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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.

2,050 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,050
Hads: 5,808
Avg: 4.21
pDev: 10.69%
Wants: 504
Gots: 1,601 | FT: 125
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States | website

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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 2,050 | Hads: 5,808
Photo of fisherman34
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The word "huge" doesn’t do justice to this beer. It’s jet back with minimal carbonation. Powerful aromas of hops, licorice, rasins, alcohol, roasted malt, and terriaki sauce. It has a remarkable flavor evolution too, moving from hops, to dark fruit, to alcohol, and finally to the dark-roasted coffee, nut, and dark chocolate. It’s also insanely heavy in the mouth. I could see this beer maturing into a work of art in a few years, but the sample I had was just a bit too much for me at this point.

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.58/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a solid,deep black color. A picture of perfect blackness. Nice tan head on top. Great aroma-big chocolate and roasted aroma. Burnt raisens and licorice. Extremely slight alcohol comes thru. Huge,huge roasted malt flavor. Very espresso like-chocolatey and almost buttery fudge. A very smooth graininess. Huge body-its like a liquid piece of cake-just big in every way. I could consume this all night. A freakin damn fine beer. Doesnt exhibit the harshness as some imperials. This is what a dessert beer should be. Careful-it could be a session one if you put your mind to it. Get some-get a lot!!!

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Photo of DrJay
4.87/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Completely opaque, inky black with a rich mocha head. Carbonation was on the low side, resulting in a thin head of small bubbles. Plenty of lacing and good retention. Super malty aroma, licorice, roasted, chocolate, alcohol, dark fruits to the point of being vinous. Flavour starts with some dry roasted and sweet malt, then moves on to cocoa, a moderate bitterness with light hoppiness, and alcohol warmth. Long sweet finish with plenty of roasted malts. Heavy body, chewy and viscous, low carbonation, with the texture of heavy cream. Afterwards, I poured the dregs into my glass. They came out chocolatey brown and super thick, but very chocolatey and tasty. Wow. Lots of complexity and surprisingly drinkable, with the alcohol very well hidden.

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Photo of silver0rlead
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a jet black color with no light shining through, and a good size tan colored head that leaves nice lacing. Smell is rich dark chocolate, gourmet coffee, cream and alcohol. This beer is extremely rich and viscous. Taste is dark belgian chocolate, coffee, blackstrap molasses, and an earthy hops flavor at the end. The beer finishes with a dry, roasted bitterness that perfectly compliments the sweetness in the middle of the beer. Alcohol becomes more apparent as it warms and is strong but not overwhelming. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth which increases the drinkability of such a strong beer. A really tasty and excellent stout from Bell's, lives up to the hype in my opinion.

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Photo of RedDiamond
4.14/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A seriously dark beer with a thin brown head. The flavor is a muscular mix of dense roasty elements, bitter chocolate, a welcome sweetness, and a formidable measure of alcohol. The smell touches upon mocha at first, then dry roasted goodness, alcohol, and coffee. CO2 is minimal, lace is absent.

An ambitious recipe with plenty of kick. Special thanks to cmaruschak.

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Photo of pentathlete
3.45/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to babydoc who sent me this as part of BIF18. What a variety of big brews in that box. Gotta love BAs.

12 oz bottle pours an oil slick black into the imperial. Hard pour produced a small quickly dissipating dark beige head. Smell is burnt coffee, caramel, and raisins. Taste is where the wheels leave the tracks a bit. Starts creamy with sweet molasses and then the mishmash of hops and cough cyrup kicks in. Finish is somewhat thin, bitter without either a bite or pleasant hoppiness. Mouth is coated in Vicks (the cough syrup, not Ron Mexico.) Unless this matches your palate, this beer is not highly drinkable. Maybe I'll get an opportunity to have one that has aged a bit more to see if the flavors blend and mellow a bit.

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Photo of Higravity
4.36/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Well I received 3 new bottles of this beer and after my last experience I am glad to have another try with this beauty. It is a dense black with a chocolate milk colored head that doesn't peter out for a while. Smell of roasted burnt malt, small hints of alcohol and hops. The taste is powerful dark roasted flavors slowly yeild to a bittering creamy swallow, alcohol is present but not overwhelming. I would have liked a little more hops to be present in here though. You could eat this beer with a spoon it has body for days and has a very creamy feel that coats your mouth. This is a great beer and well worth many more visits.

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Photo of karst
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The vintage port of American stout. Suited for November storms on Lake Michigan when your shipload of Edmund Fitzgerald goes down and trips across Indianna only to find Dark Lord missing.

