Autumnal Fire | Capital Brewery

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Autumnal FireAutumnal Fire

Brewed by:
Capital Brewery
Wisconsin, United States

Style: Doppelbock

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.80%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by UncleJimbo on 01-26-2002

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Reviews: 340 | Ratings: 588
Photo of stercomm
3.97/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle.

A - Coppery reddish orange, slight off-white head, very little glass lacing.

S - Candied malt with some hints of spice, definitely a malty scent.

T - The malt continues on the front end, a slight hoppy flavor shows up on the finish with some slight spice taste.

M - Medium bodied, mild carbonation.

D - A good autumn brew, lots of malt

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Photo of zeledonia
3.28/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 17 August 2011. Originally reviewed an old bottle (see below), updating now after tasting it fresh.

Appearance exactly as described below, with a little more lacing.

Smell is actually a step down from that year-old bottle. It's much weaker on the fruit, and heavier on the toasted bready malt.

Taste is definitely better fresh, but I'm still not all that impressed. It's got that same bite that I don't like, though it's much more subdued now. Decent sweetness, bready malts, a bit of fruit. Still not all that impressed.

Mouthfeel is a touch better than I thought before, but still rather watery for a doppelbock. Where's the sugar, the chewy feel?

Not one of the best. I'm quite surprised that this ranks so highly among domestic doppelbocks, as it just doesn't measure up for me.


Bottled 24 August 2010. It's a fall seasonal, but this heat wave is making me long for fall, so I'm thinking ahead. Or back.

Pours a deep coppery amber, translucent, with nice light emanating from it. One-finger yellowish tan head that dissipates quickly and leaves little lacing. (3.5)

Smell is full of sweet fruity malts. Lots of dark sweet fruit - prune is blasting me in the face, with some fig lurking behind it. Brown sugar and bread are there in the background, as is alcohol. Nice, but not as deep and varied as it could be. (4)

Taste is sharper than I expect. All the fruits and sugar that I picked up in the smell are there, but there's also an odd kick that I haven't experienced in a doppelbock before. Might be hops, might be alcohol; kinda hard to tell. It's not great, though, and it overshadows the nicer, more desirable malt flavors. Finish is surprisingly quick, rather dry, with that odd bitterness. (2.5)

Mouthfeel is okay; not as sticky and sugary and chewy as I want it to be. Rather watery for a doppelbock. (3)

This didn't measure up to my hopes. The taste has something weird going on that I don't like, and the mouthfeel is too light and dry. It's very possible that this beer has suffered since bottling. I'll try this year's batch much fresher, as soon as it comes out, and revise my review as needed. (3)

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Photo of mjpolzin
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I look fondly on this beer as it was my first "good" beer I bought when I started getting into higher end craft brews. I couldn't wait to buy some this year and review it, hoping that it tasted as good as I remembered. Luckily it did.

The appearance is a orange, red color that reminds me of autumn colors. A off white head.

The malt is the main thing that comes through in the smell along with some spice.

The taste has all the maltiness of a good bock but some hoppiness comes through as well along with some fall spice taste. This is what sets the beer apart for me is the mixture of the caramel malt taste, the spiciness and the just barely present hops.

The mouthfeel packs a little punch as it carries some carbonation.

Like I said, one of my favorites before and still one of my favorites.

EDIT-A COMPARISON: I took a bottle of Autumnal Fire and a bottle of Eisphyre and drank them side by side to compare the two brews since Capital markets Eisphyre as being a more intense, concentrated form of Autumnal. I liked Autumnal better during the comparison. The higher alcohol of Eisphyre makes it taste slightly more boozy thus masking some of the hoppiness and spiciness that I like about these beers.

