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

Bell's Expedition StoutBell's Expedition Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,115 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4115
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: 4,115 | Reviews: 1,856 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Georgiabeer


4.55/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've reviewed this before from the bottle, but I was interested to see how this beer was on cask. To be honest, I was a little dubious about a beer this big, and with these flavors being able to make the transition nicely, but I was certainly wrong- it was very good indeed. I had this at the Atlanta Cask Ale Festival, and we're not talking a skimpy pour, but a good 1/2 nonic at least. Poured black, and quite bubbly, with good carbonation and quite a decent head, even with no sparkler and gravity poured. Nice aromas of espresso and licorice. Oh my, this tastes good! Beautiful and well integrated notes of espresso, licorice, chocolate, and roasted grains with a firm creaminess underpinning these flavors. The cask lends this beer a wonderful silkiness that puts it over the top. Very nice indeed!

Serving type: cask

08-21-2011 03:31:41 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of wedge

North Carolina

4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cask @ Busy Bee

Pitch black under a thin, creamy tan head. Aromas of lightly boozy fruit (apples and berries) esters and chocolate. Big, rich chocolatey malt flavor...sweet berry, espresso, molasses...loads of big, rich malty goodness. Thick, smooth, lightly bitter mouthfeel. Drinkable, but dangerous. Good stuff for sure...

Serving type: cask

10-24-2010 01:11:43 | More by wedge
Photo of atsprings

North Carolina

4.7/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009 vintage on cask at The Busy Bee served in a standard pint glass a deep opaque black with a thin light tan head that diminishes to a ring and leaves slight lacing on the glass. Aroma is a nice amount of roasted malts, fresh ground coffee and baker's cocoa. The taste is loads of smooth roasted malts, bitter cocoa, molasses, espresso, dried fruits and a hint of oak, incredibly complex! The beer is unbelievably smooth and easy drinking for its strength. I really have to say, this is possibly the best cask beer I've ever had, I certainly want more!

Serving type: cask

10-24-2010 00:31:18 | More by atsprings
Photo of JackieTH


4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Black motor oil opaque and thick with a dark mocha head. Very inviting.

Smell: Dark chocolate, coffee and roasted malt.

Taste: Espresso and rich dark chocolate with a welcome bite of hop and the espresso bitterness coming through to balance. A hint of anise makes an appearance. A very foreboding brew and the pleasant warming of the 10.5% alcohol helps lighten the mood a bit.

Mouthfeel: Heavy, luxurious. Layered.

Drinkability: Challenging but delicious.

Serving type: cask

10-04-2010 15:48:24 | More by JackieTH
Photo of Durge


4.48/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another nice find at Stub & Herb's in Minneapolis, MN, which I was glad to have had prior to dipping into the even more prized "Black Note" version - this black beauty shows an opaque brown/black with a good head of brown foam and decent lacing. The nose picks up seaweed malt and decidedly herbal hops. Very nice and not over the top at all. The flavor jumps out a surprising licorice which now makes a lot of sense from the aroma but I missed it I guess. But this is a licorice malt flavor fest, intense yet mellow enough to neutralize the 10.5 ABV just enough for some drinkabiity. No session beer, but it's hard to slow down too much once you grab a hold of this taste wallop. There is that herbal hop idea that adds a real nice highlight to this full bodied, viscous feeling stout. Wow. I do enjoy this. Very little carbonation as you might expect from a cask but this holds together very well. I start to pick up some berry notes and definitely some coffee and marshmallow sweetness as my palate adjusts to the dominant licorice malt theme. Intense but not a "choker". Highly recommended for the curious and fun loving BA, but not your mother's stout.

Serving type: cask

08-07-2010 19:03:19 | More by Durge
Photo of Buebie


4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured into a small a snifter at the Muddy Pig this evening. Set me back only $5 for the 10 ounce pour. About an inch of brown head and great big clingy lace rings all the way down, with decent retention. Inky creamy texture, very smooth with little carbonation disturbance.
Pitch black with no light penetration.

