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

2,136 Reviews
Bell's Expedition StoutBell's Expedition Stout

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

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

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Reviews: 2,136 | Ratings: 6,154
Photo of Budlum
4.85/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This stout pours very thick, nearing a maple syrup texture. A tall, dense, deep brown head forms while pouring. The body of this stout is dense and about as black as it gets. Head retention is excellent. This is what premium stout look like.

A short burst of sharp, roasted barley flavors hit the nose before a sweet rush takes over. Smells of licorice, tobacco, brown sugar, prunes, nutmeg, hops and espresso appear in a complete display of power. Alcohol is notable on the nose but it provides just enough strength to tingle the nose without overpowering the senses. Excellent all around.

A sweet rush of chocolate, espresso and candied sugars lead the flavors of this beer with authority. A blend of dark fruits and faint spices are joined by a powerful, charred and roasted barley flavor backed by a strong hop presence. An alcohol presence is provided by a mild burn. The finish is long, epic actually. The strong hop flavors and charred barley mixed with pipe tobacco seem to hold forever. This is a top notch stout.

The mouthfeel is very luxurious and the body is quite thick. Mild carbonation is present but this beer is just a little too oily to be perfect. Overall, the mouthfeel is still supreme.

Drinkability is very good for a stout with this level of flavor. The strong flavors and long finish should make this a slow sipper but this beer just disappears from the glass. If you find this beer, buy a lot.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.85/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11/24/07- Received via trade with Lou91.

Presentation- 12oz bottle with a code marked 6672 on the bottom of the back label. Not a clue what that means. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Very black in color. 3/4 inch milk chocolate colored head. Head has nice staying power. Lace streaks and spots and patchwork remain after the finish.

Smell- Strong nose of molasses, deep sweet malt, coffee, licorice and chocolate. Full house in this nose. One of the better ones out there.

Taste- Wow, this is right up there with my all time favorite tasting imperials. Huge milgled flavors of dark chocolate, roasted fresh coffee beans and mollasses. Sweet and dark like candy. Just an explosion of flavors that meld so well together. Hops are there, but come out more in the aftertaste than the actual consumption.

Mouthfeel- Creamy, viscous, extremely mouthcoating. Thick and chewy, but unlike cough syrup. Medium carbonation level with a bitter aftertaste that gets stronger and stronger.

Drinkability- Abv is noticeable, but doesn't seem like the 11.5% Seems high though. Damn I wish I could get these out here. May have to do some mail order. Top notch stuff that competes with Stone, Alesmith and a few other ones IMO. Will be doing what I can to get more of these.

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Photo of AtLagerHeads
4.85/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow! I've been waiting to get my hands on this beer for some time because it's from a neighboring state and has legendary reviews and ratings. Everything I've read has been impressive and so is this beer. It is without question one of the most full-bodied beers I can imagine being brewed. My first bottle poured an absolutley non-light-transmitting black with a quarter inch head that lingered for about one minute and one sip. The head was thick, creamy, and dark tan to light brown in color. The lacing was light and not clingy but lasted throughout the glass. Expect to pay $2.50 to $3 a glass at the beverage outlet.

This is a full night's beer. The taste overwhelms the taste buds and it has an immediate impact on the senses. I found the aroma to be on the light side initially, but very rich and caramelly. As the glass warmed the aromas strengthened and became much more pronounced. The taste is very full; again it overwhelms the senses with its complex blend of tastes that start somewhat sweet at the front, but end very bitter at the back. The aftertaste starts very bitter but begins to mellow to a bit of a tangy licorice spiciness as the bitters lighten. To call this a creamy, full-bodied beer is indeed an understatement. This is really rich stuff and not to be taken lightly. Wear a seatbelt and designate a driver before you sample this baby! Wow #2!

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Photo of Pedro07
4.85/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Great beer and the first one of the winter for me.

A- Awsome dark richness. Thick old motor oil in my glass. A dark brown creamy head rises to a 3/4 inch height and slooowly falls. Good lacing down the glass.

S- Again, awsome richness. This is a favorite for me. All the molasses, cocoa and roasted goodness one can expect from an RIS.

T- Where do I begin? How can I do it jutice? Roasted malts galore, coffee, espresso, black barley, bourbon-soaked raisins, and on and on. Wonderfully balanced.

M- Velvety, smooth, and exquisitely mouth-coating. Dessert in a glass.

