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

2,114 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: 2,114 | Ratings: 6,101
Photo of Jon
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Everything about this beer is huge. It pours truly black with a small, brown head that leaves some nice lace. The smell and taste is of roasted malt, coffee, chocolate and hops. Just huge on the palate. This is easily Bell's best stout (which says a lot), but it certainly isn't one that I could drink one after another. It's just an excellent imperial stout.

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Photo of BobJude
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2014 Vintage into a snifter.
A - Pours inky black with a 1/2 inch of head which disipates slowly.
S - Hints of dark chocolate, molasses, roasted grain and coffee. Just awesome!
T - Oh, so good! Coffee, molasses, licorice, chocolate. Quite a bit of piney hop flavor. So much going on here, almost overwhelming, but exactly what I was expecting.
M - completely coats your mouth and tongue. A little bit of alcohol burn on the back end, nice and warming.
O - a great example of an Imperial / double stout. One of my favorites along with Ten-Fidy.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle obtained via trade with CRJMellor. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, WOW, some almost nitro action from a CO2 bottle beer, weird, but cool. Formed a thick, frothy 2" chocolate-hued head above a dark, dark brown/black brew. Head lasts more or less forever, and laces like you wouldn't believe. Aroma is is of heavy grains and malts, but not the bitterness that is usually associated with such a constructed brew. Heavy malts dominate the flavor, but their bitter ness seems to hide behind their sweetness, and make for an easy drinking brew, considering the heaviness and alcohol strength that is hiding somewhere in there... Mouthfeel is excellent, and drinkability is dangerously high for such a brew. An amazing phenom of brewing construction, this one is.

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Photo of cameraman
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a black opaque color with a dark beige to toffee colored head, that is about a quarter inch high. The head then dissolves itself to a thin layer just on top off the blackness. Dark bread and dried fruit are there at first scent, then dark roasted grain and coffee hits the nose. Then a twang of alcohol comes forward, that all blends to a sweet molasses scent at the end. A sweet malty and sugary taste is at the front, then dark bread and burnt coffee flavors take over. It finishes with a strong piney and grassy bitterness that lingers long after each taste is gone. A medium-heavy feel rolls on to the palate and stays consistent, till it reaches the back of the palate, where it thins out slightly. A strong beer in this style, where other brewers dominate this with string and overwhelming flavors, Bell's works to keep this beer on the straight and narrow. Sit back, sip this one slowly and enjoy.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

My first reaction was "WTF, did they fill my bottle with motor oil by mistake?!?" I tried an aggressive pour and still only managed wisps of head in the glass. The beer was viscous, black (even the white bits was black), oily, with the only head a thin coating on the top of the liquid. The nose was huge with alcohol and chocolate. The mouthfeel was both slick and thick. After my first swallow, I realized that Larry ain't playin' around here. This is lights out action in a bottle. Nitey nite. My notes remind me to sic Carolyn Blowers on this one, since she has proven capable of drinking Russian Imperial Stouts first thing in the morning. I got an interesting mix of bittersweet chocolate, charcoal, and smoke floating across my tongue. The finish was smoky and chocolaty, just beautiful. My notes ended because of a sudden urge to lie down.

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Photo of BeerShirts
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch #8729 made Sep. 08

A- Oil black, little creamy head that dies to a lace around the edges.

S- roasted malt, dark chocolate, coffee, a little bit of liquor, a small bit of fruit too

T- BIG taste, coffee, roasted malt, a light sweet chocolate taste, the alcohol does come through but it is really good.

M- Thick creamy oil, no carbonation

D- Great beer but it will get you into trouble pretty fast

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Photo of oelergud
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Completely opaque black body with a silken brown head. Great lace and good retention.
Strong sweet malts, roasted burnt expresso beans. Vanilla and powerful nutskin bitterness.
Taste has all the elements of the smell but expands into a rough smoked hop experience mingled with bitter roasted chocolate beans and expresso. Almond bitter aftertaste and smoke undulating along hoppy notes.
Full thick body, lots of residual sugars and decent coating.
Very high drinkability but watch the abv, it'll kick your ass.


