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RATINGS: 3168   WEIGHTED AVG: 4.27/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 315   ABV: 10.5%
One of the earliest examples of the Russian Imperial Stout in the United States, 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.
Available October-March.

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   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
jgd0608 (187) - Zeeland, Michigan, USA - JAN 3, 2007
Bottle. Batch was somethin in the 7200s. Poured a nice thick black. Strong coffee notes with a rich chocholate. Now this is beer, creamy velvety and flavors are just like it smells, plus so much more. Unfortunately i donít have easier access to it, but this is definetly on the top of the charts for a reason.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
shigadeyo (3704) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - JAN 1, 2007
UPDATED: AUG 1, 2013
2003 Vintage

1/01/2007: I recently stumbled upon a few vintage bottles of this wonderful brew hidden on just about the bottom shelf at a little liquor store in NW Ohio. Itís been a long time since Iíve partaken in a bottle of this beer, so this will more or less be a virgin experience...

Bellís Expedition Stout pours out in a silky cascade of near black liquid. In the glass it is pretty much black as night and produces a thin brown crown just around the edges. A rich, semi-sweet chocolate aroma bursts from the glass. Deep inhalation also reveals caramel, sherry, and a hint of wonderful char. The flavor is also very rich and packed full of semi-sweet chocolate, coffee, and a light cream sherry fruitiness. A enjoyable dry coffee bitterness comes out in the long, complex finish that also has a wonderful semi-sweet chocolate richness that lingers on the palate accented with the faintest hint of a delicate smoky char. The alcohol is completely hidden. The mouthfeel is full, smooth, and creamy (but much lighter and more viscous that AleSmith Speedway Stout!). Overall this beer is amazingly well balanced between the semi-sweet chocolate and bitter coffee characteristics and has obviously aged very well! About the only thing that I didnít care for (but did find interesting) was the funky gelatinous sludge at the bottom of the bottle!

Looks like I need to out and get some of the 2002 or older (thereís no way to tell the vintage before 2003) Expedition Stout that I saw at another store to try...

12 fl. oz. bottle from Pauken Wine Shop. Rating 9/4/8/5/19 = 4.5.

What a great beer to help usher in 2007. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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2002 (or older) Vintage

10/01/2008: Bellís Expedition Stout has a near black like semi-sweet chocolate color with no head. There is no carbonation left at this point. It has a really interesting cola aroma and not much there anymore either. Wow, this beer is getting sour, VERY roasty, burned? Not so much so that it puts you off though. There is also some black cherry-like in the flavor as well. What the hell happened?! Time has not been kind to this beer. This is nothing like the 2003 bottle that I had previously rated! This one has a medium-full body, no carbonation AT ALL, a bit chewy. It is still pretty good overall, but is somewhat tough to get down. Itís definitely past itís prime at this point...

12 fl. oz. bottle shared at the weekly Party Source gathering.
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2003 Vintage

10/01/2008: This beer is obviously different than the 2002. It has a near pitch black color and still has carbonation. There is an average beige-colored head. There still isnít much in the aroma beside some roast and chocolate, hint of cola. Chocolate and coffee (toward the dry side), unknown fruits are present in the flavor. This beer is well-balanced and very flavorable and complex. It is still very good and hanging on. However, it is probably be at its peak or on the downside now. It has a medium-full to full body and is slightly sticky on the lips. Itís more rich than the previous bottle sampled and even stains the glass.

12 fl. oz. bottle shared at the weekly Party Source gathering.
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2002 Vintage (or older; no batch number; 1-piece label)

11/12/2009: Bellís Expedition Stout... Aroma: Sweet, mild licorice char; deeply caramelized malts; cocoa and expresso. Appearance: Opaque, near black color; no carbonation. Flavor: Semi-sweet chocolate; rich, but not bitter or acidic expresso; tons and tons of caramelized malts; bittersweet; Palate: Medium-full; smooth and milk-like texture. Overall: Wow, this bottle has held up exceptionally well compared the the previous bottle that I had last year...

12 fl. oz. bottle. Score: 8/3/7/4/15 = 3.7
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2003 Vintage (no batch number; 3-piece label)

11/12/2009: Bellís Expedition Stout... Aroma: Cocoa, roasted grains, dark chocolate, hints of dry coffee; tinge of alcohol. Appearance: Opaque, black in color; brown crown; chunky sludge falling out of the bottle into the glass during the poor. Flavor: Great blend of malts - caramelized, roasted, and charred; bittersweet, dark, and semi-sweet chocolates; burnt bread crust; hint of raisin; black strap molasses; nice alcohol burn through nostrils. Palate: Medium-full body; good body; slightly chewy and creamy. Overall: Very satisfying and holding up very well; pairs decently with peanut butter cookies...

