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

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1,549 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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 1,549 | Ratings: 4,192
Photo of Jparker37
3.16/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass. Bottled on 8/22/11

A - One finger thick dark brown head dissipates quickly but looks delicious. Very opaque black with no cling of lacing.

S - Awesome complex dark chocolate malt. More subtler coffee roastiness. I don't quite get the licorice yet. Very rich! Hint of smokey tobacco as it warms.

T - Not creamy nor sweet, but complex with coffee roast and dark chocolate. Finishes with a sharper roasty bitterness.

M - A thinner mouthfeel was unexpected. On the dry side for the style with little carbonation.

O - The licorice never really crossed my palate or was identified. I thought the smell was unmatched for a simple American stout but lacked depth in taste. Still very much enjoyed. I blame some of the quality on the store which I purchased this single beer from (world market) where this beer was stored warm for multiple months. I can easily get a six pack fresh which I will do and re-review.

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Photo of mwilbur
3.18/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 12 oz bottle into imperial stout glass.
A: Black with 1/2 inch dark tan head that quickly dissipates.
S: Slightly odd bready yeast aroma with roasted malt.
T: Oddly, taste is dominated by grain notes: wheat, rye, etc. Some dark roasted malt. I get no cream...which is odd for a purported milk stout. Unsatisfying, acidic, and dry finish.
M: Light body...uninspiring.
D: One is enough for this average brew.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.18/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A – Dark, almost black, with thin brown highlights around the edge of the glass. Trace amount of off-white head.

S – Hammy smoke, and mahogany wood.

T – Definitely get the salty, ham-like smoke from the nose up front. Burt toast and bitter roast coffee catch up to the smoke mid profile, and a dark, woody note rounds out the backend.

M – Thin, just a shade away from watery. Light roast character to the finish.

O – Roaster than I typically like in the style, and I feel like the smoke note is a little unbalanced, but not a bad beer.

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Photo of davidbowers13
3.2/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A - Pitch black. Moderate to vigorous pour yielded one to 2 fingers of tan head.

S - Black licorice, coffee, chocolate and roasted malts.

T - Coffee and licorice dominate the front. The finish is smooth, but not much there. Kind of one dimensional.

M - Very thin for a stout. It leaves a coating, but not a overly powerful one.

O - Overall a good to average beer. A little one dimensional, but enjoyable. Not sure I'll rush back to it any time soon.

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Photo of greenbeaner
3.21/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle, no freshness date, very dark brown, almost pitch plack. Huuuge dark frothy head, 3 or 4 fingers, but it fades to 1 finger pretty quick... leaves behind a chunky foam around the glass. This head is pretty ridiculous.

Fairly weak on the nose, there are hints of roasted espresso and malt, and some yeast as well. A bit of hop.

Taste is smooth and malt and cream up front. Strong flavor of bold coffee and vanilla and just a hint of liquorice. There is quite a large hoppy bite near the finish. Flavors are a bit unbalanced however, and it leaves you feeling like something is missing.

Medium bodied, slippery cream in the mouth. Leaves your mouth feeling slick and wet.

It's not that I didn't enjoy this beer, it was tasty and satisfying...but, overall it's quite a bit unbalanced in my opinion, and feels like there are some flavors that could be there but aren't being let shine through due to the imbalances. I kept noticing myself thinking I was about to taste something that never actually came. Still though, not too bad overall... would I buy it again? Probably not.

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Photo of younger35
3.21/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Received this brew from ClockworksOrange (along with about 143 other extras) and from TheodorHerzl. Bells is a great brewery and I haven't had a bad brew yet, I'm certain this will be no exception. Drank from my Sam Adams pint glass.

