Millstream Brewing Company

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German Märzen / Oktoberfest
Ranked #12
Ranked #10,217
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
Photo of terrabyte
3.56/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, caramel amber with a small head.

Aroma seems typical of the style: Cumin and allspice. I also detect a welcome caramel smell.

Flavor has a nice, smooth & mellow caramel base, followed by boring oktoberfest spices: cumin and allspice. However, the spices were authentic, not powdery. A dry hop finish makes the taste a bit more enjoyable.

Mouthful is excellent. Stellar! It’s well carbonated, and very smooth.

Drinkability is actually very good. I have to note that most Oktoberfest beers bore me, and the flavor here was no exception. However, I found the beer very interesting solely on the smooth mouth. If you’re a fan of this style, I would highly recommend this beer.

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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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Photo of neonbrown82
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a good Oktoberfest for an American brewer. Pretty much the only brew from Millstream that I actually look forward to.

This beer pours to a dark coppery color, fairly clear with a decent display of carbonation. The head is thick and white at first, but dies down to a thin collar. It is a real tease with the lacing, though, as it leaves a wonderful curtain that recedes back to the liquid at the speed of molasses.

The smell is of toasty munich malts and caramel. Just a subtle amount of hops. Very bready.

The taste is good as well. Sweet up front, fading into a slight crisp bitterness from the kilned malts and the hops. Finishes medium-dry with a lingering caramel flavor. Has a weird sulfuric aftertaste as well, but as I get used to it I don't seem to mind as much. It's got some body to it, which I enjoy. This is probably as drinkable as it gets from Millstream.

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