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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding
1,543 Reviews
THE BROS
83
good
Read the review
Bell's Kalamazoo StoutBell's Kalamazoo Stout
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,543
Ratings:
4,176
Avg:
4.03
pDev:
17.37%
 
 
Wants:
196
Gots:
612
For Trade:
8
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,543 | Ratings: 4,176
Photo of deejaydan
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served at Cellar temp, in an Imperial nonick Pint glass.

One inch to an inch and a half head on this dark beauty. Wonderful lacing as well. Toffee aroma. I'd expect a bit more roastiness in the aroma for a stout, but that's just me. Taste is okay, a bit of the bells yeast funk going on, roasted flavors are rather muted as well. Mouthfeel is good and coating. This isn't a bad stout by any streach of the imagination, but it fails to "wow" me.

 447 characters

Photo of coldmeat23
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

GLASS: Pint Glass
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees
BOTTLING CODE: 8861 (November 24, 2008)

Pours up very black. Almost four-finger head of thick, light brown foam sits on top. Retention is great. Lacing is in thick ropes and is fairly sticky.

Full of big notes of roasted malts. Very light hints of chocolates and coffees. A nice level of smoke. Slight hint of yeast.

Huge dark roasted malt presence. Mild notes of charred grains. Good smoke presence. Light hints of very dark chocolates. Super dark roasted coffee.
This one doesn't have nearly the sweet factor that I like to see in milk stouts. It's quite bold and on the dry side of the scale. I wonder if it will smooth out with age. I'll give it a shot.

Good medium body on this one. Carbonation level is medium to high. It's creamy enough to please, but a tad bit on the sharp side. It could stand to be smoother.

Well, it's no Expedition, but it's still pretty tasty. This would actually make a fairly decent 'session' stout.

 990 characters

Photo of ByTor2112
3.72/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured inky black with very little head even with an average pour. There was a small ring of brown foam around the edge.
Aroma-roasted malt, black licorice, some molasses and a warm bready aroma.
Mouthfeel-very tasty, a lower carbonation. The flavors run the stout spectrum. Bitterness from the dark roasted/black malts. Earthy hops are present and they linger with the finish. Bittersweet chocolate, robust with very little sweetness. A good froth on the palate releases some licorice flavor. Good stout and a solid offering from Bell's.

 538 characters

Photo of output01x
3.72/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. capped bottle (Batch #10162) into a snifter glass.

A strong pour yields a 1 1/2-finger mocha-colored head that dies after just a few minutes, leaving only a thin island of dusting and thick foam ring. The body is about as close to black as brown can get. Some light lacing attempts to gain a foothold on the sides of the glass, but succumbs to gravity in time.

Aromas of dark, bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee beans, brown sugar, and raisins make for a very rich and deliciously sweet nose.

Similar to the nose, dark roasted coffee, milk chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, molasses, dark fruits, and licorice are all pleasantly represented throughout each sip. Once the beer is swallowed, the rich and bold coffee and chocolate flavors become more pronounced.

Medium to full bodied with excessive carbonation, this beer has great drinkability for a stout. The body is just a little sticky and coating, which is just right for the flavors and the style. On the other hand, the carbonation is so powerful it truly detracts from the beer. While it does help to make this beer more drinkable, it is so strong and fizzy that it covers the flavors when the beer is held in the mouth.

 1,206 characters

Photo of match1112
3.72/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a: pours a dark cola color, settles in black as nite. thin tight head disappears rather quickly. less than average retention and lacing.

s: roasted malts and a slight charred wood aroma dominate. some licorice in there as well.

t: roasted malts, some toffee and lactose are detected as well. slight hop presence as well.

m: in a blind tasting i would of said this is a milk stout. medium body and creamy. short lived dry roasted finish.

o: very drinkable, but also pretty standard for the style. .

 501 characters

Photo of lennerja
3.72/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours an opaque black with a slight head that dissipates to leave some good lacing.

S- Pick up some chocolate and coffee notes.

T- Not as sweet as some stouts, but has some coffee and chocolate notes. Also has a slight hop bitterness.

M- This is a full bodied beer with a rich creamy feel to it.

O- This is a good stout but not what I was expecting. A little more hop bitterness than a normal stout. I enjoyed the feel of it and the hints of coffee and chocolate.

