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Bell's Batch 9000 - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Bell's Batch 9000Bell's Batch 9000

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

532 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 532
Hads: 887
Avg: 4
pDev: 13.25%
Wants: 93
Gots: 246 | FT: 14
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  12.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: alexgash on 01-29-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

"Black, dense, and rich, this is a great ale for the cellar."
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 532 | Hads: 887
Photo of Sammy
4.17/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A great aroma, rich malt, roast. Black with a soapy brown head. A good mouthfeel, smooth toffee carmelish. Raisin and some dark chocolate, coffee in finish. Well balanced, any bitterness more than made up by the great malt complexity.
Understated carbonation. Gift from Chris.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Pellinore1 for sending me this one!

Pours an opaque dark brown with a 1/2 inch puffy khaki head that settles to a thin film. Thin curtains of foam form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of roasted malt, dark fruits, molasses, and some slight licorice aromas. Taste is very sweet with malt, dark fruits, molasses, licorice, and some burnt sugar flavors. A burnt bitterness lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a crisp level of carbonation with a prickly quality going down the throat. Overall, this is a good beer that is hard to pin down. It's almost stout-like but not quite. Whatever it is, the ABV makes for a slow sipper on this one.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a very dark espresso with a nice tan head that really comes alive with some agitation. Nice legs as it goes down, especially for a beer of this abv.

S: At this point, a little bit rough around the edges. The initial whiff isn't super-appetizing, but leads into some oak, anise, toffee, and port notes.

T: Lots of the port components coming together for a sweet brew that is balanced by the alcohol without ever really feeling hot. Also coming through is some chocolate, anise, wood, and a bit of leather. This one is quite complex and I'm sure will only get much better with age.

M: Quite lush without being overly boozy like I feared it might have been. Actually, the alcohol contributes a really nice component alongside the anise flavors. Ample carbonation for the style and a nice, smooth aftertaste.

D: High up there. Definitely one of the best imperial stouts that I've had in a while.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.47/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew sold out at my local shop before I got a bottle. The Farmhouse had it on their menu and I asked about it. They brought me a bottle and poured it out. I was stoked that I was going to get to try this finally. The beer was a dark brown almost black color. The head was minimal but left a nice light lacing on the snifter glass. The smell was of anise and roasted malts. The taste was just about the same. Lots of licorice flavors and aromas in this brew. The mouthfeel was on the thicker side and had a decent carbonation to it. Overall I thought this was great. I really enjoyed this beer a lot. Shame it won't be around forever.

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Photo of brentk56
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Arrives with dark brown color that reveals some tawny highlights and a modest beige head

Smell: Chocolate fudge, but very sweet

Taste: Fudgy, up front, with a hoppy presence developing by mid-palate; after the swallow, the chocolate returns with a vengeance and the finish is really sweet

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation; boozy in the gullet

Drinkability: Not a real fan of this one as it is too sweet and boozy; it may settle down and become much better as it matures, however

(Trying this out of the bottle a bit over a year later, the sweetness is no longer quite cloying, and the licorice and molasses flavors show up much moreso than the fudge; also, there is plenty of dark fruit flavor, as well; still, it remains a sweet beer with considerable heat from the abv.)

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.42/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tough to get a grip on this beer. It drinks much like an Olde Ale that hasn't olded yet.

The beer pour a dark brown color that is seriously opaque; could be confused with 30 weight. A short lived tan head falters underneath the malt viscosity and alcohols. Light lacing but big on legging. All sorts of syrupy goodness to follow.

Great aromas of brown malt, molasses, toffee, and alcohol give an initial punch that's nearly a knock-out, even without sipping. Quite herbal and fruity with coriander, anise, grapes, and root beer notes. Big on pine and fresh cut grass (the hops remind me of Batch 7000 when it was fresh). The aroma is not like a lot of cough syrups my mom made me take when I was sick.

Flavors are much more intense. Heavy maltiness gives added complexities of toast, light roast, and scorched sorghum to the brown malts, coffee, and molasses sweetness. As big as the malts are, the hops give equal contributions with a serious pine, resin, and grassy taste and supreme bitterness. All this and the hops still contribute and softer herbal note that won't be ignored. Esters of plumb, grapes, licorice, and other stone fruits will develop nicely into the sherry/soy sauce notes that make Olde Ales great (the sherry and soy are already developing and will grow in complexity rather quickly).

