Altoberfest | Element Brewing Company

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52 Ratings

Brewed by:
Element Brewing Company
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Märzen / Oktoberfest

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.35%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by rudzud on 09-22-2010

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Ratings: 52 |  Reviews: 23
Photo of jlindros
4.12/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light fizzy head over an auburn orange brown color.

Nose of sweet malts, toasty, brown malts, light hops, spicy hops and light grassy, light sweet syrupy nose.

Semi sweet taste, nice alt beer flavors, some spicy earthy hops, fairly bitter, light syrupy sweet flavors, a little gritty.

Mouth is medium bodied with light carbonation.

Overall decent, nothing special but a decent drinking Alt beer.

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Photo of smcolw
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"Bottled on 8/2/2011 436 of 754"

Plain brown bottle with white wrapping paper around it. Cork topped. Impressive thick, tight-bubbled head (three fingers thick) that recedes very slowly leaving plenty of chunky lace on the glass. The liquid is cloudy, but has a wonderful dark gold color and a touch of orange. One of the best looking Marzens I've ever seen.

Rich, fresh crystal malt aroma, like a true Marzen from Munich. Mild hop.

Far more hoppy than most, this is a peppery Oktoberfest beer (leaning toward my preference). The initial sip is malty with a dash of spritzy carbonation. Otherwise, this is rich for the style. The swallow would be closer to a pale ale and the aftertaste is nearer to an IPA, because the hop grows stronger.

Overall, this is an excellent beer even if it strays from the style slightly.

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Photo of rudzud
3.65/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had heard that Element Brewing was going to be releasing rather limited seasonal brews. I didnt realize just how limited, only 530 bottles brewed.

Each bottle comes wrapped in all that paper and an orange tag which reads "Element Altoberfest blends the assertive hop character of a classic ALT with the smooth malty qualities of an Octoberfest" as well as a bottled on date (8/18/10), hand numbered (mine was 250/530), and hand signed by owners Ben Anhalt, Tom Fields, and Dan Kramer. On the top of the tag is the most excellent phrase "Interval Ales are like virtual particles. They exist for a limited time and space". Anyways, enough with the backstory and on with the review.

A - Pour was a typical dark crystal clear copper with a fizzy two finger head that rapidly faded away to a light lacing along the rim, only to quickly disappear to nothing at all. There are quite a bit of carbonation bubbles throughout the body.

S - Roasty, sweet malts. Not picking up much in the way of typical hop aroma, which is fairly dissapointing.

T - More of the nose, a nice roasty toasty malt flavor washes over the tongue from the get go. On the back though...whats that?? Its the telltale bitterness from hops! Really nice finish to the malt start is this great assertive hop character.

M - Shokingly low carbonation considering the amount of bubbles in the glass. I know this is supposed to be smooth, and it is, but its really too smooth.

D - Its drinkable and nice, sure, but I would pass on this again. The taste is really the only aspect of this merger that has come through successfully. Failed on the nose and was confusing in the mouth. As someone who has been drinking and enjoying Element's offerings since they first began to bottle them I feel this one just isnt as good as the three mainstays, especially at the price I paid ($16.99/bottle). A nice experiment, but not a repeat venture for me.

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Photo of Kelp
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%

Photo of VelvetExtract
2.98/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.5

A-Mostly clear, darker orange color. Medium sized tan, foamy head. Relatively light lacing.

S-A bit of an acrid aroma. Slightly vegetal 'off' aroma. Besides that, I get a beefed up Marzen with lots of toasty and caramelly maltiness.

T-The flavor is worse than the aroma. It tastes almost tart in a very unpleasant manner. Vegetal hops. A fruity yeast and again some stronger, thick toast and caramel. There is just an undesirable element (no pun intended) to this brew.

M-Light heat. Not too sticky. Soft bubbles. Actually one of the better aspects of this beer.

