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

2,136 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: 2,136 | Ratings: 6,153
Photo of Bum4ever
4.32/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle received in a BIF from Crow121 dated 9/2/15

L: Dark black and thick with a small amount of tan head that stayed awhile
S: coffee and chocolate up front followed by dark cherry and maybe something sweet.
T: slightly bitter coffee followed by dark chocolate. Finishes easy with some dark fruit flavors and a slight hint of vanilla.
F: full-bodied and super smooth stout here. Will have to try a fresh one to see if it's always this smooth.
O: this aged version is really good and super easy to drink at 10.5%. We'll definitely seek this out again.

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Photo of ScaryEd
4.59/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle dated 18 months out.

Pours a pitch black motor oil color with a finger of dark caramel head. The head settles into a thin collar, leaving some random splotches of lace as it goes.

The aroma brings tons of coffee, char, and vanilla cream up front. Then comes a wave of dark chocolate and roasted nuts. The back end is slightly boozy, with plenty of fruity notes and just a whisper of hops. Nice complexity here.

The taste is all coffee up front, with huge waves of dark chocolate not far behind. The middle brings notes of vanilla and black cherries, as well as some fig and raisins. Finishes charred and slightly leathery. Big and bold flavors here.

The feel is full-bodied with slightly higher carbonation for the style. Thick, chewy, and creamy as all hell. Has some slight alcohol warmth, as to be expected.

Overall, this is one beast of a stout. It's bold and complex, with tons of flavors and aromas to keep your face in the glass. It's a bit higher in carbonation than I would like, but otherwise this is a world class brew. Well done.

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Photo of ajm5108
3.89/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.75

Colors are as expected, head is a frothy cream that is pretty persistent. As a fresh beer there is a lot of hop presence but that obviously smooths out over time. Aroma still vestiges even on a nearly three year old bottle, but there is also robust milk chocolate, slightly curdled cream (but in a good way!) and dark malt. Tons of bitter chocolate & smokey coffee dark malt on the tongue, along with vanilla creme and almond. Still some hop flavor floating around but adds a nice bitter kick and doesn't clash. Super silky mouthfeel. Sounds cliched for this beer given its reputation but definitely does better with a couple of years on it, which is pretty impressive for shelf stout.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.57/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In a snifter this beer was the color of a black hole. There was minimal to no head.
Chocolate aroma, some booze, some dark fruit. Very nice.
Taste only improved on the aroma. Dark chocolate, yet with some sweetness. Cherry, maybe some raisin A definite char to the taste.
Wonderful beer!

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.64/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Expedition Stout has a thin, tan head, a very dark brown appearance, and minimal lacing. Aroma is strong and full- very dark brown bread crust, some alcohol, some chocolate powder, and cream. Taste is of those elements, with acrid bitterness from the char, with black cherry. Mouthfeel is full-on heavy & silky, and Expedition Stout finishes medium wet/dry and bold.

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Photo of SaltofOH
3.86/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 9/8/16. Guinness pint glass. Can't believe I have never reviewed this.

A: pours a completely opaque black with two fingers thick, frothy tan head. A little carbonation sticks to the sides of the glass.

S: fruity and hoppy right off the bat. Where some RIS's are malt and roast forward, I get a heavy dose of hops, followed by a dark, roasty, and flinty malt backbone. That head retains a one-finger cap seemingly forever. Nice lacing.

T: arrival is, not surprisingly, sweet. Complex blend of dark fruits, hops, and a good bit of alcohol. This is pretty much how I remember it. There is tremendous complexity here; layers of roast, fruity esters, and hops; but something is off-putting in the alcoholic finish. Bell's signature house yeast maybe isn't so hot (or is too hot?) at this ABV.

M: thick, chewy, low carbonation, slick.

O: for what is probably my favorite brewery, and one of my favorite styles, this beer has always been a miss for me. I think it is one that really needs to be aged. The really high and noticeable alcohol detracts from the experience for me. It is beautiful to behold and smell, and fine in texture, but something in the taste is just not my cup of beer.

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Photo of joaopmgoncalves
4.87/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Two bottles bought at El Cervecero, Spain. One to have now and another to have in one/two years.

Poured to snifter.

A: The body is pitch black. The head, being very minimal and only existing in the sides of the glass, is browny to caramel-y. No carbonation is visible.
S: The aroma has a big blueberry profile, mixed together with coffee, roasted malts, a too prominent profile of alcohol and I guess lactose. With the exception of the alcohol that is very noticeable, this aroma is great.
T: The taste is incredible, as it has a fantastic and very intense aroma of coffee, a slight one of toffee and dark berries. This is my kind of beer.
M: The body is high. Carbonation is a bit higher than perfection, which should be a little less. Alcohol almost goes unnoticed.
O: This is MY kind of Russian Imperial Stouts. Please world, make more of this.

