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

Bell's Kalamazoo StoutBell's Kalamazoo Stout
Liked This Beer
3.98 w/ 4,344 ratings
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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,344 |  Reviews: 1,585
Photo of VoiceOfTheSoul
4.38/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've had this sitting in the fridge for a few months. I was just waiting for the right time, I guess. I came home from work and picked up a few lighters beers at the store, but I was more craving something dark and roasty.

It poured a very deep dark brown, which was black most of the time except in a few spots where the light managed to get through. It had a short, dark tan head that managed to hang as a murky froth laying on top. It smelled bready and malty with a large amount of roast and some chocolate, with some tar-y, piney hops sprinkled around. It was big up front with the roast, burnt and espresso tastes, good amount of chocolate, but nothing too strong. It had a sweetness like marshmallows, all over a bready, malty bottom. I only found a slight licorice taste, and almost none in the nose. It was thick and smooth with a small amount of carbonation, as I had expected.

I found myself literally saying "mmm" without thinking after every few sips. I don't believe I've ever done that before. It was very hard to put down. I know I'll have to get my hands on some more of this. Luckily, one of my local places does get Bell's in.

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Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.09/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Got as an extra in a trade. Thanks bro. Pours a deep black. A thin tan head formed but dissapated to a ring. Slight lacing.

Aroma is the best part. Caramel and coffee and dark chocolate roasty goodness. Bit of that English ale yeast aroma I get I'm my homebrew.

Taste falls a bit shot but it's still tasty. It's a bit toasty with some charamel tones and a bit of chocolate. It could use a bit of boost in flavor since the aroma suggests a more flavorfull beer. Bit of that English ale yeast taste too.

Mouthfeel is smooth but a bit thin and good medium-low carb.

Overall a solid stout that if they had six packs around me of I would buy as an every day stout.

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Photo of HattedClassic
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black with a shade of purple. Pours a decent one fingered head then dissipates quickly and leaves a small cover. Decent lacing.

Smell: Small hints of licorice with a whiff of dark chocolate. The main smell is coffee with roasted malts.

Taste: Roasted malts with coffee dominate the palate. Black licorice makes more of an appearance as the beer warms and gives a sweet flavor and aftertaste to the beer.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation with a thick feel to it.

Overall: A nice stout worth drinking at least once.

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Photo of jgreenearrow
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a deep brown, nearly black color with a thin caramel colored head forming at the top of the pour. No lacing on the sides.

S: Rich espresso, roasted malts, and chocolate are all present in the nose.

T: Sweet malts and cocoa begin the sip. Some roasty bitterness and coffee flavors enter in the middle followed by strong bitterness and espresso in the finish.

M: The beer is medium bodied with ample prickly carbonation.

Overall, this is an excellent stout. The roasty bitterness blends well with the slight sweetness to create good balance.

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Photo of schwaeh
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a Jackie O's snifter

A: Nice jet black color with a half finger brown head. Light lacing.

S: Lots of roasted malt and licorice. Maybe a little cocoa/milk chocolate smell. Some faint hops.

T: Very dark chocolate, Licorice, malts aren't burnt but rather nicely roasted. The hops are fading out on this late April bottle. The alcohol is subdued in this standard stout letting the flavors stand on their own. The roast and licorice build with each further drink.

M: Heavier side of medium with great carbonation. This is a fairly creamy stout which make it very pleasant.

O: This is a great year round stout to scratch an itch for the darker beers. Just solid simple brewing in this beer. One of the best in the $9-$11 sixer range for me.

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It’s great to have a much beloved brewery like Bell’s in the region where I live; so great, in fact, that the abundance of their famous brews has made me take them for granted. I’m so busy trying imports and trading for non-local brews that I forget about the legends that are right here at my constant leisure. But not tonight. Tonight, I’ve decided to show these guys the respect they deserve by filling my glass with their Kalamazoo Stout. And I couldn’t be happier! I’ve been craving something dark all day, and this will surely give me my fix. I’m not sure if it will be an extraordinary drink, but I guess that’s what I’m here to find out.

To Bell’s, FFF, Sun King, and all the other breweries that are in my general area; may I never grow jaded to the epicness of your beer!

A: A heavy, crude-oil black body that is ordained with a miniscule head of dark tan micro-bubbles. It’s more of a film than anything, as is the lacing, which wraps all the way around the glass with substantial staying power. The carbonation that’s visible as it moves through the body is surprising – it’s high volume for such a dark stout. Surprising or not, it looks excellent.