O/D-A double Marzen sounds cool but this one does not deliver. Also, coming in at about $16.50 for a 750ml is no good either. Have not been impressed with Element.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.97/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle number #520, purchased somewhere in Massachusetts by my mum, who brought it back to Australia. Shared with @LaitueGonflable. It's an odd-sized bottle, 25oz, not quite the full three-quarter litre. Caged and corked, and only identified by its accompanying card: the bottle was entirely wrapped in paper. Anyway...

Pours a cloudy amber hue, with a big rocky head of yellowed-white that settles down into a firm crest. Minimal lacing, but the body is pleasantly solid. Very little visible carbonation: it looks as though it's worn itself out just getting that aerated head together in the first place.

Pleasant, slightly earthy hop characters on the nose, balanced with some pleasantly rounded malt notes. These are a bit flat, and not as expressive as they might have been, but they provide a broad sweetness at least. Faint estery tones add a little brightness and a touch of pear. It's all pretty nice stuff, perhaps just a little muted.

Taste is very nice: clean and nutty, with a pleasant sweet-savoury malt providing the bulk of the flavour. Faint, restrained bitterness gives some balance. There are soda tones to it, perhaps cola and a slightly savoury stonefruit note, almost gamey but sweet. There's a hint of a medicinal character on the back; perhaps as the cola character picks up more of the bitterness. Finish has some husky, earthy grain. It's all rather pleasant though.

Feel is very smooth, and very pleasant.

Overall, this is very drinkable and really nicely balanced even as the flavours bounce around off each other. There certainly is plenty of flavour in any case. I liked it a lot.

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Photo of PEIhop
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of ppoitras
4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle purchased at Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA. Cool informative paper wrap, corked and caged. Hangtag (with autographs) notes bottled on date of 8/18/10, and bottle #48/530.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/4" tan head over the slightly cloudy reddish copper brew. Head lasts pretty well, with sticky lacing. Aroma is malty sweet.

Taste begins with rich grain husks flavor, light fruitiness in the middle, and a rounded bitterness to close. Light warmth lingers after the swallow. Mouthfeel is soft and smooth, with excellent drinkability. For me, this is autumn in a bottle, great stuff.

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Photo of DrJay
3.95/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Corked and caged 750, #140 of 530. Wrapped in paper with tag indicating bottling date of 8/18/2010.
Mostly clear, deep coppery reddish colour with a yellow/beige cap. Tons of clumpy lacing, decent head retention. Malty aroma, toasted and bready, light fruitiness, bit of apple and light grassiness. Medium bitterness, more toasted malt and grassy hops, light caramel, apples. Bitterness really took over in the finish, giving it a sharp edge. Quite dry, lots of airy carbonation, medium to light bodied, a bit of spicy alcohol and warmth. Overall I liked it. There are some slightly odd flavour combinations, but everything held together nicely.

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Photo of GraduatedCashew
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%

Photo of Dope
4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 046 of 1329. Bottled on July 20th, 2012.

A: Pours a deep orange-red. Huge fluffy tan head. Specks of fluffy lacing left behind. Which is more than most element beers, at least. Decent retention.

S: Has a nice toasty aroma and nutty aroma, similar to a lot of brown ales. Some toffee and brown sugar to boot. Mild hoppiness, mostly herbal or grassy I would say.

T: Hops are a lot more prominent here. Grassy and herbal up front. Lots of toasted bread and caramel melds with it nicely. Sweetness fades a bit and the toasted bread gets a little bitter, borderline burnt. Grainy with touches of nuts. Finishes with more herbal, grassy hops.

M: Medium bodied, smooth and a bit grainy.

O: A really intriguing marzen for sure. Much stronger than any I've ever had. This basically craps on any other marzen I've had. Quite complex, nice hoppiness (but not overpowering, don't mistake it for an IPA or anything). Sharp, strong flavors that meld together nicely. Obviously not quite as drinkable at 8.35% but it's still plenty smooth.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.12/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from caged bottle onto pint. Pours a deep amber with nice foamy off white head. Nice toasted boozey malt and dried fruit aromas. Really sweet malted booze. Some slight apple and peppery notes with a chocolate aftertaste. Really dry and boozey but easy to drink for the abv. Spectacular marzen/october. Really wish this was available in smaller and less pricey bottles.

