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 wchesak
4.62/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Unibroue tulip glass. Thick black filled the glass and left an inch of lightly bubbled tan head. Some splotchy lace develops but dissipates after awhile. Smelled licorice as soon as a popped the top. After pouring into the glass, an oak character is more prevalent than the sweet licorice. Id say its more of a rye whiskey smell than a bourbon. Taste is immediately candy sweet, with hints of caramel, dark sweet cherries, molasses, anise, and charred wood. Reminds me of a good barbecue sauce without the tomato element. The beer definitely coats the mouth with a thick syrupy texture. Alcohol is barely present except in the far back of the palette, and I am glad that is there. Its not hot, but rather makes sense with the rest of the flavors in this beer. Overall, I am amazed with this beer. Great complexity and every element is discernible. Looking to see what this does in the future. May even be able to hold onto some for more than a year just because of this beers potential.

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

A-This beer pours very dark, virually black in color with a nice dense head.
S-Malty, bourbony with hints of fruits and licorice.
T-Very sweet and syrupy with a bourbon infused flavor of molasses and dark fruits.
M-Smooth and creamy feel with little or no bitterness, overall a good sipper.
D-The sweetness of this beer did not quit even to the end as it reached near room temperature. I hope aging mellows that a bit as well as taming some of the heat.

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Photo of weatherdog
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Brixies in Brookfield IL served in a Bells branded tulip

Coming out of the tap it looks like a stream of motor oil. It's thick and syrupy looking and sticks to the sides of the glass. An almost invisable head is present that is gone by the time it hits the bar top. Heavy lacing coats the side of the glass after every sip.

The nose is an explosion of rich sweet bourbon and dark fruits like plum. It is very sweet and reminds me vaguly of GI BCS with some of the bourbon swapped for licorice.

The first thing that hits your tongue is overwheling cascade of bourbon, sweetness and alcohol. I was expecting it but it still took me for a ride. The beer was served a little too cold so I let it sit for a while to warm up to proper temperature. It opened up so much when it was warmer and those exploaions of flavors seemed to intertwine and make for an intense but enjoyable beer. Plums, bourbon and licorice dominated my mouth with a syrupy sweet warming finish. Normally I am opposed to syrupy hot beer (i.e. Fresh GI BCS and WWS) but this had a redeming quality to it that I was surprised that I liked fresh but I know will age gracefully for years to come.

Carbonation was my only gripe with this beer. For being such a rich silky beer the carb level was too high and distracted from the taste.

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Photo of brdc
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Small capped bottle poured into a snifter; got this one that I was really looking for from stoutsnipas.

Very dark, but not black as the label states. Edges even manage to show a reddish brown highlight. Nice dark tan head.
I have to agree with feloniousmonk that this one shows signs of an old ale; but also imperial stout. Not confined to a style, it is very nice indeed.
Nice and powerful aroma, heavily malted as expected, molassess, toffee, coffee, chocolate, but also quite fruity, and even hoppy.
big on the palate, this one is a nice sipper. Syrupy and thick, again heavy on the malts, dark fruits and toffee, but also a nice hoppy bite. Roasted malts. Alcohol comes through a little bit.
On further thought, old ale, imperial stout, american strong all show a few signs.
Flavors come and go, and it gets more complex as it warms.
Despite some heat, it drinks nice now, but I see a lot of aging potential here.
I am very glad I have more of this coming! Should be spectacular in about two years.

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Photo of bigfnjoe
2.82/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A- Pours nearly black with a one finger beige head. Almost looks like a stout, despite the tint of red in it.

S- Very strong alcoholic smell, with a scent of dark cherries in there as well.

T- The alcohol is what comes through first and foremost. I get some cherries...but mostly just alcohol. Yeah...not too pleasant

M- My mouth is almost burning. Too strong

D- Not a huge fan. I can deal with strong beers just fine, but this one...all I'm getting is alcohol.

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

a: snifter serving, deep mahogany brown with a thin khaki head

s: intense woody roasts and toffee malts, pungent tart cherries dusted with cocoa powder - lots and lots of juicy prunes and sour cherries, loads of sun-baked overripe tree fruits, soaked wood and sweet tobacco, good booze presence

m: light carbonation, full bodied

t: really big, unique flavor - a strong foundation of caramel and toffee heavily layered with prunes and sour black cherries, and further layered with roasted malts that provide a light shake of cocoa, warming alcohol

d: a sipper by nature, good now but looking forward to development over the years

scooped a sixer from Whole Foods, Arlington

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Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased from Green's on Ponce in Atlanta.

