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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

4,515 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,515
Reviews: 1,879
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 388
Gots: 962 | FT: 75
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: 4,515 | Reviews: 1,879 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TMoney2591
3.73/5  rDev -11.8%

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Apparently I did have one of these guys hangin' around in my fridge after all. Go figure. Let's review it, shall we? It pours an opaque black-brown topped by a short finger of tan foam that fades fairly quickly. The nose comprises plenty o' roasted malts, dark wheat, chocolate syrup, nutmeg, and a surprising dose of rye bread. A general sweetness pervades. The taste darkens the proceedings, roasting some of the sweet notes and replacing the rye bread with a leather-like character. Some light prune notes gurgle up from th bottom, but don't pool all that much. Something's missing here, but I can't quite put my finger on it. The body is fairly hefty, with a heavy light carbonation and a borderline chewy feel. Overall, a solid RIS, but I've had better, even among regularly available offerings. Something's just off a little, you know what I mean?

TMoney2591, Jul 06, 2010
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
5/5  rDev +18.2%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of emerge077
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%

Pours a deep brownish-black, not quite opaque. Two fingers of tan latte foam rise and settle. Above the rim, the surface could pass for a chocolate chip cookie.

Aroma of roasted malt, vague sweetness, with a possible lactic note. Not especially bold, but complimentary to the huge flavor.

Rich taste, notes of smoky malt, bitter chocolate, and creamy coffee. Residual hop bitterness. Very powerful and bold flavors, the alcohol isn't overwhelming, but it packs a punch.

Mouthfeel is intensely smooth and velvety, creamy and luscious. Lactic milk sugar contributes a boatload of palate-smudging heft.

Although it's not one for sessioning, it has a sublime quality that makes you savor every sip. Every so often I crave an Expedition, so it has a year-round place in the cellar.

emerge077, Dec 29, 2006
Photo of largadeer
3.05/5  rDev -27.9%

Appearance - Black in color, viscous and oily. An inch of dark brown head rises and falls over the course of a few minutes.

Smell - Sweet and roasty with a hint of alcohol. Molasses and dark chocolate are very pronounced, with undertones of licorice and vanilla.

Taste - Bold and bitter. Moderate sweetness; flavors of molasses and dark chocolate are met with an almost burnt bitterness. The finish is long and coating, leaving a bittersweet aftertaste. Well crafted, but too intense, acrid and sweet. If that's your thing, you'll probably love this.

Mouthfeel - Incredibly rich and creamy; easily one of the most full-bodied brews I've had. Medium to low carbonation.

largadeer, Feb 26, 2008
Photo of zeff80
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a velvety smooth appearance. It had a foamy, brown, long-lasting head that left behind rings of sticky lace.

S - It smelled of tons of chocolate, very sweet smelling with toffee notes. Also, some nice floral notes.

T - It tasted of dark chocolate, vanilla, molasses and some oaky notes. It had a sharp bitter kick from the hops.

M - It was smooth and creamy, possibly the smoothest RIS that I've ever had. It was medium to full-bodied.

D - This is a very good RIS. Potent and very well balanced.

zeff80, Dec 03, 2008
Photo of JAHMUR
3.75/5  rDev -11.3%

JAHMUR, Jul 07, 2012
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

Two bottles of Expedition were tasted side by side for this review. One was roughly 6 months to a year old, while the other was around 2 years old. Neither bottle showed any defect, but the 2 year old was remarkably smoother and far more caramelish as some of the roastiness and hop character had softened. Both were quite similar, but the aged bottle was stellar. This scoring for this review is based on the aged bottle, but even if the newer sample had been rated it would have scored almost as high.

A completely opaque black body is capped by a good-sized head of frothy dark tan foam with a slightly reddish tint to it. The alcohol cuts the head a bit, and it dies a slow death; but, surprisingly, it maintains a solid surface covering and the spotty and splashy lacing it leaves is very nice!

