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

very good
911 Ratings
no score
Send samples
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.

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 911 |  Reviews: 539
Photo of corby112
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black and completely opaque with only the faintest hint of mahogany edges when held to a light source and a one finger frothy tan head that very quickly fades into a lasting ring. Sporadic spots of lacing are left behind.

Interesting aroma with a combination of sweet alcohol and bourbon alongside some deep roasted malt character. Hints of roasted coffee/espresso bean as well as some chocolate, caramel, licorice and dark fruit. I'm also picking up some spice in the nose, possibly anise.

Slightly chewy medium body with tight carbonation up front that lingers throughout into a dry yet sweet vinous finish. This beer is pretty complex with a lot of spice up front as well as some chewy viscous dark chocolate malt flavor. This quickly turns very sweet from the alcohol, licorice, dark fruit and anise notes that were hinted at in the nose. Slightly syrupy with a faint hint of earthy oak. I can't fully put my finger on what that sweetness is but it's unique. Very vinous like character toward the middle of the palate that is very prominent through the finish. There are soem complex flavors bouncing off of each other but this one is a bit too sweet for me. I'm curious as to how this beer will aged. The high ABV is very well masked with little warmth in the finish. I plan to revisit in a few months.

 1,321 characters

Photo of Bighuge
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Inky black with a thin wispy brown head. Sporadic droopy rings of lace.

Aroma: Anise oil, wintergreen, rum, dark fruits and raisin. That might sound a little off kilter, but it's pretty unique and somewhat appealing.

Flavor: Black licorice and anise are big. Port like alcohol feel to it with port like flavors too. Rich and very sweet overall. Boozy. Throw in a little tree bark too.

MF/DK: Lightly carbonated and medium bodied at best. Sweetness and high alcohol lend just a slight notion of cloy to it, but not too much. It's not a beer to drink fast.

 569 characters

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.37/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

To be re-reviewed, at a later date. Here is the fresh take:

A - Deep brown hue, like black coffee, with a polite tan foam that recedes into a nice encircling ring, small spotty lacing.

S -Vinous, boozy, sweet, slightly woody, Port and Sherry notes; deliciously rich stuff.

T - Awesome. Outstanding. The essences of dark fruit, Cognac, Sherry, Oak and fantastic-ness. The type of richness exemplified by Scaldis Noel comes to mind. This is a fantastic and richly complex sipper. Bell's has outdone themselves here.

M - Very syrupy and viscous; the carbonation should be ample, but it is swallowed by the sticky and oily texture.

D - Obviously it will age well, but it tastes good now.

 689 characters

Photo of ne0m00re
3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Had this one on-tap in a plastic pint cup at Dark Lord Day.
A: Very dark brown with red hues and a very good chocolate head.
S: Sweet caramel alcohol with bourbon vanilla, roasted malts, banana, pruens and raisins. It is kind of oaky.
T: It has a very sweet dessert characteristic, with caramel, banana, and rum with underlying oak.
M: Mildly syrupy, creamy, and frothy.
D: Only OK. Really, one was enough.

 406 characters

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

Poured 12oz into a New Holland pint glass

A: Very deep brown almost black with chocolate head. Thick consistency.

S: Licorice comes through nicely. Sweet smelling brew.

T: Sweet molasses. Almost too sweet at first but then dark roasted coffee notes and chocolate comes through with abundance. Very nice aftertaste. Alcohol is not overpowering in my opinion.

M: Thick mouthfeel. Fits the stlye.

D: I've had this beer several times now. I wasn't overall impressed with the first try; but since have enjoyed it more and more. It's one you want to sip after a good meal. I would call it dessert.

Summary: Another great brew from Bell's

 637 characters

Photo of emmasdad
3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours from the bottle a very dark mahogany brown, almost black color, topped off with a generous amount of dense mocha foam, which remains for quite some time. There is some roasted malt on the nose, but I also get dark fruits, black licorice, booze and a generous dollop of hops. On the palate rum soaked fruits, dark chocolate, black licorice and molasses. There's a whole lot going on in this one, and it tastes a bit disjointed and hot. Time should be good to this one.

