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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.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

5,368 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,368
Reviews: 1,996
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.61%
Wants: 447
Gots: 1,328 | FT: 99
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: 5,368 | Reviews: 1,996
Photo of Gehrig
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The most expensive six-pack I've ever purchased (over $18 at the Good Time Beer Store in Northville, MI; review of the establishment soon on its way), Expedition Stout is a full-throated monster of an imperial stout. It's not the best, but certainly one of the most unique, IS's I've ever had. A solid, durable finger of brown froth rests atop a black body. The appearance is nothing short of menacing.

The smell is positively loaded with coffee and caramel, more of the latter than I would have thought, and it's a fascinating melange, and is followed by some brown sugar striving for air. The taste is quite good, but here I'm impelled to review it with the mouthfeel, which drags down the taste, and the beer as a whole. Lots of caramel and coffee, good enough. But it's a bit gritty and, coupled with tinges of bitterness which aren't in and of themselves bad, Expedition Stout seems to be working at cross purposes, rather than just being complicated. Its carbonation is good and durable--good show--but I think it would work better if it were smoother.

Nonetheless, it's quite good, but a big, brawny brew. I felt the very high ABV (10.5%) was hidden fairly well. But the texture ensures sipping this rather than quaffing. All told, that might not be so bad. Grab it but, unless you can afford it, try grabbing a couple and spending the rest of the scratch on a few others. The price is as big as the beer.

Photo of darthvohn
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glass Used: Nonic Pint
Vintage: 7/26/13

Appearance: Dark as the night. Very little head on this one, however it was a milk chocolatey brown. Next to no lacing.

Smell: Boozy (especially after warming), rich dark fruits (prune and fig), chocolate-caramel scents drifting around the glass.

Taste: Chocolate, dark fruits, and boozy heat. A bitter bite on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Very thick, sticky, med carbonation. Creamy smooth.

Overall: Any RIS that's heavy on dark fruits and chocolate wins me over, and this one did. I only wish I would have put some age on this one. The booze was pretty strong on the nose and palate but the flavors, oh man, had me loving every drink.

Photo of JimmyFlatRock
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%

Photo of alwaysplayin
4.11/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of LooseMoose1978
4.11/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Bosoxfan20
4.11/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pitch black that is near opaque with a wispy mocha head that quickly fades. Fair lacing. The dense, murky, viscous look to this one reminds me of scary night waters.

S- An intense RIS aroma of coffee, vanilla, specialty chocolates, dark cherries that can be detected from a few feet away. Blends well with the intense notes of esters and bourbon booze. This aroma is pure magic.

T- Flavor that certainly has some "wow" qualities. Just as the label indicates with the big hop bitterness. Milky chocolate picked up even more on the tongue than on the nose. Roasted goodness along with damn near overwhelming complexity. Welcoming blend of sweet and acidic sour.

M- Just like all the other characteristics of this beer, the feel is spot on for the style. Full chewy body, viscous and sheet like velvet. Creamy as can be. Alcohol is present and well received as the warmth invigorates the throat.

O- An absolutely impressive stout. Should age like a fine wine. Cellar will welcome a few for the next year or two...if i can hold out that long. I needed a second glass to verify how good this beer was...any yep, my original thoughts were confirmed. Well done Bells!

$16.99 for a 6pk

Photo of Ellbert
4.11/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 1 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I think I got a bad bottle, it had very little carbonation in it and it had absolutely no head. However the smell and taste was excellent. It tasted of roasted coffee and raisins. Very bold and robust. The alcohol is very hidden, it's amazing at 11.5% that the alcohol can be hidden. I'm sure this would be much better if it were carbonated. I still enjoy the beer but I hope the next one is better.

Photo of SeaOfAsh
4.11/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of hockeyfighter19
4.11/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of khiasmus
4.11/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to kkipple for the half bottle.

A- Black as used oil, a finger of tan head that lasts as a single layer forever.

S- Rich molasses, toffee, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, and a good hop balance.

T- Molasses again, tons of burnt grain and chocolate - the burnt grain lends a strong bitterness that lingers in the finish along with the sweet malt. Hop balance is there too, but there are more acrid, burnt notes than hoppy.

M- Chewy, silky, rich, heavy, medium-high carbonation, and a dry, almost puckering finish.

D- I'd have one once a week if I could.

