As I type the final words in the draft that will hopefully become my second book, tentatively titled Great American Craft Beer, I’ve decided to quietly celebrate with some sharp Vermont cheddar and a Bells Batch 6000 from the cellar. In doing a quick Google search to determine when the beer was released, one of the early entrants was, to my surprise, my own words from some time in 2003.
After brewing its 5000th batch, Bells decided to celebrate by producing a special smoked beer. With its 6000th batch, the brewery decided to celebrate again by producing an utterly sublime and wonderful beer. Put plainly, Batch 6000 is the best beer I sampled during 2003. It is a phenomenal barleywine-style ale, with deep, rich malt notes and an incredible balance of hops and alcohol. The flavor continues strong throughout the brew, finishing with some sizable malt notes and some tinges of hoppiness. After sampling the first bottle of this expensive six-pack, I had grand plans to cellar the rest of these brews to enjoy their developing complexity with age. Unfortunately, Batch 6000s smooth flavor and wonderful blend of alcohol and hops proved too great an enticement and sadly I’ll never know what the future holds for an aged version of this product.
I have no idea what happened after I typed those words but I came across four bottles of this delicious nectar while perusing my cellar for a celebratory beer this evening. And I have to say, reading some early reviews on the ratings websites, everyone talked about just how potent and strongly flavored the beer was and how it would mellow over time, including this particularly colorful reference:
If this beer had balls, you’d need a fucking wheel barrel to haul them around.
Well, six years later, I can report that things haven’t mellowed very much and this beer is still a bruiser. It has something to do with the proportion of dark malt, which imparts such a marked bitterness. The aroma is slightly oxidized, a bit sherry, but it generally tastes and smells just as I remember it, only darker and more roasted.
And as much as I love the beer, it pains me to see people selling bottles of it on eBay, with a reserve starting at $20/bottle…That is about twice as much as I paid for the six-pack but really, what kind of an a-hole do you have to be to sell such a great beer on-line?
Anyways, raising a glass to Bells and to the achievement of personal goals.