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:
1,700
For Trade:
133
User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,089 | Ratings: 5,983
Photo of MaxAdvo
4.46/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A - Pours a very dark, almost black, with deep, dark reddish hues. Almost no head, but don't let that fool you.

S - The smell is slightly off-putting of rubbery leather, but also with a dark, roasty, chocolately coffee.

T - Here's where she pulls on through! It's very robust, full of roasty, Brazilian-like coffee bean. Also a slight of dark fruits. Very similar to Oskar Blue's Ten Fidy.

M - Don't be fooled with having almost no head because you feel the carbonation. It's not overpowering, and has a very creamy fill. Very pleasant with lingering notes of dark coffee and chocolate

O - A very great imperial stout! I really enjoyed this, and will definitely purchase again.

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Photo of jdoolin
4.39/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12oz bottle, poured into a brandy snifter

Appearance: Dead black, like old motor oil. A slight brown head formed and dissipated quickly, leaving a ring of brown lace the entire time.

Aroma: Heavenly aroma of roasted barley, molasses, hints of coffee and chocolate, and of course a bit of alcohol. This beer smelled so good, I couldn't keep my nose out of the snifter the entire time.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Thick, smooth and creamy, like velvet. Just enough carbonation to achieve this and maintain the ring of lace. Taste was an ode to roasted malt. All of the usual roasted malt flavors are here and are wonderfully exemplifed. Of course, the roasted barley itself, coffee (especially in the finish) and chocolate. No hop flavor. Bitterness seems to be achieved more by the roasted malt than the hops. The alcohol was present but subdued by the roasted malt flavors.

Notes: A superb imperial stout. I thought the alcohol would have more presence, but I was pleasantly surprised. The roasted malts are the center of this beer, and Kalamazoo has done a fantastic job exploiting them. A great after dinner sipping beer.

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Photo of metallistout
4.95/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one damn fine beer!

This thing pours black like Florida Swamp water! The head is so foamy it looks like a giant marshmellow on top.

Smell rich in coffee and chocolate.

Tastes of coffee and chocolate malts with a dry hop finish.

Probably one of the best Imperial Stouts I have had. I love that I can buy this in a sixer.

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Photo of abankovich
2.79/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured with a pretty nice light brown head with the beer being extremely dark as it should be.

Smells very strong and sweet of molasses and maple syrup maybe some brown sugar as well. Some chocolate notes as well.

Very sweet on the initial sip, a lot of malt and syrupy flavors present. Almost a little too syrupy for me. I wish there was a little more bitterness throughout to balance it out. Chocolate and Java hints on the very back end as it washes down.

Mouthfeel is medium to thick and the drinkability isn't too high on this one for me due to the overwhelming sweetness for the style.

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Photo of johnwarne
3.7/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A beer haiku for you:

"A Russian delight;
Don't drink too late in the night
Big ole' heavy stout".

Quite a tasty treat: do not, however, drink this after consuming two others in an evening--it becomes overwhelming and frankly tough to finish [good as it is].

Cheers!

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Photo of ljdrinksbeer
4.77/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

2013 bottle poured gently into snifter.
no head to speak of just a thin spotting of small dark brown bubbles clinging together, liquid is so dark that you can just tell its brown by looking at the edeges where the light shines through to reveal a reddish tint.
Smell is strong booze soaked fruit and some dark chocolate.
Taste is heavy on the roasted coffee and malt flavors, immensely complex.
body is thick without being being cloying
overall a favorite i keep coming back to, i think its better as it gets a little warmer, the only negative i ever, experience, is a slight soy sauce aroma/ flavor in some older bottles but somehow it still works, almost adds something.

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Photo of crisis1290
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bell's Expedition Stout - Bell's Brewery, is one of the best Russian Imperial Stouts I have ever tasted. My beer was pour after sitting in the basement for almost a 16 months after purchase. Yummy.
Super dark pour. A nice foam ring hangs around for quite some time. Thick , malty and delicious. I find the 10.5 ABV is well hidden as compared to others.
This is a quality beer and yes, you pay for the quality as you do with all great beer. Another fine product from one of the best breweries out there.

