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

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding
2,095 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:
2,095
Ratings:
6,008
Avg:
4.22
pDev:
17.77%
 
 
Wants:
528
Gots:
1,702
For Trade:
134
User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,095 | Ratings: 6,008
Photo of rawthar
4.57/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

One more from my Bell's Darkside case, about two months after purchase. This is my favorite of the bunch, time to rate it.

A- As dark as a black hole, no light that enters makes it through to the other side. A finger-and-a-half capaccino head, light and fluffy slowly dissipates, leaving some of the nicest lacing I've seen, and a nice thick filmy froth on top. Beautiful.

S- Hints of chocolate and dark roasted coffee mingle and swell like a double helix around a strong backbone of booze, and a buttery loaf of whole grain bread.

T- Boozy flavor hits like a wave against a cliff during a squall, followed promptly by the billowing smoke of a tribal bonfire carrying the essence of the roasting meat of a fresh hunt. Sweet notes of the darkest caramelized sugar rendered with dripping animal fat.

M- Oily alcohol floats on the brine like the rendered fat referenced above while the creamy carbonation bubbles from the darkest depths.

D- One is enough for even the fiercest of warriors after the most viscous of battles. Undoubtedly drank by Cimmerians during the spring raids into Pictland and Vaneheim.

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Photo of goethean
4.8/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer was purchased at the brewery and aged 3-4 years before being consumed. It was poured into a Duvel tulip glass at about 50F on the night that Barack Obama won the Virginia primary.

Appearance is pitch effing black. Almost no visible carbonation. Aroma is of strong dark roasted, nearly burnt, malt.

assertive hoppiness, strong roastiness, strong malt backbone, and a beautiful sweetness spotlighted right in the middle of the palate. There is a slight lingering hops aftertaste.

Shockingly, there is amazing hops character considering the age of this beer. almost any other beer would have no hop character at this point. with this beer, it is right there, almost in your face. very well-balanced. This beer must be pretty much undrinkable when young.

One quasi-negative thing --- I don't detect the wine-like qualities which I normally associate with a fine, well-aged English barleywine or imperial stout. I might opt for a more English version next time. Or maybe I should have aged it a little longer! Oh well --- the six pack is now gone.

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Photo of johnnyirishman
3.52/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Sam Adams Pint glass.

Apperance- Thick Syrupy black opaque color, with a small head and no retention.

Smell- Slight hops and roasted malts.

Taste,Mouthfeel- Roasted malts and a bitter hop finish.

Drinkablility- A decent stout but not too enjoyable.

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

Appearance: This has to be one of the most viscous beers I've ever had the pleasure of consuming. It almost looked like jet black maple syrup coming out of the bottle. An aggressive pour yielded nothing but a chocolate brown cap that disappeared to reveal the black hole of a beer beneath.

Smell: Roasted malts, sweet chocolate and perhaps a bit of licorice.

Taste: Surprisingly sweet at the start, like a decadent chocolate liquor. Followed by a bitter backbone that balances that sweetness very nicely. The bitterness lingers for awhile after every sip.

Mouthfeel: Extremely full-bodied with low carbonation. It's so thick, almost like a heavy cream. Now I know what people are talking about when they describe a beer as chewy.

Drinkability: This stuff is incredibly rich and smooth. It's quite a treat. I could drink it all night. But with such a high abv that's probably not the best idea.

This has to be one of the best Imperial Stouts I've had yet. Granted I haven't delved too deep into the style, but this certainly inspires me to try more.

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

Pours a dark black color with a caramel colored head. Has an aroma of toffee, caramel, and hints of dark fruit. Yeah, this is a good stout. You have the sweet hitting the front of the tongue, the bitters on the back with hints of smoke. You can also taste sweet caramel and some coffee/toffee flavor. Ultra complex, but everything is work so well. A rich beer. Love it.

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

'12 bottled on 10/02

Appearance - Black with ruby red highlights along the edges. 1 and a half finger beige head with lacing along the edges

Aroma - coffee, dark chocolate, dark fruits, a bit of hop character, though i cant really pinpoint the exact scent...maybe more of an earthiness

Taste - Very coffee and hop forward...almost astringent at first. Some dark fruit apparent towards the middle of the mouth, and bitterness on the finish. Almost a spicy, earthy finish...but very hoppy. While most imperial stouts rely on the hops for balance, this one is almost overtaken in the finish by the hops present.

