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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.

4,664 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,664
Reviews: 1,894
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 10.87%
Wants: 402
Gots: 1,016 | FT: 77
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: 4,664 | Reviews: 1,894 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RedBrewer83
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aggressively poured into snifter...

A: Pours a thick black and very viscous with almost no head, half a finger maybe and dark mocha in color, quickly falls to a thin ring around the edge and leaves decent lacing.

S: Huge roasted malt profile with molasses, raisin and brown sugar rounding things out along with just a hint of booze. Pick up just a hint of roasted coffee as well. Very nice, but not overly complex or huge.

T: Follows nose with added bitterness in the finish from a little hop and it really helps balance things out. A lot more depth in the flavor profile than in the nose.

M: Heavy body with nice carbonation, fine bubbles that are really smooth. Very nice.

D: Booze is only faintly detected and this beer goes down pretty darn smooth for the high abv. Very nice overall and would love to get my hands on more of these!

RedBrewer83, Feb 10, 2010
Photo of JMUbrewz
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%

JMUbrewz, Oct 02, 2014
Photo of spinrsx
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz Bottle from 2009 - Thanks to pushkinwow for this

Appearance - Black/brown colour with a small size fizzy/frothy brown coloured head. I can't see much carbonation due the darkness of the beer and there is some good lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for around 5 minutes.

Smell - Chocolate, coffee, malts, smoke, roasted/burnt nuts, dark fruits

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation and I can taste lots of chocolate, coffee, and some burnt/roasted nuts. There is also some smoke mixed with malts and it ends with a chocolatey burnt/bitter aftertaste.

Overall – Another fantastic beer from Bell's. It seems like it has aged very well and the booze hits you pretty hard. I would like a touch less charcoal/burnt flavour but the dark fruit notes help balance it out. A great beer.

spinrsx, Mar 02, 2012
Photo of MarkFy
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 10105
poured from bottle into snifter.

A: Black, thin dark brown head around the edges

S: a tiny bit of wood oak, licorice and faint dark fruits

T: sweet dark chocolate mixed with some coffee and licorice, hints of dark fruit.

M: Rich and creamy texture, with a little heat at the end from the alcohal which is nice.

D: Wow, I only wish I could session this as it is enjoyable with each sip, however, I think 1 is just perfect for me.

I've had prior years of this beer that were wonderful, but I must say that this year is drinking OUTSTANDING right now. I wish I had thought of getting a sixer sooner as it is tough to find now!

MarkFy, Feb 11, 2011
Photo of gabedivision
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%

gabedivision, Oct 02, 2014
Photo of semibaked
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle to a Tulip glass.

A - Pretty damn black with a very nice inch of head and stays around for awhile.

S - Really great smell of dark chocolate, molasses, coffee and dark malts.

T - Dark chocolate, coffee, and molasses hit you right about then there is a nice and unexpected bitterness in the middle. Very nice and complex taste.

M - Super creamy and full bodied almost like pudding, this is the highlight of this for me, one of the best mouthfeels of any beer I have had.

D - This is delicious and a great brew from one of my favorite breweries. I am definitely going to buy this again.

semibaked, Feb 27, 2010
Photo of AleWatcher
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I can't believe I've never reviewed this one... Oh well.
Batch 10105.
Served in darkness snifter.

Pours a dark inky black, very oily and viscous. Deep tan colored head. Good retention, nice thick legs, nice dark tan lacing.

Smells rich and chocolatey, dry roasty malts with espresso-like notes and a touch of anise. The taste is sweet up front with chocolate and caramel malts, roasty espresso in the middle, and dry slightly boozy finish.

Feel is thick and full, nice and creamy.

Overall-- a quite tasty stout that I'm happy to be able to buy, even at $17 per 6 pack!

AleWatcher, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of VaTechHopHead
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Typical stout dark brown with a light brown, thick head.

S - It smells quite sweet to me, like malt sweetness. It has background notes of roasted flavors. Quite a complex aroma but very nice...cant' really compare it to anything else.

T - Very complex, difficult taste to me. The sweetness from the malt is present initially but the aftertaste is all chocolate, hazelnut, and slight espresso. Very nice transition with a hop bite right at the end as well.

M/D - Very thick and velvety on the palate. Doesn't have a lot of carbonation, which is typical of stouts. Drinkability is limited to the heaviness of this beer but overall very nice.

After many recommendations I gave in and bought a bottle. I have to admit it has a very interesting/enjoyable taste. I particularly like the blend of sweetness, bitterness, and roasted flavors rolled all in one.

VaTechHopHead, Feb 08, 2009
Photo of WillCarrera
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, bottled on 1/18/2012, poured into a tulip glass.

A- Pours black, topped with a finger of creamy brown head that recedes to a collar and leaves little lacing.

S- Sweet boozy aroma, brown sugar and vanilla, lots of dark fruit, a bit of coffee and chocolate.

