Mars - Belgian Imperial Red IPA | Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Mars - Belgian Imperial Red IPAMars - Belgian Imperial Red IPA
25 Ratings
Mars - Belgian Imperial Red IPAMars - Belgian Imperial Red IPA

Brewed by:
Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States

Style: Belgian IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.70%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Named after the Roman god of war, MARS radiates red color and brilliant beauty yet enrages the taste buds with wrathful force. This Imperial IPA seizes its intense bitterness from an immense amount of hops. Belgian yeast retaliates, adding complexity and character.

85 IBU

Added by AKBelgianBeast on 04-11-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 25 |  Reviews: 22
Reviews by Stoneman78:
Photo of Stoneman78
4.51/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On draft at O'Brien's for the CBC/WBC

Appearance is a murky amber hue, minimal head and lacing [Gabe Fletcher was at the pub, said there were some issues with the carbonation]

Smell is wow, Belgian candy and yeast, dark fruits, grassy hops, caramel malts, alcohol and light fruits (peaches, pears)

Taste is initially dominated by pine/grass hops and big caramel malts, as well as dark rich fruits, transitions to sweet candy and peach syrup, finishes dry and sweet

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, thick and oily texture, mild carbonation (likely due to carbonation problems)

Drinkability is high, a complex and unique blend of Belgian and IPA and Amber styles, the sweet fruits and candy balance out formidable hops with a strong caramel malt backbone

 752 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The first of the new 2008 Planet Series.
Had on tap at the 4/10 Sub-Zero pre-release.
85 IBUs

Pours a deep cloudy ruby/blood red color with very very fluffy white head that dissipates pretty quickly. Nose is immeadiately west coast hoppiness, but a noticeable malt presence in the nose. Taste follows with strong citrus/pine hop flavors up front. Grapefruit bitterness in the flavor. A clear and noticeable malt presence here, but very much hop dominant. There is a kind of graininess just before the finish that is interesting. Mouthfeel is pretty good, really slick, but hangs a little bit in the back of the throat. Drinkability is quite good, and could be dangerous. Overall this is a wonderful IPA. Pretty balanced, but defenitely hop driven. Defenitely one I will be picking up today in the bottle, a very enjoyable and drinkabile DIPA. They use belgian yeast in this one, but it is most defenitely an american double IPA in my opinion, with a lot of west coast hop flavors. A good one!

 995 characters

Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of naproxen
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

yowza, this beer is pretty damned good, and that is a fact. A straight 'by the book' review would not do this beer justice, so bear with me.

I have always had a certain draw to beers that cross styles. Maybe I'm just a nonconformist so shoot me (no, please). Anywho a beer by MS (midnight sun, not muscular dystrophy) that crosses normal style is one I will hunt down, and sooo glad I did.

In a most generous trade with AKBelgianBeast I acquired this amber gem. It really was the first MS beer I coveted.

The spice from the Belgian yeast really hooks me in. This IIPA is delicious, the malt backbone from the 'red' really equalizes the beer. I really really want more of it right meow Hopefully I will cross paths again with Mars.

 734 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.83/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I was lucky enough to pick up one of these from a very generous BA and I have to admit, I may have found my new favorite beer, though it kind of sucks that I have to travel to Alaska to get it! I grabbed this twenty two ounce beast out of the fridge and let it warm up a bit before serving it into a Terrapin Snifter to serve as my night cap. The pour was spot on. A wonderful reddish tinted, dark amber came flowing from the neck of the bottle. Very hazy with a rich carbonation profile that just could not be ignored. A very nice two finger head of foam then came up over the top and slowly dwindled down to just a thin film that stayed the course. The real show was the side glass lace, which swirled, and coated, and stuck to everything it touched. I could not have envisioned this one turning out any better then it did.

The aroma was a hop bomb from the moment it hit the glass. Tremendous and unmistakable simcoe in here. Just that pungent, sticky, grapefruit aroma that we all know and love. Some nice little bit of play from the yeast in there as well, with hints of bread like malts, touches of grass and a hint of light peach aroma. This translated perfectly over to the flavor, which itself was a three tiered affair. First was the ruthless Simcoe attack, which did what it could to leave nothing behind, shattering the taste buds with the grapefruit floral barrage that I have come to love. Letting that calm down brought so relative peace to the middle of the flavor, light fruit, lots of grain and bread like flavors, coming and going frequently, just fighting for a chance to breath. Once they managed to get their head up, they were quickly shoved aside for another hit of deep citrus flavor. Huge dry finish left nothing behind in the mouth but the feeling of a bitter desert. Luscious Mouthfeel, with one of the best carbonation profiles I have ever seen. Just perfectly balanced here, the alcohol was remarkably well hidden, as I really could have drank this one all day long and never tired of it. This was easily one of the more enjoyable experiences I have ever had.

