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

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

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5,470 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,470
Reviews: 2,012
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 10.59%
Wants: 465
Gots: 1,402 | FT: 114
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: 5,470 | Reviews: 2,012
Photo of Swettenham_Shire
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bought a 6-pack of the 2013 vintage; interested in seeing how age affects this beer. I plan on drinking one a year until 2018. Today 1/31/15, about 18 months after bottle date, this beer has an enticing smell with a silky smooth taste mixed with dark fruit; really coats the mouth. Alcohol heat is still slightly there.

Photo of Norvelljeff
4.7/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

L-Thick, black, dark, sand colored head that stays about 1/8" layer on top as your drink.

S-Roasty, liquor-ish, smell. Hints of something sweet.

T-Complex, getting an oak after taste. Drinks well with rings staying around glass.

F-A little slippery coating that lasts a minuet or so after first drink.

O-Very, very good. Will be savoring the rest of the sixer.

Photo of jonlopez702
4.81/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Overall great stout and flavor

Photo of jpizzle859
4.76/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Best imperial stout I've had and one of the best beers period. Amazing

Photo of Jwburns75
4.67/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottled 9/18/14, poured from 12oz bottle into snifter. Huge chocolate and dark fruit taste, very nice sweetness, laces well. Alcohol is well hidden by all the flavor. What a magnificent RIS this is.

Photo of mattbk
4.01/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Jet black, deep tan, very creamy looking head.
S: Cocoa, caramel, some dark fruit, fig, pretty nice.
T: Some roasty and hop based bitterness, followed by sweet dark fruits, grape coming to mind. More subtle cocoa. Definite booziness in the back. This is a big beer in all ways, shapes and forms. Good beer, slightly rough though. Definitely a sipper.
M: Super full bodied, very creamy. Pretty awesome.
O: I have a lot of respect for this beer. It's sort of like a full bodied Rasputin, although this is far from my favorite style.

Photo of Magbas
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Good weight, stops short of being rich and doesn't have the bitterness that some RIS have.

Photo of Bone53
4.81/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I indulge in a few of these each winter and it has become one of my absolute favorite RIS. It just managed to slip through the cracks for a review until now. Here we go...

Appearance: The pour on this bad boy is thick and pitch black; motor oil baby. Atop sits a one finger mocha brown head. Also the most laced glass from a beer iv seen in a long while. Wish i could post a picture on this review

Smell: Semi dark chocolate, roasted malt, dark fruit, coffee, slight molasses

Taste: The taste is even better! Nothing in particular really hits my palate upfront, rather its a blissful medley of chocolate and roasted malts/coffee with a slight presence of dark fruit mid palate, although i get more dark fruit in the nose. Then the espresso-like coffee character leaves everything else behind and lingers for a bit; But not without molasses finally finishing it off making me ponder on how interesting and awesome that sip was and immediately wanting another

Mouthfeel: A fairly heavy body; viscous and coats the mouth. Slight alcohol presence but smooth considering the abv. Bitter finish

Overall: Like i said before, this is one of my favorite RIS ever. This is easily right up there with Ten Fidy and Founders IS. Between the motor oil pour, dark and rich aromas and flavors of chocolate, espresso, roasted malts, dark fruit, molasses, and the smooth mouthfeel, this is EVERYTHING you want in a RIS. The only thing that stops me from sipping this everyday is the price, but the taste definitely justifies that. Overall this beer is mindblowing, and i look forward to having it each and every winter. I have a few in the basement for next winter as well.

EDIT 3/2/15: Sippin on a 2009 Expedition on draft and my oh my is this spectacular. The aromas and flavors have blended together wonderfully. The smell is dark espresso, bitter roasted and sweet caramel malts, dark fruits, and mild chocolate. The taste is like some of the best espresso youll ever have, dark fruits, mild chocolate, and a solid roasted and caramel malt backbone. The alcohol from a fresh batch has totally dissipated and the bitterness has mellowed out, although still slightly bitter. This joins an aged oatmeal yeti as the best stout iv ever had. I thought a fresh Expedition was one of the best RIS iv ever had, but this is somethin else. I have just raised my rating a couple tenths. I need to start cellaring bottles in my basement, if only i could forget theyre down there lol

Photo of Furlinator
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Big dark chocolate and coffee up front with a moderate hop finish. Thick, viscous and syrupy. A very good stout.

