Kalamazoo Stout
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store

Kalamazoo StoutKalamazoo Stout
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Stout - American
Ranked #110
Ranked #7,369
4 | pDev: 10.25%
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Michigan, United States
Very Good
Kalamazoo StoutKalamazoo Stout
Notes: Named after the city where it all began, Kalamazoo Stout is one of our most classic recipes. This smooth, full-bodied stout offers a blend of aromas and flavors of dark chocolate and freshly roasted coffee, balanced with a significant hop presence.
Reviews: 1,667 | Ratings: 4,630 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of PathofChaos
PathofChaos from Maryland

3.54/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

An impressive, double finger-width of creamed mocha froth floats steadily on a lake of imperturbable black.

Bouquet & Taste:
Roasted chestnuts and sips of black coffee hiding in a vast field of dark grains. Hops appear and disappear on the horizon, too distant to rightly identify. While crossing the gain field, straining to get a closer look at those hops, you'll trip over a gnarled root of old chocolate.

An attenuated medium with trivial carbonation. Slightly roasty, mildly bitter.

Very mild. A good starter stout for the uninitiated.

Today at 01:09 AM
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KT3418 from Colorado

4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A classic American stout. I highly enjoyed this, the chocolate and coffee is balanced well with the Itty bitty licorice finish. For some reason I think I like this a bit more than anticipated. Definitely getting again.

Mar 27, 2021
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klarcbarr3 from Michigan

3.86/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

As a new Michigander, I will be exploring the breweries of Michigan.. here is my first entry from Bell's Brewery, their Kalamazoo Stout. Upon opening, an earthy, hoppy, slightly metallic smell greets the nostrils. The brew pours dark, and forms a respectable mocha colored head, which modestly laces as you consume. The taste is good.. a bit overly hoppy to my taste buds, but the hops, and malt form a tangible licorice note atop the chocolate and coffee blend expected from a good stout. The mouthfeel is nice, substantial but not sticky.. this stout goes down smoothly, It tastes better as you go.. I'm looking forward to my second one, already. We have a winner here!

Mar 23, 2021
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taint67 from Georgia

4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Seems like here lately the IPA craze (not that I mind it) makes it more difficult for me to find the dark beers I love here in Ga.
But I came across this and I am a fan of Bell's. So I bought and quaffed and enjoyed this stout. It is a solid, very good beer. Nice thickish pour, dark head. Smooth, complex dark malts some nice bitterness and alcohol at the end. If you are a stout fan you will enjoy this one. Another good beer from one of my favorite breweries.

Feb 26, 2021
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MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

4.09/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Label has bottling date as '11/16/2020', with a recommended six month shelf life.
Dark brown to black colored body, with a red mahogany back lit edge. One finger of beige head. Leaves a spotty pattern of lacing spots.
Aroma of dark roasted malts with a whiff of chocolate.
Taste is full with dark roasted malts, and an appearance of char, which is slightly sweet. Some dark chocolate is there too, with a black licorice flavor. Surprisingly sweet for such a dark roasted malt dominated taste. After taste trails off with more a dry char.
Fuller mouth feel. Has some minor fizz in the mouth. Good carbonation.
Such a tasty beer, with its touch of sweetness posed against the dry dark roast/char/black licorice. It may not be sessionable but two of these in medium rapid fashion will be quite a treat (must like the dark roast and black licorice side of the taste profile).

Feb 05, 2021
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iamclifford from Illinois

3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Just a plain good Stout. Coffee nose is prominent, but I drank from a bottle, so take that as you will. Get a good black licorice finish, which I didn't know I would like but it fits this really well. Coffee/chocolate is more on the front of the taste. Overall really well done basic Stout

Jan 01, 2021
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mushroomcloud from Texas

4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottled 7/28/20. Opened 12/20/20.
2 finger beige head. Thick, dense foam with a fine bead. Frothy like the top of a freshly stirred chocolate milk.
Black at it's core with some dark brown at the edges. Sticky and full lacing pattern.
Dark and roasty malts, charred wood. Earthy clay-like aroma.
Deeply flavored at only 6%, definite spice from the licorice, coffee-like bitterness and anise/clove.
Medium + body, smooth mouthfeel with a lengthy bitter and roasted char filled finish.
Very Good.

