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

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding
2,095 Reviews
Bell's Expedition StoutBell's Expedition Stout
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
2,095
Ratings:
6,003
Avg:
4.22
pDev:
17.77%
 
 
Wants:
528
Gots:
1,701
For Trade:
134
User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,095 | Ratings: 6,003
Photo of bnes09
4.57/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ink black and completely opaque. Ample amount of auburn colored foam. Exceptional retention for a beer of this strength, thanks to the hops, in part. Lots of sticky lines on the glass.

Highly complex, deep roasted aromas. Coffee and licorice. Assertive alcohol spice reminisent of a dark merlot. Smoked maple, molasses and prunes come through as well.

Spectacular flavors of dark coffee, baking chocolate, licorice, molasses, prunes, raisins, and sweet maple syrup. Hops are assertive, pungent, almost biting with a piney, soap-like bitterness that lasts into the aftertaste. Alcohol spice of bourbon rounds it out nicely. Highly complex and delicious from beginning to end.

Full-bodied, thick and chewy mouthfeel, just like a meal. Low level of carbonation is fitting.

Simply an excellent brew and a great example of the Russian imperial stout. Bell's has done it again!

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Photo of ILiveOffHops
4.57/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to my brother Sean for the 12 oz purchased at the Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville, VA.

Appearance - Jet black in color. Thin head, but good retention. I love the etching on the bottom of the Chimay glass, it does help produce more head.

Nose - Sweet sweet, roasted, slightly fruity- plums and blackberries.

Taste - Sweet, but not too much, roasted, very chocolately, melted brown sugar, slightly fruity, finishing with an nice roasted acrid bitterness and a slight alcohol taste. The malty, roasted, and, most prominently, chocolately flavors beat down the alcohol.

Mouthfeel - Heavy, smooth, viscious and a little sticky in the finish.

Drinkability - This could be the most drinkable RIS I've ever had. The lack of a sharp or even strong alcohol taste makes it a lot more drinkable to me. Smooth and damn tasty.

Overall Impression - What a great RIS. Smooth, balanced with lots of complexity.

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Photo of lnashsig
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage, poured from bottle into CBS Snifter. Pours a rich black color, nice tan head that recedes quickly. Some lacing. Beautiful so far. Smell- rich dark chocolate, molasses, roast, some mocha. Still plenty boozy. Man, after 2 yrs I would have thought this would mellow more. Its truly built for looong term cellaring, and I will be laying the rest that I have for awhile more. Taste- rich dark chocolate just coats my mouth. A touch of espresso hits the tongue and sides of mouth, followed by a nice roasty bitterness. This is just so complex. The booze doesn't present itself on the taste, it is really covered by the rich dark chocolate taste. Mouthfeel- still nice carbonation, super creamy and thick. This is a great beer. I am looking forward to seeing what else happens over time.

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Photo of CraigP83
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Very good stout. Pours black with thick mocha head. Nose is subdued roasted malts. Loads of chocolate flavor with coffee up front. It is a bit "hot". Mouthful starts thin and thickens after a moment. Very chocolate milk like

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Photo of Gusler
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

As this beauteous jet-black elixir of life sets in the glass, I just marvel at its thickness, and the miniscule chocolate brown head that dissipates into clumps of sticky lace. Nose has the aroma of bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee beans, sweet malt, and black strap molasses, what a treat to sniff this magnificent beer. Start is cotton candy sweet, the malt thick and heavy upon the palate, the top thick as a piece of chocolate fudge, the finish delicately carbonated the hops spiteful in their spicy bite, the alcohol quite evident in the bitter dry aftertaste. 'Excellent', not meant for the weak of palate, as this is as robust as “Stouts” get a real 'Stout Lovers' dream, WOW! Big beer, Big ABV, I may not need to eat supper after sampling this 'MONSTER'.

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Photo of alcstradamus
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A--Dark as night with a late cascading 3 finger chocolate milk looking head that almost overflowed my glass. Good lacing and retention.

S--Wood, cocoa, molasses, roasted malts, a hint of booziness. Big and complex.

T--Taste mirrors the nose, with the roasted malts taking the forefront. This is a big, bad ass beer. Not for beginners. This is probably deserving of a 5, but I'm having a tough time pulling the trigger because it seems that one more layer of complexity is just waiting to burst out but is held back by the wood and roastiness.

