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

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Expedition StoutExpedition Stout
BA SCORE
4.26/5
Outstanding
6,314 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:
#756
Reviews:
2,178
Ratings:
6,314
pDev:
10.09%
Bros Score:
4.41
 
 
Wants:
569
Gots:
1,820
Trade:
125
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,314 |  Reviews: 2,178
Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.46/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Note:I had a friend lug a six pack of this back from Michigan (where it was in a cooler), to Portland... the bottle I review below has been sitting in my closet since April 2002.
Poured out of the bottle into a Duvel tulip with little fanfare. Poured like a dark chocolate syrup, a dark burnt brown. Appearance score would have been better if there was evidence of carbonation. In the glass it was black, with some dark burnt red- brown peaking out at the edges of the glass. Wafting some distance away from the glass were powerful aromas of decadently dark chocolate, dry cocoa, and alcohol with some ester notes attached to it. I love it! It entered my mouth in what seemed like a dormant state, shunning my taste buds for a few moments. Then blam!! Ultra-dark smokey chocolate bitterness exploded on my palate, and my lips assumed the conformation of a blissful smile. Exceptional...a riot in my mouth. This flavor lingers on long after a sip is taken. After recovering from the shock I sought out other flavors. I found alcohol, raisins or prunes, hearty grainy malts, and maybe some cough syrup. I had a hard time distinguishing the bitter chocolate from bitter hops, maybe it comes from both the hops and the roasty malts? Mouthfeel was pure velvet, full and smooth. Notable was the complete lack of carbonation. I have heard that older bottlings are nearly flat (which I think this is because of the lack of a band on the neck or upper part of main label). Or it could be the travel mishandling on the way to my glass? I imagine that carbonation would improve the flavor and mouthfeel significantly. When I acquire a more carbonated bottle of Expedition a re-review may yield higher marks for taste and mouthfeel. It isn't extremely drinkable (though good), due to its power and explosiveness. This is the nature of a stout of this caliber. This is one to experience!

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Photo of beerluvr
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours out with a creamy sinister-looking deep dark tan head that falls upon inky blackness. The nose is a cornucopia of delights...coffeeish, leathery, chocolatey, fruity and roasty. Superb! Moving on to the taste, I get ultra rich and oily thick mouthfeel supporting a plethora of flavors such as charcoal, chocolate, strong black coffee, deep dark fruits, roasty barley, rummy notes...everything but the kitchen sink here! Finishes as long and slow as a sunset on a long Summer's day, just fades to a complex and complatitive gorgeous ending. This is a Beer among Beers!

CRJMellor, I am indebted to you for this 6-pack!

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Photo of yen157
3.87/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Creamy, Turkish coffee foam looking head, but more voluminous. Beautiful black body, inky as hell. This was one mean looking stout. It had bittersweet chocolate, toasted bread crust, charcoal, and paper match smoke in the nose. Occasional whiffs of alcohol can be found. This was 11.5%?!?! This beer does an immaculate job hiding the alcohol. I would not have guessed it over 8.5%! In the mouth this beer was one harsh mofo. It tastes like it looks, dense and black. It actually smells like it could have been a sweet imperial stout, but it was not. It was dry and charred from start through everlasting, salty finish. It kinda funny, but there were some hop burps. Hops? They get lost in the blackened mess. Good creamy mouthfeel.

This was a gigantic stout. There is no doubt about that. I was a bit let down though. I’d been waiting to try this for years, and I finally cracked one of my two that I brought home from Michigan this Thanksgiving. I wish it was a bit sweeter. It grew on me, but it was no what I expected. While I can appreciate a aggressive beer like this (and Monster, Blithering Idiot, Quad, etc) I like them a bit more smooth. Not easy-drinking, but smooth.

[Once this one warmed up, the nose reminded me much of patis. Not a good thing, but not reflected in the “smell“ rating.]

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Photo of beergeek279
4.7/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in the 12 oz. bottle. The color is oil black, with a nice bit of head for such a high ABV brew. The smell is sweet malt. The taste is very dark chocolatey, with hints of anise and coffee, and the alcohol is present if not necessarily overwhelming. Mouthfeel is oil-thick. Drinkability-wise, I'd want to drink more of these than I actually could!

