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

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Bell's Expedition StoutBell's Expedition Stout
BA SCORE
4.26/5
Outstanding
6,233 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:
#700
Reviews:
2,160
Ratings:
6,233
pDev:
10.33%
Bros Score:
4.41
 
 
Wants:
564
Gots:
1,786
Trade:
126
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 6,233 |  Reviews: 2,160
Photo of XicanoBeerRun
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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 jhlosito75
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of Benesi88
4.48/5  rDev +5.2%

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 heddar33
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%

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 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 addiwilliams
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

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

Photo of rrski198
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of HopsHopenstein
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of SStein
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of dannyfayy
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of alamode
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of TboneRN
3.75/5  rDev -12%

Photo of Scott_McCool
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of BierFan
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a tumbler glass. The bottle was labeled batch 8728.

Appearance: Expedition Stout has a black body with a head the color of chocolate milk.

Smell: Lots of roasted coffee and alcohol aroma.

Taste: Little bit of an alcohol burn. Bitter dark chocolate and roasted coffee.

Mouthfeel: No carbonation kinda hurts the mouthfeel. Also was kinda thin.

Drinkability: Surprisingly good drinkability even with the stronger presence of alcohol.

 470 characters

Photo of CaptainNomihodai
3.75/5  rDev -12%

Photo of eulerthegrape
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of GuitarIPA
4.21/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with a thick brown, foamy head. Smells and tastes include smoke, booze, roasted malts, molasses, raisins or prunes. Thick body, with sharp, boozy bite to finish. Great flavor, but slightly astringent on the nose

 223 characters

Photo of Denzo
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of martyl1000
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

UPDATE 7/31/15
Yep, my 2014 update for the 2013 (below) Expedition was entirely sound. Having mellowed nearly a year in the cellar, this bottle of 2014 Expedition holds its place near the tippy top of my double stout fave's of all time. I have 11 more bottles in the cellar. Yay!

I also have six bottles of the 2013 in the cellar. I'm shaking my head at the hedonism that awaits in those six bottles.

If you're trying this out with a fresh bottle, what Bell's says about it on their label is quite accurate:

. . . . . . "Intensely bitter in its early months, the flavors will slowly meld and grow in depth as the beer ages."

That night at Fischman Liquors in 2013, I rashly rated this 3.75. When fresh, this brew has a bitterness that just won't quit. But, throw it in the cellar for a while, and, voila!

-----------------
UPDATE 8/1/14
I seriously have to upgrade my previous 3.75 rating from last summer. Perhaps the tap lines at Fischman Liquors last year needed to be flushed. Even more likely, it was served too cold. Whatever the case, the specimen I'm now this moment holding in my hand is fabulous.

A fairly aggressive pour into a tulip glass gives a small head, w/ almost no lacing (a sign of high abv, with slippery solvent alcohol refracting on the glass). The aroma is still remarkably weak (though subtly rich with a quiet majesty--just too quiet). I get in the nose a woody alcohol, plus uncooked pasta. And a bit of leather (but in a good way; I don't know how that's possible, as I detest leather in beer).

But the flavor in the mouth, wow, that's a different story. Incredibly complex. The flavors oscillate between a balance of bitter and sweet: burnt coffee and milk chocolate, black licorice and caramel, honey-baked ham and oatmeal-raisin. Wait, that last pair are both sweet. Plus an alcohol heat and an odd salt that helps cut the sweet.

A fullish-bodied, slick-viscous texture like warm maple syrup. Yet that creaminess is leavened by a mild to moderate carbonation, even as the pour in this tulip glass has risen to room temperature.
------------------

ORIGINAL RATING & REVIEW 7/2015
Rating: 3.75

On tap at Fischman Liquors, Chicago

I am not impressed. What a letdown the flavor is upon seeing this be-you-tea-ful black pour. It's nearly devoid of aroma. And in the mouth, the flat, coffee syrup (if there were such a thing!) is not quite welcome.

Several hours later, I'm getting the aroma, now, from the warmed-over tulip glass: orange peel, black pepper, black cherry juice, unripe tomato, and dopplebock malt. That's a pretty astonishing aroma. I only wish I could say the same about the flavor in the mouth.

 2,653 characters

Photo of 77apm
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Beer rating: 4.26 out of 5 with 6,233 ratings
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