Holsten Festbock | Hanseatische Getränke-Industrie (HGI) Holsten-Brauerei AG

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Holsten FestbockHolsten Festbock

Brewed by:
Hanseatische Getränke-Industrie (HGI) Holsten-Brauerei AG

Style: Bock

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by canadianbarman on 07-29-2002

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Reviews: 76 | Ratings: 123
Photo of the42ndtourist
4.39/5  rDev +32.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An impressive brew. not sure if I got the right style. It's a strong dark german ale. Not too heavy or thick, with a strong nutty taste The alcohol content, though high, was well masked and I was actually quite surprised when I noticed it on the can. The drinkability I had to downgrade because of the morning after, to rub that in I had 24 hour train ride. I quite liked the taste however, and if the circumstances of my first experience were better, I would be sure to make this a regular of mine.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.32/5  rDev +30.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I CAN't believe how many CANned beers are available for my consumption! I am almost ready to renounce bottles altogether in favor of CANs.

My pour got me a finger of light-tan head with decent retention. The color was a deep, dark, cola-colored brown with little light penetration. The nose had a caramel/licorice scent. The mouthfeel was medium with a lot of anise and chocolate on the tongue. The finish had a sweetish/chocolate-smoky quality. Yum!

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Photo of korguy123
4.2/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tallboy can into snifter

A- Pours like thin maple syrup. Two finger white head that stays for a couple minutes. Lacing is decent.

S- Toasted malts, brown sugar, caramel.

T- Brown sugar, caramel, sour dough bread.

M- Smooth, just enough carbonation.

Overall great beer. Saw the thread on beer brats and decided to make my own. Half this can is in the pan as we speak.

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Photo of toomanyideas
4.1/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"Holsten Festbock" stands as one of my favorites in the local liquor store. It has a nice dark color, an excellent creamy head and a very smooth taste. I am surprised at the low price of this brand. Overall it feels like a beer that you would be served in a nice pub to accompany your meal. I have chosen on almost every occasion to drink this brand.

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Photo of Derek
4.03/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Altbier? Is it fermented with Ale yeast? Aren't Bock's a type of lager?

I'd say this beer was closer to a double bock or a classic Octoberfest Marzen (higher gravity & alcohol than most current Octoberfest versions).

This has become my winter beer. It is full bodied & full flavoured. It is a very malty beverage, with just enough bitterness to remove any cloying sweetness. It is a little darker, and not as sweet as a Salvator.

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Photo of Mandrake
3.88/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown with nice ruby highlights and a one finger dark tan head that dissipates fairly slowly and leaves little lacing. Smells unremarkable, some hoppiness overlying a malty background. Taste, however, is a whole different ballgame. Chocolate and licorice dominate, with burnt malts and caramel coming through as well before a bitter finish with more chocolate and some hops. Mouthfeel is thick and rewarding, but a bit syrupy, and drinkability is very nice. Surprisingly good, given the very reasonable price.

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Photo of 49degrees
3.88/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Holsten's Festbock is an exceptionally enjoyable, easy drinking beer that dishes up enough kick taste wise, aroma wise, style wise, and alcohol wise to really be considered a nice general drinking beer. But its high alcohol content (7%) does seep through in the taste which was a bit of a downer. However, if you're drinking a few brews a day, its tough to justify paying $5-10 a bottle for the great stuff, but Holsten's Festbock (obtainable locally for a mere $2.10CDN (that's $1.37USD) for a traditional 500ml can, this is not only enjoyable, its incredibly affordable.

Packaged similarly to that of their Maibock and Premium (Lager), I've made the mistake on more than one occasion of picking up the Maibock (which is considerably lighter) when I really wanted the Festbock. Nonetheless, both are enjoyable, but the Festbock is clearly the frontrunner in their lineup.

Pours surprisingly clean and crisp for a bock styled beer, with condersiderable thick frothy white head which disapates to a rather flat shallow surface murkiness., Thankfully, this one still delivers excellent (longterm) glass lacing. Exceptionally dark, hints of amber can be seen when raising your glass to a bright light.

