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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.

870 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 870
Reviews: 529
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 13.18%
Wants: 88
Gots: 249 | 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:
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: 870 | Reviews: 529
Photo of oberon
3.23/5  rDev -19.7%
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.

Photo of BlueChairMorroco
3.38/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 2.5

Sweet, sticky bottle of "meh." Not worth $20/6 bottles. I hope you aren't scouring the earth for this one.

Extremely nice presentation, appearance, etc. No surprises, though, as this criteria has become par for the course (IMHO) among beers at this price range. Gotta give it a 5.0, but that seems to be commonplace at this price, and should not be weighted 20% in the score.

Nose is very nice, like a bowl of zingers microwaved for 1 minute (say, 2 Chocolates, 1 Yellow, and 1/2 Raspberry). Again, par for the course at this price. It did not get me high, so I give it a 4.5.

Taste is pretty good...Imperial Stout-ish...add some honey and butterscotch the aforementioned bowl of zingers and we're close. No coffee. Also, this tastes a lot like alcohol. Hopefully this needs to sit around for a while at 55 to mellow (or I'm just hypnotized by the post-hypnotic suggestion to "cellar" that's printed on the bottle).

Feels like a thick, satin, high quality (and alcohol) beer. Or, perhaps, feels like a nicely concentrated right-bank Bordeaux. Gotta give it a 5. (I'm kinda binary so a 1-to-5, graduated on the halves scale is hard for me to work with)

Not especially drinkable. Gets you drunk too quickly, and I had to spit to provide a reasonable reading.

This is a fantastic novelty, but I won't be falling over myself to drink the remainder of my horde. Likely trade-fodder.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.45/5  rDev +10.7%
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!

Photo of GbVDave
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a DT tulip.

Batch 9000 (obviously, Dave)

A: Pours a dark, chocolatey brown with some lighter brown at the edges. Capping this is about one finger of dark khaki colored head that does an excellent job of clinging to the glass.

S: HUGE aromas of dark fruit, molassas, and booze. Brown sugar, sweet raisins, rum soaked dates, cherry, caramel, and a whisp of smoke.

T: See above. Sweet caramel and molassas kick things off and that quickly leads into rich dark fruit and rum with a touch of fudge. The smokiness of the aroma comes on a little stronger in the finish.

M: Immensely large and sweet. Coats like an oil based paint. Touch of spiciness late in the middle and on through the finish. Bits of solvent alcohol peek out and then get buried in the sweetness.

D: Considering how oversized everything is with Batch 9000, this on drinks surprisingly well. I'd love to see what some time in the cellar would do to this. Also love to see what some time in a barrel would do.

Photo of HeyItsChili
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass. Pours black with dark chocolate brown highligths and a faint dirty khaki colored head.

S - Raisiny, dark fruits, spices, malt, brown sugar.

T - Up front is sort of root beer-ishly flavored, fizzy. 80 percent of the flavor is a dark raisiny and licorice filled mixture. Alcoholic aftertaste.

M - Syrupy,sugary, viscous.

Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Pours a Pours a nice dark caramel with a slim .25 inch tan head head. The head recedes quickly and leaves a nice little ring around the side of the glass.

S - Hints of licorice and sweet molasses as expected. Some hints of yeast as well. Very sweet dark sugar hints. Warm alcoholic esters.

T & M - Very sweet and strong malt hints. Molasses is definitely the overwhelming sweetness but the licorice spiciness is in contrast to this almost overwhelming sweetness. The flavor is definitely a living thing in this beer. Complex and almost ever-changing. There is some nice roasted malt character that is subdued by the sweetness but brings a welcoming and different spectrum to the beer. There is also a quite perceivable grain/bread like quality. Especially in the aftertaste. There is almost no hop character or flavor. Very creamy and oily with good CO2 balance even though the head isn't as present.

D - Now. This is a strong beer both in flavor and in ABV but its very delicious so drinkability is a give and take. I would have this beer again just not right after another.

