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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

533 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 533
Hads: 890
Avg: 4
pDev: 17%
Wants: 94
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 533 | Hads: 890
Photo of twiggamortis420
3.62/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle pours a deep black color with a small but firm tan head. Spotty lace dots the snifter as well as a solid collar.

Nose seems to have improved this one over the past couple years, huge blackberries and plums. Malts are sherry galore with tobacco and Cocoa Krispies. Powerful nose and quite complex. Still a little boozy, but I like it...impressive.

Taste is an interesting combo of black licorice, plum flesh and muscadine grapes. A thick and rich, but surprisingly unidentifiable, malt presence lurks in the background. Mouthfeel is syrupy and bordering on cloying, but the alcohol pulls it back from the abyss at the last second. It’s rare to drink a beer that leaves a rich fruity coating on the lips long after the swallow...more akin to port or sherry. Not bad, but I don’t think this one will go down in the Bell's HOF of beer creations.

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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 harrymel
3.39/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Given the recent hubub over the BA version, thought I'd revisit this one.

Pours black with little indication of carb save a tiny central dome and rimming. Smells of molasses, booze, dark roasted malts, some malt syrup and a bit of raisin/date character. Taste is sweet and molasses with some prune and licorice and plenty of burnt sugar. Really sweet - gonna make my ass stank tomorrow. Quite empty bodied but sticky with sharp and easy carb finished semi dry. Time has changed the beer, but the body fell out of the center and the flavor just made all the manly flavors go sugar, making it sticky - a relative disappointment. It's still a fine beer, but not as profound as once before.

Original review 27JAN11
A: Dark, molasses ale pours to globe with little carbonation on impact, but subsequently develops a sheet of latte foam. Light flickers through ale with little slices of golden rays pierce through the beer.
S: Malt, licorice, molasses, and nougat overlay this beer. Smells a bit boozy. Definitely on the sweet side. Small hints of astringency. Intrigued as to how this one will taste.
T: Coffee, chocolate, prunes, figs, dates, licorice, molasses, and malty goodness all spend nearly equal time playing in the mouth and highlighting my palate. Maybe dominated by the fig and coffee flavors, I am very, very happy with this. Getting some raisin flavor in here too.
M: Low carbonation, fine in influence. The beer is heavy, and yet feels so light and velvety. Reminds of a really well done porter. Warms the palate with the ABV, but tastefully.
D: This is very nice. I could drink a few of these.

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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 colts9016
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter at 55 degrees.

Appearance: A one finger head that has fair retention. The head is tan in color with foamy and creamy head. The head is just barely visible. Legs on the glass are visible from the high alcohol content. The color of the beer is dark rust brown and the clarity is opaque.

Nose: A the alcoholic aroma is very first on the nose. A malty sweetness that has some fruity qualities to it. Dried fruits and and wine like quality, Other aromas are caramel, nuts, molasses, and an earthiness. This a complex and very difficult nose to disect. A lot going on in this glass.

Taste: Holy moly, this beer is loaded with flavor. The malt is deep rich and complex. The malt flavor is caramel and roasted. Other flavors is dried figs, alcohol, molasses, nuts, and earth. A sweetness is parallel with chocolate, oxidization, and a port quality.

The mouth feel is chewy, rich, coating, and warming.

Overall: The body of the beer is thick, and finish is long. This is a really good beer right now. It is warming from the alcohol but satisfying. This beer is really good and complex. I am really enjoying this beer. Sad that I only have one of these beers.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a dark as night black with very little head that left a little frothy lacing sticking to the glass.

S: plenty of molasses in the aroma wuth caranel, hints of dark fruits, a little bourbon barrel character, slight oakiness, booze for sure and vanilla oeaking through as well.

T: the molasses just as dominate on the palate alongside plenty of roasty malts, mild choclate flavor, hints of dark fruit with mild booze heat. A bit of dark fruit, vanilla accents, and a touch of oakiness.

