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Session Fest - Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub

Not Rated.
Session FestSession Fest

Educational use only; do not reuse.

82 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 82
Hads: 189
Avg: 3.65
pDev: 16.44%
Wants: 13
Gots: 20 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Lager |  6.20% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: msubulldog25 on 09-30-2011

According to Full Sail Executive Brewmaster, Jamie Emmerson, “Session Fest is a Czech-style strong lager called polotmavé or literally “light dark or semi-dark.”
Brewed with 2 Row Pale malt, Munich malt, Caramel malt and Wheat malt, and hopped with a blend of Glaciers and Cascades.

6.2% ABV
26 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Session Fest Alström Bros
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Reviews: 82 | Hads: 189
Photo of Beaver13
2.24/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

11oz bottle, enjoy by 1/29/12. Pours a slightly hazy copper amber with a small rocky off white head that retains well and leaves a little lacing.

The aroma is sweet toasted malts with some vegetal notes.

The flavor is sweet toasted malts with some balancing bitterness in the finish. I get some off plasticky notes. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, I didn't really care for it. Some off notes and I don't care for toasted ambers like Fat Tire.

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Photo of corby112
2.66/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours chestnut brown with dark orange edges and a 1.5 finger off white head that slowly settles into a lasting ring. Sporadic spots of lacing left behind.

Sweet malt aroma with hints of spicy, earthy hops. Hints of caramel, toffee and biscuit countered by grassy, spiky hops. Not bad smelling, just kind of bland.

Medium bodied with a decent balance of sweet malt and earthy hop notes. Hints of caramel, toffee and hazelnut followed by grassy, spilt hops. There's also a lactic diaceytl presence which is off-putting and slightly sour. Just really odd tasting.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
2.81/5  rDev -23%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From 12oz stubby to Bruges hybrid glass on 11/22/11
*From notes

A: More of a darker golden then a traditional red. A standard pour yields a nice 2.25 finger head that retains well.

S: Absent of any real nose at all. A touch of cereal or filler grains, maybe. That'd be about it.

T: Again, kind of bland. Easy to drink? Sure it is, but I'd like some Flava Flav to go along with it. As it moves back a bit, some sweet, buttery grains and malt wrap things up.

M: Yeah, this is pretty decent. For a beer of this kind, I'm pretty happy with the consistency. A bit creamy, yet not overwhelming.

O: The first thing that needs to be asked: how is this a "session" beer? It's got 6.2% ABV for Christ's sake. The second? We're calling this a "Fall" seasonal, even though it's a Christmas themed beer?

Otherwise, this gets the proverbial job done. If you're looking to put a few back, maybe tie one on with decent craft beer, this'll certainly suffice. It's not packed with a lot of flavor or a complex bouquet, but as I said, it'll do the job it's been tasked to do.

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Photo of Nerudamann
3.08/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pilsner glass.

Look – dark brown in color, with about half a finger’s worth of foam that dissipates quickly.

Smell – light malty smell, but other than that the aroma is very illusive!

Taste – much like the smell, the taste is a bit illusive. In the middle of the taste it does appear more sweeter and malty, and then finishes with a touch of bitterness.

Mouthfeel – pretty well balanced, but leans just a touch more on the watery side. Just barely.

Overall – not a bad tasting brew at all, once you get to the taste. But it seems to evade one a bit.

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Photo of DirtyPenny
3.15/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an 11.2 oz stubbie into a pint glass while watching a dismal Buffalo Bills performance against the vile Cowboys.

A: Reddish bronze with one finger of off white head that fades more quickly than the Bills' playoff hopes.

S: Caramel and pale malts with piney hops.

T: This is a pretty hop-forward brew. The pine-flavored hops mingle with the miscellanous malts and leave a mild to moderate bitterness on the tongue. Not bad.

M: Medium and kind of creamy.

O: Decent, accessible beers seems to be the notion that the Session series is built upon, and that's continued here. All in all I like their standard lager better and their black lager best. A nice, crisp lager without a whole lot to make it stand out. Seems like it'd be good to keep around in the fridge if company comes by. Not offensive or overly powerful flavorwise, but a world better than the Bills... I mean, Buds, of the world.

(Seriously, all I want is to see the Cowboys lose. I don't care to who. Is that too much to ask?)

