Millstream Brewing Company

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German Märzen / Oktoberfest
Ranked #12
Ranked #10,234
3.96 | pDev: 12.12%
Millstream Brewing Company
Iowa, United States
Very Good
Notes: Millstream's Oktoberfest is similar to the our Munich style Schild Brau Amber, but it has more flavor, is maltier, and darker in color. A truly special beer, to celebrate the harvest, an important part of life here in Amana. Join us for the Amana Colonies Oktoberfest and partake of a pint yourself!

21 IBU
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Reviews: 65 | Ratings: 138
Reviews by bwood06:
Photo of bwood06
4.17/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I picked this bad boy up on a recent trip to to Omaha to visit family and race in a triathlon. As with any running or triathlon race, ya gotta have some beer as a reward, right? This is my first ever beer from Iowa right here so I'm hoping it's a good one.

A relatively hard pour produces a 2 finger high head that is off white/taupe in color and dissipates very slowly. The beer itself is a very light amber color, almost orange and is clear with moderate carbonation readily visible. As of finishing these few sentences, the head still has not fully dissipated. Color me impressed. 4.25/5 The aroma is not quite as sweet and heavy as many American Oktoberfests but is still rather sweet, per the style. Caramel malt, sourdough bread, cereal grains, and grassy hops all shine through strongly. The aroma is very simple and straightforward, but strong (not overly so). 4/5 A nice punch of caramel greets the tongue at the initial sip which is followed by fresh white bread, a bit of butter, Cheerios, and a bit of light stone fruitiness (nice touch). Grassy and clean hops come through on the back end providing just a bit of bitterness to cut into the sweetness, which balances things out nicely. 4.25/5 A light carbonation tickle is felt up front but this quickly gives way to a medium body and creamy mouthfeel that seems to coat every square inch of the tongue, and then disappears as quickly as it came without any drying. This beer does not linger on the tongue at all, rather disappearing entirely until the next sip. 4/5 This Marzen/Oktoberfest is much more in line with German Marzens, but it still has that sweetness that is typical of the style (overall). A bit lighter than most American Oktoberfests, this beer is easily sessionable even with its creamy and medium body. 4.25/5

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Jason
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Big E-Z Cap swig-top brown one liter bottle with no freshness date.

Appearance: Russet reddish brown in colour with a creamy tan lace that is absolutely superb.

Smell: Clean in the nose with lots of malt ... some sweetness, a touch of caramel and a whiff of grain.

Taste: A long drawn out malt flavour lingers throughout the medium body that hold a perfect carbonation. More sweetness in the front, lots of lightly toasted malt in the middle and more of a grain flavour towards the end that stays and stays with the palate. Hop bitterness cuts the edge off of the malt to help round out the brew yet hops are still restrained. Finish is a tad clean with hints of carob and grain.

Notes: A very tasty Oktoberfest, one of the better domestic samples BeerAdvocate has tasted ... most others are pale in comparison on flavour and body. Goes well with bratwurst and boiled veggies.

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Photo of Chaz
4/5  rDev +1%

Copper in color and with excellent/brilliant clarity. Pale tan head with a nice amount of lace -- looks great so far.

Nose is neutral and is all about the malt.

First sip is what this is all about: a big, bready-sweet palate pleaser with just a touch of bitterness and some biscuit malt character in there, too. The color makes it out to be a traditional Maerzen, but I am getting some more of the modern Wiesn/Helles style character as well. I might have to put this up next to Summit's Unchained Festbier, which also straddled the two Oktoberfestbier styles.

Very clean finish, a touch dry, but this is a malty-sweet thing to begin with, rather than a dry and crisp bier. I'm glad that I bought a six-pack, so I can match it with some traditional fare.

Be nice to find it on tap, as well.

