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

BA SCORE
94
outstanding
2,132 Reviews
Bell's Expedition StoutBell's Expedition Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States
bellsbeer.com

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:
2,132
Ratings:
6,141
Avg:
4.22
pDev:
10.43%
 
 
Wants:
542
Gots:
1,773
For Trade:
132
User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,132 | Ratings: 6,141
Photo of rmcnealy
3.7/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 10/2/2012

Poured a non-translucent, dark brown that didn't appear to have much, if any sediment. The mocha tinted dirty ivory head faded quickly to leave a small but evident ring around the glass. It was a bit colder than ideal when initially poured so it's been sitting for a few. The first smells had a bit of aged funk but as it warms those scents have become less straightforward. Dark java roast, dark chocolate, sweet caramel, and slight funk can best describe the aromas. There is a slight bitterness and the 10.5% abv is masked pretty well. It is very thin and nowhere near the typical syrupyness you come to expect in higher ABV stouts. The tastes fade quickly and leave something to be desired. Overall it's not a bad stout. The consensus seems to be that Expedition stouts get better with time. Perhaps in another 9 months I'll give another go and update. Not my favorite Bell's brew or RIS, but very enjoyable nonetheless.

Cheers!

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

Thanks to a non BA buddy for sending me a growler of this.

Pours jet black through and through. No light penetrates this brew anywhere, awesome. Some foamy brown head forms and lingers on the edge of the glass for a while. Quite a bit of soapy tan head.

Smell is wafting up out of my snifter. Feel like I can smell it from 3 feet away. My DFH snifter really seems to bring out aroma very well and this beer is no exception. Lots of chocolate, both milk and dark with some coffee roastiness underneath. This aroma is perfectly suited for my tastes, eerr nose.

Flavor is quite similar to aroma. The chocolate in the nose is toned down in the taste and really blends with the other flavors. The flavor isn't terribly complex, keeping the score down there, but this is a very enjoyable stout. The chocolate comes in initially, followed by the coffee, which has taken on more of a roasted barley flavor, then some bitter hops on the back of the tongue.

Mouthfeel is very thick and viscous. Tons of body and quite slick in the mouth without being overly sweet on the finish. Perfect mouthfeel for style. Flavor lingers forever on the palate making this a perfect sipping beer on a cold winter day. This brew is fairly warm as it goes down which is not surprising considering the 10.5% ABV. Drinkability is good for style, not great. Overall a very well done RIS. I'd rate it almost perfect if it wasn't for the lack of complexity in the flavor. Very glad I got a chance to try this one.

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

On tap at Spinnerstown Hotel for a Bell's event. The pint glass delivered to the table is a deep black-brown with no light coming through. The head is bright tan, about half a finger, and retains longer than expected for many stouts. There is moderate carbonation initially then it slows to a thick stillness.

The aroma is malty, roasted, chocolate and spicy with a little bit of yeast esters. Good...representative, but doesn't really illustrate the intensity of flavor.

Upon taking a sip the flavor is a veritable explosion of deep, dark tastes that also make their way to the nose. There is licorice, chocolate - sweet and bitter, hops, toasted bread, cinnamon, vanilla, and a heady coffee and roast taste. As you drink through the melange becomes more complex and richer. Sweet tastes come through more strongly and any bitterness recedes. The blasts of cinnamon and spice are truly impressive. Through out the glass the alcohol becomes apparent and the beer almost takes on a bitter chocolate liquor quality.

The mouthfeel is satisfying and smooth, and lighter than the flavor density; it is good - but I'd almost like something a little thicker in the mouth to match up to the cake-like quality of the taste.

This beer is very drinkable despite the high alcohol and intensity of the dark flavors. A definite winner on a cold winter night, especially on tap.

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Photo of swid
3.82/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours very thick and syrupy...deep brown to black. Carbonation nearly nonexistant. A 2" brown head forms; fades after about 10 minutes or so.

Chocolate and caramel notes are prominent in an overall sweet, malty aroma. Along with the chocolate and caramel, a coffee flavor dominates this beer. A surprisingly light mouthfeel; slightly bitter on the palate, feels like a light syrup on the back of the mouth/throat, finishes fairly clean. The high ABV of this beer is masked very well, much more so than other strong beers I've had in the past.

Overall, a decent imperial stout, and a beer worth trying or breaking out every once in a while. However, I wouldn't go out of my way to track down another one.

Thanks to mdinges for the bottle!

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Photo of optiontwo
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz. poured into snifter

Appearance: Pours black with a mahogany head that disappeared quickly.

Smell: Dark fruits, tart cherry, rich dark chocolate, oak, brown sugar, and alcohol.

