1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Bell's Batch 5000 - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Bell's Batch 5000Bell's Batch 5000

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

56 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 56
Reviews: 48
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 12.1%
Wants: 31
Gots: 3 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: truthbrew on 02-23-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 56 | Reviews: 48 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

ygtbsm94, Dec 27, 2011
Photo of oberon
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

this was the first "smoked ale" I have tried.Took a little getting used to.Would be great with ham or sausage and sauerkraut I think.

oberon, Mar 18, 2002
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark violet color, thin head, and an extraordinarily pungent aroma. Profound smokiness abounds here, amazingly complex! Underneath the smoke and alcohol, what have we? Plums, raisins, leather, the earmarks of a strong barleywine, with that smoke flavor sitting firmly on top. A real champion, and another fantastic feat from Bell's. Definitely a sipping beer, for one cannot easily ingest these rough, but rewarding, flavors. Fruity, spicy, warming, smoky, that's the full bill! Alcohol kick comes in stronger at the end, and you have to wonder how they will celebrate batch 10,000.
Evaluating this beer is a tough call. A truly unique and well-made beer, but not a easy one to guzzle back, in the least. You can only have one at a time, and slowly, at the end of the night, not far from the bed...unless you're a masochist!
Also, the one beer I've managed to store for the longest time, ever. One year. KBC says it improves and becomes more complex over five years. We'll see if I can hold out for four more.

feloniousmonk, Jan 19, 2003
Photo of Bighuge
4.9/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The appearance can be described like this: Go into your backyard with an ice-cream scooper. Get a scoop of mud and drop it into a pint glass. Dilute to 12 oz. with water and mix. Kalamazoo's beers have never been noted for "clean" appearances however. There's a definite smoky aroma here. Not much of a head. Strong smoky taste. There is some substance in this brew. There's a sweetness here too. Thick and Syrupy. This is a beer that will lay down nicely too.

Kalamazoo describes this as a smoked strong ale.

Bighuge, Feb 23, 2002
Photo of Gusler
4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a be-darkened mahogany brown color, the head miniscule, the texture frothy to the max, the color a winsome light chocolate, the residual lace is a fine sheet that covers the glass. Sweet malt with the smoke quite evident chased by caramel, and quite pleasant to the senses, the start is malt laden, thickly sweet and the top full and the smoke and alcohol bitterness along with the hops “Slaps your old palate immediately. Finish is prudently acidic, the hops big in their spiciness, dry as a desert bone aftertaste, a real “Belly Warmer”, and definitely an acquired taste.

Gusler, Mar 24, 2003
Photo of chippo33
2/5  rDev -50.6%

chippo33, May 08, 2014
Photo of KAF
4/5  rDev -1.2%

KAF, Jul 02, 2014
Photo of tavernjef
4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bell's Batch 5000 - Originally released in late winter 2002
Color is a deeply clouded milkyness of burnt orange, more darker brown nearer the top as apposed to the bottom and edges of the glass. Waffer thin crown of yellowed tan, keeps a thin and sturdy collar and minimal spotty lines of lace decides to stick.

Aroma is a calming smooth, tangly sweet smokey wood or fish thing over a small caramel malt. Quite tangy and sweet with the smokey thing thats not overly powerful but definately present. This ain't no mild nose, even after some age. Impressive.

Flavors are tangy and sweet with malt and smoke, plain and simple. Quite a good load of them. Smooth, not overbearing. Caramel underneath, some slight dark cherry and pruney flavors kinda play in there nearer the finish. Finishes a bit rough with some yeasty alcoholic spiced heat and smokey leftover tingey tang.

Feel isn't as smooth as the flavors, quite jagged and rough; though, nearly full with a solid malt base and smokey sweet tang keeping a whole bunch of things a goin' on. Gets better as it warms. More so towards the finish, it starts out with a quick grab, settles in, then takes hold again. Uff-da, what a ride...