I stare at an empty pint glass with lace on the far side and a gelatinous mucus on the near side and a bottom covering of crankcase drippings. This "sleeper" is packaged with little fanfare (no red wax or other B.S.) I pull one of the 6 bottles that were refrigeratered at Brown Derby # 24 AKA "Party Central" and pour its coal lumpy contents out of its 12 oz bottle.

A vigorous pour yields an excellent Stout head of one finger that is foamy and chocolate brown. Aromas of bittersweet chocolate dark roasted coffee and nearly burnt molasses arise as the head slowly becomes a covering of thinner frouth. Flaovrs abound and offer up more bittersweet choc. coffee molasses along with burnt wood and roasted malt and dark fruits. Knowing I will adjust to its huge flavors, I settle in to enjoy a super heavy weight body with a true chewy Mouthfeel. The drying bitterness of the finish and all those dark roasted flavors clinging as an aftertaste are outstanding.

Viscosity finally drops back into the liquid state as the CO2 drops with about a third of the pour remaining. Thick, gellatious material stays near the bottom.

Best stop here - what ever happen to this year's Dark Lord?

Who cares take the Expedition!

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Photo of ejquin
4.43/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Ridiculously black with dark brown head. Smelled wonderfully of coffee, chocolate and malt. Mouthfeel was extremely smooth, very thick and oily. Perfect mouthfeel for an Imperial Stout. Tasted of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, and had a hop bitterness on the aftertaste. Very slight alcohol perception, much less than the 11% abv. Delicious. Due to the smoothness and lack of alcohol sting drinkibility is great for an 11% IRS.

Overall in my top 3 Stouts of all time.

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Photo of pootz
4.48/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle... 2 years old. Decanted like pitch black tar...incredible cocoa colored cap..moderate lace, soft carbonation. Aroma comes from Gambrinus’ own grace: like honey mixed with capuccino, prunes and a slight musty hay smell. The body is like liquid gluten ...but smooth!!. This brew lends credit to the term "chewy malts" . A glorious burst of cocoa, coffee, dried fruit and citrus peel in the front and middle, then the finish is slightly salty and warming...un-F’n-believable!! Wadda brew.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.42/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a thick black color stout with a small dark brown head with excellent retention. Aroma mainly dominated by roasted malt with some subtle coffee and chocolate notes. The roasted malt dominates taste at first and then chocolate and coffee are also easily identifiable. Creamy texture makes this even more enjoyable. It all ends with some well balance bitterness. Body is incredibly full and there is even quite a lot of sediment at the bottom of my glass. Alcohol is well hidden which I always appreciate. Very good stuff indeed.

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Photo of warriorsoul
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I must give a big thanks to onecrazymofo for this selection, my 100th review! After reading a thread on double stouts, I needed to give this one a try...and luckily for me, ocmf is one generous mofo.
Pours a thick black w/ absolutely no light passing thru this bad boy. A huge few fingers of dark cocoa head rises ever so slowly to sit just above my tulip...lacing is thick and foamy w/ super cling.
Total dark chocolate fills the nose w/ the slightest sense of alcohol. Some coffee in there, along with caramel and malt.
The taste if huge...tastes like mocha ice cream, which I dig. Huge malt blast w/ even some hop sweetness in the finish. I even detect just a hint of smoked flavor in there.
Not at all bitter and very smooth in its mouthfeel.
The alcohol is more apparent in the taste, but it is still so subtle for its ABV%.
I must agree w/ the majority on this one...one of the best RIS's I have had to date.
I see no problem with having a couple of these, as long as I stay indoors.
I need to get me hands on more of Bell's brews...they impress the hell out of me.

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Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe
3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Labelled with the number "6672," although I don't know what that represents. Pours coffee black and raises a tight, dirty sienna head about 1/4 inch deep. When swirled, the head leaves a pleasant, melting cling on the sides of the glass, but overall this is not as visually robust (read: gloopy) than some of the others in its style. Aroma is mostly dark chocolate with hints of vanilla extract, finishing with well-integrated touch of alcohol. Nosefeel could benefit from either a fuller body or an added dimension of bitterness; right now it just feels like sniffing at a glass of chocolate milk. Flavor begins with sweetness of raisin jelly, shifts to baking chocolate and finishes bitter and charred. As a whole, it tastes good in an unconventional way, like caramelized onions that got left too long in an iron skillet and burned. Mouthfeel is admirably smooth with a very slight carbonation and no twangy bitterness; but again, more viscosity would be welcome. Honestly, this is a beer that I'm happy enough to have 6oz of in a night. Good? Yes. Overrated? Also yes.

