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

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
1,561 Reviews
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
Reviews:
1,561
Ratings:
4,250
Avg:
4.03
pDev:
10.42%
 
 
Wants:
204
Gots:
641
For Trade:
8
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,561 | Ratings: 4,250
Photo of NitroGen
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Thank you NDPDuke for sending this to me to taste!

P: Pours black as coal with one finger of light tan head that settles to a scant cover and lots of lacing during the tasting.

S: Chocolate, coffee and touch of sweetness.

T: Creamy taste with chocolate, licorice and then bittersweet coffee that turns more bitter at the finish.

M: A real treat for the mouth and great flavor profile really makes this one an enjoyable drinking stout.

D: Would definitely love to have this as a constant beer in my fridge. A great one!

 529 characters

Photo of nc41
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

i venture to a decent Stout now and then, and this one I really like. Black as night, nice creamy think head, nose does remind one of licorice. it's nice to have a Stout not heavy on the coffee , chocolate flavor. The licorice is faintly there, toasty, surprising bit of hops for a stout which nicely licks off the whole package. Worth a buy anytime. if your into Guinness or English Stouts give this one a try, the flavor comparison is insane head to head.

 457 characters

Photo of Britton
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed by a fire in a 12 oz. Bottle from Bon Vivant in Smithfield, VA. I poured it into a nice tall water glass.

A: Dark brown-black with hazel hilights. ~3/4" tan head which dissipates to a frothy film in 1-1.5 minutes. Some retention. Lovely to behold.

S: Roasty toasty malts with some astringency. A hint of that licorice they keep talking about, too. Smells so inviting! Some chocolate?

T: Almost as good as the smell. And almost the same. The toasty sweetness is under a bit of water but there nonetheless. Some choco-licorice to be had too. A smooth, smooth finish keeps you sipping.

M: Creamy and thick. A joy!

D: Yes.

Killer!

 640 characters

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

Pours out a thick brown with tight, tiny-bubbled head; pitch black in color; faint smoke, a hint of licorice; a lot of roasted and charred burnt taste going on; A nice creamy smooth full body, coffee flavor with the presence of carbonation and alcohol. Finishes bittersweet with a long, lingering char flavor that keeps on coming.

 330 characters

Photo of euskera
4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours out an oily, brownish black. Small head that clings to life ever so tenaciously.

Smell is smoky mocha roasted coffee beans.

Taste is much like the smell. Roasted espresso beans that have been dipped in cocoa powder comes to mind. Sweet creaminess in the mid-palate with a pleasant coffee finish at the end. Velvety smooth mouthfeel.

Simply one of the best sweet stouts I've ever tasted.

 401 characters

Photo of DuqTroops
4.23/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - dark and very cloudy. loved the color of this stout!

Smell - caramel, coffee, and chocolate aroma.

Taste - creamy and full bodied! great balance of bitters and sweetness.

Drinkability - I am glad I bought a sixer of this, this is an excellent beer!

 271 characters

Photo of GimpyCane
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearence: Poured dark brown w/ a light creamy brown head. Thoughout the drink the brew left little lacing and the head was mostly diminish.

smell: got a nice whiff of roasted coffee, small hint of chocolate and a moderate amount of hops

taste and mouthfeel: from start to finish the brew had a nice bittersweet taste. Medium body w/ a semi-creamy feel and soft on the carbonation.

drinkability: smooth and enjoyable

Overall, Kalamazoo is a good beer, heck I drank a six and enjoyed the flavorful roasted elements and the small hint of alcohol it left on my tongue.

 579 characters

Photo of optiontwo
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz. poured into snifter

Appearance: Bordering black with a one inch espresso colored head that slowly dissipates.

Smell: Plenty of coffee with bittersweet chocolate, earthy hops, and brown sugar.

Taste: Bitter coffee and chocolate are balanced quite well followed by dark fruits such as fig, raisin, and cherry. Very slight citrus hop finish which makes it obvious that this is expedition's little brother (in a sense.)

