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

BA SCORE
94
outstanding
6,184 Ratings
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
Ratings:
6,184
Reviews:
2,147
Avg:
4.22
pDev:
10.43%
 
 
Wants:
555
Gots:
1,778
For Trade:
128
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,184 |  Reviews: 2,147
Photo of matt23j
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of DogfishJoe
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a. this beer had little to no head, although the bottle was about 9 months old. also this is black!

s. pick up a perfect roasted malt smell with slight chocolate note.

t. great big roasted malt followed by little chocolate and leaves you with bitter coffee.

o. good beer wish it was cheaper, way to easy to drink and no alcohol burn.

 337 characters

Photo of Upgrayedd
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

I don't have the batch number in front of me, but this one was bottled only a month or so ago. Since I recently polished off a two year old bottle, I thought I should get another sixer to cellar. This bottle was so new, I expected to get a huge raw hop bitterness level and it did not disappoint. Even though it smells wonderful and has an awesome mouthfeel, it is not exactly drinkable quite yet. After a year or so of aging, I expect the IBU's to calm down and the complexity of the malt to develop. I'll update my review then...

 531 characters

Photo of hardy008
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark black color with which lets no light pass through. Has a large brown head with good retention. Smells of chocolate, molasses, raisins, and coffee. The taste mirrors the aroma nicely. Has a nice mixture of sweetness and coffee bitterness. Full bodied, creamy, and properly carbonated. Bell's does a nice job of disguising the 10.5% abv. Highly recommended.

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Photo of FanofHefe
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 9435, bottled in Nov 2009 so this is one year old. Poured into tulip glass with a nice dark brown one finger head. Some light lacing on the glass.

Aroma is not overpowering at all, just light notes of roasted malt, chocolate, coffee and dark fruit like prunes/raisins. Slightly noticed the alcohol in the aroma.

Taste mirrors the aroma, but no real obvious alcohol present. Very well masked. Mouthfeel is of a smooth and produces an easy to drink brew.

I had this same batch earlier this year and it has aged very well. The flavors come together very well with age.

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Photo of fisherman34
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The word "huge" doesn’t do justice to this beer. It’s jet back with minimal carbonation. Powerful aromas of hops, licorice, rasins, alcohol, roasted malt, and terriaki sauce. It has a remarkable flavor evolution too, moving from hops, to dark fruit, to alcohol, and finally to the dark-roasted coffee, nut, and dark chocolate. It’s also insanely heavy in the mouth. I could see this beer maturing into a work of art in a few years, but the sample I had was just a bit too much for me at this point.

 501 characters

Photo of StrangeBrewer76
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass at colder than ideal temp in the low 40s. It just looks thick, viscus. The bubbles were slow to rise but formed a nice light brown creamy-looking head that faded relatively quickly to a thin skin and very solid lacing.

I smell bittersweet chocolate, coffee, alcohol and burnt caramel or chocolate malt which is remarkably similar to the taste. The alcohol seems to become more pronounced as it warms which could be good if that's what you're in to.

It has a body like syrup or 2-cycle oil with a bite of bitter. It's like what people who have never tried Guinness think it probably tastes like.

It drinks like a meal and at 10.5% that meal ought to be dinner.

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Photo of beerman207
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Not sure why I haven't tried this one up until now.

A: dark, black, dark bren head on top that sticks around a while.

S: nose is chocolate, malt, smoke, raisin

T: chocolate mAlt and booze

M: very smooth and easy to drink

O: this is a very drinkable beer. The abv is not really that detectable.

 300 characters

Photo of n2185
4.06/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled in July of 2013

A: Pours black with half a finger of light brown head that fades into a thin ring with little lacing.

S: Roasted malts, sweet chocolate, vanilla, creamy coffee, and some dark fruit aromas dominate here. There are some graham-like aromas as well.

T: Roasted malts here as well with semi-sweet chocolate, coffee, and vanilla. There are some slight dark fruit flavors and a bit of char towards a finish that is sweet and slightly boozy.

M: Thick body with low carbonation, this beer is thick and smooth. It's a little sticky-sweet feeling as well.

O: A good imperial stout overall. Viscous and tasty with a good amount of depth.

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Photo of Keeling
4.06/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Trooperbob
4.06/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of bmwats
4.06/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

A: Black. Pours a 1 finger, foamy, brown head. Settles fairly quickly. Light spider web lacing.

