35th Anniversary Expedition Stout Reserve
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store

35th Anniversary Expedition Stout Reserve35th Anniversary Expedition Stout Reserve
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Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #64
ABV:
11.5%
Score:
94
Ranked #958
Avg:
4.46 | pDev: 5.16%
Reviews:
33
Ratings:
79
From:
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
 
Michigan, United States
Avail:
One-off
Wants
  11
Gots
  10
SCORE
94
Outstanding
35th Anniversary Expedition Stout Reserve35th Anniversary Expedition Stout Reserve
Notes:
Reviews: 33 | Ratings: 79 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of morimech
morimech from Minnesota

4.24/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

My criticism of regular Expedition Stout was that it was too hot to drink without 2-3 years of age on it but this one seems much more mellow fresh. Strong licorice aroma and flavor. Strong roast. Big body and appropriately carbonated.

Today at 12:24 AM
Photo of Wasatch
Wasatch from Colorado

4.71/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12 oz. Bottle
PKG: 09/03/2020

Poured into a tulip a pretty nice dark brown color, pretty nice carbonation, with a pretty nice thick/creamy/kinda quick small tan head, which leaves a pretty nice medium size oil slick/island, with some minimal sticky lacing. The nose is very nice, malty, hoppy, with a very nice touch of chocolate/toffee, vanilla, very nice dark fruit complex (cherries, figs, plums, dates, grapes), some licorice, roasty. The taste is really freakn' awesome, malty, hoppy, very nice vanilla sweetness, licorice, with a very nice dark fruit complex (cherries, figs, dates, plums, grapes), chocolate/toffee notes, roasty. Full Body, ABV hidden very well, this is a very complex brew. Overall, a very very tasty brew. Glad to see some around here.

Yesterday at 10:02 PM
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dd53grif from Michigan

4.49/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a black color with a minimal head that disappears quickly. Aroma is chocolate, roasted malts and alcohol. Tastes of chocolate and roasted malts. Very smooth with a light bourbon accent.

Friday at 10:54 PM
Photo of maximum12
maximum12 from Minnesota

4.15/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Four pack of 12 oz. bottles bought mostly for my wife, who has a long love affair with Expedition, the first stout she ever liked. Claimed one for myself.

The aroma brings a big Mizuno of roast with a rich underlayment of malt, bit of chocolate, & a richness that makes it smell thick. Oh, & it’s black.

35th Anniversary Expedition Stout is just as advertised – the base beer after a month of CrossFit. Plus three on the roast, plus one on the richness of the malt, with an added creaminess & something that’s distantly related to vanilla. The one thing that’s missing is the dark fruit, for which I’m grateful. Super smooth & a sip usually turns into two or three; much easier to slug than your average big stout.

As advertised a big Expy Stout. How could that be bad? Bigger, badder, better. Excellent beer.

Wednesday at 03:36 AM
Photo of Mdog
Mdog from Minnesota

3.97/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black, good brown head.

Smell: Big roasted aroma, licorice, tiny bit of chocolate.

Taste: Creamy feel hits first, roasted malts, black licorice, molasses, mild sweetness.

Overall: I should have found a normal expedition stout to have side-by-side with the 35th anniversary version. It's been a long time since I had the regular expedition stout--mainly I recall that the alcohol was too prominent when fresh. The 35th ann. doesn't have that issue. I'm not a big fan of the black licorice flavor but it is still a good beer.

Oct 18, 2020
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fountainofyouth from District of Columbia

4.44/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Oily brown-black, gets only a tiny brownish head.

Smell: Stewed fruits, molasses, toffee, almost like a tootsie roll.

Taste: Deep and complex. Starts with dark fruit and a little piney hops, finishes with dry, roasted barley. Pretty well balanced, maybe slightly on the bitter end.

Feel: Thick, heavy, and creamy, with little carb.

Overall: A fine specimen, Not my personal favorite RIS, but an excellent representative of the style.

Oct 18, 2020
Photo of gatornation
gatornation from Minnesota

4.49/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

BO 09/03 Pors a thick dark mahogany color with a thin khaki head, Smell is molasses ,caramel chocolate and roasted malts. Taste is superb it follows the nose with the addition of dark fruits nice mellow malts and chocolate for a creamy mouth feel has some hop bitterness, this is a pleasure to drink.

Oct 16, 2020
Photo of mothman
mothman from Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Tan head. Lace. Thick black color.

Molasses and black licorice. Dark dried fruits. Caramel and toffee with chocolate and roast. Full bodied. Has a silky smooth texture.

Very well done.