The nose is rich and bold, loaded with bittersweet chocolate, some simple, straight-forward graininess, and a whiff of citrusy hops (a little quirky - but it works!); and accentuated by a thin thread of dark fruitiness and background whiffs of espresso, dark caramel, nutty toffee, and alcohol. And although it's not overtly complex, simply based on its richness, this is a beer that could be enjoyed based on just the nose alone - although the temptation to partake of its flavors would be too great for any man to resist!

In the mouth it's exceptionally creamy and rich with a very full body and exceptionally fine-bubbled, restrained carbonation that leaves it overtly creamy and velvety smooth! WOW!

The flavor, however, is more full-throttle than that! It's almost too much to comprehend - and yet again, it never goes too far out on a limb in it's complexity. It's succulently rich, but not confusingly diverse. Upfront, rich caramel lathers the palate; followed by a mild slap of fruitiness (apple, very soft prune, figs) and notes of toffee and mocha. It's always slightly awash in alcohol (although it's never agressive); and as it crosses the palate a smear of leafy and grassy hops appears (far more so in the younger version than the 2 year old), ushering in a drying bitterness and some mild licorice flavors. It lingers in the mouth, seemingly forever, not unlike the smoke from a good cigar; an amazing cup of cappuchino; or some caramel-chocolate-coffee-and-liquor-drenched dessert. Again, this is STUNNING! This is an amazing beer to cellar, believe me!!!! Go get some now for next year or the year after!

NeroFiddled, Jan 27, 2005
Photo of SocalKicks
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

SocalKicks, Jan 03, 2014
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%

A big "Thank you!" to BlackAngus for trading me this one.
Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is pitch black with a thin dark brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: Heavy coffee & chocolate aroma with roasted malt, a touch of dark fruits and a hint of alcohol.

T: Heavy roasted coffee flavor dominates the taste. As you drink more of it, you start to get a little bit of the bitter dark chocolate & hops which completely hides the high ABV.

M: Smooth, oily & thick, full bodied, light carbonation, very sticky finish though.

D: Tasty & smooth and you certainly wouldn't know that the ABV is at 10.50%, which makes you want another and another until they start catching up to you.

TheManiacalOne, Aug 03, 2006
Photo of RblWthACoz
5/5  rDev +18.2%

I hate molasses.

Pours pitch black with a large dark tan head. Nose is dusty with strong molasses tones. Flavor is oh so smooth. Strong molasses flavors prevail, but stay perfectly balanced. Feel is thick in the liquid and thin on the carbonation. This is a beautiful stout that is a hard one to surpass. Amazingly crafted and worth seeking out...at all costs.

RblWthACoz, Dec 31, 2007
Photo of nickfl
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%

A - Small, brownish-orange head that dissipates quickly. Virtually opaque black body with just a hint of ruby showing through.

S - Roasty malt aroma with subtle notes of both chocolate and coffee. A velvety hop note lurks in the background as a nice complimnet to the roasted malt.

T - Sweet and malty up front with some deep, dark chocolate flavors. Hop flavor kicks in early with a resiny, velvety smooth note and a round bitterness that compliments rather than cuts the sweetness. The finish is strongly bitter with competing bitter components from the malt and the hops and lingering notes of coffee, tobacco, and smoke.

M - Very thick, oily body with low carbonation and a sweet, slightly alcoholic finish.

D - Reasonably drinkable considering how huge this beer is. The flavors are profoundly dark and quite complex, and the only flaw I can find is the mildly hot alcohol in the finish.

nickfl, Apr 24, 2008
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.65/5  rDev +9.9%

Appearance: Deep black motor oil, moccha tan head leaves speckled lacing. Aroma: Anise, chocolate, plums, and a whole load of underlying hop tones, cascade I think. Taste: Really poetic blend of fllavor here crashing waves of syrupy sweet alcoholic tinged fruit blended with bittering hops and harsh dark roasts what a treat this is definitely alot going on in there. Really potent, the alcohol doesn't burn though it doesn't overdo anything just adds another depth level there. Mouthfeel: Like drinking a protein shake thick and full bodied as all hell, this beer as great streaks of syrupy goodness going on. Drinkability: Complex, enticing, and oh so enjoyable to indulge and challenge the senses, however it's not the type of beer to drink a sixer it's that once in awhile when I get a craving for a big brew that knocks my senses renderless.

