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 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 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 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.

 405 characters

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 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.

 352 characters

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.

 527 characters

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.

 478 characters

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.

 1,188 characters

Photo of trevorwideman
3.28/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've sure been into the German beers lately, this is another style I'm not much familiar with, but interested in.

Pours a dark, almost opaque colour with a slight reddish tinge. Looks almost like Dr. Pepper. Nice fizzy head, but it subsides to a slight lace very quickly. Smell is almost non-existent, just a very slight maltiness. Taste is really quite pleasant, lightly hopped, nearly no bitterness to speak of. Roasted malts are quite prevalent, like a mild stout, still though, not much in the way of complexity. Perhaps some mild cherry/plum flavours, but in the background. Nice bite on the tongue, alcohol is well hidden, slides down real easy. This is really a very drinkable beer, although a bit sweeter than I usually like.

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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.

 310 characters

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.

 637 characters

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.

 435 characters

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.

 438 characters

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.51/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an almost black color with some dark rum glints. The head is tan and rocky, leaving decent lacing. The aroma is toasted bread, raisins, plums and hop bitterness. The taste is a nice toasty malitiness with plums and anise notes. Theres also a nicely perceptable hoppiness. the ABV of this beer definitely makes itself visible, it tastes stronger than other beers of this ABV. The mouthfeel is thick and well carbonated. This is quite a good beer though definitely too strong, rich and crisp to be an Alt, Id say this is a bock lager.

 538 characters

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…

 440 characters

Photo of pootz
3.33/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Canned...poured a dark clear chestnut red...smallish tan head, aromas of spices and sweet malts. Smooth mothfeel...nice mellow malt body...sweet(but not cloying) uncomplicated taste and a cleanish finish with a sweet doughy after taste...not a bad simple bock from a German mega brewer...fairly satisfying.

 306 characters

Photo of canucklehead
3.48/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a good example of a mass produced German lager that does not suck. The beer is dark and sufficiently malty to make me glad I didn't buy a Heineken dark. This beer will never be a favourite but for the price of $2 a can it is not too shabby. I could have done with more balance and deeper flavour but I go to Ayinger or Paulaner for their fest beers for the best quality.

 378 characters

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 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 PiratePete
3.37/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A very dark brown, smooth, strong ale. A pleasant and inviting light brown head. Wonderful high quality candy smell (does that make sense?) that is very friendly (I hate candy!) and tasty. A little thin in the mouth but very comfortable and down she goes. Its hard to peg: nothing fancy but it went well with my lunch! I'd drink this again but, ya know, its almost too smooth. Got to go so I can finish this beer.

 413 characters

Photo of IronDjinn
3.24/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 500ml can with the freshness date stamped on the bottom. What a dark ale, a deep mahogany, decent beige head that fades to a ring with minor lacing. Smells of faint roasted hops and a fair amount of licorice. I like that, I've brewed a couple of licorice ales in my time, but have never come across a commercial equivalent. The flavour is malty and boozy, a bit of licorice, somewhat watery for the abv, but goes down easy. An average strong beer, nothing that really wows me, but drinkable nonetheless. A few of these could go down easily and lead to trouble.

 567 characters

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.

 477 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 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.

 1,801 characters

Photo of Shiloh
3.31/5  rDev 0%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer was a major surprize in a positive way. The appearance when poured left a lot to be desired. The appearance seemed heavy and syrupy. But it was not...the body was full with a glass clinging light foam. The taste is well balanced with an almost almond flavour. Mouthfeel as well was above average.

 306 characters

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