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Photo of Prost76
3.5/5  rDev -15.3%

Photo of laituegonflable
3.47/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown red, scorched earth colour. Bit cloudy. Head is beige, small bubbles but retaining well. Looks pretty nice.

Smells malty; fairly English base but light fruity hops. Somewhat citric, touch of sherbet falls short of piney. Pretty light, nice base though.

Taste is a bit more hoppy. Still very English-seeming malt base, hint of toffee with lightly toasted cereal grain, then some resiny, slightly spicy hops. Dry and peppery with a touch of lemon pith. Falls disappointingly short as there's a potency in the midway that you would expect to last. Dry, bitter, quite malty. Pleasant enough.

Decent body, quite bitty at the back. Silty, even.

Nice sessionable brew. Decent balance.

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Photo of ncelauro
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of muskiesman
4.75/5  rDev +15%

Photo of hopley
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of rorjets
3.93/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of SkiBum22
4.5/5  rDev +9%

Photo of DIM
4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to the Sweidlers for bringing this back for me. Number deucedeucedeuce, sweet.

a: This was a clear, ruby tinted chestnut brown. it poured with a thick, sticky, long lasting head.

s: Leafy hops aromas are surprisingly strong. I also found sweet bread and, more faintly, grape juice and apples. Clean overall with absolutely no trace of the 8.3% abv (according to their website). Very enticing.

t: Starts off lightly sweet with bready malts, a little toffee, and hints of grape juice. A leafy hop tingle asserts itself towards the middle becoming pretty potent by the finish. They did a great job of completely masking the alcohol.

m: Rich, creamy carbonation and a lighter body that fits the style, but belies the higher abv.

d: Probably the hoppiest fest I've tried. I really enjoyed this guys, thank you very much.

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Photo of richkrull
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of pisano
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%

Photo of kaelingirl
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of connecticutpoet
4.72/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle number 59 of 530. Corked, caged, and had a hell of a time getting the frigging thing open. It took me at least three or four minutes. Tightest cork I've ever had.

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Body is a deep reddish amber, almost full red. Quite hazy as well. They warn you about pouring gently, but I like the yeast stirred up. One finger head that lasted a little while, but now has mostly died.

Aroma starts with nice grassy hops, clean and slightly sweet. There's a little bit of light fruits in there, with toasted malt underneath. This is a complex and layered profile.

Taste is very interesting. Hoppy at first, with some sweetness that tends toward brown sugar. The middle is like well done toast, with a touch of tannins. Finally it faded into a long, lightly roasted bitterness. Quite nice. I've never included this in a beer review before, but as we all do, after several sips, the carbonation must be "released". When I did so, I got a blast of pure floral hops with a lot of sweetness. All I can say is wow. I didn't see that coming.

Mouthfeel is better than any I've had in a märzen before. It was full, rich, and a little chewy, and the hops gave it a nice dryness and a little astringency. Carbonation was very good, well carbonated but restrained.

Drinkability is wonderful. I've been away from beer for a month or so, after having started Weight Watchers, and after figuring out how I can fit it into my plan the first one I had was a bit of a letdown. This one has totally blown me away.

I recently had all three of Element's regular beers at a fest at Julio's, and loved them all. This limited edition beer is top of the line as well.

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Photo of Amalak
4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A. Deep red color and extremely bubbly. Big, rich orange foamy head. Semi see through.
S. Has a bit of a sour scent.
T. Very sweet. Has a lemony taste. Nice pumpkin taste. Malty.
M. Very carbonated. A bit sour aftertaste.
O. Very flavorful, but a bit saison-ish.

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Altoberfest from Element Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.13 out of 5 with 52 ratings