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

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2,099 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: 2,099 | Ratings: 6,033
Photo of anjah
4.64/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I got this aged three years from peabody's personal favorites collection. Nice, sweet smell and very dark color but not much head. Pretty strong but goes down smooth and rich with notes of chocolate/cocoa. Only complaint is that the after taste is a bit bitter.

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Photo of TequilaSauer
4.64/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 2007. Aged 2 years.

Pours thinner than expected but with very light head that quickly dissipates.

Smells of chocolate liquer, alcohol, dark fruits (fig) and maybe brandy. The nose reminded me a lot of Old Rasputin.

The taste is out of this world. Attacks HUGE with equal parts of extreme bitterness and heavy dark chocolate. Very balanced, VERY balanced, much more than the unaged Expedition. Finishes with more bitterness and a woody flavor.

Very thick mouthfeel, like molasses, but very smooth with little carbonation.

The aging did this beer a lot of justice. Expedition is a phenomenal stout, but the aging adds a lot more to the balance and attack. It's not a beer of which you could probably enjoy more than one at a time and I still don't think it stacks up with some of the other heavy hitters in that style, but it's got it where it counts.

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Photo of WrathsU
4.64/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - deep black pour like staring into a polished onyx gem.

S - Caramelized sugars up front. Roasted coffee tones and chocolate throughout.

T - So good. Tastes like bittersweet chocolate, fresh ground coffee, and caramel.

M - Smooth, very smooth for its abv. Perfectly carbonated.

D - I could drink this forever, one of the best stouts I've ever had.

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Photo of theboozecruise
4.64/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - dark like motor oil. Not much head but what little there was retained well.

S - chocolatey and rich. Caramel and toffee notes. Phenomenal.

T - rich as well and boozy. Caramel again, burnt chocolate notes and a little coffee bean bitterness at the end.

M - thick, creamy, boozy. Man, still really blown away.

D - the alcohol makes it tough to drink a lot but I'd still live another.

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Photo of markskar
4.64/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

There isn't much of a head to this brew, but it pours pitch black--no light escapes. It'd be nice if it were a bit more carbonated, both visually and in the nose, but it's quite fine the way it is.

The aroma is dark roasted coffee, with a dark, dried fruit aroma (I always found the "dark fruit" descriptor to be vague--but I'm thinking of how raisins would smell if they smelled the way the taste). Nice chocolate notes in the nose too.

Flavor is much the same as the aroma--coffee, chocolate, and dark fruits. I am absolutely floored by the flavor. I would rate the taste up there with any world class RIS I've ever had.

Mouthfeel is mostly smooth and creamy, but just a bit sticky. The mild stickiness allows the wonderful flavors to linger on the tongue though--in a very pleasant way.

Extremely drinkable for a brew over 10% abv. Goes down nice and easy, with a flavor that just begs for more. Like a delicious chocolate desert, you know you probably shouldn't...but what the hell...

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Photo of BuckeyeBeers
4.64/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Tried a 5 year bottle while at dark lord day this past spring and never had a chance to score it. The difference the 5 years had on this beer is astonishing. The flavors all melt together and you are left with a mellowed out version that is much more forward with chocolate notes. If you pick up a 6 pack I highly recommend drinking one initial bottle and then pull one bottle per year for the next 5 years so you can experience the transformation.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 13415 bottled 8/22/14.

Served slightly chilled into a goblet. Expedition Stout is a deep dark brown, almost black, color with thin tan head that settles fairly fast.

Aroma is full of dark roasted malts, cocoa, and coffee. There is also some dark fruits and black cherries.

Flavor is bold and intense. There are all the classic stout flavors of dark chocolate, dark roasted malts, and coffee. Also, more subtle notes of cherries.

Mouthfeel is wonderfully full bodied and perfectly carbonated.

Overall a classic verision of the style and perfectly executed. Really nice after a year of aging in the cellar.

