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

2,136 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: 2,136 | Ratings: 6,153
Photo of Nicolaiw
4.46/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours thick black, a half finger tan head.
Aroma is coffee, molasses, little coconut, bitter chocolate, vanilla, oak, raisins, tobacco
Taste is oak, bitter chocolate, molasses, caramel, huge coffee finish.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.76/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours jet black with almost no head. Good lacing.
Smells of wonderful coffee, chocolate malt and slight hop.
A huge codfee and imperial hop taste. Bitterness from both explodes and sticks around. Causes great warming.
What an awesome, big Imperial stout thst I have been wantong for a long time.

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Photo of matcris
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Jet black, thick looking body, with just a thin layer of chocolate head that fades down to ring. You can see some alcohol legs sliding down the glass and good looking carbonation when I rock the glass. Nice aroma of molasses, leather, chocolate, minor coffee, dried dark fruit, earthy, and just a slight alcohol note. The flavor matches the smell, just bigger. The blend of the molasses, chocolate, and dark dried fruits is working, and the alcohol is there, but less so than the aroma. Fairly thick on the feel, smooth, with just enough carbonation. Slick and sticky, and rich. A slight bit of soy sauce going on, but not off putting. Real nice Imperial stout.

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Photo of rex_4539
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

L: Jet black color, no head whatsoever, very thin lacing, good carbonation.

S: Sweet, chocolate, vanilla.

T: Sweet, chocolate, vanilla. Superb!

F: Amazing thick mouthfeel. Full bodied.

O: A solid imperial stout.

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Photo of pezhead_79
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The epitome of a world class stout. Big malty backbone with a smooth finish. This bottle had aged 1yr and was only getting better. Just an exceptional yearly brew.

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Photo of IvoryFoxhole
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into tulip glass.

L: Dark black, 1F foamy tan head with good retention, cap, ring, and lacing.

S: Lots of roasted malts, cocoa.

T: Big roasted malt taste. Unsweetened cocoa and dark chocolate. Dark dried fruits. A little bit of alcohol burn at the very end.

F: Medium to full body, light to medium carbonation. Nice construction. Balance a bit immature, but this might be something worth aging (they note as much in the product description).

O: Nice big stout for great value.

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Photo of OldManMetal
3.66/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The 2016 iteration of Expedition Stout is a slightly effervescent, impenetrably black beer with orange footlights and a medium, slightly rocky brown head; lacing is good, consisting of tattered bands, and head retention is modest. The aroma is medium in intensity: milk chocolate, cocoa and more subtle molasses notes, topped by distractingly strong antiseptic alcohol overtones. The flavor is a moderately bitter, somewhat understated, seamless blend of baker's chocolate and cocoa with more subtle molasses and toffee notes, all over an assertive undercurrent of booze. The finish is a good hit of chocolate, molasses and booze; the linger is a modest, thin chocolate bitterness backed by a solvent-like alcohol bitterness, and lasts for a good while. Mouthfeel is a bit light for the full body, and is warming; the texture is sticky/creamy, thick, and slightly peppery from the well-expressed carbonation. (12 oz bottle, 42 days after pkg)

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Photo of Treyliff
4.49/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into an oversized wine glass
Bottled 9/8/16

A- pours thick and viscous, pitch black color with a small creamy khaki colored head that has decent retention

S- intense roasted malt aroma brings out notes of char, dark chocolate, figs & dates, toffee, molasses and chocolate covered cherry

T- intesne roast with just a hint of smoke up front gives out notes of charred wood, dark chocolate, molasses, fig & raisin. As it nears the finish, highlights of dark cherry and walnut pop through, with just a hint of piney hops creeping through, linger of chocolate and espresso

M- thick and viscous body with moderate carbonation produces a creamy and velvety mouthfeel that seems to fold in layers of cream, before finishing silky smooth with just the slightest trace of alcohol warmth on the linger

O- a classic that is one of the best easily available straight up RIS out there. I believe that this one will get better with age.

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Photo of PatrickBeebe
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Dated 9/8/16. Poured into tulip, fridge temp. Pours deep black, with one finger deep brown head. Dissipates quickly. Smells of blackstrap molasses and earth. Molasses upfront, with chocolate and dark malt. Light smoke. Semi-heavy on the mouth, with a bit of tingle from the carbonation. Not chewy. Great beer. Probably would benefit from ageing.

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Photo of hophugger
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Look is deep and dark with a medium slightly tan head. Licorice, malt and some chocolate are there along with a touch of balancing hops. This beer is definitely a beer to be aged as I believe the flavors will come together even more with some time. Aging several f them now to try in a year !

