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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.

4,127 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4127
Reviews: 1857
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,127 | Reviews: 1,857 | Show All Ratings:
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 menkros


4.55/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a black motor oil. Smells of sweet dark fruit. The taste is unexpected and welcome, coffee undertones. Absolutely wonderful. 1 year old beer that pours dark brown, medium fine head, a good looking stout. Aroma up front is malty dark fruit with strong alcohol, the roasted malts come in at the end. Taste is a huge mouthfeel, this is a big ass beer, malty, alcohol, some sharpness which is a warming alcohol. With hop flavor as well. Roasted malts which go very well with chocolate desserts. I have this as a desert beer with chocolate ice cream or desserts often. try this with Ben and Jerry’s New York Super fudge chunk. Great beer one of the top ten I have had made in the US if not the world.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2012 05:00:04 | More by menkros
Photo of phil7568


4.88/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed the last two bottles of this at Roof Bros. in Paducha, KY a week ago. I meant to hold on to them for a while but I couldn't resist. I've wanted to try this beer forever.

The beer pours jet black with an inch head which quickly becomes about 1/8". As noted by other reviews the aroma is dominated by dark fruit and chocolate, very enticing.
Awesome flavor. This brew has everything from sweet chocolate to roasted coffee and everything in between with only a hint of alcohol. It's so rich and smooth.

I figured this could not live up to expectations and was actually expecting a letdown. That didn't happen. I can't say anything negative about this awesome RIS. I wish I had more!

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2007 01:55:45 | More by phil7568
Photo of FatheadBrew


4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours dark black with a very small tan head that quickly dissipates

S: This smells like a rich, decadent dessert. Very chocolatey in the aroma. Some initial aromas that I couldn't put my finger on, almost like alcohol-soaked fruits. The smell invites you to take a sip.

T: Sweet start. Roasty finish. This flavor is very full and very good. The finish is a combination of roast barley and burnt chocolate and seems to go on forever. As it warmed more, the alcohol character became more prevalent.

M: Full, thick, almost like a thin syrup. Carbonation was right where it should be.

D: For such a heavy, strong beer, I definitely wanted another one. This one goes down dangerously easily.

Overall, one of the best Imperial Stouts I have sampled. This one is a must try.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2007 04:30:38 | More by FatheadBrew
Photo of phrygian68


4.18/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my Corsendonk Christmas Ale Chalice!
Black as night! with a very minimal head that dissipated rather quickly! lacing is virtually none! The mouthfeel is extremely thick and creamy with heavy notes of bitter chocolate, coffee, burnt caramel,and figs with a nice lasting bitter finish,one of the best Stouts i have had the pleasure of tasting!

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2007 01:08:48 | More by phrygian68
Photo of rivertrance420


4.65/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I get this for $15.99 a sixer when I go out to Indiana. Very delicious Russian Imperial style stout. Very thick in consistency and very sweet. Definitely a good "dessert beer" with a nice abv of 10.5%. Sweet chocolate invades your mouth at first sip, followed by a long lingering chocolate/cocoa taste thats a tad bit bitter. Defintely one of my favorite stouts. Hope the brothers on beer advocate try it again. Sounds like they got a bad batch. I love this beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2008 03:47:34 | More by rivertrance420
Photo of hopflop

New Jersey

3.85/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a black like used motor oil. with a tan head that dissipates quickly.

The smell is not impressive mostly coffee with roasted malts with dried fruit and alcohol

The mouth full is creamy and rich. with a huge coffee presences and malts with a hint of chocolate and alcohol at the end

This is a very hefty big stout with a big ABV 10.5%. the drink ability is good, but can't have more then two in one sitting. Would definitely recommend trying.

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2008 17:31:35 | More by hopflop
Photo of nhopkin


4.88/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured like crude oil into my oversize wine goblet. Small, brownish tan head arose atop the sea of viscous blackness below...

