Bell's Batch 9000 | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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Bell's Batch 9000Bell's Batch 9000

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

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
"Black, dense, and rich, this is a great ale for the cellar."

Added by alexgash on 01-29-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 539 | Ratings: 908
Photo of Sarlacc83
1.68/5  rDev -58%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

12oz from MotoToddHead. THANKS!

A: Oily thick black with a fading mocha head. There are zero legs on this. Not even a stain.

N: All sorts of raisins, plums, black licorice, chocolate, caramel and molasses. Very, very sweet, but not as cloying as it was fresh. Some soy sauce.

T: Good god, taste is still bitter and sweet and awful. Everything clashes like someone burned a branch and then dropped it in the kettle of everything they had in the kitchen.

M: Surprisingly light for an RIS, though it?s still oily and thick.

O: What do you say about this beer? Really? It?s just a complete disaster from front to back when it gets to the lips, though I admit it smells pretty good. I really want to try the bourbon barrel version of this because it gets so highly rated and I am absolutely convinced it can?t be any good. Drainpour.

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Photo of lurpy1
1.79/5  rDev -55.3%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Even though I have a bottle at home, when this showed up on tap at Crunchy's East Lansing, I took the plunge. Let's see what I've got waiting for me at home.

The initial pour is jet black with a 1/4-finger head. Over time, though, the bear takes on red, wine-like tones and loses some of its appeal.

Now, the smell test. Uh oh. A sickly, burnt rubber sweet. There's mysterious unappealing fruit in there. Date? Prune? Malaysian Stinkfruit? We got trouble here I think.

Taste. So um yeah. Prunes it is. Nasty-ass. The saving grace is I should shit well next day. There is some licorice flavor thrown in as well. To top it all off, Bell's seems to have dumped some Mad Dog or Mogen David into the mash. Even more damning, I find that this is a beer that gets worse over time and takes on a medicinal aftertaste. I find myself taking a lot of water chasers here.

Nothing at all wrong with the mouthfeel, but the damage was done in terms of taste. Sorry maximum12, I think that spare bottle I have at home is going to the food shelf. I really didn't like this one.

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Photo of Avagadro
1.85/5  rDev -53.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

A: Deep chocolate in color with a slight hint of a head floating on top. Beer is opaque.

S: Bouquet is faint for how strong of a beer this is. Molasses, vanilla, and chocolate are all detected.

T: This is just too sweet. Overwelmingly so. There is nothing to balance out the endless sweetness in this brew. Besides the flavor of Goya Malta, vanilla, caramel, and chocolate are also present.

M: Thin and watery. No carbonation or texture.

D: I am severely dissapointed in this brew. Bell's is such a talented brewery, but really dropped the ball on this one. There was just no balance in this, just malty water.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
1.92/5  rDev -52%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

12oz into alpine pint glass.

A- Nice pour... 5-finger head, nice espresso color and a great deep brown body. Great staying power.. 5 minutes later and there's still a decent cake atop my beer.

S- Cola/root beer and carob.

T- Sweet, spicy... licorice, cola, root beer and carob/chocolate. Not the most harmonious of blends... Birch beer? Maple syrup? Aspartame? The more I sip the more I shudder. Not what I wanted or expected.

M- The flavors just aren't cutting it, aftertaste like diet soda.

D- Low, I'm cheap, I finished it, but I won't seek this one out again.. hell, I won't even try it again unless it turns into miracle booze after a few years time. Not worth seeking out.

