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 | 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

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Reviews: 1,543 | Ratings: 4,176
Photo of MasterfulIdiot
5/5  rDev +24.1%

Poured into a Riedel tulip. The beer itself is pitch black and the pour kicks up a beautiful tan head that keep growing for a second after the pour, and leaves a ridiculous coating of lace throughout the duration of the beer!

Aroma is equally wonderful. Semi-sweet chocolate, perfect (slight) amount of roastiness, along with hints of coffee and dark fruit. Not a particularly strong aroma, but there are some really good smells in there.

Taste is absolutely incredible. Just the perfect mix of roasty bitterness, dark fruit, and creaminess. The semi-sweet chocolate, hints of coffee, and dark fruit all come through from the nose, with some nice grainy malt flavors thrown in. When I think about it, there's a hint of licorice that I probably wouldn't have noticed if it didn't say "brewed with brewer's licorice," but it really adds to the flavor. The finish is slightly, perfectly, bitter, with a glorious creamy, chocolatey, malty aftertaste. This has some wonderful desert beer flavors without being very sweet at all, which is exactly what I would want! Really amazing.

Mouthfeel is to die for - medium-bodied, but amazingly silky and creamy, with a light amount of carbonation. Perfect for the flavor!

Overall, I can hardly imagine a better stout. I feel like I could just knock these back one right after the other, and with the relatively low ABV, I probably could! Absolutely perfect flavors and feeling - they really hit this one out of the park!

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Photo of tillmac62
3.66/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

BOD 2/22/14. Pitch black pour with a very good head. Lacing and retention are also very good. Surprisingly light nose of chocolate and roast over a mineral note. Rich heavy medium body with a nice creamy texture. Below average carbonation with almost no effervescence on the finish. The flavor profile is balanced, but lacks the complexity found in world class stouts. It begins with chocolate, fades to roast and flows into a mild sweetness with a licorice note. Hops and roast create a slightly bitter middle with just a hint of coffee and NO dark fruit. The finish is slightly astringent.

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Photo of dmgeng
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Recommended by a friend and I wasn't disappointed.

A - Black color with a light khaki colored head with light lacing.

S - Nice roasty aroma with some malty, chocolate, and licorice tones. The roasty sweetness seems to be predominant but there is no mistaking the licorice with a good sniff. Possibly some hops but not prevailing.

T - Great roasty, cocoa, licorice, malt, caramel, and light hop flavors dance across the tongue. It's complex and almost muddled but still delicious and drinkable. Overall it is slightly sweet but it is balanced with the roasted character and bitterness. Not overpowering or cloying but enough flavors to make you really enjoy the drink.
M - Moderate to high mouth-feel but not cloying. Light carbonation which is nice since it doesn't have any acidic bite which helps smooth the mouth-feel. On the thicker side of a standard American Stout but very drinkable

Overall, this a great American Stout. This is a very delicious beer that gives you all the flavors of a stout with that little extra licorice flavor. I would still prefer an Imperial Stout but this beer is a stout that I could drink all night long if it was cold outside and I wasn't in the mood for hops. Better than any dry stout out there but if hate licorice I wouldn't recommend it. Dark beer fans met your new go-to beer.

Glass- Stout glass

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Photo of Stevedore
3.69/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle dated 8/13/2014. Poured into a Bell's snifter 9/30/2014.

A- Dark cola brown body, thick, brings out a short-lived brown head that nevertheless persists as a thin collar for quite a while. Filmy residue in the middle, a bit of lacing. [3.75]

S- Tons of dark chocolate, bitter cocoa, roast malt, a slight bit of smoke, licorice. A little coffee. Very rich aroma. [4]

F- Bitter cocoa, bitter dark chocolate, bitter roast, bitter licorice. As you can imagine, this is quite bitter. As it warms up, more of the toasted malt sweetness comes out, which rounds things out. Still, this is an extremely bitter stout so be prepared for that. [3.5]

M- Medium bodied, nearly full with a lot of substance to it. Oily, resinous and bitter roast finish. [4]

O- I was surprised by how bitter this beer is. It's definitely one that does well when it warms up a bit more which allows the sweetness to come out. [3.5]

Final score: 3.66

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Photo of jmbranum
4.68/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

AR 4.5 AP 5.0 F 4.75 MF 4.5 OA 4.75

Bought in a bottle in Elkhart, IN. Transported home by bicycle, car and then train to get it home. Poured into a wine glass for sampling here in Oklahoma.

Pours a glorious almost black with a nice dark tan head.

Toasted coffish aroma.

The flavor is gloriously dry. Lots of toastyness but nothing is out of place. Lots of interesting spicy notes. The label mentions licorice but I can pick up some other root beer like flavors. 90% cocoa dark chocolate. A little of raisins maybe. Lingering roasted notes. Nice smooth finish.

Mouthfeel is smooth and full. Maybe a tiny bit too much carbonation but I'm really neatpicking here.

An extremely good beer. The best dry stout I've had in a while.

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Photo of kkleu357
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%

From notes on 10/7/2013

Bottle poured with little head. Dark black color with maybe a little red or brown color too. Smells, roasty chocolate. Nice full flavor.

