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

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Bell's Batch 9000Bell's Batch 9000
912 Ratings
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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 912 |  Reviews: 539
Photo of EgadBananas
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to JJFoodie for this!

Pours a super dark red, nearly brown/black with a nice mocha-like head of about a finger.

Booze, dark fruits, chocolate, big malts, sweetness.

Predominantly dark and fruity, some chocolate comes through, and a boatload of malt sweetness. Some alcohol, but it's played off well.

The feel is creamy, full, and slightly coating. Feels very nice on the palate.

Though the alcohol is hidden well for what it is, this is still a big boy and you can tell. There's a lot going on and 1 satisfies.

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Photo of deebo
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Very dark with thick tan head-lace hangs on throughout
S-Strong vanilla bourbon notes dominate
T-Dominant toasted malt with brown nutty (chestnut) notes. Strong vanilla bourbon with heavy malt flavor
M-Very creamy
D-A sipper, but very enjoyable-fantastic. Excellent overall

The above was a review on tap when this beer first came out. Revisiting this beer with the last 12 oz bottle I was able to snag. This beer is still quite a bit like the previous notes. The big difference is the toasted nutty flavor has been replaced with more sweetness. The bourbon vanilla flavor is still quite strong. I get some chocolate cherry quality as well now. Still very, very smooth with the alcohol vapor squashed. Damn-this is tasty. WishI had more of these. I will miss you batch 9000. How about Bells make 12000=9000-that would be sweet. I think with 5 yrs of age on it I'd say it's definitely on the sweet side but I'd score this about a 4.5/5. Nice!!!

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Photo of Urbancaver
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pitch black with almost no head. Thick and syrupy. Smells Licoricy and malty. Tons of sweetness on the nose. The Licorice overpowers the smell and taste. Molasses and syrupy sweetness on the tongue. Lots of malt hits hard. Thick and low carbonation on the tongue. Drinkablility suffers from teh strength of licoriceness but overall a tasty brew for someone who likes anise!

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Photo of mcgwire756
2.76/5  rDev -31.5%
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 abrand
4.02/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

6 ounce pour into a pint glass

This pours a deep cola brown color, not completely opaque. Quick fading tan fizzy head. Aroma consists of plums, raisins, sugar sweetness, and a huge malt backbone. Plenty of alcohol also comes through the nose. Taste is super complex. Really sweet molasses with a warming alcohol finish. Sweet fruits and raisins also on the palate. Aftertaste is all alcohol. Mouthfeel is sticky and medium bodied. Drinkability is fairly high. A really good tasting brew but I just think it is still too hot. I think this one will age for a long time.

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Photo of CHSLBrew
3.92/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

A-Black-hole of a beer, topped with a big, brown head which lasted for a brief moment.

S-Brown sugar, molasses, prunes, booziness mixed with roasted malts.

T-A dark malt bomb, with notes of dark fruit mixed with licorice and alcohol. Some roast astringency. Tastes just like it looks: immense.

M-Medium-heavy body, which was a bit surprising. Carbonation was medium-low, just enough to tickly my taste buds.

D-This is an immense beer, surely capable of holding a little age. Complex in flavor profile and not for the faint of heart. Kristina gave a slight grimace after her sip.

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Photo of CruisaC
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Many thanks to ericfb18 for this generous extra.

pours a deep, deep brown, almost black. Reminds me right off the bat of a stout but I turn out to be misled a bit

Smells of raisins and sweet grapes and chocolate malts. No hops present on the initial nose.

Taste follows with sweet dark raisins followed by dark chocolate. Very sweet overall. Maybe a touch of licorice towards the end.

Silky mouthfeel follows what I expect from the taste and smell.

Since I have only 2 bottles I don't expect drinkability to be sky-high. It is tasty and I am impressed. A nice "every once in a while" type beer as well with the ABV.

Overall I like it better than Batch 10000

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Photo of cetherid
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured into a tulip


this beer pours an extremely dark brown that looks black once in the glass. A small light brown head that dissipates rather quickly.


