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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.

840 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 840
Reviews: 528
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 13.47%
Wants: 85
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: 840 | Reviews: 528 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of paco1029384756
4.38/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, dark brown color, nearly black with a small fizzy off white head that settles quickly.

Scent of strong, sweet dark fruit, molasses, dry oak, anise and a fairly potent alcohol heat. Reminds me more of a Strong Ale than an Imperial Stout with the strong sweetness and nearly no roast. Whatever it is, it smells fantastic, even with the noticeable alcohol.

Taste of sweet dark fruit, juicy sugar, molasses, anise, roasted malts, bittersweet chocolate and some alcohol. Finishes dry with roasted malts, chocolate, and alcohol. There is more roast, and less alcohol than were present in the scent.

Mouthfeel medium heavy bodied and oily with a very low level of carbonation.

paco1029384756, Feb 24, 2010
Photo of techfed87
4.38/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a seemingly good amount of head for being such a strong stout. Color is surprisingly tame, with shades of brown and even a somewhat translucency to the beer itself.

Smell is reminiscent of very bitter grapes, with an almost champagne like quality to it.

Taste is also very similar to a dry champagne; however much more carbonic in make up and feel. It has an almost gritty texture to it that grips the pallet and gives it a very clear, crisp immersion. That being said, mouthful is very pleasant, with the aftertaste leaving a satisfyingly bitter feel on the tongue.

This is a very drinkable beer, although I would almost want to put myself in a different frame of reference while drinking it. With the carbonation and its base flavors, this is more of a champagne stout than anything I've tried before. And that's not a bad thing, it's definitely an A beer, just perhaps not the type you were expecting it to be.

techfed87, Feb 24, 2010
Photo of jcnd9803
4.43/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep black with a nice tan ring. For me, this is a perfect looking stout.

S: Smell starts heavy on the licorice and sweet, but then finishes with almost charred malt. One of the more complex beers on the nose I've ever come across.

T: Fantastic. Follows the smell where it starts sweet but finishes malty.

M: Full bodied and creamy. Again, for me, textbook.

D: Very rich and thick. Even with this though, I could definitely drink another one after this!

I can't wait to see what a few years does to this.

jcnd9803, Feb 24, 2010
Photo of Vonerichs
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Body is a deep brown with virtually no head or lacing. There was some carbonation activity and I was waiting for head form, but nothing.

The smell is enticing. Heavy on the black licorice and the molasses, as advertised. The roasted malt was subdued.

The black licorice is the most obvious taste, good and plenty. This has a cloying sweetness about it that is just too much. It's a very original and distinct taste so it makes up points there. The finish is soy.

Mouthfeel is like a sticky syrup and leaves a strange medicinal coating on my tongue. Strangely, the aftertaste is short lived considering the robust nature of the original flavors.

This is a sipper, and I can never imagine having any more than one. To go along with that, I can't see having any other libation before or after this. It is one of those drinks that won't match well with anything.

I can definitely see this one doing better with some age on it.

Vonerichs, Feb 24, 2010
Photo of Mistofminn
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glad to see this finally made it out, was beginning to doubt it ever would.

Pours black, with no visable light coming through, even at the extreme edges. A decent, mocha colored head forms, but only after an aggressive pour. Decent retention and leaves behind some nice lacing.

The aroma starts with a soft roasted malt character, earthy and almost woody. Light chocolate with a sweet base. It's subtler than I had hoped. Has a sort of medicinal smell to it also, kind of off-putting at first, but after a while it becomes just a part of the complex (albeit subtle) nose.

The taste starts out with a big roasted malt character. Solid earthiness and woody character. Bittersweet chocolate comes in about midpalate and stays until the finish, where it's met with a much darker roast than I got in the beginning. It definitley comes together nicely as it warms and as you get used to it.

Mouthfeel is definitely thick, but I wouldn't call it viscous. Thick, for sure, but I was hoping for something a bit heavier. Smooth and creamy texture with a light fluffy carbonation. Drinkability is good in this one. Alcohol didn't play as big a part as I thought it would.

I look forward to seeing how this evolves in the coming years!

Mistofminn, Feb 24, 2010
Photo of teovaldi
4.38/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark dark brown with a small light brown head that lasts for a bit leaving a decent amount of lacing.

The smell is quite sweet. I'm getting the brewers licorice and the molasses up front and a whiff of booze.

The taste is very similar to the nose but not cloyingly sweet, the licorice and molasses match up nicely. Alcohol is also present but not like you would expect for 12.5.

The mouthfeel is not as thick as I would have expected. Carbonation is nice and this all just adds to the drinkability.

