Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
2,101 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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,101 | Ratings: 6,043
Photo of Beers-es
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From a 2015 keg, pours a deep black with tan head. Smell is rich dark fruits, cocoa and coffee. Taste is all that, immensely complex and delicious. Sweetness/bitterness balance is just right. Feel is medium-plus. Overall a wonderful RIS.

 237 characters

Photo of braker649er
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Beer bottled 11/05/15 and poured into a tulip 9/1/16.

L - dark beer and very tan head with smooth creamy look. Left lacing.
S - dark fruit and dark cocoa with suggestion of booze.
T - more dark fruit than I anticipated on the dark grain and cocoa of a stout. Boozy.
F - smooth with some booze kick
O - this is a Russian stout that shouldn't disappoint for any stout fan

 370 characters

Photo of Bruno74200
4.6/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer brewed one year ago.
Great beer, delicate and balanced. No flavor goes against another, the roasted, fruity and chocolaty notes go perfectly well together. It's all about hazelnut, dark fruit, coffee and chocolate. I bet it'd be better with every single year of aging

 273 characters

Photo of Cody1987
4.77/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This beer was an outstanding American Stout. I am well versed in Stouts. This is a great American representative in the Imperial Stout genre and one that will hold it's own. Will look forward to trying the barrel aged version of this beer. Many thanks to the fine craftsmanship of the people at Bell's!

 302 characters

Photo of Gajo74
4.54/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a mostly pitch black but with a hint of mahogany. Nice fingernail length mocha head, disapates to a creamy swirl. Ring like lace is slightly sticky.
Aroma not too overpowering; hints of roasted malt, dark fruit and dessert liquer.
The taste takes on many different variations of flavor. At first, roasted malt taste with an esspresso like, hoppy and raw cacao bitterness in the finish. The aftertaste lingers but pleasantly so. Dry enough to make you want more. As it warms, the dark fruit; prunes, raisins etc come out and it becomes sweet. The ever present alcohol also becomes bolder but not overpowering. Big body, viscuous, smooth and creamy. Robust yet easy to drink.
I thought this one was great! I have another one that I'm considering aging in order to compare the difference. Let's see if I have the discipline, because it is that delicious!
P.S. I was unable to age the other one as I was too tempted. I broke down after a week.

 945 characters

Photo of pahldavis
4.75/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled on 11/06/15

Look: Black as night with a thick, dark carmel brown head
Smell: Shiitake mushroom, bitter chocolate, wood
Taste: Bitter chocolate, molasses, earth and dirt, fresh bay leaf, oregano, wild mushroom
Feel: cough syrup thick, little to no carbonation

Whats not to love or at very least appreciate about this beer. It's everything one wants in an Imperial Stout. The combination of roasty-toastiness with the earthiness reminds me of some Baltic Porters I've had. Overall, it's fantastic and one to sip. I'm in a good place.

 541 characters

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

Bottled 11/2015. This is an exceptional stout. Looks nearly pitch black with half a finger of brown foam. Smells like dark roster malts with some oak in there. Tastes like burnt caramel and chocolate. A tiny hint of sweet like marshmallows as the beer warms. Medium to heavy mouthfeel with low carbonation. If you told me this was barrel aged I would believe you, or at least oaked. But this is the non barrel-aged version. I can't even imagine what barrel aging would do to this. If you have an extra...

 514 characters

Photo of Newbeergeek1
4.68/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

One of the best i have ever had. Easily ranks with KBS or Evil Twin L'B or Old Rasputin or any other of this style you can come up with. My motto! Find it, drink it!

 167 characters

Photo of josanguapo
4.81/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

From Labirratorium. In Teku glass. Warching Silicon Valley 2x03-05. Great asphalt rafts to celebrate my 1000 different beers. Amazing aroma and great taste. Great example of the style. Take care of its ABV

 205 characters

Photo of Flounder57
4.27/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle was poured into a snifter. Bottled 11/6/15

Appearance: A one finger mocha head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is a pitch black color with no vision of anything. Frothy lacing down the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Caramel, molasses, char, smoke, toasted, milk chocolate, roasted, and nice warm alcohol.

