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

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding
2,096 Reviews
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
Reviews:
2,096
Ratings:
6,009
Avg:
4.22
pDev:
17.77%
 
 
Wants:
528
Gots:
1,702
For Trade:
134
User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,096 | Ratings: 6,009
Photo of TheBungyo
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Props to Faro for trading this to me.

This is darker than a pit! Very little head, but what there is looks like the froth on top of a chocolate shake. Nose is full of cocoa and espresso ... maybe a little molasses and chocolate syrup as well.

Bruce Campbell might say the taste is groovey! Very big on chocolate, like dark fudge flavored with espresso. There's also some nice hop bitterness going on.

Whoa, talk about slick mouthfeel. Carbonation is low and and makes quite a minimal appearance. This is thick, rich and creamy ... I LOVE it!

If I could buy this again and again I definitely would. This is extremely delicious. I hope every stout lover out there gets a chance to try this.

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Photo of maek228
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Appearance: the first thing you notice about this stout is how it pours. its thick like oil or syrup. there is a noticeable lack of carbonation, but that is somehow sexy when you factor in the thick pour.

Smell: Rich smell....cooking chocolate, dark chocolate, expresso....extremely "stoutish"

Taste: Thick as a buh-dunk-ah-dunk. upfront is the bitter strength and taste expresso, with hints of chocolate and bitter burnt malts. dark fruits round this flavor out. the hops at the end of this beer are strong and they linger...the linger of the hops and expresso mesh so nice.

Mouthfeel: Uniquely thick

Drinkability: Something strong isnt very drinkable. Something that tastes special at first would get taxing after more than 2

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Photo of BlackAngus
4.72/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours like bubblin' crude oil. Very slight head that dissipated to lace quickly. Head is color of dark coffee, beer is black like, like, something really black. Crankcase oil. A QUANTUM SINGULARITY.

S - Jesus, but this is complex. Coffee, roasted malt, bitter chocolate, no discernable hops. I could go on here, but suffice it to say it's very, very pleasantly complex.

T - Taste is coffee and roasted malts big at the front, with the other complex flavors backing it up. See the Smell portion, they're all here. I get none of the soy sauce others have picked up on, but it just may be me. Just as complex as the aroma.

M - Body on this baby is like syrup. Very full-bodied, very little carbonation. Roasted malt/coffee in the finish. Not clean, but it's not supposed to be. You taste this one for a while after you finish it.

D - Exceptionally drinkable over the long term, I don't think I could have more than one or two a day. But that's every day. :-D

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Photo of kmcnair
3.92/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, at least 2 years old... not sure how to identify otherwise.

A - Pours a deep, viscious, used motor oil-like burnt sienna to black hue. A hard pour generates almost no bubbles. Opaque, clarity is unavailable.

S - Rich burnt malts, molasses, bitter baking chocolate, coffee, subtle liquorice, soy sauce. No hop aroma.

T - Huge, rich complexity of roasted and burnt malts, soy sauce, coffee, chocolate. Subdued hop bitterness, no hop flavor. Clean, no diacetyl.

M - Viscious, sticky coating on the palate, quite still -- almost no carbonation, slick.

D - I've never had this fresh, but it has held up well for the most part. Rather complex and enjoyable. Would like to try this again.

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Photo of loren01
4.71/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Poured a syrupy dark black color. Not really much head at all. No lacing down the glass.
S: Smells sweet, good roasted malty scent also smell slightly of coffee
T: Tastes very sweet up front, good hop bitterness toward the end. Also slight smokey, coffee flavor
M: Heavy bodied, thick and syrupy, goes down smooth though
D: Awesome beer, I wish I had more of this one. Would taste very good on a cold winter day, very warming beer.

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Photo of TechMyst
2.16/5  rDev -48.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

CONTAINER VOLUME: 355ml
CONTAINER TYPE: bottle (Conditioned)
FRESH: 6672 (must be mislabled: their site has this as being an Amber Ale made 11/04. the date is probably right though) Anyway it’s almost 2 yrs old and this is ok for cellaring, but being on the top shelf exposed to fluorescent light every day might have had an impact
PURCHASED @: Binny’s
COST: $2.69/12oz bottle
HEAD: None...at first, then it rose slightly and then diminshed; red in color; a few huge soapy iridescent bubles among the smaller ones
LACE: spare
COLOR:
REFLECTED- black
TRANSMITTED- Blood Red
AROMA: faint medicine; average hop
MOUTHFEEL: full
PALATE: sticky, flat conditioning
TASTE: cherry flavored cough syrup; cloying, sweet acidic cherry flavor; astringent average lasting aftertaste

