Bell's Kalamazoo Stout | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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Bell's Kalamazoo StoutBell's Kalamazoo Stout

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States

Style: American Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Stout brewed with Brewer's Licorice.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-11-2001

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Reviews: 1,562 | Ratings: 4,252
Photo of MarcusArvan
5/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is quite frankly the best stout (and maybe the best beer) I've ever had. Holy cow. A little bit of licorice, a little coffee, a little sweet, a little bitter, but not too sweet or too bitter. Just perfect in every way--complex and pleasant. Blows Samuel Smith oatmeal stout (one of my favorites) out of the water. I was so blown away by this beer that I (finally) signed up for Beer Advocate just to review it...and I drink a lot of beer. My wife, who doesn't even like beer much, was blown away too.

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Photo of MasterfulIdiot
5/5  rDev +24.1%

Poured into a Riedel tulip. The beer itself is pitch black and the pour kicks up a beautiful tan head that keep growing for a second after the pour, and leaves a ridiculous coating of lace throughout the duration of the beer!

Aroma is equally wonderful. Semi-sweet chocolate, perfect (slight) amount of roastiness, along with hints of coffee and dark fruit. Not a particularly strong aroma, but there are some really good smells in there.

Taste is absolutely incredible. Just the perfect mix of roasty bitterness, dark fruit, and creaminess. The semi-sweet chocolate, hints of coffee, and dark fruit all come through from the nose, with some nice grainy malt flavors thrown in. When I think about it, there's a hint of licorice that I probably wouldn't have noticed if it didn't say "brewed with brewer's licorice," but it really adds to the flavor. The finish is slightly, perfectly, bitter, with a glorious creamy, chocolatey, malty aftertaste. This has some wonderful desert beer flavors without being very sweet at all, which is exactly what I would want! Really amazing.

Mouthfeel is to die for - medium-bodied, but amazingly silky and creamy, with a light amount of carbonation. Perfect for the flavor!

Overall, I can hardly imagine a better stout. I feel like I could just knock these back one right after the other, and with the relatively low ABV, I probably could! Absolutely perfect flavors and feeling - they really hit this one out of the park!

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Photo of sacrelicio
5/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout. Long time drinker, first time reviewer.

Midnight in a glass poured into a Chimay Goblet. Tan, root beer float head, dense and creamy. Lacing like spackel to be chiseled off the walls of the glass. Perfect.

The aroma starts spicy and fruity, showing the generous hops that go into this masterpiece. Milk chocolate and clove fill out the graceful yet full aroma.

The taste has amazing complexity. Smoke, chocolate, cloves, graham cracker, almonds, hazelnuts, milk chocolate, oak, dark fruit, it's all together in a whirlwind of flavor.

Mouthfeel is thick and smooth, without being heavy.

The drinkability is great. All nighter, everyday.

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Photo of 1fastz28
5/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

well money has been tight so i haven't had the luxury to buy some good beer but i decided to splurge for something new. Beer pours darker than almost any other beer i can think of, its as dark as celebrator easily. It may be the darkest beer i've ever had. Smells of toffee and sweet roasted malt, with maybe some chocolate in there. Taste is fantastic as one would expect from bells, the alcohol is barely noticeable and the chocolate smell is much more pronounced in the mouth. It really is a good beer, and i'm going to savor this 6 pack.

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Photo of bboven
5/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My favorite stout hands down. It has a unique bitterness for a stout that smacks your tongue instead of shaking its hand. The initial pow is balanced with malty, coffeey, chocolaty, desserty tastes. It smells of all the best things available to the style.

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Photo of Mitchster
5/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

OG=1.065, 6.3% ABV.

Mmmm, another Kzoo. This delicious brew pours out ink-black, not even a wisp of chestnut at the edges of the glass when held to a halogen lamp. Forms a whipped, meringue-like dark tan head atop medium bubbles with gobs of tenancious lace. The head always remains at least 1/2" thick. Aroma is heavenly, with lots of sweet milk chocolate, walnuts, peanut butter, bitter dark chocolate, sweet vanilla beans, oily french roast, and hints of burnt marshmallows while sitting around a smoky campfire. Mouthfeel is velvety smooth and lightly oily with a thick, chewy body. Carbonation is mild to moderate. Taste starts out with lots of bittersweet chocolate, followed by faint woodiness, sticky dark malts, a subtle sourness, full city roast coffee, a wisp of alcohol, a pleasant chalkiness, and ending in a drawn-out cascade of aphrodisiac bittering hops and tons of chocolate and black patent malts. As it warms, the carbonation disperses, and the elements mellow, making it all the more satisfying. Absolutely no off-flavors, and an absolute perfection in complexity, character, and nuances.

