Bell's Expedition Stout Rings the Holiday Bell
I rececently had the opportunity to pick up two bottles of Bell's Expedition Stout. I'd tried this microbrew a year or so ago without writing up an "official" beer review so I thought what better time than the holiday season to give myself a little gift and try it out again. Yes, it is definitely a gift to be had (or given out) for the beer lover in you or your loved ones.
This Russian Imperial Stout style microbrew is brewed annually during the late fall months by the former Kalamazoo Brewing Company (newly named Bell's Brewery, Inc.) A winter brew, this one definitely will warm your bones on a cold and blustery winter's evening. Pouring my first of the two 12 ounce bottles into a 16 ounce pub glass I am awed by the overall blackness of this stoudt. No light, and I mean none, passes through this beer when held up to the light. Pitch as night I would describe it. And thick to boot. Almost seemed like pouring a bottle of motor oil into my glass. It definitely did not give off the appearance of "light, crisp and refreshing" which would classify it as a classy anti-macro brew right off the bat. I like it already!
The limited, if almost non-existent head, lasted seconds at best. But the head of this beer is not really what it's about anyway. Taste is it with Bell's Expedition Stout. The first sip I experienced an exquisite creaminess not often found in my experiences with Imperial Stouts. Many times the burnt flavor of alcohol sting overwhelm alot of the the total creamy smoothness a good RIS can offer. And offer Bell's did.
The taste was of toasted malts and chocolate. I even detected a flavor reminding me of dates embedded in the flow as it passed over my palate. The aroma matched the flavors almost to a "T". No off-flavors or smells to speak of and I just got the sense that I was definitely drinking one of the best of the best maybe in the world of the Russian Imperial Stout style. Definitely seems to be a well-crafted and cared for steed in the Bell's Brewery stable of solid offerings.
I very, very much enjoyed this one and will certainly enjoy the other of the two I'd purchased very soon. One downside to Bell's Expedition Stout is the overall alcohol content which is listed somewhere in the 11% abv range which is strong even by imperial stout standards. It is simply so darned drinkable, it would be easy to down several at a sitting without thinking much about it until it was possibly too late to avoid the effects of too much imbibing.
You definitely should try this microbrew if you like dark beers and stouts in particular. I would recommend that you sip responsibly finishing with just one per session. Take the time to enjoy this masterpiece of a creation and it will be one you'll look forward to coming back to each and every winter. I'm giving Bell's Expedition Stout a 9.50 for the style which is in my book, the closest I've come to the perfect Russian Imperial Stout. Winter Cheers to you!
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