Expedition Stout | Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store

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Expedition StoutExpedition Stout
6,298 Ratings
Expedition StoutExpedition Stout

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Michigan, United States

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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,298 |  Reviews: 2,177
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.

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Photo of drewone
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%

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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of dvmin98
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

32 oz. swing top growler.

Fabulous appearance. Deep, jet black with a thick, beige head that leaves a generous amount of lacing cascading down the sides of the snifter. Grandiose aroma of molasses, malt, charred roast, dark fruits. Dark fruits really emerge as the beer warms. Lots of charred, roasted malt as well. Full bodied, though not viscous or syrupy. A really solid beer, though there are several other imperial stouts I prefer to this.

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Photo of BeerForMuscle
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Almost black pour with a chunky, bubbly, sticky brown head that hangs around.

S - Chocolate covered raisins, dried dark fruit sugars i.e. figs, currants, dates. Once again, a pretty solid raisinette aroma. Some sweet alcohol floating.

T - Very dark, very roasty with a nice touch of hops to balance. A nice amount of dark fruit sweetness and chocolate. Smooth warming alcohol provide a nice facet.

M - Silky smooth creamy mouth. Spiced, warming alcohol finish. Dry and sweet aftermath.

O - A nice imperial stout. The dark fruits gave this one a different twist and was well combined in the flavor profile. Smooth and soft with each sip and finish. Had this paired with black forrest cake at a Bells beer dinner.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Batch 7740 (Dec. 2006!) thanks to Derek.

A: The pour is viscous and lightly carbonated with a thin layer of mocha colored head.

S: Even after a little more than 4 years, this beer is still a little bit boozy. Alcohol notes come through immediately with lots of dark fruits and licorice. Dark chocolate and burnt sugar fill in the back end along with a strong roast.

T: Surprisingly bitter with lots of roast and coffee notes, particularly on the back end. Dark chocolate, licorice, burnt sugar, and dark fruits make up the bulk of the flavor profile. The booze is a bit more subdued than I was expecting.

M: The body is medium to full with a low but ample carbonation.

D: I think one bottle is enough, but this is a fine beer indeed. One that can certainly hold up to (and in some cases, benefit from) again.

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Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of 22Blue
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of johnnnniee
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a solid black that lets no light through. Tanish head that dissipates quickly, but leaves lots of marks down the surface of the glass. Aroma is wine like, with roasted malts, licorice, some chocolate and coffee too. Taste is sweet. I pick up some dried fruit, molasses, some roast and some faint hop or roast bitterness in the end. Mouthfeel is thick, and a bit sweet. Almost leaves my lips sticky like my kids with candy. Not your average Imp Stout, but I love this stuff. Bells continues to impress me!!

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Photo of MarkyMOD
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of tdm168
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - black and as thick as oil with a thick, short cap of brown head that sits atop this brew forever

S - licorice, dark fruit, coffee, roasted malts

T - big roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, faint dark fruit, very bitter

M - full bodied, warm, smooth, perfectly carbonated and oily

This is a really solid beer. The bitterness is a bit intense and detracts from the rest of the flavors. The overall flavor profile is impressive. Rich, chocolate, roasty, bitter coffee, underlying dark fruit -- really enjoyable. I would have this again for sure.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.67/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Growler filled at Nathaniel Square Corner Store in Rochester, NY.

Pours a deep dark black, with a sizable 2 inch head. Sticky spider-web like lacing.

Aromas include roasted malt, bitter dark chocolate, and a bit of something that smells like bourbon, even though it's not barrel aged.

Huge roasted malt taste here, lots of bitterness. Some chocolate covered espresso beans as well. There is a bit of an alcohol burn and sweetness, but it is integrated well and doesn't detract. Some mild tastes of earthy dark fruits. There is a richness and depth of flavor here that suggests extended barrel treatment, but it didn't get any. Awesome.

Full viscous and creamy mouthfeel. Low carbonation.

One of the best non-BA stouts I've ever had, this one is knock your socks off good.