M: the brew was full in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a sweet, slightly oaky, mild fruity, roasty, boozy and thick chewy finish.

O: to me it was more leaning towards a stout but was pretty solid all around, it did however seem like it was starting to go bad. Pretty much has probably plateaued

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Photo of cpetrone84
2.48/5  rDev -38%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

pour is almost jet black with a light brown head. Nose is a bit all over the place, dark chocolate malt, sweet dark fruits, hints of vodka, light roasty bitterness. Taste is more malt forward, syrupy dark berry and alcohol. Heat still present, overly syrupy and thick, loose carbonation and burn that lingers.

A-black color looking liquid is poured from the bottle, dark red hues shine through with light, thick bubbly dark khaki colored head

S-the nose is pretty big with aromas of oak and vanilla up front, notes of bourbon come in with some molasses and a big malt sweetness. Plums, fig, rum soaked raisin

T-the taste follows the nose and is even bigger, its huge. Oaky vanilla, bourbon, molasses, dark fruits, big sweetness comes in towards the back. Plums, figs, raisins soaked in booze.

M-smooth and thick, syrupy almost, it coats the mouth fully, slightly dry finish, and well carbonated

D-very big flavors, extremely sweet and somewhat one dimensional. Still huge, I think the cellar would do a lot for this beer.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.47/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a very dark black color with a touch of brown and a thin finger of frothy chocolate colored head. The head fades down fairly quickly leaving behind a touch of lace.

S - Aroma is a mix of roasted and lightly burnt chocolate and other dark malts and fruits with some molasses, dark licorice, and a bit of sweetness and booze.

T - Starts off with some roasted dark chocolate and dark malts with some prunes and other dark fruits and some black licorice. Through the middle, some molasses comes through with a touch of vanilla sweetness. The finish is a mix of roasted and lightly burnt chocolate and other dark malts, dark fruit sweetness, licorice, and a bit of booze.

M - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth and a bit thick with a warming and sweet finish.

D - Very drinkable. Really nice Imperial Stout. The balance of flavors is spot on and the licorice and molasses is really nicely incorporated.

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Photo of brystmar
3.7/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Decent head upon pouring recedes quickly thereafter. Dark brown, nearly opaque. Mostly dark fruits in the nose; no booze presence here at all.

Taste is pretty decent: raisin, plum, beets, booze, mild yeasty presence. Sticky, viscous body. I imagine this was quite messy fresh, though it's mellowed into a solid strong ale these days. Should still age quite well though, so hold onto your bottles if they still don't do it for ya.

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Photo of 4thelvofbeer
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep black with a small thin head. Smell and taste reflect notes of fig, maple, big on licorice, tar, molasses, and (even though it is not aged in bourbon barrels), has notes of bourbon!! A lot of deep luciuos flavors going on here, but nothing that does not mix or is out of place. Received this beer in a trade (sorry, can't remember when/where), but it is really good. Mouthfeel is very, very thick and viscous. Overall, a really nice beer by one of my favorite brewers...

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Photo of mwrecording
4.14/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received a sixer of this in the mail a week ago and been putting it off only because of being scared of one word: Licorice.
Since trying and strongly disliking Stone's Belgo Anise IRS, I've been scared of any beer using anise or licorice but this...this I was wrong about.

Poured into a Chimay chalice, poured a very dark brown or a 'light' black color with a little less than an inch of a head.

Smell was a treat, NO licorice! Smell reminds me immediately of sweet malt, a better description would be of what it smelled like when I was boiling the wort to make my own beer with hop pellets. A real great smell.

Taste follows the smell, again no licorice taste although its very faint in the backround, pleasant for me. Sweet but not overly sweet. Nice taste of all the dark malts. Sort of taste some dark raison to this. No alcohol burn.

Sticky mouthfeel and sort of feels like slime in my mouth? in a good way of course. Carbonation is pretty light but probably where it should be for a beer of the style.

