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

Not Rated.
Bell's Expedition StoutBell's Expedition Stout

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

5,468 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,468
Reviews: 2,012
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 10.59%
Wants: 466
Gots: 1,395 | FT: 112
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: 5,468 | Reviews: 2,012
Photo of k75
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Damn - just incredible

this stout pours inky black hole black with a big tawny brown head

nose is of complex chocolates and licorice mixed with black strap molasses

taste is big and rich - dark chocolates, black licorice, molasses

the ABV is hidden very well ( at first anyway ) nightcap luxury stout !

finish is long and satisfying - all things dark and luscious

a true masterwork of brewing.

k75

Photo of Matthew
4.53/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, 2006 vintage.
Pours an incredibly viscous dirty motor oil black that seems to slowly slide down the side of my glass. Very dark dirt colored airy and bubbly head that settles to only leave a slight ring around the outer edges of the top of the beer. When I give the beer a swirl the beer coats my glass with a dirty/yellowy coating that slowly seeps back down into the rest of the beer.
Bitter sweet chocolate is the first aroma I notice, warm and sticky dark chocolate brownies, rich espresso, slight hint of grassy hops right before the boozy alcohol reaches my nostrils.
Big bitter warming hop/alcohol bite at first, followed by dark roasted coffee, that slowly fades as I swallow to leave me with sweet chocolate and brown sugar. The hoppiness that is percievable in a beer this big and this rich is surprising. The alcohol is certainly there but blends nicely with the sweetness that is present.
The mouthfeel on this beer is incredibly rich, thick, and slick on the palate. Minimal carbonation, just leaves a silky smoothness that is packed with rich flavors as it goes down.
This is a great sipping beer, really packs a punch of flavor (and alcohol) but is pretty drinkable.

Photo of terrabyte
4.13/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an extremely inky black with a medium brown head.

Smells sweet like brownies and cherries.

Flavor is quite strong. Licorice, cherry, liquor, sherry, prunes, dates, cream, and a hint of chocolate. Breathing out trhough the nose, , you can feel a slight alcoholic burn. There is some chocolate bitterness, also.

Mouthful is certainly thick and syrupy. Oily and slick.

Drinkability could be a pain for some. High alcoholic content, sweetness, and thickness.

I really enjoyed this beer. A little sweet for me, but very enjoyable. I'm quite surprised by some of the reviews stating this beer's high ABV being a turnoff, yet enjoying certain Quads that I found higher in alcoholic flavor. I'm guessing that what the real deal here is that they enjoyed the flavor of those beers more, and I enjoy this beer's combination of flavors instead. What gets you through a big beer? For me, it was this beer's fun flavors.

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

I purchased this in the summer of 2005. It was too much for me during the warmer months at the time. Thanks to BA, I learned a bit about being able to let beers sit for awhile. Otherwise this beer might not have been truly appreciated.

This pours like motor oil with a nice tan head about an inch or so thick. The head disappeared within minutes, leaving a thin ring around the glass that left some lacing with each sip. Burnt, roasted, and alcohol aromas hit the nose equally. Espresso-like flavor balanced with a touch of alcohol that warms the soul on a chilly evening. Despite the strength of this stout, it handles very smoothly. Excellent.

Photo of cafemondegar
4.82/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a take it or leave it beer. You can either love it or hate it. That is because is a strong, in your face, it-is-what-it-is beer. Poured with minimal rich caramel head, not too high. Has the sweet smell of burnt caramel. It tastes delicious with a hint of sweetness and has a thick, dry mouthfeel that lasts a while. It is rather expensive, but I don't regret having spent the money. Although American style IPAs are my usual choices, I can see my wife & me spending quite a few evenings with this Russian Imperial Stout this winter.

Photo of scott
4.78/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz vintage 2005
I originally had this a year ago from a different package and thought it was much too big, even though I liked it. At the time, I had enough beers in me that I didn't respect it.
Silky black motor oil, without an aggresive head.I let it sit and witnessed a very lovely tannish three finger head grow like a chia-pet.
Monster burnt chocolate espresso flavor that goes lovely with my braised chicken dinner. The smell is inviting, and the taste completely delivers. Alcohol is masked nicely, but I'm warmed on the first snow of the season quite pleasantly.
I appreciate the silky smooth deliverance of a uniquely bold drink that finishes almost dry. Good job on this one.
Buy this knowing you own one of the best stouts available, and it keeps on giving.

Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.72/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The pour alone supports the hype on this brew. This was poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass and acquired from Shbobdb via trade. The liquid is a thick syrup like opaque black that sticks to the sides of the glass. The head in a finger or two depending on the pour, it is also dark chocolate colored and quite sudsy.

The smell is burnt coffee, dark and robust. A slight sweet tone to the malt and light alcohol lifting through.

The taste is of burnt toast and extra dark concentrated espresso. As it warms alcohol, chocolate and fruit flavors are released. By far this beer is best served warmer then cooler. I would say it is near perfect at 60+ deg.
The mouthfeel is full, thick, coating and penetrating, the carbonation is good, nothing out of order here.

Drinkability is top notch, this is by far a leeding example of the style. Sure have another. I wish I had more, thanks Shbobdb, Prosit und Zum Wohl, MK

Photo of bwyker
4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours a massively chunky pitch black, with a mud tinted light head speckled with red bubbles. Foam settles immediately to a ring of dirty lacing and pockets of bubbles in the center of the glass. Huge punches of chocolatey roasted malts and alcohol. Taste, well I took a bite and chewed on it…like an alcohol soaked piece of dark chocolate cake with molasses icing. It feels like it was brewed with roofing tar. Immensely chunky mouthfeel. Drinkabilty was not so high, as the alcohol is a bit too noticeable. However, a great after-dinner treat.

Photo of Osiris9588
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Based on a 3oz from a tasting at Spagio Cellars in Columbus. The color is pure motor oil, with a weak chocolate milk head. The nose is comprised of sweet aromas--chocolate, molassass, licorice, and something alcoholic that resembles bug spray.

The state consists of chcolate, licorice, vanilla, cream sherry, coffee in the finish, and maybe just a whisper of hops.

The mouth is complex, sweet and creamy in the middle, and features a drier sherry finish--very lively on the palate, despite a lack of carbonation. Probably wouldn't want to drink a six pack in a sitting, but is an unique example of the style.

Photo of phisig137
4.24/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to TheManiacalOne for the trade.

Undated bottle pours an incredibly dark black, that lets no light through whatsoever, even around the edges. One finger head falls quickly, leaving nothing behind at all.

Aroma filled with chocolate, coffee, and booze. Rum soaked raisons, kaluha liquor, and dark bakers chocolate aromas are huge. Smells pretty good to me.

Flavor here is massive. Big time chocolate flavors, backed by good amount of espresso. Fairly roasty, but not astringent at all. Bit of alcohol burn. Mouthfeel is very heavy and smooth, due to light carbonation. Drinkability is decent, but alcohol shows through a bit much.

I really enjoyed this beer, and thanks again to TheManiacalOne for sending it to me. I think it could use a bit of age, and wish I had another for the cellar. Overall a great imperial stout, that can hang with some of the best of them.

Photo of PeatReek
4.65/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Reviewing a bottle from batch ___, packaged in April 2005. Sweet. Pours deep, opaque black as always, oily thick with a thin rim of deep brown head. Smell is dried-fruity, like raisins and figs and a leathery savoriness. Distinct aroma of home-baked bread crust... hm. The first thing to strike me on taking a sip is how incredibly THICK this beer is. It's like drinking syrup, but not cloyingly sweet. An interesting effect. The sip starts with the same prune / raisin elements as in the nose, followed by a round, Port-style alcohol warmth. Finishes with a prominent sweetness, well balanced by the mellow carbonation. Aftertaste is a profoundly dry, dark chocolate flavor with a roasty-charcoal aspect.

Wow. Just... wow. A tremendously complex, deeply delicious beer. Makes Wordwide Stout taste like a pile of puke! Though to be fair, I don't think I've ever aged a bottle of World Wide Stout for 18 months.

Photo of RockyTopHeel
4.52/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a syrupy black with just a thin layer of espresso crema-brown head. The aroma of roasted malts, alcohol, and rich coffee fills the nose, preparing the mouth for a dark flavor explosion. Rich and smooth, this beer is filled with dark roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, and the sweet, slick bite of alcohol.