WVbeergeek, Dec 07, 2003
Photo of Kegatron
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%

On tap @ the Capital Ale House (Richmond, VA) on 12/13/09. Served in a cervoise.

Pours a deep flat black in the glass, with a finger of smooth looking dark & burnt mocha head. Retains with some huge frothy bunching around the edges, that leaves a huge cascade of drenching foam in its wake. The aroma is very floral and hoppy up front, with thickish sweet notes of chocolate and toffee mixing in with sharp coffee and roasted bitterness. Alcohol gives this some heft and punch in the nose.

The taste is even more sweetness, milk chocolate and toffee, with some extra sticky notes of brown sugar and molasses. Even a bit of dark fruit towards the back of the profile. Hops, coffee, and roast surround this, with a deeply burnt and bitter feel that really sticks hard in the finish. The mouthfeel is as full as can be, with a massively creamy feel up front that coats the back of the palate. Thick, sweet, and gooey, this is the rare feel here that's up there some of the best Imperial Stouts. There is some warmth on the tale end of the swallow but the alcohol is so entrenched in the rich flavors, it's not really detectable at all.

Man, I had forgot how hoppy this is fresh and it's no wonder that this is a great candidate for aging. The flavors are just so robust on this and the feel is one of my favorites on a Stout. Probably my favorite go-to Imperial Stout, this always puts a smile on my face.

Kegatron, Dec 21, 2009
Photo of russpowell
4.7/5  rDev +11.1%

Props to zrrbrrt for this one.

Pours a deep mahogany with a rocky 2 fingers deep dirt/mocha colored head. Great lacing ( small dark flecks are glued to the glass almost like tiny grains of glass or obsidian) & very good head retention

S: Rich chocolate, plums & toast

T: Huge roasted malt & bitter chocolate up front. Iron, burnt coffee dark choclate follow as this warms up. This made me think of a choclate malted milk with booze pulsing through its body. Finishes with a flourish of choclate, hint of booze, a kiss of iron & roasted grain bitterness.

MF: Rich & chewy, makes me thik Christmas pudding! Very low carbonation.

The chewyness kind of detracts form the drinkability, but a lovely fireside sipper that demands respect & adoration. A great Russian IMP stout

russpowell, Feb 09, 2007
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.9/5  rDev +15.8%

Dark as sin, and pours out a nearly violent, volcanic rich cocoa-colored head. Aroma is simply incredible: maple syrup, anise, dates, dark rum, dark chocolate, and it doesn't end either, it spins on and on! THICK texture! It's a liquid candy bar, sweet, full, chewy, but no Butterfingers here, this is heavy, substantial stuff! Full body, persistent finish: this ripple of flavor will not let go! It's tenacious, is what it is! This is Kalamazoo's Imperial Stout and it's way over the top, outdoing most, if not all the ISs I've ever had. One of the thickest and chewiest Imperials in memory!

10-26-03 ...I'm sipping from a bottle of a newer batch, though proper aged, some 9 1/2 months from my first reviewing, and can only agree with myself..the HUGE flavor, the enormous feeling on the palate, the never-ending finish...I would be amazed to find a better Imperial Stouts, but this is still the King...

feloniousmonk, Jan 13, 2003
Photo of Slatetank
4.55/5  rDev +7.6%

This is the ale I chose to celebrate my 500th review. I picked this up at Capone's in Norristown and cellared this for 6 months. Decanted at approx 45 degrees in a snifter and goblet for the sake of experiment.