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Photo of captaincoffee
4.44/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours near black with a solid head that leaves lots of sticky lace all over. Nose is rich malt, espresso, port, and molasses. Taste is also very rich, with lots of chocolate fudge...very creamy and thick...and dried fruits with a barleywine-like sweetness. Damn that is a good beer. I wish other breweries would get their base beer to this level before they started worrying about BA programs. This is goooood.

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Photo of Detlef90
4.82/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Probably the best easily accessible Russian Imperial available in a 6 pack format. Actually.. I would say it is in the top three Russian Imperials, period (my other two are Darkness and Stone). While this beer is good fresh, even with only a few months age it gets better and then with a couple of years of age it becomes legendary. Buy this beer. Have one fresh and then sit on the rest.

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Photo of TerryMills
4.48/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black , 2 fingers chocolate head.,

Smell is of dark roasted malts, hint of milk chocolate , Carmel.

Taste is chocolate , coffee,roasted malts, just a hint of some dark fruit like raisins or plums.

Feel is very thick but not too oily.

Overall a good choice and not too bad on the price.

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Photo of ryanwbrodie
4.74/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2014 vintage into a snifter. Strong dark chocolate on the nose, very smooth with little burn. Has aged quite nicely in 2.5 years, looking forward to re-visiting next year.

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Photo of backpackbeer
4.95/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a goblet. Not sure of the bottling date.

L: Midnight black with little to no head.

S: Molasses, tart cherry, prunes and light smokiness.

T: Quite a lot happening with notes of molasses, cognac, bitter chocolate, coffee and some raisin. The flavors come together really well.

F: Smooth and complex with lots of coffee and roasted malt flavors. Mouthfeel is thick and warming but not heavy.

Wow, what an imperial stout. This has been in my fridge for at least 6 months and was completely worth the wait. I highly recommend seeking a few of these out!

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Photo of Red5StandingBy
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12oz bottle into Spiegelau glass. Bottled on October 3rd 2016.

L: Opaque black with a finger width brown head with excellent retention.

S: Dark Chocolate, Coffee, Wood Smoke, Alcohol, Prunes, Sherry and Raisins. Wonderfully complex on the nose.

T: Dark roasted coffee beans, smooooooth dark chocolate, sherry, touch of the wood smoke, prunes make an appearance. Wow this is so complex and smooth for a Russian Imperial Stout.

F: Full body, good carbonation bite, super smooth.

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Photo of MemphisSooner
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Roast, boozy, goodness here. Tons of coffee and chocolate in the nose. The taste is thick, malty, and slightly sweet. Chocolate, coffee, and bourbon booze dominate. This is an exceptional stout.

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Photo of CNoj012
4.26/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 9/14/15, consumed 1/29/17

This beer pours a completely opaque jet black color with a thick, late forming, 3 finger rusty mocha head. Retention is phenomenal and there are rings and spotted lacing left all over the glass.

Smell is bitter chocolate, sweet dark fruit, caramel and vanilla.

Taste is the same with a fairly sweet aftertaste. Definitely not cloying. There is also a touch of booze on the finish.

Feel is medium bodied and fairly smooth, but not velvety. Carbonation is a bit high which takes away from the smoothness.

Overall a great stout. This is my first encounter with this beer so I will have to try one fresh to compare.

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Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
4.73/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Been wanting to knock this off my bucket list for quite some time now. This one more than delivered.

Bottled in October. A very complex stout full of Chocolate, dark fruits, dark cherry, some vanilla, and a vinous character presents it self as it warms. Roastiness & notes resembling coffee are on the lighter side. Not too bitter, not too soft. Silky actually, and it tastes so damn good, I realized that I needed to pace myself. I was near finished with this 10.5% 12oz bottle in 15 -20 minutes or so.

This beer at a few months from bottling already has all the characteristics I look for in the more common West Coast Imperial Stouts I have easy access to after they've aged 2+ years. THIS was very impressive to me.

While not quite a perfect example of the style for me, it sure was as close as it gets.

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Photo of AustinWadkins
4.41/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75


Pours thick and black like oil with virtually no head besides a faint chocolate collar

Smells of alcohol, bakers chocolate, dark fruits, roasted malts, hint of vanilla

Taste is amazing! Dark bitter chocolate, dark fruits, roasted malts, coffee,alcohol

Overall it was a fantastic beer! Aging really brought out the complexity!

