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

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2,099 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: 2,099 | Ratings: 6,033
Photo of zjungleist
4.27/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #6811. Pours pretty much pitch black with a small tan head. I can tell just by looking how thick this stuff is. Actually, at first, there was no head, and slowly one bubbled up from the inky depths. The smell is great, with boatloads of bakers chocolate and a nice sharp, green hop smell. The taste is not perfect though, it was really really sweet. It started with pretty much perfect hops, and then immediately became very sweet. I would say the sweetness overpowered what would be the peak flavors, but then mellowed with some great chocolate and cream flavors and a lingering coffee aftertaste. But seriously, this stuff is sweet. Maybe with a little bit of age that would mellow. I'll probably cellar the bulk of what I have. I wish there were dates instead of batch numbers, but I'll wing it. The mouthfeel was pretty thick, and though there was a bit of carbonation that could be summonsed with a good swirl, it was a bit off balance in the respect. So.. flavor and mouthfeel are both a bit off balance, yet it was quite enjoyable and complex.

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Photo of unclederby
4.85/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch 6811

So i'm gonna go ahead and say it now, this is absolutely one of the best beers i've ever tasted.

The pour was an opaque pitch black topped by a smallish mocha-colred head which dissapated quickly. Impossible by sight to guess if there is any carbonation activity.

Smell is sweet, dominated by smoke and chocolate, wheat toast and with the faintest hint of hops.

And the taste! Rich with flavours of milk chocolate, roasted malts, hazelnuts, coffee and the slightest hint of hop bitterness on the finish. How the hell did i get all of this? I would never know this is 11.5 ABV.

What superb flavors!

I'm drinking too fast...

Mouthfeel to me is perfect for a double stout, thick and chewy, smooth and creamy... just a bit slick and oily. Who needs carbonation?

Drinkability? Give me another... but just one more. Not because it's harsh on the palate but just the opposite; it's delicious and very rich and quite filling.

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

For some reason there's no batch #, but I know it was bottled in 2004.

Pours absulutely pitch black with a very thin dark brown head, that quickly fades to a very thin ring that leaves only bits of lacing.

Smell; at first there was a little bit of a soy sauce aroma going on, but that disappeared after I let it sit for a few minutes. I smell dark roasted choclate malts, slight coffee presence and some anise.

Taste; wow, those roasted choclate malts really hit right up front, with a little bit of the cooffee blanded in. There's a slight bitterness for the hops, but those are somewhat subdued due to some age. I get a little bit of a vinous and molasses flavors as this warms, with a little bit of an alcohol bite. Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, but smooth for the the style. I don't think I would be able to drink more than one of these in a night without drooling all over myself..

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Photo of ghostwalker
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle serving.

Body is black hole, bottom of a well, midnight in a coal mine black. One finger of dark brown head. Beautiful!

Nose is rich and boozy.

Flavor is deep, dark, roasted malt. Dark fruits are present, prunes, plums, currants. Not much coffee or chocolate. More of a extra roasted, almost burned maltiness. Piney hops also are present in strength. Overall, this kind of reminds me of Great Divide's Yeti. Boozy, I can taste the alcohol, and there is a definite warming effect.

Mouthfeel is thick, chewy and oily. You really know you are drinking an RIS with this bad boy. Top marks!

Drinkability is OK. It's really good, but also really strong and intense. One will do me for now.

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Photo of bruachan
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

i didn't know motor oil was so delicious. huge mouthfeel that contains toffee and chocolate, velvety all the while. bitterness stems an otherwise very sweet finish. and there's a cola character there at the end too, along with a very slight aged flavor. esters are not pronounced, but detectable

bitter chocolate and licorice aroma. i might be getting a touch of hop

compared to the speedway stout i tried last night this is fairly tame, but balance can be a virtue amongst the imperials as well

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Photo of xgrigorix
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Twelve ounce brown bottle - no dates, batch # only.

Pitch black. Thin brown coloured head. Thin, tiny patches of lace.

Nose is full of dates, chocolate, coffee, currants, & a wee bit of alcohol.

Nice. Well balanced blend of sweet malt, coffee & chocolate. Dark fruit flavours move in & out freely. Agressive hopping - grapefruit & pine. Off dry finish. Smooth, full bodied. Gentle carbonation. Well put together.

