1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

4,408 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,408
Reviews: 1,873
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 374
Gots: 941 | FT: 77
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 4,408 | Reviews: 1,873 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bighuge
Bighuge

Minnesota

5/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer pours like motor oil. It is midnight black in appearance. Beautiful. With a creamy brown head that has some retention. On the nose, I get deep roasted malt, burnt tones, anise and licorice. Smells great. The sensory overload on the buds with the first taste is incredible. Coffee, cocoa, burnt malt, licorice, dark fruits, bittersweet chocolate and a HUGE bitterness that I love. One thing that I do not note is a significant alcohol taste. (Surprising being that it is 10%.) Saying that this beer has a full body is like saying that Claudia Schiffer is good looking. Both are understatements. This is a brew to behold.

This is the first brew I've rated 5's across the board. (I've reconsidered my stance of not giving all 5's after seeing somebody's opinion that all 5's mean exceptional in every category, but not necessarily the Perfect Beer, which I believe may be impossible to find.)

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2002 21:21:28 | More by Bighuge
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
Beerandraiderfan

Nevada

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

Beautiful slick black pour, mocha head, 1" deep, no carbonation issues here. Looks professional, and one of those used motor oil type descriptors. Aroma of deep roast, chocolate.

Amazing coating of the palate with the luscious black liquid, great chocolate consistency throughout, larger than any other flavor component to the beer, and does a magnificent job at hiding over 10% abv. Similar to Rogue's double chocolate stout, but a little less chocolate, but hides the alcohol better and is much smoother. Somehow, despite the motor oil sludge appearance, this is kind of light on the palate in terms of drinkability and mouthfeel, gotta love something that brings that amount of chewiness and flavor, but doesn't just stick to your tongue/ribs. Can't beat the creaminess of this one. Slight cherry noticeable in the end, along with resonant notes of light espresso. Only bitterness comes from the chocolate.

Huh, I see the bros re-tooled their review from a C- to a C.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2011 17:48:26 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of DrJay
DrJay

Massachusetts

4.88/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Completely opaque, inky black with a rich mocha head. Carbonation was on the low side, resulting in a thin head of small bubbles. Plenty of lacing and good retention. Super malty aroma, licorice, roasted, chocolate, alcohol, dark fruits to the point of being vinous. Flavour starts with some dry roasted and sweet malt, then moves on to cocoa, a moderate bitterness with light hoppiness, and alcohol warmth. Long sweet finish with plenty of roasted malts. Heavy body, chewy and viscous, low carbonation, with the texture of heavy cream. Afterwards, I poured the dregs into my glass. They came out chocolatey brown and super thick, but very chocolatey and tasty. Wow. Lots of complexity and surprisingly drinkable, with the alcohol very well hidden.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2005 00:25:49 | More by DrJay
Photo of tdm168
tdm168

North Carolina

4.18/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - black and as thick as oil with a thick, short cap of brown head that sits atop this brew forever

S - licorice, dark fruit, coffee, roasted malts

T - big roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, faint dark fruit, very bitter

M - full bodied, warm, smooth, perfectly carbonated and oily

This is a really solid beer. The bitterness is a bit intense and detracts from the rest of the flavors. The overall flavor profile is impressive. Rich, chocolate, roasty, bitter coffee, underlying dark fruit -- really enjoyable. I would have this again for sure.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2012 01:25:18 | More by tdm168
Photo of Kelp
Kelp

New Hampshire

3.18/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Thank you once again to beerisheaven for this one. The appearance is nice inky with a nice sark tan head. Smells like a traditional RIS to me, chocolate, coffee, and malt. Nothing different there. The taste is unlike any RIS I have ever had. Molasses, malts and a bit of chocolate make up the initial taste. Then Bitter hits my tongue and takes over. All I can taste now is the bitter from some unknown source. I think a little age would do wonders for this beer. The mouthfeel is smooth, velvety and a bit creamy. I could not drink another of these right now. It just is way to bitter for me. I would love to try an aged and brand new one side by side, but for now ugh.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2010 03:13:44 | More by Kelp
Photo of JohnGalt1
JohnGalt1

Idaho

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

12oz that SAS gave me a while back.. shared with Brenda.. but most went into the New Belgium snifter.. This bottle has been sitting in the cellar for close to a year.. tonight is the night.. Thanks Steven.

