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 #43
ABV:
11.5%
Score:
95
Ranked #658
Avg:
4.46 | pDev: 4.71%
Reviews:
49
Ratings:
115
From:
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
 
Michigan, United States
Avail:
One-off
Wants
  10
Gots
  13
SCORE
95
World-Class
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: 49 | Ratings: 115 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by kojevergas:
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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
More User Reviews:
Photo of dd53grif
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.

Oct 23, 2020
Photo of Eddiehop
Eddiehop from Texas

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

Oct 16, 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 paulish
paulish from New York

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

Oct 04, 2020
Photo of Manthon
Manthon from Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Oct 11, 2020
Photo of Cpmitchno1
Cpmitchno1 from Virginia

4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Friday at 07:11 AM
Photo of Unclevince
Unclevince from West Virginia

4.63/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Sep 20, 2020
Photo of TerryMills
TerryMills from Tennessee

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

A little more alcohol afterflavor than I like but that's literally my only complaint

Nov 02, 2020
Photo of ummswimmin
ummswimmin from New Jersey

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

Oct 27, 2020
Photo of cozmo
cozmo from New York

4.24/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Oct 25, 2020
Photo of BrewsOverHoes
BrewsOverHoes from Georgia

4.83/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Oct 13, 2020
Photo of NickThePyro
NickThePyro from Washington

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

Nov 02, 2020
Photo of foundersasap
foundersasap from Michigan

4.47/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Glad to have run into this beer, 4 pack at $14. Love Expedition and lets see what this is about. Pours nice rich black with one finger creamy head that disapates quickly. Aroma is sweet chocolates, coffee with taste that follows. Wonderful thick mouthfeel, little alcohol feel to warm. This one is killer, get it if you see it.

Sep 16, 2020
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.

Oct 25, 2020
Photo of Dougwillhike
Dougwillhike from New Jersey

4.48/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Oct 10, 2020
Photo of ntanner83
ntanner83 from Massachusetts

4.51/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Oct 19, 2020
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.

Oct 21, 2020
Photo of ssascotth
ssascotth from Illinois

4.81/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Oct 15, 2020
Photo of hockeypuck
hockeypuck from Maine

4.29/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Nov 14, 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
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MJSFS from Florida

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

Nov 08, 2020
Photo of 22Blue
22Blue from Kansas

4.09/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Oct 09, 2020
Photo of fthegiants
fthegiants from California

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

Oct 09, 2020
Photo of MacStinson
MacStinson from Michigan

4.27/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Oct 02, 2020
35th Anniversary Expedition Stout Reserve from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 115 ratings