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

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Bell's Expedition StoutBell's Expedition Stout
BA SCORE
4.26/5
Outstanding
6,252 Ratings
Bell's Expedition StoutBell's Expedition Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States
bellsbeer.com

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Expedition Stout offers immensely complex flavors crafted specifically with vintage aging in mind, as its profile will continue to mature and develop over the years. A huge malt body is matched to a heady blend of chocolate, dark fruits, and other aromas. Intensely bitter in its early months, the flavors will slowly meld and grow in depth as the beer ages.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-10-2002

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#704
Reviews:
2,163
Ratings:
6,252
pDev:
10.33%
Bros Score:
4.41
 
 
Wants:
566
Gots:
1,794
Trade:
124
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,252 |  Reviews: 2,163
Reviews by ABisonEgo:
Photo of ABisonEgo
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

'12 bottled on 10/02

Appearance - Black with ruby red highlights along the edges. 1 and a half finger beige head with lacing along the edges

Aroma - coffee, dark chocolate, dark fruits, a bit of hop character, though i cant really pinpoint the exact scent...maybe more of an earthiness

Taste - Very coffee and hop forward...almost astringent at first. Some dark fruit apparent towards the middle of the mouth, and bitterness on the finish. Almost a spicy, earthy finish...but very hoppy. While most imperial stouts rely on the hops for balance, this one is almost overtaken in the finish by the hops present.

Mouthfeel - Very creamy...which is pleasant. The beer finishes with a bitter tingle with a medium to full body. A little lighter than expected, but about ideal.

Overall - Great complexity on this one, however, Im a little turned off on how the hops overtake the beer. Its as if this one was meant to age, which there is nothing wrong with and it even says its worth aging on the bottle. If the hop character faded away a bit and the beer smoothed out, im sure this would be one amazing beer. Having said that, I guess its time to open my '09!!!

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More User Reviews:
Photo of MichaelNeelsen
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Did a 10-year vertical with friends. Below are our general thoughts on how it changed each year.

2015 - tastes young, woody, bitter, chocolate
2014 - cherry, milder, sweeter, lost its bitterness
2013 - got more complex, a "flavor punch" as Matthew said.
2012 - smoother, milder, back to a 2014 taste
2011 - deep cherry flavor, dark fruit, fig, chocolate, chalky, back to the "flavor punch"
2010 - "I can't tell if this one is my favorite or if I'm just buzzed," says Megan. Lost its fruitiness, more date, salt, 7UP, minerals, not as mild
2009 - a small swig tastes like nickels or loose change (oxidation), but a big swig is like chocolate goodness "going through my body."
2008 - super woody, smoky, "the flavor is back!" says Griffin. Matt ranks this one in the lower 50%. "Pretty metallic with no strong flavors to cover it up."
2007 - "Ooh, very chocolatey," says Megan. Smooth. All the metallic taste is gone. Really good. Michael is debating if it's the best of the bunch.
2006 - Smooth, oily, almost like a bourbon barrel aged beer. Salt, no bite, strong flavor of everything that's come before. It's like "a concentrated version of the current 2015 stout," if they put it in a saucer and boiled it, it would be a chocolate or mole sauce. Very little alcohol bite.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.41/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

From BeerAdvocate Magazine #74 (Mar 2013):

Why Expedition Stout isn’t ranked in our Top Beers or talked about at the same level as overly hyped Imperial Stouts is beyond us. Nothing short of amazing here, and a truly rich experience. Bell’s touts that its shelf life is “unlimited,” which explains why the brewery sent us 2011 samples for review. From what we heard, a bit of age does this beer right, but of course do what suits you. This could also answer our question, but who cares. This is one badass beer.

STYLE: Russian Imperial Stout
ABV: 10.5%
AVAILABILITY: Seasonal

LOOK: Black liquid, dense brown head

SMELL: Roasty, prunes, faint sherry, dark chocolate, juicy, charred raisins, boozy

TASTE: Intense roasted graininess, creamy, full bodied, warming alcohol, very smooth, slight oxidation, sherry, baker’s chocolate, bitter, black berries, raisins, molasses, bittersweet finish

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Photo of teromous
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From the label: "13415 PKGD 08/22/14 C" so it is just under two months old.