This is a strong one but I wanted more and more. It was hard to not crack another. The rest are being traded and also my first attempt at cellaring.

teovaldi, Feb 24, 2010
Photo of NorthsideFred
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Split a bottle with krtman.

A: Black. Nice dark brown head.

S: I can definitely smell the licorice, but not overpowering. Inviting, sweet, and roasty.

T: Delicious! Very complex. I taste malty roasted licorice, with a bit of a buttery finish.

M: Big, full bodied.

D: Very rich, could not drink more than one at a sitting.

Overall, very good, and should only get better.

NorthsideFred, Feb 23, 2010
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.6/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - 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.

Aroma - 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. If this beer was from China I'd be worried...

Taste - 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...excellent.

Mouthfeel - I noticed the full thick smoothness before the first taste was registered. The carbonation provides a note of fluffiness, but not overly carbonated. Big, full, and proper.

Drinkability - great now, looking forward to age-testing this one and sharing a few as well.

brewdlyhooked13, Feb 23, 2010
Photo of jsh420
4.28/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

batch # riiight

pours dark brown with a 1/2 finger redish tan head that fades to a film and left no lacing

smell - booze!! which dominates about everything else - candy dark fruit are in the back ground

taste - now i know this beer need to age but damn it taste pretty good to me now - reminds me of DFH WWS meets DFH Olde School BW (2 beers i love) - sweet brown sugar candy apple malts some chocolate a little roasted malts but not much

mouthfeel is a little thin but that just adds to the drinkability

drinkability - this beer might to strong but i just could not stop taking sip after sip

jsh420, Feb 23, 2010
Photo of homebrew311
3.78/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: pours a dark brown, appears black in the glass with trace amounts of light passing through. 1 finger head on pour which hangs around as a thin collar. Lots of sticky lacing/

S: wow... an absolute onslaught of dark fruits- some raisin, red grapes, dark cherries.. along with the fruit comes some licorice and molasses and some noticeable booziness on the end

T: very similar to the nose, the fruity flavors are big and bold...and very sweet, behind all the sweetness come some faint roastiness and alcohol presence. Right now, this beer is too sweet for my liking, perhaps it will mellow with some time in the cellar. The big ABV is balanced well.

MF: thick body, somewhat sticky, medium carbonation

D: when I first heard about this, I was expecting a big imperial stout.. but after reading one of Larry Bell's recent posts, this beer isn't even considered to be a stout (although it is classified as such on this site). With all that aside, this is a huge and bold beer with a very interesting and complex profile. Just a little too heavy on the sweetness.

homebrew311, Feb 23, 2010
Photo of TMoney2591
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

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

TMoney2591, Feb 23, 2010
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Black with sand colored head that hangs out for several minutes, gradually fading to a thin layer atop the beer. Heavy lacing.

S: Alcohol, dark fruit, sweet, malt, raisins. This beer smells huge, aggressive, and bold. I can already tell before tasting it that it needs to live in my cellar for a long time before I open any more.

T: Impressive - this beer tastes better than I thought it would after soaking in its aroma for a few minutes. It drinks very well for such a high ABV brew. Hints of chocolate amidst a humongous malt bill. Every drink tastes great, and the alcohol and sweetness are considerably less cloying than I initially predicted.

M: Thick feel, though not as thick as it could be, perhaps. Chewy and sticky. Very nice.

D: A very young 12.5% imperial stout, or strong ale. Whatever it is, I have no doubt the drinkability factor will increase with cellaring.

Notes: A really great beer for the cellar. Considering how readily available this is (at least for now), I highly recommend stocking up. This brew will surely stand the test of time and improve over the years.

***July 18, 2011***
I have had a couple of these recently. This beer has mellowed out nicely and tastes fantastic.

Huhzubendah, Feb 23, 2010
Photo of Pencible
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured a nearly opaque dark mahogany with almost no head. It smelled like molasses and brown sugar and mild black licorice, with a little bit of dark chocolate and pumpernickel and clover. It tasted like sweet molasses and brown sugar, with some maple syrup and charred oak, and a bit of coffee grinds and bitter chocolate. It was oily with a little carbonation, and had a lasting bittersweet aftertaste with some alcohol warming. Overall this beer had a great scent and complex sweet flavor, but it ended fairly harsh. It had good body, but the alcohol was noticeable, so this was better to sip. It was obviously still too fresh, and age will really help it calm down. It's still enjoyable now, but I'm guessing that a few years will make a huge improvement.

Pencible, Feb 22, 2010
Photo of rwdkosak
4.63/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A fantastic gift that was highly unexpected but most appreciated!

Poured into chalice lightly chilled and allowed to warm. Little if any head accumulation, deep dark ale with amber borders..not quite black.

