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

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

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5,069 Ratings
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Ratings: 5,069
Reviews: 1,933
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.85%
Wants: 425
Gots: 1,162 | FT: 77
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,069 | Reviews: 1,933 | Display Reviews Only:
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of Beerandboards
4.64/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle, batch 9971, bottled September 13, 2010. So, clocking in at about 2.5 years old

A - pitch black, pour produces about 1.5 inches of toffee colored foam. Dissipates pretty quickly, leaves a fair amount of lacing on the sides.

S - wow. Molasses, vanilla, coffee, milk chocolate. One of the best smelling stouts I've had. Beats out a lot of the BA stouts. Killer.

T - doesn't let me down after the nose. Molasses again, big time. Vanilla. Milk chocolate. There is just the right amount of bitter chocolate at the end. TASTY.

M - creamy, thicker side of medium feel, lower carbonation. Really nice.

O - I have to say, I'm surprised at how good this is. I've never had it fresh, but I can't imagine that this hasn't gotten better with age. I've got another 2010 that I'll sit on for just a bit longer just to see what happens. Bells killed this one.

Photo of Viperman1316
4.16/5  rDev -1.9%

Photo of firstlighthiker
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of PEBKAC
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Served in small goblet that seems to immediately turn to stone after it reached the rim. I felt bad for the bartender, it was just his second day. Heck, I felt bad for myself. Having to go through that torture, I asked for a couple samples alongside, just to pass the time.

After watching the game for an inning & a half, I made the decision to ask for a knife & fork. That thing would of easily lasted till the weekend had I not intervened. :P

Ovaltine. It looks like Ovaltine. Rich, frothy, chocolate head that just wouldn't quit. The body wasn't black, but close.

Strong scents of burnt sugar, whole milk, rum cake, tapoica, & mesquite.

My God, this is Ovaltine! Just so insanely rich & frothy. Creaminess only found in the most fattening of milk shakes. I realize the misguided impressions of nitro, but still, what a joyous invention.

I don't particularly like coffee, so enjoying this beer is even more of a surprise. None of that stale, over-roasted crap(burnt), but genuinely fresh, intense, aromatic, & just plain tasty java. When added in to all this caramel & whole milk I taste, it's just beautiful. As a bonus, the dryness beats back the now subtle bitterness into a corner that's just barely within reach. Any alcohol that was overly obvious has also been beaten back. Oppression at its finest. :)

One is perfect for me, thank you. :)

Photo of Atomicskis5
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of Dirty25
4.75/5  rDev +12%

Photo of Tyecko
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

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

i love how this beer looks, it looks like i'm pouring gelatinated squid ink into my glass! thick and syrupy. i know the whole argument some people make about low-none head being very unattractive, but this beer makes me want to grab a spoon or just take big bites, it looks warm and inviting right now.

Somewhat muted nose comprised of light roasts, sweet malts, hint of licorice, and oaky vanilla.

BAM! this hits the palette strong. All of the notes composed in the Nose are here and in much stronger force, but a nice alcohol comes in and warms you up in a way that makes you want to sip all night long. All the flavors are melded wonderfully, ive had other batches that were either brand new fresh or not as refined as this one, but this bottle really surprised me even tough i've had this beer dozens of times.

mouthfeel is, as you guessed from the appearance, just as thick as you could hope for. Inky & Creamy. Also, the low-moderate carbination is a positive for me personally. I don't need bubbles in my bourbon, and i don't in my Stouts either.

I've drank a few of these before, and about 2.5 is the safe limit, for me. You will never need to drink that many, the beer satisfies in it's own short time.

Photo of jucifer1818
4.68/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A:deep, deep, deep black. I can see my refection in this beer is so perfectly dark and black, and it looks amazingly inviting.
light head, tho I cant complain for a beer this strong (which usual has low head retention)

smell: smells beautiful of chocolaty, light toffee, light fudge malt goodness
its beautiful

Taste: very forward with the hops, starting strong for a bit before being overtaken by the malt. Smoked malt, very dark caramel, black patent, roasted barley, and dark chocolate malt are all present with a slight hint of coffee malt as well)
no taste of the 10.5% ABV
aftertaste is of freshly grounded coffee and dark bakers chocolate

mouth-feel: slick, grainy, malty, and slight syrupness, yet still easy to drink

overall: its a fine example of a heavenly stout that goes as black and flavorful as possible.. Could had been a bit lighter on the hops to allow the malt to shine even more, but that's just my own prefrances, this brew balances both aspects of brewing flavors, and finds a beautiful balance for a beer of this heavy level of hoppyness and matlyness

A well earned 5/5

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 Rons35
3.5/5  rDev -17.5%

Photo of mdwalsh
4.68/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Had this at Indulge first, never really wanted to until then, I've been dieing to get this. Batch no. 8944

A: Blackity black black black. Poured like motor oil with legs. This thing almost got up and crawled away. There's not real head, and no active carb, and thus no lacing. Holding this up to the SUN and I'm not getting any light. I just wish it had a bit more head.

