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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User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,136 | Ratings: 6,153
Photo of ryanwbrodie
4.74/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2014 vintage into a snifter. Strong dark chocolate on the nose, very smooth with little burn. Has aged quite nicely in 2.5 years, looking forward to re-visiting next year.

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Photo of backpackbeer
4.95/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a goblet. Not sure of the bottling date.

L: Midnight black with little to no head.

S: Molasses, tart cherry, prunes and light smokiness.

T: Quite a lot happening with notes of molasses, cognac, bitter chocolate, coffee and some raisin. The flavors come together really well.

F: Smooth and complex with lots of coffee and roasted malt flavors. Mouthfeel is thick and warming but not heavy.

Wow, what an imperial stout. This has been in my fridge for at least 6 months and was completely worth the wait. I highly recommend seeking a few of these out!

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Photo of Red5StandingBy
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12oz bottle into Spiegelau glass. Bottled on October 3rd 2016.

L: Opaque black with a finger width brown head with excellent retention.

S: Dark Chocolate, Coffee, Wood Smoke, Alcohol, Prunes, Sherry and Raisins. Wonderfully complex on the nose.

T: Dark roasted coffee beans, smooooooth dark chocolate, sherry, touch of the wood smoke, prunes make an appearance. Wow this is so complex and smooth for a Russian Imperial Stout.

F: Full body, good carbonation bite, super smooth.

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

Roast, boozy, goodness here. Tons of coffee and chocolate in the nose. The taste is thick, malty, and slightly sweet. Chocolate, coffee, and bourbon booze dominate. This is an exceptional stout.

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Photo of CNoj012
4.26/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 9/14/15, consumed 1/29/17

This beer pours a completely opaque jet black color with a thick, late forming, 3 finger rusty mocha head. Retention is phenomenal and there are rings and spotted lacing left all over the glass.

Smell is bitter chocolate, sweet dark fruit, caramel and vanilla.

Taste is the same with a fairly sweet aftertaste. Definitely not cloying. There is also a touch of booze on the finish.

Feel is medium bodied and fairly smooth, but not velvety. Carbonation is a bit high which takes away from the smoothness.

Overall a great stout. This is my first encounter with this beer so I will have to try one fresh to compare.

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Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
4.73/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Been wanting to knock this off my bucket list for quite some time now. This one more than delivered.

Bottled in October. A very complex stout full of Chocolate, dark fruits, dark cherry, some vanilla, and a vinous character presents it self as it warms. Roastiness & notes resembling coffee are on the lighter side. Not too bitter, not too soft. Silky actually, and it tastes so damn good, I realized that I needed to pace myself. I was near finished with this 10.5% 12oz bottle in 15 -20 minutes or so.

This beer at a few months from bottling already has all the characteristics I look for in the more common West Coast Imperial Stouts I have easy access to after they've aged 2+ years. THIS was very impressive to me.

While not quite a perfect example of the style for me, it sure was as close as it gets.

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Photo of AustinWadkins
4.41/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75


Pours thick and black like oil with virtually no head besides a faint chocolate collar

Smells of alcohol, bakers chocolate, dark fruits, roasted malts, hint of vanilla

Taste is amazing! Dark bitter chocolate, dark fruits, roasted malts, coffee,alcohol

Overall it was a fantastic beer! Aging really brought out the complexity!

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Photo of MikeyMcD86
4.48/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Drank out of a Tulip. Pours pitch black with a finger of dark brown head. Aroma is very hop forward along with some roasted malts and hint of dark cherry. Taste follows the nose. Roast qualities are far more pronounced along with a strong hoppy bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium plus, a little thinner than I'd expect from 10.5%. I can see why people say this beer needs to be cellared. The hops really dominate, suppressing many of the roasted coffee and chocolate notes that this beer could offer. Time to sit and mellow should allow the hops to take a back seat and the roast to shine. 90.25 points.

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

Look: Oil slick black with a quarter inch thick volcanic ash colored head. Short retention on the head. Has the look and viscosity of motor oil. Awesome!
Smell: The usual stout culprits with caramel, dark-chocolate, and espresso. A bit more nutty and oaky than typical stouts. It reminds me of Ben and Jerry's salted butter pecan ice-cream. This might be a remnant of the licorice from the Kalamazoo Stout.
Taste: It begins a little sour with a sweet and salty finish like a mixture of soy sauce, bourbon, hot chocolate, and raspberry soda. The malt character is moderately starchy. The aftertaste is not as dry as I would have hoped for a high ABV beer but it has a salty and sweet finish that is fantastic.
Mouthfeel: The initial taste is rich and noticeably carbonated while the body is only slightly thicker than a porter. The finish leaves a long moistness in the front of the mouth with a more dry texture in the back. Similar to a root-beer float.
Overall: This beer makes keeps me guessing with every successive sip, which means it is either really good, really bad, or really weird. I think it lands somewhere between weird and good.

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Photo of Zaktcc
4.88/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Bottled 11/6/2015
A - Pours a pitch black color with a 3 finger, coffee colored head. Phenomenal head retention and lacing. Full embodiment of a stout.

S - The most overwhelming aroma that hits right off the bat is chocolate and sweet malts. Dark sugar and molasses are notable as well. An amazing and incredibly sweet scented beer.

T - Although not as present in the aromas, the bitterness of the dark fruits comes out in the flavors. Chocolate, malts and sugar are present as well with a sweet, mild chocolate aftertaste. Fairly bitter but very pleasant and will definitely improve with age.

M - Full bodied beer, well carbonated (especially given the age) and smooth. Creamy texture with an ever so slight booziness to it. Very enjoyable.

O - The stout brother of the Hopslam ale. As an avid stout lover, this brew definitely ranks amongst the best I've ever had. The aroma and aesthics are as near perfect as you can wish for. The flavors are robust and delicious and I am excited to see how they shape themselves with age. Very drinkable and enjoyable and simply one of the best stouts you'll ever find.

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