Fearful Symmetries

Witness a machine turn coffee into pointless ramblings...

06 January, 2014

This Beer Has Not Aged Well: Appleanche from Capital

I first tasted Capital's Appleanche last year at a pre-Great Taste event. Appleanche is an apfel (apple) doppelbock and it sounded like a tasty preview of autumn. I didn't really care for it all that much on that hot summer day but on a chilly winter night, I revisited it.

One of our cats photobombed my picture but I think that she did it in a rather artistic way by framing herself in the glass. A very naughty katze. Her presence and my shoddy photography don't do justice to the beer's wonderful gold-light amber color. Appleanche is clear and my gentle pour produced only the slightest head. The Schaumhaftvermoegen was minimal with a bit of foam clinging to the sides of the glass only briefly before sliding into the beer.When I opened the bottle, I caught a big whiff of fresh apfel. Sweet but no overly so. More like a Granny Smith than a Red Delicious. This brew smells great. After putting the glass to my nose I caught that sweet apfel scent again plus a little bit of bready malt.

The predominance of the fruit carried into the flavor. Immediately upon hitting my tongue I tasted the apfel. Mostly sweet but there was some tartness there as well for balance. But it isn't long before the bottom falls out and the apfel flavor disappears and it replaced by that warm alcohol flavor. While 7.7% A.B.V. makes for a fairly hearty brew, I wouldn't think I'd taste the booze. Almost as soon as that slight burning flavor arrives it dissolves into a herbal hop taste which lingers on the palate giving a dry, slightly bitter finish. Mouthfeel is smooth although the carbonation and the hops keep it from being syrupy.

Sadly, Appleanche was exactly how I remembered it from back in August - disappointing. While the fresh apfel aroma and luscious counterpoint of sweet-tart flavor are truly wonderful, I failed to taste any of the malt which was present in the nose. I drank half a bottle of it trying to discern the defining flavor of the doppelbock but failed. Perhaps it's part of the sweetness at the front end of the sip but the apfel was dominant. Quite aside from that boozy middle act, the flavors here just don't meld and instead come in waves. I just failed to taste the apfel und malt pas de deux and the hops were left on their own at the finish instead of balancing the expected sweetness.

Capital's webpage gives me the impression that Appleanche is to be a permanent late-summer fixture in their line-up. Hopefully this August's batch will do a better job of letting the bready sweetness of the style shine through and integrate it with the fruit and hops. A failure, perhaps, but a beer certainly worth getting right.

Junk food pairing: I suspect Appleanche would go well with Lay's Barbeque Ham potato chips. The smoky, porky goodness would surely be tasty along with the apfel flavor in the brew.

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|| Palmer, 9:05 PM


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