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
93
outstanding

1,979 Reviews
THE BROS
98
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,979
Hads: 5,500
rAvg: 4.19
pDev: 11.46%
Wants: 466
Gots: 1,424 | FT: 113
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: 1,979 | Hads: 5,500
Photo of EHopkinsi
4.37/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a pint glass and consumed 19 November 2014.

Date stamp on label reads 135292 PKGD 10/23/14 C. So I'm guessing this stuff is just under a month old.

Look- Pours like a dirty oil spill. The two finger thick head is solid, and has the color of some overpriced candybar frappawhappachinomucca concoction at a coffee shop. Head slowly settles down to a 1/4" layer of creamy goodness that lasts the duration. Pretty good lacing.

Smell- Malt, chocolate, alcohol. The latter is pretty noticeable, maybe just a little too much so, but not bad. It's just letting you know it's a RIS.

Taste- Yum! Tasty, malty-chocolate notes; more than just a little coffee. That's on the front. It finishes with hops that, while they take back seat to the malt, they aren't exactly shy. At the beginning of the glass the alcohol floats in with, but over top of, the hops. Not excessive or huge, but still pretty dang big, too. By the middle of the glass its rambunctiousness has faded and it is more of a suggestion than a presence in the finish.

Feel- Interesting. A little thin for my preferences in a RIS. That said, it does have a creamy, sticky-lip inducing goodness to it, though. Can't ding it too much.

Overall- One really good stout! I wish the feel was thicker, but the other criticisms almost feel like nit-picking. Getcha some and enjoy it. I will definitely have it again.

Edit- After reading other reviews, I think "molasses" is a note I should add in. Being a noob I didn't know I knew it was there until reading other reviews. (1,560 characters)

Photo of Starchild
4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I poured the beer into my Rapscallion and got a huge fluffy head that took some time to settle...just like HOTD Adam. Wow. Mostly malt in the nose with some hints of alcohol, cocoa, and prunes. After my first taste, all I can think is chewy. The weight of this beer makes me feel like I'm drinking brownie mix. As the beer warms alcohol makes its apearance, along with figs, burnt malt, semi-sweet chocolate, and piney hops. As the beer warms it goes from being sweet to sour and then maybe even to malty (feels like a jam band song). Anyway, quite an interesting RIS and well worth the price.

Gripe: Not knowing the age of this beer blows. (644 characters)

Photo of k75
5/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Damn - just incredible

this stout pours inky black hole black with a big tawny brown head

nose is of complex chocolates and licorice mixed with black strap molasses

taste is big and rich - dark chocolates, black licorice, molasses

the ABV is hidden very well ( at first anyway ) nightcap luxury stout !

finish is long and satisfying - all things dark and luscious

a true masterwork of brewing.

k75 (419 characters)

Photo of cassanoj
2.77/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a stange glass. Thick, black and syrupy. Brownish head, but not much of it.

Smells like chocolate and licorice. Other flavors - molasses, coffee, nice roasted maltiness. Some dark fruits - plums, raisins.

Tastes like... beef. Not a fan. I like how thick it is, it's a nice sipper. Kind of weird that there's virtually no carbonation. I can't get over that beef taste. Behind the beef lies some sweet chocolate, dried fruit, caramel, malty.

The mouthfeel is okay. I like the thickness but I wish it was balanced out with some nice carbonation. Not a very complex beer, or if it is, I think it's rather unbalanced on the thick, chocolate side.

Overall, I think I would have liked this beer more if it didn't feel like I just hunt it down and shot it. I definitely understand the name though. It is what it tries to be and I can certainly appreciate that. Just... not my cup o' tea. (895 characters)

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

Poured into a new belguim goblet.

Appearance: Poured a Cm thick tan head. Dissipated quickly. Body is pitch black.

Nose: Chocolate milk. Lots of chocolate milk. Malts, malts, malts! Has almost all chocolate malts in the nose. A little spice as it warms.

