Some of my friends in my beer circles claim I loved this beer before I even tried it. They allege my love affair with the “normal” Expedition stout and hoarding of it (113 beers aging in the cellar from 2013) is proof of my inherent bias. I’m not fit, they say, to critically judge this masterpiece and should recuse myself from judging this fine elixir.
Not true not true.
I love this beer.
This beer is another data point to prove that a good beer, aged well in bourbon barrels only gets better. They took Expedition Stout and aged it in bourbon barrels and the result is another layer of complexity. You taste the familiar RIS notes enjoyed from the normal brew and then the oaken, bourbon barrel finds it’s way on top. What surprised me was the lack of harshness.
Standard Expedition is hands down my favorite beer to age. Give it a few years (3 to be precise) to mature and it becomes something completely different. The harshness is replaced with additional tasting notes and complexity. However, drink it fresh and it’s too harsh for even me. Therefore I was a bit hesitant to taste this beer just a week from the brewery. My fears evaporated after my first sip. Almost all harshness was removed thanks to that bourbon barrel. If I concentrated hard I might have detected just a bit of heavy chalky chocolate at the end. To be honest, I found this encouraging as it suggested that aging even this fine beer would produce something unique down the road. Good luck buying 4 of these and not drinking them all.
A – Pours jet black
S – Roasted malt, bourbon. oak
T – Molasses, vanilla, oak with a cocoa finish
M – Thick
O – Rich and complex
Just the Facts: ABV: 13% Calories: 390 Original Gravity: 1.12 Barrel Aged: 12 Months
This beer competes with another Bell’s Brewery Expedition variant – Black Note. Bell’s Black Note combines Expedition with their Double Cream Stout and bourbon barrel ages it. I’d love to do a comparison of this beer against Black Note but I suspect this is better. It’s 100% of the beer that I covet and it’s aged just so well.