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: 1,576 | Ratings: 4,297
Photo of barnzy78
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. Pours pitch black with zero transparency. Nice tan head that coats the glass and leaves some sticky lacing. Aromas are of roasted malts, molasses, and anise. Mouth-feel is medium and silky smooth on the palate. Flavors are also of bold roasted malts, molasses, and espresso with notes of brown sugar, cocoa, and anise. Nice balanced finish - dry with a slight sweetness. This has always been a favorite of mine. Fantastic through and through - I wouldn't change anything about this brew.

It's funny how reviews and tastes can change over time:
Pours black with a huge rocky tan head that holds great ret & leaves an explosion of lacing. Aromas and tastes are chocolate, roasty, espresso creamy, rich, dark bitter bakers chocolate, roasted barley, french roast coffee, anise, ashy. Mouth-feel is velvety smooth, creamy, full body. Overall, great to go back to this and reaffirm its awesomeness.

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Photo of TripleSun
4.44/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow this is so relaxing for such a dark looking beer. I come from an almost only IPA background so this surprises me for how much I enjoyed it.

L - Tar black, almost couldn't see my glass container
S - Smoke, sweet licorice scent in the back
T - Has a tobacco flavor that hangs on the tongue, creamy consistency, and an initial sweetness
F - For being a stout it is incredibly light, probably for being such a low ABV. Very drinkable, would go good with a cigar!

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Photo of steve8robin
4.44/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Scored this one on a trip to Kalamazoo...

A: Super dark with very faint ruby red highlights. Small 1/2 inch mocha colored head that fades quickly. Decent.

S: Smells of chocolate, raisin, and boozy blended well upfront. Hints of roasty hops in the middle with sweet sugars on the backend. Very good.

T: Hmm, interesting twist. Bitter chocolate upfront with bourbon booziness in the middle and dark fruit and creamy almond blended on the backend. Very good.

M: Leaves a decent stickiness on the palate, but not over powering. Very good.

D: Goes down super easy. Very good.

All in all, this is a good beer. I was very surprised by the well blended flavors in this one. If you like stouts, then this is a definitely must try. Worth hunting down.

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Photo of Fish113d
4.44/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass at room temperature, it pours a dirty motor oil color with a nice, hefty 3cm of tan, dense head on top. Absolutely no light gets through this one.

I can smell it at least 1 1/2 feet away! Huge billowing chocolate malts jump out at me along with some roastiness (roasted almonds or peanuts). I also get a bit of alcohol tickling my sinuses. Being as I live near Hershey, PA, I can say that this one reminds me of driving into town and smelling the roasted nuts and chocolate! Superb!!!

Sipping reveals a nice dose of roasted nuts and chocolate right away, with an almost beechnut flavor following this one across my palate and down my throat. I also get some hopiness helping to balance this out on the finish.

Body is medium to full with well-rounded qualities. Carbonation is not too heavy or tingly, and I can tell that there IS a bit of alcohol in there. Nicely done.

Overall, I don't know if this is one I could sit and drink all night, but it is one of the better well-rounded, blanced brews I've had recently. I could easily drink another bottle.

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Photo of TKEbeerman
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Stouts don't get much darker then Kalamazoo. Poured right, this beer pours a deep, dark black with a light mocha colored head. Great lacing is present on my pint glass as this beer goes down.

With stouts like this you expect the normal chocolate/espresso type nose. With this Bells brew, however, the nose would be best described as a young, playboy type, stout and a nice nut brown ale, had a baby, and decided to name it Kalamazoo.

The taste profile of this beer is excellent. Light nutty and roastyness. Very subtle hints of liquorish and coffee. Overall, Kalamazoo has a great balance of coffee and nutty notes, but something about the liquorish seems to smooth this stout out.

I love the mouth feel of this beer. It's full without being too over powering, very light carbonation, and the finish is as smooth as silk, which leaves you with the ruminates of a wonderfull flavor profile.

I'm giving this beer a 5.0 for drink-ability. It's very rare when you can find a good stout with a decent ABV that you feel like you can kill 3-4 of them a not kill your mourning after.

Bells, I've had many of your beers now, and I have to say Kalamazoo is one to be remembered. Would love to have a chance to try their cream stout, expedition stout, and this tasty brew side-by-side. I know that would make for one hell of a night.

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Photo of PEBKAC
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch 8861

I've received this a few times over in trades but never really sat down with one.

Poured into a Sly Fox shaker/paperweight. It glugs the consistency of cola, but it's as dark in the glass as a bucket of molasses. A faltering, dark sand head pushes up mellow scents of condensed milk, almond liquor, & light smoke.

