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

Bell's Expedition StoutBell's Expedition Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,116 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4116
Reviews: 1856
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: 4,116 | Reviews: 1,856 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of CaptFrothy


2.91/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

9/26/11 date on the bottle, so this is better than 2 years old, cellared.

Looks the park, dark and menacing with not much beyond a thin white ring of head.

Smells decent, but I can smell the alcohol, that's not a good thing for me.

Taste is burnt coffee, bitter chocolatey with some alchohol on the back end.

Overall, I'm disappinted, this has been conditioning in the basement for over 2 years, mouthfeel has no silk at all, somewhat prickly, the bitter chocolate/coffee taste with alcohol isn't working - ten tidy, old raspution lost abbey serpent stout, BCBS all vastly superior tasting imho.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2013 01:27:04 | More by CaptFrothy
Photo of EvoRich


4.98/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Bell Expedition stout. Something I wanted to try for awhile, hearing great things about it. I've seen it on tap at a local restaurant I frequent, however, I kept finding things that sounded more interesting, o stuck to old favorites. Well I decided to finally just try it, and I was extremely impressed! Very glad I gave this stuff a try. I found a case at a local distributor for much less than what I thought this stuff would cost. I expected it to be over $100/case. I ended up splitting the case with a friend from work who has previously enjoyed this stout.

Look: DARK. As dark as anything. Very thing head, dwindles to noting but a small foam lip around the edge of the glass. Very tan/coffee and creme colored (but minimal) lacing/foam. Leaves an almost motor oil like coating on the sides of the glass when swirling it around.

Smell: Alcohol, bourbon, chocolate. Smells like a big stout. Very sweet and roasty smelling.

Taste: Roasty, coffee, chocolate, nutty, alcohol, dark fruits. Very sweet. A slight hoppy finish, nothing over the top. I love the alcohol burn, despite not being very high ABV (120 minute and WWS have ruined my perception of "high ABV"). At 10.5% ABV, it has a much greater alcohol burn than I would expect. This is not a bad thing, in my opinion. The Taste is just how I want a nice imperial stout to be. Perfect!

Mouthfeel: Full bodied. Light on carbonation, but just the right amount.

Overall: Without having it back to back, I think this compares well to Dogfish head World Wide Stout. Much more available, and MUCH cheaper as well, and the flavor is very comparable. Dare I say, I might actually like it a little more. One reason being the lower ABV. Yeah drinking big ABV beers is fun sometimes, but most of the time, 18% ABV is just toooo much, for a Tuesday evening :)

This may be my new favorite Russian Imperial Stout.I'm really starting to like what Bell's has to offer.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2014 23:29:58 | More by EvoRich
Photo of imperialbigswig


4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is just a wonderful beer and when you come across it pick up as much as you can spare. This is easily my favorite bells beer. If you liked their Kalamazoo stout then you ain't seen nothin yet! We don't too often see an Imp stout this wonderfully made that pours, and holds, such a terrific head. One of my top 15 favorite beers. It's seasonal so get it when you can.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2008 14:59:19 | More by imperialbigswig
Photo of Azumel


4.8/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is my favorite beer, hands down, the stout by which all others are judged and fall short. Follow me if you will, but imagine that chocolate and espresso decided to make sweet, sweet love...and they invited over their friend roasted malt, that's what it's like (perhaps a graphic comparison, but I love this beer). It is heavy, hold it up to your eye and watch an eclipse with no fear...not that you'd see a thing. The alcohol content is heafty, I'd avoid (next time) having...oh...say 8 in 3 hours and attempting to stand up straight, but this is an exceptional beer in my opinion, and better enjoyed in moderation.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2009 05:36:45 | More by Azumel
Photo of davey


3.55/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought this beer at the wine and cheese place in St. Louis on 10/19/09.
Appearance is black with a whispy dark brown head, that is gone as soon as I put the beer down.
Smells of burnt coffee, alcohol, and malts. A little bit of cocoa powder.
Tastes of burnt coffee, dark roasted malts, some smoke, and the alcohol is definitely noticeable. Also some unsweetened chocolate. I did catch some bitter hops on the finish.
The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy rich. Not very much carbonation though.
Overall I was not disappointed with Expedition Stout. I have heard that it's a little rough fresh, and I couldn't agree more. With some age, it could be impressive.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2009 14:01:52 | More by davey
Photo of irishgurl4


3.63/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Birthday Beer #2! Thanks to Beau (sefus12) for this next beer, Bells Expedition Stout! From batch 9459 poured into a Ballast Point shaker pint glass.