Smell is very malty in a bakers chocolate and coffee, with a hint of swetness and creamy milk. Aromas though are a bit subdued as compared to the bottle.

Taste is filled with large amounts of chocolate and a little coffee as well as bitter grains and plenty of malt. This here is amlt bomb indeed. Through the finish a dry sweeping of earthy hops.

Awsome brew to have on cask.

Serving type: cask

05-13-2010 05:36:07 | More by Buebie
Photo of Telix


4.55/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I was lucky enough to have this served from a cask at Slows BBQ in Detroit, MI.

A: The pour is a tarry jet black, with a nice 1/2" puffy, bubbly head. There is a bit of cool looking lacing around the head, but not much in the remainder. It's perfectly attractive, but most stouts aren't anything unique.

S: The aroma is mild, with a bit of roasted nuts and booze. I wish it were bigger, to be honest.

T: Extremely complex and inviting you to drink more. A super creamy maltiness forms the backbone, as bright sharp citrus notes shine through and give it an awesome acidity and tongue bite, aided by a controlled booziness. Some roasted coffee notes are in the background. I realized that THIS is what a coffee stout should be, really, not those beers that taste like cold coffee in a bottle, but this complex beverage with hints of tropical fruit, roasted malts, honey and caramel sweetness.... truly epic goodness.

M: Creamy, thick, somehow avoiding syrupyness even though it lacked much carbonation in the cask. So smooth, I almost think it has to have some oats. Great.

D: I could sit and sip this all day. It's such a smooth, creamy, complex ale, truly exceptional. The booziness and ABV might get to you after a bit, but it's not meant to be a session beer.

Serving type: cask

02-18-2010 19:33:04 | More by Telix
Photo of glid02


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

Cask at the Atlanta Cask Ale Festival.

Pours black with a surprisingly large one-finger brown head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of mild dark malts with a nice roastiness and hints of pine hops.

Tastes much more robust than it smells. Smooth roasted malts with large unsweetened chocolate flavors kick things off. Hints of anise enter into things midway through the sip along with very mild amounts of pine hop flavors. Roasted malt flavors mosey back in before a solidly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is great. I was looking forward to trying this on cask simply because of the mouthfeel and I was not disappointed. A great thickness with grainy and soft carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall this is a more intense smell away from being a great beer however as it is it's still knocking on the door. Well worth a shot.

Serving type: cask

02-06-2010 03:01:53 | More by glid02
Photo of cpetrone84


4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I have previously reviewed this beer in bottle but the cask was something different and I thought it was entitled to a new review.

A-jet black in color that lets no light through. thick creamy dark coffee colored head that has solid retention and leaves nice lacing

S-light roasted malts, hints of milk chocolate and some molasses

T/M-it is extremely smooth and creamy, very robust and full bodied, almost chewy. the taste brings big dark chocolate, a light roasted malt, some molasses, alcohol is slightly present, hints of dark fruit towards the finish.

D-amazing! so creamy, so chocolate, and huge flavors!

Serving type: cask

01-15-2010 05:05:55 | More by cpetrone84
Photo of BigBigPickle


4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Was at Sheffield's in Chicago for the Hopslam release party and they tapped a firkin of Expedition Stout prior to the Hopslam.

A: Dark brown, casading down the glass - it looked almost like Guiness (bad lighting). Great toasty brown head with tremendous staying power and fantastic lacing. Looked like a glass of chocolate!

S: Malt, sugar - Brown sugar, very big coffee.

T: Bourbon - Heavy Coffee - Brown Sugar. A little maple syrup with a very peaty taste. Also a backing of carmelized brown sugar.

M: Wow!!! All I can say.

D: Only one. I could not have had another, Too much to handle, but what an experience!

Serving type: cask

01-12-2010 15:42:12 | More by BigBigPickle
Photo of blakesell


4.22/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Got a pint before Dave Boston's tragedy of losing a whopping 4 gallons from an exploded bung on the cask.

