Sierra Nevada 2020 Oktoberfest

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by beeragent, Apr 21, 2020.

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  1. AccipiterofBeer

    AccipiterofBeer Disciple (310) Nov 28, 2016 New York

    I think it's ok, but not head and shoulders above some of its peers like it was in the past. I'd go for better value Marzens. As far as American made ones, Goose Island or maybe Sam Adams.
     
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  2. lpteague

    lpteague Initiate (0) Dec 11, 2009 North Carolina

    haven’t tried goose island and while I have a soft spot for sam adams, it’s just too malty / sweet for me these days. Interesting that you cite “better value” ... I can get 12 packs of SN for $13.99 in my area... really hard to do better than that re: value.
     
  3. AccipiterofBeer

    AccipiterofBeer Disciple (310) Nov 28, 2016 New York

    17 bucks for a 12 pack by me sadly. I bought a sixer.
     
  4. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,646) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
    Society

    I feel like they should push this release off until the pandemic is over.

    Too bad they need to release it around the hop harvest...that means it’s on the scientists to finish those vaccines faster.
     
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  5. ESHBG

    ESHBG Disciple (328) Jul 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

    You're lucky. $19.99+ here so when you get into that territory there can be better options. But yes at your price that is tough to beat!
     
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  6. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,820) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan
    Society

    Had their Dunkel at a BBQ place in KC. It was pretty good, it is their top seller. The Brewers say the Helles and Pils are what they drink. My judge friends really like the brewery.
     
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  7. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Zealot (552) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts

    Did someone say Celebration?
     
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  8. followerofmen

    followerofmen Initiate (95) Sep 9, 2012 Massachusetts

    We are NOT getting into another discussion about Pennsylvania pricing in this thread.
     
  9. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,822) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    Pssst -- get your stick out of the bear's cage! :smile:
     
  10. ESHBG

    ESHBG Disciple (328) Jul 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Yep not interested in that, responding to a post with a direct and relevant comment. But it's always nice to hear from those of you outside of PA :stuck_out_tongue: But I am curious, what do they go for in your neck of the woods?

    :grin:
     
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  11. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,835) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    [​IMG]
     
  12. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,240) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Trader

    I tried to space out my sixer but didn't succeed very well. By the time of my last one, the impression of orange just became bigger and bigger. Someone just shared a quote with me from Sierra Nevada that stated:
    That's what I was experiencing except for the "faint" part.

    In the end, this beer wasn't what I typically want when buying an "Oktoberfest" (which isn't to say that it isn't "to style"), but I certainly liked the beer on it's own terms. I actually see the oddness as a plus in this case. It's unlike any other seasonal. I wonder if it will end up returning next year or if this is the only year it'll exist.

    @jonphisher
     
  13. ecpho

    ecpho Aspirant (242) Mar 28, 2011 New York

    Half of BA when an Oktoberfest releases late July: "Dammit these breweries pushing out seasonal beers too early!"
    No one seems to mind when it comes to IPAs though.
     
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  14. ecpho

    ecpho Aspirant (242) Mar 28, 2011 New York

    I do enjoy this beer on it's own too but I do hope they come out with a more pronounced Festbier next year (collaboration or not). I guess it's not that big of a deal, I'd just buy more Hofbrau.
     
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  15. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,822) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    Only we of that other half. :slight_smile:
     
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  16. maxpower

    maxpower Poo-Bah (1,733) Jan 26, 2002 Missouri
    Society

    One of my favorites!
     
  17. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Zealot (552) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts

    Well, most seasonal IPAs are seasonal because they use fresh or wet hops. So, they can only be so early. And when they hit, you want them as quick as possible.
     
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  18. fritzfield

    fritzfield Initiate (81) Nov 7, 2008 New Hampshire

    I tried the SN fest bier and really liked it. I thought it was much better than Victory, Jack's Abbey or 'Gansett that are available to me in southern NH. I have never liked Sam Adams rendition. So far NO imports at all. My fav is Warsteiner, but not seen since 2016. So at Market Basket in Bedford, NH a 12 pack is on sale at $12.99 - I bought three.
     
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  19. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,646) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
    Society

    Had the SN.

    I actually like the SN Oktoberfest...as a beer.

    Not as an Oktoberfest. I don’t feel it’s necessarily a ‘tweener style, but I get it.

    Definitely felt “Pils-like”. But honestly the best way to describe it is just as a solid pale lager.

    Not Czech, not German, not American...just its own thing.

    But as @steveh brought up to me in a separate discussion, I can see how it is “American” in character.
     
