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 kplooki
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%

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

Acquired a three year vertical ('07-'09) of Expedition Stout in a trade with nflmvp. Steve, I love you. Decided to share the vertical with my fellow BAs at the Central Coast BA Gathering at the Pour House in Paso Robles, CA this past weekend. Following review written from notes.

Sampled only a couple ounces of each beer. Poured into an 8oz. Rémy Martin snifter each time.

Appearance: Totally opaque and thick as hell! No noticeable carbonation in any of the samples, and not much head to speak of either: a small brown cap that disappeared quickly each time. Light, spotty lacing.

Smell: Molasses, loads of roasted malt, and espresso greet the nostrils first. Hints of barbecue and flowery hops jump in and out of the picture. Alcohol is also apparent, but not dissatisfying. This was the one characteristic of the beer that really changed over the years, becoming duller and more alcoholic with time (or at least that's what my drunken notes read).

Taste: Big molasses, charred oak, and solid hop bitterness. Very roasty and bold. Not harsh for a Russian Imperial Stout, but certainly assertive.

Mouthfeel: Quite possibly the thickest beer I've had (right up there with Bourbon County Stout). The lack of carbonation makes this beer even more dense, and at times I was reminded of yogurt... yes, RIS yogurt. Super creamy and slightly warm. I want to give this a 5.0, however I believe that some extra carbonation would make it even better.

Drinkability: This was sooo damn thick, but in small portions it worked out fantastically. I doubt I could have drank this whole vertical on my own, let alone more than one bottle, but I'm still gonna give drinkability a high score since my only complaints are based on assumptions.

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Photo of tillmac62
4.19/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 7/26/13. Pours black as a starless night with a lasting head. Subdued nose of roast. Nice creamy mouthfeel, light carbonation and with the 10.5% alcohol content well covered by the malty sweetness, hops and roast. A strong, but pleasant, aftertaste of roast and malt sweetness with that alcohol "burn". For such a "big" stout, this is exceptionally well balanced. One of the best stouts I have ever tried and this one struck me as smoother than their Kalamazoo variant. Smooth finish with the chocolate malt asserting itself.

 533 characters

Photo of ruzzal
4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ackeeper
4.75/5  rDev +12.6%

Photo of Bandi
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of MattGrimley
4.12/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of Tim725
4.43/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of KG710
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of aforbes10
4.26/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Pours like one heavy son of a bitch beer. Looks like black syrup. builds a small fleeting head and the beer literally clings to the pint glass. What's the smell resemble? hmmmm. prunes, lots of fresh melted chocolate. something mildly unsettling in the odor too some weird sourness. Taste is chocolately and bitter with a roasted malt finish. bitterness subsides after a couple of swigs. hoppy flavor should decrease with age. Thick and syrupy to drink. alcohol hits the tongue right away. perfect for the style. belly warming and heavy. i'd have another, but the big chunks at the bottom just didn't do it for me and kept me from wanting another. ill cellar some and see what happens with time.

 695 characters

Photo of redleg411
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Photo of harryhops
3.64/5  rDev -13.7%

Photo of JRed
3.28/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours black in body topped by coffee-with-milk head that stays. Mildy offensive aroma of bitter chocolate, earth and vegetation, booze, slight hazelnut. Tastes of cola, bitter dark chocolate, earth, a grapefruity hop presence, and booze with subtle cocoa nibs. Heavy in body with light carbonation. Offensive in almost all aspects.

 331 characters

Photo of bigleague
4.19/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Timtac
3.93/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of BeastLU
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of adam42381
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a Cigar City snifter. Bottled on September 13, 2010 per batch number 9971 printed on label.

Appearance: Pours a thick motor oil black with a 1/2 finger mocha brown head which dissipates quickly.

Smell: Chocolate, molasses, alcohol and a hops.

Taste: Molasses and dark chocolate up front followed by roasted malt and coffee in the middle before ending with a burst of bitter hops at the finish. The alcohol is obviously there, but it never overpowers the flavor. Aftertaste is a mix of burnt toast and hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and with a decent amount of carbonation. This is a thick beer that still goes down smoothly.

Drinkability: High drinkability. This isn't a beer to be rushed by any means. Drink it slowly and savor the flavors because you're probably going to be done after one.

Overall: Very good beer overall. One of the better Russian Imperial Stouts that is widely available. Another fine offering from Bell's.

 979 characters

Photo of sbricker
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of birdsellam
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of ToddBeans
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of mwilbur
1.9/5  rDev -55%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Poured from bottle into pint glass.
A: Thick and black. Minimal dark tan head with no carbonation (a little odd since I just bought this bottle).
S: Roasted malts and chocolate. Can smell the high ABV...too prominent.
T: Completely unbalanced. Very weak malt can't offset the very high ABV. Roasted malt, chocolate...but not enough of it.
M: I hate to harp on it, but the high ABV distracts too much. Weak body and no taste to linger...just the alcohol.
D: Undrinkable...I hate to do this, but I'm not even going to finish this. I love high ABV beers, but they have to be balanced and have enough malt, flavors, etc. to hold up. This doesn't cut it. I see that others had difficulty with no carbonation. Either this is a major bottling problem or Bell's needs to rethink their approach here.
Definitely the worst russian imperial stout I've had in a long time...and I doubt this will age well as the bottle suggests.

7/26/10: Well, let's check on this one again...cellared for about 2 1/2 yrs. The appearance is actually nice. Thick black-brown with super dark brown head. Looks like you could chew on it (4). Dark chocolate, molasses, and piney hops. Decent (3.5). Dark chocolate syrup, blackstrap molasses, and piney hops. Follows aroma pretty much on cue (3.5). Thick, smooth, oily. Faint alcohol burn and hop bite. I like it (4). OK, so I was wrong. This one does age well, but starts off terrible. It ends up as an ok RIS, but you gotta be patient (3.5).

 1,461 characters

Photo of TXhomebrewer
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of Beerdudenumberone
4.75/5  rDev +12.6%

Photo of Boilermaker88
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Well, it's cooled off out here in SoCal so I decided to finally pop the cap off my Bell's Expedition Stout, graciously sent my way by CRJMellor.
Poured into my handy-dandy tasting glass, the first thing I noticed was the 1" tall, firm, resilient mocha-colored head that slowly settled down to a ring, leaving blotchy lace behind. Then I noticed the complete absence of light penetrating the brew. Just an inky blackness. No ruby highlights, no maroon or brown edging. Just a uniform deep-in-a-mine black.
The nose was rich and inviting, loaded with a hearty roasted malt aroma, a bit of a prune note, sherry, port wine, and coffee. Some cocoa aroma, too. The taste had a potent vinous flavor, a la port wine. Lots of roasted dark malts and baker's chocolate. Some mild dark fruit sweetness and molasses mid-palate before a counterpointing herbal hops bitterness struck in the finish. The feel was full, viscous, and dry with a real tight zippy carbonation lending a creaminess that was quite pleasant.
Overall, I really enjoyed this imperial stout, actually one of the best I've tried so far. Interesting that the reviews (and consistancy) are all over the map for this brew. Guess I'll just sit back, enjoy what's left in my glass and count my blessings. Mmm...Expedition Stout..

 1,283 characters

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