A-poured thick as motor oil and frothy as all get out. A Coffee black/brown frothy head that lingered like an uninvited guest that just won't leave. It seemed like hours and was at least a full 20 min before the head died down sufficiently. The tension mounted as the head retained.

S-Slight rasin, plum, Chocolate, coffee, cream? must be lactose sugars

T-A little sweet, frothy from the force carbonation of the cask. Chocolate malt, Black Patent, non-malted barley, hints of smoke. finish thick and sweet but still black like my lungs back when I smoked clove cigarettes. Sticky on the lips like back when I smoked them as well. Alcohol creeps up and quick. I'm wondering if it's the same percentage it has always been, but 11.5 isn't shabby by a long shot. Oh, hoppiness comes out in the finish as well.

M-Thick like a mouthfull of blood after getting hit with a baseball bat. I'm a little morbid today, let's go closer to thick like eggnog, with almost as much creaminess. I'm glad I had water nearby as well to balance it out so I could drink it all and soak it in over the duration. Slight drying finish.

D-This is by far the best cask conditioned beer I have ever had. I could have drank this all night but only dealt with one due to the tasting after. I regret that I have but one palate to blow away for my community.

These are the stouts that myths are made of.

Serving type: cask

04-21-2007 04:58:29 | More by blakesell
Photo of Bierguy5


4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On cask at Boston's here in good old Dayton, OH. Pitch black in color, with no highlights at all. An incredible, huge frothy tan head that never goes away. Incredible retention, and great patches of lace.

Nose full of roasty malts, tobacco, chocolate and some darker fruits. Floral and citrusy hops in the background. Not as pronounced nose as the bottle or draft version.

Great roasty, chocolate flavors, and dark fruity flavors at the end. The fruits seem to have a slight sourness to them. A good amount of floral bitterness that helps to round all of it out. Very nice.

Full body, nice soft, gentle carbonation, and a creamy mouthfeel. Overall, a fantasic beer, made very interesting in cask form.

Serving type: cask

04-20-2007 01:06:48 | More by Bierguy5
Photo of mcallister


4.58/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on cask at Boston's in Dayton. Been waiting a month for them too tap this and off the pour it's not dissapointing at all. Black as midnight with a 2 inch creamy, fluffy mocha head that has retention that won't quit. Head has not faded after a good 5 minutes and counting...and counting....and counting....and counting.

Chewy caramel aromas with a dark chocolate backing, vanilla, black currant, coffee, hints of strawberry milk? huh, mollasses, and many other dark fruits. Delightful and pleasing to say the least.

As usual a huge masculine, robust, bold beast of a beer. Full of bitter as hell and full of dark bakers chocolate. Caramel with hints of roasty barley stand forward on the mid palate. But damn the bittering hops and pure tannin from the ground coffee and barley shine through the entire palate spectrum.FInish lasts longer than most insect lifetimes. Black and red currants, mollasses, gooey and resiny mouthfeel, hot fudge, creamy and delicious.

On cask it looks as though I will be drunk soon very soon from multiple glasses.

Serving type: cask

04-19-2007 23:19:27 | More by mcallister
Photo of FtownThrowDown


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

Many thanks to Peanut at the Dilly Deli for hooking me up with this great, rare treat!
The weather is breaking, my favorite beer on cask, how can it get any better.
Pours black with a mocha head that is about an inch and a half and never goes away. There is plenty of lacing "caked" to the side of the glass. This is what a beer should look like.
The smell is not up to par with the bottled version. Hard to pick out a lot of anything in the nose besides loads of roasted malt.
Taste is the most surprising of all. This is hot! The alcohol is so present in this beer that I was taken back by it. An immediate warming sensation engulfs my mouth/nose. Lots of roasted malt and cocoa are present in the taste. But for the most part the taste is dominated by this hot, alcohol taste. It lacks the complexity of the bottled version.
Mouthfeel is incredible. It's an alcoholic chocolate malt. Thick, creamy, smooth. The mouthfeel adds to the drinkability. It makes it very easy to get through. A little too easy.
Expedition never ceases to please. A truly world class beer and one of my favorites.

