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

2,137 Reviews
Bell's Expedition StoutBell's Expedition Stout

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
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

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Reviews: 2,137 | Ratings: 6,157
Photo of Uscjojo
4.85/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

UPDATE: 7/22/16 This beer has aged 10 months and tastes amazing. It has a sweet milk chocolate type sweetness and the bitter hops faded out to barely noticeable. I can only imagine what this will taste like when it is bourbon barrel aged. I adjusted my previous scores after trying it last night.... Just opened a bottle from 9-15.
The look is black and oily looking as I poured it.It had a small dark brown head.
The smell is roasted malts, chocolate and sweet cherries.
The taste is sweet up front from the dark fruits and a bitter malt finish with the alcohol clinging to your mouth.
The feel is nice and thick.
This Stout ages nicely. I have two more which I will let them cellar for at least a year from the date.
For a 10% Stout, this is tasting sweeter as I let it warm. I served it at 53 degrees.
I will definitely will buy another six pack.

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Photo of snaotheus
4.44/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle served in a snifter. Packaged 02/02/15. I've had this once before, long ago (I think before I started rating beers), and it was too intense for me then (based on recollection). We'll see how I experience it now.

Pours black with almost no head, very little fine carbonation. Looks like an RIS. Smell is chocolate and roastiness, a hint of sour cherries. Something yeasty.

Taste is intense -- surprisingly fruity, though. Some nice bright cherry and plum notes, very nice. Huge roast bitter finish. Majorly sweet up front, majorly bitter as it finishes. Nice demonstration of extremes. Coffee, a little chocolate. This is an interesting and very enjoyable beer.

Mouthfeel is thick, chewy, mouth-coating, with just a bit of graininess. Superb beer.

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Photo of basaywhat
4.68/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle. It pours black with a dark brown head. It has aromas of chocolate, coffee, and cocoa. It has a rich, creamy texture with flavors of sweet chocolate, black coffee, and cocoa. Amazing!

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Photo of ByronDBeer
3.75/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L: Pitch black, not much head
S: Not much smell, dark chocolate, nutty, and some coffee.
T: Initial sharp taste of wood/coffee. More coffee than chocolate. Vanilla. Quite burnt hence the sharpness. (Served too cold)
Temperature warmed up, sharpness less so, more just dark, bitter chocolate and some burnt coffee.
F: Dry to the finish

O: A bit too much of burnt coffee for me, and finish is dry.

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Photo of NoYouDidnt
3.71/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours jet black, semi aggressive pour with just a film of a head. Smells of dark malt, chocolate, coffee, kind of vanilla. Taste is of milk chocolate up front, cherry/raspberry, dark chocolate in the middle. definitely some bitterness to it in the back end, hops balancing and coffee for that bitterness. Roasty blend. Very slick and creamy mouthfeel. Overall, quality stout!

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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 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 jpearce4
4.7/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Various bottles ranging from fairly fresh ( < 2 months) to about 10 months. Have yet to try a truly aged Expedition, but it's on my list! Never have enough patience to keep aging them fully.

Look - Very dark, almost black, very thick. Hardly any head retention, but maintains a small ring around the edges.

Smell - Chocolate, almost fudge or cake, small hint of chili, roasty notes (more so on the very fresh version).

T - Really excellent balance between chocolate and roast with pleasant bitterness that makes you want to keep drinking more. Very slight dark fruit notes.

F - Thick! Very smooth and creamy drinker.

Essentially the perfect example of an Imperial Stout.

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Photo of Thomas_Wikman
4.61/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

I had this sent to me from Ohio by a friend. I loved it.

(L) It has a dark brown almost black color and an inch mocca colored head.

(A) It has an aroma of choclate, coffee and banana.

(T) It has a really nice balance of flavors, coffee, chocolate, banana, dark fruits, and it has a nice lingering bitterness and alcohol is almost not detectable.

(F) It is creamy and smooth and very pleasant drinking.

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Photo of Marius
4.75/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pitch black pour with a medium height espresso head with decent retention. Smells like milk chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, cherries. Very smooth texture with low carbonation and taste notes that include espresso, roasted malts and dark chocolate up front, followed by a bit of caramel, cocoa and cherries and some vanilla in the background. Very well balanced and just the perfect mouthfeel.

