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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.

866 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 866
Reviews: 528
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 13.18%
Wants: 89
Gots: 249 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 866 | Reviews: 528 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of therobot
4.7/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the tap, served in a tulip glass.

A: Dark, dark bown with carmel edges when held up to light, small amount on light brown head, no lacing.

S: Strong full noce of fruit and rich sugar, a little bittersweet chocolate, and lots of roasted goodness.

T: Strong dark fruit tang up front, bleeds into a nice bread syprupy middle and finished with a pretty strong booze burn.

M: Mildly viscose, small to medium carbonation and strong lingering fruit and licorice.

D: Personally could drink a lot but would drink frequently if supply allowed.

I love this beer, one of my top five personally. am sitting on a few bottles and I can hardly wait to see this develop.

Photo of iskivolkl
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is a beautiful black with a yellow-brown head. My pour in a pint glass had a less than desirable amount of head (about 1/2 finger) and it had poor head retention. There is a handsome faint reddish-purple glow around the edges of the glass.

Smell is good, lots of sweet, malt and fruityness.

Taste is extremely sweet with a sour tinge. Virtually no hoppyness, or bitterness. Lots of fruit and malt taste, with a caramel taste that appears in the end. The sweetness is almost too powerful to finish a full bottle.

Mouthfeel has a syrupy thickness about it, carbonation is very minimal leaving just a little to be desired, a very smooth feel overall.

As far as drinkability is concerned, this beer has lots of flavor and would fall under my "once-and-a-while" category because of its intense sweetness. I would not drink two in a week, let alone two in a row. I would recommend everyone try it though, a good sipper for when one has lots of time to chip away at the extreme sweetness and decipher the more subtle flavors within.

Photo of adrock7309
3.27/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Scored a six pack via trade with Madvike - thanks!

First things first, this brew is not quite ready for prime time and i am hoping some time mellowing in the cellar will help it improve and calm down.

A = not what i was expecting given the hype. Very dark ruby black, still can see through it when held to the light. Lighter tan head that fell quickly

S = probably the highlight of the beer. Strong licorice and roasty smell off this bohemoth.

T = extremely unbalanced. Malt sweetness, and alcohol overpoured the first to last sip. Definitely a beer better shared with two or three folks.

I will rate again in a year or two.

Photo of domtronzero
3.6/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Very dark brown, almost black. Clear but nearly opaque. Large, long lasting, frothy mocha head with little lacing.

S - Deep dark malty fruity melanoidins, plums, sweet alcohol.

F/M - Caramel malts, black-strap molasses, rich dark fruits, chocolate, toffe. Medium full bodied, a little slick and oily, moderate carbonation. Lingering licorice flavor.

D - Good but the dark rich lingering sweetness is a little much. A glass was alright, but no more than a bottle at a time for me.

Photo of GabrielM
4.4/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shared in a trade by a very generous shaebs99 - thanks again!
Poured into a snifter.

A - a beautiful deep, dark brown with small areas of dark caramel coloring around the edges, which are the only places light penetrates. Just the right amount of bubbly coffee-colored head.

S - caramel, maple, molasses, definitely licorice, brown sugar, roasted malt sweetness.

T - same as the nose but with a nice hop bitterness and slight alcohol burn, which is to be expected at 12.5%.

M - very creamy, nice carbonation, great balance of malt sweetness and hop bitterness.

D - pretty damn good considering the strength, but it would be even better after mellowing out in the cellar for a year or two.

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.51/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

An aggressive pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces a three-finger thick, lightly browned amber / tan colored head. The beer is a dark chocolate color that an almost clear, ruby hue when held up to the light. In pouring this I get a rich, umami laden malt character that leans towards tamari and soy-sauce syrup coated toasted nuts. A deeper inspection of the nose yields lots more of the same including aromas of toffee, an almost salty or peat-smoked dark malt sweetness, concentrated prunes, caramelized / slightly burnt raisins as well as a definite nostril warming alcohol spiciness.

