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

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90
outstanding
1,542 Reviews
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Bell's Kalamazoo StoutBell's Kalamazoo Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States | website

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:
1,542
Ratings:
4,175
Avg:
4.03
pDev:
17.37%
 
 
Wants:
196
Gots:
612
For Trade:
8
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,542 | Ratings: 4,175
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!

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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.

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Photo of chinchill
3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottled served in a pint glass. Code on bottle ("9612") MAY indicate best by date of 6 Sept. 2012 or 9 August 2012; anyway, this bottle should be plenty fresh.

This is a truly black and opaque beer; even held up to sunlight coming thru my window I can see no light, only the tiniest dark brown at the very edges. The head is a thick tan color, and starts ample (about 2 fingers) but quickly settles to a top coat and ring. It leaves moderate lacing on the glass.

Aroma is moderately strong and consists mainly of dark roasted malts and some alcohol phenols. Also present, some traces of hops and a hint of dried dark fruits.

T - While the flavor is dominated, as it should be, by dark roasted malts. Has a lasting and rich finish featuring dark roasted malts with a hint of hop spiciness, black licorice and bitter dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel: medium body with medium-low carbonation. Not bad, but I find the body a tad thin for style although the carbonation is near ideal.

O - I sampled this Bells immediately after a Sierra Nevada Stout. Overall, and in most respects, I found the SN superior. The Bells does have a slightly stronger aroma and flavor, with dark malts more dominant over the hops.
I note that the Bells Stout is "brewed with brewers licorice" which "Increases head retention while imparting slight flavor" according to a brewers' supplier.

(revisited and tweaked with a 2012 bottle in Nov. 2013 - paired with a Green Flash Double Stout which proved to have more flavor but otherwise was quite similar.}

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

Acquired via trade from JAYW, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a very dark brown color with a thin but dense brown head that fades quickly and leaves a thick and even lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is robust, creamy and malty with chocolate & coffee.

T: The taste is smoky and sweet with malty flavors of roasted coffee & dark chocolate. There’s a very faint bit of hops, but there’s no bitterness at all, even the bitterness that you usually get from the intense chocolate & coffee flavors isn’t there. The after-taste is cream and sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium-to-heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, sticky finish.

D: Very tasty, goes down very easily, slightly filling, decent kick, this one is an excellent sipper, especially if you’re looking for a beer with the flavor of an RIS but less of the alcohol punch.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Finally able to taste a Bell's stout, picked this one up at Brawley's on my last trip. Poured a thick deep dark black with a big creamy brown head. Faded from the initial 2+ inches to a 1/2 inch lace that stayed till the bottom of the glass. Very nice light brown coating left down the sides. Smell was very sweet, first hints were of coffee, and licorice, followed by sugary sweetness, and rootbeer. As it warmed hints of rootbeer or cream soda were apparent, and suprisingly pleasent. Smells were not too strong, a little more pronounced and it would have been perfect. Taste was very rich and creamy, with a soda like consistency due to the light feel and high carbonation. Predominant taste was coffee and caramel, again with hints of some kind of sweet cola taste. Only complaint on this was it came off a bit thin. Other than that this was a fine brew, just a bit thin, but a good session beer.

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

First had: on tap at City Tap House, Philly, PA

Great stout. I've had this on tap and in bottles. Pours opaque black with a cream beige head. Aroma of roasted malts, milk chocolate, and licorice. Taste of dark roasted malts with coffee notes, sweet chocolate, caramel, and light sensations of dark fruits and licorice. Full-bodied, smooth and rich, and nicely drinkable.

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

Thanks for sending this one my way, Matt.

A: The beer is almost black in color and pours with about a finger of dark tan head.

S: Plenty of roasted malt and coffee notes to the nose followed up by dark chocolate and licorice. Actually, a lot of licorice. Molasses is present as well is a touch of soap.

T: The flavor is very similar to the nose, with a nice roasted character, though not overwhelming or charred in nature. Toffee and molasses flavors provide the bulk of the sweetness along with a bit of licorice.