A wonderful and rich imperial stout. Not quite as good as some of my personal favorites, it's still up there as a damn good beer nonetheless. Definitely one I'd have in the future!

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

Pours syrupy black with some nice carbonation producing 1/4 inch dark tan head, that is clinging to the glass as I drink it. Aroma was slightly chocolate with a little smoke or peat, also a little bit medicinal and maybe a raisin hint. Slight hop aroma deep in the background. Mouthfeel is not as strong as the look would indicate, smooth, rich and syrupy. Taste is overpoweringly coffee, roasted caramel and highly alcoholic on the back end. (Glad my bed is only one story away). Definitely a winter beer for a cold Michigan night. Malt profile really comes to life as the beer warms in the glass. Almost has a Doppelbock malt finish to it. I feel lucky to be living so near to greatness ! Excellent beer.

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Photo of frank4sail
3.01/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Not much of any action at all on the pour. I poured agressively and got just a little hint of a light brown head. Nice dark opeque thick look but no real carbonation. Big sweet coffee, plum, raisen smell with some bitter chocolate as well. Big strong abv , black coffee, and bitter burnt caramel. The mouth is thick and flat.. I am shocked after seeing the reviews here.. but for me it is a flat, overly intense beer that really lacks balence.Dissapointing for me... Not drinkable enough to have another.

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Photo of moulefrite
3.65/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours thick and black and just verges on motor oil. A deep brownish head appears and vanishes quickly leaving a simple ring-little if any lace. The absolute focus here is thickness and richness. The aromatics are strongly chocolate with a mellow hop bitter as well as definate coffee nuances. The mouthfeel is thick and gooey-very viscous and reminds me of a really rich chocolate malted in which the ice cream has melted and what is left is that syrupy mass of ultra rich, ice creamy turned liquid goodness. The flavors are over the top-again, much like an ultra premium chocolate ice cream than a beer. Try with a turtle sundae, or as an alternative lubricant for your engine of choice.

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Photo of ManekiNeko
4.95/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle served lightly chilled in a Trois Pistoles goblet.

Appearance: Inky black with no highlights whatsoever. Wow, über-dark. Topped with a fantabulously gorgeous and healthy mahogany brown head. It eventually settles down to a film and a ring, but only after a good long while. Extraordinary lacing, just plain extraordinary.

Smell: Dark roasted coffee, high quality cocoa, light prunes, mild smoke, and slight biscuit aromas. Damn, that's dark and complex. I spent a good few minutes just sniffing this incredible elixir of the gods.

Taste: Intense and bittersweet coffee flavor with hints of smoke. Notes of prunes and raisins. Aftertastes of pepper and piney hops that last forever. Just friggin' incredible.

Mouthfeel: Thick, robust body. I've often pondered comparing the body of a beer to a woman's body, but have quavered for consideration of those possessing homozygous sex chromomes. Now, I shall throw caution to the wind and just say it: if this beer were a woman, she'd have the body of a 50's starlet like Jane Mansfield of Marilyn Monroe. Va-va-voom!

Drinkability: Well, I sadly only have one bottle, and this is it. *sniff* >.< *weep* I love this. Trades will be made, oh, yess.. yes they will. Worthy of it's placement in the top 50. Curse you Bell's for making such tasty stouts of all stripes!!!

Mad crazy props to feloniousmonk for making this possible. My second child shall be named after you, even if it's a girl.

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Photo of steelreign
4.62/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is HUGE! Pitch black pour with zero head (And I mean nothing). Looks like motor oil sitting in my glass....but motor oil never smelled this good!! Aroma is so complex - roasted malt, chocolate, toffee, licorice....hops, liquor....you name it! Wow.

The taste is dense, thick with roasted maltiness with a nice hop hammer balance. So incredibly smooth and complex. A party in the mouth.

