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

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Bell's Expedition StoutBell's Expedition Stout
6,238 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,238 |  Reviews: 2,161
Photo of timtheenchanta
2.35/5  rDev -44.8%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 1.5

Good look. Completely pitch black with thin dark tan head. Slight retention with some thin lacing down the glass.

Sweet malt tries to squeeze through the alcohol but is unsuccessful. When I noticed this beer was 11.5, I was taken back but it really ruins the nose of this beer.

The taste is a tad bit maltier but once again completely spoiled by the alcohol. There are some dark fruits (raisins, plums) trying to poke through following and it finishes with a black coffee taste which is very dry after swallowing .

This brew is very thick. Bulky chewy feel.

Glad I could try this one but I'm not going to try it again without at least 18 months on it.

Many thanks go to CRJMellor for a chance to try this well regarded beer.

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Photo of nickg902
2.35/5  rDev -44.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

This beer really disappointed me. It poured pitch black and thick, looks like motor oil, very little mocha colored head. Aroma is overpowering with alcohol...extremely distracting. Possibly a little chocolate comes through but all I can smell is that alcohol. Taste is of carmel, burnt chocolate and coffee, but again, the alcohol taste is hugely overpowering. Mouthfeel is creamy and a little oily and the drinkability is definitely low. Don't get fooled by the high rating, this is hardly in the top 20 stouts in my book, unless you happen to like the taste of alcohol overpowering everything. Unfinishable, never will buy again.

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Photo of FleeVT
2.36/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12oz. brown bottle with no dates into a snifter.

A: This pours an extremely thick black brew with almost no carbonation. I thought it might be flat until I checked some other reviews. Got a brief thin dark tan head by snifting.

S: Espresso, alcohol, and sweetness in the form of molasses. Slight hop bitterness on the nose as well.

T/M: Thick and again, no carbonation. There is a bite in this that comes from the alcohol and something else. Extremely astringent. Extremely hard on the palate, not balanced and not a good complexity. Lots of smokiness and burnt coffee beans.

D: No thank you. Not your typical from Bell's. Avoid

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Photo of bbothen
2.39/5  rDev -43.9%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2007 vintage.

A - Deep dark black with a pretty chocolate brown frothy head. Nice looking sticky lace on glass.

S - Sour milk. Chocolate. Smells like a chocolate milkshake that was left out for several days. Then had port poured into it.

T - Soured chocolate milk. Burnt coffee. Warming alcohol presence.

M - Thick & chewy.

D - I barely got through one bottle.

I finished the bottle and will be looking to trade my others.

This has all the exact opposite flavors of what my brain tells me is tasty. Hey, looks like lots of people like it. I sure didn't.

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Photo of tegelaar
2.42/5  rDev -43.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours thick like an oil slick with a small amount of head that took a bit to appear. Clear film of lacing sticks to the glass for just a moment while you drink. Smells of earthy fruit and dirt. Also some badly burned meat. Uh oh at this point I know I am in trouble. The taste also does nothing for me. Like drinking oven cleaner. I can respect that it is very rich and flavorful but can't finish this beast. Drinkability is poor due the taste and extreme alcohol content.

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Photo of Scooter77
2.45/5  rDev -42.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

The first thing that came to my mind when I poured this one was…STP motor oil. Pours a thick, deep black color with no head what-so-ever and virtually no carbonation. Aromas of coffee, chocolate and molasses emerge from the glass. The initial taste seems to complement the aromas, but with a strong taste of alcohol that was extremely overpowering, almost medicinal. Maybe my taste buds haven’t progressed enough for this one. I just couldn’t see myself drinking this on a regular basis. By having such high ratings, I guess I just expected more out of this one.

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Photo of DoctorDog
2.48/5  rDev -41.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A- Deep brown/black, opaque in appearance. Aggressive pour yields just barely 1/2 finger of brown head, which fades as quickly as it formed, leaving a thin ring and an oil slick looking surface. Milky chunks/streaks of yeasty sediment pooling at the bottom as I let it warm. Random globs of lacing.

S- The alcohol odor dominates the nose, and is making it difficult for me to adequately ascertain any other odors to any level of specificity or enjoyability.

T- Harsh alcohol bite greets my tongue from the first drop to hit my tongue. Some indiscernible burned tastes. The flavors just aren't blending satisfactorily at all here, and are being dominated by the booziness and astringency.

M- Creamy and oily, but no carbonation whatsoever. Somewhat off-putting.

D- Clearly nothing more than a very slow, somewhat labored "one glass slow-sipper" of a beer IMO.

Future outlook: I suppose I'll sock a few of these away in the basement, cross my fingers, and hope for a better day with this beer in the distant future.

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Photo of charlzm
2.49/5  rDev -41.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

UPDATE - consumed 04/07/08. Bottle code is 8311: Bells web site says it was bottled on 02/07/08.

Pours virtually black. Thick like motor oil. A one finger dark tan head forms and fades soon into sticky foam on the sides of the glass.

Aroma has a bit of soy sauce to it and a medicinal character.

Texture is thick, baby, thick, like chocolate milk that's heavy on the syrup. Needs more carbonation to break through that mouth-coating stickiness.

Flavor is raw: bitter chocolate syrup with undertones of cherry cough drops, charcoal and soy sauce. Alcohol burns as the beer slides down, leaving behind a disagreeable bitterness. Coats the mouth like cough syrup.

Can you tell I'm not a fan of this one? And read my review below to see my views on an aged bottle...

I'm going to have to declare this one as not a favorite based on these two samples, but I'm willing to try it again after it ages a while (but less than the bottle below).

2004 bottle, consumed 12/17/07.

