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Oktoberfests / Marzens

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Josbor11, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poobah (1,035) New Jersey Jun 3, 2004 Verified

    Same label- but what I recall about the appearance is more like the way you described the Winter Spezial (maybe a touch more amber than golden) than what you pictured there. I suppose I could be mistaken about that (although those reviews still strike me as curious), but the 'lighter' impact on the palate is something I remember much more strongly; I even commented on it at the time last year. At this point I am willing to wait for this year's version and see if it rings a bell.
  2. The market research firms that monitor off-premise sales list "Samuel Adams seasonal" as the #1 craft "beer" since they typically gather those sales from UPC bar codes (thus "seasonal" rather than the individual labels because they all share the same barcode I take it), so there's no easily accessed figure for just their OctoberFest (< as they spell it) that I've ever found. I'd imagine it's easily the best selling US-brewed version.
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  3. ifnkovhg

    ifnkovhg Savant (270) California Aug 12, 2008

    I must admit that when I first tried the style, I didn't get it. I actually wrote a review or two I keep meaning to delete. I've since come to appreciate the more subtle flavors that lagers -- marzens in particular -- offer.
  4. joelwlcx

    joelwlcx Savant (420) Minnesota Apr 23, 2007

    Don't look at the top 250 list. Problem solved. You'll then find that we like them just fine.
    Providence likes this.
  5. herrburgess

    herrburgess Champion (935) South Carolina Nov 4, 2009 Verified

    This, of course, sent me looking for your review(s). I think you should leave them up, personally. They could serve as a valuable testament to others who might initially be unable/-willing to search for the nuanced flavors in more subtle styles. Cheers for being so forthright about this.
    Providence, paulys55 and ifnkovhg like this.
  6. mellowmark

    mellowmark Advocate (510) Minnesota Mar 31, 2010 Verified

    SurlyFest is pretty awesome. I always forget to stock up and regret it after.
  7. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Champion (860) Michigan May 8, 2006

    The top 250 doesn't mean shit. Plenty of styles are not represented on the top 250, but that does not mean they are looked down on or not respected. I think there is plenty of respect and general appreciation for the style but respect and appreciation does not land you on the top of any favorites list. People rate on a hedonic scale, if you want the gaudy scores you better have a beer that will make people step back and say "wow".

    Let's be honest, talking about a well crafted, perfectly balanced lager is not going to hold many peoples attention. This is not because they don't appreciate such a beer, its because its kinda boring. We all know what types of beer garner hype and drive these forums. We could not confuse a lack of hype, conversation or scores with a lack of respect. When BA looks down on something, its much more obvious.
    hopfenunmaltz and herrburgess like this.
  8. Harnkus

    Harnkus Savant (395) New York Oct 31, 2013

    You are correct, as someone who receives said reports
  9. herrburgess

    herrburgess Champion (935) South Carolina Nov 4, 2009 Verified

    I agree. Drinking 4-5 half liters of a well-crafted, perfectly balanced lager is much more interesting than talking about it -- especially with beers that get better the more you drink of them. Because as everyone knows: more is better.
    marquis, patto1ro, YamBag and 6 others like this.
  10. steveh

    steveh Champion (895) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Yeah, this tells me we weren't drinking the same beer -- the HB Maibock I've had I couldn't even reach to find a way to call the palate "light." :)

    As I mentioned before, it really struck me more as an Amber Märzen than a Maibock, except maybe being a bit higher on the ABV scale.
  11. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poobah (1,035) New Jersey Jun 3, 2004 Verified

    Huh. Well- I look forward to trying that version, then ;).

    Putting that aside- let me ask you guys who've enjoyed these types of beers in Germany a question. How does Einbecker Mai UrBock stand in relation to most other Mai Bocks or Heller Bocks? Is it about right, or on the hefty side?
  12. Michael, maybe this is worthy of a thread on the Germany forum?

