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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
1,541 Reviews
Read the review
Bell's Kalamazoo StoutBell's Kalamazoo Stout

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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,541 | Ratings: 4,164
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!

 819 characters

Photo of kenito799
4.54/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Duvel glass. From a mixed case dated 7/18/07. "Stout brewed with brewer's licorice"

Pours a dark coffee-black, nearly opaque, some chocolate-brown highlights appear when held to a strong light. The milky-brown, creamy head recedes but swirling brings it back to life. Nice rings of lace. Excellent-looking beer.

Poured cold, and prompted by the label, the first aroma I detected was licorice. This beer is much better cool, not cold, and the heady sweet aromas of mocha--coffee plus bitter chocolate--are complemented by that spicy hint of licorice, cinnamon, cola and root beer. Wonderfully complex nose for a stout.

Mouthfeel surprisingly crisp for a sweet stout, with carbonation that is not quite creamy, but that's really all to criticize with this brew. The flavors of dark roasted coffee and bitter chocolate form the backbone, with various spicy and hoppy notes dancing and fleeting. Just enough dextrinous sweetness to balance the bitters, but this is a remarkably refreshing dark inky black awesome beer. Longgg finish. Incredibly enjoyable stout, another great effort from Bell's.

 1,122 characters

Photo of DagenhamDavis
4.54/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A perfect example of the non-barrel aged, non-imperial American stout. The thing that's great about this beer is that it lacks a gimmick, and doesn't try to do anything that takes it away from being a great stout. The roasty burnt finish is divine.

 248 characters

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

12 oz single from Riley's, Batch old favorite

appearance: for the style, this is perfection...Bell's stouts are all beautiful looking beers. this pours near black, with dark brown highlights...a beautiful and thick tan/khaki head with rim lacing

smell: coffee, sweet dark chocolate, toast malts...quite heavy on the espresso...incredibly impressive

taste: God, this stuff is even better than I remembered. This stuff is by far the cream of the milk/sweet stout class. Beautiful smooth dark chocolate on the tongue, nice coffee/espresso roastiness, some fresh hops, some dark fruit, some nice oats...just wonderful

mouthfeel: super creamy, medium bodied

drinkability: incredible

 702 characters

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

APPEARANCE: Black, with a creamy 2 fingers of chocolate head, that lingers a while and settles to a film on top. Godd carbonation visible when rocking the glass. Leaves a nice thick lacing down the glass.
AROMA: Dark chocolate, coffee, and a bit of licorice, lots of dark roasted malt.
TASTE: Same as aroma. Great roasted quality.
FEEL: Good carbonation, creamy feel at first, drying on the finish.
OVERALL: Just a great stout. I love how much rich coffee and chocolate they can get from tweaking those malts and hops.

 518 characters

Photo of Bruiser81
4.53/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ah I've been saving this brew for a while now.
The pour was solid black with a huge chocolate milk like head that lasted through the whole brew at about a half inch thick, wow. The lacing was also amazing. Looks like a delicious beer.
The smell was dominated by cocoa and roasted malt. Hints of coffee and light alcohol spices were also present.
Turns out this is a very tasty beer : ). Taste again was dominated by the roasted malt, can't say I'm surprised. Chocolate, coffee, and toffee were thrown in the mix. The spice from the alcohol was barely noticeable on the finish, along with a slight hoppiness.
The best part of the brew was the mouthfeel, very full and creamy. This is probably the smoothest beer I've ever had. I could drink this stuff all night. Too bad I only have the one. Not available here.
A huge thanks to feloniousmonk for sending this one my way.

 878 characters

Photo of david131
4.53/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- The beer pours a beautiful pure black and forms a great brown head. The head settles down to a sheet that covers the top of the liquid. Hardly any light can get through the liquid.

S- Coffee, chocolate, caramel. Not a very powerful smell.

T- Awesome. A very powerful chocolate and coffee presence. A very good balance between the sweetness and the bitterness.

M- This is a pleasure to drink. It is so smooth and the carbonation is perfect.

D- This goes down like water. Very refreshing- for a stout.

 515 characters

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.

