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

Bell's Expedition StoutBell's Expedition Stout

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4,114 Ratings
no score

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Ratings: 4114
Reviews: 1856
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.11%

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)
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Ratings: 4,114 | Reviews: 1,856 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Onenote81

North Carolina

3.5/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Was in GSO for an exam yesterday and decided to stop by the Old Town Draught House for a pint to celebrate. Lo and behold, they had this on tap! Um...yes, please.

I received a full-to-the-brim pint. Just a thin dark tan sheet of lace coated the top. After each sip, a gorgeous ring stuck to the glass edge. The nose was deep and dark. Lot's of roasted malts, ground coffee, chocolate, and wisps of booze.

The mouth was hefty, chewy and just downright splendid. Palate-coating all the way. I dig it. The roasted aspects of the nose carry over to the flavor big time. This beer tastes charred, toasted, burnt -- whatever adjective you want to use. To the point that the sweet chocolate balance and the booze quality is drowned out completely. I hear all the time that this beer is at its best after a few years in a dark cellar, and after this fresh version, I think 'they' might be on to something.

Serving type: on-tap

05-26-2011 18:00:47 | More by Onenote81
Photo of mactrail


3.93/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Really big black ale.

Great big stout, a little touch of brown-amber in the glass. Huge malt. Very strong, alcohol flavors, like a brandy. Spicy and full of the spectrum of roasted malt. Butterscotch and cocoa. Nice nose full of burnt cereal and chocolate. Long burning aftertaste with coffee flavors.

Had a glass at Barley's in Greenville, SC.

Serving type: on-tap

04-15-2011 04:45:55 | More by mactrail
Photo of AgentZero


3.2/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Black beer that browns on the edges with a couple fingers of mocha-colored head.

S - Sweet, and slightly hot, typical RIS with chocolate and coffee notes, bit of roasted malt, caramel, and molasses.

T - Sweet, molasses and chocolate are definitely there, and it drinks a little bit boozy as well. Some roast, but it is a bit heavy on the molasses and taste a little burnt as well. It's okay, but nothing special.

M - Slightly overcarbed, but full bodied.

O - It's not a bad beer, but I've had a lot better and wouldn't really seek this out.

Serving type: on-tap

04-03-2011 05:10:07 | More by AgentZero
Photo of vette2006c5r


5/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a dark black color, with a creamybrown head. The smell is very malty. The taste is massivly heavy, lots of choclate and coffeflavors, an intense malt flavor. The flavor is going to linger and the alchool blends nicley. Overall may very well be the best stout i ever had, fantastic.

Serving type: on-tap

03-27-2011 23:35:11 | More by vette2006c5r
Photo of DoubleSimcoe

New York

4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bell's Expedition Stout on tap at ChurchKey in Washington, DC.

Appearance: Served in a small brandy snifter, comes with a toasty foamy head like a macchiato coffee in a piazza in Rome. Almost two fingers of head, brown and thick. Remarkable lacing.

Smell: Smells like men cologne, intense but dry. Also like a barn, pigs gamboling in their muddy, hay-covered pens. Horse poop, very earthy. A bit of bourbon-y booze at the end. Wet grass, rain.

Taste: Mud, coffee, roastiness. Some hard-to-pin flavors, uncommon for an Imperial stout. Sugar, chocolate shake, expensive chocolates. Espresso beans, smoke. A tad of vanilla. Good, but strange.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation, full body, finishes dry and roasty and bitter. Smooth and creamy feel.

Drinkability: Pleasant to drink, alcohol is not too evident, although it creeps up on you sooner than later.

A nice, unique (for good and bad) Imperial Stout. Not my favorite, but very good nonetheless.

Serving type: on-tap

01-14-2011 19:13:49 | More by DoubleSimcoe
Photo of orangesol


4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Al's of Hampden into a nonic pint.

A - Pours dark as can be with a thick, pillowy, one finger head, dissipating down to a thick film of head, leaving thick rings of lacing down the glass.

