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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

5,367 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,367
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: 5,367 | Reviews: 1,996
Photo of bigbeerfan
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of MaximalC
3.98/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours nearly black with a minimal head of coarse mocha bubbles that settle teasingly on the brink of dissipation. The beer features a deep molasses color even as it streams from the bottle, which is generally a sign of quality in stouts as far as I'm concerned. The aroma smells of molasses, dark fruit, toasted bread crust, and shades of alcohol that singe the nostrils slightly. Shades of raw sugar emerge with subsequent acquaintance as well.

Bold flavor greets you like a kick in the teeth upon sipping. Molasses-like sweetness is offset by bittering roast, alcohol, and a healthy dose of peppery, herbal hops. These constituents engage recklessly at first before settling into an appreciable stasis. The bite on the front end is nearly caustic, but the rich sweetness of the malt staves off total annihilation just in time. The finish, once it is finally revealed, affords a very nice roasted character with shades of bittersweet chocolate. The body is full, and the mouthfeel lush and wholesome, the way a stout should be.

This is definitely a slow sipper, even for an imperial stout. The upshot is that it's rich, full beer brimming with the bold flavors expected of the style. The bite of the hops is slightly excessive on the front end, but it's not a fatal transgression by any stretch. It's certainly the best thing I've had by Bells, which typically struggles to impress me.

Photo of MaxAdvo
4.46/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A - Pours a very dark, almost black, with deep, dark reddish hues. Almost no head, but don't let that fool you.

S - The smell is slightly off-putting of rubbery leather, but also with a dark, roasty, chocolately coffee.

T - Here's where she pulls on through! It's very robust, full of roasty, Brazilian-like coffee bean. Also a slight of dark fruits. Very similar to Oskar Blue's Ten Fidy.

M - Don't be fooled with having almost no head because you feel the carbonation. It's not overpowering, and has a very creamy fill. Very pleasant with lingering notes of dark coffee and chocolate

O - A very great imperial stout! I really enjoyed this, and will definitely purchase again.

Photo of mrchrisray
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of anzb
4.75/5  rDev +12%

Photo of TrickkyGangsta
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of comfortablynirm
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of SingularWalker
4.75/5  rDev +12%

Photo of Guitars_and_beer
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of Shawner
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of meatyard
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of Lucnifter
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of MNMike
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of dazanas
4.75/5  rDev +12%

Photo of ZinFanDave
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of huddyball
4/5  rDev -5.7%

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 csmalley
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of krustster
4.68/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2013 bottle (fresh).
Very dark brown, not quite black but close. Not quite as syrupy in appearance as some imperial stouts but still nicely thick. Big, fluffy, dark brown head that stuck around for a good few minutes with lacing that sticks all over the glass. Very appetizing appearance.

Smell is "big chocolate and coffee with a lot of roastiness" (feels stupid saying that, but it's accurate). This one is a lot stronger on the chocolate elements than any I've had, second to Samuel Smith's Chocolate Stout, and this one isn't even made with chocolate as far as I know. Just the right hint of alcohol to bring things together.

Taste is amazing. As usual it follows the nose, with lots of dark chocolate up front, coffee second, not a lot of the expected "dark fruits" but some reasonably strong bitterness. The first time I tried this it seemed more bitter than it does now. Drinking it again I can tell how perfectly balanced this thing is. The alcohol is well hidden but at the same time it comes out in the finish with just the right amount of heat to seal in the flavor, a phenomenon that I absolutely love and is the main reason I prefer high ABV brews. This has just the perfect level of heat washing over your tongue but never becomes "boozy" (which isn't a bad thing in itself). Everyone keeps screaming about how good this is with age on it. Well, I have a six pack left over that I plan to save for a while, but when it tastes this amazing fresh, I don't know how long that sixer is going to last.

Mouth feel, which I already covered in the tasting notes, is near perfect as well. The carbonation is just high enough, the alcohol heat just high enough, and the viscosity just thick enough to stay on your palate for a long time after each sip.

Overall this isn't quite perfect but can still be called an absolute masterpiece from Bell's. I wish I had bought more than I did while it was available so I could age a bunch of it while still blasting huge amounts in its current condition, because it's pretty amazing as-is.

Photo of Canada_Dan
4.39/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Bsetz
4.68/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of SFNC
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of MichiganBrews
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of IPAIsaac
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of natethamac
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 5,367 ratings.