Bell’s Brewing Co. | Saturn – The Bringer of Old Age
Bell’s Brewing Co.
Saturn – The Bringer of Old Age
Bourbon Barrel Aged Barleywine
Deep, rich, robust, and smooth. These are all flavors that make up Bell’s fifth Planet Series brew, Saturn, The Bringer of Old Age. A Bourbon barrel aged Barleywine weighing in at 11.5% ABV, Saturn is a beer that you can cozy up to and reminisce of days past.
Appropriately so, Saturn was the first beer to be brewed for Bell’s series The Planets, inspired by Gustav Holst’s seven-movement orchestral suite. Saturn has been aging since July of 2014 in quiet Bourbon barrels. It is literally the oldest beer of this series. As The Bringer of Old Age, Saturn is a beer worthy of sipping. This is not your throw-back, young and hip Session IPA that all the kids never shut up about. This is a Barleywine, notorious for high ABV and rich complex flavor. If that were not enough, it’s been aging in Bourbon barrels for NINE MONTHS before its release date. This beer brings knowledge, maturity, and boldness to the table. So let the kids drink their Session IPAs and wear their tight clothes, we are going to respect our elders and take part in the glory of aging.
So kids, let’s settle down and listen to what this beer has to say. Saturn pours a deep copper color, one that is mildly hazy and worn, but still bright. The nose is of rich vanilla, caramel, and butterscotch. Aromas eerily similar to Werther’s candy. Coincidence? There is also some slight alcohol on the nose, subtle yet present. Diving into the flavors, they are nothing but complex. There is a slight alcohol burn up front, that of which will dwindle after some cellar aging. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with vanilla and butterscotch notes. The finish has a lasting coat of linger toffee and oak flavors with warming alcohol. After a full bottle, this beer will leave you feeling warm and cozy.
Now although this beer is absolutely delightful, Holst reminds us in his movement that aging is not always easy. There is a struggle with accepting the fact that we indeed are getting older and that our liver’s cannot process alcohol as easily as it once had. At least that’s what all of us PorchDrinkers are thinking about. Holst’s movement is eery and haunting. He portrays death slowly creeping up on him before the final curtain is drawn. If you can remember from posts before, we talked about how this orchestral suite was motivated by a mid-life crisis Holst was having. Saturn brings to life many of the internal feelings Holst has been having as he aged. The movement is slow and simple, with few crescendos or time changes. Then ending is the acceptance of the age of the realization that there is still some time left before the curtain is drawn. This attitude is then jubilated in the finale two movements, Uranus and Saturn, which I know we all cannot wait to drink!
Like most of your grandpa’s stories, you enjoy the ride and are left with positive thoughts, yet you can usually only handle about one per sitting. Bell’s Saturn is the same way. With the high ABV, thick body, and boozy overtones, Saturn makes the perfect sipping beer to crack open and reminisce with old friends. Who knows, you may even have a story to tell your grandkids some day that begins with “Well kids, you ought not to drink more than three 11.5% ABV beers in one night, things will get weird.”