S: Dark sweet fruit and mildly roasted malt. Burnt sugar and caramel is great. It isn't a too strong of a scent, but it's there. Not overly complex nor simple, just right. No hops, of course.

T: The burnt sugar really takes over and the fruit takes a backseat. The caramel-toffee chocolate -I almost say fudge, is great. There isn't coffee, which is awesome. Usually, I don't like RIS right right off the bat. This one, I would.

M: Like drinking chocolate syrup. That's about it. Flat and smooth.

D: One is fine, wouldn't want too many more than that and it wouldn't be great in all situations.

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

12 oz bottle poured into my lost abbey stemware glass

Pours pitch black with a small, dark chocolate head .
Aroma is amazing and strong. Smells like roasted nuts, caramel, coffee, and a little bit of bourbon.
The taste is powerful, sweet, and well supported by the thickness of the brew. It's a mix of bittersweet chocolate, caramel, some oak, a nice hint of sourness from the malt, and some alcohol. Finishes thick and a little bitter--coats the mouth so you must drink more. Not quite as overpowering as Bourbon County Stout, making it a little easier to keep drinking.

Photo of jeremiahoden
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of Dank26
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of scottDC
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of kguard
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of shredder83
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of AlpacaAlpaca
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of CharlesRiver
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My expectations for this beer are sky high. I have heard so many great things about it. Not what I expected at all. When I popped the top of the bottle, it didn't make a noise.

Pours black as night with no head or bubbles or anything to make note of. The smell is very sweet, chocolate, coffee and a bit earthy. The taste is even more sweet. Coffee, chocholate, earthy, bark all leads to a nice bitter finish. Reminds me a bit of Le Coq (Sp?), but much easier on the wallet.

Overall I like it. Not what I expected but very good.

Photo of freed
3.83/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Another batch imported by our man in the midwest; Bill. Thanks!

Yet another lovely label from Bell's, simple and elegant. I should have been wary when I popped the cap and there was no rush of gas. Pouring was enough confirmation though - there was no carbonation to the beer. The pouring was uneventful, despite the troubling black liquid. It sat dully in the glass, deeply brown with body. The very top, visible without any head, gave hints of amber around the edges. There's even some odd sediment that almost looks like it belongs in hot & sour soup.

The aroma is welcoming though - deep, filling, and robust with mocha goodness. The combination of malted barley and coffee hide the barely noticeable smell of alcohol.

The taste is also very robust - nearly syrupy without carbonation, but still good. There are very bitter chocolate flavors, dark espresso flavors, and a smooth maltiness all around.

The sensation is somewhat lacking without the balance of gasses, and the mouthfeel is somewhat alcoholic. Especially while brewing beer and having skipped breakfast and lunch.

This is a very tasty beer, but I feel it must be tried on cask, or tap. Preferably close to the source. I'll see what I can do.

Photo of DoctorDog
2.48/5  rDev -41.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A- Deep brown/black, opaque in appearance. Aggressive pour yields just barely 1/2 finger of brown head, which fades as quickly as it formed, leaving a thin ring and an oil slick looking surface. Milky chunks/streaks of yeasty sediment pooling at the bottom as I let it warm. Random globs of lacing.

S- The alcohol odor dominates the nose, and is making it difficult for me to adequately ascertain any other odors to any level of specificity or enjoyability.

T- Harsh alcohol bite greets my tongue from the first drop to hit my tongue. Some indiscernible burned tastes. The flavors just aren't blending satisfactorily at all here, and are being dominated by the booziness and astringency.

M- Creamy and oily, but no carbonation whatsoever. Somewhat off-putting.

D- Clearly nothing more than a very slow, somewhat labored "one glass slow-sipper" of a beer IMO.

Future outlook: I suppose I'll sock a few of these away in the basement, cross my fingers, and hope for a better day with this beer in the distant future.

Photo of mmmbeerNY
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of crwills
4.53/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The highlight of a pre-Christmas trade with CBA out in Alberta; thanks Chris, this was awesome!

Poured an opaque, jet black into my Sinha glass. A slightly pinkish, relatively small chocolate-milk head fades fast but leaves a ton of brown lacing.

Aroma is very dark and planty. Licorice and anise, damp roots, milk chocolate, and good Caribbean rum. Just fantastic.

Taste was very bitter (moreso than I expected). Damp earth and plants right up front, which evolved into dry coffee or espresso and cocoa beans in the middle. Some warming alcohol and toffee as well. Finish is oaky vanilla, with a little bit of those grapefruit/pine citrus hops coming through in the aftertaste. Complex as hell, all the way through.

Mouthfeel is extremely smooth and milk- or cream-like, with almost no carbonation. Only dropped marks for drinkability due to the ABV and the fact that I couldn't finish more than one.

One of my top beers of all time.

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 5,069 ratings.