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

very good
911 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 911 |  Reviews: 539
Photo of largadeer
3.21/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle from Dyan. Thanks!

Black as pitch in Nick's ridiculous looking scotch ale glass. Pouring from a height of four inches produces a thick two finger head that drops slowly to a frothy crown.

Ashy licorice aroma, chocolate, alcohol, faint smoke and meat. Anise and chocolate become dominant as the beer breathes, but it's strangely mild on the nose.

Flavors of molasses, chocolate, caramel, booze, black licorice, booze and booze come through strongly, with a mid-palate of booze, chocolate and licorice and a finish of booze, chocolate and licorice. It's not particularly bad, though it's decidedly rough around the edges, unabashedly hot and sweet. This could use a couple years of age.

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Photo of Spiekerbox
4.29/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a dark brown, cola-type color with a thin head that quickly recedes.

S- Big smell, with licorice and mollassas being the main two players with the malt coming out a little bit weaker than those scents.

T- Equally busy flavor with all notes coming out, licorice is still there but not overpowering, beer is definately sweet from the molassas, somewhat bitter as well, but hop flavor is covered up by the other flavor. Alcohol is there but until I looked it up I had no idea it was as high as it is.

M- Low carbonation and good body, feels nice and smooth in the mouth.

D- Very enjoyable experience to drink this beer, a nice stout beer to have that is completely satisfying, others think it would be great with age and I would be interested to see how it would change, it definitely would change though.

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

Pours precisely cola-colored with a fine light tan foam ring that lasts and leaves little lacing. A very busy nose including vanilla, licorice, molasses, chocolate, and a some roasted malt.

Flavor follows suit, with anise and molasses stepping forward. Very sweet with an underlying bitterness. Prominent alcohol leads me to think that it will cut the sweetness and mellow out with age. There are so many intense flavors here that it is hard to pick them out (which is a good thing). Wow, did I mention sweet?

Medium-low carbonation is perfect for this beer. Combined with the medium-full body, it gives Batch 9000 an incredibly smooth and silky palate presence. This is a damn good beer from a great brewery, but I feel it will develop into something spectacular with a few years of rest.

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Photo of tpd975
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours brownish black with an above average tan head. It dies to a solid ring with some spotty lace noted.

S: Aromas of very sweet candy malt, brown sugar, chocolate, molasses, and booze.

T: Sweet and unattenuated. Lots of gooey molasses, brown sugar, and sweet chocolate. Light booze from the middle through the finish. There is a mish mash of dark sweet fruit and dashes of green hops in the finish.

M: On the lighter side of body for the style. Nice carbonation.

D: Just average drinkibility, a big and sweet stout though.

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Photo of joepais
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to Bill Scoobydank.
I poured this into a snifter and it produced a finger of tan head that settled to a thin lace. The body of the brew was a brown to black in color with Mahogany highlights.

Wow this had an interesting nose with tons of dark fruits and it is defiantly a little hot. The flavors were overshadowed by the alcohol heat but after it warmed it came off like a dark barleywine. With some good sweetness a full mouthfeel and light carbonation.

This is a beer that you drink one of at a time it is very much like a barleywine in my book a great sipper for a cool night.
I wanted to try one fresh but I would let it sit if you have only one, it need some age

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Photo of coldmeat23
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 55 degrees
BOTTLED: January 27, 2010

A very nicely done, dark, dark, brown liquid rests in my glass. Almost a fingers worth of brown foam makes the head. It fades rather quickly, leaving a thin surface covering. The lacing is strand-like and nicely sticky.

Hints of vanilla mingle with traces of licorice. Banana notes mix with dark fruits, like cherry, plum and raisin. Hints of brown sugar and candi sugar sweetness. A very light trace of oak char, which seems to dissipate as this warms and breathes. Nice, dark, earthy, scent of molasses. A fair amount of booze is here, but it's 12.50%abv, what'd you expect?

A light smokiness gives way to sweet maltiness. This is followed by a dancing blend of dark fruit sweetness and licorice bitterness. Oak notes begin to take this one down a very dry road. Notes of molasses begin to bring us back. Then some light hints of vanilla and brown sugar blend with a slight bit of hops bite to give a nice finish.
The alcohol presence is still fairly prominent.

This one is medium-to-full bodied. It has a medium level of carbonation. It's very smooth, yet has a slight touch of creaminess to it.

This a monster of a beverage. It is hugely rich and bold. It's somewhat boozy, right now. It's got a lot going on and it's hard to pick it all out. A good beer, for sure, but I think it will benefit from some cellaring for a couple of years (or more).