M: Medium in body with a medium level of carbonation.

O: Really nice easy drinking stout. You could definitely have a couple of these.

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

A - An opaque black w/ tan head and generous lacing.

S - roasted coffe and anise odors dominate.

M - Sweet, creamy, roasted and medicinal w/ good carbonation.

T - A deep molasses and roasted coffee taste at first taste. The smooth stout blends so effortlessly w/ a prominent black licorice taste. The anise comes in and catches you off guard w/ a nice herbal finish that is tasty and slightly dry.

D - A full bodied stout w/ a good hop profile + licorice flavor with tinges of molasses. The sweetness is balanced by the herbal flavors. It is not one I would drink single every day, but so smooth I probably could.

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

Got this one from tpd975, cheers Greg!

Pours mahogany/ebony with 2 fingers of mocha head with molasses colored flecks. Above average lacing & average head retention

S: Mocha, charred grain &, a kiss of oaky vanilla & dark fruit once warm

T: Dark choclate & mocha & much cocoa powder dryness up front. A touch of grainyness, more chocolate, a bit of raisin, & coffee as this warms.

MF: Smooth, medium bodied with low carbonation

Drinks easy, a good, not great stout, middle of the road as Bell's offerings go

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Photo of Jason
3.34/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

Appearance: The thick foaming light brown head leaves big sticky chunks in the glass, the colour is a shade or two from pitch black.

Smell: Yeasty aroma, dark fruitiness under a wild estery and buttery burnt caramel smell.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Full bodied, creamy smooth and on the sweet side ... the sweetness seems clouded though. Big yeast bite mixes it up with the roasted character. Ghost like beef broth and dark fruit. Bitter chocolate and some roasted coffee bean in there. A bit hoppy with some flavour middle to end, lots of soft charcoal flavour as well.

Notes: The minimal astringency does not get in the way yet the flavours just don’t meld well together … a little unbalanced some would say. I am not say it is bad, I enjoyed it but it certainly did not rock my world.

Thanks to sakaroo for the sample.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

Hey, my label's different! (I'm sorry, it's all I had to start with. I'll try better next time...) No matter, it pours sleek obsidian (that seems to want to be tinged with either ruby or garnet, but just can't quite get it done) topped by a finger of sandstone foam. The nose comprises roasted malts, light char, a very light touch of anise, and a sprinkling of dark chocolate. Though there may be more listed there, the roast is king, and everyone 'round town knows it. The taste mimics the smell, with roasty dominance continuing. However, here the dark chocolate and anise shine through a bit more, along with a dull cut of coffee in the back room. The body is a solid medium, with a light carbonation and a smooth feel. Overall, a pretty nice stout, kinda one-dimensional (and then some), but it definitely hits the spot when a stout is desired.

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

Served on-tap at Hunger N Thirst.

A - Pours pitch black with a dense one and a half finger tall tan head, slowly dissipating down to a thin film, leaving thick sheets of lace on the sides of the glass.

S - Smells of coffee grounds, chocolate malt, toffee, vanilla and some smokey malt.

T - Starts off with a mix of coffee and dark roasted chocolate malt quickly being joined by the vanilla, light smoke, vanilla and a touch of bitter earthy hops. Finish is roasty with a touch of sweetness, lingering long after the finish.

M - Heavy body with moderate carbonation. Smooth, roasty feel usually wears on the palate but this one isn't as bad.

O - A very nice stout. I love that it is only six percent, allowing you to really enjoy the beer without fear of it messing you up too bad.

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

Bottled on 11/21/2011

A: Pours an opaque jet black in color with some very faint hints of red when held up to the light. The beer has a half finger tall tan head that quickly reduces to a thick patch in the center with a slighter thinner ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate lacing is observed.

S: Aromas of burnt malts, licorice, light bittersweet chocolate, and just a little hint of coffee. There is some nice complexity to the aroma.

