Sierra Nevada / Bitburger - Oktoberfest (2019)
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Sierra Nevada / Bitburger - Oktoberfest (2019)Sierra Nevada / Bitburger - Oktoberfest (2019)
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German Märzen / Oktoberfest
Ranked #12
Ranked #11,102
3.93 | pDev: 8.4%
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States
Very Good
Sierra Nevada / Bitburger - Oktoberfest (2019)Sierra Nevada / Bitburger - Oktoberfest (2019)
Notes: It’s the ultimate season of revelry, so we teamed up with Germany’s Bitburger Brewery for an Oktoberfest that turns backyards into beer gardens. Rally your friends and celebrate with a festbier whose rich amber color, secret hop blend, and smooth malty flavor bring the Munich tents to you.

Malts: Caramelized malts, Munich, Pilsner
Hops: Bitburger Siegelhopfen, German Magnum, Loral
Yeast: Lager Yeast
Reviews: 111 | Ratings: 260
Photo of kojevergas
3.38/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

BOTTLE: 12 fl oz. Brown glass. Pull-tab. Packaged 07/17/19.

6.0% ABV.

APPEARANCE: About as vibrant an amber-gold hue as you'll find any beer in the world. Boasts excellent clarity (indicating obvious filtration to style, if not decoction as well) with no visible yeast/lees, sediment, or particulate.

Head is less immaculate than the body but still enticing with a white colour and moderate froth. I'd prefer it creamier, softer, and fuller still, but its head retention is quite good (~10 minutes).

AROMA: Bready sweetness from Munich and amber/Vienna malt, honeyed undertones, subtle floral notes, fresh baked bread aromatics, pale malt sweetness.

Seems sweet but not boozy, showcasing its malts as well it should. I worried the use of Loral hops would bring this out of traditional balance, but it seems my concerns were unfounded.

Aromatic intensity is mild.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Creamy and silky, with a refreshing and approachable medium body. Smooth, wet, and very drinkable despite the subtle presence of the 6% ABV's alcohol glow coupled with its bready filling body.

Has a near ideal level of sweetness for a Marzen, not feeling like it'd be a chore to drink a litre or more of in a sitting but still bringing honeyed Munich malt flavours to the fore. Hints of baked bread and blips of toasted malt (maybe a Vienna-like amber toasty flavour thing going on) lend it added complexity.

Flirts with some fresh lemon citrus hop flavour (probably from the Loral) as it finishes, which isn't traditional per se but works well for the beer. It's balanced and tasty, and I could definitely down a few in a sitting.

OVERALL: One of the better Marzenbiere to come out of Sierra Nevada's Oktoberfest series in recent years, and certainly worth the $8.29 plus tax a sixer it ran me. I'd sooner drink Ayinger's Märzen, but damnit it's nice to have a competent expression of the style available stateside that actually has a date stamp on it.


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Photo of jkrich
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a freshness dated 12 oz. bottle: clear and bright, reddish-amber with a quickly receding off-white head. This is a very attractive hue.

Perhaps because of the freshness (bottled about a month ago), the aroma is very prominent for the style - strongly bready with noticeable hops.

Once again, Sierra Nevada always has a unique take on the Oktoberfest style. In this case, the hop bitterness is quite prominent of the style with quite a lot of lingering bitterness on the tongue. I almost believe I am getting a little rye in the flavor. It also has the traditional elements of bread and dough-like flavors as well as the smooth malty flavor you come to expect from an Oktoberfest. Wow, that bitterness seems inappropriate, but it is extremely welcoming.

The body is somewhat thin with a quick mouthfeel; the carbonation is quite sharp. The lingering flavor on the palate is quite like pumpernickel bread.

While I don't think this is the best of the collaborations, and it is not at all a traditional festbier, it is extremely refreshing and quaffable. I will certainly look for a 12 pack. Now if I could only find some Bitburger pilsner down here.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I always anticipate and appreciate the different collaborations for SN annual Oktoberfest. This one could not have come a better time, I'm overdosing on IPA's!!

8/17/19 Just brought home a 12 rack. PKGD 07/10/19.

