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:
1,701
For Trade:
133
User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,089 | Ratings: 5,983
Photo of JWD
4.46/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Obtained via trade

A- Death black with a dark tan head look very close to the Abyss,BCS, or DL, looks very thick during the pour

S- Sweet & some roasty, I tend to prefe rthe sweet side so i am very interested here, raisan and dark chocolate.

T- Very good to be expected, sweet up front with a very strong roasty dry almost bitter aftertaste. That aftertaste is the only thing that i don't completly love here.

M- I think only DL or BCS can top this VISCOUS!!! Coats you mouth.

D- Great, I just love thick and viscous stouts and this fits the bill perfectly.

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Photo of Monsone
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Standard RIS. Dark as night with a slight brown head that quickly diasapears.

S - Sweet malt and dark fruits with some choco. Alcohol is present.

T - Bitter malt sweetness, with dark choco. Dark fruits there too. There is some alcohol warmth in there too.

M - Thick and coating.

D - Good for the style.

Overall I recommend this beer, but there are others I like more.

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Photo of camp0474
3.47/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Review from 12/30/10

Disclaimer - I had this beer pretty fresh and after drinking it I think it should spend some time in the cellar.

A: Pours a thick viscous black with a dark tan head. Dies off quick.

S: Molasses, dark candied fruits - prunes and caramelized sugar. Faint boozy smell. Hints of roasted coffee.

T: Molasses and dark fruits, raisins, chocolate. Roasted almost smokey malts. Not as I sweet as I would have expected, compared to other RIS I have enjoyed. Slight sweetness is quickly overtaken by bitter and boozy. Ends quite bitter and boozy, almost bourbon.

M: Thick and viscous body. Very low carbonation, needs more to be enjoyable. Goes down slick.

D: Low carbonation, a little too bitter, and strong alcohol flavor. Good beer but not easy to drink.

Underimpressed. Maybe I will try aging one and revisiting this one.

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Photo of dgugliuzza
4.72/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter.

Pitch black pour with sticky thick brown head. Large and medium sized bubbles sit atop the head. After the head settles, a sandy film remains.

Dark roasted malt, molasses, coffee and dark fruits combine to create a rich aroma. The sweetness is balanced by a woody bitterness.

Heavily roasted and bittersweet aromas explode on the palate. Dark fruit and coffee flavors follow along. A bit of chocolate and sweet malt is followed by a pleasant bitter finish. Perfectly balanced. One of the more bold and flavorful imperial stouts.

Creamy and silky mouthfeel. Viscous beyond belief as it takes on a motor oil like consistency. Low and appropriate carbonation. It's definitely a sipper, but goes down easy.

Expedition Stout embodies the RIS category. It's bold with roasty, sweet and bitter flavors. The Viscous mouthfeel sets it apart from most others.

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Photo of 4lo
4.12/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

'14 Bottle

Pour - Bit thicker than your average stout. Dark on the pour with a one finger tan head that forms and eventually yields way to a ring around the glass.

Smell - Bitter chocolate and dark fruits on the nose. Some coffee, but not as much as a ~10 months ago.

Taste - Sugary chocolate up front which turns to a dark chocolate molasses taste as you muddle through it. Bit of dark fruit in between and on the tail end. Coffee isn't overly strong, but a get a bit in there.

Feel - Well put together and fairly smooth mouthfeel. Nice level of carbonation which makes it easy to drink.

Overall - Great seasonal release stout which hits the spot during the winters.

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Photo of Bumpon10s
4.55/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A bottle from batch 6811 that I let warm up a bit before opening.

A - Black with a tan head that dissapates into a bumpy lace. Looks thick before it ever hits your mouth.

S - Coffee and chocolate, sweet but with just enough roast to stop it from being sugar. For sure a bittersweet chocolate resides.

T - Roast at the very front, and very back, otherwise all chocolate. A very sweet RIS, most are a charcoal fire in my mouth. Also, if you know what you are looking for you can still get a nice hop touch out in front.

