Style: Bourbon Barrel Aged Barleywine
“This is one of the 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 order of Holst’s piece. Mars to Neptune.”
So unfortunately, this is only one of a seven part series and I got to doing this late in the game, but I will try to review some others from this series from one of my favorite breweries. Aging beer in bourbon barrels has become the latest fad in craft brewing, but in my opinion only a few breweries have really nailed channeling the flavor into the beer. Fortunately for me, Bell’s is one of those breweries. Saturn poured a dark copper with almost no head. The aroma is powerful and gives off scents of oak, toffee, caramel, molasses, vanilla and of course bourbon. The taste takes you on a rollercoaster of flavor starting with vanilla and a soft oak flavor from the barrels, but it won’t overwhelm you if you are a non-bourbon drinker. These flavors lead you up the hill and take down down to the strong toffee, molasses and bourbon finish. This is really a full bodied beer with low carbonation that is warming due to its 11.5% ABV.
Overall it is a great beer, very well balanced and the flavors are exactly what you look for in a bourbon barrel aged barleywine. I would really recommend drinking this more in the fall or winter, as it is a warming beer great for a cold night. Like the last beer I reviewed (Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA) this beer will also age very well, it was actually aged in the bourbon barrels from July 2014 until it was bottled. However, I only had one bottle, so I wanted to try it fresh before I tried to age a bottle. If I find another bottle, I will age it and report back. If you can find this limited release, I highly recommend it. Just a heads up because of the limited release it is a little pricey.