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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.

2,015 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,015
Hads: 5,646
Avg: 4.21
pDev: 17.81%
Wants: 490
Gots: 1,508 | 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: 2,015 | Hads: 5,646
Photo of mntlover
4.78/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a black on black with a dark tan head that falls to a ring with clumps of foam floating in the middle, some light spotty lace not bad for 11.5% brew.
Aroma is lots roasted malt nutty chocolate mixed with nice expresso and citrus grassy mix of hops brought forth by light alcohol presence.
Taste is creamy and dreamy chocolate mixed with some nuts that lasts for a while, Then some bitter coffee like flavors appear and hops pick up on them and add there own bitterness to the coffee and intensify then drop off. Finish is lightly hoppy and sweet at the same time, chocolate flavors reappear at the end. This is a very complex very nice Impy Stout. No real alcohol in the taste, except for hints in the finish, but it does warm the body.
Mouthfeel is very full, creamy very nice, almost think you could cut out chunks with a knife.
Drinkability is great goes down quick for a big beer finished by the time it took to type down my thoughts. This will be on my list of beers to pick up when I make to a store up north. Very grateful to merlin48 for the chance to sample this masterpiece, one of many great brews he has provided me with.

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Photo of swamiswamu
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a huge beer, the sears tower of beer. It looks like spent motor oil with a brown head. The taste reminds me of the "hungry, hungry homer" Simpsons episode when Duff has a chemical to add to Duff's malty goodness. It was what an imperial should be, a much bigger version. I can't drink more than one because it is just that big.

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

I am drinking this brew courtesy of Mentor and Secret Santa. Thanks man!
THe beer pours incredibly dark black with ZERO light escaping. A dark brown creamy head of .5 cm foams up and fades to an edge layer rather quickly. Aroma is nice and balanced with a mix of roasted malt, coffee and chocolate and a bit of earthy and grassy hops. First sip reveals a rather thick body and small yet prickly carbonation. Flavor is coffee bitter up front with a hint of grassy hops in the middle and a smooth chocolate finish. A very well balanced beer and quite tasty. Very nice brew, well worth it if you see it!

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Photo of fdrich29
3.67/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Feloniousmonk thank you for this brew.

Poured BLACK. Thick chocolate milk head that reduced to a quarter inch.

Smells like chocoate fudge and nuts.

Tastes like chocolate fudge and nuts.

Mouthfell is weird. Coats the roof of your mouth. Strange sensation.
It's like your drinking something that isn't supposed to be liquid.

Great smell and taste, but the mouthfeel is, well, odd. Worth a try, I'm on the fence with this one. Maybe another sample would help.

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Photo of santoslhalper
4.97/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearence: Pours a midnight black with a dark, chocolaty head. Leaves decent lacing. A near-perfect looking stout.

Smell: Smells of roasted nuts and chocolate with a little bit of hops shining through. Stout heaven. The sniff of all sniffs.

Taste and Mouthfeel: This tastes like a steak!! Its a steak in a bottle! Fabulously complex and perfectly balanced. There's no alcohol there what-so-ever. A huge, grand tasting beer that has to be sipped to be understood. Rich, malty goodness with a great amount of hops finishing off this well-rounded beer. I can't say enough, the best tasting stout I've had to date. Feels nice and chewy in the mouth with a rich, creamy texture that just doesn't quit.

Drinkability and Overall: I didn't think my long-time favorite Storm King could be topped, but goddammit this did it. Bell's totally suprised me with this. If this were more readily available this might be one of the few beers I drink. This is my new desert island beer. As close to perfection in a stout as you can get. Unbelievable.

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Photo of CSquared
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle donated by Ninjaworm

appearance: can't get any better than this for a stout. midnight black with a huge dark brown head. the head is dimpled and looks like it could suspend small objects.

aroma: bittersweet chocolate, dark roasted coffee, roasted malt, and slightly burnt notes.

taste: the taste is huge on this beer, with flavors of chocolate and coffee reflected in the aroma. mild notes of alcohol, amazingly few for such a big beer.

mouthfeel/drinkability: thick and chewy, this beer has loads of body. a wonderful wintertime beer. for the style, this a moderately drinkable stout

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Photo of rajendra82
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Arriving as a part of a trade from clvand0, this beer was in an ordinary looking brown 12 oz. bottle. Once the cap was popped the word ordinary left my vocabulary immediately.

Very thick and viscous with a dark brown body and little to no head to speak of, this was one robust looking drink. The lack of head is understandable given the strength of the beer.

