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

12 oz. bottle from Beer Run, poured in to a balloon tulip.

Appearance: Pours a surprisingly light looking, filtered brown, seal brown around the edges, nearing perfect opacity at a distance a centimeter or so in from the edge of the glass. A moderately vigorous pour coaxes out one finger of khaki beige head which fades fairly quickly (though perhaps not relatively so for a 12.5% abv brew) and leaves only a thin, delicate strand around the edges of the glass. Lacing is about as runny as you'd imagine, and agitation or sips yields some shiny, slippery, oils legs that drip right down in to the morass as quickly as they were arisen. What's likely most notable about this brew's appearance is how light it is - I imagined this one would have been similar to the 7000, a huge, malty, viscous black-bodied brew, but it's actually not nearly as thick looking as that brew was.

Aroma: A fairly complex aroma. Cocoa and anise are dominant, the former taking on a semisweet or baker's chocolate sort of approach. The molasses adds a sweet edge, heavily caramelized and toffee-like, which mingles well with a handful of darker, toasted malts. Most unusual is a strong fruit showing, from a not-too-uncommon-for-this-type-of-beer stone fruit note (cherries) to a "hmm, that's odd"-acidic/tart note that's reminiscent of blood oranges. A plus is the relative lack of alcohol burn or heat.

Taste: I read the "warning - Batch 9000 is SWEET" threads, but I'm not sure if I was prepared for this. This beer has a TON of residual sweetness, but I think - and I'm still reserving judgment - that there's enough else going on here and in its favor to counteract that. For one, the sweetness - which at various points in the sip and depending on my mood - takes on anything and everything from saccharine, golden, slightly spicy honey all the way to dark toffee, hitting everything (caramel, brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup, chocolate syrup) in between. Second, the sweetness buries about 95% of the alcohol heat that you're going to have in a nearly 13% abv% brew, which is, well, a lot. Third, the other notes present - cherries, raisins, slight prunes, faint citrus, and a few other tropical fruit flourishes - both do enough to keep this beer interesting and to compliment the other flavors to keep it solidly drinkable.

Mouthfeel: Likely this beer's best characteristic, and all the better considering how much of a disaster potentially sweet beers can be. This one's rife with carbonation, powerful and fine enough that it makes for a lofty, even mouth, slightly creamy

Drinkability: Many people are envious of rock stars, billionaires, or Nobel prize laureates. I'm envious of the yeast sitting in the other 23 bottles of this brew in my cellar, for they are going to be far, far happier than any individuals in the aforementioned categories over the next five to ten years. The final gravity of this beer might be higher than the original gravity of many, but this one manages to be not too cloying as is, and I can imagine it's likely only going to get better - a perfect candidate for aging. The 12.5% can't be ignored ... unless you didn't know it was 12.5%, in which case it can be. That is, I feel drunk, but I wouldn't have tasted it while it was happening, both by virtue of the sweetness and the general superb job Bell's always does at masking the ethanol heat in its higher abv% beers. And while this is no Batch 7000, it is a good beer, and one I expect to get better with age. Check it out.

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Photo of sidetracked
3.53/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark-brown, almost black, with a light-brown head.

Smells strongly of semi-sweet molasses with a bit of licorice that reminds me of root beer.

The molasses really dominates the up front flavor. Some licorice starts coming through towards the end with the semi-sweet molasses lingering on. The flavor combination is a little strange and definitely unique. A little alcohol heat at the finish as it warms up.

Medium-full body with medium-low carbonation that feels right for the style.

A good sipper, but the intensity of the molasses mixed with licorice makes it almost hard to get through. It will be interesting to see how this beer does with a few years on it.

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

Grabbed a glass at als of hampden on march 7th.

A - pours a deep chestnut brown with almost no light coming through. Very little foam.

S - Aroma is of dark fruit, plums, raisins, molasses, raisins

T - Very syrupy molasses and raisin taste, very complex tasting brew.

M - very smooth mouthfeel, syrupy but mot too thick feeling

D - very easy to drink. Leaves a strange aftertaste though. I think some age on this will do it well.