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Photo of hoplover82
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First of all... WOW!!! This beer is a thing of beauty indeed! This beer pours THICK AND BLACK with a solid, creamy, 1 1/2 finger espresso crema colored head that has excellent retention and lacing.
S-Right off the bat, chocolate notes along with toffee and warm alcohol fill the nose. After the beer warms a little and a swirl in the glass, sweet burnt caramel notes become quite pungent. Also, way in the back are licorice notes. The nose is quite comples indeed.
T-In the flavor, bittersweet chocolate is the main player here. The burnt caramel comes through as well. After searching for more complexity, I found there is a huge roastiness in the flavor of this beautiful stout. The warming alcohol also translates into the flavor.
M-Of course this beer has a huge, thick, creamy body. The finish is extremely long with bittersweet chocolate burnt caramel lingering on my palate.
O-Overall, I am very thrill to have tried this beer, happy I picked it up when I was in Ohio. I had a couple of beers from Bell's Brewing Company and I am thoroughly impressed with their brewing skills.

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Photo of Oxymoron
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enter SUV joke here. Pours a midnight black color with just a feint brown hue around the edge. Good clinging to the side of the glass when swirled. A very thick tan colored head with great retention and lacing through the tasting.

The nose is malty but somewhat limited. A very nice chocolate and molasses smell, but without the coiny/metallic notes. Some kettle melanodian aromas with a hint of chocolate. Very rich. Some minor hop notes with more of a earthy and slight herbal aroma. Mostly clean yeast but some alcohol notes, but ok. There is a black licorice and white pepper but light. Overall very nice but would like more.

The taste is similar but comes out more versus the nose. The malt is rich with a lot of depth. Malty undertones with chocolate and roast notes. Some coffee and a bit of harshness that lingers into the finish. Some minor oat/milky notes but a bit soft. The molasses backs off a bit. The yeast is surprisingly clean. Some minor alcohol notes with very nice esters. A nice plum and fig flavor with a light raisin and anise finish. Very clean and rich.

The body is big. A lot of sweetness but balanced nicely with the roast and astringency. For me a bit too astringent but really nit picky here. Overall a fantastic RIS.

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Photo of PatrickBeebe
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Dated 9/8/16. Poured into tulip, fridge temp. Pours deep black, with one finger deep brown head. Dissipates quickly. Smells of blackstrap molasses and earth. Molasses upfront, with chocolate and dark malt. Light smoke. Semi-heavy on the mouth, with a bit of tingle from the carbonation. Not chewy. Great beer. Probably would benefit from ageing.

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Photo of ryanonline
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

deliciously thick looking black pour with no light coming through, very little deep tan head with a vigorous pour. excellent lacing.

smells of a wonderful raisiny sweet smell with a hint of roasty chocolate malts and anise. very syrupy/sugary scent.

the chocolate and coffee i expect from an imperial stout come jumping right up front on the first sip, subsiding into a roasty, almost tobacco like flavor a little raisin notes throughout. brown sugary malts in the finish. there is also a definite hoppy presence.

very viscous, almost syrupy and slightly creamy in the finish. strong sweet finish that gradually becomes dry.

this is an incredibly complex beer but not so much so to the point it ruins your palette and its not to filling despite it's thick and syrupy body. really good, kind of different from most imperial stouts but in a really excellent way.

man oh man, bells has some good stuff, i really love two hearted and hopslam and this one has really opened my heart to them. cheers!

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Photo of jsulko
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a snifter glass

Pours a dark black with a chocolate head that lingers for a bit.

Smell is dominated by chocolate and coffee with a hint of malt

Taste is chocolate with dark fruit presence o the finish. Slight coffee like bitterness on the finish.

An excellent stout, don't know if it is good enough to warrant the high price point.