The body also keeps up the giant proportions that begin with a syrupy, teeth coating molasses clinging feel that makes the beer linger seemingly forever. The alcohols and hops create just enough dryness in the end to keep me going back for that next sip much more quickly than I should. Carbonation also helps to lift the beer from the surfaces of the mouth and keeps the brunt of the flavors from panging against the tongue and palate. As the carbonation dissolves more finely into the beer, so will the rougher edges of the flavors to wear off- leading to an elegant Brandy-like savory concoction.

But I don't worry about this beer a bit. It will age extremely well and improve for years. Man, my cellar is going to love this beer.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.66/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color ale with a medium dark brown foamy head with good retention and good lacing. Aroma of sweet malt notes with some light liquorice. Taste is also quite sweet though not overwhelming so with some roasted malt with light liquorice notes. Body is full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Not as complex as I would have expected from this brewer but not as bad either based on the most recent ratings.

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Photo of largadeer
3.21/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle from Dyan. Thanks!

Black as pitch in Nick's ridiculous looking scotch ale glass. Pouring from a height of four inches produces a thick two finger head that drops slowly to a frothy crown.

Ashy licorice aroma, chocolate, alcohol, faint smoke and meat. Anise and chocolate become dominant as the beer breathes, but it's strangely mild on the nose.

Flavors of molasses, chocolate, caramel, booze, black licorice, booze and booze come through strongly, with a mid-palate of booze, chocolate and licorice and a finish of booze, chocolate and licorice. It's not particularly bad, though it's decidedly rough around the edges, unabashedly hot and sweet. This could use a couple years of age.

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Photo of emerge077
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Cellared almost a year now, i've tried a couple bottles in the interim. 4" of snow today calls for something hefty, and 9000 fit the bill. Served at cellar temperature, 48º.

Into a Bells tulip at it pours a tawny brown, then appears black with a ruby glint in the glass. An inch of tan latte foam rises to the rim and begins a slow fade. Sticky around the edges, lacing well into spindly arcs of lace and spotty froth.

Huge carob, molasses, and licorice in the nose. Nutmeg and figs.
Slight whiff of musty oxidation, but it doesn't distract.

Rich and sweet right off the bat, it coats the palate with dried dark fruit and cocoa. Prunes, raisins, and figs are sweet and sticky on the lips, while a minor bitter chocolate and tobacco leaf element linger. Sweet sticky molasses, toffee, and some roasted malt char. Vinous feel, luxurious and cordial-like, with a mild spice present. Alcohol is still perceptible, but moving into the background by now. Reminds me of Thomas Hardys.
This is good stuff in the dead of winter.

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Photo of zeff80
2.77/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A - Poured out a dark brown almost black color with a small, light brown head of sudsy foam. It left minimal lace.

S - It smelled of black licorice, chocolate, booze and grassy notes.
At times there were soy sauce-like aromas.

T - This beer packs some heat with a boozy strength. Sweet roasted malt flavors with notes of licorice and dark chocolate. However, a soy sauce taste emerges time and time again.

M - It was smooth and a little creamy. A medium to full bodied beer.

D - I've finished off my six-pack and each time has been a different experience including two that just wasn't good. The last was brutal.

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Photo of oberon
3.23/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Always look forward to the annual "Batch" beers from K-zoo,but I have to say this is my least favorite of the five I have had.Poured from the tap a deep chesnut brown with someamber hue,a thinner off white head atop.Big dark fruit in the nose, along with sweet alcohol,you can tell before you taste it it that its gonna be very sweet.It is sweet and sticky,big brown sugar and dark fruit really hit ya,the alcohol adds more sweetness.Wow to sweet for me to even finish an 8 ouncer,the flavors are decent just way to skewed in one direction.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.45/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I was extremely excited to be able to get a hold of this one. A simple bottle, but I had yearned to try it. Served chilled in a pint glass, this one was consumed on 03/04/2010.

