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Festbier | Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown

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783 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Märzen / Oktoberfest

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-12-2002

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Reviews: 783 | Ratings: 1,935
Photo of DirtyPenny
3.35/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into my New England Patriots pint glass while watching the surprisingly good Colts/Steelers game. Curtis Painter is not a real quarterback.

A: Poured with 1/2-finger of off-white head that imploded faster than the Vikings in the second half of any game this year. Festbier is an amber/honey color, as pleasing to look at as a football, thought somewhat lighter.

S: A whiff of piney/citrusy hops surprises the nose, much like the Buffalo Bills surprised the Pats today. Seriously, I expected a marzen to have a maltier nose (not a complaint), but it takes time to warm up and the real spirit of it to come through, much like Ryan Fitzpatrick.

T: Earthy caramel malts with a ghost of a fungus-like aftertaste. Cereal grain finish where I would have expected the hops. Curious what happened to the bit of hoppiness that was in the nose (and that the bottle promised). It was conspicuously absent, like the Steelers running game tonight.

M: Medium bodied. Carbonation was light but this brew was still a bit foamier and and rougher than expected. It's not anywhere near the chewiness of the turf Jay Cutler is constantly picking out of his teeth, but still.

O: Festbier is not a bad seasonal brew, but much like the Chiefs, I do not associate fall with Victory.

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Photo of mjohn27603
3.45/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours orangish out of the bottle. Thin white layer forms on top, less than one finger head. Smell is malty with some spices mixed in. Taste is a little bitter with a stale taste. Not as malty as other Oktoberfests. Mouthfeel is a little thin and watery. Not one of Victory's better offerings.

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Photo of Scrapss
4/5  rDev +7.5%

Poured from the bottle into a ghandi-bot tulip.

A: Beautiful dark orange with compact head that dissipates into a very thin ring.

S: Malty, big caramel malts. Beautiful. Yeast and hops are mild and very much in the background.

T: Follows nose and is perfect velvety creamy and very slightly slick on the palate. Roasted honey sweet like notes and some of the hops present as tea-like.

M: creamy, medium full end of the spectrum. finishes with that tea-like note and then goes creamy and sweet but never cloying.

O: very nice and perfect for fall.

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Photo of amphion1065
3.47/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On-tap at Russell House Tavern, served in a pint glass.

Pour is a deep copper, golden orange - seasonally appropriate, at the very least. A one-finger white head last for a while, though there's minimal lacing.

A lot more spice than I was expecting in the aroma. Herbal, with a lingering scent of pepper. There's also some sweet, biscuit malt that reminds me of caramel. Not a huge departure from the style, but interesting.

The taste is very bready, with the malt shining through. Sweet, with the caramel from the nose playing a big role. There's also a pretty noticeable bitterness, and a slight astringency in the finish.

A little overcarbonated, could be toned down a notch. As it stands, the feel is a little distracting.

Unremarkable for the style. There are too many equivalently-priced alternatives to make me return to this one.

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Photo of schwaeh
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a fairly transparent orange-amber color. Fluffy 2 finger white head fades slowly into a little cap. Light carbonation.

S: Caramel, toasty grains, and some doughy biscuit make up the aroma. A light dose of hops is present. Smells slightly sugary with some real nice fall scents.

T: The caramel and brown sugar start things off with some darker sugary flavors. The toasted biscuity malts follow along providing foundation for things. I got some vanilla and toasted nuts in there somewhere. Hops are barely detectable on the finish but help give that crispness at the end.

M: Somewhere between thin and medium but the creamy carbonation and richness help it feel bigger than it is.

O: Another great beer from Victory. Not my absolute favorite marzen but one I'm happy to have around when things are cooling off. I'm sure to buy some more of this.

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Photo of dmarch
4.35/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Copper in color with a thin white head that leaves a nice lace. Malty aroma with just a hint of hops. Taste is on the sweet side with a caramel flavor. It's easy drinkability makes it an excellent session beer. Another solid beer from victory. One of the better oktoberfests I've had.

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Photo of Rennpferd
3.59/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It poured pale yellow, it had a golden hue. It had a two finger head. It was very active.

It had a well balanced scent of malt, and floral hops.

It had a good malt, and hop flavor. It had an astringent off flavored finished. It was medium bodied.

It is a drinkable beer. If it did not have that off finish, it would be much better.

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Photo of drcarver
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - nice deep amber color with a one finger off-white head. Clear body, no head retention, and little lacing.

S - malts are in the forefront. Sweet toffee smell but cleans out with a bit of floral hoppiness.

T - malts are assertive, but do not overwhelm the palate. Medium bodied that fills the mouth. It feels as though it will coat the tongue but it finishes clean with a bit of a sweet malt aftertaste

D - Nice beer and could easily have this one with some brats and krat sitting in a parking lot waiting for the game to start.

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Photo of edskirk3
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bottle from a case I bought last week. The "Enjoy By" date is 12.30.07. This is fresh beer.

Pours into the glass a lovely amber hue with a creamy sort-of-white head. Nice aroma of whole-grain bread accented with subtle hops. Simple yet fragrant.

