Batch 10,000 happiness

Last night, I had the good fortune to share a bottle of Bell’s Batch 10,000. From the first whiff to the last sip, this is an arresting and potentially enthralling beer, so much so that I decided to blog about it.

This beer, which commemorates the 10,000th batch of beer brewed by Bell’s, is marketed as containing “100 different malts, grains, and other fermentables. This is balanced by the addition of 60 different hop varietals between the kettle and dry hopping.” With the riot of smells and tumult of flavors evidenced in this brew, I don’t doubt these claims for a second.

Batch 10,000 poured from the bottle a deep chestnut brown, settling into the snifter with a creamy, khaki-hued head. After several minutes, this rather short head dissipated, leaving gentle lacing.

It was impossible to experience all the aromas vying for attention even after three deep sniffs from the glass. Raisins, toffee, molasses, chocolate, bright hops, campfire, licorice, peat, pine needles, even a bit of tangerine: they all erupted from the glass, hinting at the maelstrom of tastes awaiting there.

The brew is undoubtedly complex and flavorful, but I honestly found the flavors swirling around a bit confusing. There’s so much going on that I felt like I was in an orchestra pit before a show, listening to many different masters run through their crucial parts of the symphony, without ever hearing the piece performed in full. However, I did not mind this sensation one bit. No, I quite enjoyed it; I felt like each sip was a challenge, a riddle to be solved.

The flavor is rich with notes of brown sugar, coffee, honey, tobacco, sage and maybe toasted pecans, all balanced by an earthy hop presence. Every time I took a sip, I felt like I was experiencing a new wrinkle of this beer. There is a a full, slightly sticky mouthfeel, and alcohol warmth hidden at the end of this 9.2% ABV brew. Carbonation is moderate and the aftertaste is quite smooth, finishing dry, clean and a touch bittersweet.

Although categorized as an American Strong Ale, if I was handed this beer and asked to categorize it, I would probably guess at a barleywine. It’s a heady brew that would probably stand up rather well to a bit of aging. Almost redundant with complexity, it’s David Lynch-movie of a brew: you either love it or you don’t, and when if do, it’s really, really great, but it’s probably not going to be your number-one go-to beverage. But, I’m eagerly anticipating my next odyssey with Batch 10,000.

Published in: on April 9, 2011 at 9:57 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Hm-m. Now would that be a bottle or a can? 🙂

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