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

BA SCORE
94
outstanding
6,177 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:
6,177
Reviews:
2,143
Avg:
4.22
pDev:
10.43%
 
 
Wants:
553
Gots:
1,780
For Trade:
129
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 6,177 |  Reviews: 2,143
Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of Knapp85
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours out As black as most typical stouts do. The head is brown and pretty thick looking. The smell of the beer has some licorice and lots of roasted malts and a few light aromas of dark fruit. The taste of the beer is deeply roasted, with some burnt flavors in there. Light herbal notes and some dark chocolate in the mix. The mouthfeel is on the thicker side which is pretty nice. Overall I think it's a good brew it's not great but it's worth trying.

 463 characters

Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of nmann08
3.97/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle. Pours jet black. Very thick, light brown head, good carbonation and lacing.

Nose is heavy on roasted malt. Dark Chocolate. Smokey smell, wet burnt wood.

Taste is very bitter. Smoked meat, peat flavor. Heavy roasted malt, coffee.

Mouthfeel is full bodied. Creamy finish.

Overall, this is a great beer, but a bit too bitter for my taste.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
5/5  rDev +18.5%

Photo of metter98
4.13/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a finger high dark tan head that has excellent retention properties and hardly died down and left lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: There are moderate aromas of roasted malts in the nose along wit some hints of licorice.
T: The taste is similar to the smell, although the licorice becomes more prominent as the beer warms up and lingers through the finish. A light to moderate of bitterness is present.
M: It feels a little more than medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonated. All of the roasted malts make the finish feel dry.
O: This beer is quite drinkable considering the strength because the alcohol is well hidden from the taste (provided you can get past the roastiness).

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

Do large stouts get any more classy than this? Bell's makes it look easy as they layer the taste of roast, chocolate, alcohol, and fruit onto a succulent and savory base that seduces the palate at every turn.

The onyx-black ale arrives at the bar with a stern, disciplined, and masculine appearance. It's depth of clarity gives the beer a mirror-like sheen although it's black color makes it opaque. A mocha-stained head caps the beer with a blanket of foam that easily retains the session and laces the glass with confidence. Even a gentle swirl of the glass leaves brandy-like shiny legs clinging to the glass.

High roast, light smoke, and cocoa-rich chocolates overwhelm the nose with a backing of rum and bourbon booze that reveal notes of toffee and molasses. Underlying fruit aromas of red grape, cherry, and blackberry seem to carry a charred character and create a mouthwatering effect heading into the first sip.

Notions of chocolate wrapped espresso beans come to mind as the sweeter malts coat the front of the tongue and palate with its malty richness. Slightly scorched molasses allows for a rich and savory taste to rise at middle palate. This is the point where espresso roast, bittersweet chocolate, and charred dark fruit weave together for a complex but pleasantly rounded taste. Bold however, the taste is further complemented by piney and citrusy hops that assist the roast bitterness to finish. Cherry flavored alcohols and walnut oils all integrate into taste and continue the varying tastes that unveil themselves as the beer warms.

And with its marshmallowy texture, the enormous malt complexes provide a nearly chewy body to start. This silky and succulent texture keeps the beer's flavor squarely focused on the taste buds. But a patient transition to semi-dry maltiness is rewarded in finish as the beer's alcohols act like port wine and fine cognac to signal closure. It's extended roasty bitterness melds seamlessly with the next sip.

Bell's Expedition is a world-class stout, by which all others could be measured. I'm not sure if it is perfect at any one attribute, but it's near that on all. Plus there's several complexities that go above and beyond what the style prescribes. It pairs well with rich foods like honey-dripped dates, smoky bacon, and well aged gruyere.

 2,306 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.1/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

It's my birthday! Best before date 10/02/17. 10.50% ABV confirmed. 355ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a New Blegium goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are through the roof given this beer's reputation. Acquired for $7.99 at a local beer store.

Served straight from the refrigerator but allowed to warm considerably over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

As I poured, I noticed it wasn't generating a head, so I really amped up the vigor.

A: Pours a quarter finger beautiful rich tan colour head of decent cream, good thickness, and awful retention - which is fairly excusable given the ABV, but I've seen other beers handle more than this without issue. Colour is a solid black. Not quite jet black, but dark as hell. Nontransparent and opaque, as it should be. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Coffee, chocolate, dark malts, cream, chocolate malt, caramel, roast, a bit of alcohol, and even a hint of toffee. Well balanced but not clearly focused. I'm getting excited for it. A mild strength aroma. Doesn't beat you over the head like many beers in the style.

T: Coffee, roast, intriguing chocolate, espresso, background floral hops, cacao, malty sweetness, hints of smoke, caramel, raisin, and a bit of dark fruit (maybe plum). Malty sweetness increases as it warms. No note seems particularly dominant, which is actually sort of a problem here. Without focus, it becomes messier. That's not to say it's imbalanced; the balance is only slightly off in that the flavours are too sweet. I imagine this would fade with time. I get molasses and licorice when I look for them. The flavour doesn't blow me away like I expected. It's actually somewhat disappointing. I don't get any yeast, but a bit of alcohol on the finish. There's a medicinal chocolate-covered raspberry note buried in the finish as well. It's certainly got body. I get more and more licorice as it warms. I despise licorice. Also, more raisin comes through along with the dark fruit - the best aspect of this beer. It's like the bastard child of a quad and an imperial stout, but far less enjoyable than that sounds.

The booze really warms the stomach - a bit too much.

Mf: Far too sticky for the style. Also chewy like licorice. Too smooth and wet. Outright wrong for the style; it should be coarse, dry and creamy. I'm unimpressed. This needs some work. It does have *some* dryness from the roast, but nowhere near enough. Undercarbonated.

