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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.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

5,282 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 5,282
Reviews: 1,978
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 10.61%
Wants: 448
Gots: 1,288 | FT: 93
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,282 | Reviews: 1,978 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of imperialking
5/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of woodychandler
4.53/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

My first reaction was "WTF, did they fill my bottle with motor oil by mistake?!?" I tried an aggressive pour and still only managed wisps of head in the glass. The beer was viscous, black (even the white bits was black), oily, with the only head a thin coating on the top of the liquid. The nose was huge with alcohol and chocolate. The mouthfeel was both slick and thick. After my first swallow, I realized that Larry ain't playin' around here. This is lights out action in a bottle. Nitey nite. My notes remind me to sic Carolyn Blowers on this one, since she has proven capable of drinking Russian Imperial Stouts first thing in the morning. I got an interesting mix of bittersweet chocolate, charcoal, and smoke floating across my tongue. The finish was smoky and chocolaty, just beautiful. My notes ended because of a sudden urge to lie down.

Photo of yourefragile
2.78/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle

I had been looking forward to trying this one for a long time and unfortunately the beer was not able to live up to my expectations or appearance. I'm hoping I had a bad bottle and will try this again in the future and hope for better....

A: Ok, lots good so far, pours a very thick, sludgy black and from hard pour has a nice sized tan head that has nice retention and leaves incredible lacing. Looks like a great RIS.
S: Not as strong as expected or mentioned in other reviews, but it has a sweet, rich aroma with chocolate, molasses, roasted flavors, etc.
T: Sweeter than expected, alcohol is well hidden, but something just seems...off. Everything just seems flat, overly sweet and not balancing bitterness. I mean, the flavors are there from the aroma and tastes like it should be a good RIS, but I don't know, I don't feel like thinking any harder about this.
M: Thick, creamy, flat, no carbonation, just....not good. Too sweet, no bitterness or hops detectable...
D: Ok, I'm being redundant, I only bump up the drinkability for the 10.5% alcohol being well hidden, otherwise it was very difficult for me to finish this bottle as I just didn't enjoy and would rather just have Kalamazoo, Double Cream, Java or basically any of their other stouts (for much cheaper). I'll update this review in future when I try again.

Photo of mothman
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 8726

Poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark brown head that leaves an incredible lacing. Color is dark dark brown, almost black.

Smell is a toasted malted chocolate. Very 'toasty' that is. Taste is quite similar very very chocolaty. It also tastes like something was burnt. Some dark fruit notes in there. Maybe some coffee as well.

Mouthfeel is very smooth, just a little crisp. After it lingers around enough, the 10.5% abv shows. Full bodied with a nice amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is a great RIS. Not too expensive for a 6er and at 10.5% you really can't go wrong. I will be getting this every year. If you see this at the stores, do yourself a favor and buy some!

Photo of Billolick
3.43/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle, with no freshness dating.
Think and goey, rich and chewy.
This is as dark, rich, flavorful and robust as any beer I've had. To my tastes its over the top and not all that pleasant, and I like stouts and rich, strong beer in general. HEAVY roasted, burnt, chocolate, coffee flavors. Mega sweet malt in the finish with a bit of bittering. Extreme after dinner beer. not for women and children or the feint of heart.

Photo of Gonzoillini
4.75/5  rDev +12%

Photo of corby112
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On-tap at the South Philly Taproom.

Perfection! Dark black pour with a coffee colored head. Very full aroma with hints of chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, caramel. This beer is so smooth that it become dangerous at 10.5 abv. The flavor is very complex with malty chocolate and coffee, dark berries, and many other things that are silly to even try to list. Simply amazing!

Photo of mdaschaf
4.27/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 9554, bottled Jan/2010.

A: Poured into my DFH signature glass. Pours a an oily black, completely opaque. A one finger mocha colored head formed upon pouring and reduced to a ring of foam around the top. Very little lacing.

S: Dark fruits, licorice, chocolate and some coffee. There is a little bit of roasted malt and the slightest hint of alcohol.

T: Coffee and roasted malts are the dominant flavors with some chocolate, licorice, and a little bit of molasses.

M: Medium to full bodied. Smooth and creamy, with a slickness. Nice carbonation, more than expected, but not in a bad way.

O: Quite nice. Form reading other reviews, I think that some of the coffee flavor subsided a little bit. No sign that the beer is 10.5%, even though its fuller body makes drinking more than 1-2 difficult.

Photo of chinchill
4.14/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle date stamped with a fill date of 2 Oct. 2012. Served in a Belgian snifter.

Pours opaque and nearly black, but with red-brown highlights at the edges. Small dark tan head soon recedes.

Aroma: semi-sweet and appealing but relatively subtle.