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Photo of CashMoneyVagrant
1.93/5  rDev -51.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

This beer pours absolutely jet black in color with a cinnamon-brown/ chocolate head of foam that dies rather quickly, becoming flat and still in appearance.
Very sweet, boozy/ alcohol upfront on the nose. A little smokey, campfire-maple syrup aroma. Pine sap, I smell soy sauce, burnt brown sugar some dark fruits, black tea, j├Ąger/ licorice liquor. Aromas of molasses/ maple, licorice, sweetness and boozy/alcohol dominate anything else I'm picking up though.
The first taste hits you with sweet, malty booze. Yum. Smokey, campfire-maple syrup, pine sap, soy sauce, black licorice jellybeans. Taste just like the nose. Heavy in the mouth, cloying and sticky on the lips. It's like drinking molasses straight from the jar with a bitter black licorice aftertaste. Which is how it finishes, sweet and bitter. A shot of some unpleasant gut rot liquor comes to mind.
Having purchased two six packs of this and tasted with consistent notes every time. I'd thought maybe some good grilled beef, sampling of blue cheese or a combination
of both would help cut through this beer. I just never got interested enough to try. It's difficult to drink, even sip on. Your mouth gets fatigued and you thirst for something else, especially hoppy beers. I don't see it doing anything different with bottle age and have no desire to waste celler space. One bottle was enough, 12 was overkill even when shared. Thirdcoast, Expedition, and Consecrator are far superior beers as is Bells big, hoppy IPA's & DIPA's. It's just sweet, malt, molasses/ licorice alcohol bomb. Which isn't my idea of a good strong ale, but it's not the first time they've made beers that make you scratch your head an look for something else to drink.

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Photo of antoines15
2.1/5  rDev -47.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Liked this one alright when it came out and thought it would be good with some age on it. Boy was I wrong. I found it to be undrinkable. No discernible smells or flavors, other than sweet and boozy. Its dark, flat, and semi-viscous. Reminds me of dark lord in the worst kinda way. If you still have some, maybe sit on it for awhile longer because it is no good to you at this moment.

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Photo of alysmith4
2.19/5  rDev -45.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Wow, I must just really not like this style. Rarely do I spend $3.50 on a 12 oz. beer (to enjoy at home), but I had a few sips, let it warm, and ended up pouring it down the drain. It smelled like cough syrup, and tasted even worse. I guess I just don't like the syrupy sweet malty Old Ales. I'm such a hop fan, and this beer was like the exact opposite of that. On a more positive note, I was a really good looking beer. Nice rich black-brown color, with a beautiful, thick, light-brown head that took about 30 seconds to form after I poured it.

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Photo of cpetrone84
2.48/5  rDev -38%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

pour is almost jet black with a light brown head. Nose is a bit all over the place, dark chocolate malt, sweet dark fruits, hints of vodka, light roasty bitterness. Taste is more malt forward, syrupy dark berry and alcohol. Heat still present, overly syrupy and thick, loose carbonation and burn that lingers.

A-black color looking liquid is poured from the bottle, dark red hues shine through with light, thick bubbly dark khaki colored head

S-the nose is pretty big with aromas of oak and vanilla up front, notes of bourbon come in with some molasses and a big malt sweetness. Plums, fig, rum soaked raisin

T-the taste follows the nose and is even bigger, its huge. Oaky vanilla, bourbon, molasses, dark fruits, big sweetness comes in towards the back. Plums, figs, raisins soaked in booze.

M-smooth and thick, syrupy almost, it coats the mouth fully, slightly dry finish, and well carbonated

D-very big flavors, extremely sweet and somewhat one dimensional. Still huge, I think the cellar would do a lot for this beer.

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Photo of Cannabinaceae
2.53/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured into a brandy snifter.

This beer is dominated by molasses and licorice. It has a little bit of roasty malt in the nose, but otherwise it is thick and syrupy. This is a beer that is difficult to categorize. It has a very unique taste, and to be honest it's really not my thing. Overall, it is a very interesting beer and it is a commemorative of course so it may be worth trying, but I didn't particularly enjoy it.