Dr: Drinkable for the high ABV, but underwhelming within the style. I like the experimentation, but there are far better imperial stouts at this price point. I honestly wouldn't get this again unless it was aged or on draught. They need to tone down the sweetness and fix the mouthfeel. It does hide its ABV well in the taste, but not so much in terms of heat. I look forward to trying more Bell's, but this was a huge disappointment.

C+

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Photo of oline73
5/5  rDev +18.5%

Photo of brentk56
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dirty motor oil color with a huge tan head that sheets lacing

Smell: Roasted notes with dark fruit, coffee, dark chocolate and some hops in the back

Taste: Opens with rich chocolate flavors; after the swallow, the hops kick in for a second, followed by a myriad of dark and slightly tart fruit flavors; bitterness and coffee tones engulf the tongue through to a long lasting finish

Mouthfeel: Thick and syrupy with modest carbonation; a lot of warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: Marvelous flavor; just a bit too boozy; clearly improves with a few years of age though the hops do fade

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Photo of SocalKicks
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of emerge077
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brownish-black, not quite opaque. Two fingers of tan latte foam rise and settle. Above the rim, the surface could pass for a chocolate chip cookie.

Aroma of roasted malt, vague sweetness, with a possible lactic note. Not especially bold, but complimentary to the huge flavor.

Rich taste, notes of smoky malt, bitter chocolate, and creamy coffee. Residual hop bitterness. Very powerful and bold flavors, the alcohol isn't overwhelming, but it packs a punch.

Mouthfeel is intensely smooth and velvety, creamy and luscious. Lactic milk sugar contributes a boatload of palate-smudging heft.

Although it's not one for sessioning, it has a sublime quality that makes you savor every sip. Every so often I crave an Expedition, so it has a year-round place in the cellar.

 782 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a thick black color stout with a small dark brown head with excellent retention. Aroma mainly dominated by roasted malt with some subtle coffee and chocolate notes. The roasted malt dominates taste at first and then chocolate and coffee are also easily identifiable. Creamy texture makes this even more enjoyable. It all ends with some well balance bitterness. Body is incredibly full and there is even quite a lot of sediment at the bottom of my glass. Alcohol is well hidden which I always appreciate. Very good stuff indeed.

 542 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.75/5  rDev -11.1%

Photo of zeff80
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a velvety smooth appearance. It had a foamy, brown, long-lasting head that left behind rings of sticky lace.

S - It smelled of tons of chocolate, very sweet smelling with toffee notes. Also, some nice floral notes.

T - It tasted of dark chocolate, vanilla, molasses and some oaky notes. It had a sharp bitter kick from the hops.

M - It was smooth and creamy, possibly the smoothest RIS that I've ever had. It was medium to full-bodied.

D - This is a very good RIS. Potent and very well balanced.

 546 characters

Photo of dmorgan310
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of largadeer
3.06/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance - Black in color, viscous and oily. An inch of dark brown head rises and falls over the course of a few minutes.

Smell - Sweet and roasty with a hint of alcohol. Molasses and dark chocolate are very pronounced, with undertones of licorice and vanilla.

Taste - Bold and bitter. Moderate sweetness; flavors of molasses and dark chocolate are met with an almost burnt bitterness. The finish is long and coating, leaving a bittersweet aftertaste. Well crafted, but too intense, acrid and sweet. If that's your thing, you'll probably love this.

Mouthfeel - Incredibly rich and creamy; easily one of the most full-bodied brews I've had. Medium to low carbonation.

 671 characters

Photo of zestar
4.75/5  rDev +12.6%

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

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled 11/11/2010. Pours very dense pitch black color with a nice 1-2 finger dense brown head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Some nice soapy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of huge very dark chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, caramel, biscuit, toast, char, molasses, vanilla, toffee, earth, wood, and light herbal hops. Fantastic aromas with great complexity, balance, and strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, roasted malt, char, coffee, molasses, caramel, toast, tobacco, biscuit, earth, pine, citrus, and light herbal hops. Decent amount of roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, caramel, toast, molasses, citrus, and herbal on the finish for a while. Fantastic roasted flavor balance and complexity. Medium carbonation and very full bodied; with a very nice creamy, slick, thick, and lightly chalky mouthfeel. Alcohol is very well hidden with almost no warming noticed at all after the finish. Very smooth to sip on. Overall this is a fantastic Russian imperial stout. Huge complexity and big robust roasted flavors; and very smooth to sip on. Extremely impressive.

 1,189 characters

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

Batch 8726

Poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark brown head that leaves an incredible lacing. Color is dark dark brown, almost black.

Smell is a toasted malted chocolate. Very 'toasty' that is. Taste is quite similar very very chocolaty. It also tastes like something was burnt. Some dark fruit notes in there. Maybe some coffee as well.

Mouthfeel is very smooth, just a little crisp. After it lingers around enough, the 10.5% abv shows. Full bodied with a nice amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is a great RIS. Not too expensive for a 6er and at 10.5% you really can't go wrong. I will be getting this every year. If you see this at the stores, do yourself a favor and buy some!

Edit: 12/2016 and still drinking this beer every year. Hasn't changed in quality. Still amazing as ever. Still $3 a bottle (or less).

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Photo of Boone757
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of olradetbalder
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of DrBier
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of Thorpe429
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap in Bloomington, IN earlier this year. Served in a snifter.

A: Very, very dark with a massive brown head.

S: Quite good, but a little muted compared with the taste. Hops, chocolate, coffee, cherries, slightly-burnt espresso.

T: Same as the smell, and utterly fantastic. I taste the most from the espresso with a little bit of the cherry.

M: Very thick. Chewy and creamy.

D: Highly, highly drinkable. Grab two of these and sip 'em for the rest of the night.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.22 out of 5 based on 6,177 ratings.
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