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Photo of benmiliron
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This is Bell's best offering without question. An opaque black with a brown head that vanishes immediately after the pour. It's everything you want in an imperial: espresso, dark caramel, toffee flavors with that overwhelming hop bitterness behind everything and the dominating malt sweetness... unnnnhhh! Damn it, I need a towel. Or maybe another expedition?

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Photo of PeatReek
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Reviewing a bottle from batch ___, packaged in April 2005. Sweet. Pours deep, opaque black as always, oily thick with a thin rim of deep brown head. Smell is dried-fruity, like raisins and figs and a leathery savoriness. Distinct aroma of home-baked bread crust... hm. The first thing to strike me on taking a sip is how incredibly THICK this beer is. It's like drinking syrup, but not cloyingly sweet. An interesting effect. The sip starts with the same prune / raisin elements as in the nose, followed by a round, Port-style alcohol warmth. Finishes with a prominent sweetness, well balanced by the mellow carbonation. Aftertaste is a profoundly dry, dark chocolate flavor with a roasty-charcoal aspect.

Wow. Just... wow. A tremendously complex, deeply delicious beer. Makes Wordwide Stout taste like a pile of puke! Though to be fair, I don't think I've ever aged a bottle of World Wide Stout for 18 months.

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Photo of jim102864
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured thick with nary a head into my nonic. Interesting cherry hue to its mahoganey color.  10.5 abv. Nice. Wow...a lovely and up front nose. Butter, vanilla, maybe cherries and raisens. Wow again. Soy sauce, chocolate, slight alcohol bite in the finish. Spectacularly complex taste and full body. Heavy and special. A special St Patricks day treat but equally enjoyable with a fire in the hearth and after a fine meal.

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Photo of Patric65
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into an Abita Pint glass. My bottle was brewed in September 2015.

Pours with a very thin head, very little lacing to speak of. Nice deep black color. A very nice looking beer in the glass.

It has a rich, sweet smokey smell with a hint of pepper.

The primary flavors are very well balanced between the malt and the chocolate, with the chocolate winning out by a hair. This beer presents both sweet and bitter tastes with the slightly dominant sweet being offset by a light peppery finish. The alcohol in this beer is almost completely hidden.

Very smooth, rich mouth feel. This beer is, to me, the perfect pairing of taste and texture. Every sip pleases on multiple levels.

The overall drinking experience associated with this beer is excellent. A beer you can sit and savor, take your time with and enjoy slowly and steadily. Definitely among the best in its class. I will definitely be putting some of these up for a year or two to bottle age. If you find yourself with the opportunity to try this beer, I strongly suggest you do.

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Photo of Soilworker
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured from a 12oz bottle, fresh no aging, into a standard stout/pint glass. Bottle has a batch number on it...this is batch number: 9554.

A: Pitch black with zero light shining through even with a strong flashlight put up to the glass. Nice caramel colored head that is slow to dissipate and the bubbles are very fine. The liquid seems to almost stain the glass.

S: Dominated by an intense and strong blast of fig, plum, and raisin. Bittersweet chocolate, dark roasted malts, and perhaps a hint of roasted coffee provided the backboard for the dark fruit character. There are also small hints of alcohol and vanilla that hit the nose from time to time. Very rich, savory, and bold.

T: Starts off with pretty much an explosion of burnt and roasted malts. I was expecting a start with some wateriness to it but that is definitely not the case. After the blast of malt this settles down to a pleasant bittersweet chocolate flavor with vanilla and espresso notes playing along with it. Somewhat sweet at the beginning. This then fades towards the end to a flavor characterized by burnt coffee and roasted malts and some oaky wood notes that seem to be somewhat charred. The finish holds on the burnt and roasted malt character and there is plenty of bitterness here which seem to be primarily hoppy in nature but have an interesting bitter burnt malt aspect. As you drink it, especially when you start there is a lovely warming feeling in both your mouth but primary in the throat all the way down the stomach. A very impressive taste profile!!!

