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

4,320 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 4,320 |  Reviews: 1,581
Photo of Mavajo
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours jet black with a head coming in at just under two fingers thick. Retains briefly and then fades into a thick crown with a thin film. Surprisingly minimal lacing.

Nose is roasty chocolate and coffee. Taste is the same. An initial smooth and enjoyable taste yields to a moderate bitterness lingering in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is smooth and full bodied with generous carbonation.

Essentially an average looking stout that's enjoyable in every way, but wasn't quite as exceptional as I hoped.

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Photo of ClePaul
3.87/5  rDev -4%

Photo of jporf911
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle with no freshness date.The cover shows a black-and-white sketch of what really looks a friggin serial killer. Leave it to serial killers to put licorice in their beer. Seriously, it looks like the unibomber with less hair and more anger. Hopefully you won't see me on CNN after I drink this. (Note- according to the website, the label art varies by bottle, but it's all portraits of creepy old men done by a local Michigan artist from what I can tell).

Appearance- 3.5 out of 5. This beer is black. Imagine that. It's pretty hard to grade the appearance of stouts since the only distinguishable problem would be that they weren't opaquely-black. The head is a little disappointing, not even one finger, but it's a nice dark brown color.

Smell- 4 out of 5. Most Stouts smell somewhat roasted. This one smells straight up burned-- not in a bad way, mind you. It's just more powerful than usual, reminiscent of the smoke itself instead of just roasted barley. The other high note in the nose is the unusually strong scent of hops, which are often only used in small quantities in Stouts; then again, American brewers love throwing hops into damn near any fermenting brew they can get their hands in. A bit of coffee shows up as well.

Taste- 4 out of 5. The hops aren't nearly as strong in the taste as they are in the smell, but the smokiness remains. With the combination of baking chocolate and a slight tinge of sweetness, it tastes like a Smores cooked over thick wood smoke; I can taste the charred wood in addition to the chocolate. The licorice is rather difficult to distinguish from the other tastes but provides a pleasant undertone. It's definitely not the main flavor, which had concerned me when I initially read the label. The bittersweet aftertaste leaves smoky malt and pine hops, like walking through a forest of smoldering Christmas trees.

Mouthfeel- 4 out of 5. Thick and chewy, like a liquid smores that someone held too long over the flames. Luckily, it goes down smooth.

Drinkability- 3.5 out of 5. I'm a little disappointed that the licorice was mostly lost, but it was otherwise a good beer. It's certainly not a Stout for beginners given how strong the smoke is, but I recommend it for anyone who loves thick, dark, roasted beers. However, two or three would probably fill you up, but that's the case with most Stouts aside from somewhat lighter ones like Guinness Extra Stout (ironic, considering the name).

To be fair, if I didn't like smoky beers, the taste would probably have turned me off. Given my bias, I give it a B.

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Photo of Mauerhan
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured into a guiness pint. black color with a small amount of head. what little there is a milk chocolate brown/ cream color. nice lacing that slowly falls.

smell is rich. i get some sweet/sour notes. followed closely by an assault of roasted malt.

taste is very nice. smooth sweet flavor hits you at first. i do get a very similar flavor to great lakes edmund fitzgerald. i get a nice amount of malt. slightly creamy.

mouth feel definitely gets better as it warms. i am not a fan of this beer right out of the fridge. very satisfying as it reaches 55.

all in all a good beer. i would grab it again. i would really like to try it off cask

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Photo of ChittyChambers
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of q33jeff
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

"Bottle to snifter. Aroma is coffee, toasted barley,
Appearance: dark black, small off white head.
Taste: chicory, toasted barley. A little too bitter in the after taste.
Palate. Low carbonation. Smooth enough.
Good beer, though I am a little disappointed.

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Photo of benito
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a VERY dark black, with little head. Coffee aromas are evident from the beginning.

What is most intriguing about this beer is the shortnes of the strong coffee punch at the beginning. By the time the beer is on the back of the tongue, it's java transforms into a very sweet finish. The mouthfeel is extrordinarily smooth throughout, and appropriately heavy for a milk/sweet stout.

The aftertaste is sweet and leaves one waiting for a second-go-round. A very drinkable stout overall.

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Photo of CowsandBeer
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle purchased from the Madison Ave Hyvee in Council Bluffs, IA. Bottled on 05/03/2012. Not sure why I held onto this one for so long but I'm still optimistic. 12 oz brown bottle poured into a Tallgrass Brewing Cervoise glass at refrigerator temperature.

Appereance: Pours a finger of dark brown head. Very tight and creamy looking. Retained a thick cap of head while I drank it. Black body.

Smell: Timid, roasted chocolate malts. Some coffee. Bit of molasses. Smells like a dark chocolate pudding. I think the aging has dulled the nose somewhat.