Taste: Like a dark chocolate covered cherry right away with subtle coffee bean and more bitter than you would expect, due to the assertive hopping I assume. Hops don't make much of a flavor appearance but when they do peek through it's more orange than anything. There's also and iron-y flavor that hits at the end, not bad, just interesting.

Mouthfeel: Thick, viscous, appropriate carbonation, very smooth.

Drinkability: Be careful with this one. I've been known to want one after I'm done with the first but your entering tipsy town.

Overall: This remains one of my favorite imperial stouts and is a must try. So go get it!

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

A - Pours a jet black color with a dark mocha, one finger head that has above average retention. There is very minimal lacing.

S = There are some semi-sweet chocolate smells along with some burnt malts. Very pungent and good.

T - There are burnt malts upfront with some dark fruits such as plum and fig. The aftertaste consists of burnt chocolate and coffee. Very nice.

M - Thick and creamy. Right along the lines for this style.

D - This is a sipper for sure but it's enjoyable all the way.

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Photo of abecall98
4.13/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this in a trade from Dukedevil0. Good guy.

A - this beer is dark like oil. light 1/4 in head.

S - For sum reason, this has been the first Imperial Stout I have consumed that has a high hop aroma.

T - Malty, roasty, hoppy, chocolate, and a hoppy finish. After the finish, I have a nice slight alcoholic flavor in my mouth.

M - Smooth, creamy, and a very well carbonated. Not overly carbonated, for the style, I believe it is perfect.

D - this beer is drinkable. This does not have a nasty aftertaste, and every drink makes you look forward to the next.

Overall, this is a great beer. I have another 4 beers, for aging, and look forward to them.

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Photo of RomanW70
4.36/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours almost black with a thick tan head. Aroma of dark chocolate, roast, and caramel. Extremely smooth but complex at the same time. Initial taste of chocolate, caramel flows into a coffee bitterness with some warming alcohol at the finish. Very smooth to begin with, but becomes smoother with each taste. An excellent beer. I can't wait to taste this one aged.

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Photo of DrewV
4.71/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottling date of 10/12.

What a brew! An overly aggressive pour may have robbed this one of some carbonation, as it's a bit flat, but every drop of the flavor remained. A bit restrained in the aroma compared to the flavor, but again that may be due to my clumsy pour. Ridiculously creamy with a thick, viscous mouthfeel. Heavy, dark roasted malts and chocolate flavors are supported by a serious amount of hop bitterness. The depth of flavor and balance is off the charts. Almost a meal all by itself. I've had some outstanding Impy stouts, but Expedition Stout is just dynamite and stands alone in the deep, dark, heavy-duty stout category. I envy those of you who have regular access to this gem. A solid A+ rated beer, no less.

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Photo of TheBlackMallard
4.17/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured an oily black. The tan head grew out of nowhere and quickly disappeared. Smells of sugar, coffee, dates. Tastes of sweet roasted mocha coffee. The aftertaste starts bitter and quickly gives way to sweetness. Thick creamy mouthfeel. Very smooth, but I think one is enough for me.

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Photo of skizziks
3.83/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into a Duvel tulip. Pour gives about an inch of dark cocoa foam, thick, leaves thick sheets on the side as it settles. A thin layer sticks around for a long time. The beer is a deep mahogany, not quite opaque.

Aroma is immediately vinous, roasty, with raisins and figs. Deep and complex.

Flavor starts out with some sharp acid, vinous with a wash of malt syrup. Figs follow with coffee beans and cocoa leading to a long lingering finish of burnt coffee. A little astringent, but not overpoweringly so. A nice counterpoint to the syrupy sweetness and roasted bitter.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and thick. Coats the tongue with a lasting impression of powdered cocoa. I don't mean to give the idea that this is some sort of cocoa flavored beer, but there is definitely an element of unsweetened cocoa down in there with all of the other flavors. This is a wonderful, rich, complex beer. I have been sipping on this one for about an hour and a half and enjoying the hell out of it. Drinkability is rated low because the burnt flavors really slow me down (in a good way) where others of the style are relatively easy to sip continuously. Overall, this is a very very good beer.

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Photo of DPMomutant
4.03/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The body is the expected pitch black. The head is very brown and much larger than I expected. I did not need to pour nearly this hard but I was not expecting as much head. Obviously, this bottle has not suffered the flatness problems as some batches apparently did. This head is lasting absolutely forever, no matter, a beer of this style needs to warm a bit anyway. Massive lacing.

The smell is mostly very strong fruit, like raisins but bolder. I'm catching a hint of brown sugar. Reminds me some of wine or sherry, but not much alcohol in the smell as I would expect of a big beer like this.

The taste does not come out quite as sweet as the smell. There is some coffee taste here and the wine-like alcohol comes out as well, but is not overpowering.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth, I'm imagining what it will be like if I let the rest of the bottles sit until the dead of winter.

