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Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by M-Fox24, Jul 22, 2020.
Looking forward to this one
Nice! And it seems like they are doing their own thing. Doesn't seem like a traditional Marzen or even quite like the modern golden Festbier, and it is a little higher in abv than either typically is. I am happy to see a German brewer pushing boundaries, or at least as much as the Germans do.
BTW, I loved Triple Hop'd.
Looking forward to this. Hopefully, it will help to prevent people from continuing the idea that Festbiers can't be amber. But I know it won't.
Aren't most of them burnt orange? I know the beers at the actual Oktoberfest are pale, but even within Germany there are still quite a few darker ones around. A lot of them are even designed for export since that's what we expect over here in the US.
The first thing a lot of folks around here will do is check the label's date code.
"Hits the market"? I wanna know when the beer inside hit the bottom of the bottle..."
This one looks similar to Hofbrau Freising's Festbier, with the coppery tinge.
They own Benediktiner, if this year's Bitburger is similar to last year's Benediktiner (IMO 2019's best Oktoberfest) I'll stock up.
I'm not sure what they mean by “German style” on the bottle
Michael, I personally did not pick up a "coppery tinge" from my bottles of Hofbrauhaus Freising Festbier (see photo below).
In my detailing of this beer in my NBS post I stated: "Golden yellow with a white head."
But which glass is used for serving the beer, and ambient lightening conditions, can yield differences in appearance.
Heck, just differences in perception apparently. Looking at your picture I would say that a slight copper note is what differentiates the beer on the right to my eye
The wide and varied definitions of "full-bodied" always make me chuckle. So what would they call Guinness Extra, or Optimator? Obese? Rotund?
I admit that this reminds me of Warsteiner's venture into the style, and the use of caramel malt makes me screw up my face a little, but I'll give this one a chance if I see it. I thought the Bitburger reputation would get the Triple Hop'd into stores around me, but it never showed. Maybe the season will get retailers to put this one on shelves.
Yeah, could be. The Festbier looks golden yellow to me. I suppose we all have our individual visual perceptions (which is not surprising).
For completeness the Bitburger Festbier pictured in the OP does not appear golden yellow to me; the Hofbrauhaus Freising Festbier and Bitburger Festbier appear markedly different to me. YMMV.
If it's anything like Benediktiner Festbier, I'll be buying it by the case. That was my favorite Oktoberfest last year as well.
The discussion about the color of Festbier, Oktoberfests, and Marzens has been a great sense of annoyance to me for years now, so I'm going to vent for a second.
In 2013, I released a beer branded as "Oktoberfest" for the first time at Blue Pants Brewery. It was 90% Vienna Malt with 10% dark Munich malt, fermented with Augustiner's lager yeast and 5.5% ABV. It was criticized by a bunch of people in Alabama for not being a "real" Oktoberfest because it was too pale. The color was a light orange. It was still a very popular beer, but due to the critics of the color, I decided to write a blog post about it. The next year, I was studying in Germany at Doemen's Academy (in Munich) where on Friday's, we did beer history and style tastings. The example of Marzen that was given to my class was a bottle conditioned Augustiner Festbier... Pale in color. We continued to brew that same recipe at Blue Pants and eventually the color became less of a topic of debate. I think that Sierra Nevada's collabs being the same color as our's helped people understand that we weren't just making shit up. Before that, I think people were heavily influenced to thinking that Oktoberfest beers should all be like Sam Adams which I personally think is WAY too sweet. In 2017 I released the same basic recipe in Tombstone, AZ, branded as "Festbier" and it was like starting over at square 1 with people saying that it wasn't a real Oktoberfest because it was pale. The reason we went with "Festbier" was to try to avoid that since many Americans insist that Festbier is a different think from Marzen/Oktoberfest. In a textbook that was published for VLB Berlin's curriculum (Technology Brewing and Malting) it is stated that "Vienna malt is used up to 100% for the production of "Marzen" beer, festival beers, strong export beers..." later in the book in a section for Marzen it is stated "Nowadays, increasingly two types of Marzen are brewed: a pale type... and a dark type" And a separate section specifically for Festival beers says "... they are mostly pale beers, and more rarely dark beers..."
I think that in America we tend to narrowly define styles and then use the application of the style too broadly.
I wish that beer was in stores by me so I could try it.
I gotta assume you both mean at a similar price too.
6.2% ABV fits right in with the Festbiers. HB is 6.3%
I couldn't say what color most Festbiers are, but all German Oktoberfestbiers are Festbiers brewed for Oktoberfest... no matter what the color. I didn't mean to start a whole thing in this thread... because the ever-present nit-picky focus on color of these beers is exactly the opposite of what I'm getting at. Similar to what @honkey dealt with, I could easily imagine someone here reviewing this Bitburger beer and giving it a low score for being "too dark for a Festbier." The thought pushes my buttons.