 470 characters

Photo of BrewBoyR
3.71/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle with a bottled-on date of 11/26/2012.

Appearance: Pours with a thick, light-brown head with good retention, leaving considerable lace. Very dark brown to black and completely opaque.

Aroma: Charred wood, baker's chocolate, roasted coffee beans, caramel, and dark fruits.

Taste: Flavor begins with a smack of roasted malt, coffee, and dark chocolate. A subdued caramelly, milk-chocolate sweetness lingers behind all the roast and increases at it warms. Very long, bitter finish consisting mainly of bitterness from the roasted malts and hops. Very slight alcohol warming.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body with high carbonation. Slight astringency from all the roasted malts.

Overall Impression: A very complex stout for its relatively low ABV, with heavy emphasis on the roasted/charred flavors. I only wish it was balanced with a bit more lighter malt character and sweetness. The body seemed a bit thin, although the high carbonation is partially to blame.

 978 characters

Photo of BlindPig
3.71/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- 1/4" tan head. Black dark brown body.
S- Has a very faint smell. Light malt with light coffee and roasted. Light grassy hops also.
T- Roasty taste with a bit of bitterness underlying from the grassy hops. Malts and roasted flavors come out much more as it warms. Has a overall light bitterness that I think really adds to the beer.
M- Medium body and light to medium carbonation.
D- Very good stout. One of my favorite stouts I have tried. Not to strong of flavors. Think it is well balanced.

 501 characters

Photo of veinless
3.71/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jesse13713 for this beer, it's just one of many Midwest locals he hooked me up with in a trade.

Pours black and opaque, with a one-finger light tan head that dissipates averagely and leaves some spotty lace. Bubbling is coarse in the middle and fine on the edges. Maybe some brown tinges at the sides of the glass, but I think my eyes are playing tricks on me.

Smell is weak roasted grain with a bit of toffee and char mixed in. Has a slightly baked feel to it that I got from Bell's Cherry Stout last night.

Taste has a nice buttery feel to it to go with the baked malts from the nose. More charred and slightly fruity as well, almost like the cherry stout without the juice - this would be the licorice doing work. Taste could be stronger, but I like the soft balance this one offers. Slightly bitter hop + malt coffee finish is slight but keeps the beer interesting.

Mouthfeel is buttery, creamy and thick, and it works well for this beer. Drinkability is quite good due to the lack of any overpowering flavors, and the buttery character in the middle makes me want to keep drinking this. Finish is just bitter enough to get the palate ready for the next sip as well. This is a really good regular stout, and it's nice to have one of these while everyone chases big huge enormous stouts all the time (myself included).

 1,335 characters

Photo of PirateUlf73
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a mug.

A: Black, on the order of motor oil in color, with a pleasant coffee-tan head.

S: Substantial, yet not overpowering roasted barley and chocolate character up front. Coffee aromas creep in toward the middle, with a sort of milky backdrop. Mouth-watering.

T: Good roasted flavor to start. Chocolate and coffee notes are a tad muted. Also present is an interesting twangy "bite" on the front of my tongue. I want to say that it is a bit resin-like, but I lack an accurate descriptor. Still, pretty decent flavors.

M: I would call this a step away from full-bodied, because it is just light enough to avoid being cumbersome. It has a nice semi-oily coating character. A pleasant roasty aftertaste rounds it all out.

D: Excellent. More of a session stout than its ABV suggests.

All in all, a very nice (albeit sweeter) stout from Bell's. Everything melds quite well and its construction is nearly flawless. This is not one I would seek out all the time, but as the occasional session stout, hell, I'm game!

 1,026 characters

Photo of bbkd3b
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

Comes out of the bottle with a dark, dark brown body and a decent-sized tan head, though it dissipated after a short amount of time. Bringing up to the nose revealed a rather straight-forward scent of roasted malts and some caramel tones, but it wasn't all that great. Pretty much what one would expect from a stout, no more and no less.

Thankfully, sipping the brew is a much more enjoyable sensation. Beautiful combination of licorice, caramel, and roasted malts really rounds off a flavor that I can truly enjoy. Letting warm over a brief time only makes it stronger. Body had a creamy, smooth character to that slid across the tongue. Relax carbonation allowed for more exploring of the flavors, which made it a strong spot for the beer. Unfortunately, this lack of carbonation resulted in absolutely no lacing clinging to the side of the glass.

