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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

844 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 844
Reviews: 528
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 13.47%
Wants: 86
Gots: 248 | FT: 15
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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

"Black, dense, and rich, this is a great ale for the cellar."

(Beer added by: alexgash on 01-29-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 844 | Reviews: 528 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rye726
4.58/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a dark mahogany with a thick tan head that settles to a nice silky cover. Good lace and retention.

Nose is quite sweet. Ripe plums, tart cherries, anise, spicy booze, herbal hops, chocolate, espresso, toffee, caramel and molasses.

Big flavor profile is well balanced. Dark pitted fruits, bready malts, currants, licorice, cocoa, caramelized candy, floral hops, anise, coffee and molasses.

Rich body is nicely carbonated. Drinks easy for such a huge beer.

Interesting beer. Not at all what I was expecting, but quite tasty. Should really come together after a few years in the cellar.

rye726, Mar 30, 2010
Photo of mattcrill
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My 600th review on Beeradvocate. Cheers to me!

Aroma: Lots of big fruity esters up front. Dark plums, raisins, dates, lots of barleywine malt-like sweetness on the nose.

Appearance: Dark brown pour with thin whispy off-white head. Looks menacing with nice legs as the beer is swirled.

Flavor: More fruity esters on the tongue. Big carmel malt sweetness. Just a touch of earthy hop bitterness to balance out all the malt flavors. Balance is towards the sweetness. Finish is clean, dry, and slightly sweet.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied with medium carbonation. No alcohol heat and a little bit of creaminess that provides some nice character.

Overall impression: A big, bold English Barleywine. It definitely crosses the line on a lot of different levels. I could easily see this being an Old Ale too. I don't care what you call it...it's a good beer. And well worth aging. Thanks Larry!

mattcrill, Mar 29, 2010
Photo of Casey10
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this from my man in the midwest Heliosphan I am so grateful he sent me two as I tried one now and look forward to trying the other a year or two down the road.

This is a really nice brew lots of flavors and really nice smell. Drinking it it is hot but keeping in mind that it was meant to be aged did not discount for that. Lots of molassais and the black liquiorish is definately present.

If you are a fan of this style a must have, also can't wait to see where this one goes after some aging in ths cellar.


Casey10, Mar 28, 2010
Photo of Sallerj
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've heard this beer is designed to age for a long time. Right now, it's amazingly complex and a little too intense for a drinkin' beer. It smells like prunes, molasses, and port, with a little bit of hops and spice. The finish on this beer is the longest I've tasted. The fruit flavors hit you first-- raisin, cherry, and something tart and green-ish. Then the bitterness kicks in, hop bitterness and also some spice flavors. Does this beer have spices in it? It tastes like it. The bitter flavors linger as a brown sugar and port flavor kicks in and then everythings sticks around and parties, with a bitter hop flavor left in your mouth long after everything else fades. This beer is not easy drinking, but it's really interesting, and massively alcoholic, so it gets a good grade for drinkablility.

Sallerj, Mar 28, 2010
Photo of yemenmocha
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque dark brown to black with modest head that dissipates to nothing. Nose is rich with fig newtons, dark fruits, and alcohol bite. On the palate the aromas are matched well with flavors on the palate - again the figs 'n fruits, with a lot of sweetness, and alcohol warmth on the exit. MOre similar to a barleywine, than it is to an imperial stout.

yemenmocha, Mar 28, 2010
Photo of MDekker
3.78/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours out nearly black, but with burdundy tinges around the edges. Not much head to speak of.

S: Potent. VERY sweet, of molasses and licorice, just like the bottle says. I also pick out notes of toast, coffee, and a little dark chocolate.

T: The first sip gave me the heebie jeebies. It was really bitter, with lots of licorice flavor - I don't go for the black jelly beans or black licorice, so this really put me off at first. I warmed to it after a little bit, but overall it's didn't do it for me. Plenty of booze to notice, too, but I'm overpowered by that licorice flavor.

M: Really sugary, somewhat oily, cloying and sticky. The edges of my mouth feel like I've been working on a lollipop.

