Bell's Mars (The Bringer Of War) | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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Bell's Mars (The Bringer Of War)Bell's Mars (The Bringer Of War)

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.10%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Mars is the first beer release in the "Planet Series," inspired by the symphony written by composer Gustav Holst. Mars is a Double IPA with an intense hop profile and malty backbone. The hop flavor and aroma is complex, with notes of tropical fruit, pine, and citrus. A generous addition of Munich malt gives Mars it's toasty, deep malt character.

Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second smallest planet in the Solar System, after Mercury. Named after the Roman god of war, it is often described as the "Red Planet" because the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance. Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere, having surface features reminiscent both of the impact craters of the Moon and the volcanoes, valleys, deserts, and polar ice caps of Earth. The rotational period and seasonal cycles of Mars are likewise similar to those of Earth, as is the tilt that produces the seasons. Mars is the site of Olympus Mons, the second highest known mountain within the Solar System (the tallest on a planet), and of Valles Marineris, one of the largest canyons. The smooth Borealis basin in the northern hemisphere covers 40% of the planet and may be a giant impact feature. Mars has two known moons, Phobos and Deimos, which are small and irregularly shaped.

Added by mothman on 06-27-2014

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 108 | Ratings: 1,083
Photo of Sabtos
2.16/5  rDev -47.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.75

On draft at Hunahpu's Day 2016.

Clear orange with a pretty substantial, sticky head.

BITTER BOMB! Big pine and resin, with maybe some tropical citrus, but just so fully dominated by bitterness that it's just offensive.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: clear, bright crimson coloring, under a slimmish, off-white head.

Aroma: Potent and pungent. This would be proper usage of the mis-used term "dank." Smells like Otto's jacket. Deeply piney and resiny, citrus fruit stuffed in liquor bottles, then rolled on the forest floor, in search of your stash.

Taste: Massive mouthfeel. Intense. Fairly complex, floods the mouth with a multitude of sensations. Thick and slick on the palate, oozing hop bitterness and …and everything, man. yum.

Once in a while, you wonder that if after enough imperial IPAs, will you run out of things to say? Will it be more of the same, same ol' thing over and over again? It's true, I do wonder, I worry. But it's worth the worry to get to a good one like this.

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Photo of KensWorld
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from12oz bottle dated 7/31/2014. Might be past its prime but still tastes very good, although a little too malty. I wish I was able to try this fresh. 4.25

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Photo of Cannibalgasm
4.58/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I hate to do/admit this but this review is off of memory. Mars was fanf***ingtastic. I am currently drinking Uranus and once I saw I never reviewed this terrific brew I had to rectify that sin.

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5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am a huge DIPA fan and although the Planets Series by Bell's has berg very average, MARS was maybe the best DIPA I have ever had! Wish Bell's would mass produce this beer and ease up on The Oracle as I feel like it is jok. Was only able to have a few of these but it is a very special beer!

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.6/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Very murky orange/brown, not very appealing. Plenty of streams of carbonation. Orange-tinted thin head, porous web of light lacing. Bottle art is distinctive but kinda boring.

S: Citrus fruit, syrupy. Hops are pretty limited, but plenty of toffee malt.

T: Bitterness is present throughout, flower and orange peel mix well with the sweet caramel/toffee. Even hints of mild chocolate.

M: A little syrupy, but not unaesthetic. Slightly astringent. A little rough. Does high ABV do that?

O: Very tasty, even though this bottle is past it's best-by date. The hops are more restricted than I would imagine, but that suits me just fine.

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Photo of BeerDawgs
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A 12oz bottle about 6 months old

L - Bronze hello with not much clarity. 1 finger of head and lace left all over the glass. Beautiful color for a DIPA!

S - Huge malty backbone and sugarcane sweetness! Citrus hops..

T - Like the smell, malty and sweet with citrus notes. Super malty and sweet for a DIPA. Delicious!

F - Medium bodied, medium carbonation. Smooth and the High ABV is very well hidden

O - Bells can brew IPA's thats for sure. They diversify on this one. Big and malty with this one and not such a focus on hops. Bells always.