Deep/dark malt aromas with this beer. I'm getting dark sweet malts, some molasses, slight smokiness and leather aromas... and a definite booze presence in here.


very sweet malts and very boozy. You can definitely tell this is well above 10% ABV. As I drink this, I'm thinking about chocolate covered raisins that have been sprinkled with brown sugar.. Perhaps a hint of licorice in here as well. This is a big beer, both in flavor and ABV. Very rich and flavorful!


very full bodied. A thick/rich beer that leaves a nice thick/sweet coating in the mouth. Perfect carbonation for this type of beer.


considering the price and the availability (10,000 has already came out and is hard to come by), plus the fact its such a big beer, I can't rank this too high. The is an amazing brew, but definitely a sipper. A 6 pack would last me awhile. Such a damned good beer though!

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Photo of billab914
3.77/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. it poured dark brown in color, with a thin but bubbly lacing scattered around the top of the beer. A thin tan ring remained at the edges of the glass, but left little lacing as I drank it.

The aroma shows some dark chocolate, tobacco, leather and a bit of a dark fruit, cherry like flavor. The chocolate and cherry combo definitely reminds me of the 7,000 I had last night. It's a little boozier though with a little more of a raisin or plum like dark fruit flavor. Pretty nice aroma to it overall though.

The taste shows a lot of the dark fruits to it throughout the beer. I get a moderate cherry flavor, but more of a raisin, fig or plum like sweetness overall. In the finish I get some of the tobacco and leather like flavors, with a hint of a coffee like roastiness.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and carbonation is moderate. It felt pretty thin for the style overall. Drinkability is pretty good, it definitely had a ton of flavors going on. Overall my criticisms were that it felt a little light, a little boozy and a little sweet at times. Those are things I didn't feel about the 7000. it was still a very good beer, but fell short of an exceptional one for me.

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Photo of cameraman
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a black opaque color, with a beige to caramel colored head settles on top at an eighth of an inch high, dissolving away quickly. A chocolate fragrnce at first scent, with sugary sweet scent with touches of dried fruit. The malt flavor is striking on the palate, bringing sweetness with the added touch of molasses. Then blending to a dried fruit flavor and finishing with a tartness and a twang of alcohol. A medium heavy feel, with a touch of booziness, the backend is a touch dry but not over bearing. This is a strong stout with a sweet flavor and dark color, with a fragrant aroma makes this a one time to try beer.

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Photo of silentjay
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours dark, thick black with a khaki head that barely raises to two-fingers, settles at about 1cm and sticks there for a while. some lacing left behind.

molasses and licorice are definitely apparent in this one, with plenty of booze, roasted malts, and some dark fruits.

taste reminds me of an old ale mixed with a stout, but mostly the old ale. fruity, leather, sweet, a bit bitter, heavily roasted, with a licorice and booze kick on the swallow. a molasses/brown sugar sweetness lingers after that, as well as a bit of burning, even after 1 year of aging.

thick, syrupy feel with little carbonation that works well for the sweet and rich flavors and a substantial burn.

drinks ok. a bit too sweet and hot, though it is definitely full-flavored. would not seek out again, but I am enjoying the one which will probably take the better part of the hour to finish.

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Photo of Gfunk720
3.21/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Dark blackish red. Pours with a healthy tan head. This stuff looks mean...

S- A very bold sweet smell of molassas and dark fruit. Anise, tobacco, and licorice are also present.

T- This is a sticky mess of a strong ale. Sweet molassas, transitioning to a tobacco blended dark fruit and more anise/black licorice. Also has a hoppy/metallic taste, and some heat.

M- The body and carbonation are both spot on. The beer starts off pretty decent, then spirals out of control a bit. Strong aftertaste is a little off-putting.

D- Not very. This stuff is just all over the place, and the flavors don't really blend to well together. I've had a few of these now, and they just don't really do it for me. Back in the cellar for a few more years!

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Photo of grub
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

i've had this one several times, both on tap and in bottle, fresh and recently. this review is based on today's sample.

