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

1,561 Reviews
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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: 1,561 | Ratings: 4,250
Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a tarry black with an almond colored 3 finger rocky head. 100% opacity as expected.

In the aroma I'm getting tons of malted milk balls, followed by snips of coffee bean and black licorice.

Taste is spot on. Very good, delicious all the way down. Lots of roasted character but strays from being burnt, and complimented by chocolate, molasses, and coffee bean. Finish is very chocolatey and coffee-like.

Feel compliments the taste with a creamy body and a buzzing carbonation. Dry parch keeps things interesting on the finish.

I may go back to buy more of these. I like this stout, and I feel nervous knowing I only have 2 more of them left.

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Photo of Raime
3.4/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout.

I've wanted to try this beer out for quite some time but for whatever reason I never bought a sixer. Found a single bottle of it at a local store about a week ago and figured now was the time to give it a shot. Bell's makes some exceptionally stouts as I think everybody knows so I don't expect this guy to be any different. Let's drink it.

Look - From the twelve ounce bottle slowly poured a few times into a can style glass. Despite the lower nav and non-imperial status, this brew manages to pour as black as Charlie Murphy along side of an exceptionally dense and pillowy moderately mocha colored head. It still still and black like the void waiting to consume your life for all of eternity. Carbonation is unreadable given the depth of the creature sitting in the glass. Minimal stick after a finished glass.

Smell - Deep toasty bitterness with the licorice promised on the bottle being the most notable part of the initially scent. The hop presence is quite tame and the malts are surely roasted. Not a whole lot of chocolate to be mentioned but the cocoa nibs are for certain. Not a very big nose but just enough to remind you that it is in fact a stout. Smells a lot like their porter only a bit tuned down.

Taste - This really isn't that big of a beer from what I'm noticing. The flavor profile isn't as robust as you may expect but I did remind myself that this is only a regular stout and not something imperial. The cocoa nibs and licorice dominate the majority of the flavor but overall chocolate presence is quite low. Hops are a bit earthy. Also a small ash aspect comes through as the beer warms up. A true session stout flavor profile.

Feel - Even the body is rather thin by comparison to other in the style. It's actually quite watery with almost a gaping hole feeling as it sits around the mouth. Carbonation seems to be completely dead as well. Flavors remain much the same but seemingly die down. The only thing saving this category from not going below a 3is the fact that it is quite creamy and goes down smoother than a 1970's smooth talking black pump trying to pick up yo momma.

Overall - I'm rather disappointed with this beer. Definitely sessionable without a doubt and a sixer or even two sixers could be killed easily. But I expect more out of Bell's when it comes to their stouts, especially since they make the legendary Expedition and even the FANTASTIC 30th anniversary stout of theirs. Not a bad beer, just nothing worth returning to.

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Photo of Mexwald
3.89/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Very easy-drinking stout. I can't say that I tasted the licorice notes, though I believe it would require a more enhanced palate than my own to detect. The smell and feel are not really distinguishable from any other stout that I have had, though that isn't really a bad thing. Every sip is flavorful and I would call this a solid offering from Bell's. The aftertaste was enjoyable, but as a disclaimer, I drink black coffee. I got a sixer of this one and would recommend trying it out.

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Photo of The_Snow_Bird
4.01/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a dark beer with no light passing through. Very large dark head that goes away after a while. Has a dark chocolate smell along with roasted malts. Can taste the chocolate in it. Can't taste any licorice.

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

A decent stout from Bell's. Kinda tough to rate after having Expedition Stout last week. Would I seek this out? No, but a decent add-in to a craft your own six pack.

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Photo of HamdenHector
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: opaque; very deep brown with dark mahogany accents at the edges; with a fairly aggressive pour, a 4 finger dark tan head that receded slowly to a thick cap; very nice lacing;

S: roasted grain followed by spicy bittersweet chocolate;

t: deeply roasted grain up front, followed by spice from the licorice, followed by bittersweet chocolate; finish is mildly bitter with a combination of the licorice and bittersweet chocolate;

M: medium to full bodied; moderate carbonation; dry finish;

O: the licorice gave a nice twist to the aroma and flavor; very well done;

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Photo of BrokenEdge
3.56/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was just okay for me, which was weird because I love every Bell's beer I've tried, and I love stouts. It just didn't quite come together. As far as look and looks like a stout and it smells like a stout. Nothing too remarkable in either area. Not much of a head to it, but it left a persistent ring of foam; the beer was dark, dark brown in color with a tan head. Smelled of coffee, wood, and chocolate. The taste was just alright for a stout. I didn't pick up any of the licorice taste, but I got a lot of roasted qualities, beef broth, and dark coffee. I thought the finish was very dry and left a lingering bitter aftertaste, too bitter for me. Maybe more licorice flavor would have helped balance it more. Not bad, but not as good as some other Bell's beer I've had.

