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

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding
2,107 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:
2,107
Ratings:
6,069
Avg:
4.22
pDev:
10.43%
 
 
Wants:
535
Gots:
1,741
For Trade:
138
User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,107 | Ratings: 6,069
Photo of johnnnniee
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a solid black that lets no light through. Tanish head that dissipates quickly, but leaves lots of marks down the surface of the glass. Aroma is wine like, with roasted malts, licorice, some chocolate and coffee too. Taste is sweet. I pick up some dried fruit, molasses, some roast and some faint hop or roast bitterness in the end. Mouthfeel is thick, and a bit sweet. Almost leaves my lips sticky like my kids with candy. Not your average Imp Stout, but I love this stuff. Bells continues to impress me!!

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Photo of jwc215
2.73/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours pitch black with a light brown head that soon fades to a patch, then disappears. Nice color, but disappointing head. I know that the abv works against head retention, but there was none to speak of.

The smell is of dark chocolate with some subtle dark fruit notes. The alcohol masks most of the aromas.

Thick, dark chocolate with an alcohol punch upfront. The sweet chocolate is so dominant that it reminded me of a chocolate stout more than an IRS. It is certainly full-bodied, but more in a chocolate malt sort of way. It reminds me of when I was a child and would put too much chocolate syrup in my milk. The alcohol creates a harsh edge, as it is not masked in any way. As there is little, if any hops, it becomes cloyingly sweet. They have the chocolate and alcohol down pat, but where is the complexity that the style calls for? A dark fruit essence tries to come through, but that is too syrupy and masked by the chocolate and alcohol.
The feel is creamy and softer than the taste, but without any carbonation it does not go down so easily. And, again, the sharp alcohol edge detracts more than adds.
I can appreciate a beer with a high abv, and this is one of my favorite styles, but this one doesn't do it for me. Overly malty, even for the style, no carbonation, and the alcohol is not masked and doesn't really add to the flavor, leaving the sweet rich chocolate to be the only dimension to its potential.

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Photo of tdm168
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - black and as thick as oil with a thick, short cap of brown head that sits atop this brew forever

S - licorice, dark fruit, coffee, roasted malts

T - big roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, faint dark fruit, very bitter

M - full bodied, warm, smooth, perfectly carbonated and oily

This is a really solid beer. The bitterness is a bit intense and detracts from the rest of the flavors. The overall flavor profile is impressive. Rich, chocolate, roasty, bitter coffee, underlying dark fruit -- really enjoyable. I would have this again for sure.

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

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass. Nice to see how this out of the bottle for a change. Packaged September 26th 2011 off we go.

Out of the bottle this pours supper dark and motor oil thick with an incredibly dark DARK brown chocolate head, creamy tiny bubbles and big lacing edges around the glass. Body color is a classic walnut black/brown.

Nose is very fruity, banana, barleywine sense, and mild malts. Interesting very creamy smelling, not so much roasty or malty, quite nice though.

Taste is a great mix of milk chocolate, and very hop bitter finish. Slightly prickly but mostly velvety chocolate texture in the mid palate, and finishing with a very noticeable grapefruit hop bitter. Hop character seems to take over the remaining drink, but still give a basic impression of a dark malty stout.

Overall pretty tasty, but was quite surprised by this hop bitter presence.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.9/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Dark as sin, and pours out a nearly violent, volcanic rich cocoa-colored head. Aroma is simply incredible: maple syrup, anise, dates, dark rum, dark chocolate, and it doesn't end either, it spins on and on! THICK texture! It's a liquid candy bar, sweet, full, chewy, but no Butterfingers here, this is heavy, substantial stuff! Full body, persistent finish: this ripple of flavor will not let go! It's tenacious, is what it is! This is Kalamazoo's Imperial Stout and it's way over the top, outdoing most, if not all the ISs I've ever had. One of the thickest and chewiest Imperials in memory!

10-26-03 ...I'm sipping from a bottle of a newer batch, though proper aged, some 9 1/2 months from my first reviewing, and can only agree with myself..the HUGE flavor, the enormous feeling on the palate, the never-ending finish...I would be amazed to find a better Imperial Stouts, but this is still the King...

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Photo of vfgccp
3.68/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Black with mahogany highlights. Dark cocoa head pours 2 fingers high.