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Photo of MikeyMcD86
4.48/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Drank out of a Tulip. Pours pitch black with a finger of dark brown head. Aroma is very hop forward along with some roasted malts and hint of dark cherry. Taste follows the nose. Roast qualities are far more pronounced along with a strong hoppy bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium plus, a little thinner than I'd expect from 10.5%. I can see why people say this beer needs to be cellared. The hops really dominate, suppressing many of the roasted coffee and chocolate notes that this beer could offer. Time to sit and mellow should allow the hops to take a back seat and the roast to shine. 90.25 points.

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Photo of cbenson
4.51/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Look: Oil slick black with a quarter inch thick volcanic ash colored head. Short retention on the head. Has the look and viscosity of motor oil. Awesome!
Smell: The usual stout culprits with caramel, dark-chocolate, and espresso. A bit more nutty and oaky than typical stouts. It reminds me of Ben and Jerry's salted butter pecan ice-cream. This might be a remnant of the licorice from the Kalamazoo Stout.
Taste: It begins a little sour with a sweet and salty finish like a mixture of soy sauce, bourbon, hot chocolate, and raspberry soda. The malt character is moderately starchy. The aftertaste is not as dry as I would have hoped for a high ABV beer but it has a salty and sweet finish that is fantastic.
Mouthfeel: The initial taste is rich and noticeably carbonated while the body is only slightly thicker than a porter. The finish leaves a long moistness in the front of the mouth with a more dry texture in the back. Similar to a root-beer float.
Overall: This beer makes keeps me guessing with every successive sip, which means it is either really good, really bad, or really weird. I think it lands somewhere between weird and good.

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Photo of Zaktcc
4.88/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Bottled 11/6/2015
A - Pours a pitch black color with a 3 finger, coffee colored head. Phenomenal head retention and lacing. Full embodiment of a stout.

S - The most overwhelming aroma that hits right off the bat is chocolate and sweet malts. Dark sugar and molasses are notable as well. An amazing and incredibly sweet scented beer.

T - Although not as present in the aromas, the bitterness of the dark fruits comes out in the flavors. Chocolate, malts and sugar are present as well with a sweet, mild chocolate aftertaste. Fairly bitter but very pleasant and will definitely improve with age.

M - Full bodied beer, well carbonated (especially given the age) and smooth. Creamy texture with an ever so slight booziness to it. Very enjoyable.

O - The stout brother of the Hopslam ale. As an avid stout lover, this brew definitely ranks amongst the best I've ever had. The aroma and aesthics are as near perfect as you can wish for. The flavors are robust and delicious and I am excited to see how they shape themselves with age. Very drinkable and enjoyable and simply one of the best stouts you'll ever find.

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Photo of Nicolaiw
4.46/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours thick black, a half finger tan head.
Aroma is coffee, molasses, little coconut, bitter chocolate, vanilla, oak, raisins, tobacco
Taste is oak, bitter chocolate, molasses, caramel, huge coffee finish.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.76/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours jet black with almost no head. Good lacing.
Smells of wonderful coffee, chocolate malt and slight hop.
A huge codfee and imperial hop taste. Bitterness from both explodes and sticks around. Causes great warming.
What an awesome, big Imperial stout thst I have been wantong for a long time.

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Photo of matcris
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Jet black, thick looking body, with just a thin layer of chocolate head that fades down to ring. You can see some alcohol legs sliding down the glass and good looking carbonation when I rock the glass. Nice aroma of molasses, leather, chocolate, minor coffee, dried dark fruit, earthy, and just a slight alcohol note. The flavor matches the smell, just bigger. The blend of the molasses, chocolate, and dark dried fruits is working, and the alcohol is there, but less so than the aroma. Fairly thick on the feel, smooth, with just enough carbonation. Slick and sticky, and rich. A slight bit of soy sauce going on, but not off putting. Real nice Imperial stout.

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Photo of rex_4539
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

L: Jet black color, no head whatsoever, very thin lacing, good carbonation.

S: Sweet, chocolate, vanilla.

T: Sweet, chocolate, vanilla. Superb!

F: Amazing thick mouthfeel. Full bodied.

O: A solid imperial stout.

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Photo of pezhead_79
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The epitome of a world class stout. Big malty backbone with a smooth finish. This bottle had aged 1yr and was only getting better. Just an exceptional yearly brew.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.22 out of 5 based on 6,153 ratings.
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