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Photo of atigerlife
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Pours dark brown with a thick creamy dark brown head. Good retention.

S: aroma of dark malts, marshmallows

T: Bitter dark chocolate and dark malts.

F: mouthfeel is medium bodied and medium cleansing

O: Very solid brew. Enjoyable. Robust.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. PKGD 06/25/15. Pours a dark brownish black color with over an inch of frothy khaki colored head. Lots of lacing. The aroma is roasty with some dark chocolate, black licorice, and espresso. The taste is espresso, licorice, roasted malts, and dark bitter chocolate. Finishes with more roasted malts and bitter dark chocolate. Light mouthfeel with a good deal of carbonation. An easy drinking, lighter stout. Overall, solid all around. I'd buy this one again.

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Photo of ccg
3.84/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The look is quite good. Dense lacing and a persistent ring of foam.
Smells like roasted malt and dark fruit.
Taste is malt, chocolate, coffee, dark fruit, something almost like peanut butter, and a vague background spice. I assume the spice is the licorice mentioned on that label, but I wouldn't have been able to identify it as licorice.
Mouthfeel is about average.
It's an interesting stout, but the finish is a bit too bitter for my taste, and the licorice flavor that I thought would make it stand out doesn't really come through distinctly.

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Photo of NateDyk47
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L- dark, almost black, thin tan head
S- coffee/espresso, not very strong
T- dark chocolate, slowly turning into a slightly bitter aftertaste
F- a little thin & more carbonated than usual for a stout, but still good

Good stout, but not the best I've had. About the quality I was expecting given the brewer, maybe slightly below.

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Photo of Marraybay
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Look: Dark black; 1 finger of tan foam; heavy lacing

Smell: Sweet roasted coffee

Taste: Mildly sweet roasted coffee that transitions to a slight
lingering bitterness.

Feel: Exceedingly creamy: Almost like a nitro, but with more carbo
and heat on the tongue.

Overall: This is a decent beer; A bit underdeveloped for me in terms of
sweetness and overall depth, but not a bad effort from Bell.

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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 dmgallag
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Has all the tastes previous reviewers have noted. Roasted chocolate, a nice balance to everything, and a clean aftertaste. My only issue...too thin a mouthfeel. Maybe I've been spoiled with too much oatmeal stout!

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Photo of spoony
3.74/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From a 355 ml bottle (packaged September 2, 2015) to a snifter. Reviewed from notes dated November 5, 2015.

A-The beer is pretty much black and opaque. A dense, pillowy head of roughly one and one-half fingers sits atop the beer. The foam is tan in color and retention is pretty good.

S-The aroma is nice mixture of roasted barley flavors, a little whiff of smoke, licorice (or anise), some prune, blueberry, and a bit of lactose. It smells like a stout should smell; not over-the-top with any one flavor.

T-The taste is less interesting. I get more earthy, dull, dusty flavors on the palate. There is still some licorice and roast flavors, but none of the fruit and the beer tastes a bit metallic. Odd.

M-The feel is medium in heft with a moderate carbonation for the style. Nothing off or inspirational here.

O-The smell had me hoping for more. The licorice is there, and I will not knock this beer for being subtle instead of in-your-face, but the taste left a little to be desired. Just kind of dull. On the plus side, it looks really nice and smells pretty nice too.

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Photo of SaltofOH
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle dated 9/2/15. Pokal glass.

Smell: Potent dark chocolate; licorice; savory note; perhaps some alcohol, but faint. Smells like a stout, alright. No off notes, but not really complex.

Appearance: Held up to a very bright light, totally opaque - no light penetrates. Around the edges, there is a slight dark red hue when held up to said very bright light, but in normal lighting, no reddish tints are visible. Formed a 2 finger, extremely frothy and thick light brown (darker than tan) head. Lacing was very good. Retained very well: a cap of tan skim all the way to the last sip.

Taste: Being a coffee lover, I would not say this tastes anything like coffee, but perhaps like dark or bittersweet chocolate. Not much sweetness to it, which I have observed in the past. That savory note is strong on the arrival. Sweetness builds across mid-palate, but is at most mild sweetness. Then it turns dry, bitter, and woodsy/herbal. Not as bitter as some stouts I've had lately, but extremely bitter relative to its perceived weight in the mouth and level of sweetness.

Mouthfeel: On the lighter side of full-bodied. Some residual slickness, but over all not slick. Very mild carbonation, but more present than many shouts I've had. Really, it is a perfect level of carb for a stout.

