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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.

2,013 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,013
Hads: 5,642
Avg: 4.21
pDev: 17.81%
Wants: 490
Gots: 1,506 | FT: 125
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: 2,013 | Hads: 5,642
Photo of jcnd9803
4.24/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a thick black color, with some slight amber hues. No head and little lacing in sight.

S: Some licorice and chocolate. Also some smoke it seems. Amazingly, I'm not picking up any alcohol, but I know it's there!

T: Ahh, there's the alcohol. A nice mix of roasted malt and chocolate.

M: Leaves a thick, creamy, sweet, feel on the palate. Also some tickle from the alcohol.

D: I think this is a great beer, fresh and aged. A perfect night cap Plus, given the price of most big stouts, this is a deal IMO.

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Photo of DevilsCups
4.45/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle I've been sitting on for some time. Bottled 11/01/11.

A - Pitch black with a nice dark mocha head. Big legs, minimal lacing.

S - Sweet and roasted malts with some awesome milk chocolate notes. Slight bit of smoke. Smells fantastic.

T - Very roasted malts up front with dark chocolate and smokey notes in the finish. Hops are still hanging around, and pleasantly cut through the sweet malts used.

M - Coats pretty nicely. Carbonation is still pretty up there, but works. Leaves a nice smoky chocolate flavor in the mouth.

O - Fantastic. If this was a limited release 22oz every year, people would go nuts over it. Good on Bell's for doing this in sixxers. Fantastic beer. I got this as an extra in a trade, but it will be the main-piece in a future trade. Fits somewhere between Rasputin and Founders Imperial Stout flavor-wise.

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Photo of HopHunter19
4.78/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A - pitch black beer pours like oil, mocha head that sticks and leaves great lacing
S - chocolate, smoke, caramel, burnt marshallow, roasted malts
T - chocolate, dark malted milk ball, roasted malts, smoke, creamy/umami/wholesome, burnt marshmallow
M - perfect, heavy, like a beer chocolate milkshake but better, alc covered, aftertaste is roasty, chocolate, creamy
O - pretty damn near perfect

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Photo of ILMbrew
4/5  rDev -5%

2913 vintage. Ton of dark fruit coming through in both the nose and taste. Very mellow with little-to-no booziness. Rich and thick without much sweetness.

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Photo of jayb
4.42/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This syrup poured out as black as night into the glass. when pouring it almost looked like oil, as far as its thickness. started with no head but as i finished pouring a nice chocolate milk colored, 2 fingered head appeared....then settled to a film. lacing was ...decent. a very lovely beer to behold while the head remained. smell was of sweet chocolate, burnt malts, and what my sister described as "soy sauce".
Taste: gee whiz. what a powerful brew. Most probably wouldnt think so as much as i, but from this was probably the strongest brew ive had in my limited experience. Taste was of chocolate, coffee, and a very roasty, burnt taste that lingered in the mouth. with such a sweet nose on this, the bitterness is a suprise, and a welcome one. Hint of candy flavoring, toffee and butterscotch? weird for me, id never expect that in a beer. wow, that burnt taste, as well as the bitterness keeps kicking me in the teeth! Toasty, just like my stomach. definite warming effect in my gut. Alcohol level is high but isnt a prevailent characteristic. mouthfeel is FULL and lovely, thickest ive had (I imagine not the thickest there is though) For my first imperial stout experience im a overcome with joy... and the roasted bitterness. Delightful. drinklability is low just for the fact that i could in no way drink more than two of these in an evening. Mighty tasty! Again i say, gee whiz, what a powerful brew.

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Photo of Reed415
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a black color with almost no head

S - Dominated by dark caramel chocolate malt, some hops are lingering in there

T - Chocolate, Coffee, Roasted Malt, with a small amounts of hops

M - Full Bodied, Moderate Carbonation, Significant alcohol warmth, Somewhat sticky

D - Very malty Stout, but very good

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Photo of Telix
4.48/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I was lucky enough to have this served from a cask at Slows BBQ in Detroit, MI.