Obviously as big as this is, more than 12oz of this in a session where you've already had a couple, you don't want more than one. That one, though, I have little problem finishing.

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Photo of Melchizedek
4.52/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Oh goodness. Black, black, black - pours like motor oil, builds a solid brown head, and sucks light out of its surroundings.

Aroma is BOLD, full of powdered chocolate, a touch of hop, alcohol, caramel, spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove maybe?), dark fruit, bread... in the mouth, rich, full, creamy, with intense roasted, toasted grains pushing aggressively to the fore. Survive the onslaught and you can start to catch the flavors of the aroma, especially the caramel/chocolate, while alcohol makes itself known and warms things up. A bit of sweetness moderates the bitter and almost harsh flavor profile (alcohol helps with this). Some nutty and maybe yeasty notes round out the finish.

I can't say much bad about this beer, except that you don't want to try to taste anything afterwards. I'm in love. I wish I could get this locally - I'd certainly try cellaring it if I had the means, as I think the mellowing effects of a bit of aging would enhance the subtler notes that are for now a bit hard to pick out from the flavor onslaught.

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Photo of marksto
3.82/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled at the Indiana Microbrewers Festival. Bell's had this one opposite a keg of the bourbon barrel aged Double Cream/Expedition Stout. Perhaps it was because of that excellent beer that I thought this one wasn't as good as I'd hoped it would be..

Poured opaque with an off-white medium head with medium retention. Surprisingly light in the nose. Some coffee and roast with malt sweetness, but nose overall lighter than I thought it would be. Flavor exhibited a blend of roastiness, malt, with a hint of chocolate. Smooth, nice, but not as complex as many of the other R.I.S.'s that I've had before.

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

In a tulip:

Relatively thin head dissipates quickly, but great brown color with dark ruby hues. Light lacing. Smells great with molasses, taffy, vanilla, and tons of bourbon. Obviously hot. Taste is so perfectly rounded. Awesome. Malty and bitter... Perfect. Best
aftertaste I've had in a long time. Warm, but not hot. Thickness almost perfect, creamy, excellent carb. Absolutely drinkable, with the exception of hotness.

Overall: Fantastic RIS. Wish Bell's was available in MA so I could enjoy it more often.

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Photo of ballz50401
4.32/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #9554 Bottled 1/27/10. Served in a snifter glass.

Appearance: Pours a thick black oblique color with a very, very dark brown head.

Smell: Burnt caramel and chocolate. Dark fruits and alcohol. Very nice aroma.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Nice maltly sweetness. Some sweet dark roasted caramel followed by dark chocolate. Smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Full bodied.

Overall: A very nice Imperial Stout that ages very well.

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Photo of Roke87
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Duvel tulip at cellar temperature.
Bell’s Batch Number: 9971 Bottled on: Sept.13/2010

Appearance- Pours a pitch black colour like dirty old motor oil with a two finger of nice fluffy brown mocha coloured head that resides at an average pace to a thick ring around the glass leaving lots of sticky lacing throughout till finish.

Smell- Is very similar on the nose to a Founders imp stout, except I smell a hint of hops thrown in there. Lots of roasted malts, a mild coffee smell, with a sweet caramel/toffee nose with a hint of chocolate in there, I could definitely get a hint of alcohol out of this one.

Taste- Comes through just like the smell, although I didn’t get too much hops in the taste as I could smell. Lots of roasted malt flavours and dark fruity flavours as well that are almost sweet on the palate, not too much caramel/toffee on the taste either but it does finish with a bitter coffee flavour balanced again by the roasted malts. Also finishes with a little bit of an alcohol taste but not overly intense.

Mouthfeel- I would say this is a full bodied imperial stout that finishes smooth a creamy, They do a very good job of hiding the high ABV but it does comes through a bit in the finish. Not overly carbonated but not many stouts are anyways so I would say it’s just right in those terms.

Overall- To be honest I kind of expected more from this one; it is very similar to a number of other imperial stouts and not as good as a few others although it does come through in many respects. The Smells are well balanced which translates to an equally balanced, smooth, and almost easy drinking taste. I would say this is Bell’s flagship beer but you could pick up a number of other Bell’s offerings and be just as satisfied but none the less a very solid offering. For the high price point I think I’ll just pick up the similar stouts and pass on this one in the future.

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Photo of car2052
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a snifter glass. Packaged 10/23/14, Drank 12/26/15.

A: Jet Black. Interesting looking raspberry/brown head. Small amount of lacing.
S: Salty Jerky, Chocolate, Raspberry, smoke, hint of coffee.
T: Follows the nose a lot. Strong chocolate and coffee flavors. Very sweet upfront with smoky roasted malts. However, very fruity taste. Raspberry and blueberry flavors come through with the sweetness.
M: Very heavy. Strong, smoky aftertaste.
O: Very sweet and strong beer. The fruit flavors (not sure how they got there) threw me off a bit. Flavors reminded me a lot of their Old Coast Ale.

