Every couple years or so, Bell’s comes out with a commemorative beer to mark another 1,000 batches under their belt. Similar to Batch 7000 that was released back in 2005, which I’ve heard from various folks is drinking REALLY well at the moment, their recently released Batch 9000 is a massive imperial stout coming in at 12.5% ABV.   

Poured into a snifter with a deep brown coloring and a thin head that builds with time. Aroma is soy sauce, anise, dark fruits, and mild alcohol. Maybe even a DFH 120 kind of rich caramel quality going on. Taste is very sweet, borderline cloying, more than just about any imperial stout I’ve ever tried. Bittersweet in the middle, likely from the molasses they brew with, with a fair amount of alcohol heat in the finish. Mouthfeel is relatively thin for the style, I need some viscosity here, not what I’d expect for such a huge beer.

Overall impression? I felt blitzed halfway through the snifter, and overwhelmed by sweet malt, which given my predilection for other sweet imperial stouts like Darkness 2008 was surprising to me. But this beer really needs to lay down for a year or two and mellow out before it gets pleasantly drinkable, which is exactly what I’m doing with the rest of my bottles.

Rating: B

Where I Bought It: Zipp’s Liquors
Availability: Limited Release
Price: $16.99 per six pack