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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.

2,013 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,013
Hads: 5,642
Avg: 4.21
pDev: 17.81%
Wants: 490
Gots: 1,506 | 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: 2,013 | Hads: 5,642
Photo of veggiemafia
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours blacker than black. You have to ask yourself how much more black it can be, and the answer is none, it can be none more black. Moderate dark tan head that dissolves pretty quickly to thin islands. But hey, with 11.5% I think that's kind of excusable.

Smell is big on baker's chocolate with a booziness reminiscent of Tia Maria coffee rum. Also, raisins/prunes/dark fruit make a huge appearance, as do some really earthy smelling hops.

The hops in this serve to rein it in and keep it from getting too sweet, but it REALLY pushes it for me in terms of being too sweet and fruity. That earthiness keeps it dry and pretty refreshing, but it's still really big on dark fruits and raisins and maybe like a tart blackberry jam thing. That distinct tart fruitines is something I've only experienced in this and Batch 7000, and Southern Tier Jah-Va.

Mouthfeel is viscous and thick, but still really creamy and velvety and luxurious.

Good drinkability for a stout of this size, because let's face it, this is a huge ass beer.

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Photo of Jwburns75
4.67/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

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Photo of soulfly967
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured nearly black with a thin brown head that quickly disappears into a thin ring of bubbles around the outside edge. The smell was of chocolate, fresh brewed coffee, and dark, nearly burnt, malt notes. The taste was very similar to the smell. Coffee was a dominant flavor to me, along with hints of chocolate and a touch of spice. The alcohol is very well hidden in this brew. The mouthfeel was thick and silky, with very little bitterness from the hops and alcohol. This was a very solid RIS. It was very drinkable and I will be looking to get some more of this one in the very near future! Yet another winner from Bells!

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Photo of GoodKnight1220
3.66/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Poured from a bottle to a glass.

Very deep red, looked black, great 3 finger head, with lacing throughout.

Smelled like alcohol and heavy sweet malt.

Lots of chocolate and malt right up front, ends to a smooth sweet alcohol.

Heavy, syrupy, but surprisingly smooth.

Could drink one or two.

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Photo of Jimbo87
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

One of the darkest heads I've seen on a beer, it's a reddish coffee color, but of course pale compared to the completely opaque beer. When pooring it, I could see some reddish hues in the beer as it ran down the side of the glass.

Smell is chocolate, alcohol, grain. nice.

taste: chocolate, alcohol, spicy, roasted barley, and a taste I find in all russian imperial stouts that I can't identify. I don't know if it's a fruit taste or what. I like this taste more than the taste of Old Rasputin.

Mf: very unusual. Very low carbonation gives this a heavy, thick, oily feel.

D: I had to drink this pretty slowly, and I wouldn't want to drink any more, at least not until the next day. I liked this more than Old Rasputin. I feel like some people might dislike the low carbonation. But if you can buy just one bottle of this, try it.

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Photo of rawthar
4.57/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

One more from my Bell's Darkside case, about two months after purchase. This is my favorite of the bunch, time to rate it.

A- As dark as a black hole, no light that enters makes it through to the other side. A finger-and-a-half capaccino head, light and fluffy slowly dissipates, leaving some of the nicest lacing I've seen, and a nice thick filmy froth on top. Beautiful.

S- Hints of chocolate and dark roasted coffee mingle and swell like a double helix around a strong backbone of booze, and a buttery loaf of whole grain bread.

T- Boozy flavor hits like a wave against a cliff during a squall, followed promptly by the billowing smoke of a tribal bonfire carrying the essence of the roasting meat of a fresh hunt. Sweet notes of the darkest caramelized sugar rendered with dripping animal fat.

M- Oily alcohol floats on the brine like the rendered fat referenced above while the creamy carbonation bubbles from the darkest depths.

D- One is enough for even the fiercest of warriors after the most viscous of battles. Undoubtedly drank by Cimmerians during the spring raids into Pictland and Vaneheim.

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Photo of johnnyirishman
3.52/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Sam Adams Pint glass.

Apperance- Thick Syrupy black opaque color, with a small head and no retention.

Smell- Slight hops and roasted malts.

Taste,Mouthfeel- Roasted malts and a bitter hop finish.

Drinkablility- A decent stout but not too enjoyable.

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Photo of DrDoitchbig
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: This has to be one of the most viscous beers I've ever had the pleasure of consuming. It almost looked like jet black maple syrup coming out of the bottle. An aggressive pour yielded nothing but a chocolate brown cap that disappeared to reveal the black hole of a beer beneath.

Smell: Roasted malts, sweet chocolate and perhaps a bit of licorice.

Taste: Surprisingly sweet at the start, like a decadent chocolate liquor. Followed by a bitter backbone that balances that sweetness very nicely. The bitterness lingers for awhile after every sip.

Mouthfeel: Extremely full-bodied with low carbonation. It's so thick, almost like a heavy cream. Now I know what people are talking about when they describe a beer as chewy.

Drinkability: This stuff is incredibly rich and smooth. It's quite a treat. I could drink it all night. But with such a high abv that's probably not the best idea.