A - Very, very very deep brown w/ medium brown head that appears like a sturdy tree trunk w/ rings after a swirl of the glass. The bead is ultra fine w/ a smooth cappuccino-like appearance on the foam.

M - Dry, luscious roasted malt w/ a toasted charred feel like the texture of over-roasted marshmallows. Intense spice and sweetness w/ moderately low carbonation and a decent amount of hop bitterness as the liquid is swallowed.

S - Supreme dark malt w/ heavy roast and fruit aromas. The sweet chewy malt has a creamy milky caramel aroma. There is subtle molasses and smokey wood notes w/ light spiced hop odors that round out the smell of this complex ale.

T - Dark fruit and berry flavors w/ vanilla-like oaky and slightly smokey flavored sweet chocolate cookie-like malt. The hops are pungent w/ sweet leafy and piney flavors that have a sugar coated taste. The flavors of dark crystal malt w/ roasted grains tastes as fresh as fresh brewed wort. A nice brown sugar-like note w/ a nice accent of citrus coming from the hops works in a synergystic way. There are many flavor layers w/ a dominant dark chocolate flavor that surrounds the tongue and makes this stout seem like a hoppy version of liquid truffles w/ anise spice added for good measure.

D - One of the best American Imperial Stouts I have tasted in a bottle. Just about flawless w/ a balance of hops and so much malt flavor you can't go wrong here. Even the boozy taste is within optimal range for my taste (6 months cellared) I prefer the bottled version, but I will update this when I can w/ the draft version. I can honestly say this deserves all the accolades this big stout receives.

Slatetank, Mar 25, 2008
Photo of drabmuh
4.03/5  rDev -4.7%

Gift from Huhzubendah, thanks Matt. Beer is black and forms a minimal head with some lacing on the glass. Carbonation is low.

Aroma is strong, very strong, a little boozy. Almost liquor like in aroma. Very strong. Pretty sweet. Its a little bit of a turnoff.

Very full bodied stout, finishes brighter than it starts. Pretty roasty, kind of bourbony in the mouthfeel and forward flavors. Its a big big beer. I didn't realize the ABV on this until I started writing this review foolishly. I will pay for my ignorance for sure. Its pretty drinkable especially if I'm grading on a curve. I had the 2005 recently, also a gift from Huhzubendah and it had began to turn. Strong plum flavors and other characteristic oxidized notes in the palate. A good beer but i think the shelf life is around 3 - 4 years max. I enjoyed it.

drabmuh, Jul 06, 2010
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%

this is a colossal beer, and one that comes with quite a bit of hype. for me, it was a shade under the quality of the most elite Russian imperials, but its a damn good beer nevertheless. it pours a really dark brown color, coffee in color really, with a robust milky cream head and an aroma of black barley and more hops than expected, this is bitter for sure. some hot alcohol greets my lips, followed by raw cocoa, toasted nuts of some kind, maybe macadamias, something oily, and then the bitter super dark, almost burnt barley. its quite the journey, but the whole thing really is overshadowed a little bit by the alcoholic intensity. some age may indeed do this good, as mine is less than a year old. fortunately I have some more bottles for this. which reminds me, thanks again to thebrewo for making yet another great beer possible for me in Colorado. obviously full body, but not as thick or viscous as some, decent carbonation for what it is, and a very warming alcohol finish on top of all the bitter. this is an impressive beer, but one that age will service well I think. bells can really do no wrong for me.

StonedTrippin, Jun 21, 2013
Photo of jlindros
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%

I've been waiting to try this one for a long time. Thanks to paco1029384756 and Noslenwerd for providing this beast to me.

A: Pours a dark semi thick rich pitch black color with a dark almost black head, which rises about a finger of thick creamy goodness.

N: Nose is loaded with chocolate! Bakers and milk chocolate dominate. Also adds some roast and a little coffee on the nose. Some sweet caramel, and a slight bright fruit. A slight boozy aroma also comes out.