 636 characters

Photo of vishneda
4.53/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle poured into a glass mug.

Love: Beautiful looking stout with seriously dark color. Solidly opaque. Strong chocolate colored head of foam on top. Rich and hearty beer with a slightly creamy feel. Great espresso-roast style aftertaste.

Like: Nice malted aroma with some yeast profile and a light floral pattern. Light anise notes in the flavor are great coupled with the roasted dark chocolate and fruit hints.

Needs Improvement: Not much to improve on this one, but I think I'd like it with a little sweeter profile. Lacing and as stronger aroma would make this amazing.

(From tasting notes dated 23 Aug 2009)

 624 characters

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

This beer was consumed after a marginal extra pale ale, and the difference was a kick in the pants, a light in the tunnel. Except that no light comes through this dark brew, and the only sign of color was a faint ruby around the edges. Otherwise, it was completely opaque. The head was a nice light mocha color, with a nice texture and some holding power. A good layer of lace persists the whole way down. The nose is all coffee and chocolate blending together beautifully, tempting you to drink it even before it has been properly admired. Some faint roast malts linger in the background, but they are secondary.

This beer tastes mostly of chocolate and coffee, as promised by the aroma, but it also has distinct roasted and caramel note to offset and balance the flavor. A faint flavor of alcohol lingers in the sip, but it is nothing serious. The finish is a nice bitter hop, with some sweetness to balance it out. Perhaps my biggest complaint on this brew is that it doesn't hold any character to back, to be developed later in the drink. Still, it is a nice full flavor from the beginning, and that can't be overlooked.

All in all, this is a stellar brew, just lacking that special something to make it a 5. The mouthfeel on this is very nice, with a reasonable amount of carbonation balancing the thickness, and helping it go down easy. As far as drinkability goes, I do like this stout for its moderate alcohol content but full flavor. Definetly one to return to again and again for an evening stout, although I haven't experimented with mixing it with food yet. Overall, an excellent beer.

 1,603 characters

Photo of tigg924
4.52/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: dark brown, high carbonation, nice lacing, one inch head

Smell: chocolate, molasses, and sweet malt

Taste: cream, dark chocolate, slight burnt malt, molasses

Mouthfeel: sweet, smooth, medium body, low carbonation, slick

Drinkability: One of the top two in the style I have tried so far. Definately worthy of my 200th review on this site. A great beer by one of my favorite breweries, you barely notice the high abv...Really tasty stout

 451 characters

Photo of bsp77
4.52/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Black, completely opaque, thin head that dissipates. Would have scored higher if better head retention.

Smell: Roasted malts, chocolate and licorice.

Taste: More bitter than I would expect from a Sweet Stout, and only slightly sweet. Bitterness seems to come from both hops and heavily roasted malts. Coffee, chocolate and licorice flavors.

Feel: Full-bodied, exceedingly smooth, relatively low carbonation.

Drinkability: Between the smoothness and fantastic taste, this is one of the most drinkable stouts.

Not sure if this is an English Sweet Stout or an American Stout. Doesn't matter, as either way, this is the best non-Imperial Stout I have ever had.

 735 characters

Photo of beerluvr
4.52/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a rich, thick creamy rocky coffee & cream-colored head that I'd rate a "5" if I could rate on such a thing, over opaque night colored black liquid. Nose is slightly sweet with a background of roasted malt, light tobacco and coffee. Luxurious mouthfeel gives way to flavors of espresso, bitter chocolate, roasted barley and a little malty sweetness underneath it all mixed with a nice showing of hop bitterness. It finishes up long and good sex! Roasty, bitter, notch stuff.

Thanks to francisweizen for the bottles!

 557 characters

Photo of marc77
4.52/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The attractive beige head tops a virtually jet - black hued brew. Sharp, espresso & dark caramel, w/ rich bittersweet chocolate notes in aroma. Mild impression of well toasted buttery nuts rounds the aroma out. Rich, deeply roasted coffee & caramelized sugar followed by a pleasantly assertive roasted barley and hop bitterness in flavor. Hugely chocolately. Fairly full bodied, w/ a viscous mouthfeel. Finishes w/ a lingering enjoyable hop and roasted unmalted barley bitterness that leaves my palette beckoning for more. Kalamazoo Stout possesses many of the qualities an imperial stout has, yet is light enough for excellent drinkability. One of the most flavorful, yet balanced examples available. Akin to a true Foreign Export style stout in overall character. Yum's the word.

