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 argock
4.04/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear glass snifter at cellar temp. No freshness date but batch 9000 marked on back label. Purchased as 6-pack at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $18.49.

A: Very dark brown with burgundy highlights and soft, short-lived beige head with no lacing.

S: Toasted grain aroma with sharp alcohol and lots of sweet chocolate, licorice, and molasses, with molasses the most prominent of the three. There are also plenty of dark fruit aromas.

T: Flavor is very sweet as the sugars dominate this strong ale. This beer does not strike me as an imperial stout -- it is way too sugary and not roasted and dark enough to meet the RIS category. Calling this an RIS is like calling Arrogant Bastard a DIPA - it has qualities but not enough of the right ones. Maybe you could call it an imperial milk/sweet stout. It is still delicious with abundant raisin, candied fig, and roasted malt and lactose sugars. Chocolate and coffee make their appearances, but the mildly acrid but syrupy molasses component is most tongue-catching. The licorice is not as strong as in the aroma. The hops are light but herbal in nature.

M: It is a very sticky brew, but not all that thick and viscous, yet another reason that it fits best in the American strong ale style. Body is medium with a strong roasted barley and molasses aftertaste. The strong alcohol in the nose is a nice complement to the licorice, molasses, and roasted malt sweetness.

D: A really good brew from Bell's that pushes the boundaries of sweet with very good success. Surprisingly drinkable at 12.5% but more than one would be a challenge. It will be interesting to see how the other 11 hold up over the next 4-5 years.

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Photo of THORN
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 Fl. Oz. bottle poured into pint glass. Served 55-60 F.
A: Dark. Cannot see through dark. Pours inch of brownish head. Very very frothy. Thick blotchy lace is left around pint.
S: Chocolate, molasses, and a strong ferric aroma.
T: Chocolate, molasses, and ferric taste. Yes, the same, but more. The chocolate is very very sweet more towards the milky side. Dark roasted malts are faint. A bit of bitter hops hits after body. Dark dried fruits. Licorice is faint, but noticeable.
M: Medium to heavy on tongue. Syrupy and slightly warming.
D: Big big body. Well balanced. Very impressive that so many flavors can appear but blend well.

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Photo of JToad
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Hopcat. Imperial Stout my ass! This is more of a barleywine or Strong Ale. I noticed very few stout characteristics.

Dark very opaque. Looks like a stout upon first glance, but then u dig deeper.

Smells of molasses and licorice. Dark fruit undertones.

Tastes sweet, notice the licorice right away. A little alchohol burn, but pretty tame. Very rich and complex beer.

Thick and syrupy, tastes just like Samichlaus Helles in my opinion. Which isnt a bad thing, one of my favs. Just not what I expected.

All in all, a great beer. If you go into it with an open mind, you will love it. But if you are expecting an Impy Stout, you will be confused and dissapointed.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.56/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

So this beer exists after all. 12 oz bottle poured into a snifter. Not like this beer has been hyped or anything; just a little hard to review this from a clean slate.

Pours a clear cola color, not particularly thick of viscous as it fills the glass. Liquid settles in what appears a black, but against light is a deep chocolate brown with hints of burgundy at the edges. Initially produces a thick tan head of tiny bubbles. Head fades to a thin ring with some intense lacing. Aroma is very sweet and roasted, strong notes of anise and licorice, with an almost peat like presence in the background. Very little alcohol present. Not entirely appealing or complex aroma at this stage. First sips of this are very off-putting. Initially very sweet, licorice with dark fruit, and boozy finish. Clearly this will be a sipper. As this warms up and the palate acclimates to the sweetness this becomes more pleasant. The sweetness remains in the start, with a body of light roasted malt and molasses before a rich chocolate and toffee flavor balances the licorice sweet in the finish. Body is a little thinner than expected, with very light carbonation. Not much alcohol burn in the flavor, but very hot and warming in your chest and the flavors linger well after the sip. This will most likely be a divisive beer given the year or so most have been waiting for this, the expectations from Batch 7000 and the moderately unique (sweet) flavor profile. I much more excited to try this beer in a few months and few years than I am to drink another that soon.

