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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 longdivision
4.3/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.
A - A really rich red amber/copper color. It does stand out in being a little dark than most lagers.
S - A very "signature" smell. I think it's the hops or yeast they use. Not being a big fan of hoppy stuff, I was fine with this, and even liked it.
M - Not too heavy on the tongue. Has some good bite of carbonation.
T - Really tasty. The balance of hops and malt is great. It seems at first you get the sharpness of the hops, but it smooths out nicely with malts after that.
D - I could enjoy a few of these easily. Very pleasant to drink.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.17/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap at Market Cross Pub and Brewery a few nights ago. Served cool in an Imperial pint glass.

A - A deep amber w/ mahogany shades w/ a full two fingers of off white head that settles quickly into a minimal lace pattern.

S - Nutty lactic odors of malt and yeast w/ a lightly spice hop aroma and buttery sweet nuances of German malts.

M - A blend of full carbonation and dry malty/toasted biscuity textures with subtle sweetness. A gentle bit of spice swirls into the dry finish.

T - A mildly smooth and sweet malty flavor that is crisp w/ a nice grainy fullness that has a creamy round element and a fair amount of twiggy hops in the mix. I like the subtle lactic yeasty aspect that nods to original fests - it has an aroma that is pungent w/ a mellower flavor. The taste is one of Victory's thta I have maintained a fondness for over the years and has stayed true to its origin.

D - A very drinkable Octoberfest/Marzen that is darker than most, but is more flavorful and overall very quaffable. It is a style that is for celebration and this one is fit for it. I am glad this is one of PA's best festbiers since I have been a fest fan since visiting Germany in '92, this one makes PA proud.

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Photo of number1bum
4.09/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of NEPA BC split #8.

Pours a beautiful orangeish amber color, nice clarity, a few bubbles and about a finger and a half of light beige head. Retention is not quite as good, as only a very thin lace is left and just a little stick.

The smell is a great representation of an oktoberfest, as it is full of caramel malt and some bready, toasted notes. Little bit of spicy hops, too.

The taste has a wonderful caramel malt sweetness to it, and a nicely subtle toasted flavor to complement it. The hops are slightly spicy with some floral flavor and a little bitter, too. There is also a fruity flavor here, sort of citrusy. Very flavorful.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a crisp carbonation, finishing somewhat dry. Very drinkable oktoberfest that I could have a number of in a sitting.

This is one of the two or three best oktoberfests I've had. Very good beer.

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.82/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This 12 oz'er (Enjoy by Feb2408) poured into one of many from our growing army of Widmer pint glasses. Kindly sent this week by my beer brothah, Metalmonk.

A: Another Oktoberfest, but this one is like super-copper. Glowing a perfectly fiery orange and completely clear. Typically moderate carbonation, loses a half point for its poor showing in the 'head' category.

S: Light, sugary nose with a bit of caramel and some traces of spiced fruit - just a little nutmeg or cinnamon sprinkled on an orange slice, that sort of thing...

T: Bready malt, not as sugary as perhaps expected. Undertone flavor of lightly earthy spice, the ground cinnamon stick/nutmeg variety. Hints of ripe fruit. Malts are caramel and hops are grassy/herbal and dry out the finish nicely. Also, a bit of that tin/sulfer 'lager' flavor in the finish.

M: Medium bodied with moderate crispy carbonation, generally smooth across the palate. A tingle of spice and slightpucker from the drying, bittering hops keep this clean, though some malty stickiness does cake on the lips a bit.

D: Nothing overly outstanding about this, but it's a solid choice for a seasonal fall lager. Taste and mouthfeel are both good and ABV is a modest 5.6%; boding well for choosing this as a session beer when the temperatures start to drop. Wouldn't hunt this down but would have it again. Thanks for sending, Jeff.