Flavor: Rich and strong, with dark fruits, dark chocolate, dark roasted grains, and a hint of coffee. Approaches 4.5

Creamy smooth, excluding the impact of high ABV,

O: Excellent, but room for improvement as demonstrated by Bell's Black Note Stout.

Photo of weeare138
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a pitch black with a thick tan head that slowly fades into a small oily, tan film and thick tan collar. Lots of spotty lacing and webs left around the glass.
Smell is of intense roasty nuts, chocolate cake, caramel, molasses, espresso, along with minty and piney hops.
Taste is of rich, chocolate cake, laden with rum drenched espresso beans. Lots of hops in here.
Mouthfeel is thick,smooth, velvetty, richly of chocolate, bitter cocoa, a potent punch of hops and mild, mild carbonation that makes this almost like syrup.
ABV is present and I'm still on the fence with this. It started off great but ended up very syrupy with a mild soy sauce taste lingering. I guess I'll split the verdict and call it good.

Photo of afsdan
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of tempest
3.58/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It’s big and pretty good, but my bottle need more time. There’s too much alcohol flavor and the chocolate and coffee taste feel like they’re only just budding. There’s a nice addition of hops flavor under the malt, but the alcohol that follows leaves a bad feel.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

32 oz. swing top growler.

Fabulous appearance. Deep, jet black with a thick, beige head that leaves a generous amount of lacing cascading down the sides of the snifter. Grandiose aroma of molasses, malt, charred roast, dark fruits. Dark fruits really emerge as the beer warms. Lots of charred, roasted malt as well. Full bodied, though not viscous or syrupy. A really solid beer, though there are several other imperial stouts I prefer to this.

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.52/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've reviewed this before from the bottle, but I was interested to see how this beer was on cask. To be honest, I was a little dubious about a beer this big, and with these flavors being able to make the transition nicely, but I was certainly wrong- it was very good indeed. I had this at the Atlanta Cask Ale Festival, and we're not talking a skimpy pour, but a good 1/2 nonic at least. Poured black, and quite bubbly, with good carbonation and quite a decent head, even with no sparkler and gravity poured. Nice aromas of espresso and licorice. Oh my, this tastes good! Beautiful and well integrated notes of espresso, licorice, chocolate, and roasted grains with a firm creaminess underpinning these flavors. The cask lends this beer a wonderful silkiness that puts it over the top. Very nice indeed!

Photo of BARFLYB
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a small snifter. This bottle has to be at least two years old right now, I could not hold out anymore. I found this to be to sweet fresh.

Bell's Expedition is a dark pitch black oily looking beer. It looks mean and tough coming out of the bottle with a gooey togetherness. Thick with staining power, don't spill this. A gorgeous dark mocha colored head rose up about an inch or more with a thickness and milkshake look on top, creamy, lasting. Coats of dirty lace on the way down.

Expe has mellowed nice in just two years time. The nose discovered Chocolate cake with enough roasted malt scent to stop a horse. Caramel and slight toffee With the roast comes some smoke and molasses. Really not getting any coffee from this, perhaps that's the 1st thing to go with time, the hops are next with minimal screen time. Just a hint of dark fruit with some figs among others. This smells great.

Big amounts of roasted malt on the palate with some smoke and sweetness. The chocolate is huge and rich, bittersweet. There is some coffee espresso with some warming. Taste with figs and molasses and just a bit of wood. Some alcohol in the back but hidden over two years. In the after, I get some soy sauce which is more noticeable cold. When fresh, this was a bit to sweet and off putting, that's not the case now, great integration.

A big bold thick feel on this one, somewhat robust, creamy and large. The feel is almost bordering on syrupy, but it goes down like a charm, what's going on here? Just a bit of alcohol after all is said and done and a touch of heat, not hot at all. Hidden very well but not 100%. The hops are not completely faded as there is some bitter sense hanging around. Sweet but subdued.

Drinkability takes a slight hit due to a high ABV, but I wont dock points for that, this is a Russian after all. Whatever I did not like about this when young (alot) is completely opposite now. I would not do more than one of these a night though and won't drink it in a bottle younger than two years. You need to take your time with this to see what it holds.

Photo of DoubleJ
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Here it is, the finale of the long and commemerative Third Unorganized Invitational. I'm going big and strong on this one, and I'm hoping to end this on a good note. On to the beer:

Pours a small, mocha-tanned head on top with the usual pitch black body associated with the style. The aroma is good. Some cocoa, licorice, a side of fruit, and a faint fume of cardboard.

At first taste, this is an easy going imperial stout. A little roasty with some hops (piney)burst on to the scene as it enters your mouth. Baker's chocolate appears, and then it morphs into chocolate brownie liquid. Faint smokiness and molasses. Where's the booze? Bitter astringent coffee lingers on in the aftertaste. Full bodied with a tick of carbonation, it soaks and coats the tongue.