A: The pour is a tarry jet black, with a nice 1/2" puffy, bubbly head. There is a bit of cool looking lacing around the head, but not much in the remainder. It's perfectly attractive, but most stouts aren't anything unique.

S: The aroma is mild, with a bit of roasted nuts and booze. I wish it were bigger, to be honest.

T: Extremely complex and inviting you to drink more. A super creamy maltiness forms the backbone, as bright sharp citrus notes shine through and give it an awesome acidity and tongue bite, aided by a controlled booziness. Some roasted coffee notes are in the background. I realized that THIS is what a coffee stout should be, really, not those beers that taste like cold coffee in a bottle, but this complex beverage with hints of tropical fruit, roasted malts, honey and caramel sweetness.... truly epic goodness.

M: Creamy, thick, somehow avoiding syrupyness even though it lacked much carbonation in the cask. So smooth, I almost think it has to have some oats. Great.

D: I could sit and sip this all day. It's such a smooth, creamy, complex ale, truly exceptional. The booziness and ABV might get to you after a bit, but it's not meant to be a session beer.

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Photo of SAxDRC5
2.65/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Dark black with a very small brown head. pretty much what I'd expect for the style

S: sweet milk chocolate, a bit of coffee, some burnt charcoal.

T: starts with sweet chocolate and some dark fruits, raisins perhaps. ends with darker bitter chocolate and some alcohol. I'm not too impressed, it is a bit boring for a RIS.

M: thick and creamy. very low carbonation. alcohol more present than I would expect.

O: pretty average imperial stout. I probably won't buy it again, but wouldn't turn it down if given to me.

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Photo of mjsheehan08
3.85/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Bell's expedition stout

Turns my snifter into a black-hole. Head is dense with a mocha tan one finger head that clings to the glass for safety. Lace paints the side of the glass, and it doesn't look like it's going anywhere anytime soon. 

Nose is really fragrant. Rum, raisin, figs and other dark fruits start out the nose, and then some booze kicks in. There's also a sugarery sweetness that comes through from the malt, and I'm expecting a great malty brew. 

Alot if dark fruit in the front, but the kind of dark fruit that is wrapped up in a big ball of molasses. Really a great blend of malts here. As it continues on, a shot of expresso comes through and lingers with you after you set your glass down. As I am about halfway through the 12 oz bottle, a little heat builds up at the top of my mouth and throat from the alcohol. 

Feel is eh. For as full flavored as this beer is, I was expecting a little more body in it. It was kind of thin with little to no carbonation. 

I can feel the booze after 1, but I could probably drink 2 of these. 

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Photo of mickstepp
4.42/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow! Makes me want to live in Kalamazoo. I've never even been to Kalamazoo. Nice black color, thin toffee head. Smells like burnt toast. Tastes like a fine Italian espresso. Creamy, soft finish. Nicely dry. Good at all temperatures. My first was too cold. Subsequent tastings were closer to room temperature where the beer filled out a little. This is one of the best Stouts that I have ever tasted. Very impressive.

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Photo of BeerHonky
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I purchased a case about a year ago from the Beer Yard in Wayne, PA. I realized right away that this is a beer that you have to let age. I drank a few fresh, but the flavors were all competing and too strong. After a year of aging, I have to say this beer is unbelievbale. It pours thick and black and totally opaque. Two finger's worth of super thick, fluffy tan colored head. The beer smells of dark roasty malt, lots and lots of roasty flavors appear to be on the way. There is also some hints of figs and raisins soaked in alcohol. The aroma leaves to mystery as to how this tastes. There are good hints of chocolate and coffee amongst all the roasty malt and dark fruit flavors. The mouthfeel on the aged beer is significantly different than when fresh. Its much creamier and smoother now. My only problem with this beer is that its a tad sticky, sweet. But thats something that is part of this style of beer. The drinkability is a tad difficult because its sweet and high in alcohol. This is just a great beer.

