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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 woodychandler
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A group of local imbibers held the #PumpkinChallenge2016 recently, wrapping up on M, 03 Oktober 2016. I then proposed the #OktoberfestChallenge2016 & while I do not know how many participants there are, I am hitting it full bore. Today will be my New OktoBierFest Sunday (Week TBD) with an opportunity to do a horizontal tasting.

From the bottle: "Victory for Your Taste"; "Friendship and camaraderie. The two keys to any festive event. And then there's the beer. It should be full-bodied, yet infinitely smooth. Seductively malty, with a kiss of hops for balance. This is our Festbier. Painstakingly crafted from German malts, decoction brewed for full flavor and carefully aged for depth of character. Gather with your friends for a festive taste of Victory! [undersigned] Bill [Covaleski &] Ron [Barchet] The Brewmasters of Victory".

I often rail against bottles, but I take a sense of satisfaction in Pop!ping the cap on a bottle of Victory beer. I live ~ 40 miles west of Downingtown & I not only date back to the very early days at the brewery, but I know many of the early investors and I remain a thorn in Bill & Ron's side (especially Bill). Further, the central PA Victory rep, Megan (Moose) Moore resides here in Lancaster & she ensures that the wares on local shelves is consistently fresh. Mine reads: "Enjoy By: 11 Jan 2017 0756 P" so I would say that I am right in the sweet spot.

A Pop! of the cap, an aggro pour and I had two fingers of dense, foamy, tawny head with good retention. Color was Coppery-Brown (SRM = > 17, < 22) with NE-quality & deep amber highlights. The color was actually closer to 17 than to 22, but that is the range with which I work. Nose was really sweet, reminiscent of maple syrup! I had to get a little smarter about decoction brewing as a result of this unexpected sweetness. I think that there must have been some caramelization going on at some point. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, one of the bigger Marzen/Oktoberfests that I have encountered up to this point. The taste was sweet, but less sweet than the nose had led me to expect. Instead, it had almost a burnt caramel taste, malty, but not cloying with a light smokiness. It reminded me of candy production during Foods 3 in high school. I came to realize pretty quickly that I wanted to be a baker and not a confectioner since the production takes places at incredibly high temperatures and making caramel & toffee is incredibly labor intensive, plus you really have to watch the temps. I am not saying that this had a burnt flavor, but it had a smokiness that would indicate that it is time to get the pot off of the stove. Finish was semi-sweet with that lingering smoke-infused caramel flavor dominating well past the swallow. This represented a real departure in the style from anything that I had previously reviewed. I liked it if for no other reason than many American versions of the style have been cloyingly sweet & this showed restraint. If you liked my Goldilocks & The Three Bears analogy earlier, this would have been closer to Momma Bear's Oktoberfest. I will keep searching.

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Photo of schoolboy
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is an odd beer from Victory. I don't think I have had anything from them that tried as hard as this to be mediocre. It doesn't succeed, thankfully, but it also underwhelms.

It's a dirty light brown color, slightly red. The aroma is of malts and yeast. Pretty down to earth. Hops aren't really out front. The taste mimics this - malty, yeasty taste, and somewhat boozy tasting too.

The aftertaste is of a heavy burp. Its a good thing I did not have a heavy meal yet today. This is recommended for a different, heavy-ish taste and popular price.

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Photo of Czequershuus
4.22/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

This beer pours a deep brown-copper, very clear, with a solid brownish head. The aroma offers sweet biscuity malt, caramel, toffee, a woodsy bitterness, and baked fruits. The flavor features rich caramel with slightly roast malts, nutty qualities, solid bitterness, and a rich and toasty balance. The mouthfeel is thin, with low, bashful carbonation. Overall this has very nice complexity and balance, it is rich but with enough bitterness to counter - maybe not traditional, but enjoyable.

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Photo of Buck89
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Pilsner glass. Mildly hazy reddish-copper color with a thin off-white head. The foam left pretty quickly. The nose featured brown bread and toast. Some banana esters and a bit of cigar ash. The taste was very bready and toasty, with melanoiden (which I like). Some hop bitterness on the finish but no floral notes. Overall, it's pleasant but I prefer more Vienna presence.

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Photo of kculrich
3.74/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From a 12oz bottle, 'best by' Dec 19 16, served in a cervoise.

Pours a brilliant cranberry-copper colour with big bubbles and a creamy three-finger head. Retention is short-lived but leaves little islands of malty, yeasty scuz.

Nose is big, bready, fruity hops. Bananas, walnuts and cigar wrappers.

Tastes like drinking a sticky bun (I like sticky buns!), caramel, nuts and soft, overripe fruit. Finishes with damp, earthy grains.

Mouthfeel is soft, a little syrupy, light-to-medium bodied, slightly creamy and smooth.

Overall, a tasty enough beverage but, now that I've finished it, I've already started to forget it.

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Photo of AZBeerDude72
4.18/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pour is a dark amber with decent golden head. Lacing is good. Smells of malt and light hops, I was surprised that the smell was very light actually. Taste is very nice, smooth malt with a mix of some hops and light citrus in there. Had a very light feel to it, flavors are nice but the finish is very mild and goes fast. Overall a nice beer and a great afternoon beer outside.