D: Well, I don't want another, although it went down OK. Too much booze to sustain a lot of this, and the flavor isn't awesome. Heck, Founders' KBS is brewed in my city, and this doesn't hold a candle to it. Oh well.

MDekker, Mar 28, 2010
Photo of kingcrowing
3.55/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Sampled at the 2010 Stout tasting in a Orval Chalice.

12oz bottle. I realize this isn't a stout but it's the last beer we had at the stout tasting.

Very stout-like darkness with a small but super dark brown head. Wow! Nose is quite boozy and sweet very similar to 120 minute.

Taste is boozy obviously, sharp and sweet with a sharp after taste. Lots of licorice and not much else but booze. If you can, add some age to this!

kingcrowing, Mar 27, 2010
Photo of garymuchow
4.43/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Man I think I earned this one.
Sam Adams glass. Perfect temperature.
Poured slow and heavy. Dense thick tan head. Very dark, but clear and deep deep red. Nice.
Interesting smell. Quick alcohol and a funny sweetness that briefly sent me images of gasoline (but not unflattering). A spicy, tangy hops. There is a real heaviness to the aroma. A little chocolate.
Rich full flavor touches and stimulates the whole mouth one small drink at a time. Prominent alcohol flavor. Quite a variety of flavors. Some matching the aroma, e.g. chocolate. Sweetness with slight fruit flavor. Pretty immediate stomach warmth. The hops blend and balance more than directly contribute. Slight bourbon quality.
So smooth. Just desires to drink slowly. Aging will do this some thing wonderful.

garymuchow, Mar 27, 2010
Photo of wchesak
4.65/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Unibroue tulip glass. Thick black filled the glass and left an inch of lightly bubbled tan head. Some splotchy lace develops but dissipates after awhile. Smelled licorice as soon as a popped the top. After pouring into the glass, an oak character is more prevalent than the sweet licorice. Id say its more of a rye whiskey smell than a bourbon. Taste is immediately candy sweet, with hints of caramel, dark sweet cherries, molasses, anise, and charred wood. Reminds me of a good barbecue sauce without the tomato element. The beer definitely coats the mouth with a thick syrupy texture. Alcohol is barely present except in the far back of the palette, and I am glad that is there. Its not hot, but rather makes sense with the rest of the flavors in this beer. Overall, I am amazed with this beer. Great complexity and every element is discernible. Looking to see what this does in the future. May even be able to hold onto some for more than a year just because of this beers potential.

wchesak, Mar 27, 2010
Photo of bierenutz
3.78/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-This beer pours very dark, virually black in color with a nice dense head.
S-Malty, bourbony with hints of fruits and licorice.
T-Very sweet and syrupy with a bourbon infused flavor of molasses and dark fruits.
M-Smooth and creamy feel with little or no bitterness, overall a good sipper.
D-The sweetness of this beer did not quit even to the end as it reached near room temperature. I hope aging mellows that a bit as well as taming some of the heat.

bierenutz, Mar 27, 2010
Photo of weatherdog
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Brixies in Brookfield IL served in a Bells branded tulip

Coming out of the tap it looks like a stream of motor oil. It's thick and syrupy looking and sticks to the sides of the glass. An almost invisable head is present that is gone by the time it hits the bar top. Heavy lacing coats the side of the glass after every sip.

The nose is an explosion of rich sweet bourbon and dark fruits like plum. It is very sweet and reminds me vaguly of GI BCS with some of the bourbon swapped for licorice.

The first thing that hits your tongue is overwheling cascade of bourbon, sweetness and alcohol. I was expecting it but it still took me for a ride. The beer was served a little too cold so I let it sit for a while to warm up to proper temperature. It opened up so much when it was warmer and those exploaions of flavors seemed to intertwine and make for an intense but enjoyable beer. Plums, bourbon and licorice dominated my mouth with a syrupy sweet warming finish. Normally I am opposed to syrupy hot beer (i.e. Fresh GI BCS and WWS) but this had a redeming quality to it that I was surprised that I liked fresh but I know will age gracefully for years to come.