This is the perfect snow day beer -- even if I'm tasting it a couple months early. I'm going to have to stock up for the cold winter...

Photo of jcdiflorio
3.99/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This beer was cellared for 3 yrs. When I first drank this beer,it seemed like it needed to age. Every couple mounths I drank one, thet got better and better and better.

I poured this beer into a large tulip glass,it was black,opaque,there was a mocha ring around the glass.The head didn't even cover the top of the beer.
The aroma was sweet,molassas, raisney,chocolatety,diacetyl,very complex.
The taste was of smoke,bitter chockolate,dates,raisney,very fruity,bitternote tones.A very complex taste,also.
the mouthfeel was medium to thick,chewey,felt velvety on the tounge.The warming effect of the alcohol in the mouth at the finish.
A dessert beer,can only be sipped.A port-like beer with lots of aromas and exploisons of flavor in the mouth. A very interesting beer that seems to better with age.

Photo of ElGordo
4.36/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thought I'd break this out for review #500. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Consistency while pouring goes from a thick stout consistency to motor oil to chocoloate pudding by the end of the bottle. Body is pitch black and very thick, topped by a huge, sturdy, creamy brown head that likely could support the weight of the bottle cap.
Huge aroma of roasted dark and chocolate malts is evident as soon as the cap is popped and just continues to build. A whiff or two of sweet molasses and funky, salty peat are mixed in with the malt.
Palate is huge - rich, roasted, chocolatey malt, with notes of molasses, chestnut, and maple. I think I noted some scotch whisky in there, too, but that may have just been the high alcohol level coming through. Beautifully creamy body is like a beer milkshake. The creaminess strangely subsides to become more like a dry stout right before the swallow, then reappears in the throat.
Contrary to what others have said, I think this is remarkably drinkable for how big a beer it is. Sure, I wouldn't want more than one bottle, but that's not the point. I savor every drop of the 12 oz bottle and end up very satisfied. An all-around amazing beer.

Photo of orfeu
4.82/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Knowing that I've got six more of these scheduled for delivery tomorrow (along with several other awesome MI brews, courtesy of BA hoppymeal), I decided to crack open this bottle I received in a trade from BA nflmvp last summer. Poured into a 17-ounce snifter, Expedition Stout is viscous and tar-black. The ghost of a coffee-colored foam cap appears for a brief moment, then is gone, leaving only a nascent tan ring around the glass. Deep chocolate aromas emerge at first sniff; then scents of dark Bing cherries soaked in anejo rum along with a slight coffee aroma as well as a heady cabernet character. The taste starts off with bitter Belgian chocolate bar flavors -- at least 75% cocoa -- and dark fruits (plums, cherries, blackberries) all drunkenly swimming in a bourbon bath. Then -- and this is my favorite part -- there is the most wonderful roasted coffee finish, thick and damn near burnt it's roasted so dark. Lovely vinous aftertaste. Appropriately heavy on the palate, but incredibly silky overall. Low carbonation, dryness from alcohol content, but the booze has melded nicely (I think this bottle may be a little over a year old). This is the first Russian Imperial Stout I've had in a few months, and I certainly feel welcomed back home. Bell's brewed the hell out of this one. Easily one of the finest representations of the style in the world. Exceptional.

Photo of Ego
4.17/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

muchos gracias to my main pimp biggie E-pseja for this little treat smuggled on over from the midwest during his latest sojourn to see the family (aka an excuse to by beer and go to 3floyds...).

eyes...
an expeditiously designed bottle to be sure but alas this beer will only have one more expedition, right into my eager mouth and stomach. parting is such sweet sorrow but a beer left unopened is pure tragedy (this means you dan, you better start drinking some of your damn beers already!) ahem, where was I?
this is bee-atch #7251 (2/25/6)
wow, what a 'fro' on this beer (and I left my hair pick at the office...)! deep chocolate head of about 1/4 a finger, the head dissapates rather quickly into an Oring and this thing stares at you... like one big, bad ass black eye... this has the legs you would expect from someting packing 11 in the ABV pants. the color? tar? oil? asphalt at midnight during the 6 months in alaska where there is no sun... yeah, something like that. a good looking RIS, I'm psyched.

