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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
94
outstanding
2,079 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
2,079
Ratings:
5,932
Avg:
4.21
pDev:
10.45%
 
 
Wants:
515
Gots:
1,682
For Trade:
129
Bell's Expedition StoutBell's Expedition Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-10-2002

User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,079 | Ratings: 5,932
Photo of kaimcm
4.01/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

bottle poured into a pint glass. carried back from Ohio by my bud, cheers Croix!

A: black as tar with a really dark chocolate head. one of the darkest heads Ive seen in recent memory. nice light stick.

S: sweet and roasty malt, some vanilla and bourbon-esque notes. smells a tad stale. hints of cinammon and even cherries. booze.

T: huge creamy wave immediately followed by some roasted bitterness. a little chocolate is overtaken by lots of stale coffee which is then itself replaced by a grounds bitterness. toffee, some of that elusive aromatic cherry. a earthy woodyness persists on the finish which is mostly dry with just a touch of residual sweetness.

M: incredible. like a malted milkshake. big, thick, creamy, just awesome.

D: huge body, 11.5%, and not available in Mass! but all things considered this goes down pretty well on this painfully humid night. one a night for sure though, quite filling.

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Photo of HitokiriNate85
3.51/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 9384, bottled in October, 2009.

A - Pitch black with a nice mocha cap that is surprisingly sticking around and giving off some nice lace as it sits for a couple minutes.

S - Lots of a sort of dry roastiness upfront. Some dark chocolate, but not nearly enough to provide any sort of backbone to the roast. There's something that's kinda leafy to it. It doesn't really come across as hoppy, but more earthy.

T - Now things are starting to pull together a bit. The smell wasn't too impressive, but this is helping. Huge roastiness upfront, with some dark chocolate behind it. Slightly sharp, but not nearly as much as when fresh. There are some fruit flavors as well, but the roastiness just carries over and tinges everything. Alcohol is nicely hidden at this point, and probably the best aspect of aging. It could really use some sweetness to provide some backing to all the roast and bitterness(which is moderate).

MF - Easily the best aspect of the beer. Thick, chewy, and coating, with a slight burst of carbonation.

D - At 10.5%, Expedition carries itself really well, which is definitely a benefit of aging for one year. However, it's kind of disappointing because it doesn't coalesce into a total package. This is the only bottle I put away last year, but I think I'll grab some this year with some to age for 2-3 years.

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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 cnjohn19
3.51/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Now, granted I do not know much about russian imperial stouts beyond the high alcohol range, but overall i was just a tad let down by this one...poured dark brown, almost black with a nonexistent head...almost looked flat...the alcohol characteristics dominated the smell with a faint hint of dark, bold chocolate...did enjoy the taste, which left a nice coffee aftertaste...very smooth, bold...strong roasted flavor...

not sure i would rush out to buy this one again...would be interested to find it on tap to compare...could imagine this stout being more enjoyable out of the tap....

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Photo of Duane_Opfer
4.24/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottled poured into a Spiegelau glass. Packaged on 8/22. Consumed on 10/24.

A - Brown approaching black with a cinnamon colored head. Less delicate pour yielded a 1 finger head which fades quickly. Carbonation appeared light. No lasting lacing.

S - Rather fragrant. Licorice, vanilla, roasted coffee, dark chocolate, and alcohol notes. Somewhat boozy.

T - Licorice, vanilla, roasted coffee, dark chocolate, caramel and almond extract. Slight dark fruit, perhaps, raisin. ABV not completely hidden, but does not taste 10.5%.

M - Higher carbonation initially than comparable stouts and lighter bodied. Carbonation wears off somewhat quickl. Generally sticky in corners of mouth, like most stouts.

O - Good, but not great. Although a wide spectrum of flavors , flavors are less intense. Licorice was an interesting addition though. Mouthfeel compared less favorable... less creamy, lighter bodied than comparable stouts. Worth a try, but better options available.

