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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
90
outstanding
1,538 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:
1,538
Ratings:
4,154
Avg:
4.03
pDev:
17.37%
 
 
Wants:
193
Gots:
600
For Trade:
8
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,538 | Ratings: 4,154
Photo of Sammy
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

very roasted malts, sweet and bitter. The rich cream is an attributeand supports the Creamy head. chocolate malts, expresso coffee but not overpowering. Some anise and other oils. Before dinner, after dinner. Had a bottle after 20 months and enjoyed its pure roasty stout, but downgraded it a bit.
Had this again after three years and it really hits the spot, often imitated never copied. Bitterness is so well controlled by roast and malt, not overwhelming coffee either.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.64/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to shrek086 for sending me this one!

Pours an opaque black with a 1/2 foamy khaki head that settles to a film on the top of the beer. No lacing on this one on the drink down. Smell is of uncooked bread dough, slight chocolate, and oddly enough a bit like playdough. Taste is of dark roasted malt, cocoa powder, and some mild coffee bean flavors. I am not getting licorice in either the smell or taste. A mild roasty bitterness quickly fades from the palate after each sip. This beer has a crisp level of carbonation with a nice bubbly mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good stout but nothing that great in the long run. I enjoy the way this beer smells more than the way it tastes.

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Photo of t0rin0
3.61/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Very dark, brown foam, no light gets through. Decent retention with alright lacing.

Smell is of alcohol and roast. Mildly complex but not much there.

Flavor is heavy on the roast. Theres a dry bitterness and a nutty aftertaste. The only sweetness that comes through is at the end of the aftertaste.

Body is medium/heavy and oily. More suited to a double stout but where does it say that milk stouts can't be thick? Definitely drinkable if you like roast and coffee flavors, I don't however.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.84/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

one of the great stouts of the Midwest, this is a real winner. shiny black, dense to light, and sporting a lovely just off white head over an inch tall, full of air, and leaving plenty of lace. big bitter roast barley aromatics with just enough hops. smoke, wet earth, and acidic coffee all contribute to the nose and taste of this beer as well, but what I love about it is its straightforward nature, no frills, just good roasty stout. its really clean for the style, finishing quickly and not drinking too heavy at all. kind of an all year stout rather than just a short day cold weather beer. its not overly creamy in feel either, with a slick sort of coating mouthfeel, thin enough to drink several off, but big enough to satiate me after that many. sweet in the middle comes out of nowhere, but the bitter finish triumphs. one of bells less exotic but most trustworthy beers.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a deep black color, the head was thick and tan colored. The smell of the beer is roasted and has a light chocolate aroma in there too. The taste of the beer had heavy roasted malts, and hints of chocolate too. The mouthfeel of the beer wasn't as thick as I was hoping for. Overall this beer isn't too bad. I would gladly drink it again, I just feel there are better stouts out there.

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Photo of metter98
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a thin mocha colored head that quickly died down and left wispy patterns of bubbles floating on the surface.
S: There are aromas of roasted malts and hints of coffee and sweetness in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell, except that there are noticeable flavors of licorice as well as hints of chocolate and coffee. There is a slight amount of bitterness in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied, creamy and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is easy to drink because it isn't very filling.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another impressive stout by Bell's. This has a similar flavor, aromatic, and visual profile as the Expedition Stout--Just kicked down a notch. This is impressive with it's balance of roasted, chocolate, caramel, and barley malts. Hopped only for balance. Slight tartness. Creamy with sight bittering; no astringency or graininess. Present alcohol, but never dominates. Finishes slightly bitter with nice linger period.

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Photo of largadeer
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle from Dyan, consumed for lunch today with a couple of wheat thins. Can't think of a much better lunch.

Appearance: Pours the darkest of browns, opaque in my glass with a finger of dark tan foam. Retention isn't great, but there's a solid and persisting ring.

Smell: Brownies, the homemade dark chocolate variety, not the sugary sweet stuff you'd find at the corner store. There's a bit of spicy licorice present as well, along with a dash of light roast coffee. Malty sweetness is in perfect balance here; present but not overbearing.

