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

4,314 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 4,314 |  Reviews: 1,578
Photo of antlerwrestler19
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep brown to black with maroon highlights when the light barely shines through. One finger toffee coloroed head fades pretty quick leaving the thinnest webbed lacing. Smells of anise and black licorice, roasted chocolate maltiness with a faint smokiness. The flavor follows suit but it also incorporates a lot of bitter chocolate and a bitter hop presence as well. The mouthfeel is smooth and on the lighter side of full bodied. This beer didn't really jump out at me, I enjoyed it but the licorice characteristics are probably what hurt this stout's quality for me. Still a good somewhat low abv. drinkable stout.


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Photo of trxxpaxxs
3.77/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark, almost pitch black. Even being held to the light produces no transparency. There is a tiny mocha head on this beer but it fades quickly. It looks dark and delicious... exactly how I like my beers.

S: Smells of coffee, licorice, molasses, and plums. I can't wait to try it.

T: It starts sweet, but turns to bitters. I really wasn't expecting that at all. I'm very perplexed by this beer. There is quite a mix of malty sweetness and hoppy bitterness. It's almost too bitter for what I was expecting.

M: Decent mouthfeel for this beer. There are some nice sticky and chewy textures, but nothing too intense.

O: I like this beer, but the appearance and nose totally deceived me. That being said, it's still a good beer that I'd like to try again.

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Photo of BeerDawgs
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pitch black, with a tiny bit of head, and not much lace retention

S - Licorice, deep roasted malts. Coffee

T - Pretty good. Roasted malts, slight chocolate and coffee flavors. Nuts. Licorice adds a slight sweet finish.

M - Very creamy and smooth mouthfeel.

O - A very good stout. Another well done beer from Bells

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Photo of lurpy1
3.58/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Brownish black pour, good head. Pretty beer. Smell is somewhat smoky but stops short of bacon beer. Nice sense of roasted malts and a little bit of nut.

Taste is less than overpowering, smoke fades, overall becomes more roasty and grainy.

Mouthfeel did not work for me. This beer had the right level of viscousity and thickness, but it came with an unpleasant grittiness and a permeating chalky sensation.

Overall, a slightly above-average stout. Not at all bad, but right after this I had a Founders Breakfast Stout, and I was blown away by how much better Founders Breakfast Stout is.

Not sure what to make of Bell's stout offerings - one of the hallmarks of a great brewery is a superlative stout, and having had Expedition, Kalamazoo, and Java, all come well short of that distinction. Yet everything else I've had from Bell's is invariably great. I guess stouts just aren't their sweet spot.

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

12oz Bottle - thanks zacs!

Appearance - The beer pours a black/brown colour with a large frothy light brown coloured head. I can't see much carbonation due the darkness of the beer and there is some great lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for 6 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Chocolate, malts, coffee, smoke

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation and it feels slightly creamy on the tongue. I can taste chocolate, coffee, and some malts. There is also a nice amount of smoke/roasted notes and a little bit of a metallic flavour. The beer finished with a smokey and roasted bitter aftertaste.

Overall – Bell's is quickly becoming my favourite brewer. I've yet to be disappointed with any of their beers. The mouthfeel with this beer was amazing and it has a fantastic appearance in the glass. The taste was great and it was very easy to drink. I'd buy it again in a heartbeat.

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

A - Pours a deep black letting no light through, even on the edges. Nice mocha colored head, just a thin layer but it sticks around. Some slight lacing but not much.

S - Rich malts dominate this aroma. You can definitely smell the licorice in it as well. All malts in the aroma, no hops at all. Chocolate and some hints of coffee come through the sweet malts and licorice.

T - I can definitively taste black patent malt as the dominant malt in this beer. It is mostly a bitter chocolate/coffee taste, but I have used that malt and tasted it raw enough to know that is the primary specialty malt used in this beer. The licorice also follows up nicely.

M - Thick body, creamy texture, perfect carbonation, the sweetness sticks to the sides of your mouth, but it isn't cloying. Finish lingers forever and is a sweet chocolate/licorice taste.

O - I love this stout. It's not my favorite, and not my go-to, but it is still fantastic. The flavors meld perfectly.

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

From bottle to tulip

Agressive pour yields a nice thick, dense, light brown head. Fades rather quickly with minimal lacing. Aroma of cocoa, licorice, and roasty malt.

Roast malt flavor with espresso, licorice, and a slight acidity. Nice dark chocolate and roast espresso finish that lingers. Medium mouthfeel.

Overall, a good, well rounded, drinkable stout. Not overly complex and I enjoy the licorice.

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

A - Opaque black. Good retention, small amount of lacing.

S - Coffee, chocolate, slight booziness. I took notes on this and they're pretty vague, but it was a lighter stout.

T - Roasted malts, chocolate, bitter coffee, strong but simple flavours.

M/D - Medium mouthfeel, smooth drinking

O - Solid but simple. I'd buy it again.

