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Germany Amber Oktoberfest at Oktoberfest?

Discussion in 'Europe' started by einhorn, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (298) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    OK fellow Germanophile BAs, here's the question of the month: which brewery will be the first to offer an amber Oktoberfest, or better said, a traditional Märzenbier, beer on the Wies'n? With the international acceptance of "craft beer" with all it's idiosyncrasies, and the fact that these beers are already being produced for the US market most notably from Spaten, will we ever see these beers in September in München? Thoughts and reasoning?
     
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  2. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,030) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    I am more and more convinced that Spaten uses Sinamar for its U.S. version of Oktoberfest beer. Not sure they would do it over there, as some of the criticisms about Industriebier have been about things like adding Sinamar and/or hop extract. Every country has its own industrial bogeyman....
     
  3. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (298) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    Not sure about your assumptions @herrburgess but Sinimar and other roasted malt colorings (see Köstritzer) are accepted under the RHG. And hop extract is everywhere... maybe I'm missing your point?
     
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  4. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,030) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    They are accepted under the RHG, yes. But most every documentary or report I have watched about the "demise" of German beer makes the point about Sinamar as a coloring agent and hop extract as a bittering one, and how they seem like cheap shortcuts to most Germans. Here in the U.S., we don't necessarily consider such things as bad...but we have our own bogeymen (filtered, yellow, fizzy, lager-y, etc.). All of that said, I can't really see the Oktoberfest tents/breweries serving amber versions these days. But who knows...if there is a big enough outcry for it...maybe?
     
  5. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,305) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    I thought the committee that runs Oktoberfest sets the beer style, and that they want something that can be consumed Maß after Maß.
     
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  6. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,958) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    This was always my theory for the switch to the Pale Festbier -- why use extra, more costly ingredients to brew a beer that is just going to be pounded without any appreciation of the character (again, my opinion).

    That said, on my first trip to the Oktoberfest they were still serving the Amber Märzen. At my second visit, 2 years later, the switch-over was complete to the Wies'n Fest at every tent. My friend and I were a bit dismayed at not seeing Amber anywhere.

    On our last night in Munich it rained buckets and you couldn't get into any of the tents at the Fest, so we headed back to town and a small restaurant 4 doors from our hotel. At our table were advertising cards for Erdinger "Oktoberfest" Bier -- "Hm. Didn't know Erdinger had an Okto, let's try that." My first run-in with the Okto-marketed Erdinger Weizen. :confused:

    Our second orders were for the Spaten Okto... low and behold, Amber Märzen! So the beer (at one time) still exists in Munich, just not at the fest.

    Now, to HerrB's theory, my experience was probably long before the exposure of Sinamar as a "cheap shortcut," so who knows how it might go over these days -- or even if Sinamar was being used back in the early '90s.
     
  7. grantcty

    grantcty Initiate (87) Feb 17, 2008 Minnesota

    Well, I have consumed Maß after Maß of amber märzen. :wink: In all seriousness, I'm always surprised by how much amber märzen is consumed at the various local Oktoberfests here in the Twin Cities (and some in Wisconsin). Then again, we're one of the areas where we see year-round Hacker Pschorr, Paulaner and Spaten amber märzens on the shelves. :slight_smile:
     
  8. grantcty

    grantcty Initiate (87) Feb 17, 2008 Minnesota

    Sounds like you need to go on a trip to Munich for 'product development' purposes and ask them at the source :slight_smile::

    https://www.franziskaner-weissbier.de/ext/visitorcenters/de/index
     
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  9. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (390) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    Serious question: Isn't Hacker-Pschorr's still an amber Märzen? It was certainly the darkest of those that I had while living over there, with the other five being the pale yellow variety.
     
  10. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,958) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    It may be the darkest of the pales, but is it as dark as the H-P "Traditional" (their words on the labels) Amber Märzen we see here in the States?

    A couple years ago H-P had a series of seasonal special releases and sent over their Festbier (Golden Oktoberfest Lager) for the season -- it was definitely more pale than amber. Someone posted an image, I'll try to dig it up...

    Check out this post.
     