T- Chocolate, coffee, lots of roasted grain, eventually yields to a balanced sweetness from booze, fruit and molasses/brown sugar as well as some vanilla, has a very bitter finish with lots of coffee and roast.

M- Full-bodied, moderate to low carbonation, has a smooth feel.

O- A very nice stout, has some really tasty flavors and is very drinkable and balanced.

WillCarrera, May 29, 2012
Photo of MarkSCCOT
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured into an oversized wineglass from a 12 ounce bottle recieved from stopbarking.

A. Pours dark, like dark treacle or molasses. Some ruby color at the edges. Tan frothy head with decent lacing.

S. I drank this beer right after a Java Stout that was dominated by coffee, so I easily noted the dark fruit taste to this beer. Currant, bittersweet chocolate...very nice. Some alcohol warmness.

T. This is a good stout. Dark fruit, chocolate and an expresso like coffee flavor. Muted alcohol warming.

M. This is where this beer shined. A smooth creamy finish. Best I have ever had outside of a cask drawn stout.

D. Pretty high at 10.5%, but otherwise a great beer to quaff.

MarkSCCOT, Jan 27, 2008
Photo of redbeav
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%

redbeav, Sep 18, 2014
Photo of 99bottles
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Apperance: Pours an ultra dark brown-black with a poofy dark tan head of about an 1.5". Looks quite thick. Nasty lace sticks as the beer is drank.

Smell: I can stand 5 feet away and smell rich black roasted malts and twinges of imperial bitterness. I'm salivating. Rich chocolate smell also. Very Storm Kingesque with regard to smell.

Taste: Uh oh. I might just go back to the store and clean them out of the rest of these. This is better than good. Immense hop profile gives this the perfect imperial stout aftertaste and such a good signature. There is an obvious roasted barley body, good presence of chocolate, some light butterscotch, lots of molasses, coffee. Very classic flavor, quite aged Rogue Imperial Stoutesque.

Mouthfeel: Super heavy, slick and smooth. Paints a coating on your tongue, and it's a nice memory of the beer. Very sludgy and super low carbonation begins to become really bothersome towards the finish.

Drinkability: Well, this is where it gets kind of odd. This beer goes down really slowly. It's sort of tough to have more than one, and even that has to go slow. I feel like its almost too heavy, doesn't dance on the tongue as much as it ought. It initally doesn't seem like 11.5%, but it does feel heavy and slow due to a lack in carbonation, even for an imperial stout. Still excellent though, just a bit off.

99bottles, May 05, 2004
Photo of IPAcraig
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This Bell's stout was poured upon arriving home after what seemed like a successful interview with a solid firm. Cheers to a good outcome on both items.

It is off to a slow start. I dont know what it is about Bell's stouts (maybe the bottle conditioning), but they all lack in carbonation and head. What head that does appear is a wonderful, dark mocha brown atop the blackest of bodies.

The aroma is undeniably weak on this massive beverage. It comes with high credentials, but it is falling a bit short. Sweet cream is nearly the only aroma detectable ... okay, and some roasted coffee flavors.

Its not looking so good for this one, and them Bam! there is an explosion of flavor. This is a massively sweet chocoaltey brew. It is like chocolate syrup almost, in a good way.

The mouthfeel is syrup, with very low carbonation. I like the thick viscosity of this one, but a tinge more carbonation would have helped.

This is a big beer. It started slow, butted it pulled through in then end. Drizzled over vanilla ice cream is amazing,

IPAcraig, Apr 04, 2008
Photo of Genghis22
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a thick deep dark black. Huge coffee colored head that lasts for days. Fair amount of lacing afterwards. Pitch black, no light comes through at all.

S - Licorice, dry wood, burnt coffee and roasted malt in the nose. Slight tinge of alcohol. None of the usual suspects here, but very interesting, can't wait to sip it.

T - That is a RIS for sure. Big hit in the mouth from the alcohol. Smokey, with touches of oak. Hops come in the back door and take over your tongue with a harsh bitterness that is only fueled by the alcohol. The aftertaste reveals the usual tastes associated with this style: cofee, dark chocolate, smokey roasted malts. There is a sweetness that washes over the tongue, finishing an epic journey.

M - Nice, thick, full bodied, slightly oily. Moderate carbonation, very fine bubbles.

D - Hard to say. I liked it. I appreciated it. I think it would improve with age. This is a HUGE beer, with lots of room to grow, currently though, I'd say one and done. There is just too much alcohol to drink more than one in a sitting. Really curious to see how this would hold up over the next few years.

Big thanks to Stephen for hooking be up with a couple bottles of this.

Genghis22, Dec 04, 2009
Photo of stoutman
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

There's no shining a light through this one. Sweet aromas from a pitch black oily stout. Bubbles collect around the rim and an oily haze dances around on top. Alcohol is present in the breath as you breathe in your first sip, followed by a thick, heavy sweet rush. Sweet and sticky on my teeth, malty and thick on my tongue, bitter and alcoholic down my throat.

stoutman, Feb 19, 2003
Photo of Dope
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fresh 2011 Expedition stout, about 5 weeks old.