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Photo of Guppy314
4.31/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From a bottle, pours an opaque black with a tan head. Aroma is of rich malt and heavy dank fruit. Taste is a wonderful array of roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, and perhaps molasses or caramel. I personally appreciate the creaminess of a Milk Stout or the smoothness of an Oatmeal Stout, but... This is clearly a world-class beer.

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Photo of bbtkd
3.83/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bell's Expedition Stout, 10.5% ABV, 78 IBU. Pours medium viscosity and black, with only a tiny head on a careful pour, so no lacing noted. Nose is coffee and roasted malt. Taste follows, with bitter close. Carbonation seemed higher than average, so an OK mouthfeel. Overall OKish, but pales in comparison to Ten Fidy.

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Photo of Masonz223
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Note: I've reviewed this beer before but I didn't like my review so I'm gonna write a new one. Also this was bottled 9/2/15 so just over a year old.

Look: Pitch black creamy brown head tons of glass lacing when you swirl the beer.

Smell: Right away I get dark fruits rasin and plum especially. Then you get some of that sweet milk chocolate and dark chocolate. Also the more I smell it I get charcoal and really big roasted malts. The beer smells great though.

Taste: right upfront you get that milk chocolate and big dark fruit notes rasin and plum middle of the mouth big roasted malts dark chocolate burnt wood charcoal in the finish you get a big hop biterness it's like chewing on pine needles. That biterness lingers in the aftertaste to.

Feel: full body it's verging on chewy but it's not quit there. Very smooth silk like on the tongue.

Overall: This is a super complex beer. Just a lot going on and it's amazing that it's not even barrel aged and it's this complex. The barrel aged version of this beer is pretty awesome though. But so is this. The huge hop presence makes this a beer you can age for years. I only see this beer getting better with time. But still now at just over a year old it's quit a treat.

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Photo of FortyouncestoFreedom
3.45/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I wanted to love it, I did not. Way too much of a licorice taste for me? Maybe? I dislike licorice so this was a huge disappointment as far as Bell's is concerned, for my tastes that is.

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Photo of beerbully
4.44/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into RR chalice

L-Jet black, 1/2 inch caramel colored head, not much retention, minimal lacing

S-Chocolate malts, roasty, anise, slight coffee, molasses, slight booziness, dark cherry

T-chocolate, licorice, oak, smoke, booze, vanilla, dark fruits (raisin, prune)

F-thick motor oil, creamy

O-rich, thick, creamy stout.....very good, worth another purchase

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Photo of Boccu
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours really dark with a nice head with good lacing. Aroma of plumbs, raisins, roasted chocolate, roasted coffee. Taste follows the nose with hints of marshmallow,with a nice booze finish. Very strong stout. Look forward to more from bells.

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Photo of gatornation
4.34/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 Vintage on tap @ Blue Door Pours a thick dark brown with a tan head and whispy lacing. Smell is dark fruit wood chocolate and char smoke, Wow delicious it follows the nose but with exceptional tastes the chocolate, wood and char roasted malts are superb with an almost mocha creamy offset taste very rich. mouth feel is roasty and creamy. This is an exceptional stout and one to seek out.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Once again I am thankful that this is being distributed to SoCal presently, as this certainly wasn't always the case. Bottled on 9/2/2015 - poured from a 12oz bottle into a 10oz nonic. Served lightly chilled.

Brownish/bistre body - totally opaque with a fine layer of buff foam up top; sandy lacing, no legs, good retention.

Malty, vaguely boozy aromatics suffused with roast notes and hints of molasses.

The flavor profile is impressively complex with abundant layers of stewed fruit, charred/roasted/toasted grains, and heady esters. Bittersweet, earthy finish draws you back in for repeated cautious sips. Low bitterness and only vague hop flavors throughout.

Thick, full bodied, nearly oily mouth-feel but with sufficient carbonation and attenuation. Warming from the alcohol.

While not as unique or memorable as the top tier of RIS - this is a generous, classically crafted, flawlessly executed example of the style.

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

2015 bottle near cellar temp. Pours a thick chocolate brown with an espresso head. That is a rich aroma! Roasted malts and tons of chocolate, a bit of sweetness. Taste is mostly a mix of dark chocolate and dark fruit. Good balance of richness and bitterness. Char, caramel, coffee also present. A warm and bitter aftertaste. Nice and thick. A classic standout imperial stout.

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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.

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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

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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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.22 out of 5 based on 6,153 ratings.
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