Barktoberfest | Thirsty Dog Brewing Company

very good
88 Reviews

Brewed by:
Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
Ohio, United States

Style: Märzen / Oktoberfest

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Bierguy5 on 09-26-2004

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Reviews: 88 | Ratings: 314
Photo of beveritt
2.68/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a shaker pint glass. Label depicts an array of dogs, howling in a pumpkin patch with silhouettes of scary towers in the background. No clear freshness date.

Appearance: First off, there is a TON of visible sediment swirling around the bottom as I look at the label; that doesn't bode well for a supposedly aged lager. Pours with half a finger of light tan head that has the big bubble look of force carbonation. This falls away quickly, leaving just a few swirling islands of foam and no lacing. The beer itself is medium orange and clear (mainly because I left an ounce or so in the bottle).

Smell: A tart mix of sweet malt, herbaceous off aroma and a distinct metallic twang.

Taste: Strong, sweet caramel malt with hints of toffee. And that's about it. Just sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Lower than average carbonation. Body is good.

Drinkability: I love malt bombs and am a sucker for bocks, porters, stouts and usually Oktoberfests; but this one is just a sweet mess. Pass.

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Photo of BuckeyeSlim
2.8/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a New Belgium snifter.

A - 1-finger off-white/ecru foamy head that becomes a thin film of lace across the surface rather quickly. Sunset orange and clear.

S - Lightly toasted malt with hints of caramel, lemon/lime citrus, and sour apple.

T - Malt, biscuit, honey and brown sugar, a little spiciness like a touch of cinnamon, bittering hops on the finish that linger and dominate the impression. I'd like to see more of the flavors and less of the bittering.

M - Smooth but fizzy. Reasonable carbonation. Decent body to start, but it gives up rather quickly. Consistently gets thinner from start to finish, ending with the hops cleaning off the palate.

D - Drier than expected for a Marzen style, and a bit hoppier on the finish, too. Wish it had more body. While there are better examples of this style, I could see enjoying a few pints of this if it were found on tap and not up against other craft Oktoberfests.

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Photo of Bierguy5
2.86/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured an amber/copper clear liquid with a white foamy head. The head disappeared rather quickly leaving some lace on the glass. Immediately I noticed a fruity smell. Should this be possible in an Oktoberfest lager? Taste is rather carmely followed by a fruitiness. Very little hop flavor or bitterness. Medium body and low carbonation. Overall, I am not sure about the fruitiness in this beer. It is not bad, but does not seem to fit the style. It also seems to cut back on the drinkability. Overall, not bad, but does not seem to fit. There are several others rthat are better.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.05/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A-pours a transparent golden ornage color with a full creamy off white head.

S-the nose seems off, a fair bit of grain with slight toasted notes, caramel malts as well, however, there is some acetaldehyde giving it a sour green apple aroma.

T-the flavor is more of the same, the malts are good but the acetaldehyde gives it this off flavor. the grains, hints of toasted grain, and caramel seem to blend together and nothing really seperates as if it were meant to blend together.

M-medium body and syrupy with a lively finish and soft feel.

D-can't get over the off sour green apple, not a fan of that flavor and I don't think it should be there.

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Photo of Hoptometrist
3.11/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served from the bottle into a glass stein

A- Poured a clear amber color with a two finger soapy head

S- Big grassy and earthy notes, medicinal aroma, and a biscuit like quality.

T- Big earthy, grassy notes, finishes with a medicinal taste reminiscent of some dopplebocks I have had, and a little bit of nuttiness in the middle of the tongue. For a 6% ABV the alcohol comes through pretty strong in the aftertaste.

M- Pretty smooth up front with good carbonation, but finishes a little boozy especially for the style, a little bit of a burn

O- As far as Oktoberfest beers there are much better options. A little boozy for the style and the flavor is a little too earthy and medicinal. I wish more biscuit or nutty qualities were present in this beer.

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Photo of TheHoppiest
3.15/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours a copper-pumpkin color, with a one-finger white head that reduces to a thin skim of foam.

Plenty of malt to start, hints of alcohol, and hints of grapes greet the nose. The fruitiness puzzles me; I've not smelled that in a Märzen before, but there it is. Perhaps it has to do with the yeast used?

Taste is malty and sweet, with the fruity aroma translating into a mild fructose-style taste in the brew. Grapes and pears, with a bit of sharp carbonation, finish this out.

Medium bodied with a mildly dry finish and a slightly sticky mouthfeel.