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Photo of JosiahS
3.16/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

glass: Pint

Copper appearance, very clear. Spotty lacing. Smells like crackery malt, grape juice and gym socks. Taste has a bitterness of upfront that seems like its coming from the hops. Falls into that apple/grape juice flavor finishes with a slight doughy malt, hop bitterness and gym sock yeast.

Light, but not too light, low-medium carbonation. An alright beer at best.

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Photo of elNopalero
3.18/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This pours a burnt sienna color. Malty molasses aromas, lightly hopped. Light, bitter, but not really all that enjoyable. Thin finish. The malt profile is out of alignment. It doesn’t hold up to warming—the spices/flavoring goes out of balance and comes off harshly. At least the stubby bottle is cute.

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Photo of morebeergood
3.2/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I've had this stubby bottle in my fridge for a while, and I have been meaning to drink since Xmas 2011. Poured into a standard pint glass. Dark amber body. Not much head, and no lacing. Not very impressive to look at. Smell had faint hints of holiday spices. Taste was only slightly above average. Some orange peel, ginger, toasted malt, and cherry. Mouthfeel was somewhat thin, and slightly bitter at the end. The abv of over 6% was not really noticeable. I wouldn't consider this a session beer, as I wouldn't see myself drinking multiple bottles of this.

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Photo of Zorro
3.23/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Clear dark amber colored lager with a small white colored head.

Smells malty with with a nutty aroma that reminds me of a bock beer. Caramel and toasted grains and a strange milky aroma, wonder if the put lactose in the mix. Slight grassy aroma to the hops.

Starts out mildly malty with a toasted grain flavor with a little burned sugar flavor. Flavor is something like bock beer.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall an OK beer, but not a favorite.

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Photo of MaltsOfGlory
3.23/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not really sure what to expect here, it's supposed to be a lager, but it's a Czech style lager? But at the same time an American Red? I dunno. Pours almost a one finger head into my standard pint glass. The head is maybe just a hair darker than white in color. The head is pretty soapy looking, and it doesn't have the best retention, it's already almost gone. The lacing doesn't look bad, but we'll have to see how it goes once I get down to the bottom of the glass. The body is as clear as could be, like many lagers are, however I would think I red lager might have a little cloudiness to it. The only reason visibility isn't 100% is because it's darker than your average lager. I wouldn't really call the color of this beer red, it's more brown, with some orange and yellow. Almost golden in color really. Honestly the color combination is kinda ugly, but oh well. The carbonation looks a little bit under medium. The head is now gone but some nice foam is still on top of the body. Overall not an outstanding looking beer, we'll see how the lacing goes. It's not a bad looking beer, but not too great. The smell is very light, I get the red lager smell, medium malts, some hops, etc etc. Maybe a tiny bit hoppier than your average red lager? Still, it's not very hoppy. The smell is just really small, I get it's a session lager, but there just isn't much here. I maybe even get a nut smell here? I'm not sure, I'm digging for anything to comment on the smell. Really just not much going on here at all, I wish I had more to say. Overall a pretty boring, and very small smell, maybe a 3 is harsh, but I don't see any reason to give it more than that. The flavor is slightly better, for sure more potent than the smell. A little sour to start things off, maybe some adjuncts, or cheap malts. You kinda get that average sweet, sour, macro lager taste. After that comes some quality medium malts and a tiny bit of hops (I guess a decent amount if your considering it's a lager). You do kinda get that red lager taste, I little hard to describe, it's kinda a distinct malt flavor. Overall not a bad taste, but somewhat boring, a little cheap tasting, and somewhat watery. I dunno....on second thought it isn't that bad, it has some legitimate flavor to it. I don't think it deserves a 3, but at the same time I don't think it has earned a 3.5, so 3. The mouthfeel isn't bad, the carbonation is for sure higher than I thought it would be, definitely a highly carbonated beer. One might say over carbonated, but it's a lager, so it's not a horrible feature. The body is actually pretty big in your mouth, for the style that is. Not a bad mouthfeel at all for the style, may be better with a tad less carbonation though. The drinkability is actually really high for it being over 6.2%, they do an excellent job of covering up that alcohol. Overall it's pretty light, tasty enough, and surprisingly low on the alcohol taste, so it's not hard to drink. Overall on this beer, it's not bad, and maybe it deserves a 3.5 for taste, but I don't think it's quite there. It's not a bad beer, one I wouldn't mind having at a party or something, but it's just not up there with the quality beers. Not a bad beer, but not too great either.