Overall/notes - Frankly, this beer does all of the important things right. "Don't judge a book by its cover" has never been truer. Maybe the dark chocolate helped it taste better than it really was, but... no. No, I just liked the beer. Another strong one from Bell's.

 1,147 characters

Photo of musicforairports
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle bottled three months ago into a Bell's tulip.

Black for sure. Head is brown. Lacing minimal, though. But this looks like a very serious beer.

Aroma is full of a burnt characteristic, but smooth and not bitter. Also some licorice.

Taste is robust and smooth. Thick chocolate and charred malty flavors with a lot of licorice on the end. ABV undetectable, but it seems robust enough that it should be higher, if that makes sense. This licorice--or what I think is the brewer's licorice mentioned on the label--gets a bit metallic and becomes a bit much.

Creamy, chewy mouthfeel.

This is really a pretty unique stout, but the licorice flavors, while interesting, don't really do it for me. But I love the smoothness Bell's gives to their stouts, and this I can drink this one easily. I liked the Oatmeal Stout at the Eccentric Cafe much more than this, though.

 874 characters

Photo of Erdinger2003
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The head pours a nice lacing that falls thin into a lacing that doesn't stick all to well. The taste is a little too bready and the coffee flavors are dominated by off flavors that aren't great. The mouthfeel is very nice and very smooth. Overall I would like something a little more fresher, but I will still try another for freshness sakes.

 342 characters

Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My first Bells brew ever.
Poured from bottle into tulip. Pours a deep brown black with tan head. Smell is of roasted malts and bitter malts.
Taste is creamy roasted malts. A bit bitter but kind of sweet.
Its a good stout, no questioning that, but that's all it is. Its good, not great.

 288 characters

Photo of CuriousMonk
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into tulip glass. Poured almost black with a huge light brown rocky head that lasted throughout and had excellent lacing. The aroma was of burnt cereal malts, a leathery yeast with notes of molasses, chocolate and coffee. It tasted mildly bitter and acidic in the beginning and finished with a sweet/bitter coffee flavor that stayed with you for an average length of time. Mouthfeel was full in body and creamy in texture with a flat carbonation. Overall a pretty basic stout.

 495 characters

Photo of beagle75
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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

A: Opaque black color--no light transmits through the full glass--with one finger of mocha foam head. Light lacing remains on the glass.

S: Deeply roasted grain with faint coffee, woody chicory, and sugary graham cracker.

T: Begins dry, acidic, featuring molasses, licorice, and dark roasted malt. Bitter coffee emerges later and persists into the finish that also harbors a whiff of cardboard.

M: Medium viscosity, unpleasantly astringent, with moderate carbonation.

D: A stout that lends itself more toward the savory than the sweet. Dryness is a dominant sensory quality found here, becoming relentless by the finish. Qualities of this beer allow it to stand out from other American export-style stouts, which makes it worth investigating even if frequent return visits are unlikely.

 839 characters

Photo of necoadam
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured out a medium black color with a light tan head that left a good lacing around the glass.

Smell consisted of chocolate, coffee, along with some good undertones of roasted malts.

Taste was on the big side. Malts kick upfront along with some bittersweet chocolate and an undertone of coffee flavors. A little bit on the sweet side. It's quite creamy as well. Funny to call it a milk stout, but really it has more character of a cream than milk.

This was a good beer, but perhaps it needed a little balancing to make this a truly great beer. I enjoyed it for sure, but perhaps some tweaking could be used here.

Thanks to Pisskynights and Feloniousmonk for sending a bottle each, respectively.

 710 characters

Photo of mavbrew
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Typcial stout look, deep dark brown that looks black but when held up to the light you notice that it is brown. The head is small and is tan is color.

S: The smell is of roasted malts, a bit of molasses and a buttery scent as well. There are also some very faint notes of chocolate and maybe some coffee, but they are not strong scents at all.

T: I hope you like charred wood because there is an aggressive amount of charred flavor that smacks you right up front. Behind the char, the molasses pokes through slightly as well as the buttery/cream flavor. The finish leaves a long lasting smoke flavor.

M: Full bodied and creamy with little carbonation, as mentioned above the feel throughout is a very charred/smokey feel.

D: Overall, this is a good stout, not great but pretty good. For me the charred/smokey flavor was kind of overpowering, it wasn't bad but could have been a little less of a punch to the palate.

