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Holsten Festbock - Hanseatische Getränke-Industrie (HGI) Holsten-Brauerei AG

Not Rated.
Holsten FestbockHolsten Festbock

Educational use only; do not reuse.

76 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 76
Hads: 117
Avg: 3.31
pDev: 19.34%
Wants: 2
Gots: 8 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Hanseatische Getränke-Industrie (HGI) Holsten-Brauerei AG visit their website

Style | ABV
Bock |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: canadianbarman on 07-29-2002

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (26) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 76 | Hads: 117
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.58/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Can: Poured a dark brown beer with a nice above average head with good retention. Aroma is a mix of malt and mild sweetness. Taste was quite nice with some smooth malt and a subtle sweet finish with a good banana taste at the ends. Alcohol is well hidden which is always nice. The thin body and the subtle watery aftertaste was bit of a letdown but overall, I think this was a nice offering from a macro brewers – a bit underrated I feel…

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Photo of biboergosum
3.53/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml can, another common import offering available damned near everywhere in this burg.

This beer pours a rather clear dark red brick amber hue, with two fingers of foamy, somewhat creamy off-white head, which leaves some decent island chain lace around the glass as it genially recedes.

It smells of sweet, almost pastry-like caramel malt, a touch of stale toffee, musty dark fruit, earthy, grassy noble hops, and a little boozy nail-polish nostril burn. The taste is bready, mildly Christmas cake-like caramel malt, and very mild noble, floral hops.

The carbonation is fairly low, the body an adequate medium weight, and generally smooth, with a sort of hollow creaminess, little booze or anything hop-wise taking any particular toll here. It finishes off-dry, with some warm caramel and basic floral hops just hanging on.

Refreshing enough, and pretty tame on the booziness quotient for the style, which is a good thing in my estimation. Simple, sure, but at 3 bucks or so a can (which around here is a dealio, yo), you get your basic style and money's worth, for certain.

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Photo of mactrail
2.46/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

Attractive coppery color with a big foam in the Blanche de Chambly Pilsner glass.

This is so sweet and has a pervasive perfumey note that makes me think of fabric softener. It doesn't smell like much, but that taste goes to the brain. Wet wood, metallic dregs from the canned peaches, green bean cooking water, yet weirdly spicy. It all ends with a slightly bitter dishwater taste.

Oh, this is such swill I have to go to the sink now. From the 500 ml can purchased at the Provincial Liquor Store in Ladner, BC.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.32/5  rDev +30.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I CAN't believe how many CANned beers are available for my consumption! I am almost ready to renounce bottles altogether in favor of CANs.

My pour got me a finger of light-tan head with decent retention. The color was a deep, dark, cola-colored brown with little light penetration. The nose had a caramel/licorice scent. The mouthfeel was medium with a lot of anise and chocolate on the tongue. The finish had a sweetish/chocolate-smoky quality. Yum!

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Photo of liamt07
3.57/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Can from the LCBO, had this on several occasions and getting around to reviewing this just now!

Pours a dark reddish-orange, with a finger of brown head that fizzles like cola to nothing. No head retained, no lace. Nose of dark bread, mild dark fruits, touch of roast, sweet malts. Taste follows, more dark bread again with the sweet malts. Light, dry and dark fruits float around as well, relatively indiscriminate. Some alcohol in the finish, but a fairly reasonable mouthfeel overall. Good drinkability for the alcohol content, and often a decent choice at the LCBO in lieu of some of the other subpar offerings always found there.

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Photo of biegaman
2.84/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

The beer's deep hue captivates the eyes, trying to specify its exact colour perplexes the brain. An overall sort of chestnut tone, the appearance is a bright cacophony of colours and encompasses many shades of amber, copper and bronze. A piercing, virginal clarity enhances this engrossing pageant of pigments. Unfortunately, its head sizzled like meat hitting a hot grill and all signs of it disappeared in a very short time thereafter.

I'm sorry, I thought I had brought home a can of beer but it seems I mistakenly grabbed nail polish instead. At least that's what the smell would have me believe. The brewery's claim of adhering to the German Purity Law is already being drawn into speculation; which of the four ingredients can cause a solventy, chemical-like harshness to agonize the olfactory track like this? Think rotten fruits stirred into industrial sanitizing products.