I don't know how the magicians over in Kzoo do it, but despite being so rich and complex, this brew is extremely drinkable. The only thing better than this is having it on tap. I feel sorry for the people who don't have access to all of Kzoo's brews. They brew some of the finest beer you'll ever have. This is an exceptional beer that I couldn't live without, and one of the only reasons I still live in Michigan. A World-Class King of Stouts. Cheers!

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Photo of ultralarry2006
5/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Left an espresso foam colored one finger head with excellent retention and some spotty lacing here and there. Body was the deepest possible brown, almost an inky black.

Smell - rich roasted malt. Tones of chocolate, coffee, rich hearty dark bread, slight sweetness of caramel.

Taste - exactly like the smell. Rich roasted malt, rendering chocolate, coffee, and dark bread all slightly sweetened with hint of caramel. Also 6.5 abv is entirely obscured, amazing. Hearty, satisfying, and yummy (sorry) beer.

Mouthfeel - full, smooth, low cabonation, some chewiness at times.

Drinkability - this goes down great, and is excellent. Rich and hearty and satisfying. I could session this any time, but it may be too hearty for some.

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Photo of maxpower
5/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours thick dark black color, nice lasting tan head, leaves a perfect lace, aroma of chocolate, coffee and nutmeg? Thick and creamy full mouthfeel, coffee and sweet chocolate taste, this may be my favorite stout, its hard to stop at just one, the best stout IMHO.

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Photo of MJR
4.95/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Kalamazoo Stout pours with a thick, ebony body crowned with a rocky, dense, tan head that shrinks a bit as time wears on. There's a bit of yeast sediment at the bottom of the bottle...not that it matters, clarity-wise, with a brew this dark.

The main smells I pick up on are full-bodied coffee, a bit of chocolate, molasses, licorice, and roasted barley. Simply taking a sniff breaks down any patience needed to savor this one! The taste is the same as the smell...all sweet coffee and molasses. Rich, thick, roasted perfection-one bottle at a time. This beer has a nice, full body, but not so much as to not require a second pint. Beautiful balance between the various flavors.

This is one of my favorite beers, so maybe I'm a little biased, but this is truly one of the best stouts this planet has to offer!

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Photo of TechMyst
4.95/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

355 ml bottle. Consumed on 9-1-06 packaged on 6-15 (info available from website actually). No head, with thin lacing. Faint aroma. Very opaqe deep dark amber (no transmittance). EXCELLENT taste! No conditioning sting, this is bottle conditioned so itÂ’a a REAL ALE. Bitter at start, malt and chocolate in middle, finish is sweet black licorice. Medium mouth feel. Suprising how high the alcohol content is actually. Somewhat filling. Excellently crafted beer!

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Photo of yuenglingfan101
4.94/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I cant believe I hadn't rated this beer. Nice and dark for a good stout. In fact i like putting this stout in my chili along with the Bells Porter for flavoring purposes. small to medium head. smooth tasting all the way down and really cant ask much more from this stout. Bell's always has fine products this one is no exception.

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Photo of goindownsouth
4.92/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Young's Double Chocolate Stout has been a favorite Stout beer, until I tried Kalamazoo Stout. This beer is the Stout of all Stouts. It has a very rich, black color with a brown earthy head. The exceptional smell of deep "roastyness" is unique. You get a slight burnt flavor, yet at the same time, a long lasting and residual chocolatey sweetness. This is not a bitter beer. I highly recommend!

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Photo of aaronh
4.89/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep reddish chestnut color, almost black, with a thin tan head. The aroma is very strong with sweet fruits, like cherry and pear. Scents of the finest chocolate in the world tease the nostrils. A bit of hop spiciness mixed in as well. Truly delicious aroma. The taste is strong on dark, bittersweet chocolate. A nice sweetness follows, as well as defined roasted notes. The finish presents more fruity chocolate, with a wisp of smoke. A bit of vanilla is present as well, mixed in with the solid malt flavor in the background. As you can tell, this is one very complex beer. I also sense a bit of nuttiness in there as well. The mouthfeel is very smooth, and shows a moderate body. Not as thick as some sweet stouts, but flavor is what this beer is all about. I would gladly trade a handful of Guinness beers for just one of these. However, I could drink this beer exclusively and soon forget that there was ever any other beer in my life. While each bottle may not last that long, I can see this is the beginning of a long-term relationship with Kalamazoo. Oh, what a beer! Thanks to cretemixer for the trade.