Taste & mouthfeel: Dark chocolate and light roast coffee in even portions with a nice creamy backbone. The use of brewers licorice lends a spicy undercurrent, though it's subtle enough that it doesn't distract from the malt. Great mouthfeel, velvety and rich but not overly thick. The dryness of the finish really enhances the drinkability for me, as I'm generally not a huge fan of beers that are sweet from beginning to end. Great stuff here, probably a top example of the style.

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Photo of brentk56
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pour s desperately black color with a rocky tan head that never quits and leaves plenty of lace to boot

Smell: Mocha cream, licorice and some smokey charred wood

Taste: Starts with a milk chocolate flavor that is joined by some charred undertones, coffee elements and lots of hoppy bitterness, mid-palate; after the swallow, the flavors break loose with a burst of coffee and undertones of sweet licorice through to the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and creamy with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Simply astounding

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a medium brown color head with great retention. Aroma of roasted malt with faint chocolate in the back. Taste is very creamy-like with a nice dose of chocolate. Not a whole lot of hops but I think this is for the best. Very well balance beer.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.96/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, a souvenir from a visit to a kick-ass liquor store in Dearborn, Michigan, a few weeks ago.

This beer pours a solid black, with slight cola highlights, and one fat finger of dense puffy pale beige head, which leaves a broad swath of a lace paint job around the glass as it settles. It smells of gritty, chalky baker's chocolate, caramel malt, earthy licorice, and leafy hops. The taste is still big into the chocolate - bittersweet, and enveloping, with a narrow coffee stripe. The licorice is there, a tight somewhat astringent natural black anise essence, cutting into the cocoa blanket, aided by some mild booze and underwhelmingly edgy hops. The carbonation is present, on a low-fi fizzy plane, the body damn-near full, expansive, and smooth, with a creamy predilection. It finishes with butterfly-imitating malt, bursting forth from below, finally joining the chocolate, middling licorice, and oafish hops, late to the party.

A decent, well-flavoured, dessert-adjacent Yankee stout. The extra point of ABV well-obfuscated, the licorice not overplayed - what's not to like?

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Photo of emerge077
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Kzoo stout is my go-to stout. Always satisfying, and consistently solid.

Pours an opaque jet-black. Head is present and lingers throughout. Roasted malt comes out first and foremost. Taste is rich and roasty without extra weight to burden it down. Very well balanced and smooth, cascades across the palate.

Must resist the urge to down 6 at a time...

Notes: Cellared 7289/March '06 bottle. Consumed 11-21-07, 20 months old.

Retains a good head of foam. Sweet brown sugar and chocolate malt in the nose. Ahh...that supreme roast flavor takes me back to the last Kalamazoo Stout I had almost a year ago. It builds up on the palate. Appropriately bitter with a hint of chicory or coffee in the aftertaste. Still vibrant and packs a punch after 1-1/2 years in the cellar.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.58/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

G: Poured into a pint glass.

A: Very dark with a pretty good head.

S: Some lactose sweetness along with some dark malts, fruit, and maybe a tad bit of caramel.

T: Much like the smell, with some hops and a wee bit of coffee.

M: Fairly thick, but not overly so.

D: Fairly drinkable. A less-intense stout experience.

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Photo of kojevergas
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a New Belgium goblet at me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Acquired at Ramirez Liquor. I've been quite underwhelmed by Bell's in the past, so I'm hoping this is the one that shows me how truly great they are. Bottled 09/26/12. 6.0% ABV confirmed.

Served after a period of rest from the refrigerator. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Presentation: I dig the label and its artwork. Understated and classy.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger beautiful brown head of great thickness and cream, and good retention for the above average ABV. Body colour is a solid dark black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Nontransparent. Opaque.

Sm: Dark malts are dominant. Chocolate. Cream. I search for roast but struggle to find any. Licorice. A moderate strength aroma. Not real complex or subtle considering the style, but pretty good.

T: Creamy up front and on the finish, with a lightly roasted dark malt foundation. Minimal hop presence, if any. Little licorice; it's very restrained. No yeast or alcohol comes through. Hints of caramel. Chocolate. No real coffee or toffee notes. Roast is also underdone. Well malted. A tasty creamy stout. Impeccably balanced. Quite subtle for the style. It's amazing how much they've done here. This is fucking delicious.

