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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.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

5,043 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 5,043
Reviews: 1,928
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.85%
Wants: 427
Gots: 1,143 | 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: 5,043 | Reviews: 1,928 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cassanoj
2.68/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a stange glass. Thick, black and syrupy. Brownish head, but not much of it.

Smells like chocolate and licorice. Other flavors - molasses, coffee, nice roasted maltiness. Some dark fruits - plums, raisins.

Tastes like... beef. Not a fan. I like how thick it is, it's a nice sipper. Kind of weird that there's virtually no carbonation. I can't get over that beef taste. Behind the beef lies some sweet chocolate, dried fruit, caramel, malty.

The mouthfeel is okay. I like the thickness but I wish it was balanced out with some nice carbonation. Not a very complex beer, or if it is, I think it's rather unbalanced on the thick, chocolate side.

Overall, I think I would have liked this beer more if it didn't feel like I just hunt it down and shot it. I definitely understand the name though. It is what it tries to be and I can certainly appreciate that. Just... not my cup o' tea.

Photo of jpmclaug
2.7/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from the bottle into a snifter

A - Black body with a small circle of dark brown head.

S - Dark malts and roast, a big boozy presence lingers in the back as well.

T - dark chocolate, kind of a burnt grain taste that makes it fairly bitter. Boozy as well but in a grainy alcohol kind of way.

M - heavy body, not much carbonation

D - Not what I remember this one tasting like. Kind of a bitter burnt flavor takes this one down a notch with me.

Photo of jwc215
2.7/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours pitch black with a light brown head that soon fades to a patch, then disappears. Nice color, but disappointing head. I know that the abv works against head retention, but there was none to speak of.

The smell is of dark chocolate with some subtle dark fruit notes. The alcohol masks most of the aromas.

Thick, dark chocolate with an alcohol punch upfront. The sweet chocolate is so dominant that it reminded me of a chocolate stout more than an IRS. It is certainly full-bodied, but more in a chocolate malt sort of way. It reminds me of when I was a child and would put too much chocolate syrup in my milk. The alcohol creates a harsh edge, as it is not masked in any way. As there is little, if any hops, it becomes cloyingly sweet. They have the chocolate and alcohol down pat, but where is the complexity that the style calls for? A dark fruit essence tries to come through, but that is too syrupy and masked by the chocolate and alcohol.
The feel is creamy and softer than the taste, but without any carbonation it does not go down so easily. And, again, the sharp alcohol edge detracts more than adds.
I can appreciate a beer with a high abv, and this is one of my favorite styles, but this one doesn't do it for me. Overly malty, even for the style, no carbonation, and the alcohol is not masked and doesn't really add to the flavor, leaving the sweet rich chocolate to be the only dimension to its potential.

Photo of clvand0
2.7/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

This beer poured a very very dark black color and it seemed quite thick. The head was thick and dark brown. Lots of lacing on the glass as well. The aroma was full of maltiness, chocolate, and coffee. Very powerful aroma. The main part of the flavor is the thick, dark maltiness but it also has some chocolates, coffees, (a small amount of) fruits, and several other things. Quite complex taste. The mouthfeel was interesting because the flavor is so strong. It almost killed my tastebuds at first. As with most imperial stouts, this one was a bit too strong for my tastes - very well made though.

Photo of crayphish
2.7/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I waited a fairly long time to get my hands on an Expedition. Expectations were huge. The stout pours a fairly thin black, carbonation barren liquid. The lack of any sort of head and carbonation really hurts this brew. Hard to get a handle on the smell. I get some roasted elements, along with a vegetable oil bleh. Not appealing. The taste is weak chocolate, roasted barley, and the vegetable unpleasantness again. I'm hoping that this batch might have gotten funked. Hopslam is an amazing imperial style brew, I can't see Bell's missing this badly. This beer was hard to finish. Hopefully one of the last 3 in the sixer changes my opinion.

Photo of Blanco
2.73/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

black with a darker head than most stouts big lacing from the head with a slight film on the side of the glass reminiscent of wine lacing. big dark fruit and alcohol in the nose right up front. sweetness as well. wow, the flavor is strong and out of control. first strong bitterness and then roasted coffee, which was not present in the smell. definitely makes you pull back and sip on her and unfortunately it's not as good as I expected. Though it has some potential, seems a little too fresh for me.

Photo of yourefragile
2.73/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle

I had been looking forward to trying this one for a long time and unfortunately the beer was not able to live up to my expectations or appearance. I'm hoping I had a bad bottle and will try this again in the future and hope for better....

