Batch 9,000
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store

Batch 9,000Batch 9,000
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American Strong Ale
4.08 | pDev: 12.99%
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Michigan, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Batch 9,000Batch 9,000
Notes: "Black, dense, and rich, this is a great ale for the cellar."
Reviews: 542 | Ratings: 920
Photo of lurpy1
1.79/5  rDev -56.1%
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 zeledonia
4.07/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 27 Jan 2010. Batch 9000 (duh).

Comes out clear and dark brown, but turns to black in the glass, with only a little light passing through the edges. One finger of orange-hued medium-tan head. Decent retention and some solid lacing.

Smells rich, sweet, and dark. Prunes galore, and loads of other dark juicy fruit. Slightly sugary, with molasses evident. I also get a bit of bite in the back, which I think is the alcohol. Very nice. Only a hint of oxidation.

Wow, this is a brawny beer. Again the dark fruits are there, but it's a little less sweet than in the nose, with more of a licorice twang. Starts out powerfully flavorful, but that only lasts a second before the alcohol blasts through, sharp and boozy. As it warms up, I find it mellower and more balanced. But still gives me a little shudder with each sip.

Quite heavy in the mouth, almost sludgy. Carbonation is medium-low, and burns out fast - might be better with some more buzz, as all that weight just kinda sits there.

This is a really interesting beer, unlike anything else I can think of. Like a very dark, strong, English barleywine with some serious twists. I like it. But 12 oz. might even be too much for me in one sitting. The alcohol is definitely there, and only moderately disguised by the flavor.

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Photo of pschul4
3.6/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this as an extra in a trade, thanks GranvilleTim

A- Pours a cola brown with a few bubbles on the top that dissipate quickly, that immediately gives away the ABV of this brew

S- Can smell some molasses and black licorice. Sweet booze in the background

T- Lots of booze throughout the sip with the licorice and molasses as side notes. Amazingly this could use even more time in the bottle

M- Best part of the beer. Thick and coating and a lingering aftertaste

O- A huge beer which I am very grateful to have tried, not something I'll seek out again however

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Photo of xraided81
4.07/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks to badnewsbeers, sending this in a trade.
pours a rich dark brown, with a thin tan head.
smells of toasted coca nut, coca cola, chocolate, dark fruits, toasted malts.
taste is ripe dark fruit, dried black cherries, molasses, and a hint of licorice. medium bodied beer that is easy to drink likely to the +2 years of age on this bad boy.
O: this is a great bear, im not sure what kind of beer this is but it is reminiscent of a blend of imperial stout and english barleywine. very informal tic

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Photo of LevG
4.67/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown/red. Little lacing. Smells of molasses, licorice, marshmallow, and caramel. Slight carbonation. Minor notes of dark fruit and chocolate. Reminds me of a dark fruit infused chocolate from See's Candy. After taste is phenomenal. Leaves a lingering sweet molasses and licorice aftertaste. Every sip becomes more and more pleasant. Always considered it being one of my favorites.

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Photo of weizenbob
3.76/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This 12 ounce bottle was purchased at Jimmie Garrant's in Alpena, MI. It was bottled on January 27, 2010, so it is just a couple of days past its second birthday. The label indicates that Batch 9,000 is brewed with molasses and licorice. The cap came off with a nice hiss and the bottle was poured into a tulip glass at approximately 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

The beer pours pitch black with a finger tall brown head. Head retention is poor which I expected. The ABV isn't listed on the label or Bell's website but from the label description, I anticipated a bruiser. Unfortunately, high alcohol doesn't usually lend itself to head retention. A thin ring of lacing holds steady at the high water mark. Despite the lack of lasting head, this beer is impressively dark and I could stare into it for hours in search of the deep meanings of life.

The aroma is hot with alcohol. Plum and Elmers Glue bleed through the solvent burn. Faint blueberry and raisin add some needed subtlety. It is effortlessly aromatic, but unfortunately it doesn't smell all that great.

As with most barleywines/strong ales/old ales that I've sampled, Batch 9,000 tastes better than it smells. The initial impact comes courtesy of this beer's strong residual sweetness. It is as honey, and to a lesser extent, molasses. The licorice is tasted in a literal manner that manifests early and holds well into the aftertaste. Impressions of prune and raisin are strongly felt. The hopping must have been out of control because in spite of the huge sweetness and two years of age, there is still a bitter piney tinge on the back end. As tasty as it is, it comes off more like somebody's crazy, over the top homebrew, rather than a beer coming out of one of the largest craft breweries in the country. It's good, despite being one of the least impressive barleywines I've yet imbibed.

One final observation on flavor: I burped at it tasted like chocolate.

