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

1,576 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: 1,576 | Ratings: 4,295
Photo of objectivemonkey
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Into a pint glass, pours a pitch black with an inch of tan, bubbly head thats sticks around for about 5 minutes and has nice lacing. Aroma is of the not-so-bashful sort, roasty toasty malts, almost a burnt quality to it.

Taste does have a burnt quality to it, in a good way though, the roasty toasty malts so strong, with notes of coffee espresso, chocolate, anise maybe?, and un-hoppily bitter hops. Mouth is a zinger, hefty carbonation prickling the tongue, yet still kind of smooth. This seems to me that this beer is to stouts as mean beastly bastard hop-bombs are to IPAs, and as with hop bombs, I like it.

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Photo of Higravity
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark as hell nice tan head, that sticks around for a little while. The smell is a roasty ride punctuated with fruity notes and anise-fennel-esque musings. The taste is a powerful sweet stout with plenty of coffee roastedness to even out the sweet, with the anise flavors noticeable and nice without being to ripe. The body is a little thinner than most stouts, but it fits well with the beer. It is a pleasent drinker but not an all day affair.

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

Pours a five finger brown head that fades to a thin layer leaving a good lace. Black color. Light-medium carbonation and heavy bodied. Chocolate nose. Starts with a roasted/burnt chocolate flavor, some sweetness, nice stout. $1.89 for a 12oz bottle from Chalet Party Goshen, In.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.53/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours extremely dark, pretty much black. Nice thick head with great lacing.

Smells roasty with a nice astringency. Unsweetened licorice is there as well as some lactic sweetness as well.

Taste is magnificent, although a little dry for the style. Creamy and quite dry. Nice bitterness and beautiful balance between astringency, roastiness and sweetness. Fantastic. The licorice is noticeable and contributes a lot of body and bitterness, but not sweetness.

Very nice mouthfeel- quite creamy and dry, and good body.

Very drinkable. Has enough interestinf flavors to keep you going, but its dry enough to not at all be cloying.

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Photo of Neehan
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Incredible appearance, smell, and taste in this one. They all speak of creamy smoothness with a rich coffee taste, and a toasted, burnt malt flavor. I am incredibly glad that this was made available in my area, and I recommend it to all who enjoy great craft beer if they get a chance to taste it. I personally recommend drinking this slightly colder than most stouts as it seems to enhance the smoothness and slightly mellow the burnt flavors. Regardless, an outstanding beer.

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Photo of plaid75
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured an oily black hue with a finger and a half dark tan head. There was very good retention and sticky lacing.

The smell featured a deep burnt grain aroma with highlights of chocolate and black malts.

The taste was upfront burnt grain, reminiscent of burnt toast. Nice bitterness and touch of chocolate malt.

The mouthfeel was smooth and creamy.

Overall a delicious milk stout. Very smooth despite the burnt malts. Very sessionable.

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Photo of Minkybut
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into tumbler at 50 degrees. Beer had a nice head that reeked of chocolate and smoked nuts. The tase was fantastic and was also rich with that nice malty rich coffee/toffee (but not sweet) chocolatey yummy taste. I really like this stout and will certainly purchase again.

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Photo of jslot38
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Yeah... my bottle looks different than the one on this page. Says its brewed with "Brewer's Licorice"... sounds interesting.

Appearance: I have to say, sometimes my pouring ability amazes me. Anyways, this beer poured a nice volumous head of a light tan colour. The head conceals a light black body. Head remains a top covering throughout and leaves behind a nice amount of lacing.

Smell: A very nice complex smell. Roasted nuts, coffee grounds, chocolate and earth tones. Has a noticable sweetness to it.

Taste: Wow, thats great. Defines what it means to be deep. The flavours meld to create a very roasted medly. Dark Coffee grounds, dark chocolate, roasted chestnuts. Some sweetness emerges just at the end, a bit of candi sugar and plums are hit by some very eathy hops.

Mouthfeel: Just sits on the tongue. Often stouts can be undercarbonated or over hopped and have an abbrasivness on the tongue. This beer shows no signs of either, sits perfectly between these two extremes.

Drinkability and notes: I could picture having two of these, but its in no way a session beer. Regardless, its too much of a pleasure to drink to take away points because of this. Well, the reason to celebrate the arrival of Bell's to Washington D.C. is this Kalamazoo stout, top notch stuff.

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Photo of chuuzetsu
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is my first beer review. Bare with me as I am still developing my taste and knowledge about beer. As my profile says, I am just a cub when it comes to beer.

A.) Dark black with a slight light brown-ish head.

S.) As I was smelling the beer I looked away for a moment and before I knew it I accidently inhaled some of the beer, haha! So I got a real feel for the smell. Almost smells like a fresh coffee.

T.) This is barely even bitter. Tastes of roast coffee and a slight chocolate aftertaste. Leaves a good feeling in the mouth.