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Photo of gimmehead
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a thin chocolate milk head. Looks like dessert. Big aroma consisting of bittersweet chocolate roasted malts with a slightly burnt or acrid ( but not offensive) note. Also a nice black licorice, raisiny alcohol mix. I swirled the last few ounces around in my snifter for what seemed like hours, and almost couldn't bear to end the aromatic romance by drinking it. Outstanding. The flavor outdoes the nose! Roasted caramel malts, a rich smokiness and bitter coffee hit you up front with with a sweet raisiny alcohol warmth bringing up the rear. Mouthfeel is very thick, I almost needed silverware. The perfect after dinner drink.

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Photo of isubsmith
3.6/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours like beer syrup. Extra dark. Large thick brown head.

Smell: Wow. Very very strong aroma. Lots of chocolate and strong espresso coffee tastes. Faint hints of the high alcohol. Lots of roasty smells.

Taste: Bitter chocolate and bitter espresso. Lots of hops. Rather creamy mouthfeel. Bitter roasty flavors linger on the tongue.

Drinkability: Not the most drinkable imperial stout. Too bitter for me. It's hard to drink anything after this beer. I've certainly had other imperial stouts that don't leave such a lingering taste.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.58/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Secret Santa 2004 # 11

Total black hole body, topped by a extremely dark tan head which rose about the rim of the glass before leveling at a solid two fingers in the pint glass. Excellent lacing. Note: I don't deduct for bad labels, which is a good thing. Awful bland package considering the contents.

Deep roasty nose of dark chocolate, expresso, and licorice.

Each taste explodes across the tongue, a deep roasted surge of darkness: chocolate and coffee, dark fruits, with a sharp hop snap, and a small burst of alcoholic warming. Roasty aftertaste lingers on.

Full? hell yeah, and slicky oily.

Drinkability: this is actually a challenge to sip, so intense is each taste.

An expedition into the heart of darkness, well worth the journey.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Ahhh...another Russian Imperial Stout that I have been longing after....pours from the bottle amazingly thick and syrupy, like I just let the old oil flow while I was doing an oil change on my car. A nice creamy dark tan head develops and then slowly fades to a ring with spotty lacing on the glass. I think this brew actually absorbs light. Awesome. First smell brings intensly rich, dark chocolate, molasses, roasted/toasted malts, hints of coffee with a heaping helping of dark fruits..a bit vinous. Fucking decadent...a punch in the nose...the aromas coming off this brew are big and in your face....killer.

First sip brings a tidal wave of roasted, slightly burnt maltiness upfront along with a nice helping of chocolate, dark molasses, and dark, vinous fruits. I'm getting some good pine hoppy bitterness on the way down along with hints of coffee. Incredibly well put together and a joy to drink. Alcohol is nearly non existant in the taste. Simply an amazing imperial stout.

Mouthfeel is big, thick and creamy. Give this to people who say Guinness is a meal in a glass and watch them shit their pants in astonishment. As for me....this is how I like my Russian Imperial Stout...huge. Obviously...this is not a session brew by any means..but it is an incredibly tasty treat that no one should miss out on. Cheers to Bell's for producing one of the best brews I've had the chance to sample!!

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Photo of whartontallboy
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep inky black pour into a tulip with a very thing very brown head that quickly dissipated. Smell is of chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, and I thought maybe some nutmeg or vanilla. Taste has lots of the same coffee and chocolate flavors with roasted malt backed up by a huge thick mouthfeel. Surprisingly smooth and drinkable for such a thick, high ABV brew; one of the better stouts I've had this winter.

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Photo of BeerFink
4.78/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Once liberated from the bottle, this stout sits black as a moonless night with a very thin brown head. Aroma has good strength, with smells of coffee, chocolate and malt. I also catch a whiff of raisins and caramel. Delightfully thick mouthfeel coats your mouth like cough syrup, and low carbonation does not offer much relief. Quite the big stout feeling - you almost have to chew it. The blend of malts is wonderful - slighty smokey roasted malts are huge in the beginning. Then you notice the dark fruits, I'm thinking cherry and raisin. Then come the glorious hops. Delightfully bitter citrous taste finishes as the stout coats your throat. The aftertaste is a damn near perfect blend of roasted malt and citrous hops, heightened by a warming alcohol taste. Possibly my favorite RIS now. Highly recommended for lovers of this style, but beware, this is one huge stout.