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Photo of demitriustown
4.48/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

So lets get this baby started. I pop open the bottle, and the cap strikes the counter with a wonderful ting. Thick, way past 3,000 miles, motor oil black pour with a small brown head that disipates quickly. I can smell the thick malt aroma from across the room. Molasses, a floral hop texture, and a rich chocolate scent rounds out the aroma. The taste warms through and through with a thick malt note, big in your face hops, fresh Columbian coffee undertones, molasses, and slightly tasting of caramel. Palate is bitter and stinging from the big alcohol content. Only problem with this on is the overdone alcohol burn at the end. Excellent Imperial Stout. Buy, trade, but try not to steal to get this brew.

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Photo of Carloco
4.7/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A --> Beer poured darker than chocolate brown. Very caramel looking, with a very small head.

S --> Aroma is that of chocolate, syrupy, MAJOR coffee, vanilla?, and get almost a tad cinnamon

T --> Taste is coffee, chocolate vanilla, slightly bitter, very malty

M --> the mouthfeel is THICK with not much carbonation. Wonderful flavors, stay in your mouth for a while due to the thickness.

O --> Overall VERY complex beer. many different flavors and great aroma. I should have aged it a little because I hear it is even better, but regardless was awesome. Only criticism I have is that you definitely taste and smell the 10% alcohol.

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Photo of kohoutek
4.77/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark as the darkest night with a nice brown head. The foam quickly dissipates into an oil drop experiment of xylem cells and migrating plasmodium.

The beer smells of dark fruits, plums, slivovicz, cherry pits and currants. A good swirling reveals smoky roasts with layers of complexity, herbal hops, fruity acidity and chocolatey/espresso warmth. This beer is heavily ester laden. These aromas are beautifully integrated into this complex, rich beer.

The flavors are winey/vinous and maltiliciously acidic, all wrapped in a roasty, fruity, chocolately/caramel blanket.

The mouthfeel is rich, medium-thick. It is enhanced by the lively acidity, hop bitterness and low carbonation.

I have enjoyed up to four expeditions in a row (lots of time in between) and they are very drinkable.

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Photo of jcnd9803
4.24/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a thick black color, with some slight amber hues. No head and little lacing in sight.

S: Some licorice and chocolate. Also some smoke it seems. Amazingly, I'm not picking up any alcohol, but I know it's there!

T: Ahh, there's the alcohol. A nice mix of roasted malt and chocolate.

M: Leaves a thick, creamy, sweet, feel on the palate. Also some tickle from the alcohol.

D: I think this is a great beer, fresh and aged. A perfect night cap Plus, given the price of most big stouts, this is a deal IMO.

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Photo of DevilsCups
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle I've been sitting on for some time. Bottled 11/01/11.

A - Pitch black with a nice dark mocha head. Big legs, minimal lacing.

S - Sweet and roasted malts with some awesome milk chocolate notes. Slight bit of smoke. Smells fantastic.

T - Very roasted malts up front with dark chocolate and smokey notes in the finish. Hops are still hanging around, and pleasantly cut through the sweet malts used.

M - Coats pretty nicely. Carbonation is still pretty up there, but works. Leaves a nice smoky chocolate flavor in the mouth.

O - Fantastic. If this was a limited release 22oz every year, people would go nuts over it. Good on Bell's for doing this in sixxers. Fantastic beer. I got this as an extra in a trade, but it will be the main-piece in a future trade. Fits somewhere between Rasputin and Founders Imperial Stout flavor-wise.

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Photo of Jim_Benz
4.22/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A 12 oz. bottle (2013) poured vigorously--at cellar temp--into a shaker pint.

A: Dark brown with a one-finger tan colored head that quickly dissipated and left only small amounts of fragmentary lacing.

S: I have a cold so I wasn't picking up much beyond cocoa, some roasted malt, and a little coffee.

T&M: Rich, creamy, luxurious cocoa--not anywhere near too sweet--backed by the subtly warming presense of its not unsubstantial ABV. I wanted a little dark fruit to be mixed in but couldn't find any; maybe with age? Carbonation was just about perfect for my taste and the body tended medium toward heavy but smooth and creamy. Was a little thick on my tongue at the finish--which lingered for quite awhile-- but overall kind of pleasant. It left a taste of dry cocoa powder on the back of my tongue. The alcohol was warm but it didn't burn. Very nice.