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Photo of thebeers
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark bronze with a thick tan-tinted head. Malty aroma with a bit of a coffee impression. This continues to the taste: malt-forward with nutty, burnt caramel, low-quality coffee notes. Not real hops to speak of. Light to medium bodied. More char/burnt character than most Oktoberfests. It's okay.

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Photo of BB1313
3.43/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Enjoy by 1/2/17. 12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours amber with a subtle haze but has solid clarity; small off-white head that fades leaving solid retention and little lacing. Nice color. The aromas have lots of caramel malts and bread notes. Lots of caramel and toffee. The flavors seem to follow the nose. More caramel and toffee. Lots of grains. Very earthy. Subtle bitterness. Finishes clean. Alcohol goes unnoticed. Mouthfeel is great. It's light with very active carbonation. Fluffy and smooth. Very easy to drink.

This is a solid Oktoberfest. It might not be my favorite or the best, but it's not bad.

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Photo of Rimbimhoot
3.69/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Amber, perfectly transparent
S: Not much sticking out besides some toasty caramel malt
T: Huge toasty grains, light caramel, toffee, bready, some dark fruit
M: Medium and easy drinking
O: A good beer but there are others of the style that I will take over this

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Photo of dbl_delta
3.71/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Undated bottle into pint glass. Deep amber with an off-white head. Initial impression is nutty, bready maltiness. Mouthfeel and carbonation are both kind of middle of the road, which is fine for the style. Finish is smooth with a lingering bready aftertaste. It's OK but not particularly exciting.

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Photo of Wer34truh
4.17/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark amber color with a small but sturdy head.

Smells of sweet dessert-bread, with the malt really dominating. I get some subtle floral and herbal notes. This smells like a fairly conventional take on the style.

This drinks very smoothly, and while the taste is overall quite balanced, it is the sweet roasty chocolate aftertaste that really stands out. This isn't a chocolate stout or anything, but the chocolate really is quite prevalent rather than the more typical caramel.

After seeing how this looked, and the way it smelled, I was ready to shut up store and label this a solid yet sort of boring take on the style. In fact, this is more than that. The chocolate-feel is unique for the style and offers a fun twist. I haven't really had a beer from Victory that I loved up to this point - and feel quite comfortable saying that this, alongside Prima Pils, this is the brewery's best.

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Photo of q33jeff
2.9/5  rDev -22%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3

Weak aroma.Copper color. Small Creamy head.Light vegetable taste with some sweetness.a little flat. Also had on tap at Victory Brewing at Xfinity Live in Philadelphia before Seahawks - Eagles game. Go Hawks.


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Photo of Tone
3.21/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a clear, copper color. 2/3 inch head of an off-white color. Decent retention and poor lacing. Smells of strong caramel malt, pale malt, slight sweet malt, slight nut, hint of butterscotch, and a hint of hops. Fits the style of a Marzen / Oktoberfest. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, caramel malt, slight earthy malt, slight pale malt, hint of hops, and hint of yeast. Overall, a little too sweet and the nuts are an odd characteristic, but otherwise a decent Oktoberfest.

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Photo of rjd722
3.72/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a nice rusty amber with a one-finger foam head that dissipates quickly and doesn't leave any lacing. The aroma I picked up initially was nutty, malts, and raisins, a bread and caramel also prominent. Bread and caramel up front in the flavor, sweet malty bitterness on the finish. Mouthfeel is slight bitterness and a little metallic, medium carbonation.

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Photo of infinitebruner
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

October 27, 2015

12 oz bottle, nonic pint

A – Medium amber, the color caramel candy, with high clarity. Maybe a half-inch of off-white head, moderate retention. Bubbles cascade up for a while after the pour.

S – Caramel, cracker, suggestions of Pils and Vienna malts are prominent. Herbal hop aromas, roots and dirt, slightly spicy, and a hop bite can be found as well.

T – Caramel is prominent in the flavor profile, with a lot of sweetness from the malt, not at all cloying. Almost like light caramel ice cream. Cara-pils and Vienna-type malt. Hops are more subdued, a bit of herbal-spicy flavor, and moderate bitterness to support the malt sweetness.

M – Medium-bodied leaning towards the fuller side, with slightly above-moderate carbonation. Sweet up front, moderate bitterness in the back. Some dryness with no lingering impression after the finish.

O – Festbiers, Marzens, and Oktoberfests tend to run together, partly by design. They are supposed to be easy-drinking, non-confrontational beers. This one is a VERY good example, as it apparently has no flaws. Just very well made, and better than the sum of its parts.

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

This was poured into a mug (one of these days, I wouldn't mind getting a true stein for this style, think I'm gonna have to if I keep up with the oktoberfests). Anywho:
The appearance was a ruddy light brown color with a one finger white foamy head that dissipated pretty quickly. Lacing was light and sliding right on into the beer.
The smell started off with a light nutty/caramel/toffee. Some burnt breadiness rides the line underneath.
The taste was mainly sweet through the previously mentioned flavors. A light sweet bready aftertaste runs into the finish.
The mouthfeel was about light bodied with a crisp sweet sessionable feel to it. Carbonation felt good and light. Gets a tad syrupy.
Overall, decent take on an Oktoberfest by an American brewer, most likely ask for a Weihenstephaner one before this if found, but I don't mind this one.