Hmmm. I've had this on tap before and thought it better than this. Too sweet for my tastes; I'd prefer the more tried-and-true Brooklyn I just finished reviewing (and dissing for its ordinariness) as a more classic example of the style.

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Photo of adamette
3.19/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Live review. On tap at Winking Lizard since it is the "glass of the month" there where you are served an on tap beer in its intended glass, in this case a german style beer stein with "Barktoberfest" written in stylish writing below the Thirsty Dog seal. On the other side of the stein is "Winking Lizard 2009." Cost of $6.37 at the bar.

A Nice orange translucent body under an off white creamy head. Nice lacing as well after repeated sips.

S Kinda basic medium malt with maybe some hops but all smells are distant, not distinctive.

T Medium malt, little hops and a strange sweetness that is a bit out of place. It is difficult to describe is kind of a fakey syrup or sugar taste. This is an average Oktoberfest taste to me.

M Moderate with a bit of smoothness.

D Good but not the best oktoberfest choice.

Notes: The first Thirsty Dog beer that did not REALLY impress me. I should note that I had Great Lakes Brewing Company Oktoberfest earlier today and having the two of them so close together really shows what this beer lacks.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.25/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A: Orangish pour, no head formation. Light spacious rise of carbonation within an otherwise clean visible clarity. Prefer a bit more head character per style, this was otherwise flat.

S: Sweet caramel syrup, light fresh greenery in a soft delivery.

T: Flavor was again sweet and carmael syrupy, a bit thick and sweet as opposed to cleaner, lighter, german styles. Some flowery hops, a bit of spicy maple syrup, the hops are herbal, a bit more pronouced towards the end of the drink, and with some warming, sticky, resinous character.

M: Mouthful was sticky, syrupy, again a bit thicker then usual, a bit of weight and fullness, with a calming rate of carbonation.

O: Overall the body is a bit more robust then you may want in a typical octoberfest style, this is more of a heavier, robust, slower drinking, less volume version, not the traditional german old world style as its labels claim. Big sweetness and big syrupy body, some nobel hops, but not as pronouced, fairly reserved and could of been fresher. The abv% of 6.0 seems a bit higher then the norm, not unexpected from the heavy handed malt body. Still some toastiness, just a bigger, fuller american version, somewhat tasty by itself. I rated this per my expectations vs an true german style counterpart, some may like a fuller version in much less quantity to which i would say give it a try, not a bad tasting beer, just an offshoot american bastardization.

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Photo of divineaudio
3.27/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

pint glass.

a - pours amber in color. hazy with some of the yeast still in suspension. no head, only a thin film and a few spots of lace.

s - toasted bread with an earthy hop profile and that distinctive saaz pungency.

t - a ton of carmel malt with notes of spice and a faint bitterness in the back. has a long, gooey, sweet finish. good, but could use a little more hops to balance it out.

m - heavier side of medium body, the right amount of carbonation and a slight mouth coating action.

o - pretty enjoyable, but kinda lacking for the style. if it weren't for the lager yeast, i'd say this is like drinking a carmel apple. not sure i would buy it again, but if you're looking for a malt bomb, don't pass this up.

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Photo of utopiajane
3.33/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours true amber, 9,10 on the srmn chart. Tan head of creamy foam that fell well. Clear and bright. 6% abv. Hops are sweet floral and spice. A bouquet on the nose. A little alcohol on the nose too. It smells sweet but tastes sharp. Malt is rich and has an earthy hearty scent. Rich and smooth. Drinks mellow and smooth with plenty of peppery spice to tickle from hops. Soft middle and richly malty. Hops stay herbal and grassy and in the background except for a nice brisk bitterness to finish it. A little warming from alcohol much like the vienna style lager. Crisp bubbles show you the browned crust on some bread at the end and a lasting hop bitter.

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Photo of schoolboy
3.33/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This may be an excellent Marzen - it probably is. But the style is lost on me. The bottle said lager. I am glad I only bought one. As soon as I took the first sip I said Marzen, which probably is good, if you like those. I don't.

It's really pretty in the glass, and it has another cool dog oriented label (a bunch of doggie ghosts in a pumpkin patch). I am just glad I don't have more.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.35/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thirsty Dog- Oktoberfest

On tap at Isaac Newton's- Newtown, PA

A- Light clear orange with a small light lacing head.
S- Caramel/ grain malt. Light peppery hop aroma as well.
T- Light and sweet caramel malt dominates with a touch of peppery hop in the end.
M- Slightly watery and sweet. Mild dryness in the end.

Overall- An easy pint to throw back here. Flavorful but a bit light around the edges. A novice Marzen.

