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Bell's Batch 5000 | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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Bell's Batch 5000Bell's Batch 5000
66 Ratings
Bell's Batch 5000Bell's Batch 5000

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by truthbrew on 02-23-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 66 |  Reviews: 50
Photo of Bighuge
4.89/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The appearance can be described like this: Go into your backyard with an ice-cream scooper. Get a scoop of mud and drop it into a pint glass. Dilute to 12 oz. with water and mix. Kalamazoo's beers have never been noted for "clean" appearances however. There's a definite smoky aroma here. Not much of a head. Strong smoky taste. There is some substance in this brew. There's a sweetness here too. Thick and Syrupy. This is a beer that will lay down nicely too.

Kalamazoo describes this as a smoked strong ale.

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Photo of CRJMellor
4.75/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Aged for almost 3 years, special keg put on for Eccentric Day '04
Pours a dark brown, leathery color with a faint and small, deep tan head.
Aroma of subtle liquid smoke starts but under further examination there are undercurrents of pine, leather, cedar and peat trapped in the liquid.
Flavor of a deep, yet subtle peat-stoked smoke is the first hit followed by a balancing of some rich caramel and deep darker fruit flavors and a benign but present resiny hop bittering. Sublte notes of nuts, cedar and leather also present, punctuated on the finish by some more subtle smokey flavors.
Mouthfeel is obviously punctuated by the smokey notes but the combination of the darker malts, smokey resins and caramel notes is truly amazing on the palate. Think, smoke, caramel, fruit, hint of bitter and then a slide into some bitter, smoky elements.
Drinkability is incredibly high. The aging has done wonders for this brew. I can only imagine how strong this was when first launched to the masses. Truly memorable beer experience.

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Photo of sendsilk
4.71/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Holy hell! I've been sitting on this bottle for at least 4 years and the great guy who sent it to me (Backfat) had it for 10 or so years before me! A serious pleasure to get to try. It's the original bacon (maple, coffee, smoked, whatever) type of beer that really delivers.

Little to no carbonation. Serious smokey, bacon, meat smell. Delivers a great jerky bacon punch with some nice, warm alcohol. Dave, I owe you a nice beer for this one!

If you can get one, please do but considering it's about 14 years old now it's going to be a tough one to find.


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Photo of manahansf
4.7/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear dark amber color with a thin yet creamy tan off white head. The aroma is smokey and has hints of dark fruits, but the smell of apple-wood smoked bacon is the best. The flavor is an echo of the aroma with a perfect smoked taste and again... freakin bacon!! The body carries the flavor well and it is smooth and creamy. Great beer! Finishes slow and fades gracefully. Boom baby bacon brew!

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Photo of inebrius
4.64/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Reminiscent of youthful campfires and faces smeared with wild berries picked fresh from the Northwoods and the drunkeness of windless evenings after all-day adventures. Majestic aroma of beechwood smoked malt among the tart and ripe fruits of a barleywine. A gloomy chestnut under a thin and grasping cap. Huge malt dawn soon vanishes into thin hop which trails into a long, fumy finish. A superbly crafted smoke beer that's easy to curl up and dream with.

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Photo of drpimento
4.6/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured with a tan head, slightly hazy dark amber; lace. aroma smoke dark ripe fruit, one of the best smoke/rausch beers i've ever had. balanced with body and a little sweetness. not sure on the alcohol. nice finish considering the huge flavor. big beer! not a session beer.

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Photo of ngandhi
4.55/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to the Esquire Lounge in Champaign, IL for cellaring this away.

The smoke in Bell's Batch 5,000 is enticing. Though faint on the nose, it's clearly deeper than just smoke. There's an interplay, a distinct subtlety, among the hops, malt, and smoke. It makes me think of a domesticated boar.

But the glory of this beer is on the tongue. The smoke opens the palette to a rich and viscous maltiness reminiscent of good imperial stout. Even without the smoke, this would have been a great beer. But then something odd happens, something I have asked of beers, but never seen. The smoke comes back, takes over the palette, and changes. Some great beers are loaded with flavor and each one is popping out at a different time -- it's rare to find a beer like that and so they are classics. But the 5,000 is a few steps beyond that. There isn't an emergence of another flavor on the finish -- it is the smoke -- but the smoke comes together with the malts and delivers pure, sweet caramel. Floral, caramel bacon barleywine.

This is probably what it'd be like to raid a taffy apple factory and stick you face beneath the caramel pourer. Ribbons of the velvety stuff stream down the gullet. And then green hops. And then that Bell's fruitiness.

And then another sip.

Relax, relax.

