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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
94
outstanding
2,087 Reviews
Bell's Expedition StoutBell's Expedition Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States | website

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
Reviews:
2,087
Ratings:
5,967
Avg:
4.22
pDev:
17.77%
 
 
Wants:
518
Gots:
1,693
For Trade:
132
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,087 | Ratings: 5,967
Photo of dc55110
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to wkcyr4 for including this awesome extra!

2008 Vintage

Like pulling the drain plug on an oil pan, after 10k miles, slow, dark and thick! Half a pinky finger of head, as it dissipates the last bit holds on for dear life (10+ minutes), very nice lacing even after that.

The aroma is molasses and malt with a hint of biter chocolate?!?

Black strap molasses, prune, raisin with a nice malt heft to it.

It hides the 10.5% well, although it has a nice warming effect going down. It imparts a nice coating on your mouth that lasts well beyond the last sip.

Very much a sipper, but since it takes a while to enjoy one of these, having two of these would make for a nice leisurely drinking evening.

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Photo of hellomcfly
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From batch 8311 - Brewed Feb 7 2008

Pours pitch black into a snifter. Thin deep brown head dissipates very quickly.

Smells of roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, vanilla, slightly woody perhaps.

T - Roasty, bitter chocolate, coffee all come to mind. It again has a slightly woody character to me. There's a hop bitterness in the end that keep this in check.

M - Velvety smooth. Low level of carbonation.

D - Obviously not high drinkability but very good for the style and abv.

Definitely plan to hang on to some of these to age for a while. I split a bottle from the same 6 pack with my dad in December and I feel like it has already mellowed a bit in the past few months.

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Photo of thirtysixbelow
2.83/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

a - not good. Looks like motor oil being poured in. Completely opaque black with almost no carbonation. After I was done pouring the head took a second to creep up. It got to about a finger and a half of dark chocolate looking head. It held up for a few minutes before going down to a skim.

s - sweet smelling with chocolate, coffee, and caramel notes.

t - sweet coffee flavor up front. After that the alcohol sets in. I figured it was going to be hard to cover up 10.5% abv and it is. The alcohol gives a good warming with a strong bite. It has a hoppy bitterness that I wasn't expecting. It doesn't really strike me as hoppy, just oddly bitter. This is a little much for me.

m - looked like motor oil pouring it into my glass, and that is also about the consistency. Normally I don't mind a really smooth beer, but I just can't get that image out of my head. More carbonation in the mouth than you would think after pouring it though.

d - I don't know if my palate just isn't ready for this or not, but it's way too much. The only thing I enjoyed about this beer was smelling it. The alcohol and bitterness just doesn't sit well. There wasn't anything interesting up front either. I was hoping for some good stout flavors after smelling it, but :(

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Photo of mikedashg
3.97/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a little watery black with a very thing dark tan head that disapears pretty quickly

S- Nice dark chocolate and coffee and roasted malt flavor

T- Pretty much same as nose. Hot alcohal content is not hidden. Very warming. Fairly prominent in your face bittersweet/dark/chocolate/coffee/roasted malt flavor. Pretty aggressive beer as far as hotness and bitterness goes. Bitter finish that stays on your pallet longer after you have had your sip.

M- Low to moderate carbonation. OK body. Gets creamier as it warms up.

D- Fairly good example of style. A pretty good beer. Nothing oustanding though.

Me thinks I'd rather have a Stone IRS or a Ten Fidy though.

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Photo of atrus138
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this from a 12 oz brown bottle into a pint glass. Thick, thick, thick. Akin to motor oil. The opaquest of blacks. It actually made me do an experiment - I put a flashlight up to it to see if any light went through (it didn't). No head formed at all, though there are some streaks of froth. Smell was very faint, though not bad. The usual suspects for a stout are present: coffee, chocolate, with some woody character. Despite the weak aroma, this is a very flavorful beer. Very heavily malted. Notes of coffee, chocolate, burnt wood, and even a bit of soy sauce. Finds a decent balance between being bitter and sweet, though it leans toward bitter. This is one of the thickest beers I've had. Very heavy and smooth mouthfeel. This is one to drink slowly, which allows the flavors to come out more after it warms up a bit and also prevents the high alcohol content from getting the best of you. A great pick for the winter.

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Photo of StrangeBrewer76
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass at colder than ideal temp in the low 40s. It just looks thick, viscus. The bubbles were slow to rise but formed a nice light brown creamy-looking head that faded relatively quickly to a thin skin and very solid lacing.

I smell bittersweet chocolate, coffee, alcohol and burnt caramel or chocolate malt which is remarkably similar to the taste. The alcohol seems to become more pronounced as it warms which could be good if that's what you're in to.

It has a body like syrup or 2-cycle oil with a bite of bitter. It's like what people who have never tried Guinness think it probably tastes like.

It drinks like a meal and at 10.5% that meal ought to be dinner.