D- Wonderful sipper on a cold winters night. Bell's got this one right.

Not my all-time, but close!

Bro's, you guys got a bad one. Give it another try, you'll love it!

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Photo of Braudog
4.85/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Draft at KClingers on the recommendation of one of the smartest but unknown beer drinkers I’ve ever met. It poured midnight black with a sticky light tan head. At first, I sense medicinal properties -- licorice, cough medicine (but in a good way), roasted malt and dark cherries. This is an exceptional dark beer! (#2718, 2/18/2007)

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Photo of unclederby
4.85/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch 6811

So i'm gonna go ahead and say it now, this is absolutely one of the best beers i've ever tasted.

The pour was an opaque pitch black topped by a smallish mocha-colred head which dissapated quickly. Impossible by sight to guess if there is any carbonation activity.

Smell is sweet, dominated by smoke and chocolate, wheat toast and with the faintest hint of hops.

And the taste! Rich with flavours of milk chocolate, roasted malts, hazelnuts, coffee and the slightest hint of hop bitterness on the finish. How the hell did i get all of this? I would never know this is 11.5 ABV.

What superb flavors!

I'm drinking too fast...

Mouthfeel to me is perfect for a double stout, thick and chewy, smooth and creamy... just a bit slick and oily. Who needs carbonation?

Drinkability? Give me another... but just one more. Not because it's harsh on the palate but just the opposite; it's delicious and very rich and quite filling.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.85/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Updated: 2003 version pours at slightly below room temp with a humungous head of tan 5, thus increasing the appearance and aroma to a '5'. Taste is also a 5 to me now, but this stuff is just too thick so I have to drop .5 for drinkabiity and mouthfeel. Still, this is one of the best imperial stouts out there on the market!

Like the previous reviewer my bottle was also very flat. Rendering me with only an almost inaudible 'pfft' as I popped the cap. This beer poured as dark as darkness itself but unfrotunately for me, it had no head. The aroma was a little intense at first, but as this beer warmed up you could small dark roasted flavors, malts, chocolate, candies, and fruits...very nice. The taste was, of course, exceptional but the mouthfeel was a little too thick for the low carbonation of this bottle. This has a good drinkability and it is one of my favorite Imperial Stouts by far. If I could get this with a nice head on it and some more carbonation it would probably rate all 5's. I have heard about this breweries inconsistency so perhaps my next bottle will be the 'straight 5's monster' I think this beer can be!
thanks to sakaroo for the sample...

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Photo of Converge
4.85/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

355ml bottle poured into a 16oz tulip. 2012 Bottle.

A - Pours a viscous black oil with a dense brown head on top; dark as hell. Despite the hard pour, the head remained small. Eventually it settles down to a thin skiff leaving slight bits of sticky lace. Looks like a fine stout, with excellent label design to boot.

S - Roasted malt, anise, cocoa, earthy hops and booze. A coffee presence looms in the background, with lots of roasty qualities upfront. There's a big resinous character here that I love. Definitely a greater focus on more abrasive aromas rather than residual boozy sweetness, which to me is ideal for the style. Smells awesome.

T - Absolutely delicious. Everything a big stout should be. Massive base of roasty malt fills the palate immediately, slowly giving way to subtle notes of anise, cocoa, and earthy wood. Finishes with a mixture resinous hops, boozy sweetness, and an assertive blast of espresso. As it warms slight bits of sweetness begin to poke through. Caramelized sugar, bourbon vanilla, dark fruits, and smoky flavors make their way across the palate. Finishes a touch warm, but I don't mind. This is a profile the matches up against the finest stouts I've tried.

M - Remarkably dense and viscous, incredibly creamy and smooth, with an understated carbonation of fine bubbles that lends itself to preserving the creamy texture of the brew. Sticky on the lips, with a mild alcoholic tinge to the finish. Awesome mouthfeel, that compliments the profile beautifully.

D - Certainly one of the finest beers I've ever tried. The profile is a perfect meld of roasty, hoppy and sweet. Insanely drinkable at nearly 11.00% ABV. Absolutely world class beer overall. If it were readily available to me I would have a cellar full of it.

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Photo of dogger6253
4.85/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours out like motor oil, dark and viscous, almost black. The head is a beautiful mocha color that dissipated to a thin ring around the top.

