Germany Oktoberfest: Wiesn and Märzen

Discussion in 'Europe' started by jibjib513, Aug 20, 2013.

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  1. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,195) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    I haven't had a LH version this year, but I'm planning on buying some for the weekend.
    I'm not sure how much has stayed constant, but theirs (and the one from Flying Dog) are both based on recipes from Eric Warner. He's one of the few American Weihenstephan grads.
     
  2. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,869) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Oh, okay -- you're right. What could I have ever been thinking? Again I say, look at your fermentation vessel.

    Never mind, this place gives me too much of a migraine any more.
     
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  3. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (389) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    You misspelled "Wies'n" as "Weis'n", although in your defense you did not call it a "Weizen" which a few people on these boards have done.

    On point, I have been disappointed in the Paulaner O'Fest. My two favorites are currently HP and Löwenbräu. Löwenbräu's was such a pleasant surprise for me this year that I bought two more went they went on sale at the Kaufland. Now by this point the Getränkemarkt had been selling their allotment for a month or so and was discounting all their stock (07/2014 dates), but the Kaufland had just gotten some in and it was even cheaper. This was maybe late-ish August and the date on the bottle was 8/2014 so I picked up two. The first one tasted funny and the second was so badly skunked (brown bottle!) that I could barely finish it. I've never had a brown bottle (or green maybe even) that was so badly skunked. I haven't bought one since, which is a shame because that first one was really good.
     
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  4. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,005) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    For what it's worth, Paulaner is far and away my least favorite of the Munich breweries. I do still like the Salvator, though it's a shell of its former self.
     
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  5. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,195) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    I'm with you. While still pretty good (by American standards), I think I'd take any of the other Munich brands over Paulaner. I think their weiss is good, especially as common as it is, but their lagers are nothing special compared to the other 5. I think the best thing about Paulaner is probably just the sheer size of their portfolio. They make pretty much every style under the sun, and they're all technically sound.
     
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  6. danfue

    danfue Initiate (0) Sep 16, 2012 Germany

    This sentence sums up very much of how the German beer market overall is run.
     
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  7. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    You buy mass produced faceless pi.. and that's exactly what you'll get.
     
  8. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    He's teaching English so forgive him his slight inconsistancies in German orthography. :grinning:
     
  9. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    I weep for your country.
     
  10. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Defender (611) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts


    Makes me think those older pictures really weren't amber. Couple the Maß color with older photos....it was probably pale.
     
  11. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,869) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    It wasn't. I was there drinking it.
     
  12. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Defender (611) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts


    80s/early 90s right? And you said you noticed a distinct change in the early 90s correct?
     
  13. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,869) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    First trip in 1990, second trip in 1992. Beer went from coppery color to more golden. Any reason you're rehashing this? Again?
     
  14. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Defender (611) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts


    The latest picture of the Paulaner looked more amber to me. But no, we don't need to go over this again.
     
  15. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,869) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Don't tell that to Tony, he made it 100% clear that it was "golden yellow." :wink:

    Which I really don't doubt because it's their helles Märzen and their Amber Märzen is much darker. It's just that the Maß has more volume... and who knows what colors are being distorted behind and underneath it.

    In his picture both beers are from the same tap.
     
  16. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (389) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    Very excited. I just ordered some Augustiner O'Fest from the Biershop Bayern website along with a 9er of the Brauerei Eck Wilderer Dunkel that I liked so much last time. My in-laws are coming to visit and my father in-law is a dunkel fan - he used to brew his own back in the day before I knew him. I think he'll appreciate the Augustiner as well. Hopefully I can keep some of them around for when they arrive!

    Anyway, I'll review the Augustiner for everyone over in the Bayernbiere Bought & Drunk thread if I have time. Should be arriving next week (the beer, that is). This also means that I will almost definitely be visiting the Spaten tent if and when I day trip it down to Munich this year for O'Fest. It'll be the only one I haven't tried by then.

    The plans are all falling into place...
     
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  17. Bierman9

    Bierman9 Poo-Bah (4,166) Dec 20, 2001 New Hampshire
    Beer Trader

    What day might you hit The Fest? I am there 22-25Sep....

    Prosit!
     
  18. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (389) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    :slight_frown: The in-laws arrive on the 23rd and my wife's b-day is the 25th, so you and I will definitely miss each other. I will write up a long and mostly true Trip Report for the gang when I return, I hope you will too!
     
  19. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,789) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    Tell us what color the beer is!:grinning:

    Prost!
     