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Photo of Cummins9110
4.09/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into glass, almost had to scrape it into the glass! this boy is THICK! ok thats a little exagerated but its pretty thick

A - dark black, with brown/carmel head, looks like coke held it up to a light and cannot see any light through it

S - rich robust, coffee/chocolate, chocolate

T - very chocolatey and cofee like, allergies are acting up so thats about all ii can taste

M - very thick, almost like milk or something very thick and heavy

overal this is a very good stout

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Photo of McNealc31
3.94/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Taste of roasted malt and some licorice in there. Late kick from the hops, too.

Smooth, yet still big and chewy, it's a mouthful. Very complex with bitter chocolate, hints of charred wood, and those anise notes. Maybe even some grape in there, too. It all leads to a dry, chalky, woody, lingering finish.

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

Pretty excited when a customer dropped this off at the store for us to try. The beer pours black with brown around the edges with an espresso head. Smells big and roasty. The taste has got a lot going on, big ashy charred flavors, roasted coffee bitter chocolate, touch of licorice. I'm not a licorice fan but I like the stout, not something to avoid, even if you don't like licorice. This is a wonderful, full-bodied stout that I'm honored to try outside of distribution. Bell's, come to NY!

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Photo of mentaltraveller
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Had this one at the Fountainhead. Pours pitch black and smells of roasted malts and licorice. The taste is extremely roasty, but there is an astringent side that really balances this brew. I was disappointed that they did not have the Expedition Stout, so I tried this one instead. It ended up working out for me.

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

Thanks Mikeyv35 for this killer extra!!

Appearance. Pours black body with a finger of thick tan head that leaves behind some delicate lacing.

Smell. Roasty coffee, chocolate and caramel. All the good stuff, right here.

Taste. Nice dark coffee and bitter dark chocolate. A little herby, fruity hops in the end with a little acidity.

Mouthfeel. Medium body, smooth medium carbonation.

Overall. Great stout. Everything a stout should be. Easy drinking, but very satisfying

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Photo of OlRasputin989
4.09/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into nonic pint...

A: pours pitch black with a 1 and 1/2 finger cappucino colored head. Only the slightest hint of red shows through the bottom of the glass.

S: huge cocoa, dark roast espresso, and of course the brewer's licorice. overall, creamy roasty, and earthy

T: slightly sweet upfront almost lactic like chocolate milk, then a long and very bitter espresso and licorice finish.

M: slick, creamy, and smooth with a warming off dry finish

Overall, this beer was great despite my low expectations due to the addition of licorice. I will seek this out in the future.

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Photo of AdamBear
4.29/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-bitch black with a thin tan head that fades to nothing.

S-wow this smells really freaking good. smells like a dark chocolate candy bar with a hint of spice to it. really awesome. medium strength

T-comes in with a smooth, yet slightly bitter, taste of cocoa powder along with some ground coffee, but mostly of cocoa powder. there's a great after-taste of stale coffee (but not in a negative way). the tastes aren't strong or of high quality, but they're good tasting.

M-creamy medium carbonation with a dry finish. a lot a flavor for this mouthfeel.

O-a very decent stout, though i'm noticing that the flavors start to diminish the more i drink...making it not something i'd want to drink all night long. its still a great stout, that i would absolutely recommend for any who likes stouts, or even those that aren't big fans.

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

Poured into my Darkness snifter.

Batch 9122. Jet black pour. Every ray of light is swallowed up. Full finger of mocha head that almost billows over my glass. Recedes pretty quickly. Smell is of coffee notes, bakers chocolate and black licorice. Taste is right in line with the smell. Not a very thick beer. It drinks very well though.

My first beer I had mixed feelings on it. The licorice was commanding to me. As it warmed it was less prominent. A solid beer from Bell's.

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Photo of Rickythejeweler
3.89/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Opaque black, light brown 1/2 finger fizzy head, light diminishing lacing.

S - Chocolate, oatmeal, licorice, roasty malts, coffee, light earthy hops.

T - Sweet chocolate, coffee, light molasses, roasty malts, light hop bitterness in the middle, semi-dry coffee bean finish.

M - Delicate medium body, abundant prickly carbonation, semi-dry finish.

O - Tons of roasty goodness, great representation of the style. I was worried about this being overly licorice-y, but the licorice gives a nice light note. It could be a little more full bodied.

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Photo of mikul93
3.01/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A Pours black with medium viscosity. Nice healthy light tan head with heavy lacing.

S A bit one dimensional. I get a tad bit of roast, but all I'm really smelling is the licorice. It actually smells a little like soy sauce.

T Again, all I'm really getting is the licorice. It hits the tongue immediately and finishes with it as well. I'm not getting any coffee or malt. Some bitter hops at the end, but just slight.

M It's a clean drinking beer. It's easy to drink and actually refreshing.