Easy 1" dark brown head.. great lace and a beautiful cap.. the brew is black.. obviously.

milk chocolate and dark fruity esters dominate the nose.. there may be some hops left.. but mostly cocoa and prune and dried cherries.. are still around.. waaay more complex than my feeble senses can put on paper.

The flavor has a little bit of unexpected char.. very rich RIS characteristics.. roasty and a bunch of deep brownie chocolate.. but the burnt flavors are there and may be a bit too much.. the hoppy bitterness combined with the burnt grains make for a great brew. but it still needs some more time to meld.. rich yet sorta unbalanced.. smooth and rough.. coffee... and a bit of cream.. the mouthfeel is expected for a brew of this caliber.. great and filling.. the carbonation may be a touch high.

Thanks Steven.. I've been waiting to enjoy this one for way to long.. I've had the Expedition a couple of times before, but never took the time to really sit back and savor...

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2009 10:29:32 | More by JohnGalt1
Photo of sendbeer
sendbeer

Georgia

3.25/5  rDev -23.2%

10-22-2012 21:17:51 | More by sendbeer
Photo of glid02
glid02

Georgia

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 afsdan
afsdan

Colorado

4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

03-22-2014 21:28:17 | More by afsdan
Photo of dmorgan310
dmorgan310

Panama

4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

04-18-2013 23:47:27 | More by dmorgan310
Photo of PEIhop
PEIhop

Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

02-06-2012 02:17:57 | More by PEIhop
Photo of billab914
billab914

Virginia

4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Down to my last one out of the 12 I bought so I figured I better review this one before I'm out. Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Stone RIS glass.

Pours nearly black with a half inch tan head that settled to a thin covering that sticks to the sides. Nice lacing on the glass as well.

Aroma has coffee and bitter chocolate with some slightly sweet roastyness to it.

Taste has some dark chocolate, coffee and roastedness followed by a nice long bitterness that lingers in the mouth.

Mouthfeel is heavy bodied and slightly slick and carbonation is moderate.

Drinkability is good for a RIS, I really enjoyed these and will be buying them every winter for sure.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2009 23:03:12 | More by billab914
Photo of Derek
Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

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

A: Black with a hint of mohogany. Pours with a nice tan head, and although there's hardly any retention, it does like to lace.

S: Plenty of piney hops and roasted/burnt (almost smokey) aroma.

T: Plenty of hop flavour (resiny pine) and bitterness. Plenty of DARK roasted/burnt malt (with a little caramel & molases). There's a little dark-fruit/wine-like quality. The flavour is predominantly bittersweet, with the balanced tipped to the bitter side. Personally, I think Russian Imperial stouts should have more fruity esters & tertiary alcohols.

M: Full body is syrupy, acidic and a little oily. Carbonation is on the lower side of moderate.

D: Very drinkable, especially considering the strength! Far more drinkable than some of the American Wanna-be Russian Imperial Stouts.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2006 22:42:10 | More by Derek
Photo of Tone
Tone

Missouri

4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, jet black. 1/4 inch head of a dark tan color. Great retention and Good lacing. Smells strongly of sweet malt, slight hops, alcohol, and some roasted malts. Fits the style of a Russian Imperial Stout. Thick and smooth mouth feel. Low carbonation level present, and a noticeable bitterness and dryness left on the palate. Tastes of strong malt, roasted malt, slight hop kick noticeable, some chocolate, and an overall sweetness. Strong body along with a slight alcohol flavor. Overall, a good complex beer full of different malt flavors.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2009 05:11:29 | More by Tone
Photo of chinchill
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
Photo of beertunes
beertunes

Washington

3.8/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received in a recent trade, but I've forgotten with who, apologies and thanks! Bottle with code # 9554. Poured into 10oz glass. Poured solidly black with just under an inch of light brown head that had decent retention and lacing.

The aroma full and rich, lots of roasted and toasted scents. The flavors were also well executed examples of the style. In addition to the roasted flavors there was a nice little hop tang at the end.

The body was typically full, rich and tongue coating. Drinkability will vary depending on your personal taste for the style, 1 of these at a time is usually enough for me, YMMV.

