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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
6,238 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:
2,161
Ratings:
6,238
pDev:
10.33%
Bros Score:
4.41
 
 
Wants:
565
Gots:
1,786
Trade:
126
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 6,238 |  Reviews: 2,161
Photo of vfgccp
3.68/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Black with mahogany highlights. Dark cocoa head pours 2 fingers high.

S - Raw malt, light bourbon, oak. Light cream. Mild cocoa.

T - Dark toast, burnt prunes. A lace of oak throughout the profile. Dark cocoa / coffee backend.

M - Smooth with a rolling char-bitterness. Medium/full body.

O - Very nice, particularly if you're a fan of dark-roast flavors.

 361 characters

Photo of billab914
4.28/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Down to my last one out of the 12 I bought so I figured I better review this one before I'm out. Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Stone RIS glass.

Pours nearly black with a half inch tan head that settled to a thin covering that sticks to the sides. Nice lacing on the glass as well.

Aroma has coffee and bitter chocolate with some slightly sweet roastyness to it.

Taste has some dark chocolate, coffee and roastedness followed by a nice long bitterness that lingers in the mouth.

Mouthfeel is heavy bodied and slightly slick and carbonation is moderate.

Drinkability is good for a RIS, I really enjoyed these and will be buying them every winter for sure.

 665 characters

Photo of smithj4
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of atrocity
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of Gkruszewski
4.28/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of paulish
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of nathanmiller
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of smcolw
3.67/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours like motor oil: thick liquid with no initial head. After the bottle is emptied, a quarter inch head shows up. This settles to a single bubble layer, but leaves a decent blanket of lace on the glass.

Not like a typical stout (much less a RIS): No coffee or dark chocolate smells. This comes across as a creamy brown ale to the nose. Not bad, just not what I expected.

Potent alcohol bite with a chewy, patent malt bitterness. The flavor is closest to espresso. There's a decent dollop of hop bitterness in the swallow. The brew is very thick, like half and half cream. This is enhanced by a lower level of carbonation. I think this would go very nicely with a tart dessert.

 680 characters

Photo of XmnwildX12
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of mendvicdog
3.75/5  rDev -12%

Photo of russpowell
4.66/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Props to zrrbrrt for this one.

Pours a deep mahogany with a rocky 2 fingers deep dirt/mocha colored head. Great lacing ( small dark flecks are glued to the glass almost like tiny grains of glass or obsidian) & very good head retention

S: Rich chocolate, plums & toast

T: Huge roasted malt & bitter chocolate up front. Iron, burnt coffee dark choclate follow as this warms up. This made me think of a choclate malted milk with booze pulsing through its body. Finishes with a flourish of choclate, hint of booze, a kiss of iron & roasted grain bitterness.

MF: Rich & chewy, makes me thik Christmas pudding! Very low carbonation.

The chewyness kind of detracts form the drinkability, but a lovely fireside sipper that demands respect & adoration. A great Russian IMP stout

 775 characters

Photo of ZEB89
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a jet black body with a full, frothy tan-colored head.

Smell: Aroma of black malts, roasted coffee, dark chocolate syrup, scorched almonds, molasses, and herbal, piney hops.

Taste: Black roasted malts with flavors of coffee and exceedingly dark chocolate. Some burnt almonds and fire-blackened marshmallows. The hops are bold in their bitterness, but not overbearing, and provide a taste of dried herbs and pine. Finishes with a lingering bitterness and acidic char taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Mild carbonation. Chewy mouthfeel. Warming from the first sip.

Drinkability: A very fine stout both fresh and cellared. To wit, I had an '02 this past weekend that had morphed into a slightly roasty chocolate liqueur.

 741 characters

Photo of woodychandler
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

My first reaction was "WTF, did they fill my bottle with motor oil by mistake?!?" I tried an aggressive pour and still only managed wisps of head in the glass. The beer was viscous, black (even the white bits was black), oily, with the only head a thin coating on the top of the liquid. The nose was huge with alcohol and chocolate. The mouthfeel was both slick and thick. After my first swallow, I realized that Larry ain't playin' around here. This is lights out action in a bottle. Nitey nite. My notes remind me to sic Carolyn Blowers on this one, since she has proven capable of drinking Russian Imperial Stouts first thing in the morning. I got an interesting mix of bittersweet chocolate, charcoal, and smoke floating across my tongue. The finish was smoky and chocolaty, just beautiful. My notes ended because of a sudden urge to lie down.

 847 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
4.27/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 9554, bottled Jan/2010.

A: Poured into my DFH signature glass. Pours a an oily black, completely opaque. A one finger mocha colored head formed upon pouring and reduced to a ring of foam around the top. Very little lacing.

S: Dark fruits, licorice, chocolate and some coffee. There is a little bit of roasted malt and the slightest hint of alcohol.

T: Coffee and roasted malts are the dominant flavors with some chocolate, licorice, and a little bit of molasses.

M: Medium to full bodied. Smooth and creamy, with a slickness. Nice carbonation, more than expected, but not in a bad way.

O: Quite nice. Form reading other reviews, I think that some of the coffee flavor subsided a little bit. No sign that the beer is 10.5%, even though its fuller body makes drinking more than 1-2 difficult.

 804 characters

Photo of duceswild
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Midnight black with no highlights to speak of. The head is a massive milk chocolate brown monster, one of the darkest I've ever seen. The foam is melting slowly and is depositing thick, shredded sheets of lace on the glass.

The aroma doesn't exactly jump out of the glass, but it does become bolder with warming. Each sniff delivers chocolate, coffee and hops, in order from most prominent to least. The flavor is strong, rich and dark, with boatloads of roasted malt. Specifics include generous helpings of black licorice/anise, molasses and bitter espresso.