Mf: Smooth and wet - overly so on both counts. Should be more dry and coarse. Feels more like a porter than a stout. Still, the creaminess is fantastic, and the thickness is good. Good carbonation as well. Nice presence on the palate. Suits the flavours nicely.

Dr: A fantastic stout from Bell's. I'm starting to understand the hype a little bit; I like this a lot more than the Expedition Stout. At a better price than it is as a SoCal import, I could definitely see myself picking this up regularly. It's pretty much everything I want out of the style. Obscenely drinkable; I could easily down this all night. One of the best American stouts I've ever had.

A

Gets better as it warms, but I'd still serve it chilled.

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Photo of zeff80
4.24/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a solid black color with a one-finger, chocolate-brown head. It left small traces of lace.

S - It smelled of caramel and chocolate. It had a very sweet nose.

T - Tasted of sweet chocolate at first sip. Also, some creamy caramel flavors. There is a slight bitter kick as it warms.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a very good stout. Not a surprise that Bell's churned out another good brew.

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Photo of oberon
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black with rather big creamy almond colored head,the aroma is a mocha coffee and some nuttiness.Tastes sweet and roasted with some chocolate tones nice and creamy tasting.Its a beer to drink and savor for sure, this an Expedition are definently high quality stouts worthy of high marks.

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Photo of nickfl
4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - One and a half fingers of dark brown head on top of an opaque, black body. The head settles pretty quickly, but leaves good lace behind.

S - Strong dark chocolate and coffee aromas backed up by caramel malt.

T - Lots of nutty chocolate up front followed by mild, smooth sweetness. Roasty flavors come to the front in the finish along with mild malt bitterness.

M - Moderately thick body and medium-low carbonation, with a sweet finish.

D - An enjoyable and reasonably complex beer. Pretty drinkable, but with this level of sweetness I wouldn't want more than one. The chocolate notes in the flavor and aroma are particularly nice.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Glistening ebony with mahogany highlights. Even with bright sun behind the glass, light penetration is nil. Atop the beer is an impressive mocha colored head of dense, pitting foam that generously plasters itself to the glass in a further attempt to keep light at bay. Now this is what a stout should look like. Very well done.

The coffee-laced, fudge brownie nose is a pleasure to inhale. If the flavor follows suit, Kalamazoo will be one impressive stout. It does and it is! Bell's brewery continues to astound. Just as in the nose, gooey fudge comes to mind on the palate: rich, glossy, sweet, sticky, mouthfilling, decadent goodness in a glass.

The bitter coffee flavor is a bit too pronounced for me, but is easily overlooked because this is such delicious beer. The degree of roastedness is fairly high with a mild char that works well in the grand scheme of things. Bitter and sweet intertwine beautifully, even throughout the long, lingering finish. The body/mouthfeel is decidedly full and crushed velvet smooth.

Kalamazoo Stout is the best milk/sweet stout that I've had yet, surpassing Bell's own Special Double Cream Stout (although it's been a while since I sampled SDCS). It's one of the biggest and boldest 6.5% ABV beers that you're ever likely to drink and is truly one of the best. Kudos all around.

 1,327 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark, opaque black body with a rich, creamy beige head.

Smell: A sweet, succoring aroma of milk chocolate, licorice, and an iced caramel macchiato.

Taste: Rich, roasty espresso and dark chocolate flavor smoothed out with a shot of cream. A noticeable, fruity twang and a hint of licorice keeps things interesting. The finish is strongly roasty, and sightly astringent.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: Quite nice! It should be on anyone's list of things to drink before they die.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque black (no highlights when held to the light, but the yeast sediment is clearly visible at the bottom of the glass) with a frothy light tan head that holds fairly well before dropping to a decent collar and whispy surface covering. A short creamy head can easily be brought back, however, simply by swirling the glass, and it leaves some nice as well. The nose is rich with a sharp roastiness and notes of bittersweet chocolate, but also offers some floral and lightly earthy hops in the background. The medium body is enhanced by an exceptionally fine carbonation from bottle conditioning that leaves it creamy and smooth in the mouth. The flavor is also affected by the creamy carbonation, softening it's bitterness and rounding it's sharp roasted edges. It starts with an underlying fruitiness and dark chocolate, but immediately becomes quite roasty. It warms to reveal some caramel sweetness as it crosses the palate but reverts to deep roastiness and a solid bitterness in the finish. A rich, dark roasted coffee flavor lingers in the mouth long after the liquid had gone and occassional flashes of hop flavor can sometimes be found. Rich, complex, and highly enjoyable. This makes a great after-dinner drink or nightcap. Highly recommended and well worth seeking out.