  13. GOBLIN

    GOBLIN Advocate (570) Ohio Mar 3, 2013 Verified

    UmiZoomi Beer . . . AWESOME !
  14. GOBLIN

    GOBLIN Advocate (570) Ohio Mar 3, 2013 Verified

    Sing in the same tune . . . Marzen's a lager we can drink em' together.
  15. steveh

    steveh Champion (895) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Definitely more heller with a touch of amber, but nowhere near as dark as HB, and on the lighter end of the body spectrum… but you have to find it fresh. Einbecker is like Augustiner in that it prices itself right into shelf withering.
    YamBag and TongoRad like this.
  16. As a retailer I can assure you that Spaten is, in fact, available year round for us in San Antonio and the other southern markets I looked into. Oktoberfest is classic Marzen and fantastic to boot. No reason for old stock.
  17. WesMantooth

    WesMantooth Poobah (1,020) Ohio Jan 8, 2014 Verified

    It is fantastic. Well balanced. One of the best I have ever had. I actually think that Barktoberfest is in the same league though.
  18. schteve

    schteve Savant (365) New Jersey Sep 10, 2003 Verified

    I had it for the first time this past season (GL recently available in NJ) and agree. This was my favorite one of this year's crop, and I'm a big fan of the style. I also like the Sly Fox one -- a close second.
  19. Domingo

    Domingo Poobah (1,135) Colorado Apr 23, 2005 Verified

    It's more typical of what you would expect from a Maibock. Pale and very sweet, although when fresher the hops are still there and luckily keep it from being a 1-note. I've never had much luck with the Einbecker bottles once we initially started getting them out here in CO. The very first ones were good, but I'm not so sure the ones from that first batch aren't still the ones on the shelf.
    Disregarding the oddball from HB (which is easily my favorite), the other Maibock that really impressed me was the one from Spaten. My wife and I + another Denver BA ended up trekking to a lesser known biergarten called Waldwirtschaft for some maybe 5-6 years ago. Maybe there was a little bit of the "Red Stripe effect" (and probably a little bit of inebriation) going on after wandering through a weird Munich neighborhood, but it was stupendous.
    steveh and TongoRad like this.
  20. arlingtonjoe

    arlingtonjoe Savant (420) Illinois Jan 20, 2013 Verified

    i allways look forward to late summer because i know octoberfests are on there way. my personal favorites are great lakes, summit, some fresh ayinger, spaten and dont forget the kaiser by avery.
  21. steveh

    steveh Champion (895) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    The Spaten Maibock used to be very popular around Chicago, but it just dried up. Makes me think we were the only area drinking it because Spaten stopped bottle imports then keg imports. My review of it was the last time I saw it in the area -- great stuff.

    No reason other than the switch-over of importers. Are you seeing it available from the AB-InBev importer, or do your lists still show Spaten USA?

    This is not snarky or troll-bating in any way, I'm seriously interested in what the new importer is doing with the beer. I don't see it around Northern Illinois too much these days, and I miss it!
    herrburgess likes this.
  22. Domingo

    Domingo Poobah (1,135) Colorado Apr 23, 2005 Verified

    We've seen a little bit of that, too. Those paper-covered 12-packs of Spaten Original were a regular item for me. Plus, they were almost always fresh. Right around when their labels changed is when I stopped seeing those 12-packs. Ditto with Lowenbrau. It used to be everywhere. I prefer the Spaten hell, but I would change it up. I don't know if I've seen any at all lately, let alone those covered packs. Since both are in green bottles - I'm very, very hesitant to buy them unless they're right off the truck.
    steveh likes this.
  23. I am seeing Spaten from the AB-InBev importer. It sells very well, as do all Belgian and German beers in south Texas (a ton of Duetsche speakers here that stay with what they know). Doesn't hang around long.
  24. patto1ro

    patto1ro Advocate (510) Netherlands Apr 26, 2004

    Exactly, a traditional Maerzen should be dark brown.
  25. patto1ro

    patto1ro Advocate (510) Netherlands Apr 26, 2004

    [QUOTE="kzoobrew, post: 2240870, member: 77815Let's be honest, talking about a well crafted, perfectly balanced lager is not going to hold many peoples attention. This is not because they don't appreciate such a beer, its because its kinda boring. [/QUOTE]
    I totally disagree: subtle does not equal boring. I'd take a a Bayericsher Anstich Augustiner Helles over an over the top Imperial Stout any day of the week.
    Flibber, Vonstein15, steveh and 2 others like this.
  26. hoptualBrew

    hoptualBrew Advocate (570) Florida May 29, 2011 Verified

    I notice that brewers and homebrewers who have learned and brewed subtle styles like Marzen, Helles Lager, Czech Pils, Kolsch, etc have a much heightened appreciation for these brews. For me, at least, when I drink styles like these I deconstruct the beer and wonder what water profile they used, if they decoction mashed, how long they lagered for, yeast propogation and health. As easy as it is to recognize flaws in the 'subtle' styles, it's just as easy to recognize perfection. Flensburger Gold til I die!
    steveh and herrburgess like this.
  27. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Champion (860) Michigan May 8, 2006

