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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.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

856 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 856
Reviews: 528
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 13.43%
Wants: 87
Gots: 244 | 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:
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: 856 | Reviews: 528 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sullenbee
3.43/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A-Pitch black, perfect darkness.

S-Smelled sort of chemically to me. Burnt and bitter, with black licorice. Not particularly pleasant.

T-This beer was a monster. It certainly packed a punch. Tasted like pancakes dominated by anise.

M-Thick and rich.

D-This was not an easy beer to finish. 16oz proved to be a bit much for me, but left me with a nice warm feeling on a winter evening. In all, I don't believe it was a bad beer, I'm just not a fan of black licorice.

sullenbee, Feb 28, 2010
Photo of ctman
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into snifter glass.

Pours a deep black which you can not see through at all. Slight head on the pour with very very little lacing.

Definitely smell the malt on this and the licorice.

Has a strong aged quality to it. I suspect it was bourbon aged given the taste with a very subtle hops. This beer is about malt.

No real carbonation, so it is not heavy, not syrupy like many other aged beers. However, it is not light either.

It is kind of a chilly night here I kind of wanted something a bit heavier, but I was not disappointed.

This is a beer you have as you relax in the evening or after dinner in place of or with a light desert. You will not drink this over and over, but that's because the beer does its job the first time.

I bought a 6-pack and promised 3 to friends and the other 2 I will likely cellar. This will age well.

ctman, Feb 28, 2010
Photo of goldbot
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, bottled on 1/27/2010. Notes from last week.

Pours pitch black with medium, bubbly, tan head. The foam thins out but sticks around a while with good lacing.

Big licorice aroma with a backing of roasted malt and chocolate. Mostly licorice here though. As it warms some it balances out a bit more.

The flavor is much more rounded out. Still a lot of licorice, but it is balanced with more chocolate and some dark cherry flavor. Rather bitter and slightly sour throughout, except a strong sweetness comes through at the end, leaving a cherry, slightly medicine-y aftertaste. The alcohol is covered surprisingly well but is definitely noticeable in the finish.

Heavy body; this is definitely a "big beer". Interesting mouthfeel, starting out bitter and deep and finishing sweet and somewhat fruity. This beer is a sipper for sure with the heavy body, the sweetness, and the depth of flavor. A bit on the sweet side to me, with the flavors kind of "bouncing around" a bit on the tongue. A great aging candidate for sure; I wish I had bought more of it.

goldbot, Feb 28, 2010
Photo of tykees88
3.35/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured this one is a very deep brown almost black but I don't wanna call it black

I smell malts, caramels, and licorice in this one. I also can unfortunately smell booze. I love the smell here if not for the booze.

The taste is overpowering for my palate. It's a rich beer. Malty, malty, malty. The licorice is hardly noticeable on the taste, and the booze stands out to me.

It feels good in the mouth. But not awesome. It's thick sure, but I can't even describe the feeling this has in the mouth. This is actually what kept me coming back to this one. I just had to feel it in my mouth again.

Drinkability kills this rating. I can't drink more than one. I don't wanna drink another one for a long time. My other bottle is going to age for at least a year. I don't care for the taste of this beer enough to be able to drink a couple. The abv being as high as it is also contributes.

A well made beer. But for me not my favorite beer that I've ever had. I guess I am just not a malthead.

tykees88, Feb 28, 2010
Photo of RTrain12
3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured it a snifter.

Appearance: I would call it a light black in color. Had about 3/16" head that was medium brown in color that dissapated fast. As I got to the bottom of my snifter the color looked alot lighter.

Smell: Sweet/malty with a sent of black licorice.

Tatse: Slightly bitter with strong alcohol. I think this one needs time to age.

Mouthfeel: Its thick but not to thick. Goes down smooth with light carbonation.

Drinkability: Overall I think it is pretty good. Definitlely a sipper! I could drink another one but Im gona put them in the cellar to see how they tatse with a little age.

RTrain12, Feb 27, 2010
Photo of JimboHD2005
3.43/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a wide mouth snifter. Dark amber to the light while poured. Carmel head that dissipated fairly quickly.

Picking up brown sugar, molasses, strong malt with alcohol catching the end notes.

Rolls over the palate with a dominant bittersweet licorice flavor and keeps me thinking this needs much much more time flavors to mend themselves together.

Not sure I would be drinking much of this now as time will definitely do this beer wonders to marry the flavors. Have a few I'll be laying down for at least a year and look forward to results on 2011.

JimboHD2005, Feb 27, 2010
Photo of DefenCorps
2.58/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

I grabbed a few bottles the other day and am quite deathly curious to see what it tastes like on a clean palate.

The pour is deep reddish brown with a dense brown head with a dense brown head that recedes to a disk. No real lace is present, this beer appears to be a little syrupy.

The nose is just dominated by licorice. Behind it, there's some more, and to round out the nose - licorice. This is probably the biggest black licorice bomb I've had the (mis)fortune of consuming. Huge sweetness with caramel, fruity with some apples and pears. Something about this combination brings to mind soy as well. While complex, this is far from enjoyable. Alcohol appears as it warms up.