12 fl. oz. bottle. Score: 8/3/8/3/17 = 3.9
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Batch 8145 - Bottled 2007

11/24/2010: Bellís Expedition Stout... Aroma: Smells amazing! Itís complex and difficult pinpoint all of the components: dark and semi-sweet chocolate; muted licorice and charred wood; heavily caramelized malts; blackstrap molasses; vanilla; milky chocolate. Appearance: Pitch black and opaque; thin and frothy tan-colored crown. Flavor: Also quite good, but perhaps not quite as good as the aroma, but itís also deep, complex, and difficult to describe... I get sweet, heavily caramelized malt with hints of vanilla and chocolate followed by a lot of roasted malt and grain, chicory, and dark, bitter chocolate; finish and aftertaste is like burnt wood (sounds worse that in really is) and a hefty dose of warming alcohol. Palate: Medium-full; thick and sticky; milky. Overall: Pretty good, but not stellar; I donít think that Expedition is as good as it once was and it definitely doesnít cellar that well either (1-2 years is probably best and then it drops off precipitously).

12 fl. oz. bottle. Rating: 3.8

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
MrBendo (1064) - Swedesboro, New Jersey, USA - JAN 1, 2007
Batch 7740. Pours very black with a slow rising head that almost overflowed my glass. It ended up medium size, and after a long while left fair lacing. Aroma is roasted chocolate malt, hay and bitter, bitter hops. Extra full body. Slightly oily texture. Lightly sweet, heavily bitter. Also tasted a kind of harsh sourness - like guinness on acid. Definitely a different kind of stout.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
joshwilfong (1200) - Cleveland, Ohio, USA - DEC 30, 2006
jet black appearance with a tan head. strong hop scent. taste of hops throughout with a warmth alcohol finish. one of the hoppiest stouts i have ever had. it dominates the beer and is somewhat overbearing

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
jefcon (1775) - Arlington, Virginia, USA - DEC 29, 2006
Pours like oil into the glass with a ruby edge and deep brown coloration. Instead of a head, there is an oily sheen to the surface, a small island of foam, and a portion of the beer clings to the glass, not just lacing -- thereís beer on the sides of the glass. Aromas are blackstrap molasses, prune and dark fruit, and a spice background of clove and violets. This beer hits the palate like a truck and takes a few sips to acclimate. It coats the tongue (and the esophagus). The initial bite of hops and alcohol is matched by a very sweet molasses and clover taste. The long finish is molasses and chocolate, with a milky capuccino component. Outstanding flavors, textures and length. An aggressive, showy stout with a tremendous hop presence.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
tbookman (618) - Ephrata, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 28, 2006
Pours almost black with a medium lively head. Aroma is a wonderful blend of roasted malt, licorice, dark chocolate and a hint of fruit. Flavor is marvelous, with complexity that seems to dance on the palate. As others have also said, it is not heavy, sticky, or cloying. World class.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
marchcow (664) - Coralville, Iowa, USA - DEC 27, 2006
Bottle. Aroma is roasted malt, chocolaty and carmelized with some citrus notes. Black color with a brown frothy head of good duration. Flavor is thick as is the mouthfeel. Complex range of flavors. Sticks to and wraps around your tongue. Extremely thick but not syrupy and well carbonated. Bitter chocolaty coffeelike duration with orange, lemony accents and carmelized sugar qualities that all sit on your tongue, mouth and lips. Very good lacing and almost foamy mouthfeel. Seems to be accurately rated and deserving. Excellent overall, the best stout Iíve had.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
garmonbozia (429) - Hattiesburg, Mississippi, USA - DEC 25, 2006
I have to say this is one of the best beers Iíve ever tasted. Thanks to Sprinkle at Crown Liqour. Iíve never seen a beer that pours as thick and black as this beer is. I have had a couple of Impi stouts before, but never seemed to be as thick and inviting as this one. The smell off chocolate coffee, and malt/caramel was intense. The thickness of the beer was almost chewy. This was a special treat on Christmas eve as I finished putting my kids toys together at 1 am this morning. I wish I had more.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 3/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 12/20
imzugzug (103) - Bechtelsville, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 24, 2006
As black as engine oil and nearly as thick. The aroma assaults my nose, I donít know which I love more, the chocolate or the coffee wafting up to me. The taste was super intense. True, I poured it to cold but revisited it after a warm up period. Yeah, thereís lots of all the usuals youíd expect to find in an Impy and maybe even more. The overloading of malts and hops are very evident. Iíve heard other beer drinkers refer to certain new beers that would benefit from some cellaring "hot" and I think that the taste of this fresh is hot. Proportions seem out of whack at first glance with the hops being so in your face. This coming from someone who could probably do without hops, especially in my stouts. Anywhoo, itís drinkable, once the shock of the initial assault on the tongue wears off. I put a couple of bottles up and will revisit them in a year or 2.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
drewbeerme (3920) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - DEC 21, 2006
UPDATED: MAR 21, 2008 2 year old 12oz bottle, pours pitch black, thick, with small tan head around edges. aroma is amazing, loads of dark chocolate bursting out of the glass with espresso. aroma reminds me of 04 dark lord but not quite as chocolatey. flavor is just incredible and full of super dark semi-sweet chocolate, loads of espresso with a wonderfully rounded out roasted flavor. nothing burnt here. the chocolate coats my palate and stays for minutes. the hop bitterness finally mellows after 2 years.