Mouthfeel: Perfect for a milk stout.

Drinkability: Very high, this stout satisfies and isn't too cloying.

Overall: This has got to be one of my favorite straight up stouts, it's just as flavorful as a lot of RIS's without all the alcohol.

 666 characters

Photo of mmva321
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter.

A: A very full, opaque stout body looms huge. A monochromatic blob with very very little khaki head that leaves quickly and leaves a thin lacing on top but very little on the glass.

S: A bit too faint, but it is still a beautifully rich and full aroma that is woodsy and roasted. Sweet, malty and full of cocoa.

T: Taste of dark, bitter chocolate. Sweet and roasted and very satisfactory.

M: A rich and full feel that leaves and dry and linger taste in your mouth. A perfect enhancement of the flavor.

O: An excellent American stout that balances its intended flavors very well without overpowering your senses.

 639 characters

Photo of DrewV
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle (date code 10175 = Jan 2011) out of the beer fridge at 45 degrees F into a snifter.

A: Nice motor oil color with a 1/2-finger mocha colored head. Not much lacing left behind. A bit disappointed in the lacing.

S: Muted aromas, very restrained roast coffee, some chocolate, not much else.

T: Again, a muted flavor profile with the roast malts leading the way. Not much balancing bitterness here.

M: Average carbonation, a bit watery actually.

O: Let me just say that the difference is night and day between this particular bottle and the pint that I had on tap just last week. This bottle has been sitting on the shelf for about 6 months and it seems that the flavors have all softened considerably. It's drinkable for sure, but a huge disappointment compared to the fresh draft version.

From the wide variation in reviews here on BA, it seems that this brew is very sensitive to age and whether it's in a bottle vs. on tap.

 949 characters

Photo of TheDinger
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into snifter. This one has been chilling in the cellar for a while (10 months) and moved to the fridge a few weeks ago. Pour was a fairly uneventful motor oil with a tiny mocca head a minimal lacing and retention. Smell is of dark malts, burnt chocolate, coffee and some carmel. A decent smelling stout. Taste follows the nose, but I pick up more of the coffee and a slight metallic finish. Some chocolate and licorice come on at the end. It's a pretty bold tasting stout and a bit too much on the burnt end for me. Has a smoky quality as well. Feel is nice and creamy. Not a ton of carbonation and I do like the silk quality on the end. Overall- It's a pretty good stout that was enjoyable. The metallic finish was a bit disappointing and I wanted more of the chocolate and less of the burnt coffee. Better than average, but not one of the best i have had. Would like to try another that is more fresh. Will give this another shot. It's worth the try-

 966 characters

Photo of HopheadEd
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown, almost black. Fairly nice head that lasts a little while then faded to a thin surface covering. Drinking out of a goblet, a swirl brings back a small head.
Aroma of coffee overpowers the nose, followed by dark roasted malts. Faint hint of alcohol. The taste is of coffee/toffee, roasted smoky malt, slight chocolate, and a faint hint of licorace. A semi tart mouthfeel reminds me more of a dry stout rather than sweet, with a light hop finish. Rather thick, couldn't have more than two. Nice beer though.

 531 characters

Photo of DPMomutant
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This stout is the expected pitch black in the body. The pour riles up a creamy, two-finger head. About half of it sticks as the head goes down gradually.

The smell is nice, almost just like sweetened coffee with creamer but keeping the black coffee color.

The taste is mostly true to the smell. A very small hint of chocolate in the aftertaste.

I find the mouthfeel very good in both carbonation and body. Goes down very well. The carbonation is subtle, which I prefer in this style. The body was balanced to me allowing me to keep each sip in my mouth to enjoy it.

This stout is very drinkable for dessert and after. Might be a bit sweet for most dinners but starting with dessert and even a couple after it would be very enjoyable.