Overall? I'm glad I still have five of these left and will probably let a few age for a year or so (still craving some dark fruit amidst that slightly bitter cocoa). I might even buy another six-pack while they're available. Good stuff.

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Photo of ILMbrew
4/5  rDev -5.2%

2913 vintage. Ton of dark fruit coming through in both the nose and taste. Very mellow with little-to-no booziness. Rich and thick without much sweetness.

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Photo of Hallu
4.09/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a ballsy stout, like Port Brewing's Old Viscosity. It's not a sweet one, it's very much on the bitter chocolate, winey dark fruits, roastiness. It stays with you for a very long time. I would have wanted tobacco, or smokiness to really push the boundaries. As is, it's a bit too much on the dark fruits for me.

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Photo of jayb
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This syrup poured out as black as night into the glass. when pouring it almost looked like oil, as far as its thickness. started with no head but as i finished pouring a nice chocolate milk colored, 2 fingered head appeared....then settled to a film. lacing was ...decent. a very lovely beer to behold while the head remained. smell was of sweet chocolate, burnt malts, and what my sister described as "soy sauce".
Taste: gee whiz. what a powerful brew. Most probably wouldnt think so as much as i, but from this was probably the strongest brew ive had in my limited experience. Taste was of chocolate, coffee, and a very roasty, burnt taste that lingered in the mouth. with such a sweet nose on this, the bitterness is a suprise, and a welcome one. Hint of candy flavoring, toffee and butterscotch? weird for me, id never expect that in a beer. wow, that burnt taste, as well as the bitterness keeps kicking me in the teeth! Toasty, just like my stomach. definite warming effect in my gut. Alcohol level is high but isnt a prevailent characteristic. mouthfeel is FULL and lovely, thickest ive had (I imagine not the thickest there is though) For my first imperial stout experience im a overcome with joy... and the roasted bitterness. Delightful. drinklability is low just for the fact that i could in no way drink more than two of these in an evening. Mighty tasty! Again i say, gee whiz, what a powerful brew.

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Photo of Reed415
4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a black color with almost no head

S - Dominated by dark caramel chocolate malt, some hops are lingering in there

T - Chocolate, Coffee, Roasted Malt, with a small amounts of hops

M - Full Bodied, Moderate Carbonation, Significant alcohol warmth, Somewhat sticky

D - Very malty Stout, but very good

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Photo of Telix
4.48/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I was lucky enough to have this served from a cask at Slows BBQ in Detroit, MI.

A: The pour is a tarry jet black, with a nice 1/2" puffy, bubbly head. There is a bit of cool looking lacing around the head, but not much in the remainder. It's perfectly attractive, but most stouts aren't anything unique.

S: The aroma is mild, with a bit of roasted nuts and booze. I wish it were bigger, to be honest.

T: Extremely complex and inviting you to drink more. A super creamy maltiness forms the backbone, as bright sharp citrus notes shine through and give it an awesome acidity and tongue bite, aided by a controlled booziness. Some roasted coffee notes are in the background. I realized that THIS is what a coffee stout should be, really, not those beers that taste like cold coffee in a bottle, but this complex beverage with hints of tropical fruit, roasted malts, honey and caramel sweetness.... truly epic goodness.

M: Creamy, thick, somehow avoiding syrupyness even though it lacked much carbonation in the cask. So smooth, I almost think it has to have some oats. Great.

D: I could sit and sip this all day. It's such a smooth, creamy, complex ale, truly exceptional. The booziness and ABV might get to you after a bit, but it's not meant to be a session beer.

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Photo of SAxDRC5
2.65/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Dark black with a very small brown head. pretty much what I'd expect for the style

S: sweet milk chocolate, a bit of coffee, some burnt charcoal.

T: starts with sweet chocolate and some dark fruits, raisins perhaps. ends with darker bitter chocolate and some alcohol. I'm not too impressed, it is a bit boring for a RIS.

M: thick and creamy. very low carbonation. alcohol more present than I would expect.

O: pretty average imperial stout. I probably won't buy it again, but wouldn't turn it down if given to me.

