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

Bell's Expedition StoutBell's Expedition Stout

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4,113 Ratings
no score

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Ratings: 4113
Reviews: 1855
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.11%

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)
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Ratings: 4,113 | Reviews: 1,855 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Ehrnstrom


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

appearance: not much more you can expect from a stout. Extremely dark, smooth pour, dark brown head with moderate head and fair amount of lacing.

smell: primarily roasted malt with hints of chocolate and slight coffee aroma.

taste: I've had this beer on probably 10 different occasions and I admit the taste could certainly be improved. The initial taste is quite smooth, with a moderate alcoholic impact. The after-taste is a bit coarser and inexperienced drinkers will certainly be overwhelmed.

mouthfeel: definitely the biggest weak-spot for Expedition. Initially, the taste is smooth and rich, but the after-taste is a bit coarse and can leave the mouth feeling like it endured a fight.

overall: while Expedition could use improvement, there is no reason not to consider this one of Bell's finest achievements.

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2011 23:00:15 | More by Ehrnstrom
Photo of buck1futter


4.88/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2011 Vintage- Bottle- Also had on tap 2 weeks ago at the Bell's tap takeover, at The Olympic Tavern.

A- Typical stout, a little viscus, some ruby on the outer edges when shun under light. No head, this 2011.

S- One of the best smelling beers period, rich in caramel, prune, brown sugar, mead, malt , honey ham....ole man this is a treat.

T-A toasty and roasting, a little burn, with the bottle less heat that was on tap. More chocolate for the bottle, more towards the dark fruit while on tap. Creamy even. This sucker ages well. So much chocolate, delicious.

M-thick but easy to move around, carbonation still holding up well. really nice and velvet like even.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2013 01:43:38 | More by buck1futter
Photo of WiscoBrewsco


4.81/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Appearance - Poured a night black, little to no carbonation, slight tan head that didn't linger long

Smell - Sweet chocolate mixed with wet hops and roasted malts

Taste - Wow what a mix of flavors for a stout. Off the bat a massive thick malt bill with loads of chocolate steal the show but then it transitions into an almost salty sweet roasted malt flavor that carries you right into a dank hop flavor that finishes with a sweet milk chocolate aftertaste

Mouthfeel - The mouthfeel is thick but not quite to the level of being chewy, but almost

Overall - This is a fantastic stout. One of the five best I have ever had and personally I think it is a better offering than Bell's highly acclaimed Black Note Stout. If you are a fan of stouts you have to try this one. Simply amazing

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2013 23:49:01 | More by WiscoBrewsco
Photo of psyco1


4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This is strong beer.

It comes out of the bottle black and thick as I think beer can get. Not much of a head at all and while tilting the glass, it coats the side like bubbly paint.
Can you roast alcohol? That's what it smells like, roasted barley, chocolate, coffee and a heaping helping of alcohol.
The taste... a bit of alcohol, roasty and a bit of sweet then ending bitter. Not unpleasant, just more of everything that most stouts are known for.
It coats the mouth like it coats the inside of the glass, almost like oil.

I gave it a lower mark on drinkability because I'd only drink one or maybe two before moving on to something else a little less "stout".

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2004 00:19:07 | More by psyco1
Photo of HopsHops


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




F@ckin Expidition STOUT YES!!!! IN YOUR FACE!!!

5... all around....dark chocolate love...sweet dark blackness

in your FAce!!! LOL this is how it is f@ck the rest i hope this review doesnt get revoked because it is truely passionate...

as far as drinkability i can obviously drink alot of it F@ck it...lol this is some awesome imperial stout...ffsITS STRONG u are missing out if u ignore the fuckin price....i was blind but now i see...Again, in your face...this one is unbelievable i will be buying it if itys in the store again...icant wait

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2006 09:32:03 | More by HopsHops
Photo of doubleshovels


4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Great pour. Its well oiled and lacy head sticks to the glass and stays there. Great depth and reflective blackness in the colour with only a hint of maghony around the bottom rim, while under the "beer review" halogen light.