Expedition tastes rougher, more bitter and more alcoholic than Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout. It'd be a better beer if the alcohol were masked more completely and the edges were smoothed off a little. The mouthfeel is some kind of amazing. This brew is thick, chewy, ultra creamy smooth and goes down like heavy cream.

This is a Big Beer, one that should be sipped and savored. If you like your Imperial stouts with an unapologetically brash, bold, slightly raw taste, but with a refined, well-mannered mouthfeel, then you'll enjoy Expedition Stout immensely. I think I'll age the next bottle.

 1,157 characters

Photo of drewone
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of mdfb79
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a dark black that lets no light through. Two inches of dark tan head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of roasted malts, toasted malts, dark fruit, and chocolate. A little bit of burnt malts as well. Getting some sweetness to the smell as it warms up, which is quite enjoyable.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, burnt and toasted malts, bready malts, licorice, dark fruits, and alcohol.

m - Full body and moderate carbonation. A sipper for sure.

d - A pretty nice RIS. Lots of roasted malts in the smell and taste. Have it many times and will have it again. Would recommend.

 639 characters

Photo of Zaphog
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of mikesgroove
4.43/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured a thick dark, black as night with a nice 1" cream colored tan head with a real nice retention. Very havy brown lace all through the glass. This one looks like it will hurt ya.

S - Heavy, thick sweet caramel and sugar smell, lots of hints of chocolate and and just very sweet overall. Did I mention it was a thick smell?

M & T - First impression was very creamy and not overly carbonated, lotd of lactose sugar flavors, and lots of chocolate malts. A hint at a smokey profile as it warmed up a bit, but just a really thick and extremely enjoyable heavy stout. I mean this realy tasted awesome. Could have used a bit more in the carbonation, but really just very nice.

D - Overall I give this an awesome, very thick and heavy, not even close to being sessionable in any way. I really great RIS and would love to try some more.

 845 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Firestone snifter. Batch 10068, 12/17/2010.

Appearance - Inky viscous black that yields only the slightest tinge of brown at the edges. Not much of a head. Thin khaki collar around the edge with just a lonely dime-sized island of foam roaming the surface.

Smell - I can smell the molasses from the open bottle. Tons of molasses. A stronger sniff unveils booze, licorice, and ashy burnt malt.

Taste - Ridiculous molasses again. Really creamy in the middle with just a little bit of sweetness and then the onslaught begins. Licorice, dark fruits, the darkest chocolate. Burnt pieces of chocolate, really. Ashy and extremely bitter. Booze comes back at the last gasp and bites the throat.

Mouthfeel - Low carbonation, boozy, nearly acrid in its ashy bitterness. And yet it manages to be creamy and delicious.

Overall - Every complaint I have ever had about fresh Expedition Stout has turned into an attribute in this bottle. Two years has done this very well.

 989 characters

Photo of Slatetank
4.55/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is the ale I chose to celebrate my 500th review. I picked this up at Capone's in Norristown and cellared this for 6 months. Decanted at approx 45 degrees in a snifter and goblet for the sake of experiment.

A - Very, very very deep brown w/ medium brown head that appears like a sturdy tree trunk w/ rings after a swirl of the glass. The bead is ultra fine w/ a smooth cappuccino-like appearance on the foam.

M - Dry, luscious roasted malt w/ a toasted charred feel like the texture of over-roasted marshmallows. Intense spice and sweetness w/ moderately low carbonation and a decent amount of hop bitterness as the liquid is swallowed.

S - Supreme dark malt w/ heavy roast and fruit aromas. The sweet chewy malt has a creamy milky caramel aroma. There is subtle molasses and smokey wood notes w/ light spiced hop odors that round out the smell of this complex ale.

T - Dark fruit and berry flavors w/ vanilla-like oaky and slightly smokey flavored sweet chocolate cookie-like malt. The hops are pungent w/ sweet leafy and piney flavors that have a sugar coated taste. The flavors of dark crystal malt w/ roasted grains tastes as fresh as fresh brewed wort. A nice brown sugar-like note w/ a nice accent of citrus coming from the hops works in a synergystic way. There are many flavor layers w/ a dominant dark chocolate flavor that surrounds the tongue and makes this stout seem like a hoppy version of liquid truffles w/ anise spice added for good measure.

D - One of the best American Imperial Stouts I have tasted in a bottle. Just about flawless w/ a balance of hops and so much malt flavor you can't go wrong here. Even the boozy taste is within optimal range for my taste (6 months cellared) I prefer the bottled version, but I will update this when I can w/ the draft version. I can honestly say this deserves all the accolades this big stout receives.

 1,871 characters

Photo of orangesol
4.03/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Al's of Hampden into a nonic pint.

A - Pours dark as can be with a thick, pillowy, one finger head, dissipating down to a thick film of head, leaving thick rings of lacing down the glass.

S - Rich, chocolatey, nose with a bit of lightly roasted dark malt. Chocolate is quite bitter but not to the point of being overpowering. A bit on the sweeter side compared to others in the style. More and more roast comes thru as it begins to warm.

T - Lots of dark, roasty, flavors in this one. Plenty of bitter chocolate up front giving way slowly to a mix of sweetness and rich roasty malt. Finish is very roasty that lingers long after consumption. Alcohol is ever present, unable to hide in the shadows for long, offering a warming sensation on finish. Not the best I have had but still very nice.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Fairly creamy feel with a very nice balance of flavors.

D - Fairly high. I really like this one a lot but it can become overpowering after the first glass. I could have one or two of these but that would be about all.

 1,084 characters

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Beer rating: 4.26 out of 5 with 6,238 ratings
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