S - Rich, chocolatey, nose with a bit of lightly roasted dark malt. Chocolate is quite bitter but not to the point of being overpowering. A bit on the sweeter side compared to others in the style. More and more roast comes thru as it begins to warm.

T - Lots of dark, roasty, flavors in this one. Plenty of bitter chocolate up front giving way slowly to a mix of sweetness and rich roasty malt. Finish is very roasty that lingers long after consumption. Alcohol is ever present, unable to hide in the shadows for long, offering a warming sensation on finish. Not the best I have had but still very nice.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Fairly creamy feel with a very nice balance of flavors.

D - Fairly high. I really like this one a lot but it can become overpowering after the first glass. I could have one or two of these but that would be about all.

Serving type: on-tap

01-02-2011 21:50:53 | More by orangesol
Photo of AwYeh


3.78/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours dark brown, opaque with less than a finger of dark brown head which dissipates quickly.

S: Smells most clearly of chocolate initially, more coffee comes through as it warms.

T: Chocolate and coffee stand out in taste; both are balanced well. A bit of a caramel flavor, and easily noticeable bitterness from hops; pleasant bittersweet finish. Only complaint is that it may be a bit too sweet for my tastes.

M: Soft carbonation; thick, oily body.

D: Moderately drinkable; the sweetness begins to overwhelm me near the end of the glass. Though I enjoyed it, it was best early on and I don't think I would have a second immediately.

Serving type: on-tap

12-25-2010 02:55:52 | More by AwYeh
Photo of Rifugium


4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First had: on tap at Eulogy, Philly, PA

A: Dark brown and opaque, with a healthy head. Served in a tulip glass.

S: Roasty and chocolaty, some subtle spicy notes.

T: Smooth and chocolaty, some coffee, wonderful malts, moderate alcohol.

M: VERY smooth, creamy, thick body, minimal carbonation.

D: Highly drinkable, and good to the very last drop.

Serving type: on-tap

12-11-2010 18:41:49 | More by Rifugium
Photo of CBlack85

South Carolina

4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Duckworths in Charlotte. Served in a small chalice

The beer pours black as midnight, with no highlights at all. There is about one and a half fingers worth of dense dark tan head that slowly recedes leaving behind spotty lacing.

The aroma is big and roasty with lots of chocolate and coffee, and to a lesser degree dark fruits and even a bit of citrusy hops. The alcohol is present in the nose, but not as much as you would think at 10.5% ABV.

The flavor is much bigger than the aroma would lead you to believe. Loaded with caramel and chocolate, and accented by roasty grains and coffee, this beer screams desert. The dark fruitiness is just barely noticable. The hops are noticable, but not enough to get in the way of the sweet, desert like qualities of the beer. Full bodied and creamy with a very restrained carbonation. Finishes sweet with just a slight alcohol burn. Remarkably drinkable for the style and ABV.

Just an amazing beer, I will definately be picking some up to cellar, I am interested to see how this beer tastes with a couple of years on it.

Serving type: on-tap

12-07-2010 22:00:49 | More by CBlack85
Photo of hooliganlife


4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

on tap @ itap soulard

poured into a snifter

pour was deep black chocolate with a deep cocoa colored head that filled the snifter. tons of lacing left behind, nice retention

lots of rich chocolate, dark fruit, light coffee, and a light roasted flavor.

lots of roasted coffee and malt with a very rich sweet chocolate flavor that held through out the middle. a nice mix of sweet dark fruit beneath the roasted flavor. a defining citrus hop flavor through out and in the finish. mostly grapefruit and orange.

a bit harsh but smooth also. carbonation had some bite. very little noticeable heat.

this was delicious. as far as fresh, its far better on tap. bottles need age, tap does not.

Serving type: on-tap

12-04-2010 01:55:57 | More by hooliganlife
Photo of Chaney

District of Columbia

3.9/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew was a tough one to review, because I consider it one of the "I just saw the light" beers that turned me onto craft beers years ago. I still remember where I was the first time I tried this brew.