Taste: Black licorice, roasted choco malt, some coffee and cream. Bitter finish (though in a stout/positive way). No booze. Incredibly smooth. The flavors don't "pop out" as much as when this is fresh.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation and a silky mouthfeel. A bit thinner than I expected though I bet the age hasn't helped it.

Overall: A smooth, easy drinking stout. I'm surprised it held up as well as it did. Definitely better fresh though.

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Photo of ShemRahBoo
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of magictacosinus
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured out of a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. Been wanting to try this for a while, especially because the "brewer's licorice" addition sounds intriguing. Bottling date is listed as "02/06/13," but I'm sure it's no problem.

Pours a nearly opaque, blackened color that's ideal in a stout, with an off-khaki head that resembles the foaminess from freshly brewed coffee or a mocha of sorts. Head retention is rather good, as it lasts even as it settles down to a ring from the initial coating. Lacing is pretty much inexistent, but carbonation lasts a good long while. To me, this has the thickness and viscosity of a solid stout, and as a result gets endearing reaction from me.

The aroma is chock-filled with all kinds of aromas found in my favorite basic stouts (as well as some variations), only backed up by a slight sweetness from the alcohol. Roasted baker's chocolate, slight roasted espresso characteristics, light anise or licorice, as well as vanilla or baking spice of sorts. The malts come off as a rich dark bready flavor that compliment the roasted flavors well. The hops hold together things well with slight herbal, floral bitterness. Really nice stuff - well balanced and not too astringent.

The flavor is immediately predominant with notes of roasted chocolate and coffee, as well as slight sweetness of anise, vanilla, and herbal notes from the hops. The malts are pretty thickened and sweet, and although they produce a soy saucy flavor as this gets warmer, they are very flavorful and pleasant. Quite astringent and bready at first - took a while to get through the first 6oz as a result of its heartiness. Still, the flavors are really solid, and I in particular love the light anise notes that open up. Very flavorful and satisfying to drink, only a bit heavy.

I really enjoyed this - why does their porter lack the same dynamic, flavorful, and creamy qualities this has? This could pare well with a lot of food and desserts, and works well on its own. I hope to seek out more beers from Bell's that are more on this level for sure.

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Photo of Biggiekrock627
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of HoppyHoosier
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%

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

Photo of hustlemuscle
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Super black and opaque with a tan/brown head. Roasty nose, exceedingly dry roasted flavor. Lick smackingly dry. Smooth, slightly oily, again, so dry as to be almost tart. A very drinkable stout, but not overwhelming. From a batch in the 6700s, which would put it around a year old.

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Photo of trep
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle Batch 7289 brewed on March 9th 2006.

Pitch black body, no light whatsoever passing through. Creamy tan head leaves lacing down the side of the glass. Smells of roasted malt, chocolate, and vanilla, with a bit of alcohol and an earthiness to it.

Very smooth on the pallate. Creamy, medium bodied. Nice hop bitterness at first that steps aside to allow the soft chocolate and vanilla ice cream to come forth. Finishes coffee bitter with a bit of dark chocolate thrown in the mix.

Medium bodied with little carbonation. Nice creamy mouthfeel. Very easy drinking despite the bitterness. Very smooth and balanced.

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Photo of arguemaniac
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black with a creamy, extremely well- retained light brown head. Malt sweetness with roastiness in the nose. The fairly rich and heavily roasted palate features very clean coffee flavor and bitterness, along with some caramel and some definite malt sweetness. A touch of licorice and a mouthful of roasted grain in the finish.

Bell’s is fairly new to my area, and I’ve been trying as many of their brews as I can get my hands on lately. I noticed that they pull of the coffee flavor really well in a lot of their stouts. In any case, like most of their beers, this one is well crafted and drinkable. Recommended.

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Photo of Absumaster
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A deep black beer with a thin off-white head has a viscous pour.

Smell is subdued but has burned and roasted with light coffee notes. Some faint hoppy, earthy smells.

Taste is burned with coffee and dark chocolate and a strong maltbitter. There is also a good hopbitterness, which, together with the roasted side, are the 2 key players in this beer. The burned notes could have been a little more pronounced or sharper. Body is slightly sweet and medium. Drinkability is good

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Photo of JTSbeerislife
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at a very good bottle shop, “PKGD 9/14/11” marked on label, (packaged?), purchased 12/11 and well stored.

Poured into a Dogfish Head Signature Snifter

Pours a rather thin head typical of the style which reduces to a thin but still present cap.
Black opaque color with a medium tan colored head. Decent lacing on glass.

Medium distinct, malt and yeast aroma. Not much else really.