In the mouth, this is a rich dessert in a bottle. It is full-bodied with a thickness akin to maple syrup. The carbonation level is too low at this stage, and it buckles under the heavy gravity of this beer. Alcohol heat is strong enough that it borders on burning as it goes down the throat. Perhaps two years is still a bit young for this. Unfortunately the flavor at this point doesn't warrant seeking out another bottle to sit on. It's not a bad beer, and I don't regret buying it. I just don't have a desire to drink it again.


The Two-Schlitz Scale: (reference my profile for an explanation)
I don't give a Schlitz for Bell's Batch 9,000. It's okay, but I pity the fool who bought a case of these to sit on. You know he's out there.

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Photo of kawilliams81
3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a 16 oz. snifter.

A- dark brown,1 finger light tan head. Some lacing that resides quickly.

S- sweet, sweet malts, dark fruits, brown sugar

T- very sweet toasted malts. Dark fruits, vanilla and some oak. Candi sugar at the finish.

M- full body, slight syrup feel. Lower carbonation.

O- good beer. Smell immediately made me think of samichlaus, taste is slightly similar as well with more toasted malt tastes.

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Photo of syrupjoe
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoying in the comfort of home while watching the 2011 NFC championship game in OT. 12oz bottle into snifter.

Pours an extremely dark amber color with one finger creamy light brown head that sticks around for quite awhile. Big chunky particulates.

Nose is very savory, with notes of soy sauce, molasses, slight roast, extreme maltiness, and dried dark fruit.

Intensely sweet with notes of red berries, coffee roast, and savory soy flavor. Smooth, light carbonation with roasty finish that lingers.

Overall an interesting beer that offers some flavor combinations I've never tried before. Not a very well-rounded flavor profile, but a unique brew worth trying.

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Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: 1/8" mocha coloured head over cola coloured liquid.

S: Molasses, toffee malt, toasted malt, coffee malt and some yeast. It smells relatively sweet.

T: Somewhat bitter up front with molasses dominating the taste profile. Underneath the molasses; toffee malt, toasted malt and coffee malt can also be found.

M: Thick viscosity with a low level of carbonation. Despite the high alcohol content there is not much of a drying effect.

O: This is definitely a thick winter sipper, but it hides the alcohol content well. It is a good combination of bitter and sweet, and is heavily flavoured by the addition of molasses. If you have ever had molasses, then you have a pretty good idea of what this beer tastes like.

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Photo of samie85
4.55/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a pitch black with a finger of light tan head.

S- Smells of mocha, dark chocolate, rich stone fruit, with some almost bourbon-like vanillin.

T- Surprisingly drinkable with a rich dark fruitiness and dark chocolate and roasted notes with some vanilla.

M- rich and mouth-coating with a full body and low carbonation.

D- Very complex and highly drinkable with the combination of the roasted notes and dark fruit I found this one very interesting.

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Photo of xnicknj
3.72/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into tulip

Pours a deep browned color, almost black with a thick beige head. Retains nicely with film everywhere and ringed lacing on the glass.

Very rich and warm in the nose with molasses and licorice. Hints of caramel and dark chocolate. Boozy and warm with notes of burnt sugar and bready malt.

Heavy waves of malt crash upon the palate with licorice and molasses. Dark chocolate with syrupy sweetness wrap around the profile. Roasty malts with hints of bread and warmth. Slight burnt sugar and vanilla notes. Finishes with boozy heat.

Heavy body, sticky and lingering on the tongue with a syrupy consistency. This has progressed nicely over the past year or so, and while it's still pretty sweet for my tastes, it's becoming a really nice beer.

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Photo of AshleyMiller
3.11/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

thanks to pittsburghkid66 for the extra, poured into my stone snifter.

a - pours a dark viscous brown with minimal head and lacing

s - molasses and molasses. lots of heat in there too, almost too much. got some malt, brown sugar, and if you really look for it.

t - much of the same. lots of alcohol and molasses in this one. sort of an odd mix of molasses cookies dunked in alcohol. no hops, slight brown sugar.

m - pretty full-bodied with minimal carbonation. slow sipper for me.

o - not a huge fan of molasses as the star element in a beer. think this one could have used a little more carbonation. thought the heat would have mellowed by now but it hasn't. not overly impressed, but maybe that's cause it just wasn't my cup of tee.

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Photo of KAP1356
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes. 12 oz bottle poured into a Delerium Noel snifter...

A - Pours a very deep, rich looking, dark brown color. A filmy tan head forms very small and recedes to a cap. LOTS of lacing here.

S - The smell is big and in your face. Lots of licorice, burnt brown sugar, molasses, and dark fruits. Really sweet. The alcohol stands out as well since this is quite fresh.

