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: 6,153
Photo of MiScusi
3.28/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle code of 7740 indicating a bottling date of Dec 19, 2006. Pours a really thick black color. Found the smell and flavor to be somewhat paralleled with the Kalamazoo stout, although kicked up a couple notches of course. More of a sour dark malty character to this, or what seems kinda like soy to me. I didn't like it all that much. The roastiness just wasn't that big.

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Photo of DIM
3.28/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

a: This was black and it poured with small dark tan head.

s: Mild molasses-y, vinous chocolate and some solvent-y bitterness.

t: Mirrors the smell for the most part, this is kind of tart. The finish is pretty hot, which was pretty distracting.

m: Nicely big bodied but the heat lingers for awhile.

o: Much better than I remember. I had this on-tap years ago and I just didn't like it. Still, while this might get with time, there isn't enough here that I like to make we want to age any.

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Photo of Lothore
3.28/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- Pours a deep black with a small dark brown head which fades quickly.

S- Smell is sweet, notes of caramel, toffee and coffee.

T- Taste is deep coffee, lingering sweet caramel, dark fruits, very intense with some alcohol warming at the end. Doesn't sit well on my palate, just not the kind of RIS I enjoy.

M- Thick as motor oil with decent carbonation.

D- I choked this one down. I could see how other people would think this one is good because of its complexity but I just could not get myself to like it.

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Photo of JRed
3.28/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours black in body topped by coffee-with-milk head that stays. Mildy offensive aroma of bitter chocolate, earth and vegetation, booze, slight hazelnut. Tastes of cola, bitter dark chocolate, earth, a grapefruity hop presence, and booze with subtle cocoa nibs. Heavy in body with light carbonation. Offensive in almost all aspects.

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Photo of trentley87
3.3/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle to pint glass.

A: Pours a obviously thick dark brown from the bottle. Barely a finger of deep brown head that quickly recedes. Leaves generous lacing all the way down.

S: Roasted coffee and sweetness backed by the slightest hint of bitterness. I expected some alcohol considering the high ABV but I can't detect any.

T: Dark roasted coffee flavors, maybe a hint of chocolate. Alcohol is present in the aftertaste at first but becomes more and more pronounced as this beer warms.

M: Very, very full bodied but slightly under-carbonated for my taste. Smooth, filling, but lacking in some respect I can't quite put my finger on.

D: The high ABV means one of these is about enough. This is a decent winter beer but it is a bit heavy to make it one of my go-to brews.

I'm just not seeing this one as A or A+ seems this one is either really good or really bad. Maybe Bell's needs stay a little more consistent.

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Photo of MPLS
3.3/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tasting this one after the big ole burnt dirt Storm King.

A: Unintelligible blackness, with the light brown coffee bean head that foams to 3 cm in height only to sink. Moderate tan leather lacing.

S: Sweet cocoa, pleasant alcohol, molasses? + a thin veil of roast.

T: A dark roasted espresso beer, with not a lot of sweetness to it, caught some dirt/earth in this guy, alcohol was hidden well for 10.5%. Too earthy.

M: Thought there would ample carbonation with the head that came from the poor, but it's lacking some carbonation. Medium and somewhat creamy.

D: This beer makes me realize I like a little sweetness and interested hop profile to my stouts. A good sipping beer, but won't get me excited anytime soon. Would be curious how an aged Expidition would taste, but probably even lower carbonation than when it's relatively fresh.

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Photo of claminat420
3.31/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Batch #8864

A- poured a nice dark color that any stout should be. nice tan/ light brown half finger head.

S- malty with the scent of the alcohol. i mean what do you expect with a 10.5abv stout???

T- roasted malts with the slightest coffee taste. the alcohol definitey hangs in the backend.

M- light bodied with the right carbonation i would say.

D- just a couple and i'm good.

Overall- this is one hearty beer. not so much in the full bodied but the 10.5abv. i'm not usually a stout fan but i can dig this one. like i said you could only have a couple. i recommend this to any stout fan. would be better during some freezing cold weather or a family xmas party. haha.

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Photo of Steffano
3.31/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Bottle date 8/22/13. After pour there is very little head, pretty dark color. Smell is coffee dominant. Good mouthfeel. Taste is primarily molasses and licorice, not as coffee forward as I expected, with a little bit of alcohol heat. While letting it warm up reduces some of its harsher characteristics, have to say i'm disappointed in this one given its reputation. I would put stone ris, narwhal, and old rasputin far ahead of this one overall.