I had this on tap (and on tap for the first time!) at the new Pizza Paradiso in Old Town Alexandria.

A: Poured the blackest black of any black you will ever see! The almost two finger head (yikes!) was roughly the same color as black coffee, with about a tablespoon of milk. I didn't have any night vision goggles handy, so I couldn't see if there were any bubbles lurking or not.

S: Bitter, dark chocolate, roasted (almost charred) barley, and a hint of licorice.

T: Did I mention bitter chocolate? Jeez, this was one bitter mutha! As a matter of fact, this brew needed more sweetness to help balance some of that "pure grain coffee ground" quality that I found a bit offensive. Still, the thick body on this sucker should be studied by every novice craft brewer on the planet.

M: Thick, but not syrupy. The lacing was fairly subdued, considering the brew's octane level. The carbonation was good here, and I didn't find the booze offensive in the slightest (although others on BA definetely have).

D: It really pains me to no end to state this, but I feel there are at least five other Imperial Stouts in the immediate area that blow this out of the water. Still, I totally respect this beer.

Serving type: on-tap

11-20-2010 03:50:45 | More by Chaney
Photo of thagr81us

South Carolina

4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from tap into an imperial pint. Poured pitch black with a minimal amount of tan head. Maintains excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of roasted malt, chocolate, alcohol, and molasses. The flavor ws of roasted malt, chocolate, oatmeal, and alcohol. It had a heavy feel on the palate with low carbonation. Overall this was a very nice brew. The alcohol on it was very warming to say the least. Had a nice flavor and aroma to it. However, the aroma was very weak to start out but upon warming it was dominated by alcohol. This brew is a must try for any stout or boozy beer lover out there for sure.

Serving type: on-tap

11-17-2010 12:19:49 | More by thagr81us
Photo of Spider889


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Bodega. Probably the best offering there in recent memory.

This beer has about the best head retention I've seen outside of a Guinness Draught. Arrived with a solid 1 1/2 finger of head that receded to a 1/2 finger and remained that way the duration of the entire glass. When I finished my last sip, there was still a dollop of foam at the bottom of my glass. Left an extremely thick blanketing of lace wrapped around all sides of my glass. Black and heavy looking, the foam is the color of a dark coffee meringue, and has about the same consistency.

The smell didn't come through as much as the flavor and appearance did, but there's plenty of roasted malt aroma and faint hop bitterness in the nose.

This is a heavy and complex beer! You begin with loads of typical imperial stout flavors - roasted barley and bitter coffee. This leads into a creamy sweetness, reminiscent of their Double Cream Stout. This is followed by a nice spiciness lent by the hops, and it finishes very dry and bitter with earthy notes outlasting all else.

One of the chewiest beers I can remember, this is dry and sticky on the palate. A little hot but perfectly manageable. If the abv were any lower the ingredients would simply call the beer a pussy until it manned up and became stronger anyway. Drinkability is good, and is bumped up a notch because I will order this beer anytime it is available. Possibly my favorite Bell's offering at this point!

Serving type: on-tap

11-17-2010 05:58:45 | More by Spider889
Photo of PDXHops

South Carolina

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap in a shaker pint, an unfortunate vessel for such a great beer (should have gone with the 10 oz pour so I could get it in a tulip). A modest but dense tan head sits atop the oily body. Good retention and lacing.

The crappy glass victimizes the nose as well, blunting a pleasing blend of roast, chocolate and tangy fruit. A bit of booze in the background.

Great tasting beer with a helluva lot of well-integrated flavors. Even better than the bottled version. Chocolate chips, cocoa powder, big roasted and burnt malts, tangy dark fruits. Hints of tobacoo and molasses. Pleasing notes of blackberry liqueur. Pleasantly warming booziness. There's nothing at all subtle about it- the flavors are practically explosive- yet there are no overpowering flavors. Excellent mouthfeel as well; fluffy and filling, yet creamy.

Overall impression: If, like me, you are surprised to find this on tap, don't hesitate to take advantage of your good fortune.