S: Roasted espresso, dark chocolate, and oak chips.

T: Roasted espresso, unsweetened dark chocolate, black licorice, wood chips, peat, and...bourbon.? Maybe some clove and oregano in there.

M: Hearty and thick. High alcohol apparent. Peaty finish.

D: Sip and enjoy.

Atmosphere is very nice. Thick head, and some slight but persistent lacing. Nose is roasted coffee, chocolate and wood. Flavor... coffee chocolate, licorice, woody, with some high alcohol. Overall, this is a really good quaff.

 637 characters

Photo of ccg
4.06/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This is one of the best-looking stouts I've seen in a while. Great lacing of dense little bubbles, and the head seems to stick around forever. The smell is super roasty. I can taste chocolate and coffee notes, but mostly it's roasty malt and some bitter hops. It's dense and chewy. A well-made stout.

 300 characters

Photo of Buebie
4.06/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured into a small a snifter at the Muddy Pig this evening. Set me back only $5 for the 10 ounce pour. About an inch of brown head and great big clingy lace rings all the way down, with decent retention. Inky creamy texture, very smooth with little carbonation disturbance.
Pitch black with no light penetration.

Smell is very malty in a bakers chocolate and coffee, with a hint of swetness and creamy milk. Aromas though are a bit subdued as compared to the bottle.

Taste is filled with large amounts of chocolate and a little coffee as well as bitter grains and plenty of malt. This here is amlt bomb indeed. Through the finish a dry sweeping of earthy hops.

Awsome brew to have on cask.

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Photo of jimmah120
4.06/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

12oz fresh bottle

Look is dark. Black with slight cola edges. Oats, coffee, Molasses, smoke round out the scent. Rich and full feeling, its chocolate and roast to the max here, with some dark fruit and English style hops in the background.

Tasty shii

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Photo of intobenme
4.06/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of sjrodriguez
4.06/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of spointon
4.06/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this one from a 12oz brown bottle into a tulip pint glass.

A= This stout poured black as night with zero light penetration. With a very aggressive pour, the dark tan head rose a full 2" and took a long time to settle to a thin cap. Lots of sticky lace down my glass.

S= The aroma profile started from a base of sweet/syrupy dark malts, accompanied by bittersweet chocolate, licorice, treacle, and some earthy hops. Lots of alcohol present as well.

T= As in the smell, I found flavors of sweet dark maltiness and treacle as well as roasted grain, bitter dark chocolate, and mild black licorice. I was surprised that the hop notes were as strong as they were, bringing an earthy bitterness to the middle of each sip. The finish dried considerably and was alcohol filled. The aftertaste was long and pleasantly packed with sweet and roasty flavor.

MF= Heavy and full bodied with carbonation being on the lower side of medium. Slightly slick in the mouth yet very much a tongue coating beer.

D= While this is an outstanding RIS, it is not something I could have more than two of in a sitting due to the very strong flavors and heaviness. Still, I enjoyed this stout a lot and will definitely buy it again when I have the chance.

 1,239 characters

Photo of Stevedore
4.06/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle dated 12/27/12 poured into a Bell's tulip and quaffed today, 3/9/13. Review is based primarily on today's bottle but also uses notes from previous bottles from the same vintage which were consumed fresh.

Aroma: I definitely get the dark fruits- raisins, figs, cherry. It's definitely sweet smelling with quite a bit of heat on the nose. Really good smelling imperial stout- the ones I've been drinking are usually roasty and/or hoppy. But this is straight up dark fruit. Really a nice change of pace. (4)

Colour: Pours a dark dark dark jet black, looks great. It comes out with an absolutely beautiful 1cm dark brown head that dissipates within 30 seconds into absolutely nothing, leaving a very thin brown collar over an abyss of black beverage. The lacing is absolutely thick, and swirling agitates the collar and makes it even thicker. You can't do any better than this brew for its appearance! (5)

Flavour: When I first drank it fresh back in December, it tasted rather medicinal with a straight-up overdone cherry tartness- not complex at all and rather hard to drink. I didn't like it at the time but I decided to give it 3 months to see how it changes over time. And it would appear that just a bit of age really develops this beer. The heat has been covered up by a more complex flavor combining hints of the underlying roasty malt character with the dominant dark fruit flavours as described in the nose- raisins, cherry, figs that contribute quite a bit to the aftertaste. It's not boozy at all and has developed nicely in such a short amount of time. (4)