M - Outside of maybe Dark Lord, and maybe even running with that, the richest and creamiest I've had. Super thick and smooth.

D - Drinkability is outstanding, even at a more than wealthy 11.5%. I've had this a few times, and this is the first time I am reviewing it and for some reason it seems so much better this time around.

 860 characters

Photo of tiger88
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

thanks to schmoterp

Pours midnight black into the glass with only the slightest of dark brown hints. The equally dark brown head lays down very quickly leaving patchy lace around the glass. It did not smell as strong as I was expecting but it was a pleasant, subtle chocolate and sweet alcohol aroma. The taste is great, bitter chocolate and sweet malt at the same time. A dull bitter aftertaste hangs out on the back of the tongue begging for another sip. Mouthfeel is full and bursting with flavor. I get coffee, chocolate, rye bread even. Anything dark I can think of is contained in this beer. I love it and can't wait to drink the other 4 I have.

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Photo of pheggeseth
4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Single 12oz bottle bought at The Blue Max in Burnsville, MN for $2.59

A: tremendous 3 finger head, great cascading effect, pours very thick

S: roasted malt, hops, hint of chocolate, alcohol

T: roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, possibly from the hops, warming alcohol

M: the thickest beer I've had yet, very oily, pretty strong carbonation, the bitterness is a little too much for my taste

D: again, the bitterness is a little much, but it is very smooth, quite the sipper, just one prompts an immediate contemplation of the meaning of life

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Photo of Jammies
3.86/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-pours a deep brownish black with a thin layer of light brown foam that slowly recedes to the edges of the glass

S-light and slightly nutty. Nothing overpowering

T-very smooth with light coffee and nutty flavors

M-smooth and slightly malty as expected

O-great flavor and pleasantly smooth. one of the better stouts out there.

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Photo of veggiemafia
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours blacker than black. You have to ask yourself how much more black it can be, and the answer is none, it can be none more black. Moderate dark tan head that dissolves pretty quickly to thin islands. But hey, with 11.5% I think that's kind of excusable.

Smell is big on baker's chocolate with a booziness reminiscent of Tia Maria coffee rum. Also, raisins/prunes/dark fruit make a huge appearance, as do some really earthy smelling hops.

The hops in this serve to rein it in and keep it from getting too sweet, but it REALLY pushes it for me in terms of being too sweet and fruity. That earthiness keeps it dry and pretty refreshing, but it's still really big on dark fruits and raisins and maybe like a tart blackberry jam thing. That distinct tart fruitines is something I've only experienced in this and Batch 7000, and Southern Tier Jah-Va.

Mouthfeel is viscous and thick, but still really creamy and velvety and luxurious.

Good drinkability for a stout of this size, because let's face it, this is a huge ass beer.

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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 soulfly967
4.32/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured nearly black with a thin brown head that quickly disappears into a thin ring of bubbles around the outside edge. The smell was of chocolate, fresh brewed coffee, and dark, nearly burnt, malt notes. The taste was very similar to the smell. Coffee was a dominant flavor to me, along with hints of chocolate and a touch of spice. The alcohol is very well hidden in this brew. The mouthfeel was thick and silky, with very little bitterness from the hops and alcohol. This was a very solid RIS. It was very drinkable and I will be looking to get some more of this one in the very near future! Yet another winner from Bells!

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Photo of GoodKnight1220
3.66/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Poured from a bottle to a glass.

Very deep red, looked black, great 3 finger head, with lacing throughout.

Smelled like alcohol and heavy sweet malt.

Lots of chocolate and malt right up front, ends to a smooth sweet alcohol.

Heavy, syrupy, but surprisingly smooth.

Could drink one or two.

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Photo of Jimbo87
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

One of the darkest heads I've seen on a beer, it's a reddish coffee color, but of course pale compared to the completely opaque beer. When pooring it, I could see some reddish hues in the beer as it ran down the side of the glass.