Smells like chocolate, slight alcohol present blended into the licorice. I also noted hints of citrus and a definite roasted-coffee scent. There are other fruity aromas present too, but I have trouble picking them out, raisins/plums perhaps? Also a definite molasses tone in the aroma. The chocolate and fruits come through more as the beer settles.

The taste is dominated by roasted malt and chocolate with hints of coffee or cocoa coming through. Towards the finish, a very slight hint of alcohol balanced by a fruity sweetness, figs and plums.

Very thick in the mouth, but not overly so. This is what my idea of a stout should be; thick and heavy, yet delicious and easy to sip. I would drink this all night. The alcohol definitely affects you so be aware if you're having a few. The alcohol is masked very well in the taste. This is one of my favorite stouts, by far.

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Photo of hero27
4.85/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Deep rich chocolate color with an extremely creamy head. Aroma is rich chocolate, molasses, coffee, dark fruits, etc. Tastes are incredible and mirror the smells, but with an added complexity of burnt malts and a brutally bitter character as well. Amazing..this exceeded the hype for me, and then some. The mouthfeel is endlessly smooth & creamy.. The alcohol shows itself perfectly, and compliments the other flavors exceptionally well.
Mindblowing drinkability for a nearly 12% alcohol beer. Definitely one of the best stouts I've ever had..nearly flawless.

A top-notch offering from Bell's. Thanks to Px2GrafX for letting my try this one.

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Photo of CDBeerDisappear
4.84/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours black, almost completely opaque, with a tan foamy head and great retention. The draft is very similar to the bottled, so, if you can only get the bottled, don't feel like you are missing anything. Aroma of sweet dark fruit, prunes raisins, currants and chocolate – smells delicious. Plus, the taste delivers what the aroma promises. Sweet but not too sweet, mouthfeel is full and rich, carbonation is rather light. Great drinkability. How could anyone not like this beer?

I think Jason and Todd got an out of date sample of this beer because it really is great. Bell's is a great brewery (you know that) and this is a great beer.

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Photo of bman13
4.84/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very good beer. Picked this one up by mistake, but man am I happy that I screwed up! It's a huge big ol plus to me that this is in 6 packs and not dumb 4 packs. There's very little beer now with this high of an ABV and of this quality that are sold that way, but on to the beer;

Just excellent is all I can say at the least. Smells and tastes of deep dark chocolate with a little molasses possibly, can't really tell but whatever is in there, is good. Slight hoppy bitterness on the finish. And has a very thick syrupy appearance with a thick sticky brown head. Just amazing

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Photo of watsonmd
4.84/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: black, thick, dark brown tight bubbled head.

S: toffe, coffee, oak, stone fruit

T: upfront roasty malt, coffee and chocolate, with a "cough syrupy" after taste on the first sip, but not so much after that. Perhaps the ABV?

M: Thick, syrupy, smooth and creamy.

O: Excellent. Not a Black Note, but still an excellent Bell's!

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Photo of Greencoat
4.84/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Re-review. I found a six pack of 5 year old Expedition Stout on the shelves of a tiny deli. No regrets.

A - Motor oil pour with a chocolate milk colored head. Slight legs on the glass. Absolutely gorgeous.

S - A world of difference from a fresh bottle. All alcoholic heat is muted, and instead milk chocolate, molasses, and fig dominate. Wonderful sherry notes that are only achievable with age.

T - Holy moly. The taste follows the nose. The tannic, angular bitterness from the fresh bottle is nowhere to be found. Everything has been brought together in a glorious state of absolution. Bravo.

M - Chewier than a wookie. Alcoholic burn is non-existent. Extremely creamy.

O - I don't alway rate beers absurdly high, but when I do - they deserve it. Apparently 5 years of being ignored does this ale great justice. Now if I can make it to 10...

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Photo of Sephiroth
4.84/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The first time I met this beer, I was utterly defeated. Now, I am the master. It goes into a tulip with an inch of coffee like foam. This quickly dissipates to a thin ring which stays around the edge of the beer. It appears to be black, but when held in the light at the proper angle, one can see that it is dark ruby in color.