Thick and viscous feeling, though it isn't perhaps quite as sweet as the aroma suggested, but it is definitely sweet. The sweetness is rich, caramelized and like concentrated fruit, so doesn't come off as being overly cloying. The finish has a roast character that attempts to add some bitterness and roast bite to balance the sweetness, though it doesn't really manage to do that. Much of the bitterness is derived from hops and actually the finish does have quite a biting bitterness to it. There is a lot of fruit character in this beer and it reminds me of a mix of concentrated, definitely burnt, figs, prunes and raisins. At times this reminds me of aged, syrupy, balsamic vinegar, but without the acetic acid, more the concentrated, almost oxidized fruit character (though this isn't actually oxidized). This is most definitely a sipping brew.

This beer isn't nearly as dark, or roasted as I was expecting it to be, in fact some more ample roast character would likely help to balance this beer out, it might actually help this to age better as well, but I don't think this beer really has to worry about going down hill any time soon; it would be nice if age somehow makes this drastically improve. A beer for which a couple ounces is more than you will need; I am struggling to finish the half pour that I do have, even though the flavors aren't necessarily all that bad. I feel like I should have a lot more to say about a beer that is this rich and expressive, but it honestly doesn't have the complexity, nor the balance to make me feel like gushing on the page about it. Not bad, but too much without being enough in the end.

Photo of TheIrishBAMF
4.58/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

To preface this review, I'd like to mention that I have just recently come to enjoy darker beers in the last few months, and I'm a college student, so some people may skip my review merely for those reasons.

Aside from that, I bought this beer from a local party store to add the bottle to my collection (yes I have the cliched beer bottle collection) purely because it looked like it was going to be a limited time to try it. It described it's fermenting ingredients on the back with molasses and brewers licorice, both of which I find taste good, but I had not tried them in a brew.

I popped the cap, took a small exploratory sampling and was quite pleased. Smooth as silk with a delicious taste to boot, This was by far one of the best drinking experiences from the "dark side" I have had to date. I can't really describe the taste like a connoisseur but it was very easy to drink and had a relaxing flavor. Not too bitter, but not sweet, Kind of rolls over your tastebuds with a bold and smooth taste. I guess the best suggestion I have is to try it if you like dark beers. I finished it before I started this review so I can't pick things out, but for what it's worth, it's something you should try.

Photo of SpdKilz
4.17/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bah...I posted the wrong review here a couple days ago and thanks to kzoobrew for letting me know...but sadly I had already deleted my other review from the word document I typed it up in so here is an abridged version of what I wrote the other day.

First of all, a huge thanks to erikkoppin for this great extra. Cheers buddy!

Appearance - Pours into my (fitting) Bell's tulip with a ominous, dark viscosity. About a finger of head is achieved with a moderate pour. The head dissipates relatively fast leaving thin lacing.

Smell - Heavy licorice, molasses, maple syrup, chocolate, and dark fruits.

Taste - Similar to the nose, though quite heavy on the licorice and vanilla flavors up front. This leads to coffee, a relatively strong molasses flavor, brown sugar, and bittersweet chocolate. A heavy drink with heavy flavors. Got to take it slow on this one!

Mouthfeel - Pretty damn thick. Lower carbonation.

Drinkability - A desert beer, and sipper for sure. I *think* I have one of these back home from my trip to Michigan this summer but I am not sure...I hope I do have one so I can see how this tastes with another year on it. Glad to try this and a great night cap.

Photo of crossovert
3.77/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz brown bottle.

It pours a dark brown into my snifter, basically black, with a foamy tannish/white head that sticks for a nice while, especially for the abv and also leaves some nice lacing.

The smell is great. It has a nice fruitiness, with dark fruits and almost some lemon, there is a huge hit of burnt sugar, some cocoa, molasses, and licorice.

The taste is huge, maybe too huge. It is a bit vinous and alcoholic with lots of dark fruit, a good bit of chocolate, a hint of coffee, and some caramel. The sweetness is cloying and it takes away form the beer a bit. This is aging decently, but it might be one of those beers that takes more than a year or two to mature.

