Hoss Oktoberfest Lager | Great Divide Brewing Company

very good
450 Reviews
Hoss Oktoberfest LagerHoss Oktoberfest Lager

Brewed by:
Great Divide Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: Märzen / Oktoberfest

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
HOSS is based on the Märzen lagers of Germany. Rich, layered malt notes, with hints of cherry and dark fruits, dominate, while the unique addition of rye imparts a slightly earthy, spicy character. Hoss finishes crisp and dry, and its brilliant red-orange color is a toast to the sunsets that make the perfect backdrop for this beer.

Added by rye726 on 08-05-2009

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Reviews: 450 | Ratings: 1,057
Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.83/5  rDev +27.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a balloon glass.

The beer is a Cherry Ruby Amber. That's what I'm calling it. Beautiful frothy cream head that leaves chunks of bubbles and sheets of sticky lacing in it's wake.

The aroma is of faint fruit notes with a delicious sweet caramel warmth.

The taste is so complex. This beer has a sweet fruity beginning with delicious cherry notes. This gives way to a more typical caramel malt body found in marzens. The beer finishes with a nice woody, cinnamon spiciness to fill out a complex taste profile.

Mouthfeel is crisp, bright, slightly dry, and extremely refreshing.

Overall, I cannot believe this surprise. For starters, it's a sneaky Oktoberfest, since it's labeled as a Rye Lager. But on BA, it's a marzen, and the best one I've tried this year.

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Photo of YouSkeete
4.72/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Deep amber color with some ruby tint. Gorgeous foamy khaki head with very nice retention. Dark rye, oak, wood, hops, and creamy malt. Pleasantly earthy and floral. Rye bread, spices, smooth malts and yeast in the beginning of the taste. A fresh, well rounded medium sized body with moderate carbonation. Crisp mouthfeel with a mildly dry yet refreshing finish. Incredibly easy and comfortable to drink.

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Photo of al3
4.65/5  rDev +23%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Clear, amber red, some lacing

S - Clean, sweet and oaky

T&M - True to the label, malt and cherry up front with a medium, almost buttery feel. Finish is somewhat dry with a slight hop bite.

D - buying a 6er next time.

Another great beer from Great Divide. Incredibly balanced and well crafted, everything I've had from this brewery has been phenomenal and this is no exception...exceptional.

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Photo of Raki
4.61/5  rDev +22%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The reason I really like this beer is its great balance of all things good (malt, rye notes, hops, and various mild background flavors), but not dominated by any one thing. Then, the "drinkability" puts the icing on the cake, with its smoothness and subdued bitterness and a really nice clean finish.

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Photo of biegaman
4.6/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

You can always recognize an Oktoberfest beer by its quintessential fall tones; Hoss has the same blistering orange colour that tourists flock to New England to see in the foliage every autumn. If you plan to drink this beer, it'd be a good idea to bring your camera. Plus, its chill haze perfectly conjures to mind those first few crisp, nippy days of autumn.

It's not just that Hoss has one of the most deliciously, super-abundantly rich noses I've smelled in the many-a-märzens I've smelled, but it's unequivocally the most distinctive too. This, I'll assume, can be attributed to the uncustomary addition of rye malts. The bouquet has the rich, toasty, clean Continental maltiness plus a little something ambiguous.

Hoss starts with the best that the style has to offer: a rich, clean, toasty, cheeky-sweet maltiness that offers wholesome, delicious, quenching flavours of lightly browned bread crusts. Then, it throws in an earthy hop bitterness and lightly spicy rye flavour that blows the lid right off the top. I might be less impressed had I have tasted something like this before, but I haven't. As far as I'm concerned, Great Divide now own the style.

This maltiness is fit to pull a plow - if I had a body like this I'd be at the beach every day. The flavour, despite its simplicity, has the depth of an Olympic diving pool and just lingers on and on. It sounds over-dramatic, but I begin to feel like I'm hovering above my own body, watching myself drink this. It's an almost quasi-religious lager experience.

