Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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German Märzen / Oktoberfest
Ranked #60
Ranked #27,661
3.77 | pDev: 10.34%
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States
Very Good
Notes: Oaktoberfest is a true German Marzen bier brewed with premium imported Pilsner and Vienna malts and is spiced with Bavarian hop from the mother land. Light Amber in color, soft malty profile, full bodied lager beer. Fermented with the famous Bavarian Augustiner Lager yeast from Munich. We utilized German Hallertauer Traditions for both bittering and aroma additions adding a rich, noble hop presence to this beer.
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Reviews: 163 | Ratings: 789
Photo of biboergosum
3.99/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

16oz can - ok, I get the oak treatment, but what's with the standard 5% ABV? Aren't Oktoberfest/Marzens typically a bit stronger, what with the approaching cold weather, and all?

This beer pours a clear, bright medium copper amber colour, with four fingers of puffy, rocky, and bubbly ecru head, which leaves some defrosting windshield lace around the glass as it slowly but evenly sinks away.

It smells of lightly toasted bready and doughy caramel malt, a twinge of biscuity toffee, teeny mineral notes, and some edgy and spicy, leafy and grassy noble hoppiness. The taste is gritty and grainy caramel malt, a touch of free-range ashiness, some subtle red apple and generic citrus rind fruitiness, a hint of flinty hard water, and more testy and assertive leafy, weedy, and floral old-school hop bitters.

The carbonation is quite active in its probing and swirling frothiness, the body a decent middleweight, and mostly smooth, just a bit of that surprisingly zingy hoppiness taking a minor tithe here. It finishes off-dry, the big and brash malt doing well to reclaim its position at the table.

Overall, this comes across as a very well-made version of the style, nice and complex in its malt bill, and agreeably hoppy, all done, not so surprisingly, with ingredients from Der Vaterland. Oh, and yeah, it appears that the 'oak' in this one's moniker refers to the brewery's hometown, as translated from Spanish - no wood was thus harmed in the making of Oaktoberfest.

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Photo of dacrza1
3.64/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

DATE: September 11, 2016... OCCASION: celebrating the Browns' first loss of what will be a long season... GLASSWARE: Konig-Pilsener pilsner... pours from a 16 oz. can a glistening golden body that refracts light alluringly, while the clumpy, thick, pillowed head is cotton-white and clinging to the glass in complex lacing... lively, large bubbles actively rise throughout the drinking... Hallertau indeed presents a robust hop front to balance the caramel and dough that makes a Marzen so appealing... crisp, solid, medium-bodied, and dry at the finish, with little aftertaste... not much lacing down the grass... the caramel is appreciable, while bread malts make for something of a meal in itself... the hops offer some flower hints, lemony and subtly citric... but not a profile that establishes new ground or excels in its offering--some flat notes late also detract slightly from the scoring... overall, better than the Browns today, for sure, and I like the 16 oz. approach... not one of FW's finest, but can they all be?

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Photo of NotAlcoholicJustAHobby
4.06/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L- The beer is a beautiful clear amber with a towing 3 finger fluffy white head. The head recedes to a thin film. Lacing is moderate.
S-The nose is typical for a marzen. Spicy noble hops over a mildly sweet malt presence.
T- The beer is very well balanced with neither the hops nor the malt dominating, but blending into a very pleasant whole.
F- The carbonation is lightly prickly after the initial pour. The beer is fairly thin, but this combined with the balanced flavors make for a very drinkable beer.
O- I'm very impressed with this beer and I'll be buying more of this before the season is up.

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Photo of zeff80
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured out a clear, golden burgundy color with a small, off-white head of foam. It smelled floral with sweet caramel and toffee. Tasted of toasted caramel, toffee and sharp bitter bite.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Hits the glass in a bright, light amber color with a two finger head. Retention and lacing are both pretty good. The traditional, noble scent of the hallertauer is first to hit the nostrils, while the biscuity and lightly toasty malt scent comes next.