12oz bottle. sampled feb 7/2011.

pours deep dark brown, neither black nor opaque but definitely approaching both. a thin cap of incredibly fine light brown head forms, quickly dropping to a ring around the glass and leaving spotty lace.

aroma is great. rich, deep, and complex. raisin, date, fig, plum. caramel and toffee. biscuit, dark toasted whole wheat bread. cracker. warming alcohol. bittersweet and dark chocolate. anise. molasses. hint of vanilla.

taste is great. much like the aroma, it's a deliciously complex blend of elements. initially it's the dark fruit: raisin, date, fig, plum. then it turns to dark chocolate and caramel. this is wrapped in dark toasted multi-grain bread and biscuit and finally topped with a lovely warming alcohol. medium-low bitterness level. anise and molasses. mmmm, good.

mouthfeel is great. nice full body. very fine medium-low carbonation level.

drinkability is good. when fresh it was still a little hot and hadn't really come into its own. now, considerable depth has emerged and the alcohol has mellowed significantly. it's pretty well balanced, but i still look forward to seeing its continued development.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Augustiner719 for the generous extra!

A - Poured a reddish brown with a nice creamy head into my oversized snifter.

S - Grapejuice, fruitpunch, sweet tarts.

T - Deliscious. Maple syrup, nutmeg. A lot of thick flavors, but not overbearing or cloying.

M - Thick and tingly but not over bearing. Very full in flavor and feel but not sludgy.

D - Loved this one. Would love some more. Really great beer.

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Photo of Vdubb86
4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a 10oz tulip snifter at Hopcat in Grand Rapids, MI

This beer was served looking very dark reds and browns to the points where it's almost black with a jaundiced beige head sitting upon the surface. The smell was a large combination of flavors. There was a great majority of the smell of aged malts to the point where it smelled of a finely aged whiskey. There was a backer of chocolate and roast that was rather surprising as well. The taste was intense and complex as well. There was a lot of malts and roast up front that were mellowed out by a general sweetness and finished off with a hint of orange zest. The mouthfeel was like velvet, if it weren't for the high level of alcohol in the beer, it would have been amazing. This is an intense beer, but is definitely what I would call a sipper of the highest order.

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Photo of tewaris
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, bottled almost exactly an year ago on 01/27/2010, poured into a snifter on 01/28/2011. This beer has been aging in my fridge at cold temperature the entire time so it'd be different from an year cellared.

Appearance 4.5/5
Poured clear and very dark brown with a medium sized muddy brown head that fell into a smaller bubbly film that stuck around. Very few beers lace this glass and Batch 9,000 was no exception. Still a good looking beer.

Aroma 4/5
An exceptional smelling beer, there's a lot of dark candy, anise, caramel and toffee, and dark fruit in this ale. The earthy spices go very well with the sweetness. Alcohol, as expected, gets really strong as the temperatures rise, and the balance shifts towards sharp and perfumy notes. And I am not sure if I am right, but I really thought for a second that I got some citrus.

Taste 4.5/5
Deliciously sweet, with layer after layer of harmonious notes: chocolate, silk, spice, hop bitterness, caramelized sugar, and then towards the end there's a strong presence of roast that should put many stouts to shame. There are some bright and seemingly tart notes too, that seem to be derived from the hops. The reasonable bitterness and the roast help keep things in check, or the finish might have gotten excruciatingly sweet. Borrowing from Founders, I would describe this one as Dark, Rich, and Sexy ;)

Mouthfeel 4.5/5
Very thick and coating with a little higher carbonation that what I would have preferred. The finish is sweet but it's still very dry in comparison to the sweetness in taste.

Drinkability 4.5/5
Way better than when it was released, this truly needs time. I am glad I have more to see how it develops. Highly recommended! This is one of a kind and I would love to get more of this treat!

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Photo of bbarrows
3.72/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Consumed in pint glass from bottle.

A: Clear, dark red

S: Malty, molasses, licorice. Much less licorice aroma than a year ago.