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Photo of rlshep
3.38/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Aroma: Pilsner malt dominates. Some sulfur.

Appearance: Medium white head. Dissipates quickly. Somewhere between copper and brass color. Minimal lacing.

Flavor: Strong toast notes with smooth maltiness. High bitterness for style. Spicy hops jump out at you in flavor but not aroma. Reading over some of the comments, a lot of people are saying caramely. I'm not getting that at all, I get all toasty bready notes.

Mouthfeel: Smooth medium mouthfeel. medium-low carbonation. Alcohol present, but in background. Bitterness leaves some harshness.

Overall: Decent beer. Bitterness is a little too high for this style. With all of the other good Oktoberfests on the market, it would be hard for me to choose this one.

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Photo of Axic10
3.4/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a semi clear copper with a half finger of foam that settles down quickly.

Smell: Bready, biscuity malt, caramel. Very sweet smelling, but not overpowering.

Taste: The taste falls completely flat after the nose on this. Malty heavy, but it has a really earthy after taste which isn't horrible, but it doesn't work well here.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied

Drinkability: I'm torn on this beer, it smells really good but falls short on the taste. I have another bottle to try but I'm not sure if I'd get again or not.

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Photo of justintcoons
3.47/5  rDev -8.9%

12 oz bottle poured into a shaker pint.

Light amber with 1 finger of head that fizzles out quickly. Excellent clarity with soda-like carbonation.

Bread, caramel, toffee, and candy sugar.

Malty niceness. Bready malts, caramel, candy sugar and a touch of toffee. Light kiss of earthy hop bitterness.

Medium bodied, smooth, crisp, and clean.

A decent Oktoberfest that doesn't necessarily stand out among the crowd.

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Photo of avalon07
3.47/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a copper color and a clear texture. There was a half inch of foamy head that quickly dissipated. Very little lacing.

S: Malt was front and center in the smell, with hints of caramel as well.

T: Tasted of malt, caramel, and a little nuttiness in the finish. An OK flavor, but nothing I haven't seen before.

M: A good amount of carbonation, with a somewhat slick finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This is one of those beers that's neither great nor offensively bad. It's solid, but not memorable.

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Photo of kkipple
3.47/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Short review for a short beer.

Pretty copper. Still. Nothing-head. Smells of toasty unidentifiable malts... maybe German, maybe not... almost a pumpkin note, buttery toasty-bread sweetgrain here, very small amount of bittering hop... taste follows... an easy, no-frills no surprises Ofest. Finish is lingering toasty malt (good), a little dry bitters and a hint of red apple esters. Mouthfeel is dry-crisp-fizzy and fine, is actually a lot drier than expected... interesting. Finish is much more fruity than it "should" be and reminds me, bizarrely, of Lost Abbey Lost & Found. Drinks okay. Would drink if this were local, but it's not German and seems like it uses an odd yeast. Worth a shot if you like the style.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.48/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A safe and tasty Oktoberfest beer that exhibits the caramel-rich sweetness over malty elegance of traditional Marzens.

The pour brings a brilliantly clear copper/amber hue with solid head formation initially, but the retention fades quickly with low levels of lace or life left behind.

Aromas of lighly baked barley, medium caramel and grain dominates the nose, but with a backup note of true malt and tea-like herbs.

Dominant caramel and grainy-sweetness continue in flavor with lighter malt taste, mild breadiness, and light grassy hops. Bitterness keeps the beer from one-dimentional sweetness but is still a far cry from balance.

Creamy and sweet early, the beer retians its maltiness through the first half of the session but the sweetness and grain flavors wear on the palate later.

The heavy sweetness is never balanced with malt complexity or hop bitterness thus the sweetness causes early fatigue of the palate.

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Photo of sdsurfer217
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Finger worth of white head that dissipates quickly. A pretty amber color, with not much carbonation coming off the bottom.

S: Floral notes, sweet biscuit aromas. Touch of citrus and caramel.

T: Biscuits shine through, very malty, with little hop finish. Little bit of toasted nuts.

M: This beer coats the mouth nicely, not too heavy or thin. Flavors linger, but not very much carbonation.

O: Good beer for this time of year. Style-wise, I was hoping more malts would shine through, it seems a little meek. I was looking forward to more caramel/toffee/toasted nuts flavor. Its pretty easy to drink and sessionable though.

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Photo of Onenote81
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a new offering at my local store recently. Wierd. I didn't see this in the fall when all the other Fests were out. Wonder why this decided to pop up now. Huh. On to the beer...