So dark brown it's almost black. No head on pour, but it spontaneously erupts a few seconds later, dying quickly. Coats the sides of the glass when swirled. Aroma is a little musty, salty. Velvety smooth mouthfeel. Red wine flavors, saltiness (like soy sauce) bitter finish. No carbonation a major bummer; this bottle must have passed its prime. Too bad, as it's supposed to be so good.

A - 3.5, S - 2.0, T - 3.5, M - 4.0, D - 2.5

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Photo of CobraDC23
2.49/5  rDev -41.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Photo of Doppelbockulus
2.5/5  rDev -41.3%

Photo of ShanePB
2.5/5  rDev -41.3%

Photo of ChainChompsky
2.5/5  rDev -41.3%

Photo of Raziel313
2.5/5  rDev -41.3%

Photo of jheiss
2.5/5  rDev -41.3%

Photo of ant880
2.5/5  rDev -41.3%

Photo of imduffman
2.5/5  rDev -41.3%

Photo of Hellabeerguzzler
2.51/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

I love a good stout. But a stout has to be drinkable. This stout was overly sweet, sickeningly sweet, with little or hardly any carbonation. When poured a small head can be seen and the booze in this pitch black mixture strips the lacing from side of the glass. Smell is a bit overcooked with hints of dark chocolate, some fruits, and some spices but mostly booze. I've had similar and even higher %ABV brews that hid the booze much better than this one. Bells, I love your line, and a few of your beers may be my absolute favorites....

This stout is not one of them.

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Photo of arkhamresident
2.52/5  rDev -40.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12 oz. from trade with Beavers poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - Dark brown almost black body with a one inch brown head, good retention and thick lacing.

S - Smells very sweet, almost like a heavily creamed and sweetened coffee with some booze thrown in.

T - Front is slight hop bite followed by overly sweetened and creamed coffee and chocolate with a bit too much roasty bitterness on the finish. No alcohol apparent.

M - Not thin but not full either. Complete lack of carbonation hurts quite a bit but slightly thick and smooth for the most.

D - I really can't see drinking more of one of these at a time.

Not bad but much too sweet for my tastes. The lack of carbonation also took me by surprise and made me feel this was more of a cold coffee drink than a beer. It's too bloody sweet in my opinion. Overall I'd not turn this down if offered but I can't say I would buy it if available.

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Photo of esv
2.52/5  rDev -40.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12z 10.5% abv

Brown-chocolate, milkshake head. Thick head. The beer is thick to the eye when poured. The beer is black.

I smell salty, smoked ham. It smells Malty Sweet. Hops have a real presence in the nose, which seems out of style. And now I'm sure I've got a pig in my nose.

It's a bitter-bulldozer that ploughs over the tongue but the wake is more like that of a loaded down barge. Sweet medicinal flavors dominate the finish.

Mouthfeel. Thick, heavy and smooth. Like the mother of all imperial oatmeals, hyped up on nitro.

While I can drink it, I also have a high, distorting threshold for imperial stouts.

Sometimes a severe beating can be less painful than a couple of light jabs. Adrenaline kicks in at higher levels and masks the really brutal stuff. I think my tongue went into survival mode.

I'm not even sure the masochist in me will reach for this again but the sadist may certainly help it into a house guest's glass.

 940 characters

Photo of SpeedwayJim
2.54/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Brooklyn Brewery snifter.

A: Pours a vigorous 1 finger chocolate, medium fine head with moderate retention. Brew is opaque black with thin webby lacing that doesn't cling.

S: The color green and unripened come to mind throughout the nose. Also chocolate, hops, mellow coffee, and nutty caramel. Very grassy and too unripened.

T: Very grassy and green again throughout. Like unripened coffee beans. Also chocolate, bitter coffee, toffee, caramel, brown sugar, unripened green figs, pine, and hoppy in the finish with a punch of alcohol. Not what I expect from a RIS. Not malty and why do I taste unripened green anything?!?

M: Medium to full bodied, oily, finishes a bit dry but its clean. Rather carbonated and that really prevents the flavors from melding here. Coffee beans linger a bit in the finish.

D: Not the best interpretation of the RIS style. Its not malty enough and the carbonation in the mouth takes away from the whole picture that the different flavors try to paint. It also makes this brew less robust. Heard a lot of hype, but this one isn't for me.

 1,107 characters

Photo of bostonbrand65
2.54/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 3

This beer came highly recommended, so I was happy to chase down some to try. I didnt age it - so that may be part of the issue. Exciting pour. Very nice color, really up on this beer. Then the taste. Plug tobacco. Thats the overwhelming taste here. I enjoyed chewing plug tobacco working at an orchard in my youth, and you spit. This was waaaay too reminiscent for me, of a good plug of tobacco. Gave a second bottle a pour a couple weeks after my first - still the same. Glad I tried it, if you've chewed plug tobacco, this may not be the beer for you.

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Photo of wedge6128
2.54/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

Its ok, but its almost to much flavor and not in a good way its a little overwhelming.

86 characters

Photo of dremiliolizardo
2.54/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

Photo of SaCkErZ9
2.57/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Batch #8311

Dispensed from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Pitch black with a cocoa colored head. Tons of lacing. Two finger sized heat.

Aroma was a bit weird. Smelled like beef jerky and soy sauce. Also some licorice and some peat smoke.

Tasted like beef jerky too. I like beef jerky, and I like beer, but not beef jerky beer.

Medium bodied and overall a bit weird. Maybe this one needs to mellow or something because right now, it isnt very enjoyable.

 459 characters

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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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Beer rating: 4.26 out of 5 with 6,238 ratings
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