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Photo of sheeley
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%

Appearance: looks great from the pour. Black and thick, with a brown, foamy head.
Smell: Not a strong smell. Notes of roasted coffee and malt present.
Taste: Coffee flavor is very present. Almost too strong. Pleasing taste overall; perhaps not one of my favorite stouts though.

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Photo of FFreak
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Poured from 12 oz bottle into willy glass.

Nearly pure black with very little head despite a fairly aggressive pour.

Smells initially of iced coffee followed by roasted malt.

Taste is also of iced coffee followed by caramel, roast malt, brown sugar and a nicely balanced bitterness.

Fairly viscous and slightly sweet with very low carbonation. Acts more like a sipper, even though its not particularly high in alcohol.

Overall, I really liked this stout. Nicely balanced flavor and attenuation. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of hophugger
3.25/5  rDev -19.4%

decent beer. A light stout with a beautiful color and ample head. The bitterness and sweetness do blend together weel to give a nice balanced flavor. Overall, not as strong as I expected band not one of my favorites from this brewery

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Photo of allengarvin
3.79/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Dark ruby-tinted brown, with a small but dense head of tan foam.
S: Roast and black patent malt.
T: Roast is not as strong as I was expecting, but it's certainly a major flavor component, balancing out the natural sweetness of the beer. It's also lightly chocolately with a latte like flavor.
M: very smooth and creamy.

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Photo of leantom
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Have seen this in stores for a long time. Here goes:

A: Good. Pours a dark black with an ample head and decent lacing. No light gets through this beer.

S: Good, but nothing special. Smells of coffee beans and some chocolate. A pretty malty beer with no hop aroma. Just like a regular stout.

T: Taste follows the nose. Some chocolate and caramel giving way to plenty of bitter coffee in the aftertaste. Lactose sugar in the beer imparts a creaminess that softens the bitterness, however.

M: OK - somewhat watery.

O: A good beer with some flaws. Enjoyed the flavor but it was rather simplistic.

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Photo of Roxie_B
4.79/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout.
Serving: Bottle
Appearance: 1 finger of tan head that dies down to a creamy lacing.
Smell: Dark fruit, malt, coffee, chocolate covered raisins, chewy bread.
Taste: Sweet malty fruit, raisin toast, coffee.
Mouthfeel: Creamy, satiny with the slightest bit of carbonation.
Overall: I have a new favorite beer.

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Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Pours a deep dark black with a dark espresso colored head.

Smells of of dark fruit - raisin, plumb, fig, and coffee and chocolate notes.

Taste is bitter coffee and chocolate with sweet fig and plumb notes. It has a very thick mouth feel with a nice bitter roasted malt caramelized notes. This a a stout with big dark flavors, yet ii is surprisingly drinkable with a modest 6% abv.

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Photo of AmeriCanadian
3.6/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Love the look and feel, not the smell and taste. Jet black and viscous with a thick and fluffy khaki head of big bubbles that lingers nicely but leaves minimal lacing. Smell is dominated by roasted malt, with strong yeasty notes, some espresso, a little licorice, and some faint, grassy hops. It's pungent, but not particularly pleasant or harmonious. Leaves what I can only describe as a "burnt" impression. Taste is slightly a more complex, but the harmony still isn't there. Dark, roasted coffee, maybe a little bitter chocolate (emphasis on the "bitter"), a little piney hops, a little sour molasses, and notes of licorice. It's not hoppy like a black IPA, but the flavor profile shares that element of roast for roast sake. The feel is silky, borderline thick, and smooth. But I'm not really loving the overall experience. It's certainly nowhere near their Expedition Stout.

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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 Gear54
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a pilsner glass. 5/1/14 is the freshness date

A: Pours black with with thick tan foam and tons of lace

S: malts and chocolate and coffee. The aroma is a bit weak but I can pick out the individual notes.

T: sweeter than I thought. cocoa and malts mostly with sweetness on the finish

M: Middle of the road but very drinkable.

O: not my favorite from bells but I wouldn't turn it down if it was offered to me.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the House of Brews. Served in a snifter.

Appearance - Black. Small khaki head. Thin collar and a few stray streaks of lacing.

Smell - Roasty malt. Kinda ashy and burnt. Coffee.

Taste - A little more sweet than the nose suggested. Coffee malt. Roastiness builds into the finish. Very burnt and acrid in the back, but it's not excessive. Some sweetness lingers too.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Very drinkable. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Very roasty. Intense and flavorful.

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Photo of ZagZagg
3.96/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into goblet

A: Opaque, black and oily. One and a half finger beige head with a decent collar – appears like it has some nice body, low/no carbonation visible. Has that typical stout appearance.

S: Roasted malt with a blend of dark and milk chocolate. Caramel is prevalent with sweet esters of black cherry and date. Coco nibs contribute to the sweet aroma, but clash with a tangy profile provided by a light smokiness.