T: Very sweet, licorice, lasting licorice flavor

M: viscous at first, rapidly dries out tongue

D: Much better than last year, but that's not saying much. It was nearly undrinkable last year.

It's a decent imperial stout which could be excellent with a few years of aging. I don't expect to open another bottle for at least a year.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.02/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter. Batch #9,000 (Packaged Jan. 27, 2010).

Thanks to sweemzander for the hook up on the Batch 9000!

A - Crystal clear while pouring and ruby mahogany in color with slivers of the color showing through in the black glass. Small but strong tan head with low retention (no surprise here) and small lace.

S - First notes come through powerful and strong of molasses, distressed leather, maduro tobacco, maple wood, and a healthy dose of in-your-face alcohol. Roasted chocolate malts and mocha provide undertones with a unique earthy, herbal-like hop scent. Dark and complex, it's almost port-like with nice underlying dark fruit.

T - Strong, potent flavor bomb with a lot going on. Almost too much. Lots of molasses and roasted chocolate malt, bitter coffee notes, dark tobacco, leather, and a hint of black licorice. Earthy hops finish it out. A total malt bomb though.

M - Nicely warming, it was a good pick for this blisteringly cold day. Roasted bitter combats the big semi-sweetness on the palate. Thick and rich for a full body, this is smooth finish with no burning alcohol.

D - I heard 9000 was quite boozy at release but didn't purposefully wait this long to review it. Either way, it's a darn good beer with fantastic aging qualities to it. Smooth and robust without being too much, although the flavor is on the borderline for that.

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Photo of thedoubler55
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a tulip

A- Very dark, dark cherry color if looking from above. Slight tan head at first that goes away quickly, not to much lacing.

S- Dark fruits, and strong smell of cherries, lots of licorice as well, some molasses at the end

T- Strong taste of booze at first, tail end is filled with dark fruits and malts.

M- Slight carbonation and very sticky

D- Sipping beer for me, not something I would like to have a lot of.

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Photo of Pellinore1
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours deep, opaque brown, producing half a finger of light tan head. This fades away to some lacing.

Smells rich and sweet, with raisin, fig, and molasses showing up in a big way.

The flavor confirms everything I was smelling, but is also backed up by a bit of malt roastiness. Bitter chocolate and coffee notes linger on the tongue. Sweetness and bitterness balance each other nicely, and prevent this beer from cloying.

Thick and smooth, this seems to coat the mouth.

Drinkability is good considering the ABV, but is somewhat limited by the sheer intensity of flavor.

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Photo of jale
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a thick black with a slight tan head.

S:Licorice, Molasses, some burnt sugar, caramel malt

T: Molasses,licorice, Sweet caramel malt a little burnt sugar. Slight alcohol burn. piney hop finish.

M: Sticky with moderate carbonation

D:This is more of a sipper for me

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Photo of bradleyp
3.33/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Tastetester for hooking me up with the brew.

A: Very black. I really enjoy dark beers nowadays.

S: Smells like licorice, booze, molasses, probably some chocolate.

T: Very sweet at first sip, and then the booze flavor really hits. Nice hoppy flavor.

M: Wasn't what I was expecting, but it was quite strong. It was quite smooth, and not very carbonated.

D: I got this in a trade, so it'll probably be the last one I ever have. I'm sure they don't brew this anymore anyways.

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Photo of emerge077
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Cellared almost a year now, i've tried a couple bottles in the interim. 4" of snow today calls for something hefty, and 9000 fit the bill. Served at cellar temperature, 48ยบ.

Into a Bells tulip at it pours a tawny brown, then appears black with a ruby glint in the glass. An inch of tan latte foam rises to the rim and begins a slow fade. Sticky around the edges, lacing well into spindly arcs of lace and spotty froth.

Huge carob, molasses, and licorice in the nose. Nutmeg and figs.
Slight whiff of musty oxidation, but it doesn't distract.