Photo of MetalMistress
4.96/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

The best beer I've ever had!

Photo of humuloner22
4.24/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I have had this one in the past. Tonight I decided I would grab another one to see kind of what the base beer was like because I was going to drink and review the Black Note. So here goes...

Appearance: Black as night not a lot of head whatsoever but very viscous and the head that lays on top is a dark caramel color. With a little agitation the head does appear again but otherwise it pretty much settles to nothing.

Aroma: Licorice, dark burned malts and lots of charred flavors.

Taste: Licorice, burned cream flavors. This is not a beer I would drink cold. At first it was too biting for me, however as it warmed it began releasing more pleasant flavors. Still this beer is on the bitter side. Mouthfeel is pretty much spot on. Not to thin not to thick.

Overall: I have drank this beer before years ago. I was not impressed with it the first time I tried it, I know more what to look for now and although in the beginning I had it too cold and did not enjoy the flavors, as it warmed it was definitely better, nevertheless it is still not one of my favorite beers of the style nor from Bell's. With all the options we have out there these days I would probably pass on this one considering the price point, however it does come in a six pack which is a good thing.

Photo of DaverCS
4.69/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Motor oil black. 2 plus finger head with a moderate to aggressive pour. The head reminds me of a beautiful espresso crema (if it was 2 fingers tall over my coffee). Great lacing up the glass.
Aroma definitely boasts some alcohol. I do get a presence of some dark fruits soaked in rum, some molasses, brown sugar, and coffee.
Taste is rather pleasant. It really doesn’t have much sweetness. The beer is only 3 months old, so it has some bitterness, but I find that the slight bitterness makes it drinkable. I think it has the perfect mouth feel: not overly thick, but not overly carbonated. I get huge burnt coffee and smokiness, molasses in the middle of the palate with a nice malt flavor. Not as much dark fruits as on the nose. You get them primarily near the middle of the mouth. I primarily get a rum soaked date flavor with some raisins thrown in. Almost an oak flavor. I do taste the alcohol a little at the end as the beer warms, but it isn’t as much as the nose would make you think. Definitely coats the palate.
Overall, not a bad stout. This beer is readily available and totally drinkable. I like this beer because it has more substance and thickness than some boasting the same flavors. It isn’t overly thick, but the rights blend. Aging would work well for this beer; it would tame the bitterness down making it beautifully balanced. While I like the bitterness, as it warms, it is a little too much for the beer. I could see something remarkable after a year or so. This would be a good beer with some beignets. I give it 94/100.

Photo of BrewCrew44
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had to try my first one fresh. I can tell this is going to be an awesome beer with some age on it

Photo of Goodspeed83
4.24/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

As another reviewer stated, this is beer is difficult to rate, as the bottle I had is only a few months old. Based on its reputation, I wanted to like it immediately. The first half of the bottle was a little overwhelming. Very bittersweet smell, along with a sweeter taste that becomes very bitter immediately.

I wasn't too surprised, since that bitterness is described by Bell's themselves, but my desire to try it out won over my original intent to age it. In the end, I liked it, but the rest of the bottles went to the basement, to be enjoyed at a much later time.

Photo of JGam115
4.34/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Oily black, toffee head. Sweet cookie dough, light toffee. Sweeter than I remember with a hint of lemon zest.

Photo of Bshaw22
4.39/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

Photo of leroybrown10
4.13/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

Photo of rangerred
4.26/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

Photo of Kraj30
3.92/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

had a 2012 the other day. very solid.. a little to boozy for me..

Photo of JohnnyI
4.52/5  rDev +6.4%
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+

Photo of lenbert
4.57/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

Photo of Moun10
3.48/5  rDev -18.1%
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.

Photo of LukeGude
2.96/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Inky and black with minimal head. Boozy smell. I normally love a good stout but the alcohol overpowers on this one.

Photo of Roxie_B
4.82/5  rDev +13.4%
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.

Photo of DaveBar
4.42/5  rDev +4%
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!


Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
95 out of 100 based on 5,470 ratings.