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Photo of JohnnyI
4.52/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a rich black, crowned with a coffee colored head that has a custard-like consistency. The foam slowly settles, leaving a solid inch and half thick band around the glass. I don't know if I can call that lacing. It's looks more like a decorative ribbon! There's a slick coating on the surface and an oily film left behind with each swirl. The appearance is sturdy. A hearty looking brew. The smell is quite complex. Pronounced soy sauce and canned mushrooms, with a mild metallic scent. Chocolate baklava with honey sweet figs. The customary coffee, char and dark fruits are there as well, but less so. Subtle booze. The flavors are much more potent. There's an explosion of taste on the first sip. Sweet molasses with roasted black coffee. Burnt malts with black licorice notes. A distinct cocoa toffee finish with charcoal bitterness imparted from the hops and deep roast. Dry and bitter in the end, as the roast simply clings to your palate and refuses to let go. The mouthfeel is velvety smooth with a hearty creaminess that gives the brew an enormous body. Lively, fine pin-prick carbonation helps all of the flavors burst to life. After a few sips, it leaves a sticky feeling in your mouth. Half-way through the glass and there is a nice warming alcohol heat in the chest. I know this is not a spiced beer, but I'd swear that there is some cinnamon in there. Ultimately, this is a man's beer. Something to warm the winter nights in northern Michigan while staying in the snow-covered cabin. A big, bold Russian Imperial Stout with a soothing touch of rustic campfire goodness. Bottled 10/23/14. I've had aged versions that are phenomenal in their own right, but I still prefer the fresher alternative. A+

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Photo of trumick
4.07/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black very little light penetrates if at all. There is very little head that hangs around for a bit with nice lacing all around.

Smell is of sweet molasses, burnt coffee, dark fruits and chocolate.

Taste is right on with the nose burnt coffee, sweet dark malts chocolate and hops. It finishes dry and with a nice burnt coffee dark bitter chocolate that goes on froever. There is an alcohol taste. I can tell it is there, almost overwhelming, it's also warming.

Mouthfeel is smooth and full bodied, robust with just the right amount of carbination, I would even call it creamy.

Drinkability would be great but for the abv. The abv. is too noticeable. It stands out and that puts it lower on the drinkability scale.

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Photo of nicnut45
3.93/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours out like used motor oil leaving a tan halo around the sides. Nice coating of lacing as I drink. The smell of soy sauce first greets the nose with hints of chocolate followed by vanilla,port, and other dark fruits I don't know about. I let this warm up quite a bit so the flavors can develop. Dark fruits, espresso, bourbon, soy sauce, chocolate, and burnt flavors all in one sip. There is another round of flavors after you swallow. I get tastes of tobacco, vanilla, and other flavors my limited palate can't describe. There is a kind of unpleasent bitterness/booziness that I am sure would mellow out with age. This beer sits on the tounge thick and chewy. You would be a fool to drink several of these in a row. And a rich fool at that. Best to let it age. I wouldn't mind enjoying one of these once in a while.

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Photo of NYCWheatFanSC
2.83/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours a thick dark black with a small, cherry mocha head that recedes quickly to a microfilm on top with a sturdy collar that leaves alot of lacing as the beer goes down.

S - Licorice, alcohol, and burnt brown sugar dominate.

T - The estery alcohols impart an almost robitussin-eque flavor that is rather off-putting from the start. Smoke, and caramelized molasses are also big players here, but not strong enough to mask the cough syrup flavors.

M - Nice and chewy, with a bit more carbonation than I would expect which unfortunately brings out alot of the more acrid flavors.

D - Would not seek this one out again over many, many others I have readily available.

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Photo of adams82
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black, opaque, with a big dark brown head.

Smells of dried fruit, intensely roasty, deep black coffee/espresso, slightly sweet. Tastes slightly sweet, bitter sweet chocolate, heavy caramel flavours, finishes with a nice hoppy bite. Very intense flavours, deep dark and roasty, balanced with a nice hop finish.

Full bodied, creamy and smooth... Excellent.

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Photo of beerdedking
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%

Bottled 9/25/13 poured obsidian into snifter with a thick cinnamon head. Just beautiful to behold.
Scents of raspberry truffle and plum brandy. The complexity has really come through after a year of sitting.
The dark fruits have melded perfectly to the dark chocolate and roasted barley. Still a touch of alcohol on the finish
which I prefer. A beer of this nature should have a bit of heat. What an experience. Just think, there are more
of these just sitting there at my bottle shop. Not for long....

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Photo of Spiekerbox
4.48/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Pours jet black, with a brown, mocha looking head that is a little larger than i expected and slowly goes down, leaving brown lacing on the glass.

S- smell is of toasty malts, with a slight hop presence and a bit of a chocolate scent, not as strong as i was expecting, but still a good smelling beer

T- really a lot going on here, lots of roasted malt with a chocolate, coffee bitterness. Also has some of the taste of dark fruits, with hops making an appearance. Also taste brewers licorice.

M- Low carbonation with a big beer body, creamy texture that makes the flavors linger in your mouth long after taking a drink.

D- for the ABV it is way too easy to drink, the alcohol presence never really makes itself know, still a big beer that takes a while to drink but it sure is enjoyable for the entire time you are drinking it

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Photo of brock146
4.7/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Thick pour with thinner than average "stout" head

S - Big time sweet raisins, a hint chocolate and coffee tones.