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Photo of wyllder
4.02/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First off: thanks go out to deejaydan for the chance to sample this.

Pours an opaque chocolate-black with a small caramel colored head.

Nose is a mix of dark fruits, chocolate & sweetbread. Very nice.

Taste is bittersweet on the front of palate. Just a bit too salty for me. Hints of chocolate are here and make the finish nice.

Mouthfeel is good.

Drinkability suffers from, IMO, a bit too much of a salty character.

Overall, a solid interpretation of the style by not quite up there with Stone & Siberian Night for me.

Wyll-

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Photo of Evocatus
3.74/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours either a really dark brown or just plain black with a brown head that dissolves rather quickly. Aroma has scents of roasted nuts, sweet malts, and some cocoa. Taste follows the aroma, only the 10.5% really kicks in, maybe to the extent of overpowering everything else. It was really thick and lowly carbonated, almost drinking like a thin syrup. Because of the relative strength and thickness, I could probably only have one of these at a time, but a good strong beer overall.

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Photo of waltersrj
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage into a Bruery Snifter.

Pour: Dark black, jet black really with a bubbles around the edge of the glass tan/espresso colored head.

Nose: Dark, charred malts, dark chocolate, vanilla, alcohol, slight hops, and sweet burnt sugars.

Taste: Dark roasted chocolate malt, dark chocolate, slight vanilla, and slight hops start this off with sweet molasses in the middle, and burnt malt and alcohol on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Moderate to high viscosity here, very thick and chewy. Great for the style.

Overall: A really solid non -bals version of an imperial stout. I really enjoy the contrast between sweet sugars and charred malt. Really great brew.

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

Pours oily black, black, midnight black. Head is dark tan and only an eighth of an inch thick.

Smells nutty, chocolately, sugary, and loads of it.

Definitely has nutty roasted malt flavors but also has strong sweet dark chocolate flavors present thoughout as well as some coffee.

Mouth feel is chewy, smooth, slick, chewy, outstanding.

ABV is somewhat masked at first but becomes more and more apparent as it goes down. That hurts the drinkability as does the sheer magnitude of this beer makes it too much to do a lot of.

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Photo of BuckeyeOne
3.96/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 9435, aged at Zipp's, not my home.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a standard pint glass an impenetrable black with a solid mocha head that left a thick, hearty lacing down the glass.

I must say that all I could pick up from the nose was molasses and licorice. For a RIS, I really was expecting some chocolate and coffee, but I got neither of these from the nose.

The flavor followed the nose almost exactly, but there was a hint of chocolate in the end that was lacking in the nose. Also picked up some hop bitterness at the end.

Yummy, creamy smooth feel. Not a ton of carbonation, but wasn't expecting this in a RIS. Hit the spot.

I was disappointed. I've not had this beer before and thought one that was aged a year (or more) might be better. I'll try this fresh and see if I like it better.

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Photo of TK5150
4.31/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours black with brown head.

S- Chocolate, coffee, cherry, fig, other fruits.

T- Chocolate..almost like chocolate cake, cherry, coffee, fig, char, milky lactose flavor that ends sweet. Very flavorful.

M- Thick and full.

D- So tasty that it gets high marks even though its such a burly beer. Definitely a sipper though.

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Photo of EnemyWithin
4.01/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle of 2011. Into Duvel glass.

Appearance: 4.5
Almost jet black opaque body, with an inch of creamy light brown head. Good lacing.

Aroma: 3.5
Strong notes of molasses and candy sugar. Notes of dark fruit and faint notes of milk chocolate and roasty espresso.

Taste: 4
Initially, semi-bitter dark chocolate/cocoa, dark fruits and coffee with notes of dark fruits. Slight warmth and presence of the alcohol. A moderate dry bitterness soon after that lingers through the whole taste. Finishes with amazing rich roasty flavour with a touch of sweetness, contrasting with a moderate amount of coffee and bitterness from the hops. The flavour changes quite a bit as it warms, improving significantly. As it approaches warmer temp, flavour soften and melt together with more mellowing out of the bitterness/sourness and bring forward more roasty cocoa flavors.

Mouthfeel: 4
Moderate thickness, a touch on the dry side because of the notable bitter presence. Mild to moderate carbonation.

Overall: 4.5
A nice beer with pleasant dark chocolate and roasty characteristics. Quite enjoyable, overall excellent stout. Good aging potential. Smooth mild presence of alcohol even though ABB 10.5%.
Recommend to try.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.22 out of 5 based on 6,141 ratings.
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