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  20. Bierman9

    Bierman9 Poo-Bah (4,166) Dec 20, 2001 New Hampshire
    Beer Trader

    Bummer... Any Bamberg in your future? I may be there 28 or 29 Sep..... Regardless...enjoy the in-law stay! ;-). PeositM
     
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  21. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (389) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    Ah, the in-laws are great really. They've volunteered to baby-sit our two year old for us in fact, which is making the whole Oktoberfest thing even possible in the first place. (Before I get accused of being a poor host, I did invite one or both of them to join me for the trip to Munich :slight_smile:)

    Bamberg is not likely for me, although I am jealous. For some reason the extra 2 extra train changes and 1/2 hour extra travel time (each way) pushes Bamberg into the "special trip" category. I did it as a day trip once with some friends but probably would not do it as a day trip again. Have fun! What's between Munich and Bamberg during your trip?
     
  22. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,869) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Just as a comparison of different beers being produced and marketed around the world, here's what Spaten Oktoberfest looks like in the U.S.

    [​IMG]

    Much maltier than their Helles and full of big toasted breadiness.

    Funny that the Swedish bought bottle isn't labeled UR-MÄRZEN.
     
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  23. Crusader

    Crusader Initiate (190) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    I'd wager that the amber version hasn't been sold in Sweden, ever. Until 1995 the monopoly here wasn't allowed to sell beer stronger than 5.6% abv, and up until the last decade or so the monopoly wasn't into seasonal releases apart from Christmas beers (Easter beers, which are a yearly release nowadays, didn't exist, it being a Danish cultural import). On top of this pale lager beers used to be the big sellers, and dark lagers (which started the lager beer revolution in Sweden in the 19th century) was hanging on by a thread by the end of the 20th century. Basically, by the time that a Swedish importer was able to, or wished to import German Octoberfest beers to Sweden, the beers served at the Octoberfest had turned pale and Sweden didn't have anything approaching a beer culture.
     
  24. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,789) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    Tonight I had a threesome; oh baby! Let me tell you about it.

    I decided to conduct a side-by-side tasting of Sly Fox Oktoberfest vs. Ayinger Oktober Fest-Marzen vs. Shiner Marzen-style Oktoberfest.

    Appearance

    Sly Fox: Light amber color with a big, fluffy white head.

    Ayinger: An orangish amber with a foamy long lasting off-white head

    Shiner: Clear deep amber with a persistent off white head.

    Aroma

    Sly Fox: Big bready malt aroma.

    Ayinger: Light sweet maltiness.

    Shiner: The aroma is toasty, bready and biscuit.

    Taste

    Sly Fox: Flavor dominated by bready tastes. Just enough hops to provide balance but no particular discernible hop flavors. The finish of the beer is nice and dry. No perceptible sweetness.

    Ayinger: Carmelized, bready maltiness with just a slight hint of fruitiness. Restrained bitterness that is just enough to keep the beer from being sweet. The finish is semi-dry.

    Shiner: The flavor is dominated by malty, toasty flavors – lots of biscuit and toasty notes with just a hint of nuttiness. The finish is surprisingly dry given the big malt flavors.

    Mouthfeel

    Sly Fox: Moderate bodied with a pleasing mouthfeel.

    Ayinger: The mouthfeel is medium a full and creamy carbonation level.

    Shiners: The body is medium with a fine, moderate carbonation.

    Overall

    Sly Fox: A very well crafted beer! The bready malt flavors and the Noble hop aroma/flavor are very well balanced (perfectly balanced?)

    Ayinger: A very nicely balanced beer with pleasant malty flavors.

    Shiner: This beer just screams melanoiden given the big bready, biscuity and toasty flavors.

    All three beers were tasty, excellent Oktoberfest beer! What a wonderful threesome!!

    Prost!
     
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  25. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (389) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    Thanks for sharing Jack! This sort of thing never happens to me!
     
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  26. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    Jack- you didn't think the Ayinger was head and shoulders above the others? Interesting. Was there no discernable difference between the American and German? I'm dying to know the answers here. ;-)
     
  27. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,789) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    Tony, I really enjoyed drinking all three beers. If I had to provide a ‘sound bite’ that evaluates the three beers:

    The ‘biggest’ beer (most flavorful) was Shiner.

    The smoothest beer was Ayinger.

    The most balanced beer was Sly Fox.

    Of the above I would say that my personal preference (by a small margin) is Sly Fox, I suppose that my personal preference in Oktoberfest beers is the balance aspect.

    I am not a beer judge (either homebrewing or otherwise) but based upon my ‘mini-test’ I can see why the Shiner Oktoberfest won the Gold Medal at last year’s GABF. That beer the ability to ‘stand out from the crowd’ with its rich melanoiden flavors (which are indeed very, very tasty).

    If I was at a party and somebody handed me any of these beers to drink I would be a very happy camper!

    Prost!
     
  28. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Defender (611) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts


    This a great description for Ayinger. It certainly goes down the easiest out of all the Oktoberfest I've tried this year.
     
