Bell's Expedition Stout - Bell's Brewery, Inc.
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Ratings: 4,480 | Reviews: 1,876 | Display Reviews Only:
4.43/5 rDev +4.7%
Bottle: Poured a thick black color stout with a small dark brown head with excellent retention. Aroma mainly dominated by roasted malt with some subtle coffee and chocolate notes. The roasted malt dominates taste at first and then chocolate and coffee are also easily identifiable. Creamy texture makes this even more enjoyable. It all ends with some well balance bitterness. Body is incredibly full and there is even quite a lot of sediment at the bottom of my glass. Alcohol is well hidden which I always appreciate. Very good stuff indeed.
04-22-2005 13:43:07 | More by Phyl21ca
4.55/5 rDev +7.6%
Do large stouts get any more classy than this? Bell's makes it look easy as they layer the taste of roast, chocolate, alcohol, and fruit onto a succulent and savory base that seduces the palate at every turn.
The onyx-black ale arrives at the bar with a stern, disciplined, and masculine appearance. It's depth of clarity gives the beer a mirror-like sheen although it's black color makes it opaque. A mocha-stained head caps the beer with a blanket of foam that easily retains the session and laces the glass with confidence. Even a gentle swirl of the glass leaves brandy-like shiny legs clinging to the glass.
High roast, light smoke, and cocoa-rich chocolates overwhelm the nose with a backing of rum and bourbon booze that reveal notes of toffee and molasses. Underlying fruit aromas of red grape, cherry, and blackberry seem to carry a charred character and create a mouthwatering effect heading into the first sip.
Notions of chocolate wrapped espresso beans come to mind as the sweeter malts coat the front of the tongue and palate with its malty richness. Slightly scorched molasses allows for a rich and savory taste to rise at middle palate. This is the point where espresso roast, bittersweet chocolate, and charred dark fruit weave together for a complex but pleasantly rounded taste. Bold however, the taste is further complemented by piney and citrusy hops that assist the roast bitterness to finish. Cherry flavored alcohols and walnut oils all integrate into taste and continue the varying tastes that unveil themselves as the beer warms.
And with its marshmallowy texture, the enormous malt complexes provide a nearly chewy body to start. This silky and succulent texture keeps the beer's flavor squarely focused on the taste buds. But a patient transition to semi-dry maltiness is rewarded in finish as the beer's alcohols act like port wine and fine cognac to signal closure. It's extended roasty bitterness melds seamlessly with the next sip.
Bell's Expedition is a world-class stout, by which all others could be measured. I'm not sure if it is perfect at any one attribute, but it's near that on all. Plus there's several complexities that go above and beyond what the style prescribes. It pairs well with rich foods like honey-dripped dates, smoky bacon, and well aged gruyere.
08-04-2005 16:59:11 | More by BEERchitect
4.47/5 rDev +5.7%
A - Poured a thick dark, black as night with a nice 1" cream colored tan head with a real nice retention. Very havy brown lace all through the glass. This one looks like it will hurt ya.
S - Heavy, thick sweet caramel and sugar smell, lots of hints of chocolate and and just very sweet overall. Did I mention it was a thick smell?
M & T - First impression was very creamy and not overly carbonated, lotd of lactose sugar flavors, and lots of chocolate malts. A hint at a smokey profile as it warmed up a bit, but just a really thick and extremely enjoyable heavy stout. I mean this realy tasted awesome. Could have used a bit more in the carbonation, but really just very nice.
D - Overall I give this an awesome, very thick and heavy, not even close to being sessionable in any way. I really great RIS and would love to try some more.
05-24-2007 23:41:33 | More by mikesgroove
4.08/5 rDev -3.5%
Bottle from Batch 7740 (Dec. 2006!) thanks to Derek.
A: The pour is viscous and lightly carbonated with a thin layer of mocha colored head.
S: Even after a little more than 4 years, this beer is still a little bit boozy. Alcohol notes come through immediately with lots of dark fruits and licorice. Dark chocolate and burnt sugar fill in the back end along with a strong roast.
T: Surprisingly bitter with lots of roast and coffee notes, particularly on the back end. Dark chocolate, licorice, burnt sugar, and dark fruits make up the bulk of the flavor profile. The booze is a bit more subdued than I was expecting.
