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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.

2,011 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,011
Hads: 5,641
Avg: 4.21
pDev: 17.81%
Wants: 490
Gots: 1,506 | FT: 125
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Bell's Expedition Stout Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,011 | Hads: 5,641
Photo of Bshaw22
4.39/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This beer is really hard for me to rate. I'm drinking it so fresh, only a couple months old.
Looks beautiful. Sleeps ok. Taste is really goo but really bitter for a stout. I am going to save the rest of the six pack and age it. I'll review again next year.

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Photo of leroybrown10
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle dated 9/18/14 poured into a snifter.

Pours a thick inky black. Head bubbles up slowly but keeps rising and rising till there is a solid finger and a half. Head is a rich khaki color and leaves plenty of lacing as it dissipates.

Aroma is heady and strong. Intense bitter coffee, dark chocolate, roasted malt, and earthy hops clash and blend together.

Heavy malt on the tongue. Coffee notes go beyond roasted into the bitter/burnt range. Rich dark chocolate as well as some smoke and peat. Hops are strong and lingering on the end with some earthy/loamy notes.

Thick mouth feel with an acridness that is mildly unpleasant.

Overall, a very good beer that could be better if some of the flavors were less intense. The coffee notes in particular could use toned down and made less bitter. While this bottle had 3.5 months already, I could see an extended cellaring improving this a good deal.

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Photo of rangerred
4.26/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle from October 2014 poured into a snifter.

Pours an inky black with the look and consistency of used motor oil. Leaves a quick glimpse of a tan head that quickly fades away. Some nice splotches on the sides of the glass.

Aroma really jumps with coffee, dark chocolate, and prunes. A bit of a charred character hinting at the roastyness.

The flavor when cold is really bitter with a tartness that surprised me. As the beer warmed, however, this smoothed out considerably and everything just seemed to meld. Coffee, char, and dark fruit just seem to be married perfectly with just enough bitterness to keep the sweetness in check. Incredible mouthfeel that is silky smooth and the alcohol is barely noticeable.

Overall, an incredible RIS and very drinkable. Really hits all the high points of the style and is quite delicious.

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Photo of JohnnyI
4.52/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a rich black, crowned with a coffee colored head that has a custard-like consistency. The foam slowly settles, leaving a solid inch and half thick band around the glass. I don't know if I can call that lacing. It's looks more like a decorative ribbon! There's a slick coating on the surface and an oily film left behind with each swirl. The appearance is sturdy. A hearty looking brew. The smell is quite complex. Pronounced soy sauce and canned mushrooms, with a mild metallic scent. Chocolate baklava with honey sweet figs. The customary coffee, char and dark fruits are there as well, but less so. Subtle booze. The flavors are much more potent. There's an explosion of taste on the first sip. Sweet molasses with roasted black coffee. Burnt malts with black licorice notes. A distinct cocoa toffee finish with charcoal bitterness imparted from the hops and deep roast. Dry and bitter in the end, as the roast simply clings to your palate and refuses to let go. The mouthfeel is velvety smooth with a hearty creaminess that gives the brew an enormous body. Lively, fine pin-prick carbonation helps all of the flavors burst to life. After a few sips, it leaves a sticky feeling in your mouth. Half-way through the glass and there is a nice warming alcohol heat in the chest. I know this is not a spiced beer, but I'd swear that there is some cinnamon in there. Ultimately, this is a man's beer. Something to warm the winter nights in northern Michigan while staying in the snow-covered cabin. A big, bold Russian Imperial Stout with a soothing touch of rustic campfire goodness. Bottled 10/23/14. I've had aged versions that are phenomenal in their own right, but I still prefer the fresher alternative. A+

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Photo of lenbert
4.57/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This was bottled on 10/2012. Pours black with very slight head. The head that it has lingers a good long time!

The aroma is of dark fruits, and malty chocolate. The taste mirrors the aroma, chock filled with malty and chocolaty goodness. The mouth feel is thick and very pleasing.

This is an amazingly delicious Russian Imperial Stout, currently my favorite.

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Photo of Moun10
3.48/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Taste is very heavy on the dark fruit flavor. Reminiscent of eating a small box of raisins in one mouthful or chugging some warm prune juice. Too much.

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Photo of Roxie_B
4.82/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Looks: Black, opaque, big fluffy mocha head made of tiny bubbles and legs. Surprisingly strong head retention.
Smell: Dark fruits, raisins, chocolate malts, mild coffee, alcohol when it warms up
Taste: Sweet chocolate malts, plums, anise, cherries.
Mouthfeel: Satiny smooth with a full body and a slight alcoholic burn.
Overall: One of the best stouts out there.

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Photo of DaveBar
4.42/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at Champagne's for $16.00 for a 6pk. Served at a mighty low 6deg C in a tulip.

A- Opens well and pours a tiny brown head that lasts. Super dark almost black color.

