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

123 Ratings
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 123 |  Reviews: 76
Photo of MeisterBurger
1.37/5  rDev -58.6%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Listed as an altbier? Surely not.

Pours a nice, deep mahogany topped by an inch of head that dies down, slowly erasing any trace of its existence by the end.

It smells like a public swimming pool. It's like musty chlorine and chemicals. Maybe some raisin and cherry if I'm being charitable.

The taste is a little malty, harsh and grainy, with some dark dried fruit flavors, but also along for the ride are some plasticy flavors...or is it paint or paint thinner or some harsh solventy substance. Burns the back of the throat. Not pleasant at all.

Thin, watery and flat. Those are three of the kinder words I could use to describe the mouthfeel.

This is my third and last ever beer from Holsten. I'd rather drink from a toilet.

 731 characters

Photo of 500MLperWeek
2/5  rDev -39.6%

Photo of AndrewC
2/5  rDev -39.6%

Photo of TerryW
2.18/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Another heavy-handed and clumsy effort from Holsten - these guys have no concept of subtlety.

Comes across as thick-mouthed and syrupy. Sugary malt presence. Average looking dark beer with a moderate short-lived head.

I like a decent dark beer, but I don't understand this one scored as high as it did. Just macro brown stuff. No thanks.

 343 characters

Photo of SaunaKing
2.33/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This beer is a nice dark rich colour, a dark brown like a darker version of a dark cuban rum. It has a decent head, with a malty caramel smell.
A powerful malty taste of caramel and coffee with a strong lingering bitter aftertaste
I am pretty new to these types of beers, I prefer lagers, mainly Pilsner style beers. This is a beer I would nurse at the bar.
I don't really taste the 7% alcohol which is good however I probably need to partake more in this style of beer to develop a taste and appreciation for it.

 516 characters

Photo of drpimento
2.4/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Got thiis 500ml can at the nearby Supermercado Carrefour here in Recoleta, Buenos Aires last week and trying it now. Poured with a big tan head that quickly faded to a hint of head and barely any lace. Dark mahogany color. Aroma is dark sweet malt and dark ripe fruits. Flavor is very similar. Shallow. Bit watery in spite of the heavy sweet malt.They're definitely not brewing this for flavor or aesthetics. Might be fun to add a vinegar culture to it since it's an all malt product. Finish is.... not worth coming back to.

 524 characters

Photo of mactrail
2.46/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

Attractive coppery color with a big foam in the Blanche de Chambly Pilsner glass.

This is so sweet and has a pervasive perfumey note that makes me think of fabric softener. It doesn't smell like much, but that taste goes to the brain. Wet wood, metallic dregs from the canned peaches, green bean cooking water, yet weirdly spicy. It all ends with a slightly bitter dishwater taste.

Oh, this is such swill I have to go to the sink now. From the 500 ml can purchased at the Provincial Liquor Store in Ladner, BC.

 513 characters

Photo of EatsTacos
2.48/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sometimes I wonder about the LCBO's seemingly random choises of beers from Europe...or maybe the beer guy just figured he should order some bock beers in the spring...

Pours a rich chestnut brown with a fizzy and thin head. No real lacing

Aroma was a strange mix of sweet, sugary berries, some chocolate notes, alcohol, and metal.

The taste further confused me, and I don't want to say that this beer is complex, it's not really. Sweet sugary malt reminded me of splenda or some artificial sweetener. Blueberries, raspberries, some dark fruits and chocolate were subtle. Alcohol.

 582 characters

Photo of mintjellie
2.53/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Deep copper red with a large and fast dissipating tan head. No lace. Weak caramel malt, bread, and raisin aroma. Sweet toffee flavour with a little bit of raisin and a mild bitterness to the finish. There's a slight antiseptic character as it warms that I find unpleasant. Almost medium bodied with low carbonation. Syrupy but slightly thin mouthfeel. Mediocre. Finished it, probably wont buy it again, definately wont recommend it.