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

Poured a very nice clear amber color with about 1/2" of head that quickly diminished.
Very light lacing which didn't hang on very long
Nice taste but has just a bit too much hop after taste for me.
Good Oktoberfest beer but I like others like Summit, SA better

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Photo of kmo1030
4.07/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

clear brownish amber with a thin light tan head.
the aroma is malty with some sweet tosted caramel malts, a little bit of toffee, and some nuttiness. it seems o have some faint grassy herbal hops but not too much, just enough to detect.
the flavor brings more of the same with some bread crust and a slightly stronger toffee character. a little bit of a soft fruitiness develops towards the finish. the grassy herbal hops add a nice amount of balance to the package with a bitterness that is just a touch tin-y. sweet molasses pervades in a non in your face way.
mouth feel is a bit on the thin side, but makes sense, when combined with it's other attributes. crisp and cleans up nicely without being dry, very well crafted in that respect. drinkability was verygood, this is a quality sessionable beer that some thought was put into. somewhat mild and unassuming, but well worth a try. reminds me of an english bitter a little.

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Photo of PhageLab
3.35/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap @ The Tap House in Hampton.

A - Nearly clear light brown, produced a 1/4 inch head that stuck around for a few after being poured into a pint glass. Minimal lacing.

S - Like roasted almonds and something sweet, possibly vanilla bean.

T - Lightly toasted malt profile with hints of something sweet, again I'm picking up vanilla. Well balanced as nothing overpowers your senses.

M - Average, decent carbonation and a light crispy body.

D - All in all, nothing spectacular here, but a decent brew that everyone should at least try once. I could definitely have a few, and next season, I will try a few more.

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Photo of LeftyBWS
4.5/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. brown bottle into a mug. The label declares "enjoy by Dec 30 '07"
A: Copper-amber in color, clearish and bright. Roughly one inch of smooth off-white head comes with the pour, and it recedes quickly to leave a thin layer atop the beer.
S: I can practically smell this from a few feet away, and it's quite nice. Sweet malts and a subtle earthiness are most noticeable, and there's a crisp grassy scent underneath, as well. After letting the beer warm a bit, I get a slight deep fruit smell along with a more noticeable hop scent.
T: Sweet yet crisp up front. The sugars explore the mouth and give way to a more noticeably hoppy taste in the middle. The underlying caramel malts remain tasteable, but they're not quite as sweet. The finish is a continuation of these tastes, with the addition of a little smoky taste, although the lingering flavor is sweetish and malty.
M: Relatively light and perfectly refreshing. Hardly a hint of unnecessary bitterness or alcohol
D: Great, I could drink this all night.
Overall, a fantastic beer for this time of year, or anytime for that matter.

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Photo of williamherbert
4.17/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is a clear, glassy reddish orange. One finger of foamy cardboard-brown head. Totally see through.

Well-balanced sweetness in the light hops and mildly bitter German malt. Great combination! Smells fresh and flowery. Great aroma, like a fresh harvest ale.

Bitter German malt dominates the taste, but the sweetness of the yeast balances that. Hops are very delicate, but also add a lot. Very malty and autumnal. Slightly bitter ending.

Unusually smooth, nice body. A bit of Yuengling-like milkyness. Smooth feel perfectly offsets that bitterness. It's really delicious and easy to drink. A truly excellent fall brew. Drinkable but not thin.

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Photo of jmalex
3.55/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I didn't get to hang out too long at Capone's Victory promo night, so I'm at home having my own Victory Night with one of this year's GABF gold medal winners.

APPEARANCE: Pours into a shaker pint a very clear reddish amber. A decent head forms initially but settles into just a thin collar and small hazy patch.

SMELL: High on toasted malts, this beer is very aromatic. An odd sweetness jumps out making this seem sweeter than many other Märzens. A slight fruity alcohol burn seems out of place.

TASTE: Very toasty as in the aroma. Actually, everything in the aroma comes in some form in the taste. It's oddly fruity sweet to some small degree. Other than that, the flavors are all crisp and clean.

MOUTHFEEL: Thin body, maybe just a hair too thin. I definitely would have liked more carbonation though. Thin mouth plus low carb equals a bit watery.

DRINKABILITY: Very easy drinking and sessionable. It's perfect for Americans who wish they were at Oktoberfest. Yeah.

Not too bad. One of the better American-brewed Märzens that I've had this season. They really don't hold up to the German versions though. But kudos to Victory and their victory at the GABF. This one's for you!