Nothing complicated in the taste either. Slightly tart from toasted grains, and if I may quote the label, "a kiss of the hops for balance." Notes of caramel are also present. Rich, doughy mouthfeel. And very, very smooth. Maybe a bit too strong to drink more than a few.

Not much going on here, and yet it's fantastic. I feel nourished. I think I could have this for breakfast. You know, in an emergency. Don't say you never thought of it!

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Photo of bmills1608
4.07/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Easy, smooth, clean and quick. - That's the short review

Poured a sizable head that started to dissipate right away. Crystal-clear copper with a touch of orange. Nose - a bit of spice, malt and caramel, very fresh nose.

Taste is somewhat light, fresh and quick, basically sweet caramel-malt with a touch of very light hop bitterness to balance. Very clean soft mouthfeel, fades fast. A real good session beer.

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Photo of Alkey
4.15/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle fresh date Feb 24, 07. Poured a reddish brown color with very little head. Not much in the smell department but a bit of malt. Taste of bready malts with a slight hop bitterness .Very drinkable I could easily drink a few of these. One of the best October-fest I've tried this year and will look forward to it in the next year.

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Photo of MNJR
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a chilled mug. Head pops up then dies completely. Thin lacing, but as I say the head deteriorates almost immediately. Garnet color and very clear. Smells of vanilla and a hint of bitter orange. Very creamy mouthfeel, smooth as silk going down. Flavors of toasty malt, nice orange, spicy, hoppy citrus, with a slight metallic wash that pierces through in the finish. Refreshing, somewhat spiky carbonation. Nothing bad to say about this beer. Very drinkable, noticeably less malty than other Octoberfest brews, which is a nice change. This is a brewery that knows what it is doing, producing consistently good beer, and this Festbier is no exception. You'll want more than one of these.

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Photo of JasonA
3/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

average ... thats what I got from this beer.

Pours a dark copper with little to no head. Almost a translucent carmel.

I dont get much from the smell. Some sweetness and a little spice. Not much there.

A little biting, may be due to the alcohol content. Tastes like the smell. Not a whole lot there. Wish there was more to talk about. Some sweet, no real hops. Little malty with some spice finish.

Average. Carbonation and bite may be a little more than desirable.

Overall I would rather move forward from this beer than drink it again. Not bad, simply not something worth coming back to.

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Photo of weller1js
4.37/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: pours a clear, vibrant orange with light carbonation, little foam and no lacing.

smell: well-balance with a rich harvest malt scent, a light hop aroma is present as well.

taste: starting surprisingly and unexpectedly clean, the maltiness presents itself late in the finish, with a very light, yet pleasing hoppy-maple undertone complemented by a just as pleasing harvest earthiness, finishing with a spicy-bitter sensation.

mouthfeel: I typically don't make the effort to critically review in the mouthfeel category, but it is worth noting that while the appearance lacked in significant carbonation, the spicy-bitter sensation serves to give the impression of carbonation, very surprising.

drinkability: was pleasantly surprised with this one, it has everything to expect in the Märzen style, and the progression of the experience is spot-on. If they could make this with a slightly higher abv and maintain the same consistency, it would have put it over the top.

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Photo of kaufmaal
3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This one pours a nice deep orange color with some ruby-red/pink grapefruit highlights. Starch-white head that collapses to a thin layer. Not overly malty on the nose; some yeasty bread, honey, nuts, candied fruit, a little funk. The initial taste is sweet vanilla followed by tangy fruit (some citrus), pine, minerals, and hops. And the hops linger. For me, a bit too hoppy (and too carbonated) for an Oktoberfest, but Victory being Victory, I guess we should have expected more hops than less.

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Photo of the42ndtourist
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A golden copper colour - amber, if you will. Little head, and not much lacing either, still it seems to suit the beer. Everything about this brew is smooth - smooth but unobtrusive maltiness, an ever so slight bitter finish, a smooth aftertaste that loses all bitterness. Very drinkable.

This went perfectly with the meatless burger (surprisingly tasty) that I shared it with. They complemented each other very well.

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Photo of andjusticeforale
4.07/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This looked and smelled like an Oktoberfest, with a caramel swirls and a sturdy malt backbone, in fact, upon first taste I was surprised that it wasn't a stronger beer. There is no %alc on the label. The taste is nice and malty without being sweet or minerally, it has a victory water taste to it, a smoothness. The finish is nicely carbonated. This beer was a great find because it acheived moderate depth without the overuse of hops in the mix. There was balance but not to extremes.

All in all a terrifically drinkable festbier. Prost!

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Photo of SwillBilly
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Forgot I had this in the back of the fridge from the fall. Glad I had another one.

Appearance: Pours copper in color and crystal clear. Head is very minimal and fades very quickly to the faintest wisps of lacing topping the beer. Lacing on the glass is minimal.

Smell: Nice and malty with hints of caramel, brown sugar, with a bit of a bread or biscuit like quality as well.

Taste: Starts nice and malty with the crystal malt showing a nice caramel like sweetness along with hints of brown sugar and possibly raisins. Festbier finishes with a very nice, light bitterness as the hops make an appearance. A nice finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium in the mouth with decent carbonation. Somewhat slick.

