Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pretty Old Bell's Expedition Stout

I had this bottle of Bell's Expedition in my beer fridge for quite a while but kept looking at it and thinking it wasn't time yet. However, I've been working through my cellar quite a bit since Pax was born so I decided it was finally ready to be opened. I mean, why not open it on a random week day? Ya know? This bottle was from batch 9512, before they started using real dates on the bottle, but was told that it was brewed around December 18th, 2009. So pretty old at this point for a random stout.
Big earthiness from the aged hops, some roasty sweetness, and a little soy sauce and saltiness in the back. Body was sugary caramel, some more earthy bitterness, and then again soy sauce in the finish. Even after 3 and a half years, still bitter but that was all the contribution from the hops and it was probably toned down a bit from a fresh bottle. Apparently, the soy sauce flavor is common in older stouts. I thought it was a compound put off by the roasted malt used in their brewing, but two minutes of research found nothing so I may be making that up. Maybe someone more knowledgeable than me can chime in on this point. Regardless, this was tasty and that's what matters especially since I really love soy sauce.


  1. I've definitely seen "soy sauce" used as a descriptor for old beer, especially old stouts (and, uh, Triple Bock). I don't usually get soy sauce out of beer, even old beer, but it's used commonly enough that maybe I'm just not placing it. I just assume it has something to do with the beer being oxidized. I will sometimes get a port/sherry note in big old stouts, which is perhaps along similar lines...

    I've had Expedition at least 2 or 3 times (never as old as yours, but I did have one with about a year on it, which was very good), and I really like it a lot, but for some reason, have never reviewed it. I should get on that.

  2. Yeah, the port / sherry notes are definitely from oxidation. I just swear I've heard that the soy sauce / salty flavor comes from some scientific reaction involving the roasted malts. Who knows.