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.6/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - light brownish red in color, with a quickly fizzing away light tan head, a few streams of carbonation filter to the top

S - a pedestrian marzen malt aroma, not to diminish from the distinct quality of brewing, just a typical aroma that can be expected

T - the taste has more bitters in it than i expected, a great hop/malt balance with some near berry-esque sweetness faintly in the background

M&D - a typical high quality marzen, not top tier, but well above average, the beer neatly fits into the niche it was seemingly brewed for, well done Victory

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.47/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up lately as the only Octoberfest that I've had this year, so far. I liked most of Victory's other beers that I've had, and even though this is a bit flat, it hasn't proven to be the exception to that. I'm not a huge Octoberfest/Marzen fan, but this is slowly growing on me and as much as this could use a kick of flavor, it's still nicely crafted.

The pour was uninspiring, as much as I hate to say that. This beer had a nice light mahogany hue to it, but there wasn't any lacing to be found and the head was about as thin as could be, and still be seen. The mouthfeel was that of caramel, some toffee, and some smoky ash and leaves flavor...much like that of the Flying Fish Octoberfish. This has a very heavy and slightly sticky taste to it, but it could a bit fuller. The aftertaste is a bit watery and weak, but the woody flavors tend to linger pretty nicely.

The 5.60% ABV can hardly be detected here, and unlike some other Octoberfests that I've had, this doesn't have much of a warming effect to it. All in all, this is a pretty average beer and a good way to start off the transition into the darker beers of this time of the year!

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Photo of BeerSox
2.97/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into nonic.

The only head on this beer was a really thin off white one that vanished to nothing. No lacing to speak of.

The aroma is more along the lines of what I expected. A bit of caramel and some brown sugar. Seems a little bland though.

The plainness is repeated in the flavor. The caramel and candy sugar is there like in the aroma, but it's not very robust. The flavor doesn't last long either. The finish is just a bit of biscuity grains. Lighter bodied with average carbonation. Seems a bit watery.

I was expecting a little better from Victory. This one seemed boring, to sum it up in one word. The flavors were there, they just weren't anything to be excited about. Not recommended.

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Photo of atsprings
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a crisp deep amber with almost no head. Aroma is some caramel malts, but somewhat weak. Taste is caramel, sweet malts, some dried fruits and a hint of hops. The beer is light to medium bodied and very crisp and refreshing. This is a decently enjoyable version of the style.

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Photo of blackie
3.57/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

a: Pours a scant head that recedes to practically nothing. Good medium-dark amber color.

s: Pretty standard pale German malts under a medium sweet leafy amber malt and a touch of skunk.

m: dull, low carbonation and medium-full body seems way out of balance and fails to carry the flavor and aroma well

t: Good earthy toffee and light German malts with a moderate sweetness and a hint of toast. Low hop presence with an unchecked aftertaste and lingering mouthfeel...needs a snappier ending.

d: not bad flavor but the mouthfeel and aftertaste hinder

best by Feb 24, 2008...single bottle from WF Raleigh

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Photo of Winter
2.51/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours amber with a thin, off-white head. The aroma seems slight skunked. If it's the hops, they're rather musky and not welcomed. Can't really detect any maltiness in the aroma. The mouthfeel is a little on the thin side. Festbier is a malty lager with a touch of hop bitterness. An ale fruitiness is introduced in the middle and lingers into and almost unnoticeable finish. Overall, I was not impressed by this example of an Oktoberfest.

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Photo of CortexBomb
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pour is classic Oktoberfest copper with a frothy white head on top. Smell is mainly caramel like malts, sweetness on the edge.

Flavour is similarly lightly malted, caramel tones, bread like aspects, light hop bitters on the back of the tongue throughout. A pleasant and somewhat more bready take on the style than usual, and one that pushes it up to a 4 for me.

The mouth is thin but with some hop presence, this is what one would expect for the style. Drinkability, not an issue, but again, this is also normal for this type of beer.

The bottom line: Oktoberfest is what it is, a lighter bodied, softly malty Fall quaffer. Of the major micros I've had in the style, this is one of the better examples. Ideally suited for a dimple style pint glass on a crisp Fall day with the window open.

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Photo of Kendo
4.05/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured into a pint glass. Body is clear coppery-brown with a 1-finger ivory head. Plenty of fine carbonation rising. Some lacing left behind on the way down.