Overall: Pleasant surprise, glad I've got 5 more to enjoy and sit on(even though I can only see it getting sweeter and maybe harder to drink if I let it age to much longer) I'd give this a little over a 4 out of 5.

Additional note, maybe this is the idea but to me this is a great mix of what maybe a sweet stout and well made english barleywine should/would taste like. I'd describe it to friends as a black lightly hopped barleywine and its a treat.

The ratings on this one are solid, the beer is solid but perhaps its nothing truly 'special'

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.68/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into snifter glass.

Appearance: black bodied beer with a small khaki colored head.

Smell: sweet malts, molasses, prunes, and black licorice. The beer also has vinous and boozy characteristics to it; it seems a bit oxidized too.

Taste: Prunes and black licorice start this beer off. Just a little bit of chocolates noted towards the back end of the beer. Its a really sweet beer almost cloyingly sweet. Lots of black licorice in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied beer with low carbonation. Little bit of warming booze with a touch of heat to it.

Overall: It decent beer and its feld up fairely well in the bottle. It a decent attempt at an american strong ale by bells.

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Photo of Rutager
4.39/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance. Pours cola brown with a skim of light yellow-tan head that doesn't last very long.

Smell. Big molasses, some black licorice and vanilla, a little dark roasty malt. Nice.

Taste. Big dark malts and sweet molasses with a little dark over-ripe fruit that slowly fades to a nice lingering black licorice. Just a bit of booze that's sweet and liquor-like. Really good stuff here.

Mouthfeel. Full body with low+, smooth carbonation. A little bit sticky. Just a bit of warmth.

Overall. Really rich, flavourful brew. Sweet, full, and incredibly drinkable. I couldn't believe the abv when I read it just now!!

Thanks Hooliganlife for this killer beer!!

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

Bell's Batch 9000. 'Malt Beverage Brewed with Molasses and Brewer's Licorice'

Poured it quickly into the snifter without much decanting. Looks like the yeast caked on the bottom of the bottle nicely enough to save the beer in my glass. Chocolate brown with some burgundy coloring, but mostly black-looking. Hardly a head off of the pour, just a dying ring of tan foam. 4.0

Sweet aroma, heavy on the vinous character. Port wine, licorice, cream sherry, some hints of oxidation, blackened sugar, black strap rum, and molasses. 4.5

Roasty flavor with heavy port wine notes, cream sherry, molasses, black coffee, and some astringent bitterness. Big time licorice notes, like Good'N Plenty candies. Love the insinuation of thick Ethiopian coffee from the malts. Very malt-oriented. Pretty much malts all the way, with the bitterness coming from the black malts and the additives evolving in the bottle. A rugged American Strong Ale; very representative of the style in my opinion. 4.5

Thick and chewy, with surprisingly, not much booze on the tongue or throat. Hardly any carbonation, to counter that thought. Drinks like it should, if not a little easier. 4.0

I had to score this six-pack when I had the chance after first tasting it on draft at a local beer bar. Happy to have the other five to sit on. Highly recommended for lovers of big, sweet malt-bombs. 4.5

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Photo of Steasy66
4.04/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz into snifter. Over a year old at this point.

A Jet black, almost no head.
S Bourbon, caramel, vanilla
T Sweet, toasted marshmallow, woody, toffee, vanilla
M Quite flat, still a bit hot, fairly thick.
O Nice beer, I wish I had tried it fresh for comparison. I wish I could taste the bourbon notes that dominate the smell.

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Photo of lurpy1
1.79/5  rDev -55.3%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Even though I have a bottle at home, when this showed up on tap at Crunchy's East Lansing, I took the plunge. Let's see what I've got waiting for me at home.

The initial pour is jet black with a 1/4-finger head. Over time, though, the bear takes on red, wine-like tones and loses some of its appeal.

Now, the smell test. Uh oh. A sickly, burnt rubber sweet. There's mysterious unappealing fruit in there. Date? Prune? Malaysian Stinkfruit? We got trouble here I think.