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

pours a dark black/brown with a khaki head. looks great. smell is sweet, tart, and syrupy. strong, dark berries and molasses engulf the nose. damn. the taste is just great. coffee dominates with chocolate, strong roasted malt, and licorice. very tart finish. burnt caramel as is warms. quite rich and smooth. for me personally, there was too much tart/sugar richness in this beer which affected the drinkability. needs to be a bit mellower in that department. perhaps a great cellar brew.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.76/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Man when I bought this I had no idea it was 12.5 ABV, and I am not too crazy for licorice...

A - Pitch black with very small head. Almost like an Imperial
S - Weird... Smells of candy licorice and chocolate as it warms
T- Here goes... Kind of spicy and bitter. The licorice hits a weird dimension I am not used to. Interesting
M - the alcohol is well hidden but I guess I don't like licorice because every sip kind of makes me gag
D - Man I think I need to try this beer again in a year. It is a nice release for bells considering the highest I ever had was a 6% but I really don't like it...

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Photo of ltjska04
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Black with a beautiful tan head that lasts about 5 minutes then settles into a ring around the glass that leaves nice lacing

S- wow, powerful. Upon first sniff I get dark fruit/plums. Kind of reminds me of a German doppelbock. Then it smells a bit like wine. Could be the brewer's licorice, not sure what that smells like. This is a scent that keeps on going; it stayed in the glass for the duration of the beer.

T- dark malts and more of the plum/licorice taste carried over from the smell. Sweet, almost bordering on cloying but not too bad. Complex and intriguing from sip to sip.

M/D- This is a full-bodied beer that coats the tongue and just begs for another drink. I never would have guessed this as above 12%. This is some good stuff; I may have to pick more up to cellar for later.

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Photo of hwwty4
4.65/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After getting shut out at a couple different liquor stores after I got off work, I was lucky enough to grab the last sixer at a local, small liquor store in south KC. Man, was I happy. If it's half as good as Batch 7000, I'm in for a treat. Poured a 12oz bottle into my Tripel Karmeliet tulip. This beer pours a dark, oily soy sauce black with a 2inch tan head that leaves viscous fingers on the sides of the glass as I take a sip or twirl the beer. The aroma is dark molasses, brown sugar, Hershey's milk chocolate syrup, burnt espresso, and what reminds me of grape Dimetapp. Amazing. Simply amazing. The first sip is an explosion of flavors on my palate. Up front comes sweet chocolate syrup and overly roasted espresso. Secondary flavors come through with black strap molasses, anise, dark fruits, dates and sweet grapes. Just a hint of piney hops at the finish. The amazing thing is that even as this beer warms, not a hint of it 12.5% comes out. Perfectly hidden. The mouthfeel is silky smooth, coating the mouth with a chocolate/espresso oily slickness. Man, this beer amazing. Batch 9000 is probably in the top 5 beers that I've had this year. I really can't wait to see what it does in 2 more years.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.51/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

$3.50 for a bottle at Jacks. Pours out to a cloudy very dark amber, not quite black, forming a modest khaki head with poor retention and absent lacing. Carbonation is mild. The aroma is potent with prunes, raisins, dates, licorice, molasses, black walnut, carob, potent vanilla, and alcohol suggestive of bourbon. Very nice aroma. The mouthfeel is very smooth, dense, rich and syrupy. The taste is huge...lots of molasses and prune juice right up front, akin to Sam Adams triple bock in the sweet dark fruits, followed by soy sauce, a touch of sourness like rotting black cherries, sweet vermouth, a faint whiff of fusels before a warming alcohol, an earthy mild bitterness, and a woody aftertaste. It lacks the roasted barley and black patent one would expect for an Imperial Stout, but it's more than an Olde Ale or Strong Ale...more like a Double Olde Ale.

Very much on the sweet side, this one takes time to finish. Very rich. A dessert beer. Worth trying.

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Photo of ThaBobfather
4.55/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a rock solid black, fizzy but solid bodied with a slight pleasant lacing of medium bodied chocolate head.
Smell is nearly intoxicating with notes of booze, sweet malt, some molasses, notes of roasts and chocolate.
Taste is complexly sweet and tasty, with a highly syrup and caramel/molasses tastes at the end.
Finish is very wet and long with a solid sweet syrup/caramel/malted taste.
Drinks very well- no better than this at 12.5% that's a 5 for me!