The nose is very complex. It is roasty and has a vinous quality. I detect just a slight licorice aroma. The nose is very well blended. The taste does not disappoint either. There is coffee, licorice, port wine, and others I am sure. Beneath all of this, I detect me some hops. There is absolutely no hint at the 11.5% ABV. The mouthfeel is great. It is thick and chewy, but is not syrupy. As I am writing this review, the quality of this beer is starting to sink in. The drinkability is high, especially with the way the alcohol is masked. I will consider myself lucky to have this beer available in IN.

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Photo of umustdrink
4.83/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've had this one once before and have always thought it to be the best stout I have ever had, it still is.

Served at slightly more than 50 degrees.

A - I poured this one rather aggressively in my tulip so I got a gigantic head. It was kind of fun to watch the head change forms from a solid looking head with TINY little bubbles to a big rocky formation with a smooth top. Head is deep brown in color and gets darker as it gets closer to the actual beer. Lacing sticks in thick patches.

S - Aroma is of lightly roasted malts, more sweet than bitter chocolate and a creamy milky background. Very slight alcohol vapor like scent just barely detectable.

T - Oh yes...this is it. Slightly bitter up front, quickly leading into a dark toasty malt with a creamy chocolate note, grainy in texture. Warming, comforting alcohol as it goes down. Heaven in a glass.

M - THICK consistency with a nice oilyness allowing for maximum taste retention. Parts of it are noticeably grainy, like unmixed hot cocoa.

D - I've never had Darklord, but to me this is the best stout and one of the best beers allover I've ever had the pleasure of drinking. Thank you Bell's!

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Photo of silenius
4.83/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Holy Moley!

I really wasn't expecting much from this beer since some other Bell's offerings I find too common.

Appearance: The black hole of beers! I shined a 300W halogen light up to it and could not see a bit of light through the glass! Dark tan espresso crema head that after one year of ageing is still very thick, lively and coats the glass with substantial lacing.

Smell: OHHH! My mom's gingerbread cookies, molasses, dark chocolate and espresso. I could tell this would be good!

Taste: Magnificent dark chocolate, molassess, and espresso. The dark chocolate and espresso linger forever.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy. As a beer like this should be.

Drinkability: I can't keep myself from continually taking sip after sip. I think this is my first 5 in drinkability. Excellent, excellent, excellent!!

I will be buying more and more!

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Photo of divecj5
4.83/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a nice molten black with a minimal amount of tan head. Very little lacing as a result. Great aroma with great roasted and smokey tones. Incredibly smooth on the palate. Complex character that has hints of chocolate, very little bitterness, and doesn't leave your mouth feeling dry as saw dust like a lot of other heavy, imperial stouts. Definitely a beer to sit back and savor.

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Photo of brdc
4.83/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This one pours creamy, thick like whole milk, even oily. It is pitch black and it makes a nice dark brown head that looks nice but has almost no retention, although it does lace the glass well.
Nose is very rich, roasted malts, coffee, burnt sugar, milk and alcohol.
It has a very nice, creamy, velvety full body, and it starts sweetish on the palate, finishing dry and bitter, with intermediate layers of roasted malts, hops, chocolate and sugar. Very satisfying with a single small bottle.
I might have a new favorite stout; this is one impressive brew, and every time I go back to it, it amazes me more. The price is unbeliveable for the quality, which makes it better.
Not to be missed.

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Photo of timbro81
4.83/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours out like used motor oil. <goosebumps> Massive fluffy dark tan head that clinges to the glass as it travels down the glass. Smells of deep dark chocolate followed by a good does of bitter hops for balance. Feels super silky in the mouth, like a melted chocolate bar, wow! Starts out chocolatey that turns into deep roasted malt flavors which then magically transition to a nice hop bitterness. A slight smokiness to it mixed in there too. Aftertaste is slightly boozey. I want to drink this beer till my ears bleed.

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Photo of kzoobrew
4.83/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle batch 8183 bottled October 07.

Pours like used motor oil. This stuff is thick and black. Very little head, cap may be a better term. A small mocha colored cap vanishes quickly.

Smell, like the rest of this brew, is big. Big roasted malt, coffee and molasses. Faint chocolate aroma sneaks through but it overwhelmed by the stronger scents.

The is a sweetness to this brew, blends well with the roasted malt. A slightly burnt coffee and dark chocolate taste tie in very well.

Mouthfeel is big but exceptionally smooth for the abv. Heavy slightly oily finish. Almost creamy.

Beers this big are not something to sit down with a sixer of. But for what it is, I can drink the hell out of it.