Amber... Straight fire amber color, clear and pretty active. Off white foam cover dissipates pretty fast, levels out to only minor coverage and a thin ring.

The malty aromatics is rather impressive, rich grains/herbs/brown sugar and sour bready malt really makes the nose pop. I'm sure the herbal and spicy scent I'm picking up is mostly from the hops, but that to is rather heady and pungent for this classic style. A very distinctive and friendly aroma overall.

A nice crispy bite hits your palate first, then the mouthfeel mellows malty style to get that slick, smooth medium bodied effect we all know and love from this classic style.

The malt flavor is rich and complex. Dark grains, brown sugar maltiness with a heavy, herbal>spicy>dank earthiness from the hops that all melds together to create this SN/Bitburger Oktoberfest. Even though the flavor is very rich, there is something about the mouthfeel and texture that makes it crazy drinkable! Hence, the "Fest" aspect.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.77/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Copper-colored with a thick white head that dissipated quickly.
Aroma of caramel and lightly toasted bread.
Similar taste. Caramel, toast, a little honey.
Sweet, easy to drink.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.84/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass
Appearance – The beer pours a deep amber-copper color with a smallish off white head. The head fades rather fast leaving just a trace of lace on the sides of the glass.
Smell – The aroma of the brew is strong of a caramel and lightly toasted malt aroma. Along with these smells comes some buttery toffee and a nice light nutty smell. With a light herbal and earthy hop, one is greeted with a nice sweet and inviting smell.
Taste – The taste begins with the sweeter caramel and toffee detected in the nose balanced by some nice toasted malt flavors and a bit of breadiness. At first the caramel and toffee really outbalance the roast, but soon after the roast picks its intensity up a bit. As the taste advances a somewhat oddly placed citrus hop begins to develop. At first it seems to dominate the hop, and is somewhat off putting, but soon other hop flavors of an herbal and earthy nature come to the tongue as well. A little bit of grass comes toward the very end, and with the other hop and a slight increase in the caramel sweetness at an expense of some of the toffee, one is left with a somewhat sweet and lightly roasted, but still very easy drinking and flavorful taste to linger on the tongue.
Mouthfeel – The body of the brew is medium in thickness and creaminess with a carbonation level that is rather normal. Overall the feel is pretty good and accentuates the light roast, the sweet malt, and light hop rather sufficiently.
Overall – A bit lighter overall in roast in comparison to most Oktoberfest’s, but nice and malty and sweet with a rather easy drinking nature.

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Photo of superspak
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into signature pint glass, bottled on 7/9/2019. Pours crystal clean deep golden/amber/light orange color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense and fluffy off white head with awesome retention, the reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice dense foamy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of big honey, brown sugar, white bread dough, toasted biscuit, light caramel/nuttiness, wood, pepper, and herbal/floral/grassy earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/bready malts and light-moderate earthy hop notes; with big strength. Taste of big honey, brown sugar, white bread dough, toasted biscuit, light caramel/nuttiness, wood, pepper, and herbal/floral/grassy earthiness. Light herbal, floral, woody, grassy, peppery bitterness on the finish. Lingering notes of honey, brown sugar, white bread dough, toasted biscuit, light caramel/nuttiness, wood, pepper, and herbal/floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malts and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; with an awesome malt/bitterness balance; and no cloying/astringent flavors after the finish. Very clean on lager flavors, with minimal fruity/yeasty notes. Lightly increasing dryness from lingering bitterness. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, creamy/bready/grainy, and fairly sticky mouthfeel that is great. Zero warming alcohol for 6%. Overall this is an awesome Oktoberfest. All around awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malts and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; very smooth and easy to drink with the mellowly bitter/drying finish. Great soft feel. Awesome clean/rich Pils/Munich malt showcase; with great noble hop presence/balance. Light residual sweetness with lingering dryness. A really enjoyable offering, and impressive spot on style example as expected. They have been mostly Festbier styles last few years with the collabs, but this year it is back to being a true Marzen.

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Photo of thebeers
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear dark amber, effervescent, with almost three fingers of dense light khaki foam head. Great retention. Fairly thick lacing.

A nice mix of caramel, bread and “crisp” pilsner-like hops in the nose.

