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

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Expedition StoutExpedition Stout
BA SCORE
4.26/5
Outstanding
6,319 Ratings
Expedition StoutExpedition Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
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:
#1,281
Reviews:
2,180
Ratings:
6,319
pDev:
10.09%
 
 
Wants:
573
Gots:
1,817
Trade:
124
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,319 |  Reviews: 2,180
Photo of StuFox
4.85/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a beer so dark not even light can escape it's surface. The singularity of stouts. Delicious. The Expedition Stout has a crazy array of spices that are balanced very well against the maltiness. Any thicker and you would spread mustard on it and place ham and cheese between it. My whole dinner never went down so smooth. This is a great beer that all but has to be used as the measuring stick for other stouts of this league.

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Photo of GuinnessSmurf
4.88/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm pretty sure that a beer doesn't get any darker than this. This beer looks so good that I fear it - (fear that a 6pk was not enough). A low ring of thick condensed head circles the glass.

The smell is has cocoa malts, alcohol, and scotch.

The taste is amazing - very full bodied. The pallette is massaged with coffee, butter, dark bitter chocolate, toffee and a dark alcohol flavor. Yum.

Drinking this beer is like pounding a pint of super rich icecream. You know that you shouldn't but there is no way you are going to stop short of finishing it.

Every sip was as good as it gets.

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Photo of IrishRedRock
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thick, viscous and black with a large tan head that quickly drops down to a thin lace. Had to force the head with a very hard pour. Rich chocolatey nose with the pungent cascades shining through. The alcohol is very very well hidden in both aroma and flavor. Wouldnt have guessed nearly 12% by volume. Nice burnt flavor with a good smacking of hops and roasty malts, but not as aggressive as some of its American Imperial counterparts. Mouthfeel is rich and smooth...quite seductive. Jack up the complexity and this one is a classic; nonetheless, Bell's has done an excellent job with this offering.

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Photo of faernt
4.49/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I looked at my reviews and, diggy doo, I haven't reviewed one of my stalwarts. It pours with a pleasant head and a little bit of white on top of the cappucino. I have no idea how they do this but I'm thrilled when it happens.
It's very dark brown in this glass. I don't get much smell, (escuze me!) The taste is what I want in an Imperial. The mouthfeel is seriously thick and chocolatey. This beer is drinkable. I keep it around all year.

01.04.07

Each year I put back a bottle or two of Expedition Stout. Initially, I wrote the year date on the crown cap and thanks now to the Bell's site I can look for bottling dates for the batches. Tonight, as I was reading posts on the site I read one about oldest beers. I have a bottle of 1999 Expedition in the cellar and now it's open and in a chalice beside me. It poured still as expected. The aroma is chocolate and port. The taste is raisins and port with a nutty bitterness like English walnuts. The flavors are beguilingly blended. The hops are subdued into the blend. This is a silky delight. I urge any fan of this beer to go for the long aging. It's beyond any old beer I've had.

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Photo of mattcrill
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a mighty impressive brew!

Appearance: Pours flat and thick. A foamy head appears with some agitation on the pour. The head is brown with ruby edges. Nearly flawless.

Smell: This is where it missed for me. I couldn't pick up anything. I had to practically bury my nose in this beer to pick up anything. A hint of smoke was about the only thing I could get. Glad I didn't judge this brew soley on the basis of smell.

Taste: Here we go....sweetness, dried fruits, vanilla, espresso. All the cool things you would expect from an Imperial Stout. I didn't even notice the high ABV and I was in fact suprised when I saw how high it was. Certainly didn't pick up any of that in this brew. Just the slightest hint of a dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy. A meal for your palate!

Drinkability: I could see myself going through a lot of these but since I bought a single, I'll have to wait for more. This truly lived up to expectations. I put this up there in my "Top 5" for RIS (I know, who cares?? I do!)

A must sample for all who venture in to this style...

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Photo of jayb
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
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 noclue
4.67/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type: 11.2 ounce bottle served in matching tulip/snifter.

Appearance: Pours a thick pitch-black liquid. Tall brown creamy head that dies quickly. Decent lacing.

Smell: chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, faint whiff of hops.

Taste: Brutally harsh malty sweetness. Sweet and fruity up front, but the coffee comes kicking up from behind. Pleasantly bitter finish that lingers on and on. High alcohol content is noticeable, but not overwhelming.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, Smooth, and syrupy.

Drinkability/Overall: This is definately a brew to sit back, relax, drink slowly, and enjoy. Let the temperature come down a bit to enjoy some subtle changes. Maybe even stow some away in the cellar. I must say that this is the best Imperial Stout I have come across. A real treat!