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  11. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (8,946) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I'll throw in logistics as well. If they were going to add an amber Märzen would they get rid of the easier to drink and lighter golden Oktoberfestbier? I doubt it. Therefore, assuming they kept the hefeweizen as well, which is clearly needed, they'd be handling three different beers which makes ordering and delivery all that much more difficult. It's not impossible, but I don't see it happening within the next few years.
     
  12. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (298) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    AlcahueteJ, Jacobob10, steveh and 5 others like this.
  13. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,030) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

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  14. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (390) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    I'm looking at my old pics now (unfortunately Photobucket will no longer allow me to share my photos without upgrading). You may have a point, the H-P looks like a very deep gold although I remember it being darker like an Amber. My memory might not be serving me well here. FWIW, I bought Spaten and H-P Oktoberfest bottles in my first year back in the States and thought that Spaten's looked nothing like what they served at the tent (as @herrburgess has elaborated on), but that the bottle of H-P looked as I remembered it at the tent.

    The article that @einhorn posted above is in line with how I remember things - H-P is the darkest and Löwenbräu's was the best (if I read that correctly).
     
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  15. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (390) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

  16. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,958) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    I dunno -- that Maß of H-P looks very golden to me -- even with the darkish vest behind it.

    I have some H-P Okto images I'll attempt to post, but I've never had decent luck either.
     
  17. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,958) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    [​IMG]

    Yay -- it works... and I didn't have to pay the $400 ransom.

    Pretty sure this is last year, but this year's looks the same. Far from that gold color.

    Here's Spaten's (I hope):
    [​IMG]
     
  18. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,232) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    What's the local public opinion of the various Oktoberfestbiers anyway? Is there any brand loyalty or heavy preference for one brand over the others or do they even care?
     
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  19. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,958) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    There used to be huge brand loyalty among the locals between the breweries, but I don't know if that's continued over the years.

    @Bierman9 -- what's been your perception?
     
  20. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (298) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    Things may have changed over the years, but to my knowledge Augustiner has always been considered the "superior" Munchen brewery, maybe due to animosity stemming from Big Beer ownership of all the others.
     
  21. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,232) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Never been to Oktoberfest, but that seems to be the case most of the time.
    So much so that little Giesinger even proudly proclaims that they're the 2nd largest independent brewery in Munich.
    I wasn't sure if the tent experience or variance between the Oktoberfests changed that dynamic.

    They might be the "forgotten" Munich brewery, but I prefer Spaten's doppelbock and maibock over the others in town. Is brand loyalty strong enough where people would be willing to jump ship for a few weeks? :stuck_out_tongue:
     
  22. biermark

    biermark Initiate (56) Sep 9, 2008 South Carolina

    I second @einhorn, Augustiner is the local favorite and is typically the hardest tent to get into


    Would they switch for a few weeks? My guess is no
     
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  23. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,958) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Don't you wonder if Augustiner is so hard to get into because of that "favorite" reputation? I remember thinking, "We have to hit Augustiner because everyone says to go there."

    Truth be told, I visited just about every beer tent -- many that were difficult to get into at various times -- all were great experiences, all had great beer.

    Nonetheless, if you polled Munich locals on their beer preferences you'd probably get an even six-way split. Wish my town had six breweries to fight over. :grin:
     
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  24. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,232) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Personally, I think Augustiners 3 main lagers (hell, Edelstoff, and dunkel) are fantastic. Maybe the best ones in town. Certainly no worse than 2nd. Yet everything else I've had is somewhat "meh." That includes the weiss, doppelbock, and maibock.

    That's kind of why I was curious how far brand loyalty went. Augustiner hell is pretty much the official beer of Munich, but you rarely see anyone drinking anything else from them.
     
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  25. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,958) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Helles is pretty much the official beer style of Munich (and Bavaria), every where I went the majority of beer I saw being served was Helles -- Augustiner or otherwise.

    Something to take into account; there are 5 other breweries in Munich that seem to be doing pretty well (Spaten still in question, but it's good to see them equally represented in the link provided by einhorn) despite Augustiner's perceived popularity -- you can't go to the Hofbrauhaus or Seehaus and have Augustiner. I stick to my 1/6 theory of polling Münchners.

