Saturday, March 1, 2008

Bell's Expedition Stout

Since this is the last day in February (at least it was when I started this post), I figured I should finally get around to reviewing that Bell's Expedition Stout I've had sitting in my beer fridge for about a month and a half. This is a big Russian Imperial Stout with 10.5% ABV. This is the first bottle from a rather expansive six-pack that I picked up at the Lukas Liquor Superstore in Kansas City, MO. I was thinking about hanging on to the other five for awhile to see how they change over time.

Bell's website has a handy feature where you can enter in the batch number located on the back of a bottle and find out what day the beer your drinking was bottled on. While it'd be even better if they'd just put the date right on the bottle, a batch number is infinitely better than having no idea how old a beer is. It surprises me that so many craft breweries have no bottled on or best by date on their products, I mean even Budweiser dates their swill, you'd think a small craft brewery that cared about the quality of their product would go to the trouble and expense of dating their bottles. Okay, I'll stop my ranting now and get on with the review.

There's no doubt that this is an imperial stout. It pours like heavy whipping cream only its the complete opposite in color, black as night. The thick, creamy, dark brown head slowly settles into a dense film. An appealing start. The aroma was a little softer than I thought it would be. Notes of roasted malt, and chocolate cappuccino are underpinned by a light molasses sweetness. Occasionally I pick up a faint fruitiness but I can't nail it down.

The flavor starts out with a sweet mix of caramel and toffee that fades into a mild dark chocolate with a roasty and slightly bitter finish. The thickness of this brew coupled with a moderate carbonation allows the chocolaty bitterness to really linger around. Alcohol is not noticed at all in the mouth, but at 10.5% it does slowly warm you up.

Overall, a really tasty stout. It could use a little more carbonation which should help the aroma pop a little more. I like how the alcohol is very subdued and the overall balance of sweet and bitter is spot on. According to the website this bottle was packaged on September 14, 2007. That makes it about five and a half months old. Based on my tasting tonight I don't know if the other five will age much longer.


  1. The Expedition is a classic. I've been on a real Bell's kick lately.
    Third Coast Old and Sparkling Ale really impressed me as well. Worth the trip to KC.

  2. I agree, Bell's is quickly becoming a favorite. I was really impressed with Two Hearted and HopSlam. I want to pick up some of their other stouts next time I make it across the border.