COMMENTS: I was really looking forward to this, but it was nothing like I expected. I had a flashback to Vick’s 44-D cough syrup. Could this Imperial Stout with ABV of 11.5% become lightstruck? this made my cheekbone muscles cramp up. Kalamazoo by this brewer is the best stout I’ve ever enjoyed. This is a big beer though, it’s like climbing a wall. To me the Hop and Cherry flavors didn’t mix. My throat and torso burned for hours after consuming this. Did I drink it too cold? did I get too much sediment? Is this diactyl flavor from being light struck? or do I just not like the hop/fruit balance?(I’ve stated before that I really do not care much for fruit beers...)
CONDITIONS:
MOWING/WORKING ON CAR- If I owned an Astin Martin(but then I wouldn’t be washing my own car or mowing my own lawn then now would I)
WITH FRIENDS- if they are buying
SIPPING- if I had a fresh one; or one that was cellared correctly (sipping is the only way to get this one down)
GET MY BUZZ ON- if fresh

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Photo of chargerfanjess
4.97/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is an incredible beer....great smell of coffee toffee and burnt sugar, mouthfeel was not to thick but thick enough to be considered big, definately not syruppy. The taste is phenominal with great toasted notes and coffee overtones Very very drinakble at a slow pace...carefull do not get too loaded!

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Photo of nvsblman
4.32/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Inky black in color. Pours like a thick oil. Very little chocolate colored head. Chocolatey aroma with some raisins and coffee. Also a slight piney hop aroma. The coffee is stronger in the flavor that expected, but very good. The dark chocolate flavor works well with it. Also a slight hop balance. Full mouthfeel and slightly creamy, but not as heavy as I expected from the pour. This is a very interesting and complex beer. Oh to have this available all the time...

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Photo of BeerRun13
3.91/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Stan at Lone Hill for this one.
Pours pitch black even at the thin edges of the glass. Darkest brown head I've ever seen, very thick and creamy. Great lace is left in it's wake.
Nose is full of dark chocolate, cherry, and what would seem to be a boat load of alcohol.
Roasty burnt toffee dark chocolate. Nice amount of cherry like fruit behind. The alcohol is very evident, more so than some stronger beers.
Full bodied and moderateley carbonated. Kind of creamy. Has quite the alcohol kick.
Good beer, but is most definately a sipper.

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Photo of jwc215
2.73/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours pitch black with a light brown head that soon fades to a patch, then disappears. Nice color, but disappointing head. I know that the abv works against head retention, but there was none to speak of.

The smell is of dark chocolate with some subtle dark fruit notes. The alcohol masks most of the aromas.

Thick, dark chocolate with an alcohol punch upfront. The sweet chocolate is so dominant that it reminded me of a chocolate stout more than an IRS. It is certainly full-bodied, but more in a chocolate malt sort of way. It reminds me of when I was a child and would put too much chocolate syrup in my milk. The alcohol creates a harsh edge, as it is not masked in any way. As there is little, if any hops, it becomes cloyingly sweet. They have the chocolate and alcohol down pat, but where is the complexity that the style calls for? A dark fruit essence tries to come through, but that is too syrupy and masked by the chocolate and alcohol.
The feel is creamy and softer than the taste, but without any carbonation it does not go down so easily. And, again, the sharp alcohol edge detracts more than adds.
I can appreciate a beer with a high abv, and this is one of my favorite styles, but this one doesn't do it for me. Overly malty, even for the style, no carbonation, and the alcohol is not masked and doesn't really add to the flavor, leaving the sweet rich chocolate to be the only dimension to its potential.

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Photo of grub
4.55/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

got this bottle as a bonus in a recent trade with nlmartin. thanks nate!

pours an opaque black colour with a full inch of dense dark brown head. after a few minutes the head drops and leaves lots of lace behind.

aroma nice. very rich bready malt. some roast. dark chocolate. just a hint of alcohol.

taste is nice. rich, roasty flavour. thick bready malt. espresso and dark chocolate. a little alcohol in the flavour and a little warm on the way down. some licorice too.

mouthfeel is thick and rich. moderate carbonation that seems about right.

drinkability is good. it's thick and rich and almost seems more like a sipping drink. very well balanced and quite tasty. would be nice to try this one after some aging.

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Photo of yelterdow
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enormous thanks to EPseja for procuring this beer from his recent Michigan trip... at $18.99 a sixer, this one's got some explaining to do!

Served at cellar temperature in a snifter. Batch 7251, bottled on February 25, 2006.

Appearance- Black as night, with the darkest head I've ever seen on a beer... amazing swelling carbonation from within the depths of the beer, growing to about a finger-thick head and reducing to a half centimeter. Looks like a liquid Hershey's dark chocolate pool... with bubble size ranging from indiscernable to medium and large size. Upon swirling, the black abyss regenerates a new creamy head and becomes even darker than before. Wow.

Smell- Rich, fudge brownie with mocha-laced aromas of chocolate, cookies, and rum. Notes of floral hops tingle the tip of the nose. Very ingredient-dense. Alcohol is not a detractor here at all.