  29. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,005) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader



    What part of the Ayinger was more out of balance (or what part of the SF was more in balance) in relation to the other(s)?
     
  30. Crusader

    Crusader Initiate (190) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    [​IMG]
    St. Georgen Bräu Festbier. My camera phone is worthless when the sun has set and the lighting is atrocious, but the beer is lightly amber in color, as opposed to the pale Octoberfest beers I've had, especially when held up against the light. I think the beer benefits from having 5.6% abv as opposed to 6 or so percent, it's more balanced between the malt and the bitterness than those other beers were (for my taste I should add). There's some light caramel on the nose but it doesn't really carry over into the taste, it has a maltiness that is different from the Octoberfest beers but I find it hard to put it into words, it's just different in a good way.
     
  31. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,789) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    “ …it has a maltiness that is different from the Octoberfest beers”

    Patrik, would you describe the maltiness as:

    · Bready

    · Toasty

    · Biscuit like

    · Nuttiness

    Cheers!

    Jack
     
  32. Crusader

    Crusader Initiate (190) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    This is why I don't write beer reviews, I find it hard to describe the taste of a beer unless it reminds me of something which I've had in the past, either another beer or some other type of food product. What I can say is that I pick up on a slight sour note, it's not strong, but it's there alongside the initial build up of sweetness, and then it's replaced by the bitterness, just in time. Maybe tart is a better word. Sweet (but not overly sweet) and slightly tart, and then bitter. Coupled with that unique combined taste that only comes from fermenting grains and adding hops to the brew. That's the best I can do, and others might well disagree with me.
     
  33. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,789) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    Patrik, coming up with ‘good’ flavor descriptors is not something that comes easily to me either. I am pretty good at perceiving flavors and I am pretty good at knowing whether those flavors are appropriate for a given beer style but I too somewhat struggle with articulating my perceptions.

    BA boddhitree (Tony) has a real gift there; maybe it is a skill that is innate or perhaps developed if you are a language teacher?

    Cheers!

    Jack

    P.S. My wife has a very perceptive palate and she often has really weird word associations. She once drank a beer and stated: It smells like a library and tastes like a dank basement; I like it. To which I replied: What!?! Give me a taste of that beer. Lo and behold that beer did smell like a library and taste like a dank basement. Never in a million years would I have come up with that word choice but by golly it was accurate. Beer appreciation can be ‘challenging’ at times.
     
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  34. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,869) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    That's exactly the way to describe flavors (in anything, actually). Bread crust, chocolate, coffee, fruits -- it's the way to think of what you're tasting.

    I remember sitting with a home-brew friend who was trying to understand DMS. We were at a local tavern and ordered Trumer Pils (IIRC) and I sniffed and could pick out the cooked-vegetable character of DMS and explained to my friend about thinking of a freshly opened can of peas -- to see the light in his eyes and hear him exclaim, "I got it! Yeah -- I got it!" was great.

    It's why learning about flavors and aromas is probably better taught in person. You can try as you might to explain in words, but being side-by-side is the best tutorial.
     
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  35. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,005) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

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  36. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,005) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    ...if you don't have that much time, you can fast-forward to the "semi-final" point in the recording to hear what they have to say about the general German vs. the U.S. character of the beers they sampled. End is very interesting, too.
     
  37. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,255) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    We had some this afternoon. The Ayinger was off, the bar owner changed the key-keg (first time for Ayinger key-kegs at the bar) to the second he had, and it was off also, cloudy and sour in the aroma and taste. This bar owner has his lines cleaned frequently, and had them cleaned last Friday. At the table were a BJCP Certified and National, 2 certified Cicerones, one manager of a beer store, a brewpub assistant brewer, and 2 homebrewers that have national Gold medals (well, so you know, 4 people at the table). We all know what the Ayinger should taste like, and this was not it. The owner was calling around to see if any other reports of off Ayinger.

    We then got Paulaner, Spaten, Hofbrauhaus, and Weihenstephaner to sample, the first 2 were Maerzens, the last 2 Wiesns. All clean, crisp, brilliant clarity. I liked the Spaten as the best Maerzen, but others thought it too dry in the finish. We all liked the Weihenstephaner as the best Wiesn, and as the best at the table.
     
  38. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,869) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    This is the way Ayinger Okto turns in the bottle when old as well.

    Spaten dryer than Paulaner? Hmm...
     
  39. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,255) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    In the finish, lingered. Spaten had a little more of the malty/sweet in the middle.
     
  40. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,195) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    When the Paulaner Oktoberfest gets old it begins to taste like candy corn. Back before I noticed the dates (this was something like 8-9 years ago) I ended up buying a 6-pack that was well over a year old. It was nearly as sweet as a doppelbock.
     
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