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 Fugazme
4.52/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black... just as expected. No head to speak of, but some dark tan lacing. Wonderful stick to the glass goodness.

Huge chocolatey-sweet aroma. Large roasted malt smells... whiff is wonderful... big coffee and nice caramel and bourbon.

Mouthfeel is exceptional... silky smooth palate. Milky. Slight alcohol burn in the throat and stomach. Utterly terrific.

Taste is chocolatey/coffee... large roasted grain leftover on the palate and a great balance of alcohol. A truly great example of this style.

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Photo of Bockrules
4.52/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass

A - Pours a used motor-oil black with a 1-finger, tan head. Head becomes a thin ring of bubbles about halfway down the glass and leaves behind moderate splotches of lacing.

S - Big nose here of dark run, dark fruit, and plenty of chocolate malt. A little bit spicy on the nose to boot.

T - Chocolate upfront. The body is a delicious blend of milk chocolate, plum and dark Sailor Jerry's rum. It is delicious. Spicy rum and hops as the beer passes over the back of the tongue. Finish of chasing a shot of Bacardi with a cadbury candy bar.

M - Full bodied and exceptionally creamy, this beer seems to expand to fill your entire mouth with chocolate-rum goodness.

One of my favorite Russian Imperial Stouts with huge flavor and a perfect creamy mouthfeel. I definitely see myself picking this up again next time I'm in Ohio.

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Photo of KillerJigger
4.52/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great thick viscous pour with creamy head that slowly mellows. THE BEST RIS FOR THE MONEY!! Better than many rare brewery release only stouts. Great beer!! My hats off to the brewers.

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Photo of BeerNutz324
4.52/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a chalice

Ap- pours a dark, motor oil like color with a beautiful cinnamon colored head. Head is about 1/2 inch and has good retention

Ar- tons of roasted malt, dark fruit, chocolate, alcohol

T- roasty malts, bitter chocolate, cream, dark fruit, molasses

M- creamy, good carbonation, thick bodied and the alcohol warms on the hold

O- an awesome stout, I love this one and the availability kicks ass. The price isn't too bad at $15.99 a sixer either.

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Photo of BeerFanDan17
4.52/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I have been searching for this beer for quite a while now and was pleased that the newly opened Oldsmar Tap House near Tampa had a few cases.
The stout poured nice into a pint glass with less head than I had expected from my experience with other Bell's stouts. The nose was rich with sweet and roasted flavors. The texture was thicker than I had expected but the flavors were well-balanced with roasted coffee, chocolate, toffee, and even a hint of hazelnut. This is undoubtebly one of the best stouts available.

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Photo of beermanbrian
4.52/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oil black in color with a a thin tan head that foams up to only 1/4 inch with a heavy pour. The head is the foamy fine bubbled consistancy and has a slightly reddish tint to it. Smell hits you with a huge wash of flavors. Dark fruits are the most prominant followed by coffee, chocolate and the other typical stout flavors. Also, as it warms you get a real wiff of the high ABV. The taste is just as enjoyable as the smell. I think beer might have the most prominant dark fruit flavors of any stout i've ever tasted. Finishes with some nice bitterness and some alchohol burn. Overall a wonderful beer. Hurt a little on drinkability due to the high ABV. I couldn't see having more than 2 in a night and really 1 is just about perfect.

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Photo of porkinator
4.52/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours creamy and dark as night. Beautiful tan nickel thick head.

S - Roasted malt, coffee, chocolate - Pretty much everthing you want in an RIS. Small amount of raisin & alcohol.

T - A little bitter. Lots of chocolate and malt up front finishing with coffee. Alcohol is very subtle for 10.5%

M - I couldn't ask for more when it comes to mouthfeel. Very smooth, carbonation is on point. Flavor lasts from the tip of my tongue to the back.

O - I'm very excited that I got to try this amazing beer. I hope some of these Midwest beers can start making their way out to the west coast.


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Photo of maundythirsty
4.52/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

There was so much sludge in the bottle that I left a half-inch of beer behind on the pour. I dumped a bunch of it in my first Expedition Stout and the taste suffered quite a bit.

