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

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Bell's Expedition StoutBell's Expedition Stout
BA SCORE
4.26/5
Outstanding
6,214 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
Ranking:
#690
Reviews:
2,154
Ratings:
6,214
pDev:
10.33%
Bros Score:
4.41
 
 
Wants:
558
Gots:
1,774
Trade:
126
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 6,214 |  Reviews: 2,154
Photo of emerge077
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brownish-black, not quite opaque. Two fingers of tan latte foam rise and settle. Above the rim, the surface could pass for a chocolate chip cookie.

Aroma of roasted malt, vague sweetness, with a possible lactic note. Not especially bold, but complimentary to the huge flavor.

Rich taste, notes of smoky malt, bitter chocolate, and creamy coffee. Residual hop bitterness. Very powerful and bold flavors, the alcohol isn't overwhelming, but it packs a punch.

Mouthfeel is intensely smooth and velvety, creamy and luscious. Lactic milk sugar contributes a boatload of palate-smudging heft.

Although it's not one for sessioning, it has a sublime quality that makes you savor every sip. Every so often I crave an Expedition, so it has a year-round place in the cellar.

 782 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.38/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dirty motor oil color with a huge tan head that sheets lacing

Smell: Roasted notes with dark fruit, coffee, dark chocolate and some hops in the back

Taste: Opens with rich chocolate flavors; after the swallow, the hops kick in for a second, followed by a myriad of dark and slightly tart fruit flavors; bitterness and coffee tones engulf the tongue through to a long lasting finish

Mouthfeel: Thick and syrupy with modest carbonation; a lot of warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: Marvelous flavor; just a bit too boozy; clearly improves with a few years of age though the hops do fade

 607 characters

Photo of oline73
5/5  rDev +17.4%

Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.75/5  rDev -12%

Photo of SocalKicks
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a thick black color stout with a small dark brown head with excellent retention. Aroma mainly dominated by roasted malt with some subtle coffee and chocolate notes. The roasted malt dominates taste at first and then chocolate and coffee are also easily identifiable. Creamy texture makes this even more enjoyable. It all ends with some well balance bitterness. Body is incredibly full and there is even quite a lot of sediment at the bottom of my glass. Alcohol is well hidden which I always appreciate. Very good stuff indeed.

 542 characters

Photo of zeff80
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a velvety smooth appearance. It had a foamy, brown, long-lasting head that left behind rings of sticky lace.

S - It smelled of tons of chocolate, very sweet smelling with toffee notes. Also, some nice floral notes.

T - It tasted of dark chocolate, vanilla, molasses and some oaky notes. It had a sharp bitter kick from the hops.

M - It was smooth and creamy, possibly the smoothest RIS that I've ever had. It was medium to full-bodied.

D - This is a very good RIS. Potent and very well balanced.

 546 characters

Photo of largadeer
3.06/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance - Black in color, viscous and oily. An inch of dark brown head rises and falls over the course of a few minutes.

Smell - Sweet and roasty with a hint of alcohol. Molasses and dark chocolate are very pronounced, with undertones of licorice and vanilla.

Taste - Bold and bitter. Moderate sweetness; flavors of molasses and dark chocolate are met with an almost burnt bitterness. The finish is long and coating, leaving a bittersweet aftertaste. Well crafted, but too intense, acrid and sweet. If that's your thing, you'll probably love this.

Mouthfeel - Incredibly rich and creamy; easily one of the most full-bodied brews I've had. Medium to low carbonation.

 671 characters

Photo of zestar
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%

Photo of Boone757
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of superspak
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled 11/11/2010. Pours very dense pitch black color with a nice 1-2 finger dense brown head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Some nice soapy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of huge very dark chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, caramel, biscuit, toast, char, molasses, vanilla, toffee, earth, wood, and light herbal hops. Fantastic aromas with great complexity, balance, and strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, roasted malt, char, coffee, molasses, caramel, toast, tobacco, biscuit, earth, pine, citrus, and light herbal hops. Decent amount of roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, caramel, toast, molasses, citrus, and herbal on the finish for a while. Fantastic roasted flavor balance and complexity. Medium carbonation and very full bodied; with a very nice creamy, slick, thick, and lightly chalky mouthfeel. Alcohol is very well hidden with almost no warming noticed at all after the finish. Very smooth to sip on. Overall this is a fantastic Russian imperial stout. Huge complexity and big robust roasted flavors; and very smooth to sip on. Extremely impressive.