The mouthfeel is super thick, but also cloying bringing it down.

Photo of unojuno
4.48/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured into a standard pint glass. Light does not penetrate it at all, it's that dark. Thin coffee colored head forms. Pours thick.

Smell: Very complex. Stings the nose. Prominent licorice smell, that has a lingering sweet after tone, most likely brown sugar. Hint of what seems to be coffee? Not sure.

Taste: The first taste throws you back a bit. My tastebuds did not expect this power the first time i drank it. I am a big fan of licorice. Molasses, dark berries, smokey malt flavor,

Mouthfeel: Delicious aftertaste, leaving the mouth feeling very warm and comfortable.

Drinkability: Something you enjoy over a good long while. I most definitely need to invest in a good amount of this stuff to store in "the cellar". Has a good punch of alcohol.

Given the nature of this beer, it deserves a high rating. In my eyes, experimental brews deserve a certain amount of respect and appreciation. I did not go into drinking this expecting any less than a satisfying strong ale.

Photo of berkey
3/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

12 oz bottle sampled from my tulip glass 10/03/10. I understand these are good to age but I've received a couple as extras now so I thought I'd give one a try tonight.

Body of this brew is extremely dark brown in color, essentially black. A small mocha head forms and recedes fairly quickly. Fine carbonation is easily visible when held to light and a fair amount of sediment settles to the bottom of the glass.

Aroma leads off with strong chocolate notes followed by molasses. It's clear there's more in there including a hard to pin down fruitiness but it's mostly lost behind the primary chocolate and molasses characteristics. Very sweet but not unpleasantly so.

First sip and this begins to lean toward cloying. Molasses flavor stays at the forefront as it was on the aroma and is backed by a roasted malt character. Anise flavors I expected to pick up from the licorice finally make an appearance in the aftertaste. Cutting through it all is a booze flavor that may be a little too strong for it's own good.

Drinkabilty is where things start to fall apart for me on this beer. The intense booze and uneven flavor profile really make this feel like a chore at only a few ounces in. I'll come back to this in a few years but right now I'm underwhelmed.

Photo of JohnQVegas
2.94/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle into Bruery tulip, with a special thank you to Blake at Chuck's in Bowling Green.

Pours deep black, with a thin, almost instantly-disappearing tan head, and little in the way of lacing. A bit below average, with a bump to compensate for the 20%

Nose is starts out with a big smack of licorice, with a sharp roasty kick hitting you almost instantly thereafter, along with some burnt sugar. Nice bit of boozey alcohol in there as well.

Taste brings in more of the big (nay, massive) licorice notes, loads of dark fruit, burnt sugar all over. Big alcohol burn as well, bites at the back of your throat. Hmmm. It would seem the Strong Ale categorization is particularly apt, because this is far from any Imperial Stout I've ever had. Finish is long, burnt, charred and sugary, deeply saturated wit licorice. This is kind of a a one trick pony; I'm not getting anything but the burnt sugar/licorice/alcohol part of this one running rampant.

Mouthfeel is slick, medium bodied, thinner than preferred, with the burnt character lingering and lending a bit of acidity. Carbonation is a bit sharp as well, even if there's less of it than I'd like.

Drinkability is, as expected from the previous categories, not great - burnt and bordering on acrid, way too much licorice, mouthfeel not very appealing either. All in all, not what I'd call a rousing success.

Photo of DIM
4.09/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First review written while relaxing in my new office while Jes is still working on the rest of the house. Sweet.

a: This was a very dark brown color. It poured with a very thin, short lived tan head.

s: I'm very pleasantly surprised by this. I'm not a fan of licorice, so I'm glad its as subdued as it is here. The molasses is what absolutely bowls me over, this is a molasses bomb! There is plenty of rich chocolate as well. The alcohol is extremely well hidden.

t: The taste doesn't quite come together as well as the smell does. Still, it tastes pretty good and they get big points for uniqueness. Tons of molasses coats everything with sticky, pungent sweetness. The licorice is blessedly mild, almost nonexistant in fact. Sweet. syrupy chocolate up front is joined at the finish by tart, gum tightening cherries. Again, the alcohol is extremely well hidden.

m: Not as heavy as I expected. The carbonation is gentle and unobtrusive.

d: I didn't buy more when this was available because the licorice scared me off. Damn it.