T: Follows the nose pretty closely. Roasted and malty upfront with more chocolate character than let on by the aroma – Sweet milk chocolate meets a subtle hoppy presence in the middle mouth. Mocha, caramel, and brown sugar are dominant on the palate – notes of wet coffee grounds, espresso, earth, and maple syrup are transient with only the sweetness persisting through the finish. The overall taste is bold and balanced, while being predominately sweet and roasted.

M: The body is too light in my opinion. I wish the body were more viscous. Carbonation is remote or absent. After taste is sweet and rather pleasant, mild coffee and mocha

O: This is a bold and superb stout. Lots of robust flavors, great balance and superb drinkability – something I would easily drink again. One gripe I have is the weaker than expected mouthfeel. The lacking mouthfeel is the one missing facet is an otherwise excellent beer. Recommended.

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Photo of Flounder57
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle was poured into a nonic glass.

Appearance: This beer poured a small mocha head that reduced to a small layer. It is a pitch black color with no vision of anything. Spotty lacing down the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Milk chocolate, toffee, caramel, smoke, earthy, roasted coffee.

Taste: Toffee and caramel up front with milk chocolate ash, roasted coffee, earthy, and bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium to full bodied, medium carbonation, and a little ashy bitterness.

Overall: Solid stout from Michigan. This brewery puts out some stellar beers.

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Photo of fscottkey
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Notes: Born on 11/21/13 (current date 6/15/14).

A: Dark brown/black with a nice 1 finger "stout" head (where the individual bubbles are barely distinguishable).

S: Mostly coffee and some toffee. A slight metallic scent too.

T: Hearty roasted malts. The roasted flavor is really present early. The late gives way to a bit of bitter coffee flavor.

M: Nice mouth feel - not quite coating but pretty rich and thick. Slight carbonation.

O: The word "licorice" in the description scared me (I hate licorice). But there are no discernible "licorice" flavors in the beer. I mark that as a big plus. Very nice roast flavor with a modest 6.0% ABV. There are not a lot of complexities of chocolate and coffee - but this is still a well made and good tasting stout.

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

12oz bottle, batch 10121 (winter '10/'11 I believe); since it's well beyond the intended drinking window, I've given it a score that won't affect its average rating. Consider the following notes more illustrative than evaluative.

A: Black body, brown highlights, and a full two fingers of frothy tan head. Great retention and lacing. Really excellent, particularly for being as old as it is.

S: Some unpleasant cardboard notes of oxidation, along with dark fruits, licorice, dark chocolate, and leather. Complex, but not all that enticing.

T: Follows the nose - old, musty, fruity, bittersweet, and roasty. There's a lot going on, but not all of it good.

M: Smooth and slick medium body with moderate carbonation. Just fine.

O: I drank this back-to-back with a similarly aged Double Cream Stout (I think they were both part of a mixed six-pack I put together a few years back and forgot about in the cellar), and I was a little surprised that the Double Cream held up far better. Neither was anywhere near as good as fresh, but the Kalamazoo really fell off.


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Photo of mvanaskie13
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a 6 oz tasting glass: head was tan, presenting 1/2 inch thick then dissipating to a ring, color is black, deep nice color.

Smell is very pleasant blend of roasted malts and subtle caramel with a touch of licorice; hops are grassy.

Taste is blend of roasted malts, cleaner pale malt, hint of licorice; similar to the aroma the hops are earthy, subtle grass and hint of pine.

Mouthfeel is a touch on the sweeter side than expected, somewhat lingering and near cloying flavor on the cheeks.

Overall, i like the balance and touch of licorice in this brew, mouthfeel is a touch cloying but does not distract from the overall beer.

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Photo of dave39
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Don't know why this beer is only rated at 89. I found it to be close to perfect, and I am not a stout guy.

Very subtle coffee, chocolate, and roasted notes hit the nostrils upon opening.

Very pleasant, very drinkable, and extremely well balanced.

A sessionable brew and every day drinkable. Great job, Bells.

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Photo of Phigg1102
4.19/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Deep black pour with a finger and a half of thick rocky tan foam. Burnt toast, chocolate, a touch of coffee in the nose. Heavy coffee in the taste along with a bit of anise and earthy hops. Finishes fairly bitter.

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Photo of JHubner73
4.09/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I love a good stout beer, and Bell's Kalamazoo Stout is a great one. I poured the chilled bottle into a beer mug that was in the freezer waiting for just the right brew. Perfect match for this stout. Not much of a head on this beer, but from my experience with stouts they're usually pretty minimal. The look as it pours from the bottle is a deep, dark color. Like coffee. Even the fragrance is that of a bold coffee brew. This made me extremely happy. I was worried when I read "licorice" on the label but I worried for nothing. There's a hint of black licorice in the aftertaste, but nothing too overpowering. It only adds to the overall aromatics and adds a dark sweetness. The beer rolls off the tongue nicely and as it goes down there's a nice dark finish. Overall mellow taste. Not overpowering or bitter.

Yesterday was a very brisk day for May, so I wanted a beer to match. Bell's Kalamazoo Stout didn't disappoint. A bold, fragrant heavy brew that matched the dark, overcast day. I highly recommend this beer to anyone who loves a classic, dark stout.

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Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.03 out of 5 based on 4,176 ratings.
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