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

BA SCORE
94
outstanding
6,163 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:
6,163
Reviews:
2,137
Avg:
4.22
pDev:
10.43%
 
 
Wants:
547
Gots:
1,778
For Trade:
131
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 6,163 |  Reviews: 2,137
Photo of ipc2000
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of mve102
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of ironchefmiyagi13
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of ChiBrewKing
5/5  rDev +18.5%

Photo of kylehay2004
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of RickS95
4.12/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours an extremely black beer with only some lighter brown tints when held up to light. The light doesn't come through, but the faint brown only shows then. The head is gorgeous, a mocha colored pillow of bubbles. Retains very well and leaves an attractive film of lace.

The smell isn't as aggressive as I'd like, but it's all malt. No evidence of hops, just malt. A bit of chocolate and smoke.

This bottle has only been around for five months, so the flavors haven't yet melded together. It's abundantly malty, with a nice kick of alcohol from mid-sip throughout the finish. I've got a four pack and I'm having two tonight, so I expect when I have the next two bottles this score will go up. Currently, there's little complexity as it goes simply from malty to boozy.

Smooth is the word of the day. It's exceptionally smooth and creamy. An initial blast of sweetness precedes the heat from the alcohol, as well as the bitterness from the alcohol and the chocolate. The finish is both warm and dry, and lingering. Full bodied creaminess. It's so soft for such a strong beer.

While a bit bitter and relatively high in ABV, it's quite easy to drink. As it warms more and more sweetness comes out, making it even more drinkable. I've never seen this in town before so I'm really excited to know I can age a couple more bottles for the future.

 1,344 characters

Photo of iatethecloudsfor
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of Bowers-Brew
4.14/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - One of the darkest pours I've seen. Nice dark brown head, about 2 inches worth, and lingers nicely.

S - More complex smelling than a lot of the Russian / Imperial stouts. Alcohol, raisin, caramel, toffee, and vanilla notes.

T - Sweet vanilla, bitterness, toffee, bourbon, and slight malty flavor.

O - It's big, complex, and full of new and interesting flavors with each gulp. I can't wait to see how this beer changes with age. I'll be sure to cellar a few for later. It's not an every day beer, but I would certainly get this one again. Great for cold winter nights. Prost!

 584 characters

Photo of GRFounder
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of DTown
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of rrski198
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of King_Charles
4.75/5  rDev +12.6%

Photo of Jeffrey2310
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of barneysdad
5/5  rDev +18.5%

Photo of leinie13
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of mikerieder
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of Buckeye982
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of martyl1000
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

UPDATE 7/31/15
Yep, my 2014 update for the 2013 (below) Expedition was entirely sound. Having mellowed nearly a year in the cellar, this bottle of 2014 Expedition holds its place near the tippy top of my double stout fave's of all time. I have 11 more bottles in the cellar. Yay!

I also have six bottles of the 2013 in the cellar. I'm shaking my head at the hedonism that awaits in those six bottles.

If you're trying this out with a fresh bottle, what Bell's says about it on their label is quite accurate:

. . . . . . "Intensely bitter in its early months, the flavors will slowly meld and grow in depth as the beer ages."

That night at Fischman Liquors in 2013, I rashly rated this 3.75. When fresh, this brew has a bitterness that just won't quit. But, throw it in the cellar for a while, and, voila!

-----------------
UPDATE 8/1/14
I seriously have to upgrade my previous 3.75 rating from last summer. Perhaps the tap lines at Fischman Liquors last year needed to be flushed. Even more likely, it was served too cold. Whatever the case, the specimen I'm now this moment holding in my hand is fabulous.

A fairly aggressive pour into a tulip glass gives a small head, w/ almost no lacing (a sign of high abv, with slippery solvent alcohol refracting on the glass). The aroma is still remarkably weak (though subtly rich with a quiet majesty--just too quiet). I get in the nose a woody alcohol, plus uncooked pasta. And a bit of leather (but in a good way; I don't know how that's possible, as I detest leather in beer).

But the flavor in the mouth, wow, that's a different story. Incredibly complex. The flavors oscillate between a balance of bitter and sweet: burnt coffee and milk chocolate, black licorice and caramel, honey-baked ham and oatmeal-raisin. Wait, that last pair are both sweet. Plus an alcohol heat and an odd salt that helps cut the sweet.

A fullish-bodied, slick-viscous texture like warm maple syrup. Yet that creaminess is leavened by a mild to moderate carbonation, even as the pour in this tulip glass has risen to room temperature.
------------------

ORIGINAL RATING & REVIEW 7/2015
Rating: 3.75

On tap at Fischman Liquors, Chicago

I am not impressed. What a letdown the flavor is upon seeing this be-you-tea-ful black pour. It's nearly devoid of aroma. And in the mouth, the flat, coffee syrup (if there were such a thing!) is not quite welcome.

Several hours later, I'm getting the aroma, now, from the warmed-over tulip glass: orange peel, black pepper, black cherry juice, unripe tomato, and dopplebock malt. That's a pretty astonishing aroma. I only wish I could say the same about the flavor in the mouth.

 2,653 characters

Photo of DerekQXQX
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of Docrock
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of wiscokid920
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of jono0101
5/5  rDev +18.5%

Photo of JamesStreet
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of chooch5
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of MidtowneMarket
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.22 out of 5 based on 6,163 ratings.
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