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4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of khumbard
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to a very generous BA (backfat) for hooking me up with one of these. Never really thought I'd get a hold of one of these old batch releases. This poured a very deep amber color, with a small head that diminished pretty quickly. Nose is very smoky. Kind of reminds me smoked bacon. Pretty complex, but I feel like this beer has probably come together very well over the years (although I did not have a fresh one to compare it to). Taste is smoky, but not nearly as much as the smell hinted at. Definitely on the sweet side, but not overwhelming. Malty, a little spicy, very good. I wish I had more of these. It finishes pretty crisp, without a lingering sweetness. No alcohol to speak of until it warms you from the stomach. Overall this is drinking very well, with no signs of oxidation. If you are lucky enough to have one in your possession I would drink one, definitely an experience.

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Photo of backfat
4.46/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

drinking this beer made me feel lucky. quite possibly one of the most complex brews I've had to date. bottled on January 2002 and drank February 2010.
pours a really thick, dark copper. extremely hazy with a film of tan head that just fizzled away rapidly. smells of caramel, malt, slight metallic, leather, grandpa's 1940's cologne, alcohol, BACON, and smoke. the smell was strong and engulfed the room around us. taste is sweet, malty, and pleasant. caramel, dark fruit, toffee, candied yams, apricots, steamed vegetables, and java as it warms. the mouthfeel is silky, creamy, and smooth with a slight carbonation sting to finish. For being over 8 years old, i was surprised with the amount of carbonation. The warmth of the alcohol makes one feel at ease. the flavor lasts forever and will be on your mind hours after consumption. a sensual beer that would definitely go well with a cigar. God bless beer

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Photo of ADR
4.44/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I was going to store all of these but the call to drink was too much...Chunky, medium brown "swamp" color....Head is small-bubbled but persistent. Yeasty fresh smell, a hint of powerful smoke. Very full-bodied, nice and hugely sweet taste with a spicy almost nutmeg/cidery property, lots of smoked meat. Huge mouth coating properties. Tobacco smoke flavor mostly at the back and in the aftertaste. There is a kind of springtime freshly tilled soil taste but its not at all off putting -- well it is in a way, but its interesting to taste that old wet canvas of summertime tents in the days before nylon. The complexity of this beer is not so obvious as rich, like the smell of mown grass. Honey and fireplace ashes sums it up. Its also slightly more drinkable than I expected but pretty heavy duty. One IS enough at a sitting for me. As the meaty sweet aroma comes on, and you look at the floating murky yeast, don't think about this beer in any classic categories too much. Skoal on this one, it might even make a good steak sauce on its own!

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Photo of beerluvr
4.44/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a short lived light tan head settling over hazy ruby-amber liquid. The nose is a potent blast of smoke and malt...beautiful! The taste is at first smoke to the extreme with malty/fruity notes followed by a wonderfully tasty smoky hoppiness that lasts forever...or until next sip, which brings lots of sweet malt and notes of dark fruitiness. It finishes long, bittersweet, smoky, complex & very enjoyable...outstanding! Despite a few not-so-glowing reviews I think this is one awesome commemoritive brew, very well made & very tasty!

Thanks to cretemixer for this beaut!

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Photo of Lare453
4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Light clear brown. Minimal head. Bacon, smoke in the nose. Taste is mostly bacon, smoke and malt. Moderate thickness. Smooth, Coates the tongue. This is definitely one to try

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Photo of cokes
4.42/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This is something else.
Check out Bighuge's review for a vivid description of the appearance. I agree totally. Muddy, dark and thick looking. I expected some worms and grass clipping at the bottom of the glass. None to be found.
The smell is spicy smoke (almost meaty). I enjoy this alot, but I could see how one could easily be turned off. This could be dinner in itself.
The malts really make the beer. They provide a delicious, sweet foundation for the abundant smoke flavors. Very syrupy and sticky, with pronounced alcohol, but not in a bad way.
Enjoy it paired with smoked food (meats and cheeses). Also, wonderful as a stand-alone night-cap (as a change of pace) due to it's elevated ABV.
Due to it's thickness and huge character (and VERY high price), not a beer to quaff, but take your time with it and I think you'll be rewarded.

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Photo of mjohn27603
4.4/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The color was tan or more like a walnut finish on a piece of furniture. There was quite a bit of sediment floating. I've had this one in the beer cellar for quite a few months. I took the first one out of the six pack on New Year's Eve just before midnight. I smelled a bit of hickory and smoke. The first sip reveals smoke and some sweetness. Definitely a sweeter beer than other smoked ales I've tried. Kind of like a smoked doppelbock. Maybe if they added liquid smoke to Celebrator.

I did have one almost a year ago when it was young and I recall the smoke being much more in your face. It has matured a bit and softened around the edges. A unique offering by Bell's. if you can't afford the $15 six pack try to pick up a single. My beer store sells it for $3 a bottle.

I'm going to finish it as the ball drops in Times Square. Happy 2003!

