Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews

Eternal Flame

Capital Brewery
Middleton, WI

Style: Doppelbock

Jug’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (World class.)

Capital Brewery recently celebrated its 25th birthday in April (which oddly makes it only able to legally consume their own products for the last 4 years … hmm). They had a nice ceremony and celebration with snacks, music and, of course, beer. Patrons had full access to the brewery on this day and elbows were being bent from the beer garden to the warehouse and even within the brewing area itself (where the band was playing).

What really made this unique, was that while the band was playing, Brewmaster Kirby Nelson and Master Brewer John Abernathy were working away brewing Capital’s latest concoction, Eternal Flame.

Eternal Flame is actually two big brews, blended into a single product. The first is an imperial version of one of their flagship beers, Autumnal Fire. The second is the Eternal Flame batch itself. These brews are brewed separate, then lagered together in a single tank to create the “birth beer.” Half of the “birth beer” will be packaged while the other half continues to be lagered until next year when it’s tank is topped off with another brew of Kirby’s choosing and the process then repeats itself indefinitely, hence the name.

I was lucky enough to try Eternal Flame right out of the tank. It was not yet carbonated, so that characteristic remains to be seen, but I really enjoyed it as a still beer and hope it remains lightly carbonated. It pours a deep copper. Rich caramel aroma erupts with a slight hint of alcohol (carbonation may affect this). The first taste is big caramelized malts, sweet but not cloying. It has a HUGE finish. Rich maltiness gives way slightly to apricot flavors and finishes with the slightest tingle of bittering hops. Alcohol warming in the back of your throat exposes the big gravity of this beer. Mouth feel is big, but still slightly deceptive of the potency of the Eternal Flame.

This is my kind of beer. Go big, or go home. The rich maltiness appeals to my pallet. It’s big and well made, without the over complexity of tons of specialty malts you get with many big beers. It is big and strong, definitely a sipper beer. You have been warned.

I’m a sucker for symbolism, and that is not lost on me. The fact it was brewed on the exact day of Capital’s 25th anniversary (a Sunday, by the way) and it is a batch that will never die is very cool shit. It sort of reminds me of the way my Grandma used to make bread. She always kept some dough from the last batch to put into the next. She said it was about the yeast, as it is in this case, too.

Reviewed by Jug Dunningan on June 27, 2011.
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