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

Bell's Expedition StoutBell's Expedition Stout
6,214 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 6,214 |  Reviews: 2,154
Photo of Gatordaddy
4.04/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of Jordanpaterson08
4.04/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of brewdoc75
4.04/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is actually my first Imperial Stout. I've always been a bit scared of these because a lot of them that I see have been aged in bourbon barrells and such. I hate bourbon. After reading this site, I decided that this would be a reasonable choice.

Bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Jet black w/ a dark toffee colored head.

Smell: Not a whole lot of aroma. Smells of burnt grains, a hint of chocolate, and a little bit of alcohol.

Taste: Nice strong bite initially. Pleasant roasted coffee flavors mixed in with toffee and caramel flavors. A little sweet. Finishes w/ a nice bitterness. One of the best things about this beer is that I don't really taste the ABV that is listed. I barely taste the ABV at all.

Mouthfeel: Very heavy, rich mouthfeel. Despite this, it is quite smooth and relaxing. Good carbonation.

Drinkability: I was quite afraid of Imperial Stouts before trying this beer. I had always thought it would taste more like bourbon than beer. This beer is not like that at all. It is similar to a nice dry stout, but there is much more complexity there. It is almost too easy to drink with an ABV like this. I think this has opened me up to the world of Imperial Stouts.

 1,203 characters

Photo of Tracker83
4.04/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of BelgianBeerMe
4.04/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Photo of lpothier
4.04/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of rudylaw
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Being a Chicagoan, I've really missed this beer. On a recent trip to Kenosha, I picked up two sixers at $12/ea and immediately rushed back to have one. It's as good as I remember. Since this beer has been reviewed a million times, I'll keep it brief.

It pours oil black into my glass with a brown head that dissipates almost immediately.

It has a very chocolately/coffee-like aroma to it and is very pleasant to the senses. It made me want to find an afghan or a quilt, I was so comfortable.

It's a very thick, chewy concoction... which is right up my alley when looking for a stout. The experience did not wane as I made my way through the glass. It coated my mouth and throat in a way sore throat medicines only dream of! I enjoyed it until the last drop.

Overall, it's a great stout. Not as good as DarkLord, Darkness or perhaps even Storm King, but it should be mentioned in the same breath. Can't wait to finish off the other 11!

 939 characters

Photo of beertooth
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from batch 7205 poured into a snifter. Thanks to Aaron for this three year old bottle.

Slick black liguid with a thin collar of chocolate milk colored bubbles.

The nose is full of chocolate, raisins, dates, burnt sugar, roasted malt, booze, tobacco, some coffee.

The first sip gives me tons of roasted malts, raisins, chocolate, some maple, some vanilla. There are some slight bitter hoppy notes in the tail end and a tiny bit of soy, but it works well. It's extremely rich and filling with no harsh booziness although it is quite warming.

Mouthfeel is big and slick with moderate carbonation.

Up until now I've only had fresh Expedition because I hadn't the will power to age any longer than half a year. This is almost sublime with 3 years on it and I wish I had more. Thanks again to acme to tossing me this great aged bottle.

 846 characters

Photo of dbossman
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Thick and black with a dark brown, bubbly head that has good retention; it has a similar appearance to a dark-chocolate mousse.

S: Coffee, chocolate and dark roasted malts hit you up front; rich with a subtle alcohol burning through the malty goodness; slightly sweet brown sugar/ caramel at the back of the aromas

T: Dark chocolate and coffee bitterness up front; delicious roasted malt presence; alcohol is prevalent making this a sipper; a nice brown sugary sweetness balances out the bitterness

F: Thick with a slightly syrupy viscosity; good even mouth coat eventually--after the beer slowly works its way around

D: Great beer that is wonderful to sip on for any occasion; however, the strength of the roasted malts and the alcohol presence makes this a tad bit difficult to handle for too long. Great beer--just approach slowly and with caution

 857 characters

Photo of BeerEngineer89
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pitch black. Rough pour yielded nearly no head unfortunately

S- Strong smell. Tons of chocolate and some roasted smell with something that is similar to a whiskey. Not amazing but intriguing.

T- Very similar to the smell. Intriguing yet not anything I would want in an air freshener.

M-Very full and not too wet. Swishing around gives the consistency of a milkshake. Delicious.

D-For 10.5% I could drink this all night.

O- I would definitely buy this again. Not an exception life experience, but i could see this being on tap at my home bar.

