Expedition Stout - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store

Expedition Stout - Bourbon Barrel-AgedExpedition Stout - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
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Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #13
Ranked #219
4.49 | pDev: 6.24%
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Michigan, United States
Expedition Stout - Bourbon Barrel-AgedExpedition Stout - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
Notes: This 12 month barrel-aged version of our award-winning Expedition Stout thirsts for travel, but is perfectly content to sit in your cellar, maturing, until you are ready. The tough part? Deciding if you want to enjoy it now or wait until later. You can't go wrong either way.
Reviews: 143 | Ratings: 714 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Wolvmar
4.54/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

May 2020 Review
12oz bottle dated 5-18-20. About as fresh as possible. Poured into a tulip glass.

similar but more lacing, more licorice, super creamy feel. As good or better than the last vintage. One of the better BBA stouts I’ve tasted.
Look 4
Nose 4.25
Taste 4.75
Feel 4.75
Overall 4.5

Oct/Nov 2018 Review
12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. Bottled 10-16-18.

Pour: deep black. Minimal tan head that ends with a thin ring and almost no clouds. Very little lacing.

Nose: sweet malts, bourbon, vanilla and oak. Maybe some dark fruit and licorice.

Taste: dark chocolate, coffee, sweet bourbon. Some black licorice, molasses in the middle. Dark fruit with some vanilla and oak on the backend. Lots going on and really well balanced. Bourbon really complements the base stout rather than overpowering it.

Mouthfeel: low carbonation, viscous, some creaminess, but not a milkshake. Pretty clean finish.

Overall: this is a really good BA Stout. Had a BCBS last night and, while this isn’t quite to that standard, it’s absolutely worth pursuing.

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Wolvmar from Michigan, May 29, 2020
Photo of bret27
4.77/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2018 bottle courtesy of BigTimeADL
Look: Black fairly minimal brown head.
Smell: light bourbon, vanilla, oak, anise, does magic taste like something? If you close your eyes you’re in a bourbon barrel.
Taste: vanilla, oak, brown sugar, Chocolate, molasses, great bourbon.
Feel: medium, creamy, smooth, slight bourbon burn.
Overall: Jesus.

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bret27 from California, May 03, 2020
Photo of CraftFan5
4.94/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

19 April 2020 - Beer #72 - BA Top 250 Alert!

Corona Day #38

Price: $7.99 at Quarry Wines & Spirits in Pikeville, MD

Appearance: 4 - pretty effing black, but the light-ish head disappeared with nary a trace.

Nose: 5 - like a barrel aged imperial stout on roids.

Taste: 5 - outstanding. We're in Bourbon County territory here. This one's not messing around. Straight up, intense, barrel aged imperial stout.

Mouth: 5 - chewy, round, and very sticky. Again, no fooling around.

Overall: 5 - at this price I wish I had bought a case; too bad they're was only one bottle left. I was lucky to even get the one.


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CraftFan5 from New Jersey, Apr 21, 2020
Photo of stortore
4.49/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into a snifter. Bottled 10/16/18, had 12/3/18.

Pours a very dark, opaque brown, a little oily looking, with a half inch foamy head and soapy lacing. Aromas of bourbon, roasted malt, chocolate, vanilla, cocoa, molasses, char, raisins, some toffee, a little tobacco, some oak and smoke. The flavor is similar- bourbon, roasted malt, oak, molasses, char, raisins, some vanilla and caramel, light figs and tobacco. A decent amount of bitterness on the finish. Smooth, a solid full body, well carbonated.

This is so well done, glad I finally got to try it. The excellent barrels only enhance the bold, trademark, roasty character of the base beer. Well worth a purchase if it comes around again.

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stortore from Illinois, Feb 14, 2020
Photo of Nass
4.75/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Vintage 2018

The pour is black as motor oil. The taste is dark chocolate, charred oak, roasted coffee, toasted almonds, grains, & tiramisu. Cheers! A

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Nass from Florida, Jan 19, 2020
Photo of 2beerdogs
4.4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to foundersasap for sending me this beauty in NBS BIF #9
Poured into my 18th Street snifter.
Deep mahogany hued jewel. Absolutely transfixed by how this graces the glass. Cafe con leche colored head rises just shy of 2 fingers then slowly descends into perfectly ringed repose.
Aromas of warm bourbon barrel lead, not aggressively marching, more of a purposeful stroll. Notes of vanilla, roast, freshly caramelized sugar,brown bread, molasses, prune and leather all contribute to the menagerie.
Flavor begins as a bourbon-kissed RIS. It literally comes off as an old school RIS, toasty, malty, earthy nuances, but with that sweet-warm bourbon omnipresent. Sweet notes are of dark fruits-prunes, dates, figs, some cocoa and molasses. Coffee roast, charred wood, and a peaty earthiness comes trough as well. It really does represent the RIS style well with the bonus of BBA notes. Finishes warm and slightly boozy.
Mouthfeel is silky smooth. It sashays around the mouth, really inviting the entirety to actively commit to the experience. It finishes with a warm, slightly assertive bourbon "adieu."