Appearance: Oily black with a thick creamy khaki head that fades leaving fine bubbled lacing on the glass.

Aroma: I pick up the scent of caramel and a hint of coffee. It is very light on the aroma.

Taste: It has a very very rich flavor consisting of coffee, oak, chocolate, molasses, and a hint of bourbon around the edge. The bottle doesn't say anything about bourbon barrels or anything but this is how it tastes. It is a very excellent tasting stout.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is superb. It is thick and smooth. It is a sipper, but it doesn't burn with the high alcohol content.

Overall: This is a very excellent RIS. It is thick, smooth, and full of flavor. Less than two months in the bottle and it has the quality of a well-aged imperial stout. I highly recommend trying this out and buying more than one. It is very easy to drink and is delicious.

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Photo of captaincoffee
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours near black with a solid head that leaves lots of sticky lace all over. Nose is rich malt, espresso, port, and molasses. Taste is also very rich, with lots of chocolate fudge...very creamy and thick...and dried fruits with a barleywine-like sweetness. Damn that is a good beer. I wish other breweries would get their base beer to this level before they started worrying about BA programs. This is goooood.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.49/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into an oversized wine glass
Bottled 9/8/16

A- pours thick and viscous, pitch black color with a small creamy khaki colored head that has decent retention

S- intense roasted malt aroma brings out notes of char, dark chocolate, figs & dates, toffee, molasses and chocolate covered cherry

T- intesne roast with just a hint of smoke up front gives out notes of charred wood, dark chocolate, molasses, fig & raisin. As it nears the finish, highlights of dark cherry and walnut pop through, with just a hint of piney hops creeping through, linger of chocolate and espresso

M- thick and viscous body with moderate carbonation produces a creamy and velvety mouthfeel that seems to fold in layers of cream, before finishing silky smooth with just the slightest trace of alcohol warmth on the linger

O- a classic that is one of the best easily available straight up RIS out there. I believe that this one will get better with age.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.55/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Do large stouts get any more classy than this? Bell's makes it look easy as they layer the taste of roast, chocolate, alcohol, and fruit onto a succulent and savory base that seduces the palate at every turn.

The onyx-black ale arrives at the bar with a stern, disciplined, and masculine appearance. It's depth of clarity gives the beer a mirror-like sheen although it's black color makes it opaque. A mocha-stained head caps the beer with a blanket of foam that easily retains the session and laces the glass with confidence. Even a gentle swirl of the glass leaves brandy-like shiny legs clinging to the glass.

High roast, light smoke, and cocoa-rich chocolates overwhelm the nose with a backing of rum and bourbon booze that reveal notes of toffee and molasses. Underlying fruit aromas of red grape, cherry, and blackberry seem to carry a charred character and create a mouthwatering effect heading into the first sip.

Notions of chocolate wrapped espresso beans come to mind as the sweeter malts coat the front of the tongue and palate with its malty richness. Slightly scorched molasses allows for a rich and savory taste to rise at middle palate. This is the point where espresso roast, bittersweet chocolate, and charred dark fruit weave together for a complex but pleasantly rounded taste. Bold however, the taste is further complemented by piney and citrusy hops that assist the roast bitterness to finish. Cherry flavored alcohols and walnut oils all integrate into taste and continue the varying tastes that unveil themselves as the beer warms.

And with its marshmallowy texture, the enormous malt complexes provide a nearly chewy body to start. This silky and succulent texture keeps the beer's flavor squarely focused on the taste buds. But a patient transition to semi-dry maltiness is rewarded in finish as the beer's alcohols act like port wine and fine cognac to signal closure. It's extended roasty bitterness melds seamlessly with the next sip.

Bell's Expedition is a world-class stout, by which all others could be measured. I'm not sure if it is perfect at any one attribute, but it's near that on all. Plus there's several complexities that go above and beyond what the style prescribes. It pairs well with rich foods like honey-dripped dates, smoky bacon, and well aged gruyere.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a jet black body with a full, frothy tan-colored head.

