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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 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 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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Photo of ChrisCage
3.46/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- I was quite impressed with the rich thick foamy head upon the initial pour! This has a color similar to an orange pekoe tea....maybe with more of a brownish tinge though. Carbonation looks to be fine, but with several streams of bubbles rising to the top of the brew. The lacing is moderate, leaving behind some small pockets of foam on the side of my mug.

S- Interesting....very malty with a decent alcohol aroma lingering in the back round, but being 7%, I guess this shouldn't be unexpected. I don't detect really any hop bitterness, but perhaps a slight cocoa smell in the backround. Not as aromatic as I would have liked.

T- There is a molasses sweetness detected here....not super sweet but it's definitely there. I can taste some toffee notes and just a slight earthy/herbal finish. The alcohol is noticeable, but it seems to taste more balanced after the initial shock on the palate.

M- Decent, if not a little on the light side. For a dark beer however, it is rather refreshing! The carbonation is fairly light, which keeps this as a smooth drinking beer.

D- I think with the higher alc/vol, this would be a great beer to enjoy over a long timeframe, but it would definitely have it's consequences. It's not a great beer, but rather a decent one. I will probably buy this again when out with friends sometime.

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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 atomicbolt
3.32/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked up a 500 mL can. Kinda worried, since this has a reputation as the stuff they stack out front for homeless guys to grab handfuls of (7% and the same price as every other tallboy, yikes!) but here goes.

Looks pretty good. Really dark brown, nice clarity, foamy tan head with a bit of lacing. The smell hit me the minute I cracked the can open. Chocolate, rich, with a bit of vegetal yeastiness and some alcohol smell, which is understandable.

Kind of an odd taste. Starts with a nice dark chocolatey taste, very rich, a bit of berries. Something not quite right about it, though. Kind of a metallic twang. Cough syrup, maybe? Leaves behind a toasty, chocolatey taste. It's good overall, but there's just something odd in there. Surprised I can't taste the extra alcohol, maybe that's why the winos like it. Heavy mouthfeel, but ultimately smooth. Pretty drinkable, but I bet these things would sneak up on you pretty quickly.

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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 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 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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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 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 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 nighthawk
3.47/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark reddish brown, thin tan head dissipates quickly but leaves a bit of lacing. Smells of sweet roasted malt, dark fruit, with a little bit of alcohol. Taste is similar, with malt up front, followed by a slight hoppy sour taste. Medium carbonation, smooth body. The alcohol is well hidden, so the high ABV can sneak up on you. Goes down nicely, so I had to remind myself of the percentage before I cracked open my second of the night.

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Photo of cyrenaica
3.41/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml can
7.0% ABV

I tried this beer on January 3, 2008 after purchasing from a Toronto LCBO outlet. The beer poured a translucent dark brown colour with a thin tan coloured head. The aroma was malty with some sweet and spicy tones. The mouthfeel was medium bodied with high carbonation. The flavour was dry, malty, a bit spicy, and a little hoppy finish.

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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 Antilochus
3.46/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

God I hated the Holsten Maibock. So I open the large green can of the Holsten Festbock with a bit of trepidation. 7.00% abv, 500mL can. Best before 01/2009. Fridge temp into a wine glass.

I was not expecting that colour. Dark brown with a hint of a off-white/tannish head. Some decent lacing.

Nose is very woody with some spice and malty sweetness. Not really all that nice though, it has a bit of unabashed booziness and chemical notes that kill it for me.

Palate has malt sweetness, standard character, fairly chewy feel with lots of carbonation. Dark fruit, licorice and alcohol come out in the finish, with some malty biscuit. Warming.

Not bad, I guess.

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Photo of Graham5161986
3.45/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: pours a deep brown with a tan, two finger head with decent retention. Leaves some sticky lace

S: smells of grassy hops and sweet mocha-like malts

T: flavours of coffee and chocolate dominate with subtle hints of ripe cherries. It’s nicely balanced and provides a pleasantly smooth aftertaste.

M: thick and creamy, almost like a stout. Very smooth and easy to drink – makes you forget about the 7%ABV.

D: I was pleasantly surprised by this beer since the last thing from Holsten I tried was their Maibock (I was not as impressed with that one). I could definitely down a few of these and I look forward to my next one.

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Photo of crwills
3.43/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased a single can of this at the LCBO, along with Holsten's Maibock. This was much better, and I really enjoyed it with dinner (country-style roast chicken and potatoes).

Poured a deep amber brown colour into a pint glass, with very little head (don't think I let it warm up enough). Faint aroma, which unfortunately had some metallic notes, but also some bread and dark fruit elements. Flavour is much bolder, but not overpowering, with a full, thick mouthfeel supporting lots of mildly sweet malts, prune or date flavours, and some sour notes in the finish. Alcohol is covered much, much better than with the Maibock -- it's still there in the aftertaste, but subdued everywhere else.

This one I'd actually drink again, although I'd probably purchase it solely for a food pairing since it's not a common style here.

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Photo of kwakwhore
3.38/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brown pour with an off white/light tan head. some lacing on the side of the glass. Some sweet malt in the aroma. A very straightforward combination of sweet malt flavors and a little bit of hops. Not complex, kind of like a dumbed down Spaten Optimator. I am not sure if I would call this an altbier. It seems to belong more in one of the bock/doppelbock/dunkel categories because of its malty profile. Not bad, but I wouldn't go out of my way to look for this beer again.

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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 vanrassel
3.38/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A two-finger, off-white head topped a cola-coloured body in my pint glass as I poured. This beer's smell was mainly roasted barley, but there was also a slight vinous aroma and a tiny whiff of dried fruit — prunes, I thought.

Roasted barley vied for attention with a metallic twang, though the metallic taste subsided as the beer warmed a bit and black licorice and a subtle port flavour came through. Overall, the taste was a little muted, but pleasant. The carbonation and mouthfeel were middle of the road, which neither hurt nor helped.

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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 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 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 Beersignal
3.26/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Striking deep chestnut with crimson highlights beneath a lively sandy coloured cap of foam. Timid bead rises through a crystal liquid to feed a thin film of foam and maintain it barely.

Fine maltiness sustained by a marked aroma of noble hops lends this brew an air of german traditionality but not much more emanates from the glass. A mild earthiness and some notes of grass do slide by but only briefly.

Flavours are not what I expected. A rather mild flavour profile with maltiness severely lacking from a 7.0% alc beer. Some roastiness up front with a dryish mouthfeel and only a balancing bitterness. I realise this is listed as an altbier but at this level of alcohol I wanted more. Still a decent session beer flavourwise... but would really crush the drinker.

Not bad, not great... moving on.


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Photo of entheogen
3.43/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Purchased at Sherbrooke Liquor Store, Edmonton AB.

Pours a little lighter than a cola, and certainly more red.
The head looks like a foamy tan moonscape from the top, and it settles into a modest ring with about 40% coverage after 20 minutes.
First smell is very sweet, almost cloying. Letting the olfactory neurons attenuate, a second smell reveals a very...brown odor. It's malty and coffeish, and the odor does contain some fruitiness.
This stuff tastes pretty good. The flavors comes to me in the following order: sweet, malty-hoppy, alcohol, a very slight dark fruit flavor, and then sweetness at the very back of the tongue. Barely-present sulfurous taste. (edit: new can i'm drinking now has no hint of sulfur) The beer is probably a 6/10 on the heaviness. Despite the moderately high alcohol, I feel this would make a stellar session beer, if you are any good with timing.

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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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