    I'll bet there are groups of friends who have to trade off locations each time they go out -- the off individuals of that evening complaining heavily about this "schlecht Löwenbräu." :wink:
     
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  26. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (390) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    I disagree with you on their weiss but I was not a fan of their Maibock, and if memory serves I was not a big fan of their Oktoberfestbier either. I've never had their Dopplebock oddly enough. Loved the Hell and Edelstoff, though.
     
  27. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,958) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Also see Grant's new post at Ami Beer Bought & Drunk.
     
  28. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,958) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Boo -- it doesn't work (anymore). Guess they want that ransom. :angry:
     
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  29. Bierman9

    Bierman9 Poo-Bah (4,280) Dec 20, 2001 New Hampshire
    Beer Trader

    Agree with a lot of the above posts... when I have joined up with some friends who were born and raised in Munich, it has always been Augustiner.... and they really look down on Spaten... though they never elaborated... not much else on the other 4 though....

    Prosit!
     
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  30. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (298) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    Just my own impressions from the Munich breweries... I did live in MUC for 2 years but it's also 20 years ago (gulp!). But then again, not much changes there anyway haha

    So, based mostly on reputation, not on quality, Loewenbrau was always the worst of the bunch hands down. Hacker Pschorr and Spaten were the beers your grandpa drank, I was shocked when I read so much on how renowned their name was among most US German beer drinkers, because the brand is so obscure and can basically only be found in Munich. Franzisaker is course only Weissbier, and enjoys a decent image. They had teamed up years ago with Licher (my ex-Hessen pilsner) and did pretty well outside of the Munich area, in the meantime that partnership has been abandoned. HB has mixed response among the locals, probably mostly due to the HB Haus and it's touristy feel. Augustiner was always the true independent, much like Schneider, and Edelstoff and the helles are of course everywhere - and it's not cheap. I agree with @Domingo that the other beers are not as popular. Many other Weissbiere have found a niche within the Munich market. Augustiner has never gone for "gimmicks" and like Rothaus in Baden Wuerttemberg have created a cult with the brand.

    Personally I always found Edelstoff too sweet, but the regular helles was always a dream, also probably because it was very fresh.
     
  31. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,958) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    For what this is worth, @grantcty dug up this bit of info online from H-P's German web site, it's the pages of the two different Oktoberfests H-P produces:
    https://www.hacker-pschorr.de/unsere-biere/oktoberfest-maerzen
    https://www.hacker-pschorr.de/unsere-biere/oktoberfestbier

    Funny thing is if you look at the ingredients they're all the same, yet the characteristics chart at the bottom of each page shows different ABV... and color.

    The tan labeled beer distinctly calls itself Bernstein, or Amber. Theory question being, is this the same H-P exported to the U.S.?

    @herrburgess for brewing input -- how are they using the same ingredients, but getting different color? Sinamar again?

    Drink for thought on a Friday!
     
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  32. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,958) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

  33. grantcty

    grantcty Initiate (87) Feb 17, 2008 Minnesota

    Those are just barley varieties, not types of malt.

    If a brewer uses Sinamar, doesn't the beer have to be labeled as having barley extract or malt extract?
     
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  34. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,958) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Makes more sense.
    Good question.
     
  35. WhatANicePub

    WhatANicePub Initiate (182) Jul 1, 2009 United Kingdom (Scotland)

    No, Sinamar is technically a beer in its own right, so there is no issue with blending it into other beers.
     
  36. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (298) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    To my knowledge, it's (Sinamar) also known as "Zuckerkulör" (E150) aka caramel coloring, and because the base is beer/malt, it does not need to be named/listed on the label.
     
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  37. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,305) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    No. Sinimar is the extract from Carafa malt. I was told by someone I know that had a private tour with Sabine Weyermann that yeast is added for one hour. Then it is declared beer, and can be blended with other beer. It was never clear to me if hops had to be added.
     
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  38. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,057) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    Jeff, what does 'exposing' this to yeast for one hour do? Fermentation typically takes days. I can't believe that one hour with yeast accomplishes anything as regards to making this as beer.

    Is this process just a gimmick to permit Sinamar to be classified as being beer?

    Cheers!
     
  39. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,305) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Come on Jack, how much fermentable sugars come from an all Carafa II malt mash? Zero. So it is a process that was blessed as making "beer" by the powers that be.
     
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  40. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,057) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    Crazy stuff.:rolling_eyes:

    Cheers!
     
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