Fiance says it was good- doesn't like molasses

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Photo of steve8robin
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Extra in a trade...

A: Good. Small mocha head that fades quickly. Dark with slight highlights around the edges.

S: Malts, sugars, licorice, molasses, and oaks on the frontend. Slight hops in the middle. Not bad.

T: Sugars, malts, booze, and citrus upfront. Very unique flavor. Grapefruit flavor in the middle. It's interesting, but I like it.

M: Seems a hint over-carbonated, but not bad.

D: Goes down a little hard from the booziness and interesting characteristics.

All in all, this is a good brew to try at least once just for the unique flavor alone. If you are looking for a brew that seems to bring something different, then definitely try this one.

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Photo of Jeebs
3.53/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a very dark brown with a 2 finger brown head from an aggressive pour. The head dies fairly quickly leaving little to no lacing down the glass.

S: Aroma of licorice and rum like booze with hints of dark fruit, raisons and cherries come to mind.

T: Wow, overpowering sweetness up front! Once you get past the initial sweet shock, flavors of molasses, licorice and raisons come through along with the alcohol you might expect from a 12.5% brew. As the beer warms it starts to get a bit hot.

M: Thick and syrupy with low carbonation and some heat from the alcohol.

D: The heat somewhat kills the drinkability of it right now, after some aging this should be a real nice beer.

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Photo of Cannabinaceae
2.53/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured into a brandy snifter.

This beer is dominated by molasses and licorice. It has a little bit of roasty malt in the nose, but otherwise it is thick and syrupy. This is a beer that is difficult to categorize. It has a very unique taste, and to be honest it's really not my thing. Overall, it is a very interesting beer and it is a commemorative of course so it may be worth trying, but I didn't particularly enjoy it.

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Photo of alysmith4
2.19/5  rDev -45.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Wow, I must just really not like this style. Rarely do I spend $3.50 on a 12 oz. beer (to enjoy at home), but I had a few sips, let it warm, and ended up pouring it down the drain. It smelled like cough syrup, and tasted even worse. I guess I just don't like the syrupy sweet malty Old Ales. I'm such a hop fan, and this beer was like the exact opposite of that. On a more positive note, I was a really good looking beer. Nice rich black-brown color, with a beautiful, thick, light-brown head that took about 30 seconds to form after I poured it.

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

It's nice to see a few cases of this made it to Springfield, MO.

Pours dark brown from the bottle but looks black with a few deep red highlights in the glass.

Apparent licorice in the aroma, booze, and mysterious dark malts and dark fruits. The nuances come out a little clearer from a distance, up close the alcohol can overtake it, we are dealing with a 12.5% beer here.

What I love about the taste is the dark licorice and alcohol, being heavy, dry, and dark, mingling with the sweet toffee and molasses flavors making for a liqueuer/dessert-like experience. While it's not bitter, it's not cloying. It really shines in the finish when the flavors can fade and bounce back and forth, the alcohol falls off, and the unique structure of it all comes together. The carbonation is low and the body is full and smooth.

This is a fine experience now, worth sharing, and since I bought two six packs, I look forward to enjoying and sharing it in the future.

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Photo of Stigs
3.67/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured from 12oz bottle at Bocktown...surprised to see this in the cooler, served in a 10oz snifter

A - poured out silky smooth black from the bottle...I must have blinked or left the room for an undetermined amount of time as there was just about zero foam anywhere to be found, save for a few oversized loose bubbles around the edge of the glass.

S - very sweet, licorice dominates...some toffee, molasses, milk chocolate, coconut, vanilla in small doses.

T - very sweet right off the bat. the bottle didnt have to say that licorice and molasses were used here, its quite obvious. sweetness continues with some molasses, raisins, vanilla. loads and loads of boozy alcohol. 12.5%? i guessed and was .5 off. where is the bitterness? missing balance.

M - looking past the somewhat cloying sweetness, has a nice low carbonation level, and is quite silky smooth going down. thick and just a tad chewy, no problems here.

D - wasnt sure what to expect coming into this, wasnt very impressed, but can see this settling down nicely with some age. not completely turned off, ill pick up a couple bottles and sit on them for awhile, as I trust Bells.