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Photo of sprucetip
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Just read about the removal of the quick ratings. So this still won't be an old school review. … But I got a little. Bottled July 31, opened Dec 16, 5.5 months young. I likes 'em rich and malty, and this one is. Caramel comes thru loud and proud, rich and smooth. Hops are not so sharp, but they come in a strong wave of flavor, mostly, and bitterness supporting. It all blended real well. Smelled well too. Citrus, caramel, some boozy heat.

At 5.5 months reminds me of Bigfoot when fresh, though I think Bigfoot has sharper hops. Bigfoot could safely be called a DIPA when it is fresh, and for a while after.

I suppose the move back to old school reviews is good. Quick ratings could make a guy lazy. The tone of the message from management makes it sound like there are some douches hanging around here.

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Photo of metter98
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy orange amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a half finger high beige head that died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles on the surface, a collar around the edge, and some lacing down the sides.
S: Moderate aromas of pine resin and tropical fruit hops are present in the nose along with notes of caramel malts. The tropical fruits—mostly pineapples—become stronger as the beer warms up.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste has a mélange of different hop flavors and starts out with some pine resin and is followed by pineapples towards the finish. There are strong notes of underlying caramel malts and hints of alcohol in the aftertaste.
M: It feels medium-bodied and rather crisp on the palate with a moderate to strong amount of bitterness.
O: Initially this beer seemed like an aggressive Imperial IPA but once it started warming up and gaining complexity from the pineapple aromas and flavors, it really started peaking my interest. The only drawback is the hints of alcohol in the taste.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of StoneTSR
3.92/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

From notes on 10/3/14.

APPEARNCE: Mostly clear with a touch of haze, which could be from the dregs at the bottom. I poured gently, but may have just gone too far. A thin head foams up, maybe a quarter of an inch and collapses fairly quickly into a topography of varying sized bubbles covering the surface of the glass.

SMELL: This aroma is very similar to a Barleywine sans the banana. The big, sugary malt notes are all here though, along with a bit sweet spice and…wait…maybe there is a little banana in there, more like a banana Now & Later. Very appetizing.

TASTE: The sweet aroma is strong on the palate up front with those sugary malts dancing around everywhere. Again, caramel and a touch of sweet, fruit flavors are also present, as is a hint of pine. The finish is where this beer is surprising; a big wash of hoppy, bitterness hits towards the end – grapefruit and lemon lead that charge with some grassiness mixed in.

MOUTHFEEL: Given the sweetness factor, this is a relatively thin beer, I’d say medium body overall. I just expected it to feel more like a Barleywine. There is very little carbonation and a bit of sweet residue feels as though it’s left on the palate after each sip.

OVERALL: Good, solid beer…and something a little different from Bells in terms of an IPA. I would drink again if it was released fresh again.

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Photo of woodychandler
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Yes, they can be a tad more expensive than some of their local competitors, but The Fridge consistently seems to have access to some rarer beers than I can find elsewhere. This was another example and I put it in the reefer until the appropriate moment, like right now.

From the bottle: “This is one of a seven part series inspired by Gustav Holst’s musical composition, ‘The Planets.’ Strap in and embark on a flavor tour of our solar system – in the order of Holst’s piece, Mars to Neptune.”

This called for musical accompaniment, so I cued up Holst’s “Mars” on YouTube to be followed by the Hoodoo Gurus’ “Mars Needs Guitars” before Pop!ping the cap. I was tempted to wage war on the glass with the beer, but I noticed some lees in the kick of the bottle, so I handled it more gently as a result. Even so, I created three-plus fingers of dense, tawny head with great retention. The clarity of the beer, once in the glass, was phenomenal, NE-plus quality, to be sure. Color was Deep Amber/Light Copper to Copper (SRM = > 13, < 17). Nose was boozy and hot and I began to contemplate what I might do after waging war with this 10.1% ABV beast. I sat back and watched as the head slowly fell, leaving sticky lacing and mass destruction in its wake. Mouthfeel was thick, heavy and viscous. I felt like I had put a dollop of syrup on my tongue. The heat was immediate and it had lost nothing in the months that it had been awaiting this moment. Cooling, it had a rye whiskey-like mintiness, but there was no escaping the fury of the underlying alcohol. Man, this was definitely not for the faint of heart. The finish was dry, but cool, like sucking on a mint. This did not suck, but nor was it one to have more than one. Mars may have Attacked, but I was up to the challenge.

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Photo of Rutager
4.14/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks Weezy69 from!!