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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 TheManiacalOne
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired via trade from JAYW, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a very dark brown color with a thin but dense brown head that fades quickly and leaves a thick and even lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is robust, creamy and malty with chocolate & coffee.

T: The taste is smoky and sweet with malty flavors of roasted coffee & dark chocolate. There’s a very faint bit of hops, but there’s no bitterness at all, even the bitterness that you usually get from the intense chocolate & coffee flavors isn’t there. The after-taste is cream and sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium-to-heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, sticky finish.

D: Very tasty, goes down very easily, slightly filling, decent kick, this one is an excellent sipper, especially if you’re looking for a beer with the flavor of an RIS but less of the alcohol punch.

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Photo of chinchill
3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottled served in a pint glass. Code on bottle ("9612") MAY indicate best by date of 6 Sept. 2012 or 9 August 2012; anyway, this bottle should be plenty fresh.

This is a truly black and opaque beer; even held up to sunlight coming thru my window I can see no light, only the tiniest dark brown at the very edges. The head is a thick tan color, and starts ample (about 2 fingers) but quickly settles to a top coat and ring. It leaves moderate lacing on the glass.

Aroma is moderately strong and consists mainly of dark roasted malts and some alcohol phenols. Also present, some traces of hops and a hint of dried dark fruits.

T - While the flavor is dominated, as it should be, by dark roasted malts. Has a lasting and rich finish featuring dark roasted malts with a hint of hop spiciness, black licorice and bitter dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel: medium body with medium-low carbonation. Not bad, but I find the body a tad thin for style although the carbonation is near ideal.

O - I sampled this Bells immediately after a Sierra Nevada Stout. Overall, and in most respects, I found the SN superior. The Bells does have a slightly stronger aroma and flavor, with dark malts more dominant over the hops.
I note that the Bells Stout is "brewed with brewers licorice" which "Increases head retention while imparting slight flavor" according to a brewers' supplier.

(revisited and tweaked with a 2012 bottle in Nov. 2013 - paired with a Green Flash Double Stout which proved to have more flavor but otherwise was quite similar.}

 1,532 characters

Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into signature pint glass, bottled 9/14/2011. Pours pitch black color, with a nice 2 finger fairly dense tan head with great retention that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Some decent lacing clinging to the glass. Aromas of big milk chocolate, caramel, coffee, roasted malt, light herbal hops, and a hint of licorice. Nice well balanced aromas with good strength. Taste of big milk chocolate, coffee, caramel, roasted malt, pine, herbal hops, and a bit of spiciness. Good amount of bitterness on the finish with lingering notes of milk chocolate, caramel, pine, and herbal spiciness for a bit. Very robust flavors for 6%, with great balance. Medium carbonation and body; with a nice creamy mouthfeel. Hardly any alcohol presence except for a slight warming after the finish. Overall this is an excellent and highly robust stout. Very drinkable with great flavor balance.

 890 characters

Photo of womencantsail
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for sending this one my way, Matt.

A: The beer is almost black in color and pours with about a finger of dark tan head.

S: Plenty of roasted malt and coffee notes to the nose followed up by dark chocolate and licorice. Actually, a lot of licorice. Molasses is present as well is a touch of soap.

T: The flavor is very similar to the nose, with a nice roasted character, though not overwhelming or charred in nature. Toffee and molasses flavors provide the bulk of the sweetness along with a bit of licorice.

M: Medium in body with a medium level of carbonation.

O: Really nice easy drinking stout. You could definitely have a couple of these.

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Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
90 out of 100 based on 1,538 ratings.
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