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

1,575 Reviews
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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: 1,575 | Ratings: 4,291
Photo of vladtheimpaler
4.68/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle. Deep dark brown, big tan head, bordering on brown. Decent lacing. Nice roasty coffee aroma, with hints of chocolate and lots of roasty grains. Nice full bodied roasty flavor. Hints of coffee and sweet dark chocolate. Roasty bitterness lingers on the palate. This is exceingly drinkable for a stout lover. Rich and satisfying. I think the best of the style.

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Photo of sutcliff
4.68/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Simply excellent. As soon as I finished my first bottle, I was online looking up the brewery and how far it was from St. Louis. The aroma was sublime. The taste was warm, sweet, and urging me to take another sip. The color was black as a moonless night. The head was nice and thick with good lacing throughout the glass.

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Photo of badbeer
4.67/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out black with a nice tan head with very good retention. Smell is very complex, reminds me of Dark Lord, full of coffee, chocolate, and different dark fruits, very very good. Taste is awesome as well. Starts out deceiving, but then all of a sudden it hits you with an onslaught of taste. Beginning is green, then roasty, changing quickly into cherries, plums, other dark fruits, then adds some chocolate and coffee flavors to finish it off. If it didn't start off a little weak with the green flavor it would be an easy 5 for taste. Medium carbonation, medium to full bodied, slick on the tongue. If the very beginning of the taste was eliminated this would just be beyond a great beer, the green flavor isn't bad, but doesn't seem to fit with the rest of this beer. Seriously get this if you see it. Highly recommended. Oh, and criticize if you want, this reminds me of a baby Dark Lord, I love it.

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Photo of EvoRich
4.67/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look. Poured into a Pint, it pours very very dark. Basically black. About a finger of caramel head which dissipates after a few moments.

Smell: Deep, roasted, dark chocolate, hint of coffee and sweetness.

Taste: Very dark roasted flavors with just a hint of chocolate and coffee. Very little hop bitterness, but a lot of maltiness. Very good!

Feel: Full bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall: I'm liking this stout much more than I anticipated. Unsure as to why the ratings aren't higher.

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Photo of baos
4.67/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. into my smaller Trappist glass

A: Very dark pour with dark big bubbled head about one finger that dissipated to a thin ring around glass. Very nice lacing.

S: Coffee and Chocolate and a deep loamy greenhouse goodness. childhood wood-burning kit.

T: Super roasted malty-hoppiness. Starts sweeter than most stouts and ends bitterer. Nice blackened taste as well.

M: Nice and creamy not as full as some I've had but this beer is great.

D: I give her an A!

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Photo of jwilli7122
4.65/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

dense reddish black with a chunky tan head which lasts long and fades unevenly. head size seems to vary by the bottle.

big malt and alchohol smells but it is more complex than that, and quite outstanding. i don't know the names for the aromas. check it out yourself.

taste is roasty and hopped for a stout. some fatty flavors in there too. very good.

full mouthfeel without a lot of carbonation.

one of the best stouts i've ever had.

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Photo of BloodSoakedAleMug
4.65/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a deep brown, almost black color with a one finger beige colored head. Leaves excellent lacing.

Aroma is of coffee, bacon, black chocolate, cinnamon, firewood and fresh baked cookies. Lactose is detectable on the nose.

Flavor is bitter upfront but not unbearably so, with a very pleasant - not charred or burnt- but browned and slightly darkened toast flavor. Lots of roasted malt character. Very clean and crisp midpalate with dry notes of floral hops and bittersweet notes of dark chocolate with black licorice. As the dark chocolate and black licorice flavor develops, it gets gradually sweeter shifting away from the taste of bitter chocolate to milk chocolate with hints of vanilla beans. Moderately sweet with notes of lactose on the finish, but it's well balanced by the dry, roasted, bitter flavors upfront.

Feel is perfect. Very thirst quenching and uncompromising on flavor. Mid-light body with moderate carbonation. Alcohol is not detectable.

