Neptune (The Mystic)
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store

Neptune (The Mystic)Neptune (The Mystic)
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Stout - American Imperial
4 | pDev: 8.5%
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Michigan, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Neptune (The Mystic)Neptune (The Mystic)
Notes: With Neptune, our Planets Series comes to an end. Inspired by one of Larry Bell’s old homebrew recipes and the music of Gustav Holst, this complex, strong and spiced Imperial Stout offers prominent herbal notes along with flavors of chocolate, roasted malt, licorice/anise and pepper with a touch of heat. Reminiscent of a mystical creation brewed in days gone by, this beer is a good candidate for aging due to the robust characteristics of its ingredients.

SPICES: Star anise, dried cayenne, raisins, dates, black pepper, hickory bark, dandelion root, nutmeg, grains of paradise, fenugreek seeds and dates

Also brewed with maple syrup, molasses and cane sugar in addition to hops and malt.
Reviews: 149 | Ratings: 575 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of gatornation
gatornation from Minnesota

3.77/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark cola color with a khaki head. Smell of chocolate spice and roasted malt. Loads of flavor in this from anise and pepper to licorice,root beer and cola. Mouth feel sweet with ABV hidden, this bottle it’s 5 years old and still has a ton of flavor with a medium mouth feel.

Jun 07, 2020
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 7/10/15; drank 9/4/15 @ the Yarchives.

A rough pour yielded a small dark khaki head; almost no lace.

Black coffee & mild peppermint notes in the nose.

Medium thick mouthfeel.

Root beer & milk chocolate flavors up front; sarsaparilla & cream notes on the finish.

Faint pepper heat settled on my lips over the course of the session.

Very unique, but stops short of being revelatory.

May 28, 2019
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AyatollahGold from Indiana

4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I'm very excited to try this beer. I never had it fresh so I will not know how age affected it. Bottled 7/10/15. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip.
Very little pop from opening the top. But it did manage to create a thin medium colored tan crown. It sits on top of a pitch black brew.
Smells wonderful. A lot going on and I like that. Smell sweetness like maple or molasses mixing with earthy spices (almost similar to a Belgian. Floral and spicy. Can still pick up those cayennes. And some dark fruit as well, like plums or some fig cookies.
Now that I'm even more excited to taste it after smelling it, here we go. So it's not as complex as the smell is. Assuming some things have died off since it was fresh, but I'm getting some sweetness. It's almost like a dried fruit sweetness. Plums or raisins. Amazingly, although it's not much, there is still a kick from the cayennes in there. They stay in the back of the throat.
The mouthfeel is full bodied and has a maple like sticky sweetness but unfortunately pretty flat. It's also not hot but warming from the cayennes. I could see this as being great fresh.
Overall, this didn't disappoint. I had no idea what to expect with an ingredient list this long and what age would've done to those ingredients. I kind of went into this one blind, but I am happy with the outcome. Can't believe it still has that warm kick from the cayennes. This was fun to try.

Apr 27, 2018
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1000lbgrizzly from Illinois

3.54/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thin-looking black body that produces a sandy-colored head with no retention- it fades immediately. The nose offers plenty of roasted malts that in turn showcase coffee and dark chocolate, burnt bread crust, and some of the acidity and lots of the bitterness that comes with all of them. There are also faint baking spices. The flavor is powerful but mostly standard IS notes; coffee, dark chocolate, along with some of the promised additives: nut, clove, and bitter licorice. It would be tasty, except there's an awful rancid and bitter finish to it all, leaving an unpleasant lingering flavor. Body is also abnormally thin for this powerful of a beer. It's only medium- weight.
Another flawed addition to a letdown of a series. At the best of times, this one barely broke the surface of averageness, which itself was a flaw considering all the extra ingredients they used but still couldn't get it to stand out. At other times, which was most of the time, it was usually dragged beneath that standard-threshold by the thin body and overly bitter and acidic flavor. The one redeeming fact is that, based on the other beers, and despite the list of ingredients, I wasn't actually expecting much.

Dec 31, 2016
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AlarmClock314 from Wisconsin

4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, dated 7/10/15, opened on 8/30/16. Pours black with a small sized dark khaki head; some lacing on the glass. Complex smell of roasted malt, cocoa, spice, molasses, peat, and dark fruit; somewhat low intensity. The taste follows with roasted malt, cocoa, molasses, spice, maple syrup, and some dark fruit with much better intensity. Lightly bitter and fairly spicy. Some noticeable alcohol. The result of cellaring seems to be more cocoa in the smell/taste and extra smoothness. Below average body and carbonation for the style. Overall, the unique ingredients really shine and make for a delicious, spicy IS. It's complex and drinkable. Definitely worth trying if you can find it.

