Thomas Hooker Octoberfest Lager | Thomas Hooker Brewing Company

very good
164 Reviews
Thomas Hooker Octoberfest LagerThomas Hooker Octoberfest Lager

Brewed by:
Thomas Hooker Brewing Company
Connecticut, United States

Style: Märzen / Oktoberfest

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.70%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Originally brewed to celebrate the beginning of the German brewing season and the 1810 wedding of crown prince Ludwig of Bavaria and his bride-to-be, princess Therese of Saxon-Hildburghausen. This amber beer was brewed in March ("Marzenbier") and left to age in cool lagering caves during the heat of the summer. Our rich and satisfying Bavarian-style OctoberFest comes from a special blend of imported German malts that creates a full-bodied brew and stresses a malty flavor and lingering aroma. Gently hopped and delicately balanced, its true-to-style, slow fermentation and long, cold maturation produces a luxuriously smooth, award-winning brew.

16 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-03-2003

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Reviews: 164 | Ratings: 271
Photo of Chico1985
3.51/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was first ever Oktoberfest last year. For this review I sat in a giant field and drank it out of my glass boot while admiring Massachusetts foliage.

Pours a see-through amber with an off-white head, retains decently and leaves some lacing.

Scent was kind of strange and sort of off-putting, buttery popcorn sort of. A little macro-y.

Taste is definitely better than the smell, lots of buttery malts. Caramel and toffee malts. Grassy hops and a bit of citrus and lemon. Leaves a warm bread aftertaste. Some booze in the last few sips.

Very low carbonation, pretty watery but decent.

This is little too sweet for the style for me, I would've preferred more toastiness, this is kind of a butter/toffee takeover, good though.

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Photo of far333
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Copper colored with a thin beige head that sinks quickly. Inviting aroma of sweet malt, some corn, and some sweet ripe fruits. Smooth mouthfeel leads to flavors of biscuity malt, sweet pear and honey, and a surprising orange peel tingle in the finish. Very drinkable beer, very enjoyable example of the style.

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Photo of Jayli
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a nice hue of brown with some burnt orange hints to it. A one finger of rocky, creamy offwhite, hint of yellow head sits on top. Head retention is ok, and leaves some wispy lacing on the glass. Nose is chalk full of malts, a nice sweetness of caramel malts is most notable, with a touch of hops laying underneath. Taste is is very sweet caramel malts up front, middle is comprised of toffee malts and some dark fruits, finish has a nice citrusy hops bite to it - it's a mild bite but just enough to compliment the beer. Medium body, mildly carbonated, creamy mouthfeel with a crisp finish. This is easily a highly drinklable beer!

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Wood n' Tap in Southington, Conn.

A: Poured a deep, rich copper color with a thin, creamy veil of carbonation which left some nice, patchy lace on the glass, which was a Hooker; nice for effect!

S: Smells slightly grainy, with a noticeable sweet bread aroma and some very faint hops.

T: Taste is served with a big rush of sweet, toasted caramel malts and satisfying multi-grain flavors. There's a slightly bitter hop backbone near the finish, but this is a sweet malt treat.

M: Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied and a little creamy for a marzen.

D: Very tasty, with a sturdy pair of malty legs beneath it, this has to be one of the tastier American marzens I've had. Not much in the way of aroma, and not completely balanced, but really smooth and quite flavorful.

If it were not a work lunch affair, I'd have gone for another one or two. I heard last year's batch didn't turn out quite right from some trusted sources. I'll have to see if this good flavor and strong drinkability will translate from the bottle.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a good copper/amber color with a decent sized head, fades slowly to leave an alright ring of lace.

Smell has a good malty backing with a good spiciness, some roasted, lots of caramel.

Taste is similar to the smell, with the taste mostly contributed from the caramel malt and some nice spicy kicks to the sides of the tongue.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
3.96/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It seems like I continue to come across more Octoberfest brews recently. The Thomas Hooker pours from the bottle a deep brownish red hue with a two finger creamy khaki head sitting magestically atop the brew. Really stands out in the glass. Aromas of caramel covered roasty grains along with biscuity undertones. Fruity, nutty and malty with a dash of spicy, herbal hops in the background. Crisp, laid back and quite nice.

