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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: 6,038
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 Gemmell
4.48/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

First taste of the 2015 batch and I am not disappointed. My first review will have to be somewhat biased because I am fully aware of what this beer will become with time.
From a 12oz. bottle into the snifter. It pours like thin tar, absolutely no light pierces through this beer. Holding the flashlight of my phone up to the glass, the light is completely obliterated by the depth of this stout. Almost no head exists with this beer. A swivel of the glass brings some foam to life that dissipates rapidly leaving a very roasted/espresso colored lacing crawling down the sides. It smells amazing! Tons of coffee and I mean that is about all I smell. Some chocolate, more heavily roasted coffee and some black cherries. And the flavor is just what I expected...COFFEE! Man, that is delicious! I scored this a little lower than it deserves simply because I know it will get even better, but damn I can't wait for a few years on this; it is very good right now. It was slightly colder than it should have been when I started, and now than its warming up the mouth feel is getting creamier and smoother. Tons of cherries and chocolate come through the warmer it gets and the bitterness that was all coffee fades into a dessert of sweet, sweet black deliciousness. It's like two beers in one. I'll have to review the 2014 in comparison. This is awesome...seek and destroy. Cheers!

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Photo of dcotom
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12-ounce bottle (dated 9/18/14) into snifter. Opaque dark-coffee color, with aromas of burnt caramel and dark fruit. Amazingly complex, with flavors of roasted malts, burnt coffee, dark fruit, and even a little bit of sour cherry as it warms on the palate. Thick and syrupy in body, burnt coffee bitterness on the finish. The alcohol presence is evident, but nowhere near what you would expect from the high (10.5) ABV. One of the finest Russian Imperial Stouts I have tried and well-deserving of its world-class ranking.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.13/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Black very cloudy body, dark tan prodigious head with great sticky thick lacing. Nose carries roasted malt, chocolate, dark fruit, coffee, hop acidity and pine. The palate turns up bitter burnt malt, a fair portion of vanilla (the only widely accessible flavor encountered), bitter chocolate mixed with hop acidity and bitterness, smoke, faint blackberry, and on an adventurous/bad note alcohol and faint acetone appear on the finish. Kinda messy, meaning every sip is different and none are balanced between the wide array of flavors, but spinning the slots with this one is damn fun. This brew is medium bodied, with a slight oily/resinous quality that coats the tongue.
I can definitely see the cellar potential, but right off the fermenter this is a pretty awesome brew. Lots of bold flavors that don't care to play fair with each other but somehow mix well together. Dope.

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Photo of HopsAreDaMan
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz, dated 10/23/2014 (a year old); snifter. Pours like milk chocolate, with a nice light caramel-colored head that didn't last more than 30 seconds, but a smallish amount of bubbles remained around the edge, and when swirled it leaves a nice lacing effect that slowly dissipates. Strong aroma of dark fruits, with a bit of alcohol burn on the nose (literally!), together which somewhat reminds me of an old ale. The taste has everything I expect in an imperial stout: a tasty complexity of dark malts balanced nicely with the hops, with a dry/bitter finish. Full, creamy, and clean mouth-feel.

After months of first reading about it I finally got to try the legendary Expedition Stout, and I have to say it didn't disappoint. I had it hours after having had Bell's Neptune, and Expedition Stout is by far the superior beer. This beer is clearly one of the best imperial stouts I have ever had. I look forward to seeing how this ages.

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Photo of GregJ
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Exceptional depth/richness of flavor balanced with a medium/heavy body. Smells of strong mocha, char, molasses. Tastes of dark roast coffee and molasses, some charred wood, a slight sweet edge. Heavy body, medium/light carbonation. Dark malt/ char aftertaste and some spicy hop resin on the palate. Outstanding beer.

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Photo of Parmesan
4.57/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look: Pours a beautiful pitch black with a nice frothy brown head and some lacing on the glass.

S: Dark chocolate, some toasted malt, a little black olive, Roasted malt, Dark stone fruits. Very good smelling beer.

T: Dark chocolate, Roasted malt, Dark fruits, a nice bitterness from the chocolate. Complex and fantastic.

F: Creamy thick mouthfeel, with light carbonation.

O: One of the better stouts I have had.

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Photo of BWED
4.74/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip.

A- Black... so black. Dense, dark brown head. Legs fall down the glass, leaving a little sticky lacing.

S- Rich coffee, semisweet chocolate. And a boozy roast.

