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.

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