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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Stout - Russian Imperial
4.47 | pDev: 5.15%
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Michigan, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
35th Anniversary Expedition Stout Reserve35th Anniversary Expedition Stout Reserve
Notes: Expedition Stout is the longest brewed Imperial Stout in the US. First brewed in 1989 to be robust enough to hold up to time and travel, we couldn't think of a better beer to honor for our 35th Anniversary. We've brewed a special, stronger version for your cellar, your travels, or those special occasions of your own.
Reviews: 76 | Ratings: 172 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk from Minnesota

4.41/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I couldn’t be sure what set the 35th anniversary Expedition Stout apart from the regular, besides 1% extra ABV, so I am m drinking them together to find out. Let’s go...

Strictly Stygian coloration, no light escapes, with a brief brown head.

In the nose: deep, roasted, charcoal, some cocoa, a hint of espresso....Dark and resonant.Dark fruits, espresso, ash.

In the mouth: Rich. Thick. Damn thick. Chewing on bark thick. Chocolate. Coffee. Bitter. Sweet. Chewy. A decadent treat. Many layers. Multi faceted. Absolutely wonderful. Flips all the switches. Raisins cavort with cocoa. Sweetness, deliciousness, and they didn’t need to drop off any cookies or marshmallows.

Now, it’s time to try the normal version and find any differences. Mmm. So nice. Dark malts. Delicious. Chocolate. Leather. Caramel. Toffee. Chewy. Some pepper. A touch of anise. Slightly sweet. Not so hoppy. Well balanced.

I’m coming up with zilch on the difference meter. Maybe 35 is a little thicker? A touched richer? A smidgeon? Nothing significant. They’re both amazing, and, now, due to this experiment, we know ...that I am twice as drunk. Thanks, @nd god night.

Jul 04, 2021
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Chuckdiesel24 from Illinois

4.42/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Smoother and more complexity than the regular Expedition (I had it side by side with the same release year); more caramel with still some of that classic roasty-ness. I don't know if you could convince me that this beer didn't spend time in the barrel.

May 30, 2021
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stortore from Illinois

4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into a snifter. Bottled 9/3/20, had 12/17/20.

Pours dark brown, opaque, with a half inch foamy head and light foamy lacing. Aromas of roasted malt, chocolate, raisins, molasses, light coffee and plums, a little brown sugar, light earthy hops, smoke as it warms. The flavor is pretty much the same- roasted malt, chocolate, raisins, herbal and earthy hops, some coffee, light plums, a little brown sugar. There’s a decent amount of hop bitterness on the finish. Smooth, creamy, an excellent full body, well carbonated.

As robust a beer as I’ve had in a long time. With the vibrant aromas and flavors, this is noticeably a step up from the regular version- which, of course, is no slouch. Wonderfully done.

May 20, 2021
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bobv from Vermont

4.67/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12 oz. bottle.
11.5% abv.
PKG 09/03/20.

Moderate pour yields a one inch medium to dark tan head over a black body with sticky lacing. Beautiful! Nose of dark roasted malt, chocolate malt, caramel, dark fruit, and maybe a bit of nougat. Taste of chocolate, caramel, chocolate covered roasted cherries (yeah, I said that), and roasted malted milk and slight bitter chocolate near the finish. Near velvet feel and overall, a very nice way to start my weekend!
Cheers to those stalwarts of Comstock, Michigan for this gem!!

Apr 19, 2021
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beerdedking from Pennsylvania

4.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Complexity wafts from this beer, everything you'd detect in a RIS of this ilk is right there to be had by your olfactory nerves. Flavors are complex and rich with strong appearances by black licorice, dark fruits, cocoa and dark chocolate, breakfast blend coffee, and light roasty notes in the background. Simply, this is what a big RIS should be. Imagine a steroidal Expedition, and you have this. Lovely

Mar 27, 2021
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IPAs_for_days_13 from Texas

4.69/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours black as night in color with a nice espresso colored head with good retention. Smells rich of chocolate, coffee beans, roasted malts, boozy, lots of nice dark fruit flavors as well. Taste very much follows the nose. Roasted malts are all there as well as the sweet chocolate, the bitter coffee flavor makes the beer very balanced so it isn't too sweet. Full-bodied, low carbonation, soft, smooth, warming. A beer worthy of celebration.

Mar 27, 2021
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Sandis from Minnesota

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

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a snifter. Medium tan head. The beer itself is quite black. This is very creamy and chocolatey. Very enjoyable.