I was hoping for Third Coast with a smokened lightness in there, but this was a whole nother beast, in fact. nothing near my hopes. Yet, this came across as a good Ol' fashioned smoked ale thats been beefed up. Quite an interesting treat and damn good too. Smokened barleywine, who would of thought? Larry thats who.

Thanks Hugey!

Patiently awaiting 7000...

tavernjef, Nov 12, 2004
Photo of WOLFGANG
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

WOLFGANG, Jul 05, 2013
Photo of ZAP
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy bronze, with a thin lace..HEAVY smoke aroma...like smoked saugage...sweet tasting with minimal if any hopping...mild smokiness on the taste...smooth, and slick on the tounge...smokiness not overbearing although between the smell and the taste I think I need a bottle of steak sauce to go with this one..very interesting and a very solid smoked beer

ZAP, Mar 18, 2002
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.33/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Presentation: 12 ouncer, long neck brown bottle. The main label is off-white with the word Bell’s atop a small metallic purple rectangle that has 3 bells pictured in it. Below a large blue bordered rectangle simply says Batch 5,000 Ale, which has the words Commemoratative Brew, beneath. No freshness date or strength listed, but there is a hand-written “1-02” in the top right hand corner of the obverse label.

Appearance: Deep chestnut color, little, if any head at first. When swirled a semblance of a thin beige collar like head forms, but soon disappears. When topped up a more passable head forms, but again, only for a short time. Looks fine, but the lack of a head detracts overall.

Nose: I was a bit worried at first, for the nose from this beer was immediately pervasive in my Apartment as soon as I opened the bottle. It had a kind of sweaty smell, an “off” aroma. But on closer examination it was a sour-smoky smell that sometimes disgusted, other times intrigued. When I concentrated on the smoky aspects it wasn’t that bad.

Taste: I used to love Walker’s Smoky-Bacon flavored Crisps (Chips!) in the UK, and this offering from Bell’s has a similar character. It reminded me very much of a Rauch-bier in style, but with added “oomph”, kind of a High Speed Turbo version of the Germanic classic. Begins with a slightly sweet malt entrance, which develops into smoky bacon, with a woody ember like ending. The finish is warming. Difficult at first, but this beer sort of grew on me after a tough start. Still, this is very much an acquired taste I feel.

Mouthfeel: It’s solid, and warming. A beer that masks its 9%ABV well, but nevertheless it has a high octane ending that kicks ass.

Drinkability: I am afraid it gains some low marks here, I struggled towards the end of this 12 ounce bottle. The smoky-bacon aspect became a little over-powering for me to finish this off with anything other than a sedate sip. An acquired taste for sure. Maybe I'm being too hard here.

Overall: Very different, a smoky-bacon beer, LOL. I found this so hard and extremely difficult to Mark and Review. Variety is the spice of life.

Thanks to top BA, BigHuge, for the tough challenge & giving me the chance to try this alternate offering.

TheLongBeachBum, Sep 01, 2003
Photo of drpimento
4.63/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured with a tan head, slightly hazy dark amber; lace. aroma smoke dark ripe fruit, one of the best smoke/rausch beers i've ever had. balanced with body and a little sweetness. not sure on the alcohol. nice finish considering the huge flavor. big beer! not a session beer.

drpimento, Mar 19, 2010
Photo of cokes
4.4/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This is something else.
Check out Bighuge's review for a vivid description of the appearance. I agree totally. Muddy, dark and thick looking. I expected some worms and grass clipping at the bottom of the glass. None to be found.
The smell is spicy smoke (almost meaty). I enjoy this alot, but I could see how one could easily be turned off. This could be dinner in itself.
The malts really make the beer. They provide a delicious, sweet foundation for the abundant smoke flavors. Very syrupy and sticky, with pronounced alcohol, but not in a bad way.
Enjoy it paired with smoked food (meats and cheeses). Also, wonderful as a stand-alone night-cap (as a change of pace) due to it's elevated ABV.
Due to it's thickness and huge character (and VERY high price), not a beer to quaff, but take your time with it and I think you'll be rewarded.

cokes, Mar 13, 2002
Photo of hopdog
4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle acquired in trade with EDA (thanks 12oz Mike!).