 923 characters

Photo of Dalem
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very dark in color. Almost black but not quite. You can't see through it-that's for sure. Half inch caramel colored head that melts away quickly leaving a cloudy cap a spotty lacing. Chocolaty malts and licorice are the prominent scents.
The flavor is slightly sweet and kinda milky when it first hits the tongue. It's followed a roasted malt warmness and a slight bit off coffee bitters. It then finishes with a complete turn around with the same characteristics that were found in the front. It's light carbonation and little less than medium body make it an easy drinker.

 574 characters

Photo of breakingbland
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle marked "11818 pkgd 3/11/13 A" into a pint glass.

Appearance: An opaque black with a beautiful tan head that dissipated.

Aroma: Burnt coffee with a slight roasty sweetness. This beer is brewed with licorice, and I could detect perhaps a slight licorice aroma component.

Taste: As expected, this beer has a deep flavor profile. Dark chocolate dominates, followed by flavors that follow the aroma. There is a slight hoppy astringency. The hops linger along with a fair degree of sweetness.

Mouthfeel: This beer has a full, fairly thick body, with mild carbonation.

Overall: An enjoyable beer that is a good example of this style. I'm not a big fan of licorice and was glad that that this was minimally present in the taste. As expected, this beer benefits from letting it warm up.

 803 characters

Photo of Goosehunter75
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a beautiful dark chocolate with a darker tan 1 finger head with very nice retention

S - Huge aromas of chocolate and roasted coffee. Nice caramelly background as well. My only complaint would be I did not detect any aromas of Licorce as advertised on the label. Very nice smelling beer otherwise!

T - Not nearly as sweet as I anticipate! Nice smoke flavor that I did not pick up on the aromas. Definately more roasted coffee and caramels tastes than chocolate, but a very nicely done stout. Still not picking up on the licorce though

M - Light to medium bodied stout Thinner than I anticpated and not as carbonated as I would like. Slick feelnig in the mouth

O - A very good solid stout. Nice smokey and roasted coffee flavors. With it being a lighter feeling stout, a person could easily have multiples.

 818 characters

Photo of DoubleJ
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle from Lone Hill Liquor, on to the beer:

Lighter colored tan head on top this jet fuel black liquid. Head retention is fair. Aroma...faint coffee grounds, milk-like sweetness, a pinch of cocao. As for flavor, this is very coffee-like. Roasted ground coffee. But there's a little more carbonation than I like here. Anyway, very roasted flavor. A slight sweetness akin to creamer keeps this beer in balance. If you like your stouts robust and roasty, this is one to grab.

 484 characters

Photo of jwinship83
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- comes out of the bottle a thick looking black body with a finger of coffee colored head.

S- roasted malts and chocolate up front, with a bit of chocolate at the end.

T- lots of roasted malt and dark chocolate. the finish is very bitter and full of coffee. cant taste the licorice the bottle says they brew with.

M- smooth, but a little thin for the style. a nice low level of carbonation comes with it.

D- not the most exciting version of this style, and something i wont buy again. i guess i expected more from bells.

 529 characters

Photo of mdfb79
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

a - Pours a dark brown color with about 2 inches of tan head with great retention and lacing. Moderate carbonation evident.

s - Coffee, roasted and toasted malts, licorice, hints of cream.

t - Bitterness prevails here. Bitter coffee jumps out first, followed by licorice and roasted malts. No cream from the smell is evident in the taste.

m - Full body and little carbonation.

d - Not a bad stout. I enjoyed the smell much more than the taste; I thought the bitterness was a little too prevalent in the taste. I would drink this again.

 587 characters

Photo of bmoney
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz bottled into pint glass.

A- Very dark almost pitch black. Head of about an inch that settles quickly to no more than a centimeter and thin to a thin film as you drink.

S- Very roasty aroma. Dark chocolate and hints of coffee are also there, like the coffee that has been sitting on the burner all day. My favorite!

T- Bittersweet, a little burnt. Also some dark fruits and licorice linger balancing things out a bit. The taste stays in the mouth for a long time.

M- Smooth to swallow but leaves the mouth tingling.

D- All around a very respectable stout. I wouldn't refuse another but I can think of some other beers I'd rather have.

 656 characters

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.03 out of 5 based on 4,176 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer FestĀ® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!