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Photo of mooseisloose
4.64/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Completing my Bell's Beer Slam of tonight with this stout brewed with brewer's licorice. Smell is chocolate, both milk and semi-sweet and cinnamon, some coffee, cookies and cream ice cream, wow. Pours to a jet black with a creamy tan head. Taste is roasted malts, sugars, chocolate milk and some coffee hints. Only slightly bitter at the end but overall sweet. This style is really starting to grow on me and this brew is definitely in the upper echelons of this style. Complex and delicious. A typical offering of Bell's in that it has a spectrum of flavors throughout. The mouthfeel is heavy but smooth. A little sweet to be a sessioner but these would be great rotated in with a hoppy brew.

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Photo of ColoradoBobs
4.64/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Darkest opaque brown/black with only the slightest hint of cola red-brown around the edges, under a tan thick 2 inch head that fades to a solid lid with moderate lacing.

Great smell of chocolate-coffee, toffee, bitter-roasted chocolate malt, darkest chocolate and more malted maltiness. Rich, wonderful, smooth aroma. The taste follows suit. Wow! Best stout I've had. I mean wowowow! So chocolatey-coffee-bitter-smooth you want to chew it rather than swallow.

Mouthfeel is decent, round and smoooth.

At 6.5%, this is just a bit on the strong side for a stout.

I have GOT to get me some more of this. I mean, this is great. The malt magicians at Bell's have done another magnificent job.

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Photo of Duhast500
4.64/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to freezedriedipa for this one.

Poured from the 12oz. bottle into a mug.

The color is a dark black with no highlights and a thin less then a finger brownish head with no lacing.

The smell is roasty with some coffee like flavors that are waking me up a bit. Some toffee flavor plays with me as I think of more coffee beans. Some sweet malt flavor is there just as I take a last sniff.

The taste is dark chocolate with some coffee bean flavor that was also in the nose. Some black licorice is there as well in the background with some malty sweetness and a small touch of a bitterness that is there as a stake in this beer holding it up.

The feel of this beer is hearty and full bodied. It is big but not heavy, going down with little effort it tickles as it goes down. A really delicious stout.

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Photo of nomad
4.64/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured damn dark with light mocha colored, very bubbly foamy head. Smell was a roast scent sweeter and less coarse in dynamic than most roasty beers - even still, it was a dark and heavy roast smell. Seemed like a milkier coffee – like coffee ice cream. Intensely dark and malty but intensely roasty, it was also almost rosy and oaky like a wine with dark fruit tones. Great balance.

Taste was dark and roasty, as it slowly coated my mouth with the tasty mouth-watering flavor: chocolate and coffee mixed together, fabulous balance of dark and sweet malts, bitter hops, and roasted barley. Not too thick a mouthfeel, this beer's flavor went everywhere in one setting while being equally centered and complementary. Deep without being an abyss, simple but presenting rich round flavors - such attributes are a rare find.

Much more a session than most stouts, and that’s the icing on the cake of milk stouts. An all-time favorite, no doubt.

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Photo of weasbri
4.63/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on St. Patrick's Day as my Guinness alternative. Not really a fair comparison though. I'm also not 100% convinced of the milk/sweet stout label either, but what do I know?
Midnight black color, the head has strong retention and laces the glass nicely. Nice roasty aroma, a tinge of something else chocolatey.
Full-bodied flavor, full of caramelly roast character, mixed with some bitterness, a bit hoppy and a bit coffee. Just a smidge of licorice flavor too. This is an interesting beer, as I found that the flavors would alternate while in my mouth, so there would be a bit of sweet roastiness, some bitterness, more sweet, then more bitter.
Solid stout, one I'll seek out again.

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Photo of citizencane
4.63/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Very dark appearance with decent head. Reddish tint, perhaps?

S: Smells of stout and licorice, though is not too fragrant. Smells damn good but the smell doesn't seem to carry far, and I found myself having to stick my nose deep into the glass to smell anything at all.