S- Lots of coffee, chocolate and nuts. Super hot

T- Not very hot at all. Not what it smells like. Lots of chocolate. Touch of coffee. Good overall bend. Nice balance

M- A touch chalky but other than that pretty

O- Excellent beer. Glad there 6 in the pack.

Food Pairing

This excellent beer went well with..... Roasted pork loin encrusted in cracked pepper corns!


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Photo of Gasc0igne
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 21st August 2014. Consumed @ 4 months old.

A(4.25): Cola pour, black with strong red hue at edges, medium size tanned head, short retention, nice alcohol legs, minimal lacing

S(3.75): quite dark fruit heavy, good roasted malt and no coffee, good dark chocolate throughout, licorice and alcohol finish, alcohol is actually quite pleasant though it is very noticeable, fairly subdued aroma

T(4.25): quite bitter but not overly as I was expecting, very heavy roasted malt and a beef jerky smoked salty funkiness, meaty, a decent espresso on the back end along with a milk chocolate/molasses thing, maybe some cherry...maybe

M(4): on the lighter side of full, a tad chewy thanks to medium carbonation, there is some dryness to the finish, some stickiness and no alcohol burn

Bottled 25th September 2013. Consumed @ 2 years old.


O(4/4.25): glad to try this young to compare with my older bottle. A good ris and will certainly improve with age.

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Photo of spacecake9
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On the advice of BA I grabbed a 6-pack of Expedition Stout. I'd hesitated in the past as my experience with Bells has been hit or miss.
This beer pours black with very little head. Aroma is chocolate maybe, molasses maybe.
Taste is a solid Imperial Stout, kind of pure in a way as there is not a strong chocolate or coffee tone to it.
I enjoyed my first bottle. Great beer. Now I'm going to put the rest of the bottles in my cellar and drink one a year.

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Photo of bman13
4.84/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very good beer. Picked this one up by mistake, but man am I happy that I screwed up! It's a huge big ol plus to me that this is in 6 packs and not dumb 4 packs. There's very little beer now with this high of an ABV and of this quality that are sold that way, but on to the beer;

Just excellent is all I can say at the least. Smells and tastes of deep dark chocolate with a little molasses possibly, can't really tell but whatever is in there, is good. Slight hoppy bitterness on the finish. And has a very thick syrupy appearance with a thick sticky brown head. Just amazing

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Photo of BuckeyeBeers
4.64/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Tried a 5 year bottle while at dark lord day this past spring and never had a chance to score it. The difference the 5 years had on this beer is astonishing. The flavors all melt together and you are left with a mellowed out version that is much more forward with chocolate notes. If you pick up a 6 pack I highly recommend drinking one initial bottle and then pull one bottle per year for the next 5 years so you can experience the transformation.

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

Pours very dark with a small, creamy head. Faint fruit smells, fruit cake like. Nice dark taste, coffee and chocolate background. Overall a great stout!

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Photo of richj1970
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into snifter. Bottled dated 10/23/2014.

A: Pours motor oil black with dense one finger tan head. Nice lasting retention settling to a thin ring around the edge and leaving plenty of sticky lacing.

S: Roasted coffee beans, bittersweet chocolate bars, and molasses.

T: Very rich coffee, roasted malts, dark chocolate, and a hint of dark fruits.

M: Thick and creamy. Finish is fairly bitter.

O: Excellent stout. Lots of big bold flavors and aromas. Very nice sipper on a cold winter night.

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Photo of Sandalwood
4.16/5  rDev -1.2%

Pours a very dark brown to black color with a small light brownish head. There is a little bit of lacing. The odor is creamy vanilla, chocolate, dried fruits, raisin, coffee, and caramel. The taste is very rich, velvety, cocoa, bitter chocolate, vanilla, chalky, bitter throughout, this beer is only four months old.

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Photo of Siggy125
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

Received as an extra in a recent trade. I had not had one of these in 2-3 years. Poured 12 oz bottle into Perennial tulip.

A- Very dark brown to black in color, straight from the crankcase of a high mileage vehicle. Tan head which broke up after a couple of mins in the glass. Great lacing.

S- Bitter chocolate, burnt black coffee, faint sweetness but the bitterness dominates.

T- much like it smells, scorched chocolate, bitter roasted flavors, light toffee sweetness and maybe a little roasted nuttiness. Big time bitterness, perhaps the hop profile shining thru. The 10.5 abv not boozy at all but very warming.

M- Medium viscosity, not too heavy but not thin at all. Great mouthfeel.

Overall- A very great year round stout that serves well when you're not feeling like indulging in a barrel aged stout. Bummer not available everywhere. A definite man's stout, I'll be looking
for more to enjoy around the firepit.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

Fresh 12oz bottle served in a snifter glass at fridge temps. 09/2014 bottle date

Appearance: black, pours like motor oil, rich brown head that rode the glass

Nose: dark chocolate, coffee, toffee, sweetness

Taste: rich and smooth, semi-sweet chocolate, slight coffee taste, thick and coating mouth feel, bitter and lingering finish, slight alcohol warming in my chest, chewy in every sense of the word

This is wonderful and easily one of the best imperial stouts I've tried. It checked all of the boxes. Good on Bell's to market this in a six pack form to give consumers good value for money.

