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

BA SCORE
94
outstanding
6,166 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:
6,166
Reviews:
2,138
Avg:
4.22
pDev:
10.43%
 
 
Wants:
552
Gots:
1,776
For Trade:
129
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 6,166 |  Reviews: 2,138
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 craft_shannie
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of Beestin
3/5  rDev -28.9%

Photo of dtm426
4.27/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Piglet_rulz_da_yard
4.29/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of mattsmith413
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

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 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 tripledbrew
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of williahd
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of Skunkdrool
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

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

Photo of strohme2
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of gshak
4.37/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this a number of times, but decided this time, to chime in and write a review. Poured from a year-old (Jan '12) bottle into a Meukow snifter at refrigerator temperature. I had the desire but not the discipline to let this one sit for long and warm up. Here we go:
A - With an aggressive pour, the liquid still went flat into the snifter, only for the bubbles to gradually rise up towards the end, generate a thin mocha-colored head, and fade back into a tiny, persistent, ring. Viscous, and pitch-black; upon swirling leaves noticeable signs of alcohol legs. The mocha-tint lets you know where the beer's been through in your glass. Impressive.
S - Chocolatey, very, very chocolatey with hints of molasses. Now, this may not be much to rate the stout on, but there is that almost zen-like statement from this stout (hyperbolic, I know) the subdued appearance, the subdued aromas that portend of awesome things to come.
T - Yes, yes, yes. A big hit of dark chocolate and sweet molasses coats the mouth. Transitions into a slightly vinous sensation on the palate most likely the alcohol. I want to keep this in my mouth for as along as I possibly can - ah, the sweet, sweet delight of sipping on this beauty. As it goes down, it dries the palate - possibly a combination of hops and alcohol coming into play. I never felt the alcohol at any time, and the hops are only there to balance out the sweetness of the beer. Even so...this is a malt-lover's dream!
M - Thick, viscous, silky, smooth....the ultimate sipper.

As far as non-barrel aged imperial stouts go, this is right up there with the big boys.

 1,610 characters

Photo of jminch
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of BostonHops
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle served in a snifter.
thanks to abanton for the opportunity.

pours a deep chestnut / mahogany, sits a jet black tone... yields a 1/2" mocha head that lapses fairly quickly into a collar around the glass; some lacing evident. nose offers a nice potpourri of a lot of the usual suspects: roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee, with secondary notes of vanilla and some dark fruit elements.

more of the same carry pull through in the flavor. lots of roastiness, chocolate and coffee with distinct cherry / fig notes, vanilla and a touch of molasses. some booze, notably in the finish. chewy, full bodied mouthfeel with medium carbonation.

overall an excellent RIS, packed with flavor and very tasty. to be sure, one of the better renditions out there.

(originally reviewed: 02-12-2012)

 795 characters

Photo of huntermop
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of StevenMilligan
4.11/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of jjwisenheimer
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of botham
3.68/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic. pours a thick opaque black with a slow forming two fingers of dark brown head that retains nicely. moderate lacings.

aroma is roasted, with malt notes of coffee, caramel, chocolate, and a burnt character that acts as the base. mild aromatic hops are present in the background. very rich in the nose, with a full profile.

taste is roasted up front, with the same malt notes as the aroma, and a very refined profile. less rich on the palate than the aroma would suggest, with just enough flavors coming through to sustain the thickness.

mouthfeel is beyond full bodied, with a thick and oily texture. finishes smooth with residual roasted malt and a bit of hops.

drinkability is decent. this is a huge brew. the thickness of the mouthfeel and the richness of the flavors present make this one a sipping beer, not shy about filling up the stomach. regardless, this is a good RIS. cheers!

 922 characters

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.22 out of 5 based on 6,166 ratings.
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