Pours one shade from black with a half-finger tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving light lacing and decent legs.

Smells of dark fruits - plums and figs mostly - with good amounts of molasses and anise aromas as well. As the beer warms crisp, leafy hop aromas make their way out.

Tastes good. The molasses is much more prevalent in the flavor profile than it was in the nose. Dark fruit flavors serve as the backbone, more plum than fig but both are present in fairly equal amounts. Anise flavors sneak in midway through the sip and carry through to a thoroughly sweet ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I finished my glass and could have another.

Overall this was an interesting beer and off the beaten path however it's a bit on the sweet side. I'll be interesting to see what a little time does to this. Still, worth a shot as it is.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bell's Batch 9000 has a very dark brown body with ruby highlights. The head is a small tan ring with ok retention, but it doesn't leave any lacing behind.

The aroma has a ton of sweetness with big notes of molasses and some licorice. A little bit of alcoholic warmth also.

Batch 9000 is bursting with sweetness. A lot of it comes from the molasses, and molasses is probably the strongest flavor in this beer, but the malts add a lot of sweetness also. Caramel and a touch of baker's chocolate are in there. The licorice is in there also, adding a nice little bit of flavor to compliment the malt. The finish has a good, slightly bitter, grapefruit hop bite to it, along with a touch of warming from the alcohol.

The mouthfeel is definitely full-bodied and moderately carbonated.

Overall, I am impressed with Bell's Batch 9000, it is a tasty beer. It also does a good job of making a 12.5% ABV beer pretty drinkable.

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Photo of bort11
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Dogfish Head wide stemmed tulip. A half inch of tan head springs to life and gradually settles down after a minute or two. Spotty lacing on the glass, nothing solid sticks right now. Body color is a purple-ish brown. Dense with no ralt light coming through the center.

Smell is a sweet malt bomb. Dark pitted fruit sweet, figs and a little plum. The label says brewers licorice was used, but I'm not getting that yet. I do get a bit of ginger and sassafras. Taste is also a malt bomb of sweet. More figs and dates, but the brewers licorice finally comes into the picture. Creates a balancing bite to the malty sweetness.

Body is a thick chewy mouthful. Slow sipper to be sure. The 12.5% does get to me, I was done and out after just one. This will be great to age, I bet the dark fruit flavors will grow with time

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Photo of tturaiders
3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks gibby for this one.

Appearance: Pours black with a tan head that recedes pretty quickly.

Smell: It smells very sweet and boozy. It's got some caramel and molasses tones to it as well.

Taste: The taste is also very sweet. You can definitely taste the alcohol but it does balance well with the sweetness. Raisins, molasses, and caramel are some notes I picked up on.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's smooth but it does have a bite from the alcohol. The carbonation is appropriately low. I couldn't drink more than one of these at a sitting but it's a good beer, to say the least.

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Photo of birchstick
3.38/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A - pours a super black color with a nice cocoa colored head that dissipates quickly

S - I am getting a lot of sweetness and some burnt malt. Not as strong of a nose as I was expecting.

T - whoa there is a lot going on here. This starts off with a candy-syrup taste that is very strong (perhaps the molasses). There is also some black licorice is there as well. This reads just like the label. There is a really nice burnt malt on the finish that saves this one for me. It seems like a huge mess of flavors that needs to mellow out. I like the idea of what this wants to be -really sweet upfront with some burnt malt/coffee to balance it- but I think this some age in order for this combo to work.

M - very low carbonation with a nice body...really good mouthfeel

D - for right now, this was all right. Above normal for the complexity, but not enough to push it up too much because I think this needs to mellow out. This was really sweet and the high abv makes this a one-and-done. I look forward to trying this in a couple of months.

Update 5/8/2014 - 4 years and 3 1/2 months old.

It's cooled off quite a bit and has formed a more unified beer. Opens with some sweet, bitter licorice that moves into a candy sweetness malt backbone; almost sugary. Finishes with a lingering sweetness and an ever so subtle roasted character. This beer almost seems syrupy to me, which I can't tell is really good or just too much. This one doesn't have any issues going fact, it might help mellow out the sweetness.