A: Pitch black pour with a huge, thick dark brown head. Retention is amazing and so is the lacing. Top of the category.

S: Very boozy and loaded with roasted malt. Molasses and maybe a little caramel? Some cherry and raisin noticeable too. Coffee, especially when warm. Stinging alcohol.

T: Huge roasted malt and bitter coffee. Alcohol heat is big up front but fades away under the crushing bitter flavors of coffee, chocolate and burnt malt. Can get a bit of dark fruit - raisin and cherries I think - up front and in the middle before the ensuing wave takes over.

M: Thick and syrupy with stinging alcohol sensations.

O: Big, boozy and bitter when fresh. Will have to try some aged vintages at see how it transforms, I bet it is amazing with a few years on it. An excellent big and complex stout for sure. Let this one warm up for sure.

Dope, Dec 08, 2011
Photo of bmohead
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

From a bottle, poured into a pint glass. A hard pour produced a slow building, 2 finger mocha head. Heavy lacing follows this one down the side of the glass. Appears a deep black, with no light penetrating. Smell up front is of raisin and plum, then a deeper coffee and slightly chocolate aroma follows. Taste follows smell, with a roasty bitterness that is not at all overwhelming. Mouthfeel is quite thick and creamy, but finishes rather dry. Nice. Overall this is a fairly drinkable RIS, and one I will have again

bmohead, Jan 04, 2011
Photo of ElGrecoVerde
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is black. There's no highlights or anything. It has a nice, rich bitter chocolate aroma blended with coffee.

The most notable flavors are dark chocolates and dark fruits. Rich coffee, a little sweet caramel and toffee, and a unique nuttiness make this a great tasting brew.

Maybe mine was a bit flat, but the mouthfeel is the only thing holding this back. It was more oily than creamy, but still above average, and leaves a nice coat of flavor behind.

Definitely a sipper brew. But watch out, the 10.5% ABV creeps in unnoticed.

ElGrecoVerde, Feb 26, 2009
Photo of JMartin
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%

JMartin, Oct 12, 2014
Photo of Brian700
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I look forward to picking up a few six packs of this every winter. It's the perfect beer to come home from work and drink while winding down. No light gets through this beer, its the thickest I've seen. Totally opaque. I usually pour it roughly so the head amounts to a little more than it normally would. It disappears none the less. The head is real chocolatey and also coffee-like. Taste follows the nose. It tastes very chocolatey at first and then you can pick up on its heavy coffee notes and maltiness. Good mouthfeel. I might try it on toast. Mmm...

Brian700, Mar 09, 2003
Photo of d_cook_roc
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%

d_cook_roc, Friday at 03:39 AM
Photo of Siriusfisherman
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Black with ruby glints on the pour, thin, creamy mocha head. Good Lacing.

A: Sweet roasted coffee and chocolate notes, dark cherry, caramely dark fruits, graham cracker. Some boozy alcohol notes detectable as well as some very astringent, resinous hops.

T/M: Big coffee bitterness up front, sweet caramel and dark fruit works in with some chocolate notes and graham cracker malt. A big battle between the dry roasted malts and sweet caramel malts in the finish. Very warming, creamy finish.

Overall, a very tasty stout, it's reputation likely suffers from being compared to the likes of FBS, but it is certainly a great beer. I look forward to aging the rest of the six-pack.

Siriusfisherman, May 06, 2013
Photo of TechBrew
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%

TechBrew, Oct 15, 2014
Photo of JohnG190
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours inky black with a thin mocha head. Good lacing. Aroma of chocolate, burnt coffee and a whiff of smoke. Bitter on the palate, lots of dark fruit, bitter chocolate and nice hop character. Thick, rich mouthfeel with little carbonation. Overall, a great example of Russian Imperial Stout. Well crafted.

JohnG190, Oct 11, 2013
Photo of quaybr
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass. Had a huge mocha head that dissipated after several minutes of extreme patience! Color a dark brown, nearing black.

Smelled of roasted and chocolate malts, quiet bitter hops, and alcohol.

Taste is amazing. A ten degree warmup result in a completely different beer. So you should let that happen (50 degree range). Right after the pour, it tasted like a slightly roasted, hoppy, thick ale. As it warms up, however, the coffee and chocolate undertones get louder and louder in a wonderful way. So damn good.

Mouthfeel is thick and relatively smooth, not quite silky. Good level of carbonation.

Visiting Ohio for Christmas. I have spent that past few weeks hoping this beer would be accessible once I got back into the distribution area. Quarter Barrel in Oxford did me one better. This is a great beer. Well balanced and consistently delicious.

quaybr, Dec 21, 2011
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,664 ratings.