Photo of guntherhophead
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love this beer. I think this year is a good one!
Pours beautiful brown, good lacing, nice aromatic, slightly spicey with notes of grapefruit, molassas and hops.
Higher in alcohol but not overpowering(don't be a wimp!)I think a good session beer if your free for the day!

Photo of peabody
3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours out a really dark brown with brown suds and nice lacing.
Aroma is Star Of Anise and dark charred malts.
Not much alcohol in the smell here but your nose hairs know it's there. Very strong brew.
Taste is sweet and then more sweet with a dark raisin fruityness with licorice thrown in there for good measure. Lots of different fruity flavors here but most are hidden by the sweet.
Mouthfeel is very sticky but after a while the stickyness leaves and you do want another sip.
Drinkability is pretty low but I bet this one will age well and who knows, in 2 to 3 years it might be the bomb. Right now it's more of a ladyfinger.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.82/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Adam, for the great trade that brought me this bottle!! Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Blue Point Snifter.

A: Generous pour yields a .5 finger, fine, reddish clay head with moderate retention that leaves a filmy layer atop the brew. Beer is a near opaque dark amber. Lacing is moderate and spotty, holding close to the edge of the beer its born from.

S: Nose is booze, yogurt, lychee, candied cherries, and a hint of licquorice. Dark and mysterious with a multitude of odors that are all well represented but with none overpowering any other.

T: Opens with intense sweet booziness. This is what yogurt would taste like if it was made with milk from an alcoholic cow. Hot and intense. Slight toffee bitterness in the middle accompanied by a licquorice. Green hop character appears for a split second at the end though this is well hidden by the enormous booze background. Finish burns down my throat making this one a real sipper. 12.5% and I taste every little bit of it.

M: Full bodied though not as smooth as I would like with a healthy amount of carbonation. Viscous and rather oily in the mouth with an intensely messy finish that leaves a lingering hotness and stickiness in its wake. As I try to take a second sip, my upper lip sticks to the top of the glass, reminding me just how full this one really is.

D: Intensley aggressive, Bells 9000 might need a little time on it to calm it down and for the flavors to mellow out and the booziness to settle down. I'll definitely be revisiting this one but as of right now, its a bit over the top. Still, great beer and amazingly complex and well worth a try.

Photo of CrellMoset
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle from Beer Run, poured in to a balloon tulip.

Appearance: Pours a surprisingly light looking, filtered brown, seal brown around the edges, nearing perfect opacity at a distance a centimeter or so in from the edge of the glass. A moderately vigorous pour coaxes out one finger of khaki beige head which fades fairly quickly (though perhaps not relatively so for a 12.5% abv brew) and leaves only a thin, delicate strand around the edges of the glass. Lacing is about as runny as you'd imagine, and agitation or sips yields some shiny, slippery, oils legs that drip right down in to the morass as quickly as they were arisen. What's likely most notable about this brew's appearance is how light it is - I imagined this one would have been similar to the 7000, a huge, malty, viscous black-bodied brew, but it's actually not nearly as thick looking as that brew was.

Aroma: A fairly complex aroma. Cocoa and anise are dominant, the former taking on a semisweet or baker's chocolate sort of approach. The molasses adds a sweet edge, heavily caramelized and toffee-like, which mingles well with a handful of darker, toasted malts. Most unusual is a strong fruit showing, from a not-too-uncommon-for-this-type-of-beer stone fruit note (cherries) to a "hmm, that's odd"-acidic/tart note that's reminiscent of blood oranges. A plus is the relative lack of alcohol burn or heat.