M: Amazing!!! As you swirl it through your mouth it is smooth and creamy and very bold with a little bit a zing on the tongue from the carbonation. As oily and creamy as the beer is at first, the finish definitely feels dry.

D: Did I mention this was a bold beer? The flavor profile is huge and definitely takes the right palate to enjoy this one. I would love to drink this all night and I would, but this is a beer for sipping if I ever tasted one. The ABV is pretty aggressive but not terribly noticeable during the taste but I'm sure if you managed to get a few of these down it would start to catch up to you.

Overall I loved this beer. I especially liked the rich, bold taste and creamy mouthfeel. This was my first Expedition ever and I can definitely see how aging this one would be a smart move since this would most likely tone down the bitterness a bit. I definitely plan on buying a second or third six pack just for aging past 2yrs. If you like stouts, you must try this beer.

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Photo of FreshHawk
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Dark black color with an average sized, creamy, smooth, cafe colored head. Nice retention leaving a beautiful ring of lace.

S - Dark and milk chocolate are abound in the aroma. Cream with touches of coffee. Hints of dark fruit toward the end.

T - Similar to the nose. Loads of chocolate (sweet and dark) along with a fair amount of cream and caramel. Some espresso but not much. Touches of date and fig. A faint whisper of alcohol shows up on the finish.

M - Full body and creamy. Average to low carbonation. Very smooth and velvety.

D - Wonderful beer to sip on. Alcohol is mellow and the flavors meld together well. Not complex but bold.

Notes: The batch was in the 8,000s (from 2009) and it was consumed 06/13/11. Much better with a couple of years on it. Alcohol and the harsh flavors have mellowed and made this a perfect beer to sit back and sip on. I'll have to get some to cellar now.

A - Deep dark black with a large creamy, frothy, thick, meringue-like, dark tan head. Really good retention that settles into a nice thick, creamy lace.

S - Good amount of chocolate and some black coffee. Roasted malt is very prominent. Some dark fruit tartness and hints of licorice and soy aroma. Some caramel as well. Tartness is fairly strong (for the style).

T - Rich and fairly complex flavors. Dark chocolate and roasted malt are the strongest flavors. Has some burnt sugar and coffee flavors as well. Some dark fruit, although none really stand out much. Also a bit of anise and soy. The tartness in the aroma is also there and mixes along with some roasted bitterness. Alcohol heat is also present. Usually the tartness is toward the beginning of the taste with more of the chocolate and burnt flavors and alcohol mid to finish of the sip. Hints of citrus hops in there.

M - Full thick feel with a good amount of carbonation. Very thick and creamy feel.

D - A little much to want to drink a lot or to have it on a regular basis. Very much a sipper, with the alcohol heat and slight tartness and bitterness making it a bit less drinkable. Wasn't quite as balanced as I would have liked.

Notes: Batch 9554, consumed 08/28/10. Decent stout, but not my favorite. Seemed just a little off balanced. Not bad overall and I would drink it again, but for the price there are others that are better. The score is for the cellared 3 year offering not this one that was consumed fairly fresh. For fresh I gave:
A 4.5
S 4
T 4
M 4.5
D 3.5

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Photo of mdwalsh
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Had this at Indulge first, never really wanted to until then, I've been dieing to get this. Batch no. 8944

A: Blackity black black black. Poured like motor oil with legs. This thing almost got up and crawled away. There's not real head, and no active carb, and thus no lacing. Holding this up to the SUN and I'm not getting any light. I just wish it had a bit more head.

S: Dark sweet fruit and mildly roasted malt. Burnt sugar and caramel is great. It isn't a too strong of a scent, but it's there. Not overly complex nor simple, just right. No hops, of course.

T: The burnt sugar really takes over and the fruit takes a backseat. The caramel-toffee chocolate -I almost say fudge, is great. There isn't coffee, which is awesome. Usually, I don't like RIS right right off the bat. This one, I would.

