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

BA SCORE
94
outstanding
2,114 Reviews
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
Reviews:
2,114
Ratings:
6,101
Avg:
4.22
pDev:
10.43%
 
 
Wants:
541
Gots:
1,758
For Trade:
136
User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,114 | Ratings: 6,101
Photo of DPMomutant
4.03/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The body is the expected pitch black. The head is very brown and much larger than I expected. I did not need to pour nearly this hard but I was not expecting as much head. Obviously, this bottle has not suffered the flatness problems as some batches apparently did. This head is lasting absolutely forever, no matter, a beer of this style needs to warm a bit anyway. Massive lacing.

The smell is mostly very strong fruit, like raisins but bolder. I'm catching a hint of brown sugar. Reminds me some of wine or sherry, but not much alcohol in the smell as I would expect of a big beer like this.

The taste does not come out quite as sweet as the smell. There is some coffee taste here and the wine-like alcohol comes out as well, but is not overpowering.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth, I'm imagining what it will be like if I let the rest of the bottles sit until the dead of winter.

Obviously as big as this is, more than 12oz of this in a session where you've already had a couple, you don't want more than one. That one, though, I have little problem finishing.

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Photo of Melchizedek
4.52/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Oh goodness. Black, black, black - pours like motor oil, builds a solid brown head, and sucks light out of its surroundings.

Aroma is BOLD, full of powdered chocolate, a touch of hop, alcohol, caramel, spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove maybe?), dark fruit, bread... in the mouth, rich, full, creamy, with intense roasted, toasted grains pushing aggressively to the fore. Survive the onslaught and you can start to catch the flavors of the aroma, especially the caramel/chocolate, while alcohol makes itself known and warms things up. A bit of sweetness moderates the bitter and almost harsh flavor profile (alcohol helps with this). Some nutty and maybe yeasty notes round out the finish.

I can't say much bad about this beer, except that you don't want to try to taste anything afterwards. I'm in love. I wish I could get this locally - I'd certainly try cellaring it if I had the means, as I think the mellowing effects of a bit of aging would enhance the subtler notes that are for now a bit hard to pick out from the flavor onslaught.

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Photo of marksto
3.82/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled at the Indiana Microbrewers Festival. Bell's had this one opposite a keg of the bourbon barrel aged Double Cream/Expedition Stout. Perhaps it was because of that excellent beer that I thought this one wasn't as good as I'd hoped it would be..

Poured opaque with an off-white medium head with medium retention. Surprisingly light in the nose. Some coffee and roast with malt sweetness, but nose overall lighter than I thought it would be. Flavor exhibited a blend of roastiness, malt, with a hint of chocolate. Smooth, nice, but not as complex as many of the other R.I.S.'s that I've had before.

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

In a tulip:

Relatively thin head dissipates quickly, but great brown color with dark ruby hues. Light lacing. Smells great with molasses, taffy, vanilla, and tons of bourbon. Obviously hot. Taste is so perfectly rounded. Awesome. Malty and bitter... Perfect. Best
aftertaste I've had in a long time. Warm, but not hot. Thickness almost perfect, creamy, excellent carb. Absolutely drinkable, with the exception of hotness.

Overall: Fantastic RIS. Wish Bell's was available in MA so I could enjoy it more often.

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Photo of ballz50401
4.32/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #9554 Bottled 1/27/10. Served in a snifter glass.

Appearance: Pours a thick black oblique color with a very, very dark brown head.

Smell: Burnt caramel and chocolate. Dark fruits and alcohol. Very nice aroma.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Nice maltly sweetness. Some sweet dark roasted caramel followed by dark chocolate. Smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Full bodied.

Overall: A very nice Imperial Stout that ages very well.

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Photo of Roke87
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Duvel tulip at cellar temperature.
Bell’s Batch Number: 9971 Bottled on: Sept.13/2010

Appearance- Pours a pitch black colour like dirty old motor oil with a two finger of nice fluffy brown mocha coloured head that resides at an average pace to a thick ring around the glass leaving lots of sticky lacing throughout till finish.

Smell- Is very similar on the nose to a Founders imp stout, except I smell a hint of hops thrown in there. Lots of roasted malts, a mild coffee smell, with a sweet caramel/toffee nose with a hint of chocolate in there, I could definitely get a hint of alcohol out of this one.