The taste has a considerable amount of nail polish twang too - I'm thinking Bogot Blackberry, Hawaiian Orchid, Chick Flick Cherry, maybe even a bit of Tutti Frutti Tonga. While this combination of nail polish lacquers has made for an attractive and colourful appearance, it's made for a rank and rancid taste. The only flavour that is consistently accounted for is a generic blend of dark fruits - that were macerated in overproof hooch.

The alcohol may not be as agonizing as I'm making it out to be, but it's the lack of malts that is making it sensationally apparent. Its thin, watery mouthfeel is devoid of bitterness, without texture, free of yeast-infused nuance, lacking any hop presence what so ever, is destitute of any toasty or caramelly malt flavours and is completely, entirely bereft of carbonation. It contains, in other words, none of the essential characteristics of a beer.

Holsten Festbock is certainly nothing to celebrate. The only people rejoicing here will be those who enjoy high octane, moderately tasteless beers that provide a quick, relatively cheap means of getting alcohol to the brain. It would seem to me, given its entire lack of distinguishing or redeeming qualities, that that's exactly the kind of people for whom this beer was brewed. Unless you're part of that crowd I'd recommend a pass on the festivities.

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Photo of Derek
4.03/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Altbier? Is it fermented with Ale yeast? Aren't Bock's a type of lager?

I'd say this beer was closer to a double bock or a classic Octoberfest Marzen (higher gravity & alcohol than most current Octoberfest versions).

This has become my winter beer. It is full bodied & full flavoured. It is a very malty beverage, with just enough bitterness to remove any cloying sweetness. It is a little darker, and not as sweet as a Salvator.

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Photo of DrJay
3.7/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear and very dark with ruby highlights. The short beige head produces a bit of lace and settles quickly to a thin cap. Malty, toffee aroma with plenty of sweetness and a hint of licorice. Medium bodied with mild carbonation. Sweet and malty with mild bitterness that lingers in the finish. There's quite a bit of licorice here as well. Off-dry finish with slight warming. Not a bad beer at all. The licorice character was a little unexpected, but quite nice.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.62/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml can poured into pint glass june20 2010

A clear deep amber with a few bubbles feeding a two finger light tan head that has average retention and leaves no lace

S a fair bit of burnt sugar and molasses with some sweet malt and candied fruit

T not far from the smell but with a little booze and some nut and a mild chemical aspect that brings it down just a bit

M a little thin and slightly sticky but nothing bad by any means

D decent for 7% no real problems with this brew, even a little better then expected

for cheap high test this is pretty good, I seem too remember not liking the Maibock as much as this but I'll have to go back and check my review

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Photo of spinrsx
2.56/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

500ml Can

Appearance - Clear reddish brown colour with a large size frothy light brown coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some fairly good lacing. The head lasted for around 5 minutes before it was completely gone.

Smell - malts, dark fruits - not a whole lot of smell.

Taste & Mouth - The beer has a below average amount of carbonation but it still feels fairly creamy on the tongue. As the first sip hits my tongue I can tell I'm in trouble. The beer has a very harsh taste to it. Right away I can taste the alcohol.. and tastes like a bottle of 5$ rum. I can also taste some malts and perhaps some dark fruits. (dates?) It finishes with a boozy/malty aftertaste.

Drink - The beer had some promise when I first poured it into my glass. The appearance is actually pretty good. But the taste is just dreadful.. it's almost undrinkable. Life is too short to spend time drinking beers like this one.

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Photo of tbeckett
3.33/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a dark golden colour with tons of carbonation. Bright. One finger of light beige head on top that looks like it has staying power. No lace with a half finger of retention.

S - Dark malts, sugar, toffee, bread.

T - Caramel, sugar, toffee, less bready. Sugar is pretty strong with some odd earthy tones. Perhaps some honey as well.

M - Nice carbonation, a medium to full body, and a slightly rough finish.

O/D - A touch sweet and unstructured with some off bits, but alot better than expected. Some nice complexity hanging around with some rich malt character. Not bad.