Appearance- Pours a dark brownish/black with hues of crimson around the edges. Great two finder dark tan head that leaves a thick cap and collar with loads of frothy, sticky lacing.
Smell- Loads of big bold coffee and espresso. Slightly sweet with a milk chocolaty presence and a little bit of very feint black licorice (although I might be stretching it a bit).
Taste- Very roasted with a super charred start and an extremely potent shot of espresso. Very slightly sweet with fudge brownie like character and a whipping cream vanilla smoothness. Bits of dark fruits show that there is some hop presence but not really all that much. Finishes with a semi lingering bitterness although I think it's more from the roasted malts than the hops.
Mouthfeel- Thick and rich with a super smooth feel and light prickly carbonation.
Drinkability- Not a bad brew but overall as much as I love my dark beers this one just wasn't what I was looking for. I don't think the flavors meld very well and something just seems misplaced. The best part of this brew is the mouthfeel. Thanks again to ClockworksOrange and TheodorHerzl!

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Photo of winomark
3.23/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pithc black, witha slightly frothy brown head.

Aroma: Mild nose, with slight coffee and smoky tones.

Taste: Slightly meaty nad smoky. Rich and flavorful. Dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Coating up-front, but dry and slightly short on the finish.

Drinkability: A good, solid stout. Could drink this one wuite often.

Tasted blind at the Saint Loius BA tasting 12/14/03

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Photo of Rastacouere
3.24/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It pours opaque black with a very generous, long-lasting sticky tan head in my fin du monde glass (great with stouts I find). Aroma displays very creamy malt, I could have believed this was a milk stout. Roasted chocolate and burnt coffee grains complement the sweetness. Very round and full mouthfeel, creamy. Particularly low carbonation. Alcohol hint accompanies the restrained bitterness in the finish-> alcool which I thought should not be felt at all in a 6.5% beer with all that roasted malt. Once again, this stout got this milky aspect that I came to dislike when combined with an almost still mouthfeel. It feels, not unlike a wine, just dead in the mouth despite all the licorice, molasses, chocolatey flavors from the dark malts. Well done, but still severly overrated to my tastes and definitely nowhere near as complex as expedition. Smooth, yet ultimately close, but no cigar.

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Photo of WheelsPSU
3.24/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Not a fan. The malt tasted burnt and I didn't pick up too much licorice. The chocolate from the roast was the only redeeming quality I found.
Extremely light bodied for a stout. Carbonation was fine

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Photo of hophugger
3.25/5  rDev -19.4%

decent beer. A light stout with a beautiful color and ample head. The bitterness and sweetness do blend together weel to give a nice balanced flavor. Overall, not as strong as I expected band not one of my favorites from this brewery

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Photo of rebel1771
3.26/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a pitch black with a brown head that sticks around a while.

S: Subtle aroma of chocolate, coffee, and a hint of licorice.

T: Strong flavor of cocoa powder along with a burned coffee flavor. I didn't really notice the licorice much at all.

O: This is a decent brew, definitely worth a try.

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Photo of bfflo
3.27/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pour: Opaque black with a nice medium-density fluffy off-white head.

Smell: Grainy, toast and coffee, charcoal, and maybe just a hint of dark fruity tartness and even alcohol.

Taste: Kind of bland first entering the mouth, but a distinct malty stout flavor takes over in the middle, with a bit of bitterness coming in to mix things up. Mild spice and dark fruit in the finish, with smokiness and bitterness very present in the aftertaste. Journey along the palate is slightly dirty and prickly, but there's a certain creaminess to the body and mouthfeel at the same time. Like many of Bell's beers, this strikes me as decent and above average, but nothing mind-blowing. Too dirty/bitter for my taste, probably, but you could do worse. Other reviews mention licorice, but I really have to look for that consciously to even faintly detect it. Good head retention and one of the foamiest, stickiest sheets of lacing I've seen in a while. All in all, B at best, decent-ish, but not a personal favorite.

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Photo of Phocion
3.3/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into a pint glass with a small but highly retentive frothy brown head sitting on top of a nearly pitch-black body. Thick, sticky lacing.

Aroma is full of roasted malts. Slight hints of acidity and anise, very nutty and full of dark chocolate and bitter coffee.

Flavor is coffee and bitter dark chocolate. Slight toffee flavor. Very bitter, almost charred finish.