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Photo of Tonyjenlasc
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look - Jet black, viscous, half finger of a mocha head that dissipated quickly
Smell - Chocolate immediately hits the nose first. Then some coffee, roasted malt, nutty and anise notes
Taste - A lot of coffee, chocolate, smoke, earthy, char, espresso type bitterness
Feel - Lovely mouthfeel this beer has! Creamy and smooth. Coats the palate

Overall - One of the better imperial stouts I've tasted. Really enjoyed this one.

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Photo of ultralarry2006
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Looking up the production code on Bell's website shows that it was bottled on 02/01/07. Leaves a one finger espresso-foam colored head that has good retention and leaves good lacing. Body is black. Excellent looking ale.

Smell - roasted malt, toffee, coffee, chocolate, and cherries. Mouthwatering.

Taste - same as the smell promises, all washed down with some medicinal alcohol. Very hearty and delicious.

Mouthfeel - full, chewy, and semi-dry.

Drinkability - this is very good. Only high abv holds down sessionability.

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Photo of muletrane
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

~ Review number 50 ~

Bottled 12/17/10. Served at cellar temperature.

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my new Xmas gift. A Deschutes tulip glass.

A: This beer is stunning! It pours a deep rich black with no light shining through. 3 fingers of thick rich tan head. Nice tight bubbles and great retention. Lots of lace.

S: Nice roasty notes with a smooth milk chocolate smell. Some dark fruits come out as well. A touch of alcohol present at times.

T: A nice balance between the roasty flavor and the sweet chocolate and fruity notes. Alcohol is still very present after a year of age. Lingering coffee bitterness and some alcohol in the finish.

M: Velvety smooth mouthfeel. Low carbonation and a moderate to heavy but silky body.

Overall this a silky smooth nicely balanced stout. It's still ready for more years ahead and I can't wait to see how this beer evolves. Its a wonderful representation of the style! 23 more to go :)

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Photo of allergictomacros
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours an opaque brown with a huge head of brown foam. Oddly, the head starts out looking weak, but build and builds as the bubbles trickle up through the viscous liquid. Anyway, foam is thick, solid, and pretty much crawls out of the glass of its own accord.

S - Ripe fruit, coffee and molasses. Raisins/prunes, sharp alcohol and chocolate cake.

T - Toasty, coffee etc etc. The real flavour is in the fruit though - ripe, juicy, sweet, fruit with a hint of tartness. Finishes with a big bitterness.

M - Heavy, creamy, chewy.

D - Very tasty, very big. Not something I would session but certainly delicious

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Photo of MichPaul
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have had this beer before, and just now having another one. What a great Stout! Big taste and keeps up with all the other Michigan Stouts as far as I'm concerned.
This beer pours nice thick and black with quite a thin head.
Not much of an aroma to speak of, but this seems quite common with stouts.
As I said earlier, what a big taste! Very strong and complex, with a medium to strong bitterness.
Overall, I LOVE this stout. This has a nice kick with a 10.5% ABV. If you like the thick, strong, complex type of stouts, you gotta search this out. I know I will be buying this every year it comes out.

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Photo of FARGO619
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Glassware: Tulip. 50 degrees temp. stored

A - Dark, dark, dark. No light gets through this glass. No head retendtion. Went down quick. And I like good head, but nope.

S - lots of chocolate and vanilla. Very faint hops. Slight malt and
Coffee in the background.

M - not as full as I would like. Slightly acidic and thin. It was chewy. Sweet as is warmed up. Loved this beer.

O - This was my second review on camera. The carbonation was low, but overall it was a solid drink that I would love to try again.

Serving type: bottle/12oz.

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Photo of Rootdog316
4.54/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful dark brown/black with a reddish dark brown head. Aroma is somewhat sweet with roasted barley, dark fruits, molasses, choolate. Warming. Sweet, hoppy and full bodied. This beer is very well balanced. No one flavor dominates, they all compliment each other. Definately the most balanced stout that I have had thus far.

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Photo of BeerBuckeye
4.54/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark viscous black almost sludgey (in a good way), with a good, mocha colored 3 finger head. Great looking stout.