The aroma was roasty and vinous with chocolate, coffee, smoke, raisins, and roasted grains abounding. The taste was mellow and smooth, with flavors of dark chocolate, creamed coffee, toffee, and raisins soaked in brandy. With all the sweet and roasty flavors, the hop bitterness had taken a back seat.

Mouthfeel was thick and tongue numbingly rich. The aftertaste was a bit peppery and alcoholic.

Very nice example of an Imperial Stout.

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Photo of Dithyramb
4.02/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Just received via BIF 14. This is my second beer of the eight received. Mad props to Signor CRJMellor for his excellent trade opinions. Presentation was a bottle matching the photo. No freshness or bottling date was evident.

This is the deepest, darkest blackness that I’ve seen for some time. Appears to have an oily, thick goodness and it is completely opaque. Only loses points for the lack of carbonation. Initial pour was tepid, with no head. I held back, since my last few stouts were the “Love Stout,” with its heavy fizziness. Dumped the rest in, the forceful pour left a quarter inched, small bubbled, dark brown head that left quickly. No carbonation or lacing to speak of.

Slightly burnt caramel and roasted coffee aromas.
A very diverse mixture of flavors is available. There are some darker roasted malts, with both chocolate and espresso evident. Hops dance around on the finish.
ABV warmness creeps in after a nice creamy bodied beverage. Leaves your mouth warm, dry, and slightly acidic. Has the same slight flatness that I recently experienced with the Czar.

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

Appearance: Poured from a 12 oz bottle with no freshness markings on it. It pours an impervious black and brown color with no true head on it, just a ring of bubbles around the top.

Smell: Toffee, coffee, soy sauce, uncooked semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Taste: Very rich and roasty from the start with notes of chocolate, roasty coffee, caramel, and burnt oak. The beginning is very sweet and it yields to a bit of hop bitterness towards the middle and the end. As the beer warms there is a sour sweetness that develops. An alcohol warmth sits in the mouth and warms the whole body.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth in the mouth. The bold flavors are delivered well with the smooth texture.

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Photo of trumick
4.07/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black very little light penetrates if at all. There is very little head that hangs around for a bit with nice lacing all around.

Smell is of sweet molasses, burnt coffee, dark fruits and chocolate.

Taste is right on with the nose burnt coffee, sweet dark malts chocolate and hops. It finishes dry and with a nice burnt coffee dark bitter chocolate that goes on froever. There is an alcohol taste. I can tell it is there, almost overwhelming, it's also warming.

Mouthfeel is smooth and full bodied, robust with just the right amount of carbination, I would even call it creamy.

Drinkability would be great but for the abv. The abv. is too noticeable. It stands out and that puts it lower on the drinkability scale.

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

Pours completely black with a a thin dark tan head.

Smells of Burnt Coffee, Dark Chocolate, and heavy toffee flavors.

Taste is great, dark expresso flavor with heavy amounts of chocolate with a sweet toffee maltyness breaking through and finishing with a suprisingly strong amount of hops that really balance this beer out very well.

Mouthfeel is a thick motor oil like consistancy, seems to run down your throat with the speed of lava, I had to stop and chew a couple times. Plus the ABV lends to a nice fuzzy tongue tingling. Fantastic.

Drinkability is very good for a beer on this scale of big and bold. Highly recommended.

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Photo of walleye
4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this beer before and did not like it but wanted to give it another try, I am glad I did. this was a very good beer going to have to buy some more that said I don’t know if I got a bad bottle but got no head no lacing.poured black.aroma got malts,molasses, chocolate and licorice.Flavor got same as aroma with a nice taste of alcohol and fruit like plums,raisins.liked the finish that sweet bitterness I am getting to enjoy.

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Photo of meathookjones
4.73/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The poured out an opaque ink black with a huge brown head I had to sip to keep from spilling over the glass. Great retention and chunks of lace left decorating the glass as I consumed this. Aroma is thick with dark chocolate and roasty coffee as well as a touch of fruit and some other unidentifiables. I will have to try and figure out more with my other bottle. The flavor was similar with a strong chocolate taste and notes of roasted malt and espresso. Dark fruits were also in the mix as well as some earthy hops. The finish was a mixed of roasted malts, hop bitterness and a slight alcohol bit. Excellent all around flavor that I couldn’t ask any more of. Mouthfeel is full and creamy. Damn good drinkability here. Great all around Russian Imperial Stout that is near the top of my favorites.