Taste wise, Festbock presents a very nice blend of caramel, chocolate and coffee tones, with a nice blend of malts and hops to make this more than just a little enjoyable. As mentioned earlier, there is a slight hint of the alcohol coming through, but the above characterists help to gloss over that minor drawback.

I'm a fan of the bock concept with the Doppelbocks (Aventinus and Celebrator) clearly leading the ways in my book, but with the price of those at 2-4 times higher, Holsten's is a nice alternative when you've already got the important money wrapped up in the "premium" brews.

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Photo of beerluvr
3.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Fluffy sticky eggshell coloured head, nice trailing on the glass as it recedes, gorgeous deep amber/light reddish color, gentle carbonation, clear as a bell. Sweet malty nose, lots of breadiness and a light whiff of caramel with a subtle hop flower backing. Bittersweet with great balance of the two. Perfectly balanced with the hops, neither dominates..makes for a smooth easy drinking Lager. Finishes long and strong, this is a great example of the style and worth looking for.

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Photo of BDTyre
3.78/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Decent cheap Euro-beer. $2.30 for a half litre. Nice standard brown-ale/altbier appearance, but with a big fluffy head. Malts, raisins and plum scent. Malt, toffee flavour, slight hop sourness.

Good carbonation, easy on the mouth. Nice and drinkable despite the ABV. Not a bad beer - better than the Maibock.

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Photo of funkengruven
3.76/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This dark brew poured with a finger thick head, smell is rather metallic, not the most appetizing but there are worse smells. Taste is smooth, slight bitterness with a malt undertone. Mouthfeel is unoffensive and the smoothness makes it pretty good to drink. The high ABV is well masked, but this can be dangerous. Overall this isn't a bad beer at all.

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Photo of TheDeuce
3.75/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Holsten Festbock....

Appearance-dark dark dark, big foam tan head reminiscent of Murphy's Stout, the head sticks around.

Smell-dark malt with coffee nuances, some hop mixed in and chocolate/like smell on the outside.

Taste-ridiculously dark and alcoholic, but decent mix of hop and dark malt, very bitter as it nears the end and goes down.

Mouthfeel-dark and alcoholic, finishes of roasted malt and alcohol, not too bad.

Drinkability-whew, it's a job drinking one of these, but if you can more power to you.

Overall-is this a true altbier? More like a dark double bock. And not a bad one either. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of DrJay
3.7/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear and very dark with ruby highlights. The short beige head produces a bit of lace and settles quickly to a thin cap. Malty, toffee aroma with plenty of sweetness and a hint of licorice. Medium bodied with mild carbonation. Sweet and malty with mild bitterness that lingers in the finish. There's quite a bit of licorice here as well. Off-dry finish with slight warming. Not a bad beer at all. The licorice character was a little unexpected, but quite nice.

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Photo of Beers
3.66/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I really enjoyed this beer.

It poured well into a nice dark colour. The head quickly dissipates to a light lacing.

Smells malty, something else that's hard to finger. Maybe even licorice.

It doesn't have an outstanding taste, but that's okay with me. Malty, sweet, with a bitter finish. The alcohol is a bit noticable, but not too bad. Notes of caramel.


It won't be long before I drink this beer again.

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Photo of EsoxLucius
3.65/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Serving Type was a 500ml can.

I'd originally had this in Nova Scotia, then found it at a private store here in SK.

A: Orange/Brown fluid with an off-yellow/brown head that ends up being an ivory slick color once it goes down. quite a bit of bubbles coming up from the bottom. looks alright.

S: sweet malt with a faint hint of hops, some dark berries in there as well.

T: it's sweet tasting and for me doesn't have a harshness to it considering its 7%. there is a definate carmel taste, but the sweetness isn't overpowering.

M: a tad bit thin, but about average. despite there being a lot of bubbles it doesn't feel like its overly carbonated.

D: decent, it's bitter at the end, but pleasant all the way through.

i would get it again.

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Photo of elricorico
3.65/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Cola brown in colour with a good sized foamy tan head. Looks pretty appetizing. Head recedes to a thing ring and pools on top.

