Connecticut Valley: Nothing By Chance (USA: Fruit: 15% ABV)

Visual: Hazy reddish brown. Hind of hazy apple juice like colour. Thin off white head.

Nose: Honey. Glazed apple Danish. Liquorice touch. Boozy. Cut apples. Brown sugar.

Body: Apple pie filling. Honey. Golden syrup. Brown sugar. Boozy. Slight dry oak. Blended whisky. Vanilla.

Finish: Warming treacle air. Liquorice. Brown bread. Apple pies.

Conclusion: Ok, apple beers, be it straight apple, apple pie dessert stouts, or just ditched into other beers, have always appealed to me as an idea, but they have not had the greatest history of actually, well, working.

So, how does this one do?

Pretty well. I mean, it is boozy as fuck, but at 15% abv I kind of expected that already. It makes the entire beer unsubtle as hell, but here, I kind of dig that.

There is a very apple pie to sugar glazed apple Danish kind of style to this, but with a bit of dry oak touch and sweet vanilla from the barrel ageing that adds high and low notes to the whole experience.

The high booze and sweetness gives occasional real thick and sugary golden syrup, but more generally a more manageable honey hazy hovers over the whole thing. Thankfully the dryer oak notes work very well as occasional release, and match with the savoury liquorice notes which offer a haven in which you can prepare yourself before the next sweet burst. Often I find liquorice notes don’t work in a beer, but here they feel very necessary as a grounding element and are pleasing in themselves.

Overall it is simple, boozy and sweet – with the barrel ageing feeling like it is responsible for 90% of any of the complexity you actually get, but ya know what?

It does apple well. That is rare. It still manages to feel beer like under that and shows heavily but is not dominated by the barrel ageing. That is a nice wee set to hit.

Rough and simple, but despite that I really dig it.

Background: Saw that Bottles and Books over in Bristol had some very tasty beers in, lot of Imperial Stouts especially, so I treated myself and put an order in from them. Very helpful staff there as well, helping me sort a mistake I did with the order. Anyway this, not an Imperial Stout, is one of the beers I ordered from them. What it is is a very high abv apple ale that has been aged in bourbon casks. Now, my experience with apple beers has been mixed to say the least, but I am eternally hopeful that one of them will wow me, and this was different enough that I thought it may be the one to do so. Had recently stayed up to watch the Undertale Fifth House Ensemble concert livestream on twitch, so listened to the Undertale Live music while drinking. Yes I am a big Undertale nerd. I love it.