Deep, dark brown pour, dark garnet in color with a thin but noticeable head of light tan that quickly receded. Not much in the way of lacing here at all, in fact it was mostly just a bare, dark liquid most of the night. Still though you could tell it had some heftiness, some weight to it as it the light struggled to make its way through. Aroma is hard to place, the entire thing is hard to place to be honest but I will get back into more of that later. Thick notes of licorice, dark fruits, plums, figs, a hint of soy sauce, molasses, a kitchen sink was coming at me and the more it warmed the deeper it seemed to get. Again hard to place really what I was experiencing here, but it was obnoxiously good I do know that. Each sip was like candy, the 12.5% was no where to be found and I just kept pushing on. Rich sweet, candy like notes, again with the licorice and soy sauce, hints of butterscotch, a wonderful toffee like flavor and a rich chocolaty malt all rolled into one. Cannot remember the last time I had anything like this as I am really at a loss as to what it is and how to handle it. But it was good.

I don't know why I am so hooked on this one. For some reason and on some level it really, really works for me. It is so complex an odd but yet so enjoyable it keeps me guessing with each passing moment. Sublime and superb, I not only would not have an issue trying it again but am going to find as much as I can!

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Photo of womencantsail
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to several fine folks for sending me this. I have been looking forward to opening one, and tonight after a long day of brewing seemed like a good time.

A: The pour is a deep, dark black with a somewhat short-lived tan head.

S: The nose is full of black licorice along with a slight vanilla aroma and some alcohol. There is also molasses, and a definite sweetness.

T: The licorice and molasses combine to make a sweet, sticky beer. There's also a slightly tart dark fruit component which seems to consist of plums and figs. Surprisingly, the alcohol is not all that noticeable, but there is a bit of warmth to it.

M: The body is medium to full with a mild carbonation. Luckily the carbonation is just plentiful enough to prevent this from being syrup.

D: I enjoyed the flavors that this beer has, but they seem a bit strange to me. This is definitely an interesting beer and I look forward to seeing what this does with age.

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Photo of oline73
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a blinded 12 oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: This beer pours a very dark brown color with a quarter finger of tan head. There is less head than bottle #2. The head sticks around pretty well, but doesn't leave lacing on the glass. 4

Smell: This one is extremely sweet. Much sweeter than bottle #2. I'm picking up some dark fruit and lots of molasses. I'm also getting some caramel and a mild alcohol burn. There is a hint of smoke in the background. 4

Taste: Just like the smell, this one is extremely sweet. I'm getting more dark fruit than the smell with the molasses notes more in the background. There is a slight bitterness in the finish along with a burn from the alcohol. There is a touch of smoke here as well. I'm thinking this one is barrel aged, but it has some age on it. 4

Mouthfeel: The body is thick and rather syrupy. There carbonation is tingly and smooth. The finish is dry and the beer sticks on your tongue. 4.5

Overall: This is a really sweet beer. It packs an alcohol punch, but it still manages to be smooth. I'm going to guess this is a barrel aged old or strong ale with some age on it. 4

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Pours a nearly jet black, darkly opaque, with a whisp of white head that dissolves into near nothingess shortly. From a distance, the smell has a sweet chocolate and vanilla smell; upon closer inspection, more scents come through, including minty anise, maple syrup, and even some hoppiness as well. The taste begins with a bitter chocolate mixed with vanilla and finishes with a strange but intriguing blend of deep maple syrup (I assume from the molasses) and licorice. It isn't everyday that a brew's flavor matches the listed ingredients so closely, but this one surely does. The body is lurking toward heavy, but does not quite make it there. The velvety smoothness helps to even further increase the drinkability.

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Photo of jlindros
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to tmoney2591, Exiled, and grub all for supplying this beer for me.

Pours a nice fluffy head that continues rising for a few seconds after the pout, but fades at a med pace, with a bit of lacing, over super dark brown almost pitch black beer.

Nose brings deep malt aromas, dark molasses, caramel, tons of syrupy malts upon more syrupy malts almost dark barleywine like levels, a bit of dark fruit with some light prune, fig, and some brandy soaked raisins. Light cocoa, nougat, roasted malts, hint of booze, then comes a bit of roasted malts with some burnt coffee bean acrid like aromas, earthy and briny smelling, even with a hint of smoke.