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

Pours a slick motor oil jet black into a Schell's snifter. Smells richly of black coffee and bitter chocolate. Alcohol is present but not prevelent. Taste is full of rich coffee and dark chocolate flavors. The taste is excellent, however, not acidic, whatsoever. Hops bitterness combined with the high ABV makes this awesome beer what it is. Probably the best Imp Stout I've ever had.

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Photo of swid
3.82/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours very thick and syrupy...deep brown to black. Carbonation nearly nonexistant. A 2" brown head forms; fades after about 10 minutes or so.

Chocolate and caramel notes are prominent in an overall sweet, malty aroma. Along with the chocolate and caramel, a coffee flavor dominates this beer. A surprisingly light mouthfeel; slightly bitter on the palate, feels like a light syrup on the back of the mouth/throat, finishes fairly clean. The high ABV of this beer is masked very well, much more so than other strong beers I've had in the past.

Overall, a decent imperial stout, and a beer worth trying or breaking out every once in a while. However, I wouldn't go out of my way to track down another one.

Thanks to mdinges for the bottle!

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

Pitch black motor-oil when pouring, a mirror to any trace of light adventurous enough to try to get through. Superb chocolate brown 1-inch head, long-lasting and displaying awesome lacing, foamy, sticky like it came nitro-pushed. Very rich malt aroma, satisfyingly bittersweet with tons of molasses, dark belgian chocolate over home-made cookies, dark european bread, torrefied coffee with two creams. Subtle fruitiness (plums, blackberries), just as subtle complementing hops as I love them, piney and obvious hints of smoke. Very complex, but still not overly envelopping in the aroma department. In mouth though, this is a very intense experience, contemplative flavour development with the typical Bell’s milky aspect although there’s almost no sweetness here. Just great smoked chocolate. Multi-dimensional spicy hoppy aftertaste, piney, bitter and very long. Carbonation was much more generous than I was lead to believe from other reviews, it’s just perfect here and I think I’d have enjoyed it less or found it a bit less lively if it hadn’t been for a little tongue-cleaning carbonation to entertain such a thick body. Holy Crap, totally dominant monument that I never expected to enjoy all that much and I’ll admit liking some sweetness in my beers and not being a fan of hopfests. Once again, Raindog is the gentleman to be thanked and re-thanked.

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Photo of wyllder
4.02/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First off: thanks go out to deejaydan for the chance to sample this.

Pours an opaque chocolate-black with a small caramel colored head.

Nose is a mix of dark fruits, chocolate & sweetbread. Very nice.

Taste is bittersweet on the front of palate. Just a bit too salty for me. Hints of chocolate are here and make the finish nice.

Mouthfeel is good.

Drinkability suffers from, IMO, a bit too much of a salty character.

Overall, a solid interpretation of the style by not quite up there with Stone & Siberian Night for me.


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Photo of FormatKid
5/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I received this beer as a part of BIF XII and have to admit this was the one I was most excited about. I’m glad it made it all the way to me.

The packaging is a standard 12oz bottle and I poured this into my La Trappe goblet. The body of this beer is blacker than blackity-black y’all, nothing more can be said. A dense and rather creamy head rolls up impressively especially for a beer of this girth and alcohol content. The head is the color of creamed coffee.

The nose is surprisingly sweet, and inviting. Alongside the standard stout aromas of burnt caramel, dark roasted coffee, and charred malt, I pick up sweeter scents of vanilla, ripe dark fruits, and berry, tons of berry is in the nose on this brew. Further inspection also reveals a sophisticated woody aroma.

First of all this is the thickest beer on the palate I have ever experienced. From the first sip it coats your mouth and just hangs around lovingly not letting you forget the sweet flavor for a second. If you let it sit in your mouth it brings on a milkshake like mouthfeel, you’ll be spitting black malt residue like you’ve been chewing tobacco. That being said the flavor is even more elegant and assertive than I would have ever imagined. I taste so many things as I drink it and ponder. Chocolate covered cherries, tons of berries again, bitter baker’s chocolate, espresso, and vanilla. The finish of this is a duel between charred malt flavors and stunning hop bitterness so arrogant you almost feel inferior. The alcohol only registers with a slight vinous flavor note and small burn in the back of my throat.

This beer is amazing and has absolutely bowled me over like no beer has yet. I cannot fathom taking points away for anything so here it is…my first perfect score.