Photo of treyrab
3/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Had this on tap a few times and out of the bottle. This review is from the tap.

A: Pours a nice dark brown with a decent tan head. Some nice crimson and mahogany hues. Very clear and pretty good looking.

S: Smell is very intense. Tons of licorice (and I mean TONS), some maple syrup, toffee, corn syrup, licorice Twizzlers, and some chocolate. Very intense.

T: Whoa. A train wreck in the mouth. The taste is everywhere with liquefied licorice twizzlers, maple syrup, chocolate, brewer's licorice, and licorice. Damn, this is not working.

M/D: Mouthfeel is fine. Drinkability is low due to the flavors just clashing. Can only have a few sips.

Photo of Brent
3.48/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Somehow I wound up with but a single bottle of this, which went straight to cellar, as I had heard it needed a bit of time under the belt. I was very happy when a bottle came around at a recent tasting, and even happier, after the tasting, that my bottle is still in the cellar. Still too brash - tons of sweet malt, molasses, brown sugar, unprocessed sugar, sweetened condensed milk caramel, prunes - all of which will be very nice once it finally settles down and comes together. As it is, it is still a bit of a cacophony.

Photo of Anthony1
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

very dark pour, I'm unable to get any color on the edges, even with a decent backlight. Thin, light mocha head, needed a little encouragement to form up. Good sprays of lace though, attractive start. mostly a molasses/licorice kind of smell with some light roasted malt backup. After setup, a weird spicy mustard aroma emerges. That's a first, who's got the metts and sauerkraut? There was a Belgian beer I had last fall with mustard seed, and this has a note of it here. Also a note of magic marker smell. big roasty malty base. Lots of yummy anise go hand-in-hand with a chocolatey profile. On the sweeter side, but I think it's great. The swallow has some darker roastiness to it, but no char. Bittersweet chocolate now as this winds down. I noticed the full thick smoothness before the first taste was registered. The carbonation provides a note of fluffiness, but not overly carbonated.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.66/5  rDev -9%
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.

Photo of barnzy78
4.09/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz brown bottle. I had this when it was first released and was not wowed by it. I let my other bottle sit around for a few months, and it seems to have come around a bit. Maybe I should have left it longer, but wasn't expecting a whole lot.

Pours black with some dark brown hues when held to the light. Rigorous pour yields a thin brown head that dissipates quickly, but is expected given the alcohol content. Aroma is boozy with molasses and hints of dark chocolate. Initial tastes are sweet and syrupy with burnt brown sugar and molasses, followed by dark chocolate, roasted or burnt grain, anise and pepper - very complex. Boozy on the finish and the full mouth-feel seems to coat the palate with a certain stickiness that keeps you coming back for more of the ale to try to rinse the stickiness away.

Overall, this definitely has improved with time. Worth the try and I'm glad I bought 2 bottles, but also glad I didn't buy more.

Photo of CashMoneyVagrant
1.93/5  rDev -52%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