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Photo of Westsidebuddha
3.85/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The smell of this beer is roasty with a light barbeque flavor. The pour is very dark like motor oil. As the beer settles in the pint glass, the look is very thick with a flat head. The taste is definitely stouty with a strong alcohol feel on the backend. A good stout that is worth another try.

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Photo of watsonmd
4.84/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: black, thick, dark brown tight bubbled head.

S: toffe, coffee, oak, stone fruit

T: upfront roasty malt, coffee and chocolate, with a "cough syrupy" after taste on the first sip, but not so much after that. Perhaps the ABV?

M: Thick, syrupy, smooth and creamy.

O: Excellent. Not a Black Note, but still an excellent Bell's!

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Photo of jmeyers78
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Glassware: Russian river snifter

A - Dark, dark, dark. No light gets through this glass. No head to speak of.

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. The Bros nailed it....creamy but no carbonation.

O - not a great brew but a solid one. My only complaints are the lack of carbonation and the acidic mouth feel.

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Photo of seh410
3.61/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Randy (randjuke) for these awesome beer!

Appearance: One fingers worth of thick, bubbly mocha/caramel colored head that does not dissipate quickly. The actual beer is black as night - there is absolutely no light coming through. This beer is pretty, no one around it.

Aroma: Coffee is right up front, followed by toasted malts, dark chocolate and a definitely perceivable alcohol note

Taste/Mouthfeel: Lots of coffee, maybe some dried fruits and toasted malts on the back side. You can taste the liquor for sure - this is definitely not a low ABV beer and you can taste it right up front. The mouthfeel is chewy and thick - very full in the mouth, which I like in a stout.

Drinkability: This one is definitely a sipper. It's nice and rich and tasty, but there's no way you could - or should - put down more than 1 or 2 12oz bottles of this baby. That said, I think it is nice and balanced and I'd be willing to drink it again. I'd like to see what it tastes like aged, or on tap.

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Photo of GR_Rick
3.5/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice looking, thick, creamy stout with a khaki-ish head.

S: Smelled nice, strong, and complex. Roasty malts with a bit of alcohol and sweetness.

T: Nice initially, with the roast and a bit of sweetness. Ended a little harsh (alcohol or bitter, I couldn't exactly tell) for me.

M: Nice thick mouth feel and minimal carbonation, in line with the style.

O: Decent beer, but not as good as I had expected given the hype. It was a little too big and harsh for my liking (and I normally like big stouts). I've got a bottle sitting in the basement I'm going to age for a year or two and try it again to see if it mellows, as I've heard some age does wonders for this beer.

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Photo of silverblaze540
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

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.

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Photo of MrBen
3.85/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A good beer, but not great enough to be a regular buy for me. The pour is lovely, scent is tasty, color is great, and so on. Bell's quality, upfront as always. Taste was good overall, but too hop-forward for my liking. Raw alcohol was fairly prominent throughout. I'll stick with Kalamazoo Stout and Java Stout.

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Photo of GregoryVII
4.59/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Dark as night...I've wanted to use that line before, but it fits here, with a medium sized head that starts dark atop the beer and fades to caramel the closer it gets to the rim. The mouth feel is slick, smooth and oh so full. Malt dominates the aroma: roasted malt, dark chocolate, raisin, vanilla and sweet alcohol are all present. There are enough hops in the taste to balance, but they aren't a true player in the beer beyond grounding its more eccentric tendencies. Candied plum, chocolate, vanilla, bitter toast and a bit of rum round out the flavor notes for me. This is Bell's best beer for my money and a contender for any consideration given to Imperial Stouts.

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Photo of ajaxivan
3.45/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my Victory tulip

A: Deep black with little brown head

S: Coffee, roasty malt, mollases, faint alcohol

T: Little carbonation is disappointing, chocolate,caramel, a little sweet but not too much

M: Medium bodied, pretty smooth

D: Not bad, not my favorite but good. I would revisit this again and im glad i tried it, i think Bells make great stuff and am usually immpressed, but i guess i am a little disappointed with the RIS.

