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

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding
2,107 Reviews
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
Reviews:
2,107
Ratings:
6,070
Avg:
4.22
pDev:
17.77%
 
 
Wants:
535
Gots:
1,741
For Trade:
137
User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,107 | Ratings: 6,070
Photo of wcudwight
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This is from the first trade I ever made. It was over a year ago...maybe 2 yrs ago. Thanks Dertbert!!
Pours a used motor oil thick opaque. No head just a dark brown rim of lace on the crown.
Smells of dark liquer chocolate. Molassas. The aroma is not as punget as I was expecting. Maybe this is because of the age.
Huge dark chocolate flavor. Nice bitter hoppiness. Molassas. Slight roasted flavor and a hint of coffee. Spot on for the style with a bit more bitterness. Alcohol is barley noticable. This is one smooth beer.
Mouthfeel is creamy, smoooth, with a very minimum carbonation.
This goes down easier than an 11.5% beer should and leaves you wanting another.

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Photo of blakesell
4.21/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Got a pint before Dave Boston's tragedy of losing a whopping 4 gallons from an exploded bung on the cask.

A-poured thick as motor oil and frothy as all get out. A Coffee black/brown frothy head that lingered like an uninvited guest that just won't leave. It seemed like hours and was at least a full 20 min before the head died down sufficiently. The tension mounted as the head retained.

S-Slight rasin, plum, Chocolate, coffee, cream? must be lactose sugars

T-A little sweet, frothy from the force carbonation of the cask. Chocolate malt, Black Patent, non-malted barley, hints of smoke. finish thick and sweet but still black like my lungs back when I smoked clove cigarettes. Sticky on the lips like back when I smoked them as well. Alcohol creeps up and quick. I'm wondering if it's the same percentage it has always been, but 11.5 isn't shabby by a long shot. Oh, hoppiness comes out in the finish as well.

M-Thick like a mouthfull of blood after getting hit with a baseball bat. I'm a little morbid today, let's go closer to thick like eggnog, with almost as much creaminess. I'm glad I had water nearby as well to balance it out so I could drink it all and soak it in over the duration. Slight drying finish.

D-This is by far the best cask conditioned beer I have ever had. I could have drank this all night but only dealt with one due to the tasting after. I regret that I have but one palate to blow away for my community.

These are the stouts that myths are made of.

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Photo of Bierguy5
4.46/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On cask at Boston's here in good old Dayton, OH. Pitch black in color, with no highlights at all. An incredible, huge frothy tan head that never goes away. Incredible retention, and great patches of lace.

Nose full of roasty malts, tobacco, chocolate and some darker fruits. Floral and citrusy hops in the background. Not as pronounced nose as the bottle or draft version.

Great roasty, chocolate flavors, and dark fruity flavors at the end. The fruits seem to have a slight sourness to them. A good amount of floral bitterness that helps to round all of it out. Very nice.

Full body, nice soft, gentle carbonation, and a creamy mouthfeel. Overall, a fantasic beer, made very interesting in cask form.

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Photo of mcallister
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on cask at Boston's in Dayton. Been waiting a month for them too tap this and off the pour it's not dissapointing at all. Black as midnight with a 2 inch creamy, fluffy mocha head that has retention that won't quit. Head has not faded after a good 5 minutes and counting...and counting....and counting....and counting.

Chewy caramel aromas with a dark chocolate backing, vanilla, black currant, coffee, hints of strawberry milk? huh, mollasses, and many other dark fruits. Delightful and pleasing to say the least.

As usual a huge masculine, robust, bold beast of a beer. Full of bitter as hell and full of dark bakers chocolate. Caramel with hints of roasty barley stand forward on the mid palate. But damn the bittering hops and pure tannin from the ground coffee and barley shine through the entire palate spectrum.FInish lasts longer than most insect lifetimes. Black and red currants, mollasses, gooey and resiny mouthfeel, hot fudge, creamy and delicious.

On cask it looks as though I will be drunk soon very soon from multiple glasses.

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Photo of Boppar
3.95/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass with a half-finger of leathery head. Standard evil-looking obsidian black.

Aroma of raisins, molasses and chocolate.