nose...
chocolate rum raisins soaked in alcohol, coffee notes with a deep cocoa mystique drawing you in like the pizza guy in porno movies, this is deep and dark like nel carter's... never mind, it's deep and dark with hints of dark fruits but the domination is laid down by the cocoa powder mixed in with the alcohol. perhaps to some the alcohol might be a detriment but I think it works here, kind of like goose island's bourbon county stout, granted it is not as boozy as that one in the nose imo.

taste et al...
thick and oily on the mouth, it leaves behind a slick syrup snail trail across the toungue, this is a touch hot alcohol wise, it is a hint out of balance in that regard and takes some acclimation to move past that detriment and enjoy the darker riches offerred here on this journey through 12 ounces. when held in the mouth there is an absolutely lovely smoke flavor (well, burnt really, as in burnt beyond recognition, you know like a great white concert). Once you get over the alcohol this is one to savor (a definite sipper... of course). The flavors are assertive as they are in the nose. The mouthfeel is nearly perfect for me, nice and thick, total viscosity (like velvet soaked in rum). The more I sip this the more I like it, definitely give it a go at cellar temp.

verdict?
I would probably have this on hand if it were local/available. Definitely needs to mellow out a bit in the cellar but alas I was awarded only one bottle. I would love to age this for a couple of years and lay it up against Stone/Raspy/Rogue etc. I think it can hang with those boys. thanks again eric, next time you are in illinois I have a request...

Photo of TheBungyo
4.65/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Props to Faro for trading this to me.

This is darker than a pit! Very little head, but what there is looks like the froth on top of a chocolate shake. Nose is full of cocoa and espresso ... maybe a little molasses and chocolate syrup as well.

Bruce Campbell might say the taste is groovey! Very big on chocolate, like dark fudge flavored with espresso. There's also some nice hop bitterness going on.

Whoa, talk about slick mouthfeel. Carbonation is low and and makes quite a minimal appearance. This is thick, rich and creamy ... I LOVE it!

If I could buy this again and again I definitely would. This is extremely delicious. I hope every stout lover out there gets a chance to try this.

Photo of maek228
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Appearance: the first thing you notice about this stout is how it pours. its thick like oil or syrup. there is a noticeable lack of carbonation, but that is somehow sexy when you factor in the thick pour.

Smell: Rich smell....cooking chocolate, dark chocolate, expresso....extremely "stoutish"

Taste: Thick as a buh-dunk-ah-dunk. upfront is the bitter strength and taste expresso, with hints of chocolate and bitter burnt malts. dark fruits round this flavor out. the hops at the end of this beer are strong and they linger...the linger of the hops and expresso mesh so nice.

Mouthfeel: Uniquely thick

Drinkability: Something strong isnt very drinkable. Something that tastes special at first would get taxing after more than 2

Photo of BlackAngus
4.72/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours like bubblin' crude oil. Very slight head that dissipated to lace quickly. Head is color of dark coffee, beer is black like, like, something really black. Crankcase oil. A QUANTUM SINGULARITY.

S - Jesus, but this is complex. Coffee, roasted malt, bitter chocolate, no discernable hops. I could go on here, but suffice it to say it's very, very pleasantly complex.

T - Taste is coffee and roasted malts big at the front, with the other complex flavors backing it up. See the Smell portion, they're all here. I get none of the soy sauce others have picked up on, but it just may be me. Just as complex as the aroma.

M - Body on this baby is like syrup. Very full-bodied, very little carbonation. Roasted malt/coffee in the finish. Not clean, but it's not supposed to be. You taste this one for a while after you finish it.

D - Exceptionally drinkable over the long term, I don't think I could have more than one or two a day. But that's every day. :-D

Photo of kmcnair
3.92/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, at least 2 years old... not sure how to identify otherwise.

A - Pours a deep, viscious, used motor oil-like burnt sienna to black hue. A hard pour generates almost no bubbles. Opaque, clarity is unavailable.

S - Rich burnt malts, molasses, bitter baking chocolate, coffee, subtle liquorice, soy sauce. No hop aroma.