M--Thick, chewy, creamy, syrupy, whatever words you use this puppy is FULL bodied and wonderful

D--I had this once before, early in my craft beer life, and I was underwhelmed. I thought it was too thick and boozy. I suspect that the less-than-world-class rating on Beer Advocate is due to the same reason. This beer is easy to find if Bell's distributes to your state, but it is not meant for a developing palate. But I can tell you that this is 10 times better than I originally thought. Definitely one of the best stouts in the world. And so damn smooth and easy to drink I can't help but be in awe.

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Photo of SometimesIfart
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A -Pours an impenetrable black with a three finger bubbly white head. Left a ton of lacing.

S - Huge chocolate on the first sniff, followed by some cocoa. A second sniff yields sweet dates and chocolate covered cherries. The smell ends with moderate boozyness.

T - Sweet dark coffee up front along with dark chocolate covered cherries and dates. Alcohol also makes it's presence known.

M - Creamy body with light carbonation.

O - Overall, this was a great stout. Only complaint is that I wish the sweetness were toned down a bit. It would do wonderfully with some age.

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Photo of kdmorse
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Black from top to bottom and edge to edge. Capped with 1/2 inch of beautiful khaki head. Gorgeous smoke, coffee, and dark chocolate aromas with whisps of bitter hops. Some sweet fruity (prunes) alcohol in the nose. Hits the tongue with a wave of coffee perfection. Sweet prune and chocolately flavors as well. Low but appropriate carbonation levels. Thick, but not creamy, mouthfeel. Drinks well for alcohol content, but because of alcohol aroma/taste, it would be hard to do too many.

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Photo of beerceller99
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle, batch # 6672.
Wow... Opaque black with a brown head. A slightly oxidized smell is mildly sweet with chocolate and plums, prunes. Medium heavy body with a oily mouthfeel. Rich taste of dark chocolate truffles, expresso, and plums with a slight hint of alcohol. A cloying finish has that expresso taste to it.
One of the best stouts brewed these days. Excellent.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap in Bloomington, IN earlier this year. Served in a snifter.

A: Very, very dark with a massive brown head.

S: Quite good, but a little muted compared with the taste. Hops, chocolate, coffee, cherries, slightly-burnt espresso.

T: Same as the smell, and utterly fantastic. I taste the most from the espresso with a little bit of the cherry.

M: Very thick. Chewy and creamy.

D: Highly, highly drinkable. Grab two of these and sip 'em for the rest of the night.

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Photo of mcallister
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on cask at Boston's in Dayton. Been waiting a month for them too tap this and off the pour it's not dissapointing at all. Black as midnight with a 2 inch creamy, fluffy mocha head that has retention that won't quit. Head has not faded after a good 5 minutes and counting...and counting....and counting....and counting.

Chewy caramel aromas with a dark chocolate backing, vanilla, black currant, coffee, hints of strawberry milk? huh, mollasses, and many other dark fruits. Delightful and pleasing to say the least.

As usual a huge masculine, robust, bold beast of a beer. Full of bitter as hell and full of dark bakers chocolate. Caramel with hints of roasty barley stand forward on the mid palate. But damn the bittering hops and pure tannin from the ground coffee and barley shine through the entire palate spectrum.FInish lasts longer than most insect lifetimes. Black and red currants, mollasses, gooey and resiny mouthfeel, hot fudge, creamy and delicious.

On cask it looks as though I will be drunk soon very soon from multiple glasses.

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a solid,deep black color. A picture of perfect blackness. Nice tan head on top. Great aroma-big chocolate and roasted aroma. Burnt raisens and licorice. Extremely slight alcohol comes thru. Huge,huge roasted malt flavor. Very espresso like-chocolatey and almost buttery fudge. A very smooth graininess. Huge body-its like a liquid piece of cake-just big in every way. I could consume this all night. A freakin damn fine beer. Doesnt exhibit the harshness as some imperials. This is what a dessert beer should be. Careful-it could be a session one if you put your mind to it. Get some-get a lot!!!

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Photo of rodrot
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is by far one of the boldest Imperial stouts I've ever had. It poured totally black with a nice half inch tan head that hung around. Aroma was very roasty and coffeeish with lots of ripe fruit
and a hint of madeira in the nose. Taste was very complex with a medley of flavors coming through. Espresso, dark chocolate, licorice and port wine were just a few of the flavors in each taste. Alcohol was barely evident, making this stout highly drinkable. Mouthfeel was quite rich and full bodied. This is not a beer for folks who favor light or less assertive styles. Next year, I'm buying a case of this stuff.