Smell: raisin, booze, charcoal, a decadent melange of aromas waft from this brew

Taste: Starts with a rich, malty, almost fruity sweetness with lots of dark fruit and chocolate, followed by a dry roasted flavor with hints of coffee. Wait long enough and a little lingering bitterness from the hops comes in. A little detectable booziness, but it hides it's strength remarkably well. mmm. Everything and more I'd expect from a giant of a stout.

Mouthfeel: smooth and scrumptious. Like drinking a milkshake...with a lot of booze

Overall: a superlative brew. A phenom. Wicked. Words don't do it justice. And I'm not even that "in" to Russian Imperials.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2009 04:10:38 | More by nhopkin
Photo of joshrosborne


4.72/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This has to be one of the best Stout's I've ever tried. Almost like a dessert in a glass. Good stuff.

A: Pours dark as night with a tan milky head that, after dissipating, leaves a nice tan film over the beer. Same colored lacing on the glass.

S: You get a ton of roasted malt from this. I can't smell the espresso, but the chocolate is evident. You can smell the alcohol a bit, too.

T: Almost tastes like a boozy chocolate milk at first. Finishes with a little bitterness from the roasted malts that were in the smell. A little bit of burn from the ABV.

M: Very creamy and smooth. There is a bit of carbonation, but it does nothing but enhance and deliver the creaminess.

D: You don't want to drink this quickly not just b/c of the high ABV, but b/c it tastes so damn good. I couldn't believe this was 10.5%. You can taste the booze, but I had no idea it was that high. This could be a dangerous one.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2011 00:09:05 | More by joshrosborne
Photo of TomTown


4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. Bottle dated 10/22/12.

Pours pitch black with a 1/2 inch light brown head.

Smells of milk chocolate and coffee. More assertive roast than recent stouts I've had.

Strong bitterness for a stout. Definitely within acceptable range, but the IBU's and roast level work well together to add a strong edge to the sweetness present in a beer of this size.

Mouthfeel is pretty full but the bitterness cuts that a little earlier than other interpretations.

Overall a very tasty beer and I'm glad I had one relatively fresh. I'll try again in a year to see how some of the roast and bitterness has mellowed.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2013 20:56:45 | More by TomTown
Photo of downeyj4


4.65/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is probably one of my favorite imperial stouts. It really has everything that you would want in an imperial stout, but isn't thick like oil sludge. All of the flavors balance out well. It has a great amount of roastiness and bitterness, but still finishes nicely. It surprised me when I found out the ABV, or else I would've had a few more pints.

Serving type: on-tap

04-29-2013 05:31:49 | More by downeyj4
Photo of murphyl


4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured thickly, about the consistency of Kahlua coming out of the bottle, pitch black, absolutely opaque (no joke - I put my emergency see-it-a-mile-away LED flashlight against the glass and saw nothing out the other side). Piles of toffee-colored head left copious lace on the glass.

Smell: Hmm, that's interesting. Alcohol is definitely right up front, along with chocolate, raisins and dried cherries (appropriate for Michigan, but in a stout...?). This certainly piques my interest.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Reminiscent of Kalamazoo Stout, only heavier and thicker, almost like a barley wine in terms of mouthfeel. Chocolate and rum flavors, plus a hefty hit of alcohol up front, fading a long, long roasted finish, with the dried cherries making an encore appearance.

Drinkability: I wouldn't advise you drink more than two of these a night, as the 11.5% ABV will sock your brain and your tastebuds into next week. As a nightcap, a special occasion beer or the end of a session, however, you could do far, far worse.

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2004 23:11:53 | More by murphyl
Photo of gmuller


3.95/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

I acquired this beer from a friend who lives closer to the brewery. This one was relatively young, and I will probably age the other one after tasting it.

Appearance - There wasn't much to look at, thus the 3.0 on the appearance score. Completely black, very little head to speak of, largely due to the lack of carbonation. In retrospect...this beer was almost impressively black.

Smell - Caramel, sweet, candy-ish, but with enough balls behind it that you can tell the hops and bitterness waiting.

Taste - What I expect in an Imperial Stout, hoppy and bitter, with enough coffee and malt note to balance it. Sweet at the start, bitter on the finish. Somewhat more alcohol flavor than I like, and the aftertaste is...odd.

