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: 315
Photo of davisrin
3.97/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice pour, a little head that lasts, pretty amber color. Fizzy on the tongue, with a balanced taste. I like the little bit of a bite in the aftertaste. Lighter and milder than I usually like in a beer, but overall a winner. I'll be drinking the rest of it with a meal, instead of after. And it does not seem like it has 6%ABV, so it might sneak up on you if you aren't drinking it with food.

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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 Caveworm
4.42/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Barktoberfest | Thirsty Dog Brewing Company. Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, this beer's head is two fingers thick, with lateral lacing, and an amber-fading-into-gold body.

Smells like plentiful malts and hearty grains.

I'm tasting those malts and grains, along with a nice mild sweetness.

The mouthfeel is medium with mild carbonation.

Overall, I'll choose to give Barktoberfest | Thirsty Dog Brewing Company a 4.5. This is different(in a good way) from most Märzens out there.

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Photo of nicholas2121
4.43/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Barktoberfest brewed by Thirsty Dog Brewing Company, with an ABV of 6.00% This brew pours out a nice deep brunt amber color with a small white head. I really like the copper color of this brew. The smell of Barktoberfest is rich with roasted grians and malts. There is also a real nice inviting sweetness to the smell of this brew. You also pick up some minor hops in the smell. Now for the taste, it is rich and bold with flavors. You first pick up on the sweetness of roasted grians and malts. There is also a nice caramel sweetness in the taste of this brew. The end is a slight bitterness from the hops. There is a lot going on in Barktoberfest, not saying that is a bad thing. Now Barktoberfest has a super nice balance to it, there is nothing overpowering about this brew. This is a real fine drinking brew. For me this is the type of brew that goes well with the season. The mouth feel of Barktoberfest, is rich, bold, clean , sweet, roasted, and refreshing.
This brew has a lot more going for it than others Oktoberfest brews on the market. This one is just so smooth and rich. It is really hard to pick up on the 6.00% ABV in this brew. Overall I'm giving Barktoberfest a 4.50 out of 5. I would buy this brew again. Thirsty Dog Brewing Company, did a real nice job with this Oktoberfest brew.

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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 Brutaltruth
3.82/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed from the 12 oz bottle in a snifter. This nice fest pours a bright and clear orange color with a modest head of off white foam that settles to a thin ring, light layer, and light lacing. Nose of malt, malt, caramel malt, more malt, light bread, and light lager yeast. Flavors surpass the rather malt driven nose with caramel malts dancing about a light bread flavor on the middle and a subtle crisp hop snap on the back. Excellent mouth feel that cuts through the sweetness to keep it lively and in step with the hops. Balanced and delicious. Excellent for the style. A must for Oktoberfest. A pleasant surprise from a great brewer.


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Photo of jkrich
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from an undated 12 oz. bottle: bright, deep-golden to copper hue with a foamy and sustained off-white head.

Very strong malt presence in the aroma; also very fresh

This is a very substantial Oktoberfest - the flavor is a complex malty and chewy profile with some teasing hops to keep it from becoming cloying.

Medium bodied with a sweet and clean mouthfeel, the carbonation kept each sip zesty.

Possibly my last Oktoberfest for the season, and a fine one too. The most complex yet quaffable Oktoberfest I enjoyed this year.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.74/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a crystal clear deep copper in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and faint amber highlights. The beer has a three finger tall foamy beige head that reduces to a medium sized patch of thin film surrounded by a very thin film covering the remainder of the surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of toasted and bready malts with a light to moderate amount of earthy hops.

T: Upfront there are moderate flavors of toasted and bready malts with minimal amounts of toffee sweetness. That is followed by a moderate flavor of earthy hops which imparts minimal amounts of bitterness which fades away almost instantly.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: Easy to drink as this one is very well balanced with malt and hops flavors/aromas without either really dominating the overall sweetness/bitterness. Enjoyable.

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Photo of SaltofOH
4.04/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle, no date. Threshold beer glass. Please Thirsty Dog, date your bottles.

S: smells generally lager-y; not really as much of the heavy Munich/pils malt that I would expect; not much noble hop either. Munich malt and noble hops come out a bit more as it warms, but never quite as pronounced as say, Paulaner or Great Lakes.

A: pours a bold, slightly hazy amber-orange, with 1 finger off-white head; retains a moderate skim; lacing is fair. Very actively carbonated. This is the second Thirsty Dog lager I've had lately that's hazy. They've both been great, but it's a little weird, frankly.