EDIT-COMPARISON TAKE 2: Tonight I drank a 2008, 2011 and 2012 Autumnal Fire side by side, taking small sips of each as I went. The 2008 was simply outstanding! Their was a strong taste and smell of dark fruits as the beer tasted much sweeter than a fresh bottle. It reminded me more of a barleywine than a dopplebock. The 2011 had some of these characteristics but not as much as the older bottle. I now need to 1.) Find another bottle of 2008, hopefully at Riley's Wines of the World here in Madison which is where I bought this bottle 2.) Leave a few bottles of '11 and '12 alone for a few years in hopes that it is as good as the '08 was tonight 3.) Raise my score for Autumnal Fire a bit since I think if a beer tastes better aged, it should rank a little higher than those that don't age well.

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Photo of scaliasux
4.62/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Medium dark reddish-brown. Clear. Medium off-white head with good persistence.

Smell - Rich toasty malts. Caramel and prune.

Taste - Rich sweet maltiness. Dark and toasty with very prominent fruitiness. Noticeable warming alcohol. Molasses and prunes.

Mouthfeel - Medium full and creamy.

Overall - A couple of these and you might not miss summer quite so much.

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Photo of AmericanGothic
4.17/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Sam Adams pint.

A: Pours a translucent, copper orange color with one finger of fizzy pale tan head. Little retention or lace, vigorous carbonation.

S: Sweet caramel malt, a little banana taffy and faint straw.

T: Delicious caramel malt, just the right amount of sweetness and a little fruity ester. After a few sips, some vinous notes emerge on the finish. Later in the glass, a hint of black pepper.

M: Carbonation keeps it from being too heavy, nice oily feel coats the mouth with flavor.

O: I enjoyed this beer very much. True to the style and quite tasty. First beer I have had from Capital Brewery and interested to see what else they have to offer.

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Photo of steveh
4.42/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An updated review 3 years later:

Since the weather in Chicago is about to turn "autumnal," I ought to wait a day or two, but I'm thirsty now.

A -- Clear, deep reddish-amber with a firm, light tan head that settles slowly.

S -- Yeasty, sweet malt, peppery alcohol. Mild DMS back.

T -- Toasty, dark bread crust right up front, peppery alcohol in the middle, finishes with some mild caramel and molasses (think of the dark bread crusts again) character that is quite delicious. Some mildly spicy bitterness and toasted malts in the aftertaste.

M -- Mouthfeel is soft and silky with a dry finish and medium body. Some mellow warming from alcohol.

O -- A rock-solid Doppelbock from Capital, as always. Goes down smooth, will become dangerous after a couple.

2008 Review:

A -- Bright, reddish-amber color, more to red than gold, with a light tan head that holds up well in a Willi-Becker.

S -- Yeast and bready malts, some spicy hops and/or alcohol peeking through.

T -- Toasted bread, sweet malt, with the slightest touch of molasses, finish has some dry alcohol and light hoppiness.

M -- Soft to syrupy mouthfeel with a medium body.

D -- The drinkability of this beer should be illegal at 8.5%*, it just goes down too smoothly. Very nice beer, favorite of the season.

*Latest update at the Capital web site is saying the AF is at 7.26% these days -- still a hefty brew to be so drinkable!


Serving type: bottle

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Photo of Urbancaver
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage
Thanks Chris

Pours a orangish brown. Hazy, nice off-white head. Looks pretty. Smells increibly malty. Vanilla, some light roastiness. Very nice. Tstes sweet and rich. Malt malt and more malt. Vanilla, spices, a bit boozy. Quite enjoyable. Lowish carbonation... Great mouthfeel.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.83/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Forget Christmas in July! Hallowe'en/Thanksgiving rolls on at Chez Wood this evening in anticipation of my upgrade to a chalice later tonight.