Taste: Again, very very chocolaty. There is a nice spiciness on the back of the tongue. Some nice toasty notes. Maybe the tiniest hint of booze. Some dark berry note too.

Mouth: Feels silky smooth, despite the thickness. Also, leaves the mouth pretty thick.

Drink: Pretty drinkable, sweet and tasty. The higher abv is hidden quite well in my opinion. (609 characters)

Photo of Jayman931
4.39/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle served in a snifter

Very dark....don't think you can get much darker...Mocha head that gets lighter in color near the top and middle. Good Head retention. Don't drink it cold....let it get in the 60s.

Very Pleasant smell....nice roasted malt character

I really like this beer....unsure how anyone rated it poorly....great mouthfeel extremely well balanced....very small bitter finish...you would never guess it was 10.5%

I'll buy a 6 pack at least once a winter. Quality beer (492 characters)

Photo of VRH
4.75/5  rDev +13.4%

The 2011 batch from the tap of Beverage World, this brew pours dark reddish brown black with a big tan head. Aromas and flavours of molasses cookies, spicy ginger snaps, cinnamon, bitter chocolate, coffee, hints of wet straw, soy sauce, grass, & vanilla. Full bodied, rich palate combines with dry, crisp, smoky roasted finish. Truly outstanding! (346 characters)

Photo of Sandalwood
4.16/5  rDev -0.7%

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. (319 characters)

Photo of Graham21
3.9/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

BLACK BLACK BLACK! This beer is dark, looks like motor oil. Head was only about a mm thick and left nice lacing in the glass.

In the nose I picked up on chocolate, cherries, roasted malts, hops, light coffee and maple undertones.
I tasted chocolate covered cherries, sweet and roasted malts, raisins, along with maple and coffee undertones, coffee becoming very stong in the aftertaste.
Carbonation is lacking to say the least, and the alcohol isnt hidden, it burns my throat slightly, but the beer seems to be fairly creamy and oil like on the palate. I enjoyed this imperial stout but would have enjoyed it more if the finish would have been smoother and the carbonation would have been there. (704 characters)

Photo of Daehpoh
4.51/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presented in a tulip glass, this looks amazing.
Black with one finger mocha head that coated the interior of the glass.
Aroma of coffee and chocolate.
Taste is extremely full and busy. Chocolate, coffee after, great hop balance. Too many flavors for me to distinguish, but this is the best tasting stout I have ever had.
Full bodied for sure, but not dense. The flavors are not weighed down by their collective substance, but are on full display to be enjoyed.
Delicious and smooth, but huge flavors and high abv limit its drinkability.
If a better RIS exists, I haven't had it. This beer is top shelf. (608 characters)

Photo of Eldalonde
5/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours pitch black with a dark brown full head. The smell just fills the room once the cap has been cracked...phenomenal. Rich aromas of bourbon, tobacco, sweet and bitter dark chocolate, copious amounts of coffee. There is also a bit of a hoppy bite in the aroma. The flavor is just spot on. Rich oily mouthfeel gives flavors that are close to the nose. Bitter roasted coffee and dark chocolate are the most accessible flavors with those heavily roasted malts coming across with such brilliance. Tobacco and toffee combine with molasses to give an incredible complexity. This beer also has that 'raw' edge that I love in stouts so much. The finish is long, dry, and lingering. This beer provides everything I look for in a RIS and leaves nothing undone. This is just wonderful (776 characters)

Photo of AdamMY
4.07/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The color is nice and dark, and poured a half centemeter of dirty head which has been fading very slowly.

Smells a bit hoppy, and bitter like a really strong coffee, and bitter chocolate.

The taste is strong, lots of roasted malt. The taste is borderline burnt but oh so strong, and there are actually slight hints of a grapefruit note hidden in there.

The finish is great, lots of caramelized sugars, but again borderline burnt.

But the mouth feel is impeccable, so smooth and creamy.