 432 characters

Photo of spinrsx
2.56/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

500ml Can

Appearance - Clear reddish brown colour with a large size frothy light brown coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some fairly good lacing. The head lasted for around 5 minutes before it was completely gone.

Smell - malts, dark fruits - not a whole lot of smell.

Taste & Mouth - The beer has a below average amount of carbonation but it still feels fairly creamy on the tongue. As the first sip hits my tongue I can tell I'm in trouble. The beer has a very harsh taste to it. Right away I can taste the alcohol.. and tastes like a bottle of 5$ rum. I can also taste some malts and perhaps some dark fruits. (dates?) It finishes with a boozy/malty aftertaste.

Drink - The beer had some promise when I first poured it into my glass. The appearance is actually pretty good. But the taste is just dreadful.. it's almost undrinkable. Life is too short to spend time drinking beers like this one.

 939 characters

Photo of prosper
2.57/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Once again, Holsten disappoints...

Looks good. Dark brown, brilliant clarity. Small-ish tan head, very dense, some lace.

Smells distinctly vegetal. A character I find common to all Holsten brews. Doesn't seem quite DMS-like, almost mulch-like or compost-y. It's also got some caramel character to it. Some sweet fruits - raisins, or plums.

Taste - well, it's not terrible, but definitely not a favourite. Again with that grassy vegetalness. Also some grainy caramel flavour and some lighter fruitiness. Low bittering. Finishes sweet. I'm not going to even waste my time finishing this pint... It's not awful, but got other more worthy brews that I actually WANT to drink. Life's just too short for mediocre beer

Mouthfeel isn't too bad. It's medium-full and sticky. Carbonation on the light side - a plus in my books.

Drinkeability - sticky sweet finish and off-putting flavour really limit this brew's potential.

 918 characters

Photo of Ivanhoes_Backpack
2.75/5  rDev -16.9%

Photo of JustinBathurst
2.76/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Okay, pours a a dark cola brown-black with a cm head of frothed cream. This head fizzed away to nothing but lace quickly.

Aroma is cut grass, a strong alcohol, and a slight bready malt.

The mouthfeel was slick and slightly water with very little carbonation.

Roasted flavour dominates the beer, a bit malt sweet with a tiny bitter finish. A wee bit watered-down tasting despite the 7%ABV, which is unusual. The aftertaste keeps the roasted flavour, but knocks up the sweetness just a tinge after a moment.

An enjoyable beer, but so middle-of-the-road average it hurts. I won't recommend it to anyone, but I won't turn down an offer either. A sidenote: in the Ruhrgebiet area of Germany altbier was usually suggested as served with cola. First thing I thought of when I poured this.

 793 characters

Photo of KristijanG
2.8/5  rDev -15.4%

Photo of seand
2.81/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a dark translucent reddish brown, with a foamy tan head. A little head around the edges retains enough to leave light lacing.

S: A maltiness, some brown sugar, with a bit of alcoholic harshness - the harshness is quite surprising initially. Not really all that pleasant.

T: Starts out almost watery, going into a dry sweetness, with a small amount of the harsh notes from the aroma. It's kind of odd, and not in a good way, but also not a terrible way - just odd.

M: Medium bubbly carbonation, medium body, finishing with some stickiness.

D: Less than average drinkability, given its harshness.

I haven't had too much like this, so perhaps I'd get more out of it if I were used to the style, but I wasn't particularly impressed with this beer.

 757 characters

Photo of biegaman
2.84/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

The beer's deep hue captivates the eyes, trying to specify its exact colour perplexes the brain. An overall sort of chestnut tone, the appearance is a bright cacophony of colours and encompasses many shades of amber, copper and bronze. A piercing, virginal clarity enhances this engrossing pageant of pigments. Unfortunately, its head sizzled like meat hitting a hot grill and all signs of it disappeared in a very short time thereafter.