For such a strong and bold appearance, this RIS has more then a hint of fruit and flowers in its bouquet. I never would have guessed, but I like it there.

Real clean on the mouthfeel and drinkability. Its alcohol is not hiden,but at the same time it lets all the flavors through, even if its one by one. Dark-n-sour fruit, molasses, dark chocolate, aged tobacco, and licorice.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2007 03:57:11 | More by doubleshovels
Photo of tdrshayden


4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep black with a creamy tan head.
Aromas of dark chocolate, roasted malts, vanilla and molasses.
Flavor was same as aroma but with some licorice, rich and creamy texture with very little carbonation. Alcohol was pretty evident so drinkability was not so easy.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2008 19:51:54 | More by tdrshayden
Photo of TequilaSauer


4.65/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 2007. Aged 2 years.

Pours thinner than expected but with very light head that quickly dissipates.

Smells of chocolate liquer, alcohol, dark fruits (fig) and maybe brandy. The nose reminded me a lot of Old Rasputin.

The taste is out of this world. Attacks HUGE with equal parts of extreme bitterness and heavy dark chocolate. Very balanced, VERY balanced, much more than the unaged Expedition. Finishes with more bitterness and a woody flavor.

Very thick mouthfeel, like molasses, but very smooth with little carbonation.

The aging did this beer a lot of justice. Expedition is a phenomenal stout, but the aging adds a lot more to the balance and attack. It's not a beer of which you could probably enjoy more than one at a time and I still don't think it stacks up with some of the other heavy hitters in that style, but it's got it where it counts.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2009 02:37:39 | More by TequilaSauer
Photo of jfunkk79


4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on my most recent visit home to Ohio. Pours a deep black with fine bubbles that retreat, no lacing.
Aroma of chocolate, slightly boozy sweet, not necessarily in a bad way.

Nice creamy mouthfeel, malty sweetness and a nice hop tart in the back of the mouth. Bit of a heavy finish but I'm not minding too much. This would probably age well. Highly Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2009 03:37:04 | More by jfunkk79
Photo of jmeyers78


4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Glassware: Russian river snifter

A - Dark, dark, dark. No light gets through this glass. No head to speak of.

S - lots of chocolate and vanilla. Very faint hops. Slight malt and
Coffee in the background.

M - not as full as I would like. Slightly acidic and thin. The Bros nailed it....creamy but no carbonation.

O - not a great brew but a solid one. My only complaints are the lack of carbonation and the acidic mouth feel.

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2011 03:05:39 | More by jmeyers78
Photo of amidabha


4.8/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

batch: 10105, december 10, 2010 poured into a dogish snifter

S) this poured light-blocking dark espresso with about a half inch tan head with a fairly liberal pour while being careful not to upset any sediment that might be there. there was none after all.

A} don't smell too much after the initial pour except some alcohol and slightly baked toffee although i may have a bit of a stuffed up nose.

T} the baked toffee really comes through with a sweetness that i find pleasing for only ten months aged. the alcohol burn is also a lot less intense than i was expecting as well.

M) incredibly silky smooth rolling over my tongue with just enough carbonation to give it some bite. this is how i imagine an imperial stout should feel in my mouth.

O) i'm happy i picked this for a somewhat cool evening and can't wait to taste this in another year and on since i have a 12-pack downstairs. i am already fighting the urge to drink three or more tonight. i haven't had this stout in at least four years and i think my palette is becoming more discerning.

may try the next bottle with a cigar

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2011 01:25:15 | More by amidabha
Photo of 4amepiphany


4.88/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I was told this ages very well, but I really wanted to try one fresh. Then that turned into me drinking three fresh. Then I had to get another 6 pack to age. If it tastes this good fresh, I'm willing to wait! Beautiful color, the flavors increase in complexity as it warms up. Oily and thick, which I prefer. I really enjoy this stout.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2013 05:55:16 | More by 4amepiphany
Photo of Cyrion


3.78/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a nonic pint three months after bottling.