Smell: Aroma of black malts, roasted coffee, dark chocolate syrup, scorched almonds, molasses, and herbal, piney hops.

Taste: Black roasted malts with flavors of coffee and exceedingly dark chocolate. Some burnt almonds and fire-blackened marshmallows. The hops are bold in their bitterness, but not overbearing, and provide a taste of dried herbs and pine. Finishes with a lingering bitterness and acidic char taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Mild carbonation. Chewy mouthfeel. Warming from the first sip.

Drinkability: A very fine stout both fresh and cellared. To wit, I had an '02 this past weekend that had morphed into a slightly roasty chocolate liqueur.

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Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
4.73/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Been wanting to knock this off my bucket list for quite some time now. This one more than delivered.

Bottled in October. A very complex stout full of Chocolate, dark fruits, dark cherry, some vanilla, and a vinous character presents it self as it warms. Roastiness & notes resembling coffee are on the lighter side. Not too bitter, not too soft. Silky actually, and it tastes so damn good, I realized that I needed to pace myself. I was near finished with this 10.5% 12oz bottle in 15 -20 minutes or so.

This beer at a few months from bottling already has all the characteristics I look for in the more common West Coast Imperial Stouts I have easy access to after they've aged 2+ years. THIS was very impressive to me.

While not quite a perfect example of the style for me, it sure was as close as it gets.

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Photo of HorseheadsHophead
4.84/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Pours out very dark cola brown, and looks pitch black in the glass, with no light coming through even at the edges. Completely black. The head is brown and creamy, very thick and mocha-like. Retention is very good, and a fluffy ring remains 20 minutes later. The edges of the head leaves sheets of wiry, creamy lacing.
The nose offers deep savory umami, dark chocolate with caramel, cocoa butter, some more bitter cocoa powder, gingerbread, molasses, licorice, espresso beans, raisin, allspice, prune, date, and fig.
The palate immediately opens up with that soy sauce, beef broth, umami impression. A salty meatiness that causes mouthwatering. Tons of spices, dark fruits, and a huge bready presence follow. The molasses, licorice, and star anise give way to gingerbread, fruitcake, and rye bread with lots of raisin, dried fig, prune, and date. The massive bready malts of the mid-palate give way to a rich dark chocolate and bitter cocoa flavor with intense dark roast coffee. Finishes slightly sweet at first with rich dark chocolates, but the bitterness lingers, tasting continually of bitter chocolate and coffee beans.
The mouthfeel is super smooth and creamy throughout, almost like a milkshake saved for the medium-minus to medium carbonation that pushes the beer along the palate fast enough to make it insanely and dangerously drinkable. The balance is both bitter and sweet, but enough of either to enhance the drinkability and noteworthiness of flavors.
Overall...yes, this is a world-class stout. It's damn good and worth every penny.

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Photo of pahldavis
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled on 11/06/15

Look: Black as night with a thick, dark carmel brown head
Smell: Shiitake mushroom, bitter chocolate, wood
Taste: Bitter chocolate, molasses, earth and dirt, fresh bay leaf, oregano, wild mushroom
Feel: cough syrup thick, little to no carbonation

Whats not to love or at very least appreciate about this beer. It's everything one wants in an Imperial Stout. The combination of roasty-toastiness with the earthiness reminds me of some Baltic Porters I've had. Overall, it's fantastic and one to sip. I'm in a good place.

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Photo of OldManMetal
3.66/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The 2016 iteration of Expedition Stout is a slightly effervescent, impenetrably black beer with orange footlights and a medium, slightly rocky brown head; lacing is good, consisting of tattered bands, and head retention is modest. The aroma is medium in intensity: milk chocolate, cocoa and more subtle molasses notes, topped by distractingly strong antiseptic alcohol overtones. The flavor is a moderately bitter, somewhat understated, seamless blend of baker's chocolate and cocoa with more subtle molasses and toffee notes, all over an assertive undercurrent of booze. The finish is a good hit of chocolate, molasses and booze; the linger is a modest, thin chocolate bitterness backed by a solvent-like alcohol bitterness, and lasts for a good while. Mouthfeel is a bit light for the full body, and is warming; the texture is sticky/creamy, thick, and slightly peppery from the well-expressed carbonation. (12 oz bottle, 42 days after pkg)

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Photo of Blackop555
5/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

500th beer.
Been waiting to put this review in until i hit 500 on here. I've had it years ago and i continue to yearly. My favorite beer

Pours black. Thick, short, light brown head lasts a little while. Lasting ring.