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Photo of rab53
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%

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

This was poured into a mini snifter. The appearance was a dark brown close to black color with a less than a finger’s worth of foamy tan head that dissipated within less than about 30 seconds. The smell had a big roasty to semi-smooth bitter coffee bean leading into a delicate cocoa and light vanilla to round it all out. The taste was pretty smoothed due to the date, I’m guessing, still a nice roasty smooth coffee and cocoa delicately weaves together to lead to a decent sly roasty aftertaste and finish. On the palate, this one sat about a medium on the body with a good sessionability about it. Carbonation definitely smoothed a bit with a nice drying edge leading into a rounded out stickiness over my tongue. Overall, an absolutely awesome RIS well worthy of coming back to.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.75/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Apparently I did have one of these guys hangin' around in my fridge after all. Go figure. Let's review it, shall we? It pours an opaque black-brown topped by a short finger of tan foam that fades fairly quickly. The nose comprises plenty o' roasted malts, dark wheat, chocolate syrup, nutmeg, and a surprising dose of rye bread. A general sweetness pervades. The taste darkens the proceedings, roasting some of the sweet notes and replacing the rye bread with a leather-like character. Some light prune notes gurgle up from th bottom, but don't pool all that much. Something's missing here, but I can't quite put my finger on it. The body is fairly hefty, with a heavy light carbonation and a borderline chewy feel. Overall, a solid RIS, but I've had better, even among regularly available offerings. Something's just off a little, you know what I mean?

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Photo of stakem
3.7/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Expedition Stout, a brew I've had multiple times over the years and never bothered to review. Time to remedy that. Thanks to pmsawyer for gifting me with this aged bottle. Poured into a snifter, the brew appears black with a brown head that fizzes fast. Just a few bubbles remain atop.

The smell is heavy of roasted grains, raisiny alcohol and a bounty of licorice notes. As it warms up, some smooth semi-sweet chocolate character evolves towards the back but there is a solid inclusion of raisiny alcohol that tingles the nose with almost a solvent touch.

The tastes hits upfront with licorice and roasty bitter chocolate. Some hop inclusion accents a dark fruity alcohol character. More sips reveal more and more solvent alcohol with some raisin, plum and a bit of roast that is earthy and faintly of coffee.

This is quite a bold, warming sipper that really hasn't mellowed with more than a year of aging. It is medium to full bodied with an enjoyably low level of light carbonation. It is a fairly enjoyable brew but I much rather enjoy a stout that focuses more on roast and dryness than big fusel alcohol that is fruity. To each their own but this one doesn't quite do it for me.

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Photo of chippo33
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of thatoneguymike
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of SadMachine
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

'09 bottle acquired in an IP trade w/ Ahappyhiker2, thanks man!

A- Poured into Stone IRS snifter. Pours pitch black, viscous, and with a thick light-brown head that has incredible retention (especially w/ the age), and leaves generous lacing.

S- Surprising start to the nose as it is reminiscent of a bourbon barrel aged stout with lots of booze and a bit of vanilla. Dark bitter chocolate, Belgian candi-sugar, molasses, brown sugar, and dark alcohol soaked fruits are also perceived.

T- There are huge chocolate flavors right off the bat, both dark/bitter and sweet/milk. There is a healthy dose of roasted malt/coffee in the mix, particularly in the finish. There is also a distinct vinous flavor in the finish.

M- The mouthfeel is thick, viscous, and creamy with nearly no perceivable carbonation. It is less boozy than expected from the nose, which is a positive.

O- I have not had this fresh, but this is drinking fantastic with ~3.5 years on it! I would have been happier if some more of the complexity in the nose came through in the flavor, but it still tastes superb!

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Photo of Billolick
3.43/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle, with no freshness dating.
Think and goey, rich and chewy.
This is as dark, rich, flavorful and robust as any beer I've had. To my tastes its over the top and not all that pleasant, and I like stouts and rich, strong beer in general. HEAVY roasted, burnt, chocolate, coffee flavors. Mega sweet malt in the finish with a bit of bittering. Extreme after dinner beer. not for women and children or the feint of heart.

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Photo of VeganUndead
3.25/5  rDev -23.7%

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.63/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep black motor oil, moccha tan head leaves speckled lacing. Aroma: Anise, chocolate, plums, and a whole load of underlying hop tones, cascade I think. Taste: Really poetic blend of fllavor here crashing waves of syrupy sweet alcoholic tinged fruit blended with bittering hops and harsh dark roasts what a treat this is definitely alot going on in there. Really potent, the alcohol doesn't burn though it doesn't overdo anything just adds another depth level there. Mouthfeel: Like drinking a protein shake thick and full bodied as all hell, this beer as great streaks of syrupy goodness going on. Drinkability: Complex, enticing, and oh so enjoyable to indulge and challenge the senses, however it's not the type of beer to drink a sixer it's that once in awhile when I get a craving for a big brew that knocks my senses renderless.

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Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 4.26 out of 5 with 6,298 ratings