First sip brings a nice fruity, caramelly, toasted grain maltiness upfront with big biscuity flavors throughout. Fairly sweet, as it goes down there's a mellow spicy, herbal hop note that peeks out and makes itself known. I get a touch of roasted nuttiness as well. A big, clean, malty oktoberfest brew with an enjoyable balanced flavor.

Mouthfeel is big, chewy and creamy. This is a full bodied oktoberfest that goes down smooth and is really satisfying. Speedy carbonation pulls it through nicely. This would be a nice fall session brew if it was available to me locally. Yet another lovely brew from Troutbrook. Well worth trying...thanks to UnionMade for the opportunity.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at the CT River Brewfest 2004.

This beer was a nice clear brown color with a one-finger head. Hard to tell how much of a head it would normally have, as Paul was trying to fill the mugs with minimal head.

The aroma was of rich full-bodied malts with a hint of sweetness. A very faint whiff of fruitiness. Quite good for the style.

The taste was of very rich malts (I could pick out some Munich, but it was very complex, as there are six used). There was no fruitiness, but there was a very faint sweetness on the tongue as an aftertaste.

Nice full mouthfeel, and rather drinkable. A good solid all-around Octoberfest.

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Photo of NEhophead
4.44/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 fl oz brown bottle, served in a nonic.

Clean, light maple with a highlight of ruby. Plenty of noticeable carbonation. Creamy, off-white head that recedes to a half intact sheet after a moment. Condensed lacing with decent strength.

Moderately sweet caramel and light toffee. Pleasantly toasted malt character with a clean aroma of diacetyl. Clean earthen, floral hops that round out the sweet aromas rather nicely.

Bright floral hop presence up front; rather clean with just a touch of metal. Creamy and moderately sweet caramel, light milk chocolate, and hints of toffee. Clean breadiness that comes to light at mid-sip joined by a touch of earthy bitterness. Sweet caramel, dried coffee beans, and toasted biscuit make for a pleasant aftertaste.

Almost full in body; creamy, earthen. Completely balanced texturally and remarkably smooth.

Very tasty and well rounded. A near perfect domestic version of a Marzen: probably the best I've had to date. Another accomplishment from Troutbrook!

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Photo of Phatz
4.52/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours a beautiful off dark amber brown with ruby hues to it. The off white head fades in a few moments and the beer leaves a little lacing particularly when swirled to stimulate a bit.

Smell: Wow. This beer smells terrific! A bigger than average nose on a Märzen. Big German malts lightly toasted and caramel, fruit, butter and then what a surprise, there are *hops*. Beautifully tipped just a tad to the hoppy side but balanced with candy and toffee.

Taste: The flavor follows the nose. Sweet German malts, bread, biscuit, fruit, caramel, butter, brown sugar, tart grain, nuts, toffee and the finish comes with a surge of dryness followed by a slightly astringent aftertaste.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability: This is a rich malty medium body beer with lots of flavor and nice carbonation and body in the mouth and ultimately it is a great drinking beer. This beer goes down so nicely it is the top of my list of O-fests from this season.

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of albern
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a very characteristic Marzan style lager. It looks the part, with a nice clear mahogany copper color with a small foamy little head. No lacing, not great amounts of retention either. The nose is all malt, crystal malts, toasted grains, a touch of chicory reds.

The taste is quite nice. It has a hop bite, slightly leafy and bittering towards the finish. The beer has a very large malt palate with lots of roasted notes, some caramel and chicory flavors, crystal malts, some drying notes in the finish. The beer is largely smooth but there is a touch of graininess in there too. The beer is fairly low carbonation, a touch sweet with the malts up front, but not cloyingly so. There is a particular hop bite very characteristic of the style. It is a lager and has that consistency too.

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Photo of rajendra82
3.55/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The second Oktoberfest beer in the package from spritdeus, this one came is a brown 12 oz. bottle, and poured out deep reddish orange. The beer had low carbonation and lacked any head. The aroma was grainy and clean with the presence of floral hops in the background. The taste was proper for a festbier, with sweet toasted grainy malt and a low level of hop bitterness. The mouthfeel was medium thick. Easy to drink, but a bit too simplistic to make it great.

