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

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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.

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Reviews: 50 | Ratings: 66
Photo of matt_duthie
4.34/5  rDev +7.2%
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 sendsilk
4.71/5  rDev +16.3%
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 Lare453
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
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 JLeege
4.04/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled: Jan 2002
Consumed: Feb 2011
Poured into a snifter.

Appearance- Pours a murky deep amber to brown color with a tiny short lived tan "head"; more like a slight ring around the surface.

Smell- Has a strong smoked aroma, very meaty. Jerky, caramel, woody, bbq sauce. I gotta say, the aroma is excellent and inviting. On par with the top smoked/rauchbeirs.

Taste- Starts out sweet, with notes of caramel, molasses, bbq sauce. Leading into strong smoked flavors, lots of jerky and bacon, even a bit salty. Doesn't quite have the "char" of a smoked beer, but the rest of the elements are still there. Lingering jerky flavors, this is a meal in a glass.

Mouthfeel- Fairly slick, fuller body, little to no carbonation, an alcohol warming of the cheeks.

Overall- An awesome dude got me this awesome beer. I wonder what this was like fresh, but with this much age on it, it has held up well, and is a very cool experience.

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Photo of manahansf
4.7/5  rDev +16%
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 drpimento
4.6/5  rDev +13.6%
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 khumbard
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
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 +10.1%
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 tippebrewcrew2
4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
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 hopdog
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle acquired in trade with EDA (thanks 12oz Mike!).

Poured a dark and cloudy brown color with an averaged sized tan head. Aromas of tobacco, wood, and peat. Tastes of smoke (not as strong as the aroma), molasses, caramel, toffee and some dark fruits. Sweeter tasting.

Notes from 6/11/05

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Photo of badbeer
3.62/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark copper color with a quickly dissipating head. Smell is very smoky, with just a little sweetness below, smoke is completely dominant. Thick and smoky on the tongue, almost like some smoked ham; couldn't have too much of this, even though it was pretty good. Full bodied and light on the carbonation. As I already said, it was decent, but I couldn't have too much of this. Thanks to hey_kevin for sharing.

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Photo of faernt
4.19/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

It pours with little head. The smell is smoky raisins. I usually hold the yeast in the bottle and drink it separately. This one was surprisingly thin in body. I bought it fresh and it's been years since I opened one.

The taste is great. The smell is an accurate forecast. The surprise is in the after-sweetness. After all these years it's very well blended. I am lucky to have more. I won't be dallying though. I think this is moving just past it's prime.

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Photo of northernbrews
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this as part of the tasting we had 9/22/07 of Batch 4000 - 8000.

Received this gem from tangfoot. Thanks again Fred.

Appearance: This pour a reddish brown with very little head. There is very little lacing on this, but it looks pretty good based on its age..

Aroma: Starts with some smokey and sweet malts. Kind of reminds me of breakfast sausage with maple syrup. In the background is some dark fruits. As this warms, there is a little sourness, which I enjoy.

Taste: There is mostly smokey notes in the beginning. When this warms, some of the sweet dark fruit flavors come to play. I wonder what this tasted like fresh.

Mouthfeel: The smokey and sweet malt flavors hang around for a while. This is kind of thin, which I expected due to its age.

Drinkability: This goes down pretty smooth, especially after it warms for a bit. I could drink a few of these, but I'm glad I'm getting to try any of this at all.

Overall: This is very unique and interesting beer. Can't think of any others I've had like it. I'm curious the age of this one too. This was my least favorite of the Batches 4000 - 8000, but its still pretty damn good and unique. If you see this or can try this, go for it, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

Thanks again Fred for this rare bottle.

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Photo of mcallister
3.53/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Murky mahagony pour. Dull and cloudy. Completely opaque. Not much of any head except for some tan specks and a ring around the glass.

Nose is smokey very rauchbier esqe. Smoked meats, nutty aromas with red cherry. Really can't get over the amount of smoke. Some oxidation is obvious. Roasty toffee malt, caramel and prune. Oxidation vails everything somewhat.

Very smokey and meaty. Mouth is a little thin and there is noticeable alcohol on the finish that you can feel evaporate on your tongue. Sharp flavors, musty and earthy. Definitely drink this one now or a couple of years ago. Oxidation still present but not really in the way. Long finish. Cherry, brown sugar, maple, rum soaked figs, raisin, nuts, and burnt wood. Sherryesque with the oxidiztion factor.

A beer worth drinking although more than one may be tough to swallow.

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.47/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle. Very cloudy, mahogany in color. A bit of sediment floating around in the glass. Thin tan head disappears immediately.

Big smoke, and toffee in the aroma. A bit woody, and nutty. Perhaps of bit of oxidation. Seems to be a lot going on.

Sweet, fruity and smoky. Rich toffee. Boy, there is a good amount of sweetness and smoke. Still pretty warming.

This was hard to drink much of. Not sure if it is past prime or what.