Taste- Comes through just like the smell, although I didn’t get too much hops in the taste as I could smell. Lots of roasted malt flavours and dark fruity flavours as well that are almost sweet on the palate, not too much caramel/toffee on the taste either but it does finish with a bitter coffee flavour balanced again by the roasted malts. Also finishes with a little bit of an alcohol taste but not overly intense.

Mouthfeel- I would say this is a full bodied imperial stout that finishes smooth a creamy, They do a very good job of hiding the high ABV but it does comes through a bit in the finish. Not overly carbonated but not many stouts are anyways so I would say it’s just right in those terms.

Overall- To be honest I kind of expected more from this one; it is very similar to a number of other imperial stouts and not as good as a few others although it does come through in many respects. The Smells are well balanced which translates to an equally balanced, smooth, and almost easy drinking taste. I would say this is Bell’s flagship beer but you could pick up a number of other Bell’s offerings and be just as satisfied but none the less a very solid offering. For the high price point I think I’ll just pick up the similar stouts and pass on this one in the future.

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Photo of wyllder
4.02/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First off: thanks go out to deejaydan for the chance to sample this.

Pours an opaque chocolate-black with a small caramel colored head.

Nose is a mix of dark fruits, chocolate & sweetbread. Very nice.

Taste is bittersweet on the front of palate. Just a bit too salty for me. Hints of chocolate are here and make the finish nice.

Mouthfeel is good.

Drinkability suffers from, IMO, a bit too much of a salty character.

Overall, a solid interpretation of the style by not quite up there with Stone & Siberian Night for me.

Wyll-

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Photo of Evocatus
3.74/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours either a really dark brown or just plain black with a brown head that dissolves rather quickly. Aroma has scents of roasted nuts, sweet malts, and some cocoa. Taste follows the aroma, only the 10.5% really kicks in, maybe to the extent of overpowering everything else. It was really thick and lowly carbonated, almost drinking like a thin syrup. Because of the relative strength and thickness, I could probably only have one of these at a time, but a good strong beer overall.

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Photo of waltersrj
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage into a Bruery Snifter.

Pour: Dark black, jet black really with a bubbles around the edge of the glass tan/espresso colored head.

Nose: Dark, charred malts, dark chocolate, vanilla, alcohol, slight hops, and sweet burnt sugars.

Taste: Dark roasted chocolate malt, dark chocolate, slight vanilla, and slight hops start this off with sweet molasses in the middle, and burnt malt and alcohol on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Moderate to high viscosity here, very thick and chewy. Great for the style.

Overall: A really solid non -bals version of an imperial stout. I really enjoy the contrast between sweet sugars and charred malt. Really great brew.

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

Pours oily black, black, midnight black. Head is dark tan and only an eighth of an inch thick.

Smells nutty, chocolately, sugary, and loads of it.

Definitely has nutty roasted malt flavors but also has strong sweet dark chocolate flavors present thoughout as well as some coffee.

Mouth feel is chewy, smooth, slick, chewy, outstanding.

ABV is somewhat masked at first but becomes more and more apparent as it goes down. That hurts the drinkability as does the sheer magnitude of this beer makes it too much to do a lot of.

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Photo of BuckeyeOne
3.96/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 9435, aged at Zipp's, not my home.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a standard pint glass an impenetrable black with a solid mocha head that left a thick, hearty lacing down the glass.

I must say that all I could pick up from the nose was molasses and licorice. For a RIS, I really was expecting some chocolate and coffee, but I got neither of these from the nose.

The flavor followed the nose almost exactly, but there was a hint of chocolate in the end that was lacking in the nose. Also picked up some hop bitterness at the end.

Yummy, creamy smooth feel. Not a ton of carbonation, but wasn't expecting this in a RIS. Hit the spot.

I was disappointed. I've not had this beer before and thought one that was aged a year (or more) might be better. I'll try this fresh and see if I like it better.

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Photo of TK5150
4.31/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours black with brown head.

S- Chocolate, coffee, cherry, fig, other fruits.

T- Chocolate..almost like chocolate cake, cherry, coffee, fig, char, milky lactose flavor that ends sweet. Very flavorful.

M- Thick and full.