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Photo of UnionMade
4.27/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The beer is a deep reddish amber, topped with a thin white head. The head diminishes to nothing about halfway through, leaving a little bit of cobwebby lacing at the top of the glass.
The aroma is mainly a rich, robust caramunich maltiness. Lots of caramel, with some toastiness. Mild noble hops, providing a slightly herbal charater. Very clean, no off aromas. A light waft of alcohol is present.
The flavor starts with a rich, sweet caramel maltiness. Some toasted flavor, with the barest hint of fleeting smokiness towards the middle. Mild hopping comes through towards the end. Herbal, with a touch of citric bitterness. Some apparent alcohol in the very end, leaving off with a malty caramel aftertaste, which retreats quickly. Medium to full bodied, with gentle, small bubbled carbonation. A very mild, smooth mouthfeel, yet robust and strong.
Extremely clean, particularly for an american brewed beer. This one could definitely pass for an authentic german brewed version. An excellent local oktoberfest marzen. Probably my favorite this year. Very drinkable, although a sixer of this in one sitting will definitely put me down for the count.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: clear copper. Whitish head and lacing. Good looking brew.
Smell: Yeasty bread, slightly earthy. not a lot happenin but nice.
Taste: much like the nose. Bready and malty. Tasty though not exceptional.
Overall: Decent enough. Enjoyable but no standout.

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Photo of Sixpoint
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Hooked this one up via my man Jim. Yeah Jim.

Appearance? Love the deep amber of the Oktoberfests. Nice head and lacing. The mark of a well-crafted beer...

Smell? Awesome. Usually it's all malt. Melanoidins and caramel. And then malt. Screw that.

This is America! There's even a picture of a wreath of hops on the label. Only in America can you get away with emphasizing the hops in an Oktoberfest.

That's why I love Thomas Hooker. They emphasize the hops but not annoyingly so. The balance and proportions are tipped in favor of the hops, but just enough to give you the right amount of zing. Booya.

I could drink this one all day. I think I'll try to procure a six-pack with my Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanks Jim.

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Photo of falloutsnow
3.34/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Creamy two finger, yellowed-white head that dissipates slowly and leaves a thin layer of foam on top of the beer. Head collapse is marked on sides of glass by some good streaking. Color is deep, dark amber/orange/brown with a bit of yellow on top when light shines through it.
S: There's something of a potent metallic smell (is it the water used?), along with evidence of malt and caramel scents as the beer warms.
T: The metallic essence in the smell briefly appear in the first sip. Malt follows, a bit sweet and a bit like paper. This is brought to a conclusion by a fair amount of hop bitterness that leads into a dry finish with a malty/biscuity aftertaste. Quite good, aside from the metallic and papery bit.
M: Mild carbonation gives way to a somewhat creamy, medium body. Nothing exceptional, but nothing to scoff at, either.
D: Thomas Hooker stays true to the style with the big, malty backbone and dry, hoppy finish. The aspects of this beer that didn't fit were the metallic presence and slightly thin taste. This may simply be limited to the pack I bought, and I'd be willing to give some more of this beer another try.

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Photo of DNICE555
4.23/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brass city crewfest

A - burnt orange color with a white head

S - Malt and grain

T - Malt, grain, somewhat bitter up front with a sweet finish

M - One of my favorite octoberfests. Enough bitterness to balance it away from being a malt bomb. Very smooth and hearty.

D - Very well done. Compliments a nice fall day very well.

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Photo of number1bum
4.38/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my contributions to NEPA BC split #8.

Pours a perfect dark amber color with great clarity and about 2 fingers of light tan head. Head recedes slowly leaving a nice, thin lace and even some patchy stick on the sides.

Smell is toasted grain and caramel malt along with some spicy hops.

Taste is also primarily toasted malt and grain flavors with some caramel malt sweetness. Hops are mildly bitter and have some spice through the finish. Finishes dry but smooth with a crisp and medium-bodied mouthfeel. Smooth and refreshing flavor makes this one an easy drinker.

This is truly a top notch oktoberfest. This isn't my favorite style and I've sampled a lot of mediocre ones, but this one rises above the crowd. Pick it up.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours remarkably dark from the bottle with very little head and no lace. There is a slight aroma of pumpkin which quickly gives way to the hops. The flavor is of smooth hops and very mellow Thanksgiving Day spices. But the overall flavor come across as a bit flat. An aftertaste of malt come sthrough the beer. While I really do like and enjoy this beer (and would definitely buy more), I was expecting something slightly different after I tried it.