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2beerdogs from California, Jan 13, 2020
Photo of titty_mcbitty
5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

(2018 Bottle)

A: Poured into a snifter glass. Pitch black in color, almost no head to be seen. Good lacing left.

S: Dark fruit, bourbon, marshmallow.

T: Boozy chocolate, bourbon, roasted marshmallow, vanilla. There's some nuttiness, especially in the finish where the vanilla shines through alongside. Coconut comes in too. Wow.

M: Fluffy, smooth, and velvety. Such a perfect consistency and what I look for in any BBA stout.

O: This is now my favorite BBA stout, alongside Goose Island BCBS (maybe even a little better). The chocolate marshmallow bourbon flavor is just something you can't miss out on, and the consistency makes it all that much better. I don't know if I've ever said this, but this is a perfect beer.

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Photo of captaincoffee
4.59/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First 3 of the 4 pack were fresh and this last one is just short of a year in the cellar. Pours about as dark as it gets and just as you think there will be no head at all, a centimeter of thick foam slowly appears out of the abyss. Nose is vanilla, brown bread, leather, and what to me smells like brown sugar pop tarts. Taste is...damn that's fucking good. Pretty much what you'd expect from the nose but the thickness of this beer is pretty amazing considering the ABV and barrel aging. Some tobacco, and some residual sweetness really round this out. Overall, damn.

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Photo of kemoarps
4.44/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2017 bottle courtesy of @FlintB back in NBS BIF #007.

Side by side with a 2013 bottle of the basic Expedition.

Pour is immediately evident that there's some differences. Dark brown head gathers and sits in a cloudbank across the middle (compared to a pale desaturated brown for the basic). A gentle swirl brings all the fuzzy mocha brown head back to coat the top. Thick obsidian body absorbs all light coming it's direction.

Nose is more mellow than I'd expected. Some light spice and faint cocoa, and a fair amount of molasses and some roast. Doesn't smell like alcohol per se, but as I withdraw I can feel the evaporating ether withering in my nostril.

Taste is smoothe chocolate and coffee and toffee and some wood and is just really rich and delicious.

Holy shit this may be the smoothest most velvety perfectly soft and viscous drink I've ever imbibed. And while it doesn't taste low-ABV by any means, the 12.8 is dangerously easy to forget about. This may be the best mouthfeel I've ever encountered in a beer.

Man, thanks Brian for sending this my direction. I will now be forever on the lookout for this in addition to the basic Expedition from these guys.

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kemoarps from Washington, Oct 21, 2019
Photo of sulldaddy
4.65/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sampling a cellar temp 12 oz bottle poured into my snifter. Another part of the deal with @jhavs, Thank you!
The beer pours a jet black hue with minimal tan head foaming up and fading quickly to a thin edge layer.
The aroma is boozy! Lots of bourbon and vanilla and some peppery heat too. Rich dark chocolate and molasses also mix in but I dont get any hop presence on this brew.
The first sip reveals a thick body and coating sticky texture. Carbonation is mild, fine and gentle. This is a sipping brew! WOW! BIG physical traits here.
Flavor is rich and malty, with dark chocolate high cacao stuff, molasses, some burnt coffee and a bit of bourbon and vanilla mixing. The finish is sweeter with some brown sugar and bourbon coming through and then the warming booze comes in too. This is a big beer and it lets you know too.
Nice complex and bold beer. Glad I finally got to try this one as I find it very enjoyable. Definitely a sipping beer but certainly an enjoyable one!

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sulldaddy from Connecticut, Oct 05, 2019
Photo of Sandis
4.71/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2016 vintage bottle poured into a snifter. This beer, to me, is amazing in every way. Thick, creamy mouthfeel with minimal carbonation. An excellent mix of coffee, chocolate and bourbon. If 3 years of aging is the "sweet spot" I can't wait to crack my 2018 in 2021.

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Sandis from Minnesota, Aug 12, 2019
Photo of FriedSlug
4.47/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Sweet, thick, black stout. Smell is filled with bourbon, molasses, chocolate, coffee and some alcohol. That's sweet with toasted oak, dark chocolate, molasses, vanilla, coffee and bourbon. Very great beer.

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FriedSlug from North Carolina, Jul 23, 2019
Photo of WickedBeer
4.19/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2018 Vintage, bottled on 10/16/18. Purchased at Loosa Brews, Tuscaloosa, AL.