O Disappointed with this beer. Was looking forward to it but I will definitely not be seeking this out again.

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Photo of output01x
3.72/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. capped bottle (Batch #10162) into a snifter glass.

A strong pour yields a 1 1/2-finger mocha-colored head that dies after just a few minutes, leaving only a thin island of dusting and thick foam ring. The body is about as close to black as brown can get. Some light lacing attempts to gain a foothold on the sides of the glass, but succumbs to gravity in time.

Aromas of dark, bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee beans, brown sugar, and raisins make for a very rich and deliciously sweet nose.

Similar to the nose, dark roasted coffee, milk chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, molasses, dark fruits, and licorice are all pleasantly represented throughout each sip. Once the beer is swallowed, the rich and bold coffee and chocolate flavors become more pronounced.

Medium to full bodied with excessive carbonation, this beer has great drinkability for a stout. The body is just a little sticky and coating, which is just right for the flavors and the style. On the other hand, the carbonation is so powerful it truly detracts from the beer. While it does help to make this beer more drinkable, it is so strong and fizzy that it covers the flavors when the beer is held in the mouth.

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Photo of bugaboo416
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black as midnight, weak legs, head dissipates quickliy

S: Roasted malt, dark caramal, halfway to soy sauce but not there so still good

T: roasted malt, slight coffee, slight astringency/dryness at the end. You can taste the licorice halfway through your taste. I'm not too familiar with black licorice but it adds a nice flavor to the beer. moderate bitterness throughout

M: light body, light creaminess

O: Very nice stout which, while not medium or heavy bodied and super creamy is still creamy enough and thick enough that it's not a porter and coupled with the licorice, really add another layer of character to the beer. Worth trying and drinking more of.

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Photo of jsprain1
4.01/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours essentially the color of coffee with a thin head that lasts decently well but disappears pretty quickly and leaves almost no lacing.
S- One of the best smelling beers I've come across. There is coffee, some smokey aromas, a touch of chocolate and coffee and I'm picking up just a bit of a dried fruit, like a dried fig aroma.
T- Unfortunately the flavors don't quite line up for me. There is too much caramel and not enough roasted flavors. There is some coffee and the smoke comes out a little more here, but caramel is too heavy for me. Roasted flavors come out in the finish more, but I'd like to see them throughout.
M- Nice full body, but I found the carbonation too prickly for me.
O- A good beer but the smell was really the only thing I found memorable about this one.

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Photo of MeisterBurger
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Fresh bottle from the brewery. Pours opaque black with rust highlights topped by a mocha coloured head. Great lacing.

Aroma is roasty and metallic, like wet coffee grinds and a tinge of wet cardboard.

Taste is similar. Roasty with dark fruits and coffee grinds. Finishes dry. Hints of baker's chocolate. The label says it's brewed with brewer's licorice. First I have heard of such a thing. I can only guess it's a very mild form of licorice as I only get a hint of black licorice here.

Mouthfeel is a little on the light side, unfortunately.

Overall a pretty straightforward but decent stout.

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Photo of FreshmanPour77
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 7-2-11
Reviewed cold from a bottle to a glass

A – Poured a finger of foam, dark brew. Can’t tell if there is much carbonation. Decent lacing ring

S – Dark roasted malts, licorice and chocolate. No real hop aroma to speak of

T/M – Medium bodied brew. Malty with a mix of licorice and chocolate. Slight piney back bone at the end but almost couldn’t pick it out

D – Another good brew from Bell’s. Pretty enjoyable. I would get this brew again and recommend it

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

Pours a coffee brown-black with red shining through at the edges. Very healthy and dense khaki head, which started at over an inch and settled at about a quarter inch. Good cling and resilience on the head. There are prominent smoky and molasses notes in the nose, along with a nice toasted malt backbone. Less pronounced dark chocolate in there, as well. Just slight sourness is perceptible in the bouquet. The taste has toasted malts right up front, with very significant smokiness. Molasses--smooth and somewhat bittersweet--flavor follows, with just a touch of alcohol flavor coming through. The smokiness and a bit of bitterness lingers at the back. The feel is medium-bodied and quite effervescent. It's a bit grainy toward the back, but rather clean and smooth overall.

I suppose I was expecting more pronounced licorice or molasses flavor given the description of this one, but I think Bell's did a nice job in producing a stout that's well-balanced and engaging. I can come back to this one again and again.

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Photo of soulfly1492
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black. Can see a bit of red when held up to a bright light. Thick, dark brown head. Intense lacing. Nice retention.

Aroma: Chocolate, toffee, coffee, nutty, slight bitterness which may be associated with the toffee.

Taste: Chocolate followed by coffee. The finish is wonderfully roasty.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied. Watery texture. Minimal carbonation. A bit warming, which was unexpected.

Overall: Very drinkable. On the sweet side for the style, barely any bitter.

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Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.03 out of 5 based on 4,314 ratings.
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