Carbonation was my only gripe with this beer. For being such a rich silky beer the carb level was too high and distracted from the taste.

weatherdog, Mar 26, 2010
Photo of brdc
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Small capped bottle poured into a snifter; got this one that I was really looking for from stoutsnipas.

Very dark, but not black as the label states. Edges even manage to show a reddish brown highlight. Nice dark tan head.
I have to agree with feloniousmonk that this one shows signs of an old ale; but also imperial stout. Not confined to a style, it is very nice indeed.
Nice and powerful aroma, heavily malted as expected, molassess, toffee, coffee, chocolate, but also quite fruity, and even hoppy.
big on the palate, this one is a nice sipper. Syrupy and thick, again heavy on the malts, dark fruits and toffee, but also a nice hoppy bite. Roasted malts. Alcohol comes through a little bit.
On further thought, old ale, imperial stout, american strong all show a few signs.
Flavors come and go, and it gets more complex as it warms.
Despite some heat, it drinks nice now, but I see a lot of aging potential here.
I am very glad I have more of this coming! Should be spectacular in about two years.

brdc, Mar 26, 2010
Photo of bigfnjoe
2.75/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A- Pours nearly black with a one finger beige head. Almost looks like a stout, despite the tint of red in it.

S- Very strong alcoholic smell, with a scent of dark cherries in there as well.

T- The alcohol is what comes through first and foremost. I get some cherries...but mostly just alcohol. Yeah...not too pleasant

M- My mouth is almost burning. Too strong

D- Not a huge fan. I can deal with strong beers just fine, but this one...all I'm getting is alcohol.

bigfnjoe, Mar 26, 2010
Photo of blackie
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: snifter serving, deep mahogany brown with a thin khaki head

s: intense woody roasts and toffee malts, pungent tart cherries dusted with cocoa powder - lots and lots of juicy prunes and sour cherries, loads of sun-baked overripe tree fruits, soaked wood and sweet tobacco, good booze presence

m: light carbonation, full bodied

t: really big, unique flavor - a strong foundation of caramel and toffee heavily layered with prunes and sour black cherries, and further layered with roasted malts that provide a light shake of cocoa, warming alcohol

d: a sipper by nature, good now but looking forward to development over the years

scooped a sixer from Whole Foods, Arlington

blackie, Mar 25, 2010
Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased from Green's on Ponce in Atlanta.

Pours one shade from black with a half-finger tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving light lacing and decent legs.

Smells of dark fruits - plums and figs mostly - with good amounts of molasses and anise aromas as well. As the beer warms crisp, leafy hop aromas make their way out.

Tastes good. The molasses is much more prevalent in the flavor profile than it was in the nose. Dark fruit flavors serve as the backbone, more plum than fig but both are present in fairly equal amounts. Anise flavors sneak in midway through the sip and carry through to a thoroughly sweet ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I finished my glass and could have another.

Overall this was an interesting beer and off the beaten path however it's a bit on the sweet side. I'll be interesting to see what a little time does to this. Still, worth a shot as it is.

glid02, Mar 25, 2010
Photo of Hojaminbag
4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bell's Batch 9000 has a very dark brown body with ruby highlights. The head is a small tan ring with ok retention, but it doesn't leave any lacing behind.

The aroma has a ton of sweetness with big notes of molasses and some licorice. A little bit of alcoholic warmth also.

Batch 9000 is bursting with sweetness. A lot of it comes from the molasses, and molasses is probably the strongest flavor in this beer, but the malts add a lot of sweetness also. Caramel and a touch of baker's chocolate are in there. The licorice is in there also, adding a nice little bit of flavor to compliment the malt. The finish has a good, slightly bitter, grapefruit hop bite to it, along with a touch of warming from the alcohol.

The mouthfeel is definitely full-bodied and moderately carbonated.

Overall, I am impressed with Bell's Batch 9000, it is a tasty beer. It also does a good job of making a 12.5% ABV beer pretty drinkable.