Taste- A virtual oil slick of flavor, with an incredible length of hop bitterness. First comes a rich, dark cocoa combined with a mocha character... then the wickedly decadent and smooth richness follows.

Mouthfeel/Drinkabililty- Fantastic in the mouth... sublime swelling from milky liquid to creamy foam. Savor each sip, it's genuinely huge and enjoyable.

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Photo of onsite416
4.75/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: black. Head bubbles to a glorious brownish froth. A lacing almost as impressive as true Turkish coffee is left as you swirl the glass, exquisite. Smell: roasted malts right away, and a smokiness I can’t put my finger on. An enticing aroma! Taste: with all of the aromas the taste does not disappoint. very thick. It starts off very roasty, the alcohol pretty well hidden for a beer of this caliber, it ends with a nuttiness that does not end. You are constantly chewing for different flavors. There are also hints of caramel and coco too. The finish is a little bitter. Mouth feel: This is not a harsh beer, but it is certainly not easy one either. Very smooth and extremely creamy. Drinkability: OK they should almost have a warning on the label "one is more than enough." Session beer? (You will hurt yourself 11.5 ABV). This is a big Imperial stout. Have fun.

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Photo of GimpyCane
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This Russian Imperial Stout rules. On a night when I had several stouts to compare to Bell's Expedition Stout came on top. Poured a thick black motor oil w/ a 1 2/2 inch mocha brown head. The sight made me think I was going to drinking a cuban expresso. The aroma was amazing and well balanced, sweet molasses, strong coffee and a vicious alcohol scent. The scent of alcohol doesn't disappoint as it also lingers in your mouth forever w/ a thick full body syrupy feeling. At 11.5% ABV, this brew doesn't play around and it's great for sipping.

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Photo of kimcgolf
3.26/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Timing is, again, everything. I was really looking forward to this beer, as it is one of the top-rated in the world. However, I found that it is NOT the beer for a hot summer’s night. Great aroma of very sweet malty chocolate and carmel. The taste follows suit, and at first was enjoyable. However, by mid glass, the beer seemed to get thicker and sweeter, and by the end, the alcohol was leaving a very warming sensation and it was like drinking a sweet thick syrup. I intend to pick up another bottle of this when I’m in the midwest, and next time drink it on a cold winter’s night, maybe as an after-dinner drink.

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Photo of peabody
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured roughly into a pint glass and the suds seemed to take a long time to develop. Dark brown suds with a little lacing.No light can penetrate this concoction.
Raisin and plum and cherry are the first thing I smell.Sugar and malt are the second thing.
First taste is quite bitter but the chocolate and coffee are strong here.
No alcohol present even though it is a high abv. Grapes and raisins
and dark malt with a touch of hops.
Mouthfeel is very clean and the dark tastes stay in the mouth for a while. The alcohol is only present at the very end of the taste.
I like this beer. Too bad I can't get it all the time.

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Photo of gmfessen
4.22/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass, beer is so dark, light cannot penetrate it. There is almost no head and the beer is very heavy. The smell is wonderful, of intense/complex chocolate malts with hints of caramel. The taste is just as complex, with an alcohol bite at the end, but not too bad considering the 11.5%. Almost no hop taste is apparent, covered completely by the roasted chocolate malt taste. The mouthfeel is dense and smooth, a very thick beer with little carbonation. This beer would be best served as a nightcap, served in a snifter - to be smelled, enjoyed and sipped, not drank in mass quantity.

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Photo of Backer2004
5/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Beer heaven, I have finally found you. Six years ago, a camp counselor friend in Michigan told how great Expedition Stout was and since then, I've been looking forward to trying it. I was not disappointed one bit.

It was poured in a nice snifter. No carbonation with lots lacing, thick and murky. Wonderful mix of chocolate, raisins, caramel, and malts. I loved every bit of it more than i've ever loved another beer.

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Photo of jdoolin
4.39/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12oz bottle, poured into a brandy snifter

Appearance: Dead black, like old motor oil. A slight brown head formed and dissipated quickly, leaving a ring of brown lace the entire time.

Aroma: Heavenly aroma of roasted barley, molasses, hints of coffee and chocolate, and of course a bit of alcohol. This beer smelled so good, I couldn't keep my nose out of the snifter the entire time.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Thick, smooth and creamy, like velvet. Just enough carbonation to achieve this and maintain the ring of lace. Taste was an ode to roasted malt. All of the usual roasted malt flavors are here and are wonderfully exemplifed. Of course, the roasted barley itself, coffee (especially in the finish) and chocolate. No hop flavor. Bitterness seems to be achieved more by the roasted malt than the hops. The alcohol was present but subdued by the roasted malt flavors.

Notes: A superb imperial stout. I thought the alcohol would have more presence, but I was pleasantly surprised. The roasted malts are the center of this beer, and Kalamazoo has done a fantastic job exploiting them. A great after dinner sipping beer.