Well, well, well. This 2005 vintage held up quite nicely in the depths of my cellar. I got a dense, thick finger of creamy light-tan head with excellent retention off of my initial pour. Color was the most beautiful example of ruby that I have seen in a while and when coupled with its NE-quality clarity, I had to put it down for fear that I was not worthy of its magnificence. The nose smelled like hickory-smoked bacon: sweet and smoky all at once and I fell to my knees and began to kowtow in its presence. The head had begun to fall by the time I stood up and the lacing was going to require a jackhammer to remove. I sat back down and buckled the lap belt that I keep on hand for just such situations. We made a wide left off of Army Street (southbound) away from Potrero Hill, and northbound up to Russian Hill and I was off and running. The smokiness had died down somewhat over time, but it was still evident on the tongue, but the chewy malt had hung in like a champ and soon I was behind it, headed east on Mansell until it turned into US 101 South. That beer, with its Charger and its passenger with the Remington pump, kept me on my toes until the finish, down around Brisbane, when it exploded in the back of my throat with a smoky paroxysm of flames that is simply haunting.

OMFG, AutumnalDave, this beer is from and for you, brother! You gifted this to me right before I got bound up in travel and forgot about it. I remember having some at Capital during Ale Street News' inaugural visit, but it was nowhere as memorable as it was today.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a semi thick looking orange amber color. The head was decent but didn't really have much in way of lacing. The smell of the beer has a good amount of malts on the nose and just a bit of spice. The taste has a pretty good bite to it. It's a little hoppier than I expected. The mouthfeel was pretty heavy and a little oily. Overall it's a pretty good brew.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.67/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle. Served in a mug, the beer pours a slightly hazy reddish/amber color with about a half inch off-white head that went away quickly. There isn't much lacing left on the glass at all. Aroma is toasted malt, brown sugar, toffee and a bit of dark fruit. Taste is pretty much just like the aroma, but there's some butterscotch noticable too. It's a good, malty brew. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy with low/moderate carbonation. I think it's a decent brew. It's not my favorite doppelbock but I'd try this one again in the future, it's definitely worth a try.

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Photo of matjack85
3.66/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I found a 6 pack of these on sale at Sal's Liquors in Addison, IL for $7.99. 12oz brown bottles with no freshness date but with a cool label that looks nothing like other Capital beer labels and completely different from the one shown on the BA page.

The beer pours a chestnut brown color but makes only a ½-finger of tan head that dissipates quickly and leaves only a few spots of lace.

Big brown sugar, caramel, and toasted malt smell. I also pick up some dark fruits and alcohol. Good doppelbock aroma.

Huge roasted malt flavor along with sweet caramel, brown sugar, and pumpernickle bread taste. The dark fruits in the smell are only minimal in the taste. Noticeable alcohol and bitterness in the finish.

Medium body with lower than normal carbonation.

It's good and worth a try, but not my favorite doppelbock.

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Photo of PhineasGage
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 poured in to nonical pint glass

a- 2 finger off white, laces down to 1/4 in. dark caramel brown coloring, hazy but still see thru.

s- caramel malts, little bready yeast.

t- big malty flavor. almost butterscotchy taste. light bitterness on the finish.

m- creamy, light carbonation.

o- this beer is great fresh, even better after about 6 months, can't wait to try this with a year on it.

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Photo of seeswo
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 bottle. Pours a dark amber with a tan head. Smells of big caramel and dark fruit. Yum. Tastes sweet, brown sugar, caramel, breadiness, dark fruit, but not in an over the top manner. Very easy drinker despite the ABV. Very good mouthfeel. This is a really enjoyable doppelbock and the flagship beer of Capital Brewery.

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Photo of Beejay
3.6/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Medium Amber with a lovely garnet hue when held to the light. The head is minimal but present, and tan in color.

S: Sweet and Malty. Very bready with a hint of earth, and a touch of roasty.

T: Bready with a residual sweetness. A touch of roasted character and lots of raison flavors. A touch of booze in the finish.

M: Medium in body, the carbonation seems a little high, and makes it feel a bit lighter than it really is.

D: Good but not great. Easily drinkable and something I would get again, but it's not on the top of my list.

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Photo of kels
3.91/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Beer pours a ruby-apricot shade, somewhat hazy with light metallic highlights. A short, 1 finger white foamy head hangs around a little while before fading to a soft film that leaves behind spotty lace.

