Sierra Nevada Releases Seasonal Oktoberfest Beer

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by Todd, Jul 26, 2021.

  1. Todd

    Todd Founder (6,499) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society Trader

    Special 2021 release celebrates tradition with Amber Marzen style lager

    CHICO, California (July 26, 2021) – Today Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. announced the release of its 2021 limited edition fall seasonal, Oktoberfest, the brewery’s ode to beer’s largest party. This year’s edition is an Amber Märzen, a traditional German beer with a 5.5% ABV.

    https://sierranevada.com/beer/oktoberfest/

    “The beer has a malty sweetness with a little bit of herbal, floral hop presence, and the bitterness levels are just right to balance the malt character for drinkability,” says Scott Jennings, Innovation Brewmaster at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. He adds, “it’s a substantial beer but it’s really, really drinkable.”

    When developing this edition of Sierra Nevada’s Oktoberfest, the brewers were aiming to produce a darker malt-forward Oktoberfest beer, and the traditional Amber Märzen style fit the bill. Jennings notes that this year’s darker style is a departure from the brewery’s seasonal Oktoberfest offerings of the past few years which was in the style of modern fest biers, such as Helles bock, that began rising to popularity at Oktoberfest in Munich in the 1970s and 1980s. He adds that an Amber Märzen would have been a mainstay at Oktoberfest celebrations in Munich prior to that shift toward lighter styles.

    Sierra Nevada’s 2021 Oktoberfest pours a clear deep amber color with aromas of dark bread and graham cracker. The flavor is well balanced between sweet maltiness and delicate hop bitterness with a medium body, making this beer a solid example of the traditional Amber Märzen style.

    It begins shipping July 26 and can be found on retail shelves while supplies last into the fall season.

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  2. dcotom

    dcotom Poo-Bah (2,793) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Society Trader

    I'm in. I'm always up for a little seasonal creep. :grin:
     
  3. Todd

    Todd Founder (6,499) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society Trader

    I'm okay with seasonal beer creep, but only if it's a lager.
     
  4. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,629) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    Yeah right. :wink: Last year's was certainly not like a typical modern German Oktoberfestbier... and it wasn't a Bock. And the 2019 beer was relatively dark. And it's Heller Bock not Helles... and a Märzen Festbier is certainly not a Bock. Jennings just doesn't get this stuff right (no disrespect intended).

    @steveh , you mentioned elsewhere that they stated that it was a different recipe this year. I must have missed that. Do you recall where? But, it certainly is different. IBUs dropped drastically from 2020's 28 to this year's 19.

    If I remember correctly, Sierra Nevada stopped the Oktoberfest collaborations due to Covid and I believe they have no current plans to bring that model back. I get the impression that's it's not in their way of thinking at the moment. Correct me if you remember differently @FBarber

    I'm definitely looking forward to trying this year's beer, but I honestly don't have super high hopes for it. What made some of Sierra Nevada's past Oktoberfest offerings so great were the idiosyncrasies that made them different from other brewer's versions.
     
  5. jasonmason

    jasonmason Devotee (485) Oct 6, 2004 California
    Society Trader

    So wait...lagers named for summer don't sell well in spring, but lagers named for fall sell well in summer? Weird. It's almost as though there's an issue with timing here.

    That said, I really do look forward to SN's Octoberfest beers and so I'm sure I'll buy some. Next month.
     
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  6. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (5,181) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Moderator Society Trader

    Its pretty clear its a new recipe based on this release, but also @SierraTerence mentioned it was a new recipe in the chat we had during the SNPA discord event.
    I dont think it was just COVID, but COVID didn't help. It sounds like at this point, the days of those collaborations are done.
     
  7. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,101) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    :joy: Right, but Oktoberfest is a more recognized name than Summerfest -- big marketing tool -- has been for years.

    @zid I'll see if I can find the source of my background on the recipe, but a ping to @SierraTerence might be faster.
     