This has to be one of the best Imperial Stouts I've had yet. Granted I haven't delved too deep into the style, but this certainly inspires me to try more.

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Photo of chalsk
4.6/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark black color with a caramel colored head. Has an aroma of toffee, caramel, and hints of dark fruit. Yeah, this is a good stout. You have the sweet hitting the front of the tongue, the bitters on the back with hints of smoke. You can also taste sweet caramel and some coffee/toffee flavor. Ultra complex, but everything is work so well. A rich beer. Love it.

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Photo of ABisonEgo
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

'12 bottled on 10/02

Appearance - Black with ruby red highlights along the edges. 1 and a half finger beige head with lacing along the edges

Aroma - coffee, dark chocolate, dark fruits, a bit of hop character, though i cant really pinpoint the exact scent...maybe more of an earthiness

Taste - Very coffee and hop forward...almost astringent at first. Some dark fruit apparent towards the middle of the mouth, and bitterness on the finish. Almost a spicy, earthy finish...but very hoppy. While most imperial stouts rely on the hops for balance, this one is almost overtaken in the finish by the hops present.

Mouthfeel - Very creamy...which is pleasant. The beer finishes with a bitter tingle with a medium to full body. A little lighter than expected, but about ideal.

Overall - Great complexity on this one, however, Im a little turned off on how the hops overtake the beer. Its as if this one was meant to age, which there is nothing wrong with and it even says its worth aging on the bottle. If the hop character faded away a bit and the beer smoothed out, im sure this would be one amazing beer. Having said that, I guess its time to open my '09!!!

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Photo of Roxie_B
4.82/5  rDev +14.5%
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.

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Photo of goethean
4.8/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer was purchased at the brewery and aged 3-4 years before being consumed. It was poured into a Duvel tulip glass at about 50F on the night that Barack Obama won the Virginia primary.

Appearance is pitch effing black. Almost no visible carbonation. Aroma is of strong dark roasted, nearly burnt, malt.

assertive hoppiness, strong roastiness, strong malt backbone, and a beautiful sweetness spotlighted right in the middle of the palate. There is a slight lingering hops aftertaste.

Shockingly, there is amazing hops character considering the age of this beer. almost any other beer would have no hop character at this point. with this beer, it is right there, almost in your face. very well-balanced. This beer must be pretty much undrinkable when young.

One quasi-negative thing --- I don't detect the wine-like qualities which I normally associate with a fine, well-aged English barleywine or imperial stout. I might opt for a more English version next time. Or maybe I should have aged it a little longer! Oh well --- the six pack is now gone.

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Photo of mashedpotatoes
2.99/5  rDev -29%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours pitch black, very thick and viscosey. Head is minimal. Smell is strong alcoholic, cough syrupy. Taste is bittersweet molasses. Aftertaste lingers a bit too long, especially with the excessive astringent taste this beer permits. The feel is round, sticky but invasive to the palate, I feel like it's setting up unwanted camp on my tastebuds. Drinkability is low, although the ABV is high the balance of off flavors and peculiar aftertaste leaves me longing for something different. Suggestion: Try all Bell's as a single first. I've found severe inconsistency in this brand.

This one was not bad but also not good.

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Photo of SwiftyMcBeer
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tbis beer is a looker. Getting to have it on tap was a huge bonus, mad props to the Trion for having the guts to tap this sucker. Jet black with a chocolate head . . . all the smells to go along with it. Just reeks darkness, chocolate, coffee, this is where wimpiness goes to die. You defintely know the +10 ABV is there when you taste it and that is really my only negative and a slight one at that. It'd be tough to have more then two of these in a sitting, but that could just be a reflection of the style.
A top notch stout, just not my favorite style.

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Photo of wd40
3.92/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pitch black pour with almost no head. The brew is obviously thick and viscous just from watching the pour. Small amount of very fine carbonation upon aggitation. Looks like a beer that has been left out for a while. The beer gives and aroma of vanilla extract, chocolate and coffee. Hints of fruit like raspberries in the background. I can tell even before sipping that the beer has a high alcohol content from the smell. The taste confirms the high alcohol content! But fortunately the raw alcohol taste is pretty well covered. The coffee flavor is very prominent in the flavor and tends to linger after the other flavors have past.

Mouthfeel is ok, but not rich or creamy or anything. Overall, a pretty decent beer that I'd have again, but not one of my favorite in this style.

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Photo of twbrewer
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch # 8145 packaged Sept.14th 2007

A-Poured into a goblet at about 50 degrees.It pours BLACK with a dark brown 1/2" thick head that fades to a small laced layer.

S-Smells of bitter-dark chocolate,coffee and strong notes of molasses and raisins or plum.

T-At first a slight hint of hops then a smokey malt with a hint of caramel and a slight alcohol taste-then-the real thing,big dark chocolate/coffee taste with a smooth bittersweet finish.

M-Thick,chewy,oily residue coats entire mouth.Good carbonation.

D-This is a very smooth and relaxing beer.At 10.50% it makes a great sipping beer on a cold night.If you like big beers or RIS's you must try this one.