The drink ability is way to good for a beer with this High of an ABV. Perhaps I need to have more Russian Imperial Stouts. (615 characters)

Photo of BradenMK
4.65/5  rDev +11%

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. (429 characters)

Photo of beavers
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

[2007]
Syrupy and gooey blackness poured into a SA pint. A huge two fingers of dark brown foam that look more like the head of a rich Italian espresso. Outstanding retention and gorgeous lacing down the sides. Smells of rich espresso, vanilla bean, molasses, chocolate malt, alcohol is in the very back. There's a little smokiness going on here too. Immensely thick, creamy, and viscous mouthfeel. Sweet vanilla and brown sugar notes hit the tongue first before being consumed by huge flavorful and bitter coffee, cigar tobacco, oak, with a long and lingering (bittering) charred finish that stays in your cheeks. This is a clear definition of bittersweet. An alcoholic finish that is noticeable but not undesirable. This is an intense RIS and one of my favorites for sure. Will review more later with a little time on it to see how the intense bitterness and alcohol evolve. A brilliantly balanced beer nonetheless. (917 characters)

Photo of PeterLemonjello
3.07/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Nice think black color with a small head of foam that fades quickly. Not a lot of lacing. Lots of yeast sediment in the bottom of the pour.

S - Roasted malts and chocolate at first sniff. As beer warms starts to smell like playdough, very odd.

T - Dark malts, slight rum flavor, chocolate, not a lot of dark fruit flavors. A sharp bitterness on the finish from the amount of yeast in the pour.

M - Nice thick/slick mouthfeel. Not too carbonated (how I like my big stouts).

D - Given the sharp bitterness, this one is not real pleasant to drink. Certainly not meant to be a sessionable beer, but the sharp bitter flavor really takes away from the overall experience and is hard for the beer to show any complexity with such a dominating force to compete with. (766 characters)

Photo of Hellabeerguzzler
2.51/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

I love a good stout. But a stout has to be drinkable. This stout was overly sweet, sickeningly sweet, with little or hardly any carbonation. When poured a small head can be seen and the booze in this pitch black mixture strips the lacing from side of the glass. Smell is a bit overcooked with hints of dark chocolate, some fruits, and some spices but mostly booze. I've had similar and even higher %ABV brews that hid the booze much better than this one. Bells, I love your line, and a few of your beers may be my absolute favorites....

This stout is not one of them. (568 characters)

Photo of FARGO619
4.53/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Glassware: Tulip. 50 degrees temp. stored

A - Dark, dark, dark. No light gets through this glass. No head retendtion. Went down quick. And I like good head, but nope.

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. It was chewy. Sweet as is warmed up. Loved this beer.

O - This was my second review on camera. The carbonation was low, but overall it was a solid drink that I would love to try again.

Serving type: bottle/12oz. (537 characters)

Photo of silverblaze540
4.75/5  rDev +13.4%

A - Motor oil black and completely opaque with almost no head. What little head there is is tan in color.

S - Dark fruits. Prunes and cherries. Malty and sour.

T - Intensely complex taste. Strong fruity sweetness, malty, and a light bitter aftertaste.

M - Very thick and smooth. Strong burn from the alcohol.

O - Very strong flavors. Very sweet with not a lot of bitter. Almost a dessert by itself. Very interesting beer. (433 characters)

Photo of Birchgrove77
3.7/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 Expedition Stout purchased from Binny's.

Appearance - Soot black. No light penetrates the depths of this beer. An amazing two-inch cocoa brown head coaxed from a vigorous pour. Fantastic lacing as the glass emptied.

Smell - Seems almost to have a dark chocolate cake smell interspersed with a slight coffee aroma. Maybe a slight raisiny aroma as the beer warms.

Taste - If you could melt a good dark chocolate into a nicely brewed cup of coffee and top up with a nice bourbon you'd have this pint of Expedition. Definitely, an alcohol burn on the back of the throat. As it warmed more of a vanilla character came through that was nice, and reinforced the alcohol warmth as having a bourbon characteristic. As I finished the glass the alcohol warmth and bitterness almost took on a cough syrup undertone.

Mouthfeel - Flavors stay on the tounge and mouth for a while. Definitely has some viscosity to it, but was what I thought it would have.