Dec 20, 2020
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JohnniEMc from Pennsylvania

3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

With two 12 oz. bottles now emptied into a clear glass liter mug, returns are starting to come in. First to report are the looks. The color is a rich and dense black coffee with a very foamy tan head. Modest glass lace follows. Next in, the aroma. It's very subdued, of roasted malt and if you know it's there, just a hint of licorice. The taste is roasted malt forward and turns slightly bitter for the aftertaste. That might be the Brewer's Licorice contributing. This shouldn't be considered in the same category as the desert stouts, which bring sweetness with tastes of Creme Brule, chocolate, peanut butter, cherry pie and the like. The licorice here actually adds a little bitterness and to a dry finish.

Dec 15, 2020
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jockstrappy from Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle pours a deep coffee hue. Frothy beige head, slight lacing. Notes of roasted malt, coffee and espresso rule the day. Flavor is the espresso bitterness up front with coffee and cocoa coming on toward the back. The roasted coffee flavor hangs on for a minute after the finish, but not in a bad way. It’s more of a precursor to the next sip. Another solid offering from Bells.

Nov 08, 2020
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Brook82 from Ohio

3.51/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Looks like most stouts, dark cola color, bold tannish head that left better than average lacing. Aroma was unique with acidic influence. Taste was bitter , more so the latter part of swallowing. pretty good sample of style from Bell's, but my unrefi ned palate prefers their sweet stout

Oct 20, 2020
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theo_d from Maryland

4.66/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This beer shares a lot of similarities with Guinness 200th anniversary stout, including a sort of smokiness, that perhaps should be credited to the malts. Whatever the case, I love the beer. It's intensely drinkable, not overly sweet, and can be consumed at 9 AM without making one feel like you may have a drinking problem. I never bothered to smell it prior to this review, but the smell is more like the outside of any large brewery (I think of Hieleman's in Wisconsin, as I I once tried to work there) -- only good if you like beer -- yet everything else is splendid. In terms of taste, I personally prefer it to Bell's other stouts (though i don't actually buy it more often than Expedition Stout.

Oct 16, 2020
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milkshakebeersucks from Maryland

4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Requisite stout color with a small nougat hued head and good lacing. Coffee up first in the aroma followed by dark fruit before the roasted malts yield a little bitter chocolate in the background. Warm, earthy, bittersweet flavors with more emphasis on bitter. Hops are a significant presence. Full bodied, softly carbonated mouthfeel. Long, lingering finish.

Oct 04, 2020
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mikeinportc from New York

4.17/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown, with moderate very fine tan head, that leaves a fine ring and light lacing.

Smell is chocolate cake batter*, roasted nuts, and earthy, wet rotting log .
* Reminds me of the chocolate cake my mom would occasionally make, that had a bit of sour cream in it.

Taste is nutty, roasty malt, cola, barely-sweetened chocolate, and slight char. Light, pleasant bitterness.

Feel is light-side-of-medium, initially lightly creamy, with moderate soft carbonation bite coming in mid-taste, & lingering a bit.

Overall, an enjoyable basic stout. Well-done! :)

Aug 29, 2020
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Newbeergeek1 from Maine

4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the best breweries in the country and this beer is one of WHY it is. Just a solid solid stout. My best recommendation is to tell any reader of my reviews if I would buy this again. I absolutely would and with so many solid beers in the really great breweries I can find so much good to great beers and I don’t have to get the same beers hardly ever unless I really like them.

Aug 23, 2020
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jonathanm99 from Michigan

4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown color, not quite opaque. No head, minimal lacing. Smell is roasted malt. Taste follows the smell with some moderate hop bitterness up front, dark chocolate shows up on the front of the taste as the beer warms. Licorice flavor shows up on the finish but isn’t overpowering at all, just enough to compliment the other flavors. Feel is fairly balanced. Carbonation is light, mouthfeel is not syrupy but fairly significant. Overall this is very balanced, which I would expect from anything from Bell’s. Fairly simple flavor profile without some of the harsher hop flavors that you frequently get in American stouts.

