Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Bells Expedition Stout

type: Russian imperial stout
origin: Comstock, MI
price: $3/12oz
ABV: 10.5%
NSP: 12.4

This damn bottle has been staring at me in the face since Brats and I returned from North Carolina in May.  The batch I'm drinking was bottled in October of 2012 (it's now November of 2013) and I am absolutely impressed.  As with any IRS as absolutely massive as this, it's hard to look past the 'elephant in the room', which happens to also be stepping fully on your brain: the alcohol.  It's boozy, and so are the aromas wafting up, which can be off-putting.  But, jf you push through and give that elephant a peanut it will ease off, revealing wondrous flavors like rich molasses and deep dark chocolate malts.  The key to this beer is that it still reminds me of beer.  That claim may sound strange, but just give Bourbon County a try, for example, and you'll understand my meaning immediately.

This is very highly rated by the trolls, and I don't disagree.  But this is a dessert beer, to be sure, and I'm a dessert fiend.  I can see how probably only a small fraction of beer drinkers will appreciate this: it's the kind of beer that needs a significant amount of time to chill out.  The kind you forget about in your cellar (even if that means it's sitting in the back of your closet), and it ends up surprising the hell out of you years later.

In retrospect, I would've happily paid nearly double what I did, so I suggest you try and find this when it becomes available (and buy two, so you can do some vertical tasting!).  I would also like to reproduce some prose from Bells' website, because I think it does this beer justice:
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. Shelf Life: Unlimited | Dates Available: Winter | Available Packages: Bottle and draft
This, my friends, is why drinking craft beer gives me a warm, tingly feeling inside.  Or it's the 10.5%.  Either way, I'm cool.

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