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Photo of Kendo
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from the bottle (package date: 8/22/14; consumed on 11/13/14 - as we get the first modest snow flurries of the year, leading me to think "Stout season!") into a Speiglelau tulip. It's thick on the pour, and black in the glass with a half-finger brown head on top. Very nice collar of lace on top, with slow-fading legs of lace after each sip refracting the light like the prism on Dark Side of the Moon.

S: Big stout nose. Dark fruits, molasses, chocolate and roasty malt.

T: Big stout flavors too. Chocolate-covered raisins, molasses, black cherry, roasted malt, charcoal and smoke all play nicely together, with a bit of cocoa powder and piney hops at the finish. Booze makes its presence known at the end of the sip, though after a few sips I've gotten used to it and barely notice anything more than the warming in the belly. And the buzz on the brain.

M: Thick in heft, modest carbonation at best leaves it slightly syrupy - but that's fine with me for a big stout like this.

O: Awesome stuff. I will likely drink this sipper far too fast.

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Photo of argock
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a clear pint glass. No freshness date.

A: The darkest black stout that I have ever seen with a baking German chocolate cake 1-finger head that lasts for over 10 minutes as I allow the beer to warm some more. The top of the glass is draped with lace. A beauty.

S: This beer smells like a brewery with dark but sweet malt delivering the majority of the aroma. There are some chocolate, espresso, raisin, and dark rum notes there, but the malty smell hangs heavy and is atypical for the style.

T: The flavor, however, is a brilliant combination of hefty maltiness and complex components such as coffee, bitter chocolate, dark fruits like raisin, date, and plum, with leafy, aggressive hopping. There are a lot of extra milky sugars in this brew, but they are welcome and enhance rather than detract from this brew.

M: The mouthfeel is as full as you can get with beer at least a half-inch thick with each chewy swallow. The aftertaste has more fruity, chocolate, coffee, and bitter hops tones than the flavor belies.

D: This is an exceptional beer with incredible fullness in body, aroma, and flavor. I will be seeking out more RIS style brews in the near future to see if any can match Expedition Stout.

12/5/09: Cellared for 6 months, this brew has gotten smoother and less boozy with plenty of strong bitter chocolate and coffee flavors. The sweetness has faded a bit. This is a formdiable brew that will grow some more in the cellar.

10/20/10: Sampled a nearly 1-year old bottle tonight -- still a little boozy and could use more time. Flavors are not very sweet and mostly bitter chocolate, coffee, and molasses.

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Photo of budsboy
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours thick, opaque onyx black. Cascading head grows slowly to a two-finger thick layer of rocky, poofy tan foam.

Smell is deep and rich -- coffee, chocolate, raisen, roasted bread, oak and alcohol.

Taste is every bit as good as the smell. Tart, almost sour plum quickly changes to a deep and rich dark chocolate, then burnt espresso and a grainy bread. Finish is thick black coffee bitterness that sticks around. Fantastic.

Smooth and silky. Full bodied. Chewy. This is a meal. You know you've got something special when this hits the tongue.

Exceptional brew. Bigger than many Russian imperial stouts. If anything, this feels more like an American double stout to me, mostly because of its size and fullness. The last two Bell's I've had are the 7000 and this. I'm convinced ... nobody does big stouts better than Bell's. Good, good, good.

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Photo of K-Dog
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 12-27-12. Still smells fantastic evening after 2 and half years of age. At first taste it's very bitter chocolate, as it warmed flavors really mellowed nicely. This beer is at its best as it warms. Damn good. Glad I got to more bottles to age. Will drink again at 3 years and 4 years.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Secret Santa 2004 # 11

Total black hole body, topped by a extremely dark tan head which rose about the rim of the glass before leveling at a solid two fingers in the pint glass. Excellent lacing. Note: I don't deduct for bad labels, which is a good thing. Awful bland package considering the contents.

Deep roasty nose of dark chocolate, expresso, and licorice.

Each taste explodes across the tongue, a deep roasted surge of darkness: chocolate and coffee, dark fruits, with a sharp hop snap, and a small burst of alcoholic warming. Roasty aftertaste lingers on.

Full? hell yeah, and slicky oily.

Drinkability: this is actually a challenge to sip, so intense is each taste.

An expedition into the heart of darkness, well worth the journey.