Taste. So um yeah. Prunes it is. Nasty-ass. The saving grace is I should shit well next day. There is some licorice flavor thrown in as well. To top it all off, Bell's seems to have dumped some Mad Dog or Mogen David into the mash. Even more damning, I find that this is a beer that gets worse over time and takes on a medicinal aftertaste. I find myself taking a lot of water chasers here.

Nothing at all wrong with the mouthfeel, but the damage was done in terms of taste. Sorry maximum12, I think that spare bottle I have at home is going to the food shelf. I really didn't like this one.

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

Bottled 27 Jan 2010. Batch 9000 (duh).

Comes out clear and dark brown, but turns to black in the glass, with only a little light passing through the edges. One finger of orange-hued medium-tan head. Decent retention and some solid lacing.

Smells rich, sweet, and dark. Prunes galore, and loads of other dark juicy fruit. Slightly sugary, with molasses evident. I also get a bit of bite in the back, which I think is the alcohol. Very nice. Only a hint of oxidation.

Wow, this is a brawny beer. Again the dark fruits are there, but it's a little less sweet than in the nose, with more of a licorice twang. Starts out powerfully flavorful, but that only lasts a second before the alcohol blasts through, sharp and boozy. As it warms up, I find it mellower and more balanced. But still gives me a little shudder with each sip.

Quite heavy in the mouth, almost sludgy. Carbonation is medium-low, and burns out fast - might be better with some more buzz, as all that weight just kinda sits there.

This is a really interesting beer, unlike anything else I can think of. Like a very dark, strong, English barleywine with some serious twists. I like it. But 12 oz. might even be too much for me in one sitting. The alcohol is definitely there, and only moderately disguised by the flavor.

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Photo of pschul4
3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this as an extra in a trade, thanks GranvilleTim

A- Pours a cola brown with a few bubbles on the top that dissipate quickly, that immediately gives away the ABV of this brew

S- Can smell some molasses and black licorice. Sweet booze in the background

T- Lots of booze throughout the sip with the licorice and molasses as side notes. Amazingly this could use even more time in the bottle

M- Best part of the beer. Thick and coating and a lingering aftertaste

O- A huge beer which I am very grateful to have tried, not something I'll seek out again however

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Photo of xraided81
4.07/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks to badnewsbeers, sending this in a trade.
pours a rich dark brown, with a thin tan head.
smells of toasted coca nut, coca cola, chocolate, dark fruits, toasted malts.
taste is ripe dark fruit, dried black cherries, molasses, and a hint of licorice. medium bodied beer that is easy to drink likely to the +2 years of age on this bad boy.
O: this is a great bear, im not sure what kind of beer this is but it is reminiscent of a blend of imperial stout and english barleywine. very informal tic

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Photo of PlinyTheKid
4.67/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown/red. Little lacing. Smells of molasses, licorice, marshmallow, and caramel. Slight carbonation. Minor notes of dark fruit and chocolate. Reminds me of a dark fruit infused chocolate from See's Candy. After taste is phenomenal. Leaves a lingering sweet molasses and licorice aftertaste. Every sip becomes more and more pleasant. Always considered it being one of my favorites.

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Photo of weizenbob
3.76/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This 12 ounce bottle was purchased at Jimmie Garrant's in Alpena, MI. It was bottled on January 27, 2010, so it is just a couple of days past its second birthday. The label indicates that Batch 9,000 is brewed with molasses and licorice. The cap came off with a nice hiss and the bottle was poured into a tulip glass at approximately 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

The beer pours pitch black with a finger tall brown head. Head retention is poor which I expected. The ABV isn't listed on the label or Bell's website but from the label description, I anticipated a bruiser. Unfortunately, high alcohol doesn't usually lend itself to head retention. A thin ring of lacing holds steady at the high water mark. Despite the lack of lasting head, this beer is impressively dark and I could stare into it for hours in search of the deep meanings of life.