Mouthfeel - HEAVY. A bit like oil. You can see this beer coat the glass and the imagine it does the same to your esophageal tract.

Drinkability - Despite a lot of high notes to this beer, it isn't as drinkable as you might expect. After about a half of one you're left feeling somewhat tired of it. The alcohol bite tends to wear on you, and though the mouthfeel is impressive, it tends to get tiresome as well. This beer might be better packaged in 6 oz bottles...like a fine scotch it's better dosed in small quantities.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2008 02:06:29 | More by gmuller
Photo of virtualshock


4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - The pour is dark and a little thick, not overly thick. It had a little carbonation with a half-finger very dark brown head.

S - The charred malt smell coincides with the smell of portobella mushrooms. As it warms a slight alcohol smell comes out. The smell is opposite of the taste.

T - The taste is very sweet with a burnt character. Then lots of hops kicks in at the end to balance out the sweetness of the dark malts. After it warmed I finally was able to grab a chocolate note at the end of the swallow.

M - The mouthfeel is kind of syrupy especially as the beer warms. It is nice.

D - This beer is quality. Do I want more than one at a sitting? No. For my first venture into imperial stouts, I am happy.

It was pretty cold out of the fridge but as it warmed it developed so much more.
Just to let other newbs know, let those beer warm a little. Most good beers don't need to be ice cold.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2006 02:00:56 | More by virtualshock
Photo of dankman38


4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 7251, consuming it right now and thorohly enjoying it.

Pours an oily blackish/brown with a pleasing mocha colored head, coffe and sweet on the nose, I taste coffee and perhaps a bit of unsweetened cocoa, heavy but not quite as heavy as you might think it should be (as far as I'm concerned it's perfect for the style), nice finish that hangs around for a while.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2007 04:43:11 | More by dankman38
Photo of dogfishlove120


4.83/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours black with a burnt sugar caramel colored head. Smells raisin and plum mixed with alcohol. Taste is bitter chocolate, burnt sugar,alcohol and cofee, hints of raisin also apparent. The alcohol in this imp undoubtedly wishes to make its presence noted. A fine Imperial stout and a new top 10 for me.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2008 23:52:45 | More by dogfishlove120
Photo of turnblom79


4.83/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my first forays in to RIS as a newbie to crafts trying to develop my palate. I was that this beer was good enough to pour over ice cream because of its chocolate and coffee tones, and I was not let down. Excellent stout, great rich flavor. The texture was slightly syrupy and felt very pleasant. Looking forward to more from Bells.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2009 05:21:58 | More by turnblom79
Photo of broodog


4.18/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 10759 pkgd 11/1/11. Poured into a Founder's tulip

A- Pours almost jet black. Not a very lively pour. Very little carbonation. Lacing is minimal.

S- lots of roasted charachter. Nice aroma. Some molasses and chocolate behind the roasted barley.

T- love this flavor. Very well balanced beer. Plenty of roasted barley, coffee molasses.

M- Assertive. Deep, dark, thick. Everything a stout should be here.

O- spot on RIS from bells. Textbook, except for the carbonation and lacing. I'll be sipping this one all winter long by the fire. Wearing my robe and bear claw slippers after a tough day at the rat races.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2011 03:20:05 | More by broodog
Photo of notlob


3.38/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Aroma: Deep licorice, plums, and fruity-sweet alcohol.

Appearance: Pours jet-black with dark tan head that dissipates quickly.

Flavor: Very roasty with a slight alcohol burn. Some dark fruit character and I think I get some roasty-dark-chocolate notes in the finish. Good balance between the residual sweetness and bitter roasted malt, but just not the right balance for me.

Mouthfeel: Medium-low carbonation. Somewhat of a mouth-coating oil-slick.

Overall impression: Better around 55-60F than right out of the fridge. Slight alcohol warmth. Definitely a sipper.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2009 21:24:45 | More by notlob
Photo of matthewalee


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

S - bottle

A - really really black. About the darkest car oil possible.

