Beer Review – Bell’s Expedition Stout

Since it looks like the bitter cold weather is back, I’ve decided to try a dark and menacing beer this evening. Though 27 degrees is definitely cold (the current temp out there), I really shouldn’t complain, because it’s not going to get above 30 degrees in Kalamazoo, MI until at least Sunday. Kalamazoo, MI is the home of Bell’s Brewery, but since I’m sure you’ve read our review of the Bell’s Pale Ale, you already knew this.

The Expedition Porter is Bell’s version of a Russian Imperial Stout. Here is a description of this beer from their website:

“Bell’s 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.”

I’m not sure how I feel about aging beer, since I generally lack patience (I want my beer and I want it now! Not in six month or a year from now). I’ll leave that kind of work to our friend Miracle Max. Let’s find out how this beer tastes today…

  • Appearance: Thin, quarter inch head that dissolves rapidly. Completely opaque. Pitch black color.  Dark brown around the rim when held up to the light. Leaves little to no lacing on the glass.
  • Aroma: Dark chocolate. Molasses. Dried fruit. Espresso.
  • Taste: Low carbonation. Mouthfeel isn’t as thick as I thought it would be. Alcohol kicks in immediately. Very boozy. Slightly bitter, espresso finish.

I’m on the fence about this beer. While the Bell’s Expedition Stout has a very deep, rich flavor, I feel that the alcohol is a bit too prominent (it has an ABV of 10.5%). I haven’t sampled many Russian Imperial Stouts (RIS), so I’m not sure if it’s a question of me not liking this particular beer, or perhaps I’m just not a fan of this beer style. I guess I’ll have to try a few more RIS varieties and let you know how it goes.

Bell’s Brewery clearly states that this beer should improve with aging, but like I said, I don’t have the patience for that. If you’ve sampled an aged version of this beer, please let us know in the comments. We’d really enjoy hearing how this beer evolves over time.

6 replies »

  1. Oh come on…

    We all know that if I didn’t come out in my fleece, gloves, down jacket, heated undergarments, and PopPop hat on a “balmy” 50 degree night to drink whisky by the fire with you, LimpD, and The ROK, you would be so so disappointed. How could I possibly deny you the joy of mocking me mercilessly?



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