 1,189 characters

Photo of Kurmaraja
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of mothman
4.43/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Batch 8726

Poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark brown head that leaves an incredible lacing. Color is dark dark brown, almost black.

Smell is a toasted malted chocolate. Very 'toasty' that is. Taste is quite similar very very chocolaty. It also tastes like something was burnt. Some dark fruit notes in there. Maybe some coffee as well.

Mouthfeel is very smooth, just a little crisp. After it lingers around enough, the 10.5% abv shows. Full bodied with a nice amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is a great RIS. Not too expensive for a 6er and at 10.5% you really can't go wrong. I will be getting this every year. If you see this at the stores, do yourself a favor and buy some!

Edit: 12/2016 and still drinking this beer every year. Hasn't changed in quality. Still amazing as ever. Still $3 a bottle (or less).

 824 characters

Photo of DrBier
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.77/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Two bottles of Expedition were tasted side by side for this review. One was roughly 6 months to a year old, while the other was around 2 years old. Neither bottle showed any defect, but the 2 year old was remarkably smoother and far more caramelish as some of the roastiness and hop character had softened. Both were quite similar, but the aged bottle was stellar. This scoring for this review is based on the aged bottle, but even if the newer sample had been rated it would have scored almost as high.

A completely opaque black body is capped by a good-sized head of frothy dark tan foam with a slightly reddish tint to it. The alcohol cuts the head a bit, and it dies a slow death; but, surprisingly, it maintains a solid surface covering and the spotty and splashy lacing it leaves is very nice!

The nose is rich and bold, loaded with bittersweet chocolate, some simple, straight-forward graininess, and a whiff of citrusy hops (a little quirky - but it works!); and accentuated by a thin thread of dark fruitiness and background whiffs of espresso, dark caramel, nutty toffee, and alcohol. And although it's not overtly complex, simply based on its richness, this is a beer that could be enjoyed based on just the nose alone - although the temptation to partake of its flavors would be too great for any man to resist!

In the mouth it's exceptionally creamy and rich with a very full body and exceptionally fine-bubbled, restrained carbonation that leaves it overtly creamy and velvety smooth! WOW!

The flavor, however, is more full-throttle than that! It's almost too much to comprehend - and yet again, it never goes too far out on a limb in it's complexity. It's succulently rich, but not confusingly diverse. Upfront, rich caramel lathers the palate; followed by a mild slap of fruitiness (apple, very soft prune, figs) and notes of toffee and mocha. It's always slightly awash in alcohol (although it's never agressive); and as it crosses the palate a smear of leafy and grassy hops appears (far more so in the younger version than the 2 year old), ushering in a drying bitterness and some mild licorice flavors. It lingers in the mouth, seemingly forever, not unlike the smoke from a good cigar; an amazing cup of cappuchino; or some caramel-chocolate-coffee-and-liquor-drenched dessert. Again, this is STUNNING! This is an amazing beer to cellar, believe me!!!! Go get some now for next year or the year after!

 2,436 characters

Photo of chinchill
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle date stamped with a fill date of 2 Oct. 2012. Served in a Belgian snifter.

Pours opaque and nearly black, but with red-brown highlights at the edges. Small dark tan head soon recedes.

Aroma: semi-sweet and appealing but relatively subtle.

Flavor: Rich and strong, with dark fruits, dark chocolate, dark roasted grains, and a hint of coffee. Approaches 4.5

Creamy smooth, excluding the impact of high ABV,

O: Excellent, but room for improvement as demonstrated by Bell's Black Note Stout.

 507 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
4.03/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours an opaque jet black in color with some light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a two finger tall dense and creamy mocha head that slowly reduces to a half finger thick layer covering the entire surface of the beer with a slightly thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of dark roasted malts, chocolate, dark fruits, licorice, coffee, and some hops.

T: Strong flavors of roasted malts with bittersweet chocolate, coffee, and dark fruit sweetness. Fairly strong flavors of hops that impart a moderate amount of lingering bitterness. Light to moderate flavors of alcohol in the finish.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Moderate amounts of alcohol heat in the finish.

O: I wish that the alcohol was a little more well hidden in this beer - there are some very nice aspects to this beer and it would likely mellow out a bit with age. Not the easiest beer to drink, definitely requires some slow sipping over quite a bit of time.

