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

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
4,329 Ratings
THE BROS
83
good
Read the review
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
Ratings:
4,329
Reviews:
1,582
Avg:
4.03
pDev:
10.42%
 
 
Wants:
207
Gots:
665
For Trade:
8
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,329 |  Reviews: 1,582
Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of Knapp85
3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a deep black color, the head was thick and tan colored. The smell of the beer is roasted and has a light chocolate aroma in there too. The taste of the beer had heavy roasted malts, and hints of chocolate too. The mouthfeel of the beer wasn't as thick as I was hoping for. Overall this beer isn't too bad. I would gladly drink it again, I just feel there are better stouts out there.

 407 characters

Photo of t0rin0
3.61/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Very dark, brown foam, no light gets through. Decent retention with alright lacing.

Smell is of alcohol and roast. Mildly complex but not much there.

Flavor is heavy on the roast. Theres a dry bitterness and a nutty aftertaste. The only sweetness that comes through is at the end of the aftertaste.

Body is medium/heavy and oily. More suited to a double stout but where does it say that milk stouts can't be thick? Definitely drinkable if you like roast and coffee flavors, I don't however.

 494 characters

Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of metter98
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a thin mocha colored head that quickly died down and left wispy patterns of bubbles floating on the surface.
S: There are aromas of roasted malts and hints of coffee and sweetness in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell, except that there are noticeable flavors of licorice as well as hints of chocolate and coffee. There is a slight amount of bitterness in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied, creamy and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is easy to drink because it isn't very filling.

 587 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another impressive stout by Bell's. This has a similar flavor, aromatic, and visual profile as the Expedition Stout--Just kicked down a notch. This is impressive with it's balance of roasted, chocolate, caramel, and barley malts. Hopped only for balance. Slight tartness. Creamy with sight bittering; no astringency or graininess. Present alcohol, but never dominates. Finishes slightly bitter with nice linger period.

 418 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.96/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, a souvenir from a visit to a kick-ass liquor store in Dearborn, Michigan, a few weeks ago.

This beer pours a solid black, with slight cola highlights, and one fat finger of dense puffy pale beige head, which leaves a broad swath of a lace paint job around the glass as it settles. It smells of gritty, chalky baker's chocolate, caramel malt, earthy licorice, and leafy hops. The taste is still big into the chocolate - bittersweet, and enveloping, with a narrow coffee stripe. The licorice is there, a tight somewhat astringent natural black anise essence, cutting into the cocoa blanket, aided by some mild booze and underwhelmingly edgy hops. The carbonation is present, on a low-fi fizzy plane, the body damn-near full, expansive, and smooth, with a creamy predilection. It finishes with butterfly-imitating malt, bursting forth from below, finally joining the chocolate, middling licorice, and oafish hops, late to the party.

A decent, well-flavoured, dessert-adjacent Yankee stout. The extra point of ABV well-obfuscated, the licorice not overplayed - what's not to like?

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Photo of kojevergas
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a New Belgium goblet at me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Acquired at Ramirez Liquor. I've been quite underwhelmed by Bell's in the past, so I'm hoping this is the one that shows me how truly great they are. Bottled 09/26/12. 6.0% ABV confirmed.

Served after a period of rest from the refrigerator. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Presentation: I dig the label and its artwork. Understated and classy.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger beautiful brown head of great thickness and cream, and good retention for the above average ABV. Body colour is a solid dark black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Nontransparent. Opaque.

Sm: Dark malts are dominant. Chocolate. Cream. I search for roast but struggle to find any. Licorice. A moderate strength aroma. Not real complex or subtle considering the style, but pretty good.

T: Creamy up front and on the finish, with a lightly roasted dark malt foundation. Minimal hop presence, if any. Little licorice; it's very restrained. No yeast or alcohol comes through. Hints of caramel. Chocolate. No real coffee or toffee notes. Roast is also underdone. Well malted. A tasty creamy stout. Impeccably balanced. Quite subtle for the style. It's amazing how much they've done here. This is fucking delicious.

Mf: Smooth and wet - overly so on both counts. Should be more dry and coarse. Feels more like a porter than a stout. Still, the creaminess is fantastic, and the thickness is good. Good carbonation as well. Nice presence on the palate. Suits the flavours nicely.

Dr: A fantastic stout from Bell's. I'm starting to understand the hype a little bit; I like this a lot more than the Expedition Stout. At a better price than it is as a SoCal import, I could definitely see myself picking this up regularly. It's pretty much everything I want out of the style. Obscenely drinkable; I could easily down this all night. One of the best American stouts I've ever had.

A

Gets better as it warms, but I'd still serve it chilled.

***
01/21/17: 6 pack purchased at a Brooklyn Bravo supermarket for $11.99.

I didn't notice the licorice before...how could I not have? I usually despise licorice, but can tolerate anise and/or fennel. This, to me, has an aspect of the flavour of licorice but not any of its sticky texture.

A powdery smooth wet mouthfeel with an apt medium body helps deliver this beer's bold flavours of chocolate malt, dark malt sweetness, subtle roast, and gooey licorice. Impeccably balanced with good depth of flavour.

The tricky push-pull of bitterness and sweetness is at the heart of any stout, and Bell's nails it with aplomb. This is how it is done, ladies and gentlemen.

