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The Big O Oktoberfest - Pennichuck Brewing Company, Inc.

Not Rated.
The Big O OktoberfestThe Big O Oktoberfest

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

58 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 58
Reviews: 57
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 10.3%
Wants: 3
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Pennichuck Brewing Company, Inc.
New Hampshire, United States

Style | ABV
Märzen / Oktoberfest |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Bierman9 on 08-19-2008)
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Ratings: 58 | Reviews: 57 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by TheycallmeTim:
Photo of TheycallmeTim

New York

2.98/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a growler into a shaker pint.

A--Russet copper body with a one finger eggshell colored fizzy head that faded to skim pretty quickly but laced ok.

S--Thick and heavy to me, relative to the style, but not bad for the nose. Tons of sweet molassesish whole wheat bread and caramel malt. Almost cloying. I dunno, I gotta knock this down to a 3.5. The nose had a pronounced roasted nuttiness that belongs to an English Brown, or an Altbier if we're staying German.

T--Big, BIG....a little too big. I got worn out on this. Marzens should be beefier lagers, with bready characteristics and some sweetness, but man, is this really necessary? I felt like I was drinking fruitcake followed by an alcohol/hop sting. This has almost no balance in terms of hop bitterness on the back end and it tastes like they just dumped a shit ton of caramel malt into the mash. If anyone wants to drink this by the liter, be my guest. I just can't get into it. Too fruity and thickly sweet.

M&D--Mouthfeel's a little rocky because of the alcohol bite and kind of thin feeling, no doubt because it's a lager on 'roids. Drinkability? Meh. I think I'll pass on this one.

Seems like more of a malty ale than an marzen, like an Altbier or some kind of Brown Ale. Kind of the brandy of Oktoberfests, which might float your boat, but leaves me drowning.

Serving type: growler

09-28-2009 21:51:33 | More by TheycallmeTim
More User Reviews:
Photo of brandoman63


4/5  rDev +0.5%

11-28-2011 03:42:14 | More by brandoman63
Photo of jbertsch


4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I hear Pennichuck closed operations last year. It's too bad, because the brews I had of theirs were excellent. And this Octoberfest lager just proves that again. They'll be missed.

A: Delicious looking dark amber. With an average-sized foamy off-white head.

S: Pleasantly sweet caramel malts, almost a bit of banana, brown sugar, and a faint overall aroma of soda bread with raisins.

T: Smooth, sweet malts are up front. This tastes smoother and slightly sweeter than most other marzens I've had.

M: Smooth, with average carbonation.

D: I could drink a bunch of these. It tastes slightly boozy for something that shouldn't, but not so boozy that you couldn't throw back a few.

One of the sweeter marzens I've had - but it's not desserty. It's right up my alley. Bravo to Pennichuck.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2010 02:37:14 | More by jbertsch
Photo of JMD


3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Crystal clear copper color with ruby tones. Small off white head that fades quickly.

S: Light malty aroma. Sweetbread, some carmel and brown sugar. Unfortunately, the aroma is very faint.

T: Sweet and malty. Carmel and brown sugar with hints of toffee. Also some bready and grassy notes. Finishes with a touch of hops.

M: Light to medium bodied, appropriate for the style.

D: Overall, this is a good Marzen. Nice flavor, and highly drinkable. I could easily put down several bombers of The Big O.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2010 21:44:20 | More by JMD
Photo of KTCamm

New Jersey

4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bomer into a pint glass.

Pours very dark brown with very little white foam - mahogeny brown.

Powerful malty smell, slightly sweet, hints of caramel. Notes of brown sugar.

Malty hop taste, relatively clean. Could almost be a vienna lager from this taste - much cleaner than a typical marzen. Very lightly carbonated in the mouthfeel.

Quite drinkable - solid brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2010 01:47:52 | More by KTCamm
Photo of Kadonny


3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a standard pint glass.

A: A dark brownish red with a big two finger off white head. Full glass lacing.

S: Sweet biscuit and caramel sweetness with some grassy earthy notes.

T: Big malt bill with flavors of caramel, toffee, dried fruit and some bready earthy flavors. A slight hop bite at the end, but the caramel sweetness comes back to finish the beer. Very sweet beer, almost too much so for a Marzen/Ofest.

M: Medium at best, sweetness hangs on. No alcohol flavors.

D: Medium, the sweetness wears on me.