This beer pours absolutely jet black in color with a cinnamon-brown/ chocolate head of foam that dies rather quickly, becoming flat and still in appearance.
Very sweet, boozy/ alcohol upfront on the nose. A little smokey, campfire-maple syrup aroma. Pine sap, I smell soy sauce, burnt brown sugar some dark fruits, black tea, jäger/ licorice liquor. Aromas of molasses/ maple, licorice, sweetness and boozy/alcohol dominate anything else I'm picking up though.
The first taste hits you with sweet, malty booze. Yum. Smokey, campfire-maple syrup, pine sap, soy sauce, black licorice jellybeans. Taste just like the nose. Heavy in the mouth, cloying and sticky on the lips. It's like drinking molasses straight from the jar with a bitter black licorice aftertaste. Which is how it finishes, sweet and bitter. A shot of some unpleasant gut rot liquor comes to mind.
Having purchased two six packs of this and tasted with consistent notes every time. I'd thought maybe some good grilled beef, sampling of blue cheese or a combination
of both would help cut through this beer. I just never got interested enough to try. It's difficult to drink, even sip on. Your mouth gets fatigued and you thirst for something else, especially hoppy beers. I don't see it doing anything different with bottle age and have no desire to waste celler space. One bottle was enough, 12 was overkill even when shared. Thirdcoast, Expedition, and Consecrator are far superior beers as is Bells big, hoppy IPA's & DIPA's. It's just sweet, malt, molasses/ licorice alcohol bomb. Which isn't my idea of a good strong ale, but it's not the first time they've made beers that make you scratch your head an look for something else to drink.

Photo of liamt07
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of TMoney2591, via the Support Your Team BIF. Thanks again Kyle!

Pours an opaque dark, chesnut brown, maybe a shade off of being black. Small brown head with a reddish tinge to it, which quickly drops down to a collar and a few spots of retention. No lace to mention. Aroma is fantastic, a very complex nose consisting of molasses, dark rum, licorice, anise and dark fruits: plums, raisins, figs etc ad nauseum. Alcohol is here too. The dark fruits and alcohol are here first, thick and chewy. Quite sweet upfront, this stuff just completely coats the mouth. The 'rum'-iness really comes through also, and works with the molasses to create this prevalent sweetness. Mouthfeel is sticky and sweet. Not too hot however, and leaves me wishing I had a couple more to keep for aging to see how this continues to develop. A true sipper.

Photo of alkemy
4.42/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a really dark brown with some mahogany highlights. There's really not a lot of light getting through this one. I got about half a finger of medium tan head with no lacing. Slightly boozy aroma with molasses, chocolate, licorice, earthy roasted malts, and some dark dried fruits. Licorice is quite strong in the mouth along with some bitter chocolate and warming alcohol. You also get molasses in the taste as well with some figs. Just has a silky smoothness that feels great going down. There is a good amount of alcohol, but it makes a minimal presence in the taste. I'm a pretty big fan of this one.

Photo of oakbluff
3.7/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle- pours dark brown, moderate clarity with a one finger beige head. Lacing is very fine with excellent coating. Nose - molasses, anise,and a fair bit of booze heat to singe the nostrils. Taste- dark roast, anise, raisins, dark chocolate covered cherries. Thick chewy mouthfeel, with a dry, piney finish. This will be an interesting one to cellar.

Photo of LiquidBread219
3.32/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A= Pours dark browin with a finger head. Kind of looks like a stout.

S= for me it was kind of hard to pick up I diffently pick up the alochol. I also smell the scent of brown sugar with some spices in the mix.

T= Really taste the alochol in this beer. It's like drinking alochol with some sugar.

M= Seems to be correct here. It's a thick beer not really carbonated, might even be a little bit thin.

D= For me I think this beer well be better with time in the cellar.

Photo of joefuzz
3.36/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- Pours dark brown with a off white half finger head.

S- Smells like brown sugar with a warming alcohol smell coming through.

T- Lots of alcohol with a nice some sugar and almost clove like spice.

M- Feels just right for the style not to carbonated if anything a little thin

D- Split with a fellow BA and we both agreed it needed some more time in the cellar.

Photo of zoolzoo
2.93/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A: Pours a deep shade of brown, off white head. Looks like a stout, actually.

S: Sugar and booze. Having trouble picking out anything presice about the aroma.

T: Cola! More Pepsi like in taste than any beer I have ever had....yet somehow twice as sweet. Maybe a little...vanilla in there? I dont know, this is basically a sugar bomb to me. Alcohol is warming, but more masked than in the nose.

M: Mouthfeel is on the mark. Thick, moderate carbonation.

D: Drinkability suffers quite a bit due to overall gravity. So sweet, not many complexities, think alcoholic cola.

Bell's Batch 9000 from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
90 out of 100 based on 866 ratings.