On the tongue, the flavors from the scent are in reverse order. Toasty, yet light and bready, malts hit the tongue first and set the tone for the beer. The hallertauers make an appearance next, with a light to medium hop bitterness that is mostly providing balance and a crispness at the end of the drink. Clean finish with the smallest bit of hops lingering. Smooth and very easy drinking, this one fits the style perfectly in terms of feel.

Overall, this is a pretty decent oktoberfest. It displays both the German malts and hops that make the style one of my annual favorites. Solid brew here.

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Photo of teromous
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From the bottom of the can: "CANNED ON 08/22/16 16:19"

Appearance: The body is medium gold with brilliant clarity. It has a wonderful deep golden color with bright gold edges. The head is fluffy and white. Decent head retention at first and moderate lacing.

Aroma: There is a slightly spicy noble hop aroma that is not too strong but it has a very good presence. There is a bit of a mineral scent to it as well.

Taste: It has a very nice sweet honey-like cereal flavor with just a touch of this herbal hop flavor at the end. Very good flavors in this.

Mouthfeel: It has good carbonation with a medium body and more bitterness than you will find in the average Oktoberfestbier. It is an easy beer to drink.

Overall: What I like best about this beer is that they didn't sacrifice any flavor for the sake of drinkability. It is a nice drinkable beer with plenty of flavor. I would drink this beer year-round. While the hop bitterness seems to be a bit higher than normal it works with the overall sweetness of the beer. I highly recommend it and I would drink it again.

On a side note I originally thought this was some kind of oak aged Oktoberfest. After reviewing the beer I discovered online that it is "inspired by our home town of Paso Robles (Pass of the Oaks)."

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.67/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear amber color. The head is a finger high and eggshell in shade - retention is utterly lousy, though. A little bit of lacing sticks to the glass.

Cripes, I'm not getting much of ANY sort of aroma. If I put on my thinking cap, touches of caramel show up, along with a gentle hint of noble hopping. That's about it. Despite the lack of offensive qualities (and even some sound ones beneath the nothingness), the pathetically timid nose is really turning me off. My glass is clean, so what gives?

Okay, the flavor profile seems to work a little better. It opens up with notes of caramel and toffee, while displaying touches of melanoidin (but this note isn't as rich as the best O-fests). Closing touches of noble hops balance it out moderately. There are no palpable oaky qualities, in case anyone who catches the name of the brew would be interested. All in all, though, this beer seems a bit bland - nor does it seem particularly cohesive, either. It just doesn't have the right congregation of notes to compare with the stalwarts of the style.

The mouthfeel is the best part of this offering. It features zippy carbonation, but also a fairly full body (especially considering it's smaller than a typical marzen). Despite the latter, it's dry enough to be easy drinking.

This is rather disappointing considering FW also made the incredible Pivo Pils. It really doesn't bring much to the table (the aroma, especially). Luckily, all of its problems stem from it being incredibly boring, rather than incredibly flawed. While that means I won't have much trouble killing the 4 pack I got, it also means I have literally zero intent of drinking any more than that.

2.67/5: Blahtoberfest

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Photo of gr0g
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 16oz can. Amber hue, topped with a nice, though kind of fizzy-looking head. Aroma features bready malt notes, a bit of caramel, faint floral hoppiness. Tastes like one would expect from a 5% ABV Vienna-style lager. Malt forward with a balancing bitterness. No oak character to speak of. A bit weak and pedestrian for a Marzen. Middle of the pack for the style.

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Photo of Wiffler27
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

pours gold with a solid head, tons of carbonation.

smell is bland, like sweet crackers.

taste is clean and crisp. very light for an Oktoberfest.

not a bad beer but far from any of my top Oktoberfests. very light and straight up lame aroma.

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Photo of dar482
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The beer comes in pale to deep amber, brilliant clarity.