S - Raw malt, light bourbon, oak. Light cream. Mild cocoa.

T - Dark toast, burnt prunes. A lace of oak throughout the profile. Dark cocoa / coffee backend.

M - Smooth with a rolling char-bitterness. Medium/full body.

O - Very nice, particularly if you're a fan of dark-roast flavors.

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

A - Almost black pour with a chunky, bubbly, sticky brown head that hangs around.

S - Chocolate covered raisins, dried dark fruit sugars i.e. figs, currants, dates. Once again, a pretty solid raisinette aroma. Some sweet alcohol floating.

T - Very dark, very roasty with a nice touch of hops to balance. A nice amount of dark fruit sweetness and chocolate. Smooth warming alcohol provide a nice facet.

M - Silky smooth creamy mouth. Spiced, warming alcohol finish. Dry and sweet aftermath.

O - A nice imperial stout. The dark fruits gave this one a different twist and was well combined in the flavor profile. Smooth and soft with each sip and finish. Had this paired with black forrest cake at a Bells beer dinner.

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Photo of Billolick
3.43/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle, with no freshness dating.
Think and goey, rich and chewy.
This is as dark, rich, flavorful and robust as any beer I've had. To my tastes its over the top and not all that pleasant, and I like stouts and rich, strong beer in general. HEAVY roasted, burnt, chocolate, coffee flavors. Mega sweet malt in the finish with a bit of bittering. Extreme after dinner beer. not for women and children or the feint of heart.

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Photo of drabmuh
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gift from Huhzubendah, thanks Matt. Beer is black and forms a minimal head with some lacing on the glass. Carbonation is low.

Aroma is strong, very strong, a little boozy. Almost liquor like in aroma. Very strong. Pretty sweet. Its a little bit of a turnoff.

Very full bodied stout, finishes brighter than it starts. Pretty roasty, kind of bourbony in the mouthfeel and forward flavors. Its a big big beer. I didn't realize the ABV on this until I started writing this review foolishly. I will pay for my ignorance for sure. Its pretty drinkable especially if I'm grading on a curve. I had the 2005 recently, also a gift from Huhzubendah and it had began to turn. Strong plum flavors and other characteristic oxidized notes in the palate. A good beer but i think the shelf life is around 3 - 4 years max. I enjoyed it.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.85/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11/24/07- Received via trade with Lou91.

Presentation- 12oz bottle with a code marked 6672 on the bottom of the back label. Not a clue what that means. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Very black in color. 3/4 inch milk chocolate colored head. Head has nice staying power. Lace streaks and spots and patchwork remain after the finish.

Smell- Strong nose of molasses, deep sweet malt, coffee, licorice and chocolate. Full house in this nose. One of the better ones out there.

Taste- Wow, this is right up there with my all time favorite tasting imperials. Huge milgled flavors of dark chocolate, roasted fresh coffee beans and mollasses. Sweet and dark like candy. Just an explosion of flavors that meld so well together. Hops are there, but come out more in the aftertaste than the actual consumption.

Mouthfeel- Creamy, viscous, extremely mouthcoating. Thick and chewy, but unlike cough syrup. Medium carbonation level with a bitter aftertaste that gets stronger and stronger.

Drinkability- Abv is noticeable, but doesn't seem like the 11.5% Seems high though. Damn I wish I could get these out here. May have to do some mail order. Top notch stuff that competes with Stone, Alesmith and a few other ones IMO. Will be doing what I can to get more of these.

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Photo of SadMachine
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

'09 bottle acquired in an IP trade w/ Ahappyhiker2, thanks man!

A- Poured into Stone IRS snifter. Pours pitch black, viscous, and with a thick light-brown head that has incredible retention (especially w/ the age), and leaves generous lacing.

S- Surprising start to the nose as it is reminiscent of a bourbon barrel aged stout with lots of booze and a bit of vanilla. Dark bitter chocolate, Belgian candi-sugar, molasses, brown sugar, and dark alcohol soaked fruits are also perceived.

T- There are huge chocolate flavors right off the bat, both dark/bitter and sweet/milk. There is a healthy dose of roasted malt/coffee in the mix, particularly in the finish. There is also a distinct vinous flavor in the finish.