Viscous mouthfeel. Thick, nice low carbonation. High ABV is apparent, but enjoyable, on a small consumption scale at least. Not to be drank in mass quantities (unless you are a masochist). This is one of the best of the style without question!

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Photo of PhantomVodoo
4.07/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Minimal brown head that shortly became nothing more than a film sits atop an opaque black beer.
Aroma is mesmerizing. The best aroma on a stout I can remember. Chocolate covered fruit (strawberries come to mind) pretty much sums it up.

Taste is big and bold. Sweet chocolate covered fruit (melons come to mind) up front. This gives way to roasty bitterness, alcohol and hops. The two extremes balance this one out nicely between sweet and bitter.

Lots of body and some creaminess to the mouthfeel. Thick? I think your car could get 3000 miles out of this stuff if you used it in place of 10W-30.
Drinkability is the drawback of this one for me. I just don't find it real drinkable.
Overall, this is a big beer and one of the better imperial stouts out there, IMO.
Big thanks to Blatzman for providing me with the bottle and prompting me to give this beer another try! I simply wasn't ready for this beer when I had it a couple years ago.

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Photo of cbill
4.49/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

picked this up after work, but didn't see the 15 dollar price tag till i was at the counter so i went ahead and bought it. poured a deep, deep black color, no light penetration, and also no head. no head at all, but still a nice looking beer. smelled like chocolate and coffee and then tasted about the same. huge flavor that sat in my mouth for 5 or 10 seconds after each drink. however, i don't think i could drink more than one of these in a sitting due to the heaviness of the flavor. very good beer, but i don't know that it was worth 15 dollars a sixer. this was my first imperial stout so i don't know if that is the normal price.

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Photo of grynder33
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark black brown body, small and quickly disappearing head, beautiful, fruity, coffeeish, chocolately aroma, chocolate raisin first taste, thick and yet somewhat smooth mouthfeel. The slight downpoint I noticed on this was the quick builup of alcohol backtaste it was like I was drinking a port wine at the end. If you have the time and can sip it slow its a great winter stout

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Photo of pheurton
4.67/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

re-rate 01/16/04. 2003 edition with label on the neck. pours an inky black with a giant cascading milk chocolatey brown head...that's more like it. roasted vinous aromas with hints of dark fruit (plums) with a mellow chocolate undertone. *huge* imperial flavors going on here....deep, 3-dimensional vinous notes, roasted barley, juicy dark fruits. tasting some subtle earthy and salty flavors. carbonation is slightly too prickly, and the body is just a little bit thin. finish is super long, with notes of chocolate, toffe, and earthy hoppiness lending a very pleasant bitterness to balance things out. i'm glad i found one of the 2003 bottles, this is what imperial stouts are all about! i wish they had recalled the flat '02 edition, b/c it is unfairly representing this great brew. as with some other bell's products, great when it's "on". numerical score represents the 2003 edition.


2002 edition. pours thick and black with the most *MINIMAL* head one might imagine. inverting the bottle and letting it splash into the tulip glass violently still produces nothing more than a few bubbles. great burnt chocolate roasty imperial aroma. wonderful roasted, thick, oily dark choclatey, coffe-ish flavors, except, where's the carbonation? slides down the throat too easily. can't escape the feeling like i'm drinking something flat. the flavors are there, just not held together in any coherent way. it's a damn shame. if you can get past the lack of carbonation and put yourself in the frame of mind that this is what the beer is meant to be, it becomes more enjoyable. i must admit though, i'm dissapointed. orignial overall rating of 2.45

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Photo of winomark
3.12/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Jet black, like any good stout, but NO carbonation; not a single bubble.

Aroma: Tones of licorice, chocolate and coffee dominate. Alcohol also present.

Taste: Coffee, anise, and roasted malt help tame the noticable alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Without any carbonation, it is quite sweet and sticky. Somewhat unpleasant.

Drinkability: Dissapointing. I hope this was a bad bottle, because I just spent $14.50 on a 6-pack.

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Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.85/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12oz. amber bottle with no freshness dating (as if it matters). 6 months in my fridge and it has called to me every day.

