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

1,576 Reviews
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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: 1,576 | Ratings: 4,297
Photo of mikesgroove
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Finally able to taste a Bell's stout, picked this one up at Brawley's on my last trip. Poured a thick deep dark black with a big creamy brown head. Faded from the initial 2+ inches to a 1/2 inch lace that stayed till the bottom of the glass. Very nice light brown coating left down the sides. Smell was very sweet, first hints were of coffee, and licorice, followed by sugary sweetness, and rootbeer. As it warmed hints of rootbeer or cream soda were apparent, and suprisingly pleasent. Smells were not too strong, a little more pronounced and it would have been perfect. Taste was very rich and creamy, with a soda like consistency due to the light feel and high carbonation. Predominant taste was coffee and caramel, again with hints of some kind of sweet cola taste. Only complaint on this was it came off a bit thin. Other than that this was a fine brew, just a bit thin, but a good session beer.

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Photo of antlerwrestler19
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep brown to black with maroon highlights when the light barely shines through. One finger toffee coloroed head fades pretty quick leaving the thinnest webbed lacing. Smells of anise and black licorice, roasted chocolate maltiness with a faint smokiness. The flavor follows suit but it also incorporates a lot of bitter chocolate and a bitter hop presence as well. The mouthfeel is smooth and on the lighter side of full bodied. This beer didn't really jump out at me, I enjoyed it but the licorice characteristics are probably what hurt this stout's quality for me. Still a good somewhat low abv. drinkable stout.


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Photo of BeerBuckeye
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark brown, no light getting through this one. Creamy, 1 finger, mocha head that leaves some lacing.

S - Almost a chocolate mocha smell, bits of cocoa with just a bit of roasted coffee in the background. Perhaps a hint of that licorice

T - Drinks a very bitter chocolate, as if it's baker's chocolate. Very pleasant roasted taste at first that--at the end--sort of feels a bit iron-y. The taste is pretty good, just an odd finish.

M - A bit thinner than I was expecting, taste is a bit sticky in the mouth. Not wholly unpleasant, just not what I was expecting in a stout.

D - Very, very drinkable. The thinness of the beer goes down very smooth and it carries the ABV well

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Photo of BeerYoss
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

two finger large bubbled head dissipates quickly to a thin film. decent lacing.

you can smell the alcohol but there is some great earthy chocolatey goodness in there too.

dark chocolate

there's a lightness to the mouthfeel that is at odds with the overall taste

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Photo of Vogie
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

Served in a Sam Smith pint glass.

In honor of International Stout Day I thought I would try a Bell's classic stout. Pour is black as night with a slight but fading mocha head. Aromas of roasted malts, faint hint of milk chocolate, and very bitter black coffee. Taste follows the nose with dark roasted malts that hit the palate first followed by lingering notes of bitter black coffee and bakers chocolate. Not picking up any Brewer's Licorice. Full bodied and decent mouthfeel.

Overall this is a touch bitter for my taste but a good benchmark American Stout nevertheless. Nice job Bell's.


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Photo of putnam
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

The smell of heavy cream and plump sweet grains, broiled until black and sweating, emerges from the glass immediately. Very pulpy aromas force me to look for chunks floating in the black liquid. There are none. Patent leather, black rubber, and sweet, milky alcohol rule throughout the cadence of dank, charcoal, lunchpail, sex and truffle nuances that come at the margins only to be tossed aside by the strict carbon organization of this beer's flavor profile. It would be better if it weren't so reminiscent of boiled potatoes and charcoal dust. I'm looking for joy in this glass of beer and all I find is a grim prison of black dirt, milk and sweet white potatoes. Christy Brown could have written a better beer. But I suppose that's a credit to this beer.

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Photo of sixerofelixir
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle. Bottled-on date was easily found by looking up batch code on Bell's official website.

Pours a pitch black, with a dark tan head. Smell is roasted coffee, with a deep earthiness and a hint of the licorice. Taste is dense and roasted, with a bitter base. nicely complex. The feel all the while is complex too - dry, yet effervescent. Drinkability is above average. A unique brew, that's for sure..

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Photo of DocAJ
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle to pint glass

A-Beautiful black color with a creamy tan head that left nice lacing

S-Choc and coffee aromas, dark cherry

T-follows nice, plus subtle licorice flavor and subtle hop taste that balances nicely

M-Creamy, medium bodied

D-Smooth drinker, could drink a couple of these

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Photo of kbwalters
3.74/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured cold into a libby stout glass. Bottled on 4/7/14 consumed on 8/28.
Look = 4.0 Pours a deep black color, bubbly with 1 finger of brown head that fades to a cap. Dense sticky lace.
Aroma = 3.75 Roasted malts; sweet chocolate notes, coffee highlights and a little licorice.
Taste = 3.75 Roasted malt dominates. Coffee notes on the back end. Low bitterness on the finish. Roasted malt taste lingers in the after taste. Very roasty.
Feel = 3.5 Medium bodied but a little thin and watery. Medium to high carbonation, some fizz on the tongue.
Drinkability = 4.0. The roasted malt taste is strong, decreasing drinkability somewhat. Comes in at 6% ABV.
Overall = 3.775 Pretty solid stout all around, but not exceptional in any category. The heavy roasted malt flavors hid any chocolate or coffee that you’d maybe expect.