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Photo of jjanega08
3.17/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A= pours a super syrupy black color. When held up to the light you can see through it an it is a very dark brown color but in the glass it's black. The head almost is non-existent. This was a flat looking pour. No whisp when the cap came off and it too some rigorous pouring to get a thin skin on top of the head. The skin falls and leaves nothing but a super this syrupy beer. This may be the most viscous looking beer I've ever seen...gelatine.

S= Hot! This beer needs a lot of age on it. This baby is rocket fuel hot right now. Every drop of the 12.5% alcohol is present and screaming as I dip my nose in. Other than the heat I get some liqorice but not much. Alcohol is so light and pungent that it just takes over the nose.

T= Not as hot as the smell leads on to believe. This one has a lot of rasins in it and dark fruit. There's some liqorice in it and some but not much chocolate and roasty malts. Super sweet.

M= Thick Viscous coating syrupy and flat are the words to describe this one. The thickest most viscous thing I've ever had. Tastes like it could solidify if I put it in the fridge a little longer.

D= Well... I thought it beer would be horrible fresh. It wasn't as bad as I thought but it was lacking in the carbonation area. Some age on this one and it will be world class but it is way way way to young right now. I just can't hold this beer up to the hype it has recieved yet. In three years come back to this one and I bet it will be a whole new beast and a much more complex smooth drink after all it's not gonna loose any carbonation in that time.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.18/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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

a - Pours a very dark brown that shows only against light, with about half an inch of brownish head and moderate carbonation.

s - Smells of sweet malts, dark fruits, chocolate, and licorice. Very interesting.

t - Tastes strongly of alocohol and licorice. Also tastes of sweet malts, molasses, and hints of fruit. Again, rather unique but very alcoholic.

m - Sweet yet dominated by alcohol. Full bodied with moderate carbonation.

d - Not really sure what to make of this one. It smelled and tasted stongly of licorice and alcohol, making an interesting mix. I think for now it's too hot and could benefit from some time in the cellar. I'll be putting the other 5 bottles in the cellar and sitting on them for a while, which I would suggest.

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Photo of enfield249
4.82/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark, Dark mahogany-red-brown with ruby highlights in the corners. Slight head of espresso colored foam.

S - Bang! Dark fruit, plums, prunes, a little chocolate. Smells like a pound cake.

T - Wow! Sweet, sweet sweet. Again with dark fruits, chocolate, maltiness. A little coffee, but that is way back there. Slight bitterness, I would guess from grains and not from hops.

M - Full-Full, cloying. Not hot with alcohol however.

D - I'm giving this because, against the wishes of my medical team, I could drink this beer a lot. Well brought, I can't wait to see batch 10k!

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Photo of jrallen34
3.31/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I drank this from a 12oz bottle into an Orval glass.

The beer pours a light black with a medium tan head rising about a finger. OK lacing and retention.

The aroma is very srupy, lots of dark fruit, molasses, and black licorice. I am not a licorice fan at all so this was a big turn off to me because it was fairl prominent.

The taste starts out with some dark fruit but then it goes to finishes with all black licorice and a poorly masked grain alcohol. This is very off putting and hurts the drinkability.

The feel is on the watery side and warm with lots of alcohol.

Overall, I was pretty disappointed. There was way too much alcohol and a terrible dominating black licorice taste.

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Photo of GRPunk
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle (batch #9000 who'd have guessed?) poured into a tulip glass.

A- A normal pour led to a rush of carbonation that created a 1 finger, brown head that fell to a full, thin foam that left great, sticky rings on the glass. The body was nearly jet black with deep brown edges.

S- It had a great mix. I got some stewed raisin aroma up front. There was a rich, grainy backbone like roasted coffee that gave a touch of smoke. There was also a sweet, maple-like aroma with something I'd attribute to the addition of licorice (it was interesting, but hard to place). Some grassy hops pull all of the sweeter scents together.

T- It was very flavorful. There was the sweet, raisiny flavor mentioned in the smell along with the usual suspects (coffee and chocolate). The alcohol is well hidden, and comes off as more of a mouthfeel sensation than a flavor. Everything ends up in a dry, roasty finish.

