Aroma: Port wine of malt beverages. Definately get the scent of licorice and molasses, swarmed by dark, sweet fruity (raisins, prunes, cheeries, etc). Delicious and unique.
1st Taste: Thick and rich and fruit like sweetness.
Overall: This series of beer relates to the number of batchs produced by Bells. Obviously, the fact that they've reached 9,000 says something about their longevity. And, a special batch this 9k is. It is a great brew. I'd never guess this is 12.5% abv, the alcohol is muted by a ton of flavor. All kinds of flavors coming at you, from a bunch of caramel/toffee that I'd expect is from the malts. I've already commented on the layers of dark fruits. Then there's the licorice, and maybe coffee, chocolate notes, and who knows what else. It's dense and rich, but that too is pretty much balanced out by the overal complexity of the brew. The only question I have about this brew is how much it will improve with aging. A truely special beer.
Poured opaque with a nice solid, brown, thick foam that was about half an inch in height. Retention wasn't bad while the lacing that was evident was blotchy.
Aroma is nice, subtle, yet complex. Brown sugar, sweet seem to be right up front with bourbon and booze running a close second. Dark dried fruits are prominent too. I know there is licorice in there and I sense the aroma but I don't know if I would without knowing it ahead of time.
Taste is complex from start to finish. Alcohol hits you first followed by the sweetness of molasses and dark fruits. Roasty, licorice, and then more sweet to the finish. Coffee, bitterness, and chocolate combine in the after taste.
Big body with a creamy feel. Carbonation is fair, not getting in the way of the beer.
This is a really big and fun beer. There is a nice booziness that I don't feel is over done. I have a few in the cellar but I wonder if the booze mellows if the big sweetness gets bigger and over powering. Great stuff though now. Enjoy!