New Brew: Bell’s Batch 9000

26 Feb

One batch better than 8,999

Bell’s Brewery has long established itself as one of the eminent major regional brewers in the country.  As such, they’re expected to pump out some boundary-pushing commemorative beers celebrating their long-standing brewing tradition and status among the pantheon of American brewers.  Stone has their Vertical Epic series.  Avery has their Anniversary Ale series.  Bell’s eschews simply commemorating another year of brewing – instead celebrating another 1,000 batches of beer.  Their Batch X,000 series incites riotous speculation and anticipation among the beernerderatti, as their online batch tracker ticks closer to the nearest round thousand.  With Batch 7,000 (my first experience with the series) released in October of 2005 and Batch 8,000 released in August of 2007, the waiting period between special releases is on the order of every other year.

Nearly two and a half years has brought us to Batch 9,000, which appears to be a riff on the imperial/double stout theme of 7,000, which itself was a riff on their venerable Expedition Stout. A beer hardly in need of being cranked to 11, 7,000 was a meal of a stout that really benefited from some time in the cellar to cool off its considerable alcohol profile and allow the rich malts to blend and soften.  Batch 9,000 makes the addition of molasses and brewer’s licorice to a beer that I can imagine will age with the best of them.

Beer: Bell’s Batch 9,000

Style: Imperial/Double Stout/Old Ale/Chewy Bucket of Malt

Vitals: 12.5% abv, brewed with molasses and brewer’s licorice

Company line: “Batch 9,000 is part of our commemorative series celebrating our progress with special brews.  Black, dense and rich, this is a great ale for the cellar.”  Whoa guys – keeping those cards close to the chest, eh?

My take: pours pitch black under a few fingers of caramel suds that fold quickly under the influence of the booze.  Aroma comes through with notes of coffee, dark roasted malt, black strap molasses and candied dark fruits.  Hits the tongue hard with a cooling alcohol presence and dry roasted malt, but quickly devolves into a sledgehammer of sticky fig, molasses, cocoa nibs, and an old espresso finish.  Lips are left coated with liquid malt glue.  For its chewiness, the high alcohol content serves to dry out enough of its cloying malt profile to  keep it drinkable (don’t get me wrong, this is still a meal of a beer that should fall into hit it and quit it territory for most mortals). Larry Bell has another daunting double stout that should no doubt keep his loyal denizens in check until the counter tallies 5 digits.

One Response to “New Brew: Bell’s Batch 9000”


  1. New Brew: Dave’s BrewFarm Select « 43north/89west - March 11, 2010

    […] libation is a grand departure from my lastest New Brew installments – Bell’s Batch 9000 and Great Dane Belgian Barleywine. The aforementioned ales pulled no punches with their strength […]

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