Photo of Agold
4.11/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Expedition has a nice high dark brown head which recedes and leaves some nice lacing. Good rich roasty aroma with a hint of chocolate and a bit of fruityness. The fruityness is not the most appealing, but not a big detractor. Taste is big and roasty as well with a bit of chocolate flavor. The fruity character receded leaving a nice smooth rich beer. Mouthfeel was good and creamy and smooth, and not too heavy.

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.11/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

this is a colossal beer, and one that comes with quite a bit of hype. for me, it was a shade under the quality of the most elite Russian imperials, but its a damn good beer nevertheless. it pours a really dark brown color, coffee in color really, with a robust milky cream head and an aroma of black barley and more hops than expected, this is bitter for sure. some hot alcohol greets my lips, followed by raw cocoa, toasted nuts of some kind, maybe macadamias, something oily, and then the bitter super dark, almost burnt barley. its quite the journey, but the whole thing really is overshadowed a little bit by the alcoholic intensity. some age may indeed do this good, as mine is less than a year old. fortunately I have some more bottles for this. which reminds me, thanks again to thebrewo for making yet another great beer possible for me in Colorado. obviously full body, but not as thick or viscous as some, decent carbonation for what it is, and a very warming alcohol finish on top of all the bitter. this is an impressive beer, but one that age will service well I think. bells can really do no wrong for me.

Photo of WheelsPSU
4.11/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of grynder33
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark black brown body, small and quickly disappearing head, beautiful, fruity, coffeeish, chocolately aroma, chocolate raisin first taste, thick and yet somewhat smooth mouthfeel. The slight downpoint I noticed on this was the quick builup of alcohol backtaste it was like I was drinking a port wine at the end. If you have the time and can sip it slow its a great winter stout

Photo of Brenden
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Thick and rich, this midnight-black stout looks every bit as big as the any RIS could strive to be. It's got the motor oil viscosity that makes these beers so appealing, not to mention great for cold weather. The brown head forms a solid cap between one and two fingers high with lots of density to it. It drops fairly chunky lacing rather plentifully.
The aroma doesn't pop out of this brew, but it is big. It's heady, too, some sweeter sort of rum-like booziness tempting the nostrils along with some moderately bitter, somewhat milkier chocolate, almost smoky roast, and mostly sweet dark fruits with a touch of tartness. It's almost complete, and some char tickles the nose a bit much, but this is nice regardless.
The big malts start off with sweeter notes of toffee and vanilla even as the chocolate comes in along with coffee grounds, not spent but not quite fresh. Still, this is very tasty stuff, and the alcoholic heat is kept pretty well in check as well. Char comes out with the roast in the middle, while the blend of dark fruits rounds out the finish.
Where this beer really shines is the feel. If ever I was tired of middle-of-the-road breweries brewing a medium or barely full-bodied RIS and I needed something I knew I could find, there's no question this substantial, robustly-bodied beauty would do it. It coats the tongue almost luxuriously but doesn't sit too heavy though it's seriously thick and rich. A little char adds a drying note into the finish.

Photo of kmbeer
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of RickS95
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours an extremely black beer with only some lighter brown tints when held up to light. The light doesn't come through, but the faint brown only shows then. The head is gorgeous, a mocha colored pillow of bubbles. Retains very well and leaves an attractive film of lace.

The smell isn't as aggressive as I'd like, but it's all malt. No evidence of hops, just malt. A bit of chocolate and smoke.

This bottle has only beer around for five months, so the flavors haven't yet melded together. It's abundantly malty, with a nice kick of alcohol from mid-sip throughout the finish. I've got a four pack and I'm having two tonight, so I expect when I have the next two bottles this score will go up. Currently, there's little complexity as it goes simply from malty to boozy.

Smooth is the word of the day. It's exceptionally smooth and creamy. An initial blast of sweetness precedes the heat from the alcohol, as well as the bitterness from the alcohol and the chocolate. The finish is both warm and dry, and lingering. Full bodied creaminess. It's so soft for such a strong beer.

While a bit bitter and relatively high in ABV, it's quite easy to drink. As it warms more and more sweetness comes out, making it even more drinkable. I've never seen this in town before so I'm really excited to know I can age a couple more bottles for the future.

Photo of jegross2
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing the Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Score: 91

Fresh 2011 bottle served in a snifter glass.