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

A: Dark as night with manila tight bubble head that stacks to about an inch and quickly recedes to slight lacing on the glass.

S: Fruit cake and molasses with some raisin and prune and licorice.

T: Rich warming molasses and raisin from first sip through finish. This beer is a balance of dry and warm aftertaste with a noticeable sweetness up front. It pairs nicely with a cigar.

M: Thick and rich with nice carbonation a bit syrupy. Some aging will do this good. As the beer warms it seems to gain warmth and is less syrup more mellow.

D: The batch series is always greatly anticipated and this does not disappoint. I love it now but I can't wait for it to age and grow in the cellar. I am reminded of Belgium and some of the strong ales I enjoyed there. This was a nice treat to close my Easter watching the sunset on the porch. This is an excellent offering from Bells and worth seeking out now and in the months/years to come.

12 ounce bottle poured in a snifter at room temperature.

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Photo of carlborch
4.88/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a solid, dense black and forms a thick, 1-inch, creamy, tan head. The nose suggests anise, molasses, dried dark fruit, and vanilla. The body is medium-high, with chocolate, molasses, umami, and lurking malt and caramel. The lingering is long and sweet, with hints of licorice, umami, and coffee. The first sip is almost overwhelming, but builds desire for more. Although this ale is by no means a quaffer, it is moreish! As dessert, with dessert, after the meal . . . it all works. Another contemplative brew. I'll have to cellar some and see if I can leave it be long enough to see how it ages!

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

12 oz. bottle shared by urwithdave.

A: Pours a rich deep brown. Pretty opaque, but there is a definite mahogany fringe to this one. A nickel size off white head appears, and leaves some streaky lace.

A: Booze straight away. This one's hot. I get caramel, roasty malts, and a distinct earthy hop profile. This one's pretty young so the hops still shine through in an apperant way.

T: Notes of caramel, raisin, and toffee. Nice earthy hop aroma, maybe Chinook. The brew finishes very dry, almost woody. Nice grassy and sweet finish. I am afraid that the booze overpowers this at times. Maybe some age will do this some good.

M: Very creamy, heavy body. Good amount of carbonation deliver the flavors nicely.

Drinkability and overall impression: Drinkability is pretty limited right now. The hot booziness is a little much. Overall, I think this one has the potential to be an excellent brew. Right now, it is a very good brew. I really like it, it's just too hot. Skal.

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

Thanks to several fine folks for sending me this. I have been looking forward to opening one, and tonight after a long day of brewing seemed like a good time.

A: The pour is a deep, dark black with a somewhat short-lived tan head.

S: The nose is full of black licorice along with a slight vanilla aroma and some alcohol. There is also molasses, and a definite sweetness.

T: The licorice and molasses combine to make a sweet, sticky beer. There's also a slightly tart dark fruit component which seems to consist of plums and figs. Surprisingly, the alcohol is not all that noticeable, but there is a bit of warmth to it.

M: The body is medium to full with a mild carbonation. Luckily the carbonation is just plentiful enough to prevent this from being syrup.

D: I enjoyed the flavors that this beer has, but they seem a bit strange to me. This is definitely an interesting beer and I look forward to seeing what this does with age.

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

A: BLACK body. Barely a 1/4 finger head disappears straight away. What remains is effervescent and light brown. The Eye of Me cannot see through thee.

S: Whoa, sweet black licorice is dominant in the aroma. I also get some of the molasses with which it was also brewed. Buried behind those two smells are some light coffee notes and dark fruits. As it warms, the high a.b.v. becomes apparent to the sniffer. It is not all that complex at this stage; what you smell is what you get.

T: Sweet sassy licoricey molassey. That is a punch to my mouth. The flavor is so sweet that I am also getting some hints of brown sugar, chocolate, maple syrup, and pancakes. I get a little bit of a balancing hop bitterness that combines with the other flavors to taste like slightly acidic coffee.

M: For me, this is the strongest asset of the beer. It has a big, strong presence in my mouth without making me feel awkward and uncomfortable. The sweet syrupy-ness coats the palate and then the bittering finish does a good job of mellowing the entire mouth.

D: Well, I wouldn't recommend having more than one in a sitting for one's health, but I will certainly be having more as time goes by. I'm quiet interested to see how the character changes as this beer gathers some dust.

A little story on this beer: The first time I had this was on draft for $2 a pint at the Traverse City Winter Microbrew Festival on February 12. This was really damned exciting, except for the fact that the Bell's booth decided to tap it at the end of the night. Well, at that point, I was pretty far in the bag and had just had (I think) two pints of Hopslam on draft (delicious). I had no idea that it was a Strong Ale brewed with licorice and molasses, and when I looked at it, I thought it must be an Imperial Stout. Well, the first sip I took told me that clearly it was not what I thought it was, and I had to abandon the beer for the sake of my sanity and general brain and liver health. I am enjoying it much more now than I did then. Cheers.