S: What an awesome, roasty nose on this one. The roasted oak and coffee scents are big, as always, but not without a little licorice underneath. Interesting. Chocolate is strong, too, showing its character as it mixes with some lemony yeasts. A hint of earthen hops in the finish and we’re golden. Great start.

T: Just like the nose, but backwards. A hoppy bitterness reigns strong first and foremost here, turning my whole idea of this brew upside-down. Then comes the roasts – mostly coffee and dark chocolate. It’s disappointing that the woody, flame-seared tastes, though there, are so weak, mostly because I don’t like them as a mere afterthought. Bigger is better there, especially with a palate like this; soon, the sugary licorice/acidic yeast tastes show up, and they would have been complimented in an even better way if they had that roasted flavor to hang onto. Anyway, the whole thing comes out pretty nicely dry, which is good for a stout (even though it does show a lack of balance towards the hoppy end of the palate).

M: Feel is such a huge thing for me with stouts like this. It has to be rich and creamy – or at least thicker in the body. This one doesn’t quite cut it. The thing I most noticed with my first sip, in fact, was the persistent watery atmosphere. Thinness is jarring and apparent, but I’m not sure you could ask for much else with a 6% beer.

O: Well, this has a definite following amongst Bell’s lovers, stout lovers, and just plain ol’ beer lovers; now I see that it’s for good reason. I only wished that this beer had a bigger presence: more ABV, thicker body, bigger roasts, etc. Other than that, though, it has earned its place in my heart and mind as a Bell’s classic. Thanks again, guys! I’ll be sure to think twice next time I’m tempted to just walk by your other offerings.

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Photo of LtCracker20
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a deep dark, almost black, body with ruby hues around the edges. 2- finger tan head that falls to a thick cap and leaves some all right lacing.

S- Great roasted malt and burnt bittersweet chocolate, and a nice sweet aroma.

T- Mild hops, roasted malts, bittersweet dark chocolate.

MF- Almost full bodied, but creamy and smooth.

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Photo of nukem5
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a pitch black color with reddish edges and a great tan cap.

S: Aroma is of malty, hoppy, and licoric.

T: The first thing you get is dark roasted almost burnt or smoked malts and the flavor shifts to a bitter black licorice taste, with notes of robust coffees. A very robust and complex maltiness about it and it says lovingly as silk drink me down.

M: medium to full bodied and a good carbonation level which helps to clear away and refresh the palate to help always get the next flavor.

O: Definitly a drinker over and over again, good till there aint no more.

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Photo of beerprovedwright
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First I must admit I am originally from Michigan, and second I like Stout...not that it would bias my rating.
Sort of a thick pour, like used motor oil into my glass, resulting in a two finger head of moderately dense foam of light brown color. Lace is somewhat clingy. Color is a 30 on the SRM beer color chart. Smell is intriguing, with aromas of licorice, currant, honey, coffee, coco, and lemon peel. The taste, well was not quite a full and robust as I thought it would be, lots of flavor, but not so intense to knock my shoes off. There are flavors of coffee, coco, anise, molasses, charred oak, celery, grapefruit/lemon/pine, and roasted malt. Mouthfeel is thick, creamy, and has some pop from the carbonation. A bit of drying/stickiness on the sides of my tongue and back of my soft palate. Yes I would like to drink some more of this brew, but I got the last bottle and being at the end of the supply chain, I can only dream.

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Photo of polisanl
3.07/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Dark in color with 2 fingers worth of tan head. Laced through out with a good amount of carbonation. Not much of a nose here. Flavor is robust. Lots of burnt malts and strong coffee. Heavier part of medium thickness in mouthfeel. Would definitely not be on the top of the stout style IMO.

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Photo of gregshead
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown color pours from bottle to glass. A finger of light chocolate colored head slowly dissipates

S: Rich coffee/cocoa smells. With a deeper sniff I catch more dark chocolate on the nose.

T: A sweet molasses start with some espresso tones in the middle. Some burnt oatmeal notes in the finish. I don't take the licorice in it.

M: Some carbonation up front but finish is slick/creamy

O: A very tasty brew. I would get it again it it was distributed to my state.

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Photo of vandemonian
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bells Kalamazoo stout is a tasty and fairly dry stout. Yum.

