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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
94
outstanding
2,087 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:
2,087
Ratings:
5,967
Avg:
4.22
pDev:
10.43%
 
 
Wants:
518
Gots:
1,693
For Trade:
132
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,087 | Ratings: 5,967
Photo of macktbone
3.33/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

As part of a trade with Aforbes and hoped to be enjoyed with ThirdLap. I was told this would be one of my top stouts...not so much

This beer is jet black with a dark brown head that quickly dissappears in an alcoholic haze. It stains the glass an oily brown.

The smell is super soy with figs.

Taste & mouthfeel leave a lot to be desired

So little carbonation that it is hard to get down. Hold your breath prior to contact, the soy is overpowering. Bitter end with a sweet aftertaste that grows on you a little.

Extremely thin for a "good" stout. When I pour a beer and it glubs, I expect it to be thick, or at least feel thick on the toungue.

I was glad this was split two ways. I have had other boutbon type stouts but without the subtle compexities and joyous notes this maybe my first and last time "ringing the bell".

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Photo of GoldHorde
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bell's Imperial Russian Stout: Expedition Stout

Another excellent stout! Mouth feel is correct - just a bit on the thinner side of cream (hinting towards a Porter style) but that just adds to the deep flavor gamut's mystery. A gargle of it just makes you want to get a V8 of huskies together for a 3,000 kilometer mush! The flavor is complex; coffee first, chocolate, smoke & caramel with a very faint echo of bourbon.

A = pours opaque black with a mocha tan head with open lacing
S = feigns at Porter style with a wet smoke (rain on burned wood after a fire)
T = again, feigns at Porter style but delivers the deeper, more complex character of the Stout
M = thinner than cream, but within Russian Stout style.
O = A great beer!

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Photo of jhawth
3.99/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured into a wili becher. Pours an impenetrable black with a light brown, two-finger head of fine bubbles.

Aroma: Sweet, creamy, roasty malts dominate. Coffee, some bitter dark chocolate, but mostly excellent roastiness.

Taste: Sweet, creamy. slightly chocolatey malt notes move into roasty astringency and slight booziness.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, slightly viscous, light carbonation.

Overall: Killer RIS. Absolutely delicious.

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Photo of phattysbox
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Got as an extra from a trade with csmiley. Thanks Chris!

12oz bottle poured into DFH snifter glass. Thick black and viscous. Looks like used motor oil, awesome! 1.5 inch head with an agressive pour that retreats rather quickly - not a problem though once you see and feel the body.

Smells of bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder. Heavily roasted malts and some vanilla. The nose is quite complex! Taste went a bit down, but not much. All the things in the nose are there - vanilla, bittersweet chocolate and a huge roasted malt bill. As a matter of fact almost too huge - quite burnt. Sorched barely provide an anstringent bitterness to the brew that would otherwise be perfect IMO. Fusel alcohols are quite noticable as well. Body is lucious and creamy.

Drinkability goes down because of this. Too bitter from the roasted grain and high alcohol makes it tough to finish, but still complex and very good none-the-less.

Seek out to try...

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Photo of AdamF625
4.68/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A- black with a thin brown head
S- coffee and chocolate syrup
T-coffee, bitter dark chocolate, molasses, alcohol, sweet fruit flavors
M- creamy, thick, and viscous. low carbonation
O- you can't forget this brew its so thick and sticky the taste stays on your palate for days.

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Photo of jwilli7122
3.42/5  rDev -19%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

I finally located this one, and am quite eager to try it out...

pours an opaque black with a purple tinge. absolutely zero head - I poured it hard and I can literally count the bubbles. there is a somewhat frightening looking smoke-colored film covering about 1/3 of the surface.

smell is wicked plum and alchohol, smells more like a barley wine than a stout.

taste: wow. unlike anything i have ever had. i shouldn't, but i'll try -black licorice, chocolate syrup and...some sort of coffee-type flavor that i have never experienced...with alchohol, dark fruit and black malt in the back.

mouthfeel is syrupy-thick with almost no carbonation, and it's right.
absolutely the most aggressive, indefinable beer i have ever had.

note: after reading other reviews - and seeing that this beer is supposed to have a head and big hops - i wonder if my bottle was abnormal.

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

Got a bottle at the Cafe, enjoyed it in my hotel room so to speak.

Pours black as death. No head or foam whatsoever. Thin tan layer of bubbles from the pour immediately disappear.