Tastes pretty much the way it smells, but with chocolate far and away the leading flavor. Some alcoholic spiciness, but not nearly as much as one would expect from 11.5% ABV. Lingering dry finish of smoke, leather, spicy hops and... damn it! Pennies! A slight metallic aftertaste knocks this down from a 4.5 to a 4.0 in the flavor department.

Mouthfeel is thick, sticky, and briskly carbonated (much more so than I had expected).

Drinkability is about what you'd expect from a Russian Imperial with 11.5%, which is to say not that much. I think two of these would be pushing it, but that's normal.

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Photo of nickss
3.67/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass.

The darkest beer I've ever seen? Quite possibly. Absolutely pitch black with a smallish chocolate colored head. Aside from its intense darkness, nothing to write home about.

Delicious aroma... wine and vinous berries... molasses and even a touch of peppermint,,, quite interesting. Strong toffee notes are intermingled with some coffee as well... fantastic and complex aroma.... so much going on here.

Bam! Bitterness hits the tongue like a freight train.... strong coffee flavours with a huge alcohol kick. Certainly not as balanced as the aroma would have suggested... this one is way too hot and could use a year or more in the cellar. As it warms, it rounds out a bit more... some of the berries come through the bitterness. Still... I'll be aging the rest of these for another time.

The mouthfeel would also be aided by some aging. The carbonation is a bit too active in my opinion, making the beer seem a bit thin (which it most certainly is NOT).

Big time sipper... it's going to take me well over an hour to drain through this one. Will that change as the beer ages? Stay tuned....

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Photo of dstc
3.08/5  rDev -27%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours dark like a stout with a brown head. Not much head though, a little flat. Does leave thin lace behind. Strong roasted malt smell and a bit metallically. Nice strong flavor with bitter aftertaste. Good, but nothing special. Somewhat thick, low carbonation mouthfeel. Average stout. I was dying to try this after seeing some reviews and had a friend bring me a six pack from Michigan since I couldn't find it here in Florida. Was also excited when I poured the first glass (I love seeing a brown head, not white, on a stout) but was disappointed in the taste. Again, it's not bad, just average.

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Photo of brdc
4.83/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This one pours creamy, thick like whole milk, even oily. It is pitch black and it makes a nice dark brown head that looks nice but has almost no retention, although it does lace the glass well.
Nose is very rich, roasted malts, coffee, burnt sugar, milk and alcohol.
It has a very nice, creamy, velvety full body, and it starts sweetish on the palate, finishing dry and bitter, with intermediate layers of roasted malts, hops, chocolate and sugar. Very satisfying with a single small bottle.
I might have a new favorite stout; this is one impressive brew, and every time I go back to it, it amazes me more. The price is unbeliveable for the quality, which makes it better.
Not to be missed.

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Photo of athensbeermaster
4.78/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This hefty stout show's no sign of light thru it! A nice mocha color head with good head retention. The nose was dark roast coffee with licorice and burnt toast. The taste is very surprising, yeah this beer is black as night but the first sip has good carbonation the flavors of dark roasted malts and bitter chocolate with a licorice creamy mid palate. And for the grand finally a nice bite of hops say's hi just at the end. The alcohol level mixes well. Very smooth.

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Photo of AltBock
4.72/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz. bottle that has a simple beige with blue edges label that has a picture of a compass or what Bell's thinks the North Star looks like. Above the North Star is the Bell's symbol of 3 big chiming bells and below the North Star is the name of the beer and where the Bell's Brewery is located. The neck label is the same color and has the same picture as the main label, but it's just a small variation of it. The back label has a little blurb about how it ages well, Government warning, refund prices, and a batch number you need to input into their website to see when your beer was packaged. Mine was batch # 7740, which means it was packaged on December 19, 2006. Hopefully this beer isn't like their label, plain and simple. Served in an average Snifter.

Appearance: Do you know what used motor oil looks like? Of course you do. You take the color of the used motor oil, add some black ink into it and you'll come close to what the color of Expedition Stout really is. I'm not exaggerating, it is that black! Just when I thought the color of the beer was really nice, you should see the head of foam. On top of this motor oil/black ink beer was a beautiful 1 finger tan/mocha colored head of foam that had pretty good retention that left behind a small tan film, a few mocha colored rings, and a dab of mocha lace around the glass. After it warms up a little bit, all the film, rings, and lace are gone and looks more like a fine black brandy (if it exists) instead of a really black beer.