Overall I really don't care what anyone thinks of this as I have to say this was one of the best beers I have ever tasted. Literally just a fantastic experience all around and something that I would do anything to get my hands on again.

 2,328 characters

Photo of Murchmac
3.91/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nods to the Beast for providing me with this potent potable.

Beautiful Huge White Head appears and follows you down the beer. Smell is hops hops hops. some grass, dark malts, a little belgian fruityness.

This is great dark red looking beer. It looks angry, like the fiery belly of the volcano where it was hand crafted by Hephaestus.

This beer tastes deep, but has a light body to it. Vewy Vewy intewesting, Less is really more with this beer. The lighter body makes it taste complex. One of the spicier, hoppier, Red IPA's i've ever had.

Good stinging aftertaste. If you get a chance to get your hands on this beer, do it or Ares himself might strike you down.

 667 characters

Photo of mrkrispy
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap at O'briens, served in a chalice.

Poured a nice red and amber color. The head immediately collapsed to lace which stuck around for the whole glass.

Immediate hop bouquet, a bit grassy but very floral. Not what I expected! Opened up when warming.

Medium body that is mildly sweet, hints of dull fruit like raisin, plum, or prune, but very mild though with the malts standing out.
Bitterness is impressive and lingering. Hop complex is also impressive...a bit citrusy, floral but not grassy like the nose. Really sits on the palette. Mild carbonation.

A very tasty ale, seems like a very good interpretation of a Red done Imperial style.

 646 characters

Photo of hopdog
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle shared courtesy of TomDecapolis (thanks!).

Poured a deeper and lgihtly hazy amber color with a small sized off white head. Aromas of pine, caramel, yeast, and citrus. Tastes of caramel, citrus, tobacco, and light spices. Light to medium alcohol finish.

Notes from 5/2/08

 285 characters

Photo of womencantsail
3.55/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for sharing this, Bobby.

Pours a reddish color with an off-white head. Stale hops on the aroma with some grass and citrus notes. A bit of sweet toffee and bready malt, maybe some toast. Citrus hops, citrus peel, and maybe some grass and pine. Sweet toffee, bready malt, and a hint of caramel. Just sort of an old hoppy beer. Meh. Medium body and carbonation.

 366 characters

Photo of tayner
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz brown bottle dated 4-11-08 Thanks for hookin me up Frank!

Poured into my La Fin Du Monde tulip. Huge foamy off white head tops a dark brown beverage that has some red hues when held to light. At the head recedes it leaves a sticky, lacy mess (in a good way) on the glass.

Smell is hops! I am assuming the simcoe variety as that is what the bottle says it was dry hopped with. (I am not a hop variety expert yet). The hops have a floral nose but at the same time very earthy and grassy. These I would not say smelled like citrus or spicy.

The smell on this one is very, well, confusing for my tongue. There is a very floral, citrus hop bang right up front, which is different from the grassy hop nose. Then, midpalate there is some nice sweet malt character that doesnt hang around long. also in there is a strange, belgian-type bready character, very mild and barely present, that is no way overpowering in this. It is a very subtle flavor that I think even those who dislike belgians could enjoy. Then, after the swallow there is a bitterness present, every bit of the 85 IBUs stated on the bottle. It dries the palate quickly demanding you go back in for more.

The mouthfeel is creamy, sticky, full, but still surprisingly light, likely due to the nicely balanced carbonation and the drying hops at the finish.

Drinkability is easy, but must be careful in that it is 8.7% and easy to drink "too much too fast"

Bravo to those boys at Midnight Sun, another fine brew. I sure wish they would send some of the frozen love out here to the desert!

 1,559 characters

Photo of warmstorage
3.36/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5


I decided to do a new review of Mars, since the bottle I just opened seems like an entirely different beer than my April 12 review. They're from the same case, literally, and this one has been sitting in my ~42 degree beer fridge continuously since I bought the case in April.

Appearance: still deep red, to almost reddish brown. Now pours with a MASSIVE head, super vigorous, that sticks around, and leaves big lacing. Seems quite overcarbonated.

Aroma: earthy and spicy, with a distinct malty sweetness, and only a little of the resiny hops from April.

Taste: sweet and spicy, caramel, almost syrupy maltiness, and mere hints of the profound resiny hoppiness that was here before. A slightly flat and metallic earthiness, and more than a hint of brettanomyces, especially in the finish. Tasty, but the hops were really nice when it was fresh, and are a fraction of their former presence.

Mouth: Thick and full, almost syrupy. Interestingly, it's very low carbonated given what I expected from the huge head.

Overall: Good, drinkable beer, but not one I'll age any more of. Time to plow through the second half of the case. It's easy to be a monday morning quarterback, but I do wish they could get their carbonation practices worked out.