Viscous, black pour straight from the bottle. Good-looking body to the beer, with small amounts of tan head that fail to rise very high at the temperature it is poured. The head settles into a very thin ring around the beer.

Right away, getting a lot of vanilla, barrel, and roasty malts on the nose. Underlying sweetness that brings out dark fruit, but a very well-balanced aromas that invite further complexity as the beer opens up and warms.

Lots of espresso flavors serve the predominant force here, but is quickly balanced out by a very potent barrel presence. Oak, fudge, and hints of vanilla weave in and out, however they never seem to gain their footing long enough to keep a consistent balance. While I love all the individual components, I just seem to be getting too much roasted malts and bourbon.

Body has a good viscosity, smooth with a carbonation that is present but not too sharp. Soft mouthfeel overall, with a lingering stickiness and fair amounts of mouth-coating. Warm booze down the hatch, The feel of this beer is definitely one of its strongest characteristics for me.

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WickedBeer from Alabama, May 29, 2019
Photo of JBowenGeorgia
4.6/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a meat black with a finger of mocha head.
Smells of chocolate, vanilla, caramel, roasty malts, slight barrel presence.
Taste follows, dark fudgy chocolate, vanilla, roasty malts.
Medium body with good carb levels. Warming alcohol presence initially but finishes pretty smooth.
Overall an excellent BA stout, the fact that it is pretty easily available makes it even better.

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Photo of Jimmy_Kneecaps
4.85/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It looks motor oil thick and used motor oil black and shiny in the glass. Minimal dark tan head rests on top and quickly diffuses into spotty islands of lace and a thin ring around. The aroma is huge vanilla, oak, bourbon, and dark bakers chocolate. Taste is Ah-mayze-ing! Super rich dark chocolate is the first thing that hits me, followed by some tobacco, vanilla, oak, a little coffee, and some slight bourbon heat on the finish. Mouthfeel is a little thinner than I expected, but still on the full side of medium. Oily, slick, coating my mouth at all angles with a dry finish but NOT chalky. Overall this is fantastic and every bit worthy of its high marks.

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Photo of Oh_Dark_Star
4.31/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had this for the second time with a little more age, and while it is not a Black Note, or a Fremont, BCBS, or KDS it is really close to the latter with different characteristics - this is truly a stout to be reckoned with in a field of wannabes!

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Oh_Dark_Star from Washington, May 01, 2019
Photo of jlindros
4.49/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark fizzy head with low retention and lacing (expected), good legs, very dark basically black color

nose is intense, loads of dark chocolate, cocoa, licorice, baking spices, raw vanilla and oak barrel with some nice whiskey notes, turning to sweet bourbon, cookie dough, rich dark malts, a little roasty and coffee like, caramel, biscuity, fudgey, a little perfumey alcohol and some mild dark fruits, raisin plum notes, nice bourbon vanilla and chocolate really going

Taste again super rich, tons of dark chocolate, bitter roasty cocoa and coffee, fudge, thick chewy fudge, vanilla ice cream and raw vanilla, with some bourbon juice with raw oak barrel as well, some dark fruits in the background again plum and chocolate raisin, more cocoa an dark chocolate, fudge, fair perfumey alcohol but stops short of fusel, some bitterness from earthy spicy hops and roasty malts, baking spices, licorice, thick char and dense malt layering the tongue, lingering on the sticky sweet finish, burnt malts and char late, bit more alcohol, loads of chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, and charred roasty bitter almost acrid notes

Mouth is very thick chewy fudgey, heavy and a bit syrupy, medium lighter carb, plenty of warming alchol

Overall intense and quite nice, very intense, thick heavy chewy, loads of dark malts almost too much as it gets a little char acrid late on the finish, but nice barrel additions and alcohol, while a bit hot, doesn't drink like 13+%. Nice for a sipping special beer

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jlindros from Massachusetts, Apr 29, 2019
Photo of woemad
4.49/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle courtesy of ovaltine. Bottled October 16, 2018, per the rear label.

Poured into a stemmed tulip glass, this came out the bottle like a river of crude oil, and assumed in the glass a darkness that was utterly impervious to light. Tiny, mocha colored head that nevertheless stuck around, showing a lot of pluck for such a boozebomb beer. Streaky lace that while infrequent, was more elaborate than I expected for the reason just noted.

Big nose to this. No way you can lift this up to your nose and doubt it was bourbon barrel aged. Oakey, boozy barrel aroma, with a touch of vanilla and toffee, beguile the workers at the olfactory. At the same time, it's not a big, crude, "hot", almost medicinal type of booziness, unlike some really big BBA stouts I've had. It almost seems wrong to use "subtle" as a descriptor for this beer's nose. So, I won't, but it's undeniably smooth.