Smell: Had a rich complex aroma of alcohol soaked black cherries, roasted malts, bitter dark chocolate, a pinch of fresh baked wheat bread, roasted hops, a splash of roasted coffee beans, more alcohol, and then this complex aroma ended with a with a small whiff of bing cherries. I can't get enough of this wonderful aroma! Bell's Brewery just filled the aroma to brink with all the dark and roasted flavors they could find. You need to smell this beer for yourself to believe.

Taste: When I first took a sip of Expedition Stout, my senses were overwhelmed with dark and roasted flavors. I could believe it at first, so I took another sip and got the same reaction. I actually had to build my body's tolerance of Expedition Stout before I could take a big sip of it. It has most of the same flavors that are in aroma with just a few differences here and there. The taste was chock full of roasted malts, dry roasted hops, bitter dark chocolate, a touch of sweet caramel, roasted coffee beans, dark fruits, and then finished with a slight alcohol burn. I would have thought the dark and roasted flavors would have enhanced the alcohol burn, but instead it calmed it down to just a slight taste of it.

Mouthfeel: If you haven't guessed already, it's definitely full bodied with a complex aftertaste that's almost as complex as the initial taste. The aftertaste was filled with roasted malts, a few roasted hops, dark fruits, and a pinch of alcohol. For a beer that has a 10.5% ABV (that's what Bell's website says), the alcohol was actually quite mellow. It came in like a tired lion and came out like a ferocious lamb. Just watch out because this will probably sneak up on you.

Drinkability: This beer is nothing like the plain and simple label that's adorns the bottle. It's in fact the complete opposite. Is it well suited for November storms and trips across the Sahara? It sure is! In fact it's suitable for any journey, just as long you're not driving there. I don't know about you, but I sure could go for another one. If drinking another one is wrong, then I don't want to be right. Another winner from Bell's Brewery! I'm finally going to end this review by saying this beer is black gold and worth ever penny.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a 20oz imperial pint.

A:Pure pitch black with a cocoa colored two finger head. Lots of sticky lace all about the glass.

S: Big aromas of bready malt, coffee, bitter dark chocolate, and hops.

T: Right off the bat I'm struck with a big biscuity-bready maltiness that's mingling with spicy hops and alccohol. There's a dark sweet fruit undercurrent and a spicy sweetness that I compare to maple candies.

M: At once creamy and also spicy/prickly. Sweet and bitter.

D: A wonderful stout that's so complex, that anymore than one and you're just asking for friggin' trouble. Wow!

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

Thanks to pmcavena and greenbeaner for making this happen for me.
Sixer of 12oz bottles 13.99 no freshness date.
I served this lightly chilled into a nonic. The head is a dense gray milk chocolate/cocoa color, about three fingers thick, with good retention and thick billowing lacing densely coating the glass. The body is so black its unquestionable opaque, mahogany times four, slightly oily, but o’ so pretty. The smell is straight up dry roast coffee, some buiscuit, dark chocolate, nutty notes, with a pinch of salt and smoke, but just a pinch (which becomes much more apperent as it warms up). Alcohol is almost undetectable in the nose. Hops are not very present, except for a tinge of earth or grass / dirt. This is definitely a malt forward beer. Taste is excellent I might even say ‘’huge" tons and tons of roasted malt, black patent, good maybe crystal or even Munich malt sweetness, which is balanced excellently by a tasty IBU. I get roast coffee, chocolate, home made soy sauce (only in the good way), biscuit, with that same slight smoky salty flavor. The mouthfeel on this is so thick and full maybe the thickest of all the RIS I’ve had this season. Wonderful stuff I suggest only one or two at the most in a session. Great stuff all around; I can’t wait till next year to get enough to hold me over until the following year.

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

Poured from a bottle with no drink by date. The appearance is quite nice with a pitch black color topped by a brown head, two fingers high and perfect. The head is a color brown that I rarely see in a beer, but, it is frothy and leaves some very nice lacing.

The aroma is brought in as sweet and roasted malts along with some caramel notes. The roasted malts have a small sense of burntness. The taste is excellent and a couple of times, it took me by surprise with its boldness. There are definitely the roasted malt and coffee flavoring, but, there is a very nice addition of some very tangy hop flavor, which you don't expect from a stout.