A: Ok, lots good so far, pours a very thick, sludgy black and from hard pour has a nice sized tan head that has nice retention and leaves incredible lacing. Looks like a great RIS.
S: Not as strong as expected or mentioned in other reviews, but it has a sweet, rich aroma with chocolate, molasses, roasted flavors, etc.
T: Sweeter than expected, alcohol is well hidden, but something just seems...off. Everything just seems flat, overly sweet and not balancing bitterness. I mean, the flavors are there from the aroma and tastes like it should be a good RIS, but I don't know, I don't feel like thinking any harder about this.
M: Thick, creamy, flat, no carbonation, just....not good. Too sweet, no bitterness or hops detectable...
D: Ok, I'm being redundant, I only bump up the drinkability for the 10.5% alcohol being well hidden, otherwise it was very difficult for me to finish this bottle as I just didn't enjoy and would rather just have Kalamazoo, Double Cream, Java or basically any of their other stouts (for much cheaper). I'll update this review in future when I try again.

Photo of aaronxsubaru
2.73/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

this tasted like teriyaki sauce. It has alot or roasty, maybe even burnt tasting notes to it. I personally did not like this, this was my first imperial stout so i'm not quite sure what to expect. Personally i won't try this again, but i like stouts and porters enough to not give up on this style. This particular beer however was a little too bold, and not well balanced enough for me.

Photo of abankovich
2.75/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured with a pretty nice light brown head with the beer being extremely dark as it should be.

Smells very strong and sweet of molasses and maple syrup maybe some brown sugar as well. Some chocolate notes as well.

Very sweet on the initial sip, a lot of malt and syrupy flavors present. Almost a little too syrupy for me. I wish there was a little more bitterness throughout to balance it out. Chocolate and Java hints on the very back end as it washes down.

Mouthfeel is medium to thick and the drinkability isn't too high on this one for me due to the overwhelming sweetness for the style.

Photo of HardyA
2.75/5  rDev -35.1%

Photo of bendukes86
2.75/5  rDev -35.1%

Photo of WckdVbz
2.75/5  rDev -35.1%

This is a Black DIPA, not a RIS.

Photo of chicagobeerriot
2.75/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Drinking this fresh to get a baseline to compare flavors as this beer ages. Completely opaque, even when held to the light. A vigorous pour produced a thick, rocky, mocha colored head that produces substantial lacing.

The smell is complex, but causes some concern for what's to come. Some light soy sauce and over-charred coffee beans are in the mix with some more pleasant molasses notes.

The taste is a mixed bag. Thankfully, the soy smell does not translate to the flavor profile. There's a bit of soy there, but not enough to be offputting. The first sips begin well, but the balanced sweetness is soon overwhelmed by the char and alcohol finish. The finish is too bitter, too boozy, simply too much. I've heard so much about how this beer ages and I sincerely hope that the conventional wisdom is true because it's kind of a mess fresh. The alcohol and burnt toast flavors have to moderate and the sweetness has to develop before this beer is worth your time. Hopefully that's exactly what will happen. Will check back a year from now.

Photo of Talisker
2.75/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I had been looking forward to trying Bell's Expedition Stout - one of my favorite styles made by one of my favorite stout brewers. No freshness date on the bottle - what's up with that, Bell's? - but this one was cellared for at least 6 months after I got it.

And while Expedition Stout has some worthy attributes, ultimately this is for me more a miss than any sort of hit.

Pours into my snifter a thick, dark brown. Not quite one finger of dark brown head. Very nice aroma, toffee, lots of roast, some chocolate. But it's all downhill from there - taste is unintegrated, hot, liquorice-y to the point of cinnamon candies. The sweetness doesn't balance that heat, and the heavy alcohol exacerbates the problem. Very prominent, causes a certain burn on the tongue and the back of the throat.

I would gladly try this once more on tap - I love most everything else I've tried from Bell's, so I owe Expedition at least that - but I won't be picking up any bottles again.

Photo of yankees27
2.75/5  rDev -35.1%

Photo of Jspriest
2.75/5  rDev -35.1%

Photo of iuhophead87
2.75/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A- Dark black with almost no head! Looks almost like molasses or barbeque sauce.

S- It smells like molasses, raisons, and dates. Smells much sweeter than it tastes.

T- I had high expectations for this beer, but was greatly disappointed. There seemed to be almost no carbonation. It is more malty than sweet and where is the creaminess of a stout, it is not in this beer. Almost reminds me of cough syrup with a little hops added. Not a big fan of this beer, although I do like most beers brewed by "BELLS" .

MF- Thick and starts out sweet, then the flavor goes quickly as you choke down this raison juice.

D- The taste + alcohol content make this beer almost undrinkable. However, If you are able to get one down the 10% ABV is a plus. There is no way I could drink more than one of these.

I'm a big fan of Bells, but could do without this concoction of hopped up prune juice.

