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

2,114 Reviews
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

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Reviews: 2,114 | Ratings: 6,101
Photo of Czequershuus
4.32/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer pours a dark black with a small head. The first thing that strikes me about the aroma is it's booziness - not in a bad way. This is followed by dark chocolate, very mild unbrewed coffee, licorice, cassia cinnamon, cherry blossom, rose petal, and a host of other unnamable scents. Dark chocolate and licorice lead the way, with the floral notes playing a wonderful background flavors. The sweetness is very present in the aroma, but the flavor is quite dry. The mouthfeel is sticky and full. Overall this is an awesome beer to sink into.

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Photo of Sabtos
4.21/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black with a souffle-like, convex mocha head leaving thin sheets of lace.

Really nutty, roasty malts with earthy, slightly piney hop aromas on this one. Like a boss.

Taste is super rich roasted nuts, deep deep molasses, cocoa infused ginger snaps, and a very distinct hint of black licorice.

Feel is viscous, thick and frothy with a little heat on the finish.

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Photo of smanson56
4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured a dark black color into my tulip glass. Nice malty nose with hints of chocolate and coffee. The taste is full and smooth with a rich dark malt flavor with hints of cacao and coffee. The mouthfeel is perhaps a little thin for this stout. A good stout that should age gracefully.

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

Pours like pitch with a copious tan head that resolves very slowly – smells strongly of roasted and charred malts, cocoa, coffee, citrusy hops, earth and hint of leather. Tastes sweet malts forward with hints of molasses, caramel, some coffee, transition to a dark chocolate, hint of dark fruits and a smoky, earthy note and a rather clean finish. Well balanced. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, milky and chewy with pleasant finish with only the mildest (not unpleasant) tacky texture.
Very smooth stout, thoroughly enjoyable – easily one of the best RIS I’ve had – and the price point is reasonable for a beer of such high quality.

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Photo of T-34-85
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at one of the local beer bars in Syracuse Area.

Great looking RIS with a deep obsidian color accompanied by a thick dense, dirty brown one finger head.

Smell of dark roasted malts with a hint of char and sweetness.

The taste is excellent, with a great combination of bitter notes from the hops and dark malts, and deep rich complexity one would expect from an RIS, topped off by healthy amount of sweetness to balance out the taste.

The feel is thick and viscous, coating the mouth, and accented by the frothy head of foam from the original pour, which holds on for about 1/3 of the beer's consumption, and further enhances the feel.

Overall: This is an awesome beer on tap, with an amazing balance of characteristics for an RIS. If you're a fan of the style, then I would strongly recommend it.

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Photo of KillerJigger
4.52/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great thick viscous pour with creamy head that slowly mellows. THE BEST RIS FOR THE MONEY!! Better than many rare brewery release only stouts. Great beer!! My hats off to the brewers.

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Photo of CHickman
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 10/16/15, so it's still a young RIS: pours pitch black with a menacing looking darkness which produced a huge 2+ finger brown head that was full of bubbles of all sizes that crackle and hiss as it faded very slowly, leaving outstanding foamy lacing coating the sides forming foamy rings as it went down. The head was like a brown cloud that didn't budge for a pretty long time. Very impressive looking stout.

Smells of dark chocolate, coffee beans, burnt malts, charred wood, cocoa powder, toffee, brown sugar, light piney hops and earthy notes. The dark chocolate is the star of the show, almost dominating the air and really standing out. I like the char and smoky aspects, but don't get much fruit or hops and was a little let down by it's simplicity. It smells good, but not great.

Tastes much better than it smells, wow it's complex and gets better with every passing minute. Initial flavor is molasses, bitter coffee grinds, toffee, dark chocolate and maple syrup, then it turns fruity and sweet with dark fruit such as raisins, dates, red wine and black cherries. Mix in some brown sugar, cocoa powder, port wine, espresso and charred wood or a s'mores that fell into the campfire ashes, and you've got this very complex flavor profile to enjoy. Everything works well together, dare I say in harmony, and it is so smooth for a big beer that it's almost dangerous to drink. Really tasty, naturally getting better as it warms up.

Mouthfeel is slick but thick, chewy and almost viscous like syrup; the sweetness is tamed by the roasted and burnt malt bitterness which gives nice charred notes mixed with coffee grinds and a bunch of chocolate. It's like a dessert in it's richness, fading with a nice mix of chocolate sweetness, faint booze and complex roasted malts that seem to turn fruity and let out more dynamic flavors.

Overall a really damn good beer that hides the 10.5% ABV masterfully and is a RIS I could drink all the time. This is the type of beer I'd love to have in stock at home year round. I imagine this would age with the best of them so I will seek out more of this, as I suspect it will get better with age and drive up my rating. This brew lives up to the hype.

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Photo of Ivanhoes_Backpack
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank on a snowy day in March in a New York City hotel room; paired with crack pie (courtesy of Momofuku milk bar). Fantastic winter sipper. Rich and chocolatey. Will seek out again.

