Bell's Bourbon Barrel Aged Batch 9000 - Bell's Brewery, Inc.
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Ratings: 606 | Reviews: 84 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by DonDirkA:
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3.89/5 rDev -14.9%
Review #500 - Thanks to Jeff for the hand bottle! Black-hole black with a small, deep-tan head. It's probably more appropriate to call it a skin than a head, as even after an aggressive pour, it barely reaches a millimeter in height. It may be due to the hand-bottle, but I have a feeling the carb on this one was towards the lower end of the spectrum anyway, so hopefully that wont impede things too much. Obviously no lacing was present, but heavy alcohol legging certainly was.
Whoosh! I dip my nose to the glass and a huge wave of bourbon flies over me immediately. A plethora of flavors begin crashing and colliding - molasses, oak, caramel malts, deep, bitter cocoa, faint vanilla, and huge patches of black licorice and anise. BB Batch 9000 doesn't have the bitter coffee or heavily roasted malts you'd expect in any stout - namely because this ISN'T a stout, although its appearance may lead you to believe otherwise.
Holy mole! The aroma was heavy. But the flavor is even heavier and so much more potent. Deep chocolate, sweet, sweet brown sugar, heavy and thick molasses, tons of up-front bourbon, dry oak and wood, mild nuts, and an overpowering, back-end anise flavor. Just touching the beer to your upper lip is enough to extract these crazy powerful flavors from the brew.
There's no doubt this beer is complex beyond belief. So many things going on, and warmth only opens up the portfolio even further. Dark dates and figs, heavy anise, dry cocoa powder, sticky and syrupy maple notes, barrel-induced vanilla - all, of course, dancing on your palate to the tune of warm, boozy bourbon. Each sip demands so much attention that it's easy to sit and nurse a six ounce pour for at least a half hour or so.
Let's be honest here - this beer is very bourbon-forward and quite warm, approaching "hot" territory, especially in the finish, but Bourbon Barrel Batch 9000 still retains much of the high, sticky sweetness that was evident in the base beer. It's definitely more manageable here, though, as the barrel-aging has allowed it to mellow out, and help cut through what's left of it. It's got an even heavier and thicker body, smooth mouth feel, chewy and oily with low carbonation - again, most likely due to the hand-bottling. I feel as though it wasn't detrimental to my experience of the beer at all.
This is a good beer, it really is. And I can see why people go crazy over it. But I don't love it like the masses, and there are three main reasons why. For one, it's a little too hot to be enjoyable in mass quantity. Not a major drawback, but a drawback nonetheless. Two, it has a little too much anise for my liking; just not a flavor I'm very fond of in this capacity. And three, it's still quite over-the-top in terms of sweetness. Regardless, it's a finely crafted barrel aged brew that's a large improvement over the base beer, but give me Black Note any day.
05-07-2013 03:21:19 | More by tectactoe
4.4/5 rDev -3.7%
On tap at the Eccentric Cafe; surprised this hasn't been added before now.
A – Pours a clear dark reddish brown with virtually no head other than a very thin collar.
S – Surprisingly, the bourbon aromas are able to outpace the significant anise aroma to really dominate the smell, which is also quite boozy overall. Nice vanilla and oak notes, with quite a bit of caramel and anise as well.
T – Caramel leads off the taste profile, quickly supplemented with vanilla, anise and oak. A decent amount of dark fruits come through. Finish is a bit boozy with a comforting warming.
M – Full mouthfeel that is a bit sticky. Quite a bit of numbing alcohol on the finish, provides a warming feeling.
O – I know the base beer is somewhat divisive, but I enjoy it and think it has been drinking very well for the last year and a half. This is a nice complement to the base beer with added complexity in the flavor. Wish it were a bit less boozy, but at 14.9% that is asking a lot. Very enjoyable.
10-09-2012 02:53:48 | More by warnerry
4.53/5 rDev -0.9%
Bells BB Batch 9000
Draft into a Duchesse de Bougogne glass
A: Minor head that dissipates quickly but good lacing. Nice black brown color.
S: Caramel, Vanilla and a ton of pete, those barrels come through.
T: Wow, caramel bourbon and marshmallows. Sweetness comes up on the end. This is amazing. But really, really hot at 14%.
M: Lots of caramel, sugary sweet. Some minor bourbon/pete notes.
O:Really good. Very very sweet. A-, not my favorite but its certainly good and sweet.
01-30-2013 03:48:05 | More by codysjb
4.81/5 rDev +5.3%
On-tap at One-Eyed Betty's in Ferndale, MI. They claimed Bell's told them this was "the last batch in existence," which, of course, drew the masses. I got the very last glass that was served. Almost didn't get to taste it at all. The bartender handed me my glass and then told everyone else, "That's it!" Truly humbled to have had the chance to try it.
