Schell’s Brewery is set to release Apparent Horizon, the newest entry in the their ongoing Noble Star series, which explores different variations of the traditional Berliner weisse style.
The American craft beer scene has become entranced by sour beers, Berliner weisse chief among them. In Germany, however, Berliner weisse is nearly extinct—a remarkable decline from 700 breweries making the style at the height of its popularity in the mid-19th century.
Schell’s was on the forefront of the style’s emergence in Minnesota when it launched the Noble Star Collection back mid-2013. Since then, the brewery has received numerous accolades from drinkers and competition judges alike and has expanded the program by building a brand new sour-aging facility called the Star Keller.
Apparent Horizon is a slightly stronger “vollbier,” or full-strength Berliner weisse, clocking in at 5.1% ABV. It’s brewed with 35% rye malt—an experimental deviation from the traditional wheat and Pilsner malts. After a mixed primary fermentation with yeast and Lactobacillus bacteria, Apparent Horizon was transferred into Schell’s cyprus tanks and aged with Brettanomyces for nine months.
It pours a cloudy amber color with a thin white head. On the nose, the distinct aroma of rye bread mixes with the scents of orange zest and musty chaff.
On the sip, Apparent Horizon starts with a sweet and pithy kumquat citrus, followed by a pleasant musty funk, and finishes dry with the tastes of sourdough and rye bread. There’s something palpably autumnal about Apparent Horizon that’s hard to pinpoint, but it’s certainly a welcome departure from the heavily spiced fall seasonals (looking at you, pumpkin beers).
The flavors are fairly stratified, with one layer giving way to the next in defined progression. Perhaps this plays into the beer’s name, Apparent Horizon, which could reference the line that defines the earth from the sky, or the astrophysical “horizon” of perceptible light created around a black hole. Regardless, the beer is a pleasant drinker and an interesting experiment in utilizing rye—an ingredient that could be the next big trend in beer.