M- There was moderate carbonation and it was fairly viscus. It had a warm, alcohol sensation that wasn't overbearing.

D- It was a nice evening drinker on a cold night. Things were a bit on the sweet side. I'd like to put some age on a couple of bottles and see if the sweetness mellows.

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Photo of Mdog
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black, small fading head.

Smell: Anise/black licorice, some sweetness.

Taste: Molasses/BBQ sweetness, black licorice, dark fruits, then dark chocolate in the finish. Quite sweet.

Mouthfeel: Pretty thick feeling.

Drinkability: Definite sipper, sweetness slows me down which is good considering the strength.

After months of waiting, batch 9000 has finally arrived. I thought it would be a little more similar to batch 7000, but 9000 is definitely its own animal. I haven't had a beer with as much black licorice flavor as this. It's not jagermeister, but there's some similarities in the flavor. We'll see how this changes over time.

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Photo of bsp77
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Exceedingly dark mahogany brown with almost no head and spotty lacing.

Smell: Soy sauce, molasses, alcohol, licorice, and a slight mustiness.

Taste: Sweet molasses, licorice, soy sauce, wood, roasted barley and light coffee. While this is pretty good overall, I really expected to enjoy the taste a lot more than I do.

Feel: Moderately low carbonation, surprisingly not full-bodied, maybe slightly cloying. Edit: Smoother after one year.

Drinkability: The alcohol is not very noticeable at all, making this very easy to sip. However, the flavors are a little too sweet and soy-like for me. Let's see what a year in the cellar does.

Edit: After almost a year in the cellar, almost everything I said is still true but I somehow like it more. Still strangely salty but more enjoyable. Scores adjusted accordingly since this was meant to be cellared.

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Photo of maximum12
4.69/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a six-pack of this highly anticipated brew at Cork & Barrel, a place I'd never stopped in at. Nice plce. Picked up some HopSlam as long as I was at it.

Not sure how this could live up to the hype, but the odor is a good place to start. Stunningly rich, the molasses & licorice & sweet malt come blazing out of the pint glass. Wow. One of the best smelling brews, ever.

Batch 9000 is a phenom of a brew. It breaks the mold of where the big stout is heading & jams it up...well, it's breaks it. Sweetness breaks out all over the happy place. I'm a huge fan of locally tapped maple syrup, & the molasses in this just kicks ass. The licorice is present & accounted for too, taming some of the molasses & malt kick & smoothing it to a tolerable level of tooth-melting sugar. There might be a touch of hop in here, just at the end, and dark fruits as well.

Thick would be an understatement. This is slow-poured, left-too-long-in-the-freezer thick. Little carbonation, which is just fine. Drinkability? Well, it's frickin' delicious, so I'd love to have three, but I don't like falling down, so maybe just two.

This is a big, adrenaline-laced, intimidation of a beer. Bell's does it again. What is it about the water in this neck of the woods that creates such fantastic brews?

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a very dark espresso with a nice tan head that really comes alive with some agitation. Nice legs as it goes down, especially for a beer of this abv.

S: At this point, a little bit rough around the edges. The initial whiff isn't super-appetizing, but leads into some oak, anise, toffee, and port notes.

T: Lots of the port components coming together for a sweet brew that is balanced by the alcohol without ever really feeling hot. Also coming through is some chocolate, anise, wood, and a bit of leather. This one is quite complex and I'm sure will only get much better with age.

M: Quite lush without being overly boozy like I feared it might have been. Actually, the alcohol contributes a really nice component alongside the anise flavors. Ample carbonation for the style and a nice, smooth aftertaste.

D: High up there. Definitely one of the best imperial stouts that I've had in a while.

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Photo of jt31914
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Small amount of head with very dark black color.

S: Straight licorice and alcohol like a stronger more even version of expedition stout.

T: Creamy licorice and alcohol flavors - the licorice more on the palate and the alcohol/creaminess on finish; also some chocolate notes to the beer.

M: Smooth, warm, and welcoming.

D: Pretty drinkable for the style, I liked this beer pretty well.