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Photo of kohoutek
4.77/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark as the darkest night with a nice brown head. The foam quickly dissipates into an oil drop experiment of xylem cells and migrating plasmodium.

The beer smells of dark fruits, plums, slivovicz, cherry pits and currants. A good swirling reveals smoky roasts with layers of complexity, herbal hops, fruity acidity and chocolatey/espresso warmth. This beer is heavily ester laden. These aromas are beautifully integrated into this complex, rich beer.

The flavors are winey/vinous and maltiliciously acidic, all wrapped in a roasty, fruity, chocolately/caramel blanket.

The mouthfeel is rich, medium-thick. It is enhanced by the lively acidity, hop bitterness and low carbonation.

I have enjoyed up to four expeditions in a row (lots of time in between) and they are very drinkable.

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Photo of ToggleEyes
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It poured out thick and black and settled with a tiny head that disappeared fast. The color is quite black, but around the top it looks like the brown is sepparating from the black. The smell is intoxicationg with coffee, dark chocolate, mollases, malt, small bits of alcohol, toffee and raisin maybe? There is a lot going on with this one if you take the time to really "waft it in". The taste is awsome. Creamy and smooth, sweet and not overly bitter. This is great in a stout this way you can bare to let it sit in your mouth for a while and find all the flavors. Has a great aftertaste that has some burn and punch to it. I think I have found my measuring stick when it comes to Imperial Stouts.

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Photo of jaluria
4.43/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So dark in color it's difficult to identify anything else within this beer. A slight head with a mocha-color that stays around for awhile. I could smell nuts, chocolate, coffee beans, and roasted sugar; somewhat expected for this style, but still appealing. The taste was just incredible with a richness in flavor and texture that makes it one of the best RIS around. Smooth and creamy from the first sip to the last drop. The sweetness is never so dominant it takes away from the beer or blows out your taste buds. The drinkability is excellent in terms of whether or not I would want another pint, but the double digit ABV prevents me from having more than 1 of these beers.

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Photo of hero27
4.85/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Deep rich chocolate color with an extremely creamy head. Aroma is rich chocolate, molasses, coffee, dark fruits, etc. Tastes are incredible and mirror the smells, but with an added complexity of burnt malts and a brutally bitter character as well. Amazing..this exceeded the hype for me, and then some. The mouthfeel is endlessly smooth & creamy.. The alcohol shows itself perfectly, and compliments the other flavors exceptionally well.
Mindblowing drinkability for a nearly 12% alcohol beer. Definitely one of the best stouts I've ever had..nearly flawless.

A top-notch offering from Bell's. Thanks to Px2GrafX for letting my try this one.

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Photo of beerceller99
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle, batch # 6672.
Wow... Opaque black with a brown head. A slightly oxidized smell is mildly sweet with chocolate and plums, prunes. Medium heavy body with a oily mouthfeel. Rich taste of dark chocolate truffles, expresso, and plums with a slight hint of alcohol. A cloying finish has that expresso taste to it.
One of the best stouts brewed these days. Excellent.

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Photo of ncbrewerbun
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

From a brown 12 oz. bottle.

This is approaching extreme beer status. The appearance is black -- an opaque black, jet black with a thin tan head.

Complex aroma -- the malt, yes...dark fruits, molasses, chocolate. An all around imperial aroma.

A big hit of malt, but balanced. The alcohol is subdued. And one thing that set this apart from some of the other stouts we were tasting as the same time was this beer's relative smoothness. It is not harsh and overly bitter.

Chewy. You know you are drinking a big beer.

You have to appreciate this beer like you would a work of art. It's complex, flavorful and an enjoyable experience! Happy Holidays. Have another!

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Photo of SupaCelt
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Murky and dark brown. Minimal head from a conservative pour. Fears of overflow quelled. Small bubbles carbonate. Chocolate coloured ring is substituted for head. Smells of chocolate syrup and coffee, licorice and some fruitiness, and slight alcoholic impressions. The flavours are mostly a bitter chocolate and coffee bean experience. The body is creamy and smooth. This is at least a 9 on Bob's smoothness scale. The drinkability is good in terms of the style. Too much stout can cause pain and chocolate brown dookie.