Aromas of pilsner like hops come first. Grassy and fresh smelling. I may be imagining, but I pick up a bit of wheat aroma here, almost a banana impression.

I would definitely say that this beer takes some of its characteristics from wheat. Nearly-but-not-quite bubblegum flavour and cloves are both notable. Banana sweetness touches the tip of the tongue. Hops are on the light side, with just a touch of spiciness. As it warms some of the wheat impressions fade into the background and a licorice flavour catches my attention.

The body is light, but has a way of filling the mouth. Carbonation is fairly lively. About average in this category.

Not bad at all, I'm not sure about it falling into the altbier style, it seems to be a bit hard to classify.

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Photo of Moontang
3.65/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served into a Heineken Wheat beer glass

Appearance: Medium head, with thick bubbles. Pleasant clear ruddy nut-brown colour. Interesting lacing after the head dissipates.
Smell: Sour smell, with definite tones of well-roasted malt.
Mouthfeel: Smooth, and very slightly viscous. Very little sting of carbonation. Quite pleasant, overall.
Taste: A sharply smoky taste, with quite a lot of acidity in front. Hints of dark malt afterwards. A hint of sweetness. Certainly not boring.
Overall Drinkability: The moutfeel supports chugging, the taste grows on one, and I would probably drink it slowly if I was in for an interesting time. I wouldn't seek this out, but I wouldn't refuse it if offered.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.62/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml can poured into pint glass june20 2010

A clear deep amber with a few bubbles feeding a two finger light tan head that has average retention and leaves no lace

S a fair bit of burnt sugar and molasses with some sweet malt and candied fruit

T not far from the smell but with a little booze and some nut and a mild chemical aspect that brings it down just a bit

M a little thin and slightly sticky but nothing bad by any means

D decent for 7% no real problems with this brew, even a little better then expected

for cheap high test this is pretty good, I seem too remember not liking the Maibock as much as this but I'll have to go back and check my review

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Photo of Richter35
3.59/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into the closest thing I could find to the recommended "stange" ..which ended up being my Labatt Blue-branded Pilsner glass. Poured out a thick, tan-white head which dissipated almost as quickly as it formed.

The smell took me by surprise. The mix of ingredients has certainly combined in a strange way and the first thing I smell is maple syrup. That and some seriously strong alcohol. I can't really smell anything else at the moment...

Taste is all maple syrup/molasses, grains and hops. Very sweet and not too harsh for a 7%. Normal it ain't.

Mouthfeel is decent, if a little light for the taste of the beer.

Drinkability? Naaah. I'd go for one at a time. A wierd beer that has it's pros and cons; I respect it, but I really wonder if I would ever buy one again?

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Photo of Cwrw
3.59/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A beer readily available in many liquor stores here, and another one I somewhat overlooked far too many times because it was in the "import 500ml can" area in liquor stores. Again, though, this is a great brew. Poured a mollasses brown from the green 500ml can, with a little head that only remained as a ring around the edges. Sheets of lacing that move quickly. The aroma, for me, is the best part of bocks. Ahh...malty sweetness. Some cola, mollasses, caramel, some wood smells, a little chocolate, and some prunes. Dusty, thick malts is the aroma, and I love it. Lactose, subtle cream, licorice, and red wine. I absolutely adore the aroma. The taste is a little thin, maybe a little too watery, but still flavourful. Dark malts, cola and rootbeer, with some licorice in the finish. Not overly complex, but sweet and fortifying: a great winter sipper. There is a taste of tree sap or wet wood too--somewhat hard to describe. The mouthfeel is quite light, with medium carbonation. An absence of any strong alcohol flavours and a soft mouthfeel rate this high for drinkability. Give me these all winter night. Nothing overly exciting here, but this is still a tasty beer in its category.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.58/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Can: Poured a dark brown beer with a nice above average head with good retention. Aroma is a mix of malt and mild sweetness. Taste was quite nice with some smooth malt and a subtle sweet finish with a good banana taste at the ends. Alcohol is well hidden which is always nice. The thin body and the subtle watery aftertaste was bit of a letdown but overall, I think this was a nice offering from a macro brewers – a bit underrated I feel…

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Photo of TheHammer
3.58/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Comes in a green can with a black tab with a black knight and a suggesting drink date. Nice dark brown almost black color with good inch of creamy looking head. Some minor signs of carbonation and very nice lacing. Head however does not sustain itself very well.