Appearance: Dark brown, opaque body -- light does not cut through the beer at all. Pours a finger and a half of mocha-colored head that sticks around a while. 4/5

Smell: Rich, malty milk chocolate, some roasted coffee tones and a faint booziness aroma. The milk chocolate aroma is absolutely divine. 4.5/5

Taste: Smooth roasted chocolate, brown sugar and lots of hops Some dark fruit too. Finishes with a light note of bitter coffee in addition to the above mentioned flavors. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, viscous beer with minimal carbonation. The finish is savory. 4/5

Overall: A very affordable, solid Russian Imperial Stout that is widely available and easy to find when in season. The aroma of the beer is absolutely wonderful, though the flavor lacks some of the creamy milk chocolate characters that were present in the aroma and is a bit hop-heavy out of the gate. The flavor of the beer is nothing innovative, and very "average" and straight-forward for the style, but pretty delicious nonetheless. Another reliable beer from Bells that is quite drinkable.

Recommendation: A very good starter Russian Imperial Stout for casual beer drinkers. Beer geeks are implored to try this one as well.

Pairings: Steak.

Cost: $15.99 for a six pack.

Photo of lou91
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this stout straight and high into the center of my Delirium Noel glass to try and get a head but to no avail. It poured still and looked like soy sauce – black and opaque. The nose was like a stout perfume with scents of roasting coffee, sugar and alcohol. The taste is intense with chocolate, coffee and buttered rum. Rich, thick and delicious. Try it with a piece of good chocolate and experience bliss. My only qualm would be the need to vintage date the bottle to see if time helps. Didn’t see any sediment so maybe this is not bottle conditioned.

Photo of BayouBengal1537
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark black color with no head at all, rather disappointing. Smells of dark chocolate, sweet molasses, roasted malts very pronounced. Taste has rich chocolate notes, sweet roasted malts, slight bitterness from the hops, followed by dark fruit sweetness. Mouthfeel is heavy, chewy, creamy, pretty amazing. Full bodied but little carbonation. Overall, a very complex brew, nice and tastey, would like to have tried this aged a little bit longer, but a pretty damn good beer.

Photo of tkrane
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of cvaypai
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into snifter.

Appearance- Deep dark midnight black, cannot see through at all, even when held up to light. 1 finger dark tan creamy head that stays.

Smell- Smells of chocolate, dark roasted malts, toffee, caramel, very nice nose to it. I really like the smell of this beer. Surprisingly no alcohol detected in the nose.

Taste- Deep dark roasted taste with a bit of sweetness and then bitter. Chocolate up front is very subtle but delicious. Pretty well balanced beer, surprised for a beer of its stature.

Mouthfeel- Not impressed with its mouthfeel, stings my mouth for some reason and just seems a bit off. Though it is fairly smooth.

Drinkability- This is not a beer you should enjoy on the first day that hits the 90's of the year. Though I couldn't wait to taste it. One of these only, but enjoyable while drinking, I am in the air, not outside.

Good stuff, I would like to age one and see it progress.

Photo of TomTown
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. Bottle dated 10/22/12.

Pours pitch black with a 1/2 inch light brown head.

Smells of milk chocolate and coffee. More assertive roast than recent stouts I've had.

Strong bitterness for a stout. Definitely within acceptable range, but the IBU's and roast level work well together to add a strong edge to the sweetness present in a beer of this size.

Mouthfeel is pretty full but the bitterness cuts that a little earlier than other interpretations.

Overall a very tasty beer and I'm glad I had one relatively fresh. I'll try again in a year to see how some of the roast and bitterness has mellowed.

Photo of gatorlove
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of MikeRoper1989
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this one on tap a month or two ago and decided to grab a bottle from work tonight to try it again.

Appearance - It is very dark. Black. I poured this into a tulip and hardly got a head on it, but what was there stuck around.

Smell - A nice sweet malty smell. I was getting some coffee and chocolate in the smell.

Taste - Very similar to the smell. A very heavy and malty beer with some coffee taste up front and chocolate coming after. The 10.5% ABV is hidden.

Mouthfeel - Kinda syrupy. The taste is sticking around on my lips and leaves a coating in my mouth. Not a bad thing though.

Overall - I enjoyed this beer more when I had it on tap a month or two back, but it is still great and one that I recommend for anyone looking for a nice stout for dessert.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 5,368 ratings.