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Photo of Buebie
4.56/5  rDev +14%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured at 50 degrees from a brown bottle into an oversized tulip. Producing an inch of tan head, very quickly receding, leaving an island of bubbles and quite thin collar.
Black in color with no light penetration.

Aroma has some mild heat to it, amazingly low too for the higher abv. Brewers licorice is coming forward strongly, but mixing it up with chocolate grains and dark fruit. A touch of black treacle aroma too, I'm not sure if the treacle is the molasses and that mayb e I'm confusing the two.
Slightly reminiscent of Anchors special Christmas ale with an aroma resembling Worcestershire sauce. Although this is much more sweet and complex then anchors.

My response at first sip; "Whoa". This is amazing!

Pretty sweet, masking any alcohol, creating a dangerous brew, although some warming down the esophagus, not boozy or hot one bit.
Sweet upfront, with loads of malt backing dark fruit, a touch of woodyness, chocolate, licorice, and man these dark fruits coming through are just intense and delicious. Mild hop bitters into the finish, lingering with sweetness, chocolate and warmth in the mouth.

Mouthfeel is slick and syrup like with mild carbonation presence, although not flat by any means. Smooth, low carbonation and sticky syrup heaviness.

I am so glad I scoured the metro over the last few days. I was content with the two bottles I picked up, but decided to check one more place today and found a 6 pack, their last 6 pack. Sooo glad I did. Lets see what ten years does to this.

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Photo of cpmichael
4.02/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottled poured into a Stone Russian Imperial Stout snifter.

A: Relatively thinner than I was expecting. Never having the Batch 7000, I was assuming something more akin to the Expedition Stout in thickness, but this is way thinner than that.

S: Immediately you are able to smell the licorice, along with other spices and maybe a hint of raisins/prunes.

T: Hints of molasses give way to the presence of licorice. An overall sweet taste. Very pleasant.

M: Much lighter than expected from a amped-up stout.

D: Highly drinkable, It's not a "meal in a bottle," and I could easily have a few of these throughout the night.

I'm very happy to have 3 sixers of the 9000 and will look forward to keeping some for the future to see if it changes.

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Photo of hoppough
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a very rich black color with a tan creamy head.
S- The molasses and alcohol really dominate the smell with a hint of raisins and apple in there too.
T- Comes on fruity and raisiny and finishes with a burst of molasses black licorice and alcohol all together and not in a bad way by any means. This is a really delicious, complex, and well put together beer.
M- Not as creamy as it's appearance but not at all light in body. It feels to be perfectly carbonated.
D- Very drinkable and highly recommended. This kind of beer isn't meant to be drank in excess but is designed to be savored and enjoyed as a nightcap or after a hard days work.

Overall i would say this is one of the best if not the best Bell's brew i've had. After drinking one i can foresee myself buying more and letting them age a bit. A beer this big and complex could offer even more flavor in time.

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Photo of WYVYRN527
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Just Came in today. I had to try it.

A: Black in color with a thick tan head. For it's high ABV, the head retention and lacing are phenomenal.

S: This beer has more going on in the nose than other imperial stouts. Aromas of raisin, licorice, molasses, and fig, with a slight spicy hop profile lingering behind.

T: Like the smell, but much, much more. Dried fruit, raisin, anise, chocolate, fig, along with some spice dominate the palate. Alcohol is present too, but not off-putting. Finish is drying, and the flavors stick around.

M: Full-bodied and viscous, yet just a tad thin for what I was expecting. Has a very silky texture as well.

D: For how intense this beer is, the 9000 is one of a kind. Dark and complex in both aroma and flavor, it was well worth the wait for this stunning release.

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Photo of LestatSabastian
4.52/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beers was very nice it had a very dark black appearance with the top a brown hue. The smell was awesome very nice licorice anise smell. taste of very little licorice but true in nature to its full molasses taste and some carbonation and mildly creamy.
Mouth feel was a little thin for a stout but the drink ability was great a dessert in a bottle loved it. all in all great beer get you hands on one if you can.