Taste starts with more of the briny scorched burnt roasted malt flavors, acidic and acrid at the same time, with a toxic like heavy sludge. Bitterness cuts right through it, with more of the dark malts, lots of molasses and some caramel, roasted malt flavors, etc. A hint of cocoa, followed by dark fruits again with a bit of prune and brandy soaked raisins again. The booze kicks in as well following a decent sweetness, it doesn't quite drink like 12.5% but def lets you know theres a good kick of booze. Some bitterness is there, coming with the burnt malts, but not really in form of hops, at least anymore with about 2 years on it. Finish is briny and a bit salty, earthy, charred malts with a bit acrid flavors, acidic, some warming and tingly booze, sticky and syrupy with more syrups, cocoa, molasses, etc.

Mouth is heavier bodied, decent carb and some warming slightly tingly booze.

Overall not bad, too big and heavy, too much on the burnt malt profile, bitter and acrid, tannic, mixed with the booze makes it tough to drink. Although nicer malts are there, as well as some nice dark fruits and sweetener tastes.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted malts, licorice, molasses, chocolate and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out very sweet with strong flavors of molasses and licorice as the label indicates. Then a hearty roasted malt character comes in. There are background flavors of chocolate and dark fruit. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings a decent balance. Some alcohol sting sneaks in as well. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, it’s a solid stronger beer worth drinking for a while if you want a stout-like beer without that strong chocolate flavor.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I picked this up at Al's of Hampden and poured it cool into a snifter

A - A very alluring deep walnut shade, the cap is thick rocky light tan and bead is tight. The clarity is opaque with a goodly amount of lace collectin and retention is very good

S - The smell is very unique with a mild herbal scent of licorice and slight molasses edge it also has a toffee-like sweet quality and the aroma of alcohol is very mild,yet there is a subtle spice element

M - I found the beer to be thick, rich and sweet, but not really syrupy as it dries out on the palate after the swallow from the alcohol intensity. The feel is not hot which is good, but a bit heavily weighted to the sweet side

T - My first impression was mmmm this is tasty, but as it opens up the licorice becomes more noticeable and separates from the molasses sweetness ever so slightly. The flavor becomes herbal and contrasts with the mild sugar note which has a gentle burnt caramel quality. The taste of hops is not present, but a spice element perhaps from the yeast or just alcohol flavor comes through. The medicinal essence of licorice is at odds with smooth malt toward the end as it reaches cellar temp

D - I am impressed with the quality and the beer is pretty easy to drink for 12.5%, but I didn't really want any more than 6oz of the bottle because the licorice and molasses become slightly medicinal combined with the high abv IMO.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

First had: on tap at City Tap House, Philly, PA

Dark brown color, with a nicely retaining tan head. In the nose, a complex mixture of dark fruits and dark sugars. Flavors of dark fruits, molasses, chocolate, licorice and coffee, rum raisin, slight alcohol warmth. Medium-to-heavy body, decent alcoholic kick, nicely carbonated, mouthfeel was slick. Strong yet smooth sippin', highly drinkable.

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Photo of russpowell
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one is from Bitterbill, cheers Bill!

Pours an effervescent mahogany/ebony with a thumb of mocha colored head. Nice viscosity,a trace of lacing & nil on head retention

S: Dark fruittyness, by the bushel, cherries & plums mostly, some boozey figs

T: Plums, dryness, brown sugar & a touch of cinnamon, plus brown bread & dark cherry, plus molasses & licorice as advertised. Figgyness, dryness, & black cherry as this warms. Finishes dry, plummy & spicy ( cinnamon & licorice ) & some leafy hops

MF: Rich & chewy, not much carbonation

Drinks really easy for the style, but the ABV catches up after about 6 ozs. Nice effort, was expecting a bit more to be honest

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appears a pitch black hue with a large creamed coffee toned head large bubbles after a vigorous pour, it's amazing that the head retention is this good with the alcohol level being up there in the 12s. Nice fine lacing patterns form between sips.

