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

BA SCORE
88
very good
66 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score
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Bell's Batch 5000Bell's Batch 5000
BEER INFO

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

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.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
66
Reviews:
50
Avg:
4.05
pDev:
11.85%
 
 
Wants:
32
Gots:
3
For Trade:
1
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 66 |  Reviews: 50
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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Photo of ngandhi
4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
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.
ng

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Photo of Jables
4.16/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled on Feb 9, 2004

Pours a murky brown with little to no carbonation.

Aroma is smoky but really faint

Flavor is slightly sweet and bready malts. Dry fruits are strong, dried apricots and dates, Oaky Smoky finish is tell tale of the style.

Smooth syrupy mouthfeel makes you slowly savor this one.

Drinkability is hampered only by the complexity of flavor and the warming the alcohol provides over time.

I could not believe that I walked into an average bar in the interest of eating and watching the Illinois vs. Michigan State game and saw this sitting on the bottom row on the cooler. Oh sweet providence!!! Not even a beer bar and they had Bell's Winter White on Tap!!!

Thanks to Mike at the Esquire in Champaign for letting me buy one to take home to my cellar!

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Photo of GreenWBush
2.88/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

This one came to me upon rough recommendations - when I ordered it at my local, the pubkeep actually asked me if I was sure. Scary. I figured "no problem, i've been loving the hell out of the Batch 6000". My taste-buds haven't opened up to this style yet, but I figured i'd give it a fair try.

This one poured out a thick sludgy-black. There was no head to speak of, and I had to swirl and coax out enough head to even gauge its color. Once I was able to persuade it, the head was a darkish brown hue. It would go on to leave a nice lace, however.

The nose on this beer was a shocker. You first are warned by notes of alcohol and sweet-malt concealers. After that, its all smoke. Time to dive in.

This is one of those beers that macro drinkers would believe is a practical joke. Not only are the malt, hop, and alcohol tones on 11, you are instantly smacked in the face with smoke. All I could imagine was someone blowing smoke directly in the face while I was drinking. This one reminded me of my first experience with a high ABV beer - I winced on the uptake and gagged on the aftertaste.

I appreciate the attempt with this one - hugeness all around. But the smoke consistency is just too much for me. I thought i'd like it after at least appreciating Rogue's Smoke ale. I just couldn't finish it. I'll have to blame this one's low rating on my inexperience with the style, but I can't avoid the fact that I simply didn't like it.

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Photo of frank4sail
4.09/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well this is my 400th review at BeerAdvocate so I wanted to pick something interesting from the cellar and this brew is special. It was sent to me by inebrius well over a year ago and I think it is fitting I drink it for the milestone.. so thanks so much to Todd and cheers to the BA community.

Rich rounded ripe dark fruits and sweet malt in the nose with also a touch on liquid smoke. Light tan head on the pour dissapears very very fast. Murky brown/dark ruby color with tons of yeasty floaties. The taste is sweet upfront with prune and a touch of black cherry, then the brew smokes the tongue and finishes with a slight medicinal note. Very complex and it smooths around the edges as it warms in the goblet. Not the best lookin' beer you have ever seen in a goblet.. but a nice complex sipping beer. A real warming treat.. happy new year.. my opening beer for new years eve is a good one... cheers to 2004.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.32/5  rDev -18%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Presentation: 12 ouncer, long neck brown bottle. The main label is off-white with the word Bell’s atop a small metallic purple rectangle that has 3 bells pictured in it. Below a large blue bordered rectangle simply says Batch 5,000 Ale, which has the words Commemoratative Brew, beneath. No freshness date or strength listed, but there is a hand-written “1-02” in the top right hand corner of the obverse label.

Appearance: Deep chestnut color, little, if any head at first. When swirled a semblance of a thin beige collar like head forms, but soon disappears. When topped up a more passable head forms, but again, only for a short time. Looks fine, but the lack of a head detracts overall.

Nose: I was a bit worried at first, for the nose from this beer was immediately pervasive in my Apartment as soon as I opened the bottle. It had a kind of sweaty smell, an “off” aroma. But on closer examination it was a sour-smoky smell that sometimes disgusted, other times intrigued. When I concentrated on the smoky aspects it wasn’t that bad.

Taste: I used to love Walker’s Smoky-Bacon flavored Crisps (Chips!) in the UK, and this offering from Bell’s has a similar character. It reminded me very much of a Rauch-bier in style, but with added “oomph”, kind of a High Speed Turbo version of the Germanic classic. Begins with a slightly sweet malt entrance, which develops into smoky bacon, with a woody ember like ending. The finish is warming. Difficult at first, but this beer sort of grew on me after a tough start. Still, this is very much an acquired taste I feel.

Mouthfeel: It’s solid, and warming. A beer that masks its 9%ABV well, but nevertheless it has a high octane ending that kicks ass.

Drinkability: I am afraid it gains some low marks here, I struggled towards the end of this 12 ounce bottle. The smoky-bacon aspect became a little over-powering for me to finish this off with anything other than a sedate sip. An acquired taste for sure. Maybe I'm being too hard here.

Overall: Very different, a smoky-bacon beer, LOL. I found this so hard and extremely difficult to Mark and Review. Variety is the spice of life.

Thanks to top BA, BigHuge, for the tough challenge & giving me the chance to try this alternate offering.

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Photo of beerguy101
3.64/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown, muddy color. Smallish head. Aroma is smoky and woody. Big smoked flavored ale. Malts are surprisingly sweet, nutty and woody. The hops are really masked by the smokiness but they are fairly mild and piney(?) It's hard to tell. It nicely smoked and malty and hides the 9% alcohol very well. It aggressively smoked, with being over the top about it. This is NOT a beer for everyone, but it is a must try for smoked beer fans. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth, Aftertaste is slightly bitter.

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Photo of jcalabre
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Originally sampled on 7 November 2002. Break out the bratwurst, knockwurst, sausages and whatever deli meats you can find, because this beer is meant for them. The smokey flavors of this beauty will pair wonderfully w/ your deli favorites. I wish I could get it locally.

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Photo of beerluvr
4.44/5  rDev +9.6%
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 marburg
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Drinking this beer is a like smoking a hookah loaded with prune-flavored tobacco. No joke.

If you've ever smoked from a hookah (tobacco, not marijuana!), you know that you lose all the harsh craziness of cigarette smoke. I've never been a smoker, but the second-hand is enough to make sure it stays that way. Blech.

But hookah smoking is very smooth and very easy -- and is often done with flavored tobaccos. You get a definite buzz, a definite tobacco flavor, a definite smoke flavor, and a definite fruit -- whichever fruit flavor you put in the tobacco.

And this beer is so much like that. Smoky and fruity aroma with a pork-like bacon taste -- very German rauchbier in style -- with a vinous fruit taste underneath. Quite odd, really. But fun to contemplate as it rolls around on the tongue.

Honestly, I can't drink this whole thing in any sort of short sitting. This is definitely a long sippin' brew. But it's worth the sips. Cloudy, pure, unique, lingering, inspired, fun, and drinkable. Not something I'd likely drink a lot, but it has its place.

Many thanks to sakaroo for supplying my bottle!!!

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Photo of Gusler
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
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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Bell's Batch 5000 from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.05 out of 5 based on 66 ratings.
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