Aug 30, 2016
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chinchill from South Carolina

4.16/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle with a July 2016 BB date stamp served in a snifter.

Appearance: tan creamy cap with poor retention; some spotty lacing; opaque dark brown body.

Aroma: soft, smoky with mild rounded deep dark character. Quiet smoky secondary impressions. Good refined alcoholic heat.

Flavor: Complex and dynamic. Very well balanced for a spiced ale. Chocolate, licorice, coffee, faint chili. Approaches 4.5.

Palate: smooth, full body with light chili heat. Proper light carbonation.

Overall: excellent!

May 19, 2016
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BeerSamurai34 from Texas

3.5/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one was really weird to me. I think there is potential with all of the flavor sand spices, but it didn't come all together for me. I got a strange aftertaste and a lack of balance.

May 09, 2016
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Phoneguy from Indiana

3.86/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured a dark chocolate brown with a thin dark tan head. Aromas of dark malts & spices. Flavors of dark fruit and black pepper with a lingering heat from chiles on the finish. Not something I would drink regularly but an interesting change of pace.

Apr 10, 2016
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SHDoyle from Ohio

4.17/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Description: Rich, black appearance with coffee colored head and lacing. There are approximately a thousand ingredients on the label so I expected a complex aroma and there was definitely a lot going on. The cayenne came through right away as did some smoky/wood scents - maybe hickory as it was one of the thousand listed ingredients. Also some dark fruit like raisin and date. None of it was too strong through; everything was pretty subtle. The dark fruits appeared again more prominently in the taste and I picked up a syrupy flavor. Aftertaste showed the cayenne as it settled into a slightly bitter finish. All in all, the flavors showed quite a range and everything was balanced. Mouthfeel was medium to heavy.

Suggested food pairing: Beef enchiladas

If you like this beer then you should also try: Oro Negro

Overall: 4.25 (This beer is good and I would likely drink it again) I was a little skeptical about all the ingredients listed on the label (I mean, "dandelion root"? Really?) but the finished product was pretty well done. It was tough to make out all the flavors and it might have been a bit overdone; focusing on a few key flavors might have produced a better overall beer. Still though, pretty good, a little different and worth a try.

Mar 06, 2016
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Franziskaner from Missouri

3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Black in color and impenetrable to light. There's a fingernail of dark beige resting on top. Moderate lacing. I don't get much in the aroma other than molasses and cayenne pepper. I believe that to be due to the fact that there's cayenne pepper in here and peppers in beer in my experience tend to neutralize the other aromas. The taste has so many (10) spices and additives that it is very muddled. After multiple sips I was able to discern the black pepper, molasses, and maple syrup. I also picked out the dates and dandelion root. I can definitely get the heat from the cayenne pepper in my throat and on my chapped lips. It's not overdone, but you are aware of it.

Feb 07, 2016
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yuenglingfan101 from Ohio

4.96/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

i love that this beer has black pepper in it. this is what makes this particular beer worth the while and makes it an exceptional beer to even try1!!

Feb 02, 2016
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manfromanotherplace from New York

2.62/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Can not believe the high rating for this....its like your Mothers spice rack fell in your beer, just check out how many ingredients there are in this, most of which have no place together and/or in a beer, just a mess.this is a lesson in how to ruin what could of been a good beer.

Feb 01, 2016
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drtth from Pennsylvania

4.54/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours out into a Duvel glass black and allowing no light at all to pass through it. The 1/4" dark tan head soon recedes to a small ring of foam, an irregular thin island over part of the surface with little or no lacing clinging to the sides of the glass. Sipping creates a few long thin legs of foam and lots of small patches on the side of glass, many of which slide back down to the liquid.

The aromas include dark chocolate with a hint of licorice. There are hints of black pepper and an almost smoky character here as well. But I also have the impression that there's more going on that I am just not sorting out.

The flavors are more complex than expected from the nose (which is fairly complex in its own right). They begin with an initial burst of sweetness that gives way to other flavors, including lots of spiciness that almost dances fleetingly over the tongue. While some dark fruits are deep down in the background they are here and gone quickly. Even though the ABV is 9% and well concealed here a sensation of warmth that begins to be felt long before the beer is finished. Some of that is a general effect from the alcohol, some is related to a light pepper burn in the back of the palate and throat.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and slightly prickly from the light amount of carbonation. The finish begins about midway through as the various flavors begin to fade into the background to be replaced by some bitterness that dies away while revealing a touch of warmth (from the cayenne and black pepper?) that slowly fades into nothingness.