Serving type: cask

02-20-2007 13:59:26 | More by FtownThrowDown
Photo of zhanson88


4.01/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 8/28/12.

Appearance: Pours out pretty near pitch black and fairly viscous looking. About 1" of dark tan head forms, which has good retention and lacing. Good looking stout.

Smell: Bitter roasted malts and dark chocolate sweetness are the primary scents I get off of this beer. I might get a light hint of vanilla sweetness as well. Good; not overly complex, but good. A classic stout smell.

Taste: Roasted malts, sweet dark chocolate, hints of black licorice and vanilla. A bit more complex than the nose but about at the same overall quality.

Mouthfeel/Overall: Medium to full bodied with appropriate, low carbonation. Very good. Overall, a very solid stout. Nice flavors and good balance of bitter and sweet.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2014 02:43:03 | More by zhanson88
Photo of EvoRich


4.98/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Bell Expedition stout. Something I wanted to try for awhile, hearing great things about it. I've seen it on tap at a local restaurant I frequent, however, I kept finding things that sounded more interesting, o stuck to old favorites. Well I decided to finally just try it, and I was extremely impressed! Very glad I gave this stuff a try. I found a case at a local distributor for much less than what I thought this stuff would cost. I expected it to be over $100/case. I ended up splitting the case with a friend from work who has previously enjoyed this stout.

Look: DARK. As dark as anything. Very thing head, dwindles to noting but a small foam lip around the edge of the glass. Very tan/coffee and creme colored (but minimal) lacing/foam. Leaves an almost motor oil like coating on the sides of the glass when swirling it around.

Smell: Alcohol, bourbon, chocolate. Smells like a big stout. Very sweet and roasty smelling.

Taste: Roasty, coffee, chocolate, nutty, alcohol, dark fruits. Very sweet. A slight hoppy finish, nothing over the top. I love the alcohol burn, despite not being very high ABV (120 minute and WWS have ruined my perception of "high ABV"). At 10.5% ABV, it has a much greater alcohol burn than I would expect. This is not a bad thing, in my opinion. The Taste is just how I want a nice imperial stout to be. Perfect!

Mouthfeel: Full bodied. Light on carbonation, but just the right amount.

Overall: Without having it back to back, I think this compares well to Dogfish head World Wide Stout. Much more available, and MUCH cheaper as well, and the flavor is very comparable. Dare I say, I might actually like it a little more. One reason being the lower ABV. Yeah drinking big ABV beers is fun sometimes, but most of the time, 18% ABV is just toooo much, for a Tuesday evening :)

This may be my new favorite Russian Imperial Stout.I'm really starting to like what Bell's has to offer.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2014 23:29:58 | More by EvoRich
Photo of itsscience


4.36/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with 2 fingers of tan head which retains nicely. The nose is boozy with sweet and roasty malts, dark fruits, raisins, and some dark chocolate. It tastes sweet and chocolaty at the front of the tongue with a bite of bitterness coming later, bringing herbal hop, coffee, and roasted grain flavors. There's a bourbon barrel quality to it and it leaves an aftertaste of chocolate-covered raisins. It's full bodied, alcoholic, and skirts the edge of doing too much, but doesn't quite go over that edge.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2014 03:49:16 | More by itsscience
Photo of GreesyFizeek

New York

4.71/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Growler filled at Nathaniel Square Corner Store in Rochester, NY.

Pours a deep dark black, with a sizable 2 inch head. Sticky spider-web like lacing.

Aromas include roasted malt, bitter dark chocolate, and a bit of something that smells like bourbon, even though it's not barrel aged.

Huge roasted malt taste here, lots of bitterness. Some chocolate covered espresso beans as well. There is a bit of an alcohol burn and sweetness, but it is integrated well and doesn't detract. Some mild tastes of earthy dark fruits. There is a richness and depth of flavor here that suggests extended barrel treatment, but it didn't get any. Awesome.

Full viscous and creamy mouthfeel. Low carbonation.