 550 characters

Photo of BierFan
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a tumbler glass. The bottle was labeled batch 8728.

Appearance: Expedition Stout has a black body with a head the color of chocolate milk.

Smell: Lots of roasted coffee and alcohol aroma.

Taste: Little bit of an alcohol burn. Bitter dark chocolate and roasted coffee.

Mouthfeel: No carbonation kinda hurts the mouthfeel. Also was kinda thin.

Drinkability: Surprisingly good drinkability even with the stronger presence of alcohol.

 470 characters

Photo of vandemonian
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My bottle of Bell's Expedition Stout was still pretty fresh, so there was still some hops fighting through the roasty malt. The taste is like toasty malt with a hint of charcoal.

A: Black colour and an impressive 4 mm brown head that fades to good lacing in a couple of minutes. 4

S: It smells of roasty malt with some hops trying to fight their way through too. 4

T: It's roasty and malty up front with some hoppiness fighting through too. The aftertaste is a mixture of charcoal, chocolate and caramel. 4

M: Thick and foamy. 4.5

O: Nice and roasty. 4.

 558 characters

Photo of dohedan
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Fluke828
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a cervoise-style glass
Batch # 9971
Bell's Batch Finder reveals this was bottled in September 2010.
Got this in a trade with tjohn2401 from his cellar to mine. Put in fridge last night.

A-> Poured cold and had to be aggressive to get barely a 3/4-finger head of mocha colored foam. Receeds rather quickly but leafves some nice lacing. Dark as night in color.

S-> Smells of coffee immediately and also get a bit of alcohol in the nose. Some burnt toffee, very dark chocolate, also getting quite a bit of smoke in the nose in the early going.

T-> Get hit with a big dose of bitterness up front initially, get some faint molasses (become more apparent once this brew warmed) Really getting a lot of bitter chocolate and coffee here. Got a healthy touch of alcohol at first, particularly when this beer was cold, but as it warmed it seemed to mellow out and get real smooth.

M-> Big, dare I say full bodied? Carbonation is present but probably lessened a bit after 6 months in the bottle but the bitterness hasn't lost a step at all and really gives the illusion that there is more carbonation than there likley actually is. Somewhat creamy as this warms up too.

O-> Overall, I really enjoyed this beer. Really curious what a year or more would do for this big delcious brew. Would also love to try with some coffee heath ice cream or something along those lines. Would seek this out again for sure.

 1,441 characters

Photo of jfunkk79
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on my most recent visit home to Ohio. Pours a deep black with fine bubbles that retreat, no lacing.
Aroma of chocolate, slightly boozy sweet, not necessarily in a bad way.

Nice creamy mouthfeel, malty sweetness and a nice hop tart in the back of the mouth. Bit of a heavy finish but I'm not minding too much. This would probably age well. Highly Recommended.

 368 characters

Photo of eric5bellies
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drank from my Duvel tulip

A - Pours an oily, black ebony with a two fingered tanned head that retains real well.

S - Smells of Cocoa, roasted malt and dark fruits.

T - Chocolate hits up front, followed by some nice roasted malt and burnt caramel flavours. The finish is warm with alcohol.

M - Full body and low carbonation

O - Very impressed with this stout and would have another.

 386 characters

Photo of rodkin
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled in 2011.

Pours dark, dark black, about 1/2 finger tan head. It's small, but certainly more carb than the "totally flat" comments would have me believe.

Smell is pretty bitter. Lots of roasty malts. Coffee and dark chocolate are prominent, with a bit of vanilla and chocolate sweetness, maybe just the slightest hint of hops.

Taste is similar to the smell. Big coffee and chocolate, fairly complex. Not as sweet and rich as a lot of stouts, but I like it. Some dark fruit, maybe? It's good.

Mouthfeel is ok. Low on carbonation, medium thickness.

Overall a fine stout. Really tasty and complex, and quite drinkable despite being among the more bitter stouts I've had.

 678 characters

Photo of carolinabeerguy
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a Cigar City snifter. Bottled on September 13, 2010 per batch number 9971 printed on label.

Appearance: Pours a thick motor oil black with a 1/2 finger mocha brown head which dissipates quickly.

Smell: Chocolate, molasses, alcohol and a hops.

Taste: Molasses and dark chocolate up front followed by roasted malt and coffee in the middle before ending with a burst of bitter hops at the finish. The alcohol is obviously there, but it never overpowers the flavor. Aftertaste is a mix of burnt toast and hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and with a decent amount of carbonation. This is a thick beer that still goes down smoothly.