Smells dark fruit, roast malt, dark chocolate, earthy hops, mollases, light coffee. So complex

Tastes very roasty and dark fruit, figs, molasses. Followed by earthy hops, dark chocolate and touch of coffee. Finish is dry with a roasty Linger. Full body and creamy, smooth medium carbonation.

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Photo of Zaktcc
4.88/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Bottled 11/6/2015
A - Pours a pitch black color with a 3 finger, coffee colored head. Phenomenal head retention and lacing. Full embodiment of a stout.

S - The most overwhelming aroma that hits right off the bat is chocolate and sweet malts. Dark sugar and molasses are notable as well. An amazing and incredibly sweet scented beer.

T - Although not as present in the aromas, the bitterness of the dark fruits comes out in the flavors. Chocolate, malts and sugar are present as well with a sweet, mild chocolate aftertaste. Fairly bitter but very pleasant and will definitely improve with age.

M - Full bodied beer, well carbonated (especially given the age) and smooth. Creamy texture with an ever so slight booziness to it. Very enjoyable.

O - The stout brother of the Hopslam ale. As an avid stout lover, this brew definitely ranks amongst the best I've ever had. The aroma and aesthics are as near perfect as you can wish for. The flavors are robust and delicious and I am excited to see how they shape themselves with age. Very drinkable and enjoyable and simply one of the best stouts you'll ever find.

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Photo of wanderingwheelz
3.73/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This one is more bitter and charred than what some RIS beers. If you're a hophead then this may be a beer for you, but I prefer more sweetness in a RIS. I figured 2 years in the cellar might have reduced the bitterness, but I really don't think it has. Let's give it one more year and see what happens. I'd rather spend my money on Old Rasputin if you're after a true RIS, personally. It's plenty good, but overpriced.

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Photo of bbtkd
3.83/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bell's Expedition Stout, 10.5% ABV, 78 IBU. Pours medium viscosity and black, with only a tiny head on a careful pour, so no lacing noted. Nose is coffee and roasted malt. Taste follows, with bitter close. Carbonation seemed higher than average, so an OK mouthfeel. Overall OKish, but pales in comparison to Ten Fidy.

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Photo of Gajo74
4.54/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a mostly pitch black but with a hint of mahogany. Nice fingernail length mocha head, disapates to a creamy swirl. Ring like lace is slightly sticky.
Aroma not too overpowering; hints of roasted malt, dark fruit and dessert liquer.
The taste takes on many different variations of flavor. At first, roasted malt taste with an esspresso like, hoppy and raw cacao bitterness in the finish. The aftertaste lingers but pleasantly so. Dry enough to make you want more. As it warms, the dark fruit; prunes, raisins etc come out and it becomes sweet. The ever present alcohol also becomes bolder but not overpowering. Big body, viscuous, smooth and creamy. Robust yet easy to drink.
I thought this one was great! I have another one that I'm considering aging in order to compare the difference. Let's see if I have the discipline, because it is that delicious!
P.S. I was unable to age the other one as I was too tempted. I broke down after a week.

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Photo of 94Sip
4.68/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is a BIG stout (as expected). The bottle said it was brewed Oct 2014 and I had it March '15, poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

The label said this stout was meant to be aged and I would highly agree with that sentiment. There is a significant booze presence and the flavors were overall "tight". It reminded me of the Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, in that I think that beer is amazing after sitting in the cellar for a year or two. This beer will probably be incredible with a little age on it.

It is not too hoppy like some of the west coast stouts, but does have just the right amount of bitter to it. The booze hit me initially with each sip, then followed with some of the dark fruits/prunes/raisins. Then the finish gives you some good chocolate/toffee flavors which is my definition of a perfect stout.

