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

1,570 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: 1,570 | Ratings: 4,275
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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Photo of Chriscrundwell12
3.33/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter

A- Pours a ½ finger mocha head dissipates quickly to thin ring around the glass, dark black color, opaque, splotchy lacing.
S- Unappealing Metallic smell, slight coffee aroma, slight roastiness as well.
T- Some bitterness, roasted malts, coffee, slight chocolate, taste very similar to the aroma not the best tasting beer.
M- Medium mouth feel, moderate carbonation, crisp finish.
O- This is an interesting beer, not the best from bells, definitely would not buy again.

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Photo of Jason
3.34/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

Appearance: The thick foaming light brown head leaves big sticky chunks in the glass, the colour is a shade or two from pitch black.

Smell: Yeasty aroma, dark fruitiness under a wild estery and buttery burnt caramel smell.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Full bodied, creamy smooth and on the sweet side ... the sweetness seems clouded though. Big yeast bite mixes it up with the roasted character. Ghost like beef broth and dark fruit. Bitter chocolate and some roasted coffee bean in there. A bit hoppy with some flavour middle to end, lots of soft charcoal flavour as well.

Notes: The minimal astringency does not get in the way yet the flavours just don’t meld well together … a little unbalanced some would say. I am not say it is bad, I enjoyed it but it certainly did not rock my world.

Thanks to sakaroo for the sample.

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Photo of Vader444
3.34/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bottle poured into tulip.

Looks like most other stouts. Head doesn't hang around on this one. To be honest I'm a bit let down by this one. I adore Expedition but this is not in the same league. Granted, the ABV is obviously lower but the difference in intensity of aroma & flavour is remarkable. The mouthfeel is also markedly inferior to that of its big brother. Overall this is pretty bland stuff. I'll admit that it is superior to the majority of UK brewed stouts of similar style that I can obtain but that is hardly a commendation. One of the weaker US stout offerings that I have sampled. Maybe I've been spoiling myself of late. Cheers.

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Photo of thain709
3.35/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pitch black...a good size tan head that slowly fades into a nice cap...good lacing

S - You can smell those roasted malts

T - A deep...almost too deep...roasted malt flavor that lingers throughout your palate...a great coffee-like aftertaste...but nothing really special

M - A little thinner than I expected...smooth

D - This didn't knock my socks off...but it was nice to sit back at sip on

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Photo of surlyseth
3.35/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

At The Depot in Minneapolis.

Looks brown to black with a deep red glint. Looks like a coke with a somewhat thicker head and less carbonation

[Sniff] Maybe some toast, maybe a little licorice. I wasn't getting much, but what I was getting was interesting enough.

Tastes bitter! ...And then dark chocolate and coffee.

Feels strangely thin. It does lubricate my palette with a syrup long after it's gone. I like that. I guess that's the sweet part.

Probably way too sophisticated for my palette since I was thinking about my next beer halfway through this one. It was just kicking the back of my tongue's ass, and I wasn't into that at the time.

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Photo of jlh8643
3.35/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into an Imperial pint glass. A very nice tan head sits on top of a near black body leaving fair lace on the sides of the glass. Dark coffee and roasted malts dominate the nose. Acrid and astringent, dark malts dominate the initial swallow. I can't find any lactic/milk sweetness. Full bodied and somewhat rich but I can't get around the roasted malt that sticks around to the end. Not a bad beer but not one that I would rank up near the top end either.

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Photo of redneckchugger
3.36/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

poured into my duvel tulip, thick tan head, some lacing, body of the beer is black with brown high lights. tiny bubbles at the surface, seems to be fairly carbonated for a stout.
smeels decent, fairly soutlike, getting hints of the licorise the label mentions.
tastes of rasted malt, bit of bitterness from that, maybe some hops in the background. licorice in the aftertaste. not overly thick for a stout, and a bit too carbonated for my taste.
a decent stout the licorice is a nice touch, i'd buy it again, but not really seek it out.

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Photo of suspect
3.36/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle dated 8/2012 courtesy of RocPorterFanatic into a Central Waters Snifter.

A: Deep, dark, blackness. No light escapes. Aggressive pout leads to a hot cocoa colored one-finger head that slowly fades leaving thick slug trails.

S: Roasted chocolate malts, figs, a touch of smoke and some licorice.

T: Roasted malts really shine through and I'm picking up some smoke too...albeit subtle.

M: Medium bodied for a stout. Nicely carbonated.

O: Easy drinking, solid stout but something about the licorice and smoke turn me off.

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Photo of DIM
3.36/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

a: This had a black body and it poured with a medium sized tan head.

s: Fairly strong licorice with roasty, lightly astringent coffee and dark chocolate.

t: Sweet licorice with chocolate notes up front with a strongly bitter coffee-ish finish.

m: Surprisingly thin, borderline watery.

o: Just okay, not something I would revisit.

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Photo of princessbay710
3.37/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I like it's pitch black pour. Quickly diminishing head. Smell is light, general porter smell, but good. Weird flat carbonation, and taste that reminds me of iceburg lettuce. Sorry but it's hard to be a fan of this. It's not awful or undrinkable, it's just bleh.. and lacks any direction.

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Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.03 out of 5 based on 4,275 ratings.
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