Poured into my pint glass. Pours a very clear pale orange with a small white head on top. Retention is weak, but it left some nice sip rings anyways. Sort of a dirty scent eminates from this one. Dull earth, old veggies, and a light caramel scent on the back end. That's different.

Nice creamy body. Easy to drink, and a pleasing feel. Flavors of mild toasted crackers at the onset, light toffee in the middle, and finishes mildly bitter, but with a touch of sweetness. Aftertaste is sort of fruity. Hop bitterness is low in this one.

I'm not sure what I think of this one. I've had better Fests, no doubt, but this was a decent beer for sure. Some characteristics I didn't like, but others I did. Try it for yourself.

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Photo of damndirtyape
3.52/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

20oz on tap at Ray's Place, Kent OH. Served in a large shaker pint glass.

Appearance: Bright amber. Only a thin white head with no lacing noted.

Smell: At first, no aroma at all. As it warmed up, finally some toasted malt sweetness with a bit of a cake-like aroma to it.

Taste: Nice dose of noble hops which dominated at first. The malt isn't very notable until the beer fully warms up to room temperature. This is a beer that appears to have been designed for German-style serving temperatures. Once warmed up, it's on the sweet side for a Marzen, but it's more to style. When cold, it's more noble hops + a bit of toasted malt as an accent. Not a beer that hold up well over a wide temperature range.

Mouthfeel: Prickly carbonation, sticky, but good thickness.

Overall / Drinkability: This beer by itself misses the mark a bit for the style. While much better fully warmed up, it's on the sweet side and it's best feature is that it pairs quite well with food. By itself, it is just okay. With food (in this case a Meatloaf Sandwich) then it becomes much better and compliments the food like you would expect a Marzen to do at a festival. So on the one hand I think this beer was crafted closer to the German spirit of a Marzen (serve warm with food for maximum effect), but, I've had better Marzens / Oktoberfest brews which stand all on their own at any temperature and with or without food. This one doesn't and one is enough. But with food, I'd gladly have it again.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap 11/05/08 at Track 84, in Warwick, RI, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep amber color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, some spice, some fruit and a little bit hops.

T: The taste is malty but a little sweeter than most O-Fests with flavors of caramel, fruit, a little spice, decent hops presence provides some balance. The after-taste is a little sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, decent representation of style, not quite the best Oktoberfest that I've had but it's worth drinking for a while.

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Photo of OldSchoolGamer
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not a huge fan of Octoberfests or Thirsty Dog, so thats two strikes right off the bat. But, as always, I'll give this brew a fair review.

A: Pours a clear amber color. Head dissipates rather quickly. No lacing. Pretty typical looking Octoberfest.

S/T: Aroma and taste are, again, pretty typical for the style. Very sweet on the aroma. Taste follows suit, but it has enough complimentary flavor to back it up. Lots of caramel and breadyness. Finishes with a lingering sweetness. Actually has more of a full flavor than your average Octoberfest. Decent for the style.

M/D: Mouthfeel is medium bodied and coats the mouth slightly. Carbonation leaves prickley sensations on your tongue. Easy drinking with a long lasting finish.

Overall, this is actually a pretty decent effort from Thirsty Dog. Definetly one of the better Octoberfests I have had this year. But, as a whole, these beers remain rather unremarkable overall as there are much more festive and flavorful options out there. Worth a try, especially if you are a fan of the style.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.56/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an E&J Cask & Cream glass on 10/18/11

Medium golden grown color. One thumb head dwindles quickly, leaving only a wisp behind. No retention or lace.

Aroma is balanced between malty and hoppy. Notes of earthy hops and a touch of grass, grainy bread, lightly buttered biscuit and a faint hint of honey or pollen. Dusting of yeast. Pleasant.

Tastes like I expected based on the nose. A smooth maltiness is accented by dry, earthy hops. Solid bread flavors with a touch of caramel sweetness. Hints of toasted grains. Almost has a metallic hop twang on the finish; almost. A bit nutty as it warms up.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. Bready and earthy residuals.

Pretty good, solid Oktoberfest here. Easy to drink and gets better as it warms.

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Photo of BeerBuckeye
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a clear orange amber color, small white puffy head.

S- Good smell. Sweet malt, caramel, bread.

T- Definitely sweet, almost cloyingly so. Caramelly, bready, with almost a brown sugary note.

M- almost sugary, but full, well carbonated

Overall- Nearly an interesting spin on the Marzen . The sweetness is almost a little overwhelming, but seems to be okay.

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Barktoberfest from Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
3.81 out of 5 based on 314 ratings.
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