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Photo of BradenMK
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%

Age. This. Beer. It's begging for it. Sometimes overly harsh with the hop profile when fresh, once this hits the two year mark (and literally, for years and years after), this beer is a magical creature complete with fairy wings and unicorn horns. Always a hop bomb, the roasted, chocolate notes just get deeper and more nuanced and more smooth with time. A superb stout that any fans of the style will already know is delicious.

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Photo of jhawth
3.99/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured into a wili becher. Pours an impenetrable black with a light brown, two-finger head of fine bubbles.

Aroma: Sweet, creamy, roasty malts dominate. Coffee, some bitter dark chocolate, but mostly excellent roastiness.

Taste: Sweet, creamy. slightly chocolatey malt notes move into roasty astringency and slight booziness.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, slightly viscous, light carbonation.

Overall: Killer RIS. Absolutely delicious.

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Photo of Sandalwood
4.16/5  rDev -1.2%

Pours a very dark brown to black color with a small light brownish head. There is a little bit of lacing. The odor is creamy vanilla, chocolate, dried fruits, raisin, coffee, and caramel. The taste is very rich, velvety, cocoa, bitter chocolate, vanilla, chalky, bitter throughout, this beer is only four months old.

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

Got as an extra from a trade with csmiley. Thanks Chris!

12oz bottle poured into DFH snifter glass. Thick black and viscous. Looks like used motor oil, awesome! 1.5 inch head with an agressive pour that retreats rather quickly - not a problem though once you see and feel the body.

Smells of bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder. Heavily roasted malts and some vanilla. The nose is quite complex! Taste went a bit down, but not much. All the things in the nose are there - vanilla, bittersweet chocolate and a huge roasted malt bill. As a matter of fact almost too huge - quite burnt. Sorched barely provide an anstringent bitterness to the brew that would otherwise be perfect IMO. Fusel alcohols are quite noticable as well. Body is lucious and creamy.

Drinkability goes down because of this. Too bitter from the roasted grain and high alcohol makes it tough to finish, but still complex and very good none-the-less.

Seek out to try...

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Photo of macktbone
3.33/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

As part of a trade with Aforbes and hoped to be enjoyed with ThirdLap. I was told this would be one of my top stouts...not so much

This beer is jet black with a dark brown head that quickly dissappears in an alcoholic haze. It stains the glass an oily brown.

The smell is super soy with figs.

Taste & mouthfeel leave a lot to be desired

So little carbonation that it is hard to get down. Hold your breath prior to contact, the soy is overpowering. Bitter end with a sweet aftertaste that grows on you a little.

Extremely thin for a "good" stout. When I pour a beer and it glubs, I expect it to be thick, or at least feel thick on the toungue.

I was glad this was split two ways. I have had other boutbon type stouts but without the subtle compexities and joyous notes this maybe my first and last time "ringing the bell".

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Photo of GoldHorde
4.38/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bell's Imperial Russian Stout: Expedition Stout

Another excellent stout! Mouth feel is correct - just a bit on the thinner side of cream (hinting towards a Porter style) but that just adds to the deep flavor gamut's mystery. A gargle of it just makes you want to get a V8 of huskies together for a 3,000 kilometer mush! The flavor is complex; coffee first, chocolate, smoke & caramel with a very faint echo of bourbon.

A = pours opaque black with a mocha tan head with open lacing
S = feigns at Porter style with a wet smoke (rain on burned wood after a fire)
T = again, feigns at Porter style but delivers the deeper, more complex character of the Stout
M = thinner than cream, but within Russian Stout style.
O = A great beer!

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Photo of AdamF625
4.68/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A- black with a thin brown head
S- coffee and chocolate syrup
T-coffee, bitter dark chocolate, molasses, alcohol, sweet fruit flavors
M- creamy, thick, and viscous. low carbonation
O- you can't forget this brew its so thick and sticky the taste stays on your palate for days.

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Photo of MikieV
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very dark, almost black with a thick, rolling rich rust colored head. Thick rust colored lacing stuck to the glass as I drank.

First, I have to admit, this was my first ever Imperial Stout.
I was in love from the first sip!

This is a bold, robust beer. It has very intense flavors. Dark bitter chocolate, booze, roasted malts all come through. Some slight fruitiness as well. A fairly thick beer, leaving some solids in the bottom of the glass. Very smooth mouth feel despite it's thickness.

At 10.5%, one of these is just right for me!

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Photo of jwilli7122
3.42/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

I finally located this one, and am quite eager to try it out...

pours an opaque black with a purple tinge. absolutely zero head - I poured it hard and I can literally count the bubbles. there is a somewhat frightening looking smoke-colored film covering about 1/3 of the surface.

smell is wicked plum and alchohol, smells more like a barley wine than a stout.

taste: wow. unlike anything i have ever had. i shouldn't, but i'll try -black licorice, chocolate syrup and...some sort of coffee-type flavor that i have never experienced...with alchohol, dark fruit and black malt in the back.

mouthfeel is syrupy-thick with almost no carbonation, and it's right.
absolutely the most aggressive, indefinable beer i have ever had.

note: after reading other reviews - and seeing that this beer is supposed to have a head and big hops - i wonder if my bottle was abnormal.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 2,013 ratings.