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

This pours a very dark brown with a small tannish head of foam.

The smell has lots of sweetness oozing out with noticeable molasses and caramel malts, a slight roasted malt note, and plenty of alcohol.

The taste is also super sweet. The molasses and caramel malts rule with a nice side order of licorice and a big presence of alcohol. Wow. It kind of reminds me of a Thomas Hardy only not quite as refined but...all the TH Ales I've tried had some years under their belts so it's very possible that with a few on this Batch 9000, things would "settle" down nicely as well.

It is close to full bodied with an appropriately low level of carbonation. Very smooth mouthfeel.

Foam disappeared quickly and minimal lacing...typical for the style.

Drinkability? Lots of alcohol will limit me to 1 at a sitting but that's fine by me. It's still quite drinkable. A very nice brew.

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Photo of illidurit
2.92/5  rDev -27%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle courtesy iceicebaby. Pours a medium-dark brown with a light tan head. Huge brown sugar aroma with boozy raisins and chocolate. Like some sort of outrageous rum cookie or something. Syrupy raisiny flavor, plenty of booze, cloyingly sweet. I don't dislike the flavor, but I couldn't possibly drink more than a sample without developing diabetes. Thick and messy. Hey maybe by the time Batch 10000 comes out this will be drinkable.

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Photo of route66pubs
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was not chilled but served at cellar temperature, about 55 degrees.

A - pours a deep black, with very little sign of light even when held up to the light. Very tiny cream-colored head with lots of tiny bubbles. Head holds firm to glass.

S - Slight licorice / anise aroma, barely noticeable in the pour. What little of it is there is definitely heavily leaning toward the liqueur side. This is very non-obtrusive and should, you would think, make this a much more palatable beer. Slight mustiness as well, but mostly as an afterthought.

T - what a burn! The alcohol on this is obvious from the first sip. The licorice / anise aroma comes through fully in the taste, including some of the slight lingering after-effects you would get from a good piece of black licorice.

M - combined with the taste, the alcohol in this is definitely the most noticeable characteristic. There's almost a gumminess to it from the licorice, but the burn from the alcohol very much sets the tone on this one. If you can get past the initial burn, the candy-esque feel that is left makes this quite enjoyable. (Indeed, the burn seems to be deteriorating with each successive sip.)

D - that alcohol burn takes the score down on this ... perhaps a good candidate for cellaring to see if that burn subsides. Otherwise, very enjoyable effort for something with a completely different flavor than the bourbon / whiskey barrel aged efforts permeating the beer community.

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Photo of portia99
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle received as part of a very generous box from Hoppymcgee. Thanks again, Greg! Poured into a Dogfish Head signature glass.

A - Pours a cloudy and very dark brown color. Appears to be a quite thick and viscous liquid in the pour. A beige/mocha head forms for an instant before giving it up to a thick collar and a few fizzy islands of bubbles on the surface.

S - Sweet aromas, soft malt, caramel, fruity esters, yeasty. Not much for hops in the aroma. Gives all indications of being a really nice sipper, almost barleywine-like in aroma.

T - Quite sweet overall. Sugar, brown sugar, caramel all make their presence known in here. A bit boozy, almost in a sweet rum-like sorta way. Not hoppy in any real hop flavors detected at all. Despite being very much on the sweet side, it is not overly done or cloying. The hops have just enough bitterness to keep that from happening.

M - Quite full bodied...thick and a bit syrupy in feel. Carbonation is on the low side...just enough to feel "alive". Sweet flavors coat every inch of the mouth on every sip. A sipper all the way, but definitely a good one.

D - Hmm, not sure exactly. I'm having this with dinner (asian grilled salmon), and it's working quite nicely in this case...alone, might be a bit sweet overall. It seems to be a prototype "in front of the fire" sipper. Quite good, but you are in it for the long haul with this...not gonna be able to get this down with any speed...but why would you anyway?

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Photo of Bung
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. Very dark brown pour, not much cream colored head. Doesn't really lace a whole lot.

Aroma has a bunch of malt, toffee and dark candied fruit.

