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

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding
1,540 Reviews
THE BROS
83
good
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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:
1,540
Ratings:
4,162
Avg:
4.03
pDev:
17.37%
 
 
Wants:
195
Gots:
607
For Trade:
8
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,540 | Ratings: 4,162
Photo of woodychandler
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A fresh bottle (Batch 10232) came to me recently from local trader tone77, plus like cagocubs, I have an aged bottle (Batch 6666 (whoa!) that just turned up in my infamous cellar. This is as good a day as any to try them.

From the bottle: "Here's where we tell you about this full-bodied stout's delicious roast flavor. But really, you've already got the bottle in your hand so why not find out for yourself?"

Batch 10232

I went with such an aggressive pour that it initially looked like a chocolate milk shake in my glass until a cascading action took hold and the foam began to subside into beer. Thank goodness for surface tension or it might have overflowed my glass! As it was, I ended up with a dense foamy finger of deep-tan head with excellent retention in this heat. Color was an obsidian black, allowing zero light penetration, even at the edges. This was a black hole of a beer. Nose smelled roasty with notes of dark chocolate and charcoal. Mouthfeel was medium, approaching creaminess, with flavors of dark chocolate, smoke, charcoal and black licorice on the tongue. As the lacing began to appear, it was thick and sticky, looking as though it would need to be chiseled out later. Finish was very dry with the smoky charcoal flavor dominating and lingering. Phew! Give me this over a milk/sweet stout any day.

Batch 6666

Jeez, Louise, it looked like spent motor oil coming out of the bottle and into my glass! I briefly had a finger of deep-tan head before it disappeared. Color was solid black with zero light penetration. Nose was very smoky and charcoal-ish underlain by a dark chocolate scent. Mouthfeel was fairly full and the roasted bitterness had really come to the forefront with coffee initially and chocolate following. Finish was more like chocolate fudge than anything, rendering it a dessert beer. It held up extremely well.

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Photo of jwc215
3.4/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours nearly black with a thin, tan head.

The smell is of licorice, slightly burnt coffee and toast with chocolate notes.

The taste is of licorice and plenty of it. Reminds me of licorice candy. Coffee and chocolate notes mix in. Earthy bitterness balances out the sweetness. There is a mix of burnt, though not really smoky, (coffee?, or just "burnt...") that gets in the way, as well as some chalk, which is a shame, as it otherwise would be very good. Finishes with a balanced, though slightly awkward, finish.

Something seems "off" and astingent. I do like it, especially the way the licorice plays in, but too chalky and burnt to really enjoy.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the House of Brews. Served in a snifter.

Appearance - Black. Small khaki head. Thin collar and a few stray streaks of lacing.

Smell - Roasty malt. Kinda ashy and burnt. Coffee.

Taste - A little more sweet than the nose suggested. Coffee malt. Roastiness builds into the finish. Very burnt and acrid in the back, but it's not excessive. Some sweetness lingers too.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Very drinkable. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Very roasty. Intense and flavorful.

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

Color is deep, dark black, black as a licorice whip, and, we find, it tastes like one, too. Good, thick, boggy and bubbly brown head. And an aroma that is roasted flavors to gills, as charred and heady a stout this side of an Imperial. Full of flavorful connotations, chocolate, coffee, more rich flavors, mollasses, syrup, anise.
Hugely flavorful hop bitterness jumps right on board the palate and swims through the mouth. Full, thick, rewarding, delicious. This one sticks in the mouth like peanut butter, constantly abiding finish. Perfect balance, with massive amounts of everything, it contains certain essences of Imperial stouts, without going overboard in alcohol.
I'm not sure if the style milk/cream/sweet stout is appropriate here, but then I'm not sure what to call it, myself.
Who cares? It's delicious!

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received in a trade with Jay23 thanks for the chance to try this.

Pours a solid black with a tan head that dissipates quickly and leaves minimal lacing around the glass. Smells of roasted malts some dried fruit and a sweet milk stout smell. Taste is sweet lactose some more of the dried fruit and a touch of hops in the background. Has a creamy mouthfeel, but is a little thin. Great sweet stout, not over the top with sweetness like so many of this style tend to be.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Black color with tan head. Aroma has really nice chocolate, fudge and coffee with some roasted malts on top. Taste follows with chocolate, roasted coffee and dark malts. Body is full and has a really smooth mouthfeel. Overall it's a really tasty, smooth stout, especially for its ABV.

