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

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2,107 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: 2,107 | Ratings: 6,067
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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Photo of kaseydad
4.54/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally a Bell's beer. Had to travel to Arizona to pick this beauty up. Couldn't age it long though. Poured into a snifter and I am met with a pure black ale and a beautiful brown fluffy head that quickly turns into a light layer. The aroma is very much chocolate with some heavy maple syrup in the background and some smoke, vanilla and caramel in the mix. Awesome stuff! The taste has a little bite to it with more chocolate coming through and a big smokey, coffee bean background to it. Almost like sucking on a coffee bean. Cigarette smoke-like aftertaste. A lot going on here. All good. Lightly carbonated but I was hoping for a smooth sip each time with all the explosions in the mouth going on.

Overall I must say this beat my expectations. I had to go to AZ to find this and I am happy I did. This beer packs a whallop in a 12 oz. pour and it makes me yearn for me. If all Bell's products are like this....I am beginning my quest.

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

Poured an opaque black color with no head at all, and no lacing to boot. Had an aroma of chocolate, NUTS, and slightly roasted malts. This brew tasted like chocolate covered nuts, Very sweet, with a slight tinge of alcohol. It had a creamy, oily mouthfeel. The biggest of the night!

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Photo of cratez
4.54/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

355ml bottle, purchased by my girlfriend at Beer World in Largo, FL. Right off the bat I realized this is one of the best beers I've ever tasted. Ranked 11th on RateBeer's Top 50 in the US, and for good reason.

Pours an impenetrable black with a paper thin ring of tan/brown head. Dots of lacing all over the snifter. Stellar look.

Smell and taste are roasted malt, slight earthiness, fruity, floral, and resinous hops, figgy-plummy notes, thick caramel and taffy flavours, burnt toast, nuts, and a beautifully smoky aftertaste with warm, biting alcohol.

Full-bodied mouthfeel, syrupy in texture, with a dry coffee finish and some warmth going down. Lingering chalkiness on the palate.

Heaven in a bottle, the complexity defies description. Very close to a perfect beer.

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

A: Extremely dark. Almost black. Raw umber? Completely opaque, even when held up to the light.

S: Dark chocolate and coffee. Bitter. Malt. Very strong. Smells quite good.

T: Whoa. Creamy and sweet. A lot of the chocolate and coffee, the alcohol is present as well. Really complex.

M: Creamy and smooth, with carbonation and alcohol to kick in to keep it interesting. Bitter aftertaste.

D: This is wonderful. I recommend it.

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Photo of merlin48
4.55/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served at room temperature into a Fuller's pint glass, this pours an inky, opaque dark brown with a fascinating head that is only 2 cm, but appears to give garnet hues on the tan fringe. Nice sheets of lace are left behind. Aroma is inviting, with a big mocha chocolate punch, some wood smoke, and a hint of alcohol. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, with medium carbonation. Taste is delicious. Creamy, milk chocolate dominates the palate, with burnt coffee, wood smoke, walnut nuttiness, raisins, and some English hops for bittering balance. Alcohol remains well hidden until it emerges a bit near room temperature. Finish is dry and bitter, with a bittersweet chocolate aftertaste. Exceptional flavor here, and very nice balance. One of the best stouts I've ever enjoyed.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
4.55/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Black color with mocha head. Aroma is quite complex with coffee, chocolate, a bit of liquorice, even a slight dark fruit note. Taste starts with some dark, roasted malt acidity, coffee, chocolate and a hint of liquorice. Medium to heavy body with smooth mouthfeel. Overall it's a really well made imperial stout, one of the best non barrel aged examples.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.22 out of 5 based on 6,067 ratings.
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