Taste is very similar to the aroma, but more pungeant. A lot of sweeter malt and dark fruit. Finishes with some roast and vinuousness as well.

Mouthfeel is not real thick which helps some drinkability, but also is a bit warm and strong right now. Could use some mellowing, but still good now.

Definetely reminds me of some of the Lost Abbey/Port stuff. Kind of a combination of Angels shares and Viscosities. So if any neysayers review this poorly but those well, they're kidding themselves. An interesting strong ale that should age very well.

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Photo of bashiba
5/5  rDev +25%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured a nice deep dark mahogony with some bright ruby highlights. The head was super thick and foamy dark brown with tons of lacing.

The smell was great, very sweet and bready, with a bit of anise , Brown Sugar, Dark Berries and molasses.

I love the flavor, reminds me a bit of dark lord in the level of complexity, its all here, big dark fruits, anise, molasses, burnt roasted malts, nice hints of smoke and peat, sweet doses of alcohol. Amazing!

The mouthfeel is super smooth and creamy, a bit thick as well.

Flawless, the best beer I have had in 2010. To bad its so hard to come by.

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Photo of Reaper16
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle, batch # 9000 (heh), served into a tulip glass

Pours a deep russet brown/burnt sienna color. Very dense looking. The tan head was a full finger in size and curiously becomes lighter in color as it dissipates to a thin ring. Lacing is pretty much not happening though there is a visible film of liquid left on the sides of the glass.

For as dark a beer as Batch 9000 the malts don't smell particularly roasted. There was a lot of bread right up front on the nose, punctuated by rum-soaked dark fruits. There is a black strap molasses undercurrent. The label says it was brewed with licorice; I expected lots of black licorice but the whiffs I get are quick shots of Twizzlers red licorice. There really is a good deal of sweet booze aroma coming off this one.

Oh my. There is a lot going on here for sure. The first sip is all sweetness and alcohol. The next sip reveals plum, fig, brown sugar and rum. The licorice shows up on the aftertaste, resonating with a bitterness to counteract the dark-fruitspolsion. Bready grains on the finish, too. This tastes like an old ale with more fruit intensity than that style is used to. It is a bit one-note with all of the sweetness going on; this could use another basic taste (more bitterness for example) for balance.

The mouthfeel is actually the first thing I noticed upon my first sip. This is thick! I've had scores of imperial stouts that have less substantive bodies than does Batch 9000. This is a really intriguing dessert beer choice (I can't imagine pairing this with anything _but_dessert). Is it drinkable? Sure, not amazingly so but it could perform worse given its level of sweetness and ABV of 12.5%

Batch 9000 tastes good right now even if it is tough to envision when you'd want a full bottle of this kind of flavor profile. Its size (meant in every respect) makes Batch 9000 an intriguing candidate for aging. Pick some up and see how it treats you.

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Photo of morimech
4.17/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Dark brown that appears black in the glass, half-inch of brown head that has decent retention. Just a little spotty lacing is left on the glass.

Smell- Black licorice, molasses, figs, dates, sherry which will only develope more as this beer ages. Big alcohol aroma as well.

Taste- Not a big fan of licorice flavor and this beer is big in licorice but I did not seem to mind it here. It is toned down a bit with figs and brown sugar. Quite a bit of alcohol flavor as well. Finishes with a licorice aftertaste.

Mouthfeel- Thick and rich. Nice carbonation for a big beer.

Drinkability- This beer will only get better with age. Right now it is too hot for great drinkability. A good sipper. Look forward to trying this next winter.

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Photo of Tinfoilrcr
3.89/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Received as an extra in a trade with hayesez, thanks again!

A- Pours a dark rich brown with hints of garnet in the light. Tan head disipates quickly with next to no lacing.

N- Smells of molasses, port and maderia.

T - Up front is over-the-top sweet, middle is all alchol, finish is golden. FInish has a nice balance of roast coffee, molasses, a carmelized yumminess. First sip was hard to get past the initial up front back of sweet and strong alchol one-two, but the finish is worth it.

M- Very heavy and full of hotness.

D- Cannot drink very many of these, esp given the high ABV.

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Photo of mondegreen
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-Tap at Trappeze in Athens, GA.

I missed this one at the local bottle shop. I heard it was at Trappeze, so I made a point to get by there after work on Friday to give it a go.