I love Oktoberfest beers as much as the next guy, but I never would have thought in a thousand years I would be rating one as highly (nor enjoying one as much) as I am now. Hoss evidently tells us two things about märzens: one) despite centuries of the finest German craftsmanship, there was still room for improvements; and, two) the only thing more impressive than Great Divide's quality and consistency is their ingenuity.

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Photo of 5thOhio
4.58/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been a fan of ryes before ryes were cool and this one doesn't disappoint.

Pours a rich copper with a 1 inch head that dissipates slowly to one half inch. Thick lacing.

Nose is malty and slightly spicy.

Taste surprisingly starts out sweet and malty, but is followed by spicy rye notes and ends with a nice bitter hop bite. Excellent and complex.

I'd love to try this rascal on tap.

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Photo of NODAK
4.57/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Aroma is of sweet caramel and toastiness. Grain. Pretty good.

Taste is much like that on the nose. Caramel malt begins the sip with a nice thickness...giving way to some toasty and husk flavors on the finish. Perhaps that's from the rye, I'm not clear on that. Reminds me a bit of the Paulaner Oktoberfest with a little less robustness. There's a small bitterness on the finish as well, which really helps wrap the beer up cleanly.

Very, very tasty oktoberfest here. I highly approve of this effort. Spot on!

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Photo of mckajd03
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - A golden-red color topped with a nice head. Fairly clear, but not crystal.
S - I can't tell what it is about the smell that's unique, but it probably has something to do with the rye. It's sweet, but also has a deep caramel characteristic that boarders on chocolaty.
T - The sweetness continues onto the tongue and is clearly meant to be at the forefront, but the hop character isn't lost by any means. Sweet on the front, bitter on the back.
M - I would like just a tad more carbonation, but other than that, I would change nothing. The finish is clean and crisp from the hops, but the most interesting part is the juxtaposition of a light body with so much flavor.
O - This award-winning beer can only be classified as a lager on technicality- I'm sure it used lager yeast (which results in the light body), but the complex malt character and hop support place is firmly in the ale category based on what I expect to find in an ale. A very interesting recipe.

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Photo of Jon_Hendricks
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a brilliant red color with a slight haze.

Overall: The aroma contains a nice sweet caramel and cereal grain. The Hoss contains flavors of spun sugar, honey, bread, and orange peel. This is a fantastic beer with a unique flavor and lots of it! The Marzen style of beers is quickly becoming one of my favorites.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.47/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a clear bronze color. The head is half an inch in height, and recedes slowly into a small cap of lacing. The aroma is of spicy rye, spicy hops, and hints of caramel. It is strong and very appealing. The taste is maltier than the aroma with more caramel and toffee. There is still some spicy hops and rye, but it is more in the background. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation, and a velvety texture. Overall, this is a very good beer that I will certainly drink again.

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Photo of BeerWithMike
4.46/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Sampled back on 3/7/16. Comes in a 12-ounce bottle. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured in to a handled-glass stein.

Brew pours a pretty orange-amber in color with about a 1-finger creamy/foamy white head. LOTS of lacing was seen after each sip, like a good German brew.. Aroma is of 'sweet rye' and caramel malts with a hint of yeast and spice. Taste is close to the aroma with a hint of fruit also. Very smooth and goes down easy and is very tasty as well. Lighter-side of medium-bodied with medium carbonation. Overall a great brew!

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Photo of silver0rlead
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I really enjoyed this stuff when it came out in the fall, and was thrilled to see it return as a year rounder. Pours a deep copper color with a nice off-white head that retains OK. The aroma starts off with a big caramelized malt smell, followed by a hay like scent similar to an alt beer, then some dark fruits (cherry and fig), a rye spiciness and some mineraly hops. The taste is where this beer really shines: classic caramel maltiness upfront, followed by some doughy malt flavors, spicy rye flavors, mineraly hops and a touch of cherry. This is a really superbly balanced beer, a little sweet but with a drying finish. The mouthfeel is full and smooth but not overbearing, and drinkability is excellent. This is probably one of my top marzens, along with Ayinger's, and I'm quite glad it's a year round offering now.