T - Malty sweet raisins, followed by a tad of chocolate with a hint of bitter coffee flavor and booze on the end note.

M - Big bodied with perfect (minimal) carbonation.

O - I had purchased a six pack of this stout (not aged) and was decently impressed. However, I must say that I was lucky to be able to pick up a year aged bottle of this at my favorite liquor store here in Minneapolis. In all honesty I have to say that after a year of aging this beer improves exponentially. I am a big fan of stouts, this one really takes the cake. Perfect balance of flavor that really packs one hell of a punch. This beer should, in my opinion, most definitely be aged before it is released. FANTASTIC. Sad that I didn't buy another one... or 7.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of BigB415
4.06/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good stout. Poured black with dark brown head, good lacing. Had a little burn on the end that didn't make it 100% smooth but still good. I can oversee that since I'm used to it. Going to get another one soon and I'm going to age that one and see how it tastes.

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Photo of RyanLigeia
4.67/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2012 Vintage poured into a Trophy Brewing tulip.

Appearance: Pitch black, completely opaque even when held to a light. Tan head that didn't disappear quite as quickly as I expected it to at 10.5%, but when it did it left behind some excellent lacing and a solid thin layer of foam behind.

Smell: Very pungent, which I was hoping for. Both sweet and roasty at the same time. Right up front I get a sweet caramel/ milk chocolate maltiness with some deep roasted expresso notes as well. Hints of dark fruits underneath (very slight.. raison/fig) with a touch of wood. Also, Idk how it works so well with the other scents (but it does) I am definitely getting some hops in the nose as well. Not so much a stinging citrus scent but more of a smooth, juicy, mango sort of hop presence underneath it all. Definitely complex but not in a bad way what-so-ever.

Taste: Bitter roastiness definitely takes the stage right up front (dark bitter chocolate/expresso). Alcohol is prevalent but melds decently with the sweetness that comes through midway (sllight vanilla/caramel flavors). Way underneath Im still getting some of those dark fruits but not nearly as much as in the nose. The hops break through a bit in the finish as well.

Mouthfeel: Super thick and rich with a nice warming sensation on the way down. Cant believe the alcohol doesnt bight harder at 10.5%. The mouthfeel fits the flavor profile perfectly and is exactly what I hope for every time I drink this style.

Overall: This is an excellent, EXCELLENT beer. Would definitely recommend picking one up if you have the chance and have never tried it. Actually not just one... but a few. As much as I enjoyed this with 8 1/2 months on it I think any little qualm I may have had with it would be worked out with a bit more aging. I would absolutely LOVE to experience a vertical of this beer one day.

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Photo of BobJude
4.53/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2014 Vintage into a snifter.
A - Pours inky black with a 1/2 inch of head which disipates slowly.
S - Hints of dark chocolate, molasses, roasted grain and coffee. Just awesome!
T - Oh, so good! Coffee, molasses, licorice, chocolate. Quite a bit of piney hop flavor. So much going on here, almost overwhelming, but exactly what I was expecting.
M - completely coats your mouth and tongue. A little bit of alcohol burn on the back end, nice and warming.
O - a great example of an Imperial / double stout. One of my favorites along with Ten-Fidy.

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Photo of bobbyc881
3.43/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a nice black, thin tan head with bits of it hanging around the sides of the glass - more oily looking than lace, though. Aroma is of dark chocolates, black coffee and red wine.

Taste/mouthfeel begins creamy and chocolaty, slick mouthfeel through the middle, and finishes slightly bittersweet. Slight sourness in the background. Alcohol not masked too well -- which could possibly be fixed with a year or two in my beer closet. As others have said, a bit more carbonation would certainly improve this brew.

Overall, a mediocre imperial stout.

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Photo of JWD
4.46/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Obtained via trade

A- Death black with a dark tan head look very close to the Abyss,BCS, or DL, looks very thick during the pour

S- Sweet & some roasty, I tend to prefe rthe sweet side so i am very interested here, raisan and dark chocolate.

T- Very good to be expected, sweet up front with a very strong roasty dry almost bitter aftertaste. That aftertaste is the only thing that i don't completly love here.

M- I think only DL or BCS can top this VISCOUS!!! Coats you mouth.

D- Great, I just love thick and viscous stouts and this fits the bill perfectly.

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Photo of Monsone
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Standard RIS. Dark as night with a slight brown head that quickly diasapears.

S - Sweet malt and dark fruits with some choco. Alcohol is present.