 473 characters

Photo of zoso1967
3.93/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black and completely opaque with just a ring of tan head around the edge of the glass. The aroma is quite robust and very sweet. A bit too sweet if you ask me. It smells of molasses, dark sweet cherries, licorice, vanilla and sweet dark malts. The flavor, surprisingly, is even more complex than the aroma. It is similar in that it has flavors of dark fruit, licorice and molasses, but it also has a wonderful roasty character that really blends in well and makes this beer shine. Still a bit too sweet for my liking, but quite tasty. The body is full, but not as thick as I expected. This beer has a nice smooth mouthfeel with a slightly sticky finish. Not the most drinkable beer but nice to savor. It should be even better in a couple years.

 750 characters

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured in to a Duvel tulip

A - Poured a dark brown with a thin porter-like consistency. One finger of bubbly light brown head. A lot of visible carbonation.

S - The nose is dark fruit, sweet molasses, licorice and alcohol. A very different nose than anything else I've had. Interesting.

T - Initial taste is sweet dark fruit with alcohol burn. The finish is more smooth though. After a few sips the alcohol is still present but the burn isn't. The taste becomes smoother and smoother as I drink this; turning from what was initially a decent beer to an excellent strong ale. The sweetness and the dark fruit are a great compliment for some caramel, molasses, licorice and a hint of coffee. Very complex and very enjoyable.

M - Medium body with a bit of chew. The carbonation is perfect.

D - An excellent beer, definitely worthy of the special Batch 9000 label. I wish I had bought more than 3 bottles - will age the other two.

 932 characters

Photo of MetalHopHead6
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bell's Batch 9000 is sweet, smooth, and fleeting.

It poured jet black with a short, and short-lived, head. It was syrupy sweet, like licorice hard candy, and very thin leaving nothing behind. There was no bitterness.

Not quite Strong Ale, and not quite Stout, Batch 9000 has a festive sweet flavor that would be a great holiday-time sipper to accompany cookies or other pastry. It's not thick enough to serve as dessert on its own, yet too sweet to really enjoy at any other time.

 483 characters

Photo of drpimento
4.77/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

As good as this beer is, damn how I'd like to get some and lay it by for the years. This draft version is more round and better balanced than the bottle. Poured with a nice off white head and a little lace. Color is an almost opaque brownish blac. Aroma is jammy dark ripe fruit malt spice roast and skank. Flavor is like aroma but more straightforward. Roast comes out a bit more and loses the skank. Excellent beer. Great body and carbonation. Finish is like flavor and boozy but super.

 488 characters

Photo of farrago
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Close to a finger of dense, if active, foam of a dark brown hue, mixed bubble sizes contribute to lack of retention and thin sheets of lacing. Not quite black, just the darkest shade of brown possible, completely opaque, touch lighter around the rims but just a touch. Extremely thick nose yet avoids being too heavy, just piles molasses, honey, heavy cream and licorice in there as advertised, the plum, black cherry, black grape scents absolutely come with prune, date accompaniment, candied orange peels, raisin bread, cola nuts, not smoky but there's a "bakery air" element to it. Full-bodied and treats your tongue like a piece of veal to be tenderized. Malts, molasses, brown sugar, honey, butterscotch, chocolate slather the mouth pores, booziness accentuates this further. Hyper-concentrated plum, cherry, blackberry, apricot fruit with even more of the prune, raisin, date flavoring. That you can even notice the carbonation is a testament to its stubborn tenacity. The licorice most prominent as an aftertaste, sweetens the finish even further. One bottle is more than enough, would be interesting to try and pound a second.

 1,134 characters

Photo of drabmuh
4.07/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer is black to red in the corners but clear. Carbonation is moderate and the head leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.

Aroma is sweet and fruity. Molasses. Smells good.

Beer is sweet and fruity, much like the smell. I can taste some of the alcohol for sure. Drinkability is good, the mouthfeel is missing something though. I think connectivity could be better. Maybe that's why people are aging these things so much. I bet it would improve with a couple of years on it.