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Photo of waltonc
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Awesome sessionable brew from Great Divide. Pours clear light copper/caramel with tan head. Smells quite malty, with notes of fresh bread, caramel, and a slightly floral quality. Flavor is again very malty, bread-like, slightly sweet caramel, with earthy hops lingering in the background. Body is light to medium with carbonation on the higher side. Exceptionally drinkable brew given the low ABV and restrained hops. One of my all-time favorite sessionable beers.

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Photo of generallee
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a mug. The label has a nice description of the beer as well as a "Bottled On" date of Mar 4 2010 and an ABV of 6.2%.

Appearance: Its body has a brilliant red color with a very slight haze. The head is nice and tall, about two fingers and off white in color. It is creamy and slow fading. A small cap hangs on till the very end and makes nice lace patterns on the way down the glass.

Smell: Right away I get lots of rye malty notes. Deeper into the aroma there are notes of fruity notes of ripe peaches, nectarines and black cherries.

Taste/Palate: The solid medium body has a very tasty bready rye malty character with some light toasted notes as well as hints of coco and fruity notes within. (It reminds me of chocolate cake with cherries for some reason.) The hops are also mixed in here and add there own spicy herbal character and mellow bitterness. It finishes up fairly quick, lingering for just a bit and setting up the next sip on a clean palate.

Notes: This beer drinks wonderfully and has some nice complexity but there is nothing about this beer that makes me think Marzen/Oktoberfest.

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Photo of kingcrowing
4.4/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into an off-centered pint glass.
Thanks to my secret santa for this! I love Marzens & Rye beers, what a combo here!

Pours a nice golden/amber color with a 1 finger fluffy white head. Quite a bit of bubbles with a bit of lacing. Nose is Crisp and light like a lager, with just a tiny hint of Rye. Subtle but nice. Light sulfer as well - I like this smell with lagers, reminds me of Prima Pils.

Very nice combination. There's a very good balance between the toastiness of the oktoberfest, as well as a nice rye bitterness. It tastes like there might be some Saaz or other noble ops here, it's very light an not over the top. Mouthfeel is perfect, full and rich without being too watery or carbonated.

One of my favorite beers, and sadly like Hop Rod Rye - It's not distributed in VT!

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Photo of woodychandler
4.39/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I am continuing to winnow down my backlog, especially of bottles. This one was either purchased at The Friendly Greek or dropped off by tone77, but those are really the only two possibilities.

From the bottle: "Layered"; "Crisp"; "HOSS is based on the Marzen lagers of Germany. Rich, layered malt notes, with hints of cherry and dark fruits, dominate, while the unique addition of rye imparts a slightly earthy, spicy character. Hoss finishes crisp and dry, and its brilliant red-orange color is a toast to the sunsets that make the perfect backdrop for this beer."; "Bronze Medal, Great American Beer Festival, 2009"; "Suggested Food Pairings: Veal bratwurst, barbecue chicken, carnitas (pork) tacos, Camembert cheese, German chocolate cake."

My initial, aggro pour created two fingers of dense, tawny head with moderate retention that created some great lacing as it fell. Color was a filament-bright deep-copper (SRM = > 13, < 17). Beautiful! Nose had a rich, malty scent, but I was not getting the fruitiness the label mentioned, at least, not on the nose. Mouthfeel was soft, slightly bubbly and now I did get a distinct cherry flavor on the tongue. Wild! The rye manifested itself on the dry finish, giving it an earthy balance to offset the malts. This was MUCH better than I anticipated and probably one of the best beers of the style that I have encountered. Great lacing formed as I drank through it. I would definitely be interested in having this beer again.

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Photo of Finn
4.39/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Hoss pours a clean amber/orange, with light carbonation, and little head retention. The aroma is smooth, pristine malt and bread. Smells like the typical german oktoberfest. It's smooth, malty, and very well balanced. The medium body is cut through just slightly by a moderate carbonation, and the malt profile is rich, but not sweet, it's very clean and drinkable. This is one of the best US made oktoberfests I've had. I don't notice the rye much at all, but nonetheless this is a fantastic, well crafted beer.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.38/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle into a Lancaster Brewing pint glass. Bottled in sept 09, never had this one or heard of it.