T: The taste pretty much follows the smell with perhaps a slightly more present bittersweet chocolate. The primary flavors are burnt/dark malts and licorice. There is a nice lasting bitterness but it is not agressive or intense.

M: On the fuller side of medium bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Creamy and smooth.

O: This is a pretty nice stout with lovely notes of licorice in it. There is an enjoyable flavor, aroma, and mouthfeel. Not exactly a sessionable beer but it is pretty easy to drink and you could probably enjoy a couple in an evening.

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Photo of smcolw
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A light head but it sticks around, leaving ample spots on the glass. The color is near black where no light passes through.

A fairly mellow stout aroma. There are elements of darkened toast from black patent malt, but it is not harsh.

The flavor is closer to the classic dry stout profile. It has notes of espresso and faint nuttiness. There's a blend of hop and burnt toast taste in the finish which lingers long after the swallow. The body light to moderate and the carbonation is spot on. A good, but not great, stout.

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Photo of billab914
3.61/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Stone RIS glass. Poured black with a big bubbly mocha colored head. The head settled down eventually to a thin covering but it left some very good lacing on the glass.

The aroma has the strong presence of the brewers licorice with some sweetness and a little roastedness to it. The licorice is also very present in the taste and has an almost caramel like taste to it. It also has some roasted grains with notes of bitter coffee and chocolate coming through. The bitterness helps balance out the caramely sweetness of the licorice.

The mouthfeel is on the thicker side with below average carbonation. Drinkability is good, I've never been a big fan of licorice but it wasn't too overpowering in the beer.

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

A: Pours an inky black with a one finger mocha colored head. Decent retention leaving a little bit of foam in the center and ring on the outer edge. Moderate lacing.

S: Not overly strong smelling. A sweet smelling beer, coffee, licorice, some brown sugar, and molasses. I get a little bit of butter as well.

T: The predominant flavors are coffee and mocha, but the coffee is more like coffee ice cream than hot coffee. There is a roasted malt flavor in the middle a little bit as well as hints of chocolate, molasses, and oatmeal.

M: Creamy and chewy. Medium to full bodied, nice carbonation that seems to fit well. Has a surprisingly dry finish.

O: Quite happy with this beer. Glad that the coffee doesn't overwhelm the beer since I am not a fan of coffee beers. Not my favorite stout, but I wouldn't turn it away.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a dark brown color with about 2 inches of tan head with great retention and lacing. Moderate carbonation evident.

s - Coffee, roasted and toasted malts, licorice, hints of cream.

t - Bitterness prevails here. Bitter coffee jumps out first, followed by licorice and roasted malts. No cream from the smell is evident in the taste.

m - Full body and little carbonation.

d - Not a bad stout. I enjoyed the smell much more than the taste; I thought the bitterness was a little too prevalent in the taste. I would drink this again.

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

Appearance: Dark ruby brown could easily be mistaken for black so full it pours thick from the bottle, the thicket of foamy moccha tan head is magnificant looks like bread rising has that texture very chunky and bubbly so nice forms collar of lacing as it slowly dwindles, quite the resiliency on this one. Aroma: Dark roasts create joy on multiple levels but the aroma here contains tones of mild cocoa, baking cookies, and an underlying tone of coffee beans very light but evident the oatmeal like tones are also very inviting toward my first sip. Taste: Such a beautiful balance of dark chocolate roasts and harsh bitterness from the dark roasts sweet robust flavor is just awesome solid all around, the ideal session stout. Mouthfeel: Fluffy yet medium to full bodied and smooth at the same time, unique quality to the mouthfeel can't quite describe it completely. Drinkability: A very tasty stout that helps me remember why I love dark beer so much, I once was stuck on the fact that only hops could suffice my beer sweet tooth but this is the type of brew that helps pull off a convert to stouts with still a great amout of bitter tones from the dark roasts so smooth and silky going down, just gotta love this one from Kalamazoo.

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

I'm re-reviewing this beer because my original review was laaame.