Poured a dark and cloudy brown color with an averaged sized tan head. Aromas of tobacco, wood, and peat. Tastes of smoke (not as strong as the aroma), molasses, caramel, toffee and some dark fruits. Sweeter tasting.

Notes from 6/11/05

hopdog, Nov 13, 2008
Photo of beerguy101
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown, muddy color. Smallish head. Aroma is smoky and woody. Big smoked flavored ale. Malts are surprisingly sweet, nutty and woody. The hops are really masked by the smokiness but they are fairly mild and piney(?) It's hard to tell. It nicely smoked and malty and hides the 9% alcohol very well. It aggressively smoked, with being over the top about it. This is NOT a beer for everyone, but it is a must try for smoked beer fans. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth, Aftertaste is slightly bitter.

beerguy101, Aug 26, 2003
Photo of mcallister
3.55/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Murky mahagony pour. Dull and cloudy. Completely opaque. Not much of any head except for some tan specks and a ring around the glass.

Nose is smokey very rauchbier esqe. Smoked meats, nutty aromas with red cherry. Really can't get over the amount of smoke. Some oxidation is obvious. Roasty toffee malt, caramel and prune. Oxidation vails everything somewhat.

Very smokey and meaty. Mouth is a little thin and there is noticeable alcohol on the finish that you can feel evaporate on your tongue. Sharp flavors, musty and earthy. Definitely drink this one now or a couple of years ago. Oxidation still present but not really in the way. Long finish. Cherry, brown sugar, maple, rum soaked figs, raisin, nuts, and burnt wood. Sherryesque with the oxidiztion factor.

A beer worth drinking although more than one may be tough to swallow.

mcallister, Jun 30, 2007
Photo of ADR
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I was going to store all of these but the call to drink was too much...Chunky, medium brown "swamp" color....Head is small-bubbled but persistent. Yeasty fresh smell, a hint of powerful smoke. Very full-bodied, nice and hugely sweet taste with a spicy almost nutmeg/cidery property, lots of smoked meat. Huge mouth coating properties. Tobacco smoke flavor mostly at the back and in the aftertaste. There is a kind of springtime freshly tilled soil taste but its not at all off putting -- well it is in a way, but its interesting to taste that old wet canvas of summertime tents in the days before nylon. The complexity of this beer is not so obvious as rich, like the smell of mown grass. Honey and fireplace ashes sums it up. Its also slightly more drinkable than I expected but pretty heavy duty. One IS enough at a sitting for me. As the meaty sweet aroma comes on, and you look at the floating murky yeast, don't think about this beer in any classic categories too much. Skoal on this one, it might even make a good steak sauce on its own!

ADR, Apr 02, 2002
Photo of Crosling
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brown. Very aromatic, deep and malty giving hints of caramel, butter toffee, meat (sausage) and smoked malt. RIch, meaty and smoky with an enormous malt flavor and coating body. Just so damn full and so complex in the malt flavor and the smoke is only one dimesion in the multi-dimensional flavor system. A very good beer. One I can definately recommend to anyone who can handle a little smoke flavor.

Crosling, Apr 15, 2007
Photo of CRJMellor
4.78/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Aged for almost 3 years, special keg put on for Eccentric Day '04
Pours a dark brown, leathery color with a faint and small, deep tan head.
Aroma of subtle liquid smoke starts but under further examination there are undercurrents of pine, leather, cedar and peat trapped in the liquid.
Flavor of a deep, yet subtle peat-stoked smoke is the first hit followed by a balancing of some rich caramel and deep darker fruit flavors and a benign but present resiny hop bittering. Sublte notes of nuts, cedar and leather also present, punctuated on the finish by some more subtle smokey flavors.
Mouthfeel is obviously punctuated by the smokey notes but the combination of the darker malts, smokey resins and caramel notes is truly amazing on the palate. Think, smoke, caramel, fruit, hint of bitter and then a slide into some bitter, smoky elements.
Drinkability is incredibly high. The aging has done wonders for this brew. I can only imagine how strong this was when first launched to the masses. Truly memorable beer experience.