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Photo of scalffd
3.31/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Perhaps I am too much of a newbie, but this beer did nothing for my palate. While highly regarded among beer enthusiasts, the alcohol dominated this beer from aroma to finish. The pitch black color was exciting, but the small, fizzy head that soon disappeared was lackluster. The smell and taste of alcohol was too overwhelming to be enjoyable and more balance would make the beer more pleasant. I prefer the Bell's Kalamazoo stout. Sorry, not a fan.

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Photo of PhageLab
3.32/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter.

A - Opaque brownish-black colour, almost no head at all, small ring of froth, some spotted lace.

S - Fresh raisins, sweet molasses.

T - Extremely rich, almost to the point of cloying. Rather boozy as well, 10.5% is quite obvious here. Some nice roasted flavors are present, but they are masked by the overbearing sweetness.

M - Full bodied, low carbonation, dry finish, about what I expected.

D - Nice characteristics, but far too sweet for my tongue. Not a bad brew, but not one I'd wish to revisit.

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Photo of harrymel
3.32/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured to NB globe.
Batch 9971: 09/13/10
First tasting: 08FEB11
Second tasting: 30AUG11

A: Pours dark brown with no head formation. Upon stir, get a temporary dark mocha, loose bubbled head (1/2 finger) which disappears very quickly. Border remains.
A2: Dark brown, under 1/2 finger dark mocha head falls slowly to a broken sheet of the same. Spotty lacing. Clarity irrelevant.

S: Roasted malts, grains, hints of dates, figs, licorice. There's quite a metallic scent here too, a bit off setting. (2.5)
S2: Roasted malts of coffee, dates and prunes. My initial impression upon opening this beer was a healthy dose of molasses, I no longer really smell this. Some cocoa there as well. Licorice is evident, but nicely integrated. (3)

T: Wow, the licorice takes over here. Also quite bitter. Dark, unsweetened cocoa in here. Fairly one dimensional. Finish resonates for what seems forever. It tastes burnt. (3)
T2: Dry cocoa powder, licorice, burnt coffee, molasses now bites back. Hmm, reminds me of burnt toast with a wee bit of cinnamon/sugar over the top (very wee bit). (3.5)

M: Thick, low carbonation, very very sticky. (3)
M2: Thinned out a bit, medium on low carbonation. Leaves a sticky finish with a dry feel. (3)

D: One is more than enough. I can't stand behind this beer. (3)
O2: This beer is too roasted and burnt tasting for me. If it had a bit more molasses flavor, it would remind me of Nightstalker by GI. Although I dislike how sweet NightStalker comes across, this one comes out with too much of the burnt malts and not enough balance with the other flavors. (3)

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Photo of brewsclues
3.32/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the Sharp Edge (Pittsburgh, PA).

Appearance: Pitch black, tan head. Pretty nice to look at. Stout-y!

Smell: Whoa, did we just sit down next to a campfire?

Taste: Did someone just throw dark, bitter chocolate and molasses on a campfire and put it in my pint glass? (Thought so.)

Not subtle. Too smokey. Too bitter at the end. Massive, bold tastes in all the wrong ways.

I'll admit: I don't get this beer. I'm sure the 2,602 people who have reviewed this as a 94 are right and I'm wrong. I think this is a slightly above average beer, even for a stout. Another example of an "extreme beer" that sacrifices subtle and complex characteristics that ease into your palette for an "in-your-face" marketing pitch. I enjoy stouts and I could barely finish this beer without a splitting headache - you know, the type you get from smoke inhalation.

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Photo of sweett3k
3.33/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thick Thick beer. My daughter asked me for a sip of my rootbeer float because of the thick creamy head it had.Then she smelt it and asked me if it was a chocolate and raisin milk shake. It has a nice thick coats your tongue feel with a choclate and rasin taste so my sweet pea nailed it. I am a hops man so I say it is O.K. I'll drink one of these at a time when I am in the mood for a thick stout. I just enjoy all the best beers in the world that South West Michigan brews and brings to my table. Now I need a Hopslam!

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Photo of BlindPig
3.33/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- About a 1/4-1/2" mocha head on a pitch black body. When pouring it looks like black ink.
S- Big roasted malts, maple syrup, toffee, black currants, hints of coffee, brownies, alcohol, and just a tiny hint of grass hops.
T- Alcohol, light syrup, brownies, burnt malts...lots of them, black currants, and a really dry medium bitterness on tongue. It is mostly made up of burnt malts and different roasted flavors. Alcohol comes in after tickling the tongue and warms up back of throat and makes it quite hot.
M- Really dry finish! Full body with low carbonation.
D- It is alright. I think it focuses to much on just the different burnt flavors for my liking. I can drink it but I doubt I will be searching for it again.