Medium-bodied and medium carbonation. Surprisingly slick and oily.

Overall, too bitter. Not necessarily in a hoppy way, but more of a burnt manner. Mouthfeel is too oily. Not overwhelmingly impressed.

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Photo of pvsob
3.3/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

-Appearance - It poured pitch black with a one inch head that quickly disappeared and left little lacing.

-Smell - Roasted malt, dark fruits, coffee, and some hints of chocolate.

-Taste - It was a tad bit more astringent than I was expecting, but there was some sweetness up front followed by some chocolate and coffee at the end.

-Mouthfeel - Medium to full with steady carbonation.

-Overall - The astringency of this brew hurt the taste and drinkability scores big time. I had a hard time isolating the characteristics of this beer during my tasting experience. I'll probably pick up one more six pack just to make sure I’m not missing anything. Looking at the other reviews of this beer, I must be missing something. Oh well, cheers!

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Photo of nouseforotacon
3.31/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark brown/black bottom with an extra creamy tan head that floats atop. Wonderful head retention. Foamy lacing on the sides of the glass. Not much light penetrating this one.

Sweet, rich, roasted malts wrapped in chocolate and coffee bean notes. As it warms the aroma opens up a bit, leaving some dark fruit esters. Overall weak nose.

Roasted malts and a strong, burnt, caramel profile is complimented by a milky, lactic sweetness. Malty and bready, with some nutty notes. A twang from the milk, and also, an undertone of dark fruits. Hint of coffee beans. Astringent. Decent taste, with a chewy mouthfeel and a satisfying amount of creaminess.

I had higher expectations for this brew coming from Bell's. I've also had better milk stouts. Not bad, but not great.

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Photo of Indybeer
3.31/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Poured out black as pitch, with a moderate head that slowly faded, leaving lacing on the glass. Aroma is muted roated grains, and malt, with a sweetness thrown in. Taste is that of roasted malt but in a very thin and weak way. Lingering bitterness in the finish. Carbonated more than a traditional stout. Not a bad drinking beer.

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Photo of Kelsiemoeller
3.31/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: dark brown in color, nearly black with a tiny pinky finger mocha colored head. Head retention and lacing are minimal to non-existent.

Smell: Smells of roasted malts, and a hint of coffee and chocolate when sniffing.

Taste: Roasted malts, hint of coffee and chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Light body with an average amount of carbonation.

Overall: A good, light beer!

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Photo of jbhuxley
3.31/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours very dark brown with a small tan head that quickly turns into a faint ring around the edge of the glass. I can pick up very little smell from this brew. A faint coffee smell is about all I'm getting.

The taste is mostly roasted coffee, but the liquorice peaks through. There is a bit of fruity taste. The whole thing is bitter and quite dry.

Mouthfeel is a bit thinner than I would have expected. It is somewhat watery, with light carbonation.

I really can't put my finger on what I think about this beer. Stouts are not my favorite style, but the taste is interesting. Even on a stout kick, this wouldn't be the first one I'd reach for.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.31/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A - Black brew with a large mocha brown head. Strong lacing in thick clumps.

S - Coffee and chocolate, faint licorice.

T - Coffee mostly. Faint licorice too. Aftertaste is mostly a faint chocolate malt.

M - Rather harsh, medium bodied, a tad drying.

D - Okay, I might have again, certainly worth a try.

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Photo of philbe311
3.32/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - One finger worth of thick and frothy medium to dark brown head... Minimal retention gives way to a full inviting lace... An opaque flat black color... Sparse rapid paced carbonation can be seen streaking along the sides of the glass...

S - Fudge... Sugary iced coffee... Chocolate... Brown sugar... Molasses... Some faint roasted malts... Absolutely delectable nose...

T - Bitter old coffee... Roasted malts... A touch of chocolate... Burnt char characteristics... Licorice... A slight hop presence... Quite the opposite of what the nose lead alluded to and a rather odd mix of strong flavors...

M - Medium to full bodied yet light and fluffy to start... Dense... Slightly thin... Exceedingly burnt bitterness lingers...