Jul 25, 2020
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ThisWangsChung from Maryland

4.19/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Re-review, since it's the original 1988 recipe and stuff (this beer is as old as me!); poured in the same damn Samuel Smith pint glass with a nearly pitch-black body. The head is khaki-colored, with good retention and streaks of sudsy lacing left on the side of the glass. The aroma yields no real surprises - it leans towards notes of roast, espresso, baker's cocoa, and licorice. A subtle hoppy quality really perks it up without overwhelming the senses. Taste-wise, there are no real surprises. While roasted malt and espresso are the primary notes, a dark chocolate undercurrent is the X-factor that makes this stout achieve Flavortown. It finishes with a faint hop kick, offering just enough to cleanse the palate. The finish also meshes beautifully with the creamy, lush texture, keeping it decently dry while still offering the softness I love in a good stout. Carbonation is fairly low. Like yours truly, this is a classic for a reason.

PS: Oh cruel irony, 8 years ago I lamented how I couldn't buy this in Maryland, meaning I had to drive to Virginia to buy it. Nowadays, I can find it in Maryland no sweat, but I'd have no such luck in Virginia ever since Bell's stopped distributing there.


Original score from February 27, 2012: 4.12 (4/4.5/4/4/4)

Poured into a Samuel Smith pint glass.

A: Pours a very dark brown color one expects from a stout. It's not impregnable to the light, but it works well. The head is a one finger dark cream color with good lacing, but lacking retention.

S: Very strong roast, espresso, and chocolate notes, with the licorice appearing as a secondary characteristic to the main scent. Amazingly in your face aroma.

T: The flavors are quite good, if not on the same level as the smell. There's an opening of wood and vanilla, followed by a sudden, welcome upsurge of roasted malt and chocolate. Finally, there's a combination of a vegetal component and some subtle licorice on the finish. The flavors progress smoothly and create a good balance, being neither overly sweet nor bitter, and tastes bigger than its 6% might suggest.

M: Good thickness overall, with a smooth, semi-creamy body and little dryness on the back end. Carbonation is low.

O: Definitely a great stout. It's not perfect, but it genuinely makes me wish I didn't have to drive to Virginia to get it (then again, it's worth going a state over to pick it up...)

Jul 11, 2020
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benandemmiboo from Maryland

4.78/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Brewer's licorice seems to be the secret ingredient here. Along with Guinness 200th anniversary stout (also with brewer's licorice), this is my favorite-tasting stout. Only other competitor under $5 a bottle seems to be Narwhal (regular and barrel-aged).

Jul 05, 2020
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MackT from Florida

3.46/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle 5 weeks out. Typical dark brown, tan frothy 1 1/2” head produced by aggressive pour into a snifter.
Smell is rather mild, roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, not getting any of the advertised licorice. Not much in the way of lacing.
Taste is not off putting, nice blend of ingredients, none overpowering the other.
Feel lends to the dry side, some carbonation, coffee lingers.
Overall, a very good stout, priced right.

May 30, 2020
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Scott17Taylor from Iowa

3.93/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Classic no frills American stout
It’s roasty has that classic acidic coffee, light smoke dark bakers chocolate sweetness. The hops are pronounced, like most of these lower abv stouts were until the adjunct stouts took over,
Mouthfeel is medium, Definitely not watery but not coating.
Overall, it’s good. I kind of miss stouts like this. No bs just a solid beer.

Feb 15, 2020
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defunksta from North Dakota

3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a nearly jet black color. No clarity. A strong medium to dark tan head. SRM of 25. (4.25)

Aroma: Strong aromas of rich chocolate, black malt, molasses, wafer and black pudding in the dark malt. Mild to moderate roast but not any coffee. Smells sweet. Not getting really any licorice. (3.75)

Flavor: Strong flavors of dark cocoa, smooth dark malt & black pudding, molasses. There's bitter roast, and some sweet cream alongside a lingering roasty bitterness, but not coffee nor espresso. Nice chocolate with a bit of cinnamon. The roasty bitterness is nicely balanced by the sweet malt. It's sweet, but the roast provides a nice, cleansing balance. (4.00)

Feel: Medium-bodied. Moderate carbonation. Nice and airy roast lingers among the dark sweetness. (4.25)

Compared to Deschutes' Black Butte Porter: Pours a darker color with a darker head. Much more aromatic of dark chocolate and roast. Stronger aromatics and flavors. A much more complete beer overall.

Compared to Bell's Porter 4/12/20: Pours a slightly darker color with a darker tan head. Similar aroma strength. More flavors of dark chocolate, wafer, and dark malts. Less coffee & espresso. Drinks creamier and slightly sweeter. Finishes with less roast, heavier, and sweeter.
2/10/21: A simialr color with a smaller, but darker tan head. Stronger aromas. More chocolate, and robust roast. Darker, smokier, and more bitter coffee roast. Smoother and creamier. Not more malty though.