Photo of Mitchster
2.75/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Fall 2007. $2.50 for a single 12oz bottle at Jack's. Pours out to a very dark brown, but not as oily and sheer black as prior versions. Forms a large, voluminous sticky dark cocoa head with excellent retention and lacing. Very nice looking beer. Nose of heavily roasted grains, big malts, lots of herbal hops, vanilla, walnut (a little more subdued than prior versions) and a wisp of alcohol. Mouthfeel is big and coating. Big bodied, but not as big as I remember it..certainly not as oily. Hrmm, off-flavors galore...the requisite cocoa, prunes, and big dark malts are there, but it has a very definite "homebrew" plastic-y pang, and by that I mean, there are some off-flavor fusels and aldehydes (but not in a good way). It reminds me almost exactly of a RIS I brewed a long time ago..fermented it too warm and it kinda had this funky rubbery taste. Bitterness is moderate. The finish is kinda rubbery...tastes likes plastic and bleach.

Hrmm, quite the disappointment. I'm glad I didn't pick up a 6'er of this. I'm gonna go drink my Stone RIS to wash this taste out of my mouth. This one is going down the drain.

Photo of sh00ky
2.75/5  rDev -35.1%

Photo of Alex5
2.75/5  rDev -35.1%

Photo of NYCWheatFanSC
2.75/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours a thick dark black with a small, cherry mocha head that recedes quickly to a microfilm on top with a sturdy collar that leaves alot of lacing as the beer goes down.

S - Licorice, alcohol, and burnt brown sugar dominate.

T - The estery alcohols impart an almost robitussin-eque flavor that is rather off-putting from the start. Smoke, and caramelized molasses are also big players here, but not strong enough to mask the cough syrup flavors.

M - Nice and chewy, with a bit more carbonation than I would expect which unfortunately brings out alot of the more acrid flavors.

D - Would not seek this one out again over many, many others I have readily available.

Photo of thirtysixbelow
2.78/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

a - not good. Looks like motor oil being poured in. Completely opaque black with almost no carbonation. After I was done pouring the head took a second to creep up. It got to about a finger and a half of dark chocolate looking head. It held up for a few minutes before going down to a skim.

s - sweet smelling with chocolate, coffee, and caramel notes.

t - sweet coffee flavor up front. After that the alcohol sets in. I figured it was going to be hard to cover up 10.5% abv and it is. The alcohol gives a good warming with a strong bite. It has a hoppy bitterness that I wasn't expecting. It doesn't really strike me as hoppy, just oddly bitter. This is a little much for me.

m - looked like motor oil pouring it into my glass, and that is also about the consistency. Normally I don't mind a really smooth beer, but I just can't get that image out of my head. More carbonation in the mouth than you would think after pouring it though.

d - I don't know if my palate just isn't ready for this or not, but it's way too much. The only thing I enjoyed about this beer was smelling it. The alcohol and bitterness just doesn't sit well. There wasn't anything interesting up front either. I was hoping for some good stout flavors after smelling it, but :(

Photo of Winter
2.83/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Presumably from the 2002 bottling as none of this six pack's residents are sporting any neck labels. Pours a thick viscous black with absolutely no head what-so-ever, even after an attempted hard pour. Aroma consists of alcohol, expresso and chocolate. Some sweetness also detected. Full-bodied and coating mouthfeel. The taste is vinous and alcoholic. Grainy and chocolate flavors emerge toward the back. Finishes dry with a roasted malt and ghost-like tabacco flavors.

Defintely a sipping beer and very hard to finish. I did not want another one, and quite frankly, how many of these could one desire, especially with the carbonation issues? My impression, at least from this batch, is that this beer is highly overrated. I'm not completely turned off, but I'll wait for the new bottles. The Bell's retailer should have these pulled off the shelf and supply a more fresher, properly brewed and bottled product.

Photo of kjyost
2.83/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Batch 9512

Poured quite oddly, with a moderate pour no head was appearing,so poured aggressively and after the pour the head built up nicely leaving a mocha head of a finger atop an inky opaque body. Moderate lacing. The aromas coming off were initially very strongly of molasses with a slight coffee undertone, evolving to a more balanced nose of molasses and malt.

Burns lightly of alcohol on the palate. Feels too cold initially,so I need to let it warm up. A strong bitterness that is upfront and lingers. Molasses, with maybe a bit of roasted malt underneath. As the drink built a cloying sweetness that seemed wrong for this beer built and built until it became difficult to drink and the bitterness lingers too strongly.

Prickly in the mouth and covers it initially but doesn't feel like its there after save the bitterness stuck on your tongue.

Photo of srv33
2.85/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had heard such good things about this beer so I was excited when I nabbed one of the last singles from a local shop. Dark brown pour, almost no foam head. Light smell, not very fragrant, bit of soy and pine. Taste is full bodied, stout-like, slightly lactic, sits heavy on the tongue, not too bitter, with notes of echanacia. I wanted to be wowed by this but was just not impressed - I think its possible I might have gotten a bad bottle, as I have read others experiencing more of a head when poured whereas I had almost zero.

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
95 out of 100 based on 5,043 ratings.