With a little age I expect the booze to subside and those middle flavors to come forward and the chocolate/toffee to stay with it and be perhaps a bit more pronounced.

Overall, just a really great imperial stout and ranks up there with the others that I really like.

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Photo of SWOhio-aquifer
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On a bit of a beer sabbatical. Trying to enjoy summer and not get too carried with the drink, eh. However, with a beer drinking session cut short (I"m out of beer, good beer that is).. A half intoxicated beer drinkers mind wanders to a thought of a dark over grown cellar. The jungle of OHio has overtaken a cellar I haven't been in for a year or so. So, sitting thinking about a time I bought this beer and stuck it in a cool dark place,Thinking did i leave a bottle or two in there.. Apparently, my nostrils have sucked in something. Or lack their of, no micro in the frig.,,Hmm... any options
Getting up from my wooden couch and hacking thru some vines, yee one finds expedition stout. Wow , date reads Oct. 2014. Let the adventure begin..

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Photo of Stevedore
4.06/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle dated 12/27/12 poured into a Bell's tulip and quaffed today, 3/9/13. Review is based primarily on today's bottle but also uses notes from previous bottles from the same vintage which were consumed fresh.

Aroma: I definitely get the dark fruits- raisins, figs, cherry. It's definitely sweet smelling with quite a bit of heat on the nose. Really good smelling imperial stout- the ones I've been drinking are usually roasty and/or hoppy. But this is straight up dark fruit. Really a nice change of pace. (4)

Colour: Pours a dark dark dark jet black, looks great. It comes out with an absolutely beautiful 1cm dark brown head that dissipates within 30 seconds into absolutely nothing, leaving a very thin brown collar over an abyss of black beverage. The lacing is absolutely thick, and swirling agitates the collar and makes it even thicker. You can't do any better than this brew for its appearance! (5)

Flavour: When I first drank it fresh back in December, it tasted rather medicinal with a straight-up overdone cherry tartness- not complex at all and rather hard to drink. I didn't like it at the time but I decided to give it 3 months to see how it changes over time. And it would appear that just a bit of age really develops this beer. The heat has been covered up by a more complex flavor combining hints of the underlying roasty malt character with the dominant dark fruit flavours as described in the nose- raisins, cherry, figs that contribute quite a bit to the aftertaste. It's not boozy at all and has developed nicely in such a short amount of time. (4)

Mouthfeel: On the lighter side of a thick body. Decent carbonation. Goes down smoothly leaving a nice balanced finish that is neither wet or dry. The aftertaste is probably dominantly tart cherry that goes to town on your taste buds for quite a while afterwards. Not the thickest imperial stout but it's a very smooth quaff. (4)

Overall: It makes sense that this beer develops with some age on it as it would seem that Bell's intended it that way. I'm happy that I hung onto the six-pack I bought last December. I'll probably try it at 3-6 month intervals to see how it develops from here on. It's a nice change from the usual roasty and hoppy imperial stouts (e.g. Founders Imperial Stout, Plead the 5th, etc.), as the dark fruits are the strongest contributor to the flavour. (4)

Re-reviewed 5/30/2014. 2013 vintage (7/19/2013) poured into a Bell's goblet. A bit over 10 months old now. Essentially, appearance is the same, and I do get a ton of dark chocolate bitterness with even more dark fruit and some vanilla essence in the nose. Flavour profile is similar, heavier on the dark fruits- dates, raisins- roast malts and dark chocolate mixed in with milk chocolate and caramel, with a bit of vanilla and molasses. Very complex, interesting and decadent beer that has a nice slick mouthfeel that isn't quite too thick or oily but just right. Overall, a great RIS that stacks up with the other Michigan RIS's- Founders RIS and DH Plead the 5th to name a few.

Based on this vintage, I would re-review to a 4.5/4.25/4.5/4/4.25 which comes out to a BA score of 4.35.