M.) Slightly less thick than some of the other stouts I have had.

D.) If you have had trouble finding a good stout, milk/sweet stout, to drink, this is the one to start with to get into the type of brew. Excellent beer to have after a small meal, in my opinion.

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Photo of ndekke39
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank this from a 12 oz bottle in batch 7234, packed on January 26, 2006.

A: Opaque black with a thin, off-white head.

S: Smells of roasted coffee, some toasted barley, hints of sweet like a dark, dark chocolate.

T: Nice dark roast coffee. Almost no bitterness. More of the chocolate comes out as the beer warms to room temperature. I love how stouts change character as they warm.

M: Not as thick as some stouts, but not at all watery. Tiny bubbles of fizz that lingered.

D: Very drinkable. Excellent example of the style.

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

Poured a deep coal black with a minimal off-white head.

The aroma was of roasted malts, chocolate, and earthy hops.

The flavor of the beer was malty, but not sweet. The darker side of the flavor spectrum was primarily bittersweet chocolate, not so much a roasty character. The hops were in a good balance and blended well with licorice accents.

The mouthfeel was medium and the carbonation was just right. I would've like a little creaminess in this beer. I think it would help round out the flavors more.

Still, a very solid stout from a solid brewery.

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Photo of neonbrown82
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Batch # 7694

I just noticed that I hadn't reviewed this beer yet, though I've had it several dozen times since we got it in at John's Grocery. I've had mixed results with it, but this particular sample I'm currently enjoying is probably the best one I've yet tried.

This beer pours to a completely opaque black with a nice thick brown head. Carbonation is not visible, obviously. Retention is good, as is lacing. Looks to be quite the good stout.

The smell is great. Sweet and milky with a light chocolatey roast. A hint of black licorice. Like the beer equivalent to a nice tall glass of hot cocoa on a cold winter's night.

The taste is equally as good. Sweet lactose and chocolate flavor up front followed by a gently roasty finish. Once again, a hint of licorice. Very enjoyable.

The body is thick and creamy. Not too dry, not too sweet, not too roasty. Just good beer. Very drinkable. Like I said, I've had mixed results with this beer in the dozens of times I've tried it, but it just so happens that the bottle I decided to finally review is the best it has ever been. As much as I have loved this particular beer, I have much more consistent enjoyability with the porter. If only the stout were consistently this good (sometimes it tastes like beef jerky).

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Photo of pmatz2
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one has been in the fridge for a year.
Pours a dark brown with a thick tan head that slowly diminishes a ring a round the edge with sections still visible in the middle. There is plenty of lacing that lasts all the way down.

Aroma is predominantly roasted malt with a some hints of coffee and chocolate

The taste is of sweet roasted malts that reduces on the finish.

It has a medium to full body with a very creamy texture There is very little sign of carbonation.

I found this to be drinkable but it tasted better with food than by itself

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

received yesterday from MABZ. I have looked forward to trying bell's stouts, this is the first I have seen.

head is dark tan, large depending on pour.

nose is distinctly roasted barley (unmalted I assume), typical for style. while the bottle notes brewer's licorice is used, i cannot pick it up in the nose. pleasantly burnt (not smokey) odors.

taste is a mildly sour roasted taste, a lesser sense of bright hops on top of this provide some balance, though the roasted side dominates. the glass does become more bitter/sour as it warms up.

perfectly decent stout, certainly worth trying.

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

It pours a deep, impassable black, though you know on some level it's actually an espresso brown, and fetchingly ruby at the very edges. A finger of cocoa brown head dips soon to clovers of froth. Blips of lacing blot the inside of the glass.

The aroma wafts dark roasted malt, lightly charred and quite caramelized. Earthy plum and a mildly spicy hop presence deal well with anise and a caress of yeast tanginess.

Upon tasting, there's briefly caramel sweet malt chased by a sharp nip of burnt grain. Strains of soy and sherry mix it up with dried plum and a hint of licorice. A tickly of spicy hops open for a burnt biscuit visitation. The finish is crisp, dry, and lightly lactic in lingering character. It's got a touch of edge and is quite enjoyable for it.

Medium bodied, it slides slickly across the palate and leaves a creamy lasting impression.

I got a gal in Kalamazoo...well, I got a beer NAMED Kalamazoo, anyway. And it's a tasty creamy, sassy stout. Everything about it comes across as crisp, refreshingly, and nicely drinkable. So maybe Kalamazoo is a state of mind, and if so, my mind is now a happy place.

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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 bjohnson
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to hoppymeal for the chance to try this great looking stout.