Good bitter roast, great beaded carbonation. A bit burnt toast, Lactose is lighthearted, but gives it just enough to turn the bitterness away. A shaving of bark & dark chocolate. Slight hint of coffee & grain on the finish. Maybe a little oxidation, but that's probably my fault.

It trades off a little body for drinkability, but that's just nitpicking. It's obviously a great beer.

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Photo of IronDjinn
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a 12 oz brown bottle, sample provided by rudge75 and fisherman34 (a humble bow to you two gentlemen).

Pours out pitch black, like midnight on the darkest night of the year in the most remote dark part of the planet, while you're wearing a blindfold deep in a cave underneath that spot. Deep chocolatey spongy head that retains to a point, and then recedes to a thin deep tan cap.

Wow. After my first sip I just want to say wow. There, I said it. Toasted malt, cocoa, carob nut, chocolate wafer, cafe au lait, that's what greets me as I sip this. Not overtly complex, but this stout just seems to have it all in the right places.

The mouthfeel is a bit on the light side for a stout, but still retains a silky smooth texture that helps make this stout so deceptively easy to quaff.

An absolute pleasure to drink, it's been quite a while since I've come across a stout that I've enjoyed this much. It just all seems to work. It's not bombastic, it's not over the top, it's not overwhelming, just a great session-worthy stout after my heart. I'd reach for this again and again if it were available locally.

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Photo of Durtdiggler
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle with 2/15/13 date into snifter glass.

Pours dark black as night and settles with nice creamy, light brown head quickly leaving some thin lacing on the glass.

Aroma is very dry medium roast coffee, can pick up the licorice but feels a bit more like bourbon and chocolate. The roast coffee stands out the most which which is how I think this style should be versus baltic porter.

Very roasty backed by big hop bitterness all balanced well, slightly sweet with cocoa and dried dark fruits. Flavor is very complex from start to finish.

Light medium mouthfeel. Extremely drinkable.

Alot of complex flavor without the the big alcohol volume. This beer fills the void in the quest for big stout like flavor that it might be a while before I pick up an Imperial stout again. I might have to try Founders side by side:). Bell's nailed it.

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Photo of soupyman10
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

UPDATE: 6/1/08 - 4.5/4/4/4.5/4 - Had it again in a mixed sixer. Again, quite delicious, although I lowered the scores a little bit as the complexity of the aromas and taste didn't quite blow me away this time. Roasted malt, coffee, chocolate. Feel is thick and creamy. Still, a delicious brew...Bell's certainly does their stouts well. With this one, the Java, Expedition, and Cherry for some variety, outstanding.

ORIGINAL: 4.5/4.5/5/4/5 - Pours the first totally black beer I've ever seen, with a solid finger of tan head on top that disappears fairly slowly. Nose is strong on molasses, dried fruit, caramel, and maybe some chocolate too. Feel is solid, although maybe a little thin for a stout. Taste is excellent as well. All over the place. Up front is some sweet chocolate. Crazy roasted malts, and then some nice and pointedly sweet flavors of raisins and brown sugar in the middle. Roasted malt shows up again, a little more often as the beer warms. Ends with a solid, slightly hoppy bitter aftertaste. Solid aftertaste though, which sticks around with a nice sweet/bitter mix. This one's outstanding as well. I'm really stunned by how consistently great Bell's offerings are. I'll be picking this one up again. Possibly topped only by the incredible Expedition Stout.

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Photo of indy169
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout has a lot of wonderful qualities and very few if any low points. The pour is thick and creamy with very nice lacing and a coffee house aroma. The mouthfeel is smooth and zesty without bitterness or sour. Each sip seems to have a life all its own and remains on the palate for a while. I am rarely disappointed by ANY of Bell's offerings and this is positively no exception. A great beer for a cold winter's night.

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Photo of kohoutek
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours an extra deep black with a nice brown head that clings the glass for the entirety of the experience. No light penetration.

A wonderful nose! It is definitely vinous, full of dark fruits, espresso, molasses and flinty minerals from the yeast.

This beer has a high bitter charge that slices through the residual sugars. Lots of rich roasted malt flavors, clean acidity and character suggesting it has some alcohol. It is not the least bit hot - instead it picks up some sherry qualities.

The mouthfeel seems to change from the beginning to the end. Initially, when the carbonation is higher, the viscosity is bouyed a bit by the bubbles. Later it becomes less fluffy and more wine-like.

An incredibly drinkable brew considering it's richness and alcohol content. The bittering hops cleanse the sugars from this big bad beer.

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Photo of beeragent
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass from a 12oz bottle.

A - The beer pours a deep dark brown almost black, forming a creamy 1 inch mocha head that fades to a 1/4 inch. Not much lacing is visible.

S - Roasted malts along with a noticeable cocoa bitterness throughout.

