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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding
2,095 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:
2,095
Ratings:
6,005
Avg:
4.22
pDev:
17.77%
 
 
Wants:
529
Gots:
1,702
For Trade:
134
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,095 | Ratings: 6,005
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!!!

 1,159 characters

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.

 365 characters

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.

 621 characters

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.

 557 characters

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.

 781 characters

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!

 547 characters

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

Batch # 8145 packaged Sept.14th 2007

A-Poured into a goblet at about 50 degrees.It pours BLACK with a dark brown 1/2" thick head that fades to a small laced layer.

S-Smells of bitter-dark chocolate,coffee and strong notes of molasses and raisins or plum.

T-At first a slight hint of hops then a smokey malt with a hint of caramel and a slight alcohol taste-then-the real thing,big dark chocolate/coffee taste with a smooth bittersweet finish.

M-Thick,chewy,oily residue coats entire mouth.Good carbonation.

D-This is a very smooth and relaxing beer.At 10.50% it makes a great sipping beer on a cold night.If you like big beers or RIS's you must try this one.

 663 characters

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".

 827 characters

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!

 733 characters

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.

 445 characters

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...

 943 characters

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.

 277 characters

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..

 445 characters

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.

 881 characters

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.

 518 characters

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.

 554 characters

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!!

 639 characters

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.

 552 characters

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.

 557 characters

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.

 895 characters

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.]

 1,416 characters

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

 496 characters

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.

 871 characters

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

 282 characters

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

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.22 out of 5 based on 6,005 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer FestĀ® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!