The aroma offers wonderful complex malt, bread crust, slight honey,

The flavor follows with a medium sweetness, a bit of honey more breadiness and light toasty flavors, a bit of spicy and floral hops hits at the middle, the beer cleans off well at the finish. The mouthfeel is spot on medium, a bit creamy.

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Photo of ManapuaMan
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Canned 8/22 and enjoyed over Labor Day weekend. Straw gold, translucent pour that shows a good amount of carbonation. Puffy, light head rises up an inch then slowly melts away. Aroma of grain, cereal and faint spiciness. Taste is toasted grain, sweet malt, cereal, mild spiciness and faint floral notes from the hops. Finishes crisp and clean; very drinkable. Solid seasonal beer.

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Photo of dannycohen62
3.81/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from can into a willybecher

L - bright golden color, white foamy two-finger head
S - light floral notes, Pilsner malt, faint toffee and biscuit
T - noble hops jump out, bready with a touch of buttery sweetness at the finish
F - refreshing, perhaps not as smooth as other beers in the style due to the relatively high carbonation
O - delicious, lighter and hoppier than I normally lean towards for the style. I would have guessed Pilsner if I was tasting blind.

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Photo of stevoj
3.81/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Another great American Marzen style beer, although classified here as a Vienna. Pours out medium golden with lazy carbonation and a thin head. It gets better with a nice sweet malt aroma, and even more robust malty taste. Mouth feel is slick and slippery, lingering malt sweetness and a snap of hop bitterness at the very end. Prost!

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Photo of goochpunch
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a light copper orange body with a thin head. Smells of caramel and grain. Clean yeast aroma. Tastes grainy up front, later bready and malty honey. Faint toast and apricot. Moderate body with lively carbonation. This is tasty and solid but not up to par with German versions.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.06/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This pours a warming amber-tan.
Pleasant malty with a touch of citrus on it.
Finishes with a touch of sweetness. Bring on the oompah!

It’s all right by me.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.02/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

L- Golden amber color with a fluffy white head that dissapates quickly.
S- Awesome malty hop smell with that marzen bite.
T- A unique taste with the amount of hop in this octoberfest. The hop really bursts out in the end. The familiar German funk lingers as well. I also detect a slight citrus.
Feel-Very busy Octoberfest that draws away from smooth, yet exciting to the palate.
Overall- Very solid. I like a bit more carmel and malt in my octoberfest.

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Photo of smcolw
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Moderate head that settles to rim bubbles. Very few spots on the glass. The liquid is clear and dark gold.

Dross between caramel malt and light cream. Mild but attractive.

The beer is more bitter than the smell (and most Octoberfests for that matter) indicate. Less smooth and far more dry. I don't detect any buttery oak notes. The aftertaste is bitter. Good body/carbonation.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.35/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Firestone Walker Oaktoberfest has a thick, foamy, slighlty off-white head, a clear, bubbly, amber appearance, and sort of thin, splotchy lacing left on the glass. The aroma is of sweet, honey-like, bready malts, and the flavor is of that, with pleasant, straight-forward bitterness, bread crust, and biscuity yeast. Mouthfeel is light to medium, and Firestone Oaktoberfest finishes crisp, refreshing, and easy drinking.


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Photo of homebrew311
3.64/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a bright orange, nice and clear with thin white head which leaves tons of lacing. The nose has all of the familiar malty notes I would expect in an oktoberfest with the addition of of some toasted oak which adds a nice dimension. Some slightly sweet malty notes are present along with that bone dry lager yeast character. Taste is absent of any sweetness as all the malt is influenced strongly by the oak character. The oak lends a very dry notes to the toasted malt character. There is not a whole lot of character here although it is very easy to drink. Mouthfeel is light and highly carbonated. Overall, an interesting take on the style but a little lack in the flavor.

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Photo of Furlinator
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%

Pours translucent amber. The 1/2 inch white head fades to a thick cap and ring on top and leaves curtains of lace.

The smell is mostly toasted bread with a hint of caramel.

