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

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding
2,089 Reviews
Bell's Expedition StoutBell's Expedition Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States | website

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
2,089
Ratings:
5,983
Avg:
4.22
pDev:
17.77%
 
 
Wants:
520
Gots:
1,700
For Trade:
133
User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,089 | Ratings: 5,983
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.

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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.

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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!

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Photo of jmasher85
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

As good a stout as everyone says it is, I'm drinking a 1 1/2 year old bottle from a trade (what a nice guy!) and the flavor and texture are spot-on! Smooth as silk with a nice head that recedes nicely while maintaining very gentle carbonation and creamy texture. Seriously, this stuff is crazy smooth with little alcohol burn.

The nose has a lightly charred, smokey flavor with some coffee and chocolate notes, and just a hint of black cherry and port wine. Flavor is also bitter on the front end with some coffee, cocoa, and molasses, and just a hint of that savory, briney, soy sauce flavor that many imperials stouts come with. Mild black cherry flavor makes a return here too.

As good and accessible an example of the style as one could ask for!

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Photo of jaypaul522
4.56/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a good one. The beer pours very dark with a lot of head. The smell is malt and fruity overtones. The taste is strong, with the fruit coming through in the aftertaste left in your mouth. The body is full and very pleasant to drink. This is one of the best stouts around.

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Photo of derftron
4.59/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This enters the gold club for non barre aged stouts along with Narwhal, Ten Fidy, Storm King , and Stone RIS.

Recent addition to the Oregon distribution, this is very nice to have around. Had it 3x out in North Carolina, just as good as I remember it.

Pouts black, smells like dark chocolate, malt, sugar, coffee. Exquisite imperial stout, definitely one of the best I have ever had

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Photo of MacMalt
4.41/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into snifter glass. It pours a rich, dark mahogany, nearly black, with a one-finger, mocha-colored head and extensive lacing that didn't dissipate throughout the pour. It features that classic RIS smell: chocolate, coffee, caramel, dark fruit, and and enough booze to get your attention. The taste is truly outstanding with lots of roasted malt, dark chocolate, burnt coffee, caramel, and one of the best dark fruit profiles I've ever experienced. The tastes blend magnificently. This stout is rich and very creamy, lightly carbonated, and easy to drink despite its 10.5% ABV. Overall, Expedition merits its lofty rating. It is exceptionally well-crafted and delicious. This is just a notch below Parabola and right up there with Ten Fidy, Narwhal, and some of the other big name RIS's. I'm hooked!

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Photo of rrock44
5/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked up a sixer at the Belmont station (wish I picked up a case). This is right up there with all my favorite stouts - speedway (can't believe I never reviewed this one, but easy 5), ten fidy, a Stone IRS...Chocolate, coffee, motor oil-esq nectar of the gods. This one lives up to the hype for me.

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Photo of medicinewheel
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

6 month old bottle from date on label, maybe too young, couldn't wait. This is Bell's after all.

Look- Black as night, it is like motor oil, tan thin head, quick run lacing. (Doesn't last)

Smell- almost too much to describe, so much going on at once- pine, tar, resin, chocolate, coffee, wine.

Taste- dark Chocolate, coffee bitterness that lingers, possibly some very ripe banana, noticed that after many tastes.

Feel- Smooth, light carbonation but the effect here is so appealing for the style, the ale just lingers on the tongue and the palate, you'll feel it sip after sip it's right. Bitterness will sit on the back of the tongue for a while in such a pleasant way commanding another taste.

Stout's are not my favorite style-but- now this Stout is one of my favorite's how's that for a change of pace!?
Only Bell's could do something like that-

It's a massive Stout and I recommend anyone give one a try regardless of palate preference- it's simply an amazing ale.

If you come across this- it's a must have.
Cellaring would be damn fun if you have the patience.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Hits all those used motor oil notes, beige head right at that deft one inch mark with very tiny bubbles, great retention. Aroma was deep bitter roast, chocolate malt.

Thick consistency and viscosity, coats the mouth, enveloping mouthfeel. Covers the alcohol well, imparts heavy notes of chocolate without using it as an adjunct. Very chewy, but yet not heavy relative to every other aspect of the beer.

Remember when the Bros gave this beer a C-? Those were the days.

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Photo of ikenney87
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Acquired this vintage bottle from my gracious neighbor. Will give him homebrew and other beer to compensate! Also need to figure out how he stored the bottle.
Bottle has date of October 2012.
Poured into a goblet-style glass at 40F.

Look: Opaque black with no head.