S - 30 minutes in....smells like a hoppy fig! Love it.

T - like motor oil, which isn't a bad thing for a beer that's going to only (in my opinion) get better as mellowed out a few yrs from now. The taste is really easy, but not easy to do a lot of. In my opinion at the point, I do want some more though. I really dig Expedition Stout...its more of me not being able to completely understand this beer with the great complexity it has at this time.

M - thick mouthfeel, even on sips...Good Carbonation for this beer. Tastes GREAT overall for sure this season!!

D - not more than 1 in a sitting, but can't wait to taste some with 3-4 yrs on them.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2010 06:32:20 | More by matthewalee
Photo of serotoninronin


4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a a 12oz bottle into a regular ole pint glass.

A: Swirling black hole. Like right when you shut the lights off before your eyes can adjust. Startlingly dark. Nice toasted marshmallow head that doesn't hang around too long. The lacing is high and tight. Cirrus clouds up near the top of the glass.

S: Real sludgy italian espresso. The faintest wisp of chocolate. Stewed black tea and some cola tones. A semi-sweet vegetality, darker than any dark fruit. Beets, maybe.

T: Crushing dry bitterness with a boozy superstructure. Like black coffee liqueur. Sweeter than on the nose, shifting to black currants and acai. Lots of fennel and tarragon. The alcohol is there, but only to spice the tongue very slightly. Nicely put together.

M: A bit oily, which leads it to hang out in some weird places on the palate longer than it needs to, but lands properly for the most part. Dry and full.

O: Layered but invitingly drinkable. You feel warm after finishing but less so than you might expect for the ABV. Definitely would like to put a couple years on a few of these. Spot on for the style.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2013 21:50:27 | More by serotoninronin
Photo of anjah

North Carolina

4.63/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I got this aged three years from peabody's personal favorites collection. Nice, sweet smell and very dark color but not much head. Pretty strong but goes down smooth and rich with notes of chocolate/cocoa. Only complaint is that the after taste is a bit bitter.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2013 03:34:12 | More by anjah
Photo of ILhophead


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

12 oz. bottle, Batch # 7740, poured into a Stone IRS glass

A: Pours with a 1/2 inch head that falls down to a thin ring of tiny bubbles around the edge of the glass. Very black, pretty viscous.

S: Smells of roasted malt, dark chocolate, raisins, alcohol, and a licorice or molasses kind of smell that I find a few of Bell's high gravity beers.

T: Very rich, strong flavor. Dried fruit, dark chocolate up front with roasted malt, a hint of coffee and alcohol coming in through the finish. Nice level of sweetness. Very tasty!

M: Nice viscosity, coats your mouth. Very warming alcohol.

D: It's pretty drinkable for an Imperial Stout but you probably wouldn't (or at least shouldn't) want more than one of these.

Overall an outstanding beer and at $2.25 a bottle it's one that I can afford to stock my cellar with. Very big beer. Big flavor, big alcohol, big enjoyment!

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2007 05:46:31 | More by ILhophead
Photo of diybrun


3.95/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass stout black (is stout black not a color? it is now) with a 1/2 finger head that left very little lacing. Smells of... hops? Maybe my nose is off, but I smell a bit of citrus, not something I'm used to from a stout. Some roasted barley, too. Carbonation is there, but it's weak. Cream and alcohol are predominant, smoked barley and hints of mocha and caramel too. Definite hop presence, especially in the aftertaste, which I don't mind. This beer has a kick, as I would expect from an imperial stout, but it isn't that balanced. I don't see myself kicking back and enjoying a couple of these. Still a perfectly enjoyable stout.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2010 17:17:56 | More by diybrun
Photo of DogfishJoe


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

a. this beer had little to no head, although the bottle was about 9 months old. also this is black!

s. pick up a perfect roasted malt smell with slight chocolate note.

t. great big roasted malt followed by little chocolate and leaves you with bitter coffee.

o. good beer wish it was cheaper, way to easy to drink and no alcohol burn.

Serving type: bottle

08-28-2011 05:52:34 | More by DogfishJoe
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,127 ratings.