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Photo of GregSVT
3.87/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into a snifter, courtesy of a recent trading partner

A: Pours a deep black cola color with a dark tan head that fades pretty quick and leaves no real lacing.

S: The nose is big on the molasses and licorice with a sweet malty aroma as well.

T: The taste mimics the nose and is pretty sweet with a slight hop flavor on the finish.

M: The feel is slick and oily and medium bodied.

D: The sweetness and ABV kill the drinkability but it is good stuff.

Recommended if you can find it...definitely a sipper.

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Photo of macmaster761
4.53/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bells batch 9000 courtesy of a great trader from DC, Served in Brooklyn Snifter

Appearance - Dark brown to jet black with mocha colored head, almost like an imperial stout, i'm surprised. Slight bit of lacing

Smell - Alchohol, malt, fruitiness, dried fruits

Taste - fruity malty sweetness, plums and dates, a tad bit hot, huge bourbon notes, molasses is huge and coffee and liccorice in the back. Absolutely delicious in every way, glad I secured 3 more bottles of this brew.

Mouthfeel - Thick and smooth, rich and creamy, could use a bit less carbonation, this one is going to be epic in a year.

Drinkability - For the pricetag and how this thing goes down, if I had regular access to bells I would probably buy out the store. I could drink multiples of the 9000k and would be on the floor in tastebud heaven, and drunkedness.

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Photo of KBomb
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

B9000 has a super dark brown color that is nearly black, capped with basically no head (half a finger lasts half a second). The smell is brandy-like with molasses, fruity sweetness, and booze. Tastes like a barleywine. Its a very natural combination of roasted malt and stone fruit. I detect hints of fig and plumb in the flavor profile, as well as anise/licorice type flavors. A bit of charcoal taste and booziness round out the flavors. Fine carbonation strikes a good balance between smooth and clean, but this beer is definitely a chewy one. Despite that and a big AVB, Batch 9000 is rather smooth for such a big beer with big flavors. Goes down a little too easy, to be honest.

In the quest for bigger, more extreme beers--Bell's has done something remarkable. Batch 9000 is very big, but incredibly smooth and palatable. Whether or not I'd buy B9K again, its certainly an admirable brew and belongs among the crown jewels of Bell's line up.

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

Bottle received as an extra in a trade with brian23456 who rocks!

Appearance: Pours black as night with a 2 finger cafe latte crown that shows good retention and lace.

Smell: Molasses and licorice of course.

Taste: I get nice malt / molasses sweetness up front that makes a transition into an alcohol and hop barrage. Pretty intense but I think it will age beautifully.

Mouthfeel: Heavy mouthfeel with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: This is a sipper for sure and is a bit hot and disjointed at the moment.

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Photo of WakeandBake
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A deep reddish brown color pour with an almost nonexistant head , soft to flat carbonation , spotty jagged lacing left. Aroma of licorice, molasses , brown sugar , oak , vanilla and a hint of smoke . Flavor of coffee, licorice, raisin, smoke, vanilla, dates and a noticable amount of alcohol in the finish , very sweet, oily mouthfeel, full body with a nice warming effect . Drinkable and good but a slightly odd brew , I think age will add some nice complexity to this .

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Photo of urwithdave
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this one as an extra from Bainard, Big tnx! Poured into my ccb snifter.

A- Pretty darn black. 2 fingers of a dark tan creamy head. Pretty decent retention with lots of lacing.

S- Licorice, dark dried fruits , and booze.

T- I was really suprised that I liked this as much as I did, I'm not normally a fan of licorice. However, maybe it's growing on me!! Once the licorice dies off, well I guess it never really dies off, but it does lessen some and when it does I get a very sweet molasses flavor. There are some dried fruits, cherries I believe. You def get the alcohol in a big way.

M- Pretty chewy and it's very sweet. I'm gonna need to brush my teeth after this one.

D- A good sipper due to it being so hot. I'd like to seek a cpl out and set them away for a while and just forget about em.

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Photo of rye726
4.58/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a dark mahogany with a thick tan head that settles to a nice silky cover. Good lace and retention.

Nose is quite sweet. Ripe plums, tart cherries, anise, spicy booze, herbal hops, chocolate, espresso, toffee, caramel and molasses.

Big flavor profile is well balanced. Dark pitted fruits, bready malts, currants, licorice, cocoa, caramelized candy, floral hops, anise, coffee and molasses.