2/24/07, another tasting from a 26month old bottle and this is amazing. additional worthy notes are thereís subtle hints of smoke in the nose and flavor. the palate is perfect, thick but not chewy, full, long lasting, and no alcohol traces. flavor is lushish, dark chocolate and coffee in perfect unison.8/4/9/5/18=4.4.

5/2/07, batch 7817, bottled 2/1/07. I donít recall expedition stout having a healthy amount of sludge in the bottle. nose has some unrefined bakerís chocolate, lots of roast, rubbing alcohol, raisins, licorice, charred wood, piney and juicy hops. flavor is pretty rough around the edges, lots of bitter roast and piney hops, medium dark chocolate, slight smoke, raisins, and licorice. wow this is really raw, extremely bitter from unrefined roast and hops. alcohol is very well hidden. body is really thick. i like some impy stout really hopped up but this doesnít quite pull it off, and it leaves me thinking itís sort of a mess. boy i really prefer at least 2 years age on this beer. scores from previous rating. 7/5/7/4/14=3.7.

sample date 9/20/07, batch#í7251 bottled February 25, 2006, cellar aged 19 months. nose is really toffee and roasted chocolate malts, sorta raw around the edges. very vinous nose. flavor has some soy notes to it, chocolate, lots of toffee, really rich and roasty with some meatiness too it. not as good as 2 year aged bottles but still better than it is fresh.

12/17/07, batch 8183, a rather fresh bottle. pours pitch black with small tan head. the aroma is chalk full of roasted notes, some coffee, and a big hop presence, the nose is a little raw and unpolished but it does smell great. flavor is a tad green but not much, lots of vinous chocolate and espresso notes, very roasty, and lots of piney hop flavor in the background. the mouth feel is full and luscious while the alcohol isnít tasted. this is one intense stout. i didnít think i enjoyed this fresh this much. 8/5/8/5/17=4.3.

1/8/08, batch 8183. man expedition stout is really like orval. every bottle is different. this bottle was far more ashy and dry then the same batch from my previous rating. still solid but this beer ranges from good to really freakin good. 3.9. 2/3/08, batch 6811, packaged on 4/18/05, so this is getting close to 3 years old. no sediment in the bottle. pours almost flat, pitch black and eventually small tan head forms and lasts along the rim. body looks slick and oily. nose is bursting with dark chocolate and roasty rich coffee notes. flavor has dark and hazelnut chocolate, caramelly, and roasty espresso finish. smooth as silk. low carbonation. hops just barely present but still adding bitterness and slight pine notes. awesome. 8/5/8/5/17=4.3.

3/20/08, unprinted batch number but I think its around 8185 or something. anyways, this batch is more roasty than usual exp. reminds me of Ten Fidy a lot. probably the best fresh expedition iíve had. hoppy still but balanced by the big roast and its really drinkable fresh. a nice hoppy roasty licorice dark chooclate brew. again this is a beer that shows such inconsistencies within batches but if it ranges from great to amazing then thats inconsistency i love.4.2.

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