I’ve had Bell’s Expedition quite a bit, but I don’t think I’ve ever bothered to try a bottle this fresh. Last year I did a vertical tasting between a 2010 and a 2008 bottle, and the fresh bottle was significantly hoppier. How is the fresh bottle?
Pours rich black, velvety, with a thin brown head that dissipates quickly. Lots of booze in the aroma, more than expected. Otherwise sweet, dark fruits, some plums and raisins, with a nice velvet roasty character. Hints of earthy hops but muted. Tastes smooth, clean, with only the slightest hint of a burn on the back end. Fruit notes that are present on the nose are not so much on the flavor, with a rich roasty dryness and, yes, a significant hop bite on the finish. The booziness starts to fade as you get deeper into the beer — you’d hardly believe this was 10.5%.
This year’s batch of Expedition was somewhat delayed due to problems getting the ABV in line with the label. I was worried that this would mean the finished product would be uneven or underattentuated, but this is pretty much exactly as I remember it. The alcohol could be a bit more hidden, but otherwise I’m a big fan of Expedition and will be drinking quite a bit of it this year.
Beyond the Pour grade: A-
Fifteen months in, and I’ve now done 250 video beer reviews. I spent way too much time on this hobby.
It’s all for your benefit, though. I received this bottle in trade with Lidney, and was going to hang onto it until after its “best after” date, but fellow BGNer Jamison, who can get this beer much more regularly than me, told me that “it’s drinkin’ pretty good right now.” Good enough for me, good enough for review 250.
Sometimes those highly-anticipated beers don’t quite live up to the hype. This was not one of those times.
Beyond the Pour grade: A+