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

Bell's Kalamazoo StoutBell's Kalamazoo Stout
BA SCORE
82.7%
Liked This Beer
3.98 w/ 4,346 ratings
Bell's Kalamazoo StoutBell's Kalamazoo Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States
bellsbeer.com

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

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#3,904
Reviews:
1,585
Ratings:
4,346
Liked:
3,593
Avg:
3.98/5
pDev:
10.55%
Alströms:
3.67
 
 
Wants:
207
Gots:
678
Trade:
8
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,346 |  Reviews: 1,585
Photo of Thickfreakness
2.75/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Batch 9801

A- Pours charcoal black into my DFH glass. A thin whisp of a head fades quickly and leaves little pools of dark tan foam lying on the surface. This one lies pretty flat with no carbonation to speak of.

S- Licorice and coffee candy are the first things that hit the nose. Has some spicy notes of Birch Beer/Root Beer. Lots of roasted chocolate maltiness. Not as lively in the nose as I was hoping for.

T- Day old iced coffee, licorice, chocolate twizzlers, and root beer hard-candy. Some charred malt, no hops at all. Not a whole lot going on here.

M- Like licorice water. I've had iced coffee thicker than this. This is pretty limp. No body, creaminess, or carbonation.

O- Hard to believe that the same brewer that makes Expedition, makes this watered down, flat stout. I guess I can tick this off the list and never be wanting one again.

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Photo of Bice4
2.75/5  rDev -30.9%

Photo of TheDoctor
2.75/5  rDev -30.9%

Photo of atpca
2.75/5  rDev -30.9%

Photo of dheldman
2.75/5  rDev -30.9%

Photo of alltakn
2.75/5  rDev -30.9%

Photo of Mississippi
2.75/5  rDev -30.9%

Photo of Hop_God
2.77/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Very poor example of a stout.

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Photo of Grant_Satterthwaite
2.79/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.25

Easily the worst stout I've ever had. Some guy at a local beer store recommended it to me over the Left Hand Milk Stout. What a poor brew. The taste was bland and it took forever to drink. One beer took me about 45 minutes to suffer through. I'm a big fan of Bell's brewery but this beer is simply pathetic. I would suggest avoiding this beer at all costs. It's simply not worth the time to drink it or the money to pay for it.

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Photo of Drinkalot
2.81/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

Photo of dgilks
2.88/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Very dark brown with a slightly orange highlight. Small tan head. Poor head retention.

Earthy with a spritzy, spicy alcohol note. For me there is a fair amount of sweet, fusel alcohols here. Not great.

Sweet malt with a touch of chocolate. Fusel alcohols. Not good.

Medium-thin body with moderate carbonation. Okay.

For me there is something wrong here. The alcohol note is slightly acetone like and fusel-y. Further, the malt character doesn't have the chocolately, coffee, roasty note expected of the style.

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Photo of teromous
2.9/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A: It has a nice dark shade of brown...it appears black but just looking at it I get a slight brown hue to the blackness which is neat. The head is perfect on this beer. It's a fluffy tan head that stays up for a long time, not too big or too small...with excellent lacing.

S: The scent in this beer is very subdued. I get a very faint caramel scent along with what smells like dates. It has a nearly Belgian scent but it's very faint.

T: The beer doesn't have a whole lot of flavor either. It has a large amount of bitterness. There's a charcoal bitterness in after drinking. There's a kind of spicy flavor to the beer as well. There is some sweetness in the beer but it comes like this...drink...no flavor...sweetness...strong bitterness...sweetness. There is a candy+hop flavor in the aftertaste.

M: The mouthfeel is pretty good but the beer feels very light and thin. I wish it had more body and presence.

O: Overall I'd say that the appearance and some of the uniqueness in flavor of the beer's taste balance out the shortcomings of body and "traditional' stout flavor. It's a beer that makes you want to take a second sip after the first because you can't really figure out what flavors your taste-buds are pointing you towards. I didn't get a lot of coffee, caramel, chocolate, etc from the beer and I thought it was actually quite thin. It's a tossup.

 1,363 characters

Photo of jmalina121
2.9/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer has a rich brown color and an aroma of coffee beans. It has a bitter, roasted flavor, as well as notes of black licorice and chocolate.

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Photo of Erish
2.92/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I poured this 12 oz. bottle into an English pint glass.

A: dark brown, nearly opaque, lovely cappuccino-colored head that falls into a persistent cap with nice lacing.

S: coffee, spoiled milk, soy sauce, hint of chocolate.

T: spoiled milk, coffee, farmer's cheese, the middle is soy sauce, chocolate milk, and the finish is off-dry mocha, earthiness, and some lingering hop bitterness. To be honest, this beer was entirely disappointing.

M: medium-bodied, slick, somewhat watery.

D: Maybe I got a bad batch, but I have to say this beer tasted off and was not harmonious at all.

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Photo of NODAK
2.92/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Smell on this one is pretty straight forward, I think. Very malty, very chocolatey. Standard, but pretty good.