Appearance: Looks like used motor oil, thick, dark and viscous. Dark tan head with tiered lacing on sides.

Smell: Sweet cocoa and some dark fruit. Nice.

Taste: Very chocoately starting out. Tends to overwhelm other flavors. Some chocolate-covered cherries, as well as some smoky wood taste. Some coffee flavor begins to appear in time, but is not prominent. A bit of alcohol heat begins to make its presence known, but the chocolate and other flavors try to hide this, and do pretty well.

Mouthfeel: Very, very thick and heavy. More than just chewy.

Overall: A good chocolatey stout, but a lot of the flavors are buried under the chocolate, and this hides the complexity. Gooey goodness, but this beer retains a good deal of its mystery.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2013 00:31:48 | More by Cyrion
Photo of FarmHouseJam


4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very black, think tan brown head, great lacing on the glass. Chocolate comes out, abv, and carbonation in the glass is very detectable.

For its ABV its pretty balanced, a year in the cellar would really help. Very complex beer. Very ready to age for sure!

On tap it was a bit less aggressive carbonation wise.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2009 03:36:15 | More by FarmHouseJam
Photo of kreeper


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

This brew has a very hoppy aroma and an extremely black, as in a black hole, body with no head whatsoever. It had a very strong coffee flavor. It almost burns as it goes down. Somewhat of a bitter initial taste that lingers well after is has gone down.

Serving type: bottle

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2010 02:30:55 | More by kreeper
Photo of kenpo23


3.78/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: wow, what a great dark pour this was. great head to go with it and i was mightily impressed with the way it looked.

S: honestly...i smelled it and thought 'eh'. the toasted malt smell just left a bit to be desired. coulda been better.

T: a tad on the sweet side but its got a malt and chocolate taste that stand out no matter what. the roastiness that hits you last...i wished it was through the whole thing not just and end note.

M: very thick very creamy. crazy dry at the end.

D: i could drink these down and not even realize i'd had so many. i would indeed search this brew out.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2011 21:35:57 | More by kenpo23
Photo of lokieman


4.48/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip...

A: Pours a viscous, black...motor oil in a glass. My bottle actually gave a little "glug, glug" as it poured. Very fine looking stout...

S: Burnt chocolate and caramel is the first thing I get. Also detecting a little alcohol astringency with a little vanilla sweetness rounding out the nose. Smells like a big ass bold RIS with sharp teeth. Ready to dive in head first....

T: Chocolate, tobacco, vanilla, fine Texas BBQ...this beer is deep. So complex with wave after wave of sweet then bitter...then a gust of alcohol followed by caramel sweetness. Very complex and intriguing.

M: As the pour suggests...very viscous and creamy. Clings to your tongue and your lips. The mouthfeel on this beer is exactly on par with the best RIS's out there. So chunky and enjoyable.

O: This is a huge beer. I told a friend the other day that this is Brooklyn Black Chocolate but more complex and bigger. It's a little hot fresh but I have a couple bottles I'm going to let hang out for a while. I think some age will pair wonderfully with this beer. Very grateful to have snagged a few bottles of this big, tasty RIS and I hope to come across more in the future.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2012 06:15:51 | More by lokieman
Photo of mwrecording


4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Worked hard to trade for a sixer of this.

A: Poured a bottle into my Duvel tulip, a 'typical' black, stout look. Very little to no head and what would seem to be low, but average carbonation.

S: Whew, my least favorite part of this and while I still don't think its 'bad', its an overly boozy smell and mixed with the roasted malts and bitter expresso smell, it isn't a real 'treat'

T: This is what matters most and it is a hit for me. Sweet, bitter chocolate notes with just a tad of a delicious coffee taste at the end, with a tiny bit of alcohol coming through right before the swallow. very tasty.