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Photo of matt_duthie
4.34/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Delicious barleywine. Very pleasant smoked flavor without being anywhere near overpowering or distracting. Smooth and slick, minimally carbonated, reasonably viscous though. Fantastic to sip on, finishing with a salted-like aftertaste that just works. Really glad I tried this.

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Photo of Crosling
4.34/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brown. Very aromatic, deep and malty giving hints of caramel, butter toffee, meat (sausage) and smoked malt. RIch, meaty and smoky with an enormous malt flavor and coating body. Just so damn full and so complex in the malt flavor and the smoke is only one dimesion in the multi-dimensional flavor system. A very good beer. One I can definately recommend to anyone who can handle a little smoke flavor.

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Photo of Gusler
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a be-darkened mahogany brown color, the head miniscule, the texture frothy to the max, the color a winsome light chocolate, the residual lace is a fine sheet that covers the glass. Sweet malt with the smoke quite evident chased by caramel, and quite pleasant to the senses, the start is malt laden, thickly sweet and the top full and the smoke and alcohol bitterness along with the hops “Slaps your old palate immediately. Finish is prudently acidic, the hops big in their spiciness, dry as a desert bone aftertaste, a real “Belly Warmer”, and definitely an acquired taste.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bell's Batch 5000 - Originally released in late winter 2002
Color is a deeply clouded milkyness of burnt orange, more darker brown nearer the top as apposed to the bottom and edges of the glass. Waffer thin crown of yellowed tan, keeps a thin and sturdy collar and minimal spotty lines of lace decides to stick.

Aroma is a calming smooth, tangly sweet smokey wood or fish thing over a small caramel malt. Quite tangy and sweet with the smokey thing thats not overly powerful but definately present. This ain't no mild nose, even after some age. Impressive.

Flavors are tangy and sweet with malt and smoke, plain and simple. Quite a good load of them. Smooth, not overbearing. Caramel underneath, some slight dark cherry and pruney flavors kinda play in there nearer the finish. Finishes a bit rough with some yeasty alcoholic spiced heat and smokey leftover tingey tang.

Feel isn't as smooth as the flavors, quite jagged and rough; though, nearly full with a solid malt base and smokey sweet tang keeping a whole bunch of things a goin' on. Gets better as it warms. More so towards the finish, it starts out with a quick grab, settles in, then takes hold again. Uff-da, what a ride...

I was hoping for Third Coast with a smokened lightness in there, but this was a whole nother beast, in fact. nothing near my hopes. Yet, this came across as a good Ol' fashioned smoked ale thats been beefed up. Quite an interesting treat and damn good too. Smokened barleywine, who would of thought? Larry thats who.

Thanks Hugey!

Patiently awaiting 7000...

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Photo of tippebrewcrew2
4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch 5000
Old world ale

Finely aged and kept at a constant temperature

L=4.5 Little to no carbonation, tawny brown in color with a light white rim.

S= 4.0 huge whiffs of smoked leather, fig, raisons

T= 4.0 the nose holds true mixed with a malty smoky sweetness. Such a good beer.

F= 4.5 incredibly smooth with a feeling of pure velvet.

D=5.0 Great beer! 12 oz was not enough! I imagine being around a campfire with friends on a chilly spring night. Big smoky overtones and malty, fruity undertones. Such a complex beer. It's a true privilege to be able to try this

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Photo of waltonc
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

Photo of MordorMongo
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

Photo of beergeek279
4.24/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in the 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. The color is a dark amber, with a ring of white head. The smell is a very strong beef jerky smokiness. The taste is a strong smokiness on top of the sweetish malt, and comes with a nice warming alcohol. Mouthfeel is nice and syrupy. As for drinkability, this one would sadly be tough to have more than one or two of.

Thanks to nghandi for the graduation gift. Wow...I'm definitely enjoying this one...never thought I'd see a smoky old ale before. I'd definitely love to see this one again...please, Larry Bell???

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark violet color, thin head, and an extraordinarily pungent aroma. Profound smokiness abounds here, amazingly complex! Underneath the smoke and alcohol, what have we? Plums, raisins, leather, the earmarks of a strong barleywine, with that smoke flavor sitting firmly on top. A real champion, and another fantastic feat from Bell's. Definitely a sipping beer, for one cannot easily ingest these rough, but rewarding, flavors. Fruity, spicy, warming, smoky, that's the full bill! Alcohol kick comes in stronger at the end, and you have to wonder how they will celebrate batch 10,000.
Evaluating this beer is a tough call. A truly unique and well-made beer, but not a easy one to guzzle back, in the least. You can only have one at a time, and slowly, at the end of the night, not far from the bed...unless you're a masochist!
Also, the one beer I've managed to store for the longest time, ever. One year. KBC says it improves and becomes more complex over five years. We'll see if I can hold out for four more.

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Bell's Batch 5000 from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Beer rating: 4.04 out of 5 with 66 ratings
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