Bright new penny copper with some hazy orange color mixed in. A clean looking beer with bubbles rising. Looks brighter than your normal lager/marzen whatever. A bright white semi off white in spots 1 and a half inches of creamy foam on top, it looks scrumptious. Loose patches of clingy layered lace.

The scent is not huge but what's advertised on the bottle shows up in the smell. Im first greeted by a fruit basket thats mainly filled with dark cherries and some plum action. Under that is a malt base giving off caramel and some sunday morning bread. Some earthy, spicy hops come out with warning with some rice pops up later too.

This is a tasty and well executioned lager, i was not expecting this much flavor. Matching the scent, hoss starts off with cherry juice and some underlining plum. The dark fruits in this are at a great level and is actually my favorite part of the beer. Under that the malts work their magic and bring forth a light sweetness and bready taste in the middle. While the rye did not hit my nose, it comes out in taste with some small earthy hopping, layered with some rice addition which does not detract from the taste. "Get Em, Hoss"- Black Thought

A nice medium body supports this well flavored quaff. Perfectly well balanced with each set of flavors coming right after one another in unison. I have no problems with the carbonation in Hoss, it's where it needs to be.Not any bitterness from the hops, just some earthy flavors dancing around the palete. Hoss is crisp and not to high in ABV making it easy to grab another. The drink on this is also top notch. To make it simpler, I should have grabbed a six pack of this as I want another right now. Great stuff.

In a sea of oktoberfest available stateside, Hoss stands seperate from the pack with something different.

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Photo of aahynick
4.38/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

40F in a pilsner glass

A- copper with a creamy head

S- grainy malt aroma

T- rich, sweet, bread-like flavor

M - full bold body

D- rich and bold and a pleasure to drink, I was dubious about the use of rye in beer. I've had one other rye beer I didn't care for but this is a definite repeat.

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Photo of jpmclaug
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a bottle into a pint glass

A - Orange body with a formidable white head

S - sweet lager malts with a hint of caramel and toasted malts

T - Toasted malts with a nice sweet bready lager flavor. A hint of hoppy bitterness sneaks in giving this beer a crisp flavor. Hits the prototypical marzen taste on the head.

M - Full body with a fair amount of carbonation

D - Really drinkable flavorful marzen. A solid representation of the style. I would definitely pick this up again anytime I wanted to have a marzen.

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Is it a bad sign that the lowest ABV beer in my fridge is this 6.2% lager? Nah; that’s the craft beer industry for you. Now, I have mixed feelings about Great Divide; on one hand, their Belgian IPA was just spot-on, but on the other, their Belgian Style Yeti could have been so much better. Hopefully this German lager helps to set my thoughts on this brewery straight.

Brewed four-and-a-half months before the date of this tasting (“BOTTLED ON APR 20 2011”).

A: Alright, with the name and the bottle art, I just had to pour this one into a stein. Maybe "too manly for a pint glass" should be this beer's slogan. Anyway, it looks great – it’s a nice, bright orange, shining joyfully in any light. Foamy white, sitting at a finger-and-a-half, is a creamy white head; it settles quick, leaving little pockets of lacing here and there. Retention is pretty low, but the foam is nice when it’s there.

S: Wow, that rye is big; crisp pumpernickel scents are first, and largest of the grain scents. It also has that uniquely grainy German lager smell, too, which winds up quite a few steps below the rye. And are those hops I smell? Juicy citrus and a kick of fresh pine aromas: yep, that’s them. They lay right on top of the sweet bubblegum and caramel malt tones, which turn out to be scents that you have to really work at to unearth. Odd – normally the malts would be dominant in this style. No worries, though; it’s smells great.