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.77/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The beer poured pitch black with slight ruby highlights. The head was brown and rose huge as the beer was poured and fell slowly to lace the glass.

The aroma was chocolate, coffee and caramel with a huge dark fruit aroma in tow.

The flavor was excellent with well bittered chocolate and coffee flavors and dark fruits with hints of alcohol. Very complex and interesting.

The finish was dry with chocolate and coffee and alcohol warming. The body was full and the mouthfeel was well rounded and smooth.

12 ounce bottle smuggled past the NC 6% limit by AKSmokedPorter. The label on the bottle is upside down...

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Photo of mobyfann
2.59/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Paid $2.99 for a 12oz. single

The appearence is a thick black bace with a thin if any brown head that doesn't last and the lacing is hard to find. The aroma is pretty good of roasted chocolate and coffee.

The taste was mixed personality, the thickness of the beer I didn't like, so I lowered mouthfeel down, the taste is a bit too strong, as not well defined, I really didn't find anything to special in this department. It's kind of drinkable but I didn't enjoy finishing my glass...

Final Thought: Extremely high expectations down the drain, almost literally, I don't know if this is common in high alcholic stouts, or if I had a bad bottle or what, I can't believe this is a Kalamazoo BC product... love their porter and double cream stout, but this was below par...

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Photo of psyco1
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This is strong beer.

It comes out of the bottle black and thick as I think beer can get. Not much of a head at all and while tilting the glass, it coats the side like bubbly paint.
Can you roast alcohol? That's what it smells like, roasted barley, chocolate, coffee and a heaping helping of alcohol.
The taste... a bit of alcohol, roasty and a bit of sweet then ending bitter. Not unpleasant, just more of everything that most stouts are known for.
It coats the mouth like it coats the inside of the glass, almost like oil.

I gave it a lower mark on drinkability because I'd only drink one or maybe two before moving on to something else a little less "stout".

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

Poured an amazingly dark chocolate brown, almost blackish.... Great thick and creamy head reduced down to about one finger of luscious caramelly beige lovleyness. This is a beauty to look at, perfection marred by the tons of large pieces of sediment throughout. Scents of chocolate, toffee, sassafrass...roasted yumminess.... So great and creamy, wonderful mouthfeel. Tastes so dark and yummy... Chocolate, very dark black coffee, burnt toast, grapefruit. Light carbination. Very good and one I could sit back and handle a damn few in a sitting. Good amount of thickness to it, but not so it is too heavy. Very great stout. Love this one!

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

12oz bottle obtained via trade with CRJMellor. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, WOW, some almost nitro action from a CO2 bottle beer, weird, but cool. Formed a thick, frothy 2" chocolate-hued head above a dark, dark brown/black brew. Head lasts more or less forever, and laces like you wouldn't believe. Aroma is is of heavy grains and malts, but not the bitterness that is usually associated with such a constructed brew. Heavy malts dominate the flavor, but their bitter ness seems to hide behind their sweetness, and make for an easy drinking brew, considering the heaviness and alcohol strength that is hiding somewhere in there... Mouthfeel is excellent, and drinkability is dangerously high for such a brew. An amazing phenom of brewing construction, this one is.

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

BELL'S Imperial Stoudt pours out as a typical all black non see-thru pour with a dark tan clingy head that slides down the glass.

Black cherry and toasted wheat bread scents with a malty nosed essence.

Taste of a super roasted capucino flavor. Dark caramel leads to a carbonationless thick almost cocoa milkshake style bodied creamy.

Aftertaste: Dark ice cream like body. Burnt waffles.

Last swigs: Rather surreptitious looking plain bottle 'wolf in a sheeps clothing' style label. 12 fl oz 355 mL dark brown glass bottle. Quote: an incredible balance of strength and beauty, …”
Here goes: Part of a 6 style x 4 each case for $58 smackers + 6% PA tax thanks to Beeryard in Wayne, PA.

Beer is good.Happy strong beering.

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

The body is the expected pitch black. The head is very brown and much larger than I expected. I did not need to pour nearly this hard but I was not expecting as much head. Obviously, this bottle has not suffered the flatness problems as some batches apparently did. This head is lasting absolutely forever, no matter, a beer of this style needs to warm a bit anyway. Massive lacing.

The smell is mostly very strong fruit, like raisins but bolder. I'm catching a hint of brown sugar. Reminds me some of wine or sherry, but not much alcohol in the smell as I would expect of a big beer like this.