D- So tasty that it gets high marks even though its such a burly beer. Definitely a sipper though.

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Photo of EnemyWithin
4.01/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle of 2011. Into Duvel glass.

Appearance: 4.5
Almost jet black opaque body, with an inch of creamy light brown head. Good lacing.

Aroma: 3.5
Strong notes of molasses and candy sugar. Notes of dark fruit and faint notes of milk chocolate and roasty espresso.

Taste: 4
Initially, semi-bitter dark chocolate/cocoa, dark fruits and coffee with notes of dark fruits. Slight warmth and presence of the alcohol. A moderate dry bitterness soon after that lingers through the whole taste. Finishes with amazing rich roasty flavour with a touch of sweetness, contrasting with a moderate amount of coffee and bitterness from the hops. The flavour changes quite a bit as it warms, improving significantly. As it approaches warmer temp, flavour soften and melt together with more mellowing out of the bitterness/sourness and bring forward more roasty cocoa flavors.

Mouthfeel: 4
Moderate thickness, a touch on the dry side because of the notable bitter presence. Mild to moderate carbonation.

Overall: 4.5
A nice beer with pleasant dark chocolate and roasty characteristics. Quite enjoyable, overall excellent stout. Good aging potential. Smooth mild presence of alcohol even though ABB 10.5%.
Recommend to try.

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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 BigDaddyWil
3.77/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a snifter glass.
No batch date on bottle.
Purchased a single at Cloverleaf for $2.70.

Slick, dark black, oily liquid pours from the bottle. A minimal tan colored head forms and then quickly disappears. No lacing, low carbonation, but an oily coating clings to my glass. Lots of dark fruit smells, raisins and prunes. Hints of burnt coffee and chocolate and roasted malts. Taste mimics the smell, but heavy on the burnt coffee and chocolate then fades with some hop bitterness. Slight alcohol burn in the belly. Lots of aftertaste. Creamy, smooth, medium bodied feel. Hard to drink more than one, especially with an abv of 11.5%. If your a fan of Russian Imperial Stouts its a must try. I have one in the cellar to try at a later date.

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

Batch #8728
Thanks mfielden for the bitchin' extra!!!

Pours motor-oil thick&black with a tiny tan head that hangs around 'till about half-way through. Smells like alot of roasted malts and mabye a touch of coffee or hops(something bitter). Taste is not as smooth as say, an Old Rasputin...still enough going on here to hide the alcohol(wich isn't noticeable at all). In all, a great IRS that came into my hands from afar. I woulden't miss a chance to try it again

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Photo of kpantz
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Executive Summary: A heavyweight in the world of Imperial Stouts. I can see the reason for its reputation. Slightly more boozy on the palate than others I've had. In all, a fantastic stout.

Appearance: Pours like syrup into my tulip glass. Pitch black with a dark tan head. Gorgeous lacing.

Smell: Roasted malts and a woody aroma with distinct molasses and coffee essence.

Taste: Alcohol more present than expected here. Woodiness is here, too, as is a smoky element I didn't detect in the nose. Definite molasses presence with accents of dark chocolate. Pronounced hop bitterness on the way down, too, like a swift kick in the ass (like you need it with this sucker).

Mouthfeel: Creamy and thick. Light carbonation. Slightly sticky. Just awesome.

Drinkability: It's pretty hefty. A sipper. A damn tasty sipper, but a sipper. Wouldn't have more than one at a time.

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

Appearance: Pours very viscous with limited carbonation. Super duper jet black. Nice lacing. Not enough of a head to rank much higher.

Smell: Very forward roasty malts. A little sweet. Alcohol presence is strong. Feels very full and stout.

Taste: Very roasty grain. HUGE malt notes. Coffee is there. The alcohol is very forward and is brought out a little by the sweetness. Very big flavor profile.

Mouthfeel: Substantial presence but a little lack of carbonation at first. Spreads nicely across the palate and the carbonation grows. Very enjoyable

Overall: I think this beer is better than the some of it's parts. It's a very big, and bold beer with a huge flavor profile. For being a fresh vintage, i would have liked some more carbonation and a little less sweetness. Overall though, a great beer.

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Photo of whendeathsleeps
3.83/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours thick motor oil black, tan two finger head, decent retention, nice lacing.