A: Black colour and a 3cm head that fades to good lacing. 4

S: Blackened malt and a sweet bubblegum tang. 4

T: Roasty malt with some caramel into a dry earthy aftertaste. Very nice. 4.5

M: Pretty foamy. 3.5

O: A very tasty stout. 4

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Photo of papat444
3.89/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up at Hawthorne's on a quick day trip to Philly (from NYC area) last May.

Poured from a 12oz. bottle. Batch 10232 (packaged Feb. 23, 2011).

Appearance: A dark tan head sits atop a black-brown body. Pock marked head holds strong @ 2 fingers. Long lasting and nice to look at.

Smell: Quiet at first but opens to licorice with a nice roasted aroma.

Taste: Roasted flavor in the back. Black licorice is there but stays in its place. Some dark chocolate with coffee notes in the middle.

Mouthfeel: A bit of carbonation at first but segues into a really smooth feel. Decent bitterness in the tail end. Could be a bit fuller in body.

Overall: A nice stout but i found it lacked a bit of oomph. Well made though and worth a look.

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Photo of plfahey
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Inky black, though not quite a black hole like an Imperial Stout would be. Moderate crop of brownish foam with decent retention.

Aroma-Mmm roasty. This one smells of bittersweet chocolate, coffee, and roasted malt with a touch of burnt charcoal. Some earthy/herbal hop aromas are present, along with a light acrid roast quality.

Flavor-Quick flash of bittersweet chocolate is overtaken by more powerful roasty flavors (some coffee). In the mid-palate and finish there are some moderate earthy/herbal hop flavors, which give the flavor a sort of "mole" kind of feel to it when blended with the chocolate. Moderate hop bitterness and slightly bitter roast flavors create a dry finish with lingering notes of earthy hops, burnt wood, and espresso roast.

Mouthfeel-Medium body with soft, moderately low carbonation. Rather smooth on the palate, with a some bitterness from the roast, but no astringency.

A very solid American stout. Lacks the bright hop flavors and aromatics of some American stouts, but has the characteristically big flavors and big roast. This beer would pair fantastically with a number of desserts.

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Photo of tone77
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has an inky black color with a 1/2 inch head, considerable lacing throughout. Smell is of roasted malts and chocolate. Taste is the same, chocolate and roasted malts, very little in the way of licorice. Feels full bodied in the mouth and overall is a very enjoyable beer.

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Photo of FanofHefe
4.45/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 10328, bottled April 8, 2011. Pours a near perfect black color with no light penetration. Just a hint of red hue around the edges. Mocha colored head that leaves good lacing.

Rich aroma of roasted malt followed by a hint of dark fruit. Coffee and chocolate in the background with a touch of smokiness.

Excellent flavor mix that follows the aroma. Heavy roasted malt flavor is pleasantly combined with some sweet milk chocolate notes, and a bit of dark fruit. In the background, there is a light note of smoked almonds.

Light mouthfeel, but not unexpected for the moderate abv. Overall, very drinkable and an excellent stout.

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Photo of BeerAmbassador
4.38/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer pours a thick black with tan creamy head. Decent retention and nice lacing. Roasted aromas of coffee and cocoa, some char and maybe leather. Flavor is roasted coffee and some sort of dark fruitiness. A really nice stout that I will definitely come back to.

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Photo of jera1350
3.58/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Jet black with a thin mocha head. Decent lacing.

Roasty with moderate sweetness in the form of molasses.

Lots and lots of deep roasted malt, bordering on smoked. Some smoke notes perhaps. A touch of sweetness with some coffee grounds on the back end.

Nice feel from the carbonation. Smooth and medium bodied.

A decent brew. Very roasty and a bit one dimensional. There is too much out there that I enjoy more for me to go back to this one again.

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Photo of davidbowers13
3.2/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A - Pitch black. Moderate to vigorous pour yielded one to 2 fingers of tan head.

S - Black licorice, coffee, chocolate and roasted malts.

T - Coffee and licorice dominate the front. The finish is smooth, but not much there. Kind of one dimensional.

M - Very thin for a stout. It leaves a coating, but not a overly powerful one.

O - Overall a good to average beer. A little one dimensional, but enjoyable. Not sure I'll rush back to it any time soon.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.14/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Revisting an old favorite tonight...

A - It pours a gloriously robust bowling-ball black, and is capped with a sturdy head of mocha froth which deposits copious lace upon the walls of my Sam Smith pint glass. As I poured it, the head filled over 50% of the glass initially, and showed a cascading effect a la Guinness, finally settling at about a finger's worth of tight head. This is an exceptional looking brew.