The taste does not come out quite as sweet as the smell. There is some coffee taste here and the wine-like alcohol comes out as well, but is not overpowering.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth, I'm imagining what it will be like if I let the rest of the bottles sit until the dead of winter.

Obviously as big as this is, more than 12oz of this in a session where you've already had a couple, you don't want more than one. That one, though, I have little problem finishing.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
4.28/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Well, it's cooled off out here in SoCal so I decided to finally pop the cap off my Bell's Expedition Stout, graciously sent my way by CRJMellor.
Poured into my handy-dandy tasting glass, the first thing I noticed was the 1" tall, firm, resilient mocha-colored head that slowly settled down to a ring, leaving blotchy lace behind. Then I noticed the complete absence of light penetrating the brew. Just an inky blackness. No ruby highlights, no maroon or brown edging. Just a uniform deep-in-a-mine black.
The nose was rich and inviting, loaded with a hearty roasted malt aroma, a bit of a prune note, sherry, port wine, and coffee. Some cocoa aroma, too. The taste had a potent vinous flavor, a la port wine. Lots of roasted dark malts and baker's chocolate. Some mild dark fruit sweetness and molasses mid-palate before a counterpointing herbal hops bitterness struck in the finish. The feel was full, viscous, and dry with a real tight zippy carbonation lending a creaminess that was quite pleasant.
Overall, I really enjoyed this imperial stout, actually one of the best I've tried so far. Interesting that the reviews (and consistancy) are all over the map for this brew. Guess I'll just sit back, enjoy what's left in my glass and count my blessings. Mmm...Expedition Stout..

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

Dark coco colored head fades slowly leaving a scattered coat of lace. Deep black colored beer, the kind that sucks all the light out of the room.
Raisins, brandy, a bit of spice (fig), and pretzels? Nice aroma.
Fairly thick body, smooth mouthfeel almost feels like microscopic carbonation.
Flavors of roasted malt, coco, red wine until a bitter bite, kind of coffee-ish, kicks in half way and holds solid throught the finish.
Let it warm up a little and the bitter finish fades and the subtle flavors come out.

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Photo of Skidz
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours out the darkest brown imaginable and appears silky smooth out of the bottle. Sits completely black, and totally opaque in the glass with thick brown head on top.

Smells sweet, with caramel, chocolate, roasted grains and a light hint of dark fruits.

Tastes of bitter-sweet chocolate, heavy on the roastedness, alcohol becomes present in the full bitter finish. Great taste all around the board.

This beer is as smooth and silky as I could ever imagine a beer to be. Big, thick body really compliments this. Great for social occasions and is best made a treat, not for a six pack night.

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Photo of tar
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours thick and black, with a thin brown head composed of many very fine bubbles. Smells strongly of roasted chocolate and coffee malts. The taste, like the aroma, is of roasted chocolate and coffee malts. Some hop bitterness comes through nicely in the finish. This beer has a thick, oily mouthfeel, and goes down quite smooth although it does feel a bit heavy. Overall a good beer, although I must admit that I was a bit disappointed by it--I've been wanting to try it for some time and so may mentally have built it up beyond what it could live up to.

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Photo of 99bottles
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Apperance: Pours an ultra dark brown-black with a poofy dark tan head of about an 1.5". Looks quite thick. Nasty lace sticks as the beer is drank.

Smell: I can stand 5 feet away and smell rich black roasted malts and twinges of imperial bitterness. I'm salivating. Rich chocolate smell also. Very Storm Kingesque with regard to smell.

Taste: Uh oh. I might just go back to the store and clean them out of the rest of these. This is better than good. Immense hop profile gives this the perfect imperial stout aftertaste and such a good signature. There is an obvious roasted barley body, good presence of chocolate, some light butterscotch, lots of molasses, coffee. Very classic flavor, quite aged Rogue Imperial Stoutesque.

Mouthfeel: Super heavy, slick and smooth. Paints a coating on your tongue, and it's a nice memory of the beer. Very sludgy and super low carbonation begins to become really bothersome towards the finish.

Drinkability: Well, this is where it gets kind of odd. This beer goes down really slowly. It's sort of tough to have more than one, and even that has to go slow. I feel like its almost too heavy, doesn't dance on the tongue as much as it ought. It initally doesn't seem like 11.5%, but it does feel heavy and slow due to a lack in carbonation, even for an imperial stout. Still excellent though, just a bit off.