Overall: This is a lot like the last time I had it; it is very roasty and easy drinking as stouts go. The roast bitterness is quite strong, particularly in relation to the subdued sweetness. If you want a classic stout with very high bitterness but moderate alcohol, this is a go-to beer. I think my preference is to have beers of this style a touch sweeter, though. Not six-pack worthy for me.

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Photo of Wer34truh
3.58/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Large foamy head, with massive bubbles. The body is a brownish black, with a lot of still carbonation.

Smells of licorice, roasted coffee beans and chocolate.

A strong and immediate taste of roasted (or rather, burnt) malts, that slowly transitions into a delicate balanced taste of chocolate, with some stinginess courteous of the licorice. Great aftertaste, but the immediate shock of burned flavors leaves something to be desired for.

Feel is solid with moderate carbonation and a relatively light feel. Not a beer I am going to write love letters to, but I will have no problems downing a few of these. I must say though, that the taste grew on me as the beer warmed. A solid session stout.

Bought as a six-pack for $10.95.

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Photo of matcris
4.53/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

APPEARANCE: Black, with a creamy 2 fingers of chocolate head, that lingers a while and settles to a film on top. Good carbonation visible when rocking the glass. Leaves a nice thick lacing down the glass.
AROMA: Dark chocolate, coffee, and a bit of licorice, lots of dark roasted malt.
TASTE: Same as aroma. Great roasted quality.
FEEL: Good carbonation, creamy feel at first, drying on the finish.
OVERALL: Just a great stout. I love how much rich coffee and chocolate they can get from tweaking those malts and hops.

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Photo of Shippy
4.01/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

From a bottle. Pours black with a light tan head. Smoky malt aromas dominated by notes of coffee. Full bodied with an earthy, chocolatey flavor. Some mild bitterness. Malty aftertaste.

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Photo of kbwalters
3.74/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured cold into a libby stout glass. Bottled on 4/7/14 consumed on 8/28.
Look = 4.0 Pours a deep black color, bubbly with 1 finger of brown head that fades to a cap. Dense sticky lace.
Aroma = 3.75 Roasted malts; sweet chocolate notes, coffee highlights and a little licorice.
Taste = 3.75 Roasted malt dominates. Coffee notes on the back end. Low bitterness on the finish. Roasted malt taste lingers in the after taste. Very roasty.
Feel = 3.5 Medium bodied but a little thin and watery. Medium to high carbonation, some fizz on the tongue.
Drinkability = 4.0. The roasted malt taste is strong, decreasing drinkability somewhat. Comes in at 6% ABV.
Overall = 3.775 Pretty solid stout all around, but not exceptional in any category. The heavy roasted malt flavors hid any chocolate or coffee that you’d maybe expect.

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Photo of TheBeerMaster1
3.55/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was the most carbonated beer I've ever had. It was actually getting ridiculous on how much carb it had my buddies and I laughed at it for like five minutes straight. Some reviews are saying it was too carbed, some say not enough, I want to know what beers those who felt it is mildly carbed are drinking. But I digress. Wasn't strong on the coffee, but had a good bout of chocolate and dark fruit. Almost licorice like. Bells sold out on this one, I know they can do much better.

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Photo of citizencane
4.63/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Very dark appearance with decent head. Reddish tint, perhaps?

S: Smells of stout and licorice, though is not too fragrant. Smells damn good but the smell doesn't seem to carry far, and I found myself having to stick my nose deep into the glass to smell anything at all.

T: taste is where this beer shines. Solid stout flavor with a suitable amount of licorice. Delicious.

M: slightly too carbonated for my taste.

O: If you like stouts and licorice, get this. It's delicious.

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Photo of clager
4.58/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Jet black, opaque with lacy tan head

S: Roasted malt, coffee, a little bit nutty

T: Nice balance of roasted malt, coffee, cocoa. Did not notice the licorice that others have mentioned but wasn't really looking for it either. One of the best tasting beers I've had, and I am normally a hophead.

F: Very smooth, less carbonated than I am used to but perfect for a stout

O: Really well-done stout, makes me want to brew one myself and try more

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Photo of larryi86
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, dated 5/30/15, poured into a snifter

A- Black with a small mocha head.

S- Roasted malts, some cocoa, coffee, licorice

T- Roasted coffee, licorice, bittersweet chocolate, nicely balanced.

M- Smooth, medium body.

O- A very nice easy drinking stout, worth picking up. I feel licorice stout are very hit and miss with me, but this one is good.

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Photo of W_Des
4.16/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black body. Got a lot of roasted notes to it and its a full flavored stout. I like it though I still prefer stronger coffee or chocolate stouts.

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Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.03 out of 5 based on 4,250 ratings.
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