Smell is chocolate, alcohol, grain. nice.

taste: chocolate, alcohol, spicy, roasted barley, and a taste I find in all russian imperial stouts that I can't identify. I don't know if it's a fruit taste or what. I like this taste more than the taste of Old Rasputin.

Mf: very unusual. Very low carbonation gives this a heavy, thick, oily feel.

D: I had to drink this pretty slowly, and I wouldn't want to drink any more, at least not until the next day. I liked this more than Old Rasputin. I feel like some people might dislike the low carbonation. But if you can buy just one bottle of this, try it.

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Photo of rawthar
4.57/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

One more from my Bell's Darkside case, about two months after purchase. This is my favorite of the bunch, time to rate it.

A- As dark as a black hole, no light that enters makes it through to the other side. A finger-and-a-half capaccino head, light and fluffy slowly dissipates, leaving some of the nicest lacing I've seen, and a nice thick filmy froth on top. Beautiful.

S- Hints of chocolate and dark roasted coffee mingle and swell like a double helix around a strong backbone of booze, and a buttery loaf of whole grain bread.

T- Boozy flavor hits like a wave against a cliff during a squall, followed promptly by the billowing smoke of a tribal bonfire carrying the essence of the roasting meat of a fresh hunt. Sweet notes of the darkest caramelized sugar rendered with dripping animal fat.

M- Oily alcohol floats on the brine like the rendered fat referenced above while the creamy carbonation bubbles from the darkest depths.

D- One is enough for even the fiercest of warriors after the most viscous of battles. Undoubtedly drank by Cimmerians during the spring raids into Pictland and Vaneheim.

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Photo of goethean
4.8/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer was purchased at the brewery and aged 3-4 years before being consumed. It was poured into a Duvel tulip glass at about 50F on the night that Barack Obama won the Virginia primary.

Appearance is pitch effing black. Almost no visible carbonation. Aroma is of strong dark roasted, nearly burnt, malt.

assertive hoppiness, strong roastiness, strong malt backbone, and a beautiful sweetness spotlighted right in the middle of the palate. There is a slight lingering hops aftertaste.

Shockingly, there is amazing hops character considering the age of this beer. almost any other beer would have no hop character at this point. with this beer, it is right there, almost in your face. very well-balanced. This beer must be pretty much undrinkable when young.

One quasi-negative thing --- I don't detect the wine-like qualities which I normally associate with a fine, well-aged English barleywine or imperial stout. I might opt for a more English version next time. Or maybe I should have aged it a little longer! Oh well --- the six pack is now gone.

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Photo of johnnyirishman
3.52/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Sam Adams Pint glass.

Apperance- Thick Syrupy black opaque color, with a small head and no retention.

Smell- Slight hops and roasted malts.

Taste,Mouthfeel- Roasted malts and a bitter hop finish.

Drinkablility- A decent stout but not too enjoyable.

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Photo of DrDoitchbig
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: This has to be one of the most viscous beers I've ever had the pleasure of consuming. It almost looked like jet black maple syrup coming out of the bottle. An aggressive pour yielded nothing but a chocolate brown cap that disappeared to reveal the black hole of a beer beneath.

Smell: Roasted malts, sweet chocolate and perhaps a bit of licorice.

Taste: Surprisingly sweet at the start, like a decadent chocolate liquor. Followed by a bitter backbone that balances that sweetness very nicely. The bitterness lingers for awhile after every sip.

Mouthfeel: Extremely full-bodied with low carbonation. It's so thick, almost like a heavy cream. Now I know what people are talking about when they describe a beer as chewy.

Drinkability: This stuff is incredibly rich and smooth. It's quite a treat. I could drink it all night. But with such a high abv that's probably not the best idea.

This has to be one of the best Imperial Stouts I've had yet. Granted I haven't delved too deep into the style, but this certainly inspires me to try more.

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Photo of chalsk
4.6/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark black color with a caramel colored head. Has an aroma of toffee, caramel, and hints of dark fruit. Yeah, this is a good stout. You have the sweet hitting the front of the tongue, the bitters on the back with hints of smoke. You can also taste sweet caramel and some coffee/toffee flavor. Ultra complex, but everything is work so well. A rich beer. Love it.