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Photo of cokes
2.88/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Clear autumnal amber, with a stunted, off-white head.
Clean, toasty nose. Spot-on smelling, if weakish.
Begins with a malt-structure that's broad but not deep. Toasty caramel, dry roasted nuts, and grain. Lagered clean. The hops bring dead leaves and a destructive burnt rubber notion. Herein a decent brew is rendered fatally flawed.
Light bodied, lacking in flavor and what's present is, at best, not special, and at worst, fairly disagreeable.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of daledeee
3.88/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Always nice to try the local brewery stuff!

This beer pours orange and clear with a nice head. The head leaves good lace throughout the drink.

Nose is fresh but not real strong with any special smell.

Taste is caramel, malt and hop finish. Could be some roastiness in the finish as well. Clean and refreshing. Mouthfeel is very nice with the right amount of bite.
A good example of the lager group.

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Photo of far333
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy dark honey color with an off-white head that sinks quickly. Aroma is sweet and malty, with bits of pear and candy, makes me want to jump right in. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, moderately carbed. Flavor is lots of malt, light and sweet, with some banana and butterscotch. A little bit of citrus in the finish, and a hop tingle lingers. I could drink a lot of these. Thanks to BuckeyeNation for passing this on.

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Photo of Tballz420
3.68/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer comes out a nice dark amber color with a well crafted cream colored head. The smell is sweet malt. The taste is sweet, grainy and a touch of caramel. Theres also a hint of some metallic taste which kinda throws off the taste. Still a pretty good beer, slightly different than some of the other oktobers ive had, which isnt a bad thing. Overall good.

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Photo of beerfan82
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the best beer made by millstream. The taste is complex and interesting. The beer has a character to it but it isn't to strong. It is also has some interesting character to it that makes stand out among other beers. The best time of the year to drink this beer is in the winter usually around Thanksgiving.

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Photo of arizcards
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received as part of the September MicroBeerClub shipment.

Beer poured a deep red as a result of the caramel and chocolate malts with a decent lasting tan head. Nose is very malty with a hint of floral hops. Taste is the same as the nose, with caramel malts predominating finishing slightly dry and smooth. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and glides nicely across the palate. Drinkability is good, this is a beer that does not quite hit the style as defined but it pretty smackable nonetheless!

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Photo of alexgash
3.45/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Orange-copper body with a think, light-khaki head. Fruity bread malts with a vegetal hop spiciness and light alcohol on the nose. Caramelly semi-sweet toasted bread maltss up front. LIght, cooked vegetable twang mid-palate. Fruity, lightly bitter finish. Not bad, but not overly memorable in this world of American-made Oktoberfests.

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Photo of HappyHourHero
3.53/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light, earthy malt aroma. Big light-tan colored head faded quickly to a ring around the glass. Hazy chestnut colored beer with an orange hue. Mild malt flavor with a pinch of cocoa and some crisp fresh hops. Moderately full body is smooth and carries the flavors well. Something is off with the smell, but otherwise a nice brew. Thanks to BuckeyeNation for the chance to try this one.

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Photo of DrunkMcDermott
2.17/5  rDev -45.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Well, this and the Oatmeal Stout I got a while back had a big cidery taste, so I have to conclude I got bottles with bacteria in them, or they were lagered too warm, or their yeast got tired. Too bad, because it looked great. Pours a nice deep orange, with a creamy head and plenty of bubbly action. Toward the end, I could get past the cidery taste and find a nice Oktoberfest malt bill and even a touch of balancing hops.

I emailed the brewery and they suggested the off taste came from the fact that I had an 8-month old bottle; since they don't pasteurize their beer, that's past its prime. I will definietly buy more fresh beer and revise this at a future date.

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Photo of steveh
3.25/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Another in trade with Corsdad. One of the first Microbreweries whose brew I can remember drinking back in the late 80s.

Label has a notching system -- for bottling, I hope, as this is notched between September & October.

A -- Nice clear, deep amber color with a good, dense off-white head that settles quickly.

S -- DMS & biscuit malt up front with some vague spicy hops back.