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Photo of TheBlackMallard
4.17/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured an oily black. The tan head grew out of nowhere and quickly disappeared. Smells of sugar, coffee, dates. Tastes of sweet roasted mocha coffee. The aftertaste starts bitter and quickly gives way to sweetness. Thick creamy mouthfeel. Very smooth, but I think one is enough for me.

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Photo of nlmartin
3.72/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a pub glass.

Appearance: The beer poured almost straight black. The head was a very nice creamy coffee color. The only problem the head was dead on arrival. The beer has a dotting pattern of lacing down the glass.

Smell: Sweet carmelly fruity chocolatey coffee assault my nose. Rum soaked raisons make up the fruity smell.

Taste: The beer comes on with a spicy peppery sweetness. Then waves of chocolate and coffee do there thing.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy with almost no carbonation. I think carbonation would have helped the flavors explode from the glass.

Drinkability: This beer would have been far more drinkable with a little more carbonation.

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Photo of Shultzerdugen
4.88/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12 oz. brown bottle.

Pours inky black/brown capped by a large tan head with dark brown threads though it. As the beer went down in the glass it left small globules of chunky goodness.

Aroma is dark chocolate, espresso, molasses, vanilla, and a hint of raisins.

The body is full to the extreme, but still creamy from carbonation and the ample head. Roasted malts come right out front, followed by a juicy center, finished with coffee and dark chocolate notes carried through from the nose and a molasses sweetness . Alcohol is superbly hidden.

I savored a six pack I bought in March for nine months, and the beer seemed to hold its character brilliantly. So damned good.

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Photo of budsboy
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours thick, opaque onyx black. Cascading head grows slowly to a two-finger thick layer of rocky, poofy tan foam.

Smell is deep and rich -- coffee, chocolate, raisen, roasted bread, oak and alcohol.

Taste is every bit as good as the smell. Tart, almost sour plum quickly changes to a deep and rich dark chocolate, then burnt espresso and a grainy bread. Finish is thick black coffee bitterness that sticks around. Fantastic.

Smooth and silky. Full bodied. Chewy. This is a meal. You know you've got something special when this hits the tongue.

Exceptional brew. Bigger than many Russian imperial stouts. If anything, this feels more like an American double stout to me, mostly because of its size and fullness. The last two Bell's I've had are the 7000 and this. I'm convinced ... nobody does big stouts better than Bell's. Good, good, good.

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Photo of phishgator
4.69/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Vintage 2002
This pours into and Imperial pint glass with large clunks and chugs. A thick brownish black (liquid?) with a decent head for such a big brew. Thought the head does receed in just a short time. The aroma is of perfection for an Imp. Stout, roasted coffee and dark bitter choclate. The taste is every bit the same as the aroma but with a bit of heat from the alcohol! There is also a strong bitter presence. The mouthfeel is thick and coating, as it should be. The drinkability is out of this world. I always want more after I finish the first one; although I'm not too sure that I should have another?!

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Photo of MuddyFeet
4.63/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I am completely fascinated with the beer. Thank you so much to CRJMellor for this bottle.

Poured an incredibly deep brown in color. Slight head that was slightly tinted brown. Not much lace, but what the lace that was tere was in the form of a spotty and stringy hybrid. Nose was a very, very dark chocolate and almost as if I stuck my head into a fireplace where the flu was a bit dirty.

Wow! What can I say about the flavor. Knocked me over and left me sippign this beer as if it were the nectar of life. It was full of coffee. but not a dark or even mild roast. It was more of a flavored coffee. Little bits of mocha and hazelnut coffee. Not so much as choclate as flavored coffee. Mouthfeel is full bodied and rich. Very smotth drinking--even for such a high ABV. So tough to put the glass down.

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

I have been drinking Expedition for over a year. It is time to tell others how nice this beer is ! (BTW- Stouts are my favorite, Imperial, Double, Oatmeal, etc)

Pours deep mahogony black with rich garnet highlights at the edge, develops a creamy tan head, fine bubbles that takes several minutes to fade to an edge ring.