Growing up in Kalamazoo, Bell's has always been a favorite of mine. Expedition has always been slightly feared, too big, too much like motor oil. It is a big beer which does require a more experienced palate. First time I have had this brew in years, absolutely fantastic.

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Photo of Px2GrafX
4.82/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

presentation: 12oz. bottle with a simple cream colored label with blue borders. the bell's logo heads the top of the label. below the logo is an illustration of a styalized map symbol. on the back of the bottle is bell's interpretation of their ris.

appearance: pours a jet black with a very dark brown 1 inch head into a snifter glass. nice rolling head to start that quickly dropped to a thin patchy cap after a couple of minutes. excellent lacing down the glass.

smell: rediculously strong sweet chocolate aroma. there is also molasses, currants, espresso and plums. one of the most aromatic brews i've ever experienced.

taste: chocolate mocha espresso. burnt mollasses and dark fruit. plums, prunes, raisins and currants. extremely flavorful malts. very dessert-like and warming, right down to the ever-so light hop bitter finish. aftertaste is bitter-sweet dark chocolate and burnt malts.

mouthfeel: so thick, creamy and chewey. heavy body. beautifully smooth. i love it. carbonation is a tad light. only thing keeping it from getting a 5.

drinkability: man, the drinkability is good considering. 11% abv, and super thick. but the flavors and aromas tempt you during every pause between sips. very intoxicating, however.

overall: the best beer i've had to date. near perfect on almost every cylinder. i love north coast's old rasputin, and stone's ris, but this beer has just a couple more qualities that i enjoy. i can't imagine this getting much better, but i'm laying down a couple just to see. highly recommended. i have received this from patyoda and skyhand, so a huge thanks goes out to both.

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Photo of StevieW
4.82/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. Nothing on the opening, not even a whisper. I've heard the reports, read the reviews about the lack of carbonation, is it flat ? is it made that way ? That's subject to debate I guess. But, it doesn't bother me.
Murky darker than the inside of a stovepipe. Thick and dense. Flat, viscous, full fledged motor oil viscosity. Slick is an understatement. Nearly molasses like, much like Utopias MII without the maple syrup and vanilla, or the alcohol burn. A few bubbles cling together on the side of glass, like the Chess team at the homecoming dance, they never make it alone, nor do they create any action. Smell is an earthy full combination of burnt fruits, figs, plums, and maybe some carmel apples. Initial taste is full of roasted bitter malt. Bitterness, beyond regular coffee, this is burnt espresso, the Starbucks guy run amok.
Hints of chocolate malt, extremely smooth. Some hops whisper by, lots of them, cascade, who knows, theres a bunch. Then after the flavors slip a highly charged shot of hop bitterness. Striking, and attacks the inside of the mouth, puckering.
Flat, lifeless carbonation, any glass swills yeild only the smallest, individual bubbles. High alcohol leaves no trace either feel or taste wise. Just a sublte belly warming comfort it. Slick, with a resiny hop induced, Celebration Ale stickiness to it. The ultimate experience beer, or after dinner beer. I almost want to visit the North again in the winter to truly experience this one. Maybe not, I'll just turn the AC down low and enjoy this one.
What an experience...again earns my highest compliment......Magic in a glass !

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Photo of turnblom79
4.82/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my first forays in to RIS as a newbie to crafts trying to develop my palate. I was that this beer was good enough to pour over ice cream because of its chocolate and coffee tones, and I was not let down. Excellent stout, great rich flavor. The texture was slightly syrupy and felt very pleasant. Looking forward to more from Bells.

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Photo of WiscoBrewsco
4.82/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Appearance - Poured a night black, little to no carbonation, slight tan head that didn't linger long

Smell - Sweet chocolate mixed with wet hops and roasted malts

Taste - Wow what a mix of flavors for a stout. Off the bat a massive thick malt bill with loads of chocolate steal the show but then it transitions into an almost salty sweet roasted malt flavor that carries you right into a dank hop flavor that finishes with a sweet milk chocolate aftertaste

Mouthfeel - The mouthfeel is thick but not quite to the level of being chewy, but almost

Overall - This is a fantastic stout. One of the five best I have ever had and personally I think it is a better offering than Bell's highly acclaimed Black Note Stout. If you are a fan of stouts you have to try this one. Simply amazing

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.22 out of 5 based on 6,154 ratings.
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