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Photo of waughbrew
4.88/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

wow. just sniff this! in-your-face roasted grains, oat cream pie. sweet caramel covered strawberries. light maple molasses. earthy yeast and a hint of chemicalliness. flavors of nutmeg and anise are possibly just enduced psychadelia. leaves a nice burnt coffee bean character on your tongue after the sweetness has slid down. full body to say the least, yet it is rediculously drinkable. an amazing beer.

[mad props out to PaulB for the hookup]

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Photo of StevieW
4.87/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. Who's the guy on the label ? Black nothing brown about it. Creamy full tan densly bubbled head. Super smooth Hershey's milk chocolate smell. Taste is a sharpley contrasted yet perfectly balanced combination of smooth, creamy chocolate malt, and slighty burnt bitter coffee charge. There is just a whisper of burnt bitter candied apples, or more like plums. Just a hint of medicinal flavors, but it reminds its a stout, IMO. Hop bitterness finish up quickly, leaving your taste buds, aching for more. Medium bodied, noticable carbonation may set some off, make it too thin or bubbly, less viscous than some stouts, but not me. Felt perfect going down. Overall a creamy super smooth, perfectly balances chocolate sweetness and striking bitterness just at the last second. We've got a winner here. Yep it earns my highest compliment......Magic in a glass !

Part of the MJR Blockbuster deal.

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Photo of aepb1
4.85/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Opaque deep dark brown with a creamy light brown head and light lacing

S- Rich coffee, chocolate and a hint of caramel as well

T- Coffee and roasty malts, chocolaty and creamy

M- Nice balance between carbonation and creaminess. Very full-bodied as a stout should be!

D- Excellent American stout and one of my favorite beers. If I were closer to home (Michigan) and this were more readily available, I'd drink this more often!

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Photo of philberinghele
4.85/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Forbidden Pleasures
Mysterious Black Magic
Winter calls for bells

I can not believe that people in Indiana of all places can enjoy what we in the only outpost of civilization in the entire midwest are forbidden. This is the finest stout made. Not quite as black as I would prefer, but if you dim the lights, you will not notice. Easily the most drinkable stout that I have enjoyed and perhaps what made me finally appreciate the genre. Give your guiness to a small child and awake to the good news, BELL'S BEER IS ALIVE!!!

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Photo of ppoitras
4.83/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle obtained via trade with CRJMellor. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a big ol' 1" mocha-hued head above an opaque dark brown/black brew. Dense head has good staying power, and laced tremendously. Aroma is of coffee and choco malts, with a bit of milk sweetness that rounds it out nicely. The taste is follows the aroma's map, and the sweetness really rounds out the flavor on the palate. Don't know where that 6.5% is hiding, but it was cloaked with some artistic brewing. If I had to find a fault, I think the mouthfeel is a bit thin for such a hearty brew, but this is really nit-picking. One of the best stouts I've enjoyed, just wish it was more widely available.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.83/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pitch black with a full creamy brown/dark brown head, decent carbonation, lasting low head, and leaves nice lace sheets. Big rich roasty malt aromas. Big roasty malt flavors with a good bit of sweetness and dark chocolate tones. Full-medium bodied with a big smooth creaminess and a nice roasty sweet finish.

Big and bold... let it warm a bit.

Per Label: "Stout brewed with Brewer's Licorice"

Per Bell's website:
OG: 1.063
ABV: 6.0%

Batch # 7752 ('6286' lasered on bottom)
Bottled: 12/01/06 (per case box)
Tasted: 01/20/07

($8.49 / 6-pack)

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Photo of proc
4.83/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Re-rate: 12/27/02...This is my go-to stout.

It is a staple of my 'fridge.

It is my beer comfort zone.

This is one of the best stouts anywhere. Pours out to a jet black in the glass with a brown head that reminds your of caramel. The smell is that of coffee, molasses and hops. Yes, hops. Bell's put enough in to let you know its one robust stout. Wonderful roasted malt with that hop kick at the end that make you want another.