    I agree, subtle does not equal boring. The point that I was attempting to make is that conversation regarding subtle, meticulously crafted beers is not going to draw a crowd. The topic will be a bit bland to most. As @herrburgess mentioned earlier, these beers are much more interesting to drink than to discuss, which is even more true in the context of BA forums.
    Vonstein15 and utopiajane like this.
  28. Harnkus

    Harnkus Savant (395) New York Oct 31, 2013

    Nope. That would incorrect, at least to my eyes
  29. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poobah (1,035) New Jersey Jun 3, 2004 Verified

    He means 'Traditional' in the literal, historical sense- as opposed to the more modern (although also 'traditional' at this point) Pale Marzens. The Amber ones you are thinking of are somewhere in between, at least in Munich.
  30. upsbeernut

    upsbeernut Savant (415) Georgia Sep 22, 2011

    Their batch last year and the year before was a disappointment for me personally. Unbalanced and not enough flavor.
  31. upsbeernut

    upsbeernut Savant (415) Georgia Sep 22, 2011

    I found Ayingers is probably my favorite.
  32. I love Oktoberfests. They are perfect for the fall season.
    Great Lakes, Paulaner and Sam Adams are three favorites that come to mind.

    Lagers in general seem to be less highly rated on BA.
  33. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poobah (1,035) New Jersey Jun 3, 2004 Verified

    I went looking for Maibocks this past weekend, and was at a store where they tend to know their stuff. From what I was told, there just aren't that many coming in from Germany over the past few years- not that many German seasonals at all, really. Too much competition from American brewers lately (in terms of shelf space, at least ;)), and they just didn't leave the warehouse a lot of the time. This guy could only name Einbecker and Hofbrau as being available at this point.

    From what he said about Spaten, the importer changeover seemed to happen just during Oktoberfest season, and he missed out this year because of it. This is a beer that he will order by the pallet, so it really sent him scrambling at the last minute for substitutes. The regular beers seem to be flowing at this point, though.
    steveh likes this.
  34. Givemebeer

    Givemebeer Advocate (535) Vermont Apr 6, 2013

    Whats the deal with some oktoberfests I see on the shelves being ales? I know theres a few that are ales and not lagers.. Anyone have any idea?
  35. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poobah (1,035) New Jersey Jun 3, 2004 Verified

    Most likely it's the 'one label fits all' scenario. In some states, like Texas, beers over a certain percentage of alcohol will have to be labeled 'Ale', regardless of how it was fermented and conditioned. Some German labels carry that distinction, even though the beers are lagers.

    You may also have seen Erdinger Oktoberfest, which is a seasonal hefeweizen-style 'festbier' that could also be called an 'Ale' depending on how you look at things.
    steveh and Givemebeer like this.
  36. Frankinstiener

    Frankinstiener Savant (405) Illinois Jul 28, 2009 Verified

    Simple: Not many of them are rare enough to make the top 250.
  37. steveh

    steveh Champion (895) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Could be, but the AB-InBev importer was allowed to use up the old Spaten USA labels that Spaten still had on hand (thanks to JessK for that info), so that changeover line is blurred.

    I hardly saw it in my area, but happened to be one county over (different distros in different counties around here) and one store had those pallets you speak of. Hate to go 30 miles out of my way to buy beer that ought to be readily available. I need to find the phone number of the local distributor and start weekly queries. ;)
  38. patto1ro

    patto1ro Advocate (510) Netherlands Apr 26, 2004

    What evidence do you base that opinion on? The original Märzens of the 18th century were all dark brown. Amber Märzen is a relatively recent invention.
  39. Ron, what does the word “traditional” mean to you?

  40. patto1ro

    patto1ro Advocate (510) Netherlands Apr 26, 2004

    Anything you want it to. "Original" might have been a better choice of adjective.