Appearance. Pours a hazy orange-gold with almost two fingers of thick ivory head.

Smell. Sweet caramel candy, dried mango and sweet citrus fruits. Quite sweet and malty with some nice fruity hops. Not usually my kind of ipa but smells really great.

Taste. Again, sweet caramel but not in a bad way, nice sweet orange and lemon with a little bitter rind. Maybe some tropical fruits, honey and floral hops as well.

Mouthfeel. Medium-full body, low+ carbonation.

Overall. Good stuff. Like I mentioned, sweeter maltier ipas aren't usually my thing but this is pretty decent.

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Photo of chefhatt
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Has a dark orange color body with a small head.
The aroma is piney and hoppy.
The taste has a nice pine resin flavor with some bitterness.
Mouthfeel is smooth and overall a damm good dipa.

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Photo of argock
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a clear glass tulip. Batch number 13345 (7/31/14) on back label. Purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Very clear medium-amber with 1/2-finger of off-white head with good retention and pretty copious lacing for the ABV.

S: Huge whack of pine resin on first whiff with some medium-darker toasty caramel aromas and orange/grapefruit lush citrus. The caramel is very strong and dampens the hop nose -- probably intended that way given this is "Mars."

T: Flavor is not coming weak, but I agree that this fits as an American Strong Ale more than a DIPA, although that is what Bell's calls it. Extraordinarily malty with huge blasts of caramel, raisin, and fig lending a lot of maltiness and sweetness, too much sweetness in my opinion but not off-putting, with a dense cover of pine resin, grapefruit, orange, and some apricot in the finish. Bitterness is high and alcohol presence is present but not overwhelming. A beast of a beer for sure.

M: A little on the syrupy side with low carbonation and full body. Definitely a sipper.

O: Mars is a palate raker of a beer, both with hefty hops bitterness but also with a high degree of maltiness and sweetness. I wish this beer was less sweet and syrupy, maybe 8.5 or 9% and drier would be more drinkable and more highly rated, but this is not a bad beer, just not the most drinkable in the Bell's stable.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.61/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

BOTTLE: 12 fl oz. Appealing label art and design. Brown glass. Orange pry-off pressure cap bears the beer's name. Bottled 07/31/14. Acquired in a trade with the always generous Duff27.

10.1% ABV. Served cold into a snifter at low altitude in Austin, TX.

Reviewed live as an imperial IPA per the label (which calls it a double India Pale Ale). Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 1.5 fingers in width. Off-white colour. Average consistency; smooth and even. Nice complexion. Appears fairly soft. Good frothiness. Nicely creamy. Full. Retention is quite good for the high ABV - about 6-8 minutes.

Lacing: light and even.

BODY: Glowing translucent orange of nice vibrance. Nontransparent. Clean; no yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Appears well-carbonated. Overall, it's a nice looking IIPA. I'm looking forward to trying it, but it's not unique or special in any way.

AROMA: Instantly, this announces itself as a tropical imperial IPA, with notes of tangerine, mango, and heavy resinous hop character. There's some more mild juicy fruit character in there too (including a hint of peach on the backend) alongside sticky pale and Caramunich malts. There's not much pine here; I'd prefer more. I do find some tropical pineapple as well - I'm not a big fan of pineapple in beer but it seems to work fairly well here. I also get some candied orange peel, but no fresh citrusy zest; seems like a missed opportunity. Suggests a stickier, sweeter IIPA than I usually go for, but it's not unappealing.

Shockingly, no alcohol is detectable. It's also quite clean; I find no hints of yeast.

Mild in strength. There're no off-notes.

TASTE: Tropical hop character dominates, to its detriment. Candied orange peel, tangerine, brief mango, and pineapple. Luckily, the pineapple isn't accompanied by the flagrant booziness usually concomitant with that flavour. The candied caramelized feel of the third act is off-putting, and is symptomatic of a bigger issue with the flavour profile as a whole - its overemphasis on sticky sweet malts. Where it should go for citrusy zesty refreshing orange peel, it goes instead for candied orange peel. Where it should opt for pine, it opts for tangerine.

It's fundamentally imbalanced, with the malts defeating the hops, but the tropical hops don't even put up much of a fight on the bitterness front. Maybe some punching grapefruit would help bring this flavour profile into perspective.