ORIGINAL RATING: One of my all-time favorites. Even better if you get it on tap at the Bell's Beer Garden. Nice, rich taste of molasses and a velvety smooth mouthfeel. Bell's knows their stouts.

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Photo of Gehrig
4.83/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

After having sampled (or re-tried) some genuine duds lately, this was a breath of fresh air, and truly one of the best stouts I've had. Kalamazoo Stout wins one over from the beginning, announcing its presence with authority--two dense fingers of dark tan froth over a jet black body. It's a sight to behold, but there's much more. The aromas are excellent--lots of coffee, but rich chocolate, and hints of fruit. The taste is wondrous, rich in chocolate and coffee, nicely roasted with caramel occasionally intruding--just incredible. It stands up well, and I certainly didn't give it much time to wait, with balanced carbonation and creamy texture. I found it impossible to have just one, and intend to stock up on this and other wares from Bell's.

Close to a masterpiece, without a doubt.

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Photo of jdg204
4.82/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Us poor folks here in PA have finally started to progress from the Dark Ages with the selling of 6 pack's at Wegmans. Wegman's also deserves mucho credit for pulling in some great brands, especially the first Bell's siting in the area.

A: Black in color with a large, dark tan head that showed some retention and left a bit of lacing.

S: Great combination of sweet cream, roasted malts, light espresso, and hints of chocolate.

T: The big, roasted malt just hits the nail on the head and is balanced by not just milk, but real cream! Nice portion of hops provide a nice add-on. AMAZING BALANCE!

M: This is medium-bodied and really drinks smoothly. It has a fluffy mouthfeel that will satisfy.

D: Never had a memorable milk/ sweet stout before this one and then this came and broke the bank! Bell's has a huge winner here, this is an amazing brew which is amongst the elite I've had at this point. I've been wanting to try more Bell's and this has me officially hooked, I'm on the lookout for more of their luscious stouts now!

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Photo of schoolboy
4.82/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am sure lots of great things have been said about this wonderful brew. I just need to go on record (for myself, if for no other reason) as saying this is one of the best stouts.

I drank it blind. And after read the label and went, oh yeah. That was licorice in there. Nice job.

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Photo of Gorgoroth
4.8/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: Standard brown bottle typical of Bell's with fairly minimalistic but professional artwork. Rather unsuspecting-looking for the powerful brew contained within.

Appearance: Pours into an oversize snifter with a deep brown/black color, little-to-no carbonation and half-a-fingerwidth of creamy, caramel and creme colored head.

Smell: Potent shock of coffee, roasted malt, and dark chocolate. I'd almost expect an aroma like this to come from an imperial stout rather than a regular one, but it is a pleasant surprise.

Taste: Follows the smell closely with strong currents of coffee, roasted malt, and dark chocolate, supported by notes of dried fruit such as black cherry and apricot, licorice, molasses, brown sugar, and burnt toast.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy with a very full, chewy body, as expected of a good stout. Fairly flat with a bitter finish and slight alcohol warmth.

Drinkability/Final Thoughts: Very smooth and drinkable; quite complex for a standard stout yet very inviting. Bell's puts out many solid beers, and this is no exception. This is a very potent drink which almost comes off as an imperial or experimental stout, though it is technically a standard American stout. It is quite cheap and widely available in my area, which results in a great deal because the brew itself is superb.

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Photo of Zaktcc
4.79/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pours a dark brown, borderline black color with a 2 finger, toffee colored head. Good head retention and lacing is present.

S - The beer showcases a very robust and well defined aroma. Roasted malts and coffee are the most dominant aromas I can pick up on. A more underlying sweetness is present as well via chocolate aromas. Very appeasing to the nose.

T - One of the best stouts I've had regarding flavor. The flavors in the beer are very pronounced and well defined; living up to the aromas. Notes of coffee and "smoked" flavorings up front proceeded by the roasted malts and subtle hints of sugar. Leaves a subtle sweetness on your lips.

M - Medium bodied beer with mild carbonation that isn't too notable with each sip. Leaves a foamy/ frothy mouthfeel with each sip and a lingering aftertaste of roasted malt. Fairly dry beer, as to be expected with a stout. No complaints in feel.

O - Bell's has yet to let me down. A phenomenal stout overall with robust flavors and aromas. Personally I'm not a big coffee fan (aside from the smell) though I've come to start appreciating the flavor within beer. No complaints and happy I bought the six-pack!

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Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.03 out of 5 based on 4,252 ratings.
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