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Photo of Bruiser81
4.01/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer just looks yummy on the pour. Very dark black, with no light getting through. A huge two finger head that is the darkest creamiest head I've seen yet. Excellent lacing
The aroma is nice, mostly dark usweetened chocolate,small amounts of coffee and tons of roasted malt.
The flavor is familiar in all the higher quality stouts. Same ones only in different amounts. This one seems to have a major roasted barley thing happening, not overpowering though. Small hints of carmel and coffee same as the smell. A slight kick of hops later towards the finish, just enough.
Very creamy full bodied beer
Probably wouldn't be able to drink more than two.
A delicious beer. I believe I need to thank pheloniousmonk for this trade that was done over a year ago. So this has to have some age on it. Thanks brother.

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Photo of oxmasterscream
5/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured an opaque dark brown, nearly black, with a small, thick brown head. The aromas this beer gave off were nothing short of mouthwatering... all very desert-like, predominantly raisins and chocolate, with some sweet spices thrown in, but some deeper whiffs revealed smells of a dark raisin cake, oatmeal raisin cookies, even maraschino cherries. Taste was just as huge... obviously, a big malty flavor right off the bat with some cascade hoppiness. The tastes of all things present in the aroma coat your tongue – burnt malts, raisins, chocolate, dark and sour fruits like cherries, baking spices and a slight alcohol burn on the tongue and throat, then a bitter coffee-like finish that is unbelievable. The mouthfeel is thick and syrupy like it should be. This is a top-notch Imperial Stout.

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

This beer was part of the second batch of Bell's beer my friend's girlfriend brought down to Florida from her home in Indiana. Thank you Anna and Adam for sharing. And Anna, this elevates you to goddess status in my eyes.

This looks just like an imperial stout should: super black with a dark brown head. It has a roasted smell that competes with malt aromas.

The taste is heavy on roasted flavors and unfermented sugars. It is sweet, but well balanced with bitter flavors. This is one of the more subtle Russian Imperial Stouts I've had. It doesn't knock you over the head like Rogue's. Maybe you could call this the thinking man's imperial stout?

I really like its mouthfeel. It's huge. It's got more back than a Sir Mix-A-Lot song. It's got a better body than Jane Mansfield. It's ... well, you get the point.

This is a drinkable stout, despite the high ABV. Check it out.

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Photo of StuFox
4.85/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a beer so dark not even light can escape it's surface. The singularity of stouts. Delicious. The Expedition Stout has a crazy array of spices that are balanced very well against the maltiness. Any thicker and you would spread mustard on it and place ham and cheese between it. My whole dinner never went down so smooth. This is a great beer that all but has to be used as the measuring stick for other stouts of this league.

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Photo of GuinnessSmurf
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm pretty sure that a beer doesn't get any darker than this. This beer looks so good that I fear it - (fear that a 6pk was not enough). A low ring of thick condensed head circles the glass.

The smell is has cocoa malts, alcohol, and scotch.

The taste is amazing - very full bodied. The pallette is massaged with coffee, butter, dark bitter chocolate, toffee and a dark alcohol flavor. Yum.

Drinking this beer is like pounding a pint of super rich icecream. You know that you shouldn't but there is no way you are going to stop short of finishing it.

Every sip was as good as it gets.

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

Thick, viscous and black with a large tan head that quickly drops down to a thin lace. Had to force the head with a very hard pour. Rich chocolatey nose with the pungent cascades shining through. The alcohol is very very well hidden in both aroma and flavor. Wouldnt have guessed nearly 12% by volume. Nice burnt flavor with a good smacking of hops and roasty malts, but not as aggressive as some of its American Imperial counterparts. Mouthfeel is rich and smooth...quite seductive. Jack up the complexity and this one is a classic; nonetheless, Bell's has done an excellent job with this offering.

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Photo of faernt
4.49/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I looked at my reviews and, diggy doo, I haven't reviewed one of my stalwarts. It pours with a pleasant head and a little bit of white on top of the cappucino. I have no idea how they do this but I'm thrilled when it happens.
It's very dark brown in this glass. I don't get much smell, (escuze me!) The taste is what I want in an Imperial. The mouthfeel is seriously thick and chocolatey. This beer is drinkable. I keep it around all year.


Each year I put back a bottle or two of Expedition Stout. Initially, I wrote the year date on the crown cap and thanks now to the Bell's site I can look for bottling dates for the batches. Tonight, as I was reading posts on the site I read one about oldest beers. I have a bottle of 1999 Expedition in the cellar and now it's open and in a chalice beside me. It poured still as expected. The aroma is chocolate and port. The taste is raisins and port with a nutty bitterness like English walnuts. The flavors are beguilingly blended. The hops are subdued into the blend. This is a silky delight. I urge any fan of this beer to go for the long aging. It's beyond any old beer I've had.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 2,015 ratings.