T: taste is where this beer shines. Solid stout flavor with a suitable amount of licorice. Delicious.

M: slightly too carbonated for my taste.

O: If you like stouts and licorice, get this. It's delicious.

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Photo of jackndan
4.63/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout: Absolutely black beer, with a dense brown head that sticks to the glass al the way down.. Full rich aroma like rich strong coffee and dark chocolate. Very rich roasted almost burnt malt, with a bit more bitter bite than I’d anticipated, although not in a bad way at all. A definite sipping beer, and two can last all night. Excellent.

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Photo of HURTemHIZZY
4.63/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

Pours a almost completely opaque dark brown/black. Lets a slight bit of light through the very edge of the liquid when held up to the light. Pour yields a great two finger deep tan head that lingers for a good bit. Leaves a thick ring around the brew until the beer is finished. Decent amount of lacing is left behind.

Smell is of a bit of licorice up front, but that disappears quickly and leaves flavors of coffee, rich chocolate and caramel. Nice aroma, a bit subdued though.

Taste starts off with a bit of hop bitterness, that rounds smoothly into very rich flavors of chocolate and caramel all complimented by great deep coffee undertones. Couldn't get as much licorice from the flavor as i did from the aroma, but it honestly didn't need it. This is definitely one of my favorite american stouts. Delicious.

Has a nice chewy, full bodied mouthfeel, with a nice level of carbonation present throughout the brew yet still very creamy. Perfect mouthfeel for a stout.

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Photo of Gusler
4.63/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The pour as dark as they come with an extravagant head, a large olde frothy "Thang", long lasting and chocolate brown in color with the lace in voluptuous sheets. Nose, coffee, bitter-sweet chocolate, roasted malt, ah yes my friends one "Sniffable Beer". Front malt, sweet, the top portly, the finish is benignly acidic, stupendously hopped, lordly dry. It's a good thing that I have to beg borrow and steal these beers, as my total would be much less as why sample the rest, when you can have the best. #10 of their beers sampled, not a "loser in the bunch". Trust the olde spavined "Gusler", when I tell you this line of beers is phenomenal.

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Photo of BaronVonHawkeye
4.63/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: This beer looks like a stout. Period. Absolutely gorgeous. The head is a little thin, but it leaves beautiful light brown lace rings.

Smell: Smooth smell of chocolate and coffee mix very well. A little strong on the singular smells, there is no true depth to the nose.

Taste: My first Kalamazoo Stout was from the tap in a small bar near Grand Rapids and it was delicious. This bottle (batch 7715) lives up to my memory. The flavors just explode in your mouth, great coffee and roasted flavors.

Mouthfeel: While a little light for a stout, this is certainly not weak or sharp.

Drinkability: If it wasn't for the fact that it is above 6.0% ABV, I could drink this all day. A great beer after 18 holes or after a hard day at the office.

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Photo of DRjester
4.63/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I'll say up front that normally I prefer a drier stout to the "Sweet Stout" style, but this beer is transcendent; it is at the same time both an excellent example of its style, and a fantastic stout to please a wider palate.

I had it as a 12oz bottle poured into a glass handled mug.

Appearance: The stout poured out of the bottle smoothly, like molasses, and settled into an inky near-blackness with nearly 2 fingers of thick, rocky head the color of good cappucino. No light could penetrate the brew, and the head settled slowly and left nice lacing on the glass. Overall, it looked exquisite.

Smell: The first scent of this brew is a shot of espresso-like dark coffee, followed by a rounded roastiness. Further investigation reveals bittersweet chocolate, hints of sweet dark fruit, and just a touch of earthy hop bitterness.

Taste: The taste follows well after the nose, with flavors of coffee, dark roasted malts, and chocolate predominating. The genius of this beer for me is that while it clearly has the milky sweetness that is the hallmark of the style, it is not so pronounced as to be overwhelming (as in Mackeson's XXX, for example), and the finish has just enough hop bitterness to balance out the profile.