Wow! this is a challenging beer to explore. On the whole I'm enjoying it and am pleased to have a couple more for aging and for exploring the complexity here. Indeed the way to sum up this beer in one word is "complexity." This is quite a unique beer probably never to be brewed again but well worth trying and taking your time over if it can still be found anywhere near you.

Feb 01, 2016
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GarthDanielson from Virginia

4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a snifter, the beer is jet black, with a low profile, foamy, off-white head that settles out into a thin surface coating. Aromas of chocolate, molasses, and pepper heat forward, followed by subtle notes of maple syrup and woody notes. Flavors are rich and roasted forward, heavy on old world rich and sweet notes of dates and fig, followed by a solid woody smoke character, and highlights of pepper spice and heat, licorice, and earthy notes. Smooth, rich, and heavy in mouth, with a roasted, smoky, rich aftertaste heavy in molasses, maple syrup, chocolate, date, and fig. The finish is slick, smooth, and heavy, coating the palate as you drink. Tasty brew.

Jan 18, 2016
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TreyIsWilson from Michigan

3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours black with a one-finger brown head. Light amount of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is roasted malts, dark chocolate, and some faint earthiness.

T - The taste follows the aroma with strong roasted malts upfront. Dark chocolate, dates, and star anise follow midpalate. There is a good deal of smokiness thoughout with some lingering pepper heat on the finish.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Crisp mouthfeel with an oily finish.

O - This is definetly an interesting beer. Good but not great. Glad I was able to try it.

O -

Jan 06, 2016
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Pantalones from Virginia

4.02/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

My fourth bottle of this one, with a packaging date of July 10th, 2015.

Appearance: pretty much pitch black! I can see very slight dark-brown here and there when held up to a light, but in most cases the beer is just too dark for light to pass through; even my little LED flashlight held directly to the side of the glass is completely blocked. Foam on top is brown and thin, shrinking to a ring around the outer edge (and a couple little "islands") after hanging around for a couple minutes.

Smell is mostly lots of stouty roastiness right away -- not quite coffee-like, just roasty/char type with a bit of sweetness hiding behind it. Occasionally I think I'm picking up just a tad of something spicy in there, probably the cayenne pepper mentioned on the bottle, but the roastiness is the main thing there. After drinking a bit I'm starting to be able to pick up an earthy/woody sort of smell in there too, and maybe just a hint of alcohol, which seems to become a little more noticeable as it warms up a bit. Overall I have to say the smell is probably the weakest of the four categories with this beer, but it's not bad.

Taste, like the smell, has a whole lot of roastiness in it. There's also some sweet flavors (a bit dried-fruit like, reminding me of raisins or dates... which on closer inspection of the label, were both used in this beer, so picking up those flavors would make sense) in the back behind all the roast. A bit of a woody sort of flavor mixing in with the roastiness and sweetness. There is also a definite pepper-like spice on the end which is really interesting in combination with the other flavors -- this is the only hot-pepper beer I've had so far, but it's nothing like the descriptions of some of the "extreme hot-sauce" chili beers I've seen on here, the hot pepper presence just adds an interesting little spiciness on the end rather than overpowering everything else. Around the halfway point I'm picking up a really interesting sweet/spice sort of flavor that I can't quite identify -- sort of makes me think of a sweeter cinnamon type flavor, almost? Whatever it is, it's nice and definitely blends well with the other flavors present.

Mouthfeel is nice -- fairly thick feel to it, but at the same time it's not harsh in any way (due to carbonation fizziness, alcohol burn, excessive levels of bitterness/sweetness/etc. or anything) so I'm finding myself having to consciously slow my drinking down a bit to avoid emptying the glass quicker than intended! That seems to be a common trait of good big stouts -- more intended for small sips but tasty and smooth enough that you CAN take bigger sips (or gulps!) if you want. Slight alcohol mouth-warming effect, but due to the hot-pepper warmth also being present, it blends in well with the beer as a whole.

Overall, this is a really interesting beer (would you expect anything less with that ingredient list on the front!?) and also a really tasty one. It seems like every time I have one I enjoy it more than the last, especially if it's been a while since the last one (as is the case with the one I'm drinking tonight.) I'm glad I picked up a six-pack when I had the chance, as the "Planets" series of beers seems to have been a one-time thing and it looks like I got the last one my local beer/wine store had.

Jan 06, 2016
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sjones5045 from Pennsylvania

4.04/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12/29/15 Home Bottle

Pours Jet black with minimal tan head. Nothing special about the look. But nothing bad either.

