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

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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: 1,561 | Ratings: 4,250
Photo of northaustin
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

pours black with a fat finger of full, even brown head which has long retention and leaves thick stringy lacing.

smell is a very creamy coffee with notes of the brewers licorice adding an extra sweetness.

tastes exactly like the smell. well done.

mouthfeel: very frothy and your mouth is left very comfortable by the silkyness of the beer.

drinkability: highly recommended. thanks to jdv for this one.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Glistening ebony with mahogany highlights. Even with bright sun behind the glass, light penetration is nil. Atop the beer is an impressive mocha colored head of dense, pitting foam that generously plasters itself to the glass in a further attempt to keep light at bay. Now this is what a stout should look like. Very well done.

The coffee-laced, fudge brownie nose is a pleasure to inhale. If the flavor follows suit, Kalamazoo will be one impressive stout. It does and it is! Bell's brewery continues to astound. Just as in the nose, gooey fudge comes to mind on the palate: rich, glossy, sweet, sticky, mouthfilling, decadent goodness in a glass.

The bitter coffee flavor is a bit too pronounced for me, but is easily overlooked because this is such delicious beer. The degree of roastedness is fairly high with a mild char that works well in the grand scheme of things. Bitter and sweet intertwine beautifully, even throughout the long, lingering finish. The body/mouthfeel is decidedly full and crushed velvet smooth.

Kalamazoo Stout is the best milk/sweet stout that I've had yet, surpassing Bell's own Special Double Cream Stout (although it's been a while since I sampled SDCS). It's one of the biggest and boldest 6.5% ABV beers that you're ever likely to drink and is truly one of the best. Kudos all around.

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Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I love Bell's Brewing. I unabashedly state that they are the best brewers of stout in the country. So I am thrilled to finally get ahold of some Kalamazoo Stout, one of the few Bell's stout varieties I have not tried.

This beer is pitch black in the glass with a dense tan head that could support small coins. Smells sweet and chocolatey with light hints of mocha. Very nice.

There is much more coffee in the flavor than in the nose. More bitter than I was expecting but with a sweetness that offsets it. The bitter and the sweet lead to flavors reminiscient of dark chocolate.

A nice thick body that is just heavenly in the mouth. Drinks smooth as silk with some light smokiness in the aftertaste acconpanied by hints of coffee and a creamy sweetness.

It's money. I might drink nothing but stout if Bell's distributed to Atlanta...

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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

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Photo of matcris
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. Good 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.

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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.

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Photo of gordavidson
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.

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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 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)

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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.

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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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.03 out of 5 based on 4,250 ratings.
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