Mar 15, 2021
Photo of firesidewithphil
firesidewithphil from Illinois

4.44/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Expedition Stout is one of my favorite annual releases. It is just solid and so comforting in the winter season. I was too excited to find the 35th Anniversary release this past year. It has a more defined malty sweetness while holding on to the robust roast. I am going to age my 2nd bottle.

IG: @firesidewithphil

Mar 06, 2021
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sulldaddy from Connecticut

4.24/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Sampling a 12 oz bottle poured at cellar temperature into my snifter. Beer is courtesy of a trade with @whyteboar, thank you !
The beer pours a dark black coffee color with about .5 cm of tan densely packed head foaming up. This foam fades to a sturdy edge layer and some wispy islands on the surface of the beer. SOme of these islands are spinning in the center of the glass.
The aroma on this beer is rich and malt driven. I get a good bit of roasted malts and some light charred wood notes. There is a bit of dark chocolate mixed in and hints of toffee. No hop character on the nose and not boozy either.
The first sip reveals an medium body with fine tingly carbonation. Texture is smooth and silky, the beer drinks very easy for 11.5% ABV, but could be a little thicker for the style in my opinion.
The flavor is similar to what the nose advertises with lots of roasted malt and some dark chocolate notes. I get a little toffee and some molassess on the finish, but a lingering roasted malt bitterness is what lingers after each swallow. Not boozy anywhere I can detect, and overall an enjoyable beer. Worth trying if you like roast forward imperial stouts.

Feb 21, 2021
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ryan1788a5 from Massachusetts

4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pitch black pour, two fingers of brown head. Good retention, though it settles to a thin cap after some time. Collar of lacing.

S: Fudge sauce, mocha, espresso, head up blanket of roast, vanilla extract, hints of sweet black raspberries, plum skins, and Concord grape.

T: Follows the nose. Sweet fudge sauce on the attack, and a nice mocha impression. This is soon overtaken by a wave of bitter espresso and tons of roast. Very charred and woody. Burnt salted caramel. Fleeting vanilla extract buried in the roast. Woody and piney hops. Alcohol is apparent in the warmth, though it is not hot in the least. Mildly peppery. Very subtle undertones of blackberry and plum skins. Dry bakers chocolate and woody roast on a long finish.

M: Full bodied and thick, though it doesn’t feel too weighty. Lovely velvety and creamy texture. Plenty of gently scrubbing carbonation. Feels very airy and decadent, like a fine chocolate. Warming alcohol.

O: It’s been a while since I’ve had the OG Expedition Stout, but from what I remember of it, this is pretty similar. As advertised, it’s pretty much just a slightly larger version of it, but also better in every way. It’s extremely well put together and very drinkable, even despite its added beef. Sort of a “no-frills” type of brew, but it’s executed to such perfection that it is a delight to drink. It commands instant-classic status, and really hit the spot on a snowed-in evening.

Feb 10, 2021
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Captain69 from Illinois

4.63/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I have not had this beer in years - I noticed the lable said 35 anniversary my rating from 1996 was only a 3 - this beer was great from the pour nice dark brown nice head and smell - great from the first sip. malty - great malt taste all thru the drink I am going to put some of these away for next year

Feb 03, 2021
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arizcards from North Carolina

4.56/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a four-pack from the Craft Beer Hop Stop cooler 11-7-20 for $14.99. Packaged on 9-3-20; bottle #1 consumed 1-24-21.

Beer poured black as night with a nice tan head with the original pour.

Nose is nice, roasted malts and chocolate forward.

Taste is very good, a huge heavy roasted malt base elicits a chocolate forward impression and dark fruits on the back of the pallet. Finishes well balanced with no hint of over sweetness.

Mouthfeel is perfect, full bodied and extremely smooth which leads to total satisfaction in the finish.

Overall an excellent beer, definitely world class and probably the best non barrel aged brew i have had!

Jan 24, 2021
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REVZEB from Illinois

4.59/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Midnight black appearance with brown collar and surface islands. Huge smoky, roasted malty, and leather nose with char, tobacco, dried date, toasted caramel, bittersweet dark chocolate, molasses, and slight booze. Taste is the quintessential rugged RIS up front with huge smoked, roasted, earthy and toasted flavors from the nose, but the backend softens ever so slightly to let in the caramel, chocolate, black strap molasses, licorice, and booze as another wave of complexity, with a finishing pine hope kiss to round out. Feel is rugged, smoky, roasted, burly and earthy but has a great malt backbone, though not as viscous as the original expedition stout. A lesson in bitter, wonderfully made

Jan 22, 2021
Photo of Sparty1224
Sparty1224 from Michigan

4.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Serving: 12 oz. bottle poured into a Founder's Backwoods Bastard snifter. Bottled on 9/3/20, making this about 4.5 months old. Of note, done side-by-side with 2020 Expedition.