Sweeter tasting than any others from Sierra Nevada. Almost cherry-like notes — although not over the top. Just a little breadiness. The hops are fairly light, just barely balancing out against the malt at first notice. A little carbon dioxide, too, presumably from the long-lasting head. Just a kiss of metal mixed in with the bready sweetness in the aftertaste. There is some underlying bitterness underneath the sweetness as it lingers, though.

Full bodied and very creamy for the style with surprisingly little carbonation.

A little sweeter than I’m used to these days, but a very well-crafted beer that I’ll have no trouble drinking through the 12-pack of and suspect I may go back for more of.

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Photo of MrGraybeard
3.52/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber with a finger-thick head that dissipates fairly quickly. Mild aroma of caramel malt. Taste is pretty nondescript -- really, more like a pale helles than an oktoberfest. Light to medium bodied. Overall, pretty consistent with many other domestic oktoberfests I've had, with the notable exception of New Glarus Staghorn.

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Photo of Tucquan
3.96/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this initially on 2019-08-15 from a fresh 12oz bottle

A - Clear amber with a 2-finger eggshell head that leaves mild lace.

S - Lightly toasted bread with a drizzle of caramel. Mild but pleasant noble spice

T - Nut bread with pear jam and earthy/cinnamon-like spice. Balancing bitterness works well.

M - Medium body and carbonation. Smooth then crisp.

O - Well done and I enjoyed it. Perhaps not my favorite of the collaborations but I'd be happy for this in my glass anytime.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottling code 071119

Appearance - Pours clear and pure copper in color with an off-white, finger width head. Fair retention before dying down to a broken layer of suds with a thin ring around the edge of the glass. A handful of small spots make up the minimal lacing.

Smell - Sweet, cereal malt and a bit of toastiness. Mild hint of floral and grassy hops.

Taste - Follows the nose. Cereal sweetness, some toast and light grain coplete the malt profile. Hops compliment with faint floral character before a touch of balancing grassy bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with fair carbonation. Smooth, lightly creamy texture before a crisp, mostly dry finish.

Overall - Damn good okto. Much better when poured into a glass vs drinking straight from the bottle. I will keep this in mind if I buy another sixer or two.

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Photo of Sparty76
3.03/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Look- Poured 12 oz bottle into large tulip glass. Pretty clear carmel. Small head that quickly dissipated. leaving a thin line of foam. Not much lacing
Smell- Slight toasted malt smell, but not very engaging
Taste- bland, nothing really stands out
Feel- slight carbonation nothing outstanding

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Photo of twage04
4.23/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a light copper, dark orange with medium to high carbonation. Lots of malt and hops on the nose. Taste is much the same, a nice toasty malt without too much sweetness backed up with herbal citrusy hops. A little watery but very drinkable.

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Photo of WesMantooth
3.46/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This is easily replaces the Mahrs Brau as my least favorite. It strikes me as a cheap/macro version of a Festbier. No depth/finish, and watery. Seems to have a Bitburger pils like stale, hoppy bitterness too.

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Photo of Rickmeister
4.93/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

It was sad to learn that the extraordinary Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest Brauhaus Riegele Collaboration wouldn't be returning this year. I had high expectations for the next collaboration. They were exceeded. Pours a beautiful burnt orange/amber with a nice white head that dissipates a little quicker than I would prefer. The nose is not overpowering but consists of malts and some German hops. The taste is wonderful. The malts provide a nice bready note and hops provide a hint of spice. Flavor wise its not that complex but it just tastes wonderful. There is a great balance of hops and malts with the malts having the edge. The mouthfeel is great as well with a nice amount of carbonation. The drinkability is through the roof. One of my all time favorite lagers and Oktoberfests.

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Photo of drtth
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

The completely clear rich bronze/amber colored beer pours into a Duvel glass with an off-white 1/2” head that persists for a long time as it very slowly recedes. Sipping creates a pair of arches and patches of small to medium lacing. There’s also a sheet of foam on most of the other sides of the glass that eventually breaks up. The patches of foam on the sipping side of the glass mostly remain until the next sip. Eventually the head recedes to a thin irregular island of foam, a small ring around the glass and a solid sheet of foam on part of the glass not used for sipping.