 745 characters

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

Pours like motor oil - the thickest, darkest stout I've seen aside from Yeti. Head is a cappuccino brown, builds respectably and holds on for dear life.

Smell is a nice nutty and toasted sweetness, with maybe a bit of dark fruit in for good measure. Rich, rich mouthfeel, with toasty malts and a well-calculated hop bitterness playing against the sweet caramel and hazelnut, all undergirded by a very subtle alcohol warmth.

This is about as balanced a sweet stout as I've yet encountered. It'd be a stretch to drink more than one at a sitting, but as a regular, especially in the winter months, it would be wonderful. Wish I could get this stuff here.

 657 characters

Photo of Justin23060
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

A - Black with chestnut edges. Fluffy light brown head took its time diminishing and clung well.

S - Roast sweet choc. malt.

T - Roasty chocolate again, with some nice slight nuttiness and smoke. I'm having trouble finding the brewers licorice advertised on the bottle. Not a problem though because everything else seems to be going right here and it's complex enough without it. Starts slightly sweet but ends dry with the perfect amount of linger.

M - Medium body with some mid to soft carb.

O - Well done indeed. Great example of the style. This is a must try. I will definitely be seeking this out again.

 612 characters

Photo of Roke87
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter at cellar temperature, batch number 9801.

Appearance - Pours a dark dark brown colour, and pretty much completely opaque even when held up to a light. A good one finger head that dissipates to thin lace in about a minute or so.

Smell - Is amazing! You get the roasted malts right away, coffee hits the nose followed by a faint smell of chocolate and also a very faint smell of the licorice. Love the smell of this stout.

Taste - Heavy roasted malts hit you right away and especially in the finish, some coffee taste paired with a slight chocolate taste, I didn't taste a whole lot of licorice but you can tell it's there.

Mouthfeel - Is a very typical stout, but maybe a bit on the lighter side, still very smooth and creamy, taste is robust and the roasted malts stick around for a while on the taste buds.

Overall - All in all a very solid stout, good carbonation, great smells, and a great taste that lingers, a definite go to for me as far as stouts/porters go.

 993 characters

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

Pours a dark coffee color with a dark beige head, typical for a stout. Aroma was a mix of roasted malts, coffee, and dark chocolate. Taste was similar to the aroma, but with a little more emphasis on the roast and coffee rather than cocoa. Pretty good weight, one of the better stouts I've had.

 294 characters

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

thanks to Brian700 for trade.

Pours a strong black coffee color with a medium tan cap with orange hues. A one finger cap quickly dissipates to lacings on top. Aroma is chocoloate, coffee, orange, and fusal hops. Flavor is maltose malt, toffee, chocolate, coffee, orange, and roasted barley. Mild citrus and fusal hops in background. Very good beer with lots of toasty roasted barley. Good blend of sweetness, hops, and burnt notes. Medium carbonation and medium body.

 470 characters

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

Received this in a trade from davide169 and tasted on 7/28/07
Appearance: A dark brown, almost black beer with a nice tan head
Smell: Roasted barley and oats, black licorice
Taste: Sweet, roasty, a hint of chocolate malts
Mouthfeel: Smooth, above average stout feel
Drinkability: Pretty good. I could drink a few of these
Recommended

 339 characters

Photo of pasdachuri
3.81/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle with no freshness date.

Almost coffee black appearance with a dark tan head about 1 1/2 fingers thick.

Not a very strong aroma which is surprising. A faint coffee with a little roasted grain.

Very malty taste. Coffee and chocolate upfront which fades to roasty hop bitterness. Very nicely done.

Thinner mouth feel than expected from an American Stout but I like it. Makes for about as sessional (yet decent) a stout as you are going to find.