The aroma is hot with alcohol. Plum and Elmers Glue bleed through the solvent burn. Faint blueberry and raisin add some needed subtlety. It is effortlessly aromatic, but unfortunately it doesn't smell all that great.

As with most barleywines/strong ales/old ales that I've sampled, Batch 9,000 tastes better than it smells. The initial impact comes courtesy of this beer's strong residual sweetness. It is as honey, and to a lesser extent, molasses. The licorice is tasted in a literal manner that manifests early and holds well into the aftertaste. Impressions of prune and raisin are strongly felt. The hopping must have been out of control because in spite of the huge sweetness and two years of age, there is still a bitter piney tinge on the back end. As tasty as it is, it comes off more like somebody's crazy, over the top homebrew, rather than a beer coming out of one of the largest craft breweries in the country. It's good, despite being one of the least impressive barleywines I've yet imbibed.

One final observation on flavor: I burped at it tasted like chocolate.

In the mouth, this is a rich dessert in a bottle. It is full-bodied with a thickness akin to maple syrup. The carbonation level is too low at this stage, and it buckles under the heavy gravity of this beer. Alcohol heat is strong enough that it borders on burning as it goes down the throat. Perhaps two years is still a bit young for this. Unfortunately the flavor at this point doesn't warrant seeking out another bottle to sit on. It's not a bad beer, and I don't regret buying it. I just don't have a desire to drink it again.


The Two-Schlitz Scale: (reference my profile for an explanation)
I don't give a Schlitz for Bell's Batch 9,000. It's okay, but I pity the fool who bought a case of these to sit on. You know he's out there.

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Photo of kawilliams81
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a 16 oz. snifter.

A- dark brown,1 finger light tan head. Some lacing that resides quickly.

S- sweet, sweet malts, dark fruits, brown sugar

T- very sweet toasted malts. Dark fruits, vanilla and some oak. Candi sugar at the finish.

M- full body, slight syrup feel. Lower carbonation.

O- good beer. Smell immediately made me think of samichlaus, taste is slightly similar as well with more toasted malt tastes.

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Photo of syrupjoe
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoying in the comfort of home while watching the 2011 NFC championship game in OT. 12oz bottle into snifter.

Pours an extremely dark amber color with one finger creamy light brown head that sticks around for quite awhile. Big chunky particulates.

Nose is very savory, with notes of soy sauce, molasses, slight roast, extreme maltiness, and dried dark fruit.

Intensely sweet with notes of red berries, coffee roast, and savory soy flavor. Smooth, light carbonation with roasty finish that lingers.

Overall an interesting beer that offers some flavor combinations I've never tried before. Not a very well-rounded flavor profile, but a unique brew worth trying.

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Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: 1/8" mocha coloured head over cola coloured liquid.

S: Molasses, toffee malt, toasted malt, coffee malt and some yeast. It smells relatively sweet.

T: Somewhat bitter up front with molasses dominating the taste profile. Underneath the molasses; toffee malt, toasted malt and coffee malt can also be found.

M: Thick viscosity with a low level of carbonation. Despite the high alcohol content there is not much of a drying effect.

O: This is definitely a thick winter sipper, but it hides the alcohol content well. It is a good combination of bitter and sweet, and is heavily flavoured by the addition of molasses. If you have ever had molasses, then you have a pretty good idea of what this beer tastes like.

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Photo of samie85
4.55/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a pitch black with a finger of light tan head.

S- Smells of mocha, dark chocolate, rich stone fruit, with some almost bourbon-like vanillin.

T- Surprisingly drinkable with a rich dark fruitiness and dark chocolate and roasted notes with some vanilla.

M- rich and mouth-coating with a full body and low carbonation.

D- Very complex and highly drinkable with the combination of the roasted notes and dark fruit I found this one very interesting.

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Bell's Batch 9000 from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
89 out of 100 based on 533 ratings.