There're no nectary or oily hop notes, and it definitely misses opportunities in terms of resinous character.

Depth, duration, intensity, and amplitude of flavour are all merely average. Disappointing coming from a brewery as respected as Bell's. But to its credit, it does conceal its 10.1% ABV - I'd guess it was closer to 8 or 9%. It does have complexity, but can't manage it; this beer is cohesive but never feels like a gestalt whole. It's less than the sum of its parts. Certainly not the most intricate/nuanced or subtle Imperial IPA out there. In fact, it's quite overt and even a bit plain.

TEXTURE: Sticky, unrefreshing, warm, pulpy, and overly thick, coming off unnecessarily overbearing and heavy on the palate. Smooth and wet, with a light syrupy feel and obvious overcarbonation. Full-bodied.

This texture doesn't elevate the beer beyond the limits of its taste, and is merely an okay companion to this flavour profile. The stickiness needs toning down.

OVERALL: Call it my personal distaste for pineapple in beer or call it the difficulty of brewing a beer with a predominantly tropical hop profile - either way this just isn't a quality brew - and certainly isn't up to par with Bell's reputation. I wouldn't bother with it again, but I'd happily try other beers in this series. It's drinkable, especially for its high ABV, but I wouldn't want a second. The discerning drinker would be better off going for superior options - ideally cheaper offerings from breweries like Lagunitas and/or Deschutes. Subpar work from a brewery I know can do better.

Big thanks to Duff27 for the opportunity to try this!


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Photo of BrewChatKen
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

Ah, the bringer of war. I had high expectations for this planet series from Bell's and am hoppy to say that the first one delivered. On the nose I got big tropical and citrus fruits, mainly lemon and pineapple, backed by a bit of pech, grapefruit and tangerine. It poured deep amber with a white head. It's a full bodied beer with a heavy mouthfeel that leaves a stickiness. Onto the palate I got a bouquet of fruit flavors like pineapple, lemon, orange, tangerine, mango and peach. A big malt sweetness balances to hops, but it was not overdone as can happen in come cases. The alcohol was also much better balanced than in their annually released DIPA The Oracle. Overall a great start to the planet series and a beer I wish was available year round. I'm glad I got to try it though, and hope the rest are as tasty.

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Photo of RogueOz
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz into a snifter glass.
L: reddish/orange haze with a nice 1inch head on an aggressive pour. Head is thin, noting the moderate level of carbonation. It does look inviting.
S: Citrus, malts/caramel, light pine. I'm thinking this is going to be maltier than expected.
T: Not as hoppy as expected. Strong malt backbone. Bitterness is subdued.
F:Nice moderate mouthfeel/body, resinous and a tad sticky.

O- I think this would have a different character if bottle was fresher, or on draft. I enjoy a maltier IPA so this did not disappoint with the bottles little bit of age. Cheers.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

i am temped to call this more of an american barleywine or hoppy strong ale, rather than a double ipa, i mean, its just so distinct and different from any big ipa i can think of. its rust colored, glowing an eerie halloween orange, with a permanent and thick white head. the nose is tons of burnt sugars and candied orange peel with a unique mix of malt sweetness and citrus bitterness combining beautifully. the alcohol is there, but its reserved and most intense in the finish when the other flavors are also at their apex. the body is thick and stocky, not oily and sticky like west coast ipa, but just like barleywine. no appreciable yeast character here, but its not missed. the candied orange hop thing is all i taste in the flavor, and once i start to consider it, i fixate on it, and cant get anything but it, which is fine because its incredibly good. id love to know more about the hops used and the schedule, its unique in flavor and feel to me. i think this sort of goes beyond the style conventions into a new realm of hoppy beer, which i totally dig. radical evolution and sensational beer.

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Photo of tillmac62
3.79/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

BOD 7/31/14. Pours a somewhat hazy almost medium amber with a very slight garnet hue. Nice head with excellent lacing and good retention. Excellent nose of blended hops (grapefruit/citrus, tropical/pineapple and mango, light pine with a spicy note, a bit of dank) over a rich caramel malt base. Light medium body with a bit of oily resin providing a moderately slick texture. Normal carbonation with a bit of effervescence on the finish. The flavor profile is complex, but lacks an excellent balance and fails to cover the alcohol. It begins as a blend hop flavors, with pine and dank slowly yielding to tropicals as the caramel sweetness sneaks in. The sweetness fades into a mild bitterness which has a dank and slightly spicy note. As the bitterness fades, alcohol dominates the palate. The finish is slightly sweet with alcohol burning the back of the throat.