Smell - Obvious scent of dark chocolate and a light touch of hops, with the slightest scent of berries in the background. Pleasant, but not very pronounced and I can see this is going to be a rich beer.

Taste - Very rich taste, which isn't surprising considering how dark it is. Starts with a very faint cherry taste but turns into a mixture of coffee and dark chocolate. Ends with more chocolate and bitter hops. It lingers a little bit but not much, not bad though. I'm not really that big fan of rich beers, but I find myself liking it.

Mouthfeel - Doesn't linger that much, but aftertaste is a bit bitter. This beer started out well, but the carbonation is severely lacking and it's practically run flat halfway through. There is room for improvement in this department. Goes down smooth, but isn't as thick as you'd expect from the flavor.

Drinkability - Surprisingly light on the stomach considering how strong the taste is. That being said, it is a bit too rich for me to drink more then one or two, but very satisfying.

Final Thoughts - All in all, this beer would be a welcome alternative to a stout. It really needs a bit more carbonation and maybe a touch less richness but all in all I'd grab another if it was cheap or on tap. Definitely an excellent nursing beer, whose high alcohol I personally feel only improves it's resume.

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Photo of Garin
3.57/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It pours a clear chestnut brown with a thin weak head on top. The aroma is light and malty sweet. My immediate impression is of caramelly flavours with an alcoholic warmth underneath. I do find a slight sulfury hint in the middle. The finish is clean but not bitter. It is light and smooth in the mouth, and easy drinking. Over time a nice black licorice flavour builds in.

It's an interesting beer. Not mind-blowing, but interesting.

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Photo of liamt07
3.57/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Can from the LCBO, had this on several occasions and getting around to reviewing this just now!

Pours a dark reddish-orange, with a finger of brown head that fizzles like cola to nothing. No head retained, no lace. Nose of dark bread, mild dark fruits, touch of roast, sweet malts. Taste follows, more dark bread again with the sweet malts. Light, dry and dark fruits float around as well, relatively indiscriminate. Some alcohol in the finish, but a fairly reasonable mouthfeel overall. Good drinkability for the alcohol content, and often a decent choice at the LCBO in lieu of some of the other subpar offerings always found there.

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Photo of allergictomacros
3.57/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark red/brown with a creamy, medium-sized head.

S - Typical pale euro smell: clean, grassy hops with a bit of skunk. Bodes poorly.

T - Toasty, roasted malt flavour. Hops are definitely a background flavour with the malt up front. A bit spicy, quite sweet and a touch of tartness. Bitterness is in the aftertaste only.

M - Creamy, thick body. Light carbonation.

D - Very drinkable. Overall, quite good, although the lackluster smells detract from the experience.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.53/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml can, another common import offering available damned near everywhere in this burg.

This beer pours a rather clear dark red brick amber hue, with two fingers of foamy, somewhat creamy off-white head, which leaves some decent island chain lace around the glass as it genially recedes.

It smells of sweet, almost pastry-like caramel malt, a touch of stale toffee, musty dark fruit, earthy, grassy noble hops, and a little boozy nail-polish nostril burn. The taste is bready, mildly Christmas cake-like caramel malt, and very mild noble, floral hops.

The carbonation is fairly low, the body an adequate medium weight, and generally smooth, with a sort of hollow creaminess, little booze or anything hop-wise taking any particular toll here. It finishes off-dry, with some warm caramel and basic floral hops just hanging on.

Refreshing enough, and pretty tame on the booziness quotient for the style, which is a good thing in my estimation. Simple, sure, but at 3 bucks or so a can (which around here is a dealio, yo), you get your basic style and money's worth, for certain.

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Holsten Festbock from Hanseatische Getränke-Industrie (HGI) Holsten-Brauerei AG
3.31 out of 5 based on 123 ratings.
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