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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Style:
Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #12
ABV:
13.4%
Score:
99
Ranked #214
Avg:
4.49 | pDev: 6.46%
Reviews:
153
Ratings:
771
From:
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
 
Michigan, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  137
Gots
  115
SCORE
99
World-Class
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: 153 | Ratings: 771 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of browner
browner from Wisconsin

4.43/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Annual beer grab and generally availed in the Midwest. Pours dark very strong profile which settles down with a 1 year cellaring ( da) . More complex after a year.

Apr 20, 2021
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Whyteboar from Michigan

4.79/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Vintage 2020/5/18
This officially serves to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that not *everything* from 2020 was a dumpster fire.
Appearance is amazing, maybe because I was so ready for a beer, but few beers have looked better. Black with dark brown highlights and a thin brown head.
The aroma was malts and plums and raisins and more malts. The taste. I literally said “wow” - (I was so ready for this) just so smooth without sharp edges typically found in RISs, maybe the bourbon, maybe the aging, can’t say, but wow.
The feel, obviously IMO, but it struck me as ideal for the genre. Viscous but not too much. And I mentioned smoothness earlier, oh yes.
So glad they are in Michigan. Thanks Larry for this.

Mar 19, 2021
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Cyoung1313 from Ohio

4.43/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2018 vintage. Pours dark black with minimal brown foam head. Huge barrel on the nose with notes of chocolate, coffee and slight vanilla. Taste is coffee, chocolate and barrel, all working together well. Medium bodied with a slick mouthfeel. Barrel stays with you for a little while. Overall excellent brew.

Feb 12, 2021
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DeadWax from Illinois

4.07/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

2020 vintage. Tan head that quickly dissipated. Very minimal nose beyond roasty stout. Opens with heavy tobacco, leather, char, dark chocolate flavor. Barrel and bourbon notes very subtle, but round out the roasted malts to make this an easy drinking ba stout. Body was quite thin as well though and that took away some of the flavor impact.

Dec 30, 2020
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SaCkErZ9 from South Carolina

4.84/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Vintage Oct 16 2018

Pours a beautifully opaque dark chocolate color. With a firm pour, the head emerges and is mocha colored. Beautiful lacing as well.

Aroma is filled with dark fruits and raisins. Bourbon attacks the cilia as well as a slight smokiness. Figs and plums, chocolate and coffee. Wonderful aroma.

The alcohol certainly hits but it isn’t hot by any means. The bourbon backdrop is perfect! Comes in hot but fades easily to allow coffee and a significant tobacco flavor to emerge. Lots of bitter dark chocolate. Sublime.

A wonderful beer and one I am privileged to have. Truly one to seek out, even at $10 a bottle.

Nov 01, 2020
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AllOfTheCats from Wisconsin

4.74/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Great barrel. One of the best of the style. Love that smokey smell. Not much like regular expedition; this one is definitely focused on the barrel character. Amazing.

Sep 27, 2020
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firesidewithphil from Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

BBA Expedition Stout was the white whale I have been endlessly searching for. The base beer has been a favorite of mine for 2 years and I finally found the BA version in Grand Rapids, MI. The base Russian remains predominant and is blended with the sticky bourbon. One of the very few beers where the base beer beats the barrel head-to-head. The nose is 10/10 and tops off the experience.

IG: @firesidewithphil

Aug 15, 2020
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JohnnyHopps from Indiana

4.68/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - The beer poured an inky black with dark brown foam clinging to the sides of the glass.

Small - The nose radiated sweet malts and booze. There was no hint of bitterness.

Taste - My first thought was that I had a chocolate malt from a mom & pop ice cream shop. Chocolate malt started then the booze finished. There were even notes of dark chocolate. The finish came in the form of sweet malty bourbon.

Mouthfeel - The beer was full bodied with little carbonation and the stickiness that aligned with sweet profile.

Overall - I was caught off guard by how much I like this one.

Jul 13, 2020
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beersampler6 from Michigan

4.47/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review #1200

Amazing Russian imperial stout - very happy to be able to get a hold of one of these. 10/16/18 date printed on bottle so this one was over 18 months old. Pours a thick rich jet-black color with just a little tan head and some spotty lingering lacing - not quite as creamy as I was expecting. Huge aromas of rich dark roast coffee, dark chocolate, toffee, nuttiness, caramel, vanilla, bourbon, oak, malt, maybe a little faint cinnamon. Taste follows the nose, great balance and richness. Very complex and excellent depth, the bourbon really hits you gently as the beer warmed. Smooth, silky, luscious mouthfeel, just the right amount of carbonation. Became a little more chewy as the beer warmed - very nice. An outstanding beer.

Jul 07, 2020
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BBThunderbolt from Kiribati

3.24/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Thanks to joplamp for this one, from the recent can-cans BIF. 12oz bottle (packaged 5/18/200 poured into 14oz teku. Poured the expected solid black color, with less than 1/4 inch of tan head that quickly dissipated, and left no lacing.

Sweet vanilla and bourbon at the front of the nose, with some oak, but the base beer flavors were very muted. Just a touch of alcohol heat.

Very similar on the tongue, but the roast aspects of the base beer show a bit stronger.

The body was thinner than I look for in the style, but was smooth, and had a finish that started sweet, but dried out after a few moments.

Drinkability was good, no issues, especially for 13+% brew.

Overall, a nice beer, certainly, but not one that particularly stands out from other examples of its ilk. Worth trying.

Jun 27, 2020
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Wolvmar from Michigan

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.

May 29, 2020
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bret27 from California

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.

May 03, 2020
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CraftFan5 from New Jersey

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.

Cheers!

Apr 21, 2020
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stortore from Illinois

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.

Feb 14, 2020
Photo of Nass
Nass from Florida

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

Jan 19, 2020
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2beerdogs from California

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."

Jan 13, 2020
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titty_mcbitty from Tennessee

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.

Dec 21, 2019
Photo of captaincoffee
captaincoffee from Virginia

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.

Oct 26, 2019
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kemoarps from Washington

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.

Oct 21, 2019
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sulldaddy from Connecticut

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!

Oct 05, 2019
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Sandis from Minnesota

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.

Aug 12, 2019
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FriedSlug from North Carolina

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.

Jul 23, 2019
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WickedBeer from Alabama

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.

May 29, 2019
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JBowenGeorgia from Georgia

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.

May 27, 2019
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Jimmy_Kneecaps from Tennessee

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.

May 05, 2019
Expedition Stout - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 99 out of 100 with 771 ratings