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Photo of jtd1969
3.78/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark Brownish black with brownish head. Lots of lacing

S - Sweet vinegar,sugary malt

T - Roasty,sweet yet bitter tartiness. Unique in stout department.chocolate, some dark fruit

M - full bodied, rather boozy, medium carbonation

O - Imperial Stout no doubt, just not what I tend to lean toward. I recommend trying it as it may be to your liking. To me it is a decent stout, but not great...

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Photo of xpdrinker
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle stamped on 11-1-11, poured into New Belgium globe glass.

A - Pours a seriously thick black that at first appears flat, but once the last drop lands in the glass, a pencil-thin dark maple head forms. It fades quickly but lots of chocolately lace rounds the glass. 

S - Coffee liqueur, raisins, molasses, pretzel rods, dark chocolate

T - Sweetened black coffee, milk & dark chocolate, noticeable hop presence but it adds a nice balance that cuts through all the thick, dark flavors.

M - Full bodied, medium carbonation that's held down by the overall thickness. Prickly finish, lingering bitterness but oh so good. Perfect mouthfeel for my stout preference.

O -  Picked this up as a trade extra even though we normally get this beer in south Florida. Haven't seen it on shelves yet this season but planning to buy at least a couple six packs. Easily one of my favorite 12oz stouts and can't wait to get more. 

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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 swamiswamu
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a huge beer, the sears tower of beer. It looks like spent motor oil with a brown head. The taste reminds me of the "hungry, hungry homer" Simpsons episode when Duff has a chemical to add to Duff's malty goodness. It was what an imperial should be, a much bigger version. I can't drink more than one because it is just that big.

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Photo of car2052
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a snifter glass. Packaged 10/23/14, Drank 12/26/15.

A: Jet Black. Interesting looking raspberry/brown head. Small amount of lacing.
S: Salty Jerky, Chocolate, Raspberry, smoke, hint of coffee.
T: Follows the nose a lot. Strong chocolate and coffee flavors. Very sweet upfront with smoky roasted malts. However, very fruity taste. Raspberry and blueberry flavors come through with the sweetness.
M: Very heavy. Strong, smoky aftertaste.
O: Very sweet and strong beer. The fruit flavors (not sure how they got there) threw me off a bit. Flavors reminded me a lot of their Old Coast Ale.

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Photo of steelreign
4.62/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is HUGE! Pitch black pour with zero head (And I mean nothing). Looks like motor oil sitting in my glass....but motor oil never smelled this good!! Aroma is so complex - roasted malt, chocolate, toffee, licorice....hops, liquor....you name it! Wow.

The taste is dense, thick with roasted maltiness with a nice hop hammer balance. So incredibly smooth and complex. A party in the mouth.

Viscous mouthfeel. Thick, nice low carbonation. High ABV is apparent, but enjoyable, on a small consumption scale at least. Not to be drank in mass quantities (unless you are a masochist). This is one of the best of the style without question!

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Photo of Hoops4life511
4.24/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle received as an extra from a trade with ant880, thanks Anthony. Batch number 10105. Poured into oversized snifter.

Appearance - Nearly opaque black with fluffy tan head that clings to the glass. Falls at a decent rate and clings to the glass leaving gorgeous lacing. Everything you'd want from a great stout.

Smell - Coffee, dark chocolate and a hint of alcohol up front. A slight hint of raisin and soy sauce appears as I bury my nose in the glass. Not an amazing nose, but certainly not terrible.

Taste/Mouthfeel - Roasty smokey malt dominates initially and gives way to a slight sweetness. It is thick and oily in my mouth and leaves my mouth bone dry as I swallow. Burnt coffee is left in the finish and leaves me wanting more.

Overall - Very tasty and potentially dangerous beer at 10.5% ABV. I've wanted to try this for a while, but being unavailable in NJ my only options were to buy a case in PA or trade. I've traded and received this one, and it has shown me that buying a case is a must

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Photo of imagineiii
4.22/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured into a duvel tulip. love the color of the head, its darker than most BEERS. reminiscent of ten fidy in that way. dissipates a little quicker than i would like.

nose is what i will remember about this beer. all the usual stuff from an imp stout (rum raisin, seriously dark chocolate, coffee) however, it separates itself with one characteristic; smokeyness. almost campfire smokey, wet-campfire smokey. good stuff.

very well balanced on the palate for such a big beer. dark chocolate, roasted coffee, burning wood, restrained sweetness, hop character, all in check.

slightly astringent, prehaps from a rather forward hop profile. alcohol shows a bit too much. very creamy, love the body. would love to try this one with some age on it.

for me this stout is right up there with ten fidy, my current favorite readily available stout. based on the burnt flavors, and dark chocolate, this beer really appeals to my tastes.