T - Creamy roasted malts coat the palate. Not much in the way of coffee flavor, but definitely a strong cocoa bitterness to the taste. Very hot chocolaty flavor.

M - Heavy bodied with a suprisingly very smooth and thick mouthfeel.

D - Oh how I wish we had this in Texas. Smooth thick delicious flavor!! Not as sweet as I would usually catagorize a sweet stout as. More like a heavy stout but with a smoother finish to the roasted malts. Highly recommended!!!

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-jet black in color letting no light through. the head is a dark tan color that has some retention and coats the glass nicely.

S-the nose is very nice bringing roasted malts, molasses, bitter sweet bakers chocolate.

T/M-this is medium body and extremely smooth. highly carbonated creating a crisp finish. the taste is similar to the nose and brings molasses up front backed by a roasted malt, notes of bakers chocolate, and a touch of slightly roasted coffee malt.

D-it is very clean and goes down nicely. huge flavor for a single stout, more powerful than some imperials I have had. this goes down great and could easily be a go to single stout.

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Photo of bahumutx
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Very dark brown in color. Has nice creamy brown head that is dissipating slowly.

Smell: Carmel, chocolate and coffee are the most apparent smells. There is also a strong roasted malt smell.

Taste: The first taste that comes out of the beer is a roasted malt and coffee flavor. There is also a slight fruitiness to this beer. Flavors of caramel and a slight vanilla also comes trough. It finishes with a slight bitterness that reminds me of a good coffee. Delicious!!!

Mouthfeel: Nice and creamy Mouthfeel. Hard to put this beer down.

Drinkability: I think I could have a couple of these in a sitting.

Another great beer from the folks at Kalamazoo Brewing Company. This was my first second stout and I think that it is delicious. This will definitely be in my fridge during the winter months. Keep up the great work Kalamazoo Brewing!!!!

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Photo of KI9A
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow! Had this at the Wine & Cheese Place in St. Louis, during a tasting.

A: Deep, cola black, typical cask induced thin head.

S: Chocolate malt. Period.

T: Above, but mixed with vanilla. The sweetness balances with a nice light hop bite.

M: Medium, not too sweet, not to clingy, just about right.

D: Well, it's D is high..I made a few trips back to the cask, it was just addictive as hell. Nice job on this beer!

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Photo of zerk
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opaque and black as night, with a persistant foamy tan head. Aroma of coffee, chocolate and nuts. Flavor of the same with a bit of hops noticable at the end. This is an amazingly complex stout, although it's not at all sweet which is odd for the style. High carbonation for the a stout, and maybe thinner than it could be. I'm not sure that this is what a milk stout should be, but that won't stop me from loving every drink of this wonderful brew.

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Photo of erz316
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 floz bottle with 9210 on the back, poured into old speckled hen glass.

A - huh, that head kind ninjas up on you; the foam is about four fingers high. big crackly foam on top with big holes. the foam is a light brown or light choco milk colour. the body is black, but it lets in light at the bottom of the glass, highlighting the copper and ruby tinges of the body. lacing is quite abundant, and the head retention is very good.

S - very big roasted malt body, quit yeasty too. the yeast is a bit nutty, is you ask me. if anything this smells a bit like a guinness, the malt profile seems to be almost the same to be.

T - yet another knock out brew from bell's! this beer is so incredibly roasted and deep in flavour. the initial taste is the big roasted malts, though not as dark as some others, the roastedness makes up for any lost depth or intensity of flavour. continuing on, there is a great coffee like flavour, which brings a distinctive nuttiness with it. the yeast is also noticeable here. the finish is basically a continuation of these flavours. the aftertaste is a bitter hoppiness with the roasted malts offering up a subtle sweetness. a real knock out beer, good price and an even better taste.

MF&D - I'm a bit divided on whether or not to give the body a 4 or 4.5, I think it is a bit too light, but the carbonation does a great job of thickening out the overall feeling. the body is a very light medium, but the carbonation is quite full. either way, the drinkability is extraordinary, as the beer is incredibly delicious.

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Photo of Mavigo
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big fan of Bell's, pure Michigan man. Love porters so I am really looking forward to this, poured it into a pint.

A: Pours a deep dark black, almost opaque, with a short tan head along with some lacing.

S: Smells tremendous, chocolate, coffee, toffee, has some smoky and woody aromas, barley and malts.

T: Tastes incredible, its sweet but not overly sweet, its really smooth and rich, it has perfect balance of everything, tastes really chocolatey, malty, hints of coffee and toffee, really sweet, bits of barley and wheat as well.

M: Lower levels of carbonation, which is perfect for me, its really rich and thick, like syrup but not overdone, great flavor balance, it's a reward reach sip you take.