M- The mouthfeel is thick, viscous, and creamy with nearly no perceivable carbonation. It is less boozy than expected from the nose, which is a positive.

O- I have not had this fresh, but this is drinking fantastic with ~3.5 years on it! I would have been happier if some more of the complexity in the nose came through in the flavor, but it still tastes superb!

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Photo of stevoj
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

One heck of a brew, slick and oily, black with fast disappearing beige head. Robust but mild aroma leads into sharp, crisp and deep smoky taste. Mouth feel is slick and slippery, lingering coffee bitterness/ Well worth its high ratings.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.07/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: poured a dark as night black with a super thin brown head and left hardly any lacing sticking to the glass.

S: I definitely was greeted by roasted chocolate malts, some oat grains, slight smokey, booze, and some cookie notes as well; very nice nose.

T/M: there was actually some hop bitterness on the backend but upfront the chocolate roasted malts were dominate alongside toffee, slight licorice, coffee, and a touch of bourbon. The brew was full inbody with a low amount of carbonation which had a roasty, sweet, slight astringent, boozy, hoppy bitter, and silky finish.

D: it drank pretty good considering the ABV but I'm not much of a hoppy RIS type of dude I would much rather stick to the ones that aren't as bitter on the finish. Even though it had a quality I didn't like it was still damn tasty.

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Photo of Tone
4.12/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, jet black. 1/4 inch head of a dark tan color. Great retention and Good lacing. Smells strongly of sweet malt, slight hops, alcohol, and some roasted malts. Fits the style of a Russian Imperial Stout. Thick and smooth mouth feel. Low carbonation level present, and a noticeable bitterness and dryness left on the palate. Tastes of strong malt, roasted malt, slight hop kick noticeable, some chocolate, and an overall sweetness. Strong body along with a slight alcohol flavor. Overall, a good complex beer full of different malt flavors.

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

Poured in to Duvel snifter. Batch # 9512.

A - Poured a thick silky black colour with a finger of dark chocolate-brown head. Appears to be very lightly carbonated.

S - Dark roasted malts - dark chocolate with some coffee. Some dark fruit and hops are present in the background. Seems to be a slight alcohol nose in the background as well, but that may be the hops.

T - Dark roasted malts with some dark fruit and sweet molasses. Not an overwhelming coffee or chocolate taste but but both are present in a more subdued fashion. Bitter hops are present as well that become more and more prominent as I continue to drink the beer. There is also a nice licorice taste in the background. A little bit hot.

M - Thick & silky. A perfect mouth feel for an imperial stout. Moderate carbonation.

D - A very nice RIS. Somewhat hot, but otherwise near perfect for a RIS. I am very interested to see how the other 5 of these age...

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Photo of tempest
3.58/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It’s big and pretty good, but my bottle need more time. There’s too much alcohol flavor and the chocolate and coffee taste feel like they’re only just budding. There’s a nice addition of hops flavor under the malt, but the alcohol that follows leaves a bad feel.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.16/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Knownfactor for this bottle, and two more.

Pours black, perhaps some brown edging, but overall this thing is dark. That's the good part. No head at all. I could be persuaded to say it has a collar...

Aroma is boozy up front. This takes away from the nice prune and black plum, dark chocolate and molasses aromas. Too bad.

Again, booze really hinders the flavors. I know they are there. The cocoa is thinned out and the dark, soft fruits are too soaked. It has some sharp agents, too. Anise and quick roasted malt give it a bit of a kick. This one *needs* age on it. Ok with me.

Overall a nice beer. Too boozy right now to warrant higher ratings, but it has great potential.

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Photo of Gavage
4.09/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep black color with no head. The aroma was huge, as espresso and alcohol were most notible. The flavors followed the aroma as roasted malt, espresso, and alcohol pummeled the tastebuds into overload. Decent bittering balanced this out.

But this bottle poured with no head and was relatively flat compared to others like Storm King. Do not know if this was an aberation, but this caused a lower score in mouthfeel. Drinkability is decent, but the alcohol level was a little over the top.

