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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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


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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.

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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 CrazyMike
3.01/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The appearance of this beer is immediatly impressive, very dark. The smell is sweet, a bit alcohalic, nothing to special.

Taste wise, very sweet and strong. Also quite sweet and malty. Major downside for this beer is the aftertaste. Very rough and bitter, just like your average Malt Liqour.

Overall, this beer has it's flaws, in terms of strong beer I find it better then Maibock. Would recommend.

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Photo of LeesinkyZaika
3.05/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Bit of a letdown. Its trying to be a Bock style of beer, IMHO despite what the label says. I believe the caramel flavor is fake, or "enhanced."The flavor dissipates across the palate nicely. Sweetness is adequate, low end of carbonation scale, and initial mouthful is pleasing and fruity. Just not rich enough in body and not satisfying enough. Note: I lived in Germany for about 10 years and have sampled many beers in this genre...so without trying to sound like a snob, I speak with some perspective.

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Photo of Popsinc
3.06/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Extremely dark pour, almost black. Nice thick tan head that fades quickly.

The nose may be subtle but is highlighted by roasted malt and without question, black liquorice.

The mouthfeel starts smooth and then leaves the palate dry. Black liquorice flavours lead the way with hints of unsweetened dark chocolate and burnt caramel. The finish bends towards the sweet side and also leaves an alocohol kick.

An average bock beer that is decent but not one of my favorites.

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Photo of texashammer
3.06/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black in color, dark red in the light. Nice tan head fades too quickly. Smells skunky like a Rolling Rock or something. Hay, horse blanket, barnyard smells too. Very light bodied with a clean finish. Taste is peaty and sweetish. Surprisingly drinkable. And at 7%, enough to be dangerous. Very graceful alcohol.

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Photo of Quej
3.07/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Pours very dark red, foams high but dissipates quickly. Has a very nice cream/coke fizz coloured head and a great ruby red hue in light. No carbonation visible. Very attractive beer.

S - Very little to speak of, even when warm. Alcohol is the main scent, with some subtle hopiness. Slight tinniness as well (possibly from can).

T - Begins with a sharp strong hopy bitter presence and fades to a more sweet caramel and molassess taste. Lingers long and strong prune flavours and a certain odd sweetness that can only be described as licorice. The flavours emerge later, masked at first by its strength. The licorice tends towards a bizarre toothpaste-like flavour. The strange prune and licorice flavours build as the pint goes down and warms up.

M - Despite its syrupy thickness, there is a drying effect to the beer. It tingles carbonation (though not visible) and alcohol.

D - Too thick, strong and odd tasting for me to drink much of it.

This beer is somewhat odd, but I did enjoy it though.

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Photo of thehyperduck
3.1/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Served at slightly warmer than fridge temperature, this bock pours a dark copper brown colour; mostly translucent. A finger of creamy beige head lasts a few minutes before reducing to a collar around the edge. Carbonation looks a little high but looks can be deceiving. Smell is mostly roasted caramel malts without much else.

Taste is cloyingly sweet with an odd hint of some flavour I can't quite put my finger on in the finish (coffee? licorice? burnt brown sugar?) in addition to a very faint bitterness from the hops in the aftertaste. The finish is weird, but it gives character to a brew that is otherwise dominated by sweet malt character, i.e. boring and kind of cloying. Feels a little heavy/chewy in the mouth, with low-to-moderate carbonation. The alcohol is hidden fairly well, at least until the beer starts to warm, at which point the ethanol and sweetness combine to give a rather unpleasant, sticky feel to the beer.

For a cheap bock/high ABV single can that is easy to find in most parts of Canada, this isn't too bad, but I'd never specifically look for it. Doubt I'll get it again.

[Updated Nov 22 2015]

Another 500 mL can. The original review was lacking so I wanted to elaborate a bit. Holsten Festbock's residual sweetness is excessive and I don't consider this to be an especially great example of the style. But it's not awful, and it's certainly much better than one of those diesel-fuelled Euro strong lagers (think Faxe, Crest, et al.) or a malt liquor. Am I setting the bar too low here? Probably, but even though I've never been real big on this beer, it's something that I don't mind drinking occasionally - at least when the weather is cold, and I just want something cheap to warm me up a bit.

Final Grade: 3.1, a C+

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Photo of jayfarley3
3.13/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

poured from a 500ml can into a pint glass.

A- pours a real dark brown with a nice fluffy off white head that dissapates fairly quickly.

S- smells sweet and malty, nothing else really.

T- has a sweet malt taste upfront with a slight bitterness with a slight coffee taste, the 7.0 abv is covered up quite nicely.

M- a medium bodied beer with light carbonation.

D- not a bad beer, its drinkable, i wouldnt pass it up if offered to me but i would not buy it again.

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Photo of Scrylol
3.15/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark copper color with a one finger creamy head.

Slight grassy hops and caramel malt on the nose, some slight sweetness to it.

Big caramel malts and grain notes come forward on the tongue, slight hop bitterness throughout the mouth. Some hints of earthy notes. Leaves a dry, bitter aftertaste.

Bit too much carbonation, but the body felt right; medium body.

First time I've tried a beer from Holsten. Not much going on in this beer, but it wasn't too bad.

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Photo of Shadman
3.23/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I can see why threy might have called this beer festbock with an ABV of 7%. After a few too many rhe 'fests' may be flying as the boys start brawling.

Looks good. Dark Cherry brown with a thick, foamy tan head.

Found it quite yeasty smeeling with some molasses malts.

Lot's of stuff going on flavor-wise. Alcohol bites a bit too much initially, but then things get interesting. Pronounced hop bitterness meets molasses/licorice which is a new experieince for my tastebuds.

light to medium in body...maybe a touch too much carbonation.

Worth a try. Definitely an after supper sipping beer given it's high booze content.

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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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