Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Sierra Nevada Octoberfest | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
214 Reviews
no score
Send samples

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: Märzen / Oktoberfest

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Germany’s Oktoberfest celebrated a royal marriage and the health of the fall harvest—which in Bavaria, means brewers, barley and hops! Today, Oktoberfest is considered one of the world’s greatest parties, and in honor of that rollicking bash we bring you our version of the classic festival beer. Oktoberfest is medium-bodied and rich with bready and toffee-like malt flavor but maintains a crisp finish marked by floral and spicy hops.

Before 2014, known as Octoberfest and ABV 5.80%

2014 - Only available in Fall Variety Pack


Added by Boilermaker88 on 10-13-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 214 | Ratings: 992
Photo of Rand_Schoeb
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Not as sweet as my favorite Oktoberfest Bier (Paulaner's Wiesn), but a wonderful rich, yet not too heavy, malty delight. Refreshing and tasty alone, yet flavorful enough to accompany some bratwursts with or without sauerkraut and spicy mustard.

 244 characters

Photo of Hoppy-2-Meet-You
4.85/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is a great fall football beer!!! Very smooth...perfecly paired with salmon over the BBQ. (That's what we had) Definitely not too heavy. Overall I wI'll be back at Total Wine for another 6er soon.

 201 characters

Photo of UnicornBrewing
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Didn't know they even bottled this, not doubt the have on draft at those marvelous facilities. So glad to have visited each, with great photos to show, and great times in general among some of the more notable beer drinkers and people that I know. Gold as the hair of a member of the German swim team “Gutvik” good fuck en Deutch. Solid amt of bitterness, akin to someone missing Oktoberfest because it actually took place in September, and they didn't know.

takin another crack, 8/12, old school hops, sedate, gold 6% looks like could be a pils, a bit heavier and into the bitter end, over dry. Made in collab with German brewer Mahrs Brau, really light for a fester, would maybe even put this, in a flight, ahead of the Southern Star, perhaps at end too, to refresh. Could go as a Texan fest, so light and refreshing, kind of thing we need here even in Oct. If this were the only fest beer at a fest, i'd like it, but would probably want to sneak some bourbon in eventually.

West coast hop element? No, apparently an old German variety called Record. Perhaps the most unique of the festies, starting to love the subtle hard toffee sweetness hidden in her golden locks like a pen knife or a joint of what they been perfecting in those hills for years.


 1,290 characters

Photo of James954
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2016 glass bottle
This beer is wordclass for a different reason than taste alone.

L: Typical light honey color mininal lacing

S: mostly muted with light honey, flower, citrus

T: This is the world class area. This is a hybrid! I expect and receive classic German pilsner notes ( bready, honey, malt, & light crisp finish), AND a hint of that Marzen dark fruit and sweetness. I think they are onto something big here!

F: Identical to a German pilsner. Full mouthfeel with medium light carbonation.

Overall: I'm hopeful that they experiment and tweak the formula they used to make this. If it were a little more Marzen, it could be a perfect mix.

 648 characters

Photo of Beerwithoutallthehops
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have been trying beers that I would not - normally - try.

As my user name suggests, no, declares, let's not overdo the hops, please.

I have been waiting to try this Sierra Nevada Octoberfest all year. I missed last year's offering because I wasnt sure I could handle another HOPS FEST from a USA "craftie" attempter. I saw it in the local grocery store - Aug. 19, 2016 and thought, wow, I have to try it this year.

I am glad it did. This is a pretty good Octoberfest offering. Their label states they worked with a German brewery, as they have done for a few years, to make a unique brew. Good idea.

It looks good, the aroma actually has some maltiness to it (watch Sierra will never do this again....) and the taste, is pretty decent. It has some malt taste to it. I could not believe a USA brewer would ever understand that malt needs to be used in an OCTOBERFEST beer!!! I tip my hat to you Sierra, thanks for understanding beer brewing a little better than most USA crafties who use WAY TOO MUCH HOPS.

Hops and malt need to work together, not one over rule the other. German beers Krombacher and Weihenstephaner understand that and brew it wonderfully!!!!!!!! This Sierra Nevada Octoberfest, while not 100% (a lot of hops in the taste for an Octoberfest) great, is among the best USA crafties I have tasted. The hops works WITH and does not OVERPOWER the beer. Wonderful.

Thank you Sierra Nevada for a brew I enjoyed immensely!! I will buy it again.

 1,481 characters

Photo of tekstr1der
3.51/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thin, light yellow color - looks unimpressive. Aroma has a dankness from a hop style of which I'm not a huge fan. Same comes through in the flavor, which while uninteresting, is fairly smooth. Pretty disappointing overall.

 222 characters

Photo of Libeertarian
3.71/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is not the 2015 version.