Head? From this barrel of oil? Skimpy layer of greasy brown bubbles turns quickly into a tiny ring of bubbles around the top of a glass full of midnight. Smell is baker's chocolate, roasted grains and maple. This beer has serious weight. I may be imagining the hops, but I think it's there up front before a round moutful of sweet roasted coffe and bitter chocolate.

Thick in your mouth to great effect, but I think it would do better with more carbonation. You understand the high alcohol is there without being distracted. A stunner. I don't know about having more than one in a sitting. However, I'm rating the third bottle I've had, and I'm already thinking about how wise it is to have only three more on hand.

Put off only by the sheer amount of greasy yellow goop that is fairly hard to keep out of the pour.

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Photo of BMan1113VR
4.52/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I think the brothers must have had a bad bottle.

Bottle marked '8145'. Special thanks to ilovedarkbeer (of ratebeer) for this one. Aroma is very nice with pine hops, chocolate, and Raspberry. Pour yields a dark black body with a very dark creamy head. Good lacing. Sweet and bitter balanced flavor. The coffee and chocolate are hidden by hops. Creamy texture with nice lively carbonation.

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Photo of BierReise
4.52/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Without question one of the finest stouts I've ever had the privelage to know. Outstanding aroma, sweet roasted malt with coffee overtones that remind me of Kahluha. Also reminds me of the very first Mackeson XXX I had some 10 years ago. Smooth full body and very drinkable. Seems to be at its best after sitting a little while and warms up. This is a Stout lovers wet dream!!

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Photo of DovaliHops
4.52/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours Very thick black with a thick, frothy, espresso colored head that hangs around for a bit. I got about 2 inches of head pouring this thing aggressively. Very nice! The smell is very interesting. I'm getting a lot of chocolate and coffee...but the smell that stand out the most is BREAD. I'm getting a nose full of fresh baked bread when I smell this thing. More than any other bread-smelling beer I've tasted. The taste just blows me away. I don't get any bread in the taste. I get immediate bitterness, followed my such sweet chocolate it's insane. A lot of espresso/coffee in the aftertaste. This beer reminds me a lot of a cafe mocha. No matter how good this beer tastes, I still can't get over how much this smelled like fresh baked bread. The mouthfeel is wonderful. Very thick and full-bodies. Ohhhh...just burped and there's that bread taste. Very interesting. This beer is for sure a sipper. Wouldn't recommend having too much of this in one sitting. This beer sure is Amazing though!

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Photo of association330
4.52/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Outstanding stout here. Makes a perfect dessert beer.

A - Pours like motor oil, a thick, inky blackness with zero light penetration. Creamy, one-finger head slowly fades to a thick cap of dense foam. A ring of lacing coats the glass well.

S - The richness of rum, freshly ground coffee, dark fruit such as raisins, caramelized burnt sugar/molasses, and a noticeable, but not overpowering, alcoholic astringency.

T - Initially sweet and fronted by caramel, with raisins, roasted coffee, and dark chocolate coming through mid-palate. A notable alcoholic presence throughout. Finishes with an interesting contrast between sweet and bitter, with a swallow of roasted coffee, chocolate, and just the right touch of alcoholic prickliness. Mild to moderate bitterness lingers on the tongue, demanding another sip to bring back the sweet burnt sugar/molasses flavors.

M - Pretty close to perfect. Thick, oily, slick, and moderately carbonated. Finishes creamy and sinks right to the pit of your stomach.

D - Dangerously drinkable at 10.5%. I'd have zero problem making a slow, steady evening of enjoying a few of these, but at $15 for a six pack, my wallet knows better.

I'm going to try cellaring four bottles, but it'll be awfully tough waiting to taste them. ;)

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Photo of teovaldi
4.52/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a thick motor oil black with a 1 finger head that lingers.

The nose is huge. I pick up coffee and chocolate foremost with roasted malts and toffee, along with dark cherry's.

The taste is the same and the alcohol is apparent but with how thick this bad boy is you almost welcome the warmth.

The mouthfeel can only be described as chewy creamy and HEAVY.

As far as drinkablity goes, this is a one and done for me. There are a few other RIS that I've had more than one, but an Expedition is just so damn heavy its either an enjoyable one beer night or an equally enjoyable nightcap.

Can't wait to see how this bad boy ages!

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