T- Roast. Dark chocolate. Burnt sugar.

M- Thick, super full body. Very nice carbonation level, smoothing it out. The roast is a little bitey, and lingers in the finish.

O- Epically rich, thick and flavorful. One of the best.

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Photo of madelfonatree
4.51/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bought September 22, 2015 from a liquor store shelf, bottled February 2, 2015, enjoyed September 23, 2015 in a Hopslam tulip/snifter.

Look - Dark black. Very slow to develop a thin tan head. Settled to a ring with light froth laying on top. Speckled lacing.

Smell - Coffee. Char. Dark fruit and plum. Licorice. Tootsie roll. Caramel. Light hop.

Taste - Char. Hop. Chocolate.

Feel - Light heat. No bitterness. Smooth. Heavy mouth feel.

Overall - I let this sit on the shelf and finally bit. Liquor store aged. Very nice. I liked Black Note so not surprised I liked this.

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Photo of Czarkazm
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 9/18/2014. Very dark, nearly opaque stout. Light tan head with lots of visible carbonation floating up the glass. For a one year old bottle, the hop presence is still strong, mostly fruity which blends well with the dark plum/raisin characteristics to add sweetness. Subtle chocolate and roasted malt notes. Smells to me like a very big, thick black IPA. Perfect carbonation for a full bodied beer. The traits of a bold imperial stout come through more in the flavor. A bitter roastiness, burnt caramel, baker's chocolate, licorice, and dark fruit/earthy hops. Usually not a fan of the hoppy imperial stouts but this one is executed very well. Reminiscent of Victory's Storm King, just stickier, with more complexity and aggression.

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Photo of PA-hunter
4.13/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured 12oz bottle into snifter glass. 10.5% abv

Appearance- Pours a coal black with a two finger brown head that fades and laces the glass.

Smell- Chocolate, licorice, sweet caramel.

Taste- Chocolate and coffee flavors are predominate and blend together. These flavors blend with dark fruity flavors of prune and licorice notes. Finishes with a smoky element to it, retaining a bitter coffee after taste.

Mouthfeel- Heavy in body, some carbonation. Alcohol warmth.

Overall- A fine stout with full flavor. This one really has a coffee chocolate blend to it. Well crafted stout.

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Photo of mlockman
4.02/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I imagine this would be quite good with some age on it. I had only a sample on draft, and perhaps there was an issue with the line, but behind the malty taste was an almost medicinal flavor.

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Photo of aoampm
4.29/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This is a lovely stout. It pours a rich black with a two finger head. Vanilla, roasted nut, and chocolate flavors. The feel is a smooth yet flavorful beer that really is just an incredible stout in my opinion.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.19/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pitch black pour with a generously thick one fingered toffee colored head. Very, very sticky on the sides of the glass.

S - Deep roasted dark chocolate with some toffee, char, mocha coffee, and molasses.

T - Dark chocolate, mocha, some coffee bitterness, a little bit of cream, some char, but overall - dominated by dark chocolate roast, some booziness. The finish is extremely nice with a long lingering dark chocolate/mocha roast lingering bitterness.

M - The mouth is coated with a thick layer of dark chocolate and bittersweet mocha, big and full bodied, silky, slippery, lip smacking sticky.

O - Always a great stout, just wish the price on the six-packs were less.

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Photo of do_ob
4.24/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottle dated 08/29/13. Poured into a Duvel glass. Pours a very dark, syrupy brown and settles abosloutely black in the glass. An aggressive pour yielded a 2 finger heas of dense & sticky tan foam. Fairly strongly aroma of roasted malt, bitter chocolate, caramel, coffee, and vanilla. Heavy weight and very smooth and creamy on the mouthfeel. Bittersweet chocolate/cocoa and expresso up front on the taste with a slight bitterness. Middleways, notes of cinammon and vanilla are tossed into the mix with an increasing bitterness and a creeping alcohol burn. A continuing bitterness on the back end with strong coffee and expresso notes. Finishes fairly smooth and leaves a profound booziness behind on the aftertaste.

Weird beer. Great aroma ans flavors, but even at nearly 2 years old this thing is still bitter beyond belief. It honestly made my lips tingle a little bit. A bit off center from a traditional standard, but still damn good. I'd put this one up there with FIS and Old Rasp.