For a stout, mouthfeel is pretty thin here. I'm actually surprised by it.

Taste is pretty malty with roasted chocolate flavors mixed in with some tanginess...perhaps that's the licorice that's advertised on the bottle. Finish is full of bitter chocolate and a little sourness too. Some alcohol is even noticeable as well.

As far as stouts go, I don't think this would be among my top choices, as the chocolate is a bit on the bitter side for me, and it's just too thin. Pretty average.

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Photo of Cavery
2.92/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz shared with Klym, poured into Stone Nonics. Bottle was an extra courtesy of SpdKilz.

A: More of a thin film than any actual head formation. cinnamon dusted brown bubbles over a motor oil brown body. This beer moves pretty violently and reflects the ABV in that it's lower alcohol. No red flags, but I'm skeptical.

S: A rootbeer like note from black licorices. Coffee crackers/biscuits come through with a promisingly pastry like note. The smell is certainly more promising than the look. The licornice smell does seem a bit "off" in some ways though. The end of the licorice note blends with cheap coffee liqueurs to create a stout inspired cocktail flavor. This is a bit shocking considering the ABV.

T: Hmm, where did the stout go? Shockingly absent flavor that only flirtatiously suggests coffees and woody licorice. The wood flavor in this beer is more like sawdust. Sweet hidden notes of anise come forward to add a dissonant flavor to the soggy wood shavings. Not very enticing. Coffee does appear to be more there in the finish.

M: This is really quite watery. At no point in the drinking process did I ever feel like I had a dark beer in my hand. The mouth really made me feel like I had some sort of young wood infused light-bodied porter. The watery character becomes a very frustrating factor in the drinkability of this brew.

O: Not the best showing from Bells, but I'd say licorice is a hard flavor to balance in a single style stout. There's no real bite to any of the flavors, and that's something that really bothers me. As someone that is really quite the flavor fiend, I can't help but feel frustrated by a strong flavor ingredient being subdued by the nature of the body feel and complimentary flavors. I just don't understand why they'd bother with licorice if it ends up being so dissonant in such a light bodied stout. Perhaps this used to be a classic, or even one of the breweries first beers; but it really feels like a novelty. Just because an ingredient should work on paper, doesn't mean it works in execution. Go big and imperial with your licorice, or risk being a dissonant and imbalanced single stout.

 2,145 characters

Photo of jwhawkins81
2.93/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Batch 9457 Packed on 11/19/2009 tasted on 3/31/2010

Aroma - Dark roasted malts with a hint of sweetness with a light aromatic hop aroma in the background

Appearance - Dark with a big light brown head that slowly dissipated

Taste - Sharp hop bitterness upfront with hints of coffee and roast but that hop bitterness is overpowering

Notes - Plenty of carbonation

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Photo of clvand0
2.93/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

This one pours a very dark color with a small brown head that leaves a small bit of lacing on the glass. The aroma was comprised of roasted malts and hints of coffee and chocolate. The flavor was much the same as the aroma: mostly roasted malts, coffee and chocolate with possibly a hint of caramel. I didn't find anything special about this brew and there are other milk stouts that better represent the style.

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Photo of theboozecruise
2.94/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - dark with a really small head. Not black but a dark brown.

S - kinda weak really. I'm not picking up much licorice. It's a standard stout aroma really.

T - Theres a little licorice here but nothing overwhelming. Just a middle of the road stout.

M - just average here. Nothing too exciting but nothing taking away from my enjoyment.

D - I've had better stouts. From Bell's. It's just decent to me.

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Photo of MonkeyBread
2.95/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thin, watery, terrible body. No interesting tastes, just bland nothingness. Barely any smell. This is an awful stout.

117 characters

Photo of Deadhed88
2.96/5  rDev -25.6%

Photo of Ragingbull
2.97/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Black in color with a mocha colored head after pouring from a bottle. Nose is so faint that I am not even able to place it. It teases, but doesn't make itself available. Coffee flavor is very strong and there appears to be a strong flavor of anise that I am guessing comes from the brewer's licorice. Heavy smoke flavor. I rated it a C but must admit that it varied from many of the "normal" stouts you might try so it almost dares you to try and pin it down.

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Photo of maggotbrain
2.97/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

The beer is a deep black color with a thick tan head, which has receded to a thin film. Each sip produces rings of lace down the sides of the glass. Attractive.

The beer has an odd sour smell, sort of like old milk.

In terms of flavor, this beer is okay. It has an odd mix of roasted bitterness against a mildly sour background. The flavor is a bit thin. This beer looks bigger than it tastes.

The mouthfeel is about right for a stout, a bit thick with low carbonation.

As far as drinkability goes, this beer is not the best. The flavor isn’t engaging enough for me to want another, and I have a feeling that the thickness of this beer would get to me after a while.

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Photo of Benjolovesbeer
2.98/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of Raziel313
2.99/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Very average beer. Not great, not bad

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Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Beer rating: 82.7% out of 100 with 4,346 ratings
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