Mouthfeel - Very creamy...which is pleasant. The beer finishes with a bitter tingle with a medium to full body. A little lighter than expected, but about ideal.

Overall - Great complexity on this one, however, Im a little turned off on how the hops overtake the beer. Its as if this one was meant to age, which there is nothing wrong with and it even says its worth aging on the bottle. If the hop character faded away a bit and the beer smoothed out, im sure this would be one amazing beer. Having said that, I guess its time to open my '09!!!

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Photo of Roxie_B
4.82/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Looks: Black, opaque, big fluffy mocha head made of tiny bubbles and legs. Surprisingly strong head retention.
Smell: Dark fruits, raisins, chocolate malts, mild coffee, alcohol when it warms up
Taste: Sweet chocolate malts, plums, anise, cherries.
Mouthfeel: Satiny smooth with a full body and a slight alcoholic burn.
Overall: One of the best stouts out there.

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Photo of mashedpotatoes
2.99/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours pitch black, very thick and viscosey. Head is minimal. Smell is strong alcoholic, cough syrupy. Taste is bittersweet molasses. Aftertaste lingers a bit too long, especially with the excessive astringent taste this beer permits. The feel is round, sticky but invasive to the palate, I feel like it's setting up unwanted camp on my tastebuds. Drinkability is low, although the ABV is high the balance of off flavors and peculiar aftertaste leaves me longing for something different. Suggestion: Try all Bell's as a single first. I've found severe inconsistency in this brand.

This one was not bad but also not good.

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Photo of SwiftyMcBeer
3.95/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tbis beer is a looker. Getting to have it on tap was a huge bonus, mad props to the Trion for having the guts to tap this sucker. Jet black with a chocolate head . . . all the smells to go along with it. Just reeks darkness, chocolate, coffee, this is where wimpiness goes to die. You defintely know the +10 ABV is there when you taste it and that is really my only negative and a slight one at that. It'd be tough to have more then two of these in a sitting, but that could just be a reflection of the style.
A top notch stout, just not my favorite style.

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Photo of wd40
3.92/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pitch black pour with almost no head. The brew is obviously thick and viscous just from watching the pour. Small amount of very fine carbonation upon aggitation. Looks like a beer that has been left out for a while. The beer gives and aroma of vanilla extract, chocolate and coffee. Hints of fruit like raspberries in the background. I can tell even before sipping that the beer has a high alcohol content from the smell. The taste confirms the high alcohol content! But fortunately the raw alcohol taste is pretty well covered. The coffee flavor is very prominent in the flavor and tends to linger after the other flavors have past.

Mouthfeel is ok, but not rich or creamy or anything. Overall, a pretty decent beer that I'd have again, but not one of my favorite in this style.

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

Pours very dark, almost black with a thick, rolling rich rust colored head. Thick rust colored lacing stuck to the glass as I drank.

First, I have to admit, this was my first ever Imperial Stout.
I was in love from the first sip!

This is a bold, robust beer. It has very intense flavors. Dark bitter chocolate, booze, roasted malts all come through. Some slight fruitiness as well. A fairly thick beer, leaving some solids in the bottom of the glass. Very smooth mouth feel despite it's thickness.

At 10.5%, one of these is just right for me!

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

Batch # 8145 packaged Sept.14th 2007

A-Poured into a goblet at about 50 degrees.It pours BLACK with a dark brown 1/2" thick head that fades to a small laced layer.

S-Smells of bitter-dark chocolate,coffee and strong notes of molasses and raisins or plum.

T-At first a slight hint of hops then a smokey malt with a hint of caramel and a slight alcohol taste-then-the real thing,big dark chocolate/coffee taste with a smooth bittersweet finish.

M-Thick,chewy,oily residue coats entire mouth.Good carbonation.

D-This is a very smooth and relaxing beer.At 10.50% it makes a great sipping beer on a cold night.If you like big beers or RIS's you must try this one.