T: Drier arrival than I'd expect from an American-style Oktoberfest; turns to a more traditional caramel maltiness across the middle, then sets into full-on malt assault, but it's not nearly as malty as Great Lakes or Sam Adams Oktoberfests. The bare caramel malt swiftly transitions to that sweet Munich malt flavor with a hint of sourness right before turning in to a dry, clean bitterness with lingering caramel and noble hop notes. Finish is fairly short, and leaves the palate clean and refreshed.

M: For as carbonated as it appears, it does not show on the palate. Really perfect carbonation for the heavier style keeps it feeling light and refreshing on the palate. I'd say solidly mid-weight, with a touch of slickness that the hops rein in right at the end.

O: This is really interesting; it has the caramel color and flavor that you'd expect from American-style Oktoberfest beers, but manages to not get sweet or cloying in the least. In fact, dare I say this is as refreshing as the Sierra Nevada 2015 Oktoberfest, but with more toasty caramel and slightly less sweetness. Definitely six-pack worthy.

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Photo of metter98
3.74/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is crystal clear light copper in color and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a short white head that quickly died down, leaving a thin layer of lacing on the surface and a thin collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of toasted malts are present in the nose along with some hints of earthiness.
T: The taste follows the smell, having flavors of toasted malts and some slight hints of toffee. No bitterness is perceptible, but there are enough underlying hops to mask malty sweetness.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This is a good American representation of a German Oktoberfest style. While rather malty, it's still quite drinkable because the body isn't that heavy.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of jp32
4.17/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours transparent amber in color.

The nose is sweet, malty, and to put it simply- delicious.

Flavor definitely has a caramel malt backbone, followed by something hoppy and then buscuity. Very clean, crisp finish for this style. Absolutely perfectly carbonated (at least my bottle was).

Great octoberfest, try it while you can.

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Photo of creepinjeeper
4.58/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a shaker pint.

Look: Rich amber to copperish appearance. Nice head that disapates to lacing on top and on the side of the glass.
Smell: Bready, biscuity, dark fruit inviting.
Taste: Strong malty backbone with sweetness. A kiss of hops.
Feel: Light carbonation with substatial body.
Overall: Easily the best oktoberfest/marzen brew I've had yet.

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Photo of rangerred
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a nearly clear, dark brown with a one finger off-white head. Lacing is really lacking but head retention is better than average.

Aroma is full of sticky sweet caramel, almost candy-like, with some hints of wet grass. Touches of plum in there as well.

The flavor provides the same caramel candy notes but there is more of a roasty character. The hops are pretty muted but provided a bit of bitterness towards the finish. More dark fruit notes and light milk chocolate. Mouthfeel is a little stickier than I like but it works well here.

Overall, a very nice American take on the style and one of the better ones out there.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into dimpled mug, 2014 release. Pours fairly hazy deep orange/copper color with a 1 finger dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings around the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of caramel, brown sugar, toffee, toast, biscuit, light nuttiness, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and light earthy hop notes; with good strength. Taste of big caramel, brown sugar, toast, toffee, biscuit, light nuttiness, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Minimal earthy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, brown sugar, toast, toffee, biscuit, light nuttiness, and herbal/yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice robustness, balance, and complexity of dark/bready malt and light earthy hop flavors; with no cloying sweetness after the finish. Very clean malt flavors with minimal yeast esters present. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, moderately creamy, and lightly slick/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent Oktoberfest style. All around great robustness, balance, and complexity of clean dark/bready malt and light earthy hop flavors; and very smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of biegaman
4.18/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Barktoberfest pours with a full-moon for a head, and a lacing that splatters the glass like a wet dog shaking off wet snow. It has a deep amber complexion, a slightly tarnished golden colour that's smeared into flashy coppered overtones. Looks like a filling, hefty lager.

Traditional Märzen (see: Hofbrau Oktoberfest) were stronger but only slightly deeper, more intricate variations from their standard Helles lagers recipes. Most modern craft breweries, especially those in the States, brew a different beer altogether; they are decidedly darker and richer, with a far appreciable toasty nuttiness and even suggestions of caramel.

This approach tends to produce, at least superficially, a more substantial beer. (It's similar to the case to be made between more austere Old World wines and their sweeter, more bombastic New World counterparts.) Thirsty Dog's version is certainly one of those thicker, broader examples - you can tell from the forwardly nougat-y, nutty aroma alone...

