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 jmmy3
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of Dylanjf
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of Kelp
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%

Photo of Triglycerides
4.5/5  rDev +9%

Photo of SamBzkr
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of kaelingirl
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of Deingeist
4.53/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I like regular Marzens a lot, it is one of the most drinkable beer styles and it has such great malt character. Element has managed to mix this style with a more bitter Altbier style, hence "Altoberfest". I'd say they did a damn fine job of it too. It's definitely something of it's own. It reminds me of a beligian or a wee heavy in strength of flavor though less estery, but with the flavor profile of a clean well balanced German beer. None of the bubblegum flavor that makes me shy away from many Belgians. It has a set of its own flavors, read on:

A: Pours a deep red amber color, slightly cloudy from the lack of filtration, a fat fingers worth of rocky cream colored head that eventually turns into a thin layer with rings where the bubbles are surfacing. Strong lacing.

S: It smells like malt, vanilla, and caramel but backed by a refreshing hop scent. Pleasant. Not as complex as an IPA for example, but inviting.

T: Big toffee/caramel flavor, figgy flavor up front, giving way to a smooth grainy malty/nutty flavor, all cleaned up with that Altbier hop and ever so slightly bitter on the finish. Really well done. The alcohol doesn't play a big part in the taste, which is great.

M: Medium body, but for a Marzen style I'd say it was heavy. Very smooth. Goes down really easy. Again well balanced. Not sticky like some maltier beers, and not resiny like an Imperial IPA, it's right in between. So good.

Overall: I'd buy this beer next year if they put it out again. 17 bucks for a bottle in my area (I live on the North Shore of MA) but it's worth it. I shared the bottle with a friend, and he loved it too. I don't think I'll be sharing it next time though. It's definitely a once a year kinda beer, but I think I'd pick up another bottle next year and see if putting it in the cellar changes it at all for better or worse.

 1,839 characters

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 muskiesman
4.75/5  rDev +15%

Photo of mrcotter
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have tried most of the Marzen/Octoberfest type beers available in my area. My previous favorite was Harpoon's.

This Element Altoberfest is a Marzen with the flavor turned up to a 10. I found it to be comparable to some Belgian ales I have tried.

On first pour it created a thick head which subsided somewhat quickly.

The first taste I noted was orange. That subsided as I drank it.

The high ABV was apparent but it did not reduce my enjoyment of the beer.

It was very sweet and malty. No discernible hops at all.

The aroma was a little sour.

As others have noted, the carbonation was light.

I like this a lot and would recommend this beer to others with the caveat that it is $18 per bottle. It is worth a try.

 721 characters

Photo of ComRock12
4.5/5  rDev +9%

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.

 375 characters

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.

 262 characters

Photo of HP1975
5/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The color is copper with a deep red tint to it. It develops a nice eggshell-white head about a finger tall that, while not big or making a statement, actually lasts quite a while with nice lacing.

Maltier than it is hoppy, naturally, there is a very strong hop notel note to the bitterness that suggest a German hop varietal. A bit in the nose but more in the flavor, green grassy typical for a German hop. There's a touch of caramel as well, though it doesn't set the tone as it does in some. While Marzens shouldn't be massive beers, this ones strength does not distract from its overall intent.

The mouth feel is good with a uniform smoothness throughout riding off a steady malt finish.

 694 characters

Photo of beerwords
4.73/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy rich amber color with a two finger head. The retention is reduced to a thin sticky lacy around the glass. Very malty beginning till end, lots of toasted caramel grain and an earthy aroma. Rich complex malt flavor balances the vienna and munich mallt nicely, finish is slightly sweet with German hop in aftertaste. Thick malty mouthfeel, perhaps to much for the 'true' Octoberfest style but extremely enjoyable!

 423 characters

Photo of ComputerBeer
4.95/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a pretty dark copper color with a huge tight head. Some champagne like bubble trails.

The aroma is of caramel malts and German hops are pretty well balanced.

Some bitter with a lot of great Euro hop sweetness. I'm picking up a bit of herbal twang from the hops, which are more apparent on the tongue in the after taste. Impeccably balanced Oktoberfest brew. What I want in this style.

Bigger mouth on this one.. Thick very malty in mouth feel.

A very quality American beer that can hold up to any German Oktoberfest for the season. Will suit you just fine cold or warmed up a little. Opens up with some hand holding.

Serving type: 2012 bottle from Julio's

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Photo of jbertsch
4.53/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #174 of 530. Aged 1 year. (Bottled on August 2010).

Appeared a deep mahogany with a big, rocky, off-white head that lasts until the end. Very nice lacing.

Aroma: Nice fruit notes (apple, cranberry, plum) all sit along side a big, yeasty, caramel malt body.

Taste: Nice caramel malt is lined with bright notes of apple, cranberry, and plum, just like I noticed on the aroma. The finish brings to mind wheat bread with a touch of honey. It finishes dry with a bubbly mouthfeel.

Delicate, yet flavorful. I really enjoyed this one. I have yet to be disappointed with Element Brewing.

 593 characters

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.

 822 characters

Photo of PEIhop
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of Hopilator
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Popped a 750 ml of this beer, number 598 of 754, bottled on 8/2/11. Bright amber color, malty aroma, nice moderate head. Balanced malt flavor, toffee, caramel chewiness. Very limited hop aroma, appropriate bitterness. Light carbonation, little lacing. I can really appreciate this hybrid concoction, on a cool mid-October evening. Well done.

 341 characters

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.

 645 characters

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.

 407 characters

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.

 1,675 characters

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 steve8robin
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Found this bottle at a local beer store. I like this local brewery a lot. Probably one of my fave local breweries. Let's give their new brew a go. 750ml, Bottles on 08/18/10, bottle 122 of 530...

A: A nice super deep amber / brown color with a humongous 2 inch tan head that fades at a slow pace. Very good.

S: Smells like a good blend of hops and autumn malts. I get some cinnamon and some sweet caramel. A nice blend of scents here. I almost get like a nice oaky barrel scent too. Very good.

T: A very interesting blend of flavors here. I get some hoppy sharp taste upfront with some wheat and malty sugars on the backend. Very earthy and pure tasting, and also has a great taste of autumn. I like this one. I kind of get an apple flavor in there too. Good.

M: Medium body with a great carbonation feel. Very good.

D: Once you get past the interesting blend of flavors, this goes down good.

All in all, I love this brewery. They seem to brew their beers with uniqueness in mind. They take styles that others mold around a similar technique and add unique flavors to make the style their own. I'd say, try Element once with their most notable brew being Dark Matter or soon to be called Dark Element.

 1,207 characters

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