Hah! to that last one from @zid. For the record I enjoyed the Freising the most last year but wound up buying (and drinking ) more of the Benediktiner. A case where the slight edge of preference is beaten by a larger difference in cost.
Regarding the color, I just happen to still have the photo from last year's tasting:
Left to right:
Freising- Benediktiner- Hofbrau Munich- Paulaner
So make of that what you will
Wow, that HB looks dark -- odd lighting?
My favorite Festbiers: Spaten Ur Marzen, HB Festbier, Kostritzer Festbier -- one Amber Marzen, two Wiesn Fests -- all correct to-style, all correct for gullet dropping.
I really enjoyed last years sierra neveda. I hope bitburger is brewing something similar.
For the lighting it looks like I was in the shadow at that point. Plus, those mugs are wider than most beer glasses, so that probably played a role too.
Weedy, how common are bottle conditioned beers in Germany? Was this a 'special edition' beer from Augustiner or is all of the product (Festbier) bottle conditioned?
This was a special release that maybe was exclusive to employees and friends of employees at Augustiner. It was shared with us by a teacher that had an intimate knowledge of the happenings at Augustiner. She said it was a "very special" bottle. I've had Augustiner Oktoberfestbier and I think the only difference was that this bottle was bottle conditioned. In my experience, which is mostly based in Munich, bottle conditioning isn't really a technique that's used there. We did bottle conditioned (and open fermented!) lagers in school and we were told that's not the way it's done in Germany anymore.
You are correct, good sir! For some reason I had around 5.8% in my head
So, no open fermentation in Germany anymore?
During my visit to the Czech Republic I took two brewery tours: Pilsner Urquell & Únětický pivovar. Pilsner Urqell ferments their production beer in enclosed stainless steel tanks but they still open ferment in their cellar brewery:
Únětický pivovar open ferments in stainless steel fermenters:
I read your question as “bottle conditioned lagers” rather than “beers.” Bottle conditioned wheat beer is obviously very common
Yeah, that is what I really meant - shoulda specified lagers.
Since you brought up the topic it is my understanding that it is common for the German breweries to add lager yeast strains for bottling conditioning their wheat beers. Was this something that was discussed during your education in Munich? What is the rationale for using a different, lager yeast strain for bottle conditioning wheat beers? Does it extend the shelf-life for example? Any other positive effects?
I love those pics! I'm always hesitant to use blanket statements about German brewing since I was limited in my experience to one region, but I don't think there's much large scale open fermentation. I can't remember which brewery I went to that had this, but it was basically a museum of their equipment and there they had open fermenters viewable to the public behind a window. Their bottled and distributed beers were all in closed conical vessels though. I think I saw that at 2 breweries actually now that I think about it... There was a lot of drinking clouding my memory on our European brewery study tour!
I think the reason that is done is because for maximum speed, it is easiest to filter or centrifuge hefeweizens and add a known quantity of yeast.
They do this because otherwise the Hefeweizen beers would be too cloudy? Too many proteins?
I don't think it's even that. I think that if you have a 6 day fermentation, you can chill the beer, filter it, add yeast, and bottle condition in just a matter of days. If you cold condition the beer long enough to get yeast out of suspension, that might take weeks on its own.
There are many breweries in Germany that open ferment. The large modern breweries usually don't, usually CCVs are used.
I suppose my area of confusion was that for a Hefeweizen it is my understanding that you want yeast to remain in suspension. If the brewery is re-yeasting with lager yeast I guess they want to eliminate the ale yeast that was used to primary ferment the beer?
Yeah, the idea is that for consistency sake, it's easiest to start with no yeast and add a specific amount than it is to try to condition the beer to the point that only a certain amount remains in suspension. I believe @SierraTerence alluded to the same thing with Sierra Nevada removing and repitching yeast for bottle conditioning a few months ago. If I remember correctly it was a pretty standard practice for consistency... all the bottle conditoned beers are roughly centrifuged, coarsely filtered, and 1,000,000 cells/ml of fresh yeast and fermentable sugar are added. Maybe Terence knows more info about the German brewery bottle conditioning techniques.
Found a picture from last year’s release of the beer that some people say is too pale to be an Oktoberfest. Please excuse the lack of appropriate glassware. I like thin glasses for canning days when I’m doing the final visual inspection
Looks just awful. Send the surplus my way and I'll be sure the nay-sayers won't have to worry about it anymore.
Looks beautiful to me. Kinda reminds me of my favorite Sly Fox Oktoberfest:
Would love to see it in cans, however, still excited to try this one out!
I'll be looking to give this one a try
I hope to get a chance at this one. I enjoy Bitburger Pils very much.