Drinkability: High drinkability. This isn't a beer to be rushed by any means. Drink it slowly and savor the flavors because you're probably going to be done after one.

Overall: Very good beer overall. One of the better Russian Imperial Stouts that is widely available. Another fine offering from Bell's.

 979 characters

Photo of runningjoke
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into pint glass.
Agressive pour brought out a foamy head that dropped to a halo on the cap. Onyx black in color.
Smells of burnt toast, roasted malts, maybe some dark fruits, and alcohol.
Tastes imediately sweet with a hot finish, mildly peppery. Leaves a minerally bitter aftertaste. Aromatics faintly present.
Coats the mouth and thankfully not overly carbonated so it lingers for ponderance. Unfortunately, the aromatics are so faint, it doesn't leave much to ponder.
I enjoy most beers, present one included, I am happy with the purchase, I just wish they would have focused more on developing the aromatics than the alcohol content.

 644 characters

Photo of oregonduck
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A great stout! Nice bouquet of cocoa and coffee. Thick, creamy and silky texture. Taste is sweet on the front with a slight bitterness on the finish to balance it out. Flavors of cocoa and coffee. This is so smooth it hides the 10.5% abv very well. I found other Imperial Stouts like Old Rasputin and Narwhal to be very harsh. I kind of expected the same from Expedition, but didn't find any harshness at all. It is so smooth and such a high quality beer, very impressive! This is a great go-to, non barrel aged, Imperial Stout.

 537 characters

Photo of SupaCelt
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Murky and dark brown. Minimal head from a conservative pour. Fears of overflow quelled. Small bubbles carbonate. Chocolate coloured ring is substituted for head. Smells of chocolate syrup and coffee, licorice and some fruitiness, and slight alcoholic impressions. The flavours are mostly a bitter chocolate and coffee bean experience. The body is creamy and smooth. This is at least a 9 on Bob's smoothness scale. The drinkability is good in terms of the style. Too much stout can cause pain and chocolate brown dookie.

 519 characters

Photo of davey101
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

09/19/2011 vintage. 12 oz bottle into a DFH signature glass. Reviewed on 08-27-2012. Thanks a ton apocolypsezombie!

A - Pitch black body with a two finger high mocha head. Super sticky lacing and retention. 4.0/5

S - Charred malts, milk chocolate, and some faint ripe dark fruit notes. Somewhat simple. 3.5/5

T - Very roasty with some sweeter notes of chocolate and coffee. Aftertaste is a tad bitter with a warming alcohol presence. Again, rather simple. 3.5/5

M - Pretty amazing mouth feel. Super thick and silky with decent carbonation. Sticky and coating which really works with the basic flavor profile. 4.5/5

O - A very standard but delicious RIS. The flavor and nose are somewhat boring for the style but the mouth feel is one of the best I've had. Excellent beer. 4.0/5

Batch 9512 - December 18, 2009. 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass. Reviewed on 10-05-2012. Thanks to Rempo for this killer extra.

A - Same as the 2011

S - Seems a bit less roasty than the fresher bottle. Ripe dark fruits, chocolate, espresso beans, light smoke and a touch of booze. Excellent aroma. 4.5/5

T - Dark fruits and milk chocolate. Some coffee and hop bitterness. Really rich and smooth. 4.0/5

M - Again, just excellent. Super thick and coating as all hell. 4.5/5

O - Age did some pretty amazing things to this beer. Much more layered and well rounded. Super solid RIS. 4.0/5

 1,372 characters

Photo of Commandophile
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of cyroeser
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Naugros
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really dark with one of the darkest heads I've ever seen on a was almost brown. However, it's one of the thinnest heads I've seen on a stout and the retention is not all that great.

The smell took me aback as it smelled like a Belgian triple at first more than a stout, but the usual cast of characters are hiding in the back. Super malty with raisins in the forefront with coffee bitterness and chocolate behind and a touch of bourbon...okay more than a touch...a bit more.

It tastes more like a stout than a Belgian double though and that makes me smile. The coffee comes to the front and a chalky chocolate follows it, adding to a standard RIP mouthfeel. The alcohol does make an appearance in the finish supplying bourbon-like notes. The raisins detected in the nose are gone. Very yummy!

If you're used to drinking RIPs, you'll love this example once you start to drink it. There's nothing special to make it stand out, but it is a solid effort

 964 characters

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Beer rating: 4.26 out of 5 with 6,214 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.