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Photo of mactrail
2.87/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Coppery color is lovely, but somehow the carbonation seems to fail midway through the pour. Kind of a tea flavor with a wave of syrupy sweetness. Then, unfortunately , followed by a dirty, resiny hop flavor. It's not exactly a sour note, but the malt seems to turn earthy and dank.

I had hopes for another "Victory" having had some good Oktoberfest brews this season. This was my least favorite, maybe in a tie for last place with Leinenkugel’s anemic orange lager. I can't think of anything good to say about this and I still have five more to drink or dump. Enjoy by 26 Jan 2016 on the label, but I think it's past it's prime already. From the 12 oz bottle purchased at Liticker's in San Diego.

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Photo of Myotus
3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hard poured from a 12oz bottle (enjoy by date 27Dec15) into a beer mug.
LOOK: Pours with three finger's worth of khaki foam that dissipates into a quarter finger's worth after 2 minutes. Copper in color. Rising bubbles are small in size and moderate in quantity. Lacing is very subtle and thin.
SMELL: Strong aromas of campfire (yes, like a rauchbier) encounter mild aromas of caramel, oatmeal, and biscuity malts along with hints of floral and spicy hops.
TASTE: Mild flavors of campfire enter initially and are immediately followed by caramel flavors. Mild oatmeal and biscuity malts come in right after as caramel flavors grow slightly stronger. As all flavors persist, subtle spicy and floral hop flavors finish off this amazing display of a Märzen.
FEEL: Light-bodied and subtly carbonated. Goes down incredibly creamy and smooth. Finishes with a hint of dryness.
NOTE: Best one of its style that I have had so far. The rauchbier taste was a perfect addition to this style and was balanced well with the malt flavors.

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Photo of KWolf
3.54/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from tap, with nice autmn orange hue and little to no head, faint malt in nose. Solid malt backbone from start to finish, very slight grainy/ hop bitterness to keep from cloying. Nice example of style from Victory!.

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Photo of HBBJ
2.96/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

Appearance: Copper colored and clear. Effervescent carbonation like a soda. Minimal head which quickly disappeared. No lacing.

Smell: Strong grain smells - cereal, porridge, crackers. Some caramel notes and just a bit of smoke. Slight yeast and alcohol aromas.

Taste: Moderate malt and caramel taste, but it's overwhelmed with graininess. Hop flavor just enough to keep the sweetness in check, with a clean, bitter backbone. Moderate to long aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and creamy, with a bit of astringency.

Overall: The grainy aroma and taste ruined what might have been a nice Oktoberfest. Somewhat surprising considering Victory has always made solid brews in my experience. I'm wondering if there was an issue with their process this year. Perhaps their decoction mash got too hot, or they oversparged.

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Photo of James954
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: Clear dark amber, minimal lace, and sufficient carbonation
S: Sweet plum and raisin
T: The best Marzen yet for me. Sweet malts, light plum and raisin again. Aftertaste is slightly over powered.
F: The only Marzen i've had that's totally smooth and has no sharp bite finish or overly sugared

Overall: I prefer Wiesn over Marzen but this has the soft and smooth mouthfeel of a good Wiesn.

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Photo of Ryan4120
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Really strong malty, roasty characteristics. Smooth and easy to drink with a taste that matches is characteristics but treadss outside the realm of Oktoberfests in my opinion.

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Photo of goochpunch
3.61/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Deep orange, woody amber body. No head. Smells of toasty malts, caramel, wort, and very clean yeast. Up front there is heavy toast and caramel. Aftertaste has very solid bitterness and strong breadiness and maltiness. The toast takes a lot away from that. Mouthfeel is a little heavier than medium bodied, and the carbonation is very assertive on the tongue. Overall a good American example of an Oktoberfest, but not great. Too much toast for me.

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Photo of KonigObHops
3.81/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This beer poured a dark Amber color. The head was two finger-widths thick and off-white.

The aroma was malty with a strong dose of happiness that was a bit sweet.

The initial taste is a very mellow maltiness. The middle has an earthy hint to it, and it finishes with a slight hoppiness.

The mouthfeel was. Wry smooth and light.

Overall, I don't think this beer real matched the Oktoberfest style, but it was close enough to pass as a "fest beer". It was interesting, but not great.

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Photo of TH28
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. 12/13/15 code date. Appearance: light brown with reddish hue, clear, with light off white foam cap. Aroma: Bready and caramel maltiness. Light toast. Taste: Rich bready and caramel malt sweetness, light toast, and low hop bitterness Mouthfeel: medium to high body for the style, with a light carbonation. A little syrup like. Finish: Bready caramel sweetness lingers. Overall: A very malty sweet marzen with caramel as opposed to the more traditional toasted, bready versions. Closer to Sam Adams Ofest than tradional marzens.

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