 781 characters

Photo of SeaOfShells
4.52/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. into Duvel tulip

A: Pours fairly dark, but once in the glass it's completely opaque. The faintest tinges of red peak out from the curves of the glass. The beer kicked up a 2 finger dark tan head leaving decent lacing as it receded.

S: well, it's pretty typical actually, but for some reason this one stands above the others. Roasted malts take center stage, and there is a decent coffee scent. Deeper down I get licorice and sweet bread. It's a winner.

T: full flavored. Roasted malt again, finishing with a brilliant coffee bitterness. No alcohol can be detected. There's a fair amount of sweetness up front, which eventually gets crushed by the bitterness from the roasted malts (or is it the hops?). A stout that stands taller than its contemporaries. Well done.

M: the fuller side of medium bodied. It feels great in the mouth. The perfect amount of carbonation, creamy and slick. I'll have another.

O: it's always a treat to get the chance to try a Bell's beer here in California. I've had several varieties, and haven't been let down yet, save for Cherry Stout. They sure know what they are doing in MI. I can see myself buying this on a regular basis. The only other year round un-imperial stout that holds a candle is Deschutte's Obsidian.

 1,261 characters

Photo of marcpal
4.52/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz bottle poured into a dogfish chalice.

Thank you to a couple recent Midwest traders for sending this one along.

A: Poured black as a strong coffee. Thick viscocity on the sides of the glass. Brown head there for a short time only.

N: Barley and malts. Not as licorice focused as I had worried. Bunches of sweet malt.

T: Matching the taste- malts giving off a bill of caramel, coffee, semisweet chocolate. Extremely well rounded, find the taste of this far far superior to their java stout. Still not catching the licorice but good tight bitterness.

M: Sweet on the tongue and clean carbonation. Creamy texture.

D: Extremely nice beer that I hope to have access to more out here in NJ in the future. Havent like Bells other stouts all that much, but this one is on the top of my list. So much roasted malts for a low abv beer.

Usually more of a fan of the more hop forward Bells offerings, this one impressed.

 921 characters

Photo of BigHead
4.52/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A really dark brew, with a nice thin quarter-inch head. Oh boy, the smell on this puppy is goooood, and good chocolate aroma with a deep roasted, freshly ground coffee. The taste is great, I mean it's goooood, chocolate robustly flourishes on the tongue which is then swept over by the coffee, wonderful coffee flavor. Hints of molasses come through as well. The beer is smooth and leaves a nice roasty aftertaste.

 414 characters

Photo of HoustonTX
4.51/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First Bell's beer I've tried, and an excellent style as well.

Pours deep brown, with a thin off-white head.

Aroma has a laid back flavors of licorice, coffee creamer, and chocolate malt. Crisp and perfect for the style.

First sip brings about a very pleasant roastiness, that is not overly done. Almost a sweet roastiness, balanced and no where near cloying, a definitive and rare characteristic for this style. Roasted carmalized malt with coffee grind rounds envelop the edges of the brew providing solid mouthfeel and drinkability. Inviting you for another sip, or maybe several... A nice oily hop build balances the beer and provides an ample amount of bitterness.

A unique and superbly crafted Milk stout. My favorite to date, highly recommended.

 763 characters

Photo of daaru
4.51/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

bell's kalamazoo stout is a very good thing. not a whole lot of head but it holds for a long time. rich, malty aroma with floral, hoppy accents, and a rich malty, not aggressively hopped taste with a smooth finish. and dark, very dark--almost as dark as darth vader's soul. if the seasonal double cream is better, as some people telll me it is, i'm going to buy a case as soon as it is available.

perfect for a gloomy, rainy afternoon.