M: The body is medium to full with a low but ample carbonation.
D: I think one bottle is enough, but this is a fine beer indeed. One that can certainly hold up to (and in some cases, benefit from) again.
01-25-2011 05:12:00 | More by womencantsail
4.38/5 rDev +3.5%
Appearance: Pours a jet black body with a full, frothy tan-colored head.
Smell: Aroma of black malts, roasted coffee, dark chocolate syrup, scorched almonds, molasses, and herbal, piney hops.
Taste: Black roasted malts with flavors of coffee and exceedingly dark chocolate. Some burnt almonds and fire-blackened marshmallows. The hops are bold in their bitterness, but not overbearing, and provide a taste of dried herbs and pine. Finishes with a lingering bitterness and acidic char taste.
Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Mild carbonation. Chewy mouthfeel. Warming from the first sip.
Drinkability: A very fine stout both fresh and cellared. To wit, I had an '02 this past weekend that had morphed into a slightly roasty chocolate liqueur.
02-13-2008 04:19:34 | More by ChainGangGuy
4.05/5 rDev -4.3%
This beer pours out As black as most typical stouts do. The head is brown and pretty thick looking. The smell of the beer has some licorice and lots of roasted malts and a few light aromas of dark fruit. The taste of the beer is deeply roasted, with some burnt flavors in there. Light herbal notes and some dark chocolate in the mix. The mouthfeel is on the thicker side which is pretty nice. Overall I think it's a good brew it's not great but it's worth trying.
06-17-2011 01:13:35 | More by Knapp85
4.22/5 rDev -0.2%
I have been able to drink this a few times and really like it,poures a rich black color with small brownish colored head.Smell is sweet and earthy,the taste is a complex mix of earth,chocolate,and roasted malt.When it warms a little the alcoholic notes really come thru,very true to the style.A good high quality imperial stout from my favorite brewer.
04-20-2003 07:37:21 | More by oberon
3.73/5 rDev -11.8%
Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.
Apparently I did have one of these guys hangin' around in my fridge after all. Go figure. Let's review it, shall we? It pours an opaque black-brown topped by a short finger of tan foam that fades fairly quickly. The nose comprises plenty o' roasted malts, dark wheat, chocolate syrup, nutmeg, and a surprising dose of rye bread. A general sweetness pervades. The taste darkens the proceedings, roasting some of the sweet notes and replacing the rye bread with a leather-like character. Some light prune notes gurgle up from th bottom, but don't pool all that much. Something's missing here, but I can't quite put my finger on it. The body is fairly hefty, with a heavy light carbonation and a borderline chewy feel. Overall, a solid RIS, but I've had better, even among regularly available offerings. Something's just off a little, you know what I mean?
07-06-2010 10:35:09 | More by TMoney2591
4.35/5 rDev +2.8%
Pours a deep brownish-black, not quite opaque. Two fingers of tan latte foam rise and settle. Above the rim, the surface could pass for a chocolate chip cookie.
Aroma of roasted malt, vague sweetness, with a possible lactic note. Not especially bold, but complimentary to the huge flavor.
Rich taste, notes of smoky malt, bitter chocolate, and creamy coffee. Residual hop bitterness. Very powerful and bold flavors, the alcohol isn't overwhelming, but it packs a punch.
Mouthfeel is intensely smooth and velvety, creamy and luscious. Lactic milk sugar contributes a boatload of palate-smudging heft.
Although it's not one for sessioning, it has a sublime quality that makes you savor every sip. Every so often I crave an Expedition, so it has a year-round place in the cellar.
12-29-2006 01:05:56 | More by emerge077
4.47/5 rDev +5.7%
A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a velvety smooth appearance. It had a foamy, brown, long-lasting head that left behind rings of sticky lace.
S - It smelled of tons of chocolate, very sweet smelling with toffee notes. Also, some nice floral notes.
T - It tasted of dark chocolate, vanilla, molasses and some oaky notes. It had a sharp bitter kick from the hops.
M - It was smooth and creamy, possibly the smoothest RIS that I've ever had. It was medium to full-bodied.
D - This is a very good RIS. Potent and very well balanced.
