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

Bell's Expedition StoutBell's Expedition Stout
BA SCORE
4.26/5
6,214 Ratings
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
Ranking:
#689
Reviews:
2,154
Ratings:
6,214
pDev:
10.33%
Bros Score:
4.41
 
 
Wants:
558
Gots:
1,775
Trade:
126
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 6,214 |  Reviews: 2,154
Photo of birdsellam
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of Bustersuess
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of TXhomebrewer
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of jewellrunner
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of williahd
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of Boilermaker88
4.28/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Well, it's cooled off out here in SoCal so I decided to finally pop the cap off my Bell's Expedition Stout, graciously sent my way by CRJMellor.
Poured into my handy-dandy tasting glass, the first thing I noticed was the 1" tall, firm, resilient mocha-colored head that slowly settled down to a ring, leaving blotchy lace behind. Then I noticed the complete absence of light penetrating the brew. Just an inky blackness. No ruby highlights, no maroon or brown edging. Just a uniform deep-in-a-mine black.
The nose was rich and inviting, loaded with a hearty roasted malt aroma, a bit of a prune note, sherry, port wine, and coffee. Some cocoa aroma, too. The taste had a potent vinous flavor, a la port wine. Lots of roasted dark malts and baker's chocolate. Some mild dark fruit sweetness and molasses mid-palate before a counterpointing herbal hops bitterness struck in the finish. The feel was full, viscous, and dry with a real tight zippy carbonation lending a creaminess that was quite pleasant.
Overall, I really enjoyed this imperial stout, actually one of the best I've tried so far. Interesting that the reviews (and consistancy) are all over the map for this brew. Guess I'll just sit back, enjoy what's left in my glass and count my blessings. Mmm...Expedition Stout..

 1,283 characters

Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.63/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours like motor oil with a very dark brown 1/2 inch head. Not much lace. Smells of rich dark malt, bitter dark chocolate, coffee with a touch of cream.

Tastess is rich and bitter dark malt. Bitter dark chocolate. Decadent roasted malt. Coffee. Bitter coffee finish. Big thick beer, bitter aftertaste that lingers long. This stuff is yummy. I love a good imperial stout and this one is a great one. Superb.

 409 characters

Photo of webmanspidey
4.24/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pitch black with a thick molasses/syrup like pour. Very light carbonation. Sweet smells like maple syrup, brown sugar, dates, and oatmeal. Very sweet initial flavor, followed by a rush of burning alcohol, followed by a very bitter finish. Unfortunately the alcohol probably lasts the longest. Very thick and syrupy mouthfeel. Not an easy drinker in any terms.. a slow sipper.

 375 characters

Photo of jarrgal
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of Stigs
4.18/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle - batch 9359, served in a DFH signature glass

A - pours a nice healthy inch of loose but bubbly dark khaki foam, already lacing like crazy the little amount it has fell. the beer is black as night, no light gets through here.

S - huge nose of roasted malt right off the bat, joined in by some very dark and over-ripened fruit, charred toast, hints of coffee, bakers chocolate, earthy hops, bourbon, and of course, booze.

T - sweet start, roasted malts and nuts, big alcohol kick livens things up, chocolate, coffee, minerals. finishes with more alcohol burn, burnt toast, healthy hop bite.

M - outstanding - insanely thick body, unbelievably creamy. carbonation is tight and lively, but not distracting...more of a vehicle to break up some monotony.

D - this was one of the first "big" RIS i can remember having, and loving it at the time. still holds its own against all the special one-off bourbon barreled whatevers. a damn fine RIS, easily attainable, and good for the price point. definitely need to stock up on these and see how it ages. Bell's impresses yet again.

 1,091 characters

Photo of silentjay
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of Newport_beerguy
4.18/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of HappyHourHero
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark coco colored head fades slowly leaving a scattered coat of lace. Deep black colored beer, the kind that sucks all the light out of the room.
Raisins, brandy, a bit of spice (fig), and pretzels? Nice aroma.
Fairly thick body, smooth mouthfeel almost feels like microscopic carbonation.
Flavors of roasted malt, coco, red wine until a bitter bite, kind of coffee-ish, kicks in half way and holds solid throught the finish.
Let it warm up a little and the bitter finish fades and the subtle flavors come out.

