1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

5,301 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 5,301
Reviews: 1,979
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.61%
Wants: 446
Gots: 1,290 | FT: 93
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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 5,301 | Reviews: 1,979 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ShanePB
2.5/5  rDev -41%

Photo of akorsak
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A snifter glass served at Capone's during both Founders/Bell's nights.

A: The stout is pitch black, no other words adequately describe the dark depths of this stout. Unfortunately there was no head atop this black beauty, besmirching the nice appearance.

S: The nose is roasted malts, dark thick grains that have bready and vinous characteristics. Some sweeter grains punch up the strong burnt aromas.

T: The taste is right in line with the big aromas from the nose. There is a thick roasted burnt malt flavor, bitter and strong that remains throughout the drink. That burnt flavor is nicely matched up against a graham sweetness. The alcohol underlying this beer is huge, completely unable to hide itself even amongst the abundance of flavor here. The finish is burnt and bitter, leaving a long full taste in the mouth.

M: The stout is huge, easily overwhelming the tastebuds with dark roasted flavors and big alcohol. This is not a stout for the faint of heart.

D: A snifter is great, more than one and you'll be seein' double. This is a complex beer that is best enjoyed slowly with good company.

Photo of Zorro
4.03/5  rDev -5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12 Oz bottle sampled through the efforts of dirtylou and The No BS BIF.

Pours an opaque black colored beer that passes no light. A small but extremely dark brown head forms and then disappears. Not a bad stab at trying to create a beer with a black head.

Smell is Sharp sweet and very much like Kahlua. Strong coffee and chocolate aromas. Fruity and wine like scents are also in this one, mostly figs and dates with a slight amount of banana in the very fringe of it. Brown sugar and burnt sugar aromas and a little pineapple upside down cake.

Taste is thick and sharply bitter and charred in the first sip, long lasting charcoal flavor. A thick bitter beer that is very much a concentrated stout, almost like a beer mix that you just add carbonated water. After you get past the charred shock of the first taste there is a lot of chocolate flavor here and it is fairly sweet. There is some fruitiness here but it is pretty much hidden by the charred flavor.

Mouthfeel is syrup thick.

This is a beer a lot like Turkish coffee, it is OK in small amounts but you tire of it quickly. This would be a great beer for a 4 oz shot but a glassful gets tiring quickly. I have had better.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

( Served in an American pint glass)

A-This beer pours a thick black molasses with a dark tan cocoa head and no sign of light or bubbles in the body.

S- This beer as complex dark roasted malt aromas with some dark coffee and dark cocoa powder with faint smokiness. There is a nice barley-wine aroma under the dark roasted flavors.

T- This beer has very complex flavor complexity with roasted and burnt malt with some caramel and dark toasted grains aswell. Notes of cocoa or bitter chocolate and some dried fruit like dates or prunes in the background. This beer finishes with a nice semi-sweet finish and some alcohol warmth to smooth out the sweetness.

M- Full mouthfeel with nice faint alcohol warmth.

D- This is truly the black barleywine that make up a RIS. Very nice complexity and good bold flavors. Great to drink now and I bet it would stand up great to age.

Photo of Zaphog
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of BillRoth
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of KAF
4.77/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Absolutely amazing! This is the best stout ever! Pours very dark if not black. Thick foamy tan head. Nose of chocolate and a little coffee. Thick and full bodied. Great aroma but an ever better taste. Creamy and thick on the palate. Dark chocolate and coffee in the flavor. Just a great beer.

Photo of dmorgan310
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of HopHead84
3/5  rDev -29.2%

Photo of billab914
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

Photo of John_M
3.83/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Was very pleasantly surprised to see this on tap at Capone's the other night.

This has to be one of the oddest looking stouts I've ever seen. The beer looks more like a cup of dark hot chocoate then beer, with a hazy chocolate appearance, good lacing and decent head retention. On the nose one gets some more chocolate (quite a bit of it in fact), with a hint of vanilla, coffee and cherry. The flavors are replicated on the palate, especially in terms of the chocolate. However, there's also almost what I would call an underlying grittiness to this beer, which while fine for the most part, hurts the finish a bit I think. There is considerable bitterness in the finish, and at least for me, that coupled with the sweet chocolate and high abv. makes this a difficult beer to drink.

This is absolutely a solid beer, but is just not my cup of tea.

Photo of biegaman
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Beyond just inky or oily, this is a total solar eclipse. It is utter darkness. Needless to say, no highlighting or transparency is afforded. The surface is, unlikely considering its strength, crusted in a spring mud-like substance. A beer that's simply black doesn't require much inspection, it can simply sit and be admired for what it is.

And it smells big enough to block out the sun as well! Tremendous (frankly intimating) notes of bitter espresso, port soaked berries, black licorice, charred oak barrel and artisan dark chocolate truffles resonate through the senses. With a long list like that you ask: is there any stone left unturned? Nope. It seems they've thought of everything.

