Mars (The Bringer Of War) | Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store

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Mars (The Bringer Of War)Mars (The Bringer Of War)
Mars (The Bringer Of War)Mars (The Bringer Of War)

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Michigan, United States

Style: American Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.10%

Availability: Rotating

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.

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 186 | Ratings: 1,364
Photo of Sabtos
2.16/5  rDev -47.6%
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 tongue shredding bitterness that it's just offensive. There are some notes of caramel, grapefruit, firey pine, rug, biscuit, and a distinct orange candy finish.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.61/5  rDev -36.7%
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 KFBR392
3.22/5  rDev -21.8%

Bottled 7/31/14

Appearance: pours a slightly murky dark orange color. Half a finger of crisp white head on the pour which dissipated, leaving sticky random lacing behind. Active carbonation is very low for the style.

Smell: Saturated orange peel and citrus with heavy accents of caramel. Resinous pine and herbal hops pick up on the body. Some sweeter malts and touches of honey round out the back end.

Taste: Molasses and maple syrup greet the drinker. Thick caramel with some medium bodied hops with a light lingering bitterness even out the body. Toffee and robust malts wash over the palate on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Heavy syrupy textures aren't my favorite in ipas, but this one is okay. Mild bitterness is enough to remind you this is an IPA.

Overall: Sort of an old ale type flavor profile from this DIPA. Tons of malts and syrupy molasses notes win out in the end. Not sure if this was better fresher, but I don't know if this and the Oracle are swimming in the Hopslam wake, I thought either were impressive.

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Photo of BirdsandHops
3.25/5  rDev -21.1%

A: Pours a slightly hazy honey color with two fingers of cream-colored head that fades into a frothy ring with good lacing.

S: Sweet citrus like oranges, nectarines, apricots, and a bit of pineapple along with caramel and vanilla.

T: Sweet citrus with nectarine and orange flavors along with caramel malts dominate with a bit of grapefruit towards a finish that is sweet and only lightly bitter.

M: Medium body with lowish carbonation, this beer is sticky sweet feeling.

O: An alright beer, overall. The bottle is unfortunately a bit over a month old at this point, but it just showed up in the area. It is a bit too sweet and has the feel of a barleywine rather than a DIPA.

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Photo of glass_house
3.25/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter

Pours an attractive deep burgundy that is mostly opaque. Two fingers of creamy off-white head that blankets my glass with oily lacing and maintains a solid collar. Smell is sweet bready malt with fleeting citrus and pine.

Taste is sweet. Oh the sweetness. The malty, sticky, syrupy, cloying sweetness. It overwhelms the hop presence and dominates the flavor profile to the point that the hops feel out of place. Like pouring maple syrup on fresh grapefruit.

Did I just drink a 5 month old Hopslam? Bottled 2 weeks ago so I'm assuming this is how it's supposed to taste. On the bright side, the 10% abv helps me forget I paid $15 for a six-pack. It is relatively smooth, not quite a drainpour, but I will pass on this in the future.

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Photo of stakem
3.4/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a tulip. The brew appears a clear burnt copper color with 3 fingers of yellowish stained tannish head. The cap is very creamy and fades slow leaving a full wall of webby lace sticking to the glass.

The smell is herbal with pine and caramel to toffee malt. Some sweet candy aspect before getting a little vegetative and then transitions back to sweet bready and toasty grains. Not bad, just not that great either. The hops really dont shine like you would expect of an imperial IPA.

The taste is sweet with bready grains than solvent alcohol, pine, herbs and a vegetative feel. At times the malt feels like candy transitioning from caramel then goes to mostly minerals in the finish.

This is a medium to full bodied brew with moderate carbonation. Overall boozy, solvent and not that good of a DIPA. Not terrible either really but not worth seeking out let alone revisiting again.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.4/5  rDev -17.5%

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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Photo of otispdriftwood
3.5/5  rDev -15%

If 3.0 represents okay as in average, I believe this beer is only slightly above average. Reason? As far as I am concerned, there is nothing that sets this beer above any other high ABV IPA. Another reason is whether it was the first colder sip or the last warmer sip, I couldn't get away from a boozy taste, which at 10.1% wasn't unexpected but my point is that compared to other high ABV IPAs that do have a taste other than alcohol, this beer has too much of an alcohol taste that detracts from the hop flavor. And for the price, I can get something that I believe is a better beer.

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Photo of d5001986
3.5/5  rDev -15%

12oz bottle poured into Spiegelau tulip.

A: Pours a slightly hazy amber with a 1/2" of off-white head.

S: Grapefruit, pine, and sweet, syrupy malt.

T: Quite sweet. Lots of maltiness up front, followed by pine, grapefruit, spiciness, and some post bitterness.

M: Creamy and smooth medium body with moderate carbonation.

O: Too sweet and malty for me. As far as DIPAs go, I'm not impressed. One of Bell's weaker offerings.

