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

6,163 Ratings
Bell's Expedition StoutBell's Expedition Stout

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

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

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,163 |  Reviews: 2,137
Photo of davegray
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

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

A: Thick and black with a dark brown, bubbly head that has good retention; it has a similar appearance to a dark-chocolate mousse.

S: Coffee, chocolate and dark roasted malts hit you up front; rich with a subtle alcohol burning through the malty goodness; slightly sweet brown sugar/ caramel at the back of the aromas

T: Dark chocolate and coffee bitterness up front; delicious roasted malt presence; alcohol is prevalent making this a sipper; a nice brown sugary sweetness balances out the bitterness

F: Thick with a slightly syrupy viscosity; good even mouth coat eventually--after the beer slowly works its way around

D: Great beer that is wonderful to sip on for any occasion; however, the strength of the roasted malts and the alcohol presence makes this a tad bit difficult to handle for too long. Great beer--just approach slowly and with caution

 857 characters

Photo of laxer8811
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of mwar
2/5  rDev -52.6%

Photo of HeadyTheElder
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of ChicagoNick
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of ramrod666
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of seedyone
4.55/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

02/11/14 On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. A fine, fine brew. First nostril full is of a mild coffee. On the tongue it has a very pleasant bitterness from coffee & a mild chocolate. Steady, steady stuff. Sessionable plus.

 216 characters

Photo of craft_shannie
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of Beestin
3/5  rDev -28.9%

Photo of Dewsby
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of mattsmith413
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

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 ALLISON01
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of SanFranJake
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of aaronh
4.79/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After several beer expeditions over the previous few months, the time has come for an Expedition beer. Once it is time to embark, I remove the beer from the fridge. I gradually leverage the bottle cap open. It turns over with little protest, yet seems strangely silent. As I gradually start the pour, something seems amiss. I push the accelerator and roughly finish the pour. Oh no! Do I have a flat?! Something's not right! I stop, and gaze at the level of liquid in the glass. A fine bead of bubbles rings the glass, as a few larger bubbles surface on one side. I tentatively raise the glass and give it a slight swirl. A small ring of very fine carbonation surfaces. Phew! Maybe a little low on air, but not a flat. Probably due to the cooler temperatures at the start of the trip. I decide it's time to move on.

As I settle in for the journey, I roll down the windows a bit to partake of the wonderful scents of nature. Black chocolate, plums, molasses, and toasted marshmallows are on the breeze. Did someone have a campfire with smores nearby? Then I notice a hint of alcohol in the air as well. Maybe it’s just me; I’ve been known to think of alcohol of all sorts, and at the strangest times.
As I travel to an unknown place (as most of my expeditions start), I take a look in my stash to see what there might be to eat. Ahh, one of my favorites, dark chocolate. Mmmmmm. I love these treats that are chewy with all kinds of taste! That smoky roasted marshmallow pops back into my mind again, so I reach back into the bag to find all kinds of dark, ripe fruits.

After a while, I feel a need for a bit more sustenance. I take a big bite, and discover a bit of bitter spices in a thick molasses and chocolate sauce. I take a sip of coffee with a bit of whiskey to wash it down. Who put this sweet cream in my coffee! I can tell it's there by the way it coats my throat and has that silky feel to it.
I've gotten so wrapped up in all the different taste experiences on this expedition that I've forgotten where I'm going! Oh well, I don't mind. I'll make this a long trip, because who knows when I'll get another? But I could definitely take another one of these any time. What a great trip this is! Thanks to cretemixer for supplying the compass. This Expedition won't steer you wrong, although you may find yourself a bit lost. Lost to the world while you're enjoying the trip, and then again feeling lost when it's over, not knowing when you'll take another trip like this one again.

 2,501 characters

Photo of beergeek279
4.7/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in the 12 oz. bottle. The color is oil black, with a nice bit of head for such a high ABV brew. The smell is sweet malt. The taste is very dark chocolatey, with hints of anise and coffee, and the alcohol is present if not necessarily overwhelming. Mouthfeel is oil-thick. Drinkability-wise, I'd want to drink more of these than I actually could!

A wonderful and rich imperial stout. Not quite as good as some of my personal favorites, it's still up there as a damn good beer nonetheless. Definitely one I'd have in the future!