Taste: I read the "warning - Batch 9000 is SWEET" threads, but I'm not sure if I was prepared for this. This beer has a TON of residual sweetness, but I think - and I'm still reserving judgment - that there's enough else going on here and in its favor to counteract that. For one, the sweetness - which at various points in the sip and depending on my mood - takes on anything and everything from saccharine, golden, slightly spicy honey all the way to dark toffee, hitting everything (caramel, brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup, chocolate syrup) in between. Second, the sweetness buries about 95% of the alcohol heat that you're going to have in a nearly 13% abv% brew, which is, well, a lot. Third, the other notes present - cherries, raisins, slight prunes, faint citrus, and a few other tropical fruit flourishes - both do enough to keep this beer interesting and to compliment the other flavors to keep it solidly drinkable.

Mouthfeel: Likely this beer's best characteristic, and all the better considering how much of a disaster potentially sweet beers can be. This one's rife with carbonation, powerful and fine enough that it makes for a lofty, even mouth, slightly creamy

Drinkability: Many people are envious of rock stars, billionaires, or Nobel prize laureates. I'm envious of the yeast sitting in the other 23 bottles of this brew in my cellar, for they are going to be far, far happier than any individuals in the aforementioned categories over the next five to ten years. The final gravity of this beer might be higher than the original gravity of many, but this one manages to be not too cloying as is, and I can imagine it's likely only going to get better - a perfect candidate for aging. The 12.5% can't be ignored ... unless you didn't know it was 12.5%, in which case it can be. That is, I feel drunk, but I wouldn't have tasted it while it was happening, both by virtue of the sweetness and the general superb job Bell's always does at masking the ethanol heat in its higher abv% beers. And while this is no Batch 7000, it is a good beer, and one I expect to get better with age. Check it out.

Photo of sidetracked
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark-brown, almost black, with a light-brown head.

Smells strongly of semi-sweet molasses with a bit of licorice that reminds me of root beer.

The molasses really dominates the up front flavor. Some licorice starts coming through towards the end with the semi-sweet molasses lingering on. The flavor combination is a little strange and definitely unique. A little alcohol heat at the finish as it warms up.

Medium-full body with medium-low carbonation that feels right for the style.

A good sipper, but the intensity of the molasses mixed with licorice makes it almost hard to get through. It will be interesting to see how this beer does with a few years on it.

Photo of mikereaser
4.02/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Grabbed a glass at als of hampden on march 7th.

A - pours a deep chestnut brown with almost no light coming through. Very little foam.

S - Aroma is of dark fruit, plums, raisins, molasses, raisins

T - Very syrupy molasses and raisin taste, very complex tasting brew.

M - very smooth mouthfeel, syrupy but mot too thick feeling

D - very easy to drink. Leaves a strange aftertaste though. I think some age on this will do it well.

Photo of backfat
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a dark black/brown with a khaki head. looks great. smell is sweet, tart, and syrupy. strong, dark berries and molasses engulf the nose. damn. the taste is just great. coffee dominates with chocolate, strong roasted malt, and licorice. very tart finish. burnt caramel as is warms. quite rich and smooth. for me personally, there was too much tart/sugar richness in this beer which affected the drinkability. needs to be a bit mellower in that department. perhaps a great cellar brew.

Photo of DrDemento456
3.76/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Man when I bought this I had no idea it was 12.5 ABV, and I am not too crazy for licorice...

A - Pitch black with very small head. Almost like an Imperial
S - Weird... Smells of candy licorice and chocolate as it warms
T- Here goes... Kind of spicy and bitter. The licorice hits a weird dimension I am not used to. Interesting
M - the alcohol is well hidden but I guess I don't like licorice because every sip kind of makes me gag
D - Man I think I need to try this beer again in a year. It is a nice release for bells considering the highest I ever had was a 6% but I really don't like it...

Photo of ltjska04
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Black with a beautiful tan head that lasts about 5 minutes then settles into a ring around the glass that leaves nice lacing

S- wow, powerful. Upon first sniff I get dark fruit/plums. Kind of reminds me of a German doppelbock. Then it smells a bit like wine. Could be the brewer's licorice, not sure what that smells like. This is a scent that keeps on going; it stayed in the glass for the duration of the beer.