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Photo of ajm5108
3.55/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a semi-dark gold, good barm & carbonation. Aroma has tons of sweetness - sugar & honey - with bready malt and very little hop. I agree with most that this is a very sweet beer for an IPA. The malt does overpower the hop notes, but you can still pick up a little citra and there is some bitter pine on the end. Mouthfeel is a little greasy.

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Photo of bwood06
3.55/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a deep, dark amber hue that is topped with a thick, frothy, khaki colored head that dissipates ultra slowly to a rocky layer with a neck that is retained. Carbonation is ultra low, giving it a bit of a creamy appearance. 4.25/5 The aroma is somewhat subdued with aromas of caramel and wheat bread that both provide a light sweetness along with candi sugar, pine, and citrus. Pine is the prevalent hop aroma that I notice. 3.5/5 The flavor profile is not as sweet as the aroma with the wheat bread kicking things off somewhat lightly before transitioning into pine and tropical fruits, but nothing is very intense here. This beer does come across as somewhat deep and dark which is interesting for the style. Bitterness is fairly light for the style with not much lingering. 3.5/5 This beer comes across as wetting and only slightly drying with really no lingering dryness. 3.5/5 For me, this was a decent DIPA, but not near any of my favorite DIPAs in terms of flavor and aroma. The appearance was awesome, but the aroma and flavor lacked punch for me. 3.5/5

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Photo of Prager62
3.58/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Revisiting the planet Mars and doing a full review and score edit. Pouring this 12 oz. bottle dated 04/07/17 in a Bells tulip.

Look- Pours a rather lively cloudy dark orange leaving two fingers of creamy white lingering foam. Heavy lacing is left as it settles.

Smell- Very onion/garlic spicy and floral smelling up front. There's some malt sweetness and fusel alcohol as well. It has a slightly odd smell that reminds me of kitchen cleaner.

Taste- Onion and garlic spice along with floral esters, malt and fusel alcohol in the finish. A little too medicinal tasting with each sip.

Feel- Creamy to start followed by a bitter hop bite and a touch of alcohol heat.

Overall- I wasn't the biggest fan the first round and the second iteration isn't any better. It's too spicy, bitter and hot for this hophead's palate. There's certain qualities of this beer that remind me of The Oracle, but I don't find it as enjoyable. With a lot more and better choices now available, this one can go back into retirement as far as I'm concerned.

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Photo of jmasher85
3.6/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Like the remake of Total Recall, or frankly 90% of all Mars-based movies, this trip back to the Red Planet was not worth the voyage – and certainly not worthy of the 2 bottle per person limit at my local shop. I didn't try it first time around, but if I had, I wouldn't have picked the reboot over any other DIPA in the store. The Munich malt sweetens and thickens the flavor a bit too much, especially for a DIPA, the advertised tropical fruit flavors of the hops are little more than the classic apricot/stone fruit mixed with a piney, acidic zing that you get in half the other beers of the style out there. Most interesting part is the vague hint of bubblegum odor. You can certainly feel the heat of the 10% abv, the body is thick and a bit resinous, and the hops and malts both make their presence known, but if there's another strong, semi-sweet hoppy ale on the shelf when this sells out, you'll do no worse picking it up.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.6/5  rDev -12.6%
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 Pencible
3.61/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

A: This poured an opaque dark gold with moderate off white head.
S: It smelled like candied apricots and dried mango, with some orange and caramel malt.
T: It tasted like caramel malt and dried mango, with some candied apricot and orange. It had a clean and mostly sweet aftertaste with some alcohol warming.
M: It was thick with a little carbonation. Nice slick body.
D: This was more like a hoppy barleywine than an IPA, with a huge malt presence. The scent and taste were ok, but the body was solid. The finish was hot, so it was better to sip. Not a bad brew, but really nothing special. Certainly not worth the price.

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Photo of unclejazz
3.68/5  rDev -10.7%

Smells very good, but just out of balance when it comes to flavor. Overwhelming malt flavor and unpleasant boozy aftertaste. This reminds me a bit of this one goes to 11, I would rather have 2 bottles of an evenly balanced pale ale instead of this one.

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Photo of chinchill
3.69/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle (thanks BH!) poured deep amber in color. Slightly hazy and a trace of sediment left on the bottom of the bottle. Decent head has OK retention and leaves very good lacing.

This strongly flavored ale is bitter and hoppy; appropriate to DIPA style and perhaps extreme, but not obviously over the top. Some balancing malt sweetness makes an occasional appearance. Moderately complex with hints of honey, toffee, lime, pineapple, orange, grapefruit and pine.

Although the high ABV is partially hidden, particularly in the aroma, it does lend some harshness to the mouthfeel and lends a barleywine quality to the taste.

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Photo of Smakawhat
3.73/5  rDev -9.5%

Poured from the bottle into a Spiegelau IPA glass. Packaged July 31st, 2014.