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Photo of damienblack
3.33/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

At first appears lowly carbonated, minimal head that takes a minute to billow up just a bit, like one finger or less, thin and dissipate, doesn't leave much in the way of bubbles or lacing on the side. Smells like chalky cocoa powder, and a blast of yeast. Not a great start on the first 2 senses.

Impressions: Reminds me a lot of Yeti in that it's a hop forward Impy Stout. Also in that way, most of the flavor comes from the harsh roast malt. Not much impressions of coffee or chocolate flavors at all. Slightly grassy, very hoppy in finish. Almost lingers like an IPA on the palate. Not much depth of flavor for me, unfortunately. I can see where the bros comment on a lack of creaminess, this feels pretty flat and dead to me. Dead hops linger on the palate, there is no refreshment, no cleansing to it. This may be the least enjoyable Impy stout I've had thus far. While it's not terrible, there are many others I've enjoyed more.

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Photo of macktbone
3.33/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

As part of a trade with Aforbes and hoped to be enjoyed with ThirdLap. I was told this would be one of my top stouts...not so much

This beer is jet black with a dark brown head that quickly dissappears in an alcoholic haze. It stains the glass an oily brown.

The smell is super soy with figs.

Taste & mouthfeel leave a lot to be desired

So little carbonation that it is hard to get down. Hold your breath prior to contact, the soy is overpowering. Bitter end with a sweet aftertaste that grows on you a little.

Extremely thin for a "good" stout. When I pour a beer and it glubs, I expect it to be thick, or at least feel thick on the toungue.

I was glad this was split two ways. I have had other boutbon type stouts but without the subtle compexities and joyous notes this maybe my first and last time "ringing the bell".

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Photo of darklordlager
3.35/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bell's Expedition Stout (2009)

Pours like motor oil. Viscous, syrupy. Black, and dark brown on the edges when held up to the light. Brown head that recedes after a couple of minutes.

S-Mix of sweet milk and dark chocolate, roasted malt, dark fruit-raisons, figs. Light coffee. Molasses. Alcohol meshes well with the dark fruit, mellowing it out. Sweet.

Sweet chocolate upfront, a little alcohol heat right away. Dark fruit, roasted malt. Sloppy finish--The bitterness from the dark malt and hops mesh with the dark fruit and alcohol, making it somewhat unpleasant.

Syrupy, and very mildly carbonated. Somewhat creamy as well, but the syrupy element is definitely at the forefront.

D-This could definitely use some time to mellow--quite a few months at the least. Hopefully the flavours will develop to work together, rather than being somewhat disagreeable as it is now.

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Photo of davesway10
3.35/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I've drank several of these just trying to develop an honest feel for this beer. It's a beautiful black color with an exceptional deep tan head, and thats where it ends for me. I don't get the chocolates and the coffee flavors others have written of, what i get is molasses and smoke and the smoke doesn't do it for me. Its not that the beer is bad, its just not me.

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Photo of morimech
3.36/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a chalice. It has a very deep, dark black color with a large chocolate milk colored head. Good head retention with plenty of lacing. A thick cap lingers long after the pour.

The smell is a bit lacking. Dark fruit and roasted malt dominate with alcohol barely coming through. Smells more sweet than bitter.

The malt and alcohol dominate the taste. It is not well balanced. A little of the flavor complexity that other reviewers noticed is there but very faint in my sample. It finishes bitter with the alcohol combining making it difficult to finish. The body is thick and creamy but maybe has a bit too much carbonation. This beer seems a bit "raw" and would benefit from some aging. I will stow a few bottles away to sample years from now.

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Photo of Thur123
3.36/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer is black, very dark and cannot be seen through. Little to no head of a toffee color. A mellow blended malt is the smell. Not overpowering in any way. Chocolate, earthiness and a surprising lack of smoke or char smell.

Glug glug glug

The flavor is big. Bitter chocolate with roasted bread. The backend of the flavor is heavy with herbal hop bitterness and the aforementioned char. Heavy viscous mouth feel. Good but actually kind of messy to me, and sitting on one of these would most likely make this better. A sipper for sure.