S: Malty sweetness -- caramel malt and warm bread -- with a hint of nuttiness.

T: Caramel malt up front with a touch of brown sugar sweetness as well. Toasted grain or cereal is there too. At the back of the mouth there'sa slight bitterness that becomes more prominant as it warms. That bitterness coats the mouth and lingers, providing a nice counterbalance to the malty sweetness.

M: Seemed a bit lighter (or thin) in bodyweight than expected. Finished with a slightly spritzy feel to it.

D: Excellent. Highly quaffable. I could imagine myself at Oktoberfest in Germany downing mug after mug of this, all day long. It's flavorful enough to keep you interested but light enough to keep 'em coming.

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Photo of animal69
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

i was inspired to get this one by their other styles; pours a clear copper color w/ a very slight head which dissapates quickly, minimal lacing; not the strong malty aroma I expected, more fusels than anything; the taste was malty w/ notes of caramel a slightly "alcoholic" aftertaste & a little thin; again i'm getting that kinda "watered-down" feeling here, a light-med body w/ slight dextrins; not an unlikable brew at all, tho, i'd drink it again

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Photo of Abita45
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have had this beer from the tap and by bottle. Each time, it offers up a clear, clean copper color, little to no head, and a sweet, brown sugar aroma and maltiness. The taste is smooth, malty, and for a drinkable as I find this beer to be, the malt gives it some substance and there are enough hops to give it a little bite. Unlike many Octoberfests, where there is a roasted malt or dark molasses taste, this beer is on the sweeter side of this style, but it works well and makes for a well rounded autumn beer. This beer will appear to a broad spectrum of people because it bridges darker fall beers and amber lagers.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.72/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured out a really thin head, which evolved to a thin ring quickly. Color is an amber/copper that appropriately recalls the color of autumn.

Pleasing, earthy aroma, with plenty of caramel, breadiness, sweet spices. Also has that unmistakeable lager-y character: a little steely, a little corny, though hardly reminiscent of a macro.

Flavor nearly crosses over into Winter Warmer territory, with its sweet, dessert-like spices at the fore the sip. Maltiness come through in the form of caramel, while the finish is crisp, the mouthfeel slick and clean.

Nothing special, but certainly an enjoyable brew that does seem to hit the spot this time of year. Probably would've liked it more if it were "imperialized", ha!

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Photo of jkrich
4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle with enjoy by jan 13, 2008.

Poured into a stein revealing a reddish, clear copper with a quickly dissipating off-white head; no lacing on glass.

The smell is typical of the Oktoberfest style: rich, tangy malt odor.

The balance of hops and malt make this an easy-going festbier which is what you would want to have at a festival; very fresh tasting. There is a slight sweetness at the very end of the taste. The sweetness becomes a bit more prominent as the beer warms in the stein.

Moderate carbonation and medium bodied.

Certainly not the most complex of oktoberfest beers I have tried this year, but it is well worth seeking out for the season.

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Photo of arguemaniac
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Great caramel character, nicely toasted breadiness, and just the right level of malt sweetness balances will with a mild hop bite. Mouthfeel is decent and the toasted finish is fairly satisfying.

Not bad at all, Victory always manages to produce great interpretations of German brews, and this one is no exception.


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Photo of dgallina
3.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle dated best-before January 19th 2008.

Pours clear copper with a half-inch of tan head on top and sparse lacing on the sides. The aroma is nicely balanced between toasted caramel malts and grassy hops. Flavor is more malt-focused. Plenty of nutty and toasted bread malts with a bit of clean bitter hop in the finish. Medium body is both creamy and nicely carbonated. A little weak on the hops, but easy-drinking and pleasant for a malt-lover.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.72/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours copper with a relatively thin head and little lacing. Smell is malty and fruity, maybe cherries. Slight tang from the yeast on the finish. Taste is smooth with dry malt noticeable, but slightly watery. Earthybitterness in the middle and a spicy finish. Not bad, but a little disjointed. Mouthfeeel is spritzy and spicy. Smooth, but not creamy. Pretty easy to drink, but the whole package just doesn't make me shout.

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