The smell is kind of a sweet tobacco. Some maple and chocolate as well. Kind of a little of a lot of smells. Not bad.

Taste is good. Kind of a sweet chocolate and burnt chocolate mix. I really don't get everything else they say is in this such as peppers. Maybe faintly only because I know it's supposed to be there.

Very smooth beer all and all. DFrom first sip to the end it is pretty velvety.

I enjoy this one. Not great but pretty damn good.

Dec 29, 2015
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Sabtos from Ohio

2.63/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Ugh, I hate when a stout isn't a good stout. Molasses, dark fruits, hot and boozy, unnecessary spices. Eccentricity is not my thing when it's just for the sake of it.

Dec 24, 2015
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Brutaltruth from Ohio

4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Astounded by the 12 oz bottle. This most awesome stout pours a thick black with a moderate head of light brown foam that dissipates to a thick ring, thin layer, and very nice lacing. Nose of deeply roasted chocolate malts, subtle licorice (anise), subtle spice with pepper, and subtle smokey char. Flavors explode with sweet dark chocolate, spicy pepper heat, and toffee notes mixed with cream and nutmeg on all sides. Back and middle features licorice notes of anise and fading pepper touched with smoke and finishing with a sweet spice that blends nicely with alcohol warmth. Great mouth feel, slick and smooth, with modest carbonation. A fantastic finale to the planets series. Glad I waited till this point and will age the other one I have. A treasure.

Of note, this is almost a Pirate Bomb which is a good thing....question is, which came first; the bomb or the planet as a recipe.

Props to the brewer---this is excellence.

Dec 24, 2015
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fx20736 from New York

4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bought a 6 pack in October? 2015. Served at cellar temp in a Duvel tulip

Look:Black, thin mocha head

Smell: roasted malt and licorice

Taste: smoke, pepper, roasted malt, star anise

Feel: oily

Overall: smoky, spicy, tasty

Dec 14, 2015
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stortore from Illinois

4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into a snifter. Bottled 7/20/15.

Pours a fairly thick looking dark brown, mostly opaque, with not much head or cling. Smells great, so much going on. Roasted malts, cayenne, raisins, caramel, some chocolate, herbal stuff I can't identify, a little smoke, a kind of spicy aroma- the nutmeg? Taste is also busy. Malt, raisins, dates, chocolate, caramel. Bitter up front- I'd guess the dandelion, cayenne and anise start midway. More heat as it warms. Smooth, a little creamy, lighter than it looks, but still full bodied.

Liked this better than my rating. So much going on in both the aroma and taste, but you can actually identify a lot of it. Very well blended, a fun one to work through.

Dec 09, 2015
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buschbeer from Ohio

3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 FL OZ bottle
Served in a snifter

This beer pours black. It is topped with an inch of mocha head that leaves sparse lacing and settles to a dark ring around the top of the beer.

The aroma starts out smokey with a little pepper. As it warms more flavors come out. I get some fig and anise.

There is so much going on here that it makes it difficult to pick out the ingredients, plus it has a few months on it. I get roasted malt and earthy, umami flavors. Some molasses come through. There is some black pepper in the finish and a little cayenne.

Full mouthfeel. Low carbonation

That is a long list of ingredients in this beer. I recall liking the previous two Neptunes that I consumed better. It is definitely not your average stout.

Dec 09, 2015
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WoodBrew from Ohio

3.93/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The Mystic Neptune by Bells is an interesting stout. It poured a jet black with no head or lace. The scent was mostly spice....thinking anise nut meg mix. The taste had dark fruit, earth, coffee and anise. The mouthfeel was fuller in body with no subtle carbonation. Overall its a very flavorful beer...not very sessionable.

Dec 06, 2015
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metter98 from New York

4.02/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a quarter finger high tan head that died down, leaving delicate, thin wisps of bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of chocolate malts are present in the nose along with some hints of hickory.
T: The taste follows the smell, having added notes of roasted malts and a bit of spicy heat in the finish from the cayenne pepper. Some hints of licorice become noticeable as the beer warms up.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer has an interesting mix of ingredients that lend lots of complexities to the taste.

Serving type: bottle

Nov 24, 2015
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TonyLema1 from South Carolina

3.56/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: jet black, very thin, tan head
S: some spice, not much on the nose
T: roasty, and spicy....some heat on the finish
F: medium body, I get some booze
O: not bad, glad I tried it, but not really my style

Nov 18, 2015
Neptune (The Mystic) from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 575 ratings