T - Bitter malt sweetness, with dark choco. Dark fruits there too. There is some alcohol warmth in there too.

M - Thick and coating.

D - Good for the style.

Overall I recommend this beer, but there are others I like more.

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Photo of camp0474
3.47/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Review from 12/30/10

Disclaimer - I had this beer pretty fresh and after drinking it I think it should spend some time in the cellar.

A: Pours a thick viscous black with a dark tan head. Dies off quick.

S: Molasses, dark candied fruits - prunes and caramelized sugar. Faint boozy smell. Hints of roasted coffee.

T: Molasses and dark fruits, raisins, chocolate. Roasted almost smokey malts. Not as I sweet as I would have expected, compared to other RIS I have enjoyed. Slight sweetness is quickly overtaken by bitter and boozy. Ends quite bitter and boozy, almost bourbon.

M: Thick and viscous body. Very low carbonation, needs more to be enjoyable. Goes down slick.

D: Low carbonation, a little too bitter, and strong alcohol flavor. Good beer but not easy to drink.

Underimpressed. Maybe I will try aging one and revisiting this one.

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Photo of dgugliuzza
4.72/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter.

Pitch black pour with sticky thick brown head. Large and medium sized bubbles sit atop the head. After the head settles, a sandy film remains.

Dark roasted malt, molasses, coffee and dark fruits combine to create a rich aroma. The sweetness is balanced by a woody bitterness.

Heavily roasted and bittersweet aromas explode on the palate. Dark fruit and coffee flavors follow along. A bit of chocolate and sweet malt is followed by a pleasant bitter finish. Perfectly balanced. One of the more bold and flavorful imperial stouts.

Creamy and silky mouthfeel. Viscous beyond belief as it takes on a motor oil like consistency. Low and appropriate carbonation. It's definitely a sipper, but goes down easy.

Expedition Stout embodies the RIS category. It's bold with roasty, sweet and bitter flavors. The Viscous mouthfeel sets it apart from most others.

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Photo of 4lo
4.12/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

'14 Bottle

Pour - Bit thicker than your average stout. Dark on the pour with a one finger tan head that forms and eventually yields way to a ring around the glass.

Smell - Bitter chocolate and dark fruits on the nose. Some coffee, but not as much as a ~10 months ago.

Taste - Sugary chocolate up front which turns to a dark chocolate molasses taste as you muddle through it. Bit of dark fruit in between and on the tail end. Coffee isn't overly strong, but a get a bit in there.

Feel - Well put together and fairly smooth mouthfeel. Nice level of carbonation which makes it easy to drink.

Overall - Great seasonal release stout which hits the spot during the winters.

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Photo of Bumpon10s
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A bottle from batch 6811 that I let warm up a bit before opening.

A - Black with a tan head that dissapates into a bumpy lace. Looks thick before it ever hits your mouth.

S - Coffee and chocolate, sweet but with just enough roast to stop it from being sugar. For sure a bittersweet chocolate resides.

T - Roast at the very front, and very back, otherwise all chocolate. A very sweet RIS, most are a charcoal fire in my mouth. Also, if you know what you are looking for you can still get a nice hop touch out in front.

M - Outside of maybe Dark Lord, and maybe even running with that, the richest and creamiest I've had. Super thick and smooth.

D - Drinkability is outstanding, even at a more than wealthy 11.5%. I've had this a few times, and this is the first time I am reviewing it and for some reason it seems so much better this time around.

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Photo of tiger88
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

thanks to schmoterp

Pours midnight black into the glass with only the slightest of dark brown hints. The equally dark brown head lays down very quickly leaving patchy lace around the glass. It did not smell as strong as I was expecting but it was a pleasant, subtle chocolate and sweet alcohol aroma. The taste is great, bitter chocolate and sweet malt at the same time. A dull bitter aftertaste hangs out on the back of the tongue begging for another sip. Mouthfeel is full and bursting with flavor. I get coffee, chocolate, rye bread even. Anything dark I can think of is contained in this beer. I love it and can't wait to drink the other 4 I have.

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Photo of pheggeseth
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Single 12oz bottle bought at The Blue Max in Burnsville, MN for $2.59

A: tremendous 3 finger head, great cascading effect, pours very thick

S: roasted malt, hops, hint of chocolate, alcohol

T: roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, possibly from the hops, warming alcohol

M: the thickest beer I've had yet, very oily, pretty strong carbonation, the bitterness is a little too much for my taste

D: again, the bitterness is a little much, but it is very smooth, quite the sipper, just one prompts an immediate contemplation of the meaning of life

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 2,079 ratings.