M: Like drinking chocolate syrup. That's about it. Flat and smooth.

D: One is fine, wouldn't want too many more than that and it wouldn't be great in all situations.

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Photo of beerdedking
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%

Bottled 9/25/13 poured obsidian into snifter with a thick cinnamon head. Just beautiful to behold.
Scents of raspberry truffle and plum brandy. The complexity has really come through after a year of sitting.
The dark fruits have melded perfectly to the dark chocolate and roasted barley. Still a touch of alcohol on the finish
which I prefer. A beer of this nature should have a bit of heat. What an experience. Just think, there are more
of these just sitting there at my bottle shop. Not for long....

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Photo of jaxon53
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Aquired this brew from brandoman63, in the brews-n-tunes summer '07 tour. About a year and a half aged. Served at cellar temperature, in a snifter, from a twelve ounce bottle. Poured a serious inky jet black color, that no light could pass through. About a half inch of somewhat thin, dark brown head formed. Head quickly dispersed into a thin ring atop the beer. Left little lace behind. Strong chocolate, bitter coffee, some almost oaky notes, followed by a ton of alcohol. Also noted were caramel, toffee, and some nice roasted aromas. The smell was almost mouth watering. Tons of flavor. More strong coffee, dark chocolate, molasses, roasted malts. All of this finished with a hot alcohol burn in the back of the throat. The alcohol seems much more pronounced than I can remember. Very little carbonation was noticed. Mouthfeel was thick, full, syrupy and chewey. Awesome. Drinkability was great for such a high octane tasting brew. Pretty smooth and enjoyable.

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Photo of Beerandboards
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle, batch 9971, bottled September 13, 2010. So, clocking in at about 2.5 years old

A - pitch black, pour produces about 1.5 inches of toffee colored foam. Dissipates pretty quickly, leaves a fair amount of lacing on the sides.

S - wow. Molasses, vanilla, coffee, milk chocolate. One of the best smelling stouts I've had. Beats out a lot of the BA stouts. Killer.

T - doesn't let me down after the nose. Molasses again, big time. Vanilla. Milk chocolate. There is just the right amount of bitter chocolate at the end. TASTY.

M - creamy, thicker side of medium feel, lower carbonation. Really nice.

O - I have to say, I'm surprised at how good this is. I've never had it fresh, but I can't imagine that this hasn't gotten better with age. I've got another 2010 that I'll sit on for just a bit longer just to see what happens. Bells killed this one.

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Photo of BBP
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Pours a little less dark than the average RIS with a very good creamy full head, which holds decently, and superb lacing.

S- A very all around aroma. Hints of bitterness from the hops as well as coffee, chocolate, roasted malts, and dark malts.

T- Everything you'd expect from an RIS. Begins with a semi-sweet chocolate taste and works it's way towards the roasted malt and hop bitterness quickly. After they play their parts the chocolate really comes into play. The aftertaste is loaded with it. It does a great job at bringing all of the flavors up to the front and making them big. There's a little bit of alcohol noticed in this one, but it's easy to look by with all of the other good flavor.

M- Very nice and full. Creamy feel and just a little dry and sticky in the finish. I've heard chewy being used for a mouthfeel description several times, and I think that this is the first one that is getting there.

D- Too drinkable. I only bought one of these which makes me a little sad, as I really have to drink this slower than I want to. It's good for very easy drinking without being watered down or having weak flavor. The 10.5% is there and easy to notice, but not overbearing and it didn't take away from the experience at all for me. I'll get a 6pk of this next time for sure rather than the single.

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Photo of mweso2000
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours black with a tan head that quickly goes down. There is not much head to speak of. Aroma is malty with hints of chocolate, toffee and caramel. The alcohol slightly stings my nose. Paired with Thanksgiving dessert of apple pie and pumpkin pie. Tastes go well together. Slightly bitter with a taste of bittersweet dark chocolate. Coffee tones work into the mouth. I expected this to be a little tougher to drink with a 10% abv, but the alcohol is not overwhelming and drinks quite easily. Probably not a beer I would have more than two of though.