One of the best non-BA stouts I've ever had, this one is knock your socks off good.

Serving type: growler

04-05-2014 20:50:17 | More by GreesyFizeek
Photo of ONovoMexicano

New Mexico

4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From the 12 ounce bottle into a snifter.

I like the way this beer pours, thick, creamy and viscous. For a moment I thought I was putting oil in my car. This beer is pitch-black with a finger-thick, dark khaki-colored head.

As soon as I popped the top off, I was getting a big whiff of booziness, almost bourbon-like. Once in the glass though, it's apparent this beer is just big and may not have gotten the bourbon-barrel treatment. There's a lot of dark chocolate on the nose, vanilla and caramel, sweet malt, and some oakiness.

There's plenty of flavor in this bad boy. Initially chocolatey, oaken and dry, the beer transitions to a sweet, creamy middle of vanilla before finishing with a baker's chocolate finish. The beer feels very big, but the heat is mostly buried, and in its place is a good viscosity, allowing this beer to go down pretty easily.

I like this beer for a lot of reasons, but I think the best thing about it is that a single 12 ounce bottle didn't cost more than $2.50. That's a steal for such a monster of a beer. I shoulda stocked up on about 15 more.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2014 03:54:52 | More by ONovoMexicano
Photo of Franziskaner


3.94/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Darker than night with a wisp of quickly dissipating dark brown foam. The nose is an obscene amount of dark malt along with some roasted barley. The mouth is thick and sticky. The front of the palate is heavy with dark malt and roasted barley. The back of the palate is plums and fig mixed with dark malt.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2014 18:16:05 | More by Franziskaner
Photo of hops202

District of Columbia

4.11/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into a Stone Imperial Russian Stout Snifter. Bottled 8/22/13.

Very dark pour. Not too much carbonation present and seems like there is used motor oil in my snifter. Smell has Incredible amounts of roastiness, molasses, and some dark candied fruit and syrup. Maybe even some hickory smoke and burnt char. Taste is similar with some bitterness to add. I believe this is still "young", needs to age some, and plan to drink a 2012 side by side with a 2013 in the near future and re-review. Stay tuned!!

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2014 00:40:59 | More by hops202
Photo of confer


4.11/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours as black as motor oil with a half-finger tan head that never leaves.
The really isn't much aroma, which is a little surprising.
This bottle I had must have been a young one. It was very bitter and the start but ended with a deep coffee taste that hung around for a long time.
Thick and creamy which i did expect.
The other bottle is going into the basement for at least a year.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2014 21:21:59 | More by confer
Photo of drdiesel9483


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Drank this dark stout out of a sniffer. I was suprised with the thickness of the taste itself. Not to strong of an alcohol taste even though it 10+ abv. The beer has a dark chocolate smell with a hint of fruit. Pretty good beer. About what I expected after seeing over reviews.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2014 22:09:16 | More by drdiesel9483
Photo of Jmitchell3


4.54/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter from a 12oz bottle. Bottled 10/22/12.

A: Poured thick and black. Dark brown head. medium retention.
S: Thick roasty and chocolate notes, some hints of plum, even a slight pear.
T: Wow. Roasted chocolate, high bitterness for a stout. Slight sweetness on the tip, lingering bitter finish.
M: Thick feel in the mouth. Very full and luxurious.
O: Fantastic, it has aged very well. Better than fresh.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2014 02:03:21 | More by Jmitchell3
Photo of chinchill

South Carolina

4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle date stamped with a fill date of 2 Oct. 2012. Served in a Belgian snifter.

Pours opaque and nearly black, but with red-brown highlights at the edges. Small dark tan head soon recedes.

Aroma: semi-sweet and appealing but relatively subtle.

Flavor: Rich and strong, with dark fruits, dark chocolate, dark roasted grains, and a hint of coffee. Approaches 4.5

Creamy smooth, excluding the impact of high ABV,

O: Excellent, but room for improvement as demonstrated by Bell's Black Note Stout.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2014 00:30:44 | More by chinchill
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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,115 ratings.