D - This one was quite the mixed bag for me... The appearance and aroma were great, the taste was middle of the road but confusing, but it fell apart in terms of mouthfeel and drinkability... Overall I found this one rather unpleasant and slightly off putting...

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Photo of mjc410
3.32/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

The pour into my Fuller's nonic raises a sparse, dark brown cola-like head that dissipated very quickly into just a slight glass ring, over a virtually opaque body that lets just a little light through at the edges. Lacing is impressive considering the complete lack of head, but still pretty sudsy. The nose is very much filled with dark chocolate and roast, with definite espresso notes. Pretty straightforward. The flavor is quite bitter, but loaded with roast and coffee notes, with some very dark bready tones, as well. Leaves a pleasant lingering bitterness in the mouth. Bits of piney hoppiness, too. The mouth first struck me as being incredibly thick, but on second thought, it's only mildly thick. The carbonation seems to be quite high, but smooth. A hefty beer, but I now know I won't be hunting for this one.

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Photo of alpinebryant
3.32/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown, black when seen from the side in a brandy snifter. Tiny tan bubbles around the edges of the glass.

Smells mostly of dark malt, a bit of licorice, no sweet aroma as many stouts have from unfermented sugars. Almost a dry cloying aroma.

Tasted primarily of dark black patent malt - a charred mess of a beer IMO, a dry-very carbonated mouthfeel and a finish that definitely has a licorice presence. Kalamazoo also seems to have the chalky finish I noticed with most of Bell's darker/ heavier beers. This is not a bad stout, but I would seek the Expedition stout long before settling with this one.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of marvin213
3.33/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I suppose stouts always look good to me--bold and black, like a manly cup of coffee. The head forms a little on the lighter (color) side, and the 2mm worth dissipates quickly. It's a Bell's stout, it's opaque, and it beckons....

The smell is interesting--a malty licorice. I'm more of a red Twizzler-type, but I'm curious about this sweet milk stout. Though the label doesn't identify any, I can't help but smell coffee. And licorice. Quite frankly, I prefer the smell of coffee over licorice. In this case, the licorice predominates.

Unfortunately, like the smell, I don't embrace the taste of licorice. I guess I'm more appreciative of fruit-type sweetness, but I'm not really feelin' this "sweet" stout. Where the smell is unique and intriguing as it piques curiousity, the taste leaves something to desire. It's better than average because it's neat, but below average when it comes to taste. I figure that balances out...

The mouthfeel is fairly light and I prefer it to the taste because I don't get that kinda nasty licorice aftertaste when I let the beverage simply rest in my mouth. I'm obviously not a big fan of this one, but I respect Bell's and enjoy stouts enough to appreciate the character this beer offers to a true beer advocate.

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Photo of hooligan
3.33/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Tan label with a curmudgeonly looking gentleman on the front.

Beer pours dark black with some red in the light, 1-finger head colored like dark coffee with cream which dissipates quickly to a soapy film.

Smell is clean with licorice, coffee, slight pepper, and a very faint subdued sweetness, cherry-like.

Big roasted kick upfront, scorched coffee and walnuts. Balanced bitterness with no outstanding floral notes of hops. A potent licorice flavor finishes the beer along with the ever-present coffee notes. Small notes of alcohol phenols keep hinting up but aren't overpowering.

Mouthfeel is ok, slightly fizzy almost like a porter, although I look for a bit more "chunk in the trunk" with stouts, I would like to see a bit more viscosity in this beer.

Pretty good, although after trying other Bell beers I was expecting something a bit more...

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Photo of seebus
3.33/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - clean, but slightly plain-looking bottle.

S - meh, not much of note in the smell. nothing wrong; there's just not much that sticks out

T - very mild stout taste, almost a mellow mollasses. at the end, there's a slight raw bite (but it's quiet)

M - a little on the thin side

D - actually not too shabby. the mellow taste is nice and that little bite keeps it interesting. i would drink this beer again

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Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.03 out of 5 based on 4,192 ratings.
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