From notes:

Very dark copper, mostly clear, wispy tannish head of medium retention. Smells sweet, of caramel, small amounts of dark fruit and sugar even, and then twinge of herbal, tea-like hops. Taste is much the same, very good. Almost like taking a bite out of rum cake, with the mildest bitter, spicy finish. Medium-bodied, packed with carbonation, though gentle and sudsy, almost taking it from syrupy to creamy. Crisp, even slightly astringent and warming.

 494 characters

Photo of cyclonece09
3.86/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Beer poured into a pint glass. Beer pours maroon red with a fluffy off white head. Smells of dark roasted grain with slight caramel and berries. Tastes of dark roasted grain with slight caramel taste. Beer is fizzy but not overly carbonated, light bodied and easy drinking. Overall, a very good beer.

 305 characters

Photo of JeffBlue
2.5/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

(12oz bottle) White wineish aroma, grassy hay aftertaste, pretty bold tasting and consistent throughout. Overall, not really my style of beer at this point. Stopped drinking "octoberfests" in the late 90s and this is yet another example as why I might not try another for awhile.

 279 characters

Photo of M_C_Hampton
3.67/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A: poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass, amber colored with an off white head that dissipates quickly leaving little lacing, clear

S: malt, bread, toffee

T: slightly sweet up front, caramel, toffee, finishes with noble hops and light sweetness, light flavor of spice

M: slightly syrupy

O: flavor is bold for the style

 330 characters

Photo of KLHBB
3.74/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Snagged from the "build your own sixpack" at the store. Pours a golden amber, almost orange. Taste of light hops, citrus, crackers, pepper. Medium mouth feel, light carbonation. Refreshing after all the pumpkin sweetness I've been drinking lately. Octoberfest!

 274 characters

Photo of burnerfinger
3.96/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

got this when my wife! asked for some octoberfrest:

A crisp, clear, lite amber - pours a decent two finger head that's whilte like a macro.
decent but not great, clean lacing.

S EZ on the nose - a bit more hoppy than I expected for an octoberfest

T yes stong on the hops, malty backbone

m clean and clear

D good for sessions I say

 335 characters

Photo of obrike
3.76/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

My mother in law left a few singles in the fridge the other day. Who am I to not imbibe.

Pours much lighter than other Octoberfests I've had. Head dissipates pretty quickly without much lace.

Fresh sweet malty scent. Taste follows. A malty treat for those looking to take a break from hops every now and then. Very smooth finish. Quite easy to put these away quickly.

Kudos SN on a tasty Octoberfest.

 403 characters

Photo of hopsgiveumoobs
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This is a really solid take on an octoberfest-style beer and a great option if you're looking for malty smoothness rather than a ton of hoppy bitterness. The beer pours a yellow-orange, with a substantial head and some visible carbonation, although not leaving too much lacing. The smell may be my favorite aspect of the beer - very inviting, sweet, and bready. The taste pretty much follows suit, with a great bready maltiness that is balanced nicely with a bit of bitterness from the hops. Overall a very well-executed, enjoyable beer that I would definitely have again and recommend trying.

 593 characters

Photo of Auraan
5/5  rDev +30.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured a rich, deep golden body with three fingers of thick, creamy white head. Overall impression of appearance is of a perfect example of a German festbier, the image that comes to mind when one thinks of the style. Scents of rich, bready German malt, a pleasantly sweet grainy malt aroma in the background and a light toasted malt presence. Overall impression of aroma is of a malt dominated, crisp, clean lager aroma. Very befitting an Oktoberfest and extremely pleasant. Flavor begins malty sweet with flavors of sweet grainy and bready German malt and a light toasted malt flavor and a light noble hop derived bitterness. Middle raises hop bitterness to medium-light and toasted aspects become slightly more noticeable. Finish is lightly dry with moderate hop bitterness and notes of toasted and bready malt. Aftertaste begins with a moderate bitterness but gains biscuity and bready malt flavors with a soft sweetness. Overall impression of flavor is of a wonderful Oktoberfest, very malt forward and true to what the style should be, with a soft, complex maltiness backed by enough bitterness to avoid being cloying. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with moderate carbonation and a smooth, clean feel. Overall impression of mouthfeel is of a perfect lager. Overall this is the best Oktoberfest I have ever had. It hits the style perfectly and is a simply amazing malt-forward beer. Well worth getting.

 1,403 characters

Photo of allforbetterbeer
4.39/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2015 one-off version. Packaged 07/15/2015. Opened 10/13/2015

Pours with a billowy and lasting white fluffy head over a "new penny" copper body with near-clarity. Slight haze in the body.

Aroma of lightly zesty and nearly perfect noble hops on top of a rich grain bed, with lightly toasted German lager style malt aromas. A wonderful "near-sulfer" smell just hits this home as a true to style lager in the German tradition.

The flavor is the best Oktoberfest I can remember from a bottle. The malts are layered, with notes of golden-flaky biscuits, crackers, cracked toasted barley, and oat cereal. The hops are even better than they smell, and balance the almost perfect sweetness of the malts with poise.