Overall not the best example of a great Ofest/Marzen as the sweetness seems to be over the top. A bit more hops would really make this a nice beer to cut down the sweet. Still glad I tried it, very cool label by the way.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2010 13:59:49 | More by Kadonny
Photo of Kelp

New Hampshire

4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured out in a orange redish color. Smells like most Marzens' I've had in the past. Nice taste, slight caramel and malt. Reminds me of a Marzen which is good but just a wee sweeter than normal, which I actually like. Subtle note of cinnamon/brown sugar. Nice feel in the mouth no alcohol taste at all. I could go through a few of these bombers with no problems. I am sorry to think there is a chance I may never be able to have this again.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2009 20:25:54 | More by Kelp
Photo of kingcrowing


3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into an oktoberfest .5l glass.

Pours a nice crystal clear dark amber/ruby. With a small off white thin head. Nose is Toasty, malty and a bit sweet.

Taste is a bit too sweet and not quite as toasty as I like my marzens, but still very drinkable and smooth. Light carbonation and crisp finish!

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2009 22:33:07 | More by kingcrowing
Photo of far333


4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reddish orange with an off-white head of sticky foam that rises up a full foamy inch and settles out slowly to a fine cap.

Inviting aroma of grainy malt, some breadiness, notes of toffee and cinnamon.

Rich flavor of sharp-edged maltiness, bready and toffee/caramelly, but notes of dried leaves and subtle smokiness ride along. Sharp bitterness without hop flavors, good balance to the maltiness. Moderate warming from the alcohol.

Rich and full mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Tasty beer with good drinkability, interesting take on the style.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2009 23:22:21 | More by far333
Photo of corby112


3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark golden ruby/coppery amber color with a .5 finger off white head that quickly dissipates into a lasting ring.

Roasted malt aroma with a lot of autumnal spice. Toasty caramel, biscuit malt that has a slight nut character. Hints of cinnamon and brown sugar.

Crisp medium body with lots of toasty malt, autumnal spice, sweet fruit and subtle hops. Lots of sweet caramel malt with a good amount of roasted toasty flavor along with spicy cinnamon and brown sugar. Slight biscuit presence and nice crisp dry hops in the finish. Very nice balance of sweet and roasted notes and the ABV is completely undetectable. The spiciness is pretty prominent with some subtle vanilla and clove to go along with the cinnamon/brown sugar notes. Nice interpretation of the style.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2009 06:26:40 | More by corby112
Photo of ManVersusBeer


3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I figured it was time for my first review on BA since I have been reviewing beer "unofficially" for awhile now and what better way to start than with The Big O as Pennichuck sadly reaches its demise.

Poured from a 22oz. bomber into my "Beer Is Proof That God Loves Us And Wants Us To Be Happy" pint glass. Thanks, Benjamin, for those words of wisdom.

Appearance: Nice amber, copper orange hue. Poured a solid frothy tan head that dissipated into a nice 1/2 inch leaving a light sticky lacing.

Smell: Caramel, toffee, malty malt and some sweetness. Nice smell for an Oktoberfest with some lingering stone fruit.

Taste: Malt and sweetness hits the palate right away, but it is a good feeling. A nice floral hop aroma comes in the background, but it is mostly like raisin bread with a hint of nutty pecan.

Mouthfeel: Smooth with a nice body and mild but appropriate carbonation for this style.

Drinkability: A drinkable beer, for sure, with a bit on lingering sweetness. As it warms, the sweetness and malt flavor increases, but is still very pleasing.

Quite satisfying on a crisp fall evening especially while taking in an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2009 16:59:24 | More by ManVersusBeer
Photo of BeerNinja007

New Hampshire

3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Moderate pour into a pint glass gives 2 fingers of bubbly tawny head. Deep orange-red brew, perfectly clear. Head settles to a decent layer after a minute or two. A nice looking beer. A thick malt sweetness complicated by faint notes of sour cherry, raspberries, caramel exudes from the glass. Taste of the malts is darker and less sweet than I expected from the smell. Lots of fruit and floral elements, red raspberry in particular. A slight alcohol presence accentuates the mild hopiness, especially in the finish. A tiny bit of banana flavor is coming through as it warms. Mouthfeel is very even... not slick, not dry, appropriate carbonation. A fair amount of lacing is left as I near the bottom of the glass.

On pouring a second glass from this 22oz bomber, this time a little heavier on the pour, I get a wonderful 2-finger cake of foam with great retention.

Overall a pretty good brew. Worth looking for next year.

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2009 23:43:21 | More by BeerNinja007
Photo of JABBER2142

New York

2.25/5  rDev -43.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Purchased on 10/30/09 from the distributor in Brooklyn

A: Dark amber with little head and moderate lacing. Not ugly but nothing special here.

S: The expected malts are there but they're overpowered by cloyingly sweet dark fruits. This was surprising for an Oktoberfest but I like dark sweet beers, however this almost smells like someone poured cheap juice in the beer...not very pleasant.

