Ephemera is defined as “anything short-lived or lasting only a short time.” Unibroue tries to capture the essence of the word with their line of Ephemere beers that were created to feature a seasonal fruit in a white ale base. We’re reviewing the apple version of Ephemere here today. In addition to apple they’ve worked through cranberry, black currant, peach, and raspberry flavors.
It’s the apple version though, first created in 2002, that is their most popular. So popular, in fact, it has transcended the word “ephmere” by being distributed year round. It’s also the only version they sell in the United States. At the time of this posting black currant was the only other version on the market and it’s only sold in Canada.
Unibroue Ephemere Apple is described on their site as a white ale brewed with apple must. Apple must, in case you didn’t know, is a German variant of cider (don’t feel bad, we didn’t know that either). The bottle actually states “ale brewed with apple juice, coriander and curacao.” Ephemere weighs in at 12 oz with a 5.5% ABV. For our review we used a tulip glass (as recommended) and got a starting beer temperature of 43.9 F.
Our initial pour gave us an average 1 1/4″ fizzy white head the left no head lacing as it dissipated quickly. There was a tremendous amount of carbonation – quite fizzy actually – and the body was fairly clear at first, but clouded up once we got the whole bottle in the glass. The yeast is in there. The color was a very light straw.
For our aromas we got caramel, wheat, floral, light orange, green apple, light banana, light pear and a light vanilla. The green apple dominates and it’s a lot like the smell of opening a green apple Jolly Rancher. Once you get over the Jolly Rancher it starts to resemble a caramel covered apple. It’s one of the most interesting smells we’ve found on a beer.
For our initial flavors we got a moderate sweet and light tart, followed in the finish by a light sweet, very light bitter and moderate tart. For our tastes we got light caramel, light wheat, orange, green apple, coriander, light pepper and light vanilla. The orange notes are in the background but come in similar to what you’d find in a witbier (more of the zest/rind).
The finish length is short, the mouthfeel is oily, the tongue hit is front and middle and there’s no body lacing to speak of. On the malt to hop scale it’s fairly well balanced right in the middle – it’s not really malty or hoppy in the traditional sense of the word, thus it’s balanced.
For our bottom line notes we got a yes to drinkable, repeatable, balance, harmony, memorable and buy again. Our only no was to wow factor. It’s not a wow, per se, but it’s unique.
Ephemere definitely seems to have more of a granny smith apple base than any other kind of apple and that’s okay with us. Very tart. It’s not an everyday beer by any means, but it could be a rare treat from time to time. It would work quite well in the hot summer months and the ladies might enjoy it year round. It’s quite refreshing.
You might be wondering why we gave it a 5 out of 10 when our bottom line notes and the review in general read so favorably. Well, there wasn’t enough depth and flavor in it for us to give it a higher rating. It’s well-crafted, but just a little too light for our tastes. It would compare quite favorably to a pomme lambic.
Overall it has the textbook Unibroue uniqueness that makes all their beers so great, but we’ll stick with some of their headier offerings.
Unibroue Ephemere Rating: 5 out of 10 (?)
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