Smell is big toasty caramel malt over a hop backbone with a faint smell of alcohol.

Taste is rich, chocolate, coffee, toasted grains and caramel, followed by a well balanced big hop bitterness and then a slpash of alcohol.

Full rich mouthfeel that finished with a subtle alcohol bite (I find this a good characteristic), viscous and substantial.

Drinkable - Imperial Stouts are an acquired taste. This is a very fine example of one. I drink about 1 per month.

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Photo of blitz134
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black body. A one finger dark chocolate head that reduced really quickly. Good looking brew.

Overall sweet aroma. Lots of sweet dark fruits including raisins and currants. Some light chocolate comes through as well. Flavor is loaded with dark toasted malts followed by a sweet caramel body. The alcohol presents an overall sweetness adding possibly a touch of vanilla. Alcohol isn't really overwhelming, definately blended with the flavor in a tasty fashion.

Mouthfeel is oily and creamy on the tongue. Coats well and lingers for quite a while. Dangerously drinkable. Probably one of the most drinkable brews I"ve had with this much alcohol.

Overall a nicely crafted brew. Definately a sipper.

Thanks to feloniousmonk for the opportunity...

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.88/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This brew pours a motor oil black color. The head is brown with a with crown. The aroma is of chocolate, cream, crackers, butter, with Bell's house aroma peaking slightly though. The taste is chocolate, and club crackers, with some really nice bitterness in the finish. The bitterness slowly fades during the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is perfect for an imperial stout; full bodied with just enough carbonation to make things interesting. Overall, this is the best impy I have had to date.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
4.56/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This beer poured into my chalice a clear, almost opaque brown-black with a thin layer of head that disappeared immediately.

The aroma was stangely faint... slightly sweet, some alcohol, no roasted character at all. And I served it at a little above cellar temperature.

This did NOT carry through to the flavor. It was not sweet at all... I got MASSIVE roasted barley, which faded to a coffee aftertaste. DAMN this was powerful. But 11.5%? Where? Sure as hell didn't taste like it. Very deceptive.

Mouthfeel was wonderful... thick, chewy, and it coated the tongue.

Drinkability... very good, but the flavor was so strong and powerful that I couldn't give it a perfect rating. I could only have one of these and I would have my fill. I would gladly go back to it, however.

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Photo of Frozensoul327
4.63/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Yes. This is a good beer. Solid, heavy, thick, powerful. Quite possibly the ultimate winter brew. Poured out to a pitch black color with a motor oil level of thickness. Very high viscosity. Lower carbonation, but a nice dense brown head arose from the beer totaling about 3/4 of an inch, and remained consistant. Aromas of chocolatey malts, roasted coffee, earth and soft wood notes. Very appealing. Taste was direct and filling. Flavors of dark turkish coffee, cocoa, heavily roasted malts, dark chocolate and burnt molassas. Amazing, and worthy of the exceptional designation. Mouthfeel was thick and chewy, while still having a smooth and creamy element to it. Very hearty. A good level of drinkability, this brew's 11.5% ABV is hardly detectable, which could mean trouble for those with a six pack on hand and a low level of moderation ability. An amazing brew, and worth the price. The best Russian Imperial Stout I have ever had. Highly recommended.

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

7/27/06 update: Re-reviewed for the context of Imperial/Russion Stout Session...9th in line for myself, expatsteve, DaPeculierDane, and Golden2wenty1. Overall analysis remains similar. My notes revealed a 4.5, 4.5, 4, 4, 3.5 scoring.

12oz single, from the cellar fridge, batch 6672, 04 edition

appearance: black as night, a foamy deep brown head begins to form, but is a bit smaller than usual, some minimal ruby tinting...pours like motor oil, as has often been said

smell: big and bold, very deep roast, dark bittersweet chocolate, raisin, black coffee, some hints of underlying hops

taste: This is a big stout. Very rich with quite evident alcohol. The flavors are so dark and rich...the dark chocolate flavors are dominant, very sweet, dark caramel, toasted malts, espresso

mouthfeel: creamy and rich, bittersweet

drinkability: tasty but a beast, more than 1 is tough

I heart you expedition

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.22 out of 5 based on 6,033 ratings.
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