12-03-2008 01:03:50 | More by zeff80
3.05/5 rDev -27.9%
Appearance - Black in color, viscous and oily. An inch of dark brown head rises and falls over the course of a few minutes.
Smell - Sweet and roasty with a hint of alcohol. Molasses and dark chocolate are very pronounced, with undertones of licorice and vanilla.
Taste - Bold and bitter. Moderate sweetness; flavors of molasses and dark chocolate are met with an almost burnt bitterness. The finish is long and coating, leaving a bittersweet aftertaste. Well crafted, but too intense, acrid and sweet. If that's your thing, you'll probably love this.
Mouthfeel - Incredibly rich and creamy; easily one of the most full-bodied brews I've had. Medium to low carbonation.
02-26-2008 22:56:32 | More by largadeer
4.75/5 rDev +12.3%
Two bottles of Expedition were tasted side by side for this review. One was roughly 6 months to a year old, while the other was around 2 years old. Neither bottle showed any defect, but the 2 year old was remarkably smoother and far more caramelish as some of the roastiness and hop character had softened. Both were quite similar, but the aged bottle was stellar. This scoring for this review is based on the aged bottle, but even if the newer sample had been rated it would have scored almost as high.
A completely opaque black body is capped by a good-sized head of frothy dark tan foam with a slightly reddish tint to it. The alcohol cuts the head a bit, and it dies a slow death; but, surprisingly, it maintains a solid surface covering and the spotty and splashy lacing it leaves is very nice!
The nose is rich and bold, loaded with bittersweet chocolate, some simple, straight-forward graininess, and a whiff of citrusy hops (a little quirky - but it works!); and accentuated by a thin thread of dark fruitiness and background whiffs of espresso, dark caramel, nutty toffee, and alcohol. And although it's not overtly complex, simply based on its richness, this is a beer that could be enjoyed based on just the nose alone - although the temptation to partake of its flavors would be too great for any man to resist!
In the mouth it's exceptionally creamy and rich with a very full body and exceptionally fine-bubbled, restrained carbonation that leaves it overtly creamy and velvety smooth! WOW!
The flavor, however, is more full-throttle than that! It's almost too much to comprehend - and yet again, it never goes too far out on a limb in it's complexity. It's succulently rich, but not confusingly diverse. Upfront, rich caramel lathers the palate; followed by a mild slap of fruitiness (apple, very soft prune, figs) and notes of toffee and mocha. It's always slightly awash in alcohol (although it's never agressive); and as it crosses the palate a smear of leafy and grassy hops appears (far more so in the younger version than the 2 year old), ushering in a drying bitterness and some mild licorice flavors. It lingers in the mouth, seemingly forever, not unlike the smoke from a good cigar; an amazing cup of cappuchino; or some caramel-chocolate-coffee-and-liquor-drenched dessert. Again, this is STUNNING! This is an amazing beer to cellar, believe me!!!! Go get some now for next year or the year after!
01-27-2005 23:04:02 | More by NeroFiddled
5/5 rDev +18.2%
I hate molasses.
Pours pitch black with a large dark tan head. Nose is dusty with strong molasses tones. Flavor is oh so smooth. Strong molasses flavors prevail, but stay perfectly balanced. Feel is thick in the liquid and thin on the carbonation. This is a beautiful stout that is a hard one to surpass. Amazingly crafted and worth seeking out...at all costs.
12-31-2007 05:31:40 | More by RblWthACoz
4.3/5 rDev +1.7%
A big "Thank you!" to BlackAngus for trading me this one.
Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.
A: The beer is pitch black with a thin dark brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.
S: Heavy coffee & chocolate aroma with roasted malt, a touch of dark fruits and a hint of alcohol.
T: Heavy roasted coffee flavor dominates the taste. As you drink more of it, you start to get a little bit of the bitter dark chocolate & hops which completely hides the high ABV.
M: Smooth, oily & thick, full bodied, light carbonation, very sticky finish though.
D: Tasty & smooth and you certainly wouldn't know that the ABV is at 10.50%, which makes you want another and another until they start catching up to you.
08-03-2006 03:44:17 | More by TheManiacalOne
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,480 ratings.