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Photo of 1graywolf5050
4.59/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

A: Dark brown blackish with a finger width creamy mocha head
S: Chocolate,coffee, burnt malt and a bit of hops bitterness
T: The chocolate/coffee are up front, then the burnt malt/hop bitterness, a great finish of bitterness and burnt malt. This beer really rocks your taste buds.
M: Full-bodied, bitter but a bit boozy as well
O: Over all love this beer and only draw on this beer is alcohol a bit on the high side

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Photo of marc77
4.59/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Due to nearly complete lack of carbonation, there is no head whatsoever. Utterly black and opaque. Swirling releases deeply burnt malt and rich bittersweet dark chocolate notes, with buttery malt and nutty, caramelized toffee and brittle emerging late in aroma. Fruitiness is aroma is quite mild, and consists of mellow, dried date and prune notes. Quite similar to Third Coast Old Ale aromawise, but with a obviously pronounced roasted barley character. Quick waft of heaty ethanol and higher alcohols. Treacle laced sweetness bathes the palate at first, then is superceded by a drying combination of carbonaceous roasted barley and sharp, but clean hop bitterness. Malt sweetness resurfaces as hop bitterness diminishes, taking on a concomitant milk chocolate like and ripe prune character, which lend a candied, cocoa sprinkled plum impression mid palate. Full bodied, with a dextrinous mouthfeel that lacks liveliness that would otherwise be present with greater carbonation. Ghostly undertone of citric hops. Finishes slowly and long, with lingering dark chocolate and maple sap like sweetness. Wow-- Expedition Stout embodies the style. Rich, balanced, intense, yet very drinkable. My bottle was unfortunately very undercarbonated (but not flat.) If carbonation were higher, this would near perfection. A righteous thanks to feloniousmonk for sending the bottle.

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Photo of potownbill
4.59/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Popped open the top,, took the first sniff, and knew this one was going to be good. The beer pours a very thick black, with a thin dark brown head. The smell was of roasted malt, coffee, molassas, rum, etc. Early on, there was some strong alcohol, but the beer smoothed out with some warming. There was a bit of carbonation, and I thought it was well balanced. Overall, I was very satisfied with this beer. I will gladly invest in a few more bottles.

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Photo of derftron
4.59/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This enters the gold club for non barre aged stouts along with Narwhal, Ten Fidy, Storm King , and Stone RIS.

Recent addition to the Oregon distribution, this is very nice to have around. Had it 3x out in North Carolina, just as good as I remember it.

Pouts black, smells like dark chocolate, malt, sugar, coffee. Exquisite imperial stout, definitely one of the best I have ever had

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Photo of GregoryVII
4.59/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Dark as night...I've wanted to use that line before, but it fits here, with a medium sized head that starts dark atop the beer and fades to caramel the closer it gets to the rim. The mouth feel is slick, smooth and oh so full. Malt dominates the aroma: roasted malt, dark chocolate, raisin, vanilla and sweet alcohol are all present. There are enough hops in the taste to balance, but they aren't a true player in the beer beyond grounding its more eccentric tendencies. Candied plum, chocolate, vanilla, bitter toast and a bit of rum round out the flavor notes for me. This is Bell's best beer for my money and a contender for any consideration given to Imperial Stouts.

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Photo of KingG
4.59/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received in a trade early last year.

Served at cellar temp.

Poured into a Rogue pint glass.

Appearance is good. Opaque with no light going through, not even through the edges. Mocha colored head is sturdy off the initial pour then quickly thins out.

Smell is exceptional. Lots of roasted malts and dark coffee. Little bit of hops are detected. Intense nose.

Taste is very good. Dark chocolate, fresh fig, Turkish coffee, dried dates and a little bit of alcohol. Extremely intense flavor. One of the better tasting RIS i've had.

Mouthfeel is very good. Carbonation is medium to slightly low. Creamy, smooth texture.

Drinkability is very good. Quite easy to quaff considering the alcohol. I could drink another after this one.

Overall: Love this stuff. An exceptional RIS that ranks up there with the greats.

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Photo of Vierenner
4.59/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Very impressive beer! Thick, malty, delicious. Pours a beautiful, chocolate brown, fine bubbled head which lasts quite a long time. A ring of foam sticks around until the last sip. I didn't find the smell all that pleasing, and there was a slight bit of a hop bite which I'm not fond of ... but those remarks aside, this is an incredible beer.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.22 out of 5 based on 6,003 ratings.
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