A: Pours black with a one finger chocolate head that quickly dissipates to a thin layer on top.

S: Smell is a light nose of chocolate with a huge roastiness with hints of alcohol lingering in the background.

T: Begins with a mild sweetness that makes a quick stop at chocolate before moving right into the bitter roastiness. Whoa, just saw the abv on this baby, 10.5%! It's like Ninja abv, you don't know it's there till your passed out on the floor. :P

M: Has kind of a thicker mouthfeel with a decent level of carbonation to lift the rich flavors of this beer off the palate. Bitter roast lingers for quite awhile and leaves just a little bit of a coated feeling towards the back of the tongue.

D: Another sippy beer best suited for cool nights. Warning, beware the Ninja abv!

I'd have to say that Bells Expedition Stout gets a tasty noms. :)

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2010 00:00:13 | More by irishgurl4
Photo of Optifron


4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours jet black with brown, thick, creamy head. Leaves moderate lacing.

Aroma: Chocolate, a touch of hops, smooth French roast coffee

Taste: Dark chocolate, but without the intense bitter. Smoother espresso beans. A nicely balanced sweetness, almost like a touch of lactose.

Mouthfeel: Fantastic. Was the first thing that really stood out when it hit my mouth. Incredibly smooth, creamy but not heavy

Overall: Really impressive. I like smoother stouts, and this really fits the bill. Impressively drinkable for 10.5%. Will definitely be picking up more of this.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2012 02:46:15 | More by Optifron
Photo of hctap00


3.98/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle packaged on 10/22/12, so this one is fresh. Ignored recommendations to cellar it for a while.

Nice appearance. Black with some dark brown transparency at the edge. Reddish tan head reduces to a lacing that sits on top of the beer, not just around the edge.

Aroma was fairly one dimensional, though it did evolve as it warmed. Initially, I got almost exclusively booze. Maybe some chocolate. Later, the same "dark fruit" smell that I get from Narhwal, only stronger. I think it may be fig. I wish I could place it. Not much complexity.

Again, a bit one dimensional, but still enjoyable. A boozy start, followed by some dark chocolate sweetness, a solid malt backbone that is not very roasty, and finishes with the same fig-like flavor I get in the aroma. Fairly pronounced cherry toward the end, mixed with the booze. Tastes like what I imagine the Jim Beam Red Stag to taste like, but in a good way. Warming alcohol very noticeable.

No complaints with the mouthfeel. Can still feel it in a good way.

This beer had its moments. I would try it again, but definitely want to cellar it.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2012 06:04:51 | More by hctap00
Photo of erickehoe


4.59/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle Date: 12/27/12. Poured into snifter.

Beautiful looking beer. Pitch black liquid with 1/2 inch tan head. Some sparkles in the head due to the frothiness. Nice lacing. I poured this hard into the glass. It's a work of art.

Great smoky aroma, supported by toasted malts. Some cookie-like sweetness.

Firstly, I've never seen the multi-colored head this beer offers after each sip. If you look closely, various hues of brown are floating throughout the froth after you set the glass down.

The taste is magical. A smooth, subtle malt beginning is followed by peanut butter and chocolate. A dry, earthy hop flavor appears, accompanied by a nice, Belgian-like yeast. No alcohol flavor, just a bit of warming. Aftertaste of dark bitter chocolate.

The mouthfeel is silky and velvety, like melting milk chocolate. A dry, bubbly carbonation emerges, followed by more smoothness and a warm, drying finish.