T: Taste starts with tons of dark chocolate and bakers chocolate. Very earthy bitter stout flavor! Some creamy darkness. More roast and spicy dark malt flavor. Lots of malt to go with that. A little coffee with the roasted flavor. Some dark fruit. It's very heavy, thick, rich, spicy, earthy, bitter, roasted, chocolate, and perhaps too much of all. Some boozy warmth adds to the spicy dark flavor.

M: Super thick and heavy, rich, and more carbonation than I expected for the style.

F: Finishes pretty dry and super bitter still. Lots of earthy dark stout like char and scorched malts. The dark flavors just feel like they are pulling the water and nutrients out of my mouth. The thick syrupy barely liquid seems to stick to everything as well and coats the mouth, leaving the flavors for a while. More chocolate, roast, coffee, bitter earthy stout, and the lingering boozy flavors just go for a while. Considering how thick it is, with the boozy quality, and so bitter and dry its difficult to drink. Glad it isn't a bomber! Still a great beer though.

jlindros, Feb 14, 2010
Photo of Rifugium
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%

First had: on tap at Eulogy, Philly, PA

A: Dark brown and opaque, with a healthy head. Served in a tulip glass.

S: Roasty and chocolaty, some subtle spicy notes.

T: Smooth and chocolaty, some coffee, wonderful malts, moderate alcohol.

M: VERY smooth, creamy, thick body, minimal carbonation.

D: Highly drinkable, and good to the very last drop.

Rifugium, Dec 11, 2010
Photo of oline73
5/5  rDev +18.2%

oline73, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of WesWes
5/5  rDev +18.2%

The beer pours a deep, dark black color with a thick frothy brown head that slowly fades to lacing. This is a thing of beauty. The aroma is great! It has a warm black, chocolate, and roasted malt scent. It's rich and creamy with a stiff non malted roasted barley aroma. The taste is great. It is rich with malt complexity. It starts out smooth and creamy with a chocolate malt taste. Then it quickly warms with a roasted malt feel and finishes with a bold black malt blast. This is a damn tastey beer. The mouthfeel is great. It's a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is the perfect RIS. It's bold and challenging with loads of flavor and malt complexity. It's warm and inviting. A damn fine beer!!

WesWes, Sep 16, 2007
Photo of mactrail
3.93/5  rDev -7.1%

Really big black ale.

Great big stout, a little touch of brown-amber in the glass. Huge malt. Very strong, alcohol flavors, like a brandy. Spicy and full of the spectrum of roasted malt. Butterscotch and cocoa. Nice nose full of burnt cereal and chocolate. Long burning aftertaste with coffee flavors.

Had a glass at Barley's in Greenville, SC.

mactrail, Apr 15, 2011
Photo of Mora2000
4.03/5  rDev -4.7%

Picked up in a trade from Exiled.

2007 vintage. Pours pitch black with basically no head. What little head is present is is a brown color. Aroma is strong coffee with some roasted malt and dark fruit. the flavor is heavy on the roasted malt with some smokiness. Some dark fruit and bitter chocolate as well. There is also a slight soy sauce character to the beer. The alcohol has a nice alcohol warming affect. Very thick body and low carbonation. Slightly creamy mouthfeel. This one might have improved with more carbonation.

Mora2000, Jan 01, 2010
Photo of mdfb79
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%

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

a - Pours a dark black that lets no light through. Two inches of dark tan head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of roasted malts, toasted malts, dark fruit, and chocolate. A little bit of burnt malts as well. Getting some sweetness to the smell as it warms up, which is quite enjoyable.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, burnt and toasted malts, bready malts, licorice, dark fruits, and alcohol.

m - Full body and moderate carbonation. A sipper for sure.

d - A pretty nice RIS. Lots of roasted malts in the smell and taste. Have it many times and will have it again. Would recommend.

mdfb79, Aug 13, 2010
Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 4,515 ratings.