Best Beers 2010: #9 Bell’s Expedition Stout

22 12 2010

A quick search of Bell’s on this site results in a lot of hits. Bell’s Beers is frequently on our list of best beers so it should come to no great surprise that they show up on this list, too. In this case, we look to Bell’s Winter Seasonal: The Expedition Stout. Expedition is an Imperial Stout. Available only between October to March, this is the perfect beer for the dark, cold winter months. According to the brewery, it uses twice as much grains and five times more hops than their flagship stout: Kalamazoo Stout. The result is a velvety smooth stout that warms the body as well as the soul. This is one of the many Imperial Stouts that got me through the Snowpocolypse the Mid-Atlantic witnessed last winter. It has been almost a year since I last drank this beer. But I still think about it often. And now that I am on the West Coast, there is nowhere to find it. I miss this beer a lot.

Photo Credit: Johnnydrunkenirishman/

Bell’s Expedition Stout
www.bellsbeer.com
Style: Imperial Stout
Ratebeer.com Score:
100 Points (99 for style)

Appearance: Inky black with viscus, oily consistency. Chocolate milk colored head with cappuccino foam-like  texture. No apparent carbonation. Excellent lacing.

Aroma: Chocolate, coffee, dark fruits (black cherry, plum, raisin), slight burnt toast or smoke. Hops are earthy and spicy; fresh tobacco, wet moss.

Taste: Reminiscent of aromas. Chocolate, toffee, hazelnut and burnt toast.

Mouthfeel: Velvety smooth with a fully chewiness. Very slight carbonation. A deep, warm booziness. A lingering sticky sweetness.

Imperial Stouts (like yesterday’s Dark Lord), are notoriously difficult to pair with food. Often big beers like this have an off putting umami tang that makes them a poor choice with chocolates, cherries, berries or other dessert items. Expedition lacks a distinct umami note but is rich in the chocolate, cherry, and berry notes. Thus, making it a wonderful choice to pair with dessert. On the other hand, it is such a full beer, it could just act as dessert itself. Also, I would pair this beer with a hearty red meat. A chili or stew would be a perfect match to it. Something that is sturdy and will not fall down next to it, but would also benefit from its bold flavors.

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