T: The aforementioned dark fruits and malt are present at the beginning, though less sweet than expected from the smell. Then we go downhill. As the beer hits the back of my mouth, the fruits turn sour and the hops kick in for a bitter finish that doesn't mesh well at all. The balance seems all wrong and I'm left with an unpleasant taste in my mouth that makes the next sip more a chore than pleasure.

M: The carbonation seems to settle around my tongue, helping to reduce the sweetness to bearable levels, while overall the carbonation is lower than I'd expect.

D: It's just not pleasant to me.

I'll finish the growler (this is a recession and all!) but I have no plans to go near this brew again.

This *could* be on the verge of being skunked, which would explain a lot, but I've had good luck at this beer place so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that it wasn't.

Serving type: growler

11-01-2009 21:47:40 | More by JABBER2142
Photo of tai4ji2x


3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

just heard the semi-official news that pennichuck is closing down. since beers from establishments marked "closed" on this site can't be reviewed, i figured i needed to enter this one in before the entry gets mothballed.

22oz bomber. no date or batch code found. tasted in early october 2009.

very deep copper, w dark amber tones. clear. 2-finger beige head, fades to wisps and ring. consistent rings of thin but webby lace.

aroma: very rich maltiness - caramelized and biscuity sweet. touch of apple juice esters. gentle leafy (noble?) hops. trace fusels in back, but not too distracting.

taste: nice and malty, like the aroma in quality, but slightly subdued in comparison. touch of esters again too. the fusel/phenol comes out slightly, along with the alcohol, but never truly gets in the way, luckily. mild to moderate bitterness. sweetness is more on the estery spectrum than it should be, but nothing too bad.

medium body, almost lightly syrupy at times. moderate astringency in finish. moderate carbonation, gives some body, accentuated slightly by possible fusel/phenol/alcohol note - but again, nothing that's actually too distracting.

the taste score should be about a 3.6 or even a 3.7

i've bumped drinkability up one half point to compensate

not the greatest out there, but it's not too pricey either (for a bomber). was worth a try, and sad to see them close down.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2009 16:18:10 | More by tai4ji2x
Photo of MrHurmateeowish

New Hampshire

4.7/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bomber purchased at McKinnon's in Salem. Pours a crystal-clear red body with a half inch of khaki-colored head that dissipates rather quickly. Smells bready and nutty with strong toasty notes. Tastes sweet and toasty, with caramel and toffee notes, with the toffee becoming very apparent and rich in the finish and aftertaste. Roasty dark chocolate notes also are a strong undertone. Medium-bodied with moderate to full carbonation. Very drinkable. A solid Oktoberfest - possibly the best American example I've had to date. Another slam-dunk for Pennichuck.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2009 02:06:56 | More by MrHurmateeowish
Photo of Hojaminbag


3.48/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

An amber colored body with about a finger and a half of tan head. Preatt good lacing is left behind on the glass.

Sweet malts pair with spicy, fruity hops in the aroma to create a pleasant smell.

A crackery, sweet malt flavor with a touch of molasses. The hop profile has some spicy character, but to me it also has a good amount of bitterness along with some pine and citrus characteristics. It tastes like a german o-fest that uses American hops.

Mouthfeel is probably on the heavy side for the style. Moderate carbonation.

Pretty drinkable beer. Overall I like it, but I think the hop profile would be better for the style if it leaned more heavily upon noble hops.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2009 00:24:29 | More by Hojaminbag
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a mug glass.

A: The beer is a bright reddish orange color with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, fruit, some spice and some hops.

T: The taste is very well-balanced with sweet flavors of dark fruit and a little bit of spice; bready flavors of lager yeast and grain; and a mild but complementary hops bitterness. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, not too filling, decent kick, very good representation of style, this is an excellent O-fest with a lot of flavor and substance that makes it worth drinking for a long time.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2009 23:44:23 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of plaid75

New York

4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a sparkling amber hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was very good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a musty noble hop coupled with an earthy caramel malt.

The taste was very earthy with a moderate caramel and a beautiful noble hop spice.

The mouthfeel was toward the fuller side of the style.

Overall a very well done Octoberfest.