Drinkability/Notes. Glad I found this guy in the back of my DBF, just what I was looking for to offset all of the big winter beers I've accumlated. A nice malty beer with plenty of caramel malt giving the beer its sweetness that also finishes with a nice hoppy twang that lingers long on the tongue after the swallow. Super drinkable and one the would make a good session beer if so inclined. Definitley recommended and will buy again next fall.

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Photo of sraimondi
4.25/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An interesting take on a Marzen. Auburn colored brew, a bit darker than traditional German O'Fest. Aroma is bready, but with just a hint of hops. The taste is very good, bread and malt conquer the hops on this one for sure. Nice mouthfeel, fullish. Drinkability is good. This one rivals the best USA O'Fests; not quite as balanced as this year's Brooklyn O'Fest though. I'm glad I can get this one in Ct, although the supply was very limited.

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Photo of Czarkazm
3.67/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Not a big fan of these styles but this one was a little bit more complex and enjoyable than most of the others I've tried (mostly macro offerings). Poured an ice tea colored body with a thin off white head that disappears completely. A lot of toasted malts on this one, creating aromas of sweet bread and granola, assorted nuts, toffee, dark caramel, and faint earthy hops. Easy drinking and sessionable with light/medium mouth feel. The taste is a lot of the same, sweet toasted malts with a woodiness, toffee; pleasantly malty without being too overpowering. A clean example of the style with increased complexity and flavor.

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Photo of GnomeKing
2.85/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I'm surprised how thick and heavy this is. The moutfeel is surprisingly creamy, and the beer goes down heavy. This is not what I wanted out of a marzen. The taste is grainy, with a little hops and a little maltiness. There's not much to say. It goes down hard, but the taste isn't complex enough or stron enough to explain why it goes down that way. Eh, Oktoberfest only comes once a year.

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Photo of pvsob
3.74/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Bright, clear copper color with a half-inch head that seems to disappear almost instantly. Leaves little to no lacing.

S- Roasted malt, burnt bread crust, toffee, faint smoke, musty earth, and just a touch of hops.

T- All malt, with very little sweetness. Some soapy flavor comes through in the finish. Finishes dry with some nice hop bitterness.

M- Medium texture with above average carbonation. The level of carbonation keeps the usually sweetness of this style in check and allows the malts to really shine through.

D/O- A well done interpretation by Victory. Nice malt characteristics and a balanced sweetness. This is one of my favorite American takes on a German Märzen. Recommended. Cheers.

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Photo of racer2k
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass

A: Dark translucent amber color with a tan colored head. Very little lacing on the glass after the pour.

S: Sweet malt profile with caramel, corn and grains with a slight hop smell.

T: Sweet malt with a fruit and nut background. There is a presence of grains and earthy tones in the taste. This is a chewy and bready beer.

M: Moderate carbonation with a malty sweet backbone. There is a moderate body to this beer

D: Good fall session beer in the spirit of Octoberfest.

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Photo of dmfrench
3.29/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A sweet, hoppy, spicy Oktoberfest that is somehow off.


A: Light, fairly clear amber/orange body with a somewhat persistent one finger off-white head. Not much lacing.

S: Spice is the first thing that jumps out at you, followed by caramel and pilsner malt. There's also a certain earthiness. An acceptable smell, but not my favorite Oktoberfest nose.

T: Similar to the nose, but floral hops are much more prominent. Really, this beer has a lot to offer flavor wise... a solid pilsner-ish malt foundation, sweetness, bitter and floral hops, and spice, but somehow I'm not enjoying it too much. Perhaps it's the slightly metallic taste that I'm also getting. Perhaps it's because Oktoberfest is not a favorite style of mine. Perhaps it's because it's stale (I'm drinking this in December). Regardless, I probably won't drink it again, but fans of the style should try one.

M: Typical slightly chalky medium weight Oktoberfest.

D: Would be quite high if it weren't for the metallic finish I"m experiencing.

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Photo of happy4hoppybeer
4.88/5  rDev +31.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Having had nothing but pumpkin ales for the last two weeks, I tired of that and decided to get back to the fall classic: Oktoberfest-Marzen. For good lager-type brew, can't do better. Saw this in the store and picked it up, as I love Victory Brewing and surprisingly haven't had it yet.

Freshness date is: enjoy by Jan 29 '12

Here goes:

Pours a beautiful shiny orange/copper-amber with a solid thick and bubbly white head. Nice retention. Thin lacing that sticks for a reasonable while.

Aromatic notes of sweetness, caramel-like barley, bread and dryness.

Toasted barley, and sweetness all around wave on the tongue,followed by a slight hint of faint hop twang, and finishes nice and dry. Medium body, with very minimal carbonation,allowing the barley sweetness and other characteristics to come through easily.

I really like this one. As good as any authentic made-in-Germany Marzen. And a lot better than some.

Victory scores another home-run with this one, but then again, when do they not?

Four Stars(out of four)

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Festbier from Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown
3.72 out of 5 based on 1,935 ratings.
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