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

This is a great beer. Smells like chocolate and malt. Looks like dark motor oil. It is super creamy and smooth. Tastes like chocolate, coffee and oak. Bottle dated 10/23/14. I would definitely put this on tap at my bar. One of the best stouts I've had all year.

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Photo of Tonyjenlasc
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look - Jet black, viscous, half finger of a mocha head that dissipated quickly
Smell - Chocolate immediately hits the nose first. Then some coffee, roasted malt, nutty and anise notes
Taste - A lot of coffee, chocolate, smoke, earthy, char, espresso type bitterness
Feel - Lovely mouthfeel this beer has! Creamy and smooth. Coats the palate

Overall - One of the better imperial stouts I've tasted. Really enjoyed this one.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle, bottled on date 09/11/2015. Finally getting around to reviewing this one from Bell's, acquired a single bottle from the local beer store.

Poured into a Big Eddy snifter glass.

A - Pours an impressive opaque dark black body, around one finger of dark chocolatey mocha head, bubbly, that leaves behind good scattered strands of lacing. Looks excellent.

S - Big roasty charred malt aroma. Huge complexities of vanilla, oak, wood, chocolate, roast, & cream, with perhaps even a slight touch of fresh piney / fruity hop presence.

T - Taste follows the nose: big dark roast, chocolate malts, notes of vanilla / cream / wood / earth. Big notes of roasted barley malt & notes of char / coffee. Very robust and delicious. Chocolatey roast / malt bitterness.

M - Robust & roasty malt bitterness on the palate. Very smooth & creamy, extremely drinkable stuff for the high abv.

Overall, an extremely drinkable and delicious RIS from Bell's. Definitely a beer I will be adding to my rotating line up of beers more often, and a surefire contender for some serious aging. Highly recommended stuff.

Bell's Expedition Stout -----4.5/5

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Photo of MichaelNeelsen
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Did a 10-year vertical with friends. Below are our general thoughts on how it changed each year.

2015 - tastes young, woody, bitter, chocolate
2014 - cherry, milder, sweeter, lost its bitterness
2013 - got more complex, a "flavor punch" as Matthew said.
2012 - smoother, milder, back to a 2014 taste
2011 - deep cherry flavor, dark fruit, fig, chocolate, chalky, back to the "flavor punch"
2010 - "I can't tell if this one is my favorite or if I'm just buzzed," says Megan. Lost its fruitiness, more date, salt, 7UP, minerals, not as mild
2009 - a small swig tastes like nickels or loose change (oxidation), but a big swig is like chocolate goodness "going through my body."
2008 - super woody, smoky, "the flavor is back!" says Griffin. Matt ranks this one in the lower 50%. "Pretty metallic with no strong flavors to cover it up."
2007 - "Ooh, very chocolatey," says Megan. Smooth. All the metallic taste is gone. Really good. Michael is debating if it's the best of the bunch.
2006 - Smooth, oily, almost like a bourbon barrel aged beer. Salt, no bite, strong flavor of everything that's come before. It's like "a concentrated version of the current 2015 stout," if they put it in a saucer and boiled it, it would be a chocolate or mole sauce. Very little alcohol bite.

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Photo of cherche
4.04/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

l: midnight brown with a huge mocha head - very good retention
s: heavy on the tobacco and tar
t: tobacco and tar, some chocolate
m: full bodied
o: very good imperial stout

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Photo of MyThoughtsExactly
3.92/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle dated this year.
L: An aggressive pour led to very little head and head retention. Beer appears jet black both during the pour and in the glass. Looks like a big stout in the glass.
S: Sweet syrup, dark fruit, chocolate, and a little alcohol on the nose.
T:Follows the nose with lots of sweet syrup, carmel, and dark fruit flavors. The finish brings on roasted malt, coffee, chocolate all balanced with some nice bitterness. Slight alcohol warm and heat.
F: Interestingly, lots of carbonation in the mouth leads to a creamy, smooth mouthfeel. Easy drinking for its ABV.
Overall this is a somewhat sweet imperial stout which brings more syrup and dark fruit flavors than other RIS. Am interested in how this will taste with a year or two on it.

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Photo of The_Snow_Bird
4.63/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Has a perfect dark look like used motor oil. Has a medium frothy dark caramel colored head. Has a strong roasted malt smell. Tastes like how it smells along with hints of chocolate.

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Photo of Slack
3.87/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown in color with minimal head and moderate lacing as it goes down.

Smell is cocoa, alcohol, roasted coffee.

Flavors of coffee, roasted malt, cocoa, and hop bitters.

Mouthful is medium to light and creamy with moderate carbonation. Finish is lingering and dry.

A nice Russian imperial stout with a great flavor profile but not exceptional. I would try it but seek out others.

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Photo of PhillyJ
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Unique Russian Imperial it's a very tasty Russian covered in milk sweetness. the lacing on this is beautiful and the aftertaste is an earthy hop flavor that lingers after the milk sweetness and malt fades. Not overly complex I find chocolate and dark fruit easily and at 10.5%abv it's smooth and highly drinkable. I'd like to age a few and see what comes of it. A great take on a RIS that I can't wait to find on tap. I will pick up regularly..