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Photo of Bshaw22
4.39/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This beer is really hard for me to rate. I'm drinking it so fresh, only a couple months old.
Looks beautiful. Sleeps ok. Taste is really goo but really bitter for a stout. I am going to save the rest of the six pack and age it. I'll review again next year.

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Photo of medicinewheel
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

6 month old bottle from date on label, maybe too young, couldn't wait. This is Bell's after all.

Look- Black as night, it is like motor oil, tan thin head, quick run lacing. (Doesn't last)

Smell- almost too much to describe, so much going on at once- pine, tar, resin, chocolate, coffee, wine.

Taste- dark Chocolate, coffee bitterness that lingers, possibly some very ripe banana, noticed that after many tastes.

Feel- Smooth, light carbonation but the effect here is so appealing for the style, the ale just lingers on the tongue and the palate, you'll feel it sip after sip it's right. Bitterness will sit on the back of the tongue for a while in such a pleasant way commanding another taste.

Stout's are not my favorite style-but- now this Stout is one of my favorite's how's that for a change of pace!?
Only Bell's could do something like that-

It's a massive Stout and I recommend anyone give one a try regardless of palate preference- it's simply an amazing ale.

If you come across this- it's a must have.
Cellaring would be damn fun if you have the patience.

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Photo of woemad
4.27/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle courtesy of LehighAce06 as part of his battery of (mostly) Michigan beers that he sent me as part of NBS BIF # 2. Another Bell’s beer that I had wanted for a long time! According to the label, this was bottled August 22, 2014. Hmm. Pre-aged for your pleasure…

Poured into a Jones Radiator mug, this is a very dark brown, with a big, foam head that is colored somewhere between tan and mocha. Said head left lots of lace on the sides of the glass, and fell rather quickly – not a surprise given the potency of this brew.

Big nose of molasses, coffee and booze, but the coffee isn’t nearly as pronounced as other reviewers indicate – maybe because mine has been sitting for nearly a year, it’s mellowed a bit. Still, the other aspects of the nose give it a suitably unsubtle but tasty aroma – like all good Imperial Stouts!

The flavor does more to convince me this is mellower than it would be when fresh. The mollassly-brown sugar thing leads the flavor charge, backed up by booze, dark chocolate and coffee (in pretty much that order). In the background there’s some figgy-pruny things happening as well, along with notes of pipe tobacco (Referencing a forum rant someone made - Yeah, I’ve smoked a pipe, mentioning that in flavor terms isn’t being pretentious, it’s coming from my own experience). There’s a mild, hoppy zap at the swallow, but it’s nearly buried in sweet and bitter malt flavors that give off a kind of coffee ice cream aftertaste.

Full bodied, with spot-on carbonation and a creamy, coating mouthfeel.

I really, really like this beer. It’s ridiculously drinkable for a 10+% stout, without seeming like a dumbed down version of the style. In a weird reversal of how things usually go, I find myself wishing I had a fresh, harsher version so I could compare it to this slightly-aged version. I may have to trade for this again (or pick up a few bottles if I ever get back to Michigan), so I’ll be leaving it on my “wants” until further notice.

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Photo of Taybeh
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

In a snifter, on tap, pours a dark mahogany black, creamy 1 finger khaki head with decent retention and good lacing. Nose is quite roasty and a little smoky, with good malt character, solid baker’s chocolate, a little sweet cream, a little (but not much) bitter coffee. Good, but for the style, nothing too special. Taste is a little more interesting to me, with a little leathery licorice and some fleshy dark fruit complementing the predominant slightly chewy chocolate, and a zippy hoppy edge that affects the feel more than it does the taste. A little smoke lingers. Fairly light feel and not very boozy, considering the abv. Can’t believe I haven’t rated this before. Solid offering, and more than well-well worth a shot.

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Photo of Detlef90
4.82/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Probably the best easily accessible Russian Imperial available in a 6 pack format. Actually.. I would say it is in the top three Russian Imperials, period (my other two are Darkness and Stone). While this beer is good fresh, even with only a few months age it gets better and then with a couple of years of age it becomes legendary. Buy this beer. Have one fresh and then sit on the rest.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Beer rating: 4.26 out of 5 with 6,252 ratings
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