T - Really sweet flavors or sticky molasses, dark fruits, licorice, and some burnt brown sugar. Some anise favors come out, I'm assuming from the licorice. Some chocolate peeks out adding to the sweetness. The booze is definitely noticed.

M - Thick, slightly chewey, and rich full bodied beer. The sweetness makes this one a little tough to get through, but I do have a sweet-tooth. Low carbonation.

O - Fresh it wasn't bad. But, I really think this is one that would beneft greatly from some aging in the cellar.

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Photo of Jules11788
4.39/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank this in November, so it had about a year on it. What a difference a year makes!

A: Pours a dark, cloudy reddish-brown; barely any head, very light lacing

S: Molasses, sweet wood, toffee, caramel, and malt, with some light notes of licorice in the background

T: Starts off with sweet raisins and dates, opens up along the middle to bring out some sweet maltiness, woody notes, caramel, and toffee; finishes with a nice flavor of fig-like liqueur

M: Medium-light viscosity, low carbonation, no hint of booze at all, very buttery

O: This is one of the best Strong Ale's I've ever had. We drank this side-by-side with the Batch 10,000 and agreed that this was far superior. I can't wait to get another bottle

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Photo of antoines15
2.1/5  rDev -48.5%
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 raznug
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: 9000 pours a dark red color with ½” of light brown head that dissipates quickly.
Smell: I smell sweet malt and the slightest amount of alcohol in the background.
Taste: Rather sweet tasting and the rest of the flavors kind of blend together and are rather hard to identify.
Mouthfeel: 9000 has kind of a sweet stickiness to the mouthfeel that makes it almost hard to drink.

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Photo of ckeegan04
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Black as night without any light coming through even when held up to the lamp sitting next to me. A one finger dark brown head of tight little foam bubbles sits nicely on top and lingers long after the pour.

S - Dark roasted grains and dark fruits are the big aromas right off. A hint of raisin and fig. Semisweet chocoalte comes through as the beer warms a touch.

T - Dark malts with a fair bit of roastiness. Dark fruits, brown sugar and a bit of bitter sweet chocolate. The tastes are layered togeher masterfully. This beer has done some amazing aging over the last 12 months or so.

M - Full bodied with a long lasting taste that coats the mouth. Carbonation is light to moderate.

O - I wasnt a big fan of this one when it came out but I feel that it has aged phenomenally. Certainly glad I still have a few of these sitting around.

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Photo of bound4er
3.55/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A. Nearly black appearance with a dark tan to light brown 2 finger head.

S. Sweet aroma of figs, dates, molasses, brown sugar and alcohol. Reminds me of how a good Port smells.

T. Hmmm - where to begin. Very few aroma components carry over to the palate which is a shame. Dark malt flavors lead things off. Bitter coffee infused with vanilla cream and alcohol follows. Bitter coffee hangs around on the finish.

M. This may be the heaviest feeling beer I've had. Non-existant carbonation.

O. Interesting creation that I am glad I had a chance to try. Ultimately it was a chore to drink and the alcohol was too noticeable, which really hurt its overall rating.

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Photo of welldigger888
3.19/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured an opaque black with a deep tan head that laced well.

Very sweet and boozey, not much roastiness or hop aroma.Seems almost nose hair burning on the alcohol.

Very sweet again, with a spicey character I can only assume comes from the licorice. Boozey laden sweet spicey bomb that assures a hangover.

Seems to be rather full bodied that has a cloying sweetness.

Considering the brewer I am surprised by this brew, given the price tag I am disappointed.

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Photo of beagle75
3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Opaque, dark brown color showing garnet-hued light at the edges, with a peripheral ring of mocha-tinted bubbles that also dot the interior surface of the beer. Scant lacing remains on the glass.

S: Very spirituous and vinous, suggesting cognac or dark fortified wine. Notes of oak are fairly obvious, while shoyu is buried deep.

T: Begins sweet, with chewy black-dark malt that is bitter with intense roast and modified by oak. Heavily fermented fruit is also prominent early--very dark--as is molasses that seems tied to the sweetness. Acidity opposes the lush layers of dark flavor, never intense but noticeable as a dissenting flavor quality. The middle continues to feature molasses, with an umami twist, as flavors dry out some. Flavors also seem less affected by wood as time progresses. The finish is dark, ashy, and spirituous, with bitterness that is fairly aggressive but not unusual for a beer that is on the order of magnitude of a big imperial stout.

M: Thick viscosity, syrupy and acidic on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This appears to be a blend of strong dark ales, with some bourbon or brandy barrel-aged components included. It fits well into the Bell's Batch series, appearing like a slightly less accomplished version of Batch 7000. Although this beer is not for all occasions, it compares well to De Struise's Black Damnation series.

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Photo of jlindros
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to tmoney2591, Exiled, and grub all for supplying this beer for me.