Overall, a very good example of the style and better than some much more highly hyped versions. Worth trying when you see it.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2010 20:10:58 | More by beertunes
Photo of Gusler
Gusler

Arizona

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

As this beauteous jet-black elixir of life sets in the glass, I just marvel at its thickness, and the miniscule chocolate brown head that dissipates into clumps of sticky lace. Nose has the aroma of bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee beans, sweet malt, and black strap molasses, what a treat to sniff this magnificent beer. Start is cotton candy sweet, the malt thick and heavy upon the palate, the top thick as a piece of chocolate fudge, the finish delicately carbonated the hops spiteful in their spicy bite, the alcohol quite evident in the bitter dry aftertaste. 'Excellent', not meant for the weak of palate, as this is as robust as “Stouts” get a real 'Stout Lovers' dream, WOW! Big beer, Big ABV, I may not need to eat supper after sampling this 'MONSTER'.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2003 14:58:42 | More by Gusler
Photo of Zaphog
Zaphog

Michigan

4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

04-02-2012 18:28:34 | More by Zaphog
Photo of Brad007
Brad007

Vermont

4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired in a trade with BrewedAwakening.

Pours a pitch black color with a thick brown head into my glass. Very good presentation for the style. Can't possibly get darker.

Coffee, cocoa and cream make themselves known in the aroma. Very nice way to start things off.

Roasted coffee explodes on the tongue, leading to a good hint of chocolate and cream as well (the latter being limited).

Visceral and slick on the palate. Lingering cocoa and coffee. Impressive as is.

Amazing example of the style that is very drinkable at 10.5%. I have to admit that I had never heard of this until now. Regardless, I will most likely seek it out again.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2011 07:16:02 | More by Brad007
Photo of THECPJ
THECPJ

Delaware

4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes 1/9/2011

A: coffee, mocha, and malts, very sweet smelling, although a slight coffee bitterness peaks through

Ap: black with a mocha-brown 1 fingerhead, little to no lacing

B/T: mild carbonation, thick, leaves an oily feeling on the tongue

Af: coffee, mocha, sweet, followed by bitterness

O: definitely drinkable, but in moderation

Cheers!
The CPJ

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2011 03:45:19 | More by THECPJ
Photo of dirtylou
dirtylou

Washington

4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

7/27/06 update: Re-reviewed for the context of Imperial/Russion Stout Session...9th in line for myself, expatsteve, DaPeculierDane, and Golden2wenty1. Overall analysis remains similar. My notes revealed a 4.5, 4.5, 4, 4, 3.5 scoring.


12oz single, from the cellar fridge, batch 6672, 04 edition

appearance: black as night, a foamy deep brown head begins to form, but is a bit smaller than usual, some minimal ruby tinting...pours like motor oil, as has often been said

smell: big and bold, very deep roast, dark bittersweet chocolate, raisin, black coffee, some hints of underlying hops

taste: This is a big stout. Very rich with quite evident alcohol. The flavors are so dark and rich...the dark chocolate flavors are dominant, very sweet, dark caramel, toasted malts, espresso

mouthfeel: creamy and rich, bittersweet

drinkability: tasty but a beast, more than 1 is tough

I heart you expedition

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2005 02:34:30 | More by dirtylou
Photo of liamt07
liamt07

Ontario (Canada)

4.68/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle courtesy of TMoney2591, via the Support Your Team BIF. Thanks for this one, dude. Batch 9435, 341ml bottle into a snifter. Almost a year on this one at this point.

Pours a heavy and thick black with a short milk chocolate brown head, both thick and creamy. Tons of beautiful lace. So much in the nose in terms of dark fruits (figs, plums), licorice, molasses and a touch of milk chocolate. Molasses and dark fruits lead the charge on the tongue, and flows effortlessly into some bitter dark chocolate and dry coffee beans. Finishes slightly dry as a result, full and syrupy with a ton of body. Excellent mouthfeel and outstanding drinkability for the alcohol content. One of the best I've had, easily.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2010 18:54:15 | More by liamt07
Photo of TurdFurgison
TurdFurgison

Ohio

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tumbler. The beer was completely black with a thin tan head. The aroma is sweet and malty. The flavor is rich with malt and chocolate and other things that kick ass. It's perfect for the style, maybe even better than Batch 7000 due to easier drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2006 00:59:31 | More by TurdFurgison
Photo of rolltide8425
rolltide8425

Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

03-31-2013 00:37:49 | More by rolltide8425
Photo of drummermattie02
drummermattie02

Texas

4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

01-05-2012 23:12:49 | More by drummermattie02
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,408 ratings.