 1,051 characters

Photo of olradetbalder
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of jlindros
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've been waiting to try this one for a long time. Thanks to paco1029384756 and Noslenwerd for providing this beast to me.

A: Pours a dark semi thick rich pitch black color with a dark almost black head, which rises about a finger of thick creamy goodness.

N: Nose is loaded with chocolate! Bakers and milk chocolate dominate. Also adds some roast and a little coffee on the nose. Some sweet caramel, and a slight bright fruit. A slight boozy aroma also comes out.

T: Taste starts with tons of dark chocolate and bakers chocolate. Very earthy bitter stout flavor! Some creamy darkness. More roast and spicy dark malt flavor. Lots of malt to go with that. A little coffee with the roasted flavor. Some dark fruit. It's very heavy, thick, rich, spicy, earthy, bitter, roasted, chocolate, and perhaps too much of all. Some boozy warmth adds to the spicy dark flavor.

M: Super thick and heavy, rich, and more carbonation than I expected for the style.

F: Finishes pretty dry and super bitter still. Lots of earthy dark stout like char and scorched malts. The dark flavors just feel like they are pulling the water and nutrients out of my mouth. The thick syrupy barely liquid seems to stick to everything as well and coats the mouth, leaving the flavors for a while. More chocolate, roast, coffee, bitter earthy stout, and the lingering boozy flavors just go for a while. Considering how thick it is, with the boozy quality, and so bitter and dry its difficult to drink. Glad it isn't a bomber! Still a great beer though.

 1,524 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.28/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A big "Thank you!" to BlackAngus for trading me this one.
Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is pitch black with a thin dark brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: Heavy coffee & chocolate aroma with roasted malt, a touch of dark fruits and a hint of alcohol.

T: Heavy roasted coffee flavor dominates the taste. As you drink more of it, you start to get a little bit of the bitter dark chocolate & hops which completely hides the high ABV.

M: Smooth, oily & thick, full bodied, light carbonation, very sticky finish though.

D: Tasty & smooth and you certainly wouldn't know that the ABV is at 10.50%, which makes you want another and another until they start catching up to you.

 749 characters

Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have been able to drink this a few times and really like it,poures a rich black color with small brownish colored head.Smell is sweet and earthy,the taste is a complex mix of earth,chocolate,and roasted malt.When it warms a little the alcoholic notes really come thru,very true to the style.A good high quality imperial stout from my favorite brewer.

 352 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
4.58/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap in Bloomington, IN earlier this year. Served in a snifter.

A: Very, very dark with a massive brown head.

S: Quite good, but a little muted compared with the taste. Hops, chocolate, coffee, cherries, slightly-burnt espresso.

T: Same as the smell, and utterly fantastic. I taste the most from the espresso with a little bit of the cherry.

M: Very thick. Chewy and creamy.

D: Highly, highly drinkable. Grab two of these and sip 'em for the rest of the night.

 467 characters

Photo of nickfl
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Small, brownish-orange head that dissipates quickly. Virtually opaque black body with just a hint of ruby showing through.

S - Roasty malt aroma with subtle notes of both chocolate and coffee. A velvety hop note lurks in the background as a nice complimnet to the roasted malt.

T - Sweet and malty up front with some deep, dark chocolate flavors. Hop flavor kicks in early with a resiny, velvety smooth note and a round bitterness that compliments rather than cuts the sweetness. The finish is strongly bitter with competing bitter components from the malt and the hops and lingering notes of coffee, tobacco, and smoke.

M - Very thick, oily body with low carbonation and a sweet, slightly alcoholic finish.

D - Reasonably drinkable considering how huge this beer is. The flavors are profoundly dark and quite complex, and the only flaw I can find is the mildly hot alcohol in the finish.

 896 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.92/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Really big black ale.

Great big stout, a little touch of brown-amber in the glass. Huge malt. Very strong, alcohol flavors, like a brandy. Spicy and full of the spectrum of roasted malt. Butterscotch and cocoa. Nice nose full of burnt cereal and chocolate. Long burning aftertaste with coffee flavors.

Had a glass at Barley's in Greenville, SC.

 347 characters

Photo of dcmchew
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Beer rating: 4.26 out of 5 with 6,214 ratings
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