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Photo of srrn
3.74/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours adeep almost black with dark tan head. Some lacing.
Not much going on in the nose, malt and a bit of coffee.
This beer does taste pretty good, the roasted coffee and chocolate you'd expect and nothing offensive. The mouthfeel is a bit thing for me. This does have a bit more bite than most milk stouts and I like the aftertaste a lot, nice and bitter with a slight sweetness. This is where the licorice seems to come through, or is that suggestion?
I like other stouts better but this is good enough for me to enjoy and try their other offerings.

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Photo of ZeroSignal
3.74/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle, no date, but has one of the Bell's funky batch codes...

A - Pours about as black as black gets, with a generous roasted marshmallow colored head. Excellent retention, webby lacing.

S - Hints of bitter chocolate, roasted malts...earthy aroma. I don't want to say the nose is thin, but I found myself wanting more from it.

T&M - Full bodied, creamy. Big roasted malt flavor; earthiness has an ashy or charred wood thing going on. Light bitterness carries chocolate and black coffee notes. Alcohol in the finish, earthy and ash tones remain.

D - Very approachable, easy to drink stout. I'm not crazy about it, but it's good.

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Photo of Jacobob10
3.74/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Because of the ridiculously hot and humid weather here lately, I've been in the mood for lighter bodied beers. But, the temps have cooled down for a few days and I need to experience a good, solid stout. This one pours as black as midnight with a small dark head, but poor retention. Nice roasted nut aroma. Slight hops can be detected upon tasting, but nothing too hoppy, this was all about the malts. Black coffee overwhelmed the taste. Bitter aftertaste hurt the mouthfeel a bit, as well as the drinkability.

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Photo of stinewils24
3.74/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The color is a deep brown, looks like Coke. The smell reminds me of a chocolate coffee combination. The taste is of coffee and bitter chocolate; has a sour aftertaste. The texture is full bodied and well carbonated. Overall, this beer has a very different flavor; I am not a huge fan.

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Photo of spoony
3.74/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From a 355 ml bottle (packaged September 2, 2015) to a snifter. Reviewed from notes dated November 5, 2015.

A-The beer is pretty much black and opaque. A dense, pillowy head of roughly one and one-half fingers sits atop the beer. The foam is tan in color and retention is pretty good.

S-The aroma is nice mixture of roasted barley flavors, a little whiff of smoke, licorice (or anise), some prune, blueberry, and a bit of lactose. It smells like a stout should smell; not over-the-top with any one flavor.

T-The taste is less interesting. I get more earthy, dull, dusty flavors on the palate. There is still some licorice and roast flavors, but none of the fruit and the beer tastes a bit metallic. Odd.

M-The feel is medium in heft with a moderate carbonation for the style. Nothing off or inspirational here.

O-The smell had me hoping for more. The licorice is there, and I will not knock this beer for being subtle instead of in-your-face, but the taste left a little to be desired. Just kind of dull. On the plus side, it looks really nice and smells pretty nice too.

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Photo of WeymouthMike
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black liquid with a light brown/cream color head. Smell is weak but some roasted like smell. Taste is a sweet coffee with a somewhat metallic finish. Mouthfeel is exactly what I want in a sweet stout smooth with almost no carbonation. Drinkability would be high on a fall or winter day but this being mid summer I'll limit myself to two tonight.

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Photo of bonbini26
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

on tap @ monks cafe

Apperance- The beer pours a deep dark black color with a thick frothy brown head that fades to lacing.

Smell- The aroma is good. It has a rich dark malt scent that is dominated with chocolate and roasted barley. It is sweet to the nose and seems a bit creamy.

Taste- The taste is good. It has a dry black malt flavor with some chocolate hints and a semi-sweet finish.

Mouthfeel- The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a fine stout. It has great aroma and flavor a good sessions ale.

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Photo of mbudner
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle, batch 9210, poured into pint glass.

A- Solid black, but lets light through as poured becoming a medium brown (presumably not that thick). Frothy, 3-finger mocha-colored head that dissipated in 3-4 minutes.

S- Roasted malts, chocolate, slight amount of booze (a little surprising for such a low abv stout.)

T- Extremely bitter chocolate, slightly metallic aftertaste. Tastes very burnt, a sort of charred wood flavor (coincidentally leaving an ashy/chalky feeling in my mouth.)

M- Thicker than expected with a healthy dose of carbonation. Leaves the palate very dry and even a little chalky.

D- Drinkability is not bad, but not great, either. The burnt (and somewhat bitter) flavor makes it hard to drink quickly. The slowest-drinking low abv American stout I've experienced. I normally don't mind bitterness in a stout, but there's nothing really balancing this out.

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Photo of ritzkiss
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle pours opaque with a little bit of smooth foam.