T: Very bready: biscuity dough and more pumpernickel, specifically. Crisp, earthy tones from the rye offset some of the biggest malt creams that come up, making this one incredibly drinkable. You can still taste the malts, though – they provide some dark fruits and vanilla cream. German yeasts are there, as well, coming through with banana tastes on a phenolic backdrop. It’s a great imported flavor that’s augmented by an underlying taste of European mineral water, most evident at the back end of the palate. A very nice addition! These tastes hit the aftertaste the most, accompanied by those piney, resiny hops I detected in the nose. It’s a dry, grainy finish that leaves you wanting more.

M: Full-bodied, yet crisp – very appropriate for the palate and the style. There’s a creaminess that adds even more to that imported, German feel, too (which I love).

O: This is an awesome German-style lager; seriously, one of the best I’ve had from an American brewery. Great nose, excellent taste profile (gotta love that rye), and a full-bodied feel make this a very memorable drink. Great Divide just jumped, as far as my internal ratings go; keep it up, guys!

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Photo of ferrari29
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into Pint glass

A - Beer poured with 1/2 finger white colored foam, which dissipated very quickly; the foam was bubbly; the body and foam both give an oily looked and consistency; beer pours with a cloudy orange-red body; good amount of carbonation is apparent; quality lacing formed on the sides of the glass

S - Cherry aroma is the first scent to blast the nose; after taking a deep whiff you can smell some liquor (probably due to >6% ABV) on the back-end; there is a subtle hint of spices and good balance of malt notes; Chamomile tea and black berry aromas come out too

T - Cherry and malt notes hit the tongue and palate; the taste is smooth and enjoyable; semi-dry aftertaste with slight cherry flavor; dark berry taste comes up at the back of the tongue; slight herbal taste;

M - Beer definitely has a oily feel to it, making it very smooth and easy to drink; some creaminess and carbonation comes up, but it maintains its oily feel very well; its a well-built beer

D - Great blend of complex flavors make this an easy drink to guzzle down; I definitely enjoyed the beer and would have a few more; I would make this a staple Oktoberfest beer in my fridge

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Photo of MadScientist
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer was bottled on 9/15/2011

A: This is a beautiful, medium copper with excellent clarity and an white head.

S: A medium-high rye spicy aroma dominates the smell with a moderate toasted malt aroma and some earthiness. There also seems to be a light spicy hop aroma but it wouldn't surprise me if I was mistaken.

T: The flavor is mostly toasted malt and rye spicy, earthiness. There is some malt sweetness and a decent hops bitterness with the balance favoring the bitterness. There is a bit of dark fruit and cherry flavors in there as well. It finishes dry and crisp with some bitterness and spice in the finish.

M: It is a smooth and creamy, medium bodied beer with a medium-light level of carbonation.

O: This is a very tasty beer makes me understand why Reinheitsgebot forbid the use of rye in Germany. A very flavorful, spicy and crisp beer.

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Photo of hoptualBrew
4.32/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Badass bottle w/ a lumberjack smokin a pipe with bottled on date, abv, food pairings, and a brief breakdown of the contents inside. Great Divide does shit right.

Deep dark orange red color - murky as hell into a pint glass. Head is pretty vigorous and then settles down to a thin layer. Holy shit, are those legs on a lager?!?!? This is a first for me. Bready, caramel, roasted rye malts pair up with fruity & spicy yeast character. Seriously smells fucking amazing.

Same on the tongue - those bready rye malts with alot of spice, some pepper in back, but finishes smooth. Medium body, and one of the most complex lagers I have had. Aimed towards the Marzen style, right on.

6pak of this from Total Wine & More for $8.99.

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Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.32/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a mug- pours a clear, dark copper color, with minimal head, only a few spots of lacing.

Smell is sweet, malty and delicious. Lots of caramel, sweet barley malt, some yeast, perhaps a little rye.

Taste is excellent- full taste, lots of caramel, some nice rye notes, not any hops per se, but it's not too sweet so there must be some in there. Not much else to say.

Mouthfeel is great- medium body, low carbonation. This is a great marzen. One of the better american ones that I've had.

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Hoss Oktoberfest Lager from Great Divide Brewing Company
3.78 out of 5 based on 1,057 ratings.
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