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Photo of adamhdg
3.58/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I know. I'm way off in comparison to other ratings. But, this is about my taste preference. Jet black pour with a thin toffee brown head and heavy lacing. Smells of dark malt. The taste is one of licorice, coffee, and molasses. Very creamy mouth feel. Overall, I enjoyed this, but just not my favorite stout. I'm sure this is sacrilege, but just one novices opinion.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.29/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Aged 6 months from bottling date in the dark.

The pour : Total inky blackness, straight 5,000 mile oil change black with brown tinges from the know the kind. Head forms a finger in the snifter and fades to a firm creamy moss on top. 100% opaque. Totally on point for a RIS.

The smell : From the bottle I get smoky lactose and ripe bananas; from the snifter with some agitation I get (a 5 star appearance with an almond head!) more ripe bananas, black cherry, dark figgy notes, raisin, a touch of milk chocolate, and a small hint of metal. Complex, deep aromas with focus on fruits but not quite linear. Solid.

The taste : Less powerful than it was fresh, but still fabulous. I get a mishmash of oats, chocolate, lactose, raisin, banana nubs, with a significant stale metallic note permeating the whole profile. I know this metallic presence was not there before, perhaps it's infected or these 6 months have been rough on poor Expy.

The feel : is beyond amazing. By far the creamiest, substantial, deep stout I've had. Excellent.

The skinny : So basically I think this bottle was an unfair trial as my first one from the pack was totally amazing. The metallic bitterness presented here almost ruins the experience but I know for a fact this was better the first time through. Perhaps the best thing to do is to age the rest of them another 6 months to shave off whatever might be mutating in there.

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Photo of mschrei
4.27/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled May 2015, 11 months old when drank. Poured into snifter. Standard dark stout color, not much carbonation or head. Slight chocolate and coffee on the nose. Sweet start, subtle bitterness in the middle. More chocolatey and malty than anything else. Smooth, not too oily.

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Photo of Alan_Bats
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L- Brilliantly dark with an almost brown 2 finger head.
S- Not overly fragrant but a lot of notes still there like coffee, dried fruit. alcohol and a little chocolate. The fruity notes from dark caramel malt take over a bit.
T- Tastes how you would expect from the smell but the tastes are stronger. Sweetness from dried fruit and chocolate notes with a great roasty backbone. Coffee and chocolate in the aftertaste.
F- Nice full-bodied stout

The looks are a great first impression and the beer backs it up with nice flavor to balance out the high abv. The

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Photo of MIbeer27
4.63/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, dated 09/02/2015.

Bottle into snifter with dark as sin, pitch black hue. Thin espresso colored head that quickly fades.

Aroma has so much going on. I get chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, wood, leather, cherry, and booze. Wow.

Taste matches up. Boozy, chocolate covered dark fruit with some leather and wood. The intensity builds as it moves through the mouth, finishing with a huge, stinging bitterness.

Motor level oil thickness on this one with light carbonation. Not quite the fullest I've ever experience, but in the top three without a doubt.

Expedition Stout belongs on the Russian Imperial Stout version of Mount Rushmore. The only issue I have at this stage is the massive bitterness on the finish. This is one of the few beers I think would benefit from some mellowing, so to the cellar the rest of the six pack will go!

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Photo of ZebulonXZogg
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at a local saloon. Black, thick, aromatic and flavorful. There is no finer beer than an RIS, and this is one of the best.
I would go so far as to say that the fine brewers of Michigan have perfected the RIS.

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Photo of jmasher85
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

As good a stout as everyone says it is, I'm drinking a 1 1/2 year old bottle from a trade (what a nice guy!) and the flavor and texture are spot-on! Smooth as silk with a nice head that recedes nicely while maintaining very gentle carbonation and creamy texture. Seriously, this stuff is crazy smooth with little alcohol burn.

The nose has a lightly charred, smokey flavor with some coffee and chocolate notes, and just a hint of black cherry and port wine. Flavor is also bitter on the front end with some coffee, cocoa, and molasses, and just a hint of that savory, briney, soy sauce flavor that many imperials stouts come with. Mild black cherry flavor makes a return here too.

As good and accessible an example of the style as one could ask for!

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Photo of jaypaul522
4.56/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a good one. The beer pours very dark with a lot of head. The smell is malt and fruity overtones. The taste is strong, with the fruit coming through in the aftertaste left in your mouth. The body is full and very pleasant to drink. This is one of the best stouts around.

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Photo of derftron
4.59/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This enters the gold club for non barre aged stouts along with Narwhal, Ten Fidy, Storm King , and Stone RIS.