T -- Sort of a musty, roasted maltiness up front, biscuit character and some fruitiness coming through, fruitiness lingers into finish and aftertaste with some vague hop bitterness throughout and in the aftertaste.

M -- Medium body with a fairly soft mouthfeel that turns syrupy with warmth.

D -- This is certainly a drinkable beer, but if I were to sample it blind I'd think it was a lightly hopped American Amber Ale, not an Oktoberfest. It's just not clean and malt back-boned enough.

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Photo of Skidz
4.33/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to BuckeyeNation for this one!

Pours out orange brown and sits reddish-brown in the glass with a nice off-white head and fair lacings.

Smells of sweet malts and good gobs of caramel. Nice spicy hop background and a little twinge of alcohol on the back of the nose.

Tastes lightly sweet up front with protruding hop spiciness. Nice herbal flavor, a bit peppery; tingles the toungue. Malty sweetness pushes on throughout the beer with caramel under a nice toasted body. Finishes bitter with many more herbal flavors and a touch of sweetness.

Creamy in the mouth with nice carbonation in a medium body. Flavors free to come and go, and soothe the pallate.

Highly drinkable. Very tasty and full of flavor. I love the spicy profile of the beer, and it's definately got a lot of character. Iowa doesn't seem so far away....

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark orange-amber with a faint auburn hue that nearly pushes into the realm of bronze. Impressive, thickly creamy head of golden beige that stays humped in the center as it descends, leaving small, but attractive sheets of Iowa lace.

The nose isn't short on power, is nicely toasted malty and is appealingly spicy. I hope that the flavor is a fair approximation of the aroma... and it is. Heavy on toasted, caramel-like barley malt to the exclusion of all else. True to style and delicious to boot.

As the beer warms, the flavor becomes more complex with the addition of spiced autumn fruits and tea leaves. Slightly sweet early, it dries out at the midway point and finishes significantly dry and crisp (at least as much as is possible for a beer this malty and this flavorful).

Oktoberfest may be the only one of Millstream's regular offerings that I hadn't sampled until today and is definitely one of their best. I discovered good beer--and this site--last October and, unfortunately, missed the 2003 version. I'm looking forward to an autumn full of Marzen/Oktoberfests and this was a great way to get the season started.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.73/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Label Lore: Plain checkered background and a Grist Mill motif. Oct notch for freshness.

Deep coppery cloudy hazy orange and brown hues under a taunt antique white quickly settling head cap that easily arises with a swirl, then a few stray bubbles escaping to daylight.

Decent amount of musty malts and spices.

First Swigs: Buttered spice wafers. Plenty of apple maltiness to put this one into the ‘Fest category. Lingering aftertaste of plain cake and delicate rum without the booze, vanilla backbone. Sweet bright taste that almost elevates this into a dessert style beer. Flavors accelerated up until the end.

A bit thin for the style. Quaffable to the end. Liquid dessert.

Last Swigs: Vanilla ice cream on a spice wafer. Almost reminds me of Rogue Dead Guy on tap. Thanks to BuckeyeNation for this one! This is a surprising lager. Delicious. Even the finish is tasty. Sorry it’s gone. Makes you want to carve a Pumpkin. From the last Iowa brewery.

Beer is good. Happy Fest beering.

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Photo of tgbljb
3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a slightly hazy medium copper color with sparse off-white creamy head.
Smell is light with some mild tones of caramel detected.
Taste is nicely malty.Caramel notes prervail with some subtle fruit aspects.
Nice and refreshing finish withn enough sweetness to be enjoyable without going too far.
Very easy drinking. Good job from this brewery.

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Photo of sauron681
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a medium ruby red. Excellent head, with slow even carbonation, with pretty good lacing.
Couldnt pick up any specific aroma, mayber a hint of muddiness.
Medium body in the mouth, clean and bold. Very nice.