Serving type: on-tap

11-07-2010 16:54:31 | More by PDXHops
Photo of cwguy5

North Carolina

4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on-tap at Duckworth's in Charlotte, NC in a 8.5oz chalice.

- poured pitch black with tan thin, tan head; not much retension but pretty heavy lacing

- aromas of chocolate, leather, roasted malt, some booze, and faint cherry or some other dark fruit maybe

- smooth taste throughout with some mild dark chocolate, leather, stone?/mineral?, and some distant dark fruit flavors

- thick and fairly viscous body with med/low carbonation of fine, foamy bubbles; some alcohol is in there for sure, but never overpowering; fades to semi-dark semi-bitter linger

- this was a fairly easy down for a single glass but im not sure i would want to drink this all night, but that is also just my preference in beer. very tasty, if a bit unwieldy. will drink again. not sure if i can differentiate between good stouts and the great stouts yet at my level but i would say pretty good.

Serving type: on-tap

11-01-2010 02:10:39 | More by cwguy5
Photo of johnwarne


3.7/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A beer haiku for you:

"A Russian delight;
Don't drink too late in the night
Big ole' heavy stout".

Quite a tasty treat: do not, however, drink this after consuming two others in an evening--it becomes overwhelming and frankly tough to finish [good as it is].


Serving type: on-tap

08-29-2010 00:10:04 | More by johnwarne
Photo of oglmcdgl


3.95/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

08 vintage on tap at via marconi's piazza pub.

A- deep dark brown almost completely black in color. No head to be seen.

S- port soaked plums and bakers chocolate, molasses. Hints of wood and booze.

T- huge dark roasted malts and burnt brown sugar. 92 percent dark chocolate and brownie batter. Port soaked dark fruits and berries. Tons of dark roasted coffee and some burt wood.

M- full bodied but by not means to thick with a lite carb. Slick and syrupy on the palate. Heat on the finish big time. And this has two years on it.

D- I like a big boozy stout upon occasion but just that, this is not an every day brew.

Serving type: on-tap

07-26-2010 00:58:45 | More by oglmcdgl
Photo of haddon


4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

found this beauty on tap at The Lodge in Hilton Head.

pours a dark chocolate with a mocha head that dissipates fairly quickly.

aroma is not as strong as expected but some notes do show up as it warms: espresso, chocolate, coffee & hops

super rich & sweet flavors! dark chocolate, black cherry, toffee & caramel. alcohol warms as it goes down.

full body that is very rich and creamy. not much carbonation detected but fairly par for the class

because it is so rich and sweet, don't know if I would order a whole pint again... but couldn't think of a better after dinner drink to finish off a great evening!

Serving type: on-tap

06-02-2010 00:35:01 | More by haddon
Photo of Minotaur


4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Spinnerstown Hotel for a Bell's event. The pint glass delivered to the table is a deep black-brown with no light coming through. The head is bright tan, about half a finger, and retains longer than expected for many stouts. There is moderate carbonation initially then it slows to a thick stillness.

The aroma is malty, roasted, chocolate and spicy with a little bit of yeast esters. Good...representative, but doesn't really illustrate the intensity of flavor.

Upon taking a sip the flavor is a veritable explosion of deep, dark tastes that also make their way to the nose. There is licorice, chocolate - sweet and bitter, hops, toasted bread, cinnamon, vanilla, and a heady coffee and roast taste. As you drink through the melange becomes more complex and richer. Sweet tastes come through more strongly and any bitterness recedes. The blasts of cinnamon and spice are truly impressive. Through out the glass the alcohol becomes apparent and the beer almost takes on a bitter chocolate liquor quality.

The mouthfeel is satisfying and smooth, and lighter than the flavor density; it is good - but I'd almost like something a little thicker in the mouth to match up to the cake-like quality of the taste.

This beer is very drinkable despite the high alcohol and intensity of the dark flavors. A definite winner on a cold winter night, especially on tap.