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Photo of macktbone
3.33/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

As part of a trade with Aforbes and hoped to be enjoyed with ThirdLap. I was told this would be one of my top stouts...not so much

This beer is jet black with a dark brown head that quickly dissappears in an alcoholic haze. It stains the glass an oily brown.

The smell is super soy with figs.

Taste & mouthfeel leave a lot to be desired

So little carbonation that it is hard to get down. Hold your breath prior to contact, the soy is overpowering. Bitter end with a sweet aftertaste that grows on you a little.

Extremely thin for a "good" stout. When I pour a beer and it glubs, I expect it to be thick, or at least feel thick on the toungue.

I was glad this was split two ways. I have had other boutbon type stouts but without the subtle compexities and joyous notes this maybe my first and last time "ringing the bell".

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

Bell's Imperial Russian Stout: Expedition Stout

Another excellent stout! Mouth feel is correct - just a bit on the thinner side of cream (hinting towards a Porter style) but that just adds to the deep flavor gamut's mystery. A gargle of it just makes you want to get a V8 of huskies together for a 3,000 kilometer mush! The flavor is complex; coffee first, chocolate, smoke & caramel with a very faint echo of bourbon.

A = pours opaque black with a mocha tan head with open lacing
S = feigns at Porter style with a wet smoke (rain on burned wood after a fire)
T = again, feigns at Porter style but delivers the deeper, more complex character of the Stout
M = thinner than cream, but within Russian Stout style.
O = A great beer!

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Photo of jhawth
3.99/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured into a wili becher. Pours an impenetrable black with a light brown, two-finger head of fine bubbles.

Aroma: Sweet, creamy, roasty malts dominate. Coffee, some bitter dark chocolate, but mostly excellent roastiness.

Taste: Sweet, creamy. slightly chocolatey malt notes move into roasty astringency and slight booziness.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, slightly viscous, light carbonation.

Overall: Killer RIS. Absolutely delicious.

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Photo of phattysbox
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Got as an extra from a trade with csmiley. Thanks Chris!

12oz bottle poured into DFH snifter glass. Thick black and viscous. Looks like used motor oil, awesome! 1.5 inch head with an agressive pour that retreats rather quickly - not a problem though once you see and feel the body.

Smells of bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder. Heavily roasted malts and some vanilla. The nose is quite complex! Taste went a bit down, but not much. All the things in the nose are there - vanilla, bittersweet chocolate and a huge roasted malt bill. As a matter of fact almost too huge - quite burnt. Sorched barely provide an anstringent bitterness to the brew that would otherwise be perfect IMO. Fusel alcohols are quite noticable as well. Body is lucious and creamy.

Drinkability goes down because of this. Too bitter from the roasted grain and high alcohol makes it tough to finish, but still complex and very good none-the-less.

Seek out to try...

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Photo of AdamF625
4.68/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A- black with a thin brown head
S- coffee and chocolate syrup
T-coffee, bitter dark chocolate, molasses, alcohol, sweet fruit flavors
M- creamy, thick, and viscous. low carbonation
O- you can't forget this brew its so thick and sticky the taste stays on your palate for days.

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Photo of PhillyJ
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Unique Russian Imperial it's a very tasty Russian covered in milk sweetness. the lacing on this is beautiful and the aftertaste is an earthy hop flavor that lingers after the milk sweetness and malt fades. Not overly complex I find chocolate and dark fruit easily and at 10.5%abv it's smooth and highly drinkable. I'd like to age a few and see what comes of it. A great take on a RIS that I can't wait to find on tap. I will pick up regularly..

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Photo of jwilli7122
3.42/5  rDev -19%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

I finally located this one, and am quite eager to try it out...

pours an opaque black with a purple tinge. absolutely zero head - I poured it hard and I can literally count the bubbles. there is a somewhat frightening looking smoke-colored film covering about 1/3 of the surface.

smell is wicked plum and alchohol, smells more like a barley wine than a stout.

taste: wow. unlike anything i have ever had. i shouldn't, but i'll try -black licorice, chocolate syrup and...some sort of coffee-type flavor that i have never experienced...with alchohol, dark fruit and black malt in the back.

mouthfeel is syrupy-thick with almost no carbonation, and it's right.
absolutely the most aggressive, indefinable beer i have ever had.

note: after reading other reviews - and seeing that this beer is supposed to have a head and big hops - i wonder if my bottle was abnormal.