 474 characters

Photo of brewcrew76
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep brown, black with mahogany highlights/ This tan head that leaves a ring of foam behind.

S - Overripe dark fruits, prunes, tobacco, toffee, woody with a bit of booze.

T - Very sweet but not cloying, rich toffee and caramel, prunes, tobacco, black cherries, a touch of cocoa and booze.

M - Full bodied with light carbonation.

D - For some reason this beer reminds me of when my grandpa used to smoke pipe tobacco when I was a kid. I think it would have paired well. Boozy and sweet but it plays well together.

 520 characters

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

Bells Batch 9000
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Style: American Strong Ale
ABV: 12.50 %

Enjoyed 4/18/2010 After a long triple batch Weizenbock brew day. I must confess I was a bit skeptical of this brew after all the hype, as hype is sometimes a turn off. Well it suprpassed my skeptical expectations, and won me over as humbled fan. I love Bells and if they can make a bold 12.5% American Strong this good, well consider me even MORE loyal.

Thanks to kstrickler for landing this one and sending one my way!

Appearance is dark as night, pours with very little carbonation but rises to a nice 1 finger tan head.
Smell is dark rum, heavy caramelized molasses, dark malts and a hint of dark fruit. If there is licorice in the aroma it is balanced nicely as I dont usually enjoy licorice - ever.
Tastes as exactly as it smells, with a nice complex sweet finish, that dances with a whisper of hop balance. Evident boozy warming quality that is enjoyable but requires you to sip, ponder and pace.
Mouthfeel is full body caramelized dark rum, boiled with a heap of molasses syrupy texture. Low/Medium carbonation that works very well and lets all the flavor complexity and full body shine through.

Not overdone on the ABV, licorice, or molasses. Unique. Well made. Impressive, big and bold. If I landed another I would split a 12oz with a worthy pal and I think that it would be a tad more enjoyable. A brew this big and complex requires conversation and time to sip patiently.

 1,465 characters

Photo of mkaplanes
4.7/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer was fantastic. For being 12.5% alcohol it was exceptionally smooth. The appearance was a nice deep brown/black. The smell had a nice hint of licorice and did not have that alcohol smell that some of the 10%+ beers have. The taste was very rich and smooth and had coffee and licorice flavors. I felt this almost like a "sipping beer". It almost had the consistency and mouth feel of a nice port wine.

 409 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a very dark brown color with a half inch tan head. Head retention is average, but has a good amount of lacing. The aroma is dark fruit, molasses, licorice, and a bit of booze. It's a mostly sweet smelling brew. The taste is similar to the aroma, I can taste molasses, dark fruit (figs, cherries), licorice, and some brown sugar. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's syrupy and coating with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's easy and enjoyable to drink. I think this is a good overall brew, I'll have to age my other bottles and see how this one turns out in the future.

 636 characters

Photo of WJVII
3.58/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a glass as a tasting, this brew was black like oil and had a nice chocolate brown head that left nice lacing on the glass. The aroma was of black licorice, clove and plum. The taste was of coffee, burnt caramel and clove. There was a decent carbonation and the taste was medium body. It was OK for drinking but the alcohol content makes it difficult to have too many.

 379 characters

Photo of cdkrenz
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Black but red when held to light and great head retension.

S - Heavy BBQ aroma with a certain Asain flare. This is one of the most unique aromas I've encountered in a brew.

T - Super-sweet anise witha hop remedy. Again, extremely unique!

M - Slightly coarse and not as thick as I had expected.

~ This is a bit sweet in my opinion but it certainly offers a unique alternative.

 384 characters

Photo of Blakaeris
4.47/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark brown, almost black with cola like highlights on the edge. No head.

Aroma is molasses, anise, and dark fruit drowning in alcohol.

Taste is rich dark fruit with a brandy perfume like alcohol quality, over roasted dark malt. Molasses, sweet chocolate, and the ever present licorice. Finishes with drying herbal hop and cedar character.

Mouthfeel is slick and sticky.

Big, boozy and sweet. Anise, plum sweetness, and alcohol warmth coats the tongue. Tasty.