The palate opens massively sweet with a huge, syrupy sweetness with caramel, sugar syrup and of course, licorice. Very rich and fruity with plums and some chocolate, this is one very sweet beer. Honey, brown sugar are also noted, and the finish is moderately bitter with some licorice (ha!). Part of me tells me that this is actually a good beer, but I catch myself wincing every so often. Full in body with low carbonation, the licorice and sweetness of this beer are just too much of a good thing. The alcohol is noticeable on the finish as well.

I could choke this down if I tried, but I'd much rather go grab a Two Hearted from the fridge. This is a rather complex beer that just manages to hit all the notes that I particularly dislike, so I could see how this would be polarizing.

**Edit 12 August 2012**

So it's been about 2 and a half years since I last had one. The nose has*actually* improved! While licorice and molasses still dominate, there's a semblance of balance with a slight savory soy-like note, some caramel and burnt sugar sweetness. Some roast is also present. This is complex and sweet, but it straddles the ground between a "normal" stout and something like Dogfish Head's World Wide Stout. The palate, OTOH, is still terrible. A blend of molasses, licorice, soy brown sugar, burnt sugar, simple sugar... god, this is still a trainwreck.
3.5/2/2.5

DefenCorps, Feb 27, 2010
Photo of AmberMan22
4.45/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Lucky enough to find this on draught at the Brickhouse BBQ in Madison -- highly recommend that place.

This was an interesting experience for me. The beer poured an absolutely pitch black color, but the head was tan-colored at best, and dissipated fairly quickly. Good amount of lacing spotted the glass though.

Smell was overwhelmingly malty, with no exaggeration. It was a faintly sweet smell, almost syrupy. Dark, rich, deep.

Taste...I've had plenty of doppelbocks before, never a tripelbock, but I can only imagine this was closer to a Quadruppelbock. It barely tasted like a stout.
I can't say I've ever had an Old Ale before, either, so I don't know what that would be like.
The malt taste was again, borderline overwhelming, and I've had some of the best European Trippels. The finish wasn't just a malty-smokiness, it was straight up burnt. This thing was meant to be a beast from the get-go.
Certainly a formidible hops presence towards the end, but it just can't compare with the burnt syrupy maltiness...this beer is literally unlike anything I've ever had -- in terms of strength or flavor.

Mouthfeel: unstoppable seems to be a good word. I've had RIS's before, trippels, dubbels, a number of heavy stouts and porters and doppelbocks -- but nothing compares to this. I may as well have been drinking motor oil, but that would have less of a head to it.

Drinkability: I only rate this so lowly because 12.5% is wicked strong, and the supreme maltiness (even for a malthead like me) seems a little much.

This is an incredibly unique beer, I'd highly recommend it...I was lucky enough to find it on tap.

AmberMan22, Feb 27, 2010
Photo of JohnGalt1
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Buckeyeboy brought this to a tasting a couple of weeks ago.. Thanks Jeremy!! Reviewed from paper notes.

Hmmm thought this was a reworking of the 7000... I guess I was wrong... that changes the numbers on my review a bit and is bumping them up.

Dark dark brown brew... not black surprisingly... nice tan head, but drops quickly... no lacing.

Aroma is "dark", yet pretty fruity too with some brown sugar.. pretty hot... more hops than I was expecting.

Flavor mirrors the nose with some spicy phenols that I was surprised to find.. roasty with some chocolate.. but plenty of raisin... a tad too sweet for my liking.. again, pretty hoppy... big body.. carbonation is about right.

Thanks again Jeremy and to my coming 9000 contact.. you know who you are ;-)

4/4/4/4.5/4.5

JohnGalt1, Feb 26, 2010
Photo of kalkavekkian
3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 12 0z. bottle into a tall wine glass. Color was a dark, almost black with a thin head and little retention. Smelled of chocolate, roasted malts, coffee and sweet fruits. Taste was boozy and thick with cocoa and sweet malts to start and then a hop bite with a coffeelike taste at the finish. 1 was all i needed but then this is not my favorite style of beer. Mouthfeel was rich and thick and a lot like expedition, just not as heavy. Drinkability was low for me but a good overall offering for those who prefer this style.

kalkavekkian, Feb 25, 2010
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.4/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark as night, but a slimmed, cocoa-tan head.

Sweet nose, plump with dark fruits, big on the dates, raisins, fig, some cocoa and carob, rich and lush.

Tastin' it...sweet and bitter, as well... highly hopped, vigorously malted, alcohol comes crushing down. Darkness intensified....immensely malty. Dense, but not thick, not viscous. Thinking this was intended as an Imperial Stout, my first tastes had me recasting it as a mislabeled old ale. A few days later, I taste again, and think it's an old ale/ imperial stout hybrid. Or an imperial stout that stretches outside the boundaries of their excellent Expedition Stout.