A: Pours a jet black color with a a caramel colored one finger head. Dissipates quickly and leaves slight retention.
S: Sweet chocolate or cocoa notes almost as if your smelling a powdered nestle cocoa tub. Milky sweetness to it.
T/M: Sweet milk chocolate notes blend into roasted cocoa/toffee malt like flavors. Slight bitterness and dry finish leads back into that cakey nestle cocoa like flavor. Extra smooth on the palate with a silky smooth feeling. Medium to above average body with a low level of carbonation makes this a good looking session beer.
D: Another amazing brew from Bell's. Have they a bad beer? Not sure they do. Very drinkable bordering ons session like. Smooth and silky makes this offering a must if you can try it.

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

Dark brown light trap of a beer with a modest dark tan head. Light, wet lacing. Smells of roasted, coffee-like malt and Cocoa Puffs.

Burned coffee and baker's chocolate bring some assertive bitterness to the taste, with that nifty sour character you get from a milk stout. It's a little loose in the mouth, but not at all watery. Alcohol isn't so high, but with the substantial carbonation this beer is a bit of a tongue biter.

A good stomach warmer. Easy going.

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Photo of Lnedrive14
3.61/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had in the bottle at Capital Ale House, Innsbrook. Pretty excited to see some Bell's stuff on the menu, since we can't get this back in Boston.

I don't know what to say about this brew. Came out of the bottle looking fluffy and delicious. Huge white head with great retention.

A fairly hoppy stout - i was a bit surprised by this. aside from that feature, i just found this to be a totally bland stout. absolutely nothing special about it, IMO. Sweet, little bit like chocolate milk. average level of malts.

coated the palate well - perfect level of carbonation. drinkable, but not something I would pound away constantly, since it just wasn't anything special to me.

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Photo of rayjay
4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Batch 7571, via trade with akorsak. I did not even know I was recieving this beer, and I'm very happy to have tried it. Average looking stout without too much of a head, but the nose really stands out. The licorice root is apparent as it melts in with the sweet malts. Lactose sweetness and chocolate roastedness. Hops are not featured, as per the style, but the depth of the malts keeps things exciting. Very drinkable and refreshing. The carbonation is a bit dull but it fits the style just fine. Great for anytime of day, and it's also a very accessible stout for the uninitiated. Recommended. Cheers!

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Photo of Darkale
4.31/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Um... wow.

Can you say "roasted"? Wow, indeed.

My olfactory sense has never been impressive, but I can speak to the appearance of this beer -- thick, impenetrably dark, and with that wonderful stout proclivity: you pour it, and you don't see a head, and then the head seems to emerge from within the beer. And definitely the most roasted tasting stout I've ever had -- charcoal and hops and chocolate and coffee all fighting together, with that charcoal, roasted taste predominant, but somehow just muted enough by its companions to make it pleasant on the tongue.

Marvelous. Chewy and sweet, then roasted... lingering... I love, oh how I love a beer that encourages you to slow down. Well done and highly recommended.

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Photo of pweis909
2.66/5  rDev -34%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Aroma – nothing strong, but smells remind me of molasses and chocolate, but also off aromas, like metal and rotten egg.

Dryer taste than the porter, no hops, dry finish. Bland

Texture seems thin, unimpressive.

Appearance is like porter, but with fuller head with large bubbles that are quick to dissapate.

My most disappointing Bells brew. I will give it another try sometime, as it seems like I had a bad bottle (see aroma). The Bells Porter beat this stout handsdown.

EDIT: Just read some other reviews and I don't seem to be the only one who has found the smell off-putting. Could be a more extensive problem

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Photo of EvilKeith
4.07/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Kalamazoo Stout poured from the bottle dark brown in color; in the glass it was nearly pitch black. Granules of yeast sat at the bottom of the glass. The head was a finger of sandstone colored frothy lather-like foam. The lace was intermittent, but remained sticky.
The smell was creamy and sweet with a significant roasted character, light chocolate notes and an almost camphor-like trace of anise.
The taste was dominated by roasted and toasty flavors. Bittersweet cocoa, dark fruits and a burnt caramel taste as it warmed. The charred flavors played nicely off of the green grassy hops and their bitterness. The finish started lightly sweet before turning powdery dry.
The carbonation was moderately active and the body was medium to heavy giving this one a smooth and creamy mouthfeel.
Very nice, flavorful, well balanced and highly drinkable.

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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 foureyedgeek
4.23/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle, batch 7571.

Black as tar with a tall milk chocolate head, this thing could have gone three fingers high if I had not poured more slowly. Head retention is good, it falls to craggy foam and then to a nice thin bubbles&cream. Moderate lacing beginning to end.

Smells of sweet, dark malts and coffee.

Tastes of dark chocolate, dark coffee, sweet in the front of the mouth, but with a slight bitterness on the finish. Complex without being too much.

Solid creamy mouthfeel, damn tasty and damn drinkable, this is a session beer that'll leave you feeling nice and warm.

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Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.03 out of 5 based on 4,295 ratings.
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