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Photo of drpimento
2.4/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Got thiis 500ml can at the nearby Supermercado Carrefour here in Recoleta, Buenos Aires last week and trying it now. Poured with a big tan head that quickly faded to a hint of head and barely any lace. Dark mahogany color. Aroma is dark sweet malt and dark ripe fruits. Flavor is very similar. Shallow. Bit watery in spite of the heavy sweet malt.They're definitely not brewing this for flavor or aesthetics. Might be fun to add a vinegar culture to it since it's an all malt product. Finish is.... not worth coming back to.

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Photo of andrenaline
3.37/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A random can I picked up on the east coast.

A - Pours a dark amber colour, finger of head with little retention and no lacing.

S - Scent is dominated by toffee and caramel, raisins and toasted grains.

T - Much like the nose with the toffee and caramel flavors dominating, the fruity flavors come through on the finish alongside some burnt toast which lingers.

M - A tad thin and watery, could use a carbonation lift.

O - A tasty bock and a pleasant surprise from this brewery. Te flavors fit the style, but there's a few tweaks needed to make to push this into the next category for points.

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Photo of canucklehead
3.48/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a good example of a mass produced German lager that does not suck. The beer is dark and sufficiently malty to make me glad I didn't buy a Heineken dark. This beer will never be a favourite but for the price of $2 a can it is not too shabby. I could have done with more balance and deeper flavour but I go to Ayinger or Paulaner for their fest beers for the best quality.

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Photo of IronDjinn
3.24/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 500ml can with the freshness date stamped on the bottom. What a dark ale, a deep mahogany, decent beige head that fades to a ring with minor lacing. Smells of faint roasted hops and a fair amount of licorice. I like that, I've brewed a couple of licorice ales in my time, but have never come across a commercial equivalent. The flavour is malty and boozy, a bit of licorice, somewhat watery for the abv, but goes down easy. An average strong beer, nothing that really wows me, but drinkable nonetheless. A few of these could go down easily and lead to trouble.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
3.47/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Getting ready for Oktoberfest in Munich, trying to mix in a German beer every time I do a review session.
A - an attractive deep amber, one thumb of white head didn't last or retain much
S - strong sweet roasty molasses malt, light grassy hops, and a definite hint of the 7% ABV
T - sweet thick molasses and roasty barley malt, pleasant grassy hop flavour, a little tinny, but a sweetness lingers almost like burbon
M - lower carbonation, somewhat chewy thickness, definite tangy sweetness that dry's out with the alcohol
D - at 7% ABV the alcohol is noticeable but not unpleasant, the flavours are strong but the do balance somehow, a decent offering

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Photo of pootz
3.33/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Canned...poured a dark clear chestnut red...smallish tan head, aromas of spices and sweet malts. Smooth mothfeel...nice mellow malt body...sweet(but not cloying) uncomplicated taste and a cleanish finish with a sweet doughy after taste...not a bad simple bock from a German mega brewer...fairly satisfying.

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Photo of thehyperduck
3.1/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Served at slightly warmer than fridge temperature, this bock pours a dark copper brown colour; mostly translucent. A finger of creamy beige head lasts a few minutes before reducing to a collar around the edge. Carbonation looks a little high but looks can be deceiving. Smell is mostly roasted caramel malts without much else.

Taste is cloyingly sweet with an odd hint of some flavour I can't quite put my finger on in the finish (coffee? licorice? burnt brown sugar?) in addition to a very faint bitterness from the hops in the aftertaste. The finish is weird, but it gives character to a brew that is otherwise dominated by sweet malt character, i.e. boring and kind of cloying. Feels a little heavy/chewy in the mouth, with low-to-moderate carbonation. The alcohol is hidden fairly well, at least until the beer starts to warm, at which point the ethanol and sweetness combine to give a rather unpleasant, sticky feel to the beer.

For a cheap bock/high ABV single can that is easy to find in most parts of Canada, this isn't too bad, but I'd never specifically look for it. Doubt I'll get it again.

[Updated Nov 22 2015]

Another 500 mL can. The original review was lacking so I wanted to elaborate a bit. Holsten Festbock's residual sweetness is excessive and I don't consider this to be an especially great example of the style. But it's not awful, and it's certainly much better than one of those diesel-fuelled Euro strong lagers (think Faxe, Crest, et al.) or a malt liquor. Am I setting the bar too low here? Probably, but even though I've never been real big on this beer, it's something that I don't mind drinking occasionally - at least when the weather is cold, and I just want something cheap to warm me up a bit.