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Photo of mjsheehan08
3.85/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Bell's expedition stout

Turns my snifter into a black-hole. Head is dense with a mocha tan one finger head that clings to the glass for safety. Lace paints the side of the glass, and it doesn't look like it's going anywhere anytime soon. 

Nose is really fragrant. Rum, raisin, figs and other dark fruits start out the nose, and then some booze kicks in. There's also a sugarery sweetness that comes through from the malt, and I'm expecting a great malty brew. 

Alot if dark fruit in the front, but the kind of dark fruit that is wrapped up in a big ball of molasses. Really a great blend of malts here. As it continues on, a shot of expresso comes through and lingers with you after you set your glass down. As I am about halfway through the 12 oz bottle, a little heat builds up at the top of my mouth and throat from the alcohol. 

Feel is eh. For as full flavored as this beer is, I was expecting a little more body in it. It was kind of thin with little to no carbonation. 

I can feel the booze after 1, but I could probably drink 2 of these. 

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

Poured from a 12oz longneck into a tulip. This beer is absolutely inky black - no light whatsoever penetrates the glass - and is topped by a huge thick khaki head that falls slowly. Lacing is thick and sticky.

Aroma is dominated by sweet malts, dark chocolate notes, and alcohol, though not to a nose-burning degree.

Flavors hit the palate with a huge wallop of semi-sweet chocolate along with hints of blackberry and caramelized sugar. These are soon followed by espresso and toasted grains, licorice, and smoky notes. The finish is strong coffee bitterness and pleasantly warming booze, and lingers for an eternity.

Mouth feel is thick, syrupy and chewy, coating the mouth as you drink. This is a beer that pours huge and drinks huge... luxurious. Given that body and the brawny ABV of 10.5% this is certainly one you take your time with.

I had heard little about this this stout, and after drinking I have no idea why more people aren't totally geeking out about this one... this is a deep, huge, complex monster of a RIS, completely world class, and should be talked about in the same revered tones as Old Rasputin, Ten FIDY and other paragons of the style. Yes, it's a trifle expensive (I gave a shade over $16 for a six pack) but for a stout enthusiast it's money well spent. And even as good as it is now, this one should cellar excellently. A true tour-de-force.

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Photo of yung_peli
4.71/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: Black w/ a 2 finger mocha head, some retention and lacing
AR: Coffee, chocolate, molasses, caramel, hints of dark fruit
T: Follows nose, slight twinge of hop bitterness on the finish as well as bready malt
M: Medium, slightly chewy and oily.

A wonderful stout. Does become a little syrupy when too warm.

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

Wow! Makes me want to live in Kalamazoo. I've never even been to Kalamazoo. Nice black color, thin toffee head. Smells like burnt toast. Tastes like a fine Italian espresso. Creamy, soft finish. Nicely dry. Good at all temperatures. My first was too cold. Subsequent tastings were closer to room temperature where the beer filled out a little. This is one of the best Stouts that I have ever tasted. Very impressive.

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Photo of BeerHonky
4.55/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I purchased a case about a year ago from the Beer Yard in Wayne, PA. I realized right away that this is a beer that you have to let age. I drank a few fresh, but the flavors were all competing and too strong. After a year of aging, I have to say this beer is unbelievbale. It pours thick and black and totally opaque. Two finger's worth of super thick, fluffy tan colored head. The beer smells of dark roasty malt, lots and lots of roasty flavors appear to be on the way. There is also some hints of figs and raisins soaked in alcohol. The aroma leaves to mystery as to how this tastes. There are good hints of chocolate and coffee amongst all the roasty malt and dark fruit flavors. The mouthfeel on the aged beer is significantly different than when fresh. Its much creamier and smoother now. My only problem with this beer is that its a tad sticky, sweet. But thats something that is part of this style of beer. The drinkability is a tad difficult because its sweet and high in alcohol. This is just a great beer.

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Photo of Westsidebuddha
3.85/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The smell of this beer is roasty with a light barbeque flavor. The pour is very dark like motor oil. As the beer settles in the pint glass, the look is very thick with a flat head. The taste is definitely stouty with a strong alcohol feel on the backend. A good stout that is worth another try.

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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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