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  20. teromous

    teromous Poo-Bah (2,791) Mar 21, 2010 Virginia
    Society Trader

    To me it tasted a lot like a bottled German import Oktoberfestbier. One of the advantages of a US brewed version of the style is that the noble hop character tends to stand out a bit more than an import. This year it felt very retracted and a bit more earthy than what is typical. I found Benediktiner in cans to be a better beer and it is imported.

    In addition Sierra Nevada is hosting an online Oktoberfest party. You can buy kits which have various party accessories or simply pick up virtual "tickets" to their free online party which has some bands. In addition they have some recipes you can try out:

    Stuff to buy for the party: https://shop.sierranevada.com/collections/oktoberfest
    Free tickets, recipes, etc...party website: https://oktoberfest.sierranevada.com/p/1
     
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  21. defunksta

    defunksta Savant (942) Jan 18, 2019 North Dakota
    Trader

    After 3 of these, I would definitely agree with you that this version is orange-heavy and it definitely seems to grow bigger and bigger. I think it actually drinks close to a pale ale. Quite hoppy with orange flavors which wash out most Oktoberfest or Marzen breadiness. A good beer, but filled with American hops and not to style. An odd beer for sure.
     
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  22. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (4,226) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Moderator Society Trader

    The hops in this beer are Spalter and Spalter Select - both are German hops - not American. The Spalter Select hops can give off a orange or candied orange character.
     
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  23. KentT

    KentT Aspirant (228) Oct 15, 2008 Tennessee

    I bought a second six pack of Sierra Nevada. I would agree this is orange heavy, and feels more like a pale ale, and hopped like one. I like this beer, but not as an Oktoberfest beer. The orange note and the hops for me blot out any real sense of Oktoberfest or Marzen bready notes. So my earlier commentary on it, is therefore retracted.
     
  24. lateralusbeer

    lateralusbeer Aspirant (224) Feb 7, 2010 North Carolina
    Trader

    The Sam is an absolute travesty this year. Frankly drinks and tastes like a Newcastle.
     
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  25. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,822) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    Well, I honestly think it's tasted like a Brown Ale for many years now.
     
  26. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (4,226) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Moderator Society Trader

    Ok, in the interest of science, this evening I recruited Mrs. Gritty to pour four beers for me into opaque cups so that I could do a blind tasting. The beers I included were the SN Oktoberfest, HB Oktoberfestbier, Weihenstephaner festbier, and SN pale ale. I wanted to see how close the SN Oktoberfest was to the pale ale and/or the festbiers.

    To get this out of the way up front, the pale ale was about 7 months old. I only wanted a single to do this tasting and sadly that was the freshest bottle. That being said, it still tasted darn good.

    Ok, so the lineup - Mrs. Gritty poured about 3 inches of beer into these opaque cups, so I was not able to draw any preconceived notions from the color of the beer.
    [​IMG]

    Since the cups were opaque I skipped to aroma.
    • Cup "A" - had some nice bready, malty notes, slightly sweet, no hops to speak of on the nose. Has to been of the imports.
    • Cup "B" - was the pale ale. It just stuck out like a sore thumb. Bright citrus-y hops, big notes of orange, pine, some grassiness and a light caramel malt undertone.
    • Cup "C" - Bready malts again, sweet bread, just a faint whiff of some light grassy, almost floral hops, but again, very light.
    • Cup "D" - the aroma on this one was kind of muted, there were some light toasted malts, Vienna malts, and some light candied orange rind or orange marmalade notes.
    Ok, so I know which one is the pale ale, and I had my suspicion which one was the SN Oktoberfest, but no definite decisions ... time to move to tasting them.
    • Cup "A" - bready malts, with a light toasted character to it, slight bready sweetness, with just a hint of bittering hops on the back end. Really light, but they were there.
    • Cup "B" - bright citrusy hops, light floral/grassy notes, pine notes start mid palate and continue into the finish with a lingering bitterness. Caramel malts with just a touch of sweetness. Lingering pronounced bitterness.
    • Cup "C" - Sweet bready notes, lightly toasted malts, a bit of a mild graininess, not really getting any hops.
    • Cup "D" - toasted malts, no breadiness, just toasted - like a Vienna. Its got this interesting orange marmalade, orange herbal flavor with a light spicy grassiness on the back end. I can tell this is the SN Oktoberfest for sure at this point. I'm not getting any graininess
    so what are my guesses? Well, "B" is the pale ale and "D" is the SN Oktoberfest. I am sure of those. I went back and forth on the HB and the Weihenstephaner, but ultimately guessed that "A" was the Weihenstephaner and "C" was the Hofbräu. Time for the big reveal:
    [​IMG]

    So I got HB and Weihenstephaner mixed up ... :confused:.