Original scores: Appear 4.5, smell 4.0, taste 4.5, mouth 4.0, drinkability 4.5 (summary grade: A)

22 ounce bomber, $8 from the brewery earlier today on the day of release. Bottle states 8.7% ABV, 85 IBU, dry hopped w/ Simcoe.

Appearance: deep red, almost reddish brown, with a moderate light beige head that leaves huge lacing.

Aroma: piney resiny hops, and little else. Maybe a tiny bit of Belgian yeast tang, but probably just because I'm looking for it.

Taste: distinct Belgian fruity estery yeast tang, and everything else is piney citrusy resiny hops. Delicious, and a great balance. Seems like the balance they tried to get in the Deadly Sins series (think Wrath) but didn't quite make (think early Wrath) though it came out more later (think more aged Wrath.) Hints of juniper, evergreen, spices.

Mouth: Slightly slick, low to moderate warmth.

Overall: Fascinating, and delicious. Yum. I'm glad I bought a bunch. At $8, in this day of hop and grain prices, it's a relative bargain.

 2,306 characters

Photo of Sixpoint
2.85/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Oh man. This is one of my favorite breweries, but this beer was completely off the mark.

Wayyy too aggressive of a beer. Belgian subtle spice and phenols completely wiped out by the bitter hop bitchslap to the face.


Also, there was a harsh alcohol burn in both the aroma and the aftertaste.

Sorry dudes. Love the Barley wine and others, but this one didn't cut the mustard.

 384 characters

Photo of gford217
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another of the planet series provided by NoonanDBarbarian poured into a snifter.

Pours a deep, clear copper with a huge creamy head that hangs around for ages. There are streams of bubbles streaming to the top and the lacing is fantastic.

The aroma has a big floral hop presence that stands out up front. The Belgian yeast is noticeable only in the background along with hints of caramel sweetness.

The taste is a complex mix of the Belgian sweetness and the pine hops that dominate the aroma. The first taste is of the big Simcoe hops but the sweetness of the malts and soft Belgian yeast come through in the middle. The hops come back in the finish with a massive resiny bitterness.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with tons of carbonation and seriously sticky with pine resin.

Another interesting beer from Midnight Sun and I can never get enough of the pine hops that dominate this one. Big thanks again to Brian for the opportunity to try this.

 953 characters

Photo of leftmindedrighty
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle sent to me by the ever generous BA Tayner.

Portion poured into a Delirium Tremens tulip glass, the rest was shared with friends.

Smell, wow. hoppy, hoppy, hoppy, with some Belgian yeast thrown in. Smells like a really good Barleywine.

Taste, wow, so complex. The hops are right up front, citrus and pine notes dominate, followed by a great malt backbone. A faint dough taste leads to a huge smack over the head hop taste that strangles the malt into submission. Clove, mild raisin flavors come through, with just an overwhelming hop flavor. Hints of plum also pull through, but they're just washed away with the great, and awesome hop flavor of this brew. Citrus, piney, and juicy.

Overall, this is now one of my favorite beers. Wow, super hoppy, yet perfectly balanced. I need a case of this beer. It's not my favorite Belgian IPA, but it is my favorite Belgian American Style IPA.

 899 characters

Photo of ccrida
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yet another MSBC review that was lost during the BA DB crash, luckily I still have the original notes.

Poured into my MSBC glass, Mars is a hazy brownish amber with a big, fluffy off-white head that leaves heavy lace.

Smell is a big blast of piney hops, some sweet malt, a little fruity.

Taste is great, nice balance of big hop resins, malty backbone and some fruity esters. A bit spicy as well as some lingering bitterness, it's fairly complex but it all gels nicely.

Mouthfeel is very creamy, medium bodied.

Drinkability is great, this was an excellant beer, I really loved it. I'm a huge fan of Belgian esters, and prefer red IPAs to regular IPAs, so this one was a real winner for me.

 698 characters

Photo of boralyl
4.16/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to AKBelgianBeast for this brew.

A - Pours a very deep dark red, with ruby highlights throughout. There is lots and lots of thick, fluffy tan-ish head. It has excellent retention leaving a thick ring on top after it settles for awhile. A great representation of Mars.

S - A large amount of piny hops dominate the nose. There is also a mix of spices and malts.

M - A medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation. It has a slightly slick feeling to it.

T - A small amount of malt presence begins the taste. Then the piny hops blast your taste buds, however the party is interrupted by some Belgian yeast and other spices which tames the hops a bit. It finishes bitter and dry.

Definitely tastes like an imperial IPA. However it has a spiciness to it as well which gives it a pretty unique flavor. Of the 3 planet beers I've tried this one is my 2nd favorite right after Earth.

 891 characters

Photo of brewandbbq
4.37/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours hazy reddish brown, with a substantial beige head of fluff. Slightly rocky before the dense foam recedes to a full-coverage skim coat. Some decent ropes of clingy lace.