Thick light tan and thick four finger tall head that will not quit off the pour. Stands like a rock with a large clumping island and mountain peaked valley vista. Body color is a bronze deep red, with semi clarity. Very slow rising carbonation from up the bottom, and extremely fine. Aggressive, in control, but just large. Impressive.

The realm of IPA signals and depth change has take a turn on the nose it seems. While aromas of dank and tropical juice hit, a wicked biscuit note follows, with a grainy whipsy caramel sensation as well. The malts, will not take a back seat you fiend, and for that the hops also try with their juice tropical goodness to take over giving more to earth and pine that's taken down by caramel sweetness. This is big and playful, not out of kilter, but in a way fighting with itself. Impressive, not sure where this will lead.

Those sweet malts hit, and there's no mistake. Big thick and syrupy brown sugar, with a good thick hop blast of pine. Large amounts of caramel and toffee with a big finishing oily hop. The balance on the palate goes off a bit into the malt realm, with sugary rush. Thick bodied, almost syruped and treacle quality, nearly a molasses thickness. Hop angle and variation is really not coming out, much of the aromatic qualities hinted seem long displaced.

Overall the hop angle gets burried, and becomes a syrupy sweet malt brew. Hops hit with bitterness but much of the aroma and varied quality is lost on the palate. Just a bit too sweet. Drinkable, but this reminds of me beers that new brewers make that think are a great IPA. This isn't it, even the interesting biscuit crunch is missing that was hinted at. Bell's has done better.

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Photo of BrentLepping
3.75/5  rDev -9%

I don't know, something just a little off here. Malt presence (maybe the Munich?) is a bit too overpowering. Rather see the hops shine a bit more, personally.

Solid, for sure, but nothing near as good as Oracle.

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Photo of wedge
3.76/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

PKGD 7/31/14

Pours a glowing reddened amber, appropriately enough, much like the image of Mars on the label. A dense, creamy head lasts for a minute before settling to a milky cap. Beautiful drippy lacing. Smell is sort of rich and heavy with pine and spice. Caramel, very slight mango, melon, and alcohol. Flavor definitely has a big hop presence, but its balanced by a wave of toasted caramel malt resulting in something more American Barleywine than DIPA. Still, the flavors come together rather nicely; the hops bring a sappy, tangerine, and lemon tea quality while the malts bring toffee and biscuits. Bitter and sticky, the body is a little heavy, but things never turn too boozy or cloying. Pretty good all around.

Side note: We JUST got this in NC despite being released well over a month ago, so I don't know who dropped the ball, but I have to assume this has fallen off some while sitting around for weeks. Still, a solid Barleywine-esque beverage to get my Friday started.

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3.77/5  rDev -8.5%

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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Photo of Biggtriksta
3.78/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a rich amber color with a slight ruby hue. The head is pretty minimal, but what is there is cream-colored and frothy. Nose is sweet and fruity. I get most of the sweetness from the malt and the hops provide a nice, juicy aroma. The hop profile creates a tropical finish. The taste is like that of a hopped up, high-alcohol amber ale. I get strawberry and raspberry as well as good sweetness from the malts. There is some noticeable booziness as this beer is over 10% ABV. As for the mouthfeel, it has decent body on it and tastes full and rich. Overall, the inspiration for this beer is represented well. I am reminded instantly of ruby colored fruits and sweet malt alcohol.

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Photo of mothman
3.78/5  rDev -8.3%

1 finger of beige khaki head. Fades down, leaving some thin lace rings. Color is burnt copper hued orange.

Flavor profile: A big grapefruit and citrus flavor up front. Melon and clementines. Tons of floral and earthy hops. Big malt backbone. A lot of alcohol showing.

Mouthfeel: Bitter, but surprisingly somewhat balanced. Medium bodied. Ends fairly clean.

Overall, this is definitely a more balanced dipa. The only beef I have with this beer is that the abv shows a bit too much for me.

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Photo of tillmac62
3.79/5  rDev -8%
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 brentk56
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%

Appearance: P:ours a hazy amber color with an impressive head of foam that retains well and leaves plenty of patchy lace behind

Smell: I can tell this is going to be a malty DIPA from the caramel tones that obscure, to some extent, the pine that lingers underneath

Taste: Big Munich malt flavors, up front, with the caramel and biscuit tones forward; by mid-palate, the resinous piney hops move the the forefront; bitterness builds, after the swallow, as do both the malt and boozy flavors, producing a lot of sweetness and bitterness in the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and boozy, with moderate carbonation

Overall: If you like big malty flavors in your DIPAs then this beer is for you; me....not so much; perhaps the hops are already starting to fade due to the 45 days of bottle aging but I suspect that this beer may make a better Barleywine than a DIPA, when all is said and done; right now it is raw, assertive and the flavors don't come together well for me

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Mars (The Bringer Of War) from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 4.12 out of 5 with 1,364 ratings