Beer Reviews

Existential Apples

A behind-the-bottle look at Existential Apples, a Sour Ale with Apples and the latest release in our Outer Reaches series.

Reviews are done by our Sensory Specialist Travis Houston, a Certified Cicerone and FoBAB judge.

One step closer to the meaning of liquid. Dry and mildly funky, Existential Apples (6.05%) resided with our house Brett for 18 months, spontaneously discovering its pear, citrus and apple essence.

Vintage: 2018

Months Aged: 18

Cultures: House Brett

Existential Apples is the fourth bottled release in our Outer Reaches series. Talk about the evolution of that program.

This program actually started about 5 years ago. Luke [Cole, Barrel Master] pulled a 5 gallon batch of Fiction off and inoculated it with a bacteria/yeast blend called Roeselare. The program has grown leaps and bounds from that.

Existential Apples is a Sour Ale with Apples aged for 18 months. Talk about that aging process.

Various complex chemical reactions took place during this aging. Most notably, sugars from the apples were fermented by the Brettanomyces strain that was already present in the beer. Aside from the unique flavors it produces, this type of yeast will ferment more complex sugars than the yeast typically used to produce ales, creating an incredibly dry finished beer with no remaining sugars.

Existential Apples spent time with our House Brettanomyces. Talk about the origin of that strain.

We found this strain living way down in our basement, and decided to try some test batches with it. We found that it produces an incredibly complex, fruit forward flavor profile that we all really like. It’s slightly lower on the “barnyard” flavors that Brettanomyces is famous for, but they’re still there enough to give a solid funky foundation to the complex fruity flavors produced.

What are the notable characteristics of this beer?

This brew is tart, fruit forward, and incredibly dry, much like a white wine or French cider.

What makes you want to drink this beer?

This beer perfectly compliments food, with its tart front end and incredibly dry finish.

What are some other Sour Ales similar to Existential Apples that you dig?

I’ll stray from ales a bit here, as this brew drinks more like a cider. The Seattle Cider Company makes an incredibly good dry cider. Also, dry cider in France is often fermented with Brettanomyces, and shares many similar flavors.

Fruit (1-6): 3

Funk: 3

Wood: 2

Sour: 2

Appearance: Light gold with slight haze.

Aroma: Green apples, very slight Brett funk.

Taste: Tart apple flavor and mild funky spice, with an incredibly dry, crisp finish.

Mouthfeel: Very light and crisp.

Overall: Tart and funky, dominated by aromas and flavors of green apple, with a crisp, dry finish.

What foods would pair well with Existential Apples?

This beer pairs very well with many foods. The tart, dry flavors would cut through the bold flavors of hot wings or steak. The same would be true with a strong blue cheese.

Ideal glassware for Existential Apples?  

A snifter or tulip.