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Photo of WesWes
5/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The beer pours a deep, dark black color with a thick frothy brown head that slowly fades to lacing. This is a thing of beauty. The aroma is great! It has a warm black, chocolate, and roasted malt scent. It's rich and creamy with a stiff non malted roasted barley aroma. The taste is great. It is rich with malt complexity. It starts out smooth and creamy with a chocolate malt taste. Then it quickly warms with a roasted malt feel and finishes with a bold black malt blast. This is a damn tastey beer. The mouthfeel is great. It's a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is the perfect RIS. It's bold and challenging with loads of flavor and malt complexity. It's warm and inviting. A damn fine beer!!

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Here it is, the finale of the long and commemerative Third Unorganized Invitational. I'm going big and strong on this one, and I'm hoping to end this on a good note. On to the beer:

Pours a small, mocha-tanned head on top with the usual pitch black body associated with the style. The aroma is good. Some cocoa, licorice, a side of fruit, and a faint fume of cardboard.

At first taste, this is an easy going imperial stout. A little roasty with some hops (piney)burst on to the scene as it enters your mouth. Baker's chocolate appears, and then it morphs into chocolate brownie liquid. Faint smokiness and molasses. Where's the booze? Bitter astringent coffee lingers on in the aftertaste. Full bodied with a tick of carbonation, it soaks and coats the tongue.

This will conclude the Third Unorganized Invitational, and now in the usual fashion, it is time to announce the winner of it all, and it is:

Girardin (black label) Gueuze!

What to way to celebrate my graduation from college, with eight big beer for eight straight nights, but in the end, the sour holds the power to winning. Girardin joins Anchor Steam and Hacker Weiss as the winners of the Unorganized Invitaitonal series. I won't be in school to have another end of the year celebration with beer, but I will continue to carry on the tradtion. Check back around this time next year for the Fourth edition. Good night everyone!

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Photo of liamt07
4.68/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle courtesy of TMoney2591, via the Support Your Team BIF. Thanks for this one, dude. Batch 9435, 341ml bottle into a snifter. Almost a year on this one at this point.

Pours a heavy and thick black with a short milk chocolate brown head, both thick and creamy. Tons of beautiful lace. So much in the nose in terms of dark fruits (figs, plums), licorice, molasses and a touch of milk chocolate. Molasses and dark fruits lead the charge on the tongue, and flows effortlessly into some bitter dark chocolate and dry coffee beans. Finishes slightly dry as a result, full and syrupy with a ton of body. Excellent mouthfeel and outstanding drinkability for the alcohol content. One of the best I've had, easily.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.03/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up in a trade from Exiled.

2007 vintage. Pours pitch black with basically no head. What little head is present is is a brown color. Aroma is strong coffee with some roasted malt and dark fruit. the flavor is heavy on the roasted malt with some smokiness. Some dark fruit and bitter chocolate as well. There is also a slight soy sauce character to the beer. The alcohol has a nice alcohol warming affect. Very thick body and low carbonation. Slightly creamy mouthfeel. This one might have improved with more carbonation.

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Photo of aasher
4.16/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This beer pours an oily, viscous, syrupy, midnight black with a one finger beautiful dark khaki, soapy looking, head. It smells of rich, dark roasted malts with some bitter chocolate present. I love the flavors the Expedition presents. It's chocolatey, rich, has a good amount of coffee, and has this smokiness that reminds me of smoked wood chips. As far as mouthfeel is concerned, this is about as smooth as you could want for the style. It is very, very smooth and full in body. This is one of Bell's best brews hands down. The sweetness can be a little much the more you drink it but it is definitely a great RIS.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to BuckEyeNation for this awesome brew.

Batch 7205

Pours a thick black color, nice carbonation, nice fizzy tan head that quickly leaves, and in return a few islands appear. The second I opened the bottle the roasted malts, coffee/toffee, and alcohol hit me in the face, I knew I was into something special. The taste is very malty, coffee/toffee flavor, the alcohol is hidden pretty well though. Only really shows on the way down, warming the body. Medium body, creamy/chewing, well rounded. Very drinkable, a very very nice RIS, way to go Bell's.

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Photo of tone77
3.8/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1 inch head. Smell is of chocolate, coffee, a bit of sweetness. Taste is the same, chocolate, some hops, a bit of coffee, alcohol is well hidden. Feels full bodied in the mouth and overall is a solid beer.

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Bell's Expedition Stout from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.22 out of 5 based on 6,069 ratings.
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