Rich and sweet right off the bat, it coats the palate with dried dark fruit and cocoa. Prunes, raisins, and figs are sweet and sticky on the lips, while a minor bitter chocolate and tobacco leaf element linger. Sweet sticky molasses, toffee, and some roasted malt char. Vinous feel, luxurious and cordial-like, with a mild spice present. Alcohol is still perceptible, but moving into the background by now. Reminds me of Thomas Hardys.
This is good stuff in the dead of winter.

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Photo of ChrisPro
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasted blind as part of Blind BIF #3.

Beer #9 of 12 thanks to mtunnell.

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip.

just one whiff out of the bottle and it reminds me of HOTD Adam (favorite "go-to" beer)...anyway, onto the review.

Pours a near-black with three finger vanilla colored head. There is'a mound of bubbles amidst the froth that won't dissipate. A smattering of lace is left on the glass as I drink. As it warms, legs can be seen running down the walls as well.

The aroma really makes me think it's an old ale. Definitely some brown sugar and burnt sugar. Caramel is all over the place, and there is a subtle spice that I can't name. Star anise? Anyway, definitely a dominant sweet rich dark aroma. This smells exactly like what I am in the mood for as my first beer back from Antarctica!..As it warms, I pick up something else as well, possibly some slight smoke from pipe tobacco. Very interesting. More warming brings out more barrel on the nose. Definitely thinking some apple brandy or a cognac. Just delicious.

Taste isn't exactly what I expected...Hmm. Definitely some rich caramel and chocolate up front, but there is a solid burnt coffee finish. I was expecting a solid sweet malt bomb, but this has some nice roasty bitterness to balance the sweetness. Okay, as it warms, this is really melding together nicely. This is actually perfectly balanced.

Wow, the heat! Took one sip, and didn't feel anything. But as I started typing the above paragraph, the back of my mouth started exploding in fire. This is one of the hottest beers I've ever had. Doesn't taste like it at first, but this is a long burn. There is a little bit of a buttery feel on the front of the tongue, and the carbonation is tiny, yet sharp. This definitely tastes like a barrel-aged something. Possibly some apple brandy, though it could be very mild bourbon.

This beer is still amazing even with the heat. If I take it as a sipper, i'm incredibly happy. Would LOVE to try this beer with a little more time to settle down.

my first whiff made me think of Adam, so I may have just gotten my mind in a rut, but I am really thinking this is Hair of the Dog Matt. While Adam is my favorite accessible beer, Matt, is definitely in the top few of beers I've ever had, and this blind beer is easily there with it. Complexity, taste, just amazing. Whatever this is, it's going right onto my wants list.

Rating as an old Ale: 4.5/5.0/4.5/3.5/4.0

Reveal: Bell's Batch 9000!

Awesome. I had this during Philly beer week but it was outshined by batch 5000 that night. However, on it's own, just an awesome beer. Apparently it is developing nicely, but I definitely could see it going for the long haul. Thanks a ton, Matt!

Rating still the same for American Strong Ale.

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Photo of 05Harley
4.49/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle # 9000, Bottled on 1/27/10

Purchased through West Lakeview Liquors, Chicago, Ill.

Price - $3.49

Appearance: A dark opaque pour. little to no head after a few minutes. Minimal lacing due to the viscous nature. No stickiness here, this is straight up motor oil.

Smell: Nice.. Huge nose lots going on here. Strong aroma of raisins, prunes and molasses. A hint of caramel comes through followed by some booze. A strong candidate for a port wine blind taste.

Taste: The flavor is bold with black licorice, vanilla, dark fruits and booze. A woody taste reveals a hint of oak.

Mouthfeel: Both sweet and bitter followed by a warming feel. So appropriate for the winter months.

Drinkability: It's a bit boozey but it is a heavy hitter at 12.5%. An after dinner dessert or sitting by the fire is the setting for this one.

I enjoyed it and wish I had more. This is the last of 4 that I was fortunate enough to come by. I hope Bell's considers this in their line-up it's that good.

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Bell's Batch 9000 from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Beer rating: 4.03 out of 5 with 912 ratings
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