Aroma of dark malts, some coffee, some dark chocolate, plums?, some hop aroma.

I get a lot of cocoa and roasted malts immediately in the taste. Lingering chocolate, some coffee...bit of a roasty finish. Bit hot.
Coffee flavors linger afterwards too.

Could benefit with 6-12 months in the cellar. Quite a drinkable stout though. Nice.

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

Poured black into a goblet. Camel colored head. Pruney and chocolatey smell that really sticks in the nose. Very appetizing smells. Caramelly, roasted malts jump out. Initial tastes were of hot cocoa and even a dark fruitiness switching into a bitter hop profile and some burnt malt flavors. Bitterness is felt throughout the mouth even on the roof. Heavy and slick mouthfeel barely any carbonation. Leaves a thick ring of lacing behind and clings to the glass. Booze level becomes more revealed as it warms up. Excellent for the last stout of the night.

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Photo of ryantho00
4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This pours into the darkest of night black and leaves a nice 1.5finger foam that is reminicent of an iced mocha coffe drink.

I get deep coffee and cherry whifts from this one, with a bourben-like undertone followed by some chocolate. Very nice indeed.

This beer is fantastic. I get a full chocolate, oatmeal, coffee, caramel, cherry, spice, taste from this great beer. Very full mouthfeel that gives way to a nice smooth swallow, followed by a dark cherry/hop/mocha aftertaste that leaves you wanting more.

This is a great RIS that can creep up on you quickly as it's quite enjoyable to drink all night long.

Great job Bell's, Cheers!!

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Photo of PhillyJ
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Unique Russian Imperial it's a very tasty Russian covered in milk sweetness. the lacing on this is beautiful and the aftertaste is an earthy hop flavor that lingers after the milk sweetness and malt fades. Not overly complex I find chocolate and dark fruit easily and at 10.5%abv it's smooth and highly drinkable. I'd like to age a few and see what comes of it. A great take on a RIS that I can't wait to find on tap. I will pick up regularly..

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Photo of isubsmith
3.6/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours like beer syrup. Extra dark. Large thick brown head.

Smell: Wow. Very very strong aroma. Lots of chocolate and strong espresso coffee tastes. Faint hints of the high alcohol. Lots of roasty smells.

Taste: Bitter chocolate and bitter espresso. Lots of hops. Rather creamy mouthfeel. Bitter roasty flavors linger on the tongue.

Drinkability: Not the most drinkable imperial stout. Too bitter for me. It's hard to drink anything after this beer. I've certainly had other imperial stouts that don't leave such a lingering taste.

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Photo of k3n
4.72/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle courtesy of tangfoot. No back label, and no batch #, but he states is about 5 years old. A thousand thanks for this beer I'm about to experience.

A: Viscous brownish black with mahogony edges. Minimal head and lacing. Color is beautiful!

S: Mollases, caramel, roasted malts, tobacco, sweet coffee.

T/M: Initial hit is syrupy caramel malt, tempered by background astringency and bitterness. Middle and finish is luxuriously smooth chocolate, coffee, maple syrup, figs. Keeps going after its down, and begs the next sip.

Holy cow this is good.

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Photo of bigman147
4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours like dark crude oil. Viscous and black with dark brown bubbles as the only head formed. Impressive how black this stout is.

Aroma: Lots of malt, some raisin, Coffe, maybe toffee. Very aromatic with lots of depth. As the beer warms in my glass, each layer is peeled off like an onion. Absolutely wonderful with a slight amouth of hops and alcohol

Taste: Almost completely malt but with such depth. Slight sweet syrupy taste with good malt balance and slight hop bitterness. Malt makes way to a coffee finish. Slight sourness in the finish and a slight amount of smoke also.

Mouthfeel: Heavy syrupy notes with good carbonation to avoid being cloying. A slight creaminess in the finish.

Drinkability: I think that this is a wonderful beer. But it is by no means a session beer. The alcohol is powerful and the shear syrupy liquidness would make drinking 2 difficult.

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Photo of ThirdLap
2.89/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Got this through a great trade with aforbes10. Thanks Andrew!

Split this one with BA member 'macktbone' in two standard pint glasses. The minimal amount of dark brown head dissipates quickly, leaving only thirty-weight motor oil. Swirling the glass coats it with a translucent brown coating that is slow to disappear.