Taste: Sweet milk chocolate, caramel, molasses, ashy, toasted, roasted, and warm boozy alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth, medium to full bodied, nice warm alcohol, medium carbonation carbonation, a little chewy, and ashy bitterness.


 587 characters

Photo of Uscjojo
4.85/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

UPDATE: 7/22/16 This beer has aged 10 months and tastes amazing. It has a sweet milk chocolate type sweetness and the bitter hops faded out to barely noticeable. I can only imagine what this will taste like when it is bourbon barrel aged. I adjusted my previous scores after trying it last night.... Just opened a bottle from 9-15.
The look is black and oily looking as I poured it.It had a small dark brown head.
The smell is roasted malts, chocolate and sweet cherries.
The taste is sweet up front from the dark fruits and a bitter malt finish with the alcohol clinging to your mouth.
The feel is nice and thick.
This Stout ages nicely. I have two more which I will let them cellar for at least a year from the date.
For a 10% Stout, this is tasting sweeter as I let it warm. I served it at 53 degrees.
I will definitely will buy another six pack.

 852 characters

Photo of snaotheus
4.44/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle served in a snifter. Packaged 02/02/15. I've had this once before, long ago (I think before I started rating beers), and it was too intense for me then (based on recollection). We'll see how I experience it now.

Pours black with almost no head, very little fine carbonation. Looks like an RIS. Smell is chocolate and roastiness, a hint of sour cherries. Something yeasty.

Taste is intense -- surprisingly fruity, though. Some nice bright cherry and plum notes, very nice. Huge roast bitter finish. Majorly sweet up front, majorly bitter as it finishes. Nice demonstration of extremes. Coffee, a little chocolate. This is an interesting and very enjoyable beer.

Mouthfeel is thick, chewy, mouth-coating, with just a bit of graininess. Superb beer.

 772 characters

Photo of basaywhat
4.68/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle. It pours black with a dark brown head. It has aromas of chocolate, coffee, and cocoa. It has a rich, creamy texture with flavors of sweet chocolate, black coffee, and cocoa. Amazing!

 197 characters

Photo of ByronDBeer
3.75/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L: Pitch black, not much head
S: Not much smell, dark chocolate, nutty, and some coffee.
T: Initial sharp taste of wood/coffee. More coffee than chocolate. Vanilla. Quite burnt hence the sharpness. (Served too cold)
Temperature warmed up, sharpness less so, more just dark, bitter chocolate and some burnt coffee.
F: Dry to the finish

O: A bit too much of burnt coffee for me, and finish is dry.

 396 characters

Photo of NoYouDidnt
3.71/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours jet black, semi aggressive pour with just a film of a head. Smells of dark malt, chocolate, coffee, kind of vanilla. Taste is of milk chocolate up front, cherry/raspberry, dark chocolate in the middle. definitely some bitterness to it in the back end, hops balancing and coffee for that bitterness. Roasty blend. Very slick and creamy mouthfeel. Overall, quality stout!

 375 characters

Photo of Hallu
4.09/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a ballsy stout, like Port Brewing's Old Viscosity. It's not a sweet one, it's very much on the bitter chocolate, winey dark fruits, roastiness. It stays with you for a very long time. I would have wanted tobacco, or smokiness to really push the boundaries. As is, it's a bit too much on the dark fruits for me.

 318 characters

Photo of yung_peli
4.71/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: Black w/ a 2 finger mocha head, some retention and lacing
AR: Coffee, chocolate, molasses, caramel, hints of dark fruit
T: Follows nose, slight twinge of hop bitterness on the finish as well as bready malt
M: Medium, slightly chewy and oily.

A wonderful stout. Does become a little syrupy when too warm.

 307 characters

Photo of jpearce4
4.7/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Various bottles ranging from fairly fresh ( < 2 months) to about 10 months. Have yet to try a truly aged Expedition, but it's on my list! Never have enough patience to keep aging them fully.

Look - Very dark, almost black, very thick. Hardly any head retention, but maintains a small ring around the edges.

Smell - Chocolate, almost fudge or cake, small hint of chili, roasty notes (more so on the very fresh version).

T - Really excellent balance between chocolate and roast with pleasant bitterness that makes you want to keep drinking more. Very slight dark fruit notes.

F - Thick! Very smooth and creamy drinker.