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Photo of BelgianAleSlut
3.83/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my new Kuhnhenn bierthday club gift pint glass. Thanks Kuhnhenn! Cloudy caramel pour that appears flat. Like the looks of the beer, but the flatness scares me. Appears bottle conditioned.

Smells of carmelized malt sugar with hints of hardwood smoke. Tastes very sweet, with a light fruitiness and smoke essence. Smokiness is not heavy and is about the maximum smoke I can handle in a beer. Definitely works with this one.

The problem: this beer seems dead on the palate. About the same pleasure as drinking sugar water that has been left near a campfire.

Drinkability is o.k. as alcohol warms early on and it will satisfy anyone with a sweet tooth. Might have been better if I had started with a lighter beer first.

Worth a taste.

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Photo of Crosling
4.34/5  rDev +7.2%
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 CharlesDarwin
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Originally reviewed on February 18, 2005. 12 Oz Bottle. Pours a clouded deep mahogany and ruby brown orange fringed with a rim of off-white. Aroma of smoked bacon, with grilled swordfish. This over a medly of aged fruits and malt. Over a stong ale? Wow! Has greasy meat and salmon touches, that are not unpleasent. Flavors are quite savory at first, with a hint of gentle garlic and dill, mingled with smoked salmon fat. Strong fruit and cherries kick in, much like a classic dark strong belgian. But, it continues with an underlying gentle and delicate smoked pork fat. Accompanies the gentle malt, fruit and apples with grace. Bright and well presented to the palate. The deft mingling of gentle campfire and pork fat dance with caramel and toffee in a graceful manner and overall harmony. I’m really impressed by how well the two disparate flavors intermingle so well. This is truly a special treat. Signs of mellowing and gentle and fantastic ageing are true in the ale side of this beer. A hint of cranberry vinous notes in the backend. In the aftertaste the smoked woodchips mix with a gentle bread and yeast. All around, fantastic! Palate is sweet and clingy, with an everlasting pleasant flavor that I wish would never end.

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Photo of hoppymeal
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cola colored brown with a light tan head that recedes to a ring. Aroma is big time leather, moreso than I've had in any other beer. There is also some smokiness going on and in the background there is a rich sugary raisin scent. Taste follows the smell with a big leatheru flavor, there is more smokiness and a cola like sweetness and mouthfeel. The beer is nice and creamy maltiness in the front with a low level of tingly effervescent carbonation and finishing with the leather and some woody notes witha good size dryness. The strong leather like flavor and aroma was overpowering me on the first few sips, however as my palette numbs a little and it isn't as all powerful, this one is a nice sipper.

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Photo of EvilKeith
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cellared for two years and provided by the good people of BoneDry.

Pours a murky, deep, rich caramel color with suspended particles of yeast. Topped with one finger of frothy camel colored head. Lacing starts sticky, fades after a bit.

Smell is sweet. Chocolate, dark fruit with traces of hickory smoke and alcohol.

Taste is very similar to the smell. Like a smoky chocolate milkshake. Alcohol warms as it goes down.

Full bodied. Thick, almost syrupy mouthfeel.

I enjoyed the complexity of this beer. It is quite a bit too heavy to be sessionable. This would work well as a nightcap when I'm in the mood for something sweet.

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Photo of mentor
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Presented a dark brown (like a porter) in a 16 oz plastic glass with a small ring of dirty head. On-tap at the Eccentric cafe in December, 2004. Smelled of smoke, obviously, but within the smoke I could pick out distinct woody and acidic smells. Malt sweet and alcohol, but I'm not finding hops. Tasted smoke, then thick malt sweet and, oddly, the smoke comes back in a refined form. The early smoke seemed more cinder and the later more peaty. I had a hard time picking out fruity flavors, as the smoke just kept rolling around. Sometimes acidic other times woody. Quite interesting. The tail end of each swallow held a fine alcohol bite in the back of the throat. Thick mouthfeel, appropriate for the style. Not a drinkable beer. After half the glass, I was wishing I had ordered the 12 oz glass rather than the 16 oz.

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Photo of CRJMellor
4.75/5  rDev +17.3%
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 tavernjef
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
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 beergeek279
4.24/5  rDev +4.7%
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 Rastacouere
3.89/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Medium brown. Off-white head. Very old-ale ish aroma, but how salty, meaty, alcoholic.. ham-like, but very sweet malt at the same time. Very surprising flavors, they work kind of well together. It’s very sweet. On the tongue, this has the same malty sweetness than an old ale, similar light earthiness, maple and toffee notes, but the difference come from the smoke of course. It’s the kind of beer that is a meal by itself, very meaty. Alcoholic finish. High carbonation, big creamy mouthfeel. Love it or hate it kind I guess, but it seems a bit underrated. Not many brewers could manage to come up with a beer like this. Cheers CaptainCougar!

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Bell's Batch 5000 from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.05 out of 5 based on 66 ratings.
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