Lots of soy on the nose, with molasses, dark roasted malt, along with some sweet alcoholic beverage that I can't put my finger on. Some have said sherry, but I'm not sure that's it.

As promised, I'll be honest about what left my lips upon taking my first taste of this beer. I think the exact words were something along the lines of "holy shit".

It's not bad, just not well-balanced. I get way too much soy here. Very tangy and astringent with lots of burnt flavors... I get some coffee and caramel. The alcohol is very in-your-face.

Mouthfeel is much how it looks to be, thick and viscous. This beer really coats the mouth. Carbonation is minimal, and I really think a bit more would perk this beer up a bit.

Getting through my half was a bit of a challenge. I will probably return to it someday, hopefully on tap. Right now it just reminds me a bit too much of a SA Triple Bock. Hopefully the HopSlam arriving tomorrow will provide a better example of what Bell's is capable of.

[EDIT: I'm really thinking my bottle had gone bad. I will seek out and re-review this beer as soon as I can.]

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Photo of gtn80
4.09/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter.

Appearance has a distinct lack of carbonation. Small half finger head, mocha colored. Beer is jet black, no light getting through.

Aroma is rum raisin, roasted malts, chocolate, a bit of alcohol.

Taste is incredibly complex. Smooth combination of dark chocolate, booze. Not super roasty, bit astringent on the tongue in the finish.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy.

Drinkability is hurt by alcohol and flavor density, meant for a snifter, not a liter mug

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Photo of quaybr
4.16/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass. Had a huge mocha head that dissipated after several minutes of extreme patience! Color a dark brown, nearing black.

Smelled of roasted and chocolate malts, quiet bitter hops, and alcohol.

Taste is amazing. A ten degree warmup result in a completely different beer. So you should let that happen (50 degree range). Right after the pour, it tasted like a slightly roasted, hoppy, thick ale. As it warms up, however, the coffee and chocolate undertones get louder and louder in a wonderful way. So damn good.

Mouthfeel is thick and relatively smooth, not quite silky. Good level of carbonation.

Visiting Ohio for Christmas. I have spent that past few weeks hoping this beer would be accessible once I got back into the distribution area. Quarter Barrel in Oxford did me one better. This is a great beer. Well balanced and consistently delicious.

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Photo of afordney
3.87/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

motor oil black, nice finger wide head. No light gets through

good roasted malt. Very sweet and smoky

sweet malty start, deep roasted flavors, excellent bold flavors

Nice thick mouthfeel, a little sour but quite bitter in the finish

A good beer, would be excellent on a cold day

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

Pours a thick motor oil black with a 1 finger head that lingers.

The nose is huge. I pick up coffee and chocolate foremost with roasted malts and toffee, along with dark cherry's.

The taste is the same and the alcohol is apparent but with how thick this bad boy is you almost welcome the warmth.

The mouthfeel can only be described as chewy creamy and HEAVY.

As far as drinkablity goes, this is a one and done for me. There are a few other RIS that I've had more than one, but an Expedition is just so damn heavy its either an enjoyable one beer night or an equally enjoyable nightcap.

Can't wait to see how this bad boy ages!

 633 characters

Photo of broodog
4.14/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 10759 pkgd 11/1/11. Poured into a Founder's tulip

A- Pours almost jet black. Not a very lively pour. Very little carbonation. Lacing is minimal.

S- lots of roasted charachter. Nice aroma. Some molasses and chocolate behind the roasted barley.

T- love this flavor. Very well balanced beer. Plenty of roasted barley, coffee molasses.

M- Assertive. Deep, dark, thick. Everything a stout should be here.

O- spot on RIS from bells. Textbook, except for the carbonation and lacing. I'll be sipping this one all winter long by the fire. Wearing my robe and bear claw slippers after a tough day at the rat races.

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Photo of purdueflyguy
3.71/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2012 vintage poured into pint glass

Poured black but not quite motor oil black. Was expecting it to be a little thicker looking. Descent mocha colored head.

Not quite as much as much going on as I would expect. Dark chocolate and coffee faint but big roasted malt. A little smokey.

Massive espresso flavors followed by a little bit of chocolate. A little boozy in the flavor but don't really feel any warming surprising for this ABV.

A little too thin as far as the mouthfeel.

Overall not a bad beer but it just doesn't take it to the next level would like to age this and see where it is in a couple years.

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Photo of MisterDeeds
4.22/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Aged over a year in the wonderful cellar of RixBeer.