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Photo of tmgiddings
2.57/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

From Crown Liquors #6 - Dear Bell's, please stop making over-hyped, overrated, overpriced beer. Body is black but transparent with a think wispy chocolate head. Aroma is molasses and licorice (Surprise!) with subtle chocolate. Taste is molasses, licorice, and alcohol. Mouthfeel is oily with some cream and alcohol warmth. Yes, this beer has a high ABV and- as far as flavor is concerned- might cellar well. However, the appearance and mouthfeel are only going to deteriorate with age. This beer is exactly what you expect when you read the label and nothing else.

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Photo of Ineedabeerhere
2.58/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Thanks to Greg for 'leasing' me this bottle, had it tonight 3.11.10. From notes.

Pours into my Bruery tulip with a half finger of tight foam after an aggressive pour. Below this tannish head sits a charred nut brown beer that looks pretty still, a dot of lace or two... some wine-like legs upon swirling.

Whoa is the first thing I think when smelling this....this is a doozy. Sweet and sugary, kind of a mess. BIG licorice and sugary molasses and other sugars. A black cherry lollipop with that manufactured fruit flavor. Something acrid without being an appealing roasted note. Plenty of booze through the back... I can tell already I'm not going to be a huge fan of this.

The taste is much of the same, very sugary and cloying. Kind of messy and a sipper for sure. Nothing about this urged me to take another sip...a little bit of a dark fruit flavor tries to save it but is just crushed by the immense sugars. I split the 12oz with another person and the remnants of the tulip are still siting in front of me almost 90 minutes later. It's very strong and warming. Low carbonation, medium-full bodied, a little oily and coating for sure.

I feel like this could definitely improve with some time, so if I come upon any other bottles, I'll be sure to lock them up until then. Also, this kind of reminded me of a really young, slightly less boozy, and thicker bodied worldwide stout. Although, I haven't had that one in a little while either...

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Photo of DefenCorps
2.59/5  rDev -35.3%
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.

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Photo of SamN
2.6/5  rDev -35%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Extra bottle in a trade from amishland. Thanks!

Pours strong and syrupy bown, sticky thick with minimal lacing. Smells strong, too; strong sugars like molasses, anise and brewer's licorice. Decent smells, very one dimensional. Tase is overburdened with the thick dark malts and brewing extras. Wine and port characteristics, condensed cruet like fruit leather, dense caramel malts and astringent alcohol. Motufeel is thick in the center but falls thinly at edges.

Also paired this with mincemeat pie, thinking it would pair well. It did not. This beer is too cloyingly sweet and with a overpoweringly strong and bittered finish. Strong alcohol there, too.

Not all big beers are quality. Bell's Batch 9000 is a prime example. Too much, too too much.

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Photo of mcgwire756
2.76/5  rDev -31%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Poured from a bottle into a tulip.

I had high expectations for this beer given the reviews.

Pours an opaque black with a small head that disappears quickly. What I didn't like about this beer, is that there is no lacing at all. It looks like dark black motor oil. And not in a good way like some stouts. The smell is complex with molasses and a lot of licorice. The taste to me is a pure licorice bomb. Now I am not a huge fan of licorice, but when there are some beers out there that incorporate it so perfectly this was very disappointing. Just way too much of it. The mouthfeel was slick and smooth but did not make up for the taste. I will not be going back to this one. Just too much of one dominating flavor and it just did not do it for me. I will give 10,000 a try, but I wll temper my expectations.

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Photo of zeff80
2.77/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A - Poured out a dark brown almost black color with a small, light brown head of sudsy foam. It left minimal lace.

S - It smelled of black licorice, chocolate, booze and grassy notes.
At times there were soy sauce-like aromas.

T - This beer packs some heat with a boozy strength. Sweet roasted malt flavors with notes of licorice and dark chocolate. However, a soy sauce taste emerges time and time again.

M - It was smooth and a little creamy. A medium to full bodied beer.

D - I've finished off my six-pack and each time has been a different experience including two that just wasn't good. The last was brutal.

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Photo of bigfnjoe
2.82/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A- Pours nearly black with a one finger beige head. Almost looks like a stout, despite the tint of red in it.