The taste is of sweet bread, a hint of honey and a faint citrus finish.

The texture is medium bodied with high carbonation. A steady stream of tiny bubbles rise up throughout the drink down.

Crisp, clean and refreshing. Tastes like a King's Hawaiian dinner roll. Very good.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

I like this octoberfest beer.....its lighter and crisper than some of the more maltier/sweeter versions. The beer was clear golden with thin head that is leaving a mild lace. The body is lighter than most but good carbonation. Overall very drinkable.

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Photo of Todd
4.31/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle. 08/05/14 09:51 bottling date.

Drops bright gold into the glass with a solid two-fingered creamy white head. Nose is wonderfully clean with soft malts, some breadiness, and a faint floral note. Crisp and refreshing with a firm body that creams up as the beer warms. Soft, bready, malty base with a lemony, bitter, hop smack that interrupts it with every sip. Citric, herbal, biscuity, and woody suggestions in the drying linger.

Some might consider this a bit on the hoppy side for the style, but that's expected (and most welcomed) from Firestone Walker's lagers. Delicious. Where's my Maßkrug?!

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Photo of arizcards
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Picked up a sixer from Total Wine back at the end of August for $7.99. Bottled on 7/17/14.

Beer poured orange with a nice white head that is hanging around.

Nose is malty and not much else.

Taste is crisp and clean with hints of honey in the malt base. Hopping is floral in nature and balances out the beer perfectly.

Mouthfeel is crisp and refreshing.

Overall a delicious brew that is true to the style.

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

I can't remember seeing this around MA before this year. Always welcome another Firestone Walker brew. It seems like they put great effort into everything they make.

A- Stubby 12oz poured to a tumbler glass with a clear, pale golden body. The head is white, thick and creamy and rises up to just over one finger. Good retention with lacing in thick webs at the top and tons of drizzle down the glass.

S- Seems mostly clean to me here with some notes of malts and hops. Cracked Pils and pale base grains with spicy, grassy Noble hops rounding that out.

T- Opens up here from a fairly faint aroma overall. The grains bring a slight toastiness but still mostly a base/Pils cracked malt feel. Slight fruitiness but the herbal, spicy Noble hops are in the forefront.

MF- Puffy and fairly creamy overall body that is somewhere between light and medium thickness, perhaps just a shade towards the latter. Carbonation moderately high and it finishes quite dry and bitter.

One of the most impressive things here for me is the cleanliness of the lager yeast in the aroma and flavor. It provides a nice base for the other things to shine but I don't think the malts are utilized enough here flavor-wise. Seems a bit too hoppy for a Marzen to me as well. A solid brew but doesn't hit some of the style's primary points.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.47/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Perfectly clear orange-tinged dark gold. Small white head is bubbly. Minimal retention leaves a faint bubbly cap and almost no collar. Lively, but not aggressive carbonation on the pour.

Smell: Bread. Caramel malts and caramlized sugars. A vague hint of oak barrel runs through the back giving it a woody, slightly earthy aroma. Hops are traditional. Slightly earthy with a distinctly grassy and very mildly spicy smell. Toasted bread. Super clean. Cereal grains. Slight husk. Very mild hints of citrus and almost fruit.

Taste: A bit of graham cracker right up front. Bready malts. Some caramel malt as well. Toasted. Oak adds a bit of wood and something that almost reminds me of vanilla. Earthy and grassy in good measure with a solid punch of cereal grains. Leafy hops. Super clean yeast. Vague notions of bitterness and flowers. Like the nose it's super clean. Mild spiciness that pushes closer to rye than hop. Some apple skin and mealy pear.

Mouthfeel: Crisp medium body with a moderate leaning to high carbonation. A touch dry on the finish.

Overall: Steins upon steins

Solid. Not exactly true to style, but a nice take nonetheless. Insanely drinkable and almost refreshing. Novel.

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Oaktoberfest from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 789 ratings