Smell: Sweet stone fruit, soy sauce, concord grape-like vinousness, coffee grinds, overripe bananas

Taste: Dark plum sauce, bakers chocolate, leather, spicy white pepper. Has a 'soily licorice' roasty aftertaste that is extremely pleasant and reminiscent of Kalamazoo stout. Moderate nondescript bitterness at the back end (the ghosts of hops past) keeps the syrupy sweetness in check. Combination of earthy, vegetal hops and soy-sauce style umaminess in aftertaste not bad, but not great either.

Feel: Thick, luscious, and creamy start with a surprisingly dry finish. The moderately low level of fine carbonation is pleasant.

Overall: A great stout. I'd be interested to try a fresh bottle and compare, seeing as this is my first time trying this beer.

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Photo of alarmclock314
4.29/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle, dated 11/6/15. Pours black with a medium sized khaki head. Smells of mostly dark roasted malt and earthy hops with some dark fruit and cocoa. The taste follows exactly with lots of malt and hops, some more reserved cocoa and dark fruit; very good intensity. Moderate bitterness and slight dryness in the finish. Above average body and carbonation. Overall, it's a pretty straight-forward RIS. It's advertised as being cellarable which makes sense with its strong malt and hop profile.

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Photo of crisis1290
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bell's Expedition Stout - Bell's Brewery, is one of the best Russian Imperial Stouts I have ever tasted. My beer was pour after sitting in the basement for almost a 16 months after purchase. Yummy.
Super dark pour. A nice foam ring hangs around for quite some time. Thick , malty and delicious. I find the 10.5 ABV is well hidden as compared to others.
This is a quality beer and yes, you pay for the quality as you do with all great beer. Another fine product from one of the best breweries out there.

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Photo of wuthrichj15
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Awesome brew. Super easy to drink for 10%. Nice chocolate/roasted malt notes with some dark fruit that comes through as well. i drank some bottles that had aged quite nicely. What is great about the RIS is that over time, the flavors come together more harmoniously over time. Unlimited shelf life for these bad boys.

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Photo of kilo_005
4.62/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a wide Belgian-style (Duvel to be specific) glass.
I gather people drink this beer at various levels of aging - this one was about 5 months old.

A: Very dark and little to no head. This beer has a strange viscosity to it, which some people think is a positive, but to me, it's a bit strange! It really does look like motor-oil, as one of the previous posters suggested - if you look at it up close it even has that same sheen.
S: This is where this beer really shines. The aromas are incredible, with all sorts of excellent roasted malts in combination with all the dark fruit / raisiny smells you might expect. But what's so impressive is you don't just get that ethanol smell overriding all that subtlety, even though the ABV is quite high. To get those aromas to come through at that level of alcohol is extremely impressive to me.
T: Very good. This beer is drinkable and delicious, but can also be appreciated with small sips. The level of bitterness vs. malt is nearly perfect, at least at the aging that I had this bottle. They got the balance right. The only reason my rating isn't higher is just because the excellent aromas don't quite come through fully in the taste.
M: Similar to what I said regarding smell, it's impressive that you don't get hit with any overwhelming alcohol burn or anything like that, despite the high ABV. You can really enjoy the beer. And, although I thought the viscosity was weird for the appearance, it's totally pleasant as far as the mouthfeel.
O: I don't think there's really any way to dispute that this is one of the top high-alchohol stouts out there. It's an exquisitely crafted beer and really my only knock is just that I personally think the oily/not-too-carbonated appearance is not great, but if that doesn't bother you then really there's no faults with this beer at all.

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Photo of gustavmahler-09
4.43/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark solid black, one finger head. Aroma not very gripping, but taste and feel are great. Long taste, thick, complex flavors, thick and creamy on the palate. I really enjoyed this.

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

Poured black as night with a frothy chocolate milkshake two finger head. Aroma initially was of mild birch beer then dark chocolate and coffee. The first sip blew me away with the thickness of this brew. This is heavy stuff! Thick and chewy with a bit of oiliness. Low carbonation. The taste is complex and hits you in waves of malt, dark chocolate, coffee, caramelized sugar and followed by black licorice. And . . . that is only in the first half of the glass. As you savor the complexity, you may notice dark cherry and raisin flavors too. Watch out for the alcohol. At 10.5 ABV, you do not notice it at first. It sneaks up on you. Sip this one slowly while listening to some of your favorite classic jazz, country or oldies. You will want to roll this on your tongue and savor every drop!