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Photo of BranfordBound
4.04/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap many a times. Actually one of my favorite home grown marzens. Try this one fresh and you will see why. Nice caramel sweetness through with a touch of herbal hops.

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Photo of Gatch
4.42/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Has this on tap last night at West Wings in West Hartford. Not a huge difference between draft and bottle, both were very smooth.

A - Thick, off-white head and a medium-amber body. I love the look of an Octoberfest.
S - Very sweet and delicious malt w/ a hint of spiciness. Perfect for the Fall season.
T - Very clean and crisp. So much flavor and just the right amount of sweetness.
M/D - No problem enjoying this one all night. There's no need to try a different beer at the bar. Another great Octoberfest from a great brewery.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.02/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - this marzen pours a dark crimson reddish orange color, with plenty of upwelling carbonation and a thin tan rapidly disappearing head

S - a surprisingly sweet aroma, a quality hop and malt profile with a sweet background, similar to that of a barleywine, a welcome surprise

T - the taste mirrors the aroma, a great hop character with that dark sweetness similar to a barleywine, very nice, different from any marzen i've ever had, and very very tasty

M&D - smooth and well-balanced a great brew, Hooker outdoes themselves again

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Photo of BeerResearcher
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz brown bottle.
Served in a heavy glass mug.
It pours a deep golden amber color with a fast-fading off-white head along with some patchy trailing lacing.
A strong whiff of wet sweet malt rises up at first pours and lasts for quite awhile. Smells of mixed fruit cup, citrus and cut field hay follow, as does a bit a alcohol fuminess.
This is as bold as an Octoberfest can be without rising into a stronger Lager style range like a Maibock, but I like it as it is.
Flavors of sweet caramel malt, tastes of pears, fresh bread, tea-like, and citrusy hops are finished with a light taste of golden rum.
The body is full and somewhat slick. The flavors come together and blend nicely as it warms.

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Photo of erosier
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Pours a nice amber orange color with a medium sized and medium bodied white head that laces the glass on the way down.
S: Smells of sweet roasted malts, some caramel, and a slight earthy hoppy aroma at the end.
T: Very big malty base that makes up the body of this beer. Nice caramel notes and then some fainter earthy hops at the end.
M: Very crisp, fresh, and lighter feeling than I thought it was going to be. Nice amount of carbonation.
D: Very drinkable beer and I wish they had these seasonals all year round.

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Photo of scootny
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy orange with a decent head. Yellowish off white. Fades quickly leaving nothing on the sides. Smell is earthy with a toasted malt breadiness. A fruity facet and a some butterscotch. Hint of lactic sourness. Taste is malty with a big earthy hop profile. Big toasted malts. Caramel sweetness in the front and the sourness from the nose in the finish. Finish brings an herbal leafiness. A fruitiness more akin to a British ale instead of a German lager. Feel is mildly carbonated and light. Quite drinkable. This is an earthy quirky take on the style. Not in the mold of German clean and crisp. Lots of character and more hops than is typical of the style. I like it.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2005 version

deep amber color with active carbonation, medium one-finger styrofoamy head. sugary sticky lacing ring with cascading bubbles. sweet and spicy aroma.. hints of cinnamon and pumpkin spice. doughy scent. slight tartness rounds out the big smell on this autumn brew.

alot maltier than i remember.. big smooth caramel mouthfeel with lagery lemon fizz and back-end hop twang. nutmeg and allspice dig themselves into my cheeks and leave a non-chalky bitterness long after the beer has gone. flavorful.

big on flavor means drinkability suffers. could probably have max three of these in a day, and the third one would be a chore.. although maybe i would be desensitized, but that would also limit my enjoyment of its complexity.

this is my 3rd bottle this year, all from different sources. first one was really sweet and fizzy.. second was medium bodied with a mellow flavor. this one is bitter and tart. the tap version was probably second best out of my 4 experiences, and the best method overall for hooker o-fest enjoyment this year.

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Thomas Hooker Octoberfest Lager from Thomas Hooker Brewing Company
3.91 out of 5 based on 271 ratings.
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