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Photo of ABisonEgo
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

'12 bottled on 10/02

Appearance - Black with ruby red highlights along the edges. 1 and a half finger beige head with lacing along the edges

Aroma - coffee, dark chocolate, dark fruits, a bit of hop character, though i cant really pinpoint the exact scent...maybe more of an earthiness

Taste - Very coffee and hop forward...almost astringent at first. Some dark fruit apparent towards the middle of the mouth, and bitterness on the finish. Almost a spicy, earthy finish...but very hoppy. While most imperial stouts rely on the hops for balance, this one is almost overtaken in the finish by the hops present.

Mouthfeel - Very creamy...which is pleasant. The beer finishes with a bitter tingle with a medium to full body. A little lighter than expected, but about ideal.

Overall - Great complexity on this one, however, Im a little turned off on how the hops overtake the beer. Its as if this one was meant to age, which there is nothing wrong with and it even says its worth aging on the bottle. If the hop character faded away a bit and the beer smoothed out, im sure this would be one amazing beer. Having said that, I guess its time to open my '09!!!

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

Looks: Black, opaque, big fluffy mocha head made of tiny bubbles and legs. Surprisingly strong head retention.
Smell: Dark fruits, raisins, chocolate malts, mild coffee, alcohol when it warms up
Taste: Sweet chocolate malts, plums, anise, cherries.
Mouthfeel: Satiny smooth with a full body and a slight alcoholic burn.
Overall: One of the best stouts out there.

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Photo of mashedpotatoes
2.99/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours pitch black, very thick and viscosey. Head is minimal. Smell is strong alcoholic, cough syrupy. Taste is bittersweet molasses. Aftertaste lingers a bit too long, especially with the excessive astringent taste this beer permits. The feel is round, sticky but invasive to the palate, I feel like it's setting up unwanted camp on my tastebuds. Drinkability is low, although the ABV is high the balance of off flavors and peculiar aftertaste leaves me longing for something different. Suggestion: Try all Bell's as a single first. I've found severe inconsistency in this brand.

This one was not bad but also not good.

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Photo of SwiftyMcBeer
3.95/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tbis beer is a looker. Getting to have it on tap was a huge bonus, mad props to the Trion for having the guts to tap this sucker. Jet black with a chocolate head . . . all the smells to go along with it. Just reeks darkness, chocolate, coffee, this is where wimpiness goes to die. You defintely know the +10 ABV is there when you taste it and that is really my only negative and a slight one at that. It'd be tough to have more then two of these in a sitting, but that could just be a reflection of the style.
A top notch stout, just not my favorite style.

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Photo of wd40
3.92/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pitch black pour with almost no head. The brew is obviously thick and viscous just from watching the pour. Small amount of very fine carbonation upon aggitation. Looks like a beer that has been left out for a while. The beer gives and aroma of vanilla extract, chocolate and coffee. Hints of fruit like raspberries in the background. I can tell even before sipping that the beer has a high alcohol content from the smell. The taste confirms the high alcohol content! But fortunately the raw alcohol taste is pretty well covered. The coffee flavor is very prominent in the flavor and tends to linger after the other flavors have past.

Mouthfeel is ok, but not rich or creamy or anything. Overall, a pretty decent beer that I'd have again, but not one of my favorite in this style.

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Photo of MikieV
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very dark, almost black with a thick, rolling rich rust colored head. Thick rust colored lacing stuck to the glass as I drank.

First, I have to admit, this was my first ever Imperial Stout.
I was in love from the first sip!

This is a bold, robust beer. It has very intense flavors. Dark bitter chocolate, booze, roasted malts all come through. Some slight fruitiness as well. A fairly thick beer, leaving some solids in the bottom of the glass. Very smooth mouth feel despite it's thickness.

At 10.5%, one of these is just right for me!

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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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