M: More carbonation than I would've guessed from looking at the pour but maybe since I poured this around 45-50 degrees the refrigeration helped that out. Chewy and a little thick but not anywhere near as much as some stouts this size.

Overal, this was a treat. The Bro's outdated 2003 score made me a little nervous but thankfully the BA scores have been mostly consistent. I'd understand if the sweetness of this stout ruined it for a few people but I enjoy my RIS's with some sweetness, Plus the coffee and bitterness really balances it out.

This is a 2011 bottle so its still relatively young, I'll explore it again in November(month it was bottled in) and I imagine some of the bite will be gone.

I'd go 4/5 on this, really good stuff. Points for the 12oz bottles as well.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2012 19:14:32 | More by mwrecording
Photo of GR_Rick


3.5/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice looking, thick, creamy stout with a khaki-ish head.

S: Smelled nice, strong, and complex. Roasty malts with a bit of alcohol and sweetness.

T: Nice initially, with the roast and a bit of sweetness. Ended a little harsh (alcohol or bitter, I couldn't exactly tell) for me.

M: Nice thick mouth feel and minimal carbonation, in line with the style.

O: Decent beer, but not as good as I had expected given the hype. It was a little too big and harsh for my liking (and I normally like big stouts). I've got a bottle sitting in the basement I'm going to age for a year or two and try it again to see if it mellows, as I've heard some age does wonders for this beer.

Serving type: on-tap

07-19-2012 22:26:33 | More by GR_Rick
Photo of sniper061

New York

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

Appearance-This beer is ridiculously dark. I held it to a light and nothing comes through. With that being said it has a wonderful thick brown head that seems to hold on forever.

Aroma-This beer is filled with rich roasted malt and chocolate with a finish of licorice and a bite of coffee.

Taste- This beer delivers everything the aroma offers and more. Roasted malt and chocolate form the base taste, with bitter spice and caramel blending in the middle. Finishes with a fairly strong and bitter coffee taste while holding onto the base flavors.

Mouthfeel-This beer is thick, but still incredibly smooth. Surprisingly drinkable considering the thickness of the brew along with the high abv

Serving type: bottle

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2012 18:43:59 | More by sniper061
Photo of gshak


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

I've had this a number of times, and rated it around 4.75-5. Decided this time, to chime in and write a review. Poured from a year-old (Jan '12) bottle into a Meukow snifter at refrigerator temperature. I had the desire but not the discipline to let this one sit for long and warm up. Here we go:
A - With an aggressive pour, the liquid still went flat into the snifter, only for the bubbles to gradually rise up towards the end, generate a thin mocha-colored head, and fade back into a tiny, persistent, ring. Viscous, and pitch-black; upon swirling leaves noticeable signs of alcohol legs. The mocha-tint lets you know where the beer's been through in your glass. Impressive.
S - Chocolatey, very, very chocolatey with hints of molasses. Now, this may not be much to rate the stout on, but there is that almost zen-like statement from this stout (hyperbolic, I know) the subdued appearance, the subdued aromas that portend of awesome things to come. And for that feeling alone, this gets a 5.
T - Yes, yes, yes. A big hit of dark chocolate and sweet molasses coats the mouth. Transitions into a slightly vinous sensation on the palate most likely the alcohol. I want to keep this in my mouth for as along as I possibly can - ah, the sweet, sweet delight of sipping on this beauty. As it goes down, it dries the palate - possibly a combination of hops and alcohol coming into play. I never felt the alcohol at any time, and the hops are only there to balance out the sweetness of the beer. Even so...this is a malt-lover's dream!
M - Thick, viscous, silky, smooth....the ultimate sipper.