Similar to the nose, but more complex, in it's own big, badass way. Up front there's bourbon, some coffeeish char notes, a little toffee, and even a little nougat. There's a faint, hoppy bitterness towards the end, and the aftertaste is where the big booze bite you've been expecting to encounter finally raises it's head.

Fairly thick body to this, with a creamy, smooth, velvety mouthfeel.

Wow. This is a decadent beer. Perhaps I should've waited until after dinner to hit this. Not sure I can follow this with another new beer anytime soon that won't be affected by this one. Incredibly smooth now, but I bet it's pretty amazing after being laid down for a while as well. Thanks, Mike! This was a longtime want for me and damn did it deliver!

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woemad from Washington, Apr 28, 2019
Photo of MacMalt
4.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 10/16/2018. Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass. It pours a very dark walnut - nearly black - with a half finger of creamy, light mocha-colored head and thin sheen of lacing. On the fragrant nose there is a heavy scent of bourbon along with roasted malt, dark chocolate, freshly-brewed coffee, toffee, hazelnut, and black cherry. This is absolutely delicious! It opens with rich chocolate and coffee followed by caramel/toffee, tobacco, char, and the always welcome notes of black cherry and plum. The bourbon is strong but not overpowering. It compliments the other flavors rather than distracting. The mouth feel is rich and creamy with low/moderate carbonation, and the 13.4% ABV is delightfully warming. While I'm a big fan of the standard version of Expedition, this is an entirely different drinking experience. It stands toe to toe with KBS.

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MacMalt from New Jersey, Apr 27, 2019
Photo of thebeers
4.25/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a very dark brown — near black — with a finger of mocha-colored head that lasts a decent amount of time for such a large beer. Sheets of lacing.

Sweet bourbon with vanilla, almond and cherry notes; brownie batter; hazelnut; and a hint of plum and umami in the nose.

Loads of rich chocolate and strong alcohol burn in the taste. Sweet bourbon hits mid-palate, along with a hint of sherry. There’s a touch of meaty smoke, a little nuttiness and distinct bitter chocolate in the finish.

Smooth, medium-bodied feel on the borderlands between milky and oily, with tight carbonation.

This is a very tasty, dark and robust BBA stout that does justice to the regular Expedition.

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thebeers from Pennsylvania, Apr 21, 2019
Photo of ajm5108
3.67/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

I don’t think the bourbon really imparts much flavor to this one and it never finds that harmony between the base beer & the barrel. Lots of charred oak, tobacco leaf, black anise, etc...misses some of those smoother counterpoints (vanilla, caramel, etc) bourbon can bring to balance it out

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ajm5108 from Pennsylvania, Apr 09, 2019
Photo of 5toutman75
4.54/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Drinking it straight from the fridge (meaning too cold) and I notice the smell is bourbon and chocolate. It pours thick and syrupy. Lacing sticks around after the pour. As it warms, the chocolate bitterness builds and strengthens. There's a lot going on flavor wise. There's some sweetness but less than a BCS. It drinks very very smooth and although I taste the alcohol a bit, it's not overbearing at all. I'm glad I finally scored some this year and will try to get it always.

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5toutman75 from Illinois, Apr 06, 2019
Photo of Tilley4
4.75/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Absolutely a world class beer all the way around... jeez... this is really really good... big barrel influence in absolutely the best way... it's what I look for in a barrel aged offering... it's there...and big... but it's not the star...the base beer still is... complete wheelhouse for me...like fudgy bourbon balls that you get at Christmas.... do not pass this one up if you spot it... worth every penny...

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Tilley4 from Tennessee, Apr 01, 2019
Photo of Samlover55
4.65/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle into Tulip
Bottled on 10/16/18
Pours dark brown with a dark brown head that dissipates quickly
Chocolate, vanilla, fudge
Dark chocolate, raisins,  vanilla and oaky finish
The feel is full bodied yet super drinkable for a 13.4% BBA stout
Overall this is one of if not the best BBA stout I've ever had. This tastes like expedition barrel aged, but the barrel only implies subtle notes, so it's not a new product, but a great one amplified. Super balanced and super drinkable.

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Samlover55 from New York, Mar 31, 2019
Photo of larryi86
4.56/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Blackop555 for this
12 oz bottle, dated 10/16/18, poured into a teku

A- Black with small mocha head

S- Bourbon, dark chocolate, some roasted malts, some vanilla, caramel malts, touch of charred oak

T- Dark chocolate, some vanilla, bourbon, oak, caramel malts, some toffee, touch of dark fruits, nice balance.

M- Smooth, medium body.

O- A very nice barrel aged stout, really worth seeking out.

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larryi86 from Delaware, Mar 24, 2019
Expedition Stout - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 98 out of 100 with 714 ratings