Aromatics offer up deep chocolate with spiced edges. Big herbal hops with a blended licorice spiciness full of anise, almost like an Italian pizzelle. Big ripened fruit layers with booziness add to yet another layer of complexity here, plum and raisins. The dark caramelized sugars are definitely evident with the molasses and licorice additions.

Flavor big alcoholic soaked dark fruits including raisins, figs, and plums. A brandy like hotness that will mellow in time, bitter anise black licorice notes and sweet caramelized sugars swell on the palate. Herbal hops don't balance enough with the dark roasted malt and the big booze finish. Definitely lay some of this down, it's big viscous and a bit cloying right now some of these flavors will meld or mellow with time.

Between the booze and the anise buzz, this beer almost numbs the palate. That's not quite the mouthfeel I'm looking for in a big double stout, this is like an Expedition ale with caramelized brown sugar and a shot of Greek ouzo. Definitely hits on the cloying level right now, lay this one down for some aging. Carbonation is mellow body is big and full of residual sugars, but the anise and overkill of the molasses need some age to do me right.

Drinkability is good in dessert portions, but it's sad when you have to share a 12 ounce bottle with a friend to be able to enjoy it. This goes into a snifter/chalice without asking swirl it around and indulge in this complex 9,000th batch from our friends at Bell's. It's a once every 6 month kinda brew, so buy a six or a case and sample it every once in awhile as a night cap or with a nice cigar.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark as night, but a slimmed, cocoa-tan head.

Sweet nose, plump with dark fruits, big on the dates, raisins, fig, some cocoa and carob, rich and lush.

Tastin' it...sweet and bitter, as well... highly hopped, vigorously malted, alcohol comes crushing down. Darkness intensified....immensely malty. Dense, but not thick, not viscous. Thinking this was intended as an Imperial Stout, my first tastes had me recasting it as a mislabeled old ale. A few days later, I taste again, and think it's an old ale/ imperial stout hybrid. Or an imperial stout that stretches outside the boundaries of their excellent Expedition Stout.

Mmmm, I'm liking this more and more. And more.
this is right. up. my alley.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.18/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a very dark brown that shows only against light, with about half an inch of brownish head and moderate carbonation.

s - Smells of sweet malts, dark fruits, chocolate, and licorice. Very interesting.

t - Tastes strongly of alocohol and licorice. Also tastes of sweet malts, molasses, and hints of fruit. Again, rather unique but very alcoholic.

m - Sweet yet dominated by alcohol. Full bodied with moderate carbonation.

d - Not really sure what to make of this one. It smelled and tasted stongly of licorice and alcohol, making an interesting mix. I think for now it's too hot and could benefit from some time in the cellar. I'll be putting the other 5 bottles in the cellar and sitting on them for a while, which I would suggest.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottle purchased many moons ago, most likely at Binny's. Served in a Bell's tulip.

A - Dark tan foam settles to a thin cap, wisps, and a few specks of lace. Very dark brown body that's viscous and sludgy, and it's a bit lighter at the edges of the glass.

S - Massive prune, date, and molasses aromas, with lighter licorice, chocolate, and caramel. Very sweet, with hints of cherry and vanilla. Some alcohol, but far tamer than it used to be when fresh.

T - The taste has a bit more roast and anise bitterness to balance out the intense prune and dark fruit flavors. It's not as sweet as the aroma for sure, and while the alcohol has mellowed significantly over the past three years there's still a bit of a bite to it.

M - Full, chewy, and viscous body. Lower carbonation, with some mild alcohol warming. Light stickiness in the finish.

D - Well I enjoyed this significantly more than when it was fresh, it's still not my favorite beer in the series. The anise has mellowed to a point where it's actually integrated into the rest of the flavor profile but I'd still have a tough time slamming down more than 6oz of this. The bourbon barrel-aged is a significantly better beer.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.07/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer is black to red in the corners but clear. Carbonation is moderate and the head leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.

Aroma is sweet and fruity. Molasses. Smells good.

Beer is sweet and fruity, much like the smell. I can taste some of the alcohol for sure. Drinkability is good, the mouthfeel is missing something though. I think connectivity could be better. Maybe that's why people are aging these things so much. I bet it would improve with a couple of years on it.

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Bell's Batch 9000 from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
89 out of 100 based on 532 ratings.