Oktoberfest | Millstream Brewing Company

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Brewed by:
Millstream Brewing Company
Iowa, United States

Style: German Märzen / Oktoberfest

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.70%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 63 | Ratings: 133
Photo of StonedTrippin
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this beer is getting a ton of positive attention wherever i seem to go. i am overhearing folks calling it one of the best theyve had in the style, and saying its as good as it gets, i was excited to finally find it on draft and hook in. it is a really nice marzen lager, no denying it, well made, on style perfectly, and without any flaws of any kind, even somewhat richer in feel, earthier in flavor, and as drinkable as any out there, but i didnt find it as compelling as i expected to, not that it isnt great, it is, just that its not mindblowing in any way, its just quality technical brewing and strict adherence to a good recipe, nothing more. i like it being a little more substantial on the malt side, it adds a deeper layer of flavor in the middle and gives me the structure i really need for a proper fall beer. the lager yeast is crisp and turns mid palate sweetness into a classic dry german finish, crisp for how malty it is earlier on, and almost refreshing when its this cold. it almost has a concentrated malt flavor, like it was boiled longer than is customary or something, and it has a long almost pretzel doughy lead up to the finish, cool trajectory of the flavor for sure. nice carbonation too. this beer is the essence of fall and way better than anything else i have had from millstream, but i still prefer some of the classic imports this time of year for their timeless flavors and high degree of refinement. this is among the best of the american born marzens through for certain.

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Photo of jaydoc
3.97/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of a77cj7
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.28/5  rDev -16.8%
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 Jason
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%
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 BuckeyeNation
4/5  rDev +1.5%
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 eawolff99
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of RBorsato
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%

Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: It pours dark amber with a one finger beige head with very nice lacing all the way down the glass.
S: Spicy, bready nose.
T: Dark bread, spice and kettle sugars.
F: Clean, smooth, medium to medium full body and medium carbonation.
O: A well balanced Oktoberfest.

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Photo of Whiskeydeez
3.59/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of bpfrush
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Hohnbaum
3.99/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of jzlyo
3.05/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Along the lines of the breadiness of the good German Oktoberfest, although slightly bland, but overall decent.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.61/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

L : Pours a beautiful festive orange color with copper-brown hues. The head is large and webby, very creamy, very nice. Clarity about 30%.

S : Caramel malt, fresh sticky wort, coriander, light nut.

T : Oh, yeah this is delicious. Lots of sticky caramel, balanced with strong herbs (namely thyme and basil), cinnamon and coriander, stale nuts, dark bread crusts, and a touch of honey. Towards the finish there's a very stale malt/chalk note and the herbs win out a bit, bringing the score down a bit. The initial rush of flavor is KA-POW! but then it dies down to a stale malt mess. After a little while it becomes pretty much a brown bread crust ale.

F : Semi-creamy, very mild carbonation, light chalky finish.

Overall, this isn't half bad. I think it could use some improvement, especially where the finish and feel are concerned, but it's worth a try no doubt.

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Photo of mynie
5/5  rDev +26.9%
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 arizcards
4/5  rDev +1.5%
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 morimech
3.48/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear, dark amber color with a dense head that had good retention before settling to a thick cap. Moderate amount of lacing is left down the glass. Attractive looking beer.

Smells grainy and grassy. The German malt seems to be of the lightly toasted, sweet variety. The grassy hops do not assert themselves very much.

Does have a sweeter flavor. Slight DMS. Lightly toasted malt adds some interest. Very unassertive hop bitterness in the finish with lightly grassy flavor.

Feels like a smaller lager but the carbonation seems off. Gives this beer a thin, watery feel. Not terrible but would like a more creamy texture.

A good effort. By no means one of the better American Oktoberfest beers. Worth a try and would drink this again.

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Photo of Chucker17
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%

Photo of cokes
2.88/5  rDev -26.9%
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 alexgash
3.45/5  rDev -12.4%
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 jpuetz
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Vancer
2.71/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Welp, this one has potential, but it just doesn’t make the grade. Pour started off good – clear mahogany with a hell of a ivory head, sticky too.

Aroma starts heading south, with just an average whiff of black pepper and the fall spice lineup. But the quaff is all a woody cut, vinous and leathery. Finishes semi-bitter and harsh.

I’ll have to pass on more.

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Photo of tgbljb
3.98/5  rDev +1%
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 Herky21
2.54/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A- Great pour, golden, caramel color with a nice head.

Smell: Has some good bitter notes that play off your nose. Caramelized scent is slight, hint of hops too.

Taste: Slight chocolate hint, and the hops are also on the back end. Probably pretty true to what an oktoberfest is supposed to be, but should be slightly maltier in my opinion to get better depth of flavor and a little more body.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, nothing spectacular. Carbonation is alright.

O-- It's a refreshing, average Oktoberfest. I expected it to be a bit better. I'm a Millstream fan usually.

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Oktoberfest from Millstream Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.94 out of 5 with 133 ratings