As far as non-barrel aged imperial stouts go, this is the one to beat. I do not see how anyone could possibly out do this one. And even among the barrel-aged ones, I can only pick a few that could, possibly, go toe-to-toe with the Bells Expedition.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2012 22:39:34 | More by gshak
Photo of RandomBattle

New York

3.94/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle (not sure as to the vintage), poured into a Bell's tulip. Bam!

Appearance - Oily and inky black RIS body, with almost no head, granted I did pour it very carefully.

Smell - I seem to get a large amount of dark fruits, think plums and dates, along with soy sauce. This beer specifically, I have always gotten soy sauce from, not unappetizing just there. After revisiting I get some nice roasty chocolate odors with some subtle hops.

Taste - Nice bitter dark chocolate flavors, followed by dark fruit flavors. Even though I always smell soy sauce in this one I never taste it. This beer has such a wonderful bittersweetness that is amazing and I feel separates it from other RIS'.

Mouthfeel - Full, mouth-coating, and smooth. This beer is liquid velvet. A treat and a sipper.

Overall - This beer is great and thankfully I can get it online when it's available since Bell's doesn't distribute to NY.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2013 01:26:41 | More by RandomBattle
Photo of PaterMorse


3.36/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Very complex, very cool, very much WANTED to like it; but just registered a "miss" for me. At times felt like it was a chore to finish the next pour. And phenomenal as the appearance and aroma are, that's an insurmountable indictment for a beer.

A: Pours a gorgeous engine oil golden-black. Head is a stunner as well (milk-chocolate brown), but disappears way too fast -- leaving very little on the surface unless/until agitated. Nice crimson/brown/black hues remain.

S: Changes rapidly. A little chocolate, coffee on initial pour. Agitate it a bit and it's waffles & syrup. As it settles, earthy, roasty, boozy (but only slightly on the nose).

T: Unfortunately, what's only slight on the nose is a kapow on the taste buds. I felt like I'd chomped down on a cotton swab doused with rubbing alcohol. Taste smooths out over time (kind of)); but the alcohol lingers too long and is too in-your-face.

M: Big body, smooth. And though a diplomatic suggestion is that it "warms" as it goes down, a less diplomatic suggestion is that it burns your eyes.

O: Complex for sure; but just a tad over the top on the alcohol confrontation. In my estimation, Dark Horse's Plead the 5th is higher in ABV but an equal in complexity, mouthfeel & appearance and FAR superior in aroma, taste and drinkability.

Repeat? No, no reason. Not terrible by any means; but nothing so unique or good to warrant another round. Other RIS pours are more enjoyable and equally complex.

Ideal Setting To Have One On Hand? To clean any open wounds or accelerate fire-starting...

Two Word Description: Alcohol Swab

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2013 00:49:38 | More by PaterMorse
Photo of BlastTyrant

New York

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

Pours dead black with a one finger brown head. Aroma is sweet, with coffee, molasses, and brown sugar, along with alcohol notes. Flavor starts sweet with vanilla and coffee, which quickly gives over to a grassy, hoppy finish. For an 11%+ ABV brew, I think the alcohol is well masked - it's detectable, but not overly so. Hardly any carbonation in the body - smooth, slippery mouthfeel.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2005 03:58:23 | More by BlastTyrant
Photo of gabemasiulis


4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.
A) Dark black coffee look, very opaque, with a medium brown head, peaking and good retention with a little lacing.
S) Heavy caramel smell, with dark almost unsweetend chocolate, and maybe a touch of coffee. Some underlying hops are present in the nose.
T) Starts high and lilting with an acidic bite, quickly settling into thick caramel maltiness, darck chocolate, a very toasted feel is present. Definitely some alcohol present in the taste.
M) Very thick heavy wet and lingering, kind of an oily feel, but still quite nice. It does not do a very good job of leaving the palate clean, but that is not the intention of this beer, it sticks with you, to enjoy it for some time.
D) A good sipper, but one is definitely enough.

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2008 15:45:28 | More by gabemasiulis
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,113 ratings.