S - The nose is pleasant, but somewhat vague. The aroma is comprised of of roast and naked grain, herbal hops, fruity English Ale yeast notes and perhaps faint licorice if you search for it. Fruity English Ale notes stand out the most, as the glass empties.

T - There is a lot more dynamic to the flavor than there is with the nose. There are good doses of roast and caramelized grain, some hints of chocolate and graham cracker and some herbal bitterness on the finish. Again, I don't get huge licorice flavor, but I seem to detect it vaguely in the finish.

M - The feel is creamy, airy, almost fluffy...the body has some tooth, perhaps just about square-at medium, but has a hugely refreshing quality that adds a lightness that transcends the true weight.

O - I know why I used to love this stuff. I do not know why I haven't got back with this sooner. Now, some controversy: though different styles (and intents), Kalamazoo is a WAYYY better beer than Expedition. Yes I've had fresh Expedition. Yes I've had (x)-year-old Expedition. Kalamazoo FTW.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to bauermj for this bottle.

12oz bottle poured into a snifter glass.

A - Brown, as close to black as you can get with a one finger dark tan head.

S - coffee, and chocolates.

T - Strong nutty taste, coffee.

D - Mild carbonation. not as sweet as many stouts. Nice.

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Photo of drewba
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - deep, dull black with a puffy, two finger khaki head that drops to a bunch of large bubbles sitting on top. Great lacing.

S - This has a great balance of chocolate, roast and caramel. Simple, straightforward and smells great.

T - Boatloads of roasted malts are king here that has a charred flavor through the finish. That char is evened out by some chocolate sweetness, molasses and just a hint of dark fruit. The chocolate sweetness morphs into dark chocolate packing a punch in the finish with more of that charred malt.

M - body is pretty substantial, carbonation is on the high end in a good way, it's nice and tingly.

O - I strongly dislike licorice, so I was a little hesitant picking this up but I'm happy to report I'm not picking up any licorice at all. The bottle says this is brewed with "brewers licorice" - I'm not entirely sure if brewers licorice has a completely different flavor profile than your standard old school licorice, either way, I'm really enjoying this. The flavors are bold and straightforward, not any complexity, but this is exactly what I'm looking for right now. A great stout for a cold winter night, or in my case, a humid thursday night.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
3.7/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into tulip glass. Poured almost black with a huge light brown rocky head that lasted throughout and had excellent lacing. The aroma was of burnt cereal malts, a leathery yeast with notes of molasses, chocolate and coffee. It tasted mildly bitter and acidic in the beginning and finished with a sweet/bitter coffee flavor that stayed with you for an average length of time. Mouthfeel was full in body and creamy in texture with a flat carbonation. Overall a pretty basic stout.

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Photo of bbkd3b
3.7/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

Comes out of the bottle with a dark, dark brown body and a decent-sized tan head, though it dissipated after a short amount of time. Bringing up to the nose revealed a rather straight-forward scent of roasted malts and some caramel tones, but it wasn't all that great. Pretty much what one would expect from a stout, no more and no less.

Thankfully, sipping the brew is a much more enjoyable sensation. Beautiful combination of licorice, caramel, and roasted malts really rounds off a flavor that I can truly enjoy. Letting warm over a brief time only makes it stronger. Body had a creamy, smooth character to that slid across the tongue. Relax carbonation allowed for more exploring of the flavors, which made it a strong spot for the beer. Unfortunately, this lack of carbonation resulted in absolutely no lacing clinging to the side of the glass.

Overall/notes - Frankly, this beer does all of the important things right. "Don't judge a book by its cover" has never been truer. Maybe the dark chocolate helped it taste better than it really was, but... no. No, I just liked the beer. Another strong one from Bell's.

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Photo of Dan3279
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have had my eye on this stout for a while and I picked up a single recently during my last trip to Save On. I poured the 12oz glass into a snifter glass to find a deep black body with a tan, one inch head that left no lacing around my glass. The aroma was great with hints of dried fruits, roasted malts, coffee and hints of chocolate. The taste was great, the chocolate and coffee flavors are there like you would expect but they way the licorice is worked into the flavor its great. The beer is a bit on the heavy and chewy side but mellows out nicely and is enjoyable to drink. The carbonation and creaminess of the beer and very well balanced. Overall this beer met my expectations and I really enjoyed it and will defiantly pick this one up again!

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Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Beer rating: 82.7% out of 100 with 4,344 ratings
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