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Photo of sholland119
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours and opaque jet black with a thin brown head. Beautiful.

S-Rich roasted coffee, bittersweet chocolate, rasted malts.

T-A vanilla and caramel sweetness in the front with roasted coffee and some hops in the finish. An outstanding complexity and balance throughout.

M-Thick and rather oily on the tongue.

D-I could drink these all night if I am not driving. What an awesome beer!

A great stout from Bell's, quite underrated in my opinion. Had this one for the first time in a few months as we did a side by side with Peche Mortel, KBS and regular Founders BS. Expedition can stand up to all of them and is, to me, far superior to the Peche.


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Photo of CampusCrew
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

appearance: black beauty like coffee with great head but low head retention. some nice lacing from what it had though.

smell: deep dark malts, lots of chocolate flavor, loaded coffee,

taste: nice hop profile as i thought, lots of deep dark malt flavor. smooth easy drinking high abv impy stout. lots of bitterness from the hops on the back

mouthfeel: full bodied beauty, low carbonation

drinkability: not over rated. it's world class.

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bell's Expedition Stout

Poured into a tulip glass from a 12oz bottle.

A - Pours a nice pitch-black oily beer with some slight brown edges. No light can pass through. Dark tan head is present that is about 1 inch tall with very densely packed bubbles. (5.0)

S - Delicious roasted notes come up front. Dark malts and some great sweet and slightly bitter chocolate. The chocolate plays so well with the roasted notes that it almost smells of mocha. Yum. Nice coffee notes finish of the beer aroma. There is some slight caramel and some nice brown sugar notes as well (5.0)

T & M - Taste starts off with delicious dark roasted malt notes. Mixed coffee notes with some slight sweet milk chocolate and good bitter dark chocolate notes. Flavor for this beer is full and complex. Near perfection. The back end of the beer includes some slight boozy burn with some sweet notes that try to slightly balance those burnt roasted malt notes. There is a nice delicious bitter finish from the hops. Mouthfeel is full and rich and the beer is not too watery or to thick. Just right. (4.5) (4.5)

D - This beer is delicious and I am mad that I've passed it over time and time again. It is a good reliable stout that is as accessible as Old Rasputin. Very delicious and not too boozy. Watch for the hidden 10.5%. (4.0)

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Photo of drrone
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A- Black as night with minimal dark brown head. Hardly any lacing.

S - Beautiful roast nose, with notes of chocolate, coffee and just a hint of fruit. You can smell the alcohol as well, but nicely so.

T - Very nice maltly, chocolately, espressoy dance of favors in my mouth.

M - Thick and rich, but easy to drink. Leaves a nice feel afterwards.

O - Very pleased with this stout. It is everything I was hoping it would be. I am looking forward to ageing a few of these to enjoy in the future.

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Photo of atsprings
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009 vintage on cask at The Busy Bee served in a standard pint glass a deep opaque black with a thin light tan head that diminishes to a ring and leaves slight lacing on the glass. Aroma is a nice amount of roasted malts, fresh ground coffee and baker's cocoa. The taste is loads of smooth roasted malts, bitter cocoa, molasses, espresso, dried fruits and a hint of oak, incredibly complex! The beer is unbelievably smooth and easy drinking for its strength. I really have to say, this is possibly the best cask beer I've ever had, I certainly want more!

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Photo of BradenMK
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%

Age. This. Beer. It's begging for it. Sometimes overly harsh with the hop profile when fresh, once this hits the two year mark (and literally, for years and years after), this beer is a magical creature complete with fairy wings and unicorn horns. Always a hop bomb, the roasted, chocolate notes just get deeper and more nuanced and more smooth with time. A superb stout that any fans of the style will already know is delicious.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.22 out of 5 based on 6,033 ratings.
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