As the beer warms, the flavor deepens and becomes sweeter. There is a distinctive fruit flavor in there. The alcohol is present and accounted for and rises up with the warming of the beer. The mouthfeel is slightly chewy and bold with lots of zip and tartness in the mouth. Very good Stout.

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Photo of philberinghele
5/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bolsheviks took these
the emperor's private stock
redistribute wealth

Imperial is the only way to describe this beer. I'd give you a faberge egg for a six pack and a portrait of Lenin. The workers at Bell's have created a monument to the excesses of the Czars and offered it to the revolution. There is a specter rising over Michigan, the specter of me drinking this beer and savoring every last fucking drop.

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Photo of PlaywrightSam
4.13/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Like motor oil. A surprising and enticing dark chocolate head. S: Coffee, hops almost completely subsumed under the heavy pull of cocoa and roasted malt. T: Hops now making a bold appearance, nice bitter finish. M: Milky, not much carbonation. Drinkability: Very, very nice, though with the heavy body and staggering alcohol content, this is definitely a sipping beer.

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Photo of Duster72
3.93/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep black with a hint of a copper brown head which settles into a small ring around the glass. Aroma is roasty malts with hints of coffee and chocolate. Taste is roast chocolates and slightly burnt malts with some carmel sweetness. Very creamy mouthfeel with a slight alcohol burn. Taste lingers several minutes. Nice stout.

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Photo of granite
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A--- Poured a dark mahogany with a frothy little tan head.

S--- Esters, rich mocha and a heavy hand of roasted malt in the aroma.

T--- All chocolate malt and warming alcohol in the front. Fruity and vinous like in the middle. It finished with a nice astringent dryness provided by the roasted malt.

M--- Full bodied with a chewy mouth feel.

D--- This was a very well made American imperial stout. It had a very complex malt profile and a big mouth feel that I expect from this style. It has a little too much alcohol to session but it was the perfect winter dessert ale. It was delicious and I highly recommend it.

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Photo of drpimento
3.84/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shazam! KIck ass, mo fo. now this is truly big beer. again, maybe it's just my thang, but I pick up hop type hallertau yeast flavs; too fruit for me. Not a bigb head, but lots of lace. almost visquous. roasty dark chocolate, dark overruoe fruits. Would imagine that this beer would age like a dream. creamy body

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Photo of pmcavena
4.46/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Some friends of mine hyped up this beer quite a bit. I opened the beer with excitement and high expectations, needless to say upon taking the first sip from the lavishly thick and creamy head I was not disappointed.

I continued to sip on the head for a few minutes, enjoying its subtle tastes of dark chocolate, and toffee, mixed with a malty texture.

The beer its self is beautiful, rich, creamy and bold. There is a mild, bitterness however most of the flavors of the beer are very balanced with a nice sweet after taste that leaves you wanting more.

If there was such a thing as a beer latte, this would be a fine example. It's so rich and thick, with so many flavors and subtle textures.

This beer has a hint of peppermint, mixed with a chocolate undertone, that makes for a developed rich taste and it makes this beer a very unique stout. There are also hints of banana, that blend into the mix perfectly. The lacing is beautiful, golden brown rims of delight surround the sides of the pint glass.

About half way through the beer, the lushes head is still present, still as rich and creamy as when I took my first sip. I begin to feel a tingle of warm alcohol, however it is ever so slight, and not over powering. This is a strong beer, but because of its rich and creamy taste, it is extremely drinkable.

The beer is beautiful, its almost completely black, but has a tinge of purple, complimented by a golden brown head thats still present almost to the end.

This is truly a beer that has one down fall, its so delicious that when its gone, I want another. I do have another six pack five feet away from me, but thats another story. If you can find this gem your in for a real treat, Cheers.

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

Poured into a pint glass, the first thing I noticed about this beer was how thick it was coming out of the bottle, very oily and syrupy. It quickly formed two-fingers of dark caramel head with some retention throughout. The lacing was thick and long lasting patches.

The scent of chocolate and espresso came up front with a mild candy sweetness following close behind. There was also a definite presence of alcohol. Overall however, for as strong as this beer is in every other aspect I felt the smell was a little mild. Not necesarily a bad thing, just not overpowering by any means. Pleasent.

This beer tasted great, coffee and chocolate once again, very mild bitterness in my opinion...there's almost some saltiness to this brew, but I think the sweet and salty maintains a nice balance. Finishes with a fairly warm flavor of alcohol.