Serving type: on-tap

01-16-2010 00:27:04 | More by Minotaur
Photo of ImusBeer


4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance was very black with a fine bubbled tan head. Good retention and heavy lacing.

Smelled of coffee and chocolate. Taste of chocolate coffee and vanilla.

Mouthfeel was thick rich and creamy . Warm buttery texture also a bit syrupy. A heavy beer but good, a nice beer for winter.

Serving type: on-tap

01-02-2010 21:39:29 | More by ImusBeer
Photo of Kegatron


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On tap @ the Capital Ale House (Richmond, VA) on 12/13/09. Served in a cervoise.

Pours a deep flat black in the glass, with a finger of smooth looking dark & burnt mocha head. Retains with some huge frothy bunching around the edges, that leaves a huge cascade of drenching foam in its wake. The aroma is very floral and hoppy up front, with thickish sweet notes of chocolate and toffee mixing in with sharp coffee and roasted bitterness. Alcohol gives this some heft and punch in the nose.

The taste is even more sweetness, milk chocolate and toffee, with some extra sticky notes of brown sugar and molasses. Even a bit of dark fruit towards the back of the profile. Hops, coffee, and roast surround this, with a deeply burnt and bitter feel that really sticks hard in the finish. The mouthfeel is as full as can be, with a massively creamy feel up front that coats the back of the palate. Thick, sweet, and gooey, this is the rare feel here that's up there some of the best Imperial Stouts. There is some warmth on the tale end of the swallow but the alcohol is so entrenched in the rich flavors, it's not really detectable at all.

Man, I had forgot how hoppy this is fresh and it's no wonder that this is a great candidate for aging. The flavors are just so robust on this and the feel is one of my favorites on a Stout. Probably my favorite go-to Imperial Stout, this always puts a smile on my face.

Serving type: on-tap

12-21-2009 18:05:28 | More by Kegatron
Photo of jrallen34


4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I drank this on tap into a tasting glass.

The beer is black with a medium tan head that has lots of retention and great lacing.

The aroma is very malty, lots of sweet chocolate with vanilla and hops right at the end.

The taste is off from the aroma with lots of coffee on the front and big hoppy finish.

The feel is very heavy and viscous with a decent drinkability.

Serving type: on-tap

12-07-2009 15:31:58 | More by jrallen34
Photo of Bung

North Carolina

4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Flying Saucer Charlotte. All black pour with 1 finger brown head. More booze and bourbon in the aroma than I ever remember this having. Heavy roast, molasses as well. This is BIG this year, either that or it's just so long since I've had it on draft. Full body, thick oily mouthfeel. I could swear this was barrel aged. A large amount of oaky toffee accents the heavy roast malts chocolates and espresso. Mild hops in the bite at the finish. Not nearly as much dark fruits as I've noticed in the past and much more of this barrel like qualities. Excellent, big sipper.

Serving type: on-tap

10-23-2009 17:17:12 | More by Bung
Photo of Cyberkedi


4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep, opaque sable with a thick, fine-bubbled tan head. Smoky coffee-ish aroma has a hint of unsweetened chocolate. Flavor is smoky and surprisingly bitter, and has an undertone of chocolate and a hint of molasses. Texture is very smooth and tingly, and leaves a rather bitter aftertaste, not hoppy bitter but a tad unpleasing. Nevertheless, this is overall a darned good beer.

Serving type: on-tap

10-18-2009 15:10:00 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of Thorpe429


4.63/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap in Bloomington, IN earlier this year. Served in a snifter.

A: Very, very dark with a massive brown head.

S: Quite good, but a little muted compared with the taste. Hops, chocolate, coffee, cherries, slightly-burnt espresso.

T: Same as the smell, and utterly fantastic. I taste the most from the espresso with a little bit of the cherry.

M: Very thick. Chewy and creamy.

D: Highly, highly drinkable. Grab two of these and sip 'em for the rest of the night.

Serving type: on-tap

04-23-2009 00:02:27 | More by Thorpe429
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,114 ratings.