 438 characters

Photo of opwog
4.51/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Now listineing to: Jimi Hendrix - Stone Free

A- Deep dark brown...borders on pure black, with a surprisingly lighter tan head
S- mild aromas of coffee and candy sweetness
T- Awesome taste! Feels like heaven. All the best of this type of stout minus any of the potential overwhelming characteristics.
M- Again, this was perfect! I had had a meal of gamey venison, but followed it up with a bottle of this and it cleared everything away.
D- At 6%, this is one of the more perfect stouts that I have had. I normally go much higher; for imperials, but this had everything in it that I could ever ask for!

 602 characters

Photo of BrewCrew2010
4.51/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: The beer pours almost like oil into the glass. It's very dark, black color, with a tan head that is mostly lasting.

S: This beer has a strong chocolate malt/roasted coffee aroma. Almost reminds me of chocolate milk. There are also hints of espresso and dark sugars.

T: This beer has hints of chocolate and coffee/espresso. You can really taste the malts in this beer. As you drink it, on the back of your tongue is a subtle bitter aftertaste. Very good with a long lasting finish that makes this beer very well balance.

M: Medium bodied with mild carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel.

D: A must try. Could drink this again.

 623 characters

Photo of dasenebler
4.51/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opaque black, but not too viscous. Modest tan head dissipates quickly, some lacing. Has a huge earthy and pungently roasty aroma-- coffee and raw, bittersweet chocolate.

Strongly flavored, but pretty smooth. More tangy than sweet. Tons of roast, chocolate, and coffee, probably the most I've tasted in a non-RIS stout. Smokiness that reminds me of a rauchbier, but only vaguely. Slightly bitter and very roasty aftertaste. Smooth, but the carbonation is almost sharp, and, when combined with the strong flavors, almost makes the beer a little harsh. Nevertheless, this is an incredibly flavorful stout and you'd think it would be heavier based on that. Absolutely delicious and very drinkable at around 6% abv.

 712 characters

Photo of Beaver13
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, batch 6485 (7/14/04). Another old Bell's. My Dad just bought this in MI last month. Pours a dark oily opaque black with some chunky yeasties. It has a thick frothy dark brown head that quickly recedes to a thin film that leaves some lacing.

The aroma is sweet lactic chocolate, some roasted bitterness, and some dark fruits.

The flavor is lactic chocolate, roasted coffee bitterness, and some slightly sour dark fruits. It has a decent bitter finish that balances well with the initial sweet creaminess. The mouthfeel is medium to full and velvety.

Overall, an excellent stout! It's up there with Yeti as my favorite. Even at a year old, this is excellent. I wish I could get this out in and Two-Hearted would be regulars in my fridge.

 766 characters

Photo of dancinwillie
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Long been one of my favorite beers, time to finally review it.

Pours dark black, with a mocha head that rests atop. Mostly tight head, with about 20 or so large bubbles poking up slowly, here and there. Some decent lacing remains in the space the head previously occupied.

Roasted coffee-like aroma, mixed with a bitter, yet sweet sugary smell.

When I think of milk stout, or cream stout, or sweet stout, this is the beer I think of. Roasty. Sweet, lactose sweet. Full bodied and rich, coffee flavor, a wee little bit of sourness. This beer is just flat out a treat. Decent hop bitterness, with a restrained hop flavor. Alcohol is not that evident flavor-wise, but a discreet warming is present in my chest.

Mouthfeel is rich, full and creamy.

The archetype of the style. This is the Anchor Porter, the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, the best representation of the style. That being said, I'll always be on the lookout for one that's better, and rest assured, it will happen. Even Jordan retired, and brewers will always get better. But now, this is the top dog. Cheers!

 1,071 characters

Photo of Jon
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another great Bell's stout. This one pours an opaque black with a fizzy tan head. Excellent head retention leaves substantial lace down the glass. Smell is big on roasted malt and espresso. Taste is more of the same and some chocolate characteristics, with the roasted aspects taking priority. There is a bittering hops quality to it, as well, but overall the taste is rather sweet as the style would suggest. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel. Excellent drinkability, too, makes this a wonderfully delicious stout suitable for all occasions.

 533 characters

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
90 out of 100 based on 1,541 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.