Beer Review 0174: Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout

Bell’s Brewery Kalamazoo Stout (produced, of course, in Kalamazoo, Michigan) is a year-round beer, one of the oldest on offer from the company. Designed to be a session-style Stout, this beer advertises flavors of dark chocolate and coffee, along with a hint of brewer’s licorice.

Founded in 1983 by Larry Bell, this brewery was originally just a home brew supply store. Today, Bell’s produces some of the best craft beer around (see my review of Hopslam, 100 points), and they still sell supplies to home brewers.

Recently, a story broke that Bell’s might eventually be sold. The story is somewhat sad as it involves the Bell family trying to gain 100% control of the company — and for us beer consumers, we hope it works out for the best and there isn’t any compromise of quality, whatever the outcome might be.

Kalamazoo Stout contains 6% ABV (alcohol by volume) and is safe for vegetarians to enjoy.

This beer poured a small head, light tan in color and soapy in texture. The beer itself was a dark brown, opaque, and filled with a light amount of particles and sediment. I would describe the body was murky when held to the light, and the lacing left behind was good, clinging to the glass in thin tan sheets.

The aromatics tell a basic, straightforward, and simple story, but a very popular one — there’s heavy chocolate and coffee up front, which makes for a sweet scent. This beer smells very fresh roasted and has a nice hint of smoke. The coffee on the nose is so fresh, you’d think there would be steam rising from this beer. Not complex, but very nice.

And the taste is pretty much what you’d expect — roasted coffee and chocolate throughout the sip, leading to a finish that presents a few different layers; sweet chocolate, bitter black coffee, a hint of licorice and a nice woody smokiness to round everything out. The finish was bittersweet, and the mouthfeel was thin and foamy, but the beer itself had a chewy character to it because the flavors were so hearty.

Bell’s has delivered a great session Stout here (at least I think it is sessionable, at 6% ABV, some might disagree) with simple but solid flavors and a deceptive mouthfeel. Kalamazoo Stout is a very pleasing beer; the price is right and I could see myself putting a few of these in the fridge for regular enjoyment.

Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout, 86 points. Price: $1.99 US for one twelve ounce bottle.

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