Neptune The Mystic was the final release in the series, a 9 percent ABV stout brewed with a multitude of adjuncts, including black pepper, hickory bark, dandelion root, spices, molasses and maple syrup. As if those are not enough, cayenne peppers, star anise, raisins and dates were also added to the mix at various points during the brewing process.

Bell's Neptune The Mystic bottle

Both the beer and the movement were named after the eighth and farthest planet from the sun in the solar system,1 which itself was named after the God of the sea in Roman mythology.2

The Comstock, Mich.-based brewery’s Planets Series included seven very different beers by the the time it was concluded, all of which were sold in 12-ounce bottles:

  • Mars, The Bringer of War (10.1 percent ABV) — Double IPA — August 2014
  • Venus, The Bringer of Peace (7.5 percent ABV) — Blonde Ale — October 2014
  • Mercury, The Winged Messenger (4.8 percent ABV) — Belgian Single — December 2014
  • Jupiter, The Bringer of Jollity (8 percent ABV) — Malt Forward Brown Ale — February 2015
  • Saturn, The Bringer of Old Age (11.5 percent ABV) — Bourbon Barrel-aged Barleywine — April 2015
  • Uranus, The Magician (9.5 percent ABV) — Black Double India Pale Ale — May 2015
  • Neptune, The Mystic (10.1 percent ABV) — Stout — July 2015

Visually, Neptune The Mystic pours a jet black with a three quarter-inch mocha tinged head that dissipates quickly, leaving a respectable lacing behind. Aroma from the glass is a combination of black licorice, creamy wood, cocoa, sweet dark fruit and maple sweetness.

Bell's Neptune The Mystic

While I can’t taste every flavor that Bell’s Neptune was brewed with,3 the dominant flavors are a combination of wood and bitter dark chocolate, with other notes of anise, black licorice, raisons and some sort of faint floral on the finish. The cayenne is obvious on the back of the throat, and while it is far from a major note in the profile, it definitely bumps the complexity up a little. Mouthfeel is a bit on the thin side, and while the carbonation is light, it works well with this particular beer. The sweetness from the molasses and maple syrup are noticeable, but not overly distinct, nor are they strong enough to really affect the overall profile in any major way.

Bell's Neptune The Mystic
BREWERY: Bell's Brewery
LOCATION: Comstock, Mich.
STYLE: Stout
ABV: 9 percent
IBU: n/a
PRICE: $3.99 (Six-packs of 12-ounce bottles, $15.99)
RELEASE DATE: July 2015
AVAILABLE IN: 12-ounce bottles
BEERS POURED: One
This is a prime example of throwing too much into the pot. The Neptune is actually quite enjoyable when taken on its own, but the multitude of flavors that I can actually taste are all vying for dominance and as a result the overall profile is muddled. Having said that, the cayenne pepper heat is extremely well integrated: enough to let you know it is there after every sip, but not strong enough to even come close to overpowering any other flavors. In addition, despite the fact that it was brewed with both molasses and maple syrup, a little more sweetness would have really set this release apart. In the end, the Neptune is a very complex beer flavor-wise, but unfortunately, not a very balanced one.
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