This will conclude the Third Unorganized Invitational, and now in the usual fashion, it is time to announce the winner of it all, and it is:

Girardin (black label) Gueuze!

What to way to celebrate my graduation from college, with eight big beer for eight straight nights, but in the end, the sour holds the power to winning. Girardin joins Anchor Steam and Hacker Weiss as the winners of the Unorganized Invitaitonal series. I won't be in school to have another end of the year celebration with beer, but I will continue to carry on the tradtion. Check back around this time next year for the Fourth edition. Good night everyone!

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.16/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Knownfactor for this bottle, and two more.

Pours black, perhaps some brown edging, but overall this thing is dark. That's the good part. No head at all. I could be persuaded to say it has a collar...

Aroma is boozy up front. This takes away from the nice prune and black plum, dark chocolate and molasses aromas. Too bad.

Again, booze really hinders the flavors. I know they are there. The cocoa is thinned out and the dark, soft fruits are too soaked. It has some sharp agents, too. Anise and quick roasted malt give it a bit of a kick. This one *needs* age on it. Ok with me.

Overall a nice beer. Too boozy right now to warrant higher ratings, but it has great potential.

Photo of ejimhof
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.65/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow. This is how a RIS should taste! Thanks Drunkmonk!
Where do I begin? Perhaps the best RIS I have had. Poured a deep thick black with a nice deep brown head. Carbonation was good. Nose is sticky, sweet with cocoa, espresso, roasted malts. Taste is very smooth. Lots of cocoa, coffee, roasted malts and maybe even some vanilla. Mouthfeel was great. Drinkability was awesome. So good and the 10.5 ABV was well disguised. Awesome brew.

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.58/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bell's Expedition Stout
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
ABV: 10.50 %

LOOK: Pours a dark brown, almost black, with a solid inch of brown foam. Mostly clear with no sediment.

SMELL: Roasted malt with a good amount of burnt aromas, pumpernickel bread, and alcohol.

TASTE: In the flavor there is more of the roasted flavor, a bit of a yeasty twang, bread, spiked coffee, and definitely some clean and assertive alcohol flavor. Bitterness has died down to a suggestion and works with the alcohol bite. Faint chocolate, coffee, but mostly just roasted flavor with a kick of booze.

FEEL: Full bodied, smooth, medium carbonation. Has a bit of alcohol and burnt flavor lingering into the finish.

OVERALL: A pretty standard Imperial Stout, big in its ways, but certainly enjoyable. Can be aged for extended periods of time, but the alcohol will always be there, as it is a big part of the flavor.

Photo of smakawhat
4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass. Nice to see how this out of the bottle for a change. Packaged September 26th 2011 off we go.

Out of the bottle this pours supper dark and motor oil thick with an incredibly dark DARK brown chocolate head, creamy tiny bubbles and big lacing edges around the glass. Body color is a classic walnut black/brown.

Nose is very fruity, banana, barleywine sense, and mild malts. Interesting very creamy smelling, not so much roasty or malty, quite nice though.

Taste is a great mix of milk chocolate, and very hop bitter finish. Slightly prickly but mostly velvety chocolate texture in the mid palate, and finishing with a very noticeable grapefruit hop bitter. Hop character seems to take over the remaining drink, but still give a basic impression of a dark malty stout.

Overall pretty tasty, but was quite surprised by this hop bitter presence.

Photo of tdm168
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - black and as thick as oil with a thick, short cap of brown head that sits atop this brew forever

S - licorice, dark fruit, coffee, roasted malts

T - big roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, faint dark fruit, very bitter

M - full bodied, warm, smooth, perfectly carbonated and oily

This is a really solid beer. The bitterness is a bit intense and detracts from the rest of the flavors. The overall flavor profile is impressive. Rich, chocolate, roasty, bitter coffee, underlying dark fruit -- really enjoyable. I would have this again for sure.

Photo of atrocity
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of brandoman63
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of akorsak
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A snifter glass served at Capone's during both Founders/Bell's nights.

A: The stout is pitch black, no other words adequately describe the dark depths of this stout. Unfortunately there was no head atop this black beauty, besmirching the nice appearance.

S: The nose is roasted malts, dark thick grains that have bready and vinous characteristics. Some sweeter grains punch up the strong burnt aromas.

T: The taste is right in line with the big aromas from the nose. There is a thick roasted burnt malt flavor, bitter and strong that remains throughout the drink. That burnt flavor is nicely matched up against a graham sweetness. The alcohol underlying this beer is huge, completely unable to hide itself even amongst the abundance of flavor here. The finish is burnt and bitter, leaving a long full taste in the mouth.

M: The stout is huge, easily overwhelming the tastebuds with dark roasted flavors and big alcohol. This is not a stout for the faint of heart.

D: A snifter is great, more than one and you'll be seein' double. This is a complex beer that is best enjoyed slowly with good company.

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 5,282 ratings.