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

This is a review of a fresh 2015 and realize this needs some age. I've put away 5 more to review at later dates.
L - Pours syrupy and black with a thin mocha head
S - Notes of rich mocha and roasted coffee
T - I taste lots of coffee, burnt sugar, dark chocolate, and a bitter finish
F - This one's thick, thick, thick, and chewy. I get some residual chest heat
O - thickest stout I've had. Lots of depth of flavor. I'm excited to see how this one ages.

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Photo of Buck1
3.95/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Finally found a sixer after wanting to try it for a while.
A: very dark like most RIS, nice tan head that does not last to long
S: Roast malts, plumy or raisin smell, some coffee and chocolate, alcohol
T: Roasty malts , molasses and plumy. Not as much chocolate as some, can taste the alcohol, some ash, smoke
M: not as smooth or as silky as some other RIS but not bad.
O: It is a very good RIS but I like Plead the Fifth or Yeti better , alcohol hidden better and more silky mouthfeel. This was bottled within the last 4 mounths and is a young stout. I think a year or two on this would move it up . We will see as I have put 3 back.

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Photo of don1481
4.43/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12 oz poured into snifter.

Appearance: Pours like a motor oil. Virtually no head on this bad boy. Tiny amount of lacing on the side of the glass. Mocha colored.

Smell: a little boozy, coffee and chocolate notes intertwined.

Taste: like the nose. The booziness is less prevalent on the tongue.

Mouthfeel: rich, full mouth feel here. Luxury in a bottle.

Overall: aging more. Cant wait to revisit in a year. Already so good .

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Photo of Vierenner
4.59/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Very impressive beer! Thick, malty, delicious. Pours a beautiful, chocolate brown, fine bubbled head which lasts quite a long time. A ring of foam sticks around until the last sip. I didn't find the smell all that pleasing, and there was a slight bit of a hop bite which I'm not fond of ... but those remarks aside, this is an incredible beer.

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Photo of m_hall
4.82/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12oz longneck into a tulip. This beer is absolutely inky black - no light whatsoever penetrates the glass - and is topped by a huge thick khaki head that falls slowly. Lacing is thick and sticky.

Aroma is dominated by sweet malts, dark chocolate notes, and alcohol, though not to a nose-burning degree.

Flavors hit the palate with a huge wallop of semi-sweet chocolate along with hints of blackberry and caramelized sugar. These are soon followed by espresso and toasted grains, licorice, and smoky notes. The finish is strong coffee bitterness and pleasantly warming booze, and lingers for an eternity.

Mouth feel is thick, syrupy and chewy, coating the mouth as you drink. This is a beer that pours huge and drinks huge... luxurious. Given that body and the brawny ABV of 10.5% this is certainly one you take your time with.

I had heard little about this this stout, and after drinking I have no idea why more people aren't totally geeking out about this one... this is a deep, huge, complex monster of a RIS, completely world class, and should be talked about in the same revered tones as Old Rasputin, Ten FIDY and other paragons of the style. Yes, it's a trifle expensive (I gave a shade over $16 for a six pack) but for a stout enthusiast it's money well spent. And even as good as it is now, this one should cellar excellently. A true tour-de-force.

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Photo of HamdenHector
4.46/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A; opaque; very dark brown - virtually black; 3 finger dark khaki head that receded to a thin cap; sheets of lacing;

S: bittersweet chocolate, roasted grains, a little smoke;

T: bittersweet chocolate mixes with roasted grain up front, but becomes dominant by the middle; a little licorice and smoke in the background; alcohol is noticeable, but appropriate for the style;

M: medium to full bodied; moderate carbonation; dry finish;

O: complex flavors; really nice;

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Photo of Strike00
4.48/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L: pours black with a brown head and nice lacing.
S: smells sweet with roast smell and an underlying alcohol smell.
T: Much like the nose. Pretty sweet compared to some other RIS but it works well. The alcohol warmth is there but not overpowering by any means.
F: Full bodied with low carbonation. Feels like what you think of when you think imperial stout.

O: Very, very good. Ha some differences from my other Favorite stouts but fantastic.

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Photo of Tilly
4.41/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

P: Black, nice root beer head. Impressive lacing.
A: Sweet cherry, chocolate, can't hide the alcohol.
T: Bitter, sweet chocolate, cherry/raspberry, dark roast coffee,
M: Where to start, chewy, full body, thick, heady creamy, slight amount of bitterness.
O: I understand this brew has morphed into an outstanding RIS. 4 years? Excellent!

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 2,089 ratings.
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