The appearance turned out to be pretty good. The lacing was pretty patchy, but it followed me pretty much all the way down the glass. The body was kinda ugly, but that was only because of the colors. The head was...eh, not great. I'm kinda confused on how to grade this beer for appearance, maybe it deserves a 4 for the good lacing, but I'm pretty sure it's well short due to everything else.

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Photo of N3rdM3t4l
3.23/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11oz brown stubby into standard pint glass.

A: sidepour gets no head but leaves a decent sized ring around the glass. A solid amber color.

S: smells of lager yeast and spicy hops. that "funk" is def there. Sweet smell from crystal malts.

T: sweet and malty. A bit of light hop at the end. Quite a bit on the sweet side actually.

M: light and smooth, with a good amount of tingley carbonation.

O: not a huge fan of lagers but this is pretty good. A tad sweet for me but not cloying. All in all it is a good beer. I enjoy red ales and this stands pretty well as a red lager in my book.

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Photo of Bookseeb
3.29/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is a dark copper amber having a stable head and nice lace. Smell is light thats a little grainy, roasted malt and hops. taste of grainy roasted malt with a bitter hop lasting through the aftertaste. Can't taste much of the alchohol either. Mouthfeel is medium with a good spike of carbonation. No wow factor hear, but not to bad for a red.

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Photo of beertunes
3.33/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into 10oz goblet. Poured a nice coppery-brown color, the beer was clean and clear with no head, retention or lacing.

The beer had nice malts, was a bit sweet and had just a bit of delicate hops. The flavors were the same, nicely even and well balanced.

The body was smooth and even, but a slightly sticky finish was a bit off-putting. Drinkability was very nice, I could easily knock back a few of these. Overall, I think this is my favorite of the Sessions brews (although I do like the Black fairly well). A nice brew that's worth a shot when you see it.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.36/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Strong, crisp aroma is mainly malty and has quite a bite to it. I got a mild skunky whiff, but that hardly put me off. It pours a nice clear, dark coppery amber with a thick and fluffy pale tan head that sticks around for a while. Flavor is fairly typical for a lager, except fairly strong and with nary a trace of the skunkiness I detected in the aroma. Maybe I was smelling things? ;) It does have a hoppy, somewhat bitter tone with a hint of something nasty, but it is still decidedly drinkable. Texture has average body and average fizziness. Overall, not great but worth a try. Maybe this sample was from not their best batch.

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Photo of Haybeerman
3.38/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Amber color with a brown tinge. Poured a coarse 2 finger off-white head with good retention. Decanted lightly. Laced in rings with faint legs running down the glass.

S:Sweet crystal malt; caramel and bread. Faint toast aroma and some grassiness.

T: Sweet and malty up front. Toast and caramel solidify in the middle and carry through to mild, building bitter in the finish..

M: Medium body. Moderate to ample carbonation. Smooth on the palate. Crisp and clean in the finish.

O: Very drinkable. Malty, good feel and balance.

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Photo of beergoot
3.41/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hey, it's a holiday session beer!

Some nice spice and floral notes. Decent balance of bitterness and malt flavors overall and goes down nicely.

I can see knocking back a few over a period of time. Another fine addition to Full Sail's Session beer family.

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Photo of josiahschlender
3.47/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Original Session and Session Black are definite repeaters in my beer rotation, so it was natural to pick up this mini case when I saw it this holiday season.

Session Fest pours a semi-cloudy dark amber color with some golden highlights. Not much of a head that fades quickly and leaves no lace.

A lot of malts to smell. A mix of sweet malts, bready and even some roast. Bready maybe the most. I'm also noticing some pilsner-like grassy hops.

Flavors are well blended diversity of malts that have enough oomph to keep up with the color and medium body of this beer. Not as full flavored as a lot of amber ales, but good and adequate for a red lager. Just a twinge of bitterness on the otherwise fairly short and clean finish.

Not sure yet if I'll repeat this next holiday season. The other Session brethren knocked it out of the park in my opinion, but this one fell a little short of the high standard set.

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Photo of bump8628
3.47/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark copper-red, nearly a tawny brown. Thin, short-lasting bubbles show head retention just a tad more impressive than a soft drink. Polotmavé - never had, nor heard of the style. I'm guessing amber lager is a good enough descriptor. Some caramel, baking bread, and shortbread balance out a pleasant grassy and earthy hoppiness. Nicely brewed and clean, dryness is appreciated since this was meant to be an easy drinker. Surprisingly, Full Sail managed to capture some holiday elements in this seemingly basic red lager. It's nice to see a brewery go outside of the winter warmer/stout box for a winter seasonal. This definitely a beer that would please both craft drinkers and generic beer guzzlers alike. I think a box of 12 bottles will be making the trip to Thanksgiving dinner with me this year.