Oct 14, 2020
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BEERMILER12 from Maine

4.46/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a near pitch black color with 2 fingers of head that fades down to a thin cap

S: Roasted malt, dark chocolate, light coffee, caramel, molasses, and some booze

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with the roasted malt, dark chocolate, and caramel. Picks up some molasses, booze, and coffee before getting a touch of charred bitterness. Finishes with lingering molasses, caramel, and char

M: Full bodied with moderate carbonation. On the smooth side

O: A very good “imperialized” version of an already great RIS. Makes for a perfect sipper as it slowly warms and unfolds. Definitely worth checking out

Oct 14, 2020
Photo of Bartleby91
Bartleby91 from Wisconsin

4.82/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I figured this would be good given how good normal expedition is but this is one of the better beers I've had recently.
A: Pitch black per the style with a tan head that dissipated quickly.
A: Chocolate, bitter roast coffee, boozy heat, sweet maltiness and some spice.
T: Deep and layered with dark chocolate, roast coffee, vanilla malt, some hop bitterness and even some umami.
P: Lingers exceptionally well, with all of the above notes mingling in a harmonious manner.
O: If you see this and like a big RIS definitely pick this up. This is an amazing beer that I will get another 4 pack to age for sure.

Oct 11, 2020
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highdesertdrinker from Arizona

4.4/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This pours dark brown with a thin beige head. It smells of chocolate, anise, hops. It tastes like chocolates, anise, hops with and dark malt. It’s a slightly heavier, more refined version of Expedition not straying too far from home and that’s alright because the original is great. If you like stouts buy it while it’s still around and tell em’ I sent ya!

Oct 11, 2020
Photo of RonaldTheriot
RonaldTheriot from Louisiana

4.64/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

35th Anniversary Expedition has a thin, beige head, a very dark brown appearance, and virtually no lacing. The aroma is of rich, cocoa malt, fudge, cafe-au-lait, dark-roast coffee, and black bread crust. The taste is the same, with a strange aluminum foil thing, which appears, every other sip. 35th Anniversary Expedition has a heavy body and a sweet finish.

RJT

Oct 10, 2020
Photo of TheRandall
TheRandall from Indiana

4.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

There is really no reason for me to review this beer. If you don't trust Bell's by now, then you aren't reading this. When they say it's a special beer, they are telling the truth. Wow. I can't give it a 5 because no cask aging, but whatever. This beer is fantastic.

Oct 10, 2020
Photo of garymuchow
garymuchow from Minnesota

4.34/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Good stuff here. Even relatively fresh for bottling it is already holding an aged smoothness and lack of sharp malt bite of many fresh RIS. Pours dark and heavy with a dense tan head that shows a lot of lacing. Dark in the glass with few if any highlights. Nice blending in the aroma with a nice deep malt character with a smiling hop character. (My nose is not great tonight, so at the moment that's the best can do). The flavor blend well with the rich malts (coffee, dark fruit) and the mellowing and blending flavors of enhanced hops with the creamy smoothness of the feel and soft hop bitterness creating a wonderfully complex drink.

Oct 09, 2020
Photo of ScaryEd
ScaryEd from New Hampshire

4.73/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

The pour is jet black. Blacker than my soul. The head is about a finger high, caramel colored with excellent retention. Leaves a beautiful crown of lacing as it settles into a thin sheet. Gorgeous looking stout.

The aroma throws a vanilla grenade in your general vicinity, followed by some baker's chocolate, graham crackers, chewing tobacco, char, and a hint of caramel. Slightly boozy with the absolute foggiest idea of hops. This is what you hope for in a big russian imperial stout.

The flavor follows the nose, but throws in a surprising amount of dark fruits; namely fig and black cherries. It's also oozing with vanilla, graham crackers, roasted malts and char. Finishes with some dark chocolate, chocolate fudge brownies, and caramel chews candy. There's some bitter pine notes at the very end. Again, this is a pure RIS.

The feel is full bodied with lower carbonation. Exceptionally soft, chewy and creamy. The alcohol is definitely present but that's to be expected given the 11.5% abv.

Overall, this is a stout that will put hair on your chest, even if you're a woman. You buy an 11.5% RIS and you expect big, bold flavors with plenty of balance and a touch of hop bitterness. You get that here in spades. Fresh, this one's a bit hot but with some age, this may be a perfect stout. Get it now.