Nose is rather mild, with hints of crispy roasted caramel malt graininess. Other than that, not a whole lot.

Nice grainy doppelbock. There's a caramel sweetness that's balanced by a dry, crisp toastiness. A rich nuttiness adds a hint of interest to the basic, doppelbock style. The taste and mouthfeel is clean and crisp with just a hint of stickiness in the finish. A little on the thin side.

Highly drinkable, straightforward beer.

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Photo of wyattshotmaker
3.53/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

nice amber color, poured into my weird ass warsteiner .3 l stang type deal.

bready, caramel, slight herbal hop aroma. overally pretty solid.

big caramel malt sweetness upfront. toasted bread,, roasted nuts, slight bitterness rolls into a slightly sweet finish. bit of booze in the finish.

medium bodied, overall this was alright. not something i'd go back to but pretty good.

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Photo of djeucalyptus
3.97/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a murky apple-juicy amber with a frothy two-finger head. minimal lacing.

aroma is rich, earthy, caramel malt and hints of spice. brown sugar and liquid caramel. fruit esters... applesauce and banana bread.

taste is excellent dopplebock. rich, sweet, and malty. earthy green hops and a hint of spice. hints of apple and dried apricot fruitiness.

mouth is perfectly thick without being too syrupy. excellent level of carbonation cuts through the thickness and highlights the flavors nicely.

all in all, this is a great dopplebock. Nothing too out of the ordinary or noteworthy, but just an excellent example of a dopplebock with a brilliant malt profile.

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Photo of billab914
4.27/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish shaped glass. It poured a very nice looking deep ruby color, with a modest head filling the top half inch of me glass. The head faded but left a little lacing as it did.

The aroma is big and malty. Lots of bread, caramel and sweet malt come through. I get a bit of dark fruit coming through with some tartness to it. Nice aroma overall, very appealing.

The taste has some great malt flavors as well. I get caramel and cherry out of it first and foremost. Some apple tartness comes through along with some more dark fruits and a little toffee. Very flavorful and delicious tasting beer.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is good, I really like this beer a lot. It showcases the malty flavors very well and it's a very good version of the style. Very nice beer overall.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a dimpled mug.

Pours a deep clear copper, with a finger of foamy off-white head. This retains with a thin fizzy layer of froth that skims the middle and stays a little creamier on the edges, throwing some heavy spotty lacing up on the sides of the glass. The aroma has a heavy sweet twang to it of toffee, cocoa, and deep earthy citrus flavors. There's a bit of a roasted edge to this as well, which adds some extra depth and richness to the nose.

The flavors in the taste pretty much mirror the aroma but seem to lack a bit of the fullness. Sweet caramel and bread with a touch of cocoa powder and some green fruity citrus character. There's a bit of a moderate bitterness to this that then leads into a roasty backend. This finishes with lingering leftover notes of sweetness and dry earth. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a mellow crispness that stays mostly smooth and easy in the mouth for being close to 8%. Just some light warmth is present but that's about it.

This was certainly a very solid Doppelbock but didn't quite blow me away as some of the talk on this beer might have had me believe. It definitely has a decent depth of flavora here though, with a clean body, and it absolutely drinks well for its hefty size. I would recommend this. A well crafted American take on the style.

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Photo of BeerLover99
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: big deep red with hint of brown hue. nice one finger head with solid spotty lacing.

S: hops, citrus, raisins, big malt

T: sweet fruit malt in front with hint of spice and bitter finish.

M: medium body, good carbonation, goes down with ease.

D: My favorite Capital beer. This is a fun beer, very sessionable, the ABV is hidden well and you can down quite a few and then POW, legless time and good alcohol warmth on a crisp autumn day.
Seek this beer out!

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Photo of mariposafan
4.16/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Gorgeous in the glass - a bright red-amber topped by almost 3 fingers of dense, creamy head. As the head fades it becomes nice, sticky lacing.

The aroma is sweet and fruity - maybe some citrusy hops in there - with a solid malt presence that ties it all up in a rich, albeit somewhat simple, aroma.