Conclusion: This is the best American Oktoberfest I have tasted, and I love this style. Why it is rated down at 86 on this site is a mystery to me. Why does everything have to be barrel aged and "triple imperial hopped?" This is a real classic, and I would drink it year-round if I could get it.

 1,006 characters

Photo of schwansmantr
1.44/5  rDev -62.4%
look: 5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest. I have had another Sierra Nevada beer before and hated it so I had my reservations when I bought this. It's a dark caramel/copper with a stale dirty laundry aroma. It goes down easy but as soon as your tongue hits the top of your mouth a strong bitterness with a burnt bread taste that I just personally do not like. I realize for those that do like this style of beer your tastes and mine are going to clash when it comes to rating our beers. Sorry but I just don't like that hopy bitterness" so it's an F for me.

 541 characters

Photo of brureview
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer can only be fully appreciated at higher temps: 48°F+

Poured amber-copper color in a Brooklyn Oktoberfest glass. 2F head which took a while to resolve.

Excellent aroma: bubblegum, floral, fruit.

Tart highly carbonated MF.

At colder temps, the taste is disappointing. Very malt forward, a bit earthy, but not fruit or bubblegum. this all changes with warming. The bubblegum and the fruit are melded and there is an excellent taste coupled with a lighter finish.

Overall: is this an Ocktoberfest? It doesn't taste like any Ocktoberfest I have tasted.
However, the flavors are very pronounced with warming. Fruit and malt.

 635 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.99/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

In celebration of all of the fall festivals that grace the German landscape, there's no way that American brewers are going to miss the party; replicating those beers in varying degrees of authenticity and bringing the party to their fans are the capable Sierra Nevada brewers.

Their Oktoberfest pours the desires bright golden amber color, well capped with a creamy white froth. Its supple aromas are toasted, nutty, grainy and decorated with floral hop spices. To taste, the malt-centric beer is sweet with light caramel, mild honey and toasted pecan.

The middle is juicy with malt sweetness and toasty character, rewarding the palate with its faint caramel and honey charm. As the floral upstart fades away, the majority of taste is driven by savory and elegant vienne and bready pilsner. As the flavors fade, the lager begins to dry while also showing a tepid hop balance late.

Its finish is malty-dry with a light minty presence from hops. Spicy but light bitterness lurks in the recesses and never intends to fully balance the malt, but rather take an edge off of its sweetness with a somber offset. Its a perfect taste for the fall festivities and to usher in cooler weather. Paired with grilled pork sausages and the tastebuds are transported to the land of lederhosen regardless of where you drink.

 1,310 characters

Photo of Troy-Hawaii
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought from Don Quiote $7.99/ 6 pack. Clear golden color, malty taste, medium carbonation, nothing to make this beer distinctive that I would seek it out but overall a fine beer.

 179 characters

Photo of Savan
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

has a good look for an american brewed marzen.., a amble amber\ straw colour; Pours with a thick light manilla head about it that dissipates to a thin lacing after a while. Smells a little grainey with caramel and malt on the back burner. Taste if malty and not quite as buttery or caramello as i would prefer, but the mouth feel it real good! With a balanced carbonating and light to medium feel about it semi-silky . Overall Not a great beer .... Better than average for a beer, about average for an american marzen better than a Point or Leines rendition but not up to par with a Odel or anywhere near ones i have been blessed to have had from Germany.

 655 characters

Photo of twosheds
3.16/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Clear gold in color with almost no head.

Smells malty with almost a fruity champagne kind of smell.

Malty flavor upfront with a subtle hope balance. Very basic oktoberfest taste.

This is an okay beer, but I wouldn't pick it up again compared to other oktoberfest beers.

 272 characters

Photo of Urk1127
3.31/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 3.25

-Light orange
-Sweet malt, earthy, caramelized sugars
-sweet brown sugar malts, a hop bite
-Lost me here because to me it was syrupy. Medium carbonation. Cloying

-i did enjoy it, but found it to be syrupy and slick

 217 characters

Photo of ElJacobian
3.62/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Doesn't smell like much at all. Was hoping for a stronger smell like most of the Sierra Nevada's. The taste is ok - pretty balanced - but overall there's just not much there. It's an empty beer: nothing is bad but there's no quality worth praising either.

 255 characters

Photo of Flounder57
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle was poured into a mug.

Appearance: A one finger head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is a pale orange color with great clarity and vision of tiny bubbles coming up through the glass. Frothy lacing down the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Caramel, toffee, doughy, toasted malts, and Noble hops.

Taste: Nice traditional malt flavor with grassy hops, chewy notes, and bitterness in the rear.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, light to medium bodied, slightly chewy, medium carbonation, and light bitterness.

Overall: Nice collaboration with Brauhas Riegele. I'll revisit this while the bottles are still around for the season.

 652 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Sierra Nevada Octoberfest from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.83 out of 5 based on 992 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!