Appearance: The very essence of black with this beauty. Poured a Grand Canyon-deep black with no even the faintest hint of light making its way through the edges of the glass. A wispy-thin layer of dark tan-colored head paints a new picture on the top of the beer after each sip.

Smell: All sorts of lovliness going here. Bitter baking chocolate, roasted nuts, toffee, roasted coffee beans. Dancing around the edges are hints of daark fruit.

Taste: Holy shnikeys!! This is an incredible beer. The flavor washes all over your palate, soaking it in flavor. Freshly-roasted coffee with about 8 pounds of chocolate syrup added to it. Throw in a Heath bar for good measure. Slow roast this and you have a good idea of just how big this beer is. Finishes with a long-lasting bittersweet chocolate taste on the palate, reminding you of what has just traversed your mouth. Absolutely fantastic.

Mouthfeel: Lovingly coats your palate with thick and syrupy richness. Huge-bodied and the good carbonation really helps make this a bubbly-creamy brew.

Drinkability: Briefly...very. So very well-balanced and easy on the palate. I refuse to believe that this beer is 11.5% ABV. Almost no indication anywhere in the profile do I detect any alcohol. It just got better and better as it warmed. An excellent combination of flavors make for one of the best beers I had to date.

Notes: 11.5%? Are you *sure*?

Notes, part 2: Huge thanks to fellow BA PhantomVoDoo for this one.

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Photo of flaminghomer
3.16/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

first, let me say that my rating on this beer will not give it justice. if i was able to rate euphoric qualities, it would get a 5. is this absinthe? is the blue gone gray in the town with the giraffe, kill the stars! hmmm... must be absinthe, i'm losing my mind!

when i poured this beer, took a look, took a sniff, and took a drink; i came to one conclusion-too much of everything. except carbonation! show me the ghost that stole this beers bubbles and i'll cut him! (sorry thats the beer talking)

i was not impressed by the first one i drank. i saved the other five for my day off. after getting over that first impression and knowing what to expect, i very much enjoyed my session with this beer.

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

100th review time. I've been hanging onto this one for awhile. I drank it's five carton mates last winter, and it was all I could do to not touch this one. This bottle was from the 2001 batch. This beer/batch is also now the number one beer on my short, but growing list. This is also my first (and last?) all "5s" beer. It pours as black as any beer or used motor oil I've ever seen. The head, which is on the smaller side, is a dark brown (probably the darkest head I have seen). Beautiful. The nose is insanely complex: chocolate, rum, raisins, plums, alcohol, oak, soy sauce, ???. I'm getting dizzy. Taste is ahhh. Big, rich dark fruity malts start off, then chocolate caramel takes over, then smoky oakiness, and then, finally, roasted bitterness. Alcohol is there, but it doesn' feel like 11.5%. Mouthfeel is thick, chewy, yet beautifully smooth. I could drink this until detox.

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Photo of clvand0
2.78/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

This beer poured a very very dark black color and it seemed quite thick. The head was thick and dark brown. Lots of lacing on the glass as well. The aroma was full of maltiness, chocolate, and coffee. Very powerful aroma. The main part of the flavor is the thick, dark maltiness but it also has some chocolates, coffees, (a small amount of) fruits, and several other things. Quite complex taste. The mouthfeel was interesting because the flavor is so strong. It almost killed my tastebuds at first. As with most imperial stouts, this one was a bit too strong for my tastes - very well made though.

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Photo of euskera
4.55/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle..

Pours out like warm molasses, with a thin but delightfully chocolaty head. Smell is classic RIS, murky and sweet with just a touch of hoppiness. Taste is divine, espresso, raisins, malt, chocolate; it's all there. Mouthfeel is warm and inviting with a rich ground coffee finish. Dangerously drinkable; I gave it a 4 because I don't know how much further than one you can go. Absolutely delicious. I'm glad I bought a six pack of this stuff..