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Photo of tdm168
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with 1/4" of cappuccino head that has good retention. The nose has notes of roasted malts, coffee, and a hint of chocolate. The taste is smooth, rich roasted malts, mellow coffee, and faint chocolate in the finish. There are some faint hops in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, smooth, and well carbonated.

This is a solid stout. It's fairly simple and to the point, but the simplicity works here. I've had this one several times and will probably have it again.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Big three to four finger light cocoa brown head with good retention, nice cap on this. Body is dark walnut brown with just a hint of red. A little soapy but manages a nice ice cream chunk while drinking.

Smell is a good mix of first chocolate then roast coffee. Good and simple, real solid. Chewy grain texture.

Taste is slight prickly licorice, and milk chocolate ovaltine finish. Just right on the wetness scale it seems, so easy drinking.

Overall solid good light stout, very nice and enjoyable easy drinking, good flavor and feel.

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

Thorpe gave me a holiday 5 pack of this beer, have to love the holiday 5 pack tradition. Thanks. Poured into a Bell's glass because I can.

Beer is dark black and completely opaque. I poured a little harder than I should be I coaxed a nice thick tan head out of the beer that slowly receded, leaving a little lacing on the walls of the glass. Carbonation is a mystery.

Aroma is nice though. It's a little sweet, some chocolate, some great mild roast, this smells really awesome.

Beer is medium in body and pretty creamy in the mouth with minimal carbonation on the palate. There is a nice chocolaty midpalate flavor, after the initial mild sweetness, the bitterness in this beer is practically perfect. A very good beer all around.

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

12 ouncer with different art work then shown on this site, no freshness into be had. This one pours stout black, dark tan head, well knot, retentive and then leaves plenty of slippery and then sticky lace. Roasty/malty nose. Yummy, easy drinking stout, with notes of sweetened coffee, molasses, dark toast. Sweet and roasty, silky as it rides over the tongue and swirls in the mouth. Top notch in all ways, more fine suds from Bells

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

12 ounce bottle shared with some friends. Poured into three miniature 5 ounce snifter glasses.

A: Deep dark brown borderline black body with a creamy and frothy tan head. A few swirls in the glass and it looked as if it was on nitro. Very minor lace with a thin creamy retention cap. Nice looking regular stout, especially the head color which you don't always see.

S: Dark malts come through big, slightly roasted with a bitter caramel note. Faint coffee and anise is there, just enough to provide some complexity without dominating. A distant grassy element is in the background. Complex enough without going over the top.

T: High percentage dark chocolate, mildly roasted coffee beans, vanilla and lactose. Back of the palate has the anise but it's extremely faint, and personally I don't think enough comes through to warrant it being plastered on the label. Rich, robust and flavorful; nicely done.

M: Creamy and silky, a bit on the higher end of carbonation but I haven't come to expect an extremely chewy body on a regular stout. Pretty nice with a clean finish.

This was certainly a surprise as I tend to dislike anything brewed with anise/licorice. The good part is that it's not overpowering by any means, and really works as an addition to the base flavors. Again, put it on the label? I don't think so, unless you just want to say you're doing something different.

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Photo of BeerForMuscle
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Black stout body with a thin beige head.

S - Powdery chocolate notes and sweet dark breads and grains. A minor malt sweetness in the nose. Typical roasty aroma throughout.

T - The taste was milder than expected from the beer's smell. Mostly a toned back roasty profile with some bitter cocoa powder thrown in.

M - Light bodied, and mild dried finish. This beer was easy drinking, and had some charachteristics of a schwarzbier.

O - A less bold stout, a nice starter to your stout night.

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

04/18/05- Received as a gift from BA member Spinlock.

Presentation- 12oz bottle with no dates. Poured into my Reaper pint glass.

Appearance- Fairly black in color with a nice 1/2 inch head and average lacing.

Smell- Nice and sweet with a bit of roasted scent.

Taste- Yummy sweetness with a nice chocolate kick. Maybe a tiny bit of coffee and nicely rounded malt texture.

Mouthfeel- Mouthcoating chocolate as it warms. Lower carbonation.

Drinkability- One of the best stouts I have had. Creeping fairly close to Stone IRS. Wish I had easy access to these. I've been damn lucky with stouts and porters as of recent.

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

Poured in to a Duvel tulip

A - Poured a thick dark brown, almost black with a finger of toffee-coloured head and some visible carbonation.

S - Sweet milk chocolate, roasted coffee and licorice. Somr dark fruit in the background as well.

