complexities in the taste, the finish was slightly less than desirable, but one of the top stouts on my list.

jiggahertz, Nov 22, 2009
Photo of wardough
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

Well done, Mr. Larry Bell

Poured a jet black into a snifter. Almost zero head, but a crema lies on top with a trace of light lacing. Smells pretty sweet-raisins, malty goodness, prunes. Taste is by far the best part of this stout-starts of sweet, followed by some bitterness from chocolate that start pushing out the sweet. I like the balance of this. Mouthfeel is pretty good, smooth and velvety on the tongue. I could drink this all night long.

wardough, Nov 21, 2009
Photo of Duhast500
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

Batch #9971

Poured from the 12oz. bottle into a Playboy pint glass.

The color is a dark black with a thin brownish head ans some slight lacing left on the glass.

The smell is raisin with a bit of a rum flavored nose. Some boozy flavor is slipping out in the aroma and gives off a bit of a dry fruit flavor.

The taste is a bit rum raisin, is warm with a heavy alcohol flavor and taste slightly like a bananas foster. Some caramel flavor mixed with a toffee like crunchy flavor.

The feel of this beer is big, with a high ABV giving this beer a punch that was unexpected, this beer has you on the ropes. A really fascinating stout.

Duhast500, Dec 01, 2010
Photo of Jules11788
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

A: Thin film head, very light lacing; super black color that lets no light through at all

S: Sweet malts, chocolate, musky wood, vanilla beans, a touch of bourbon

T: Starts with some raisins and figs up front, transitions into a sweet smoky woodiness that finishes slightly bitter; finishes with flavors of dark fruits and bitter malts that linger.

M: Medium body, light carbonation, barely any booze

O: This was a great Imperial Stout, one that I would probably get again

Jules11788, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

12oz. bottle

Opaque black, with a modest brown head. Towards the finish, edges appeared to be a clear, dark mahogany color.

Aroma was molasses, dark fruits (raisins & figs), and chocolate.

Taste was mainly sweet, and followed aroma. Chocolate, dark fruits. After a bit, coffee and roast came into play, more at the finish. A bit of bitterness at the end, not much, though. Alcohol was present and strong enough to be noticed. Finally, at about room temperature, a soy sauce like flavor came into play.

A very thick body, chewy and viscous. My idea of a stout. Creamy, based on (my guess) very well integrated carbonation. Smooth and dry. Alcohol warming in play at first sip.

Wow, thickest beer I've ever had, I believe. A sipper for sure, and what a way to spend a winter evening.

, Mar 05, 2007
Photo of pzrhsau
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

Appearance: Nice jet black murky color with a deep brown head.
Smell: You can really sense the depth and richness in the spicy aroma. Very much reminds me of bread with a very aged fruitiness.
Taste: Great blend of dark malt and a slight hoppy spiciness afterward. The malt almost leaves you with a chocolatey bread aftertaste that sticks on your tongue for a long time.
Drinkability and Mouthfeel: Just enough carbonation to smooth out the heavy oily texture of this masterpiece. Great stout. Its presence really stays with you and gives you a warm feeling.

pzrhsau, Feb 18, 2010
Photo of MikieV
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

Pours very dark, almost black with a thick, rolling rich rust colored head. Thick rust colored lacing stuck to the glass as I drank.

First, I have to admit, this was my first ever Imperial Stout.
I was in love from the first sip!

This is a bold, robust beer. It has very intense flavors. Dark bitter chocolate, booze, roasted malts all come through. Some slight fruitiness as well. A fairly thick beer, leaving some solids in the bottom of the glass. Very smooth mouth feel despite it's thickness.

At 10.5%, one of these is just right for me!

MikieV, May 02, 2011
Photo of BretSikkink
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

Dark and viscous pour that leaves about a millimeter of tight brown foam. Little retention, it falls to a thin ring quickly, but the lace on the glass is extensive.

Dark boost fruits on the nose, with a jolt of coffee and chocolate roasted notes. Rummy. Lots of character and power but a little hot.