The flavor is very much after the nose, though not so sweet and with a certain amount of hop bitterness - a touch more than I'd prefer. Very rich and fruity with a solid malt backing. Some additional complexity wouldn't be amiss, though.

The mouthfeel is wonderful. Thick and almost chewy but with enough smooth, creamy carbonation to keep it from seeming too syrupy.

The drinkability isn't too bad, but the richness and almost 8% alcohol definitely mean it's a sipper.

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Photo of Duff27
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a dark amber (albeit clear) with a one fingered head that lingers for a little bit. No lacing present. Steady stream of carbonation coming from the bottom of the glass.

S- Caramel notes. Bready smell that is familiar to every Capital offering it seems...lagers?

T- Caramel, spice. Mouthwatering sweetness... as well as a noticeable alcohol kick to this one.

M- Rich and creamy. Mid to low carb bite.

D/O- For me, this seems like it has a higher ABV than 7.8% and because of that, I'd have to ding the "drinkability" factor a tad. Overall, a good beer.

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Photo of gatornation
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a amber copper color with a smallish head and a light tan collar..smell is malts,toffee and candied floral hops..taste is spices like cinnamon and nutmeg mixed with brown sugar,,then throw in some caramel.baked breadand earth peat hops..its tasty like a winter warmer..mouth feel is full and tasty a slight alcohol prescense is noted but overall a warm drinkable malt dopplebock that warms the tummy on cold winter days

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Photo of bamadog
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was kind of excited when I saw this on the shelves -- I've only had the Capital Blond Doppelbock and the only word to describe it is "tasty" (right, Kels?). So I figured this would be good too. I wasn't disappointed. Review is from notes taken on 11/11/10 and poured from the bottle to a pint glass.

Appearance: Pour is a very solid coppery color with some slight amber hues to it; starts with a 1/2 finger off-white head that fades quickly to a thin and incomplete skim; body is very clear and shows moderately strong carbonation; a couple of lone spots of lacing are left behind.

Smell: Smell is nice -- some tall, dry graininess and actually a bit of a mellow and smooth tropical fruitiness to it (I'm often reminded of artificial banana or mango when I pick this scent up). Nothing overly complex, but very enticing and it just seems "solid."

Taste: Certainly solid as determined from the nose -- nice dry/cracked toasty grains and a sweet, slight caramel-esque maltiness comes through in the mouth as opposed to the smooth tropical fruitiness that I was expecting...; very slight earthy hoppy bitterness lies underneath it all. Again, nothing overly complex but rather delicious.

Mouthfeel: Body is close to medium in weight; carbonation is strong and prickly; a thick moist stickiness is left all over the mouth; the belly is actually left a little warm, which isn't overly surprising since it's nearly 8%, but I think it's also from the strong carbonation.

Drinkability: I could easily sip on this one all night. It has very nice flavors that are simple and straightforward and a nose to match. Doesn't sit especially heavy, but I can see where after a few one may say "enough." The ABV could also become a factor -- certainly not sessionable at nearly 8%, but I think 2 would be good for a night.

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Photo of Onenote81
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Awesome bottle received from BeerFMAndy in a surprise box that showed up at my door one day! Should I say KarmaFMAndy??

12oz bottle poured into a giant mug. Pours a dark copper color with a thick creamy off-white head on top. No lace sticks around at all. Nose is full of caramel notes, toffee, candied sugar, lightly toasted.

The mouth is full and brimming with depth. My experience with this style has yielded surprisingly thin feels on most. This one is full and hefty, what I would expect from a "double" bock. This is a malt-bomb for sure! Tons of sweet toffee, caramel, faint banana, light booziness that complements well. The alcohol adds just enough to the flavor, without making it overbearing in any way. Wonderfully executed. This is a stellar beer and one of the best of the style. Recommend. You are the man, Andy.

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Autumnal Fire from Capital Brewery
4.07 out of 5 based on 588 ratings.
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