This is the best Russian Imperial Stout I have had.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2013 20:10:06 | More by erickehoe
Photo of Broman


4.6/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Black as night. Virtually no head. What was atop disappears quickly.

Smell- Nice firm malty aroma. Notes of chocolate and what seems to be coffee are prevalent. Not overpowering, but still a very inviting smell.

Taste- Heavy malts and chocolate consume the mouth. Unexpected and welcome bitterness are noted as well. Slight alcohol tate is noticeable and lingers through the aftertaste. Upon belching the chocolate malts return.

Mouthfeel- Slight carbonation is noticed. Medium to heavy body on the palet. The longer it rests on the tongue the more prevalent the alcohol becomes. No immediate or straightforward flavors.

Overall- Great stout. Easy to drink and enjoy, the alcohol bite reminds you not to enjoy to many. Basic and straightforward with its flavor and not overwhelming. Enjoyable and tasty up to two, but time to switch after that.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2013 05:12:24 | More by Broman
Photo of wpqx


4.76/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Not going to lie I thought the beer menu said "Black Note Stout" but that aside this is a fantastic beverage.

Ordered it in bottle (2012) and this beer had a ridiculous amount of head for an imperial stout, smelled like cherries and chocolate.

Very smooth and not at all boozy which could be expected in a double digit ABV beer.

This beer was absolutely perfect going down, even better than Black Note in terms of drinkability. Apparently my bar has Bell's Cherry Stout waiting to be tapped so I'm very curious to try that.

Overall, I'd order this again without batting an eyelash. Very drinkable and smooth with a tasty vanilla/cherry taste to it. Went well with my cheese curds.

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2013 06:22:26 | More by wpqx
Photo of cbill


4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

picked this up after work, but didn't see the 15 dollar price tag till i was at the counter so i went ahead and bought it. poured a deep, deep black color, no light penetration, and also no head. no head at all, but still a nice looking beer. smelled like chocolate and coffee and then tasted about the same. huge flavor that sat in my mouth for 5 or 10 seconds after each drink. however, i don't think i could drink more than one of these in a sitting due to the heaviness of the flavor. very good beer, but i don't know that it was worth 15 dollars a sixer. this was my first imperial stout so i don't know if that is the normal price.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2003 17:14:09 | More by cbill
Photo of cope0021


4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow. This is an awesome beer.

Pours a deep, dark black with a tan head. Head starts out about an inch thick and quickly thins out, but sligh tan heads remains the entire time.

Smells slightly sweet with a pleasant aroma.

First taste is heaven. Great balance of alcohol heat and darker grains (bitter coffee and chocolate notes). Mouthfeel is just right; not too thick, not too thin.

Alcohol creeps up on you towards the end of the glass. The alcohol is not overpoweing in the flavor, but by the end of the glass you can feel it.

Great beer. Highly reccomend.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2009 23:28:29 | More by cope0021
Photo of madbrewer9


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

Dark brown/black almost opaque. Some reddish hightlights at edges. Almost non-existent tan head with very fine bubbles. No lacing. Very noticable legs.
Great aroma, molassas and dark fruit.
Taste follows the aroma with mollassas and dark fruits, but also some bitter chocolate and hop bitterness.
Med full to full body, creamy, yet finishes slighty dry.
Very drinkable considering the strength. Beautiful beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2010 06:27:31 | More by madbrewer9
Photo of twelvinlucifer


4.75/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours slow and thick. The head looks like chocolate milk foam! Tapers off after a while into a very nice lacing cover. Smells of chocolate and and coffee. Unbelievable smooth taste, lots of roasted malt in this one! There has to be a ton of chocolate malt in this as well. There is a nice bitter back-end on this that I can't quite put my finger on, but, it balances out quite nicely. Mouth feel is very nice, very clean for a stout of this magnitude. The alcohol is definitely present in the taste and when it hits the tummy it really warms you up!

This is probably My favorite stout of all time so far. It's going to be very hard for me to find any other that could top this!