CRJMellor, Dec 13, 2004
Photo of Bierguy5
3.45/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle. Very cloudy, mahogany in color. A bit of sediment floating around in the glass. Thin tan head disappears immediately.

Big smoke, and toffee in the aroma. A bit woody, and nutty. Perhaps of bit of oxidation. Seems to be a lot going on.

Sweet, fruity and smoky. Rich toffee. Boy, there is a good amount of sweetness and smoke. Still pretty warming.

This was hard to drink much of. Not sure if it is past prime or what.

Bierguy5, Jun 26, 2007
Photo of mentor
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Presented a dark brown (like a porter) in a 16 oz plastic glass with a small ring of dirty head. On-tap at the Eccentric cafe in December, 2004. Smelled of smoke, obviously, but within the smoke I could pick out distinct woody and acidic smells. Malt sweet and alcohol, but I'm not finding hops. Tasted smoke, then thick malt sweet and, oddly, the smoke comes back in a refined form. The early smoke seemed more cinder and the later more peaty. I had a hard time picking out fruity flavors, as the smoke just kept rolling around. Sometimes acidic other times woody. Quite interesting. The tail end of each swallow held a fine alcohol bite in the back of the throat. Thick mouthfeel, appropriate for the style. Not a drinkable beer. After half the glass, I was wishing I had ordered the 12 oz glass rather than the 16 oz.

mentor, Dec 17, 2004
Photo of aracauna
3.55/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Really flat pour. Really rough pouring left a thin, ephemeral head. Big rich malty aroma wafts up as you pour though and is quite nice in its richness. The taste is mostly caramel, with some chocolate. There's a mild fruitiness, some really, really faint coffee, present but not too strong smokiness. Mouthfeel was thick. Nice big flavor but perhaps a little too thick, rich and sweet to be easily drinkable. Has plenty of complexity, but it's just the overly sweet nature that makes it a bit unpleasant.

aracauna, Sep 22, 2002
Photo of beergeek279
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in the 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. The color is a dark amber, with a ring of white head. The smell is a very strong beef jerky smokiness. The taste is a strong smokiness on top of the sweetish malt, and comes with a nice warming alcohol. Mouthfeel is nice and syrupy. As for drinkability, this one would sadly be tough to have more than one or two of.

Thanks to nghandi for the graduation gift. Wow...I'm definitely enjoying this one...never thought I'd see a smoky old ale before. I'd definitely love to see this one again...please, Larry Bell???

beergeek279, Jul 07, 2004
Photo of aaronh
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A hazy reddish -brown beer that pours with a thin, slow-forming but dense head. The head gradually fades to a thin layer of tan foam and leaves a nice lace on the glass. The aroma is smoky tobacco and molasses. It really reminds me of some of the smokeless tobacco I used to use. Very weird aroma to say the least. The taste, wow, *cough*, this is powerful stuff. A very strong tobacco note, with a sweet, smoky thickness that singes my throat. I really did not know what to expect from this beer. Whatever my previous thoughts were, this is not it. I am caught so off gaurd by this beer. The alcohol is very noticeable. Taking MUCH smaller sips, some nice nutty chocolate notes shine through, with the smokiness still accenting everything. This beer has smoked tobacco, burnt wood, smoked plums, smoked nuts, and I think some smoked smoke in it. Even with all the smoke, there is still a powerful sweetness. The mouthfeel is very thick and almost syrupy. It sticks to the tongue a gradually oozes down the throat, leaving a trail of smoked sugar and a touch of bitterness lingering behind. This powerful, surprising beer is a wonderful treat and a change of pace. It like a campfire and smores rolled into a beer. However, I wouldn't want too many of them. Thanks to cretemixer for supplying this one of a kind brew.

aaronh, Feb 11, 2003
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Bell's Batch 5000 from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
90 out of 100 based on 56 ratings.