S - Smells of roasted malt, coffee and mocha, chocolate, and dark fruits. A lot of great smells mixing together here, makes a good bittersweet combination.

T - Heavy on the chocolate up front that fades into a bitter roasted coffee. Sweetness is muted, but a great taste if you like heavy coffee stouts.

M - Coats the entire mouth before leaving a faint dryness. Hides the 10.5% ABV very well, to make a very, very drinkable, high ABV beer.

Overall - I loved this beer. Being a fan of coffee stouts, I couldn't get enough of this. An absolutely delicious beer.

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Photo of crwills
4.54/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The highlight of a pre-Christmas trade with CBA out in Alberta; thanks Chris, this was awesome!

Poured an opaque, jet black into my Sinha glass. A slightly pinkish, relatively small chocolate-milk head fades fast but leaves a ton of brown lacing.

Aroma is very dark and planty. Licorice and anise, damp roots, milk chocolate, and good Caribbean rum. Just fantastic.

Taste was very bitter (moreso than I expected). Damp earth and plants right up front, which evolved into dry coffee or espresso and cocoa beans in the middle. Some warming alcohol and toffee as well. Finish is oaky vanilla, with a little bit of those grapefruit/pine citrus hops coming through in the aftertaste. Complex as hell, all the way through.

Mouthfeel is extremely smooth and milk- or cream-like, with almost no carbonation. Only dropped marks for drinkability due to the ABV and the fact that I couldn't finish more than one.

One of my top beers of all time.

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Photo of Gajo74
4.54/5  rDev +7.6%
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 thegodfather2701
4.54/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch # 8729 bottled on September 17, 2008.

A-Pours like motor oil. Its dark and rich, nearly pitch black. It has a small tan head with dissipates almost immediately only leaving a small ring around the edges.

S-The nose is nothing less than phenomenal. This beer emitted an aroma as I poured it. It smells of chocolate, dark fruits, brown sugar, molasses, and alcohol all blended together. It smells like it could be an epic beer.

T-Dark chocolate, coffee, a touch of brown sugar, and some alcohol in the finish. It was not as complex as I thought.

M-Rich and creamy.

D-This is a very drinkable RIS, its not too overpowering or filling. Even with the high alcohol content I think I could easily drink 2 of these in one sitting.

Overall, I was slightly disappointed with this RIS. For me the nose was much more complex than the actual flavors of the beer. For being aged for nearly a year I expected this beer to be much more complex. I have had a year old Stone RIS that was much more complex. However, I enjoyed this RIS and will consider purchasing a six pack the next time it is released.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
4.54/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz brown bottle. No freshness date.
It pours a very dark espresso color with a small but lasting mocha head and some stringy-type lace.
The aroma of fresh coffee and then dark cocoa rise up. A smell of fresh baked bread and dark rum are also pretty noticeable. A nice floral hop nose manages to work its way into the scene.
The luxuriously oily malt body offers up a potent extra dark bitter chocolate flavor. Sweet roasted malt, cookie dough and buttered biscuits come to mind. The tastes of rum-soaked prunes and licorice are also in the mix.
The big fresh hop cluster taste releases piney esters, along with tangy citrus bitterness and orange peel zestiness.
I splashed a little on my keyboard tray setting it down. When I touched it with fingers, I noticed just how thick and oily this brew is.
A big thanks to Feloniousmonk for the chance to try this wonderful brew!

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Photo of pkalix
4.54/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

beautiful chocolate milk appearance and head..... love the roasted aroma: chocolate and barley! taste is thick and bitter, as I've heard from others. still very young, only two months away from bottling, lots of bitterness with the cocoa, chocolate and roastiness. thick coating of micro-bubbles down the side with each drink. nice coating on the tongue with a residual sweetness and bitterness. gave two away, got three more to let sit. i'm betting this will mellow nicely with some time.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.22 out of 5 based on 6,101 ratings.
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