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

Wish this one was year round, like to drink it as a dessert after a few ipas. knocked Old Rasputin to my second favorite imperial stout. Wish i had the willpower to age a few!

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

12oz bottle courtesy of LehighAce06 as part of his battery of (mostly) Michigan beers that he sent me as part of NBS BIF # 2. Another Bell’s beer that I had wanted for a long time! According to the label, this was bottled August 22, 2014. Hmm. Pre-aged for your pleasure…

Poured into a Jones Radiator mug, this is a very dark brown, with a big, foam head that is colored somewhere between tan and mocha. Said head left lots of lace on the sides of the glass, and fell rather quickly – not a surprise given the potency of this brew.

Big nose of molasses, coffee and booze, but the coffee isn’t nearly as pronounced as other reviewers indicate – maybe because mine has been sitting for nearly a year, it’s mellowed a bit. Still, the other aspects of the nose give it a suitably unsubtle but tasty aroma – like all good Imperial Stouts!

The flavor does more to convince me this is mellower than it would be when fresh. The mollassly-brown sugar thing leads the flavor charge, backed up by booze, dark chocolate and coffee (in pretty much that order). In the background there’s some figgy-pruny things happening as well, along with notes of pipe tobacco (Referencing a forum rant someone made - Yeah, I’ve smoked a pipe, mentioning that in flavor terms isn’t being pretentious, it’s coming from my own experience). There’s a mild, hoppy zap at the swallow, but it’s nearly buried in sweet and bitter malt flavors that give off a kind of coffee ice cream aftertaste.

Full bodied, with spot-on carbonation and a creamy, coating mouthfeel.

I really, really like this beer. It’s ridiculously drinkable for a 10+% stout, without seeming like a dumbed down version of the style. In a weird reversal of how things usually go, I find myself wishing I had a fresh, harsher version so I could compare it to this slightly-aged version. I may have to trade for this again (or pick up a few bottles if I ever get back to Michigan), so I’ll be leaving it on my “wants” until further notice.

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Photo of mzingie
4.37/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottle was packaged 6 and a half months before consumption, Average head for the style, dark as night and pours like motor oil. Smells of coffee chocolate and roasted malt. Tastes of chocolate, licorice strong bitterness (which I expect would mellow out very nicely as the beer ages longer), alcohol present but not overpowering the other flavors, extremely smooth outbreak, rolls down your throat. I will definitely go get another one of these to age longer.

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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 SD-Alefan
4.44/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep, viscous black with a dark tan head.
The aroma is loaded with dark chocolate and dark roast coffee.
Taste begins with bitter chocolate and is followed by dark fruit. This beer runs deep and wide. A bit of cherry and caramel as it warms.
Mouthfeel is thick and oily.
An outstanding imperial stout.

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Photo of stevoj
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

One heck of a brew, slick and oily, black with fast disappearing beige head. Robust but mild aroma leads into sharp, crisp and deep smoky taste. Mouth feel is slick and slippery, lingering coffee bitterness/ Well worth its high ratings.

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Photo of moonboogie_n8
4.56/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

awesome Imp stout!
thick dark deep brown color with chocolate tan head that's barely there (good!)
creamy mouthfeel, FULL body, low carb.
warming alc on the finish that feels great.
roasty, toasty, and with complex changes in flavor as it warms.
wait at least 6 months from bottling to try this. best after a year. keep some saved for a two year open, and you won't be disappointed.
very highly recommended indeed.

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

This is a really nice stout. I tried this fresh several months back, but let this sit for a while before rating it. It was a bit harsh fresh, but has mellowed out nicely since then.

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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 ARoman
4.13/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

*transferred from old notes - 12/22/2013*
12oz bottle poured into a brandy snifter.The aroma is initially a tart cherry and cherry pie aroma with some burnt toast, dark chocolate, and oak with late caramel. Beautifully opaque, brown-black, with rich, dark brown head that fades fast, but a very thin layer is present throughout drink with a dense, soap-bubble medium thin ring and a few specks of lace. The taste is heavily sweet with a medium heavy, chocolate coffee bitter, and a touch of umami to it. It’s a viscous, chewy mouth feel with light carbonation. The body is full with notes of chocolate, tart cherries, coffee, and a nice, smooth alcohol warmth to the finish. As it warms up more caramel notes come through with a burnt quality to the finish. The aftertaste is that of dark chocolate and cherries with a bit of a smokiness.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.22 out of 5 based on 6,038 ratings.
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