Serving type: on-tap

10-13-2009 16:55:53 | More by plaid75
Photo of ClockworkOrange


4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 22 ounce bomber bottle purchased at Abe's in Bethlehem. Poured into my nonic pint glass. Appears a hazed rich apricot color with a good inch of creamy light rust colored foam. Flavors and aromas consist of molasses, sweet caramelized malt (a good dose of malt actually), toasted bread, fruity apples. A notch or two better than medium bodied with ample carbonation. Finish is sweet and a bit syrupy. A very satisfying marzen for a chilly fall night.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2009 02:47:28 | More by ClockworkOrange
Photo of lordofthewiens


4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really enjoyed this beer; I thought it was a bit more flavorful than the usual Oktoberfest. In a pint glass the beer was a ruby red color with a thick tan head that lingered all the way down. Sweet caramel malt aroma, a little spice. Strong caramel malt taste, mild spice, and a little fruit. A full-bodied beer, will want to get some more of this one.

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2009 15:44:55 | More by lordofthewiens
Photo of superdedooperboy


4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Saturday, October 4, the day before Oktoberfest's completion, and my final Oktoberfestbier of the celebration comes from Pennichuck Brewing.

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a Seidel.

Shows a clear, ruby-copper hue, capped by a half-inch off-white/light tan head of creamy foam. Head retention is decent, but stickage is a little lax.

Nose is full of malty goodness, sweet and toasty with just a tad of maple drizzled over the top. Some grassy hop notes are interspersed. Very pleasing and inviting.

A wonderful medium-full body drapes the tongue, rich and chewy, perfectly accentuating the toffeed, toasted malt palate. Sweetbread, biscuit, toffee, some faint caramel and brown sugar; hops show themselves in the middle to keep things balanced by leave the malt to take center stage, with a finish that is mildly dry and clean with some lingering malt sweetness on the back of the tongue. Alcohol shows itself not on the palate, but is apparent afterward in the head.

A wonderful, bold example of the style, the likes of which is not seen often in the gaggle of seasonal Oktoberfest/Märzen beers released for the fall. Certainly a nice end to the celebration and a top-notch example befitting those strong, malty brews originally brewed in the spring for lagering until Fall. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2009 14:44:50 | More by superdedooperboy
Photo of joepais


4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Feels like fall so I had to grab this one today. Poured this one into a large Nonic it produced a two finger white head that lasts and follows the brew down the glass. The body of the beer is a clear ruby red in color

There are Great aromas of sweet caramel malts along with a great breadiness. As it warms you get a slight fruitiness as well in the aroma. The flavors of sweat grains and bread filed my mouth there is also a little bit of alcohol burn as it warms. The brew had a great feel in my mouth with ample carbonation.

An easy to drink brew one of the better of the style I have had. I will defiantly grab more of this brew

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2009 19:14:40 | More by joepais
Photo of Patrick


3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours dark amber or pretty much ruby red color with not much head. Some bubbly lacing sticks to the side of the glass and leaves some stringy lacing.

S: Smells of caramel and molasses. Some breadiness is there too, but not a whole lot.

T: Lots of caramel and molasses up front in sweet fashion. The middle has some hints of chocolate and coffee, but the end transitions to some more molasses and herbal/piney hop flavor.

M: Sticky, full bodied, well carbonated.

D: Great Oktoberfest, glad I bought this one. Probably can't drink a whole lot because of the body, but delicious.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2009 23:21:37 | More by Patrick
Photo of ChainGangGuy


3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bomber - $4.99 at Hop City in Atlanta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours out an amber-brown body with damned great clarity and topped with a bubbly, whitish head.

Smell: Distinctly German maltiness give impressions of toasted breadiness with a background hint of brown sugar. Merest note of roast in there as well. Notably fruity, in as much as I'm now making notes on its fruitiness. Slightly earthy hops in the mix.

Taste: Lightly sweet, bready Vienna malts along with touches of brown sugar and further darkened malts in the distance. Yes, that noteworthy fruitiness certainly carries over from the aroma imparting a taste vaguely reminiscent of apple. Earthy, modestly spicy hops with a medium-light bitterness. Dry finish with some lingering maltiness with light grainy tones reaching into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A decent, if rather fruity Oktoberfest from Pennichuck. While not particularly enamored with it, I had no trouble clearing through the entire bomber minus a few sips doled out to friends Molly and Chuck.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2009 23:45:31 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of Jayli


3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear, deep chestnut with some burnt orange tinges to it. Anout a one inch of rocky head to the beer that recedes relatively quickly and leaves spotty lacing on the glass. Nose is sweet, some sugars and caramel malts, touch of toasted malt and a touch bready lay underneath. Taste is of rich malts up front with a bit of breadiness, middle is filled with sugar and caramel malt, and a bit of a hop finish with a touch of apple flavoring. Lighter side of medium body, mild carbonation, this is a nicely balanced beer with a crisp finish to it. I could sit with this one all evening.

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2009 18:32:48 | More by Jayli
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The Big O Oktoberfest from Pennichuck Brewing Company, Inc.
88 out of 100 based on 58 ratings.