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

Got a bottle at the Cafe, enjoyed it in my hotel room so to speak.

Pours black as death. No head or foam whatsoever. Thin tan layer of bubbles from the pour immediately disappear.

Aroma of dark malts, some coffee, some dark chocolate, plums?, some hop aroma.

I get a lot of cocoa and roasted malts immediately in the taste. Lingering chocolate, some coffee...bit of a roasty finish. Bit hot.
Coffee flavors linger afterwards too.

Could benefit with 6-12 months in the cellar. Quite a drinkable stout though. Nice.

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

Poured black into a goblet. Camel colored head. Pruney and chocolatey smell that really sticks in the nose. Very appetizing smells. Caramelly, roasted malts jump out. Initial tastes were of hot cocoa and even a dark fruitiness switching into a bitter hop profile and some burnt malt flavors. Bitterness is felt throughout the mouth even on the roof. Heavy and slick mouthfeel barely any carbonation. Leaves a thick ring of lacing behind and clings to the glass. Booze level becomes more revealed as it warms up. Excellent for the last stout of the night.

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Photo of ryantho00
4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This pours into the darkest of night black and leaves a nice 1.5finger foam that is reminicent of an iced mocha coffe drink.

I get deep coffee and cherry whifts from this one, with a bourben-like undertone followed by some chocolate. Very nice indeed.

This beer is fantastic. I get a full chocolate, oatmeal, coffee, caramel, cherry, spice, taste from this great beer. Very full mouthfeel that gives way to a nice smooth swallow, followed by a dark cherry/hop/mocha aftertaste that leaves you wanting more.

This is a great RIS that can creep up on you quickly as it's quite enjoyable to drink all night long.

Great job Bell's, Cheers!!

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Photo of isubsmith
3.6/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours like beer syrup. Extra dark. Large thick brown head.

Smell: Wow. Very very strong aroma. Lots of chocolate and strong espresso coffee tastes. Faint hints of the high alcohol. Lots of roasty smells.

Taste: Bitter chocolate and bitter espresso. Lots of hops. Rather creamy mouthfeel. Bitter roasty flavors linger on the tongue.

Drinkability: Not the most drinkable imperial stout. Too bitter for me. It's hard to drink anything after this beer. I've certainly had other imperial stouts that don't leave such a lingering taste.

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Photo of k3n
4.72/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle courtesy of tangfoot. No back label, and no batch #, but he states is about 5 years old. A thousand thanks for this beer I'm about to experience.

A: Viscous brownish black with mahogony edges. Minimal head and lacing. Color is beautiful!

S: Mollases, caramel, roasted malts, tobacco, sweet coffee.

T/M: Initial hit is syrupy caramel malt, tempered by background astringency and bitterness. Middle and finish is luxuriously smooth chocolate, coffee, maple syrup, figs. Keeps going after its down, and begs the next sip.

Holy cow this is good.

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Photo of bigman147
4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours like dark crude oil. Viscous and black with dark brown bubbles as the only head formed. Impressive how black this stout is.

Aroma: Lots of malt, some raisin, Coffe, maybe toffee. Very aromatic with lots of depth. As the beer warms in my glass, each layer is peeled off like an onion. Absolutely wonderful with a slight amouth of hops and alcohol

Taste: Almost completely malt but with such depth. Slight sweet syrupy taste with good malt balance and slight hop bitterness. Malt makes way to a coffee finish. Slight sourness in the finish and a slight amount of smoke also.

Mouthfeel: Heavy syrupy notes with good carbonation to avoid being cloying. A slight creaminess in the finish.

Drinkability: I think that this is a wonderful beer. But it is by no means a session beer. The alcohol is powerful and the shear syrupy liquidness would make drinking 2 difficult.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.22 out of 5 based on 6,008 ratings.
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