Smell is fantastic. Rich and full, raisin, plentiful alcohol, sweet molasses, almost taste something of a plum-reduction though only for a second.

Taste is of the same. Complex, sweet raisin, just a hint of coffee/chocolate notes, alcohol is there but certainly not overpowering. The flavor is rich and coats the tongue, a perfect mouthfeel for an imperial stout and on the order of Dark Lord though not as "dark". There's still just a touch of hops that still come through as well and I like that as it really works here.

Now, drinkability is tough...it's a high ABV brew and as such, it'd be hard to drink more than one but as a sipper...i'm trying to make this last for as long as possible.

Truly, I don't often give out 5.0 on much and i place stock most in smell and taste..this is a great beer. Happy to have tried it...and happy to have a few more in the cellar!!

rwdkosak, Feb 22, 2010
Photo of BierFan
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer has been a long time coming. I believe it was originally bottled last Spring and it's only now available in stores. Bell's doesn't consider this beer an imperial stout and I agree with that sentiment. It's more of an American strong ale. Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a cervoise. Served about room temp.

Appearance: Thin tan head. Such a dark red that it's practically black.

Smell: Very very sweet. Molasses and a little bit of licorice. Definitely has a higher alcohol content.

Taste: Molasses and licorice blend as one. Very sweet and flavorful. Definitely a beer for sipping.

Mouthfeel: Starts of syrupy and flat then the carbonation is released. Slightly prickly carbonation but still really smooth.

BierFan, Feb 22, 2010
Photo of PretzelCity
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to sefus12 for sending this one along as an extra! Poured out a nice deep dark brown, almost black, with a big two inch tan head that slowly deflated to a thin layer of foam on top of the beer. A lot going on in the nose, licorice, molasses, sweet roasted malts, alcohol, raisins and figs jump out right away. The taste is very busy as well. The licorice and molasses jump out right away, blending with the malt, making the initial taste very sweet. The back end is dried fruits and a hint of booze. The alcohol, while still present, seemed more noticeable in the nose. The beer takes on a lot of wine characteristics, syrupy but not thick, it is light to medium bodied with a nice bite in the finish. Pretty drinkable, this beer really starts to reveal itself as it warms up. I would say that right now this one is a little rough around the edges, though still very good, but time could make this one even better.

PretzelCity, Feb 22, 2010
Photo of hardy008
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown color, almost black, with a one finger tan head, which does not stay around long.

Smells of black licorice, chocolate, dark fruit, and molasses. Extremely sweet flavor, dominated by molasses, with chocolate, black licorice, and dark fruit also available.

Full bodied, light carbonation, sticky mouthfeel. The 12.5 % alcohol is surprisingly well hidden. This is a sipper to be sure. I normally try to buy singles of a lot of beers, but have the rest of the 6 pack to drink. No complaints from me though.

hardy008, Feb 22, 2010
Photo of rudylaw
4.28/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a very minimal head. Very slight lacing.

Anise, molasses, chocolate and candy sugar in the nose.

Wow! This is very boozy and extremely sweet. Dark fruit, chocolate, licorice. This is very sweet.

A nice, full body with light carbonation. I'm getting the 12+% but it's still fairly drinkable. I can't wait to see how this develops over time. As always, drink one fresh for comparison but then throw the remainder in the back of the cellar and revisit in a year's time.

rudylaw, Feb 21, 2010
Photo of KarlHungus
4.63/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a very dark brown, nearly black color. The head is half an inch in height, and recedes slowly into nice lacing. The aroma is of roasted malt, licorice, alcohol, hints of chocolate, and hint of graham cracker. There is a lot going on in this aroma, and it seems that I find something new with each whiff. The taste is has everything the aroma with the addition of a hop presence that gets slightly in the way of everything else. I bet the reason Bell's waited so long to release this beer is so these hops would have some time to fade, and I bet they will fade out much more with some more aging. The mouthfeel is full bodied, appropriately low carbonated, and has a silky texture. Overall, I am a fan of huge stouts, and this beers is a great one. I would love to have this available regularly.

KarlHungus, Feb 21, 2010
Photo of Sean9689
3.48/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into DFH snifter.

A - Pours black, a fingers worth of chocolate-colored head. There's some lacing around the sides of the glass and a thin cap on top of the beer.

S - Very sweet! Probably a little too sweet for me right now, but I think it will mellow out after some time. Dark fruits, molasses, chocolate, caramel.

T - Very similar to the nose. Ultra-sweet. There's some boozey notes in there, but the 12.5% is hidden very well. Like the nose, a little too sweet for me right now.

M - Full bodied, rich, smooth, light carbonation.

D - One bottle was too much for me...I could have split this with friends several ways. I managed to finish it, but I will be splitting any future bottles from here on out.