S- Dark roasted malt, anise, bakers chocolate, woody.

T- Dark chocolate, espresso, boozy, some dark fruits, a little bitterness from the hops to balance things out, let this one warm, it shines then.

M- Like you would expect from the pour, full bodied, thick, silky smooth, a little alcohol warming.

O- A good, not great RIS, the mouthfeel is excellent, I much prefer Ten Fidy to this, but I would go back to this for sure.

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Photo of jaypaul522
4.56/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a good one. The beer pours very dark with a lot of head. The smell is malt and fruity overtones. The taste is strong, with the fruit coming through in the aftertaste left in your mouth. The body is full and very pleasant to drink. This is one of the best stouts around.

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Photo of Martin2D
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pitch black with a tan head that fades without lacing

S - Roasted malts and licorice like liquor

T - Extremely roasty and creamy. Hints of warm alcohol on the finish.

M - Medium in carbonation and full in body. Mouthfeel is extremely thick and creamy

D - Very drinkable RIS. Not much alcohol presence, just a little warmth. Very balanced with just the right flavors going on. Simple and refined.

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Photo of StLThrash
3.88/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into my Schlafly snifter.

A - Pours a very deep, dark brown / black. No light through this one. Very small tan head that disappeared quickly. No lacing.

S - Complex blend of dark chocolate, smoke, roasted coffee, black licorice, and a bit boozy.

T - Dark chocolate & coffee bitterness with rich malts and lots of alcohol. The alcohol comes through on this stout more than I would've liked, but still wasn't overwhelming.

M - Medium-bodied thickness and nice malt character. Again, the alcohol shines through.

D - Couldn't drink too many of these. Very strong stout that seemed to get better as it sat. Definitely let this one warm up a bit. Much nicer flavor character after it sat awhile in my snifter.

Overall - pretty good stout. Very strong alcohol taste though. Nice after dinner beer.

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Photo of rustymoore
3.51/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I strongly disagree with the recent rash of poor reviews for this beer and I am thinking that a bad batch got out to the public or something. I find this to be a good to fair imperial stout.

A: Pours midnight black with my aggressive pour creating a massive creamy head that seems to go on forever, excellent lacing throughout.

S: Maybe the weakest attribute to this one. Just nothing interesting. Very high alcohol notes with some coffee sprinkled in there.

T: Thick and sweet (two attributes I like in a stout most of the time) with coffee and chocolate throughout. I wouldn't call it the best imp stout I have had but definitely is worthy of a "good" rating.

M: Somewhat acidic, thick like most stouts you would want to drink.

D: I wouldn't drink many of these in a sitting but definitely a good sipping beer.

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Photo of spartanfan
3.42/5  rDev -19%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 2.5

batch 9359 packaged 9/17/09

A: Pours an opaque black with a tight dark brown head which leaves much lacing on the walls of the glass as it fades to a thin layer.

S: Smells of rich roasted malts and coffee

T: Tastes slightly smoky off the bat. Lots of flavors going on here; chocolate, coffee, caramel. Also, piney hops are detectable in the swallow and leave a bitter aftertaste.

M: This might be the creamiest beer I have tasted yet, it almost feels as though I'm drinking cool whip. Leaves a sticky sweet coating in my mouth after each swallow. There is a slight warming character from the alcohol.

D: While I'm really digging this beer, it's just a little to thick and heavy for me to drink more than one in a sitting. It's definitely a sipper

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Photo of joshrosborne
4.7/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This has to be one of the best Stout's I've ever tried. Almost like a dessert in a glass. Good stuff.

A: Pours dark as night with a tan milky head that, after dissipating, leaves a nice tan film over the beer. Same colored lacing on the glass.

S: You get a ton of roasted malt from this. I can't smell the espresso, but the chocolate is evident. You can smell the alcohol a bit, too.

T: Almost tastes like a boozy chocolate milk at first. Finishes with a little bitterness from the roasted malts that were in the smell. A little bit of burn from the ABV.

M: Very creamy and smooth. There is a bit of carbonation, but it does nothing but enhance and deliver the creaminess.

D: You don't want to drink this quickly not just b/c of the high ABV, but b/c it tastes so damn good. I couldn't believe this was 10.5%. You can taste the booze, but I had no idea it was that high. This could be a dangerous one.

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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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