Hojaminbag, Mar 24, 2010
Photo of bort11
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Dogfish Head wide stemmed tulip. A half inch of tan head springs to life and gradually settles down after a minute or two. Spotty lacing on the glass, nothing solid sticks right now. Body color is a purple-ish brown. Dense with no ralt light coming through the center.

Smell is a sweet malt bomb. Dark pitted fruit sweet, figs and a little plum. The label says brewers licorice was used, but I'm not getting that yet. I do get a bit of ginger and sassafras. Taste is also a malt bomb of sweet. More figs and dates, but the brewers licorice finally comes into the picture. Creates a balancing bite to the malty sweetness.

Body is a thick chewy mouthful. Slow sipper to be sure. The 12.5% does get to me, I was done and out after just one. This will be great to age, I bet the dark fruit flavors will grow with time

bort11, Mar 24, 2010
Photo of tturaiders
3.6/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks gibby for this one.

Appearance: Pours black with a tan head that recedes pretty quickly.

Smell: It smells very sweet and boozy. It's got some caramel and molasses tones to it as well.

Taste: The taste is also very sweet. You can definitely taste the alcohol but it does balance well with the sweetness. Raisins, molasses, and caramel are some notes I picked up on.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's smooth but it does have a bite from the alcohol. The carbonation is appropriately low. I couldn't drink more than one of these at a sitting but it's a good beer, to say the least.

tturaiders, Mar 24, 2010
Photo of birchstick
3.4/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A - pours a super black color with a nice cocoa colored head that dissipates quickly

S - I am getting a lot of sweetness and some burnt malt. Not as strong of a nose as I was expecting.

T - whoa there is a lot going on here. This starts off with a candy-syrup taste that is very strong (perhaps the molasses). There is also some black licorice is there as well. This reads just like the label. There is a really nice burnt malt on the finish that saves this one for me. It seems like a huge mess of flavors that needs to mellow out. I like the idea of what this wants to be -really sweet upfront with some burnt malt/coffee to balance it- but I think this some age in order for this combo to work.

M - very low carbonation with a nice body...really good mouthfeel

D - for right now, this was all right. Above normal for the complexity, but not enough to push it up too much because I think this needs to mellow out. This was really sweet and the high abv makes this a one-and-done. I look forward to trying this in a couple of months.

Update 5/8/2014 - 4 years and 3 1/2 months old.

It's cooled off quite a bit and has formed a more unified beer. Opens with some sweet, bitter licorice that moves into a candy sweetness malt backbone; almost sugary. Finishes with a lingering sweetness and an ever so subtle roasted character. This beer almost seems syrupy to me, which I can't tell is really good or just too much. This one doesn't have any issues going longer...in fact, it might help mellow out the sweetness.

birchstick, Mar 23, 2010
Photo of Bitterbill
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This pours a very dark brown with a small tannish head of foam.

The smell has lots of sweetness oozing out with noticeable molasses and caramel malts, a slight roasted malt note, and plenty of alcohol.

The taste is also super sweet. The molasses and caramel malts rule with a nice side order of licorice and a big presence of alcohol. Wow. It kind of reminds me of a Thomas Hardy only not quite as refined but...all the TH Ales I've tried had some years under their belts so it's very possible that with a few on this Batch 9000, things would "settle" down nicely as well.

It is close to full bodied with an appropriately low level of carbonation. Very smooth mouthfeel.

Foam disappeared quickly and minimal lacing...typical for the style.

Drinkability? Lots of alcohol will limit me to 1 at a sitting but that's fine by me. It's still quite drinkable. A very nice brew.

Bitterbill, Mar 22, 2010
Photo of illidurit
2.85/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle courtesy iceicebaby. Pours a medium-dark brown with a light tan head. Huge brown sugar aroma with boozy raisins and chocolate. Like some sort of outrageous rum cookie or something. Syrupy raisiny flavor, plenty of booze, cloyingly sweet. I don't dislike the flavor, but I couldn't possibly drink more than a sample without developing diabetes. Thick and messy. Hey maybe by the time Batch 10000 comes out this will be drinkable.

illidurit, Mar 22, 2010
Photo of route66pubs
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was not chilled but served at cellar temperature, about 55 degrees.