S- Very strong alcoholic smell, with a scent of dark cherries in there as well.

T- The alcohol is what comes through first and foremost. I get some cherries...but mostly just alcohol. Yeah...not too pleasant

M- My mouth is almost burning. Too strong

D- Not a huge fan. I can deal with strong beers just fine, but this one...all I'm getting is alcohol.

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Photo of alleykatking
2.83/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz bottle. Review from notes.

A- Poured a motor oil black color. Little dirty white head that goes away almost as fast as it appears. No lacing but has good legs to it.

S- Very sweet on the nose. Some dark fruits are apparent but that gets washed way by a chocolate aroma and tons of alcohol. Some light vanilla barely coming into play..almost not even worth mentioning.

T- Very sweet in the mouth. Big chocolate taste that is overwhelmingly so. Some light vanilla and caramel in the middle and backing. Big alcohol in the ending. Actually made me cringe the first sip of the beer. Oh well can't have it all.

M- Heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style I suppose. Tons of sweet chocolate malts coat the palate and well....just the inside of the mouth. Alcohol heat in the aftertaste with some light darker fruits. Flavor was one sided and not very clean. Very drying on the palate.

M- Not very drinkable like I would like. I had trouble drinking what I did have. Overall, I think this beer is still too young and needs at least another year before I try it again.

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Photo of illidurit
2.92/5  rDev -27%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle courtesy iceicebaby. Pours a medium-dark brown with a light tan head. Huge brown sugar aroma with boozy raisins and chocolate. Like some sort of outrageous rum cookie or something. Syrupy raisiny flavor, plenty of booze, cloyingly sweet. I don't dislike the flavor, but I couldn't possibly drink more than a sample without developing diabetes. Thick and messy. Hey maybe by the time Batch 10000 comes out this will be drinkable.

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Photo of zoolzoo
2.93/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A: Pours a deep shade of brown, off white head. Looks like a stout, actually.

S: Sugar and booze. Having trouble picking out anything presice about the aroma.

T: Cola! More Pepsi like in taste than any beer I have ever had....yet somehow twice as sweet. Maybe a little...vanilla in there? I dont know, this is basically a sugar bomb to me. Alcohol is warming, but more masked than in the nose.

M: Mouthfeel is on the mark. Thick, moderate carbonation.

D: Drinkability suffers quite a bit due to overall gravity. So sweet, not many complexities, think alcoholic cola.

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Photo of JohnQVegas
2.94/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle into Bruery tulip, with a special thank you to Blake at Chuck's in Bowling Green.

Pours deep black, with a thin, almost instantly-disappearing tan head, and little in the way of lacing. A bit below average, with a bump to compensate for the 20%

Nose is starts out with a big smack of licorice, with a sharp roasty kick hitting you almost instantly thereafter, along with some burnt sugar. Nice bit of boozey alcohol in there as well.

Taste brings in more of the big (nay, massive) licorice notes, loads of dark fruit, burnt sugar all over. Big alcohol burn as well, bites at the back of your throat. Hmmm. It would seem the Strong Ale categorization is particularly apt, because this is far from any Imperial Stout I've ever had. Finish is long, burnt, charred and sugary, deeply saturated wit licorice. This is kind of a a one trick pony; I'm not getting anything but the burnt sugar/licorice/alcohol part of this one running rampant.

Mouthfeel is slick, medium bodied, thinner than preferred, with the burnt character lingering and lending a bit of acidity. Carbonation is a bit sharp as well, even if there's less of it than I'd like.

Drinkability is, as expected from the previous categories, not great - burnt and bordering on acrid, way too much licorice, mouthfeel not very appealing either. All in all, not what I'd call a rousing success.

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Photo of CaptainTripps
2.98/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12oz Bottle Poured into a tulip

A: Pretty dark pour, can see light coming through the edges. Lively mocha head, poured a fingers worth of head, good amount of lacing.

