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

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
4,319 Ratings
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
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
Ratings:
4,319
Reviews:
1,581
Avg:
4.03
pDev:
10.42%
 
 
Wants:
207
Gots:
662
For Trade:
8
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,319 |  Reviews: 1,581
Photo of SDG1070
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of guytyping
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

Photo of Dave1999
4.24/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours pure black with a nice head which lasts for almost the whole time.

The smell is milk chocolate and bitter malts.

The taste is milk chocolate and very slighty bitter coffee.

The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with low carbonation.

This a very good stout, the taste is spot on, I think this is one of the best non imperial stouts.

 338 characters

Photo of kirbmeist
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of cackalacky
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of kojevergas
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
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 jhartley
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of TerrapinWakenBake
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of ABokononist
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of MaseFace
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of Anonymous1
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of VernonKell
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of fuzzcherry
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of avschmitt
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of ThinkAgain
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of mikeborglum
4.58/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours out a thick brown with tight, tiny-bubbled head; pitch black in color; faint smoke, a hint of licorice; a lot of roasted and charred burnt taste going on; A nice creamy smooth full body, coffee flavor with the presence of carbonation and alcohol. Finishes bittersweet with a long, lingering char flavor that keeps on coming.

 330 characters

Photo of robmoak
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of larebear
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of rodzgonz
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of Falcone
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of TheBigBoy
2.25/5  rDev -44.2%

Photo of leprechaunandfatman
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of Lob
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of d5001986
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.03 out of 5 based on 4,319 ratings.
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