Final Grade: 3.1, a C+

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Photo of TerryW
2.18/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Another heavy-handed and clumsy effort from Holsten - these guys have no concept of subtlety.

Comes across as thick-mouthed and syrupy. Sugary malt presence. Average looking dark beer with a moderate short-lived head.

I like a decent dark beer, but I don't understand this one scored as high as it did. Just macro brown stuff. No thanks.

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Photo of allergictomacros
3.57/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark red/brown with a creamy, medium-sized head.

S - Typical pale euro smell: clean, grassy hops with a bit of skunk. Bodes poorly.

T - Toasty, roasted malt flavour. Hops are definitely a background flavour with the malt up front. A bit spicy, quite sweet and a touch of tartness. Bitterness is in the aftertaste only.

M - Creamy, thick body. Light carbonation.

D - Very drinkable. Overall, quite good, although the lackluster smells detract from the experience.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.51/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an almost black color with some dark rum glints. The head is tan and rocky, leaving decent lacing. The aroma is toasted bread, raisins, plums and hop bitterness. The taste is a nice toasty malitiness with plums and anise notes. Theres also a nicely perceptable hoppiness. the ABV of this beer definitely makes itself visible, it tastes stronger than other beers of this ABV. The mouthfeel is thick and well carbonated. This is quite a good beer though definitely too strong, rich and crisp to be an Alt, Id say this is a bock lager.

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Photo of BDTyre
3.78/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Decent cheap Euro-beer. $2.30 for a half litre. Nice standard brown-ale/altbier appearance, but with a big fluffy head. Malts, raisins and plum scent. Malt, toffee flavour, slight hop sourness.

Good carbonation, easy on the mouth. Nice and drinkable despite the ABV. Not a bad beer - better than the Maibock.

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Photo of kjyost
3.33/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a nice clear amber orange with a nice head that left good lacing. The nose of the beer was dominated by a malty sweetness. Upon tasting the beer though, that sweetness dominated the beer, being not an enjoyable malt backbone, but verging on cloying.
The hop character was there, but killed by the sweetness. The higher than average ABV was there, but not dominating either. Felt a little sticky on the palate and if this beer could have controlled the sweetness it would be one I would have reached for again.(03-13-10 Review).

EDIT: Consumed on 11/17/10, can poured into a beer mug. Bottom on can dated 05/2011 and found the sweet malt well balanced. As with everything, the time and place affect your perceptions :). OTOH I found the carbonation to be too low, affecting mouthfeel negatively.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.3/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The sound of ompah bands are in the air around KW, so Oktoberfestering is just around the corner - figured a bock was in order. Used to drink a lot of this, but I haven't in a while. So now I will.

Poured into a dimpled mug for added classiness, enjoyed on a warm fall afternoon. A dark ruby chestnut brew, thin white head subsides quickly into a fine ring. Some lacing.

Nose is caramel, toffee, dark fruit (figs), a bit of rye bread. Quite nice.

At first the Festbock is quite nice and hearty, a good kick in the ass courtesy of autumn, but after a few sips, it starts to get a bit cloying and the mouthfeel becomes a bit oily and less pleasant. Still, you could do worse bock-wise, and considering the dearth of bocks in regular rotation in Ontario, this one works for when you need one in a pinch. Sweet, a bit of nuttiness, that bit of rye and booze.

It's okay, better than the Maibock, but certainly not among the best bocks I've encountered. But if getting sloshed Oktoberfest-style is your aim, you could do worse!

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Photo of korguy123
4.2/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tallboy can into snifter

A- Pours like thin maple syrup. Two finger white head that stays for a couple minutes. Lacing is decent.

S- Toasted malts, brown sugar, caramel.

T- Brown sugar, caramel, sour dough bread.

M- Smooth, just enough carbonation.

Overall great beer. Saw the thread on beer brats and decided to make my own. Half this can is in the pan as we speak.

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Holsten Festbock from Hanseatische Getränke-Industrie (HGI) Holsten-Brauerei AG
77 out of 100 based on 76 ratings.