T - Roasted malts. Not particularly coffee or chocolate up front but there is coffee in the finish with a hint of licorice. A nice flavour balance.

M - Light to medium body; lightly carbonated.

D - An excellent stout. Definitely worthy of being a staple.

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Photo of tempest
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I've had this on tap and from the bottle and there's little to no difference. This beer was pitch black with a nice tan head. It smelled heavily of roasted malts with a bit of chocolate in the back ground. Taste is similar with a very dry, bitter bite to it. Appears to have a very clean yeast strain and the malts almost taste like you're chewing on the grains. I found it nice and interesting at first, but the dryness got to me after a couple bottles.

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Photo of WesWes
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep dark black color with a thick frothy brown head that fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich dark malt scent that is dominated with chocolate and roasted barley. It is sweet to the nose and seems a bit creamy. The taste is good. It has a dry black malt flavor with some chocolate hints and a semi-sweet finish. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a fine stout. It has great aroma and flavor a good sessions ale.

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

Pours a dark black. 1/4 inch head with slight retention and lsight lacing. Smells of a dark rich malt and sweetness. Fits the style of a Milk/Sweet Stout. Mouth feel is sharp and slighty thick. There's a high carbonation level and an associated bitterness. Tastes very rich, of a strong malt, some roasted malt as well, and there's a slight hop bitterness. Overall, a very good rich stout - definitely couldn't drink more than a couple of these.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to barzigkin for sharing this bottle.

Pours black with a tan head. The aroma is awesome, with coffee, roasted malts and some cream. The flavor is bitter coffee, roasted malts, cream and some chocolate. The aftertaste is cream. Thick mouthfeel and low carbonation.

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Photo of Duff27
3.82/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- Inch tall mocha head on a dark brown body. Excellent head retnetion and splotchy lacing. Appearance is very inviting.

S- Whiffs of cocoa and hints of cola in the nose.

T- Chocolate is a lot more prominent in the taste compared to the aroma, especially as it warms. Slight coffee note. Drinks it's 6%abv.

M- Medium mouthfeel, medium carbonation.

D/O- A very balanced, drinkable stout. The chocolate/coffee combo grows on you with every sip.

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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.

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Photo of liamt07
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from AJ's Fine Foods in on North Central in Phoenix. Batch 10687, bottled September 14, 2011. 12oz bottle into a chalice. Notably low fill line on the bottle, doesn't even cover the label. Nonetheless...

Pours black and opaque, impenetrable to light. Cocoa brown coloured head of a finger or two, with light retention and some pretty good lace. Nose has some cocoa, licorice and a general sweetness, with a bit of roast. Taste has baker's chocolate, a bit of sugary dark fruits, licorice is more subtle and big kick of roastiness at the end. Good sweetness complements the roasty bitterness and balances it nicely. Pretty fullbodied, with a fairly low carbonation. An excellent stout, I wish I could stock this regularly.

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

This is my 400th review. Just absolutely delicious. Poured into a pint glass, a black color, nice carbonation, nice creamy tan head, some lacing afterwards. Scents of sweet roasted malts, and toffee/chocolate. The taste is a creamy sweet roasted malt, with a nice toffee finish. Medium body, slightly carbonated feel on the tongue. Very drinkable, glad to had a chance to checkout this fabulous brew.

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

This one pours the darkest of browns with the slightest khaki head which quickly dissipated. It smells rich and sweet, as of molasses. It tastes bold and rich, very coffee/java like. It is rather sweet but appealingly so. It drinks smoothly and medium bodied. It has subtle carbonation but has an appealing mouthfeel. This one didn't miss where most craft American stouts miss. It's very drinkable, a great American stout, probably one of my new favorites.

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

A thick creamy brown head tops this deep brown almost black beer. Thick aromas of coffee, burnt malt, alcohol, and chocolate waft from my glass. Aaah, a thick creamy body that is quite satisfying and hits the spot after the weak porter that I just had. Finishes with an astringent roast malt character. The beer is so creamy that it balances the roast character, in the front and middle of this beer, quite well. Perhaps a hint of diacetyl, but it is barely perceptible. Not really sweet, despite the ample body. After a bit of time I can detect some buttery diacetyl in the aroma, perhaps a bit distracting, but not all that bad.

This beer would be something else if the diacetyl was cleaned up a bit. Having said that, if you don't mind a bit of diacetyl, this would be a really good beer for you.

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Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
90 out of 100 based on 1,540 ratings.
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