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2006 13:02:41 | More by twelvinlucifer
Photo of Jessefive


3.9/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first Bells, and my first Imperial Stout. As I expected, the color was the darkest black. A creamy thick body. The flavor was dark chocolate with a soft fruity sweetness hidden in there. There was a little roasted malt flavor, but it wasn't nearly as prominent as I would have imagined. It had a bitter finish. As it warmed a bit, the bitterness of the alcohol and hops became more prominent. Overall, a very tasty and interesting beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2007 21:00:36 | More by Jessefive
Photo of phreak1983


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

A- Poured into a pint glass, it is pitch black with a slight brown foam that I wouldn't really call a head.

S- Smells of sweet roasted malt.

T- Roasted malt and not as sweet as I thought it would be. Finishes with a noticable alcohol warmth but not burn.

M-Good mouthfeel, maybe a little thin and ending slightly dry.

D- Fairly easy to drink although it would be more drinkable if it hid it's alcohol a little better.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2009 12:52:18 | More by phreak1983
Photo of BeerInReview


3.7/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It's a typical dark black stout color, but I manage to get some decent head, two fingers worth. The dark tan head gradually dissipated into a collar around the beer and provided nice lacing. I could smell a lot of malt and a twinge of alcohol.
The taste was sweet at first but quickly transitioned to heavy roasted malt. The finish left my mouth dry with chocolate notes. The beer was thin, but full bodied with an appropriate amount of carbonation.
The 10.5% ABV is making my mouth very dry and I don't think I could drink another. One is enough. Overall, the beer was good, as I would not turn this one down if offered, but I've had better stouts.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2010 03:03:30 | More by BeerInReview
Photo of winegourmet76


4.65/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Great beer karma to Nick who bestowed this to me. Three years old. I have heard great things and love the style, was elated to try this one.

Appearance: black as night, aggressive pour, brown head, good lacing

Nose: remarkable, and I have had some amazing wines in my time, but this is irresistible to a great nose. Dark rich chocolate, like 80% cacao, followed by rich, rum and brandy macerated raisins. Very few beers warrant savoring the nose for so long as this one. So rich, so indulgent, can the flavor measure up?

Taste: brandy, chocolate-covered raisins, smoke, this one is definitely in its prime. Mostly I get the rich brandy/rum flavors, which is a nice change from the usual roasted coffee IRS flavors. Only the Bell's Batch 7000 that I was fortunate enough to try bests this one in complexity.

Mouthfeel: A little thin, expected it to be more creamy.

This is a beer that ranks in my top five, hands down. So rich, so complex, I wish I had some to share with my friends. This beer is exactly why I love this style so much.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2010 02:57:29 | More by winegourmet76
Photo of Jdecarol


2.15/5  rDev -49.2%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

This bottle was fresh on the shelves at the total wine in Boca Raton but it is absolutely flat. I got the slightly bubble on pouring but that was it. The consistency is that of Hershey Chocolate and no matter how much I chill this drink it still feels like it is room tempreture.

I like the sherry flavor though, but I can't pick up any other flavors behind it and its almost on the verge of being nasty sweet and thick.

I wanted to age the 2nd bottle but I'm just going to chug it seeing as I have a bad batch on hand.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2008 00:03:48 | More by Jdecarol
Photo of Morphoenix


4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into my trusty Delirium Tremens snifter, explodes with a reverse-cascading, creamy mocha-colored head that settles down just before eclipsing the rim of the glass. The head very slowly fades to a 1 cm cap atop this impenetrably black brew, leaving beautiful, copious lacing everywhere. Perfection in appearance. Notes of bittersweet chocolate and roasty coffee in the nose. Taste follows smell, with the chocolate and coffee flavors mingling; a nice hint of hops is detectable on the finish as well. Mouthfeel was very nice, with a thick richness characteristic of the style. It didn't have the viscosity of Dark Lord, but then, exceedingly few do. Drinkability was exceptional; I found myself finishing the glass rather quickly and wanting more. Had to wake up early the next morning, so I refrained. At 10.5%, I can see how this one could get dangerous, as the flavor does not make the ABV apparent at all. A wonderful beer, and definitely one of my favorite stouts thus far.