Oct 05, 2020
Photo of jkblr
jkblr from Indiana

4.55/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottled 09/03/20 (1 month ago) poured into a Spiegelau stout glass at fridge temp and allowed to warm. The beer pours impenetrable black in color with a one inch head on a hard pour. The head is a coppery tan color and recedes to a wide ring of fluffy bubbles. The aroma is mild with baker's chocolate, deeply roasted malt, faint caramel and a touch of alcohol as it approaches room temperature. The taste is bittersweet chocolate, roasted and caramel malt each having their say with the finish leaning more towards char and earth with moderate bitterness. The mouthfeel is nearly perfect, full bodied without being sticky or cloying with just less than medium carbonation and a mostly dry finish. Overall, outstanding. Too many brewers are throwing the kitchen sink in a barrel right now and calling it a stout. This beer is a real RIS brewed with incredible talent.

Oct 05, 2020
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WunderLlama from Massachusetts

4.41/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 9.3, opened on 10.3

Bottle poured into a snifter

Deep dark Ruby brown motor oil with a thin brown layer that immediately evaporates into a ring

Aroma is vanilla, chocolate, tobacco

taste is chocolate, roasted malt, slight char on the finished, coffee notes

Abv is well hidden, syrupy full mouth feel, bittersweet

Good beer

Oct 05, 2020
Photo of hoptheology
hoptheology from South Dakota

4.17/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This was a pleasant surprise to see on store shelves.
Bottled on 9/3/20.

Pours as expected, a beautiful shiny obsidian black with an angry beige-red head of 1/2 finger, leaving lace as it recedes to a pinky nail. Oh and the alcohol legs! Just marvelous. What a world class looking beer.

Aroma is almost pastry-like, with waves of chocolate and vanilla, a little tobacco, just a hint of dark fruit, and a little smokiness.

Flavor is pretty damn good. Has a signature RIS piney bitterness that makes a statement right off the bat, then follows with bitter dark chocolate, some caramel, vanilla icing, expired dark fruit, raisin, chewing tobacco, alcohol, and finishes with more ashy and piney hops. The hops are almost a bane here but thankfully don't cross that line for me.

Feel is thick and burning, semi-creamy, semi-cutting. Has a fair amount of acidity and bite. Alcohol heat is moderately hidden.

Overall, a stunner. I'm not sure I'd go back for another four pack, but I'm not sorry I bought the one I have. This is a solid beer through and through. I just have a hard time classifying it - is it for bitter stout moods? Or sweet stout moods? It kind of falls in the middle.

Price paid : $15.99 / 4 pack
Would buy again : possibly

Oct 04, 2020
Photo of Mindcrime1000
Mindcrime1000 from South Dakota

4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet-black and fairly viscous, although not motor-oil time. Very modest dark tan head gives way to very sticky lacing.

Aromas of char, burnt sugar, lactose, semi-sweet chocolate, dark fruit. No booze on first whiff.

The tip of the tongue is mild roasted malt and sweetness, but that is quickly enveloped by char, dark fruit, bitter chocolate, and the faintest herbal/anise notes. Booze is present at the finish line, but warming, not burning. Perhaps a bit sweet for the style, but that's a nit for sure. Well-balanced in any event.

The brew is silky smooth on the tongue, and not as thick as feared. The original is a bit more carbonated, and perhaps a bit more dryness would have been welcome, but again, that's a pure personal choice issue.

I don't find this to be an improvement on the original. It seems a bit sweeter and less complex. However, both of those comments are ultimately nits. Like the original, there are others of the style that may exceed it in one way or another, but this nails every component of an RIS across the board and is (at least) as good as the sum of its parts.

Oct 04, 2020
Photo of SawDog505
SawDog505 from New Hampshire

4.53/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 9/02/2020. Poured into a 16 oz Snulip glass. Pours pitch black with a half finger mocha head that leaves thin streaks of head with solid retention as it slowly settles. 4.5

Smell is chocolate nibs, vanilla bean, toffee, and caramel really pleasant. 4.5

Taste follows chocolate, toffee, caramel, and vanilla very balanced and absolutely tasty. 4.5

Mouthfeel is above average, maybe a touch dry, low carbonation, and at 11.5% incredible drinkability. 4.5

Overall this is an amazing Imperial Stout that hits on all the right spots. I actually love this stout and am happy I purchased more on @Roguer recommendation because my store only got one case. Impressive stuff. 4.5

Oct 04, 2020
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bbtkd from South Dakota

4.23/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bell's 35th Anniversary Expedition Stout Reserve, 11.5% ABV. Pours black with a on-finger tan head that left great lacing. Nose is chocolate, dark fruit, and vanilla, with a slight brown sugar lingering in the background. Taste is dark fruit, vanilla, coffee, and chocolate, slightly sweet, slightly bitter. Decent mouthfeel, overall excellent. A barrel-aged version would be welcome.