Overall - This beer surpasses my expectations based on other's reviews. This beer goes great with a couple of Oreos.

Have the rest of the six pack cellared as I think this is a once a year type of beer. A great offering by Bells, but not something that I would want often. (1,225 characters)

Photo of BeerShirts
4.53/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch #8729 made Sep. 08

A- Oil black, little creamy head that dies to a lace around the edges.

S- roasted malt, dark chocolate, coffee, a little bit of liquor, a small bit of fruit too

T- BIG taste, coffee, roasted malt, a light sweet chocolate taste, the alcohol does come through but it is really good.

M- Thick creamy oil, no carbonation

D- Great beer but it will get you into trouble pretty fast (407 characters)

Photo of agomega
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 bottle served in a tulip glass.

Appearance: Impenetrably opaque black with a dark caramel colored head. Very faint, thin lacing once the head dissipates.

Smell: Rich bitter dark chocolate and dark fruit. Also hints of coffee.

Taste: Dark chocolate with a lot of boozy dark fruit flavor. Still fairly bitter, even after almost a year.

Mouthfeel: Thick rich body - although not quite as thick as some of the more dessert-like Imperial Stouts.

Overall: A very good stout. I still have a few more saved which I will have to try again in a year. The bitterness is still fairly pronounced and a little mellowing of the flavors would make it much more drinkable. My only concern is that some of the fruity flavors may become too dominant. (741 characters)

Photo of rka758
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Brewing (lot 9971) poured into SA perfect pint
Purchased for about $3 per

A: Pours a deep black with thin tan head.
S: Dark chocolate
T: Getting tastes of roated coffee and burnt chocolate.
M: This is THICK. Instantly coats your interior of your mouth.
D: This is good, very good, but a def. sipper. I want to drink this all night, but I'm pretty sure that wouldn't be a good idea for tomorrow me. (405 characters)

Photo of BogleHill
2.26/5  rDev -46.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottled dated 10-2009. Pours out jet black like used motor oil. Sweet roasty and malty aroma with a presence of alcohol. Good tan head and carbonation. Very heavy mouthfeel. Quite roasty, almost smoky. The sweetness overpowers this one for me though, perhaps the alcohol too. This seems like a well made brew, but sadly, I found myself unable to finish it. Imperials are just not my thing-that I am sure of. -But I am up for trying anything, once. My thanks to awesome trader Birchstick for giving me the opportunity to try this highly rated stout. (548 characters)

Photo of luvND
4.52/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

P: 12 oz bottle, batch 7251, bottled 2/24/06
A: Absolute jet black, settles into a nice 1/4 inch head that laces nicely down the glass
S: Beautiful, toasted malt, chocolate, coffee, just pleasing
T: Rich, chocolate again with some coffee, the hops do come through and leave a really nice aftertaste
M: Thick, as it should be for the style, sticks to the tongue after the swallow
D: Very drinkable for over 10% alcohol, I have a slight cold, but I can neither smell or taste the alcohol
Notes: This is one great stout, maybe top 3 in my book. I will definitely try to get a case of this every year. We'll see how it ages, but it is damn fine as is, right now. (664 characters)

Photo of maggotbrain
3.63/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer is deep black with a moderate brown head. The head has receded to a brown, bubbly film on the top of the beer. There seems to be little to no lacing on the glass as the beer is consumed.

Sticking my nose into the glass, I detect a bit of chocolate and a lot of alcohol.

The beer tastes pretty good: coffee, a hint of chocolate, and a malty sweetness. It also has quite a bit of alcoholic spiciness, which doesn't bother me since when I'm not drinking beer, I enjoy Scotch neat. I could see the alcoholic nature of this beer being off putting to many people, though.

The mouthfeel is good--low carbonation and a nice, thick body.

The drinkability of this beer pretty good for an imperial stout, though the high abv would make me hesitate before opening another one of these bad boys. (795 characters)

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
93 out of 100 based on 1,979 ratings.