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Photo of tim9887
3.66/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours very dark brown, with a very nice light brown 1" foam head

Aroma: Very sweet. Molasses & chocolate dominate along with the booziness that's pretty noticeable in the nose.

Taste: The molasses & chocolate from the nose are very present in the palate as well. Rich and roasty; heavy on the malts. Not a whole heck of a lot in the way of hop bitterness. Very sweet & boozy.

Mouthfeel: Not very carbonated. Rich, creamy, & smooth... like a chocolate milkshake in that respect. Moderate alcohol warmth felt in the palate.

Ok. I prefer a little more carbonation and more roastiness. This stout was very sweet... maybe a bit too sweet for me. I prefer a bit more hop bitterness in RIS's.

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Photo of trentley87
3.3/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle to pint glass.

A: Pours a obviously thick dark brown from the bottle. Barely a finger of deep brown head that quickly recedes. Leaves generous lacing all the way down.

S: Roasted coffee and sweetness backed by the slightest hint of bitterness. I expected some alcohol considering the high ABV but I can't detect any.

T: Dark roasted coffee flavors, maybe a hint of chocolate. Alcohol is present in the aftertaste at first but becomes more and more pronounced as this beer warms.

M: Very, very full bodied but slightly under-carbonated for my taste. Smooth, filling, but lacking in some respect I can't quite put my finger on.

D: The high ABV means one of these is about enough. This is a decent winter beer but it is a bit heavy to make it one of my go-to brews.

I'm just not seeing this one as A or A+ material...it seems this one is either really good or really bad. Maybe Bell's needs stay a little more consistent.

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Photo of rwdkosak
3.64/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

An aggressive pour produced only a scant head that faded quickly, mocha colored over motor-oil darkness as expected. Nose was faint, doughy, some sweetness, dark chocolate, and smallest bit of smoke. Taste followed suit though a bit of bitterness and alcohol picked up in the middle but good flavor and certainly on par with the style. Overall mouthfeel was somewhat lacking without carbondation. This has a smoothness to it though would have expected a bit more 'pop' and that, along with a relatively high ABV rates it low on drinkability for me.

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Photo of oceanman
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 8864 (bottled Dec '08), tasted Feb '10

No light gets through. Thin dark brown head.

Big aromas of chocolate, mint, leather.

Nice, full roasted quality on palate. Powerful flavors of chocolate/coffee on finish. Burns a bit on the way down.

Certainly hefty, but quite creamy and smooth.

No gimmicks to this beer, just a serious imperial stout.

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Photo of loving44
4.48/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've been sitting on this one for months waiting for a good time to sample it... it's time!

Pours extremely thick and black... probably the thickest stout I have ever seen. I held my pint glass up to a very bright desk lamp and no light made it's way through at all! Very little head... even after a fairly aggressive pour only a thin caramel colored film of bubbles rose and they vanished quickly. Small whisps of carbonationation can be seen slowly sneaking through the think crude of a beer to the surface.

The nose is full of dark fruits, raisin, plum, fig... also I smell chocolate pudding, black cherry, butterscotch, deep roasted coffee, and slight alcohol. The alcohol is very slight... give no hint to the massiveness of this beer.

Taste: coffee hits me right away with a deep roasted malt character that I don't think I've experienced in many stouts. A very "heavy" flavor if that makes any sense.... This is followed by rich chocolate, coco powder, ripe plum, very intence. As the beer warms more alcohol bitterness comes though.

Mouthfeel: This is like drinking tar.... the thickest beer I have ever had in my life. Carbonation is there but the massive body in this beer keeps it in check. It coats your mouth and stays there.... leaving a protective beer barrier that you will enjoy for hours!

Drinkability: I can't see how anyone could survive drinking more than one of these... two at most. The beer hides it's alcohol very well, but it will catch up with you for sure! If you can find this, pick it up. This is a must try for stout lovers!

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 2,013 ratings.