Mouthfeel: On the lighter side of a thick body. Decent carbonation. Goes down smoothly leaving a nice balanced finish that is neither wet or dry. The aftertaste is probably dominantly tart cherry that goes to town on your taste buds for quite a while afterwards. Not the thickest imperial stout but it's a very smooth quaff. (4)

Overall: It makes sense that this beer develops with some age on it as it would seem that Bell's intended it that way. I'm happy that I hung onto the six-pack I bought last December. I'll probably try it at 3-6 month intervals to see how it develops from here on. It's a nice change from the usual roasty and hoppy imperial stouts (e.g. Founders Imperial Stout, Plead the 5th, etc.), as the dark fruits are the strongest contributor to the flavour. (4)

Re-reviewed 5/30/2014. 2013 vintage (7/19/2013) poured into a Bell's goblet. A bit over 10 months old now. Essentially, appearance is the same, and I do get a ton of dark chocolate bitterness with even more dark fruit and some vanilla essence in the nose. Flavour profile is similar, heavier on the dark fruits- dates, raisins- roast malts and dark chocolate mixed in with milk chocolate and caramel, with a bit of vanilla and molasses. Very complex, interesting and decadent beer that has a nice slick mouthfeel that isn't quite too thick or oily but just right. Overall, a great RIS that stacks up with the other Michigan RIS's- Founders RIS and DH Plead the 5th to name a few.

Based on this vintage, I would re-review to a 4.5/4.25/4.5/4/4.25 which comes out to a BA score of 4.35.

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Photo of BigB415
4.06/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good stout. Poured black with dark brown head, good lacing. Had a little burn on the end that didn't make it 100% smooth but still good. I can oversee that since I'm used to it. Going to get another one soon and I'm going to age that one and see how it tastes.

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Photo of AdamBear
4.06/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-black with a nice dark tan head

S-really dark semi-sweet chocolate. reminds me of the little morsels. it has a decent strength. smells quite powerful.

T-comes in with a good and sweet taste of dark semi-sweet baking chocolate. its quite a warm taste. it tastes like a strong RIS. the after-taste is matching with just a slight grassiness and dark roasted aspect to it. it has a certain bitterness to it as well. a very thorough RIS, very representative of the style.

M-heavy body. medium creamy carbonation with a dry finish

O-this along with the Rasputin, i think, are the quintessential russian imperial stouts. they're full of a good strong dark roasted flavor, and they're not afraid to show some warmth along with bitterness. both are fairly slow drinkers, even for the style. even the 12 oz i wouldn't mind just sharing with a friend. i'd say this one is a bit more even, with a louder touch on the cocoa. definitely worth taking a snab, though there are many other stouts i'd much rather have. its a tough category though, so for the price...this isn't bad.

 1,071 characters

Photo of madbrewer9
4.06/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown/black almost opaque. Some reddish hightlights at edges. Almost non-existent tan head with very fine bubbles. No lacing. Very noticable legs.
Great aroma, molassas and dark fruit.
Taste follows the aroma with mollassas and dark fruits, but also some bitter chocolate and hop bitterness.
Med full to full body, creamy, yet finishes slighty dry.
Very drinkable considering the strength. Beautiful beer.

 410 characters

Photo of 1levelabove247
4.06/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Futbolmanby
4.07/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Have self restraint and age some for 1+ years..... you'll be happy u did

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Photo of branimal9
4.07/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 bottle, poured into my New Belgium tulip glass...

appearance - 'bout an inch of nice looking brown head, creamy n' fluffy. beer itself is a deep, dark brown. real nice.

aroma - coffee, dark chocolate, a little licorice. getting a bit of vanilla & fruit in there as well. a hit of booziness also.

taste - lots of chocolate. dark chocolate. milky. warming. roasted malts a bit of nice hop bitterness.

mouthfeel - full bodied, thick & creamy. oily. real nice.

drinkability - warming alcohol present, but it's nice n' smooth. this is really drinkable considering the height of the ABV, but this is also my favorite style of beer, so i'm a bit biased.

overall, a really finely crafted imperial stout. glad i scooped up a decent amount of these, as i think they'll age well.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.22 out of 5 based on 6,184 ratings.
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