And if not that, certainly from the stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth maltiness. The flavour profile is layered - toasted bread crusts, spongy coffee cake, biscuits - and finishes with a fine dusting of maple fudge and a delicious honeyed, nutty note taken right from the Greek pastry playbook (think baklava or kataifi), tempered of course by a fairly heavy-handed hoppiness.

Thirsty Dog Barktoberfest is a howlin' good ale (it's as good as that pun is bad). It's ultra-rich maltiness and all its notions of walnut cake and nutty pastry that accompany it, are irresistible, especially when placed inside such a quaffable, easy-to-chug-back lager frame. After the iconic German brands, this is an obvious one to recommend. In fact, it's a new personal favourite.

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Photo of orcrist_cleaver
4.01/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Really bright for such a medium copper-dark amber color. Substantial and consistent foam head, mousse top.

S: Grassy and wet hop presence. Roasted bittersweet chocolate

M: Moderate body, and maybe a bit light in feel. The btl I drank seemed to be a bit high in carb, and interfered with a smooth drinking experience. A bit rough.

T: Has a sharp acidity, poignant, slightly citric and woodsy. Grassy wheat elements and darker malts. Deep sweetness, bready, very toasty, and rich. Burnt toffee with a bittersweet chocolate finish.

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Photo of Glanzman
4.24/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle served in a pint glass.

Pours a clear, medium caramel color with a off-white, 1 finger head that quickly disapates and minimal lacing.

Smells of roasted malts and taste the same. It's an ok beer.

I couldn't buy a six pack of these bug a single to celebrate Oktoberfest.

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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 bigdeuce
4.02/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep copper colored body with a nice two finger head. Light scents of whiskey, and a caramel biscuit. Solid malty goodness hits the palate with just enough hops to balance out the sweetness. Bursts of top notch crispy, caramel goodness. Very drinkable. Medium bodied but a heavy Oktoberfest than most versions today. True to the style. Deep and pretty rich. Great with spare ribs or barbequed anything. Nice and creamy and very smooth. It's a good one.

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Photo of tillmac62
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear medium amber pour with a red hue. Very nice head and lacing that lingers. Very slight nose of sweet caramel malt. Light medium body and well carbonated. The flavor profile is laid back, as a marzen should be. It has a very nice balance of caramel malt sweetness and flavor with just a hint of hop bitterness. The carbonation yields a crisp finish identical to the flavor profile. Thirsty Dog is becoming one of my favorite breweries. Another outstanding offering that is true to style.

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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 McNealc31
4.48/5  rDev +17.6%

The pour is surprisingly cloudy. Roasted malt and a hint of orange in the aroma. Very tasty! Full body, a lot of butterscotch followed by a touch of citrus sweetness. Hops provide a dry and slightly bitter finish.

Really yummy. Immediately one of my favorite Oktoberfests

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Photo of CaptainHate
4.35/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I bought this as my contribution to a bunch of my buds who get together sporadically to listen to music and drink fine beer. There are over five local places which I frequent to fill up growlers and this at Whole Foods was easily the best value. I'm a big fan of Marzens and this had everything I was looking for. My fellow sots seemed to agree.

Great Lakes brewery has been regarded as the gold standard in local craft brews but Thirsty Dog has come a long way.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.81/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep copper color with a white head and a sheet of lacework. Aroma of caramelized malt and buttery toffee. In the flavor, toffee, caramel and a faint hint of butterscotch. Fairly bitter, earthy hops do a fine job of balancing this seasonal lager. Medium bodied with a moderate carbonation. Overall this is a very good American Oktoberfest.

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Photo of DeFaz
4.18/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thirsty Dog can be hit or miss, but this one is a "hit" for sure. Some will be opposed to the sweet flavors, but keep in mind that this is a Marzen, and the malt needs to shine over the hops (and it does). What we got is really nice complexity, with bread, fruit and raisin flavors. The alcohol is expertly and dangerously concealed, and the mouthfeel is spot on, with medium carbonation and thickness and an impressively clean finish given the sweetness in the taste. There are a lot of Oktoberfest/Marzen beers out this time of year that don't impress. This is one of those beers that manages to be both well thought out and nicely executed.

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Barktoberfest from Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
3.81 out of 5 based on 315 ratings.
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