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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.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

5,200 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 5,200
Reviews: 1,958
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.85%
Wants: 437
Gots: 1,230 | FT: 85
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
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Ratings: 5,200 | Reviews: 1,958 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of gueuzedreg
4.31/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottled 10-22-12.

A- Dark coffee brown/black with minimal head that has descent retention. Head sits for awhile.

S- This stout starts out with figs and dark fruit, uncharacteristic of an imperial. Chocolate, molasses follows.

T- I am getting more of a baseline chocolate/simple imperial taste. Some dark fruit/fig follows then charred oak.

M- Probably the best characteristic of this beer. The M is thick, rich and smooth. Some carbonation follows down the throat.

O- Being the main part of one of my favorite beers ever (Black Note), this outshines the lesser that make up the beer (Bells Double Cream Stout).

Photo of NCSUdo
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle, batch 8183

A: Pours a thick black under a small, brown head. You know you are getting a big beer here. Ok retention, no lace.

S: Get some chocolate, roasted malt and slight fruitiness on first sniff. A cream-like sweetness underneath, hints of alcohol.

T: Woah. Was not prepared for the intense flavor profile that first hit me. Vanilla and a sweet cream up front that just explodes into a chocolate and huge roasted bitterness on the back of the tongue that will not go away. Was not expecting this level of bitterness. Even some grassy hop hints and some dark fruits thrown in as well. There is a huge spicy hotness as well, but doesn't have the characteristics of alcohol.

M/D: Carbonation is high, too high, but does lend in small part a creamy texture. Body is extremely full, a little slick, sticks to the lips a little, no hints of the alcohol, nice. Drinkability is lowered due to 10.50% and just how aggresive this beer is. A sipper for sure. Can't wait to sample some of this batch a few years from now.

Photo of boilermakerbrew
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours essentially black and thick. Small, chocolatey brown head that is gone quickly with good lacing.

S- Main scents are a sweet, black licorice type smell with dark roasts underneath. Maybe slight hints of anise. Definitely some dark chocolate notes.

T- Not as sweet as the smell, with very deep roasts. Almost has a burnt toast taste. Coffee and chocolate notes are present. Deep malt character.

M- Thick and creamy with little carbonation. Slight alcohol heat is present towards the end of the drink. Weight compliments flavor profile.

Overall, not a great, but a very good stout. Slightly deeper than most with burnt malts. A very solid brew.

Photo of twowheelssoar
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of Pintofbrown
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- On-tap at the Sanctuary. The opaque dark brown body of the RIS family is here. There is at least two fingers of milk chocolate head. Yeah, it looks nice.

Smell- There is a really nice candied cherry and raisin sweetness on the nose. It also has that caramel malt hint that I'm sure will come off as "roasted" when I take a sip. This also brings to mind just general dark fruit sweetness. I'm not sure how the boozy aspect of this nose will come off in the drink, but it is appropriate for the style.

Taste- Great boozy bourbon Batman! Just a silly amount of booze in the drink, even more heat than Old Raspy. Thankfully it doesn't bury the molasses, cherry, raisin, and dark fruit that churns over the tongue. You have to wait until the finish, but boy, the roasted coffee comes on strong in the finish and lingers, along with the heat!

Mouth feel- This could be chewier, and I'm not sure I dig the carbonation or not. I mean, you could call it appropriate, and it certainly doesn't take away from the full body and pretty smooth finish. It's not as dry as such a boozy RIS usually is.

Overall- I dropped an F bomb in my notes to describe how much I thought of the "awesomeness" of this stout. So yeah, I guess I really liked it. Just age the crap out of this thing and I have no doubt it could rival the whales at the top of the RIS list. A must try stout, from a must have brewery.

Edit 11/25/2013: Had 2010 vintage bottle. Notes: Nose not nearly as boozy and dark fruits take center stage: fig, some black cherries, brown sugar as well. The palate has much more dark chocolate now that rides forever and ever, long after the swallow, still getting the fig and dark cherry flavors, only much stronger. Again, the booze has backed off considerably. Mouth feel is all liquid velvet, rich. Amazing with three years of age, and honestly, could be laid down for another three years. Wow. Score Edit: A-4.5 S-5 T-4.75 MF- 4.5 O-4.75

Photo of ski271
4.37/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black with a reddish tinge and a brown, small, creamy head that quickly diminished to a full, thick film. Lots of thick sticky lacing.

Smell: Large, fabulous aroma of chocolate, coffee, malts, molasses and light buttery herbs.

Taste: Big, thick malts, bitter coffee, cheery, and soy sauce (I know, it sounds odd and the last time I tasted soy sauce in a beer it was a homebrew gone wrong, but it’s good in this flavor). The finish is sweet and very long in duration.

Mouthfeel: Full body, thick chewy texture, no carbonation.

Drinkability: My was this wonderful. One sip took me back to a ski vacation up in Maine for some reason. I love the nostalgia a good aroma can spark. This was a fabulous meaty stout that I’ll definitely be having again.

Photo of beermanbrian
4.52/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oil black in color with a a thin tan head that foams up to only 1/4 inch with a heavy pour. The head is the foamy fine bubbled consistancy and has a slightly reddish tint to it. Smell hits you with a huge wash of flavors. Dark fruits are the most prominant followed by coffee, chocolate and the other typical stout flavors. Also, as it warms you get a real wiff of the high ABV. The taste is just as enjoyable as the smell. I think beer might have the most prominant dark fruit flavors of any stout i've ever tasted. Finishes with some nice bitterness and some alchohol burn. Overall a wonderful beer. Hurt a little on drinkability due to the high ABV. I couldn't see having more than 2 in a night and really 1 is just about perfect.

Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.62/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch #8311, 2/7/08. Poured vigorously into a Unibroue tulip to stimulate a light brown thick head atop a black body. Never had one fresh and probably never will after smelling this liquid gold. Aroma is of dark chocolate, toasted malts and the sweetness of a RIS with some age on it, and its bursting out of the glass. Beautiful smell, simply spectacular. Taste follows closely to the aroma and it should be noted how easy it is to drink this one is considering the ABV. Mouthfeel is extremely thick and almost seems chewy. Buy this one by the case and find a place to stick it for a few years. Drink from the old cases, keep buying new ones. Do it. Just do it.

Photo of BierJager89
4.46/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black as night with a brown head, pours viscous and inviting.

S: Chocolate and roasted malt, as well as a touch of anise in a somewhat weak nose (empty glass has huge roasted malt and chocolate notes).

T: Huge dark chocolate, coffee and roasted malt notes up front, maybe a touch of vanilla, and a slight taste of alcohol.

M: Full bodied and quite smooth.

O: A delicious imperial stout. I wish they distributed to CA. Enough said.

Photo of hellhammermario
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of shredder83
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of seplo
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of BodiesLexus
4.75/5  rDev +12%

Photo of mverity
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of Tyecko
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of vwbus7
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of sammo
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of lic217
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of phishphorce
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of DantheMan75
4.75/5  rDev +12%

Photo of PsilohsaiBiN
4.05/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 8/22/13.

Appearance: Pours jet black, as expected with a small khaki head that collars quickly.

Smell: Cocoa, graham cracker, roasted malt, dark fruit and some booze heat. Kind of reminds me of Marshal Zhukov's aroma, in that the aroma is nice, but not overwhelming.

Taste: Begins with rich dark chocolate paired with an element of soft cocoa. Middle of the mouth is hop bitterness with nice roast. Finishes pretty bitter with detectable but not by any means overwhelming heat.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, velvety, silky. Very full feel, though not in the realm of Hunahpu viscosity.

Overall: I can see the influence this has on Black Note and am glad I finally got to try it. Can definitely see this getting amazing with age as the bitterness subsides, but it's still not bad at all in its current state.

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

I have had this beer before, and just now having another one. What a great Stout! Big taste and keeps up with all the other Michigan Stouts as far as I'm concerned.
This beer pours nice thick and black with quite a thin head.
Not much of an aroma to speak of, but this seems quite common with stouts.
As I said earlier, what a big taste! Very strong and complex, with a medium to strong bitterness.
Overall, I LOVE this stout. This has a nice kick with a 10.5% ABV. If you like the thick, strong, complex type of stouts, you gotta search this out. I know I will be buying this every year it comes out.

Photo of JandJMD
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of Golden2wenty1
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Been sitting on a few bottles left over from a six pack for a few months. Broke them out for the Madison Big Stout Session, already known as one of the most epic tastings ever to be attempted.

Pour: crude oil thick and black, glug, glug, glugs into a taster under soapy capuccino head with a bit of chunky lacing.

Nose: espresso, vanilla cream, gasoline booze/hops, oatmeal malt, dark fruit and oatmeal malt.

Taste: appleskin tart, espresso bitterness, creamy vanilla sweet, unleaded booze-spicy, chocolate booze, black cherry and currant booze and a bit of nuttiness in the finish.

Feel: chocolate syrup thick, oily slick, uber-fine carbonation.

Drinkability/Overall: J.H.C., this is a potent beast of a beer - kudos for that - but a bit of a chore to drink, even 6 ounces worth. Yeesh. I'm spent, but must trudge on...

Photo of EricCioe
4.67/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 10105, 10 December 2010, just under six months old.

This pours pitch black with no highlights, floating a big two finger dark tan head on top that leaves great, chunky lace on the way down. A really pretty brew. On the nose there is a really high level dark chocolate and espresso, with a deep, pungent pine combining with a massive presence of roast malt underneath. In the mouth the pieces of the nose come through: bitter chocolate, nicely bitter coffee, bitter hops, and bitter roasted malt. It's not overwhelmingly bitter, just very pleasantly so. There is a dash of heat to go with the hugely rich taste. The body is huge, gigantic, full, with a huge finish that has slightly charred malt and espresso bitterness hanging out forever.

Overall, this beer is amazing. I was expecting to like it but not this much. This is right up, and probably just a cut above, the two other great MI RIS, Dark Horse Plead the 5th and FIS. This is an absolutely amazing brew and proof that there are great, great stouts sitting on shelves.

EDIT - Had a mini two year vertical last night, 20 January 2012. We had bottles from late 2010, same batch as the original review, and late 2011. After a year, this is a totally different beer. The nose is unreal as it develops this wonderful molasses note that is buried in the fresher ones. One of the true outstanding Russian imperials I've ever had. Being able to buy six of these at will is one of the biggest beer-related things I miss about living in the Midwest.

Fresh, this beer is pretty hot. After a year, it's totally transformed. I've never had a beer change more in a year than this one.

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 5,200 ratings.