Pungent pine and citrus in the nose, with an underlying bubblegum note. A smidge of roasted malt and cloves.
Spruce resin, orange zest, grapefruit pith, and mint-rubbed bannana. The phenols really step forward as the brew warms, and beneath all the earthy, pungent hops, there is a definate Tripel aroma.

Creamy yet crisp mouthfeel. Sticky, tacky, and a bit chewy.

Bitter tropical fruit zests numb the pallet, with juicy, resinous alpha-acids plowing on.
A roasted malt base adds some sweet malt as well as a touch of graininess.
Alcohol is warming, but quite humble in nature.

Finishes with a lenghty bitter, drying effect, and plenty of oily fruit zest.

Kickass. Probably the best Imperial Red I've had. The hopping rate with the added layer of Belgian character puts it at the top.

Thanks again to Tim for a great brew.

 1,005 characters

Photo of Floydster
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle acquired in a trade with AKBelgianBeast, thanks for the opportunity Frank, second beer tasted from the planet series, split with Randie last night, poured into a bucket glass

A-Dark deep amber color with some golden highlights, one inch off white creamy head that lasted over a half hour, very impressive retention, also some nice lacing, resembled the planet nicely
S-Piney hoppiness coming from the abundance of Simcoe, some faint spices, soft malt backbone, Belgian yeast, some lemony citrus, mild yeasty aromas, and resin
T-This brew was great because it had the ability to go from sweet to dry to spicy to fruity, in other words it had a lot of complexity, starts off with some dry pine notes, thick caramel malt makes up the middle, some resin and more pine dominate the finish, later on there is some earthiness in the aftertaste too, bitterness in here worked well with the Belgian yeast and somehow stayed balanced and made this all work, this stuff was enjoyable even once it warmed which I could not say about a lot of the hoppy beers out there
M-Moderate level of carbonation, dry, slick, slightly sweet, and clean mouthfeel, medium bodied, taste lingers for a few minutes after each sip
D-Could have drank this bottle no problem but my friend begged me to split it, goes down easy and is smooth, not heavy, alcohol is hidden, complex and keeps you coming back for more

This brew is like three different beers in one including a double red, IPA, and a belgian pale, then you throw the 85 IBUs and massive amount of Simcoe in there and you get a hop bomb, glad I got to try this after missing it on tap at O'Briens during the CBC, would like to drink again, recommended

 1,698 characters

Photo of DucksFan16
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of orcasteve
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

this one poured a beautiful red color and when i smelled this one i was overcome with hops. this one wasent bad, it was ballenced nice and the hops was the strong flavor, i have had a few outher reds that i like better. this is a beer that i would drink agan if it were offered to me, i wont go out of my way to get this one though

 331 characters

Photo of grumpy
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

mmm....mmm... Good! Sweet hop-juicy Simcoes, a zingy Belgian yeast strain, nice balancing caramelicious malts, medium-full, oily mouthfeel, Simcoe/sweet malt aroma, moderate carbonation with nice lacing, and far too easy to drink!

I've had my issues with liking some of Midnight Sun's hoppy beers out of the gate, but this one is dandy. Shoulda bought more....

 361 characters

Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of aerozeppl
4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to littlebreeze for bringing this.

A: Nice hazy reddish color. A massive amount of white head. Good lacing.

S: Nice and spicy. I would have to say this beer has a very tight nose.

T: Massive hop and malt taste. Super well balanced. Nice lingering hop bitterness in the finish. Only the faintest hints of the belgian yeast.

M: Nice and creamy. Feels really good in the mouth.

D: Excellent beer all around. Super well balanced. This really reminded me of a more mellow version of Ithaca Ten. Great beer.

 513 characters

Photo of drseamus
3.79/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to littlebreeze for bringing this.

A: Nice red body with a slight cloudiness. It was topped with a very nice head.

S: As aerozeppl would say, "it has a tight nose". Not much at all in there.

T: Hoppy bitterness right up front. Good malt background with good balancing sweetness for the hops. Hop driven though.

M: Medium body with sticky thickness.

D: Too bitter for extended drinking, but good for what I had.

 422 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear, ruby-hued body with a smallish, off-white head.

Smell: Plenty of grapefruit and grass to the aroma with some light toasted maltiness and a Belgian yeast character underneath.

Taste: Toasty pale malts, light caramel sweetness. Slight yeastiness. Grass and oily grapefruit peels lead into a coarse hop bitterness, though there's a rebound to the sweetness for an altogether bittersweet finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Slight heft the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Why send up yet another half-billion hunk of junk a planet away to find nothing more than a red, rocky, barren, lifeless terrain when you can enjoy this beer for a mere fraction of the cost?

 700 characters

Mars - Belgian Imperial Red IPA from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.06 out of 5 with 25 ratings