Heavy roasted caramel malt, with little grain in the beginning for sweetness. Finishes acceptably bitter with a nice hoppy finish. Slight tings of import lager (metal) taste. I get to the amana colonies a couple times a year and i will definetly get this brew again

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Photo of afinepilsner
3.92/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle

Millstream Oktoberfest was a dark amber color with a light tan head. The head started out fairly small and soon faded to a thin layer. The aroma was nice and malty, a little toasty with a hint of spice. The taste was sweet toasted malt and somewhat fruity with some bitterness to balance towards the dry finish. It was medium bodied with good carbonation. Drinkability was good. This was a pretty good Oktoberfest and the flavor definitely improved as it warmed.

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Photo of Dansting
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Poured a clear caramel color with a thin white head. Almost not lacing whatsoever. Mouthfeel is nice. Aroma is decent, with sweet and fruity scents. Flavor is typical of most oktoberfest/marzens, as it has a nice caramel malt flavor to it. Aftertaste almost has a apple hint to it. A nice oktoberfest brew.

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Photo of mynie
5/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2016 EDIT:
To me, this is the absolute standard-bearer of the style. I've never had the pleasure of drinking truly fresh German lagers, but from everything I've tasted and read, this is as close as you can get to a true marzen in the States, and might well be all the better for its mild Americanization. In all my years of drinking I've never come across an American lager that so flavorful and full-bodied yet so crisp and clean, without any yeast esters whatsoever. If you can get it relatively fresh, this is must-try.

Fresh, this is easily the best Oktoberfest I've ever had. Far and away, no contest, it's not even worth trying the others after awhile. Trouble is that it only stays good for a few months, and since Millstream is usually only obtained through trades the beer sometimes ages for months before it is reviewed on this site. I beg of you--if you want to try this wonderful beer get ahold of it soon!

2005 Batch

Sampled at Oktoberfest in Amana, Iowa.

Pours as pretty as can be for the style. Three kinds of brown--chocolate, autumn leaves, crayon--with stabs of ruby in the sunlight and a retentive, light chocolate head.

Smells of a perfect mix of sweet and spice. The malt is buttery, but not in an icky way. Not even in a table butter kind of way. More like a shortbread butter cookie, along with deep marzen caramel and a hint of white pepper hops.

Tastes very much like it smells. The thin, sweet malt comes up front and slides perfectly into the more robust deep grain and candy caramel, ending slightly dry on a hint of corriander. Wonderful.

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Photo of bashiba
3.53/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a perfectly clear ruby/amber color with a very thin light head.

Has the classic toasted malt oktoberfest smell mixing in with a bit of copper.

The flavor has a nice crisp bready malt flavor up front, but then is quickly taken over by an off metallic tinny taste. Not bad, with some nice malty slightly sweet overtones, but the coppery metal flavor makes it seemed slightly flawed.

The mouthfeel is clean and dry with a slight lingering.

Not bad, very close to being good, I just can't quite get past the stale penny flavor in the finish.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.28/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a medium copper body with a bubbly, white head.

Smell: Musty grain aroma with hints of oven-toasted crackers and toffee.

Taste: A follow through of the aroma, the flavor consists of musty grains, crackers, and toffee. Decidedly balanced, as both the sweetness and floral hop bitterness remain relatively light. However, there is a tiny squirt of lemon in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Meium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: This one really puts the OK in Oktoberfest!

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Photo of hero27
3.53/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fall 2006 batch.

A bottle was handed to me by the Millstream distributor when he was in town several weeks ago, and I'll certainly oblige by drinking it.

Clear amber, frothy off-white head.
Slightly spicy, bold munich malts, and a kick of hops for good measure. Light chocolate and a decent roasted character are along for the ride. Smooth & well-balanced. Very easy-drinking Oktoberfest.

Certainly nothing spectacular here, but another solid German-based brew from Millstream.

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Oktoberfest from Millstream Brewing Company
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 138 ratings