Smells like wet coffee grounds, a dash of spice in there as well. Nose is heavy on the coffee, not what I was expecting.

Taste has those coffee notes as well but dialed down from the nose. A hefty sweet finish, dashes of choco nibs and milk. Not much roast which is too bad, it could have used a little more depth.

The body lets this one down, it's just too light. A little more bulk to this one, a little more roast and it could be a world-beater. As it is, nice but nothing spectacular.

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Photo of ShanePB
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle shared with some friends. Poured into three miniature 5 ounce snifter glasses.

A: Deep dark brown borderline black body with a creamy and frothy tan head. A few swirls in the glass and it looked as if it was on nitro. Very minor lace with a thin creamy retention cap. Nice looking regular stout, especially the head color which you don't always see.

S: Dark malts come through big, slightly roasted with a bitter caramel note. Faint coffee and anise is there, just enough to provide some complexity without dominating. A distant grassy element is in the background. Complex enough without going over the top.

T: High percentage dark chocolate, mildly roasted coffee beans, vanilla and lactose. Back of the palate has the anise but it's extremely faint, and personally I don't think enough comes through to warrant it being plastered on the label. Rich, robust and flavorful; nicely done.

M: Creamy and silky, a bit on the higher end of carbonation but I haven't come to expect an extremely chewy body on a regular stout. Pretty nice with a clean finish.

This was certainly a surprise as I tend to dislike anything brewed with anise/licorice. The good part is that it's not overpowering by any means, and really works as an addition to the base flavors. Again, put it on the label? I don't think so, unless you just want to say you're doing something different.

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Photo of gabedivision
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle to a pint glass.

A- Pours a pretty dark brown/black with a nice fluffy beige head about 2 fingers worth.

S- Smokey sweet malts, light chocolate. Faint bittering hops.

T- Bitter sweet chocolate, toffee, light coffee and the licorice its brewed with seems to stick out like a sore thumb, mixed with a toasty nutty woody finish.

M- Medium bodied, super sweet, creamy, lots of flavor bursts at different times on different sips.

O- Overall, this a a decent stout. It has all the makings of being really explosive, you can taste it on your tongue that it wants to be better than it is. The sweetness hits a little too strong on the tongue at first, and controls the feel of the beer from there, very sweet.

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Photo of Jerone
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark dark brown approaching black, can see some through red around the edges. Nice fluffy can head that sticks around.

S - Some wood, charcoal, touch of chocolate and coffee and some hops.

T - Taste has some roasty toasty notes, some wood, tad bit of chocolate and some liquorice, ending goes to some hops that give a slight bitterness. Good flavors in this brew.

M - Medium body with relatively thin and low carbonation mouthfeel.

O - The flavors and smell are right on, although a tad more liqorice would be nice, but to me a more substantial mouthfeel would make this a much more enjoyable beer. Maybe more carbonation or simply a bit thicker/oily/whatever.

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Photo of Steamer
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a goblet. Dark Brown with a thin beige head. Espresso, burnt sugar, molasses smell. Flavor: Smoke, bitter chocolate, a bit of a metallic after taste. Full bodied, dryer than most stouts but the dryness compliments the taste. Overall: A nice change up. If you are looking for a bit more hops in your stout, this one may be right up your alley.

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Photo of Strix
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Opaque black, decent head with some lacing.

Smell is weak, I do pick up licorice, along with charcoal.

Taste is quite dark. Charcoal and burnt flavors predominate.

Heavenly smooth mouthfeel typical of Bell's stouts.

The taste on this one didn't really do it for me, compared to Bell's other stouts. I didn't find it that interesting. I really really dug Java, Double Cream, and Expedition stouts, but I didn't find this one to be as interesting. Excellent mouthfeel saves this though; It's certainly not bad, I think my expectations for Bell's are now very high.

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Photo of IronLover
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled from a bottle with no freshness date. Totally black in color. Poured with a rich beige foam that slowly reduced to a nice cap that leaves a few sticky lacings on the glass. Roasted and chocolate malt aromas. Smells creamy too. Thick and resinous feel in the beginning, and creamy smooth toward the finish with rich carbonation. Dark roasted and chocolate flavor up front with dark malt flavors transitioning to a lightly burnt malt flavor into the middle. Hop bitterness then comes alive with pleasant herbal pine character that intensifies from the middle to the end. Dark maltiness also carries through to the end along with hints of black coffee and a dry finish. Leaves you with a light herbal pine bitterness that lingers for a while.

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Photo of jackorain
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Dark brown, nearly black, no light gets through. Dark tan big bubbled head fell rather quicly to a nice lace and collar.

S-Roasted barley, charcoal and a hint of licorice

TRestrained licorice melds with a roasted barley and charcoal flavors. A though of hop bitterness comes through. There is a sour twang on the finish.

M-Light to medium body, creamy carboantion with a fizzy carbonation.

D-Not bad I could have two, but if there was other beers to choose I might switch after one.

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Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.03 out of 5 based on 4,297 ratings.
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