Similar to Black Tuesday for me and it's getting a similar score. Several years of age will mellow this one out, I'm thinking. The rest of the bottles are heading into the cellar for some nap time.

Sean9689, Feb 21, 2010
Photo of icetraxx
3.28/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Pours a motor oil black with a tan off-white head. The head dissipates to a cap that stays around forever.

S: Licorice (anise), blackstrap molasses, minerals, dark roasted malts, hops, caramel, and spice. A lot of aroma here.

T: Like drinking chocolate syrup. There is quite a bit of alcohol heat in this one, age would definitely help it. There is quite a bit of flavor complexity here: molasses, roasted malt, spicy hops, caramel, licorice, hard minerals, charcoal, salt water taffy, agave nectar, and oak.

M: Carbonation is low, but feels just right. Thick, heavy, and viscous. There is a bit of unexpected creaminess as well. But the syrupy hotness from all the sugar and alcohol ruin this one.

D: I could sip this one for awhile, though one bottle should be enough. Alcohol is very hot and is a kick in the pants, even with age, I don't think this one will be very drinkable. Extremely sweet and grossly syrupy.

O: This one is going to get better with age, I can feel it.

icetraxx, Feb 21, 2010
Photo of hawks10
4.28/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into my Bell's tulip...

Pours a viscous black liquid as expected, barely a half finger of light tan head is produced from a vigorous pour...

Smells of sweet dark fruits with an abundance of molasses and licorice as the bottle says. Very sweet and almost overwhelming aromas, lets see if the flavor is a little more tame...

Not really! Wow, this is one sweet imperial stout, the bottle was not lying when they said the beer is brewed with molasses and brewers licorice! An abundance of flavor, syrup, ripe dark fruit, clove and a nice warming alcohol as it finishes...

Very smooth, thick and chewy...coats the whole mouth and throat in sweet warming goodness. Definitely a sipper and one to be enjoyed after a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner...

hawks10, Feb 21, 2010
Photo of cnally
3.78/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It's been too long since my last new beer. Here breaks my streak.

The brew is a deep brown, actually to the point of black. A sudsy, soapy head diminishes a bit from the grand darkness.

A highly smoky aroma. Burnt malt and you can really pick up on the licorice/anise aroma.

A flavor consistent with the manner of its stylistic brewing. High sugar concentration, but deeply molasses. Big burnt malt flavors. Coffee bitterness to finish.

Thick unrelenting mouthfeel. Syrupy, sticky and a good astringency from the alcohol on the back end.

A brew that deserves to be aged. I imagine it will mellow significantly in its feel and syrupy nature. As is, a raw brew thick and sugary. Impressive yet totally unwanted.

cnally, Feb 21, 2010
Photo of Proteus93
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: As it pours, it doesn't have the 'used motor oil' type of appearance that many big stouts can have... it's more of a deep chestnut brown. There's not much head forming either, and it falls back to a thin collar. That does, however, leave some reasonable lacing behind. In the glass, it proves to be absolutely opaque... trying to shine an LED flashlight through it is fruitless, and light is unable to cut through it at all.

S + T: The bottles mentions that it is brewed with molasses and brewer's licorice. Both are quite intense, and very pronounced both in scent and flavour. The molasses stands out far more when I smell it, along with some hints of dark fruit and the licorice. As it breathes, it becomes more of a spicy licorice leaning, which is also quite robust in the flavour. The bitterness of the licorice crosses paths with a bit of hopping, though it goes further than to simply be a hoppy stout. Alcohol is no stranger here, adding an extra spicy note towards the finish with just the right warming on the way down.

M + D: Big, massively flavourful, and easy sipping - though not a quaffing beer in the least. It commands some respect in the drinking in order to be properly enjoyed. It's one of those offerings that makes each sip interesting to ponder over and savour. I started off a little skeptical of this bottle for some reason, and found myself warming up to it more and more as it went down... or perhaps it was warming up to me!

Proteus93, Feb 21, 2010
Photo of danielharper
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a rich brown coming out of the bottle but dark black in the glass. Thin brown head dissipates pretty quickly, expected for the ABV.

S: Smells sweet with the molasses and the licorice, little of the maltiness or hoppiness expected from a good RIS.

T: Tastes similar, very sweet and syrupy, a slightly dry and astringent aftertaste. Somewhat spicy as the beer warms a bit, think cloves.

M: Mouthfeel is thick, with a low carbonation and low hops.

D: Overall I enjoy this beer for what it is, appreciating the brewer's art, but it doesn't fit any easy categories, and the sweetness overwhelms what should be a roasty style.

danielharper, Feb 21, 2010
Bell's Batch 9000 from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
90 out of 100 based on 840 ratings.