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

On-tap at Flying Saucer, one of 2 kegs that made it to North Carolina, served a deep opaque balck with a thin diminishing head. Aroma is roasted malts and slight booze with mild cocoa and fresh ground coffee. Taste is also roasted malts, cocoa, and fresh coffee with a kick of dried fruits. The beer is certaiy on the heavy side, boozy alcohol is right up front, but it seems it would get better with age. This one was enjoyable, no where near Batch 7000, but still respectable.

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Photo of GoApps
3.61/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very thick. Not a whole lot on the nose besides sweetness and booze. No head on the pour.
This beer could really have used some carbonation to liven up the thick, flabby but interesting palate.

Molasses is the dominant flavor here. Too sweet and boozy but fairly smooth for its weight. Enjoyable and different. Good, but not great beer.

Could probably age forever though.

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

Very cool looking label on this 12oz bottle.

A: Pours a very dark brown color with dark tan head that dissipates to a thin film rather quickly.

S: Smells of sweet molases and dark fruits. Some rum and vanilla smells, but dont pick up too much licorice.

T: Tons of molasses! Very sweet. I really like it though. Licorice is tough to pick up, but dark fruit and malts are dominant behind that sweet flavor from the molasses. A little bit of oakiness in the finish, but that flavor is quickly over matched by some alcohol heat.

M: Very chewy, sticky, viscous. Really enjoyed the thick, full bodied mouthfeel.

D: This is a sipper, but so delicious that it goes down easily. Some age on this beer will do wonders for it. Definitely putting a few in the cellar.

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

I poured this from a 12oz brown bottle into a tulip pint glass.

A= This ale poured a deep dark brown color with a short lived dark tan/brown head. The head literally rose about 1/2" and then nearly disappeared in under 3 minutes. Some minor spotty lace down my glass and legs appear when swirled.

S= Huge thick aromas of rich chocolate and toffee malts, raisins, rummy alcohol, and dark fruits.

T= Big chewy sweetness up front followed by the slow dance of dark fruitiness and alcohol. The fruit component was all raisins, dark cherry, and plum. The alcohol was big and evident throughout. Finished boozy and warm.

MF= Huge thick body with a light carbonation and creamy tongue-coating feel.

D= A sipper for sure but once you adjust to the heft of this beer its quite tasty and enjoyable. Probably a 1 or maybe 2 per night beer, but worth exploring for sure.

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Photo of bluemoonswoon
3.67/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into an imperial pint glass.

A: Pours out a loose, liquid tobaccoo, brackish and blackish, brown, topped
with a very quickly disapating tobacco brown head that fades into a sandy brown
ring. Given a few swirls traces of cherry wood can be detected. Legs don't last
as long as i think they would with a beer this size.

S: At first whiff it smells like a chocolate covered Belgian Strong Dark ale, lots of
dark fruits, toasted marshmallows, pure vanilla extract, rum raisins.

T/MF: Seems a bit young and hot, lots of alcoholic heat, burns off many of the would
be flavors picked up in the aroma. A bit woody in the finish, very sticky on the back
of the tongue.Tastes of raisins, cherries, vanilla, boozy caramel.

D: Just too young and
hot to give this a fair grade. Think it would develop quite nicely in the cellar though.
Two, three years maybe then it might be time to revisit this beast.

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Photo of Beejay
4.09/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Thick, and deep brown with some ruby tones.. tan head, but I really had to work to coax it out.

S: Sweet thick malt. Brown sugar, carmel, molasses and alcohol. Very sweet smelling.. It almost smells like it is syrupy.

T: That is a sweet shock to your taste buds. Sinfully malty and sweet at the first taste. The strong molasses fades to a bitterness that I assume is the licorice. This baby is a sipper.

M: Thick and syrupy. It has the viscosity of the meanest cough syrup you have every taken, but tastes way better. Carbonation level works well with the mouthfeel.

D: A sipper for sure. I would love to see how this mellows out with cellaring.. good thing I have a few to find out.