Nice clean, crisp, wonderfully carbonated entry onto the palate, followed by a balanced roasted malt flavor which is somewhat muted yet very persistent. After it warms up to 60 degrees or so a nice light chocolate flavor kicks in. Good medium full mouth feel. Quite a pleasant drink

Nine finish of mildly bitter malt.

Very, very drinkable Stout. At 6% ABV I could be drinking this all night, (well at least until 9:00 PM anyway).
It’s not outstanding in any way, but taken on its own merits it is a very drinkable Stout and easily a session Ale.

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Photo of BelgiumBill
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the 12 oz bottle into a Sam Adams glass a nice dark black with a deep brown rim. A 1 inch creamy fluffy brown head lasted a few minutes. On the nose there was the advertised licorice and sweet and roasty nuances typical of the style.

Hoppy licorice dominate the flavor profile, with some smoke, coffee adding to the complexity. Nice lacing on the way down. A good mouthfeel, if not a bit more bitter than your average stout.

I'd buy again.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

Hey, my label's different! (I'm sorry, it's all I had to start with. I'll try better next time...) No matter, it pours sleek obsidian (that seems to want to be tinged with either ruby or garnet, but just can't quite get it done) topped by a finger of sandstone foam. The nose comprises roasted malts, light char, a very light touch of anise, and a sprinkling of dark chocolate. Though there may be more listed there, the roast is king, and everyone 'round town knows it. The taste mimics the smell, with roasty dominance continuing. However, here the dark chocolate and anise shine through a bit more, along with a dull cut of coffee in the back room. The body is a solid medium, with a light carbonation and a smooth feel. Overall, a pretty nice stout, kinda one-dimensional (and then some), but it definitely hits the spot when a stout is desired.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for sending this one my way, Matt.

A: The beer is almost black in color and pours with about a finger of dark tan head.

S: Plenty of roasted malt and coffee notes to the nose followed up by dark chocolate and licorice. Actually, a lot of licorice. Molasses is present as well is a touch of soap.

T: The flavor is very similar to the nose, with a nice roasted character, though not overwhelming or charred in nature. Toffee and molasses flavors provide the bulk of the sweetness along with a bit of licorice.

M: Medium in body with a medium level of carbonation.

O: Really nice easy drinking stout. You could definitely have a couple of these.

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Photo of solomon1122
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Coffee flavor, a little bit burned, chocolate? and Tick, a little bit hop

73 characters

Photo of Tone
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black. 1/4 inch head with slight retention and lsight lacing. Smells of a dark rich malt and sweetness. Fits the style of a Milk/Sweet Stout. Mouth feel is sharp and slighty thick. There's a high carbonation level and an associated bitterness. Tastes very rich, of a strong malt, some roasted malt as well, and there's a slight hop bitterness. Overall, a very good rich stout - definitely couldn't drink more than a couple of these.

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Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first ever product from Bell's has a slightly viscous, ebony-to-brown pour which results in a thin, dirty-tan head no more than 1/4" deep that dissipates quickly and spottily to nothingness, just a puny collar. Color is an opaque, inky black; evidence of a streamer or two is marked by bubbles popping up at surface of beer. Globs of yeast clinging to sides of glass are unappetizing as well. Aroma is roast, toast, and more roast toast, to a degree that I've only detected in Imperial Stouts up to this point. Nosefeel is dry and woody, with baking chocolate and coffee tones alongside a not-unpleasant taste of grain; yet behind all this, a plump, purple-fruitiness seems to be lurking. Flavor begins quite sweetly at the tip of the tongue, proceeding to huge roastiness in the midpalate. A slight cola-like sweetness lingers here, to the detriment of the overall feeling; then hops make their presence known in a bittery black coffee to dark chocolate aftertaste. And yet, again: a fruitiness almost like blueberry skins ghosts around in the background... and a woodiness more oaken than cedary. Mouthfeel is tingly and surprisingly delicate in manner; just approaching oily with a light cling that gracefully subsides. High drinkability considering the assertive flavor. A shame: if this beer only had a nice finger of head to top it off, I'd have given it a "4" in all categories. That said, I was sorry not to have a second bottle and I intend to seek this one again.

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Photo of Jesstyr
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Grabbed this one at Pete's Apizza in DC, a great spot for pizza and a legit craft beer list. Served in a pint glass.

Pours dark black with a good finger's worth of tan head. Nose is heavy on the burnt malt, but lacks any tremendous diversity.

Flavor is heavy on the smoke, malt and a bit of hops to add some balance. It lacks any overwhelming "flavor" per say, but its a good heavy balance. Body is big, and its a smooth beer going down, particularly with a reasonable ABV.

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Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.03 out of 5 based on 4,320 ratings.
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