Recent addition to the Oregon distribution, this is very nice to have around. Had it 3x out in North Carolina, just as good as I remember it.

Pouts black, smells like dark chocolate, malt, sugar, coffee. Exquisite imperial stout, definitely one of the best I have ever had

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Photo of MacMalt
4.41/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into snifter glass. It pours a rich, dark mahogany, nearly black, with a one-finger, mocha-colored head and extensive lacing that didn't dissipate throughout the pour. It features that classic RIS smell: chocolate, coffee, caramel, dark fruit, and and enough booze to get your attention. The taste is truly outstanding with lots of roasted malt, dark chocolate, burnt coffee, caramel, and one of the best dark fruit profiles I've ever experienced. The tastes blend magnificently. This stout is rich and very creamy, lightly carbonated, and easy to drink despite its 10.5% ABV. Overall, Expedition merits its lofty rating. It is exceptionally well-crafted and delicious. This is just a notch below Parabola and right up there with Ten Fidy, Narwhal, and some of the other big name RIS's. I'm hooked!

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Photo of rrock44
5/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked up a sixer at the Belmont station (wish I picked up a case). This is right up there with all my favorite stouts - speedway (can't believe I never reviewed this one, but easy 5), ten fidy, a Stone IRS...Chocolate, coffee, motor oil-esq nectar of the gods. This one lives up to the hype for me.

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Photo of medicinewheel
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

6 month old bottle from date on label, maybe too young, couldn't wait. This is Bell's after all.

Look- Black as night, it is like motor oil, tan thin head, quick run lacing. (Doesn't last)

Smell- almost too much to describe, so much going on at once- pine, tar, resin, chocolate, coffee, wine.

Taste- dark Chocolate, coffee bitterness that lingers, possibly some very ripe banana, noticed that after many tastes.

Feel- Smooth, light carbonation but the effect here is so appealing for the style, the ale just lingers on the tongue and the palate, you'll feel it sip after sip it's right. Bitterness will sit on the back of the tongue for a while in such a pleasant way commanding another taste.

Stout's are not my favorite style-but- now this Stout is one of my favorite's how's that for a change of pace!?
Only Bell's could do something like that-

It's a massive Stout and I recommend anyone give one a try regardless of palate preference- it's simply an amazing ale.

If you come across this- it's a must have.
Cellaring would be damn fun if you have the patience.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Hits all those used motor oil notes, beige head right at that deft one inch mark with very tiny bubbles, great retention. Aroma was deep bitter roast, chocolate malt.

Thick consistency and viscosity, coats the mouth, enveloping mouthfeel. Covers the alcohol well, imparts heavy notes of chocolate without using it as an adjunct. Very chewy, but yet not heavy relative to every other aspect of the beer.

Remember when the Bros gave this beer a C-? Those were the days.

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Photo of ikenney87
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Acquired this vintage bottle from my gracious neighbor. Will give him homebrew and other beer to compensate! Also need to figure out how he stored the bottle.
Bottle has date of October 2012.
Poured into a goblet-style glass at 40F.

Look: Opaque black with no head.

Smell: Sweet stone fruit, soy sauce, concord grape-like vinousness, coffee grinds, overripe bananas

Taste: Dark plum sauce, bakers chocolate, leather, spicy white pepper. Has a 'soily licorice' roasty aftertaste that is extremely pleasant and reminiscent of Kalamazoo stout. Moderate nondescript bitterness at the back end (the ghosts of hops past) keeps the syrupy sweetness in check. Combination of earthy, vegetal hops and soy-sauce style umaminess in aftertaste not bad, but not great either.

Feel: Thick, luscious, and creamy start with a surprisingly dry finish. The moderately low level of fine carbonation is pleasant.

Overall: A great stout. I'd be interested to try a fresh bottle and compare, seeing as this is my first time trying this beer.

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Photo of alarmclock314
4.29/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle, dated 11/6/15. Pours black with a medium sized khaki head. Smells of mostly dark roasted malt and earthy hops with some dark fruit and cocoa. The taste follows exactly with lots of malt and hops, some more reserved cocoa and dark fruit; very good intensity. Moderate bitterness and slight dryness in the finish. Above average body and carbonation. Overall, it's a pretty straight-forward RIS. It's advertised as being cellarable which makes sense with its strong malt and hop profile.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.22 out of 5 based on 6,157 ratings.
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