A - pours a deep black, with very little sign of light even when held up to the light. Very tiny cream-colored head with lots of tiny bubbles. Head holds firm to glass.

S - Slight licorice / anise aroma, barely noticeable in the pour. What little of it is there is definitely heavily leaning toward the liqueur side. This is very non-obtrusive and should, you would think, make this a much more palatable beer. Slight mustiness as well, but mostly as an afterthought.

T - what a burn! The alcohol on this is obvious from the first sip. The licorice / anise aroma comes through fully in the taste, including some of the slight lingering after-effects you would get from a good piece of black licorice.

M - combined with the taste, the alcohol in this is definitely the most noticeable characteristic. There's almost a gumminess to it from the licorice, but the burn from the alcohol very much sets the tone on this one. If you can get past the initial burn, the candy-esque feel that is left makes this quite enjoyable. (Indeed, the burn seems to be deteriorating with each successive sip.)

D - that alcohol burn takes the score down on this ... perhaps a good candidate for cellaring to see if that burn subsides. Otherwise, very enjoyable effort for something with a completely different flavor than the bourbon / whiskey barrel aged efforts permeating the beer community.

route66pubs, Mar 22, 2010
Photo of portia99
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle received as part of a very generous box from Hoppymcgee. Thanks again, Greg! Poured into a Dogfish Head signature glass.

A - Pours a cloudy and very dark brown color. Appears to be a quite thick and viscous liquid in the pour. A beige/mocha head forms for an instant before giving it up to a thick collar and a few fizzy islands of bubbles on the surface.

S - Sweet aromas, soft malt, caramel, fruity esters, yeasty. Not much for hops in the aroma. Gives all indications of being a really nice sipper, almost barleywine-like in aroma.

T - Quite sweet overall. Sugar, brown sugar, caramel all make their presence known in here. A bit boozy, almost in a sweet rum-like sorta way. Not hoppy in any way...no real hop flavors detected at all. Despite being very much on the sweet side, it is not overly done or cloying. The hops have just enough bitterness to keep that from happening.

M - Quite full bodied...thick and a bit syrupy in feel. Carbonation is on the low side...just enough to feel "alive". Sweet flavors coat every inch of the mouth on every sip. A sipper all the way, but definitely a good one.

D - Hmm, not sure exactly. I'm having this with dinner (asian grilled salmon), and it's working quite nicely in this case...alone, might be a bit sweet overall. It seems to be a prototype "in front of the fire" sipper. Quite good, but you are in it for the long haul with this...not gonna be able to get this down with any speed...but why would you anyway?

portia99, Mar 22, 2010
Photo of Bung
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. Very dark brown pour, not much cream colored head. Doesn't really lace a whole lot.

Aroma has a bunch of malt, toffee and dark candied fruit.

Taste is very similar to the aroma, but more pungeant. A lot of sweeter malt and dark fruit. Finishes with some roast and vinuousness as well.

Mouthfeel is not real thick which helps some drinkability, but also is a bit warm and strong right now. Could use some mellowing, but still good now.

Definetely reminds me of some of the Lost Abbey/Port stuff. Kind of a combination of Angels shares and Viscosities. So if any neysayers review this poorly but those well, they're kidding themselves. An interesting strong ale that should age very well.

Bung, Mar 21, 2010
Photo of bashiba
5/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured a nice deep dark mahogony with some bright ruby highlights. The head was super thick and foamy dark brown with tons of lacing.

The smell was great, very sweet and bready, with a bit of anise , Brown Sugar, Dark Berries and molasses.

I love the flavor, reminds me a bit of dark lord in the level of complexity, its all here, big dark fruits, anise, molasses, burnt roasted malts, nice hints of smoke and peat, sweet doses of alcohol. Amazing!

The mouthfeel is super smooth and creamy, a bit thick as well.

Flawless, the best beer I have had in 2010. To bad its so hard to come by.

bashiba, Mar 21, 2010
Bell's Batch 9000 from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
90 out of 100 based on 844 ratings.