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Photo of GreenWBush
4.68/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

In a chalice, this beer provided me a glimpse of visual beer nirvana. A vigorous pour kicked up a more than healthy stack of satanically dark head and storm-cloud drapery. It meringued a full 2" above the rim of the glass. Surface tension, meet Larry Bell. Outrageously gorgeous.

The nose of this beer is a car-crash of ridiculously gooey sweetness and a tanker truck of roastiness. Baker's chocolate soaked in boozy fudge.

The taste of this beer is less explosive, and while amazingly viscous it still has a remarkably un-fat mouth cloaking capacity to it. Thin or watery isn't it, but not necessarily what you expect for something so filled (and filling). It has to be experienced.

Bitterness and sweetness have never existed in such harmony on these taste buds before. This beer is everything, oily, gooey, roasty, stupidly sweet, mouth-meltingly stark and chocolately. I can't believe the lack of booze. Best of both overblown worlds? I think so.

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Photo of Gaisgeil
4.37/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ever wonder what motor oil tastes like? Me either, but that's what this looks like coming from the bottle. Incredibly thick and dark dark black in color with a dark brown head to compliment.

Nose is really expansive, chocolate, coffee, heaps of roast, molasses, grain, a bit of vanilla? The taste is very powerful, the roast flavors are really very prominent, with the coffee and molasses not far behind. The mouthfeel is so very thick and chewy that the taste lingers for quite a while, almost syrup like, I love it!

This is one heavy-duty no playing around sort of stout. It's definatly not for the meek.

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Photo of sweethome
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I've been drinking this for many years now. I've found the quality to be up and down the last few years. This years model:

Black, opaque as ever. So thick. Actually developed a head, which in some years it does not. Big bubbles in the head leave rocky, surface of the moon apperance.

Huge chocolate nose with some roast, and signature hops fighting through.

The thickest mouthfeel I've ever had - always has been and I still wait for the day something thicker comes along. The heft of this beer is amazing. Somewhat overwhelming, even after having it every winter it shocks me with it's depth.

Chocolate off the tip, but hops present right away too. Mid mouth it delivers a bit of a soy sauce flavor - something I noticed in the 2002 version. That really detracts. But hold on, this comes back for so much more. It fills out with lush chocolate and roast. How the hops fight through the huge amount of malt is beyond me. A liquid chocolate bar - decadent. Pour it over vanilla ice cream - it'll hold up.

Over the top and one of a kind.

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Photo of silenius
4.83/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Holy Moley!

I really wasn't expecting much from this beer since some other Bell's offerings I find too common.

Appearance: The black hole of beers! I shined a 300W halogen light up to it and could not see a bit of light through the glass! Dark tan espresso crema head that after one year of ageing is still very thick, lively and coats the glass with substantial lacing.

Smell: OHHH! My mom's gingerbread cookies, molasses, dark chocolate and espresso. I could tell this would be good!

Taste: Magnificent dark chocolate, molassess, and espresso. The dark chocolate and espresso linger forever.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy. As a beer like this should be.

Drinkability: I can't keep myself from continually taking sip after sip. I think this is my first 5 in drinkability. Excellent, excellent, excellent!!

I will be buying more and more!

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Photo of ypsifly
4.12/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle with no dates.

Yep, pours like you read about: used motor oil at about 160F. I should know, I changed the oil on my truck this morning. I have the used oil in a pan out in the garage. I'm really tempted to go outside and compare the two in a goblet. Small tan head that disappeared quickly, this was after a rather forced pour.

Smells of alcohol, bread, almonds, cocoa, and a hint of hop. There's some roasted aroma, but its rather slight for the style.

Tastes of mollases, roasted malts, chocolate, and a nice mix of alcohol and hops in the finish. The alcohol comes on with a nice warming affect. The full mouthfeel is what one would expect for the style. Feels like a meal in a bottle, without any carbonation.

This beer suffers only in its drinkability. The high abv alone makes it too much for a session beer. I have a few more bottles cellaring and am anticipating this one after a couple years. Once the alc mellows this will be one kick ass impy.

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Photo of profzoom
3.56/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a bold stout with a thick black color and a gorgeous chocolate milk head. Its high alcohol content is not hidden by its aroma. The sweet malt smell is accompanied by the distinct scent of alcohol. The taste is similar; robust, almost tangy malts which are unable to mask the taste of the alcohol. This is a beer one must definitely sit down and experience. It's not for relaxing or shooting the breeze. Like many of Bell's beers, it is of high quality but doesn't stand out as something exceptional.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 2,050 ratings.