At first the aromas are mostly about the malt with it’s bready and caramel or toffee like character. In the background there’s just a bit of herbal earthiness showing and then as the warming takes hold the hops move further towards the front.

The flavors are much as expected from the nose with some bready malt, some caramel/toffee with some background herbal, earthiness The sweetness is pleasant and well controlled by some herbal bitterness, maybe too much so. As the beer warms slowly it seems that the herbal, earthy bitterness emerges and moves further forward to play a much more prominent role in the flavor profile.

The mouthfeel is on the light side of medium bodied and pleasantly crisp from the persistent but moderate carbonation. The finish begins with the malt sweetness and caramel/toffee slowly fading and leaving the herbal/earthy bitterness to more slowly fade. The fading persists into the long dry ending that slowly disappears in the back of the palate.

Overall this is typical of what we can expect from Sierra Nevada’s collaborations, a solid, enjoyable well brewed beer that is complex enough to hold attention but sippable enough to enjoy without much attention to what it is. It’s not my favorite Oktoberfest I’ve tried, nor do I think it is the best of the collaborations, but it is a nice OK variation from those. A drinkable fairly enjoyable beer that would fit either sipping or drinking nicely and could easily serve as the only beer on offer during an evening spent with friends and good conversation. I could easily have more than one or two of these in an evening. This is definitely above my threshold to buy again but I would prefer the bitterness more in the background all the way through.

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Photo of ovaltine
3.81/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Just a gorgeous beer on an aggressive pour, with a clear, dark copper colored body propping up a rich, dense tan head.

When I popped the bottle open, I immediately got a strong caramel aroma, which was expected given the caramelized malts describes in the beer’s profile, but I didn’t get any bready or grassy notes from the Pilsner malt.

The taste is a pure caramel/toffee fest - I get the slightest smidgen of noble hop flavors, but the caramel and toffee flavors literally beat any other flavors into submission. That’s not a terrible thing in a marzen, but the previous collabs in this series were not so malt driven, they were more balanced with a discernible hop presence.

Having said all that, I’m glad I have a 12-pack of this, because I think it will be a great fall beer in Northern Indiana as the days and nights shift to autumn temperatures.

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Photo of VABA
4.02/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a nice rich amber copper color with a nice head and lacing
A-Aroma has slight spice and malt hints
T-Taste follows the nose with a slight spice and malt flavor
M-A medium bodied decently carbonated beer
O-A nice German Marzen/Oktoberfest beer

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Photo of BayAreaJoe
3.97/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A noticeable step down from last year's terrific edition.

Clear amber, decent finger+ head, med/low retention and very little spotty lacing. Aroma of toasted malts and caramel is just a bit too light. Taste is a bit better and more full, pick up some hops & bitterness. Feel is the best part, good med/light body with great drinkability. Overall, a good Oktoberfest, but just doesn't stand up to last year's which I just loved.

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Photo of SaltofOH
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 7/9/19. Sam Adams glass.

A: pours a rich amber/copper with one finger beige head that leaves a pretty thick cap as it settles. Streaming carbonation as one would expect with a lager. Sheets of lacing on the glass walls.

S: clean, some lager yeast, but really not much in the way of aroma. Sadly understated.

T: arrives clean and malty. Toasted grain pops with a little Munich malt sourness and a nice and firm but clean noble hop bitterness at the end. That bitterness is mild but it really holds the sweetness in check.

M: not festbier light, but definitely on the lighter end of the Marzen spectrum. Less carbonated on the tongue than it appears in the glass.

Despite being a Marzen, it remains a really drinkable lager. Less malty and rich than my old standby GLBC Oktoberfest, and cleaner and slightly more characterful than Sam Adams Oktoberfest. Probably the best SN collab Oktoberfest in a while, if not a little “middle of the road.”

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Photo of Mister_Faucher
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Six pack of bottles picked up at Total Wine in Lynnwood, Washington.
PCKD date is 7/19/19, very fresh. Served in a pint glass.

Look- Clear golden amber color with a nice foamy off-white head that receds quicky, solid lacing on the glass.
Moderate carbonation bubbles streaming in the glass as it sits.