I'm sorry, I thought I had brought home a can of beer but it seems I mistakenly grabbed nail polish instead. At least that's what the smell would have me believe. The brewery's claim of adhering to the German Purity Law is already being drawn into speculation; which of the four ingredients can cause a solventy, chemical-like harshness to agonize the olfactory track like this? Think rotten fruits stirred into industrial sanitizing products.

The taste has a considerable amount of nail polish twang too - I'm thinking Bogot Blackberry, Hawaiian Orchid, Chick Flick Cherry, maybe even a bit of Tutti Frutti Tonga. While this combination of nail polish lacquers has made for an attractive and colourful appearance, it's made for a rank and rancid taste. The only flavour that is consistently accounted for is a generic blend of dark fruits - that were macerated in overproof hooch.

The alcohol may not be as agonizing as I'm making it out to be, but it's the lack of malts that is making it sensationally apparent. Its thin, watery mouthfeel is devoid of bitterness, without texture, free of yeast-infused nuance, lacking any hop presence what so ever, is destitute of any toasty or caramelly malt flavours and is completely, entirely bereft of carbonation. It contains, in other words, none of the essential characteristics of a beer.

Holsten Festbock is certainly nothing to celebrate. The only people rejoicing here will be those who enjoy high octane, moderately tasteless beers that provide a quick, relatively cheap means of getting alcohol to the brain. It would seem to me, given its entire lack of distinguishing or redeeming qualities, that that's exactly the kind of people for whom this beer was brewed. Unless you're part of that crowd I'd recommend a pass on the festivities.

 2,235 characters

Photo of Tford
2.9/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours a nice, dark golden-brown colour with a two finger pale yellow head; it is a very good looking beer.

S: This is only a 7% ABV beer but it smells like it is 17%. This may be because there are no other scents to go along with it.

T: You can taste fruit and hops with a little spice; however, it seems a little watered down. Unlike the smell of it, the alcohol isn’t too noticeable

M: It has a medium body with a bit of carbonation, a pretty good mouthfeel.

O: Festbock has the potential to be a really excellent beer, but it isn’t. Although it looks pretty and has a nice mouthfeel, it lacks in the smell/taste categories, which are the ones that count.

UPDATE: Dammmnnn. Be sure to drink this beer cold! My last two mouthfuls warmed up while I was writing the review, and now it tastes like STRONGLY fermented athlete's foot.

 842 characters

Photo of coachos
2.98/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured nice out of 500 ml can .Dark with slightly tan head, but that dissipated very quickly (within a minute).

Wasn't sure what to expect, as this is my first attempt at this style.

slight smell of malt, but not too much aroma-wise Hint of molasses which I liked.

medium body with slight carbonation.

Not all that impressed, but like I said this is my first time around for this style. I'll definately give it another chance once I have more experience with it


 476 characters

Photo of canadianbarman
2.98/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

--500 ml can, freshness date on bottom
--Poured a dark, deep copper in color. Overall an average head with just minor lacing.
--Kind of a roasted, semi-sweet licorice smell.

Not a bad beer, kind of so-so. It was smoother than I expected. A hard taste to pinpoint. I would drink again but there are others I will seek out first.

 337 characters

Photo of Conrad
2.98/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Short and to the point: An adequate beer. Good value for the price.
A: Dark, like a cola. Nice fluffy head that settled quickly.
S: A bit disappointing. Some burnt malts, faint coffee, tart hops.
T: Easy mild malt flavour up front. Some other notes of chocolate, coffee. No fruit flavours to be found, thank goodness.
M: Very nice. A medium thick body, and a slight bitter finish.
D: I would have another, if you are buying. In the meantime, there are many other beers to try before returning to this one.

 510 characters

Photo of OneTuffPony
2.99/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Photo of irishkyle21
3/5  rDev -9.4%

Photo of CurtisD
3/5  rDev -9.4%

Photo of Noelito76
3/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of Vandelayindustri
3/5  rDev -9.4%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Holsten Festbock from Hanseatische Getränke-Industrie (HGI) Holsten-Brauerei AG
3.31 out of 5 based on 123 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.

    Learn More
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.

    Learn More
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Learn More