A: Pours a pretty slick black, a little thin. Good lacing, almost looks BA, though it's not.

S: Very complex aroma. Cacao, vanilla, cinnamon, anise, definitely some hop character. A little more hoppy than regular Expedition, but more complex overall. More rich.

T: Wow, very nice. Extremely complex. Rich chocolate, bitterness, cinnamon. Slight figs, dark fruits. Some vanilla. Just a malt bomb, really.

M: Pretty slick and chewy. Higher ABV hidden pretty well. Does have a slightly bitter finish, but not as noticeable as in regular Expedition.

O: This might sound cliche, but this really is Expedition on steroids. What seemed like a hoppier, more complex version on the nose, gives way to a huge, malty, rich, chocolatey flavor and thick mouthfeel. Very reminiscent of some of my favorite Imperial Stouts: Founder's Imperial Stout and Kuhnhenn's American Imperial Stout. This one has what those do, that thick mouthfeel and rich, velvety flavor, minimizing the hops and bitterness. I'm admittedly not a fan of regular Expedition in general, but this is a much superior, deluxe version that really improves on it in every way. Very pleased and surprised with this.

Recommendation: If you even remotely enjoy Expedition, this is a must-try.

Jan 22, 2021
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IKR from California

4.21/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Very dark brown bordering on black with a generous-sized foamy dark beige head that slowly faded. A very good looking Imperial Stout.

Smell: Moderate roasted malts, coffee and some mild brown sugar notes.

Taste: The taste profile features chocolate notes, prominent coffee and roasted malt notes, and moderate toffee notes. The finish is fairly dry transitioning from the sweeter chocolate/toffee notes to the roast malt notes and coffee notes present at the end. Some bittering hop notes also make their way known in the taste profile.

Mouth-feel: Medium bodied with a fairly generous level of carbonation. The beer has a good mouthfeel.

Overall: A good non bal-aged stout. The flavor profile is that of a prototypical stout with a the roasted malts featuring strongly in the flavor profile.

Dec 30, 2020
Photo of q33jeff
q33jeff from New Jersey

4.53/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5


Bottle to snifter. Bottled 9/3/20.

At first, it's almost exactly like regular Expedition. Being young, there are some strong bitter chocolate notes, starts to get smoother after a few sips sink in (or after it gets a few degrees warmer). But then the beer seems to age as it is being consumed. It seems to be as smooth as a 2 or 3 year old bottle. Maybe the higher abv has something to do with it, but I would expect that to help more down the road.

Beyond the bitter chocolate and roasted malt, smooth oak and cedar flavors jump in, then raisin, and maybe a little coffee or chicory.

Super smooth for a fresh imperial stout.

Can't wait to open up a second one of these in 4-6 years.


Dec 22, 2020
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DoctorZombies from Florida

4.48/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured at 54 degrees; light brown mixed bubbles; ok cap retention leaves island of micro dot bubbles; solid ring; plenty of soapy lacing on agitation; thin legs; opaque black body with ruby edges. Nose is roast malt with some fruity esters - plums, prunes; tar, fresh asphalt as beer warms. Bitter roast entry; bittersweet dark chocolate; strong burnt grains; toasted black bread; earthy hop bitterness. Creamy soft smooth feel; some warmth from 11.5% abv; full minus body; moderate minus carbonation; dry finish. Overall, an outstanding very strong RIS; dry, bitter roast with lingering burnt dark fruit flavors; yet drinks easy - complex well layered flavors make this beer hard to put down!

Dec 20, 2020
Photo of JohnG190
JohnG190 from New York

5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ebony body, no light can penetrate! Big mocha head that dissipates slowly into a thick ring. On the nose lots of heavily roasted, but not burnt, malt, raisin, molasses, with just a hint of smokiness. On the front of the palate, lots of roastiness, followed by dark roasted coffee, dark chocolate, and dark fruit. It finishes sweet, but not too sweet! Full bodied with light carbonation. Overall, this is a perfect representation of what a Russian Imperial Stout should look, smell, taste, and feel like!

Dec 17, 2020
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MikeWard from Pennsylvania

4.52/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a goblet. Bottled 9/3/20, so 3 months old. Could be cellared forever.

Looks superb in the glass. Jet black body, no light can penetrate big coffee with a dash of cream head shrinks to a thick ring and faint covering. Scattered lacing.

Raisin aroma, very inviting.

On tasting, wow. Just magnificent. Roast without being burnt. Sweetness without cloying. Warm, strong, dark fruit. All superbly balanced.