Smell- Roasted malts and brown sugar, dark fruit... prunes, dates, a little cherry, some spicey and herbs.

Taste- Same as the smell, but a lot lighter than expected. The trademark hop flavor from SN is hidden in this, IMO.

Feel- Light on the palate. not that heavy on the gut either.

O- A pretty solid offering from this year's SN Oktoberfest. I'll enjoy it this season.

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Photo of hopman333
2.48/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.25

Ok, Fest Bier's are one of my all time favorite styles period . And I alway's look forward to Sierra's collaborations and they are usually awesome to say the least., Not this year's. Please keep in mind that I LOVE Bitburger Pil's and have been keeping that in my rotation for a good 19 years or so. They have it on tap at alot of bars in Chicago and the 4 pack of cans were $6.99 for a long time. Long story short !!! This collaboration was VERY BLAND> A one trick pony too say the least. The only thing it has going for it is the very smooth Munich malt character that almost reminds you of dark rye But in a very bland way. As for their secret blend of hops I do get the lemon nuances from the Laurel hop variety but that's about it. All that I can honestly say about this Fest is it is smooth but very bland with zero surprises. Very smooth non descript malt flavor with no sweetness at all, not even a tinge and a dash of lemon. It's just not good. End of story. I could be more descriptive in my review but it was just so bland that I don't need to. Sorry Sierra > Not your best fest !!!

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Photo of argock
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Samuel Adams Perfect Pint glass. 07/09/19 bottling date.

Brilliantly clear medium amber/auburn with 1-2 finger light beige frothy head with decent retention but skimpy lacing.

Toast and bread crust with light malty melanoiden note, Munich grainy character apparent, hop nose with honeysuckle and herbal qualities

Flavor is on the lighter side, more like an aggressive Vienna lager rather than an Oktoberfest/marzen. Bready but less Munich maltiness than I would like to see. Hopping and bitterness are on target, low-medium intensity. Hop flavor is subtle herbal, floral with a light marmalade character as others have noted. Clean and drinkable, no off flavors or yeast character.

Feel is smooth and fairly light, I wish it had a bit more body and heft.

Nice beer, kind of unremarkable. Malty but could use a little more melanoiden character for a marzen. Still enjoyed it a lot.

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Photo of BB1313
3.71/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottled on 7/17/19. 12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours a burnt golden/amber with great clarity and transparency; fluffy light khaki head that falls leaving nice bubbly retention and sticky lacing. The aromas are mild. Lots of malts. Lots of toast. It doesn't smell bad, but it just doesn't have much going on. The flavors are a bit bolder than the nose. More toast along with some fresh bread. Subtle hints of caramel and toffee. Lots of grains. Malts do their thing. Moderate to low bitterness. Alcohol goes unnoticed. Mouthfeel is on the lighter side of medium-bodied with active carbonation. It's sharp, fluffy, smooth and easy to drink.

This is a pretty solid Oktoberfest. The craftsmanship is on point and it's basically what you would expect from the style. It might not be my personal favorite "Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest collaboration", but it's still good nonetheless. Not bad at all. I like it.

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Photo of Spikester
4.02/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear amber with two fingers of cream color head. Rings of lace appear as the head slowly falls.
Caramel malt noble hop herbal smell.
Taste is noble hops grassy herbal with a touch of caramel malt and other malt.
Mouthfeel is medium with good carbonation. Finish is dry and mostly balanced.
Overall a tasty lager. Well done guys. packaged 7/19/19. Very fresh.

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Photo of TLWalsh
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled 7/17/2019, snagged 2 12 pks at Sam's Club, they go fast, won't be there next week. Poured clear amber with foamy head that dissipated quickly, nice lacing in the pint glass. Aroma is like wheat toast with tart marmalade, enticing. Taste hmmm, well OK, along the lines of the aroma but not quite as full as I hoped for. Feels a little thin on the tongue. Finish is sort of flat. I've had these SN Oktoberfest collaborations for the past several years, some are better than others - this one is in the middle.

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Sierra Nevada / Bitburger - Oktoberfest (2019) from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 260 ratings