T- dark malts and more of the plum/licorice taste carried over from the smell. Sweet, almost bordering on cloying but not too bad. Complex and intriguing from sip to sip.

M/D- This is a full-bodied beer that coats the tongue and just begs for another drink. I never would have guessed this as above 12%. This is some good stuff; I may have to pick more up to cellar for later.

Photo of hwwty4
4.65/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After getting shut out at a couple different liquor stores after I got off work, I was lucky enough to grab the last sixer at a local, small liquor store in south KC. Man, was I happy. If it's half as good as Batch 7000, I'm in for a treat. Poured a 12oz bottle into my Tripel Karmeliet tulip. This beer pours a dark, oily soy sauce black with a 2inch tan head that leaves viscous fingers on the sides of the glass as I take a sip or twirl the beer. The aroma is dark molasses, brown sugar, Hershey's milk chocolate syrup, burnt espresso, and what reminds me of grape Dimetapp. Amazing. Simply amazing. The first sip is an explosion of flavors on my palate. Up front comes sweet chocolate syrup and overly roasted espresso. Secondary flavors come through with black strap molasses, anise, dark fruits, dates and sweet grapes. Just a hint of piney hops at the finish. The amazing thing is that even as this beer warms, not a hint of it 12.5% comes out. Perfectly hidden. The mouthfeel is silky smooth, coating the mouth with a chocolate/espresso oily slickness. Man, this beer amazing. Batch 9000 is probably in the top 5 beers that I've had this year. I really can't wait to see what it does in 2 more years.

Photo of Mitchster
4.51/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

$3.50 for a bottle at Jacks. Pours out to a cloudy very dark amber, not quite black, forming a modest khaki head with poor retention and absent lacing. Carbonation is mild. The aroma is potent with prunes, raisins, dates, licorice, molasses, black walnut, carob, potent vanilla, and alcohol suggestive of bourbon. Very nice aroma. The mouthfeel is very smooth, dense, rich and syrupy. The taste is huge...lots of molasses and prune juice right up front, akin to Sam Adams triple bock in the sweet dark fruits, followed by soy sauce, a touch of sourness like rotting black cherries, sweet vermouth, a faint whiff of fusels before a warming alcohol, an earthy mild bitterness, and a woody aftertaste. It lacks the roasted barley and black patent one would expect for an Imperial Stout, but it's more than an Olde Ale or Strong Ale...more like a Double Olde Ale.

Very much on the sweet side, this one takes time to finish. Very rich. A dessert beer. Worth trying.

Photo of ThaBobfather
4.55/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a rock solid black, fizzy but solid bodied with a slight pleasant lacing of medium bodied chocolate head.
Smell is nearly intoxicating with notes of booze, sweet malt, some molasses, notes of roasts and chocolate.
Taste is complexly sweet and tasty, with a highly syrup and caramel/molasses tastes at the end.
Finish is very wet and long with a solid sweet syrup/caramel/malted taste.
Drinks very well- no better than this at 12.5% that's a 5 for me!

Fiance says it was good- doesn't like molasses

Photo of steve8robin
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Extra in a trade...

A: Good. Small mocha head that fades quickly. Dark with slight highlights around the edges.

S: Malts, sugars, licorice, molasses, and oaks on the frontend. Slight hops in the middle. Not bad.

T: Sugars, malts, booze, and citrus upfront. Very unique flavor. Grapefruit flavor in the middle. It's interesting, but I like it.

M: Seems a hint over-carbonated, but not bad.

D: Goes down a little hard from the booziness and interesting characteristics.

All in all, this is a good brew to try at least once just for the unique flavor alone. If you are looking for a brew that seems to bring something different, then definitely try this one.

Photo of Jeebs
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a very dark brown with a 2 finger brown head from an aggressive pour. The head dies fairly quickly leaving little to no lacing down the glass.