Mouthfeel: Another strong point for the stout, it goes down smooth and creamy, almost luxuriously, but with just a hint of dryness to keep it from tasting syrupy.

Drinkability: I was actually astonished with how quickly I downed the first half-pint, and had to pace myself a bit on the second half. A bit of warming does this beer a good turn, and with it's good but not overly high abv, I can see this being a fantastic session beer.

All in all, the finest Milk Stout I've ever had.

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Photo of rex_4539
4.63/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L: Jet black color, one finger brown head, superb lacing, no visible carbonation.

S: Coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla, sweet. Could sniff it all day long!

T: Roasted coffee, dark chocolate, sweet, slightly bitter and malty on the back end.

F: Really smooth and drinkable. Full flavored.

O: Probably the best stout I have tried so far. Delicious.

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Photo of noahallington
4.62/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aromas of coffee and chocolate enticed as a thick, foamy head formed on the thick, dark black beer. The taste is very roasted malty and sweet, with notes of coffee and chocolate. The aftertaste is pleasantly sweet. This stout was so sweet to me that I could see myself drinking this as a digestif/dessert type beer. But the roasty stoutness complements the sweetness well.

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Photo of Iguana
4.62/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearence - Poured jet black with a beautiful 1 inch tan head, looked good from the get go.

Smell - Smells of coffee, roasted malts, dark chocolate. Smells great for a stout.

Taste - WOW, Coffee/roasted malt are massively strong in the flavor and I love it. Hint of dark chocolate. A must try for any stout lover.

Mouthfeel - Amazingly smooth, creamy, just perfect for the beer.

Drinkability- Glad my parents grabbed me 2 bottles when they were in Michigan, sadly I cant find this stuff locally but man is it good. It would be a regular in my mixed 6 packs if I could find it locally.

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Photo of timn
4.62/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours black as night, with a very small amount of brown foam on top. The head is thin, but has a nice, appetizing mocha color.

S: The licorice comes through above all else, along with some hints of raisin.

T: Hits with an immediate burnt, smoky wood flavor, with a hint of the licorice. The licorice actually is less prominent than in the smell, but melds nicely with the smoky flavor. Ends with a bit of coffee acidity.

M: On the thicker side of medium, but very nice mouthfeel. Creamy, smooth, great all around.

O: Teriffic. The nice smoky wood flavor is wonderful up front, and the licorice adds a nice touch. This almost reminds me of Dogfish Head's Chicory Stout, only better and more regularly drinkable. I really enjoyed this one, and will definitely be buying again.

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Photo of aracauna
4.6/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful pour. Deep black with dark tan head that looks almost sandy, but feels so creamy. It's a roll call of dark malt flavors and aromas: caramel and chocolate being dominate, but with an undercurrent and finish of burnt bitterness. Low to no coffee, though. Incredible stout.

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Photo of alexgash
4.6/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This may be my 50th bottle of Kalamazoo Stout, but this is the first time I have sat down to review it formally. Inky dark brown to almost black, as always, with a thick, yet soft looking, cocoa brown head. Nose is chocolate powder, dark-roasted coffee, a little molasses, a hint of tobacco and vanilla, and an herbal hop edge. Toasted, nutty bitterness up front. Slightly numbing herbal hops in the background, with sweetening dark chocolate and earthy peat. Sugary mocha, with extra shots of espresso and caramel try to nullify the roasted herbal bitterness. Finish is long and chocolatey. Full-body for the strength, with a spritzy, bottle-conditioned feel. Excellent, as always. Here’s to the next 50!

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Photo of phishgator
4.6/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Large creamy, thick, tan head that stays forever. The color is opaque and murky. The aroma is a nice roasted chocolate with a licorice twist. The taste follows suit. Big creamy, choclate, roasted highlights, slight astrigent bite once the beer is in your mouth (hop bitterness), and that licorice flavor pulls through. The body is medium and oooh so creamy smooth. A great brew that I can enjoy a couple in a sitting. Maybe my favorite stout.

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Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.03 out of 5 based on 4,291 ratings.
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