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

This beast is my reward for two hours of ambling through the winter woods

Interesting to see the style of this beer changed to a strong ale, which changes my initial ratings. Hard to see this beer as an Imperial Stout as was previously listed

Crimson pour with pronounced red highlights when held to the light. Vigorous pour brings a brigade of bubbles that are quickly repelled at the still surface. Beer looks thinner than expected

This beer smells so very sweet: figs, raisin, dark fruits and a face slap of caramel drenched bread

Tastes of a sack of brown sugar, plum, and wave upon wave of molasses upon a soft bed of licorice. So...damn...sweet

Mouthfeel is syrupy and viscous and really surprising giving the relative light appearance of the pour

Not pulling the expected heat from this beer. A sipper, for sure, but heft of this hoss is well hidden

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Photo of sweemzander
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled on 01-27-10.

(A)- Pours a pitch dark black color, though not as thick as I was expecting it to be; no worries. Produced a good tan colored head that had plenty of bubbles. Good retention; definitely stuck around for awhile which is surprising given the alcohol level in this. Left behind some clumps of lacing here & there on the sides of the glass.

(S)- This is so heavily roasted that it actually has a strong burnt aroma. Its like you had a piece of bread & spread molasses & raisins on it & totally scorched the hell out of it with a blow torch. You can definitely smell the licorice behind all of that. A big smell for sure that I am enjoying.

(T)- The beauty of this is in the aftertaste/finish. Allow me to explain. Up front you have a dense molasses, raisin, & licorice combo with a heavily roasted toast-like breadiness. As I mentioned earlier, the finish is where this really shines: a light creaminess with hints of raisin, molasses, and a cocoa; almost dark chocolate thing coming through.

(M)- A good carbonation & balance to it. Much thicker in texture than what I had assumed from the appearance of the pour. The maltiness balances out how bitter this can get from the roast & licorice. Superb alcohol integration; never would have thought this was a 12.5% if I didnt read the label!

(D)- Definitely a little different than what my expectations were, but by no means am I disappointed. This is rather good now, but I think it will only get better with some age on it. 6 months to a year and this should be amazing. A sipper for sure; no doubt about it.

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Photo of Lukafer
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours black with a pinky fingers worth of tan head.

S - When cold it smells predominately like booze, after warming up slightly I can smell some licorice and chocolate, and the booze dies down a bit.

T - When I first starting drinking it cold, it was booze up front with a little hint of chocolate in the back, pretty good like that, but after letting it warm up a little, I taste licorice up front, with some booze throughout and a delicious chocolate finish. And suprisingly not too sweet for a beer with this much alcohol.

M - Near perfect. I didn't get that stick to your lips, too thick to enjoy feel at all. The carbonation that's present is close to the perfect amount. Very impressed.

D - Well, as most beers with this ABV, I couldn't imagine drinking more than a couple of these in a setting.

I think a year or so from now this beer will mellow out a great deal and be smooth as hell, but you should definitely drink some now as well!

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Photo of AdamGarcia
3.72/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz btl poured into Chimay chalice. I've tried this on tap, but didn't take notes. Picked up several btls as this one should age beautifully.

A: Pours a deep brown with blood red highlights. in the right light it looks near black. A short-lived head develops from a forceful pour, leaving only a ring of lace and a steady stream of bubbles from the Chimay etching.

S: Even when served too cold this one has a wonderful, bursting aroma. As the beer warms everthing is intensified and new complexities become apparent. I notice a lot of ripe fruit...plum, red grapes, dates, boozy rum-soaked raisins. Getting a little tobacco as well, kinda like a cognac dipped cigar. I'm almost satisfied without even tasting it!

T: Boozy. This one is a little hot! Lots going on. Its a little difficult to isolate individual flavors, but taste mirrors smell. Big sweet flavors all around. I get a big dose of tobacco in the finish. I took this beer down a notch in this dept because I feel there is even more heat than I would expect given the 12.5% abv.

M: Carbonation is subtle, but good for the style. Silky smooth feel.

D: Like I said its hot...this coupled with a little too much sweetness hurts the drinkability. But honestly, how much of this beer would you expect to want to drink in a session?

Right now this beer is good. In several years it may very well be incredible. This one has tons of potential, I can't wait to try it again sometime down the road. I just hope I can show enough self control to let it age long enough!

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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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