I Dare You to Show Me Better
A Review of Expedition Stout by Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Posted on 4/22/2012 by Brew's Your Daddy
                   
Exquisite
Though it doesn't happen often, there are a few rare times where a beer crosses your path and the decision to drink or pass is a complete no brainer. And while I know there are times where my illustrations might be debatable at a minimum, for once coming up with a concrete example of what I am talking about couldn't be easier. You simply take a trusted brewery like Bell's, select one of their offerings like the Expedition Stout, and what you end up with is a beer that you absolutely must drink and will definitely be rewarded for doing so.

When poured, the Expedition Stout takes on what I would call a slick black coloration. It almost looks glossy, and a mocha colored head sits atop it that, while not large in volume, has some decent retention and lacing qualities considering the high ABV. The aromas that initially greet you consist of large quantities of chocolate, roasted malts, cocoa powder and slightly burnt dark coffee. They are very big and bold, and most importantly, very inviting. If you can resist the urge to dive face first into your glass after smelling them, some other, more delicate notes of vanilla bean, licorice, tobacco, figs, and over ripe raisins can be detected. If ever there was a way to smell ''velvety'' and ''creamy'', The Expedition Stout has that covered as well. Somehow it manages to smell both smooth and bold at the same time. In all honesty, the nose alone places this beer on my top 10 stouts of all time list.

When you go in for the first taste, you immediately realize that you are holding nothing short of a beautiful stout in your hands. The chocolate has a thick taste to it, but doesn't come across as overly rich or sweet. It blends nicely with the bitterness of the coffee flavor, and things seem to finish with a nutty, roasted malt flavor. I say things seem to finish that way because it takes another taste to start to pick up on the more subtle flavors laying just beneath the initial sip. Toffee, caramel, and vanilla all seem to come through in rotating bursts, and pops of alcohol soaked cherries and figs keep your tongue highly entertained. The mouthfeel has a creamy thickness to it with just a bit of a tingle on the back of your throat from a combination of the coffee flavor bitterness and the 10.5% ABV. The finish is slightly sticky and sweet, while the aftertaste consists mainly of chocolate and cocoa powder.

You have heard it countless times here on BrewChief.com about how amazing the offerings from Bell's Brewery are. We tend to joke that any time we review one of their offerings, we should simply be allowed to say ''It's a beer from Bell's. 'Nuff said.'', and be able to leave it at that. The Expedition Stout does nothing to change that way of thinking. As far as straightforward Russian Imperial Stouts go, it is nothing short of perfection. Everyone that can get their hands on one absolutely should do so. Granted, it might be a little big for the beginners, but I doubt there are any areas where it would do any major harm. The Bell's Brewery website actually says ''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'', so even if it comes across as slightly intimidating now, feel free to grab a few and toss them in your beer storing area for a day down the road when you think your palate is ready. That being said, no matter if it is now or sometime later as you continue your journey through the better beer world, I highly advise all of you to add the Expedition to your itinerary.

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Expedition Stout by Bell's Brewery, Inc.
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