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

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Bell's Kalamazoo StoutBell's Kalamazoo Stout
BA SCORE
3.98/5
Very Good
4,370 Ratings
Bell's Kalamazoo StoutBell's Kalamazoo Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States
bellsbeer.com

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
Ranking:
#4,081
Reviews:
1,589
Ratings:
4,370
pDev:
10.55%
Bros Score:
3.67
 
 
Wants:
207
Gots:
688
Trade:
8
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,370 |  Reviews: 1,589
Photo of Sammy
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

 473 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of acurtis
3.25/5  rDev -18.3%

Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of jaydoc
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.64/5  rDev -8.5%
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 GRG1313
3.25/5  rDev -18.3%

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.94/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | 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 with an absolute ton of character. its really clean for the style, finishing quickly and not drinking too heavy at all, very little residual sugar. 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. hearty in the right way without being forced to be huge. sweetness in the middle comes out of nowhere, but the bitter finish triumphs. one of bells less exotic but most trustworthy beers.

 1,003 characters

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of Knapp85
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

 407 characters

Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of t0rin0
3.61/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

 494 characters

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of metter98
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

 587 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
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.

 418 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.96/5  rDev -0.5%
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 kojevergas
3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

***
01/21/17: 6 pack purchased at a Brooklyn Bravo supermarket for $11.99.

I didn't notice the licorice before...how could I not have? I usually despise licorice, but can tolerate anise and/or fennel. This, to me, has an aspect of the flavour of licorice but not any of its sticky texture.

A powdery smooth wet mouthfeel with an apt medium body helps deliver this beer's bold flavours of chocolate malt, dark malt sweetness, subtle roast, and gooey licorice. Impeccably balanced with good depth of flavour.

The tricky push-pull of bitterness and sweetness is at the heart of any stout, and Bell's nails it with aplomb. This is how it is done, ladies and gentlemen.

It's a bit limited in terms of intricacy, but its stellar balance makes one wonder if adding more layers of flavour would really elevate the beer all that much. In any case, it's definitely got above average complexity for an American stout, and puts to shame many of the adjunct-ridden stouts that have come out since this beer's release...hazelnut vanilla this, coffee cacao nib that, bourbon aged marshmallow fudge this, peppermint chicory that...they all get straight-up slayed by this brew, which puts depth of flavour and balance first instead of gimmickry and loudness of flavour. A classic in its category, and one of Bell's finest beers. A remarkable expression of the style, and a beer I happily stomach paying $12 a sixer for.

As much as I adore this beer, I do have to reign in my rating above from 2012 ; this is remarkably drinkable and enjoyable, but I may have been a bit effusive in my earlier remarks...it's not quite on the level of Michigan stout brethren like Founders Breakfast Stout, which I regard as a better beer. Chalk it up to batch variation?

B+ (3.98) / VERY GOOD

 3,884 characters

Photo of dmorgan310
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of emerge077
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
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 brentk56
4.34/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

Smell: Mocha cream, coffee, 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: Medium to full bodied and creamy with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Simply astounding

 553 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of oline73
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Beer rating: 3.98 out of 5 with 4,370 ratings
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