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Photo of Boto
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle: This one pours a hazy, orangish golden color. There was a somewhat frothy off-white head on it. It lingers a bit and leaves alot of lacing. It has a very nice nose. Grapefruit and other citrus notes are predominate. Some malts trying to get through. The taste is very good. Huge malt body, but no sweetness from it. Grapefruit, orange and faint pineapple notes. Excellent!

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.99/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a globe. 7/31/14 puts this at two months and one week at time of consumption.

A: Murky orange-brown color. Fine-bubbled off white head retains at a quarter inch. Spotty lacing.

S: Pineapple juice, pulpy mango, guava, apricot. Rich and complex malt backbone lends smells of toast, shortbread, and scones. Golden raisins. Suggestion of alcohol.

T: Plenty of hop oils. Herbal and earthy, acutely resinous. Clamping, vice-like bitterness. Lighter notes of mango and apricot. Spicy alcohol. Tropical esters. Fat and toasty malt body. Hints of burnt sugar. Booze-soaked golden raisins. Oily, clamping hop bitterness on the finish.

M: Medium-thick body with a sense of weight that sets in and presses down in the mouth. Creamy and silky in texture. Carbonation is low and gentler big warmth in the chest upon swallowing. Astringencies are well controlled with just a slight tooth-raking sensation.

O: Good stuff. At 10.1% abv we are approaching triple IPA status. In fact, this reminds me a great deal of Founders Devil Dancer. Pair it up with very spicy foods, preferably habanero-centric stuff.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Pours a clear orange color with a white soapy head and froth. The aroma is full of bright, fresh hops with notes of citrus and a bit of malt sweetness. The flavor has big time caramel but equally strong hop bitterness and flavor. Hop flavor ranges from grapefruit, pine, orange and herb. Alcohol is barely noticeable, for a 10.10% beer this drinks like a humble 7 or 8 percent beast. I would drink this before going to war, or mellowing out to some classic Gustav Holst. Can't lose.

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Photo of zac16125
3.92/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter
bottled on: 7/31/14

A: Pours an opaque dark apricot colored with just under 2 fingers width of light tan head. Head has good retention and leaves lots of thick lacing. 4.25

S: Aroma is citrus, lots of sweet malts, subtle tropical fruits, some booze. Its nice, but not the hop profile I was anticipating/hoping for, and I get the suspicion that its past its prime. 3.5

T: More bitterness than the aroma implied, floral hops, lots of pine, citrus rind. Still very heavy on the malts, a bit too much for my preference. A bit of booze too, which I kinda like as it adds nicely to the palate profile. 4

M/D: Full bodied, carbonation on the heavier side but appropriate and still rather smooth for the style, ABV is noticeable in a good way, and drinkability is very good. 4.25

O: Overall, this is quite a good beer. The aroma was not much to speak of, but nice flavor profile and great drinkability. 4

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.4/5  rDev -17.1%

Autumnal orange body, pretty hazy. Half inch of light khaki head. Aromas of sweet booze, resinous hops, big malt bill. Sugary tropical fruit flavor with pineapple and mango soaked in booze. Sticky on the palate with a warming finish. Not my type of DIPA, really. Too robust with glaring alcohol presence. Still, it’s alright - once.

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3.77/5  rDev -8%

Beautiful deep amber body, almost resin like in tone. Head is an inch of foamy fluffy off white head. Retention is very nice as it stays around for a good amount of time and leaves scattered lace as it slowly fades.

Nose is intertwined doses of malty sweetness and hoppy citrus rind along with a resin based sappy feel.

With first sip I get rhubarb and raw vegetable notes. There is distinct citrus rind tones as well. The malt plays to really accentuate the odd vegetative feel to the body of this beer. I had this beer very fresh on tap about a month ago and remember it being much more dynamic.

Mouthfeel builds on that raw vegetable feel as the hops are vegetable based in the flavors that they yield. Overall this the first of the planet series missed a little for me.

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Bell's Mars (The Bringer Of War) from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.1 out of 5 based on 1,083 ratings.
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