Appearance: Couldn't really note too much about the color, since i was in a dimly lit bar, other than it just looking very dark. Held it up towards light and couldn't see through at all, even on edges. There was a thin light tan head at first that almost immediately dissipated into a small collar or ring around the outside.
Aroma: The amazing smell that comes at you before you can even hold it up to your nose – vanilla, toffee, molasses, licorice, maple, figs, wood and, of course, BOURBON! – is just the first thing to blow you away. Spent a couple minutes just enjoying the aroma before I dove in.
Taste: All the different complexities and flavors – the sweetness of everything in the nose, balanced by the roastiness and perhaps tannins released into the beer from the oak barrel – wash over your tongue in several distinct waves from the moment you first sip it to when it finally goes down your throat and then during the moments after that, when it becomes something altogether different. It's absolutely incredible. The alcohol is warming, not burning, despite the high ABV. Even with all that, you can still taste the base flavors of cacao nibs, anise & roasted malts.
Mouthfeel: Very smooth, full-bodied, almost a bit viscous (in a great way); coats your mouth. Perfect.
Overall: I was extremely pleased and satisfied with it. An instant favorite. Totally lived up to the high expectations I had set for it. Just wish I had spent more time drinking it so I could have enjoyed it longer, since I'll never get to enjoy it again. Pretty bittersweet. Wish I owned a bottle of this so I could save and share w/ someone for a special occasion.
02-07-2014 17:23:39 | More by mikejonze
4.85/5 rDev +6.1%
A: Pours pitch black. A small tan head formed but dissipated after a few seconds.
S: Huge and rich aromas of bourbon, caramel, dark fruits and oak. So much bourbon! A bit of chocolate, vanilla, licorice and molasses too. I normally detest licorice but it blends in very well here. Very aromatic, I could smell it from a few feet away.
T: So much going on here, I can't make up my mind. Bourbon first of all, followed by chocolate, vanilla (almost marshmallow), oak, dark fruits, and tons of caramel. A slight bit of licorice in there (perfect amount, enough to complement the other flavors but not enough to make it gross). I thought this would be overly sweet but it's very well balanced. Fairly boozy and warming as expected from both the barrel and the 15%abv.
M: Full bodied with light carbonation. Very well balanced. Pleasant booziness, not burning like in other beers.
O: Extremely well made BA beer. This has to be one of my top beers ever. Glad I got the chance to try it, although I fear I won't be able to trade for it again.
04-17-2013 08:11:15 | More by standardcherry
4.95/5 rDev +8.3%
On tap at Bryant lake bowl. Huge fan of batch 9000 so very excited to try this!
A-a generous pour served in an oversized snifter yields a finger of large bubbled tan foam that breaks down into a lacing and finally a small ring half way through the drink. Black
S-bourbon yes but so much more than that. It does still smell like the non-barreled version dark sweet fruits (raisin rum molasses and vanilla aromas all very prominent). Delicious
T-the aging has made this beer sweeter than the younger in barreled version. It is definitely sweet but not cloying. I'm a fan. The bourbon is here but is not overpowering at all. Plenty of sweet and toasted malt. Finish is smooth and a bit muscat-like
M-heavy body, low carbonation and smooth
O-yep I like this beast. The sweetness drowns out the alcohol bite. All I get is a little burn way down deep to let you know this is a brew to savor not slam
11-15-2012 01:46:45 | More by deebo
4.51/5 rDev -1.3%
Thanks for opening this with me, MrVonZipper!
This was an exceptionally good beer--a real wonderful example of the power and potential of barrel-aging big, strong, American dark ales. Lovely combination of chocolate, bourbon, dark fruits, licorice, vanilla, and oak in the aroma and flavor. Big and thick--a truly decadent treat. The creamy, thick, full mouthfeel is amazing, to boot.
05-27-2013 15:52:40 | More by ehammond1
4.6/5 rDev +0.7%
A - Deep dark brown with no head. Very clean looking and reflective.
S - Bourbon, vanilla, caramel, slight black licorice and orange peel. The nose is nice and complex but wish it were a bit stronger
T - Bourbon upfront. Nice anise and chocolate in the middle to gives it an edge that is balanced against vanilla and caramel. Light oak and orange peel on the finish. Very well balanced and flavorful. One that you want to keep drinking it
MF - Medium body with nice carbonation that makes it very smooth and easy to drink despite the high ABV.
O - This is the best Bell's beer that I've had. Nice bourbon presence that is well blended with the base beer to add another layer of complexity. Wish I had gotten more than a bottle
12-18-2012 04:39:20 | More by jeonseh
Bell's Bourbon Barrel Aged Batch 9000 from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
100 out of 100 based on 606 ratings.