Rich body is nicely carbonated. Drinks easy for such a huge beer.

Interesting beer. Not at all what I was expecting, but quite tasty. Should really come together after a few years in the cellar.

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Photo of mattcrill
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My 600th review on Beeradvocate. Cheers to me!

Aroma: Lots of big fruity esters up front. Dark plums, raisins, dates, lots of barleywine malt-like sweetness on the nose.

Appearance: Dark brown pour with thin whispy off-white head. Looks menacing with nice legs as the beer is swirled.

Flavor: More fruity esters on the tongue. Big carmel malt sweetness. Just a touch of earthy hop bitterness to balance out all the malt flavors. Balance is towards the sweetness. Finish is clean, dry, and slightly sweet.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied with medium carbonation. No alcohol heat and a little bit of creaminess that provides some nice character.

Overall impression: A big, bold English Barleywine. It definitely crosses the line on a lot of different levels. I could easily see this being an Old Ale too. I don't care what you call's a good beer. And well worth aging. Thanks Larry!

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Photo of Casey10
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this from my man in the midwest Heliosphan I am so grateful he sent me two as I tried one now and look forward to trying the other a year or two down the road.

This is a really nice brew lots of flavors and really nice smell. Drinking it it is hot but keeping in mind that it was meant to be aged did not discount for that. Lots of molassais and the black liquiorish is definately present.

If you are a fan of this style a must have, also can't wait to see where this one goes after some aging in ths cellar.


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

I've heard this beer is designed to age for a long time. Right now, it's amazingly complex and a little too intense for a drinkin' beer. It smells like prunes, molasses, and port, with a little bit of hops and spice. The finish on this beer is the longest I've tasted. The fruit flavors hit you first-- raisin, cherry, and something tart and green-ish. Then the bitterness kicks in, hop bitterness and also some spice flavors. Does this beer have spices in it? It tastes like it. The bitter flavors linger as a brown sugar and port flavor kicks in and then everythings sticks around and parties, with a bitter hop flavor left in your mouth long after everything else fades. This beer is not easy drinking, but it's really interesting, and massively alcoholic, so it gets a good grade for drinkablility.

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

Pours an opaque dark brown to black with modest head that dissipates to nothing. Nose is rich with fig newtons, dark fruits, and alcohol bite. On the palate the aromas are matched well with flavors on the palate - again the figs 'n fruits, with a lot of sweetness, and alcohol warmth on the exit. MOre similar to a barleywine, than it is to an imperial stout.

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Photo of MDekker
3.82/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours out nearly black, but with burdundy tinges around the edges. Not much head to speak of.

S: Potent. VERY sweet, of molasses and licorice, just like the bottle says. I also pick out notes of toast, coffee, and a little dark chocolate.

T: The first sip gave me the heebie jeebies. It was really bitter, with lots of licorice flavor - I don't go for the black jelly beans or black licorice, so this really put me off at first. I warmed to it after a little bit, but overall it's didn't do it for me. Plenty of booze to notice, too, but I'm overpowered by that licorice flavor.

M: Really sugary, somewhat oily, cloying and sticky. The edges of my mouth feel like I've been working on a lollipop.

D: Well, I don't want another, although it went down OK. Too much booze to sustain a lot of this, and the flavor isn't awesome. Heck, Founders' KBS is brewed in my city, and this doesn't hold a candle to it. Oh well.

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Photo of kingcrowing
3.56/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Sampled at the 2010 Stout tasting in a Orval Chalice.

12oz bottle. I realize this isn't a stout but it's the last beer we had at the stout tasting.

Very stout-like darkness with a small but super dark brown head. Wow! Nose is quite boozy and sweet very similar to 120 minute.

Taste is boozy obviously, sharp and sweet with a sharp after taste. Lots of licorice and not much else but booze. If you can, add some age to this!

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

Man I think I earned this one.
Sam Adams glass. Perfect temperature.
Poured slow and heavy. Dense thick tan head. Very dark, but clear and deep deep red. Nice.
Interesting smell. Quick alcohol and a funny sweetness that briefly sent me images of gasoline (but not unflattering). A spicy, tangy hops. There is a real heaviness to the aroma. A little chocolate.
Rich full flavor touches and stimulates the whole mouth one small drink at a time. Prominent alcohol flavor. Quite a variety of flavors. Some matching the aroma, e.g. chocolate. Sweetness with slight fruit flavor. Pretty immediate stomach warmth. The hops blend and balance more than directly contribute. Slight bourbon quality.
So smooth. Just desires to drink slowly. Aging will do this some thing wonderful.

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