Flavor follows suit. Molasses and chocolate and coffee grounds. The dark fruit component is very strong. Thick mouthfeel, quite viscous and slick. A little hard on the drinkability but a full bodied and fruity stout.

BretSikkink, Feb 28, 2011
Photo of afausser
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

A: A vigorous pour into a 12 oz snifter results in a thin half finger of burgundy-singed dark tan head. The retention on it is not very good, though to be fair, it is fairly high in ABV so I'm not sure I should have expected too much more. Leaves an uneven ring of bubbles around the top of the glass and little wisps of foam on the top of the brew. The color itself is an opaque dark cherry that lets little to no light in, with tiny, slow moving carbonation bubbles. As you drink, a fine sheet of tiny bubbles of lacing glitter down the edge of the glass and leave a few patchy areas behind.

S: Smells wonderful from the moment you crack the bottle--I can't wait to see how it warms. Heavy milky caramel, vanilla, and slight toffee, as well as rum soaked fruits--raisins, prunes, apricots, and sweet cherries. Also quite a bit of licorice, particularly when agitated, as well as a hint of sweet apple pie as it warms.

T: Quite earthy and smoky, particularly in the aftertaste. Roasted malts and very dry burnt toast. The fruit and candy flavors in the nose definitely take a back seat here, at least while it's still relatively cold. Does get a bit sweeter as it warms--almost syrupy in the flavor, and then evens out and is nicely balanced. The rum soaked fruits also come out quite a bit when warmed. Lesson learned, let it warm--it's almost a totally different beer.

M: Very dry, and the fine carbonation doesn't do this one any favors. Feels like I just ate something on fire--very smoky in addition to how dry my mouth feels after just a couple sips--oh, and it's foamy, too. It's not especially hot, particularly for the style and ABV, yet the aftertaste is almost overwhelming. Does get far better as it warms, but I'm not really impressed with this mouthfeel/style combination.

D: Does go down rather smooth and creamy with little heat for the ABV, but the mouthfeel is pretty frustrating until it warms significantly and the carbonation nearly dies down completely. A great beer overall, but drinkable? One to let warm and sip.

afausser, Jan 28, 2010
Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

A- Opaque black. Small milk chocolate head. Laces moderately.

S- Coffee, chocolate, slight phenolic/alcoholic nature. Some oaky, nutty notes in there too. I'm getting a hint of sweetness too... can't really pick it out but maybe raisin? Pleasant.

T- This is a good stout. Wood, smoke, espresso. Slight bitterness from hops, a little alcohol bite. Aftertaste is great- dark and roasty.

M- Smooth, oily, creamy. Little or no carbonation. I like it for the style, but personally I would prefer a little more carbonation.

D- Tough ABV, but definitely a good sipper. Another good brew from Bells.

LordAdmNelson, May 08, 2009
Photo of armock
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

A - Poured a black color with a brown head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is of roasted malt with chocolate scents and a hint of alcohol

T - Follows the nose with roasted malt with chocolate and some alcohol in the finish

M - This beer has a full body with lighter carbonation to it

O - this is a very enjoyable beer it taste great making it way to easy to drink this one is worth seeking out to try sometime

armock, May 05, 2011
Photo of xnicknj
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

12oz bottle poured into snifter

Pours a deep black color with a thick crop of browned head. Soft filmy retention with clouds, plenty of spotty lacing on the glass.

Strong scents of caramel, bittersweet dark chocolate, roasted malt, raisin and candied fruit, alcohol warmth.

Plenty of richness in the profile with dark chocolate and stiff breaded malts. Roasted dark flavor with rich sweetness. Raisins, cherries, and burnt brown sugar all swirl together. Finishes with alcohol heat and silky smooth chocolate body.

Full body, lighter carbonation, velvet smoothness and easy on the tongue. Drinks really nice, great feel, solid profile, and something I want again.

xnicknj, May 14, 2011
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,514 ratings.