Pours a nice fluffy head that continues rising for a few seconds after the pout, but fades at a med pace, with a bit of lacing, over super dark brown almost pitch black beer.

Nose brings deep malt aromas, dark molasses, caramel, tons of syrupy malts upon more syrupy malts almost dark barleywine like levels, a bit of dark fruit with some light prune, fig, and some brandy soaked raisins. Light cocoa, nougat, roasted malts, hint of booze, then comes a bit of roasted malts with some burnt coffee bean acrid like aromas, earthy and briny smelling, even with a hint of smoke.

Taste starts with more of the briny scorched burnt roasted malt flavors, acidic and acrid at the same time, with a toxic like heavy sludge. Bitterness cuts right through it, with more of the dark malts, lots of molasses and some caramel, roasted malt flavors, etc. A hint of cocoa, followed by dark fruits again with a bit of prune and brandy soaked raisins again. The booze kicks in as well following a decent sweetness, it doesn't quite drink like 12.5% but def lets you know theres a good kick of booze. Some bitterness is there, coming with the burnt malts, but not really in form of hops, at least anymore with about 2 years on it. Finish is briny and a bit salty, earthy, charred malts with a bit acrid flavors, acidic, some warming and tingly booze, sticky and syrupy with more syrups, cocoa, molasses, etc.

Mouth is heavier bodied, decent carb and some warming slightly tingly booze.

Overall not bad, too big and heavy, too much on the burnt malt profile, bitter and acrid, tannic, mixed with the booze makes it tough to drink. Although nicer malts are there, as well as some nice dark fruits and sweetener tastes.

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Photo of MsRif
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had from a bottle, poured into a pint glass. Dark brown with a small tan head that mostly dissipates, leaving only minimal lacing. Aroma is sweet with a definite boozy smell...some dark fruit. Tastes sweet initially with undertones of cherries...bitter and strong finish. I think I tasted a bit of coffee in this one.

Medium bodied with good carbonation. You CAN taste the alcohol in this one. It's not overpowering, but I wouldn't say this is overly drinkable. Glad I got to try a bottle while I could.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Pellinore1 for sending me this one!

Pours an opaque dark brown with a 1/2 inch puffy khaki head that settles to a thin film. Thin curtains of foam form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of roasted malt, dark fruits, molasses, and some slight licorice aromas. Taste is very sweet with malt, dark fruits, molasses, licorice, and some burnt sugar flavors. A burnt bitterness lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a crisp level of carbonation with a prickly quality going down the throat. Overall, this is a good beer that is hard to pin down. It's almost stout-like but not quite. Whatever it is, the ABV makes for a slow sipper on this one.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.1/5  rDev -24%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter on 10/19/11

Much appreciation to livewire78 for this unexpected surprise; I didn't think I'd get the chance to try this one!

Mahogany brown pour; very dark brown in the glass. Sludgy residue collects at the bottom. One finger head eventually drops to an island skim and ring retention. No lace.

Strong aroma; not entirely pleasant. Heavy notes of burnt sugars and dark fruits such as prune and raisin, molasses and a hint of licorice. Alcohol is prominent and there is a nail polish remover booziness. A bit earthy at times. Faint hint of nougat.

Thankfully it doesn't taste as boozy (though the abv is definitely noticeable), but it is warming. Dark fruits, a la the nose, lend a juicy feel that I find a bit surprising. Hints of roasted cocoa amid a heaping of burnt sugars. Well, as it gets warmer, the alcohol becomes more apparent.

Pretty well full body, but it does have the aforementioned juiciness which tapers of to a subtle grittiness toward the finish. Slick. Astonishingly enough (and despite some burnt sugar lingerings), the finish isn't outrageously sweet.

Aside from nudging above my sweet and boozy threshold, this isn't too bad of a beer. Something of a mess; however, it's still better than it's next of younger kin.

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Photo of dgugliuzza
3.77/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 0z bottle into a snifter

Muddy dark brown in appearance with a thin layer of tan head. Not much retention to speak of as the head quickly fades away; however, this is not uncommon for an 18 month old high abv beer.

A blend of dark fruits and licorice followed by sweet malt. Molasses infused alcohol leaves a lasting impression. Some bitter oak also present. The aroma sure doesn't lack potency.

Wow, a burst of dark fruits and licorice followed by sticky sweet molasses. All very heavy and pronounced flavors. It's very sweet in the middle, but ends with a slow alcohol burn.

Thick and a bit oily on the tongue. Light carbonation and low creaminess. The incredible sweetness and strength make this one a sipper.

An overall fascinating beer that was clearly best suited for aging. It's very sweet, but not enough to detract from the others flavors. I would love to revisit once it hits the two year mark.

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Batch 9,000 from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 920 ratings