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Photo of chilly460
3.36/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Pours black with ruby tint, with a very thick mocha head, great lacing.

S - Not too much here for me, actually picked up hop aroma, maybe some biscuit malts.

T - Good burn from the alcohol but not overpowering, get roasted malts and plenty of hops profile. Didn't get much in the way of dark fruits or chocolate as I expected. Overwhelming taste after initial alcohol burn is espresso.

M - Above average, thick as I'd expect for the style, very nice.

D - Fine for the style, the booze hits a little harder then I'd prefer with a definite bite in every sip.

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Photo of sopor
3.37/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Like old used motor oil. I would not be in the least bit surprised if you were actually able to use this as lubricant for an internal combustion motor. Of course I'm not testing this on my VW. Beautifully cascading head cascade FOREVER! Finally settles to three fingers of barely moving thick creamy brown foam. It looks like it will aslt forever, to the point of needing scooped off so I can drink this already! (not likely) Oh well, this will give the brew time to warm I guess, as I'm sure it needs to be warmer than my fridge! You could give the earth a solar eclips if you could put this beer inbetween you and the sun.

Ok I'm back, I let the head die a while while I took care of other business. 8" away from this beast I can smell toasty biscuity malt. As I get closer the toasty quickly changes to extremely dark roasted bitter malt.

Now take this taste rating with a grain of salt, as I'm not a huge stout fan, I'm just starting to like them. Well this beast is the extreme stout and should probably have not been one of my first stout experiments since gaining a taste for them. This thing is way bitter with dark roasted malt. Did they intentionally burn the malt? Quickly coffee bitterness steps in to stomp on my tastebuds to make room for the extremely sweet syrupy malt. Next up is the resinous, oily, sappy hops. Not like it needs to be more bitter. Bitter malt and slightly hoppy aftertaste.

It feels like motor oil in the mouth to, maybe 5W-20 as it's not as thick as 10W-30 (yes I do know what 10W-30 feels like in my mouth. Don't ask.)

Respectable, but way too big for me. Not drinkable in the least bit for me. I'll try thi again in a year. We'll see what I think then!

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Photo of mckeowbc
3.37/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours like used motor oil. Dark and think for a beer. Almost no head, what little there is is caramel colored. Beer leaves no lacing on the glass.
S - Smell is sweet, hints of alcohol, caramel, coffee.
T - I'm not wowed by the taste. It's sweet and the high alcohol was apparent and it leaves a sweet lingering taste on your tongue but it seems somewhat out of balance. Maybe too much alcohol.
M - Mouthfeel is somewhat heavy, but the lack of carbonation hurts this beer. It isn't creamy and it doesn't have the body of something like Great Divide's Yeti.
D - The sweetness in this beer is out of balance and it's kind of cloying. After one I don't really want a second right away. It's an okay beer, but not a great beer.

I'm kinda disappointed by this beer. I'm a big fan of Bell's Two Hearted and this fell short for me. It's an okay stout, but it's lacking something. I'll finish off the 6-pack but I can't see buying another, especially at what it cost me. Also the 10.5% ABV makes this prohibitive for me to drink on a regular basis. It's not a session beer or weeknight with dinner beer and when I want something for a special occasion I want something more impressive than this.

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Photo of TheFightfan1
3.38/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter. Opague black with an extremely thick coca-cola colored heading. Stays around for a little white. Great lacing at first then turns flat.

Smell is more or so very ordinary. Heavy roasted aroma with a decent backing of chocolate. No heavy alcohol detected.

Taste is insanely hoppy. Something that caught me off guard for a stout. Black licorice and a heavy warming booziness that burns the tummy.Alcohol is not very well hidden.

Mouth is rough. A bit chewy and thick like molasses. Full bodied for sure but not too smooth.

A decent RIS. A bit overhyped IMO.

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Photo of notlob
3.38/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Aroma: Deep licorice, plums, and fruity-sweet alcohol.

Appearance: Pours jet-black with dark tan head that dissipates quickly.

Flavor: Very roasty with a slight alcohol burn. Some dark fruit character and I think I get some roasty-dark-chocolate notes in the finish. Good balance between the residual sweetness and bitter roasted malt, but just not the right balance for me.

Mouthfeel: Medium-low carbonation. Somewhat of a mouth-coating oil-slick.

Overall impression: Better around 55-60F than right out of the fridge. Slight alcohol warmth. Definitely a sipper.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.22 out of 5 based on 6,153 ratings.
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