As I was grabbing a seat, the waitress offered me a menu. "No thanks, Bell's 9000, please," I said. She smiled knowingly and told me it would be just a second. A minute later she pulls a beautiful goblet of beer from the tap and slides it to me. She checks in after my first few sips, "Is it everything you were hoping for?" she asks. "Excellent," I reply.

Damn, guess I was kinda transparent.

A: Nearly black. A slightly brown tone with garnet highlights in the sunshine. A fluffy white recedes to nothing fairly quickly.

S: A potent, sweet smelling brew. The molasses is the first thing that hits me. Dark fruits and licorice in there, too. Very nice smelling.

T: My best description is that this beer has the best qualities of a barleywine mixed with some stout characteristics. The sweetness and alcohol hits you over the head like a barleywine. This is a very, very hot beer. I love boozy beers, so it's right up my alley, but I would love to have a few of these to rest in the cellar for a few years. To go along with the sweetness, there is a backbone that reminds me of a stout. Masterful flavor.

M: Wonderful body to carry the 12.5%. Mouthfeel is heavenly.

D: It's a really big beer. I could drink them as long as I am vertical, but hey, I love the heat. If you're not as tolerant, this might be a one and done. As it stands, I give it high scores all around.

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Photo of Jmoore50
3.58/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This one is a pretty straight forward beer. Molasses and licorice with heat. Reviewed side by side with 7000.

This beer pours dark brown with a fairly thick tan-golden head. It has no lacing, and I later find out the reason is because of the high ABV. Does have really thick oily legs.

Smells like licorice, sweet molasses, and alcohol.

The taste hits you over the head with molasses, licorice, roasted grain, and heat. Heat heat heat. This thing is hot. For a anniversary brew I think it is appropriate to put this in the cellar and wait for batch 20,000 to come out. I can imagine this thing taking many different forms, and all of them interesting.

The mouthfeel is hot on the palate. Also pretty heavy and full of that thick malt. Pretty sugary sweet as well, like grains of sugar are grinding in between my teeth. Pretty interesting brew that i would love to revisit every year for the next ten.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.15/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A - Black with a small creamy head that dissipated leaving nice sticking and lacey sheets along the sides throughout the drinking.

S - Very dark fruit, lots of licorice, alcohol burn. Molassas notes comin strongly and wrap around all the rest of the smells.

T - Nothing subtle about this, licorice pretty much punches you in the mouth, almost making it pucker, molassas taste is quite present as well. Much too sweet for my liking.

M - Sticky and syrupy, quite a heavy body on this one, carbonation is there, but almost an afterthought with how much this one sticks.

D - Could barely do the one, licorice is overpowering, alcohol burn gets to you pretty quick, but it's just much too sweet and strong to do much of this.

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Photo of jjayjaye
4.57/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

You can see through pour that its clear and it sits in the glass as a dark cola colored brown with a shallow wispy tan head that fades quickly, leaving stringy patterns of Belgian lacing behind. The smell is fairly aggressive rich with an excellent sweet dark fruity fig and black licorice character. Adequately carbonated, the mouth feel has a tangy note from the alcohol. The texture is smooth with an oily coating nature that compliments the taste and adds nicely to the drinkability. I'm a HUGE fan of the flavor! I love the uninhibited intensity of the black licorice fig fruitiness and I appreciate how well those flavors linger with each meager sip. The 12.5% ABV is neither timid nor distracting. This one is best considered slowly and deliberately. Received a couple of these in recent trades...damn thankful that I've had the opportunity to experience it. Highly recommended!!

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

Had on-tap at Harrison's Landing in Elkhart, IN on 3/11/10

A: Pours black with thin cream head that quickly dissipates, which is no surprise due to the alcohol content.

S: Very sweet, like molasses and licorice. Some roasted coffee and malts make up the smell as well.

T: Immediately very sweet. You get the sweetness from the molasses with the bite from the alcohol. As you swallow you get another hit of the sweetness with some coffee aftertaste. This is such a sweet beer! It pushes the borders of too sweet but it really works for me. Great for such a strong brew.

M: Thick and full-bodied. Almost syrupy in feel.

D: Even though it is probably the sweetest beer I've ever had, I find it very drinkable. Its meant to be enjoyed and drank slowly and I found myself excited for every swig.

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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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