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Photo of Patric65
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into an Abita Pint glass. My bottle was brewed in September 2015.

Pours with a very thin head, very little lacing to speak of. Nice deep black color. A very nice looking beer in the glass.

It has a rich, sweet smokey smell with a hint of pepper.

The primary flavors are very well balanced between the malt and the chocolate, with the chocolate winning out by a hair. This beer presents both sweet and bitter tastes with the slightly dominant sweet being offset by a light peppery finish. The alcohol in this beer is almost completely hidden.

Very smooth, rich mouth feel. This beer is, to me, the perfect pairing of taste and texture. Every sip pleases on multiple levels.

The overall drinking experience associated with this beer is excellent. A beer you can sit and savor, take your time with and enjoy slowly and steadily. Definitely among the best in its class. I will definitely be putting some of these up for a year or two to bottle age. If you find yourself with the opportunity to try this beer, I strongly suggest you do.

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Photo of q33jeff
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Go Lehigh. Lafayette Sucks. 2014 Bottle (13 months old) to goblet. Aroma is a lot of roasted barley. Hints of coffee also. Appearance: Dark black color, very thick, with thick light tan head. Taste: bitter dark chocolate, roasted barley, maybe a touch burnt. Excellent beer though. Feel is thick and meaty. Not quite as tasty as some other stouts, but all the peripherals are on the mark. Excited to age a few of these further.
Picked up a younger bottle. Bottled 9/11/15, so about 6 months. Very nice. A tad less bitter than i remember the 13month old bottle.
Bottle to pint glass. Bottling Date=10/23/14.

At just under 2 years, this is still sublime.

A truly expeditious stout.

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

I decided to do a taste test between a newly released bottle and a bottle cellared for a year. I found the 2014 to be slightly less carbonated as the head was a bit less than the 2015. I also found it to be a little creamier than the 2015 variety. Head to Head I can't really say I have a favorite, we'll see what another year brings to the 2014. There was not a tremendous difference in taste but the alcohol may be a little more subtle in the 2014. Keep in mind, I usually start at 10% ABV and work my way up, if it is under 10% I won't usually bother.

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

Pours black with a nice 2 inch caramel head and leaves a nice lacing on the glass. Notes of chocolate and vanilla on the nose. Upon tasting, you get the chocolate up front, then vanilla and coffee on the finish. All in all, an excellent brew. My wife picked this up for me on a recent business trip she took.

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Photo of Apellonious
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle 9/3/15 poured into a tulip glass.

A - jet black with a one finger head that dissapears quickly.

S - chocolate, roasted malt, anise, vanilla.

T - In line wth nose, with some coffee/cocoa/nut flavors melded in.

M - Carbonation is medium low, mouthfeel is dense, gets sticky.

O - Looking forward to seeing how a few these age.

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Photo of spoony
4.43/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From a 355 ml bottle (packaged September 2, 2015) to a snifter.

A-The beer looks heavy as it pours into the glass. A nice, dense head of khaki foam starts at about one fat finger tall and lasts a good while. The beer is black and opaque beneath the foam. Good looking stuff.

S-The aroma is pretty intense with higher levels of roasted grain, bittersweet baker's chocolate, coffee bean, a little alcohol warmth, and some vanilla bean that gives just a little creaminess. There are some hops here, but the beer is nicely balanced.

T-Wow, nice layering of flavors here. The beer opens with a little hit of roasted barley bitterness, then a waive of milk chocolate, raisins, black licorice, and sweetness kicks in. The next layer transitions back towards bitterness with baker's chocolate, heavily roasted grains, medicinal alcohol, licorice and coffee grounds. The finish is long on the palate.

M-The feel is medium in heft with a soft, almost imperceptible carbonation that gives the beer a nice creamy texture.

O-This is a really well-done beer. It looks pretty much like I think a stout should look, and it smells and tastes great. Very complex. A big beer for sure, but a really nice one to sip on this chilly November evening.

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Photo of dpgoblejr
4.89/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Black in color, fluffy khaki head, streaks of lacing, and brewed on 9/2/15. Two and a half months young and the bitterness is there but nothing that detracts at all. Aroma of dark cocoa and dark fruits but not much else. Huge flavors of chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, and a marshmallow sweetness. Quite thick and coats well. Smooth, yet vicious, and the abv is well masked. A truly spectacular RIS! Probably one of the best I've indulged upon.

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Photo of Evilyak
4.49/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

darkness shmarkness. i'm pretty tired of surly getting all of the love in MN for the best RIS when this is what is wanted all along.

it pours inky black with a thick, tan head that laces all along the glass.

smell is pleasantly roasted, with a hint of pine in the fire. taste is the same - there should be fire on the label. perfect for campfires.

it's brilliant for what it is.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.22 out of 5 based on 6,101 ratings.
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