Mmmm, I'm liking this more and more. And more.
this is right. up. my alley.
Wow.
Wee.

feloniousmonk, Feb 25, 2010
Photo of dukedevil0
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a sixer from the Binny's in Niles, IL.

A: Pours dark reddish brown and collects in the glass an almost pitch black, but where light shines through there are some attractive ruby colors popping out. A half finger of mocha/light brown/dark khaki colored head bubbles to the surface and ends up dying down to just a rim of bubbles around the rim while lacing the glass a little.

S: Smells of lots of dark fruit/figs/plum scents, molasses, licorice, raisins - all very sweet scents.

T: Tastes very similar to the smell - sweetness abounds in the form of raisins, dark fruits, figs/plums, licorice and molasses. I can see why the folks at Bell's do not classify this as an Imperial Stout as I'm not tasting much, if any of those types of roasty, chocolatey flavors - this is much more Belgian Quadruple if I had to label it. It's kind of boozy right now, especially with the first few sips. The flavors are pretty intense but very tasty and complex.

M: Very creamy and thick - especially for the type of beer this tastes like to me - it's slightly thinner than most good imperial stout, but creamier than most Quads, which I think really adds something to this brew. There's a lower than average carbonation present and some warming and bite as it goes down the throat.

D: I probably would prefer to split this 12oz bottle as it's pretty intense and sort of hot at the moment. However, the combination of flavors and mouthfeel makes this super unique and I keep grabbing the glass for more and savoring each sip. Hopefully, the heat will die down and the flavors will develop to make this an unreal cellar staple beer (as it says on the bottle), but even as-is the beer is pretty darn great.

dukedevil0, Feb 25, 2010
Photo of bigbluebeerguy
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a brandy snifter--dark brown, almost black, no head, sandy colored ring.

Smells extremely sweet. The molasses is first to hit, followed by raisins, coffee, chocolate, and a little licorice.

Taste is complex. A little sweet for my liking, but I suspect it's just my novice palate. I seem to get everything that was in the nose. Sweetness seemed to be balanced by a touch of bitterness on the finish. A little too cold initially, it got better as it warmed. The alcohol also seemed to come out a little more at the higher temp, and it began to take on many of the same traits as a glass of red wine.

Thick in the mouth, not as much aftertaste as I expected.

This one is a sipper. The rest of this sixer is going into hiding for a year or so, and I'll see what matures more, my palate or the beer.

bigbluebeerguy, Feb 25, 2010
Photo of kbutler1
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into my favorite tulip glass.
Pours a nice deep brown color with a tan slight head. My first thoughts of the aroma are of dark fruit, maybe cherries followed by roasted malts. The taste really sweet I am guessing due to the use of the molasses followed by a tart/bitterness that bites at the tongue. I don't pick up the licorice taste too much. Mouthfeel is fairly heavy. I might wish it to have a slightly less heavy feel to it.

Does it live up to the long awaited hype of Batch 9000? Depends. It's really good but I can think of several other beers that are just as good as this one. I give Bell's props for using the molasses and the licorice though!

kbutler1, Feb 25, 2010
Photo of Deuane
3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Deep, dark blackish/brown copper with a thin light tan head that reduced to a thin veil and left spotty lace.

S-Molasses, sweet caramel, raisin, dark fruit, oak and anise all coming around at one point or another.
An Imp. Stout, hmmm...more like an Old Ale to me.

T-Caramel sweet, raisin, dark fruit, turbinado, molasses, anise, light roasted malt, touch of cocoa and a hint of alcohol solvency. Quite sweet up front but finishes quite dry with an oak character.

M-Medium to medium-heavy bodied and actually feels somewhat "light" for an Imp Stout. Good lingering flavours.

D-I warmed up to this brew the more I drank. Overall, I found Batch 9000 to be quite nice, but an Imp. Stout...no sir, I don't think so. Way too sweet and not nearly enough roasted malt feel. Maybe this one will age nicely and let loose some of that sweetness.

Deuane, Feb 24, 2010
Photo of kegger22
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bell's Batch 9000 was a brown color with a light brown, half-inch head that quickly dissipated to a bare collar.

Lots of licorice in the aroma, did not care for it at first but I adapted (or the nerve endings in my nose were seared).

The taste was molasses, licorice, coffee, alcohol, chocolate and everything else, but the kitchen sink and a grapefruit. Very sweet but did manage to throw a bitter bone to the hop heads by way of the after taste.

The mouth feel was full bodied, very oily and modestly carbonated.

Drinkability was pretty good for a beer at 12.50 ABV. I want another one and I will have another one. Fortunately, I bought two six packs and will be going out for more tomorrow. I can hardly wait to see how this one ages.

Normally I'm not a big fan of anise/licorice but I really enjoyed it in Batch 9000.

kegger22, Feb 24, 2010
Photo of paco1029384756
4.38/5  rDev +9%
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%
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 +10.2%
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 -6.7%
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%
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%
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 -0.5%
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 +14.4%
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 +6.5%
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
Bell's Batch 9000 from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
90 out of 100 based on 856 ratings.