S: Sweet raisins, figs and plums. Small amounts of roasted malt character are present but very faint.

T: Sweet figs and raisins dominate up front with anise in the middle and a bittery finish. Very interesting taste that really works out your palate. One of the most complex tasting things to ever hit my mouth.

M- Fairly thick and full bodied. Carbonation is good with a very smooth mouthfeel. Alcohol well hidden.

D- Awful, this thing is a mouth work out that can be tiresome to drink after 6 ounces. Too complex to tackle on a daily basis.

Very interesting beer, first from Bells. Hope they have better, which Im sure they do, this was to say the least, very interesting.

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Photo of berkey
3/5  rDev -25%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

12 oz bottle sampled from my tulip glass 10/03/10. I understand these are good to age but I've received a couple as extras now so I thought I'd give one a try tonight.

Body of this brew is extremely dark brown in color, essentially black. A small mocha head forms and recedes fairly quickly. Fine carbonation is easily visible when held to light and a fair amount of sediment settles to the bottom of the glass.

Aroma leads off with strong chocolate notes followed by molasses. It's clear there's more in there including a hard to pin down fruitiness but it's mostly lost behind the primary chocolate and molasses characteristics. Very sweet but not unpleasantly so.

First sip and this begins to lean toward cloying. Molasses flavor stays at the forefront as it was on the aroma and is backed by a roasted malt character. Anise flavors I expected to pick up from the licorice finally make an appearance in the aftertaste. Cutting through it all is a booze flavor that may be a little too strong for it's own good.

Drinkabilty is where things start to fall apart for me on this beer. The intense booze and uneven flavor profile really make this feel like a chore at only a few ounces in. I'll come back to this in a few years but right now I'm underwhelmed.

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Photo of treyrab
3/5  rDev -25%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Had this on tap a few times and out of the bottle. This review is from the tap.

A: Pours a nice dark brown with a decent tan head. Some nice crimson and mahogany hues. Very clear and pretty good looking.

S: Smell is very intense. Tons of licorice (and I mean TONS), some maple syrup, toffee, corn syrup, licorice Twizzlers, and some chocolate. Very intense.

T: Whoa. A train wreck in the mouth. The taste is everywhere with liquefied licorice twizzlers, maple syrup, chocolate, brewer's licorice, and licorice. Damn, this is not working.

M/D: Mouthfeel is fine. Drinkability is low due to the flavors just clashing. Can only have a few sips.

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Photo of Jayli
3.06/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Acquired this from GbvDave so a big THANK YOU goes out to him!
Consumed 7/11

A: This beer pours a deep dark chocolate brown with a one finger of creamy khaki colored head. Head recedes rapidly leaving no lacing on the glass.

S: Nose is quite boozy, semi-sweet caramel malts, molasses and dark fruits - raisin and date.

T: Taste starts off with a slap of booziness. Zoinks. About halfway through the bottle, you acclimate to the booziness and raisin and caramel malt sweetness come through. The finish is continued molasses sweetness.

M: Full body, medium carbonation, thick creamy body.

D: This one does not go down easily, big kick, the alcohol on this is just too sharp and not well blended. Aging may help.

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Photo of ndekke39
3.08/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Excited to try a bottle of this. Obviously from Batch 9000. Decanted into a pint glass. It's a very dark ruby red with a small white head. Not much retention. Smell is super sweet off the get-go: it's a thick, syrupy-sweet aroma - dominates everything else. Taste is even more so - really unbalanced on the sweet side. Heavy, molasses sweet. It's so sweet that it almost gets bitter at the end. Mouthfeel is fairly thick, goes with the heavy sweetness. Perhaps this beer would do better if it aged a little bit. Otherwise the sweetness overpowers everything and takes away from its drinkability.

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Bell's Batch 9000 from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4 out of 5 based on 908 ratings.
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