Bell’s Planetary Series
In August of 2014, Bell’s Brewery introduced the first installment of what would be a seven-part beer series – “The Planets”. Bell’s Planetary Series was inspired by British composer Gustav Holst’s century-old orchestral suite also collectively known as “The Planets”. Holst’s series of movements were composed in pieces over a number of years with each portion named for one of seven planets. Earth was not included in Holst’s series and Pluto’s discovery was just a few years before Holst’s death.
In case you’re curious, here’s Bell’s Planetary Series lineup:
“Mars, The Bringer of War” – Double IPA – 93 Points
“Venus, The Bringer of Peace” A Blonde Ale brewed with honey, apricot, vanilla and cardamom – 78 Points
“Mercury, The Winged Messenger” – A Belgian Single
“Jupiter, The Bringer of Jollity” – A malt forward Brown Ale
“Saturn, The Bringer of Old Age” – A Bourbon Barrel-aged Barleywine
“Uranus, The Magician” – Black Double IPA
“Neptune, The Mystic” – A beer inspired by Dr. Bell’s Medicinal Stout, one of Larry Bell’s homebrews that also helped inspire Eccentric Ale
Bell’s Planetary Series concluded with the final release of Neptune, The Mystic in July of 2015 and with these two beers I will have sampled four of the seven releases. Sorry, I intentionally skipped Mercury and Jupiter.
Since Bell’s is not available in New Jersey, these were purchases in Rockland County.
Tasting: December 29, 2015
Style: Barley Wine (aged in Oak Barrels)
Beer #: 883
The Bringer of Old Age. First impressions – boozy, raisins, caramel, vanilla and did I say boozy? Feels a little thin for a beer that’s 11.5% ABV. Not the best example of a barley wine. Probably needs more age than the 6 months I gave this bottle. Eh – 86 points.
Tasting: December 11, 2015
Beer #: 884
Lots of interesting ingredients here: star anise, dried cayenne, raisins, dates, black pepper, hickory bark, dandelion root, nutmeg, grains of paradise and fenugreek seeds (whatever they are). Neptune delivers lots of complexity. It’s spicy with a little late heat. Neptune is Layered in earthy, woodsy and I pick up on some of the individual ingredients, strong in nutmeg, mellow in raisins. An appropriate beer to have during the Christmas season. A tad bit thin which is surprising for a stout with a higher ABV. All in all, Neptune was enjoyable and probably best left as a one and done – 88 points.