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Photo of murphyl
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured thickly, about the consistency of Kahlua coming out of the bottle, pitch black, absolutely opaque (no joke - I put my emergency see-it-a-mile-away LED flashlight against the glass and saw nothing out the other side). Piles of toffee-colored head left copious lace on the glass.

Smell: Hmm, that's interesting. Alcohol is definitely right up front, along with chocolate, raisins and dried cherries (appropriate for Michigan, but in a stout...?). This certainly piques my interest.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Reminiscent of Kalamazoo Stout, only heavier and thicker, almost like a barley wine in terms of mouthfeel. Chocolate and rum flavors, plus a hefty hit of alcohol up front, fading a long, long roasted finish, with the dried cherries making an encore appearance.

Drinkability: I wouldn't advise you drink more than two of these a night, as the 11.5% ABV will sock your brain and your tastebuds into next week. As a nightcap, a special occasion beer or the end of a session, however, you could do far, far worse.

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Photo of LuckySevens82
3.45/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle.
I have to thank FeloniousMonk for letting me try this one.
Pours an oil black with a very similar viscosity. Almost no carbonation, a head was forced and disappeared very quickly.
Smell is coffee, chocolate, some alcohol. You can smell the sweetness right off the bat.
Taste is overwhelmingly sweet. While this beer is very smooth (which I like in an imperial stout) I think the complete lack of carbonation in the brew is a detriment. This brew has a huge chocolate taste.
This is like alcoholic chocolate syrup. It is way to thick and syrupy for my tastes. I can certainly understand why people like it.

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Photo of Crosling
5/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My first Bell's beer.

Black as black gets. The head is well developed, a light chocolate brown, dense, creamy and sticky.

Deeply roasted malts, chocolate, anise, dark fruits, coffee beans, charcoal and cream all add to a splendid nose.

The texture is so smooth and so creamy. It just glides across the palate. Pecan, roasted malt, chocolate and coffee beans compete with vanilla, nutmeg and sharp fruits. The bitterness is well perceived. A delicious malt experience but it has a few issues. The lack of carbonation does not effect the flavor but it does effect the way I perceive the flavor. This could be so much better. That being said, the 11.5% tastes more like 7. Very drinkable for the style. A very solid imperial stout. Rereview. After several dozen bottling and batches, this is my favorite beer ever.

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Photo of Sammy
3.88/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good.Bittersweet chocolate nice complement after food with strong taste. Loved the initial creamy head, just had to slurp some up. Beutiful chocolate brown with the head initial pour, then head tails off as expected. 11.5% was not detactable, thought it was 6 and change. Expresso soft drink.
Almost 6.5 years later, a two-yearold aged, good coffee and chocolate and so drinkable.

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Photo of DrewBeechum
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Striaght up from a 12oz brown bottle imported from Kalamazoo.

And I tell you now.. I've got a beer in Kalamazoo, a real pipper roo.

Pours deep dank dark black brown into my imperial mug with a low brown head that only rises up on a vigorous pour. But once it's there, it holds like a Irishman to a blade of glass.

Aroma is deep raisin and tobacco. molasses gingerbread and brown sugar.

Beer starts deep and rich with coffee and toffee. Surprisingly little roast for a beer this dark and toasted, In the middle of the brew I get a bunch of bready biscuit and chewing tobacco.

The finish veers to port and chcocolate and a ton of malty goodness.

Is this good beer? Nope. Is it a great beer? Yup. It's a deep dessert beer that's a good finish to the evening.

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Photo of freed
3.83/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Another batch imported by our man in the midwest; Bill. Thanks!

Yet another lovely label from Bell's, simple and elegant. I should have been wary when I popped the cap and there was no rush of gas. Pouring was enough confirmation though - there was no carbonation to the beer. The pouring was uneventful, despite the troubling black liquid. It sat dully in the glass, deeply brown with body. The very top, visible without any head, gave hints of amber around the edges. There's even some odd sediment that almost looks like it belongs in hot & sour soup.

The aroma is welcoming though - deep, filling, and robust with mocha goodness. The combination of malted barley and coffee hide the barely noticeable smell of alcohol.

The taste is also very robust - nearly syrupy without carbonation, but still good. There are very bitter chocolate flavors, dark espresso flavors, and a smooth maltiness all around.

The sensation is somewhat lacking without the balance of gasses, and the mouthfeel is somewhat alcoholic. Especially while brewing beer and having skipped breakfast and lunch.

This is a very tasty beer, but I feel it must be tried on cask, or tap. Preferably close to the source. I'll see what I can do.

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Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 4.26 out of 5 with 6,319 ratings