  8. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,101) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    Funny, the SN website has a paragraph that mirrors this description, but mentions caramel flavor (my personal pet peeve with Ami Oktos) -- nothing here about caramel. Maybe someone's listening? :wink:
     
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  9. AccipiterofBeer

    AccipiterofBeer Devotee (428) Nov 28, 2016 New York

    eyes and ears open for when this shows up locally.
     
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  10. keithmurray

    keithmurray Meyvn (1,433) Oct 7, 2009 Connecticut

    Even though last year's SN release was a bit of a letdown, I will give this year's a shot like I do every year.
     
  11. Tilley4

    Tilley4 Poo-Bah (2,359) Nov 13, 2007 Tennessee
    Society Trader

    By...the...case...

    I'm ready..
     
  12. defunksta

    defunksta Meyvn (1,131) Jan 18, 2019 North Dakota
    Trader

    Excited for the beer! ...but the seasonal creep is real. I used to think it was bad in August, but now Oktoberfest in July? Summer ales are already on sale and on the way out in my locals stores acting like summer was last season. Maybe we should live in the season for a change.
     
  13. deanzaZZR

    deanzaZZR Initiate (175) Jan 8, 2015 California

    8 miles away at a top of a hill. I'm not in a huge rush to get this though.
     
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  14. purephase

    purephase Initiate (153) Feb 23, 2008 Connecticut
    Trader

    Here are the specs for 2020 from the website:
    Malts: Two-row Pale, Munich, Vienna
    Hops: Spalter, Spalter Select
    6%, 28 IBUs, OG: 13.9 °P FG: 2.8°P

    This year's is:
    Malts: Special Roast, Pilsner, Munich, Black
    Hops:Hersbrucker, Tradition
    5.5% 19 IBUs, OG: 13.5 °P FG: 3.1 °P
     
  15. BeerVikingSailor

    BeerVikingSailor Meyvn (1,035) Nov 19, 2009 Ohio
    Trader

    I will be looking forward to this, as I do every year with Sierra Nevada

    Miss some of the German collabs they did though - some of them were quite good!

    Will be in on this for a few 12 pks as soon as I see it! Prost!
     
  16. Mortal_Wombat

    Mortal_Wombat Initiate (107) Jul 7, 2020 Texas
    Trader

    Kind of a weird malt lineup for a märzen but I guess we'll see how it goes. I'm glad they're switching from a festbier, especially after last year.
     
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  17. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,763) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
    Society

    What the heck is "special roast"?

    "Roast" isn't exactly the term I want to hear with my amber style Oktoberfests. Now "toast" and I'm all in.
     
  18. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,281) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    But Special Roast (Beiss' anyway) is "Toasty":
     
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  19. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,101) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    I think I put that in my coffee blend every morning. :grin:
    Considering black malt is highly roasted, that sort of scares me too, but I wonder if it's a small amount for color -- but still, pretty out of the ordinary for an Okto.

    FWIW -- "kilned" seems to have been replaced by "roasted" these days, but I'm with you -- roasted just screams harshness.

    Gonna look for the SN today -- proof in the tasting.
     
  20. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,101) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    Still, sourdough and tangy don't equate to Okto Marzen to me either. :thinking_face:
     
  21. BeastOfTheNortheast

    BeastOfTheNortheast Zealot (527) Dec 26, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Was thinking the same thing along with the black malt. Might have to forego this one.
     
  22. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,281) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Yeah, I just thought it was interesting and coincidental that a maltster used both terms "roast" and "toast" for the same product. It is only one of 4 malts, but one assumes that SN lists them in order of usage (and yeah, ditto on your comment re: "Black").

    I guess I'll wait to taste it. And I don't often say that these days - more often I read some of these craft beers (esp. the "innovative" ones) and think "Whoa, good thing I read that so I'll never taste that beer..." :grin:
     
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  23. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,101) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    Yeah, I'd like to assume that too, but the SN website actually lists the malts in this order:
    Black, Munich, Pilsner, Special Roast...

