Bell’s Brewery, Inc.
This One Goes to 11 Imperial Red Ale
Bell’s does a lot of things right – well, more or less everything in my opinion – but one thing they excel at is hops. Whether it’s Two Hearted, their superb single IPA, or Hopslam, their even more superb double IPA (and my favorite beer), they do it right.
But Batch 11,000 – a.k.a. This One Goes to 11 – cranks it up. (Pun intended.)
For every 1,000 batches, Bell’s releases a different special one-off and extremely rare beer. I’ve tried the 12.5% Batch 9,000 and the 9.2% Batch 10,000 strong ales, and both were great. But This One, an 11% imperial red ale takes the cake.
The pour is a straight-up copper brown color. It’s really clear with just a slight chill haze and a finger of a light bubbly head. It settles fast, not surprising for such a high gravity beer. There’s only some very mild lacing and alcohol legs.
There’s an epic dank pine on the nose. Big, massive citrus notes come flooding out of the glass, too. There’s a really big resinous note that sticks to your nose. Definitely a malt presence there to balance it out, but it’s just an absolutely massive hop nose.
The taste is strangely mild on the front of the tongue and has a really smooth mouthfeel. Seems unassuming enough, but on the back … wow. Gigantic dank resinous pine and citrus notes just absolutely explode on the finish. It has an almost chalky mouthfeel on the aftertaste that’s likely caused by the excess of malts needed to keep this thing balanced. There’s definitely an incredibly strong malt presence as well to balance out the overwhelming hop presence. It’s a bit of a sipper, but it tastes so damn good that it might be hard to do.
Bell’s kicks ass, plain and simple. Each new brew and each milestone beer just gets better than the last. This One is an absolutely massive beer with hops out the ass, but the strong malt presence maintains a balance. It’s very limited and could be hard to find, but get your hands on it if you can.
<Insert “This is Spinal Tap” joke here>