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Photo of DaveFL1976
4.57/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow, that's black.
They should have another word for things this dark.
I spilled a drop on the countertop while I was pouring. I think my countertop is stained now. It's black.
But not relaly much of a head. A tan head surfaced at first, but by the time I sat down, the head was gone, and didn't really bother to cling to the side of the glass, either. Oh well.
The smell is lovely. Chocolate, coffee, and jsut general sweetness. No alcohol is discernable on the nose. It's nice. Really nice.
Taste? Holy cow! Huge! Massive! Chocolate just kicked me in the face. It's sweet, but with a bitter finish. Warm on the back of the throat. Really nice.
Mouthfeel is full and creamy, with those same microscopic tiny bubbles that I tasted in Westvleteren beers. It's great.
But huge. Huge to the point that drinkability might suffer a bit. I couldn't imagine drinking more than one in a sitting. But what a sitting!

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Photo of watermelonman
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured to a deep and heavy black with only minor head and lace.

The smell is great. Roasted malt, chocolate, and a touch of coffee come through strong, while a touch of esters and molasses can be found too. The taste is also powerful. Dark malts dominate up front. Chocolate and coffee come back, then hops take over the finish. The mouthfeel is full and pleasing. Drinkability is very good for the alcohol content.

This is a very good beer.

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Photo of mjc410
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First bottle from my very own case...

The pour into my venerable La Moneuse tulip at first made me fear that there would be head head whatsoever, but out of nowhere bubbles appeared in the incredibly viscous ink. The bubbles themselves are incredibly thick-walled and oily looking. I had a Yeti the other day, and this appears even more massive, although the head is a good deal lighter, only a medium light brown, with large bubbles and thick lacing. It hangs around for quite a while, too. And what can be said about the body except BLACK? No light, no hope. None.

Smell is incredibly toasty and espresso-like. Definitely smells like expensive brownies, and fudge. Smells bitter, too. I like.

Good gracious, what is this taste? I'm at a loss for words - this is unique! Alcohol, definitely, and wood, for sure. Caramel leads the flavors. I'm picking up on some chocolate notes, and a coffee finish. I was hoping for more chocolate coffee flavors, though. Does become a bit cloying, as well.

Too heavy? Maybe...this certainly is the thickest beer I've ever had. No carbonation, either. Still, it is fitting. Although this beer certainly would be a good candidate for a nip bottle...

I will reach for another, and I do like this a lot, but I wished for a bit more. Not the best RIS I've had, but still nice. I think it'll age well...I certainly have enough to find out!

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Photo of hckyfn9999
3.9/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

I have high hopes going in at $15 a sixer, although I guess I've paid more at a bar for worse beers. Poured out of a bottle, there is minimum tan colored head that disappears quickley and leaves a little lacing around the glace. The color is jet black.

There is a smell of alcohol and dark chocolate and maybe raisons.

The taste is of espresso and chocolate. There is a bitterness consistant with espresso. The taste of alcohol is also very present, yet is pretty drinkable with the high levels of alcohol.

The mouthfeel of this beer is the only subpar aspect of this beer. It feels like watery hershey's syrup with little carbonation.

Overall, a pretty solid beer although I dont think that I will buy it very often because of the price, but I am not disappointed in my purchase.

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Photo of scalffd
3.31/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Perhaps I am too much of a newbie, but this beer did nothing for my palate. While highly regarded among beer enthusiasts, the alcohol dominated this beer from aroma to finish. The pitch black color was exciting, but the small, fizzy head that soon disappeared was lackluster. The smell and taste of alcohol was too overwhelming to be enjoyable and more balance would make the beer more pleasant. I prefer the Bell's Kalamazoo stout. Sorry, not a fan.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
4.72/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours just brutally thick. Appears to have no carbonation at all until bubbles are conjured out of no where and a 1/2 head of dark beige bubbles forms then gently falls. A ring remains with faint remnants of the head that once was across the top.

S: Molasses, marshmallow cream, cherries, red grape juice, black patent and resinous chocolate. Delightful

T: Begins very rich and creamy with some serious chocolate expressions. Reminds me of a luxurious chocolate-espresso cream you'd find in the middle of a killer cake. Moments remind me of a premeire chocolate syrup laced with cognac. The beer then transitions from a quaint dessert to something a bit more unrefined....the roasted coffee characteristics and severe bittering hops turn this once friendly puppy into an aggresive beast. With out an ounce of remorse, the roastedness dominates the palate before ever so slowly dwindling away leaving the mouth in shock and awe.

M: Full bodied with a great mouthfeel.

D: One of the most complex stouts on the market. This beer takes the tongue for a ride. Absolutely excellent imperial stout.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.22 out of 5 based on 6,009 ratings.
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