T - Huge, rich complexity of roasted and burnt malts, soy sauce, coffee, chocolate. Subdued hop bitterness, no hop flavor. Clean, no diacetyl.

M - Viscious, sticky coating on the palate, quite still -- almost no carbonation, slick.

D - I've never had this fresh, but it has held up well for the most part. Rather complex and enjoyable. Would like to try this again.

Photo of loren01
4.71/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Poured a syrupy dark black color. Not really much head at all. No lacing down the glass.
S: Smells sweet, good roasted malty scent also smell slightly of coffee
T: Tastes very sweet up front, good hop bitterness toward the end. Also slight smokey, coffee flavor
M: Heavy bodied, thick and syrupy, goes down smooth though
D: Awesome beer, I wish I had more of this one. Would taste very good on a cold winter day, very warming beer.

Photo of TechMyst
2.16/5  rDev -49.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

CONTAINER VOLUME: 355ml
CONTAINER TYPE: bottle (Conditioned)
FRESH: 6672 (must be mislabled: their site has this as being an Amber Ale made 11/04. the date is probably right though) Anyway it’s almost 2 yrs old and this is ok for cellaring, but being on the top shelf exposed to fluorescent light every day might have had an impact
PURCHASED @: Binny’s
COST: $2.69/12oz bottle
HEAD: None...at first, then it rose slightly and then diminshed; red in color; a few huge soapy iridescent bubles among the smaller ones
LACE: spare
COLOR:
REFLECTED- black
TRANSMITTED- Blood Red
AROMA: faint medicine; average hop
MOUTHFEEL: full
PALATE: sticky, flat conditioning
TASTE: cherry flavored cough syrup; cloying, sweet acidic cherry flavor; astringent average lasting aftertaste

COMMENTS: I was really looking forward to this, but it was nothing like I expected. I had a flashback to Vick’s 44-D cough syrup. Could this Imperial Stout with ABV of 11.5% become lightstruck? this made my cheekbone muscles cramp up. Kalamazoo by this brewer is the best stout I’ve ever enjoyed. This is a big beer though, it’s like climbing a wall. To me the Hop and Cherry flavors didn’t mix. My throat and torso burned for hours after consuming this. Did I drink it too cold? did I get too much sediment? Is this diactyl flavor from being light struck? or do I just not like the hop/fruit balance?(I’ve stated before that I really do not care much for fruit beers...)
CONDITIONS:
MOWING/WORKING ON CAR- If I owned an Astin Martin(but then I wouldn’t be washing my own car or mowing my own lawn then now would I)
WITH FRIENDS- if they are buying
SIPPING- if I had a fresh one; or one that was cellared correctly (sipping is the only way to get this one down)
GET MY BUZZ ON- if fresh

Photo of chargerfanjess
4.97/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is an incredible beer....great smell of coffee toffee and burnt sugar, mouthfeel was not to thick but thick enough to be considered big, definately not syruppy. The taste is phenominal with great toasted notes and coffee overtones Very very drinakble at a slow pace...carefull do not get too loaded!

Photo of nvsblman
4.32/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Inky black in color. Pours like a thick oil. Very little chocolate colored head. Chocolatey aroma with some raisins and coffee. Also a slight piney hop aroma. The coffee is stronger in the flavor that expected, but very good. The dark chocolate flavor works well with it. Also a slight hop balance. Full mouthfeel and slightly creamy, but not as heavy as I expected from the pour. This is a very interesting and complex beer. Oh to have this available all the time...

Photo of BeerRun13
3.91/5  rDev -8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Stan at Lone Hill for this one.
Pours pitch black even at the thin edges of the glass. Darkest brown head I've ever seen, very thick and creamy. Great lace is left in it's wake.
Nose is full of dark chocolate, cherry, and what would seem to be a boat load of alcohol.
Roasty burnt toffee dark chocolate. Nice amount of cherry like fruit behind. The alcohol is very evident, more so than some stronger beers.
Full bodied and moderateley carbonated. Kind of creamy. Has quite the alcohol kick.
Good beer, but is most definately a sipper.

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
95 out of 100 based on 5,468 ratings.