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Photo of Ellbert
4.11/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 1 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I think I got a bad bottle, it had very little carbonation in it and it had absolutely no head. However the smell and taste was excellent. It tasted of roasted coffee and raisins. Very bold and robust. The alcohol is very hidden, it's amazing at 11.5% that the alcohol can be hidden. I'm sure this would be much better if it were carbonated. I still enjoy the beer but I hope the next one is better.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.38/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 fluid ounce, long neck, simple label with the word Bell’s, beneath which there is a strange compass like drawing on the front, with the words Expediton Stout below. 2002 offering.

Appearance: Holy Shit! - that reminds me I need to change the oil in my Car. Jet black viscous pour, I’ve seen lighter colored heavy fractions from the bottom of a tar filled Refinery Distillation column. The massive head is a dark brown, expansive & well aerated at first, after which, it settles to an incredibly smooth offering with shallow ravines & some pock-marks give a lunar landscape look about this Stout. The head eventually breaks, but not after it leaves an amazing lace. Solid inherent carbonation.

Nose: Roasted malts, coffee beans, dark chocolate & some fruit aspects, I actually got a light whiff of fresh Strawberries at first, but mixed with the dark chocolate - I can see why people get Cherries.

Taste: Starts & finishes with a long, deep, massive bitter-roast missives, which makes it a delight to re-taste after each swallow. After a while, I get a cherry fruitiness in the beginning as well as a Cocoa powder dryness in the middle, the ending has some Vanilla aspects. It takes a while & quite a bit of concentration to work this one out.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, but the bitter, roasted flavors coat the mouth like synthetic lubricating oil. It takes a few swallows before the bitter-roast flavors are eroded by the mere act of salivation. Mmmm, nice! Solid.

Drinkability: I simply do not believe that this is 11.5%, is it? – Nah, never! - it can’t be! - can it? Wow, if it is, it hides the alcohol so incredibly well. I will be honest to admit that if I sampled this blind, others could easily fool me into telling me it is between 6-8%, such is the balance. Bloody Hell, my Glass is empty!

Overall: Excellent ! I am so glad I got a good sample of this Expedition Stout from Bell’s, now I know why people are so pissed when they get less than par samples of this quite stupendous Stout – it would be a huge disappointment & a let-down for me also after tasting a good one.

Thanks to BigHuge, you came up trumps yet again!!

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Photo of far333
3.78/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours out dark as motor oil, with a thick dark brown head topped with lumps like oatmeal. The aroma comes right up to my nose - hops followed by raisin and burnt malt with distinct sweet chocolate hints. Taste is pungent. Flavor is bitter cofee and dark chocolate, with a strong alcohol finish and tingle. Chocolate and raisin lingers, as does a sting in the top of the palate, behind the nose. Mouthfeel feels a little thin for this one, and the drinkability is low due to the incredibly strong flavor. I find myself sipping this one to let the flavors come out as small amounts roll around the mouth. Excellent beer that makes its presence known.

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Photo of ngandhi
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Chocolatecherryrumcoffeeexpialidocious.

Goes down exceptionally smooth for an 11.5% (11.5!) beer. I stress beer. Unlike some high abv Belgians that mimic wine or cider to compliment the fire, Expedition Stout brings a full-frontal exhibition of oily malts disrobing by the bedroom window and peeping-Tom hops hanging by the trellise.

Phenols come out on the tongue. Smoke finish. Warmth, not like alcohol, but as a mother's breast to her newborn child. Makes me long for autumn. And my mommy.

Absolutely intoxicating.

Relax, relax.
ng

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Photo of beerguy101
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Midnight black oil. No head. Aroma is roasted malts, chocolate, coffee and cherries. YEOW, JIP JANG JOWIE!! This is a Big full-bodied Imperial Stout. Pours and looks like engine oil. Malts are very pronounced. Roasted malts, chocolate and coffee are the predominate flavors, but there are also hints of cherries, vanilla, raisins, and plums. Some smokiness as well. Hops are bitter and piney. Full, nearly oily body. Definitely a beer to take your time with and enjoy. Very smooth. Slight alcohol bite at 10%. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean. Aftertaste is slightly bitter.

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Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 4.26 out of 5 with 6,314 ratings