A rich and heavyset flavour profile offers decadent notes of dark chocolate and espresso. While still young, a backdrop of green, lightly zesty hops is easily discerned. These seem to grow a tad more piquant with warmth. Ironically, so too does the beer's sweetness which is now starting to resemble such flavours as double-double coffee and creme brulee.

At only 6 months of age this has plenty of potential yet to blend and develop flavours. From experience I know it will. The beer won't only sustain a little time on the cellar shelf, it'll most likely benefit from it, too. The alcohol's a bit forward (not that there's anything necessarily wrong with that) and the flavours could stand to meld a little more.

I don't care if it takes an expedition to find this beer, it's worth searching out! Bell's Brewing should be conferred the highest possible accolade of beer for their lineup of stouts, of which the Expedition is arguably the most impressive. This Michigan brewery allows you to have your cake and (literally) drink it too!

Photo of Kelp
3.21/5  rDev -24.3%
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.

Photo of iL0VEbeer
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of Wasatch
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to BuckEyeNation for this awesome brew.

Batch 7205

Pours a thick black color, nice carbonation, nice fizzy tan head that quickly leaves, and in return a few islands appear. The second I opened the bottle the roasted malts, coffee/toffee, and alcohol hit me in the face, I knew I was into something special. The taste is very malty, coffee/toffee flavor, the alcohol is hidden pretty well though. Only really shows on the way down, warming the body. Medium body, creamy/chewing, well rounded. Very drinkable, a very very nice RIS, way to go Bell's.

Photo of ppoitras
4.53/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle obtained via trade with CRJMellor. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, WOW, some almost nitro action from a CO2 bottle beer, weird, but cool. Formed a thick, frothy 2" chocolate-hued head above a dark, dark brown/black brew. Head lasts more or less forever, and laces like you wouldn't believe. Aroma is is of heavy grains and malts, but not the bitterness that is usually associated with such a constructed brew. Heavy malts dominate the flavor, but their bitter ness seems to hide behind their sweetness, and make for an easy drinking brew, considering the heaviness and alcohol strength that is hiding somewhere in there... Mouthfeel is excellent, and drinkability is dangerously high for such a brew. An amazing phenom of brewing construction, this one is.

Photo of sendbeer
3.25/5  rDev -23.3%

Photo of Cynic-ale
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of rolltide8425
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of plaid75
3.7/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured an oily black hue with a one finger dark tan creamy head. There was decent retention and good sticky lacing.

The smell featured a rich coffee and caramel aroma with hints of dried fruit.

The taste consisted of nice caramel and chocolate malts with elements of raisin and coffee. There was a significant warming alcoholand a bit of an uncomfortable sweetness.

The mouthfeel was full and chewy.

Overall a tasty RIS. Big flavors and big ABV.

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Firestone snifter. Batch 10068, 12/17/2010.

Appearance - Inky viscous black that yields only the slightest tinge of brown at the edges. Not much of a head. Thin khaki collar around the edge with just a lonely dime-sized island of foam roaming the surface.

Smell - I can smell the molasses from the open bottle. Tons of molasses. A stronger sniff unveils booze, licorice, and ashy burnt malt.

Taste - Ridiculous molasses again. Really creamy in the middle with just a little bit of sweetness and then the onslaught begins. Licorice, dark fruits, the darkest chocolate. Burnt pieces of chocolate, really. Ashy and extremely bitter. Booze comes back at the last gasp and bites the throat.

Mouthfeel - Low carbonation, boozy, nearly acrid in its ashy bitterness. And yet it manages to be creamy and delicious.

Overall - Every complaint I have ever had about fresh Expedition Stout has turned into an attribute in this bottle. Two years has done this very well.

Photo of PEIhop
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of liamt07
4.68/5  rDev +10.4%
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.

Photo of Rhettroactive
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 12oz bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 11/15/11
*From notes

-- Vintage 2010 --

A: Dark, brooding black. A generous pour yields a killer 2.25 finger cascading mocha head. The retention is top notch, as is the lacing which rims the glass.

S: Dried and candied dark fruits with just a touch of smoke.

T: Really a massive dose of char up front. Yeah, this is aging beautifully. Though it's rather roasty, there's still a solid hop kick on the mid, even after it's been in the cellar for a year. Black coffee runs from the mid to finish, and it lingers for some time.

M: Just over the top. It's silky, creamy and velvety. It feels like a penthouse suite in mouth.

O: Bell's Expedition Stout is easily one of my favorite non-BA RIS's. It's big, bold and brash, yet deceivingly elegant and easy to drink. This has aging potential unlike many others. Though a bit pricey, it's worth every cent you'll pay.

A hearty recommendation.

Photo of Boone757
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 5,301 ratings.