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Photo of BobJude
4.53/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2014 Vintage into a snifter.
A - Pours inky black with a 1/2 inch of head which disipates slowly.
S - Hints of dark chocolate, molasses, roasted grain and coffee. Just awesome!
T - Oh, so good! Coffee, molasses, licorice, chocolate. Quite a bit of piney hop flavor. So much going on here, almost overwhelming, but exactly what I was expecting.
M - completely coats your mouth and tongue. A little bit of alcohol burn on the back end, nice and warming.
O - a great example of an Imperial / double stout. One of my favorites along with Ten-Fidy.

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Photo of ILMbrew
4/5  rDev -5%

2913 vintage. Ton of dark fruit coming through in both the nose and taste. Very mellow with little-to-no booziness. Rich and thick without much sweetness.

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Photo of MrIncognito
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

2008 vintage. I wish I had other vintages to compare it to. Well-rounded stout with chocolate and coffee flavors. Prevalent alcohol adds nice spice without becoming too hot.

I could see this being a whole different beast without age on it.

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Photo of deford
4/5  rDev -5%

Poured from a 12oz. bottle dated 8/12/14 into a Saints & Sinners Snifter.

A- Pitch freaking black! Half inch orange head that disappears pretty quickly.

S- A musty, syrupy coffee...maybe a hint of orange...no heat.

T- A bit different. Burnt espresso and prunes? Hard to tell, there's a lot going on here...nicely done too. The alcohol is hidden completely.

M- Really nice a bubbly when you give it a swirl...otherwise pretty standard for the style...almost flat.

O- A quality stout worth giving a go...

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Photo of orangemoustache
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

Thick and black, like the bottom poor from a french press. A firm foamy khaki cap sits atop for a couple moments before slowly dissipating to a paper thin cover that remains for the duration. The nose is sweet and brings soft notes of caramel and toffee and sweet dark fruits. WOW, this is a delicious RIS! Dark chocolate, heavy roasted malts and sweet dark sugars. The alcohol is almost unnoticeable on the tongue . The mouth-feel is luxurious. Oily, thick and creamy! Slightly dry on the finish. I could drink three in a row or sip on one for a couple hours. This one is amazing and I'm already looking forward to another!

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Photo of keithmurray
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%

2012 Vintage - bottled on 10/22/2012

Appearance - Dark Brown/mahogany body with tan head

Smell - Dark chocolate, Roasted Malts, molasses, black licorice

Taste - molasses, chocolate fudge, roasted malts, dark chocolate, black licorice

Mouthfeel - Full, viscous, syrupy mouthfeel, medium carbonation, sweetness upfront, roasty feel in the back end.

Overall - Very good RIS. recommended

Price Point - $3.25/12 oz single

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Photo of Brackh
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

Pours black as night with a nice awesome head that goes quickly. Smell is very subtle. Taste punches you in the mouth. Delicious and smooth. Thick, thick, thick. Bitter but not too much. Malt and chocolate. Seriously this beer is awesome. I am drinking from a growler. I have a few bottles in the cellar from last year and this year. I can't wait to see what a few years does to this beer.

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Photo of EHopkinsi
4.37/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a pint glass and consumed 19 November 2014.

Date stamp on label reads 135292 PKGD 10/23/14 C. So I'm guessing this stuff is just under a month old.

Look- Pours like a dirty oil spill. The two finger thick head is solid, and has the color of some overpriced candybar frappawhappachinomucca concoction at a coffee shop. Head slowly settles down to a 1/4" layer of creamy goodness that lasts the duration. Pretty good lacing.

Smell- Malt, chocolate, alcohol. The latter is pretty noticeable, maybe just a little too much so, but not bad. It's just letting you know it's a RIS.

Taste- Yum! Tasty, malty-chocolate notes; more than just a little coffee. That's on the front. It finishes with hops that, while they take back seat to the malt, they aren't exactly shy. At the beginning of the glass the alcohol floats in with, but over top of, the hops. Not excessive or huge, but still pretty dang big, too. By the middle of the glass its rambunctiousness has faded and it is more of a suggestion than a presence in the finish.

Feel- Interesting. A little thin for my preferences in a RIS. That said, it does have a creamy, sticky-lip inducing goodness to it, though. Can't ding it too much.

Overall- One really good stout! I wish the feel was thicker, but the other criticisms almost feel like nit-picking. Getcha some and enjoy it. I will definitely have it again.

Edit- After reading other reviews, I think "molasses" is a note I should add in. Being a noob I didn't know I knew it was there until reading other reviews.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 2,011 ratings.