It's a bit limited in terms of intricacy, but its stellar balance makes one wonder if adding more layers of flavour would really elevate the beer all that much. In any case, it's definitely got above average complexity for an American stout, and puts to shame many of the adjunct-ridden stouts that have come out since this beer's release...hazelnut vanilla this, coffee cacao nib that, bourbon aged marshmallow fudge this, peppermint chicory that...they all get straight-up slayed by this brew, which puts depth of flavour and balance first instead of gimmickry and loudness of flavour. A classic in its category, and one of Bell's finest beers. A remarkable expression of the style, and a beer I happily stomach paying $12 a sixer for.

As much as I adore this beer, I do have to reign in my rating above from 2012 ; this is remarkably drinkable and enjoyable, but I may have been a bit effusive in my earlier remarks...it's not quite on the level of Michigan stout brethren like Founders Breakfast Stout, which I regard as a better beer. Chalk it up to batch variation?

B+ (3.98) / VERY GOOD

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Photo of brentk56
4.34/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a desperately black color with a rocky tan head that never quits and leaves plenty of lace to boot

Smell: Mocha cream, coffee, licorice and some smokey charred wood

Taste: Starts with a milk chocolate flavor that is joined by some charred undertones, coffee elements and lots of hoppy bitterness, mid-palate; after the swallow, the flavors break loose with a burst of coffee and undertones of sweet licorice through to the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied and creamy with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Simply astounding

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Photo of oline73
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of emerge077
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Kzoo stout is my go-to stout. Always satisfying, and consistently solid.

Pours an opaque jet-black. Head is present and lingers throughout. Roasted malt comes out first and foremost. Taste is rich and roasty without extra weight to burden it down. Very well balanced and smooth, cascades across the palate.

Must resist the urge to down 6 at a time...

Notes: Cellared 7289/March '06 bottle. Consumed 11-21-07, 20 months old.

Retains a good head of foam. Sweet brown sugar and chocolate malt in the nose. Ahh...that supreme roast flavor takes me back to the last Kalamazoo Stout I had almost a year ago. It builds up on the palate. Appropriately bitter with a hint of chicory or coffee in the aftertaste. Still vibrant and packs a punch after 1-1/2 years in the cellar.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a medium brown color head with great retention. Aroma of roasted malt with faint chocolate in the back. Taste is very creamy-like with a nice dose of chocolate. Not a whole lot of hops but I think this is for the best. Very well balance beer.

 288 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of zeff80
4.24/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a solid black color with a one-finger, chocolate-brown head. It left small traces of lace.

S - It smelled of caramel and chocolate. It had a very sweet nose.

T - Tasted of sweet chocolate at first sip. Also, some creamy caramel flavors. There is a slight bitter kick as it warms.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a very good stout. Not a surprise that Bell's churned out another good brew.

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Photo of dmorgan310
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of LXIXME
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of largadeer
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle from Dyan, consumed for lunch today with a couple of wheat thins. Can't think of a much better lunch.

Appearance: Pours the darkest of browns, opaque in my glass with a finger of dark tan foam. Retention isn't great, but there's a solid and persisting ring.

Smell: Brownies, the homemade dark chocolate variety, not the sugary sweet stuff you'd find at the corner store. There's a bit of spicy licorice present as well, along with a dash of light roast coffee. Malty sweetness is in perfect balance here; present but not overbearing.

Taste & mouthfeel: Dark chocolate and light roast coffee in even portions with a nice creamy backbone. The use of brewers licorice lends a spicy undercurrent, though it's subtle enough that it doesn't distract from the malt. Great mouthfeel, velvety and rich but not overly thick. The dryness of the finish really enhances the drinkability for me, as I'm generally not a huge fan of beers that are sweet from beginning to end. Great stuff here, probably a top example of the style.

 1,031 characters

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into signature pint glass, bottled 9/14/2011. Pours pitch black color, with a nice 2 finger fairly dense tan head with great retention that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Some decent lacing clinging to the glass. Aromas of big milk chocolate, caramel, coffee, roasted malt, light herbal hops, and a hint of licorice. Nice well balanced aromas with good strength. Taste of big milk chocolate, coffee, caramel, roasted malt, pine, herbal hops, and a bit of spiciness. Good amount of bitterness on the finish with lingering notes of milk chocolate, caramel, pine, and herbal spiciness for a bit. Very robust flavors for 6%, with great balance. Medium carbonation and body; with a nice creamy mouthfeel. Hardly any alcohol presence except for a slight warming after the finish. Overall this is an excellent and highly robust stout. Very drinkable with great flavor balance.

 890 characters

Photo of mothman
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 8432. Packaged on April 11, 2008.

Pours a thick brown/tan head. This beer is pretty much as black as the night sky (but really just a extremely dark brown). I was in awe when I first saw this beer come out of the bottle. The head stayed up almost the entire time, while the lacing was dominate. That's right dominate.

The smell is of roasted/chocolate malts, while the beer is amazingly balance between the hops and the malts. The presence of both were well represented. I could again taste the same roasted/chocolate malts and the hop flavor was grassy.

This is such an amazing beer and I would recommend this to anybody! I am so impressed with Bells on this one!

 676 characters

Photo of Boone757
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of DrBier
4.02/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.03 out of 5 based on 4,329 ratings.
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