Pours a solid black with no light showing through. Very slight head, cocoa powder in color.

Smell is nice and roasted. Coffee with a raisin or plum-like fruitiness. Also picking up on that boozy brandy-like aroma that hints at the aging.

Taste has a few different kicks going on. It begins with a very subtle semi-sweet raisin taste, and is quickly overcome by the roasted coffee bitterness. Very unique from most aged beers I have had, in that the warm alcohol kick comes more towards the front than in the aftertaste.

Very little carbonation to it, which could be a good or bad thing, depending on who you ask. I happen to like it with this brew, because I think that too many bubbles would make the bitterness too overpowering.

The mouthfeel is thick almost milky, and the roasted coffee (almost burnt) seems to line your entire throat. (Again this could be good or bad, depending on your taste, but for me it is very strong.)

A very nice treat (thanks Rick!) and I would love to try one a year down the line to see what else goes on.

Is Bell's planning on coming to Massachusetts anytime soon?

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Photo of iuhophead87
2.82/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A- Dark black with almost no head! Looks almost like molasses or barbeque sauce.

S- It smells like molasses, raisons, and dates. Smells much sweeter than it tastes.

T- I had high expectations for this beer, but was greatly disappointed. There seemed to be almost no carbonation. It is more malty than sweet and where is the creaminess of a stout, it is not in this beer. Almost reminds me of cough syrup with a little hops added. Not a big fan of this beer, although I do like most beers brewed by "BELLS" .

MF- Thick and starts out sweet, then the flavor goes quickly as you choke down this raison juice.

D- The taste + alcohol content make this beer almost undrinkable. However, If you are able to get one down the 10% ABV is a plus. There is no way I could drink more than one of these.

I'm a big fan of Bells, but could do without this concoction of hopped up prune juice.

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Photo of adrock7309
4.75/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a bottle into a Chimay goblet. Poured a 2009 into the bottle agressively and almost no head was present.

Smell is strong on the licorice, molasses, and dark dark chocolate. It all mixes so well. Carbonation is a bit subtle but present and perfect for the style.

Taste is out of this world. Tons of complexity where the uber roasted molasses and licorice flavors up front mix with slight bit of hops. The alcohol is always present to me on the finish and the licorice comes back again after you take your fisrt breath after a sip.

Mouthfeel is heavy which i love and sticky.

GREAT BEER!!!

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Photo of bboelens
2.06/5  rDev -51.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

A-Black motor oil in viscosity, an aggressive pour yielded no head at all, and the beer left no lacing.

S-Ok we're getting back on track, roasted malt and coffee are the main presence, a hint of chocolate and alcohol in the background.

T-Woof! This beer is thick and has waaaay too much going on in it, it's an explosion of flavors and not in the good way, yes there's some malt and coffee and a heavy alcohol taste but i can't even explain what the rest is, licorice and a clusterf**k of other things that just didn't come together for me.

M-Thick, no carbonation, medicinal

D-I almost broke my no drain pouring rule with this beer. I wonder if I got a bad bottle or if my taste buds just weren't made for this beer. This is a fresh bottle and a bought another one to age, after reading about it's impressive aging abilities, so I'll give it another chance.

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Photo of bwd110
2.99/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle poured into Stone RIS Tulip.

A: Traditional motor oil black, very viscous looking. Really cool dark brown head, darker than most. This goes away quickly leaving a very thin sheet of lace.

S: Alcohol fumes abound. This one could do better with a toned down abv. If the nose is a clear indicator, this is gonna be one raw IRS, and probably not one of my favorites.

Also getting dark chocolate and espresso notes, and a sharp molasses sweetness underneath the alcohol phenols - sort of unpleasant.

T: Boozy. The alcohol hits hard and fast, with an almost bourbon twang to it. Black licorice and anise dominate any coffee or chocolate notes. I think I need to cellar my remaining stash to smooth this one out around the edges.

M: Thick and chewy. Fairly creamy and would be quite smooth without the alcohol burn on the way down. Overall, very good fit for the style.

D: Slow sipper, need to move on after one.

Overall, this is a decent IRS, but does not live up to the hype. I'd easily place Stone's RIS and Old Rasputin above this one. Heck, give me a Kalamazoo or Double Cream/Expedition Blend over this one. Too rough around the edges for my tastes/abv needs to be better masked, a boozy mess IMHO.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 2,087 ratings.
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