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2008 15:46:20 | More by Morphoenix
Photo of pjohnston007

New York

4.78/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the Kings of brew. I must vehemently disagree with the brothers on this one.

A: Tar Black, "Abysmal Void" liquid with beautiful caramel head and lacing. Good lacing that retains well.

S: Oaked molassas, honey, coffee, vanilla, peat. Bourbon-esque.

T: Deep and complex: Creamy, thick, sweet, balanced acidity (neutral), oaky.

M: Creamy, velvety, clean finish. Luscious and not at all dry. Carbonation (indeed!) that livens up the head (nearly over-poured due to explosion of carbonation).

D: Special occasion--great one-at-a-time, but not something I would keep on-tap (although I would love to try this on-tap!).

Great brew. This evaluation is based on a bottle that I have kept "cellared" for well over a year--perhaps two years. As dark and "strong" as this beer is, it is an absolute pleasure (ease) to drink. Very enjoyable beverage, whether after dinner or after mowing the lawn. The peak of experience would be to take a six-pack of these to either polar cap (or Everest) and enjoy one or two under true expedition conditions!

WOO WOO--I see that I am the 1,000th reviewer!

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2009 00:48:57 | More by pjohnston007
Photo of andrewsporter


4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - An absolute juggernaut. Pours like sludge. A creamy dark brown head about an inch thick; wouldn't budge. Awesome lacing, thick circles.

Smell - An afterthought for me, didn't do justice to the taste.

Taste - Whammy. So much flavor. Surprisingly sweet, bitter. The bitterness I'd lend to the high abv that lingers in the back of the mouth forever. Sweetness is definitely chocolate.

Mouthfeel - extremely thick as it looks, definitely enjoyable.

Got this one as a gift from a friend. From the looks of other posts I'll buy a pack if I can find one and store it off for a while.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2011 00:58:53 | More by andrewsporter
Photo of genuinedisciple


4.95/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Let me start by saying that Expedition and I have a history, a semi-short, but budding history. Expedition Stout was one of the first stouts I ever had. I liked it then, and absolutely love it now. The other day I happened upon a couple sixers of 2008 expedition, dusty bottles and all. Let me confirm for everyone that this beer gets much better with age.

A - very dark, would like to see a bit more lacing, but I'll get over it, because...

S - The smell is fantastic. At first sniff you get struck by coffee, but then you quickly smell chocolate as well...personally, I think you can smell some type of fruit as well, but it is hidden. I encourage people to take multiple sniffs before and during the consumption...use a snifter.

T - Well, it really depends on if you are drinking an aged or non-aged bottle. The non-aged has more harsh flavors with the coffee and chocolate really standing out. However, you can sense that this is a complex beer, but it's difficult to hit all the flavors. The aged bottles are much more mellow. The coffee flavor is not as potent and you can really taste the other flavors that are present.

O - if you couldn't tell...I give it a 5. I'd probably give the regular expedition an A-, but age it a couple years and it's a solid A+ in my opinion...but you know, "that's just like my opinion man"

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2011 02:16:35 | More by genuinedisciple
Photo of porkinator


4.53/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours creamy and dark as night. Beautiful tan nickel thick head.

S - Roasted malt, coffee, chocolate - Pretty much everthing you want in an RIS. Small amount of raisin & alcohol.

T - A little bitter. Lots of chocolate and malt up front finishing with coffee. Alcohol is very subtle for 10.5%

M - I couldn't ask for more when it comes to mouthfeel. Very smooth, carbonation is on point. Flavor lasts from the tip of my tongue to the back.

O - I'm very excited that I got to try this amazing beer. I hope some of these Midwest beers can start making their way out to the west coast.


Serving type: bottle

12-30-2011 03:35:55 | More by porkinator
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,116 ratings.