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Photo of khumbard
4.42/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've been waiting for this one for a while. This was a very solid stout. Pours a little thinner, and not quite as black as expected. Nose is great, big time stout smell... roasty, licorice, prunes, a little bit of chocolate. Taste follows suit. This is very good, but I'm going to wait on the rest of mine for quite a while. This will be VERY good after a year.

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Photo of TCgoalie
4.63/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Well the pour is nothing to be excited about. If I came upon this snifter not knowing what it was, I would think it was cold coffee. No Carbonation, hardly any head at all.

So much brown sugar, raisins in the nose. There is almost some pine resin smell. Very interesting and tells that this beer is complex.

There is a lot of sweet in the taste. At first, I can tell the presence of brown sugar, vanilla, raisins, molasses. At the end, there is a big hit of sweet fruit like a plum. Very subtle hints of bourbon round out a very interesting brew. I feel like this is the front and end of an imperial stout with a sweet and interesting middle. Very unique and a whole lot of flavors!

This is a thick beer, as to be expected at 12.5% (didn't know this upon trying it). There is a hint of dryness and some stickiness. The sweetness helps round out the feel.

Give me one of these, not two please. I will sip this for an hour. Let it warm me for the evening.

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Photo of sculls65
4.62/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown..i pick up a deep red hue when held up to light. A nice tan head fading to bubbly film and eventually the ring around the glass. Smell is of dark fruits..not sure if its cherries or not but thats what i keep thinking,malts, hops? licorice, and theres some alcohol there. First taste is really sweet...again i think dark carmelized cherries..then you get that burst of licorice..followed by a nice warm finish. Mouthfeel is nice..its thick but not really syrupy or crude oilish if you will. Drinkablility is wonderful but 1 maybe 2 is probably max for me, which is fine seeing as im only going to get this 1 6 pack.

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Photo of biggred1
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark ebony with a thick chocolate milkshake head with big airy bubbles lazily popping on the surface and leaving soapy lace on the glass. Dark, roasty and rich aromas of dark rum, black strap molasses and anise. Wow, great concentration of flavors. Dark roasted malt and mascerated raisin with black licorice and vanilla bean. Full bodied and sticky with mild carbonation. Drinking big and powerful now, check back in one year.

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Photo of jera1350
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours into a Darkness Snifter a pure black color with a tan head of foam that reduces quickly but leaves quite a bit of lace.

Powerful scent. Blackstrap molasses, raisin, cream and a smell that reminds me of SA Triple Bock- soy sauce! Dear god, no.

Wow, this is a sweet one. Loads of molasses, caramelized sugar, raisin concentrate and I'm still getting a hint of salty soy sauce. The soy sauce isn't at the level of TB, but it's noticeable. Powerful flavor none the less. I think the only sweeter IS I've had is Dark Lord. The sweetness lingers along with a bit of bitter hops.

Big bodied, but not syrupy in any way. Very smooth with light and soft carbonation. Finish is dry.

Absolute sipper of a beer, but not because of the alcohol. The alcohol is very well hidden, but the sweetness of 9000 makes you take your time. Really looking forward to this one over the next couple of years.

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Photo of beerman207
4.74/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured this into a pint glass and found that the brown head didn't last long but left a nice skim behind. The appearance is a very dark brown that allows a very faint amount of light through.

S: The nose is quite interesting. I smell the licorice and some dark fruit as well as some smoke and a bit of booze in the background. Wow. I could smell this one all day.

T: Taste makes for one of the most interesting beers I've had recently. At first you're hit with some sweetness that hits from the mollases, then all of a sudden you notice the licorice which then leads to some bitterness and the finish is a beautiful warming sensation that leaves my tongue tingling. Fantastic.

M: As brought up by another reviewer, I was hoping this would be a bit thicker but it isn't thin by my account just thinner than I believe should be appropriate for the style. The mouthfeel is medium carbonation and the palate is left a bit dry in the finish

D: For how high the ABV is of this the alcohol is very well masked. I'm looking forward to finding out what some aging will do for this beer. Fresh is fantastic, I'm thinking some aging will make this simply amazing. Wonderful offering from Bell's!

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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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