Mouth full, finish dark fruit, mild roast, warmth, and sweetness. Abv is there, but you dont really feel it.

Overall, an outstanding beer to mark the 35th anniversary. Would be blessed to try this in a couple of years, but as good as it is right now, this 4-pack is not going to last the month!

Dec 13, 2020
Photo of 57md
57md from Pennsylvania

4.67/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Since Expedition is one of the finest high abv stouts produced, I figured that this would be legendary - and I wasn't disappointed.

The nose is quite complex with roasted malt, molasses, a touch of smoke and a trace of creme brulee. Everything in the nose, save the creme brulee, can be found wonderfully balanced in the flavor profile. The finish is full and roasty. The body is hearty and the mouthfeel is sticky.

I only hope that Bell's doesn't wait 35 more years to produce another gem like this.

Dec 05, 2020
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BBThunderbolt from Kiribati

3.52/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Adrock314 for this one, from the recent Can Cans BIF. 12oz bottle (dated 9/3/20) poured into 14oz teku. Poured the expected solid black color with 1/3 inch of tan head that well above average retention, almost no lacing, and decent legs.

The aroma had a nicely solid base beer scent, with some notes of chocolate and vanilla.

Similar on the tongue, but there was a dose of harsh roast, almost coffee-ish, on the finish.

The body was full (as expected), smooth, and had a sticky, lingering finish.

Drinkability was good, but I probably wouldn't want two in a row.

Overall, a solid and enjoyable brew. Worth grabbing if you see it.

Dec 05, 2020
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jws7968 from Illinois

4.51/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark, virtually no head and no lacing. Smells like cocoa. Tastes roasty, dark chocolate and syrup. The beer is thicker than I thought it would be. Bell's hit this one out of the park.

Dec 05, 2020
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BB1313 from Ohio

4.02/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 9/3/20. 12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours black; small dark khaki/mocha head that fades leaving nice retention and sticky lacing. The aromas are malt forward and on the mild side. Hints of cocoa and dark fruits. The flavors are rich and bold. Lots of chocolate. Nice blend of milk chocolate, dark chocolate and chocolate syrup. More dark fruits coming through, especially raisins. Some molasses. Some caramel and toffee in the mix. Mild hints of anise. Possibly some coffee. Nice little sweetness with a moderate to low bitterness. Strong malt backbone. Subtle warmth in the finish, but it's not hot or boozy at all. Mouthfeel is very nice. Nice viscosity. It's full-bodied with moderate to low carbonation. It's very creamy, velvety, fluffy and smooth. It's ultimately dangerously drinkable despite being a big stout.

This is a very nice Imperial Stout. It's big, bold, rich, classic and traditional. The craftsmanship is impressive and takes this one to the next level. I guess my only complaint is that there's not much going on in the aroma department, but there's more than enough to make up for that. Well done. It's even better than my "numerical score" might indicate.

Dec 01, 2020
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nlmartin from Ohio

4.56/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deeply darkly roasted malts. Its malty sweet but burnt sugars check the sweetness. The body of the beer is very full smooth and low carbonated. In short its excellence in a bottle.

Dec 01, 2020
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

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

As a mature and respectable age, thirty-five gives us a chance to clean up our act, find our life direction and settle into a calmer routine. But not Bell's and not Expedition Stout. They're just as rebellious as ever.

The onyx-black ale and with a depth of clarity gives the beer a mirror-like sheen, its mocha-stained head caps the beer with a blanket of foam that easily endures the session with lacing to match. A quick swirl reveals brandy-like legging before a high roast, light smoke, rummy, dark fruit and cocoa-rich chocolatey scent overwhelm the nose.

Notions of chocolate coated espresso beans come to mind as the sweeter malts coat the front of the tongue. Slightly scorched molasses allows for a rich and savory taste to rise on the middle palate. This is the point where espresso roast, bittersweet chocolate, and charred dark fruit weave together for a complex but pleasantly rounded taste. Bold however, the taste is further complemented by piney and woodsy hops that assist the roast bitterness to finish. Grilled berries and black cherry flavored alcohol and walnut oils all integrate into taste and continue the varying tastes that unveil themselves as the beer warms.

And with its marshmallowy texture, the enormous malt complexes provide a nearly chewy body to start. This silky and succulent texture keeps the beer's flavor squarely focused on the taste buds. But a patient transition to malty-dry mouthfeel is rewarded in finish as the beer's alcohols act like rum and fine cognac to signal closure. It's extended roasty bitterness melds seamlessly with the next sip.

Nov 27, 2020
35th Anniversary Expedition Stout Reserve from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 172 ratings