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

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Bell's Kalamazoo StoutBell's Kalamazoo Stout
Very Good
4,377 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,377 |  Reviews: 1,591
Photo of beergoot
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Black as coal body; dense, thick, rocky head. Roasted, slightly charred grain aroma; burnt toast; coffee grounds. Bitter and sweet flavor; bitter chocolate; coffee grounds. Heavy mouthfeel; slick and smooth; a bit harsh on the palate with a slight stingy quality.

A good stout overall though somewhat biting and harsh. No noticeable presence of licorice although the coffee quality comes through strongly.

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Photo of Franz4
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle batch #9984 poured into a perfect pint glass

A- pours dark, good 3 finger tan head that held about a 1/4 inch over the top of the glass, very nice. Head is foamy with some larger bubbles at the top. Leaves stringy ribbons of lace throughout.

S- subtle chocolate and a mild dark fruit scent.

T- Dark chocolate flavor with a little bite to it. Slightly acidic. Dark fruit flavor is present in the finish. Some coffee present as well.

M- very dry, moderate carbonation, aftertaste lingers a bit long for my taste.

D- This is a pretty approachable stout, in a world filled in RIS this provides a nice lower ABV alternative.

 637 characters

Photo of bigleague
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Strigiform_Witness
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of corey0212
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received in a trade with chemmie!

Pours almost-black, shades of brown around the edges of the beer when held up to the light. Massive frothy mocha-colored head fades very slowly, and leaves behind big gobs of lacing. Sweet smell, almost a touch of cookie dough in there, some smoky aromas, mild coffee. Bitter coffee taste, some milk chocolate, charred background. Pretty active carbonation, medium-bodied stout, really smooth. I'd have this one again, a really solid brew.

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Photo of facundoCNB
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a thick brown/back pour, 2 fingers of tan head, excellent lacing. smells of roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, red wine. very sweet up front with an oaked bitterness (and roasted grains), black coffee, tobacco, still getting that port/red wine taste.

medium body (looked heavier when poured), moderate carbonation, slightly chalky.

an awesome stout by a great brewery. hard to believe the java stout was a bit more subtle than this on the roasted flavors..

 456 characters

Photo of nodder
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Halcyondays
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours dark brown/black with a full tan head with excellent retention, almost like a nitro beer, good lacing as well.

S: Smell has distinct notes of chocolate and coffee, a little bit of cream.

S: Stronger bitterness than I expected in a sweet stout, burnt malt and coffee form the main flavour. The beer ends with a long finish and aftertaste of dark cocoa.

M: Medium-bodied, mild carbonation, oily and slick, I thought it could use a bit more body, but still good overall.

D: A nice drinkable stout from Bell's. With it not being distributed here I don't think I'll have it for a while, but I'll definitely revisit it if given the chance.

 662 characters

Photo of badmotorgrunge
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Mavajo
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

 499 characters

Photo of ClePaul
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of jporf911
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

 2,586 characters

Photo of Mauerhan
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
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

 646 characters

Photo of ChittyChambers
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of q33jeff
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

 275 characters

Photo of benito
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

 495 characters

Photo of CowsandBeer
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

 995 characters

Photo of ShemRahBoo
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of magictacosinus
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

 2,059 characters

Photo of Biggiekrock627
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of HoppyHoosier
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of ChipChaight
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of hustlemuscle
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

 281 characters

Photo of trep
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

 630 characters

Photo of arguemaniac
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

 632 characters

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Beer rating: 3.98 out of 5 with 4,377 ratings
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