 536 characters

Photo of bjohnson
3.67/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: As I'm pouring this, I'm wondering if it's engine oil or a beer. Very thick jet black color with no head. No head=no carbonation....hmmm. Is it flat? It's got the color of a RIS, but I'm a bit curious.
S: Caramel, chocolate, coffee, dark fruit notes hit the palate all at once. Hard to decipher what is what in there. It's like getting lost in a black hole. Smells spicy and and a bit sweet for an RIS. High abv is definately noticeable.
T/M: Prickly on the lips even before I swallow some. Chocolate, coffee, caramel, and dark fruit flavors blend in and out with each peaking through here and there. After it initially goes down, theres an over eager sweet spicyness that floods the senses. Big long coffee aftertaste with a slight bitterness. Smooth, creamy, and velvety in the mouth. Coats the mouth, but doesn't hold like oil. Washes away pretty fast leaving you with a dry aftertaste. Huge body and very very complex. No carbonation on this guy makes me wonder if I'm drinking oil or a beer.
D: Abv is very noticeable. This could be a very drinkable RIS if it just calms a bit more--Possibly I cracked it too soon? Luckily I have another in the fridge. Pretty decent tasting RIS from Bell's, but I'm not sure about it. There was just something amiss. Everyone seemed to like it, but I'll swim against the current on this one.

 1,338 characters

Photo of kaseydad
4.54/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally a Bell's beer. Had to travel to Arizona to pick this beauty up. Couldn't age it long though. Poured into a snifter and I am met with a pure black ale and a beautiful brown fluffy head that quickly turns into a light layer. The aroma is very much chocolate with some heavy maple syrup in the background and some smoke, vanilla and caramel in the mix. Awesome stuff! The taste has a little bite to it with more chocolate coming through and a big smokey, coffee bean background to it. Almost like sucking on a coffee bean. Cigarette smoke-like aftertaste. A lot going on here. All good. Lightly carbonated but I was hoping for a smooth sip each time with all the explosions in the mouth going on.

Overall I must say this beat my expectations. I had to go to AZ to find this and I am happy I did. This beer packs a whallop in a 12 oz. pour and it makes me yearn for me. If all Bell's products are like this....I am beginning my quest.

 939 characters

Photo of Beerbom
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of GRPunk
4.46/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A- It poured a jet black with a 1 finger deep red-brown head that turned into a nice lace that left sticky rings on the glass.

S- It had mostly roasty chocolate tones. More coffee aroma came through as the beer warmed.

T- It had more roasty chocolate character in the flavor. The alcohol was pretty well masked. There were hints of coffee and a sweet bourbon-like flavor (similar to what I think of as a smoke flavor in the sour mash). The hop flavors were fairly light.

M- It was thick and creamy with medium-light carbonation.

D- The alcohol was nicely hidden in the rich flavor. It was an easy sipper that I most recently enjoyed while watching the snow fall down.

Overall- A great example in my opinion. It had robust flavor and was easily sippable.

 793 characters

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

Poured into a pint glass from a 12oz bottle.

A - Pours a thick motor oil black, forming a good 1 inch mocha head. Thick rings of lace stick to the glass and dont move.

S - The aroma is all roasted malts on this one. Maybe a hint of bitter cocoa, but mainly the roasted malts. No alcohol is present on the nose.

T - Thick and smooth roasted malts coat the palate. A light coffee cocoa flavor then dominates the finish, with a hint of raisins. Not as complex as other RIS's but still very tasty. The taste still coats the mouth long after the swallow. Again, the alcohol is very well hidden.

M - Heavy bodied with a smooth and thick mouthfeel. Low carbonation.

D - Great flavor in this beer. I think its the appearance and mouthfeel that really make this beer stand out from the rest. Good thick taste just like an RIS should be along with the heavy body. Thick rings of lace cling to the glass the entire time. Overall just a great looking and tasting RIS!!

 962 characters

Photo of GPHarris
4.43/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a - poured a three fingers thick dark brown head into a pint glass. the head clings to the glass as it dissipates. the body is black as night and leaves a thick ring of lace throughout. this is an amazing looking brew.
s - light hints of chocolate and coffee. it is the definition of light done right. there's just enough to awaken the senses but not so much that it is overwhelmingly strong.
t - chocolate, oats, malt and cherry, a very complex beer.
m - medium body, smooth and it really coats the tongue.
d - gives a nice warming sensation and the alcohol begins to mellow towards the finish. this beer will be spectacular after one year plus of cellaring.

 664 characters

Photo of BillHilly
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of jewellrunner
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.22 out of 5 based on 6,163 ratings.
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