Compared to Founders Porter 5/9/20: Pours with a similar color and head. Slightly stronger aroma. Slightly more roast and black malt. Less chocolate. Finishes with more bitterness, roast, and less cream.
2/17/21: Pours an identical color. More roasty. Less creamy chocolate aromas and slightly darker. More dark chocolate, malts and roast. Less chocolate and cream malt. A more bitter and clean finish. Less smooth and malty on the tongue. Overall, similar and both are top quality.
3/21/21: Milder head. More dark chocolate and mocha aromas. Less rich chocolate and cream.

Compared to Edmund Fitzgerald Porter 1/27/21: Pours a similar color with a darker tan head. A stronger aroma of chocolate. More chocolate, black malt, sweetness. Less simple and clean.
4/21/21:Stronger aromas of espresso roast and black malt. Less smooth milk chocolate & creamy malts. Dryer.

Compared to Obsidian Stout 2/6/21: Similar. Pours a similar color with a stronger head. A slightly chocolatier aromas, but not on the flavor.
3/25/21: Similar color, slightly lighter head. More milk chocolate on the aroma. Less phenolic dark malts. Drinks with more milk chocolate and cream. Less roasty dark chocolate and espresso. Far creamier and less roasty.

Overall: A very nice blend of balanced DARK CHOCOLATE & ROAST while maintaining an appropriate body and dryness.. Hints of cinnamon and other dark malts. . A stout-appropriate roastiness, while being dry. Nice and balanced dark chocolate, roast, and dark malt. A well-crafted blend of roast and malt. Neither is overwhelming. Not getting much licorice, which I wish there was more of. Nevertheless, A very nice and balanced stout. Should come back to this one. (Final Rating: 3.97)
*Compare again to Bells or then Founders*

Feb 09, 2020
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KRug from Massachusetts

3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 11/25/19

Pours pitch black with 2 fingers of fluffy tan head, crazy lacing on this

Mmmmm, classic stout roast in the nose, and they weren't lying about the hops. They stand out in the mix of sharp coffee and bittersweet dark chocolate

Taste is more of the same, though the hop bite rather dominates the palate, even at over 2 months old. The coffee and the "brewer's licorice" are also likely contributing to the bitterness

Medium bodied, and finishes rather dry for a stout, good for sessioning no doubt

Overall I like this one, perhaps a touch too bitter for a stout imo, but roasty and creamy all the same!

Feb 08, 2020
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Peach63 from New York

4.17/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with a 1 1/2 inch thick, creamy, white head, which lasts. Heavy lacing to the end.

Strong aroma of coffee, chocolate, licorice, roasted malt.

Full bodied, light carbonation. Dry finish with coffee aftertaste.

Excellent color, head, lacing, mouthfeel. A damn good stout.

Jan 22, 2020
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Squire from Mississippi

3.93/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color is dark and I mean dark like a good Sumatra Mandheling coffee. When held against a bright back light I can detect some copper gold tinges around the edges. Brownish tan cap with decent lacing.

Aroma of very good coffee laced with Turbinado sugar. There is a clean spiciness about it that I cannot specifically identify but reminds me of a high quality Chinese Five Spice blend.

Taste of clean roasted malt carrying along with it elements of coffee, cocoa and a touch of anise. The spice element is upfront singing solo but the bass elements are in good voice supporting the theme. Well made, consistent throughout and finishes dry.

Medium texture with balancing carbonation.

A strikingly balanced brew and whether the brewer want's to call it a Porter or a Stout doesn't matter a whit.

Jan 14, 2020
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EvershineDan from Michigan

4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Pours black. And I mean BLACK. I held it up to a 100w light bulb, and there's zero light penetration. Nicest thickest tan head that I've ever seen.
Heavy roasted malt, and expresso goodness.
Beautifully bitter, and very smooth.

Dec 29, 2019
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GoBearsWalter34 from Illinois

4/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with a webbed, tan head.
Smell of coffee and chocolate malt, vanilla.
Spice, pepper and backers chocolate. Slight smoked meat. Hop bite as well.
Bigger mouthfeel with a lot going on.
Good unique stout.

Nov 27, 2019
Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 4630 ratings