 473 characters

Photo of nickd717
3.72/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle shared by largadeer on BA. 222 ratings already? Wow, people have been all over this one like Tiger Woods on pretty much any woman other than his wife. The nerd in me (which is a very, very small part since I am as cool of a cat as they come of course) wants to make a "It's over 9000!" joke referring to Bell's's current batch number, but I'll refrain.

Pours dark brown, but not that dark, with a minimal tan head.

Aroma is caramel and toffee, booze, anise, and dark fruits. Very nice.

Flavor is nice besides the booziness. Caramel, toffee, raisins, dates, molasses, anise, and some serious booze. Sweet. Pretty good though.

Sweet and boozy on the palate, without much heft to it.

Overall, well, it could use some age I guess. Not too drinkable. Poppin' my last bottle in the cellar fo' sho'. This one could age a bit.

 837 characters

Photo of chaz01
3.97/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Served from a 12 ounce bottle into a Belgium fishbowl goblet.

A: Jet black with a one inch brown head.

S: Licorice and Molasses aromas with some boozy alcohol traits.

T: More malty molasses and licorice in the taste, along with notes of cherry, vanilla and alcohol. Very strong chocolate and coffee finish.

M: Full bodied, very thick and syrupy, little carbonation. You almost can chew this beer it's so thick.

D: So thick and syrupy combined with the high ABV, I had a hard time drinking the entire bottle -- recommend sharing with a lucky friend. This is what I would refer to as a nightcap beer.

 603 characters

Photo of jwinship83
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle drank from an oversized snifter.

A- this one pours out a dark brown colored body with lots of ruby when held up to the light. a small beige crown like head clings to the edges of the glass and leaves behind little to no lacing.

S- woah, theres a lot of alcohol in this one. after that comes lots of bread like malts and fruit. cherries, plums, and figs. lots of sweetness coming from this one.

T- the taste is similar to the smell. lots of bready malts and fruit are the first things i notice. theres lots of molasses and brown sugar in here too. a definite stinging from the alcohol.

M- medium bodied and palate coating. strong warming from the alcohol on its way down. low levels of carbonation.

D- one and done for this one. im going to see how the others i have are going to progress over time. cant wait to see what they dream up for batch 10,000.

 874 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Arrives with dark brown color that reveals some tawny highlights and a modest beige head

Smell: Chocolate fudge, but very sweet

Taste: Fudgy, up front, with a hoppy presence developing by mid-palate; after the swallow, the chocolate returns with a vengeance and the finish is really sweet

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation; boozy in the gullet

Drinkability: Not a real fan of this one as it is too sweet and boozy; it may settle down and become much better as it matures, however

(Trying this out of the bottle a bit over a year later, the sweetness is no longer quite cloying, and the licorice and molasses flavors show up much moreso than the fudge; also, there is plenty of dark fruit flavor, as well; still, it remains a sweet beer with considerable heat from the abv.)

 814 characters

Photo of GJ40
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled from a 12oz bottle purchased at Once Upon a Vine in Richmond.

Jet black in appearance with a very small head. This aroma is very sweet with molasses and brown sugar. The flavors follows closely with molasses, brown sugar and figs. This is an intense beer with a big alcohol kick. It was good but I think this one needs some aging. The mouthfeel is nice with a creamy and syrupy consistency and a low carbonation.

I enjoyed this beer but I can't say I'd drink a lot of it. I've got another to age and I'm hoping for more out of it.

 541 characters

Photo of kbeals
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A- Pours pitch black with a finger and a half of brown head. Head sticks around for a while leaving spotty lacing.

S- Lots of licorice and molasses. A bit of booze mixed into it as well. Sort of bitter but mostly sweet.

T- Licorice, molasses and brown sugar all mixed together into one glorious concoction. Alcohol and lots of it. A bit too hot, but I think that will mellow out after a while.

M- Thick, chewy mouthfeel. Smooth with little carbonation.

D- The booziness of it gets to me after awhile, and it can also be a little too sweet. Thankfully it comes in 12 oz. bottles. I think this one will cellar very well.

 623 characters

Bell's Batch 9000 from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4 out of 5 based on 911 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.