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

6,176 Ratings
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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Ratings: 6,176 |  Reviews: 2,143
Photo of King_Charles
4.75/5  rDev +12.6%

Photo of Jeffrey2310
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of barneysdad
5/5  rDev +18.5%

Photo of leinie13
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of mikerieder
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of Buckeye982
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of martyl1000
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

UPDATE 7/31/15
Yep, my 2014 update for the 2013 (below) Expedition was entirely sound. Having mellowed nearly a year in the cellar, this bottle of 2014 Expedition holds its place near the tippy top of my double stout fave's of all time. I have 11 more bottles in the cellar. Yay!

I also have six bottles of the 2013 in the cellar. I'm shaking my head at the hedonism that awaits in those six bottles.

If you're trying this out with a fresh bottle, what Bell's says about it on their label is quite accurate:

. . . . . . "Intensely bitter in its early months, the flavors will slowly meld and grow in depth as the beer ages."

That night at Fischman Liquors in 2013, I rashly rated this 3.75. When fresh, this brew has a bitterness that just won't quit. But, throw it in the cellar for a while, and, voila!

UPDATE 8/1/14
I seriously have to upgrade my previous 3.75 rating from last summer. Perhaps the tap lines at Fischman Liquors last year needed to be flushed. Even more likely, it was served too cold. Whatever the case, the specimen I'm now this moment holding in my hand is fabulous.

A fairly aggressive pour into a tulip glass gives a small head, w/ almost no lacing (a sign of high abv, with slippery solvent alcohol refracting on the glass). The aroma is still remarkably weak (though subtly rich with a quiet majesty--just too quiet). I get in the nose a woody alcohol, plus uncooked pasta. And a bit of leather (but in a good way; I don't know how that's possible, as I detest leather in beer).

But the flavor in the mouth, wow, that's a different story. Incredibly complex. The flavors oscillate between a balance of bitter and sweet: burnt coffee and milk chocolate, black licorice and caramel, honey-baked ham and oatmeal-raisin. Wait, that last pair are both sweet. Plus an alcohol heat and an odd salt that helps cut the sweet.

A fullish-bodied, slick-viscous texture like warm maple syrup. Yet that creaminess is leavened by a mild to moderate carbonation, even as the pour in this tulip glass has risen to room temperature.

Rating: 3.75

On tap at Fischman Liquors, Chicago

I am not impressed. What a letdown the flavor is upon seeing this be-you-tea-ful black pour. It's nearly devoid of aroma. And in the mouth, the flat, coffee syrup (if there were such a thing!) is not quite welcome.

Several hours later, I'm getting the aroma, now, from the warmed-over tulip glass: orange peel, black pepper, black cherry juice, unripe tomato, and dopplebock malt. That's a pretty astonishing aroma. I only wish I could say the same about the flavor in the mouth.

 2,653 characters

Photo of DerekQXQX
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of Docrock
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of wiscokid920
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of jono0101
5/5  rDev +18.5%

Photo of JamesStreet
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of chooch5
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of MidtowneMarket
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of brwnchrstpher
4.75/5  rDev +12.6%

Photo of BlakeAM
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of Baab200
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of TubaDan
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of Fahz
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of DrewskiWhit
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of merman69
2.99/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Poured very dark, with a nice thick brown head that stuck around for a while. Smelled great, with a nice roasted aroma. Notes of coffee and chocolate. However, was dissapointed once I took a sip.... it is SICKLY sweet! I almost couldn't drink it. The flavor was good, what I would expect from a nice dark stout like this, but the sweetness was too much and by far overpowered the experience. So sweet that I didn't even realize it was a 10% ABV selection until after I had a few sips.

I've heard good things from their other stout, but I don't think I'll be having this one again.

 581 characters

Photo of draheim
4.49/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle (code 10068) poured into a snifter. Just pulled another one of these out of the cellar, sent by BucketBoy in December 2010. Thanks again!

Pours an opaque pitch black with a mocha head that dissipates immediately, leaving a thin layer of foam on the surface. Leaves oily legs on the glass.

Aroma is intensely dark, bitter roasted malt, rich chocolate, and booze. This isn't barrel-aged, but it almost smells like it is.

Taste is bitter, oily, rich, and boozy. A nice balance of some very intense elements but like a dark chocolate torte, I wouldn't want this in large quantities. 12oz is perfect.

Smooth, slick mouthfeel with a semi-dry finish.

Overall this is a solid representation of a classic Russian Imperial Stout. A straightforward, no-nonsense, very enjoyable example of the style. Probably my favorite non-barrel-aged imperial stout.

 858 characters

Photo of JMohl3
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of spark3148857
4.27/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 vintage poured into a snifter:

Pours a viscous black with a beautiful creamy mocha coffee colored head. Head dissipates quickly leaving only a ring of bubbles. Smells of roasted malt, char, burnt coffee, dark cocoa, with a graininess. Taste is well balanced with a nice chocolate coffee burnt flavor upfront. Not overly sweet, instead there is a solid wall of bitterness on the back end of the palate that lingers. Mouthfeel is as would be expected. Overall, an excellent RIS, though maybe a step behind Founders.

 519 characters

Photo of jkball01
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.22 out of 5 based on 6,176 ratings.
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