S: Aroma of licorice and rum like booze with hints of dark fruit, raisons and cherries come to mind.

T: Wow, overpowering sweetness up front! Once you get past the initial sweet shock, flavors of molasses, licorice and raisons come through along with the alcohol you might expect from a 12.5% brew. As the beer warms it starts to get a bit hot.

M: Thick and syrupy with low carbonation and some heat from the alcohol.

D: The heat somewhat kills the drinkability of it right now, after some aging this should be a real nice beer.

Photo of Cannabinaceae
2.53/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured into a brandy snifter.

This beer is dominated by molasses and licorice. It has a little bit of roasty malt in the nose, but otherwise it is thick and syrupy. This is a beer that is difficult to categorize. It has a very unique taste, and to be honest it's really not my thing. Overall, it is a very interesting beer and it is a commemorative of course so it may be worth trying, but I didn't particularly enjoy it.

Photo of alysmith4
2.19/5  rDev -45.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Wow, I must just really not like this style. Rarely do I spend $3.50 on a 12 oz. beer (to enjoy at home), but I had a few sips, let it warm, and ended up pouring it down the drain. It smelled like cough syrup, and tasted even worse. I guess I just don't like the syrupy sweet malty Old Ales. I'm such a hop fan, and this beer was like the exact opposite of that. On a more positive note, I was a really good looking beer. Nice rich black-brown color, with a beautiful, thick, light-brown head that took about 30 seconds to form after I poured it.

Photo of brownbeer
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It's nice to see a few cases of this made it to Springfield, MO.

Pours dark brown from the bottle but looks black with a few deep red highlights in the glass.

Apparent licorice in the aroma, booze, and mysterious dark malts and dark fruits. The nuances come out a little clearer from a distance, up close the alcohol can overtake it, we are dealing with a 12.5% beer here.

What I love about the taste is the dark licorice and alcohol, being heavy, dry, and dark, mingling with the sweet toffee and molasses flavors making for a liqueuer/dessert-like experience. While it's not bitter, it's not cloying. It really shines in the finish when the flavors can fade and bounce back and forth, the alcohol falls off, and the unique structure of it all comes together. The carbonation is low and the body is full and smooth.

This is a fine experience now, worth sharing, and since I bought two six packs, I look forward to enjoying and sharing it in the future.

Photo of Stigs
3.67/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured from 12oz bottle at Bocktown...surprised to see this in the cooler, served in a 10oz snifter

A - poured out silky smooth black from the bottle...I must have blinked or left the room for an undetermined amount of time as there was just about zero foam anywhere to be found, save for a few oversized loose bubbles around the edge of the glass.

S - very sweet, licorice dominates...some toffee, molasses, milk chocolate, coconut, vanilla in small doses.

T - very sweet right off the bat. the bottle didnt have to say that licorice and molasses were used here, its quite obvious. sweetness continues with some molasses, raisins, vanilla. loads and loads of boozy alcohol. 12.5%? i guessed and was .5 off. where is the bitterness? missing balance.

M - looking past the somewhat cloying sweetness, has a nice low carbonation level, and is quite silky smooth going down. thick and just a tad chewy, no problems here.

D - wasnt sure what to expect coming into this, wasnt very impressed, but can see this settling down nicely with some age. not completely turned off, ill pick up a couple bottles and sit on them for awhile, as I trust Bells.

Photo of atsprings
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Flying Saucer, one of 2 kegs that made it to North Carolina, served a deep opaque balck with a thin diminishing head. Aroma is roasted malts and slight booze with mild cocoa and fresh ground coffee. Taste is also roasted malts, cocoa, and fresh coffee with a kick of dried fruits. The beer is certaiy on the heavy side, boozy alcohol is right up front, but it seems it would get better with age. This one was enjoyable, no where near Batch 7000, but still respectable.

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Bell's Batch 9000 from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
90 out of 100 based on 870 ratings.