    :grimacing: Hope our assumptions are off.
     
  24. Mortal_Wombat

    Mortal_Wombat Initiate (107) Jul 7, 2020 Texas
    Trader

    Not leading with Munich malt for a märzen would certainly be a choice if that's what they did. May have to find an opened pack and grab 1 or 2 before I commit to 6 or 12 of these.
     
  25. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,120) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Maybe Terence (@SierraTerence) would be willing to share with us the relative proportions of the malts used to brew this year's SN Octoberfest.

    Cheers!
     
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  26. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (5,181) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Moderator Society Trader

    If you see it let me know.
     
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  27. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA Defender (684) Mar 28, 2009 California

    I homebrew a Vienna lager that I add 2% chocolate malt just for color. Never taste anything chocolate or roasty
     
  28. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,101) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    No Fall seasonals at Binny's, except... Goose Okto. Passed.

    May check one other spot later.
     
  29. QuakeAttack

    QuakeAttack Defender (635) Mar 19, 2012 California

    Happy on the choice of Marzen for this year. Wish they still did collaborations as it was fun and had a couple of really good beers from it. I don't get too excited about the descriptions, but yeah, not the most promising of descriptions for a Marzen. Will see/taste...
     
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  30. medb

    medb Initiate (61) Aug 27, 2013 California

    Is 5.5% a bit low abv for a Martzen?
     
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  31. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,101) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    5.0 to 6.5 range according to BA.
     
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  32. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,120) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Depends upon which Style Guideline you consider. Two out of three say it is OK:

    BJCP: ABV: 5.8 – 6.3%

    Brewers Association: ABV 5.1%-6.0%

    Beer Advocate: ABV: 5.0–6.5%

    Cheers!
     
  33. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,281) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Well, the press release says "It begins shipping July 26" (yesterday) but it's never clear to me if that means "...from the brewery to the distributors" but that's always how I read it unless it specifies "on the retailers' shelves" or similar wording.
     
  34. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,101) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    Yeah, took that into account, but I knew I'd be in the area -- and also thought I might see some imports. Guess I'll just have to live with another 12-pack of Trimer. :slight_smile:
     
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  35. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,281) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Oh, yeah - I know the deal. Tho' it's out of warranty, I've got to get the steering on my truck checked-out - no matter what I'm doing or where I'm going, it turns into the parking lot of every liquor store and, well, since I'm there:
    "Just browsing..."
    And if the beer guy asks, "Lookin' for anything special today?" it's an easy way to remind him to remember to ask the rep from his SN distributor - you know, just in case.
     
  36. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,101) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    Sounds like you have more faith in your liquor store employees than I do in mine. :wink:
     
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  37. eldoctorador

    eldoctorador Champion (802) Dec 12, 2014 Chile

    Talking about seasonal creep, Oberon is released in March I think
     
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  38. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,763) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
    Society

    It's also a bit low if you consider the "Munich 6". Which is where it sounds like the BJCP got their range from.

    None being lower than 5.8% if I recall, and Hofbrau being the strongest at 6.3%. However those are the pale style Oktoberfests.

    Even so, the amber ones we get imported here from the Munich breweries are all about 5.8% if I recall correctly. Even Ayinger's and Weihstephan's (pale) are 5.8%.

    But 5.5% isn't egregiously low either.
     
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  39. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,281) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Nah - if he was, he wouldn't need the gentle reminder. :grin:

    Of course, it's up to whether the distributor's truck that week can squeeze on a few cases of SNO in between the pallets of White Claw and Truly...:astonished:
     
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  40. BeastOfTheNortheast

    BeastOfTheNortheast Zealot (527) Dec 26, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Called the local distributor. Said Octoberfest style beers won’t be around until the end of August.

    Half of me says this could be true since this is the craft beer desert and the other half of me says this person had no clue what they were talking about lol.
     
    #40 BeastOfTheNortheast, Jul 27, 2021
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2021