I've gotta say this is by far the creamiest beer I've had. It's almost milky and chewy. Not one to just swallow immediately, it really takes some time to get through your mouth, and it leaves your mouth feeling sort of wet and dry at the same time. Very intriguing and enjoyable.

All in all this is an excellent beer that I'd definitely recommend, and I'm sure I'll be drinking it again, but due to the high abv and it's intense flavor and thickness, it's one to watch out for...I could probably only handle a couple of these at a time.

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Photo of hunteraw
4.02/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to mymrngjckt for sending this one my way in the Secret Bunny '07 exchange.

Appearance: black as the night, with a seriously dark and seriously big head. Some retention, good lacing.

Smell: Heavy on cocoa, roast (almost burnt - black malt?) and some soysauce. Hops come across as somewhat grassy. This is one you can keep smelling for a while before taking the first taste. Some alcohol.

Taste: Very similar profile to the nose, but I think soy sauce is a bit more pronounced. Caramel notes come out more on the palate, as well. Good finish. Reminds me of a homebrewed stout I made, except better. Solid bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Nice and thick, good carbonation. Sticks to your tongue - after this, an APA would taste like water. I'm surprised at the bros' reviews - the carbonation on mine was fine, must have been a batch issue??

Drinkability: Very nice, but not sessionable, both for the huge flavor and the high alcohol.

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Photo of stereosforgeeks
4.37/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - A wonderful thick black body and creamy dark tan head. Minimal Lacing.

Smell: Some roasted chocolate malts provide the major notes, but coffee, mild dark fruits, sour apple, and piney hops are there as well.

Taste: The roasted chocolate malts drive the flavor here. The coffee and plums intermingle nicely. The sour apples provide a nice mild tartness. The finish is a nice dry hop bitter.

Mouthfeel - Thick and chewy with minimal carbonation.

Drinkability - Do yourself a favor and buy this.

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Photo of drseamus
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours jet black with a thick dark mocha colored head. It smells like dark malt, dark chocolate, alcohol, and has a general sweet aroma. The taste is very sweet and very malty and it is very obvious that this is a high alcohol beer. There is a bit of alcohol burn after each sip. It's a bit too sweet for my taste. The mouthfeel is good and full, just like it should be. Overall, it's a bit too sweet for my taste, but this is a good beer.

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Photo of DogFood11
4.29/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz brown bottle very basic bottle graphics. Poured into a chalice I had to be fairly aggressive to get the most out of it but it does form a loose chocolaty head. Lace is an occasional ring. Jet black body.

My initial reaction was they threw in everything AND the kitchen sink. This is a palate stretcher. Mollasses seems to edge its way out as the champ but followed closely behind with chocolate and huge levels of charred bitterness. Mouthfeel was a drawback as its ultra creamy and far from smooth. More or less it coats the mouth and you have to chew for a while to get it all down. There is a touch of a candied backside but the beer never allows it to develope any presence. This brew is incredibly huge in every way including a rum like alcohol presence.

Notes: Not for the faint of heart. I can see why some would be turned off by this as its alot to take in (or dissect). I thought it was really good but not in the elite category for the style.

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Photo of umustdrink
4.83/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've had this one once before and have always thought it to be the best stout I have ever had, it still is.

Served at slightly more than 50 degrees.

A - I poured this one rather aggressively in my tulip so I got a gigantic head. It was kind of fun to watch the head change forms from a solid looking head with TINY little bubbles to a big rocky formation with a smooth top. Head is deep brown in color and gets darker as it gets closer to the actual beer. Lacing sticks in thick patches.

S - Aroma is of lightly roasted malts, more sweet than bitter chocolate and a creamy milky background. Very slight alcohol vapor like scent just barely detectable.

T - Oh yes...this is it. Slightly bitter up front, quickly leading into a dark toasty malt with a creamy chocolate note, grainy in texture. Warming, comforting alcohol as it goes down. Heaven in a glass.

M - THICK consistency with a nice oilyness allowing for maximum taste retention. Parts of it are noticeably grainy, like unmixed hot cocoa.

D - I've never had Darklord, but to me this is the best stout and one of the best beers allover I've ever had the pleasure of drinking. Thank you Bell's!

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.22 out of 5 based on 6,070 ratings.
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