Oct 04, 2020
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brewandbbq from New Hampshire

4.49/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle.

Pours opaque black with a thin head of brown. Minimal retention or lacing. Brownie batter with hints of Kahlua and faint vanilla in the nose. Full bodied with a slick, chewy, oily mouthfeel. Booze-drizzled chocolate cake on the palate with espresso. Finishes warming and a bit sweet with lingering chocolate.

Oct 03, 2020
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kojevergas from Louisiana

3.44/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

4 pack of 12 fl oz bottles ran me $11.49 USD plus tax at a beer store in New Orleans, LA. Ornate label and cap depict a vintage compass icon.

"Extra Special Russian Imperial Stout." 11.5% ABV. Packaged 09/03/20.

APPEARANCE: With a vigorous pour into my stemless wine glass, I'm able to get ~3cm of head height. It's a creamy looking tan colour, robust but lacking the gilded sheen of the best looking imperial stouts. Retention is quite good considering its ABV, ~4-6 minutes. Leaves a nice layer of coating on the sides of the glass as it recedes.

Body is, predictably, an opaque solid black. I see no yeast or sediment within.

Appears aptly carbonated for the style.

AROMA: Hershey's chocolate-like chocolate malt sweetness, dark malt sweetness, dark fruits (prune, date, maybe even cherry, but no fig. Plum maybe?, muted burnt malt acridity, and some minor roasted barley aromatics.

No hops are obvious going by the aroma, which is true to style. I hoped for more of a roasty aroma, but this suggests a true-to-style Russian imperial stout that brings the dark fruits to the table but doesn't go big on the roasted barley/carafa.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Chewy dark fruits (including, to its benefit, faint cherry) and lesser flavours of roasted barley and burnt malt mingle atop a dark malt and specialty chocolate malt malt backbone. It's not quite roasty enough to be perfectly balanced - its one-two punch of dark fruit and malts render it more sweet than bitter - but it's got all the right flavours for the style, though I do find myself craving more complexity and diversity of bitterness providing flavours (e.g. some coffee bitterness or charred oak would be nice).

A bit too wet for the style...I prefer stouts this rich to be on the dry side. Silky and thick without feeling syrupy or overly filling/heavy on the palate. Smooth. Warm in the stomach without being hot as one sips it; its high ABV isn't particularly well concealed but it's as present as it should be without rendering the beer boozy in flavour. Finishes on a chocolatey aftertaste with lingering dark fruits (plum in particular).

I don't taste any overt hop flavours, true to the style. Not finding anything from the licorice/anise/fennel family personally, nor any toffee or English-inspired malt character (e.g. nuttiness, toast).

OVERALL: Better built and balanced than plain ole Expedition Stout, but to quote Vincent Vega "They don't put bourbon in it or nuthin'?" I'd be curious to see them age this on charred oak, introduce actual cherries (and maybe even Madagascar vanilla beans), up the roasted barley to much a higher proportion of the grain bill, and make it more dry texturally. In any case, it's a Russian Imperial Stout I'm sure Catherine the Great would have loved. I don't think this is worth the $4.50 more per 4-pack than North Coast's Old Rasputin and I'd probably prefer Victory's Storm King over it in a blind side by side as well, but I'm glad I tried it once and I'll enjoy sipping my way through the 4 bottles I have even though I wouldn't want a second serving in a single sitting.

High B- (3.44) / WORTHY

Oct 03, 2020
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johnnnniee from New Hampshire

4.43/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from the Packie.
Inky black in color with a small creamy tan short lived head of foam. Rich brown sugary roast and a hint of chocolate maltiness. Moderate fruity notes with a hint of licorice. Earthy citrus hops keep the sweetness in check but don't overpower the flavor profile. Decedent creamy silky mouthfeel with a light to moderate carbonation. Its been a while since I've had an Expedition, but this version is much better than I remember, and I was a fan of the original.

Oct 03, 2020
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

4.56/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 9/3/20; drank 9/28/20 @ the Yarchives.

Black appearance.

A rough pour yielded a small tan head; nice lace.

Fresh earth, marshmallow, mild milk chocolate & faint raspberry notes in the nose.

Thick, creamy mouthfeel.

Fresh earth, marshmallow & dark chocolate flavors up front; fresh earth, milk cream & faint booze heat notes on the finish.

Expedition was near perfect already, but this improves on it. An instant classic.

Sep 29, 2020
35th Anniversary Expedition Stout Reserve from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 79 ratings