O: It's what I was expecting, I have been impressed with Bell's, a trend that is likely to continue, it wasn't too pricey either, and it was worth every penny and more. A must have.

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Photo of BeerFink
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours opaque black with a khaki colored head. Milk chocolatey aroma mixed coffee and roastedness. Very creamy bittersweet chocolately taste, with plenty of roasted character. Some hops bite out admist the huge malty smoothness. Finish is roasted dry, with a lingering coffee like aftertaste. Very pleasant to sip and admire the finish. Definitely another good stout from Bell's, who I have come to respect as talented in the stout field.

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Photo of Shrews629
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Black as night with a bulbous cream colored head that hung around for ages. Looks like the top of a chocolate milk shake. Left a generous amount of lacing. I can't wait to try this!!! Only the most minute red hue at the bottom of the glass. Almost perfect.

Smell - Roasted malt that had coffee mixed with a sweet milk chocolate that was most enchanting. Both aromas were very robust and inviting. Both were balanced exactly and made for easy detection. Didn't get the licorice as mentioned on the label, but that was fine by me.

Taste - Burnt coffee and toastiness. Bittersweet chocolate along with what I found to be a hint of caramel in the taste. Again, balanced exceptionally well. Didn't have the overall cream flavor that Oatmeal Stouts have, but that's ok. Just different styles. Leaves me wanting another sip quickly.

Mouthfeel - Medium/Full mouthfeel with decisive dryness. Smooth with lots left on the palate after each sip. As mentioned, not quite as creamy as some others, but still head and shoulders above average.

Drinkability - This beer could get me in trouble. Truly an outstanding beer. Well balanced and easy drinking. Could make a night or two out of this all too easy. I can see myself sitting by the fireplace with this all night long.

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Photo of FanofHefe
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 10328, bottled April 8, 2011. Pours a near perfect black color with no light penetration. Just a hint of red hue around the edges. Mocha colored head that leaves good lacing.

Rich aroma of roasted malt followed by a hint of dark fruit. Coffee and chocolate in the background with a touch of smokiness.

Excellent flavor mix that follows the aroma. Heavy roasted malt flavor is pleasantly combined with some sweet milk chocolate notes, and a bit of dark fruit. In the background, there is a light note of smoked almonds.

Light mouthfeel, but not unexpected for the moderate abv. Overall, very drinkable and an excellent stout.

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Photo of jtw5877
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep dark brown with a foamy tan head, smoky roasted malt aroma. Nice malty taste with a prominant roasted malt flavor with dark coffee tones and maybe a little caramel thrown in, also a little bit of cracker maltiness Tastes really solid, not a watered down stout. A definate must for stout lovers.

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Photo of scalffd
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark black appearance with brown head, creamy on top and fizzy on the sides. Diminishes but lasts throughout the beer. Strong roasted flavor with average to long aftertaste. Smooth from beginning to end. This is a high quality, very drinkable stout and my choice over the expedition by Bells, which has too much of an alcohol bite for my taste.

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Photo of sponberg
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nearly opaque, brownish black with a tan head that dissipates rather quickly, but leaves lace to the bottom of the glass. A good, roasty, slightly coffeelike malt nose - mmmm!

Is the Michigan DEP hiring? I could drink this happily all day long. Bittersweet with a roast coffee and slightly chocolatey/toffeelike sweetness. Very creamy, almost oatmeal-oily like mouthfeel. Then it dries out towards the finish, with the alcohol making its presence known in the background. Beautiful. This could quite rapidly become a favorite.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque black (no highlights when held to the light, but the yeast sediment is clearly visible at the bottom of the glass) with a frothy light tan head that holds fairly well before dropping to a decent collar and whispy surface covering. A short creamy head can easily be brought back, however, simply by swirling the glass, and it leaves some nice as well. The nose is rich with a sharp roastiness and notes of bittersweet chocolate, but also offers some floral and lightly earthy hops in the background. The medium body is enhanced by an exceptionally fine carbonation from bottle conditioning that leaves it creamy and smooth in the mouth. The flavor is also affected by the creamy carbonation, softening it's bitterness and rounding it's sharp roasted edges. It starts with an underlying fruitiness and dark chocolate, but immediately becomes quite roasty. It warms to reveal some caramel sweetness as it crosses the palate but reverts to deep roastiness and a solid bitterness in the finish. A rich, dark roasted coffee flavor lingers in the mouth long after the liquid had gone and occassional flashes of hop flavor can sometimes be found. Rich, complex, and highly enjoyable. This makes a great after-dinner drink or nightcap. Highly recommended and well worth seeking out.

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Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.03 out of 5 based on 4,297 ratings.
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