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Photo of zander4dawin
3.49/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

First beer I can remember in the now popular "session IPA" mold. Fest does a great job of keeping a great flavor on a thin bodied, highly drinkable beer. Pours a surprisingly dark amber with a soupy head. Smell is floral, taste is a non bitter hoppyness with notes of butterscotch. Mouthfeel is smooth and buttery. Overall I great drinker and one to look forward to in the winter.

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Photo of Pegasus
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Light amber in color with just a hint of haze, topped by a small, dense, and persistent white head. Thin, fine-beaded lacing lies in scattered patches on the glass walls. The carbonation is faint.

Aroma: Moderate roasted and caramel malts, with a mild wave of grapefruit hops.

Taste: Opens with moderate toasted malts, lesser caramel malts, and a decent grapefruit rind hop flavor. As the taste progresses, the hops intensify a bit and assume an earthy note. The toasted malt carries throughout, although it is overshadowed by the hops. Late in the taste there is a brief punch of juniper. Finishes with a mild, lingering herbal bitterness.

Mouth feel: Pleasant, smooth, a touch thin.

Drinkability/notes: Not bad, although I find it unlikely to be a "go to" holiday beer. It seems a bit understated for a holiday beer with an ABV of 6.2%.

Presentation: Packaged in a stubby eleven-ounce brown glass bottle with a twist-off crown, served in a standard Pilsener glass.

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Photo of DrinkingDrake
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark copper/amber. Not much for head but a good amount of foam clings around the sides of the glass. Every time I sip some more forms on the sides. Light German malty sweetness. Some hop spice as well. Biscuity malt flavor and just like the nose it finishes with some hoppy spice. Thinner side of a body but still a decent malt character.

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Photo of Rayek
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Session Fest pours a red tinged amber with a fluffy cream cap. The foam slowly falls to a patchy quilt and leaves just a bit of lace.

Some pretty standard Red Lager stuff is going on here. Bittersweet toffee rides on top of a bed of straw. Bitterness is lemony, peppery and mild. The beer is very dry and a touch metallic in the finish.

Of the three Session beers, this is my least favorite. It has a certain generic quality to it that left me a bit flat. However, it is a decent beer. It's just not for me.

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Photo of SVan007
3.51/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

First time having anything by full sail, but what caught my eye was the red lager on the bottle. Poured into a glass almost no head despite being fairly carbonated. A dark amber you'd expect from an ale. Smelled sweet, first pull was different and not off putting . Enjoyed the carbonation and the body which was a little distracted by the tingling of the carb. Almost a light brown sugar after taste and almost no hop notes at all. Considering the high abv for a brew lager this is pretty great. Sorry for the lack of descriptive language lost my sense if smell due to being sick, just now slowly getting it back. Will get again once full senses come back (olfactory). Would recommend if your wanting something different to enjoy. No risks here

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Photo of Kinsman
3.52/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice shiny copper color with just a bit of haze. Little bit of eggshell colored head makes a brief appearance.

Toasted grain and slight caramel sweetness provide a nice malty aroma. Hint of floral hop character in the background.

Biscuits and toast alongside some caramel malty goodness make for a nice refreshing brew. Hops add just a bit to balance things out. Mouthfeel is light, crisp, and refreshing.

Overall, not a bad easy drinking beer. Flavors don't exactly 'wow' you with anything but it's still got enough going on to keep things interesting.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Really pretty reddish hued color to this one, nice thin off white head to it. Aroma was half and half sweet and grassy hopishness. Not bad, a good mix in a red ale.

Smooth taste, with more of the fresh hoppy feel to it, not ipa territory, but substantial enough to make it enjoyable, especially at the price. Easily the best option out of the session beers. But 6.2% = a session beer? I'm ok with that I guess, but its a little close to not being sessionable, but it hides the alcohol. Faint chocolate malt aspect to it. Chalky and nutty sometimes.

If this is an oktoberfest effort, its definitely above average.

Thanks to elrogish & Quinn for breaking these bad boys out during our cabin barleywine trip. Solid beer.

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Session Fest from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
83 out of 100 based on 82 ratings.