 460 characters

Photo of Whiteweasel
3.93/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a seidel

Appearance: Motor oil black. Not THE blackest I've seen but damn close. Nice light brown head which leaves thick lacing on the sides. Completely opaque when held up to the light (except for on the edges)

Smell: Sweet and strongly coffeelike. Reminds me of chocolate covered coffee beans. Still a sweetness in the background

Taste: Very bitter with strong roasted and coffee flavours. Chocolate is underrepresented. This tastes more like roasted coffee than an actual beer. Bitter almost to an excess. The flavour onslaught doesnt stop once you've actually swallowed it, your mouth retains the taste well after its gone

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth, but leaves an extremely strong taste in your mouth. No alcohol warmth noticable.

Drinkability: Very good, and not too bad in terms of alcohol. I could have a few of these, but after a while, I think i would get sick of how ridiculously strong and coffeelike this is.

 942 characters

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

12 oz. bottle picked up from the absurdly good Lone Hill Liquor in Glendora, CA. Enjoyed in a nonic pint glass. The label indicates this is batch number 8652. I've been waiting to try this one all week.

Appearance:
Opaque, inky black in the glass, except at the edges, where there are attractive dark red-brown highlights. The head is a mass of thick, rich, dark caramel tan foam, made of tiny bubbles interspersed here and there with larger ones. Very attractive. Eventually it settles into a thin disk with a heavier collar. The foam leaves good lacing on the walls of the glass, and the beer looks slightly viscous.

Smell:
Rich and roasty dark malts, with plenty of chocolate milk in the background. Reminds me of a chocolate Hobnob, really. There is also a mild nutty component like brazil nuts and pine nuts. Other notes include dark earth, a touch of campfire smoke, and a faint tartness that grows as the beer warms. I really don't get much of the brewer's licorice that the label says this is brewed with.

Taste:
Starts off creamy and chocolatey, like a cooled-down cup of hot chocolate made with heavy milk. Roasty and bitter coffee flavors follow. In the complex middle, the milk chocolate gives way to dark dried fruits (raisins and figs), salted caramel, and the zesty licorice note I couldn't find in the aroma. Ends with dark chocolate and more coffee with a lingering herbal bitterness. A delicious light, piney smokiness comes through in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel:
Full-bodied, palate-coating, velvety, slightly sticky, and infused with a perfect level of carbonation. The carbonation and the lingering bitterness rejuvenate the palate and leave you ready for the next sip. Alcohol provides a little soothing warmth.

Drinkability:
This is a gratifyingly rich and satisfying beer. It has as much flavor as some smaller imperial stouts, but with less alcohol and heaviness. An excellent beer to take you from fall into winter. I would love to try this one on tap. Or better yet, on cask.

 2,006 characters

Photo of davidt
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dense, opaque molasses color. Brown head quickly dissipates, leaving a persistent ring. Aroma is of dark chocolate and coffee. The taste is a sweet expresso flavor, with chocolate. Some roasted bitterness. Mouthfeel is thick, slightly stick, with some tingling carbonation. A very nice sweet stout.

 306 characters

Photo of LaCoursiere
3.76/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 10134 bottled on Dec. 3, 2010.

A - A soft pour into a snifter yielded a half finger tan head that dissipated to a thin covering. It has a very dark coffee color. No light comes through when held near a lamp.

S - Nose is not very big on this one. It has notes of roasted malt, black licorice and cocoa. A trace of alcohol is in the nose as well.

T - Caramel malt up front with a sprinkling of brown sugar, coffee, anise and vanilla with a slight hop bitter and slightly smoky roasted malt in the finish.

M - Smooth and silky with medium body and light carbonation. Slight alcohol warmth.

O/D - I would call this a good session stout. Not too heavy and the flavor is a good balance of sweet, bitter and trace smoke. I will be picking this up again.

 757 characters

Photo of Atricapilla
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my pint glass. Very dark, coffee colored with a substantially sized, creamy, off white head. Smells of coffee, toffee and malt. Very roasted...Tastes like roasted malts with a very slight sweetness. Exceptionally smooth and well blended. Easy on the palate.

 269 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.

    Subscribe