Saturday, February 6, 2016

Bell's Neptune: The Mystic

This is a 9.0% stout. It is one of a seven part series of beers inspired by Gustav Holst's musical composition "The Planets." It is from Bell's Brewery of Comstock, Michigan. This beer is brewed with an array of other ingredients: black pepper, hickory bark, dandelion root, molasses, maple syrup, cayenne peppers, star anise, raisins, dates, and other spices.

The beer pours black in appearance with just a touch of very dark brown on the edges when held to the light. The aroma is dark roasted malt, char. The maple syrup, star anise, cayenne pepper, raisins and dates are all apparent within the general spiciness from all of the flavor additions. The overall effect is like strong, traditional root beer. The taste follows the aromas, hitting all of the same notes, rich, deep, spicy. The beer is “stout” enough to hold up all of the mingling flavors within it. It drinks full, but not heavy. The carbonation is light, but combines with the spice for a pleasant sting. While there is sweetness in this beer, it finishes just on the dry side, with a light bitterness. This is really, really good.

Many beers with an ingredient list as long as this would overwhelm themselves, and turn into a mess. This turns out a well-balanced whole that is delicious. Their website says the shelf life of this beer is "unlimited." That makes me wish I had a second bottle to age.

Greenbush Cabra Perdida

This is an 11.2% ABV imperial cream stout brewed with blueberries. It is from the Greenbush Brewing Company of Sawyer, Michigan. The name translates to "lost goat."

The beer pours deep black in appearance. There is a short head of tan foam. The aroma is sweet, dark roasted, chocolatey, hazelnut, with a light note of dark fruitiness. The taste follows the aromas, hitting the same notes, but even deeper and richer. The dark roastiness turns to pleasant char. Despite the sweet notes, the finish is dry, with a moderate bitterness. The beer drinks round and smooth, with a light and subtle carbonation. I wondered how the blueberry would work in this, but it is subtle and blends in well with the other stout flavors.