 514 characters

Photo of bort11
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into an Imperial pint glass. Mild tan head that recedes to a thin ring. Color is pure black, no light can penetrate the glass.
Smell is a roasted espresso. Very bold, I can smell it without putting my nose in the glass. Taste follows smell. Very bold espresso flavor. Mouthfeel is full bodied, with a little more carbonation than what I would expect.
Very good RIS, and I would love to have more

 417 characters

Photo of KeefD
4.48/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a huge, creamy chocolate milk colored head into my Darkness tulip, leaving behind some nice lacing. Aroma is boozy off the bat, lots of alcohol that isn't terribly well-hidden in the nose, plus some notes of coffee, chocolate and graham cracker goodness. Flavor smacks you hard with roasted coffee flavors, backed up by some bitter roasted malt chocolatiness, and some green hops in the background that are barely noticeable because they get smacked around by the roasted malt. Very nice flavor, not overly complex, but very tasty. Thick, chewy mouthfeel, creamy, very nice carbonation for the style. The booze is very noticeable on this one and will do well in the cellar. I drank two of these, laid the other four down. Great stuff, a real treat. Probably the second best RIS I've tasted next to the one this glass was meant for. YUM

 852 characters

Photo of Rborre321
4.48/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of kaseydad
4.54/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally a Bell's beer. Had to travel to Arizona to pick this beauty up. Couldn't age it long though. Poured into a snifter and I am met with a pure black ale and a beautiful brown fluffy head that quickly turns into a light layer. The aroma is very much chocolate with some heavy maple syrup in the background and some smoke, vanilla and caramel in the mix. Awesome stuff! The taste has a little bite to it with more chocolate coming through and a big smokey, coffee bean background to it. Almost like sucking on a coffee bean. Cigarette smoke-like aftertaste. A lot going on here. All good. Lightly carbonated but I was hoping for a smooth sip each time with all the explosions in the mouth going on.

Overall I must say this beat my expectations. I had to go to AZ to find this and I am happy I did. This beer packs a whallop in a 12 oz. pour and it makes me yearn for me. If all Bell's products are like this....I am beginning my quest.

 939 characters

Photo of zoso1967
4.28/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours super dark black. Completely opaque. Probably the darkest beer I have ever seen with a very dark tan head. Nice fluffy head with good retention. Aroma is roasty and rich with coffee, bitter chocolate, some raisin, toffee sweetness and a bit of alcohol. Taste is much sweeter than expected. This beer has a lot going on. While the coffee and roasted malt taste is there, they are not as prevalent as in the aroma. I would say the main flavors are bitter chocolate, malt sweetness and a smokiness that reminds me of burnt marshmallows. I also detect a sort of herbal and fruity taste. Quite alcoholic, I can taste it and feel the warmth. A full bodied beer that is silky smooth and chewy. Definitely one to savor.

 717 characters

Photo of amishbooze
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of Benesi88
4.48/5  rDev +5.2%

Photo of seedyone
4.55/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

02/11/14 On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. A fine, fine brew. First nostril full is of a mild coffee. On the tongue it has a very pleasant bitterness from coffee & a mild chocolate. Steady, steady stuff. Sessionable plus.

 216 characters

Photo of Stevem68
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a motor oil black color. Has a slightly boozy aroma with moths of chocolate. Flavor is smooth, a little oaky and there is a presence of chocolate and malts. Overall a very solid stout. This could be drank any day of the week.

 231 characters

Photo of BMoney575
4.72/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled on 12-11-06
Batch: 7251
Bottled: 2-25-06

Looked fantastic pouring out of the bottle, thick and pitch black, with a good amount of carbonation to create a one-inch head that went away decently quickly.

The smell hits you as soon as the cap comes off. Dark fruits, raisin, plum, are very apparent, a malty sweetness and a good amount of smokiness make it even better.

Taste is unbelievable. Same fruit flavor up front, with the sweet malt balanced by a perfect amount of hoppiness. The finish is smoky and stays around for awhile. No noticeable alcohol taste, which shows how very balanced this beer is.

The mouthfeel is great, thick and creamy.

Drinkability is very good, it would not be hard to finish two or three of these.

Overall my favorite example of an RIS, and maybe one of the best beers I've ever had.

 840 characters

Photo of Piglet_rulz_da_yard
4.29/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of neonbrown82
4.62/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This is the second time I've had this brew. The first time was obviously a bad batch with a thick jism-like substance coating the bottom of the bottle, what I presumed was yeast and proteins.

The beer pours to a completely opaque black with a very thin chocolatey head. Tried hard to get more foam, but the high alcohol must have prevented it from getting to where I would have liked it to be. Pours very thick and viscous, almost as thick as I've seen.

The smell is good. Very sweet with molasses with some rich roasted barley and fruity esters. A little bit smokey. Quite complex and interesting, but still has that hint of anise and soy sauce that prevents me from giving it the extra .5%.

The taste is very similar. Very rich, flavorful and complex. I'm sorry I ever doubted you, Expedition Stout. If I were to pick out one prime example of Imperial Stout, I would be hard pressed to choose between Sam Smith's, Stone's, and this one.

The body is uber thick and chewey. Very nice. Not too bitter or sweet, doesn't dry out too bad in the finish. Good stuff. This sludge almost demands a knife and fork to drink it. As good as it is, it would be hard to drink much more than one in a night. I'm glad I decided to give it another chance and have 2 more in the cellar.

 1,280 characters

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Beer rating: 4.26 out of 5 with 6,214 ratings
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