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

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding
2,089 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:
2,089
Ratings:
5,983
Avg:
4.22
pDev:
17.77%
 
 
Wants:
520
Gots:
1,700
For Trade:
133
User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,089 | Ratings: 5,983
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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Photo of erickehoe
4.59/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle Date: 12/27/12. Poured into snifter.

Beautiful looking beer. Pitch black liquid with 1/2 inch tan head. Some sparkles in the head due to the frothiness. Nice lacing. I poured this hard into the glass. It's a work of art.

Great smoky aroma, supported by toasted malts. Some cookie-like sweetness.

Firstly, I've never seen the multi-colored head this beer offers after each sip. If you look closely, various hues of brown are floating throughout the froth after you set the glass down.

The taste is magical. A smooth, subtle malt beginning is followed by peanut butter and chocolate. A dry, earthy hop flavor appears, accompanied by a nice, Belgian-like yeast. No alcohol flavor, just a bit of warming. Aftertaste of dark bitter chocolate.

The mouthfeel is silky and velvety, like melting milk chocolate. A dry, bubbly carbonation emerges, followed by more smoothness and a warm, drying finish.

This is the best Russian Imperial Stout I have had.

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

Appearance- Black as night. Virtually no head. What was atop disappears quickly.

Smell- Nice firm malty aroma. Notes of chocolate and what seems to be coffee are prevalent. Not overpowering, but still a very inviting smell.

Taste- Heavy malts and chocolate consume the mouth. Unexpected and welcome bitterness are noted as well. Slight alcohol tate is noticeable and lingers through the aftertaste. Upon belching the chocolate malts return.

Mouthfeel- Slight carbonation is noticed. Medium to heavy body on the palet. The longer it rests on the tongue the more prevalent the alcohol becomes. No immediate or straightforward flavors.

Overall- Great stout. Easy to drink and enjoy, the alcohol bite reminds you not to enjoy to many. Basic and straightforward with its flavor and not overwhelming. Enjoyable and tasty up to two, but time to switch after that.

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Photo of BigJim5021
4.6/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It's been years since I last laid lips on this powerful brew, and my god is it an eye-opener.

It looks like motor oil with a rocky head. And it ain't just any head. It's the color of chocolate milk. The amount of lacing is obscene. Gorgeous.

Aroma is a heavenly combo of chocolate, coffee and the most deeply roasted malts you've ever smelled.

Tastes like being punched in the mouth will roasted malts, bittersweet chocolate, cream and some bold-ass Central American coffee.

Mouthfeel is as thick as it gets. Creamy and silky. Imperial stouts don't get much better.

I'm not saying that I plan on buying this beautiful shit all that often, but if I could manage to keep a few bottles on hand for special occasions, I would be a happy camper. Mostly the best thing to come out of Michigan. Mostly.

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Photo of beveritt
4.6/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a snifter. The label is the standard Bell's style, with a compass rose. The batch number (7251) indicates that this was bottled on February 25. 2006. Gotta love that batch lookup on Bell's website.

Appearance: Pours a thick, viscous black, with almost no head. A millimeter thick layer of dark brown foam that quickly settles into just a few bubbles. The beer is completely opaque.

Smell: Alcohol sweetness backs a roasted barley aroma with strong hints of licorice and raisins.

Taste: Thick and caramelly sweet, alcohol is present, but blends well. Mouthfilling flavors of fum-raisin cake and malty sweetness. Slightly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Low level of carbonation, incredible body.

Drinkability: A great nightcap drink, but certainly not a session beer. Spend the time to enjoy this one.

Update: Sampled a bottle from this six pack last night, 12/28/08. This makes it two years in the cellar and 3 months shy of 3 years since production. Sampled against a fresh bottle. The aging helped to mixed some of the incongruous flavors together, and made an all out great beer. This is going to become a cellar staple for me.

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Photo of mbudner
4.6/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Batch 8944 (1/29/09)

A- Pours a deep black with a beautiful 2-finger, medium-brown head. Great lacing as it dissipates, lots of depth and fluff to the coating on the glass. Looks nice and viscous as it pours and as I swirl it.

S- Sweet molasses, dark fruits like figs, sweet chocolate. Slight booziness comes through in the nose. Caramelized sugar. Mild salty, soy-sauce like flavors, which seem to be appearing a little early, but inviting.

T- Very much mirrors the smell. Chocolate sweetness with a little soy-sauciness. Slightly more roasty than I expected from the aroma. A little bit of booze. This reminds me A LOT of the Dark Lord '08 I sampled back in May 2009 (less chewy.) The finish is kind of disappointing, but thats my only complaint and its not bad in the scheme of things. The bitterness from the roasted malts become in more prevalent as I move through this one. As it warms, I get more tobacco and leathery smokiness. Really complex.

M- Great creamy, coating mouthfeel. Slightly more carbonated on the tongue than some of the bigger stouts, but not overly-carbonated in general.

D- Overall, this was a great stout. I had tried it years ago before having some of the hyped greats and I would say that the aroma and taste of this were remarkably similar to the '08 vintage of DL. It was noticeably thinner, however, and slightly more carbonated. The finish in the taste was also a little more plain that I had hoped for. A really remarkable brew that doesn't get enough credit, most likely because of the fact that it is not rare.

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Photo of soupyman10
4.6/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I tried this beer twice, 10 months apart, and decided to average the scores to create my final score.

BEFORE AGING:
Pours jet black beer with nary a hint of brown. Dark tan head with great lacing. Nose is incredible - molasses, roasted malt, raisins, and other dried fruit. Complex and aromatic. Taste is likewise amazing. First roasted malt and coffee. Soon after lots of sweetness, brown sugar. Some light but not offensive alcohol, raisins and apricot, lemon. Closes with good hop bitterness and roasted malt again. Feel is full-bodied and creamy, almost syrupy. Absolutely excellent, one of the best beers I've ever tasted.

AFTER AGING:
Tried this one after aging from a sixer for about a 10 months. Pours an exceptional dark black color with a deep orange-brown head that quickly dissolves down to a fine glaze of foam. Looks pretty solid, and the lacing stays with it as the beer drains, although I would have liked the head to stick around a little longer. Nose is extremely sweet: caramel, chocolate malt, and lots of dried fruit. Maybe pomegranate. Breadiness. A nice nose, although you really have to dig at it to get all the aromas out. Felt like I was just about dip my nose in the thing. Flavor is sweet as well. Dried fruit up front, all over the place. Roasted malt shows up in the middle a bit and wears on the tongue, adding some graininess and toning the whole thing down a bit. Alcohol shows up at the back end, although its fairly well hidden in the spicy hops. The hops makes a sort of bitter coffee malt taste. Breadiness as well. Body is low on carbonation (although it feels a bit fizzier as the beer goes on) and high on body - very thick and exceptionally creamy. Interesting to notice that the Bros do not feel this one due to the lack of carbonation. I guess in my mind that's not a problem, and adds to the creaminess of the beer - its almost Guinness-esque. Overall, after a year I expected the alcohol to be non-existent, but its still a fairly strong presence. I guess that sort of diminishes the score for me a little bit. Overall though, quite tasty, still.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 2,089 ratings.
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