Pours black with a very thin dark tan head. Nose is a good bit of roasted and molasses tones. Flavor brings the same with an almost oat bitter tone that mixes in. Very hearty and robust. Nearly a meal in itself. Smooth liquid feel. Low carbonation. A nice winter time beer. It's 30-something outside and this is precisely what I should be drinking.

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

The beer is a deep, dark brown with a half inch of beige head. The aroma offers molasses, dark roast, black coffee. Malty with dark roasted coffee. Rich and slightly sweet, finishing bitter. Molasses with a touch of dark chocolate. Medium bodied with moderately low carbonation. Another solid offering from Bell's.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A fresh bottle (Batch 10232) came to me recently from local trader tone77, plus like cagocubs, I have an aged bottle (Batch 6666 (whoa!) that just turned up in my infamous cellar. This is as good a day as any to try them.

From the bottle: "Here's where we tell you about this full-bodied stout's delicious roast flavor. But really, you've already got the bottle in your hand so why not find out for yourself?"

Batch 10232

I went with such an aggressive pour that it initially looked like a chocolate milk shake in my glass until a cascading action took hold and the foam began to subside into beer. Thank goodness for surface tension or it might have overflowed my glass! As it was, I ended up with a dense foamy finger of deep-tan head with excellent retention in this heat. Color was an obsidian black, allowing zero light penetration, even at the edges. This was a black hole of a beer. Nose smelled roasty with notes of dark chocolate and charcoal. Mouthfeel was medium, approaching creaminess, with flavors of dark chocolate, smoke, charcoal and black licorice on the tongue. As the lacing began to appear, it was thick and sticky, looking as though it would need to be chiseled out later. Finish was very dry with the smoky charcoal flavor dominating and lingering. Phew! Give me this over a milk/sweet stout any day.

Batch 6666

Jeez, Louise, it looked like spent motor oil coming out of the bottle and into my glass! I briefly had a finger of deep-tan head before it disappeared. Color was solid black with zero light penetration. Nose was very smoky and charcoal-ish underlain by a dark chocolate scent. Mouthfeel was fairly full and the roasted bitterness had really come to the forefront with coffee initially and chocolate following. Finish was more like chocolate fudge than anything, rendering it a dessert beer. It held up extremely well.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the House of Brews. Served in a snifter.

Appearance - Black. Small khaki head. Thin collar and a few stray streaks of lacing.

Smell - Roasty malt. Kinda ashy and burnt. Coffee.

Taste - A little more sweet than the nose suggested. Coffee malt. Roastiness builds into the finish. Very burnt and acrid in the back, but it's not excessive. Some sweetness lingers too.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Very drinkable. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Very roasty. Intense and flavorful.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Black color with tan head. Aroma has really nice chocolate, fudge and coffee with some roasted malts on top. Taste follows with chocolate, roasted coffee and dark malts. Body is full and has a really smooth mouthfeel. Overall it's a really tasty, smooth stout, especially for its ABV.

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Photo of jwc215
3.4/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours nearly black with a thin, tan head.

The smell is of licorice, slightly burnt coffee and toast with chocolate notes.

The taste is of licorice and plenty of it. Reminds me of licorice candy. Coffee and chocolate notes mix in. Earthy bitterness balances out the sweetness. There is a mix of burnt, though not really smoky, (coffee?, or just "burnt...") that gets in the way, as well as some chalk, which is a shame, as it otherwise would be very good. Finishes with a balanced, though slightly awkward, finish.

Something seems "off" and astingent. I do like it, especially the way the licorice plays in, but too chalky and burnt to really enjoy.

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

Received in a trade with Jay23 thanks for the chance to try this.

Pours a solid black with a tan head that dissipates quickly and leaves minimal lacing around the glass. Smells of roasted malts some dried fruit and a sweet milk stout smell. Taste is sweet lactose some more of the dried fruit and a touch of hops in the background. Has a creamy mouthfeel, but is a little thin. Great sweet stout, not over the top with sweetness like so many of this style tend to be.

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Bell's Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.03 out of 5 based on 4,175 ratings.
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