    My final overall thoughts on this. The SN Oktoberfest is definitely "different" - the hops give it a unique flavor for sure - but when consumed with the pale ale next to it, its clear that the "orange" given off by the Spalter select is quite different from the citrus from the American Cascade hops. Its much more herbal in character - I'm trying to find something to compare it to and all I keep coming back to is how the lemon comes through in a ricola cough drop - there is that citrus but its got those herbal notes as well - or perhaps a herbal tea with orange added ... regardless, its very different from their pale ale or any IPA.

    I did not get any of the breadiness or rich depth of malts that I got from the imports - just that Vienna malt. I also didn't get any graininess that other people have noted. It also was much hoppier that the HB, but not necessarily much hoppier than the Weihenstephaner although the hops were more noticeable than they were in the Weihenstephaner.

    Overall I think that the SN Oktoberfest is a unique take on the festbier style, but I think its one that is still within the parameters for the style ...
     
    #306 FBarber, Sep 3, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2020
  27. Jacobier10

    Jacobier10 Poo-Bah (2,368) Feb 23, 2004 New Jersey
    Society

    This might be an odd comparison, but have you had Fuller's ESB? I get a strong orange flavor from that beer, but it's different from citrusy American hops. It's earthy and fruity at the same time. I think of it as eating orange marmalade vs. biting into a slice of orange. I know comparing a German-style lager to an English ale isn't apples to apples, but it's the first beer that came to mind for me from your description. I haven't had this year's SN Oktoberfest yet so I can't compare the two.
     
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  28. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (4,226) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Moderator Society Trader

    I don't believe I've ever had it, but yes, "orange marmalade" is definitely a description that came to mind with this SN Oktoberfest.
     
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  29. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,822) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    Creamsicle. :grin:
     
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  30. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (4,226) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Moderator Society Trader

    No, to me Creamsicle is a very specific flavor that I get (and don't really like) in these NEIPAs that have lactose in them ... that interaction of the hoppy orange notes with the lactose - voila "creamsicle". This lacked that creamy sweetness - like I said it read more herbal to me.
     
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  31. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,822) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    Yeah, grainy, herbal, creamsicle. :grin:

    But seriously, it's not a strong character to me, but it's smoother than marmalade to my palate. Creamsicle was what first came to mind. :wink:
     
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  32. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,240) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Trader

    @FBarber 's reaction to the beer in his tasting pretty much mirrors mine. If you compared the beer to Fullers ESB, I don't think you'd have a hard time differentiating them.
     
  33. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,822) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    @FBarber -- I will say it's good to confirm SN isn't re-labeling the Pale Ale as 2020 Oktoberfest. We have enough controversy this year. :rolling_eyes::wink:
     
  34. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (1,639) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    Could it be oranges to oranges?

    I'm hoping to grab this beer this weekend as I noticed it on a local shelf earlier in the week, but was there for a specific purpose so I passed. If nothing else, it will make for an interesting addition to an okto lineup. The same store has singles of a localish onto canned 8-12-19! If it weren't one of the grossest beers I've ever had when I tried it last year (tasted like a poorly executed off.brand cola) I might have been tempted to include it as well
     
  35. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,646) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
    Society

    Super interesting, thanks for posting!

    I found this the most interesting result. Because so many of us (myself included) think of Hofbrau as the heftier one by far.

    I think you meant to say apples to oranges here. :wink:
     
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  36. Jacobier10

    Jacobier10 Poo-Bah (2,368) Feb 23, 2004 New Jersey
    Society

    That's good news for the SN Oktoberfest. Fuller's ESB is one of my favorite beers on the planet but I'd be skeptical of any Oktoberfest that tasted remotely like it.
     
  37. Jacobier10

    Jacobier10 Poo-Bah (2,368) Feb 23, 2004 New Jersey
    Society

    Ha, yeah, I realized what I had done about 10 mins after I posted and didn't feel like going back to change it. ::face palm::
     
  38. Tilley4

    Tilley4 Poo-Bah (2,289) Nov 13, 2007 Tennessee
    Society Trader

    I just had my first one a few minutes ago and I too get oranges on this.

    Not overpowering or anything but the flavor profile is definitely present.

    Curious to see how this one is drinking in a month or so.
     
  39. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (4,226) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Moderator Society Trader

    Yea ... I was telling @steveh that I should have gotten them correct just based on which one I liked more in the tasting, which turned out to be the HB, and which confirms what I already thought before the tasting - that HB is my favorite festbier.
     
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  40. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,822) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    Have you tasted Sam Adams Octoberfest lately? :grin:
     
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