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Photo of srv33
2.82/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had heard such good things about this beer so I was excited when I nabbed one of the last singles from a local shop. Dark brown pour, almost no foam head. Light smell, not very fragrant, bit of soy and pine. Taste is full bodied, stout-like, slightly lactic, sits heavy on the tongue, not too bitter, with notes of echanacia. I wanted to be wowed by this but was just not impressed - I think its possible I might have gotten a bad bottle, as I have read others experiencing more of a head when poured whereas I had almost zero.

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Photo of kingjames1
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black, with an enticing, creamy tan head. Looks great! Smells like a wonderful stout - roasted coffee, chocolate, and a touch of alcohol. Tastes great - again, dark chocolate, espresso, licorice and a healthy portion of citrusy hops, giving the sweet and creamy aspect a balancing tartness and nice finish. This is fantastic. One of the best stouts i've had in a while. The mouthfeel is thick, but with a good amount of carbonation. Very drinkable, for such a heavy duty stout.

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Photo of doopydoogle
3.95/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Black with a thin dark brown lace.

S - Coffee, soy sauce, dark and milk chocolate, earth.

T - Rich coffee and bittersweet chocolate give way to a subtle bitter that is backed up by some consistent alcohol, earthy tones, and even more chocolate, followed up by some dark fruit essences and continued roasted malt sweetness.

M - A little sticky and not highly carbonated. Rich and coating.

O - A wonderful RIS! Do try!

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Photo of iabeerbaron
3.18/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked this beer up at Dirty Johns in Iowa City, IA. Beer pours a dark black color with a thick dark brown head. Smell is of roasted malts and caramel. Flavor of chocolate, malts, coffee, and carmel. Very intense flavor and very intense beer. Not sure if I was ready for this one yet.

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

Bottle. Poured a brownish-black color with a medium brown head. Nice lacing. Aroma is a nice roasted malt with a pleasant chocolate hint to it. Mouthfeel is about perfect. Flavor is rich with a chocolate and roasted malt taste. Aftertaste has a hint of coffee to it. A very special brew.

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

I've had this one on tap in the past and bottles numerous times, but this review is of a bottle. This brew was bottled back in early Dec of 2008.

It pours a luxurious dark color with medium fluffy head. The aroma is very inviting with chocolate and rich, dark malts. The taste is excellent, even though I must admit I'm not always the biggest fan of imperial stouts. To be honest, I often prefer a flavored (coffee or sometimes chocolate) stout to a "regular" version. Whatever the case, Bell's Expedition is an excellent brew! This beer has quite a kick, but it's so darn drinkable at the same time.This is the kind of imperial stout that makes me ask, "Why don't I drink imperial stouts more often?"

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Photo of wardough
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well done, Mr. Larry Bell

Poured a jet black into a snifter. Almost zero head, but a crema lies on top with a trace of light lacing. Smells pretty sweet-raisins, malty goodness, prunes. Taste is by far the best part of this stout-starts of sweet, followed by some bitterness from chocolate that start pushing out the sweet. I like the balance of this. Mouthfeel is pretty good, smooth and velvety on the tongue. I could drink this all night long.

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Photo of mbudner
4.6/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Batch 8944 (1/29/09)

A- Pours a deep black with a beautiful 2-finger, medium-brown head. Great lacing as it dissipates, lots of depth and fluff to the coating on the glass. Looks nice and viscous as it pours and as I swirl it.

S- Sweet molasses, dark fruits like figs, sweet chocolate. Slight booziness comes through in the nose. Caramelized sugar. Mild salty, soy-sauce like flavors, which seem to be appearing a little early, but inviting.

T- Very much mirrors the smell. Chocolate sweetness with a little soy-sauciness. Slightly more roasty than I expected from the aroma. A little bit of booze. This reminds me A LOT of the Dark Lord '08 I sampled back in May 2009 (less chewy.) The finish is kind of disappointing, but thats my only complaint and its not bad in the scheme of things. The bitterness from the roasted malts become in more prevalent as I move through this one. As it warms, I get more tobacco and leathery smokiness. Really complex.

M- Great creamy, coating mouthfeel. Slightly more carbonated on the tongue than some of the bigger stouts, but not overly-carbonated in general.

D- Overall, this was a great stout. I had tried it years ago before having some of the hyped greats and I would say that the aroma and taste of this were remarkably similar to the '08 vintage of DL. It was noticeably thinner, however, and slightly more carbonated. The finish in the taste was also a little more plain that I had hoped for. A really remarkable brew that doesn't get enough credit, most likely because of the fact that it is not rare.

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

a. this beer had little to no head, although the bottle was about 9 months old. also this is black!

s. pick up a perfect roasted malt smell with slight chocolate note.

t. great big roasted malt followed by little chocolate and leaves you with bitter coffee.

o. good beer wish it was cheaper, way to easy to drink and no alcohol burn.

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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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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
94 out of 100 based on 2,087 ratings.
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