Essentially the perfect example of an Imperial Stout.

 682 characters

Photo of Thomas_Wikman
4.61/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

I had this sent to me from Ohio by a friend. I loved it.

(L) It has a dark brown almost black color and an inch mocca colored head.

(A) It has an aroma of choclate, coffee and banana.

(T) It has a really nice balance of flavors, coffee, chocolate, banana, dark fruits, and it has a nice lingering bitterness and alcohol is almost not detectable.

(F) It is creamy and smooth and very pleasant drinking.

 405 characters

Photo of Marius
4.75/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pitch black pour with a medium height espresso head with decent retention. Smells like milk chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, cherries. Very smooth texture with low carbonation and taste notes that include espresso, roasted malts and dark chocolate up front, followed by a bit of caramel, cocoa and cherries and some vanilla in the background. Very well balanced and just the perfect mouthfeel.

 394 characters

Photo of adamhdg
3.58/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I know. I'm way off in comparison to other ratings. But, this is about my taste preference. Jet black pour with a thin toffee brown head and heavy lacing. Smells of dark malt. The taste is one of licorice, coffee, and molasses. Very creamy mouth feel. Overall, I enjoyed this, but just not my favorite stout. I'm sure this is sacrilege, but just one novices opinion.

 366 characters

Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Aged 6 months from bottling date in the dark.

The pour : Total inky blackness, straight 5,000 mile oil change black with brown tinges from the bottle...you know the kind. Head forms a finger in the snifter and fades to a firm creamy moss on top. 100% opaque. Totally on point for a RIS.

The smell : From the bottle I get smoky lactose and ripe bananas; from the snifter with some agitation I get (a 5 star appearance with an almond head!) more ripe bananas, black cherry, dark figgy notes, raisin, a touch of milk chocolate, and a small hint of metal. Complex, deep aromas with focus on fruits but not quite linear. Solid.

The taste : Less powerful than it was fresh, but still fabulous. I get a mishmash of oats, chocolate, lactose, raisin, banana nubs, with a significant stale metallic note permeating the whole profile. I know this metallic presence was not there before, perhaps it's infected or these 6 months have been rough on poor Expy.

The feel : is beyond amazing. By far the creamiest, substantial, deep stout I've had. Excellent.

The skinny : So basically I think this bottle was an unfair trial as my first one from the pack was totally amazing. The metallic bitterness presented here almost ruins the experience but I know for a fact this was better the first time through. Perhaps the best thing to do is to age the rest of them another 6 months to shave off whatever might be mutating in there.

 1,420 characters

Photo of mschrei
4.27/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled May 2015, 11 months old when drank. Poured into snifter. Standard dark stout color, not much carbonation or head. Slight chocolate and coffee on the nose. Sweet start, subtle bitterness in the middle. More chocolatey and malty than anything else. Smooth, not too oily.

 276 characters

Photo of Alan_Bats
4.43/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L- Brilliantly dark with an almost brown 2 finger head.
S- Not overly fragrant but a lot of notes still there like coffee, dried fruit. alcohol and a little chocolate
T- Tastes how you would expect from the smell but the tastes are stronger. Sweetness from dried fruit and chocolate notes with a great roasty backbone. Coffee and chocolate in the aftertaste.
F- Nice full-bodied stout

The looks are a great first impression and the beer backs it up with nice flavor to balance out the high abv.

 497 characters

Photo of MIbeer27
4.63/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, dated 09/02/2015.

Bottle into snifter with dark as sin, pitch black hue. Thin espresso colored head that quickly fades.

Aroma has so much going on. I get chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, wood, leather, cherry, and booze. Wow.

Taste matches up. Boozy, chocolate covered dark fruit with some leather and wood. The intensity builds as it moves through the mouth, finishing with a huge, stinging bitterness.

Motor level oil thickness on this one with light carbonation. Not quite the fullest I've ever experience, but in the top three without a doubt.

Expedition Stout belongs on the Russian Imperial Stout version of Mount Rushmore. The only issue I have at this stage is the massive bitterness on the finish. This is one of the few beers I think would benefit from some mellowing, so to the cellar the rest of the six pack will go!

 851 characters

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.22 out of 5 based on 6,043 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer FestĀ® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!